F*CK ROLLING STONE: WHO ARE THE GREATEST HEAVY METAL SINGERS OF ALL TIME?
(Rolling Stone ballot filled out by James Hetfield of Metallica.)
I just finished reading the latest issue of Rolling Stone (#1066/11.27.08) which has a cover story entitled “The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.” Not surprisingly, the metal contingent representation is dismal. Oh sure, they tapped several genre luminaries to place their votes including Ian Astbury, Sebastian Bach, Alice Cooper, Chris Cornell, Ronnie James Dio, Sammy Hagar, James Hetfield, Tony Iommi, Maynard James Keenan, Geddy Lee, Peter Mensch (Q Prime Mgmt – Metallica, Queensryche), Ozzy Osbourne, Iggy Pop, and Scott Weiland, but what about the actual list? How many metalheads (or at least “rockers”) made the final cut?
Here are the pathetic results:
#15 – Robert Plant
#45 – Kurt Cobain
#64 – Axl Rose
#75 – Iggy Pop
#99 – Steven Tyler
Hetfield even gets a mention…albeit as a singer who was influenced by #82 Tom Waits. Otherwise…bupkis! And, truthfully, these five guys are more about “rock” and “punk” than metal.
As a result, I say, fuck you Rolling Stone! We here at MetalSucks will create our own list of the best metal singers ever. You can have your Whitney Houston (#34), Christina Aguilera (#58), and Mariah Carey (#79).
So, dear MetalSucks readers, if you would please do me the honors and list your favorite metal singers of all time, we can tell Rolling Stone to get a clue. There is no criteria for what constitutes the best singer — they can be growlers, Cookie Monsters, banshee wailers, air raid sirenistas, BM screechies, operatic divas, nu-rappers, grunters, vomitous pukers, arena rockers, strictly showmen and women, or sex kittens — just as long as they are metal in any variation of the genre.
I’ll throw my phlegm-encased microphone shield into the ring first:
12. Paul Baloff – (Exodus) – horrible diction, silly lyrics, painful screams, yet there is something undeniably brilliant about his work on one of the seminal thrash albums of all time, Bonded by Blood. So bad they kicked him out of the band and now hundreds of wannabe thrashers and death metallers ape his style. R.I.P.
11. John Bush – (Armored Saint/Anthrax) – this is for his Armored Saint days only. Listen to anything on Delirious Nomad and tell me you would not have loved to hear him with Metallica (as was once almost a reality).
10. Serj Tankian (System of a Down/solo) – love his quirkiness and almost comic book approach mixed in with death grunts and staccato craziness.
9. Tom G. Warrior (Celtic Frost/Hellhammer) – Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!! Bowel-shaking baritone beats baby bands blindfolded.
8. Chris Notaro– (Crumbsuckers) – he was despised by many back in his band’s heyday, but his style is now emulated by practically every metalcore and deathcore band today. Just don’t hold it against him.
(TIE) David Brinkman– (Angkor Wat) – see Chris Notaro. Sorely overlooked lead man who gargled glass, loved horror flicks, and worked a stage better than Ashley Dupre serviced Eliot Spitzer. Band mates went on to join NIN (Danny Lohner) and Ministry (Adam Grossman).
7. Chuck Mosely– (Faith No More) – street bum skater dude that ran circles around his poppy replacement Mike Patton. Technically, he was a horrible singer, but Mosely made you feel like he really did just step off of skid row (the place, not the band) and into a multi-colored rave moshpit skatefest and did not care if he was the center of attention or not (even though he obviously was).
6. James Hetfield– (Metallica) – if we could conveniently ignore everything from 1991 on (even though I despise TBA, he still sings like his old self on it), he would easily be in my top three. This is the real world, however, so he is not.
5. Michael Haaga– (deadhorse) – should have been as big as Pantera. Every heavy band working today owes this man and his band a debt of gratitude even if they have no idea who he is or who deadhorse were.
4. John Joseph– (Cro-Mags/Bloodclot) – greatest hardcore singer ever. His voice would make you giddy with a child-like glee because of his bouncy cadence and then he could seal your sphincter shut with his violent belches of anger and sneering tones that he probably used growing up in the streets of NYC. For real.
3. Ronnie James Dio– (Dio/Elf/Rainbow/Black Sabbath/Heaven and Hell) – Devil Horn creator, soaring vocal gymnast, midget with bigger balls than Bon Scott and John Holmes combined, and one rockin’ grandpappy. Old Fart Seal of Approval.
2. Rob Halford– (Judas Priest/Fight/Two) – Screaming barrier breaker. The ultimate heavy metal God with range, depth, complexity, and full on hot rockin’ vox that slay to this day.
1. Bruce Dickinson – (Iron Maiden/Samson/solo) – greatest front man in any genre whatsoever. Soaring vocals, powerful lungs, great stage presence combined with killer musicianship and Eddie make for one of the greatest spectacles of all time, including outside the world of music. Also, one of the smartest, funniest, and kindest blokes you will ever meet.