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Top 25 Rock Vocalists Of All Time (10-1)

Freddie MercuryWell, as the saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.” So must this blog. Is everyone ready for my Top 10? Well, here we go!

10. Steven Tyler

The legendary band Aerosmith’s lead vocalist, Steven Tyler is one of the best vocalists in rock. He is also one heck of a front man. He is known for his mic stand being adorned with scarves. The man’s voice graces such Aerosmith classics as “Dream On, ” “Sweet Emotion, ” “Back In The Saddle,” and many others in the band’s heyday in the 1970’s. After some inner turmoil, and a split amongst the band members, and the band’s going through drug and alcohol rehab, and a comeback in the late 80’s, Tyler’s vocals graced songs such as “Dude Looks Like a Lady,” ” Cryin.'” “Jamie’s Got A Gun,” and many others. Tyler, along with guitarist Joe Perry joined with rappers Run DMC on a cover of the band’s “Walk This Way in 1986. It was one of the most groundbreaking events in music as the collaboration brought the genres of rap and rock, and in the video, it also was a social event as it brought out the idea that blacks and whites could work together. Tyler now is a judge on American Idol, and Aerosmith is reportedly going to go out on tour, and has toured some already. Tyler already has secured his legacy as one of the best.


9. John Lennon

[adinserter block=”2″]One of the most famous rock stars, and one of the most famous peace activists, Beatles star John Lennon had a very distinct, and awesome voice. His voice graced Beatles classics such as ” All You Need Is Love, ” ” Help,” “Nowhere Man,” and many others. After the Beatles split in 1970, Lennon embarked on his solo career with the help of his second wife, Yoko Ono. He came out with classics such as “Imagine,” ” Mother, ” and others. Lennon also became a well known peace activist, and he and Ono lead a movement called “bed ins,” where they would spend time in bed as part of protesting the Vietnam War. Republican Senator Strom Thurmond used his influence to try to have the Lennons deported, but it didn’t work. After a five year break, Lennon came out with his classic “Double Fantasy” in 1980 featuring “Starting Over, ” and “Woman.” Sadly, his life came to a tragic end on December 8, 1980, but he is remembered for not only his great singing, but his humanitarianism.


8. Sir Paul McCartney

Sir Paul McCartney, as evidenced on this year’s Grammy Awards, is an amazing singer. No pun intended. I just love his voice. As the main co-writer, along with John Lennon, of many of the Beatles’ classics, he sang a huge bulk of them, such as “Hey Jude,” “Back In the USSR,” “Let It Be,” and so many others. After the band’s split, he embarked on a very successful solo career. On his solo career, including his decade long stint with his band, Wings, he would belt out great tunes such as , “Maybe I’m Amazed,” (pre Wings), “Live and Let Die, ” and others. McCartney is a remarkable performer, and an undisputed legend, and a founder of the band many say is the best band ever. Hard to argue.


7. David Bowie

David Bowie with his unique and versatile voice has had an impact on the industry for four decades. He can delve into rock, glam rock, etc. He performed as the androgynous character, Ziggy Stardust. Bowie has had crossover appeal with songs like “Fame,” and “Heroes.” Bowie would collaborate with Queen in 1981 on their classic, “Under Pressure.” David Bowie even went into the pop genre with his smash hit, “Let’s Dance.” He would also collaborate with Rolling Stones legend, Jagger for a cover of “Dancing In the Street,” by Martha and the Vandellas. He was an incredible performer onstage, as well as a great singer.


6. Bruce Springsteen

Well, how can one have a list of the best rock singers without mentioning “the Boss,” New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen. The man is an undisputed legend. That voice is brilliant. All you need is to put on a record, or just hear his songs on the radio, and within seconds you know it is Springsteen. All those great songs such as “Born To Run,” “Born In the USA,” “I’m On Fire,” etc feature his deep, but moving voice, as he sings for the common man. From videos, he puts on a pretty good show along with his E Street Band as well. He is one of the best singers ever.


5. Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin came to prominence in the late Sixties, and was known back then as the “Queen of Rock and Roll.” Even though her particular genre was acid rock, she earns her place as I feel she was a huge pioneer for women rockers such as Benatar, and Wilson. Joplin proved that a woman could have a great rock and roll voice. Joplin had a powerful voice, and a powerful stage presence. She was just amazing. Fans can hear her voice on classics such as “Piece of My Heart,” “Turtle Blues,” and “Ball N’ Chain.” Sadly, she left us way too soon in October of 1970, but she has cemented her place as a rock legend.


4. Sir Mick Jagger

Rolling Stones’ lead singer Sir Mick Jagger is the epitome of a rock star. In his prime, he had a real, raw, awesome voice. Even, in later years, he still had it. As a performer, he was stunning. He is one of the most influential rock singers, and front men of all time. I have recorded a few of the later performances but I still think Jagger is an excellent singer and onstage performer. His voice graces Stones classics like “Satisfaction, ” “Paint It Black,” “It’s Only Rock and Roll (But I like It),” “Ruby Tuesday,” and many, many more. He also had a solo career which saw him release three albums before he returned to the Stones. During this period, he collaborated with David Bowie on “Dancing In the Streets” as I previously mentioned.


