Top 10 Best Vocal Section Bands

The best singing bands are here!

Ultimate Guitar

The results of this week's WQ are here! As you might remember, we asked you guys to single out the tightest vocal section band, or the group that features the finest vocalists as a whole. Check out the list you rounded up below.

10. Porcupine Tree

Steven Wilson and co. get to kick things off. As TheLiberation kindly noted, the following track just might be "the greatest and most powerful use of multiple/layered vocals ever."

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9. Red Hot Chili Peppers (Frusciante era)

You specifically pointed out that the lineup featuring John Frusciante is the only way to go. John definitely brought something unique to the mix, which you can clearly see in the band's performance.

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8. Simon and Garfunkel

Early masters of vocal harmonies rightfully get a spot on the list. Pretty much every hit they made featured multiple singing layers.

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7. The Beach Boys

Those early classics really featured some stunning vocals. The Beach Boys are up next as a band in which everyone sang, something many of today's younger acts should look up to.

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6. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

They had a rocky relationship, were politically active, and each of the guys got inducted to the Rock Hall twice, but what made them stand out the most are stunning vocal harmonies. It's Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young!

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5. Mastodon

Mr rightintwo summed this one up quite nicely: "Troy brings the demons. Brann gives the melody. Bill brings the screams. Brent brings a really f--ked up squeaky noise I can"t explain. And also weed. And a wooden dick."

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4. Alice in Chains (Layne Staley era)

Once again, a specific era was singled out. And as expected, it's the one featuring late Layne Staley on lead vocals, and of course mastermind Jerry Cantrell bringing in the second set of vocal pipes.

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3. System of a Down

These guys know how to deliver chaos. Serj and Daron might have different voices, but they still manage to harmonize them perfectly.

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2. The Beatles

The other guys are nice, genius even, but the harmonies Beatles brought to the table are just out of this world.

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1. Queen

And the No. 1 singing band is... Queen! Some of you thought of it as a no-brainer, and it turns out it was, as the guys reeled in a hefty amount of votes, more than enough for the gold medal.

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217 comments sorted by best / new / date

