The Greatest Scream in Rock ‘n’ Roll History?

Duke Ellington has been famously quoted as saying: “If it sounds good, it is good.”

Which brings us to Topic A of today:  What’s the greatest scream in rock ‘n’ roll history?

Cover of "Cheap Thrills," Big Brother & the Holding Company

Janis Joplin said it all — vocally, but wordlessly — at the end of “Piece of My Heart”

In my own mind, it’s a tossup which of these is No. 1 — Janis Joplin’s soul-scraping vocalization at the end of “Piece of My Heart” or John Lennon’s wordless reveille at the opening of “Revolution.” Joplin’s amazing album with Big Brother and the Holding Company, “Cheap Thrills,” has been named to the National Recording Registry for 2013 by the Librarian of Congress.

There’s a lot of other fantastic stuff on this year’s recording registry – bet you can find personal connections to a bunch of it, too.  Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”  – my college roommate played that album end-to-end daily for six months, but it was OK, because it was really good.  Harking back a bit more, Artie Shaw’s “Begin the Beguine” is on my IPod – that is one hot instrumental, enduringly so. (Thanks, Mom and Dad, for putting me on to that one.)  Ditto the soundtrack to “South Pacific,”played in our home again and again in the 1960s.

“Just Because” by Frank Yankovic & His Yanks is on this year’s registry; I can’t say I’m familiar with the album, but I know about Frank because a young woman I went to high school with was of Slovenian extraction, and let me know in no uncertain terms he was the man to see about polka.

And “Hoodoo Man Blues” by Junior Wells is on this year’s registry.  I had the enjoyment of seeing a very talented acquaintance of mine back in Denver, the irrepressible Robin Chotzinoff, sit in on piano with Junior Wells and Buddy Guy at Herman’s Hideaway.

Care to nominate an alternate rock cri de coeur?  Offer a comment below. And if you’d like to nominate sound recordings for next year’s registry, offer your suggestions here.

 

36 Comments

  1. A Zamoyski
    March 21, 2013 at 10:46 am

    The Who – Baba O’Riley

  2. Bishop Perry
    March 21, 2013 at 10:52 am

    James Brown, “The Big Payback” greatest scream of all time.

  3. David Knight
    March 21, 2013 at 10:58 am

    How about Roger Daltrey’s wail in “Won’t Get Fooled Again”?

  4. Lynn McKenzie
    March 21, 2013 at 11:10 am

    The ones in the Beatles’ cover of “Twist and Shout”.

  5. Pam Joyce
    March 21, 2013 at 11:17 am

    I second Roger Daltrey’s primal scream in “Won’t Get Fooled Again”.

  6. C Wilson
    March 21, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Little Richard screaming “Woooo” in “Jenny, Jenny, Jenny” and other songs.

  7. Jay
    March 21, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Can’t go wrong with the WDGFA, but Pink Floyd’s Be Careful With That Axe Eugene, scared the living daylights out of me first time I heard it.

  8. David
    March 21, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Screaming Jay Hawkins “I put a spell on you”. Is always a favorite.

  9. Mike
    March 21, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    I’d say the best scream is probably by Roger Daltrey from The Who, in the song “Won’t get fooled again”.

  10. michael proctor
    March 21, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    A third for Roger Daltry’s and the Who-Won’t get fooled again!

  11. Rita
    March 21, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Thank you Jennifer. It’s great to have somebody cool doing this stuff.

  12. Bill LeFurgy
    March 21, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    When the Music’s Over, The Doors; also Joe Cocker, With a Little Help From My Friends

  13. Jennifer Gavin
    March 21, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Hey, thank YOU for following the Library’s social media — we hope to get the word out that all the items in our collections (that’s more than 155 million items) are here for you and everyone to use.

  14. Bunnie
    March 21, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    John Lennon would be one. But, Robin Zander of Cheap Trick is one of the best.

