Elaine James asked the Musicroom Facebook page: “Who can hold the longest note? I’ve noticed Andrea bocelli can hang on, so can Noah Stewart! Anyone else?”
Currently, the world record for the longest note held by a vocalist belongs to Richard Fink IV, an American singing instructor who managed to hold a single continuous note for an incredible 1 minute and 43 seconds!
Your question though was of course relating to a singing performance – something entirely different to Fink’s focused but highly impressive feat.
There are a number of contenders for the record of longest held note in a popular or classical song.
Starting with recorded music, the longest note held on by a woman on a single release was performed by Donna Summer in her 1979 hit “Dim All The Lights”, in which she held on for a mighty 16 seconds.
Bill Withers’ 1978 hit, Lovely Day is often cited as the record breaker for men, clocking in at 18 seconds, but in fact, Morton Harket of A-Ha managed 20.2 seconds during the group’s 2000 comeback single, “Summer Moved On”.
If we include non-hits and album tracks however, Barbra Streisand jumps in the lead with her 25 second ‘to you’ that can be heard within the song “On My Way To You” from her Till I Loved You collection.
The record holder for the longest note held on a musical recording however is Freddy Curci, the singer from Canadian arena rock band, Sheriff, who managed a whopping 30 seconds during the 1989’s When I’m With You.
Live performances are another matter however. The likes of Whitney Houston and Barbra Streisand have been known to hold notes over 40 seconds in length! Since the claims cannot be referenced without empirical proof, and such performance flourishes are usually at least partly spontaneous, neither hold any such record for the longest note held live during a musical concert.