The best (and worst) replacement singers of all time

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The best (and worst) replacement singers of all time

Postby tater1977 » Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:38 am

The best (and worst) replacement singers of all time

By Kevin Coffey / World-Herald staff writer Jul 18, 2018 ... 62416.html

May all your favorite bands stay together.

There's nothing quite like your favorite group making a shift in a new direction because you never know if it's gonna work.
Sure, replacing band members is incredibly common. (Very few bands have lasted with their original lineups.)

But replacing lead singers is a bit tougher.

The frontman (or frontwoman) is the band's sound. That's the band's face. You can't replace Axl Rose with Barry Manilow and expect people not to react.

There's nothing quite like going to see a band and finding out it doesn't sound quite right. (It's why bands like Creedence Clearwater Revisited don't really work. Without John Fogerty, those songs aren't the same.)

Perhaps the most famous case of a replacement singer is Journey, which co-headlines Pinnacle Bank Arena with Def Leppard on Thursday.

Back in 1997, the inimitable Steve Perry got hurt.

That forced Journey to cancel its tour, and when Perry decided not to return to the band, they hired another lead singer.
For the next decade, the band employed two lead singers before finding Arnel Pineda on YouTube.

For more than a decade, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group has toured with Pineda at the front, and they've filled many arenas doing so.

But where does he place among replacement rock singers on the all-time list?


Brian Johnson, AC/DC

Replacing the late Bon Scott looked to be an insurmountable task. But the band already knew of Brian Johnson because, well, Scott had talked fondly of him. Johnson came out swinging, screaming his way through "Black In Black," which became the band's best-selling album ever (one of the best-selling of all time, in fact) and cemented his place in the band.

Phil Collins, Genesis

When founding member Peter Gabriel left the band, they realized the new drummer could sing. Collins moved to the front of the band, and his time as frontman was the band's most successful.

Ronnie James Dio, Black Sabbath

Ozzy Osbourne has a style all his own. And Dio worked so well because he sounded nothing like Ozzy. Dio's vocals are so righteous, so sky-high, so versatile, it changed the band's sound. Go crank "Mob Rules" and thank me later.

Sammy Hagar, Van Halen

When Diamond Dave left the band, Van Halen turned to an already-known singer. Sammy Hagar was in Montrose, and he scored a hit in "I Can't Drive 55" before joining Van Halen. And even if you prefer David Lee Roth, you can't deny Hagar was good in that frontman role.

Bruce Dickinson, Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden's powerhouse frontman wasn't its first. When their first lead singer started having issues, they auditioned Bruce Dickinson, then the frontman of Samson, and hired him. They went on to massive success, and when Dickinson left for a time in the '90s, Iron Maiden's profile dipped. When Dickinson came back in 1999, they were firing on all cylinders once again.

Al Barr, Dropkick Murphys

The original lead singer of the Dropkicks left and became a firefighter, so they turned to fellow Boston singer Al Barr to take his place. With Barr, they sounded a little more aggressive and a bit more Irish, and they started making their best stuff.

Henry Rollins, Black Flag

You know all your fantasies about your favorite band hiring you as its lead singer? That's what happened to Henry Rollins. One night, he asked Black Flag, his favorite band, to play "Clocked In," and they offered for him to sing it. They liked his performance so much that they hired him to be the new singer.

David Gilmour/Roger Waters, Pink Floyd

When Syd Barrett deteriorated, they hired his old friend, David Gilmour to come in. Roger Waters became the prime force in the band, and their biggest and best albums came under his push.

William DuVall, Alice in Chains

You can't imitate Layne Staley. (When you try, you get Creed.) He has a voice unlike anything you've ever heard. So when Jerry Cantrell and the rest of the band decided to soldier on after Staley's death, they were lucky to find DuVall, a powerful vocalist who can do his own thing.

