100 Greatest Hard Rock/Metal Vocalists of All Time
by Michael Fairbrother

 

Each * = 10 votes (number of times the vocalist has appeared in lists)
(with the last star rounded to the nearest tenth)
I have put together this list of the best hard rock/metal vocalists, scoured and
collected from sources found in every corner of the internet that I could find.
My exhaustive research culled from a myriad of “Greatest Rock/Metal Vocalists”
lists have resulted in this tiered format. In the event of a tie, I arranged the
singers in the order I thought best fit the following three criteria (in order of importance):
#1 – Performance (vocal control, resonance, power, vibrato, articulation, phrasing,
dynamics, quality, uniqueness, technique, harmony, range, emotion, etc.)
#2 – Influence (inspiration for other singers; made a mark with a particular vocal
style; or simply the “Wow Factor” on listeners)
#3 – Presence (charisma, likeability, stage performance, popularity, etc.)
The added trio of songs for each vocalist were either personally selected by me as
the best representation of the singer’s vocal prowess, or were common selected
recommendations of the source lists, or are well-known fan favorites. As with all
lists, these selections are subjective, so let me know your opinions.
===================================================================
01 – RONNIE JAMES DIO (RAINBOW / BLACK SABBATH / DIO / ELF)
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** **
-“Stargazer”, “Heaven And Hell”, “Holy Diver”

02 – GEOFF TATE (QUEENSRYCHE / OPERATION MINDCRIME / SWEET OBLIVION / SOLO)
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
-“Roads To Madness”, “Neue Regel”, “Eyes Of A Stranger”

03 – ROB HALFORD (JUDAS PRIEST / FIGHT / 2WO / HALFORD)
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***
-“Beyond The Realms Of Death”, “Blood Red Skies”, “Desert Plains”

04 – BRUCE DICKINSON (IRON MAIDEN / SAMSON / SOLO)
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***
-“Hallowed Be Thy Name”, “Flight Of Icarus”, “Tears Of The Dragon”

05 – RUSSELL ALLEN (SYMPHONY X / ADRENALINE MOB)
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ****
-“Lady Of The Snow”, “Candlelight Fantasia”, “When All Is Lost”

06 – JAMES LABRIE (DREAM THEATER / WINTER ROSE / MULLMUZZLER/SOLO)
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***
-“Pull Me Under”, “Lifting Shadows Off A Dream”, “Shores Of Avalon”

07 – MIKAEL AKERFELDT (OPETH)
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *
-“Will O The Wisp”, “Next Of Kin”, “Voice Of Treason”

08 – HANSI KURSCH (BLIND GUARDIAN / DEMONS & WIZARDS)
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *
-“My Last Sunrise”, “Age Of False Innocence”, “Thorn”

09 – STEVE PERRY (JOURNEY / SOLO)
***** ***** ***** ***** **
-“Why Can’t This Night Go on Forever”, “Wheel In The Sky”, “Rubicon”

10 – ANN WILSON (HEART / SOLO)
***** ***** ***** ***
-“Crazy On You”, “Barracuda”, “Alone”
===================================================================
11 – ROBERT PLANT (LED ZEPPELIN / SOLO)
***** ***** ***** **
-“Friends”, “Stairway To Heaven”, “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”

12 – DAVID COVERDALE (WHITESNAKE / COVERDALE-PAGE / DEEP PURPLE /SOLO)
***** ***** ***** **
-“Still Of The Night”, “Sailing Ships”, “Last Note Of Freedom”

13 – FREDDIE MERCURY (QUEEN / SOLO)
***** ***** ***** *
-“The Show Must Go On”, “Who Wants To Live Forever”, “Innuendo”

14 – JAMES HETFIELD (METALLICA)
***** ***** ***** *
-“The Unforgiven”, “The Unforgiven II”, “The Unforgiven III”

15 – ROY KHAN (CONCEPTION / KAMELOT)
***** ***** ***** *
-“Lunar Sanctum”, “Into The Wild”, “Farewell”

16 – DANIEL GILDENLOW (PAIN OF SALVATION / THE SEA WITHIN)
***** ***** *****
-“Waking Every God”, “Iter Impius”, “Shore
Serenity”

