Music is a language of emotions, and emotions aren't about technical excellence. There are plenty of ways to deliver a song that will get the point across perfectly without necessarily having to be delivered by someone with perfect pitch and a qualification in vocal melisma.
This, then, is a hat tip to those singers whose ability to hit a high C may be occasionally suspect - the singers who would struggle to get past the first round in any musical reality TV series you'd care to name - but who use their voices to powerfully convey emotion. They're always compelling on a microphone and more of them have appeared on Top of the Pops than you may think.
1. Bob Dylan
Let's get the big fella out of the way first. Bob Dylan has a wonderful voice for Bob Dylan songs. Granted, to non-fans his grainy tone and loose leaps from one note to another may sound rather like a badger being stretched, but what he has is authority. He may have, in David Bowie's words "a voice like sand and glue", but the assumption while listening is that this is a voice worn hoarse by hard experience.
To start with, this was part of an attempt to sound as road-parched as his hero Woody Guthrie - riding box cars is thirsty work after all - but that grizzled tone served him well as he moved from those early songs of civil rights outrages and the struggles of working-class America to impressionistic poetry and on to his later, simpler personal songs. He sings as if the everyday business of life has proven to be so upsetting he's been up all night, sobbing over the typewriter as he writes.
2. Kanye West
Kanye's excursions into the field of vocal melody have been remarkable in the fullest sense of the word. First there was 808s & Heartbreak, an album of songs with melodies, which he sang through the artificially warbled filter of vocoders and autotune. Not that there's anything wrong with that: plenty of artists - from Kraftwerk to Neil Young - have enjoyed the beneficial effects of robotic singing, and the juxtaposition of Kanye's synthesised tone with his clear emotional distress after the death of his mother helped him create some of the most affecting music of his career. And he has appeared on record singing, seemingly without artificial aid, on the Rihanna and Paul McCartney collaboration FourFiveSeconds.
That said, leading a Glastonbury crowd in a karaoke singalong of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody was a brave choice.
3. Oli Sykes, Bring Me the Horizon
Metal is not constructed like other music. Rather than cajole or seduce an audience into listening, the intent is to create a pugnacious wall of sound that jabs at your chest and internal organs. This requires the kind of voice that has to sound like it is desperate to be heard; one that is fighting for space amid the total sonic saturation of those breezeblock guitars. Higher voices tend to do very well, and voices with a lot of rough edges to match the general distortion all around; voices that dispense with the greater portion of a song's melodic content in favour of raw, full-blooded screaming tend to do best of all, and that's what Oli Sykes is best at.
So while Bring Me The Horizon songs are by no means devoid of melodic hooks, they're often sung by guitarist Lee Malia as a counterpoint to Oli's howls, which emphasise the emotive heart of the matter. That's because raw emotions - particularly those associated with the metal staples of betrayal and extreme disappointment - are always a messy, screamy affair.
4. Yoko Ono
In the history of popular song, arguably no singer has been the subject of as much disdain as Yoko Ono. This is almost entirely due to context. Had she been exploring the same musical ideas with a like-minded husband, who didn't happen to be one of the world's biggest rock stars, she may have enjoyed an easier time of it. As it is, she married John Lennon, who placed her front and centre in a Beatles song (The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill), next to him in his first solo live performances, and plaintively singing the chorus of his festive hit Happy Xmas (War is Over).
Beatles fans were confused by her talent for continuous, wordless, emotive howling, which was seen as a step too far even for the psychedelic 60s, despite her acclaim in the fields of conceptual art and sound collage. It took a good few years for the Beatle dust to settle before her artistic abilities and vocal achievements could be properly appreciated.
You don't have to be able to do a thing to judge whether it is being done well, which is just as well, considering that Will's key talents as a songwriter, rapper, producer and arranger, both solo and with The Black Eyed Peas, don't appear to include singing. In fact, going on his recorded output thus far, his ability to sing seemingly bothers him enough to make sure the autotune is always set to full. And that's fine for a man in his position, for as long as he's the one providing the beats and making the hits, he can pretty much do whatever he wants on the records.
And it might seem ironic that a man who has done so little to prove his abilities as a singer has done so well as the judge of a TV singing competition, but no one expects Simon Cowell to leap on a stage and belt out Unchained Melody, fun as it would be to watch him try.
