I’ve mentioned before on the blog that one of my few talents is identifying celebrity voices. (I know, what a gift, I’m blessed!) I nearly always guess correctly who the voice actors are in kids’ movies or who the special guests are on The Simpsons. In fact Michelle Pfeiffer was one of the only Simpsons’ guests that baffled me (such an extraordinary face coupled with an unremarkable voice seems incongruous, no?).
Maybe it’s because I’m from a musical family but voices are very important to me. I’m not talking about accents, it’s more about the tone or quality of a person’s speaking voice. For example, I can never watch a movie with Andy Garcia in it as he mumbles so much that you’re forever messing with the volume control to compensate for his voice. Equally an ex-boyfriend had such a great voice that I would have listened to him recite nothing but the time for hours upon end, just like the speaking clock! It’s so intrinsic to my impression of a person that I could never date a man whose voice I didn’t like. In fact a great voice can make my knees go weak even over the phone and can speed up the process of falling in love. Is it just me?
Some of my favourite voices include:
- Bill Nighy – His voice is the perfect expression of his personality – louche, dissolute and with the promise of good times ahead.
- Sam Elliott – In my dreams I’m married to a man who sounds like Sam Elliott.
- Chali 2na – Ever since I first heard J5 I have been in love with Chali, sight unseen. If I could just curl up inside his voice I know I would be perfectly happy.
- Ella Fitzgerald – Besides her perfect tuning and perfect timing, Ella’s voice had a unique quality that made her sound like a young girl even when she was middle-aged.
- Anita O’Day – Anita had a botched operation for tonsillitis in her youth and as a result was incapable of vibrato. To make up for this she concentrated on the rhythm more than the melody and consequently influenced generations of singers with her ingenuity.
- Joanna Lumley – On the list of best voices of all time she’s got to be in the top ten. She’s posh, sexy and likeable – a tough combination to pull off yet she does it with aplomb.
- Jack Nicholson – Even reciting the Lord’s Prayer he’d sound simultaneously deviant and charming. It’s all in the attitude.
- Don LaFontaine – He was the voiceover on every trailer you ever heard in the cinema while waiting for the main feature. And just when you though he couldn’t get any cooler, apparently he recorded answering machine messages for any fan who asked him. Legend.
- Lindsay Lohan – Her voice is raspy, the sound of a twenty a day smoker who had bad asthma before she ever inhaled, and it’s sexy as hell.
- Ronnie Drew – A good friend of my Dad’s and one of the nicest men I ever met. He sounded like Tom Waits’ grandfather and his voice combined with his warmth made him one of the most charismatic people I ever had the pleasure of meeting.