17 – MATT BARLOW (ICED EARTH / ASHES OF ARES / PYRAMAZE)
***** ***** *****
-“Come What May”, “Year Of The Phoenix”, “Melancholy (Holy Martyr)”

18 – WARREL DANE (NEVERMORE / SANCTUARY)
***** ***** *****
-“Heart Collector”, “Your Chosen Misery”, “Emptiness Unobstructed”

19 – TARJA TURUNEN (NIGHTWISH / SOLO)
***** ***** *****
-“Passion And The Opera”, “Away”, “The Archive Of Lost Dreams”

20 – OZZY OSBOURNE (BLACK SABBATH / SOLO)
***** ***** *****
-“Over To You”, “Spiral Architect”, “The Writ”
===================================================================
21 – BRAD DELP (BOSTON / RTZ)
***** ***** *****
-“Peace Of Mind”, “A Man I’ll Never Be”, “Can’tcha Say/Still In Love”

22 – DENNIS DEYOUNG (STYX / SOLO)
***** ***** ****
-“Come Sail Away”, “Suite Madame Blue”, “Queen of Spades”

23 – SEBASTIAN BACH (SKID ROW / SOLO)
***** ***** ****
-“I Remember You”, “Quicksand Jesus”, “Wasted Time”

24 – IAN GILLAN (DEEP PURPLE / GILLAN / BLACK SABBATH / IAN GILLAN BAND)
***** ***** ****
-“Child In Time”, “She Tears Me Down”, “Perfect Strangers”

25 – RAY ALDER (FATES WARNING / REDEMPTION / ENGINE / SOLO)
***** ***** ****
-“Nothing Left To Say”, “The Eleventh Hour”, “Island In The Stream”

26 – AMY LEE (EVANESCENCE)
***** ***** ***
-“Lost In Paradise”, “My Immortal”, “Sweet Sacrifice”

27 – DAVID BYRON (URIAH HEEP / ROUGH DIAMOND / THE BYRON BAND)
***** ***** ***
-“July Morning”, “Rain”, “Pilgrim”

28 – LOU GRAMM (FOREIGNER / SHADOW KING / BLACK SHEEP / POOR HEART / SOLO)
***** ***** ***
-“Waiting For A Girl Like You”, “Break It Up”, “Jukebox Hero”

29 – ANDRE MATOS (VIPER / ANGRA / SHAMAN / SYMFONIA / SOLO)
***** ***** **
-“A New Moonlight”, “Reaching Horizons”, “Fairy Tale”

30 – JOE ELLIOTT (DEF LEPPARD)
***** ***** **
-“Fractured Love”, “Hysteria”, “Ring Of Fire”
===================================================================
31 – JOEY BELLADONNA (ANTHRAX / SOLO)
***** ***** **
-“Armed And Dangerous”, “Stand Or Fall”, “Raise Hell”

32 – PAT BENATAR (SOLO)
***** ***** *
-“Promises In The Dark”, “Invincible”, “Hell Is For Children”

33 – STEVE WALSH (KANSAS / STREETS / KHYMERA / SOLO)
***** ***** *
-“Carry On Wayward Son”, “Dust In The Wind”, “Point Of Know Return”

34 – KLAUS MEINE (SCORPIONS)
***** ***** *
-“Still Loving You”, “Rock You Like A Hurricane”, “Blackout”

35 – JOE LYNN TURNER (FANDANGO / RAINBOW / DEEP PURPLE / SUNSTORM /
MOTHER’S ARMY)
***** ***** *
-“Stone Cold”, “Street Of Dreams”, “King Of Dreams”

36 – FABIO LIONE (RHAPSODY / LABYRINTH / VISION DIVINE / ANGRA)
***** ***** *
-“Warrior Of Ice”, “Storm Of Emotions”, “Carry On”

37 – JEFF SCOTT SOTO (YNWGIE MALMSTEEN / TALISMAN / W.E.T. / AXEL
RUDI PELL / SOUL SIRKUS)
***** *****
-“I’ll See The Light Tonight”, “Black Moon Pyramid”, “Another World”

