When Whitney Houston died in February 2012, all the addiction issues and tabloid nonsense of recent years melted away in the face of a viral YouTube that contained Houston's isolated vocals from her hit "How Will I Know." With the cheesy 80s dance-pop stripped away, the sheer power and emotion of Houston's voice, with that slight empty echo around it, reminded us exactly why she meant so much to so many.
Since then, YouTube has become a repository of such studio a cappella tracks, ranging from the Rolling Stones and Nirvana to The Ronettes and Amy Winehouse to Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake. Not to mention Adele, Marvin Gaye, Blondie, Bruno Mars, David Bowie and Queen, Radiohead and more.
So we've gathered 35 of the best isolated vocal tracks we could find, be they 1960s classics, 1990s alt-anthems or 2010s pop hits, to let you have a listen to what these singers really sound like.
Enjoy having your mind blown, and let us know if you found others we should add to the video gallery.
Adele - Rumor Has It (Studio Acapella)
Justin Timberlake - Suit & Tie ft. JAY Z + DL (Studio Acapella)
Michael Jackson - Beat It (Vocal Track)
Nirvana "Smells Like Teen Spirit" Isolated Vocals
How Will I... Vocal
Rolling Stones - "Gimme Shelter" (Isolated Vocal Track)
Bruno Mars - Grenade (Studio Acapella)
David Bowie - Space Oddity (Lead Vocal Track)
Amy Winehouse - Rehab (studio acapella)
Led Zeppelin - Ramble On Main Vocal Track Isolated
Queen "Somebody To Love" Isolated Vocals
Beach Boys: God Only Knows (Vocal Only)
Radiohead "Creep" (Isolated Vocal Track)
The Beatles - Come Together isolated vocals, vocals only
Adele - Rolling In The Deep (Studio Acapella)
Jackson 5 - ABC (vocals only) -- Michael Jackson at age 11!
david lee roth running with the devil (vocals only) 1978
David Bowie (and Freddie Mercury) - Under Pressure (Vocal Track)
Helter Skelter - Paul Vocal Only
Marvin Gaye - I Heard It Through The Grapevine (A capella)
Rush — Closer to the Heart, isolated vocal track
Oasis - Wonderwall - Vocals Only
The Ronettes - Baby I Love You (Isolated Vocals)
Pearl Jam - Jeremy (vocals only)
Kelly Clarkson - Stronger (Studio Acapella)
Justin Timberlake- What Comes around, goes around (acapella)
Somebody I Used To Know - Studio Acapella
One Direction - What Makes You Beautiful (STUDIO ACAPELLA)
Destiny's Child - Survivor (Acapella)
Blondie - Heart Of Glass - Studio Acapella
Fun. - We Are Young (Studio Acapella)
Green Day - Boulevard of Broken Dreams (Official Acapella)
soul II soul back to life acapella
Soundgarden - Black Hole Sun (Vocals Only)