I love songs with great harmonies. Always have. I used to harmonize with my twin brother to all the songs we heard on the radio while Mom would schlep us around in the car. My bro took the lows while I took the highs.  He and I even won a talent contest back in 2nd grade singing “Edelweiss” in two-part. To this day, when we listen to a song, we’ll start singing along and coming up with harmony parts… and then inevitably cut up laughing.

Narrowing down this list was hard. I was going to comprise a list of just 10, but I kept remembering more and more, so I had to expand it to my top 25.  Some of these bands have made stacked harmonies their signature sound; you can’t describe bands like CSN, the Beach Boys or the Eagles without acknowledging their lush harmonies right off the bat. So for these bands, I listed more than one song.

In today’s music, there tends to be less use of harmonies. But, I think, as it always does, the pendulum will swing back the other way, and we’ll start hearing new bands making those layered, harmonied sounds their trademark. It’s already starting to happen with indie folk bands like Mumford and Sons and Fleet Foxes. Yeah for that!

So, here goes the list:


1. The Beach Boys
Good Vibrations
In My Room
Sloop John B

2. Mamas and Papas
California Dreamin’
Monday, Monday

3. Crosby, Stills, & Nash
Suite Judy Blue Eyes
Helplessly Hoping

4. The Beatles
Nowhere Man
Because

5. Fleet Foxes
Quiet Houses

6. Queen
Bohemian Rhapsody
We Are the Champions

7. Boyz II Men
End of the Road
8. ELO
Strange Magic

9. Bee Gees
 How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
 Lonely Days

10. The Byrds
Eight Miles High

11. The Zombies
She’s Not There

12. The Eagles
Already Gone
Take it To the Limit
Take It Easy
Seven Bridges Road

13. Simon & Garfunkel
Scarborough Fair
Sound of Silence

14. Crosby & Nash
Cathedral

15. Civil Wars
Poison & Wine

16. Sam & Dave
Hold On I’m Coming

17. ABBA
Dancing Queen

18. Yes
I’ve Seen All Good People

19. Dan Fogelberg
Leader of the Band

20. Fleetwood Mac
Go Your Own Way
Dreams

21. The Police
Message In A Bottle

22. The Carpenters
Close to You

23. Extreme
More Than Words

24. Journey
Loving, Touching, Squeezing

25. The Doobie Brothers
Jesus is Just Alright

61

You Might Also Like:
  • dane

    The list fell apart for me, when I saw that there wasn’t even an honorable mention of The Everly Brothers!

    • dionad

      The Everly’s didn’t go unnoticed! This list started out to be 10 and I had to expand it to 25 just to get these in.

      • Anders Zuck

        They’re not on the list…..so yes they were unnoticed. Should be on the top of the list.

    • 082071

      What about “Chicago”, & also “Boston”? They had some of the tightest vocal harmony of any groups.

  • jrd

    Lennon and McCartney are the kings of two part harmony. If you want to impress your friends — two acoustic guitar and two voices — try these: If I Fell, Baby’s in Black, I’ll Be Back, The Word, Two of Us,

    • Frank

      Love your 2 part harmony Beatles list…..BUT…..pull out the headphones and check out the THIRD part atop “I’ll Be Back”. Pretty much 1 drone note across the top by George..but it’s there!! “She Loves You”, “Please Please Me” and “Drive My Car” are sooo tight as well!! EVEN with an acoustic they rock ’cause the harmonies are SO SWEEEEET! Again, GREAT LIST!!

    • px7_mq9

      Add “This Boy,” “Yes It Is,” and “Because” for stunning 3-part harmony. And it’s hard to even give a name to what’s going on in “Girl,” but it’s awesome.

    • Jerzei’s Idol

      The REAL kings of two part harmony are the Everley Brothers.

      See also, Simon & Garfunkel

  • Richie

    There are so many but the Bee Gees are worth a mention, perhaps more!

    • Diona Devincenzi

      Yep. Massachussets, Lonely Days, Too Much Heaven, Love You Inside and Out. All good!

    • Jerzei’s Idol

      Quite possibly, the best.

  • Ryan

    Here are a couple of my favorites; “Seven Bridges Road” by the Eagles and “Water is Wide” performed by Indigo Girls, Jewel, and Sarah McLachlan.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-q7Mih69KE
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d32rALuwRtQ

    • FunkShui

      great list. so difficult to come up with without leaving someone off. this should really be 2 lists, greatest harmony tracks, and greatest acts. For both I would add the everly bros and hall & oates for certain. you could make a case for the temptations and even the dramatics. i would not have doobies, zombies, fleet foxes, byrds or extreme on either list of all time best. all others would be for sure. just sayin’. we all have opinions and tastes

    • ShawnHaughton

      Ahh…. Lilith Fair!!!

  • Joe Momma

    Are you fucking kidding me? No Alice in Chains? What are you on?

    • PETE

      FUCKING IDIOT … THIS IS HIS CHOICE NOT YOURS YOU FUCKING MORON

      • Anders Zuck

        take a Xanax

        • 082071

          “a” Xanax, as in just 1?? Do you really think that would be enough?? I was thinking 30-40mg of Alprazalam as an appetizer, a Trizolam Salad with Cream of Clonazapam Soup, & for the main course, Grilled Nitrazepam in a Chlordiazepoxide Sauce, with a side order of Baked Diazepam, & some nice Lithium Citrate Pie for dessert.