38 – MICHAEL KISKE (HELLOWEEN / AVANTASIA / PLACE VENDOME /…MORE)
***** *****
-“We Got The Right”, “March Of Time”, “Key To The Universe”

39 – GORAN EDMAN (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN / JOHN NORUM / MADISON /GLORY / STREET TALK)
***** *****
-“Devil In Disguise”, “Back On The Streets”, “Pictures Return”

40 – MILJENKO MATIJEVIC (STEELHEART)
***** *****
-“She’s Gone”, “I’ll Never Let You Go”, “Say No More”
===================================================================
41 – ERIC ADAMS (MANOWAR)
***** *****
-“Kingdom Come”, “Black Wind, Fire, And Steel”, “Carry On”

42 – MIKE PATTON (FAITH NO MORE / MR. BUNGLE / TOMAHAWK /…MORE)
***** *****
-“Midlife Crisis”, “Just A Man”, “Ashes To Ashes”

43 – DAVE MUSTAINE (MEGADETH)
***** *****
-“Countdown To Extinction”, “Use The Man”, “A Secret Place”

44 – ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN (THE GATHERING / THE GENTLE STORM /
VUUR / SOLO)
***** ****
-“On Most Surfaces”, “The Martyr And The Saint”, “Strange Machines”

45 – FLOOR JANSEN (AFTER FOREVER / NIGHTWISH / REVAMP /NORTHWARD)
***** ****
-“Intrinsic”, “Silence From Afar”, “Timebomb”

46 – ZAK STEVENS (SAVATAGE / MACHINES OF GRACE / CIRCLE II CIRCLE / ARCHON ANGEL)
***** ****
-“Edge Of Thorns”, “Handful Of Rain”, “Morning Sun”

47 – PAUL RODGERS (FREE / BAD COMPANY / THE FIRM / THE LAW /QUEEN / SOLO)
***** ****
“Midnight Moonlight”, “Electricland”, “All Right Now”

48 – JORN LANDE (ARK / VAGABOND / MASTERPLAN / SOLO)
***** ****
-“Crying”, “Starfire”, “Kind Hearted Light”

49 – DON DOKKEN (DOKKEN)
***** ****
-“Walk Away”, “Dream Warriors”, “Unchain The Night”

50 – STEVE OVERLAND (FM / WILDLIFE / SHADOWMAN / OVERLAND /GROUNDBREAKER / THE LADDER)
***** ****
-“Frozen Heart”, “Someday”, “Only The Strong Survive”
===================================================================
51 – RAY GILLEN (BADLANDS / RONDINELLI / PHENOMENA)
***** ****
-“Sun Red Sun”, “The One That Got Away”, “No Retreat, No Surrender”

52 – BOB CATLEY (MAGNUM / HARD RAIN / SOLO)
***** ****
-“On A Storyteller’s Night”, “Wild Swan”, “Back In Your Arms Again”

53 – JON OLIVA (SAVATAGE / PAIN)
***** ****
-“Strange Wings”, “In The Dream”, “Gutter Ballet”

54 – MICHAEL ERIKSEN (CIRCUS MAXIMUS / CARNIVORA / THE MAGNIFICENT)
***** ***
-“The Galaxy Within”, “Zero”, “Angel”

55 – MARK BOALS (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN / ROYAL HUNT / FOUNDRY /RING OF FIRE / VINDICTIV)
***** ***
-“Day”, “Lady Babylon”, “You Don’t Remember, I’ll Never Forget”

56 – MICHAEL VESCERA (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN / LOUDNESS / OBSESSION / MVP/ DR. SIN)
***** ***
-“Twenty Five Days From Home”, “I Can’t Wait”, “Missing You”

57 – DC COOPER (ROYAL HUNT / SILENT FORCE / SOLO)
***** ***
-“Hold On”, “River Of Pain”, “I’ll Be There”

58 – JIMI JAMISON (SURVIVOR / COBRA / TARGET / SOLO)
***** ***
-“Burning Bridges”, “Man Against The World”, “Looking At You”

