Rock singers have been defining the way fans listen to music for decades. It’s that little bit of truth and grit that makes rock genres so honest, captivating and real. For the most part, it’s the singer’s responsibility to draw in the listener with a combination of vocal abilities and stage presence. Here MusicSnake Magazine put together a list of top 10 of the most iconic rock singers of all time.
Number One: Freddie Mercury. Freddie Mercury is one of the most iconic rock frontmen ever. With a vocal range spanning four octaves, he is able to hit outstanding high notes and lower ones, sometimes all within one song. Classic Rock named him the “best rock singer of all time” and by AllMusic as “one of rock’s greatest all-time entertainers,” as well as “one of the greatest voices in all of music.”
Number Two: Bono. His big voice and slight accent while singing put U2 in a genre of stadium rock all their own. It is because of his notoriety that he is able to use his band’s fame for good, most notably producing the Red campaign to bring attention to the AIDS epidemic in Africa.
Number Three: Debbie Harry (Blondie). Blondie was one of the most popular bands to have come out of the New York punk and new wave scene. Getting Debbie Harry’s start at Max’s Kansas City’s upstairs room, where she also worked as a waitress, her raw yet feminine vocals helped launch a genre. It also didn’t hurt the band’s popularity that Harry played up her sex appeal every chance she got.
Number Four: Mick Jagger. Fronting the Rolling Stones, his vocals and commanding stage presence have translated into not just success for the band, but contributed to their legendary status as well. Over the last 55 years, his legacy has found its way into song lyrics (Maroon 5 – Moves Like Jagger) and inspired countless other vocalists to start bands themselves.
Number Five: Steven Tyler. The power of Steven Tyler’s voice is undeniable when he sings those high notes. His four-octave range and over-the-top stage presence have made Aerosmith one of the greatest rock bands of all time, and Tyler one of the best rock singers.
Number Six: Axl Rose. He has one of the largest vocal ranges in the industry, spanning more than five octaves. When Axl sings, he hits some very impressive notes in the upper register.
Number Seven: Kurt Cobain. Not only did Cobain have a unique, gravely, raw voice unlike any other artist, but his voice gave disaffected youths in the 90’s something to hold onto and make their own. Though not enthusiastic about the way frontmen get treated as the voice of the group, his impact was undeniable.
Number Eight: Robert Plant. The voice of Led Zeppelin’s Plant has been playing music in one form or another for more than 50 years. Showcasing his wide vocal range in both his band and solo work, he has earned best vocalist accolades from Hit Parader, as well as in reader polls from Planet Rock and Rolling Stone.
Number Nine: Roger Daltrey. The Who’s frontman’s Roger Daltrey’s three-and-a-half-octave vocal range has become as iconic as his songs. Known for his wild stage presence, in particular the act of swinging his microphone around (which numerous pop-punk and alternative bands copy to this day), he continues to be recognized as a “rock god.”
Number Ten: Joan Jett. Joan Jett is one of the most hard-rocking women in music today. Starting out with The Runaways and eventually starting her own band, The Blackhearts, she has been a fixture in the punk and rock scenes for more than 45 years. She has released some of the most iconic rock songs ever, displaying her raw vocals with a sneer.
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