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Old 07-11-2017, 09:08 PM
DavetheGodofKeys DavetheGodofKeys is offline
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Default Jon's shot voice

Why did Jon's voice go so fast on the sww tour? It seemed quite good at the UK shows in late 1986 but then it's ruined by March 1987.

Last edited by DavetheGodofKeys; 07-11-2017 at 11:40 PM..
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Old 07-11-2017, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by DavetheGodofKeys View Post
Why did Jon's voice go so fast on the sww tour? It seemed quite good at the UK showso in 1986 but then it's ruined by March 1987.
They still played the songs in their original keys which was a lot tougher on his voice since he always went to the limit of his vocal range in the studio (from the NJ tour onwards the songs were always downtuned at least half a step).
Furthermore, Slippery When Wet rocketing to the top of the charts meant an enormous rise in demand for live shows. There were up to 5 shows per week and he simply didn't have the knowledge and training on how to preserve his vocals back then. He just gave everything he had on stage every night and that backfired quite fast.
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Old 07-12-2017, 12:20 AM
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His vocal cords were literally bleeding and he was getting steroid shots in them regularly to help him perform. I can't even listen to SWW bootlegs. They make my throat hurt!
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Old 07-12-2017, 03:49 PM
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A lot of people fault Jon for the way he sings now but the vocal cords are very delicate... If you add up all the shows, all the promos, and all the abuse, there are a lot of miles on those cords... Adele just cancelled her tour because of vocal cord damage and she also just had surgery a few years prior... The girl is only 29 with 3 albums and 3 tours under her belt to date... If this was the 80's, they would have shot steroids in her throat and told her to go back out there... When you look back, it's amazing that words can still come out of Jon's mouth... Blame Doc Mcghee for Jon's current vocal state, not Jon...

Sure there is a small 5% pool who can still do it but there is a larger 95% pool who can not...
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Old 07-12-2017, 04:22 PM
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People are always asking why he doesn't have surgery. It's like no one considers that with any kind of surgery, some people are good candidates and others are not. My great aunt had throat surgery many years ago and was never able to sing again.
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Old 07-12-2017, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Rdkopper View Post
A lot of people fault Jon for the way he sings now but the vocal cords are very delicate... If you add up all the shows, all the promos, and all the abuse, there are a lot of miles on those cords... Adele just cancelled her tour because of vocal cord damage and she also just had surgery a few years prior... The girl is only 29 with 3 albums and 3 tours under her belt to date... If this was the 80's, they would have shot steroids in her throat and told her to go back out there... When you look back, it's amazing that words can still come out of Jon's mouth... Blame Doc Mcghee for Jon's current vocal state, not Jon...

Sure there is a small 5% pool who can still do it but there is a larger 95% pool who can not...
I think it's a little too easy to just blame Doc for it. Yes, there was an enormous amount of strain on him during those eras and they have their share of his vocals being in the state they're currently in. But Jon still has contributed enough to this by himself: his chain-smoking period radically thinned out his voice and reduced his range drastically within two years. And the most important factor is that he had never acquired a proper singing technique at any point in his career.
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Old 07-12-2017, 11:59 PM
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I think it's a little too easy to just blame Doc for it. Yes, there was an enormous amount of strain on him during those eras and they have their share of his vocals being in the state they're currently in. But Jon still has contributed enough to this by himself: his chain-smoking period radically thinned out his voice and reduced his range drastically within two years. And the most important factor is that he had never acquired a proper singing technique at any point in his career.
Did Jon smoke in the 80s?
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Old 07-13-2017, 12:42 AM
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He did not. The video director had him smoking in She Don't Know Me, but he said it was just for the video. There are also some young photos with a cigarette, but again, just staged to make him look tougher. He really picked up the habit on the set of Moonlight and Valentino because all the actresses in the movie smoked to keep from eating. Everyone in the original band has been a smoker at one time or another.
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Old 07-13-2017, 02:45 AM
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While his voice was somewhat damaged, the Cincinnati bootleg from March 1987 is still very enjoyable. By the time I saw them in Rockford in May 1987, I remember being disappointed with the way he sounded. This was pre-internet, Twitter, and message boards. At the time, I just thought he didn't sound that good live. Realized much later all the struggles he went through on that tour.


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Old 07-14-2017, 06:08 PM
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It's definitely painful to hear Jon sing on the SWW Tour. Poor guy. The effort was there and the passion was there - but the voice was completely broken. He's lucky he didn't permanently damage his vocal cords on that tour.

Slightly different take on Jon's shot voice. If Jon didn't constantly smoke - his voice would be much closer to his prime years (early 90s) and his technique would not have slipped.

The reason his voice is completely awful today has nothing to do with the improper singing he did in his early career, or the SWW Tour vocal trauma. All those events happened in the early/mid 80s. Proof? Take a listen to his singing on the New Jersey album and the tour that supported it. His voice and singing were steps ahead of what he was doing on previous albums (and tours). His technique was a bit better as well. He worked with a coach during that time and his singing on a technical level got better throughout the late 80s into the early 90s. He relied less on a "throaty" chest-pulled tone (which strains the vocal cords) and started mixing more head voice into his belts. Take a listen to his singing on Keep The Faith and those amazing live performances he did throughout 1992 and 1993. There's a change in his singing style - it's a bit less raw and more refined.

While he wasn't the most technically accomplished singer, he did build up a solid enough technique in the early 90s to be able to sing pretty much anything in his catalog and sound great. The trouble is that he started constantly smoking in late 1994. That took its toll on his voice starting in a subtle way - vocal stamina issues:

While he was still singing great on the 1995 tour overall and sounded great - there are some subtle signs that the smoking was causing early permanent damage. One sign that some people have (correctly) pointed out was the thinner and lighter tone he started getting. His range was intact and the belts were still strong, but there's awkward moments throughout the tour where he forces his mid range notes (trying to pull chest higher up to hit notes with power) and either misses his mark or sounds really rough. The smoking also started reducing his vocal stamina live and making his register switching and blending less than stellar. These negative effects were further developed on the 1996 leg. When you combine a long tour with an unhealthy smoking habit (which then beats at your vocal cords) it's just a disaster waiting to happen.

One positive thing that the 1986-1987 vocal blow out did, was it forced Jon to get a vocal coach and some training to be able to keep his instrument intact. If Jon continued to sing in the same style as he did pre-1988, he would likely have no singing voice within a decade.
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