The thing that influenced me most was the way Tommy played his trombone… . It was my idea to make my voice work in the same way as a trombone or violin not sounding like them, but playing the voice like those instrumentalists.
—Frank Sinatra (1915–1998) American Singer
It is the best of all trades, to make songs, and the second best to sing them.
—Hilaire Belloc (1870–1953) British Historian, Poet, Critic
Sing songs that none have sung
—Paramahansa Yogananda (1893–1952) Indian Hindu Mystic, Religious Leader, Philosopher, Teacher
Precisely because we do not communicate by singing, a song can be out of place but not out of character; it is just as credible that a stupid person should sing beautifully as that a clever person should do so.
—W. H. Auden (1907–73) British-born American Poet, Dramatist
O, how wonderful is the human voice! It is indeed the organ of the soul! The intellect of man sits enthroned visibly upon his forehead and in his eye; and the heart of man is written upon his countenance. But the soul reveals itself in the voice only; as God revealed himself to the prophet of old in the still, small voice; and in a voice from the burning bush. The soul of man is audible, not visible. A sound alone betrays the flowing of the eternal fountain, invisible to man!
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–82) American Poet, Educator, Academic
Odds life! must one swear to the truth of a song?
—Matthew Prior (1664–1721) English Poet, Diplomat
A bird does not sing because he has an answer. He sings because he has a song.
—Joan Walsh Anglund (1926–2021) American Poet, Children’s Book Author
God respects me when I work; but God loves me when I sing.
—Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) Bengali Poet, Polymath
Swans sing before they die—t’were no bad thing did certain persons die before they sing.
—Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834) English Poet, Literary Critic, Philosopher
Those who wish to sing always find a song.
I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I sing.
—William James (1842–1910) American Philosopher, Psychologist, Physician
There are few cases in which mere popularity should be considered a proper test of merit; but the case of song-writing is, I think, one of the few.
—Edgar Allan Poe (1809–49) American Poet
So she poured out the liquid music of her voice to quench the thirst of his spirit.
—Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–64) American Novelist, Short Story Writer
If a song’s about something I’ve experienced or that could’ve happened to me it’s good. But if it’s alien to me, I couldn’t lend anything to it. Because that’s what soul is all about.
—Aretha Franklin (1942–2018) American Gospel And Soul Singer
As long as we live, there is never enough singing.
—Martin Luther (1483–1546) German Protestant Theologian
Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.
When Satan makes impure verses, Allah sends a divine tune to cleanse them.
—George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) Irish Playwright
Anything that is too stupid to be spoken is sung.
—Voltaire (1694–1778) French Philosopher, Author
I’d rather be dead than singing “Satisfaction” when I’m forty-five.
—Mick Jagger (b.1943) English Rock Singer, Songwriter
He who sings frightens away his ills.
—Miguel de Cervantes (1547–1616) Spanish Novelist
The Indian knew how to live without wants, to suffer without complaint, and to die singing
—Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–59) French Historian, Political Scientist
Singing has always seemed to me the most perfect means of expression. It is so spontaneous. And after singing, I think the violin. Since I cannot sing, I paint.
—Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986) American Painter
I get tired of playing a guy who gets into a fight, then starts singing to the guy he’s just beat up.
—Elvis Presley (1935–77) American Musician, Singer, Songwriter, Actor
After about three lessons my voice teacher said, ‘Don’t take voice lessons. Do it your way. You’re a song stylist. Always do it your way.’
—Johnny Cash (1932–2003) American Country Music Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist
When an opera star sings her head off, she usually improves her appearance.
—Victor Borge (1909–2000) Danish-American Comedian, Musician
That’s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over, lest you should think he never could recapture the first fine careless rapture!
—Robert Browning (1812–89) English Poet
Singing is such an excellent thing, that I wish all people would sing
—Richard Evelyn Byrd (b.1888) American Aviator, Explorer, Military Leader
It seems to me that those songs that have been any good, I have nothing much to do with the writing of them. The words have just crawled down my sleeve and come out on the page.
—Joan Baez (b.1941) American Singer, Songwriter, Musician
He who sings, frightens away all his ills.
This is a fault common to all singers, that among their friends they will never sing when they are asked; unasked, they will never desist.
—Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus) (65–8 BCE) Roman Poet