These isolated vocal tracks will blow your mind

24 March 2021, 20:05 | Updated: 24 March 2021, 22:28

Florence Welch, Freddie Mercury, Chester Bennington and David Bowie
Florence Welch, Freddie Mercury, Chester Bennington and David Bowie. Picture: Jo Hale/Richard McCaffrey/ Michael Ochs Archive/Stephen Lovekin/WireImage/Michael Putland/Getty Images

What happens when you remove the band and leave the singer exposed? Listen to magical versions of tracks by David Bowie, Linkin Park, The Rolling Stones, The Smiths and more.

Sometimes isolation can be a positive thing.

Thanks to the advance of technology and various bedroom producers dicking around with the elements from various Rock Band and Guitar Hero audio tracks, it’s now easier than ever to listen to individual bits of your all-time favourite tracks.

Radio X has trawled the internets for some of the greatest examples of a capella vocals. These clips give you an insight into just how amazing some of these great rock performances were… and they’re positively spine-tingling.

  1. Arctic Monkeys - R U Mine

    This track is classic Alex Turner swagger… but when Matt Helders hits the falsetto backing vox, the song enters another dimension.

  2. Queen And David Bowie - Under Pressure

    Stadium-filling superstars meet Ziggy Stardust himself in a studio in Montreux. Freddie Mercury and Bowie try to top each other in the drama stakes. Who wins? YOU decide.

  3. The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter

    OK, so the Mick bits are pretty standard Stones fare… but wait until backing singer Merry Clayton hits her solo spot. The sound of her voice is sure to give you goosebumps.

  4. Linkin Park - Numb

    The late Chester Bennington soars in this intricately-layered performance.

  5. Florence + The Machine - Hunger

    Hear Florence Welch's soaring vocals in sweet isolation.

  6. The Smiths - This Charming Man

    It’s easy to take the piss out of Morrissey’s melancholic warble, but by God he can infuse his lyrics with a very particular sort of emotion. You may miss the Johnny Marr riff, but this is like a whole new song.

  7. Coldplay - Yellow

    Chris Martin’s lead vocal is mannered and gentle, but when those ethereal backing vocals appear in the chorus… you find yourself right back at Glastonbury, in front of the Pyramid Stage, wristband glowing gently in the dark.

  8. Muse - Hysteria

    Matt Bellamy heads off into the stratosphere without the fuss of his guitar playing to distract you.

  9. Adele - Someone Like You

    No, we've just got something in our eye, that's all.

  10. Nirvana - Heart Shaped Box

    Genuinely spine-tingling stuff from Kurt Cobain.

  11. Radiohead - Creep

    It's like having Thom Yorke as a flatmate and he's singing in the shower right next to your bedroom.

  12. Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart

    Tony Wilson gave Ian Curtis a copy of Frank Sinatra's Greatest Hits the night before he recorded this classic - and it shows.

  13. Queen - Somebody To Love

    Mercury leads, May and Taylor provide exquisite back-up. Just a ridiculously talented band.

  14. Guns N'Roses - Sweet Child O'Mine

    One of the most distinctive voices in rock.