3. Roger Daltrey

Getting into the top three is always fun. I love discussing the cream of the crop. The Who’s dynamic lead singer Roger Daltrey not only has one of the best rock voices, but is one of the best onstage performers ever. You can hear his great range on classics like “You Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Pin Ball Wizard, ” “Baba O’Reilly,” “My Generation,” and so many more. Daltrey’s stage antics such as his arm swinging, and his taking the microphone and twirling it around were highlights of his performance. The man was awesome on stage. After the band split after drummer Keith Moon’s passing, Daltrey embarked on a solo career, but eventually would reunite with Townsend and Entwhistle, and continued shows after Entwhistle died. Daltrey’s legacy as a great singer is secured, and he is one of the best singers I have ever heard.


2. Robert Plant

I don’t think this man needs any introduction, but this is the great Robert Plant from the legendary band, Led Zeppelin. Plant’s voice is out of this world. Yes, he has had his solo career, after the band split due to John “Bonzo” Bonham’s sad passing, but I want to talk about his vocals from one of the greatest hard rock/heavy metal bands ever. Plant’s voice is so versatile. You can hear him sing absolute poetry in the first 6 or so minutes of “Stairway to Heaven,” and then he can turn on the hard rock side in the last minute or so. You can hear him mourn the loss of his son in “All My Love.” Plant can rock it out on songs like “Heartbreaker,” “Black Dog,” and many others. “Dazed and Confused,” features Plant at his bluesy best. What a singer, and he was also an amazing stage performer. That crowd was in the palm of his hand.


1. Freddie Mercury

“A little Bohemian Rhapsody gentlemen?” I would agree with Garth who says: “Good Call!!” As you can see, the man who I have chosen as the greatest rock vocalist of all time is none other than Queen’s Freddie Mercury. For me, it is not even an argument. The man is the best singer, male OR female in a rock/pop genre I have EVER heard, bar none. Mercury has the best voice, best tone, and the best versatility I have ever heard. From the rockabilly “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” to the pop side with “Radio Gaga,” to the grand “Bohemian Rhapsody,” to the funk/dance hit “Another One Bites the Dust,” Freddie Mercury has shown that he could just about sing anything.

There was a point in time when the band took a bit of a break to do side projects. Freddie did a great cover of “The Great Pretender,” and did a 1988 collaboration with Opera star Montserrat Caballé on a song called “Barcelona,” which became a theme for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. Freddie’s vocals are amazing, and I recommend fans to check out both recordings.

Sadly, on November 24, 1991, Freddie was taken from us, but even AIDS could not kill that voice of his. Even though he was suffering greatly during recordings, his voice on “Innuendo,” was incredible. Songs like “Those Were the Days of Our Lives,” and the title track, “Innuendo” were incredible. He was an amazing singer who was taken too soon.

[adinserter block=”1″]Freddie also was an amazing performer. Previously, I said when discussing David Lee Roth that if this list was strictly meant for front men, and David would be battling for #1, well, Mercury would also be battling for that spot. Mercury was one hell of a front man. He would just sing a series of notes, and huge crowds would sing them right back to him. Totally amazing. His Live Aid performance is stuff of legend. I have only the videos, but he is just second to none as a singer and as an onstage performer. In my opinion, he is the best singer ever.


Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoy it, and have a great discussion.

Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/missedgehead

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  1. I know I’m quite a bit late …just now discovered this…love to see the excitement as to who should be added. Love it more that there seems to be no dispute about the number 1 spot…and off course I’m biased because to me nobody tops Freddie’s voice, performance or flair. Ever.

  2. how can you not have Paul Rodgers or Lou Gramm of Foreigner on here? take out joplin and bowie and put them on and you have a pretty good list. I can't think of any memorable songs by either of those 2 why Rodgers and Gramm have sung some of the greatest rock songs ever. Rodgers sounds as good today as ever has. you may not like the bands they played in but their talent is undeniable and more deserving to be on the list than bowie or joplin.

  3. No Geddy Lee? Your list is invalid.

    Not to mention Steve Walsh of Kansas, and Robin Zander, of Cheap Trick.

    I don't envy you trying to narrow it down to 25 (and the "showmanship" clause is a cop out IMO), but the list seems to reflect your preferences in music (as does mine, admittedly; I guess that's the inherent bias when making such a list in the first place) than being purely a list of "The Best" Rock Vocalists.
    If I had to kick one of the top ten (and why not? lol) it would be John Lennon. Interesting character, but I don't recall his voice as being anything special.

  4. bowie is way to high on the list and joplin does not even belong on it. Stevie Nicks would have been a much better choice. were are Lou Gram and Paul Rodgers? and no way in hell is roth a better singer or anything than Sammy Hagar. he had his time and it was his first go around with vh. nothing he has done on his own can compare with what Sammy did with vh or Sammy's solo career.

  5. I'm kind of surprised to see Grace Slick absent from the list, as well as Deborah Harry. I'd say the same about Patty Smyth, but she's somewhat more obscure despite her success and influence on music.

  6. I think you can make a good argument for your top 10, but in general, I don't think a to 25 list like this could skip Steve Perry of Journey. That band continues to be hugely influential, and a large part of that is Perry's performances. No way people like Alice Cooper or Paul Stanley should be ahead of Perry.

    • Hi. Thanks for reading and commenting. You want to know something funny? I HAD Perry on the list originally when I was making the list, but it came down between putting the late Bon Scott and Perry on the list , and I went with Scott. However, it is all opinion anyway, and this list is just mine. Perry had a great voice. No doubt. I just felt Cooper and Stanley and others were more deserving. Just my opinion.


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