12 Amazing Isolated Vocal Tracks

If you’ve ever wondered what your favorite singer’s voice sounds like in its purest form, the musical sub-genre of isolated vocal tracks can offer a clue. Here are 12 videos of popular songs stripped of everything but the vocals—some of them strange, others eerily beautiful.


Adele - Hello (isolated SNL live vocal feed) by dailyvariations

Adele’s vocals for her new hit single “Hello” are even more powerful without the background music.


Nirvana kicked off a new era in rock music in the 1990s, but can “Smells Like Teen Spirit” be as powerful without the driving guitars? The song feels more eerie than hard-hitting with only Kurt Cobain’s haunting vocals.


One of Michael Jackson’s most iconic songs seems less urgent without the music behind his amazing vocals. Something is lost without Eddie Van Halen’s killer guitar solo, too.


Even without the heavy guitars and feverish drum beats, “Fell in Love with a Girl” is still a catchy tune.


Christina Aguilera’s isolated microphone feed vocals of her live performance of “Beautiful” prove that her voice is just as impressive without the music.


Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” is a haunting song. Even without the benefit of music, Chris Cornell’s vocals are just as stirring.


Noel Gallagher’s lyrics and his brother Liam’s vocals for Oasis’ “Wonderwall” seem even more sad without the backing music.


“Lose Yourself” won Eminem an Academy Award in 2003 for “Best Original Song” for 8 Mile. He probably still would’ve won the Oscar even without the music behind his intense rhymes.


Alicia Keys’ performance of her hit song “No One” with her microphone feed isolated proves that she’s a genuine talent.


The acapella and isolated vocals of The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” work just as well as the studio version with musical accompaniment.


Freddie Mercury’s vocals and harmonies for “Bohemian Rhapsody” are awe-inspiring. The video also highlights Brian May’s amazing guitar work.


This stripped-down version of “We Are the Champions” proves, yet again, what made Freddie Mercury one of rock’s most iconic vocalists.



November 03, 2016 by Ryan Gruss
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Bob Schilling

Bob Schilling said:

Great stuff! Being able to hear these in isolation will make it much easier to adapt to my own style.

Buddy Martin

Buddy Martin said:

This was really exceptional, haunting is right hearing some of these amazing songs being sung by icons, some that aren’t with us any more but through these videos, their voices are so strong and amazing. Freddie Mercury hurt it was so wonderful. The Beach Boys were also great with the super strong voices all so perfect. It was also a bit creepy to hear Kurt’s voice, the same one we’ve heard forever but somehow different. Different than I’d heard before.
Thank you for really an intensive look, well hearing I suppose of all these artists. Glad you did it…

Rob Ehrbar

Rob Ehrbar said:

Definitely an amazing piece of historical Pop Culture. Kudos.


Den.. said:

Great ideas can come from these tracks.
Let’s hope we all can do them justice. ..piece….

Yuri Diculous

Yuri Diculous said:

These are great but the song choices couldn’t be worse… Soundgarden? BLECH! Wonderwall? They have so many better songs! Beat It? come ON at least throw us a bone and finally deliver Thriller so the world can finally remix it. The only good ones are Queen and I have those already. I was hoping for something as good as those drummer acapellas that had Bonham, Copeland and a bunch of other kick ass drummers original isolated parts. I’ve got Bonham’s whole drum kit in my sampler now! THUNDER OF THE GODS


Jasper said:

You need some soul…!!!


Ian said:

Roky Erikson’s (of 13th Floor Elevators) isolated vocal track for “You’re Gonna Miss Me” is one of the wildest things ever: https://youtu.be/zJEMCuRi-N4


Kev said:

Beach Boys wouldn’t it be nice.. vocals p
Now that is a track


Dave said:

i made an edit with the beat it vocals and some more (praise you, rapt, no one knows, sattellite, 99 problems). free downloads.


Eugene HK

Eugene HK said:

Ian Gillan’s raw but masterful performance on Deep Purple’s epic song Child In Time should be up there at the top of this list. Enjoy https://youtu.be/wSx1cVvxodM


Frederic said:

It’s such a shame the quality is so so poor. It just spoiled the pleasure. I don’t ask for 320 kb/s, but the minimum should be 128 kb/s.


Niko said:

great! great work! and some great lessons to learn … at least for me, beeing a german doing rock songs in rocks native language.
And i stress Eugenes words – I’d love to hear Gillans solo vocals of child in time … made me thing about trying in melodyne … but it definitely is a lot of work to just get a little to the clearness we herar in these tracks.
Thank You!


Paddy said:

Needs ‘Because’ – The Beatles. The isolated vocal version is incredible



Love to hear some Cedric Bixler-Zavala isos for The Mars Volta.

Cory Wofford

Cory Wofford said:

Eugene HK, thanks for that suggestion! Just checked that song out. Always on the lookout for old gems I’ve overlooked through the years, and that one is truly epic.


William said:

Any of those newer singers have auto tuning on their voice. The classics are true talent


Drew said:

What I’d like to see is their vocals without any effects or pitch adjustment. On a side note, for a great example of vocal ability, Freddie Mercury’s vocal improv with the crowd at 1985’s Live Aid is some of the best example of vocal gymnastics in rock history.


Space???Pirate said:


Space pirate.co.uk

PoDiddy Coming

PoDiddy Coming said:

This is shit.


Troy said:

I’m curious if these isolated tracks had the reverb/effects printed to tape on the original takes?

It would be nicer to hear them dry (like on the Beach Boys cut), but I guess they used to print the effects to tape because they wouldn’t have had multiple effects units or digital effects like we have today.

