6 Famous Rock Bands Who Have Changed Lead Singers

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Lead singers embody a band’s idea and both literally and figuratively act as its voice. What makes them so popular in the eyes of the audience is the fact that they not only to carry a tune but also interact with the audience and act out their music. Because of that, they are usually the ones who get most public recognition and concert ovations. However, what happens when these bands change singers? Does the band lose its identity or not? Either way, in these cases, the audience has a hard time adjusting, and for a good reason.

Being a second or a third singer is usually a stressful thing for a musician. He has to adapt to the well-established fan base of the band, as well as to create something of his own. Many famous musicians failed miserably at this, which only shows that spontaneity of band creation can’t be forced. Everything has to click. So, in light of that, here is a list of 6 bands that changed their vocalists and managed to keep the band going.

6 Famous Rock Bands Who Have Changed Lead Singers:

Faith No More – Mike Patton

Miikka Skaffari / Getty Images

Miikka Skaffari / Getty Images

The first up on the list is Faith No More. Led by a vocalist Chuck Mosley, the band released two albums in the 80’s called “We Care a Lot” and “Introduce Yourself.” Their combination of genres and a charismatic personality of the frontman made Faith No More one of the most influential bands of the decade. However, Chuck’s spontaneity and charisma weren’t enough to justify his careless behavior in the band. After many disagreements, the founding members decided to let Mosley go and brought in a replacement in the form of Mike Patton. This turned out to be a great move as Patton was an extremely gifted singer, a powerful songwriter and a magnetic performer. With him in the lead, FNM quickly descended to stardom and defined the 90’s sound.

Alice in Chains – William DuVall

Chris McKay / Getty Images

Chris McKay / Getty Images

Of course, when talking about the 90’s sound, you can’t not mention the whole Seattle movement, commonly referred to as Grunge (although some believe it is a much more narrow term). At the very core of the Seattle’s finest were four related but quite distinct bands: Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden and, last but not least, Alice in Chains. Formed in 1987 by a guitarist Jerry Cantrell and the vocalist Layne Staley, the band quickly garnered a lot of followers and brought grunge music to the mainstream. The most recognizable feature of the band were the voice harmonies and the unique gravelly voice of the lead singer. After he passed away in 2002 due to drug complications, the band wanted to quit. However, the arrival of a music veteran, William DuVall, changed their minds. He was able to deliver Staley’s challenging notes, but also introduce his own style. What started off as an AiC tribute show quickly turned into a full band that not only played older songs but also released two new albums in 2009 and 2013.

Genesis – Phil Collins

Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images

Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images

Now, if the first thing you think of when we say Genesis is Phil Collins, then you’re too young. The original Genesis that formed way back in 1967 was quite a different entity from the one we know today. Led by Peter Gabriel, Genesis was actually an experimental progressive rock band that relied much on the lyrics and the stories told in the songs. Sometimes they were fantastical, medieval stories with instruments that complemented the feel, and sometimes they were a brutal criticism of society. Gabriel often dressed up in costumes and acted out certain portions of the songs. However, this dominance of one man over the band, led to Gabriel leaving to pursue other solo projects and devote himself to family. In order to fill the void, Phil Collins stepped in and took the band’s vocal and songwriting duties. This made Genesis even more popular with Collins aiming for the mainstream audience, yet pertaining that sharp tone of criticism. This incarnation of Genesis became so famous that the other one slowly faded into oblivion in time.

Iron Maiden – Bruce Dickinson

Mondadori Portfolio / Getty Images

Mondadori Portfolio / Getty Images

Iron Maiden was formed in 1975 by Steve Harris, the bassist and main songwriter. The guitar-heavy band always placed a lot of emphasis on the instruments and melodies, with singers taking an important, but supporting role. However, it all changed with the arrival of Bruce Dickinson. Before 1981, when he joined, Iron Maiden had already changed three of its singers and Bruce had no intention of becoming a supporting role. His mighty vocals and exceptional stamina complemented the guitar sound perfectly and established Bruce as a true Iron Maiden frontman. His electrifying personality perfectly fitted the band’s epic or fantastic themes and thrilled the fans. In 1993 he left the band for a few years, which only made the fans more eager to see him back. In 1999, upon his return, they made the album “Brave New World” and proved to many that they were stronger than ever with a world tour of over 100 dates. After that, they made four more albums and are currently touring.

Pink Floyd – David Gilmour

Francesco Prandoni / Getty Images

Francesco Prandoni / Getty Images

Now, what kind of a list would it be without one of the greatest psychedelic bands of all times – Pink Floyd? They were formed in 1965 by Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Richard Wright and the frontman Syd Barrett. As troubled as he was, Syd Barrett was the band’s heart and soul, leading the entire group on a trip through psychedelic musical experiments that also included a large use of drugs. After just one album, Syd left the band as his behavior grew more and more erratic over time. He would often detune his guitar during the gig or disappear for extended periods of time. After releasing him, all of the members chipped in and sang creating harmonies most of all, but the frontman became David Gilmour. His soft, melancholic voice fit in greatly with Waters’ sharp and authoritative sound. From then on, Pink Floyd went on to create some of the greatest musical masterpieces in rock history. Their song “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” is a tribute to their former, schizophrenic singer, Syd Barrett.

AC/DC – Brian Johnson – Axl Rose

Jason Squires / Getty Images

Jason Squires / Getty Images

Finally, we can’t complete the list without mentioning the Australian rock legends – AC/DC. Formed in 1973 by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, the band redefined the blues sound with their heavy, choppy guitar sounds and the mighty screaming vocals. This distinct, memorable singing style was introduced to the band by Bon Scott, an experienced Scottish-born singer. However, in 1980, Bon Scott died of alcohol poisoning. Scott’s parents insisted that the band continued on, partly in memory of Bon, and the band began looking for a new singer.

Jon Super / Getty Images

Jon Super / Getty Images

Brian Johnson, who was even mentioned by Bon himself, revived the band and they quickly took the world by storm. They went on to become even more famous over the years and remained true to their sound. Recently, however, due to Brian’s loss of hearing, the band was forced to let him go and instead brought on another rock legend – Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses. We have yet to see how long this incarnation will last, but, according to many, it is a truly great mix.

What other bands would you like to see on the list? Why? Let us know.