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Top Ten Favorite Vocalists

10. Axl Rose from Guns and Roses: Guns and Roses started in the mid 1980s. They made a great first album called Appetite For Destruction with some big songs such as Welcome To the Jungle, Paradise City and Sweet Child of Mine. They then made a couple of experimental albums called Use Your Illusion 1 and 2. After Use Your Illusion, Axl Rose took over the group and all of the original members except for Axl Rose left because Axl Rose was being too controlling. Axl Rose might have been a bad guy, but he was a great vocalist. He could sing with a four octave range, which is uncommon with lead vocalists, and he could sing quickly for hard rockers or emotionally for ballads such as Sweet Child of Mine, which was great because of his powerful vocals.

9. Steven Tyler from Aerosmith: Aerosmith was a hard rock group during the 1970s. They made several classic albums such as Toys In the Attic and Rocks, but then they suffered from drugs during the late 1970s. They made a come back during the early 1980s with some more great albums such as Pump and Permanent Vacation. During the 1990s and early 2000s Aerosmith moved in a more pop direction with their music. Also, Steve Tyler spent a couple of years as one of the judges for American Idol. Fortunately for Aerosmith fans, Steven Tyler stopped being a judge on American idol, Aerosmith was able to reform and they made a new album in the fall of 2012 called Music From Another Dimension, which was a decent album with some good songs.

8. Tom Petty from the Heartbreakers: Tom Petty started out as a soft rock group during the late 1970s. He made some of his most classic songs during the 1980s and continued through the 1990s and 2000s. While he has become less relevant over the last couple of decades, his music has not declined in quality to my knowledge. I have listened to some of his more recent albums, and they still have Tom Petty’s strong vocals. Tom Petty has also done some media work with cartoons. He did one of the recurring voices for King of the Hill and had a cameo appearance in a Simpsons episode as himself when Homer goes to rock and roll camp. Tom Petty’s greatest hits make him popular even with newer generations.

7. Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin: Robert Plant was the lead vocalist for Led Zeppelin, the music group many people consider to be the most definitive music group of the 1970s, kind of like the Beatles or Rolling Stones during the 1960s. Led Zeppelin made six great albums in a row. Their later music declined because it became longer, murkier and more pretentious, but they still had some great songs during their later career. Led Zeppelin broke up during the late 1970s. Robert Plant supposedly said recently that Led Zeppelin might get back together again, but this idea was quickly put down by the other band members. Robert Plant had some strong vocals and some creative lyrics. He frequently made a reference to the Lord of the Rings books with songs such as the Battle of Evermore, Misty Mountain Hop and Ramble On, the last of which makes reference to Gollum, the evil ring and the dark depths of Mordor. With creative lyrics and strong vocals Robert Plant had some great songs such as Ramble On.

6. Phil Collins from Genesis: Genesis was a progressive rock group that actually started out as early as the late 1960s with Peter Gabriel originally as the vocalist for the music group. However, Peter Gabriel left the music group to have his own solo career with some big songs such as Sledgehammer and Big Time, both of which had classic but trippy music videos during the 1980s. Phil Collins took over as the lead vocalist for Genesis and was probably better for Genesis than Peter Gabriel was because not only was Phil Collins a strong vocalist, he was also a skilled drummer. Phil Collins might be one of the only vocalists I have ever heard of who also played the drums for the same music group. Usually, the lead vocalist will just sing or play lead, rhythm or bass guitar. Phil Collins had a strong drum beat and some great vocals with songs such as the highly energetic Abacab, Just a Job You Do and Turn It On Again.

5. Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac: Fleetwood Mac was a blues rock group during the late 1960s. However, they did not become popular until Stevie Nicks joined the music group during the mid 1970s. Stevie Nicks helped make Fleetwood Mac’s most classic album called Rumors with some great songs such as Dreams, You Make Loving Fun and You Can Go Your Own Way. There was tension in the group because some of the band members were having break ups, but the vocals and song writing for Rumors are incredible. Sometimes the most emotional music comes from a music group when they are dealing with issues. Their feelings come out through their music as heard on Rumors.

4. Mama Cass from Mamas and Papas: Mamas and Papas were a short lived soft rock group from the mid 1960s to late 1960s. They started out with a couple of great albums, but band tensions due to one of the lead vocalists cheating on her husband with another band member caused the Mamas and Papas to become tired and quit after making only several albums. They actually had one more album they were supposed to make in their contract, so they came back, after splitting up, during the early 1970s and made one final album. Each of the four vocalists for the music group had their vocals recorded separately from each other, though, and their last album was considered their weakest but wasn’t terrible. Mama Cass was the back bone of the group. She sang lead vocals for many of their biggest songs and went on to have a successful solo career after the Mamas and Papas broke up. She supposedly got her great vocals from being hit over the head with a lead pipe. However, she unfortunately died from choking to death on a ham sandwich, probably the strangest way I have ever heard a rock star dying, usually it happens on a plane or helicopter.

3. Diana Ross from Supremes: The Supremes were a rhythm blues, African American group from Mo Town during the 1960s. At one time they rivaled the Beatles for number of records sold in the United States. They were led by Diana Ross, who was a great vocalist. Diana Ross would eventually set off to have her own solo career and the Supremes continued on without her but did not do quite as well because they missed the powerful vocals of Diana Ross. The Supremes were my favorite music group when I was in high school. Their career during the 1960s is considered some of the best Mo Town music ever made with great vocals and song writing.

2. Petula Clark from her solo career: Petula Clark did not make it big until she had a song called Downtown made for her by a composer. Downtown was Petula Clark’s biggest hit and it led to her having fifteen charting singles in a row. During the 1960s Petula Clark was part of a controversial event when she held the arm of a black man during the recording of a song together. They ended up using the take of her holding the black man’s arm, which was well heralded by critics. Not only was Petula Clark a great vocalist with upbeat, catchy vocals and meaningful songs, she was also an actress who starred in a remake for the classic movie called Goodbye, Mr. Chips and she was the last person to dance on screen with the legendary dancer Fred Astaire.

1. Paul Rodgers from Bad Company: Bad Company made a solid, self titled debut album during the early 1970s. They made five more albums with Paul Rodgers as the vocalist. Then they broke up and Paul Rodgers was part of a music group with Jimmy Paige from Led Zeppelin called the Firm. They made a couple of albums together and then the Firm broke up, too. Paul Rodgers was probably the best thing about Bad Company because he had gritty, bluesy vocals that added a lot to Bad Company’s songs. He could sing great rockers such as Can’t Get Enough and Moving On or emotional ballads such as Shooting Star. Shooting Star is six minutes long, which is a little long for my tastes, but Shooting Star manages to hold my interest from start to finish because it is an interesting story about a rock and roll star who sets out for greatness and eventually dies. It makes a reference to the Beatles, which might have been an influence for Bad Company or Paul Rodgers.