59 – GEDDY LEE (RUSH / SOLO)
***** ***
-“Distant Early Warning”, “Presto”, “Fly By Night”

60 – GLENN HUGHES (TRAPEZE / DEEP PURPLE / BLACK SABBATH / SOLO/ …MORE)
***** ***
-“I Don’t Want To Live That Way”, “Holy Man”, “No Stranger To Love”
===================================================================
61 – MAYNARD J. KEENAN (TOOL / A PERFECT CIRCLE)
***** ***
-“Schism”, “By And Down The River”, “Weak And Powerless”

62 – BON SCOTT (AC/DC / FRATERNITY / SOLO)
***** ***
-“If You Want Blood”, “Jailbreak”, “Ride On”

63 – TONY HARNELL (TNT / WESTWORLD / STARBREAKER / SOLO)
***** **
-“10,000 Lovers (In One)”, “Love’s Dying Wish”, “Intuition”

64 – CHRIS CORNELL (SOUNDGARDEN / AUDIOSLAVE / TEMPLE OF THE DOG)
***** **
-“Say Hello 2 Heaven”, “Jesus Christ Pose”, “Fell On Black Days”

65 – PETER STEELE (TYPE O NEGATIVE / CARNIVORE)
***** **
-“Black No. 1”, “September Sun”, “Green Man”

66 – SHARON DEN ADEL (WITHIN TEMPTATION / MY INDIGO)
***** *
-“Angels”, “Keep On Breathing”, “Iron”

67 – TOBIAS SAMMET (EDGUY / AVANTASIA)
***** *
-“Tears Of A Mandrake”, “Ghost In The Moon”,“Pandora’s Box”

68 – SIMONE SIMONS (EPICA)
***** *
-“Never Enough”, “Solitary Ground”, “Dreamscape”

69 – NILS K. RUE (PAGAN’S MIND)
***** *
-“Celestial Calling”, “Live Your Life Like A Dream”, “Twilight Arise”

70 – CRISTINA SCABBIA (LACUNA COIL)
***** *
-“Closer”, “I Like It”, “One Cold Day”
===================================================================
71 – TONY MARTIN (BLACK SABBATH / MOLLO-MARTIN / EMPIRE /FORCEFIELD / SOLO)
***** *
-“Violet Moon”, “Without Your Love”, “Run Like The Devil”

72 – MIKE BAKER (SHADOW GALLERY)
***** *
-“Deeper Than Life”, “Say Goodbye To The Morning”, “Hope For Us”

73 – JOEY TEMPEST (EUROPE)
*****
-“The Final Countdown”, “Superstitious”, “Tomorrow”

74 – TIMO KOLTIPELTO (STRATOVARIUS / CAIN’S OFFERING / SOLO)
*****
-“Hunting High And Low”, “Morpheus In A Masquerade”, “Into The Blue”

75 – TOMMY SHAW (STYX / DAMN YANKEES / SHAW-BLADES / SOLO)
***** *
-“Renegade”, “Come Again”, “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)”

76 – GARY CHERONE (EXTREME / VAN HALEN / TRIBE OF JUDAH)
*****
-“Song For Love”, “Year To The Day”, “Where Do We Go From Here”

77 – LAYNE STALEY (ALICE IN CHAINS / MAD SEASON)
*****
-“Rooster”, “Man In The Box”, “Nutshell”

78 – SCOTT WEILAND (STONE TEMPLE PILOTS / VELVET REVOLVER)
*****
-“Plush”, “Still Remains”, “Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart”

79 – MARIUSZ DUDA (RIVERSIDE / LUNATIC SOUL)
*****
-“Schizophrenic Prayer”, “Lament”, “Time Travellers”

80 – STEVEN TYLER (AEROSMITH)
*****
-“Dream On”, “What It Takes”, “Angel”
===================================================================
81 – KIP WINGER (WINGER)
*****
-“Blind Revolution Mad”, “Headed For A Heartbreak”, “Miles Away”

82 – BRIAN JOHNSON (GEORDIE / AC/DC)
*****
-“House Of The Rising Sun”, “Who Made Who”, “Hope You Like It”

