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One thing about legendary Rock & Roll bands – they always have a legendary lead singer who becomes the face of the band.
For your consideration…here is my list of my 5 greatest. First, a definition – a frontman (or woman) on my list is one who primarily is famous as a member of a band, and not famous as a solo artist, even if they were in a band. This knocks out some immortals – Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Janis Joplin, Rod Stewart, Tom Petty all get excluded. Also, a legendary frontman has to be legendary as a live performer. Great lead singers in rock bands that aren’t memorable as live acts don’t get considered.
Hard to exclude, but these legends didn’t make my top 5 – Bob Marley (The Wailers), Bono (U2), Roger Daltrey (The Who), Steven Tyler (Aerosmith), Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), Axl Rose (Guns N’ Roses). Sorry.
#5 – Jim Morrison, The Doors – The Lizard King’s sultry vocals, usually fueled by alcohol, gave him a persona that was mesmerizing. He was just as alluring as Elvis Presley.
#4 – Jimi Hendrix, The Jimi Hendrix Experience – His guitar burning, teeth playing performances made him the greatest guitarist ever. His performance of The Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock is considered by many to be the greatest guitar performance of all time. His unique musical voice fused blues, R&B, jazz, folk and rock.
#3 – Mick Jagger, The Rolling Stones – Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll – if you believe that the 3 go hand-in-hand, then Jagger is the embodiment of that. He’ll be 76 years old this Friday, and he still rocks!
#2 – Robert Plant, Led Zeppelin – The flamboyant “Rock God” had amazing vocal prowess. Listen to Whole Lotta Love and enjoy the orgasmic moans of Plant. Listen to his wailing on Immigrant Song. Marvel at his a cappella vocal in Black Dog. Plant is the ultimate hard rock vocalist.
#1 – Freddie Mercury, Queen – The ultimate showman. His 4-octave vocal range is perfect, full of emotion, raucous and exuberant. He could perform in front of 100,000 people and absolutely own everyone of them.
Here are clips of performances by Led Zeppelin and Queen. Enjoy the show!