Scream Weaver….

scream |skrēm|


give a long, loud, piercing cry or cries expressing excitement, great emotion, or pain.

Screaming, as a mode of expression, has its roots in all cultures, be they North American Indian, African, East Indian or European Folk.

In rock and roll it has been a staple since it’s origins.  It is as important as the invention of the electric guitar.  Probably started to be heard OVER the electric guitar (you know guitar players and their “volume” issues).

Here is a list of  some of the greatest screams and screamers in rock and roll:

-Joe Cocker, “With a little Help from my Friends”

Lets start with one of the best and most primal screams ever.  At 3:50 into the song after the girls sing, “Do you need anybody” he belts out a sound that couldn’t have been planned or probably replicated.


-Axle Rose, “Welcome to the Jungle”

The beginning.  During the really cool intro.  Signature Axle.


-Janis Joplin “Piece of my Heart”

Sometime I feel like she just screamed to scream, but this song needed it and she delivered after the second to last chorus.


-Robert Plant, “Whole lotta love”

Yeah, some would site “The immigrant Song” but that’s a little Spinal Tappish to me now.  The last scream in the break down of “Whole lotta Love” is classic.


-Brian Johnson, Everything.

Did the guy ever NOT scream?  And not many people realize just how HIGH the guy’s voice was.  He somehow didn’t sound like every other hair band high screamer, but screamed it all at a higher pitch.  Nice trick.


-John Lennon, “I Want you (she’s so heavy)

“Twist and shout” started it for him, but his gut wrenching “Yeeeeaaaahaiie” from Abbey Road is one of his best.


-Steven Tyler, “Dream On”

He screams. A lot.  And has some really cool, different takes on them.  But his best is from “Dream On” and I don’t need to tell you where it comes…


-James Brown, “I Feel Good”

The first thing you hear.  He made a career out of grunts and little screams.  A master. “Hah!”


-Screaming Jay Hawkins, “I put a spell on You”

I mean, it’s in his name dammit…. And for a reason.


-David Lee Roth, take your pick

“Jump” is a good example.  He had his little signature scream that he probably overused.  But it worked.


-Jim Morrison, “When The Music’s over”

Don’t hate me for saying this, but I think he was an extremely limited vocalist.  But he could be very emotional, and this scream proves it.


-Harry Nilsson, “Jump into the Fire”

Not exactly a shredding scream, but a high-end wail that only one of the best vocalist in history could pull off.  It’s at the end, if you were wondering…


-Clare Torry, “Great Gig in the Sky”

Just brilliant.  Done in two takes.  Nothing is better than what she pulled off.


-Prince, “Kiss”

The entire last half of the last verse is a scream.  Figuratively and literally.  Genius.


-Little Richard, EVERYTHING

He invented the scream.  Actually, I guess a caveman invented the scream while being chased by a saber toothed tiger, but for our purposes he invented it and was the best.  So many were inspired by him and learned to scream from the architect of Rock and Roll.  It’s impossible to pick one song, but listen to “Good Golly Miss Molly” or Lucille” if you want to know how it’s supposed to be done.


-Paul McCartney, “Hey Jude”

The na-na’s.  Till the fade out.  All of it.  It’s amazing.

Also the original “Maybe I’m Amazed during the bridges.

He is listed after Little Richard for a reason.  He completely learned his technique from him.  Listen to his imitation of Richard on “Long Tall Sally” or his own tribute to him on “I’m Down”.


-John Forgerty, “Travelin Band”

Same thing here.  Amazing and also completely in the Little Richard school.


-Roger Daltrey, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”

The greatest scream in rock and roll, and there is no arguing.  You can try but you’d be wrong.

Even a cheesy David Caruso TV show can’t take it away.  It’s THAT great.


And then he says, “Meet the new boss, Same as the old boss”.



Have any screams/ screamers that come to mind?


3 responses

  1. Mark Lanter

    opening scream to “Revolution” (Paul)….outro on “Helter Skelter” (McCartney again)….Lennon’s screams on “Money” and “Bad Boy”….Beatles best overall screamers, but….how ’bout Prince on “Darling Nicky”?!!!!

    July 1, 2011 at 10:38 pm

  2. Aerosmith: Back In the Saddle (“I’m BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACKKKKK!!!”)
    Bob Seger: Katmandu (“I think I’m GOING to KATMANDU!!”) it’s all a big scream by the end.
    Boston: More than a Feelin’ (“I see my Mary Anne walkin’ awayyyy-HEYYYYYYYYYYYYY”)
    Bruce Springsteen-The E Street Shuffle (It’s all over the place)
    Molly Hatchet-Flirtin’ With Disaster (“Bop-bop-bop yeah!”)
    And, while the work isn’t technically rock and roll, the sentiment certainly is–Sam Kenison.

    July 5, 2011 at 5:01 pm

  3. Kel

    Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) – Monkeywrench
    The bridge (after the 2nd chorus) is all one huge scream and the “I’m FREE!!!!!” at the end ranks right up there with any screams ever.

    August 12, 2011 at 7:24 pm

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