83 – ALICE COOPER (SOLO)
*****
-“Only My Heart Talkin'”, “Poison”, “House Of Fire”

84 – MIDNIGHT (CRIMSON GLORY / SOLO)
****
-“Dream Dancer”, “Eternal World”, “Painted Skies”

85 – JOHN WEST (ARTENSION / ROYAL HUNT / TEN MAN PUSH /SAGE’S RECITAL / SOLO)
****
-“History’s The Future”, “Judgement Day”, “Phoenix Rising”

86 – ROBERTO TIRANTI (LABYRINTH / WONDERWORLD / MANGALA VALLIS)
****
-“The Last Frontier”, “Falling Rain”, “Sour”

87 – TOM S. ENGLUND (EVERGREY / REDEMPTION / SILENT SKIES)
****
-“Black Undertow”, “Oceans”, “I’m Sorry”

88 – DANIEL HEIMAN (LOST HORIZON / HARMONY / DIMHAV)
****
-“The Kingdom Of My Will”, “From Southern Shores”, “You Are”

89 – TONY KAKKO (SONATA ARCTICA / NORTHERN KINGS)
****
-“My Land”, “The Wind Beneath My Wings”, “The Last Amazing Grays”

90 – GRAHAM BONNET (RAINBOW / ALCATRAZZ / THE MARBLES /FORCEFIELD / MSG / IMPELLITERRI)
***
-“Eyes Of The World”, “Money Talks”,“Leviathan”
===================================================================
91 – SAMMY HAGAR (VAN HALEN / SOLO)
***
-“Eagles Fly”, “Right Now”, “Love Walks In”

92 – ANDREW MCDERMOTT (THRESHOLD / YARGOS / SARGANT FURY /
POWERWORLD)
***
-“Pay The Price (Why?)”, “Tomorrow”, “Echoes Of Life”

93 – JON BON JOVI (BON JOVI / SOLO)
***
-“She Don’t Know Me”, “The Price Of Love”, “I’d Die For You”

94 – AXL ROSE (GUNS N’ ROSES)
***
-“You Could Be Mine”, “November Rain”, “Sweet Child O’ Mine”

95 – ROBIN MCAULEY (MSG / GRAND PRIX / FAR CORPORATION / MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST / SOLO)
**
-“Anytime”, “Shake The World”, “Standing On The Edge”

96 – JOHN WAITE (BAD ENGLISH / THE BABYS / SOLO)
**
-“So This Is Eden”, “Possession”, “Straight To Your Heart”

97 – DAVE BICKLER (SURVIVOR / SOLO)
**
-“Eye Of The Tiger”, “Summer Nights”, “I Never Stopped Loving You”

98 – DAVID LEE ROTH (VAN HALEN / SOLO)
**
-“Little Dreamer”, “Light Up The Sky”, “Little Guitars”

99 – CHESTER BENNINGTON (LINKIN PARK)
**
-“Shadow Of The Day”, “One More Light”, “Final Masquerade”

