Aug 162011

Yes, there’s one correct answer—unless you come up with an answer better than the one E. Pluribus Gergely and I discussed last night. See if you can identify the manliest backing vocal in the history of rock ‘n roll!

First to answer correctly wins a bottle of Mandom.*

*EPG and members of Nixon’s Head are not eligible for this contest.


  83 Responses to “Pop Quiz: What’s the Manliest Backing Vocal in the History of Rock ‘n Roll?”

  1. shawnkilroy

    Springsteen-We Are The World.

  2. Very manly, but not the manliest one ever.

  3. 2000 Man

    Be My Baby – The Ronettes

  4. Ike Turner for Ike & Tina’s Proud Mary?

  5. tonyola

    Ronnie Bright, who sang the bass part on Johnny Cymbal’s 1963 hit “Mr. Bass Man”.

  6. Deep and manly, but nowhere near as manly as the performance I have in mind.

  7. pudman13

    The “I Need Lunch” vocals on the Dead Boys’ song.

  8. Malcolm Young on TNT?

  9. alexmagic

    Or maybe the one on Dirty Deeds? I’m assuming that’s Malcolm, too, and man, that voice sounds like some kind of creepy sewer-dwelling CHUD guy.

  10. cliff sovinsanity

    ahem, I would dare say it’s backing vocals plural….
    London’s Burning with Mick and Paul singing backup.

  11. jeangray

    Hah ha! I thought you were going to say that Tina was the manliest.

  12. jeangray

    Too funny! Have you heard “CHUD Love”?

  13. BigSteve

    Is it something recorded after 1981?

  14. You know what, cliff, it IS backing vocalS, however, not those manly ones. I’m talking WAY more manly than The Clash!

  15. See, “creepy” is not manly. Good try, though. They are among the creepiest BVs in rock.

  16. Now you funny too! As a matter of fact, no, it was recorded prior to 1981.

    A bottle of Mandom is at stake here, folks.

  17. BigSteve

    The Soul Survivors – Expressway to Your Heart

  18. Vehicle by the Ides of March. That’s got to be it!

    BigSteve jogged my memory so I’ll give him the assist. Steve, how do you want to split the bottle of Mandom? Shall I send you half or should we have joint custody of the bottle itself?

  19. Oh man, that’s really playing into the Moderator’s mind! GREAT guess, but not as manly as the most manly of backing vocals.

  20. hrrundivbakshi

    I know folks have been talking about this tune for a while for some reason that I don’t remember, but surely one of the manliest backup vocals is on Edwin Starr’s “War.”

  21. Surely “one of the manliest” examples of this form of BVs, but not THE manliest. We’re talkin’ BVs drenched in MANDOM.

  22. BigSteve

    I always think of those two together too. Did anyone mention expresway during the car noises thread?

  23. BigSteve

    Mrs Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter?

  24. BigSteve

    Oh wait that’s the LEAST manly bg vocals.

  25. BigSteve

    Double Shot of my Baby’s Love?

  26. Village People “Macho Man”… not that there’s anything wrong with it.

  27. tonyola

    Another contest in the making. I nominate the Kinks’ “Wonderboy”. A charming and delightful song, but the guys going “la la la” for over two minutes isn’t exactly butch.

  28. tonyola

    This might be sacrilege here, but how about the train-horn backing vocals on Van Halen’s “You Really Got Me”?

  29. ladymisskirroyale

    We think that Clint et al are super, duper manly as the chorus of grunters in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”

  30. That’s a horribly manly set of BVs, indeed…but not the manliest ever.

    I know how much that bottle of Mandom means to some of you, as it should. What’s with all the Townspeople who seem to fear splashing that stuff liberally?

  31. Ladymiss reaches for the Mandom! Supermanly, indeed, but not as manly as the manliest backing vocals in rock history.

  32. tonyola

    The Rivingtons – “Papa Oom Mow Mow”.

  33. BigSteve

    You’ve got to give us some idea of who’s warm or cold. Otherwise it’s like ‘Guess which number I’m thinking of. It’s between one and a million.’

  34. machinery

    Sex machine?

  35. Which part does Henry Rollins take in “Slip It In”?

  36. Ha! When someone finally gets it everyone else will be kicking themselves, thinking, “Damn, it was like he asked me to guess a number between 1 and 10!”

    Let’s see, for starters: the backing vocals are pre-1981 and they do not involve guys singing nonsense syllables in the bass cleff.

  37. Ha, but that’s not pre-1981 anyway.

  38. cliff sovinsanity

    How many guesses are we allowed ’cause I could go all night

    Love Stinks – J. Geils Band

  39. hrrundivbakshi


  40. cherguevarra

    Is it “you gotta work late” from The Who version of Summertime Blues?

  41. You may have to if you’re going to remind me of that album, which a roommate freshman year played to death and absolutely killed for me!

  42. Pretty manly, but there’s no gimmick behind the manly BVs I have in mind.

  43. BigSteve

    Damn that leaves Style Council out.

