Early on, I said that I wanted to do this tournament before the Female+ tourney, because I feared that after a hard-fought battle between the ladies, this one might turn out to be a blow-out, or anticlimactic.
I needn’t have worried.
The final four are four of the most magical voices from the throats of men ever recorded. And I’m so glad I didn’t have to vote against either Sam Cooke or Marvin Gaye. And so here are the results!
In fourth place, The incredible Bill Withers. Listen to “Lean on Me” and then come on back to the rest.
In third place, Saginaw’s own Stevie Wonder!
(Commentary, I didn’t use “Isn’t She Lovely” for the competition because I didn’t want to listen to it and break down into happy sobs every round. “Songs in the Key of Life” has a deep roster, y’all)
And now on to the final two. Two powerhouses, whose voices were profoundly affecting both when used to comment on the politics of the US nation* (“What’s Going On” and “A Change is Gonna Come”) as well as with lighter fare.
So, in second place: Sam Cooke. We may never know how much music was lost with his tragic death at the age of 33. Somehow he made, by that young age, an anthem for the Civil Rights Movement, as well as some of the most rocking, danceable music to grace the radio.
And in first place, your choice for the greatest male voice in music history, Mr. Marvin Gaye. I won’t lie, this was my choice the whole way through. Marvin’s life was a struggle. With his father, with drug addiction, and with suicidal ideation. And it’s a tragedy that the incredible art this man produced was done at such a cost to the man himself. Because that art is sublime.
*And by the way, my only disappointment this tournament is that Biz Markie wasn’t in the running. What’s the matter with you people?
Next tournament will be posted in the morning.