Top Ten Great Male Rock Vocalists
Freddie Mercury (1946 – 1991) – born Farrokh Bulsara in Zanzibar, Tanzania, Freddie was the British vocalist of the band Queen. He had a tenor voice and a theatrical 4-octave vocal range. He was also very proficient at the piano and was a complex songwriter. Freddie joined Queen in April of 1970, which is also when he legally changed his name to Freddie Mercury. Two of many songs which showcase his talent are “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Somebody to Love”. He died of complications due to HIV/AIDS in 1991.
Rob Halford – born as Robert John Arthur Halford in 1951. He is an English vocalist with a four-octave vocal range who is best known as the singer for the heavy metal group Judas Priest. Formed in 1973, Judas Priest released several albums. In 1992 Halford left the band, and was then a part of the band “Fight” in 1993, as well as collaborating on the “2wo” project. In 2000 he released an album with his band “Halford” and has had other projects over the years.
Bruce Dickinson – born as Paul Bruce Dickinson in 1958 in England, he is a singer with many other careers and hobbies, including pilot and novelist. He is most remembered for his involvement with the band Iron Maiden as their lead vocalist. He started out with three lesser known bands, “Speed”, “Shots” and then “Samson”, going then by the name Bruce Bruce, before being invited in 1981 to join Iron Maiden. Their debut release was “Run to the Hills”. Iron Maiden then released 6 more albums before Dickinson quit the band in 1993 to pursue a solo career, during which he released six albums. In 1999, they reformed and released three more albums together. He was taught operatically to get a wide range of notes and loud screams with his voice. His nickname is “The Air Raid Siren”.
Robert Plant – born in 1948 in England, and is a rock singer and songwriter with a blues influence. He is most noted for his time as lead vocalist for the band Led Zeppelin but has also had a lucrative solo career. In 1968 he met Jimmy Page and joined Led Zeppelin, which released its first album in 1969. After the breakup of Led Zeppelin in 1980 due to the death of drummer John Bonham, Plant started his solo career and has released 8 albums to date. The lyrics and vocals on the 1970 Led Zeppelin song “Stairway to Heaven” is one of his most significant contributions.
Chris Cornell – born Christopher John Boyle in Seattle, Washington in 1964. He is a rock singer, songwriter and musician who has enjoyed a very busy and lucrative career. From 1984 to 1997 he was with Soundgarden. From 1990 to 1992, he was with Temple of the Dog and from 2001 to 2007 he was with Audioslave. Cornell has released two solo albums as well, with his third scheduled for release in early 2009. He has also been a backing or contributing vocalist for bands such as “The Screaming Trees”, “Alice in Chains” and “Alice Cooper”. His talent really shines in the 1991 Soundgarden release “Rusty Cage” from the Badmotorfinger album.
Layne Staley (1967 – 2002) – born in Washington, U.S.A. as Layne Thomas Staley. He was the soulful singer of the band “Alice in Chains”, and also appeared with the bands “Mad Season” in 1995 and “Class of ’99” in 1997. Layne also gave guest vocals on other collaborations. In 1990 he joined the band Alice in Chains and they released their first album. The first album contains the song “Man in the Box” in which his vocals are quite distinctive and original. Layne Staley died of drug addiction on April 5, 2002.
Steven Tyler – born Stephen Victor Tallarico in 1948 in New York, Tyler is the lead singer of the band Aerosmith. He has a raw and sharp voice and can use a falsetto voice and also scats. He can also play many instruments and is a very energetic frontman. His father was a classical musician who also taught music. In the 1960s, Tyler was a member of a variety of bands but met Aerosmith band mates in 1969 and to date they have released 23 albums.
Eddie Vedder – born Edward Louis Severson III in the U.S.A. in 1964. With his baritone voice, Vedder is most notable for being the singer of the band Pearl Jam. In 1988 he joined the band “Bad Radio” but they never released a major label record. In 1990 he sent a demo tape for the “Temple of the Dog” project and sang vocals on that record. In 1991 Pearl Jam was formed and to date has released 14 albums. Vedder has also released one solo album.
Lenny Kravitz – born Leonard Albert Kravitz in 1964. He is an American singer and songwriter in the rock, funk, reggae and soul genres. By the age of 5 he knew he wanted to be a musician. For three years he sang classical for the California Boys Choir. He released his debut album in 1989 and has released 9 albums to date. At one time Kravitz received the Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance four years in a row and has been nominated many times more. He has also collaborated with many other artists over the years.
Sebastian Bach – born Sebastian Philip Bierk in 1968 in the Bahamas, and raised in Ontario, Canada. In 1987 he was asked to sing for the Canadian metal band Skid Row and sang for them until 1996. Since then Bach has worked on other projects, and in the year 2000 he started performing in Broadway productions such as the role of Jesus in “Jesus Christ Superstar” for about a year and a half. Recently he has recorded backing vocals for the Guns ‘n’ Roses album “Chinese Democracy” and has made appearances on reality TV shows and also recently released a country single, “Battle with the Bottle”.