Songs With High Notes

It’s always impressive when a vocalist can project their pipes into the stratosphere. Whether amateur or pro, karaoke queen, or concert king, hearing a soaring pitch sends thrills down your spine.

Read on to learn the best songs with high notes, and find out what makes singers shine. 

1. “All By Myself” by Celine Dion

For the most part, this song (a remake of Eric Carmen’s 1975 classic) is understated and intimate. Perhaps that’s what makes it all the more exciting when Dion belts an astounding, full-voiced F5 in one of the most dramatic moments ever to occur in pop music. That note launches the song from a repeat of the chorus into the bridge, which modulates downwards almost a half-octave in key.

This note may never have happened if it weren’t for the legendary encouragement of music producer powerhouse David Foster. Apparently, he recognized Dion’s vocal potential and wanted to make sure the rest of the world got to experience it as well.

Song year: 1996

2. “Take On Me” by A-Ha

With a catchy beat and stunning visuals, it’s no surprise this tune made it into the canon of best-loved 80s music. But undoubtedly, some of the song’s fame can be attributed to that high note in the chorus.

Part of the effect is due to the range. A-Ha lead vocalist Morten Harket begins at an A two octaves below middle C, then rises to an E two above within the space of just a few seconds. The bane of karaoke singers everywhere; we think this song will continue to sit at the top of the list of high-note marvels for decades to come.

Song year: 1985

3. “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness

Delightfully flamboyant singer Justin Hawkins hits the same note as Harket in this 2000s throwback to the glam-rock era. The chorus repeats multiple times and he hits that E full-voiced each time, leading us to wonder what kind of supplements he’s taking to develop those vocal cords.

For more of Hawkins’ melodic pyrotechnics, check out “One Way Ticket,” where he goes even higher just in the hard-rocking song’s intro.

Song year: 2003

4. “Chandelier” by Sia

The envy of female vocalists everywhere, Sia lets her voice soar into the air to illustrate the bird she describes in this song. It’s a pseudo-operatic stunt that defies the basic pop appeal of her songwriting, leading us to believe Sia might be just as comfortable on the classical stage as in a sold-out arena.

The chorus of “Chandelier” isn’t for the weak. If you’re prepared to reach an octave and a half above middle C, go ahead and give it a try, as long as you make sure to flip into falsetto at some point (just as Sia does).

Song year: 2014

5. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen

It’s impossible to talk about high notes without a respectful nod to the king of showmanship, Freddie Mercury. The Queen frontman’s talents were never more on display than in this dramatic song, one of the band’s most famous ever recorded.

The arrival of the music on the word “Mama” is one peak, but stay tuned for the development section also. “Galileo” is famously up there in pitch, as are “let me go” and some other apex lyrical moments.

Song year: 1975

6. “Dream On” by Aerosmith

Vocalist Stephen Tyler stuns in another 70s classic, the long-winded ballad “Dream On.” The chorus, while not easy, remains sensibly within a male range. However, it should be noted that he really doesn’t use any falsetto here, preferring a strong belt to be heard over the symphonic texture.

The star moment arrives as the song winds up and Tyler jumps up a full octave. The repeated line that provides the title of the song sits at a stunning A-flat, a note even many trained female sopranos have trouble reaching. No problem for the Aerosmith frontman, who shows off his large mouth while screaming it multiple times.

Song year: 1973

7. “Behind These Hazel Eyes” by Kelly Clarkson

We’re used to impressive stylings by Clarkson, the winner of the first season of American Idol. Since her overnight rise to fame, she’s put out multiple albums that all feature her vocal skills. The boldness in her voice and ability to incorporate vibrato into a strong belt has inspired many female singers over the past two decades.

The chorus of “Behind These Hazel Eyes” rises in pitch and isn’t for the faint-hearted. But it’s the note on the bridge that really grabs us. Reaching an F#, she yells the word “anymore” in a way that makes us really believe the heartbreak.

Song year: 2004

8. “Into the Unknown” by Brendan Urie

The Panic! at the Disco frontman has long been known for his spectacular range. It’s no surprise he decided to take on this modern Disney hit, from Frozen II. Its Broadway-esque sound, complete with galloping rhythm and pounding drums, provides the perfect backdrop for Urie’s killer voice. He dramatically ascends into an echelon that seems an octave too high, and nails it every time.

Adventurous and thrilling, it’s a song guaranteed to put goosebumps on your arm as it stands. Add Urie’s unbelievable tenor line on top, and you’ve got yourself a playlist staple.

Song year: 2019

9. “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston

Though we must pay tribute to Dolly Parton, the writer of this gorgeous classic tune, her rendition is softer and more intimate. It was Whitney who took it to the next level for the Bodyguard soundtrack.

Wait for the massive drumbeat that launches her into outer space with that iconic belt. Not only is it up there in pitch, but she sustains it and adds vibrato. It’s no feat for the timid and has intimidated karaoke singers ever since its release. 

Song year: 1992

10. “Tragedy” by The BeeGees

"Tragedy" by The BeeGees

The masters of falsetto, the BeeGees took over the 1970s with their unique brand of vocals, complete with three-part harmonies. Though most of their songs could fit into the high-notes category, we think “Tragedy” wins the award because there’s almost not a single part of it that goes lower than middle C. It was written for the soundtrack to Staying Alive.

