Not every song is easy to master overnight and there are a wide variety of songs within popular music that is known to be difficult to perform. These songs are all known to be difficult to sing in their own unique ways and each one could be labeled as the hardest song to sing.
In this article, we will explore what makes a song hard to sing and which songs within popular music history are the hardest to sing, and why.
What Makes a Song Hard to Sing?
There are plenty of different aspects that can make a song hard to sing. Knowing which songs work best for your vocal range and vocal tone is very important. Although, no matter what your vocal range and vocal tone are, there are some popular songs that are very hard to replicate and sing no matter how long you have been singing. Even professional singers will find these songs difficult to sing and replicate.
Your Voice Range
Your voice range is really what will affect which songs you will find hard to sing and which songs you will find easy to sing. Working out your vocal range is the best thing you can do for yourself to make it easier to see which songs you are best suited for. You will most likely fit within one of the six main vocal types.
What Are the Main 6 Vocal Types?
All of these 6 types of vocal ranges can apply to either male voices or female voices. You will have a higher chance of being a particular vocal type depending on what gender you are.
Bass is a low male voice followed by baritone which is a medium-low to a middle male voice. Tenor voice is a higher male voice. Alto is a low female voice, mezzo-soprano is a middle range female voice and soprano is a high vocal range female voice.
The tempo of a song can really increase the difficulty of performing that song depending on the other vocal changes and lyrics. For example, If there are a lot of lyrics or changes in the melody. If the tempo of the song is fast you may find that you are making mistakes trying to keep up.
If there are vocal techniques involved within the song and the tempo of the song is fast then you may find it hard to correctly apply your diction, pitch, and also these added vocal techniques.
This is a nice easy one that you can actually change to make it easier to sing the song. If the key signature is too low for your vocal range, then do not worry you can change this! You can either change this with the band or aim to find a version of the song you want to perform online in that key.
The Tone of Your Voice
The tone of your voice will really affect how the end result of the song sounds when you are performing it. Not every song can be perfect for us all and our vocal tones do play a part in how easy the song is to sing.
For example, songs performed by Lana Del Rey are very hard to replicate as you have to have a specific sounding unique voice that can make her style of singing work. The same goes for other songs and artists.
Hardest Songs to Sing
We have picked a selection of hard songs to sing. All the songs in the list below are difficult to sing for different reasons. Some of the songs are hard to sing due to key changes, while other songs are hard to sing because of varying structures.
Here is a short list of the hardest songs to sing:
- Back In Black By AC/DC
- Bohemian Rhapsody By Queen
- My Hair By Ariana Grande
- Hallelujah By Leonard Cohen
- Stairway To Heaven By Led Zeppelin
- Eleanor Rigby By The Beatles
- You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman By Aretha Franklin
- Chandelier by Sia
- Rolling in the Deep by Adele
- You Need Me, I Don’t Need You by Ed Sheeran
- Love on Top by Beyoncé
Back In Black By AC/DC
Back in black has a song structure that endlessly repeats itself. The repeated part continues for two minutes straight which is seven verses and five repetitions in total. This song is known to be one of the hardest for vocalists as it requires a lot of energy. Back in Black was first released in 1980 and has been a popular song used as the soundtrack of Iron Man.
Bohemian Rhapsody By Queen
Bohemian Rhapsody was recorded in 1975 and reached number one on the UK Singles Chart. This song is hard for vocalists to sing due to its staccato melody and wide vocal range.
My Hair By Ariana Grande
A modern song, My Hair was released in 2020 and instantly became a vocalist’s favorite. This song is very challenging especially for male singers as Ariana hits her whistle note at the end of the song.
Hallelujah By Leonard Cohen
Hallelujah has been one of the most popular songs in popular music history and has been covered by artists such as Beyonce. The reason this song is challenging for vocalists is that it is a slow ballad that needs careful vocal control.
Stairway To Heaven By Led Zeppelin
Stairway To Heaven is one of the most well-known songs by Led Zeppelin. Due to the wide variety in vocal range and also the mood of the song, this song makes the list of the hardest songs to sing. Besides that, this song has a “forbidden riff”. The Story Behind Why is Stairway to Heaven Forbidden is an urban legend!
Eleanor Rigby By The Beatles
Eleanor Rigby is written by Paul McCartney and released in 1966. It is one of the most popular Beatles songs to be covered by other artists. This song is best suited to male voice types.
You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman By Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin had one of the most extraordinary voices, that was impressive in tone and skill. Every Aretha song is a challenging one to sing for most vocalists as they were full of vocal runs and powerful long notes. This song is on this list exactly for that, long notes and a wide vocal range, especially in the higher range.
Chandelier by Sia
This track is one of the hardest modern songs to sing as it is full of ups and downs, in vocal range and dynamics. If you are confident in your high notes then this song should be manageable for you.
Rolling in the Deep by Adele
Adele is known for her emotive lyrics and vocally powerful and strong performances. To replicate one of her songs you will need to have the same skill set. This song is perfect for singers who are confident with their falsetto voice and can sing higher notes.
You Need Me, I Don’t Need You by Ed Sheeran
Even though this song does not have a wide vocal range, the song is very uptempo and therefore hard to keep up with. As there are as many lyrics as a rap song, this song can be a hard song to learn for the average vocalist.
Love on Top by Beyoncé
Beyonce is a very powerful vocalist that has a wide range. The reason this song is particularly a hard song for the average singer to replicate is that it changes keys up to five times throughout the song. The key changes so much at the end that you will need to be skilled in your higher notes to be able to perform it well.