But I was surprised that the Nirvana track had effects on it. It certainly would have been recorded dry in the studio???


mccm said:

Waww the melody of the Alicia Keys song is very bad, very poor, very empty.


Chris said:

Wonder how many of them DONT have auto tune on them? The Beach Boys certainly wont nor Queen and possibly Nirvana as pretty sure it wasnt invented then, defenitely wasnt in the 60’s and early 70’s. Happy to be proved wrong though.

Paul Love

Paul Love said:

To everyone asking if these have auto-tune:

None of the recordings have any pitch correction (or Auto-Tune / Melodyne as you might know it)

When it comes to studio recordings, vocals are quite recorded WITH fx so the vocalist feels as though their part of the track. Studio mantra is very often, “Get the sound you want NOW”.

None have these tracks have any more than EQ, a bit of compression and some delay or reverb.

The Beach Boys track is nowhere near dry, there’s a big plate reverb on it.

Only the Christina Aguilera and Alicia Keys tracks are completely dry.

Every one of these vocalists has risen to the top because they’re the BEST and for no other reason.


mike said:

Where are the Beatles? Nat King Cole?

Darius Daniels

Darius Daniels said:

Where on earth is WHITNEY-FREAKING-I-WON-AN-EMMY-FOR-A-GRAMMY-PERFORMANCE-VOICE-HOUSTON…When she died, multiple television news anchors played her a Capella version of How Will I Know. No could hold a candle to Whitney in the 80’s or 90’s


ErickFP said:

How about the Beatles’ Helter Skelter and that crazy McCartney voice? It’s hard to beat, and available on the internet.

Fritz Wastika

Fritz Wastika said:

Not exactly “isolated” for most, but great, sometimes thrilling, stuff


d'arpa said:

Especes de sales fils de putes d’enculés de batards de merde pourquoi vous n’avez pas mis TAKE ON ME ou THE SUN ALWAYS SHINES ON TV ? Ils sont disponibles sur youtube. Bande d’enculés de vos mères.


Michael said:

Jesus Christ Pose by Soundgarden is a shocking vocal track


Shahdawg said:

Chris Cornell’s track should be number 1.

Tim Libert

Tim Libert said:

Chris Cornells Black Hole Sun #1 Beautiful #2

Jabitudu Persilasi

Jabitudu Persilasi said:

Listening to Adele’s “Hello” and Kurt’s “Hello..hello…” simultaneously - same key. Somewhat entertaining.


Me said:

The only one that sucked was Jack White. So so very talentless

Ed Miller

Ed Miller said:

Detecting vocal ‘hunting’ has become instinctive with me, but in listening to these samplings I tried to imagine Michael Jackson paring up with the Beach Boys. Oh my!


John said:

I recommend the isolated vocal tracks from Disturbed -The Sound of Silence and from Jefferson Airplanes – White Rabbit. Oath are available online and Grace Slick’s isolated vocals are absolutely haunting.


Kevin said:

All were great performances to me. Freddie mercury OWNED it with Bohemian rhapsody!


Denise said:

Blown away by Adeles Hello here, but what really stole the show for me was Freddie, both Bohemian Rhapsody and We are the Champions! What an amazing talent that guy was. Would love to hear Whitney stripped bare too. She should definately be added. I also love the aCapella version of ‘forgive me love’ by Alanis Morrisette

Anne Gastaldi

Anne Gastaldi said:

1st : Freddie Mercury, 2nd : Beach Boys, 3rd : Soundgarden… Mike Brant could have been on this list : https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oPShGuyCn6g


don said:

Chris – I didn’t read through all the comments to see if you got an answer. But in case you didn’t, auto tune as we know it now came into widespread use in studios in the mid 90’s, around ‘94 or ’95 as I recall. It started as a dedicated piece of hardware, then became a software option not long after that. So no one could auto tune a vocal before that. (Just listen to Madonna’s 80s hits for proof.)

Matty P

Matty P said:

You gotta add Marvin Gaye, sexual healing on here. You get an amazing vocal, plus you hear him say: “let’s not procrastinate, I don’t want to masturbate” at the end…


Wildmatt said:

I cannot believe you’d make a list like this and not have David Lee Roth’s Running with the Devil track. You can actually hear the studio in the track. It’s amazing! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IArxakPsPE0


Ibe said:

I would have loved to hear the pure voices of Michael Bolton and Celine Dion.


cyril said:

For me the mos haunting and overhelming vocal of Kurt Cobain is Something in the way https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tm3z7Mp8buQ


Michael said:

Never been a great fan of hers, but this shows what a fine singer Adele is.


Alex said:



Alex said:



John said:

Isolated vocals on The Beatles “A Day In The Life”
It was available on YouTube but now denied the the USA.
Any leads, ideas or otherwise on how to obtain?


Sean said:

I couldn’t get over The Beach Boys and Freddie Mercury. Just incredible! Michael also had some great harmonies. Loved the ruffness of Kurt Cobains voice. Awesome stuff to hear as a vocalist myself.


Joe said:

There is no absolute rule and this is an often debated point, but it’s rare for a modern vocal to print the reverb or delay when tracking. Once it’s printed it is permanent, and you don’t know how that sound will fit in the mix. You run the reverb separately so the vocalist can hear it, but it doesn’t record.
Now, in the 60’s it was a different story. Sgt Pepper was recorded on eight tracks, so they mostly put it down as it was going to be. Recording with all sorts of fx was more common.

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