That breathy singing style is on full display here, and the entire song is an example of pure talent. But make sure you hold out for the magic moment of the pre-chorus, where the band drops out entirely to feature Barry Gibb’s sustained solo line on a B3.

Song year: 1979

11. “Sorry Not Sorry” by Demi Lovato

The young Lovato who began their career as a Disney actress soon garnered respect and attention for their amazing voice, too. Known as a lyric soprano, they routinely put out music that shows brilliance, strength, and skill.

In “Sorry Not Sorry,” Lovato rises to a D4 time and again and makes it sound effortless. But that’s nothing compared to the A5 she hits just before the final chorus.

Song year: 2017

12. “Climax” by Usher

The king of 2000s R&B jams never stops at just one atmospheric pitch. Except for some of the verses, this song pretty much sits entirely within that high register that Usher handles so well. Silky-smooth and seductive, this song is the perfect framework for him to show off his pipes.

Move over, ladies, this artist’s got a better soprano than any of you. Men: we highly recommend using your falsetto to attempt this one, but it’s gutsy to try regardless.

Song year: 2012

13. “Love On Top” by Beyonce

This one’s another high-note sleeper agent. No doubt Queen Bey is talented, but you think “Love On Top” is doable because it sounds fairly mid-range for the majority of the song. In the end, though, comes one of the most famous series of modulations ever. She goes through 4 upwards steps, each one more skillful and elaborate than before.

Ultimately, the combination of pitch ascensions and note ornamentations means Beyonce has crafted another hit single that no one else can match. All hail, the Queen.

Song year: 2011

14. “Kiss” by Prince

Sung almost entirely in falsetto, the consummate musician and entertainer Prince doesn’t mess around with a middle register here. Instead, he flits and floats around a soprano range, with all kinds of extra whoops and slides and leaps.

If you think you can handle the vocal acrobatics, skip to the final rendition of the chorus. Prince’s voice surprises us with its flip into a scream-like tone, reaching some of those notes we didn’t think were a problem in falsetto but now are as intimidating as his physique in the music video. 

Song year: 1986

15. “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys

This ode to female empowerment has everything you could want: a hard-driving beat, thumping piano chords, and Keys’ soaring voice. Inspirational and intense, this song is best heard at top volume.

The clincher is the peak note in the chorus. When Keys hits the word “fire,” it’s not only a high pitch, but also must be sustained for the duration of a couple of measures. So prepare your breath and fill your lungs well, because the girl isn’t the only one on fire here.

Song year: 2012

16. “I Want You Back” by Jackson 5

Sure, you could argue that Michael Jackson was just a baby when his famous Motown sibling group blessed the world with this hit. But although preteen Michael had an easier time punching those notes than most adults, it doesn’t make the chorus or the “ooh baby”s any less impressive.

Ladies can try this one with better success than men, even in falsetto. This one’s so high it’s easier to sing a full octave lower. But where’s the fun in that? Sheryl Crow managed just fine with her rendition, featured on her 2010 album 100 Miles From Memphis. (Stick around for the final “all I need,” where she nails a high A-flat).

Song year: 1969

17. “Alone” by Heart

Another classic 80s tune boils over in this passionate cry for love from Heart vocalist Ann Wilson. She has had feelings for someone for so long and is finally ready to tell him. The mounting fervor comes to a head with this power ballad, a karaoke goal for so many females that feels just out of reach. 

With her sister Nancy on guitar, they make an iconic duo, not least for Ann’s astounding range. Her primitive yell in the bridge before the final chorus is one of the most recognizable sounds of the decade, reaching a G-flat two octaves above middle C. 

Song year: 1987

18. “Problem” by Ariana Grande

Former Disney darling Grande is no stranger to sky-scraping notes, and “Problem” is a prime example. With her crystal-clear tone, she reaches an A-flat without flinching. It’s almost easy to overlook how high she sings when you get swept up in the dance-pop beat and breakdancing montage in the video.

Critical reception agrees. The song, the lead single off Grande’s album My Everything, won “Best Pop Video” at the MTV Music Awards, as well as “Best Song” at the MTV Europe Awards.  

Song year: 2014

19. “Baby It’s You” by Smith

Two Es above middle C doesn’t sound all that inspiring on its own, but just wait until you hear the climax of this tune from the 60s. A hippie anthem and one-hit wonder for the band Smith, it’s a catchy mix of blues, folk, and rock that perfectly encapsulates the sound of the era.

Singer Gayle McCormick does the Burt Bacharach-penned tune justice with her heart-wrenching vocals. There’s no falsetto in the chorus at all, making it all the more astonishing that she can hit those high notes. Closer to Janis Joplin than any lyric soprano, the passion here is palpable.

Song year: 1969

Best Songs With High Notes, Final Thoughts

The human voice is fraught with tension and peace, love and anger. Which of those you want to portray depends on how you choose to use it. Psychologically, we recognize that the higher the pitch, the higher the intensity. It’s no joke that these singers have all mastered the art of making you believe they feel what they’re performing, thanks to some songs with high notes and a lot of expert talent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *