Most of the iconic rock bands of the past half century would be nothing without their talented singers. These legends have delivered the vocals and charisma to all your favorite tunes. Take a look through our list of the most iconic Rock Singers of all time and see if you agree. Naming the top twenty is challenging, but they all have the talent to deserve a spot in the all time greats. Here are the best Rock Singers of all time ranked.
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20. Roger Daltrey
The longtime The Who frontman is a clear cut rock legend. With earth shattering vocals for a number of hits. Daltrey will go down as one of the most memorable rock stars in history. Blessed with inspiring charisma and showmanship, he always but on a show to remember.
19. Jon Bon Jovi
Can anyone rock an arena like Bon Jovi? Jon’s blue collar New Jersey charm and massive charisma have made him a hard rock superhero since the mid-‘80s. Bangers like “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “It’s My Life” can only be harnessed by a larger-than-life force, and he still comes through every time.
18. Steven Tyler
The ‘70s were full of flamboyant rock frontmen and Tyler was among the most exhilarating. Sure he had the hair, the scarves, and the drugs, but the Demon of Screamin’ has immense style and substance: Aerosmith had an otherworldly vocal range and treated the Y2K generation with hits like “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” almost four decades after “Dream On.”
17. Joe Strummer
The Clash were the thinking punk’s counterpoint to the destructive Sex Pistols, and they pulled that persona largely from their charismatic leader. The Clash was open-minded enough to eventually play stadiums opening for The Who, and even then, Strummer tried to meet with every fan he could.
U2 ascended from punk beginnings to the apex of stadium rock in the 1980s and beyond. Behind those trademark shades, there’s a singer who really believes he can change the world, and from his numerous charitable endeavors to U2’s early Apple collaborations, Bono certainly has.
15. Axl Rose
There’s no shame in losing the rock and roll throne to the others on this list, especially after years of slaying the game and laying down the otherworldly vocals for an indomitable classic like Appetite for Destruction. Axl’s debauchery is a part of L.A. lore. Known for being the focal point of Guns N’ Roses.
14. Ozzzy Osbourne
The original metal frontman was such a polarizing personality, he basically had to start his own genre. As Black Sabbath approaches its farewell tour with three fourths of its original lineup intact, metalheads can rejoice in their Prince of Darkness getting to freak out the unconverted one last time.
13. Jim Morrison
In The Doors’ late ‘60s heyday, Morrison pushed the boundaries of rock’s lyricism and made himself into a living legend. L.A. cool, baritone voice, tortured personality, and yes, leather pants — Morrison helped define the rock star persona for years to come.
12. Stevie Nicks
Fleetwood Mac is one of rock and roll’s most legendary groups. Through the timeless records and the turmoil, Nicks was its most memorable presence. To this day, watching the swirling, scarf-twirling Nicks perform Mac classics like “Rhiannon” and “Dreams” is still a transcendent experience.
11. Kurt Cobain
Cobain never wanted to be a rock star, but he’s a shoo-in for this list anyway. Nirvana was most responsible for taking punk and college rock to the mainstream in the early ‘90s, and — for better or worse — guitar music has been turned on its head ever since.
10. David Bowie
He’s got a clean-cut menswear look these days, but this is just one of countless personas he’s slithered in and out of over his lifetime. From Ziggy Stardust to disco to Brian Eno-produced experimentation, Bowie has held it all together, making him a frontman in the truest sense.
9. Chuck Berry
For merging country licks with the blues, Berry is an obvious choice. Even better, every guitarist who’s ever showed off a solo or strutted their stuff onstage (so everyone) owes a massive debt to the rock and roll pioneer.
8. Robert Plant
Led Zeppelin’s legendary frontman had the whole package — a tremendous vocal range, flowing rock star locks, and magnetism for miles. At first a reluctant lyricist, Plant took over Zeppelin writing duties for Led Zeppelin II, when the band assumed the mysticism and grandeur that only he could offer.
7. Mick Jagger
Would we even have rock stars without Mick? In the early ‘60s, Jagger’s swagger brought a style and sexiness to rock music that he built on for decades, from “Paint It Black” to “Start Me Up” and from “Get Off of My Cloud” to “Emotional Rescue.” Fifty-plus years on top makes the Stones the rock and roll band and Jagger the rock and roll frontman.
6. Eddie Vedder
Eddie Vedder was an artist who shared his soul with his audiences and left nothing to hide. The grunge era would never have been the same without him and anyone who saw her rock “Alive” live would probably attest. He still continues to break musical ground with Pearl Jam.
5. Paul McCartney
It’s a privilege to us all that Macca still tours, playing marathon sets spanning his Beatles classics, Wings and recent solo work. We’re not quite sure how one goes from writing “I’ve Just Seen a Face” to “For the Benefit of Mr. Kite” in two years’ time, but at least you can try to figure out for yourself in person.
Music was changed forever when the future King of Rock and Roll dropped “Heartbreak Hotel” in 1956, as the mainstream fusion of country and R&B was underway. And he wasn’t called Elvis the Pelvis for nothing; his thrusts and croon pushed the boundaries of how sexually a singer could act onstage.
3. Jimi Hendrix
Hendrix opened the doors to experimental guitar technique and was one of the driving forces behind rock’s dramatic overhaul from the start of the ‘60s to the end of the decade. Soloing in ”Voodoo Child” andsinging lead in the Jimi Hendrix Experience? Yeah, he’s a legendary frontman.
2. Freddie Mercury
Did rock and roll ever have a better showman than Freddie Mercury? Aside from fronting Queen with his four-octave vocal range, Mercury was also an accomplished songwriter. Queen’s members often shared duty, but on classics like “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “We Are the Champions,” he made his indispensable mark.
1. Bruce Springsteen
Bruce is the link between folk, ‘60s R&B, punk, and of course, rock and roll. He’s the common man’s arena superhero and in his mid sixties, his concerts still last over three hours. We could all stand to learn a little from Springsteen.