100 – PHIL ANSELMO (PANTERA / DOWN / SUPERJOINT)
**
-“Cemetary Gates”, “Cowboys From Hell”, “Shattered”
===================================================================
HONORABLE MENTIONS:
===================
Perhaps one or two of your favorite singers were not mentioned in the Top 100, I
know some of mine were not. It was a bit disheartening to find that some of the
most amazingly talented singers in the world were barely a blip on the radar
screen. Most either ranked very low or not shown up at all. In any case, I have
listed many of them below.
JOHN LAWTON (LUCIFER’S FRIEND / URIAH HEEP / ZAR / REBEL /SOLO)
ARNO MENSES (SIEGES EVEN / SUBSIGNAL)
GARY HUGHES (TEN / SOLO)
LANA LANE (SOLO)
PHIL COLLINS (GENESIS / SOLO)
LITA FORD (THE RUNAWAYS / SOLO)
ANETTE OLZON (NIGHTWISH / ALYSON AVENUE)
ERIC CLAYTON (SAVIOUR MACHINE)
NICK HOLMES (PARADISE LOST)
DAN SWANO (NIGHTINGALE / …AND A TON MORE BANDS)
TED PILOT (FIFTH ANGEL)
JEFF MARTIN (THE TEA PARTY)
KAI HANSEN (GAMMA RAY)
DORO PESCH (WARLOCK / DORO)
JACK BLADES (NIGHT RANGER / DAMN YANKEES / SHAW-BLADES /
THE REVOLUTION SAINTS)
DAMIAN WILSON (THRESHOLD / LANDMARQ / HEADSPACE / MAIDEN UNITED)
BERNIE SHAW (URIAH HEEP / GRAND PRIX / STRATUS / SOLO)
LEE AARON (SOLO)
PHIL LYNOTT (THIN LIZZY / SOLO)
ROBIN BECK (SOLO)
BILLY SQUIER (PIPER / SOLO)
FIONA FLANAGAN (SOLO)
JOHN BUSH (ARMORED SAINT / ANTHRAX)
SANDI SARAYA (SARAYA)
JANET GARDNER (VIXEN)
VALENSIA (SOLO)
TILO WOLFF (LACRIMOSA)
APOLLO PAPATHANASIO (SPIRITUAL BEGGARS / FIREWIND / EVIL
MASQUERADE)
HARRY CONKLIN (JAG PANZER)
PHIL MOGG (UFO)
PAUL DI’ANNO (IRON MAIDEN / DI’ANNO / BATTLEZONE / SOLO)
RIK EMMETT (TRIUMPH / SOLO)
BURTON C. BELL (FEAR FACTORY)
GLENN DANZIG (DANZIG / MISFITS / SAMHAIN)
KURT COBAIN (NIRVANA)
ERIC MARTIN (MR. BIG / SOLO)
GLYNN MORGAN (THRESHOLD)
CHARLOTTE WESSELS (DELAIN)
TONY MILLS (SHY)
ROBBY VALENTINE (SOLO)
RONNIE ATKINS (PRETTY MAIDS)
JEFF CANNATA (CANNATA / ARCANGEL)
KEITH SUDANO (ETERNITY X)
BIFF BYFORD (SAXON)
FRANK DIMINO (ANGEL)
CLAUS LESSMANN (BONFIRE)
MARC STORACE (KROKUS)
MIKE TRAMP (WHITE LION)
JAMES DEWAR (ROBIN TROWER)
DANIEL TOMPKINS (TESSERACT)
JAMES CHRISTIAN (HOUSE OF LORDS)
EDDIE VEDDER (PEARL JAM)
DAVID GLEN EISLEY (GIUFFRIA / DIRTY WHITE BOY / STREAM)
JOAN JETT (JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS)
DAVE GROHL (FOO FIGHTERS)
BRIAN VOLLMER (HELIX)
LEMMY KILMISTER (HAWKWIND / MOTORHEAD)
BILLY IDOL (SOLO)
MICHAEL OLIVIERI (LEATHERWOLF)
KELLY HANSEN (HURRICANE / FOREIGNER)
ERIC BLOOM (BLUE OYSTER CULT)
DONALD ROESER (BLUE OYSTER CULT)
JEFF KEITH (TESLA)
JACK RUSSELL (GREAT WHITE)
ANTHONY CORDER (TORA TORA)
AL FRITSCH (DRIVE, SHE SAID)
DANNY VAUGHN (TYKETTO / WAYSTED / FROM THE INSIDE / SOLO)
RANDY JACKSON (ZEBRA)
DAVID DEFEIS (VIRGIN STEELE)
DAVE MENIKETTI (Y&T)
JIM GILLETTE (NITRO)
HEATHER FINDLAY (MOSTLY AUTUMN / ODIN DRAGONFLY / MANTRA VEGA/ SOLO)
OLIVIA SPARNENN (MOSTLY AUTUMN / BREATHING SPACE)
JOHN ARCH (FATES WARNING)
PAUL STANLEY (KISS)
STEPHEN PEARCY (RATT / ARCADE / SOLO)
GARY WEST (SHOOTING STAR)