The Velvet Underground were gifted with two lead voices, neither of which were conventionally beautiful. Lou Reed's conversational approach to melody and songwriting made the chords move around the notes he was intoning, particularly in Waiting For My Man. But even his poppiest songs struggled to make Nico's heavy German vowels sound light and airy. She had a naturally dour voice, plain and direct with an unusually intense vibrato on the longer notes, so when she sang a conventionally pretty tune such as the chorus to Femme Fatale or I'll Be Your Mirror, it still came out sounding solemn and downbeat.
In her own solo work, this darkness only increased, especially when she accompanied herself on her harmonium, a hand-held pump organ that hisses and drones, in the manner of a wheezy church organ. Still beautiful, of course, but strange and unearthly with it.
7. Fred Schneider, The B-52s
Fred Schneider isn't a poet or a rapper, but he does talk over music. What he does is unheralded in pop, narrating his surreal lyrics in a series of staccato yelps with an intonation that swoops up and down the way conversation does - albeit shouted conversation with a living Hanna Barbera cartoon about something very exciting indeed - but not the way melody does. It's funny and unsettling and gloriously weird.
The B-52s, a band of Georgia outsiders well versed in trash culture, made perfect use of his gift to tell strange tales of rock lobsters and wigs and a planet called Claire while playing party music straight out of 1950s science fiction B-movies. John Lennon loved them, but more because the shrieking of Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson reminded him of Yoko than because of Fred. Still, when they smoothed out those retro kinks and made an album of more commercial disco-friendly songs in 1988 - including their smash hit Love Shack - Fred's voice remained their defining oddity.
8. Mark E. Smith, The Fall
Punk rock freed a lot of audiences from the expectation that the singers in their bands had to perform in an easily understood or welcoming fashion. One of the immediate beneficiaries of this loosening up was The Fall's leader Mark E. Smith, who developed a caustic way of projecting his voice that seemed loaded with venom. His scathing and witty lyrics would emerge from his mouth in a half-bored, half-stupified sneer, often hard to hear but always riddled with unmistakable disdain.
He is, in fact, a sonic crossword puzzle of a singer and songwriter, leaving fans in disarray as they attempt to make sense of his uniquely dense lyrics and bone dry humour, and his scrambled syntax, delivered with some syllables missing and others added - including his trademark "...ah!" at the end of certain words.
9. Eddie Argos, Art Brut
As he explains to Mary Anne Hobbs in the clip above, Eddie Argos is a man of many ideas, whose principal vocal technique is conversational. He has adopted the tone of an excitable geography teacher attempting to rouse his class to insurrection against the dreary confines of homework, which does set him apart from everyone else in modern music. Art Brut's first single was Formed A Band, a song about getting the band Art Brut together and working out what they might be capable of doing now that he had finally managed to find some musicians willing to work with him (and his vacuum cleaner).
In it, he pre-empts any criticism of his chosen mode of expression, by excitedly declaring, "Yes, this is my singing voice, it's not irony, it's not rock and roll. We're just talking... TO THE KIDS," a statement that is both inspiring and endearing in equal measure.
10. Florence Foster Jenkins
The difference between Florence Foster Jenkins and a good many of the people on this list is that she believed herself to be a wonderful singer in the conventional sense, and who can blame her? Her job was to turn up at recitals, open her mouth and emote, putting her all into every syllable like proper singers do, and she received a rapturous response every time she did so. The only difference in this case is that Florence Foster Jenkins had a piercingly shrill tone, poor breath control and a sense of pitch that was not so much wayward as downright ungovernable.
But, and this is key, she was hugely loved, not least by her husband St Clair Bayfield, who fought hard to shield his wife from her harshest critics. Not that there were that many. Noël Coward and David Bowie were fans, and she had such a wealth of personal charm that she even managed to fill Carnegie Hall. Her audience most certainly did not go there for the usual reasons people attend classical concerts, but nor did they come to mock. As Meryl Streep said to the the Sunday Times, while promoting the movie Florence Foster Jenkins in which she took the lead role: "It wasn't just that she was bad, but that she was bad with heart."