Matt Skiba, Blink-182

Tom DeLonge's voice was the worst thing about Blink-182, but he's gone now. Skiba, of Alkaline Trio, stepped in, and when they play "I Miss You," we don't have to listen to DeLonge whine through "Where are you?/And I'm so sorry/I cannot sleep, I cannot dream tonight."

Adam Lambert, Queen

Huge voice? Check. Flamboyant? Check. Stage presence? Check.
There's not a better choice to stand in for Freddie Mercury.


Arnel Pineda, Journey

He's no Steve Perry.

Pineda certainly has the pipes, but he goes a little too far. Perry had power without having to be overwrought, but Pineda drops vocal gymnastics and vibrato into every phrase. It's too much.

Gary Cherone, Van Halen

No more Red Rocker. No more Diamond Dave. Better turn to, uh, Gary Cherone. Cherone's a fine singer, but he didn't really fit with the band, and Van Halen's "III" just wasn't very good.

Blaze Bayley, Iron Maiden

It's hard to replace the best heavy metal singer with anyone. Bayley was only a temporary replacement for Bruce Dickinson. As soon as Dickinson hinted he wanted back in Maiden, Bayley was out.

Everybody from Dead Kennedys

Jello Biafra is the Dead Kennedys. Everyone who has come since just doesn't measure up. Sorry.

Paul Rodgers, Queen
Rodgers, vocalist of Bad Company, is a great singer. But he's not Freddie Mercury. He doesn't have that swagger. It wasn't a good fit.

John Corabi, Motley Crue

The reason Crue got away with their glam and metal and everything else was the attitude and angelic highs of Vince Neil's voice. The dude can wail. Corabi suffered from just not being that guy and being in a glam metal band when grunge was the biggest thing going. Oof.

Doug Yule, The Velvet Underground

There's just no replacing Lou Reed. Some are unaware that the band continued without Reed, but they did. One album with Yule at the helm, and the band called it quits for good.
Perry's good natured bonhomie & the world’s most charmin smile,knocked fans off their feet. Sportin a black tux,gigs came alive as he swished around the stage thrillin audiences w/ charisma that instantly burnt the oxygen right out of the
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Re: The best (and worst) replacement singers of all time

Postby steveo777 » Fri Jul 20, 2018 5:47 pm

Opinions vary, and this is one person's opinion. If Pineda was the worst, there is no way they'd be having the touring success they currently enjoy. People would have gone to see one show, word would have spread, and it would have been over years ago. I disagree with that author's authority on the subject. :lol:
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Re: The best (and worst) replacement singers of all time

Postby tj » Fri Jul 20, 2018 7:10 pm

steveo777 wrote:If Pineda was the worst, there is no way they'd be having the touring success they currently enjoy. People would have gone to see one show, word would have spread, and it would have been over years ago.

I was thinking the same thing when I read this. Def Leppard would not be touring with a band that had a terrible replacement front man.
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Re: The best (and worst) replacement singers of all time

Postby JourneyHard » Sat Jul 21, 2018 3:06 am

This guy obviously hasn't listened to Eclipse (Or Revelations for that matter.) Arnel brings it on Eclipse and nails those songs. Arnel covers the difficult Journey greatest hits very well and is able to do this night after night on endless tours. Arnel should be on the best replacement list.
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Re: The best (and worst) replacement singers of all time

Postby jestor92 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 9:16 am

No love for Deep Purple with Ian Gillian, David Coverdale, and Glenn Hughes haha

Terrible list

I agree with Pineda though. Guy has pipes but over sings way to much.
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Re: The best (and worst) replacement singers of all time

Postby slucero » Sat Jul 21, 2018 2:36 pm

Adam Lambert, Queen

Huge voice? Check.
Flamboyant? Check.
Stage presence? Check.

Serve the song and not his ego/image. No.

Marc Martel - Huge voice? Doppleganger for Freddie, yet not in a way that sounds forced or contrived.
Flamboyant? No. Honors Freddie by not pretending to be something he's not.
Stage presence? Enough to get the job done.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

~Albert Einstein
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