Belters and Belt Songs You Should Hear - dummies

Belters and Belt Songs You Should Hear

By Pamelia S. Phillips

Listening to some technically savvy belters can be helpful when you’re figuring out how to make the right sounds. Here are some great suggestions of belt songs to try for yourself.

Male belters

For some skillful male belters, listen to

  • Chuck Berry singing “Roll Over Beethoven”

  • Elton John singing “Philadelphia Freedom” or “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues”

  • Bobby Lewis singing “Tossin’ and Turnin’”

  • John Cougar Mellencamp singing “Hurts So Good”

  • Rod Stewart singing “Tonight’s the Night” or “Do You Think I’m Sexy”

You may not think of those guys as belters, but they’re using the same qualities you explore when belting out a song.

Female belters

For female belters, listen to these ladies:

  • Kristin Chenoweth: She demonstrates her belt versatility in “Popular,” from Wicked, and “My New Philosophy,” from You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown.

  • Linda Eder: She provides great examples of moving back and forth between different sounds and colors in the voice. You can listen to her recording of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” where she moves from her head voice and on to a belt.

  • Sutton Foster: She uses her belt effectively in “Show Off,” from The Drowsy Chaperone.

  • Beyoncé Knowles: She effortlessly shows off her belt in “Listen,” from Dreamgirls.

  • Ethel Merman: Her tone is an example of very forward resonance, especially in selections such as “Some People,” from Gypsy, and “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” from Annie Get Your Gun.

  • Barbra Streisand: She demonstrates how to mix belt especially in her recording of “Memory” from Cats. You can compare Streisand’s sounds to some of the other recordings of “Memory,” where you hear singers using really heavy chest voice.

Belt songs

You may notice that belt songs tend to start out in a mix and then gradually move into a belt. Some songs stay in the belt sound the whole time, but not all do.

Consider these examples of songs that are commonly belted for the entire song:

  • “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” as sung by Cyndi Lauper

  • “Joy to the World,” as sung by Three Dog Night

  • “Some People,” from Gypsy

  • “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun,” from Annie Get Your Gun

Examples of songs that use both belt and mix:

  • “Faith,” as sung by George Michael

  • “Hot Stuff,” as sung by Donna Summer

  • “I’m Going Back,” from Bells Are Ringing

  • “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” as sung by Whitney Houston