High Note Songs
Many vocalists are skilled enough to be very comfortable in their higher notes. Often, it is the higher notes that will make a singer find the song hard, especially if there is no build-up to the higher note.
Mariah Carey is a singer that commonly uses higher notes and has even been credited with singing the highest note in a performance. Ariana grande is also another popular singer who uses her high range frequently.
High Pitched Songs
Even for vocalists that are confident in the high range, singing a high pitch song where the melody line constantly uses higher notes can be tricky as it can be tiring and hard to keep up.
An example of a high-pitched song is Flying High by Georgia Brown. Flying high reaches a G10 note which is very impressive and hard to replicate.
Songs With Long Notes
Songs with long notes tend to need a lot of skill from the vocalist to be successful in performance. If you are about to perform a long note, you will not only need to be able to reach the correct pitch but also be able to control your breath to keep the note going consistently for a longer period of time than you are used to.
Whitney Houston is an example of a famous female vocalist that could successfully incorporate long notes into her songs.
How to Hold Onto Long Notes For Longer
The best way to hold onto long notes for a longer period of time is to learn how to use your diaphragm. The diaphragm is a muscle that is in your stomach which is very important when singing. The diaphragm expands to inhale the air and then contracts to expel the air.
If you learn to breathe through your belly rather than your chest then you will have more control over your diaphragm. Once you have more control over your diaphragm then you will be able to control your notes better and be able to hold onto them for longer.
What Is the Hardest Song to Sing?
Knowing what the most difficult song to sing is very difficult as it depends on whether you are male or female, what type of voice type you have and what your strengths are. The hardest song to sing when picking from a repertoire tends to be a song that includes very high notes and is fast-paced.
When a song is fast-paced and includes other complicated vocal techniques, it gives the singer little time to hit the correct note or tone.
Hardest Songs to Sing Female
Firstly, any type of song that has been sung by either a male bass-type voice or a male baritone-type voice will be harder to reach for a female vocalist. Female vocalists tend to either have alto-type voices, mezzo-soprano-type voices, or soprano-type voices.
When comparing famous female singers we have picked the top two most difficult songs to sing for a female voice type:
Video Games by Lana Del Rey
This song appears not to be a challenging song to sing but many female vocalists struggle. This is because the song is performed in a monotone way, with the melody not having much variety and or vocal range. This song is best suited for unique voices.
Ain’t No Other Man by Christina Aguilera
This song couldn’t be more different from Lana Del Rey. Ain’t No Other Man is filled with vocal riffs and dramatic vocal runs that go from a low vocal range to high notes. The mixture of the vocal runs and the fast pace makes this song hard to learn for female voices.
Hardest Karaoke Songs
You wouldn’t think that a typical karaoke night would include particularly difficult songs to sing. Although, pretty much every karaoke machine includes songs that are hard to sing because they are classic and loved by many.
Here are a few examples of songs you would expect to see on a karaoke machine but are actually quite hard to perform:
I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston
This is the top song that always gets picked at the karaoke bar and it is not often that the performance is spot on. Though do not blame yourself as this is a particularly hard song to sing due to the high notes that you need to hit.
Not only do the high notes make it hard to sing but the length to which the notes need to be sung to. This song needs controlled breathing and practice vocal runs to be able to be performed successfully.
Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi
Even though this rock-n-roll hit seems like a fun choice at the karaoke bar, the chorus is particularly hard to achieve. Many singers struggle to reach the chorus and therefore this song is best avoided on a karaoke night if you have not practiced.
I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’ by Scissor Sisters
The reason this track is particularly hard to sing right the first time is that it is a very high-pitched song. Many vocalists struggle with such a high pitch, consistent melody line. The song has a very high key and is fast-paced. Not only is it fast-paced but this song actually includes key changes too.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
The most difficult song in the world to sing really depends on the singer themselves. For some vocalists, songs that are lower in a range that varies in style might be tricky but other vocalists may struggle with long notes and slower songs. What makes a song challenging is if the song has a complicated melody and there are various sections and parts for the vocalist to remember
Female voices tend to fit within one of three of the typical voice types. These voice types are called alto, mezzo-soprano, and soprano. Depending on which voice type you are, the hardest songs for female voices may change. Typically, songs that have very low notes tend to be out of reach of female voices. Some of the hardest songs sung by female vocalists include Rolling in the Deep by Adele, Imagine by Ariana Grande, Stone Cold by Demi Lovato, Beautiful by Christina Aguilera, and Respect by Aretha Franklin.
If you are a beginner singer and are building up your vocal range then we would recommend that you avoid delving into these songs. Once you have started to get to know your own voice and what you love and hate to do vocally, then choosing to practice some of these songs can then be beneficial to developing your voice and vocal range.
If you are in the karaoke bar, we would recommend that you avoid some of these songs if you have not practiced them before. Even though these popular songs are hard they are also classics and well worth a go as they can help you develop your voice.
Here are more posts on the blog to check out:
- How to Become a Singer – All You Need to Know 2022
- Easy Songs to Sing 2022 – Top Picks
- Easy Songs to Sing for Beginners – Top Picks for Beginner Vocalists to Master
- How to Sing on Key – Understanding Key Signature and Singing in Key
- How to Sing on Pitch – Fixes & Daily Exercises
- Best Alto Songs for Male & Female Singers