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Top 5 Bands That Made It Work With A New Lead Singer

Posted by Thomas Spillane on

The role of the lead singer is one of the most pivotal in a band.

Many groups are identified by the signature voice of their vocalist, and when it’s taken away they struggle to keep going. Many bands such as Nirvana and The Doors called it quits soon after their lead singers passed away. However, today we bring you a list of the top five bands that managed to keep going after their original singer left.

5. Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath are often credited with inventing heavy metal, and for good reason. The legendary Ozzy Osbourne was the original vocalist for the band with his signature voice gracing eight albums before he left to embark on a solo career. Instead of calling it quits, the remaining Black Sabbath members enlisted Ronnie James Dio of Rainbow fame to step in and begin a whole new era for the heavy metal heroes. Dio contributed lead vocals to two of the band’s records, Heaven And Hell (1980) and Mob Rule (1981) before leaving. He would then return to record Dehumanizer (1992) with the band.

4. Iron Maiden

These iconic metal legends have had three singers during their career. Their most well known and classic lead vocalist is Bruce Dickinson, who has recorded twelve albums with them. However, Iron Maiden’s original singer was Paul Di’Anno who provided vocal duties on the band’s first two albums, Iron Maiden (1980) and Killers (1981). Di’Anno was let go after the Killers World Tour for his ongoing destructive behaviour. Dickinson then stepped in and became the band’s classic vocalist. Blaze Bayley recorded two albums with the band, The X Factor (1995) and Virtual XI (1998), before Dickinson returned.

3. Van Halen

Van Halen have had three vocalist during their career but two distinct classic periods. To this day arguments are had about who the band’s best singer was, David Lee Roth, or Sammy Hagar. Roth was Van Halen’s original vocalist, contributing vocals to the band’s first six albums. Roth left after 1984 (1984) and Sammy Hagar stepped in on 5150 (1986). Hagar contributed vocals to the band’s next four albums, most of them classics for Van Halen. Hagar then left with Gary Truman stepping in for Van Halen III (1998), but most Van Halen fans choose not to talk about this. The band’s latest album, A Different Kind Of Truth (2012), saw the return of Roth on vocal duties.

2. Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd have had two main vocalist throughout their tenure as a band, but they have been known to share the vocal duties around. Original vocalist, Syd Barrett, contributed vocals to the band’s first two albums, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (1967) and A Saucerful Of Secrets (1998), but was asked to leave because of his growlingly erratic behaviour. Dave Gilmour stepped in to feature on the band's thirteen other albums, including the monumental, The Dark Side Of The Moon (1973). The band however has been known to swap vocal duties around between Gilmour, Richard Wright and Roger Waters.

1. AC/DC

At the top of our list is hard rock veterans themselves, AC/DC. The band have had two lead vocalists throughout their career, both marking two iconic periods for the band. Original vocalist was the legendary Bon Scott. Rough and seductive at the same time, Scott graced the microphone on the band’s first seven albums. However, 1980 saw the tragic death of the beloved frontman due to alcohol poisoning and choking on his own vomit after a night of heavy drinking. Brian Johnson then stepped in and began a new classic period for the band. Johnson has contributed to the recording of the band’s followings albums. In a somewhat bittersweet way, the first album to feature  Johnson, Back In Black (1980) is the band’s best-selling of all time.

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