  44. ladymisskirroyale

    What could be more manly than “Macho Man”?

  45. mockcarr

    Grand Funk RR’s We’re An American Band?

  46. That’s what I thought (above), maybe their being gay has some bearing on their manliness.

  47. VERY manly, but not quite as manly as the manliest vocals in the history of rock ‘n roll. The backing vocals I have in mind attain Cassavettes film levels of manliness.

  48. ladymisskirroyale

    Well, if we’re talking Cassavettes, then Big Audio Dynamite’s “E=MCsquared” fits the bill. Michael Caine is memorable.

  49. ladymisskirroyale

    Although as I mentioned a few days ago, they are Roeg films referenced.

  50. The guys going “Ooh! Ah!” in Chain Gang by Sam Cooke. They’re on a chain gang for chrissake!

  51. Good one, but not worthy of the bottle of Mandom.

  52. Ride Ride Ride Won’t cha Let It RIDE! by BTO

  53. Oh man, that’s nipping at the manly heals of the BVs EPG and I decided were the manliest in rock history! The thing is, the manly backing vocals we have in mind are so manly because they are both unified and unleashed at the same time. It’s like a half dozen guys in separate stalls each dropping their own load at the same time. The BTO vocals, while extremely manly and unified, don’t have that unleashed or unhinged quality that tells the world, “Bite me!”

  54. Livin’ After Midnight?

  55. cherguevarra

    Maybe it’s a sporting event favorite, like We Will Rock You or Rock and Roll pt 2?

  56. Give us some hints.

    Is it an American artist?

    Solo or group?

    Which decade?

  57. Nah, that’s all staged, like a Cameron Crowe flick rather than a Cassavettes film.

  58. The artist (group) is American. The decade precedes the ’80s and follows the ’50s. We’ve got a bottle of Mandom at stake here. I can’t make it too easy.

  59. Nice analogy… I think.

  60. tonyola

    Four Seasons – “Rag Doll”.

  61. Whatever song Mr. Mod and EPG are thinking of, I’m sure the b vox will soon be out-manlied.

  62. 2000 Man

    Blue Moon by The Marcels. That dude had a ten inch subwoofer in his stomach. But Let It Ride was a good one. I think CF Turner had some supremely manly lead vocals on that, too. In fact, that dude is pure testosterone. He may even have an extra ball.

  63. [Mr. Moderator breaks out into a MANLY chuckle.]

  64. This whole thing is about as manly as it gets:

  65. Are there background vocals on I Still Drive My Mother’s Car?

  66. Granted, Mr Mod, that I sprout hairs on my back every time I sing along to the song I think you have in mind, but I fear the backlash if the good Citizens disagree with your opinion.

  67. hrrundivbakshi

    “Rama-Lama, Fa-Fa-Fa” — you may send my Mandom to my home address.

  68. Strong entry, but not as manly as the manliest…

  69. Yeah, you surely know what song I’m talking about. The good Citizens will likely balk at the near-fact that I will expose this Saturday evening. Tough!

  70. pudman13

    How about that guy who sings “giddy-up-a-boom-bop-a-boom-bop-a-mow-mow in “Elvira?” Let me point out that I, one of the world’s worst singers on anything that isn’t at a Bowser level of bass, can do that part spot on.

  71. I’m gonna chime in and disqualify “Elvira” on account of it not being Rock.

  72. it’s gotta be blue swede’s hooked on a feeling!

  73. tonyola

    It’s also post-1980.

  74. That is an excellent call, although the Mod said that the background singers weren’t just singing nonsense syllables.

  75. True, on all levels – and no gimmicky stuff either. All shall be revealed Saturday evening, regardless.

  76. cliff sovinsanity

    This may be a little obvious, again but….

    Kick Out The Jams….this fits Mr. Moderators criteria of an American band, precedes 80’s follows 50’s, Sonic Smith and Wayne Kramer shouting out incoherent hoots and hollers, with a double over Rob Tyner during the chorus. MANLY !

  77. That’s SUPER MANLY! Let me think about that and then we’ll compare it with the song EPG and I had in mind.

  78. Jeez, I thought about this one a few days ago but didn’t suggest it knowing of your unwarranted and befuddling lack of respect for the 5.

  79. Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys by the Equals

    I need get a comp of these guys. They kick all sorts of ass.

  80. hrrundivbakshi

    Hey now — I mentioned this song earlier today. Didn’t I? I always get MC5 songs jumbled up. That’s the one I meant, anyhow.

  81. cliff sovinsanity

    I had already decided on the song before going through the comments to see if anyone had mentioned Kick Out The Jams. I must have skipped over HVB’s suggestion of Rama Lama FaFa because I wouldn’t have put up another song from the album.
    I assure you, my suggestion sprang from my noggin while doing my Nuggets comment.

  82. I think Kick Out the Jams popped into my head after hearing HVB’s very worthy suggestion of Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa. Thanks for being the brave soul to offer it up for rejection by an inexplicably MC5-disrespecting Mod.

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