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VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: David Foster
If you're a tenor, these songs are for you. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we're counting down our picks for the greatest musical numbers and traditional tracks for tenors. Our countdown includes "Out There," "Landslide," "Somebody to Love," and more!

#10: “On the Street Where You Live” (1956) Frederick Loewe & Alan Jay Lerner

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The Golden Era of Hollywood had a particular sound when it came to movie musicals. The most recognizable numbers are upbeat ballads featuring a happy-go-lucky tune. Few exemplify this better than "On The Street Where You Live," from "My Fair Lady." A chirpy ballad, filled with elongated notes, the movie version is sung by Bill Shirley (dubbing actor Jeremy Brent.) Andy Williams would release his own version the same year that the movie came out, taking the key and tempo down a tad in the process. Its straightforward tune and structure, as well as its adaptability, make this classic number a classic choice for a classical tenor.

#9: “Somebody to Love” (1976) Queen

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Freddie Mercury's vocals on "Somebody to Love" are a veritable roller coaster. Employing both head and chest voices, the singer goes both low and high, reaching a falsetto-led finish via a flurry of improvised notes. But, these aren't the most impressive parts of the performance, as any singer can employ the same skills. The real test for a tenor is the power behind the notes, regardless of where they fall within the number. For Mercury, every word sounds effortless even though it fills the room, and that's before they get to the operatic-esque choral finish. Not one syllable is dropped, nor a word wasted.

#8: “Just the Way You Are” (2010) Bruno Mars

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Bruno Mars’ 2010 hit “Just The Way You Are” deserves another video just to list its accolades and awards. The “Best Male Pop Vocal Performance” Grammy Award win is potentially the biggest qualification for inclusion here, however, as the song is a tenor’s delight. The lyrics are somewhat sappy, which drew criticism from music reviewers – but this only seems to draw more attention to the quality of Mars’ crisp voice. The steep rise at the break into the chorus showcases Mars’ range, which is a low F to a high tenor C across the song. “Just The Way You Are” has been covered numerous times since its release by established singers and on reality shows.

#7: “Passeggiata” (2003) Adam Guettel

“The Light in the Piazza” is a Broadway musical which breaks tradition by – well, leaning truly into tradition. Unlike other shows that debuted at the time, Adam Guettel’s music shies away from modern pop infusion and sticks rigidly to the more operatic, neo-romantic styles of the previous century. And it truly works in the musical’s favor. In fact, critics consider the music to outshine the story, and particularly solos such as “Passeggiata” offer young performers the opportunity to appreciate older styles with a modern twist. For “Passeggiata” there is a whirling melody, allowing performers the full use of their range in flow.

#6: “Landslide” (1975) Fleetwood Mac

Considered one of the best rock songwriters, Stevie Nicks has an impressive contralto voice, with low tones and vibratos galore - but many of her songs are equally attractive for ambitious tenors as well. For example, her 1975 song “Landslide,” a ballad about her struggling to choose a life on the road or back in education, has become a favorite of singers. The somber melody may have prevented the song from becoming a huge success upon its initial song (it never passed number 51 on the Billboard charts), but the tune resonated with discerning vocalists. The best example is The Smashing Pumpkins’ cover, where vocalist Billy Corgan didn’t change the key or tempo at all.

#5: “Thinking Out Loud” (2014) Ed Sheeran

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It was inevitable that we would reach Mr. Sheeran at some point in this list! Though he may be “Thinking Out Loud,” Sheeran’s vocals demonstrate a comfortable ability to play on the tenor range. Like his fellow ballad-smith Bruno Mars, Sheeran uses every opportunity to push his vocals within the track itself – as evidenced in the steep dip down in melody for the chorus, from straining on the high notes to quieter lows throughout the verses. The song covers just shy of a two octave melody range – and so is quite surprisingly conservative – but because of the length of time staying in the upper register and the crescendo nature of the performance, it is a go-to for many tenors in acoustic sets – or, more likely, weddings.

#4: “Rainy Days and Mondays” (1971) The Carpenters

Similar to “Landslide” which would follow four years later, “Rainy Days and Mondays” is easily adaptable for a tenor. The melody has a definite tinge of melancholy that supports a dramatic interpretation but the almost whimsical narrative keeps it from becoming over the top. And the big false finish is also very attractive to those seeking something a little different. In other words, there’s plenty to play with in this song. If you’re a tenor who wants to tell a story with more dynamics than “Landslide” then look here.

#3: “Out There” (1996) Alan Menken & Stephen Schwartz

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Alan Menken’s time as Disney’s Animation’s go-to composer is somewhat of a golden era for the House of Mouse. With 9 Academy Award Nominations for Best Original Song for his Animated feature works between 1989’s “The Little Mermaid '' and 1997’s “Hercules,” it’s not difficult to see why. Yet while each movie would have one or two big numbers, it is a somewhat lesser acclaimed one which earns a place on this list –”Out There” sung by Quasimodo in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” The upbeat, big and brassy – and almost operatic – ballad is not an easy song for tenors to attempt, as it requires a lot of breath, but anyone who can belt out these notes deserves applause.

#2: “Something's Coming” (1957) Leonard Bernstein & Stephen Sondheim

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From “West Side Story” and from not one, but two musical legends, “Something’s Coming”is the very opposite of our previous entry “Out There.” Tony’s hopeful song is a very hushed and controlled affair – which would give any performer a lot of work to do! Even the original movie’s Tony Richard Beymer had to be dubbed over to ensure the quality was just right. “Something’s Coming” requires a broad range, going from quiet low notes to a falsetto high finish very quickly – and is rarely adapted to fit the singer, meaning the singer must fit the song. But make no mistake, when performed well, it’s a guaranteed hit. Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions. “Fast Car” - Tracy Chapman (1988) Chapman’s Unique Vocals Are Silky Smooth & Reach All “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (1989) The Beautiful Soothing Sounds Go Straight for the Soul “Stay With Me” - Sam Smith (2014) Sam Smith Fuses this Pop Ballad With a Truly Warm Effect “Heaven on Their Minds” - from “Jesus Christ Superstar” (1971) No Matter Who Plays Judas, Every Cast Member Wants This Number “She's Always A Woman” - Billy Joel (1977) Joel’s Versatile Melody Matches His Versatile Vocals

#1: “Nessun Dorma” (1926) Giacomo Puccini

Sadly Giacomo Puccini never witnessed what is arguably the greatest tenor of all time, Luciano Pavarotti, perform the Act III “Turandot” aria “Nessun Dorma.” Translated to “Let No One Sleep,” it is aptly named, as the climactic crescendo at the song's closing note is sung with such gusto by the late opera star that few – or perhaps, none- will ever forget hearing it. With all due respect to all other tenors out there – and there are some brilliant renditions – they will all be unfavorably compared to Pavarotti’s emotional vocals, and rightfully so. While he made a name hitting high C’s in Donizetti’s “Pour mon âme” and holding notes forever in “Una furtiva lagrima,” “Nessun Dorma” will always be Pavarotti’s song. Are our picks too bass or too alto for your tastes? Sound off – pun intended – in the comments.

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