  15. David Knight
    March 21, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Oh, drat! I forgot about Jim Morrison on When the Music’s Over. That’s particularly unforgivable since:
    1.) The Doors are one of my favorites
    and
    2.) Just watched the Hollywood Bowl ’68 concert twice recently on Palladia

  16. Ken Kenyon
    March 21, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Little Richard’s scream in the middle of “Good Golly Miss Molly” is the most memorable for me. As a kid I played the record over and over just waiting for it. The piano intro to the same song must be one of the best also.

  17. Rachel
    March 21, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Any time Robert Plant opened his mouth.

  18. Ray Fowler
    March 21, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    JANIS JOPLIN – ME AND BOBBY MCGEE

  19. Meg
    March 21, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    No list would be complete without Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander: so many great songs, but Gonna Raise Hell has to be near the top.

  20. Kari Branjord
    March 22, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Roger Daltry was my first thought. My second thought was the scream in Beastie Boys’ Sabotage. Nothing wrong with something a bit more modern.

  21. Tom Miner
    March 22, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Joe Cocker, in “The Letter”, has a classic scream!

  22. david
    March 22, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Wilson “the wicked” Pickett – Land of 1000 Dances

  23. vmarek
    April 18, 2013 at 3:04 am

    Greatest real screams in rock n’ roll history are:
    Robert Plant in Immigrant Song
    Bruce Dickinson in Number of the Beast

    Those two pretty much set the standard.

    Daltrey in Won’t Get Fooled Again is pretty good, though … never mind.

    More obscure: the Pagans’ “Boy Can I Dance Good”

  24. Jerry Parshall
    June 6, 2013 at 8:56 am

    My top suggestions are Roger Daltrey’s second scream (after the drum solo) in “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and Paul McCartney’s panther-like screams when “Hey Jude” starts getting raucous.

  25. Jacobfr104
    August 1, 2013 at 11:05 am

    How has Kashmir not yet been mentioned? I dont know if it’s the best but Plant’s scream about halfway through certainly warrants some consideration.

  26. Ted M
    August 4, 2013 at 9:13 am

    The video of ‘Revolution’ I’ve seen shows McCartney doing the intro scream…but I’m sure you’re right, it does sound more like Lennon on audio. Aside from the worthy and obvious Daltrey entries, I’d throw in Bono (Trip Through Your Wires, Angel of Harlem) and Donnie Iris (Ah Leah).

  27. Jennifer Gavin
    August 5, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Thanks for the input re Paul — if it is him, gives me another reason on my already-long list to appreciate him. More proof that crowdsourcing has true value!

  28. Steve
    October 15, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    How about David Lee Roth’s scream in “On Fire” by Van Halen? That was quite frightening as it sounded like he was actually burning!

  29. Jim
    January 15, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    Bon Scott in stick around acdc
    Rob halford victim of changes Judas priest
    Stephen Tyler dream on aerosmith

  30. cip09
    February 14, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    kurt cobain- where did you sleep last night (unplugged)

  31. Roctober
    February 25, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Rodger Daltrey
    Won’t Get Fooled Again

  32. Dave Elliot
    March 28, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    My favorite scream is John Lennon in “BAD BOY” with a runner up him screaming in “SLOW DOWN”

  33. Dan Szmagalski
    April 9, 2014 at 12:19 am

    James Brown all through the song, “Cold Sweat.”

  34. Tim Troy
    May 6, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Nobody has brought up Jim Morrison’s primal scream at the beginning of the live version of Back Door Man. It’s worth consideration. Or Bon Scott’s scream in the studio version of If You Want Blood (You Got It)

  35. Chris
    July 10, 2014 at 1:23 am

    Roger Daltrey in The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again. Nothing else even comes close. Its primal, raw and drenched with pure emotion.

  36. George Smith
    August 25, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    It’s not exactly “rock n roll,” but Bruce Dickinson’s scream in Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast makes Roger Daltrey’s scream in Won’t Get Fooled Again a joke in comparison.

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