  • Andrew Kowald

    Some current bands with great harmonies you may like to listen to are The Waifs, Kings of Convenience and an underground band I found on bandcamp called King at Bay. I too love good harmonies (one of the main reasons I like the Beatles) and hope to find more bands that include this as an integral part of their music. I must listen to some more Fleet Foxes.

    • ShawnHaughton

      I love Kings of Convenience!

  • jpugs

    NIce list. Where does this go?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjessON4Uo4

    It was released in 1967, maybe I’m old.

  • ustn

    Little River Band….Lonesome Loser…or pretty much any Shorrock / Birtles / Beebs song.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xYEVp2p2l4

  • Bill

    I recommend The Grateful Dead, particularly Box Of Rain, Truckin’, Ripple, and Attics Of My Life. Another great group is The Allman Brothers.

  • ShawnHaughton

    Nice List. I’ve stumbled upon this page while browsing as I’m listening to a new band of sisters who sing really tight, beautiful harmony. They’re called The Staves. Check them out below, the bridges of their songs are what really get me! Sooo gorgeous.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n15dxHqVtrk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-awEy6dxZHM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBnhSAxzgSM

  • Ben Claasen

    Louvin Brothers deserve to be at the top of this list in my opinion:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqOw99N3ODk&feature=kp

  • LindaD

    Top of a any harmonies list should be Cowsills – Poor Baby. Listen for 5-part vocal harmonies pulled off like it was nothing for a bunch of untrained kids!

    • Anders Zuck

      The Cowsills??? LOL

      • Rick Parkhurst

        Another group you are obviously unfamiliar with.

        • Jerzei’s Idol

          He’s a Bieber Lover

  • ckr

    Good choices but I bet you haven’t heard Honeybee by Steam Powered Giraffe!

    • Anders Zuck

      No.

    • Thank you! Stunning harmonies!

  • sorigngse;f

    Sound of silence would definitely be on there if I had made this list.

  • Cody R.

    have to say…not having a SINGLE pink floyd song is a CRIME, could definitely have an argument that they have THE best harmony

    though this list is still awesome, and recognizing newer band (fleet foxes) is cool to see, every member of the band can sing lol, heck, their drummer even went on a solo career

  • pikey

    I’m sorry, low anthem love and altar hands down:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlyQDUcs90k

  • El Fusilado

    Where the hell is El Fusilado?

  • icericer
  • me

    Crayons

  • me

    Louise was here
    wheres the crayons

  • ZZZZZZZZZZipfel

    Interesting list but The Everly Brothers were amazing and not even on this list. Nor are The Righteous Brother or The Mills Brothers or Manhattan Transfer. Yet it includes Journey and ELO. Interesting but not very accurate.

  • flashback girl

    ALWAYS BY ATLANTIC STARR☺

  • Amoreena1

    Surprised Queen’s “Take my Breath Away” did not make the list.

  • KJD

    What about America? Too many awesome harmonies to list.

    • 082071

      Damn, how could I forget “America”? Probably because I was too busy being pissed about “Chicago” & “Boston” not being on the list. (or even mentioned in the comments section) Boston & Chicago had some exceptional tight harmony.

    • Jerzei’s Idol

      Ambrosia.

  • Not Cosbey

    These are nothing compared to the harmony in Throw It All Away by Bounce The Ocean… not kidding… look it up.

    • Jerzei’s Idol

      Yeah, right. But only because you say so.

  • Frank

    The Roches – something like:
    Hammond Song
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EA-U5H4VoX8
    Losing True
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MtQscjlciI

    Maddy Prior and June Tabor – for example:
    The Grey Funnel Line
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHOokpi9hUw

  • Robert Tieni

    entire album – Cosmic Thing by B-52’s

  • nicoledanielli

    FUN. uses harmonies that I was suprised about. Some Nights ( how much is electronic though?)

  • knwhs
  • woody

    I really love the good harmony bands..Your list is right on the mark..Trying to figure the way they do it is reall tough!

  • Mitchell

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSIajKGHZRk Grateful Dead have some fantastic harmonies as well.

  • The Wailin’ Jennys most of their songs have some great Harmony.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4egb2gpIg4

  • Jerzei’s Idol

    Ambrosia…America…..Little River Band….

  • Ganon360

    Hi i saw this page and i had to post one
    The Fortunes

    You’ve got your troubles (I’ve got mine)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC42ZHJcJWg

    what do you think

  • Ganon360

    i forgot there may be multiple versions of a song done by a band but one has better harmony than another version

    here is a great example
    Ventura Highway by America (non harmony version)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjgCqbPGq2A

    and

    Ventura Highway by America (Harmony Version)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RbvGllJGxw

    Anyone else find some songs like that?

  • I’ll say what we all should be thinking after seeing this. Where the fuck are Alice in Chains? You know, the band that pretty much introduced the whole idea of harmonized vocals to metal and heavier rock? Any one of their songs has better harmonies than half the entries on this “list”.

  • Sammy-Boy

    Where are The Four Freshmen? You’ve got The Beach Boys at #1, yet Brian Wilson admittedly mimicked their harmonies. I love Brian, he’s a damn musical genius, but you’ve got to give a listen (if you haven’t already) to one of his biggest influences: https://youtu.be/lddMu0z6jZQ

  • Eddie Tiongson

    Because by the Beatles!!!!!