Well, 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
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.
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