    As much of a RHCP addict as I am, I personally wouldn't have out them on this list. Both John and Josh are great vocalists in my opinion, but Anthony is average at best. I think there are other bands that deserve it more.
    I feel so sorry for Josh though. He joins an amazing band and his dream comes true, but everyone just really wants John to return.
    I love Josh, saw them in concert with Josh and it was pretty good. But Josh can never do this
    True that. I hope he can claim his own right on the next album and have more of a presence.
    I agree. RHCP are great at what they do, but since when do their name come up in a conversation about vocal ability/singing. I have seen them live and John's falsetto isn't that great. But obviously most UG members don't agree. Cool.
    Add Mastodon to the list of bands who wouldn't come up in a conversation about vocal ability
    Anthony isn't the greatest but he's unique and fits the Chilis perfectly! Not to mention his fantastic lyrical ability!
    And 50% of his vocabulary consists of words directly related to the state of California.
    I will admit he references California a lot but the lyrics of songs like Scar Tissue, Californication, My Lovely Man, Brendans Death Song, Breaking The Girl, Otherside, Snow etc. are simply beautiful!
    Anthony is pretty mediocre, vocally and lyrically. Frusciante is solid, but he is still just a back-up vocalist in the band, and he's the only one too. I don't get why RHCP is on this list either. They don't have a great vocal section.
    Exactly. I don't listen to RHCP and think "diaam, that's some nice vocal harmony work right there..."
    I disagree. I always thought Anthony's voice was pretty good. John only ever sings back up because his voice is pretty shakey. Listen to him singing falsetto live. I can be pretty painful.
    How are Mastodon ahead of The Beach Boys?!?!
    How are Mastodon even on the list?!?!
    Have either of you actually listened to their music?
    Have you heard them live?
    I have seen them live and it was atrocious. They may be great singers but in no way shape or form do they belong in the TOP TEN of all time.
    They've gotten better and better live as the years have gone by. THey are a great band and you have to hand it to them for having 3/4 members sing well (at least on their own). Should they be on the list? Maybe. At Number 5? No.
    Mastodon's vocals are so weak. A band with three vocalists, and none of them stand out... except for Brent's poor man's Zakk Wylde voice, which is essentially already the poor man's Ozzy, which doesn't set the bar very high to begin with. I like Mastodon a lot, but the only thing that's prevented me from REALLY getting into them is how lacking their vocal section is.
    I disagree. I kinda like Troy's voice. but top lol at your comment about Brent. That was spot on.
    I love Mastodon (I have 2 t-shirts as a proff), but I never really considered them as a really good vocal band.
    This X 10. Great band, but not one single good to great vocalist. Middle of the road in the vocal department, and it's always held them back, in my opinion. System of a Down? Really? The most annoying lead vocalist in recent memory, and Daron sounds like a nail being drug across a piece of glass. Gross. Rest of the list is hard to ague with, though.
    I like SOAD but I can definitely understand people who think they're obnoxious. Lol.
    Oh come on. Where are the Eagles???
    Where are Yes???
    I get up, I get down from Close to the Edge That vocal section gives me chills everytime
    I was thinking some of those 70s prog greats needed mentioning! Even Gentle Giant (especially exemplified on Knots and On Reflection) would have been a refreshing addition on the list. But, more to the point, Yes are brilliant throughout a multitude of their releases with the vocal harmonies for sure.
    They can take Mastodon's spot. Surely, "good vocal section" is the last thing people think of when considering Mastodon's talents
    I have to admit, it's a pretty varied list. But, the vocal harmonies on songs like Roundabout, Close to the Edge, and Siberian Khatru are so great and really add a whole layer to their already big sound.
    Who gives a f**king sh*t. It's just a list for fun and like every other poll, doesn't mean the outcome is the one true top list
    come on man, its been a really long day and i hate the eagles man
    I like RHCP but what the hell are they doing even on this list??
    I think it is pretty obvious that anything dealing with best vocals, best front-men, best singers etc will always have 1 winner....QUEEN
    It's already obvious they're on top of the list.
    To be fair you can't say that Queen didn't deserve the top spot:
    yes you can. the eagles are way way better.
    Floyd Phoenix
    I know I'm late to the party but... The kazoos, horns and whatever other brass and woodwind you think you hear in the midsection is actually just Freddie and Roger messing about with their voices
    They didn't get enough votes. That's how these lists work. This isn't the opinions of whoever at UG wrote/published the list. They asked the question earlier in the week, and put together the list based on the votes in the comments section of that article. So... where are the Eagles? They're hanging out, not being appreciated by the UG userbase as much as Queen, The Beatles and others.
    Alice In Chains in the top 5. Sold
    yes, but wth is with the (Layne era) stuff? Since they have DuVall the focus even more at the vocal harmonies and layers, not just yeah Layne do your thing, Jerry add some background vocals
    Yeah, that was shitty to just throw away the DuVall era stuff. The vocal harmonies are still just as impressive.
    I will still say Tenacious D is an amazing vocal duo! I think much better than Frusciante and Kiedis
    The Beach Boys are number one. The Beatles could only dream of such a vocal standard.
    The Beatles don't dream to be like anybody. If anything, everybody can only dream to be like The Beatles. Get that straight kid
    I like The Beatles. I admire what they done. However, just the title "The Beatles" shouldn't automatically determine them as the greatest of every subjective list they qualify for, although granted they were placed 2nd. The Beach Boys were in my opinion, a superior vocal section band. I'm sure there are numerous other musical aspects of The Beatles which far outweigh the skills of The Beach Boys.
    Can't believe System of a Down made it on this list and the Eagles didn't! Wrong!!
    Pink Floyd?
    Even though we cannot ignore the greatness that is Pink Floyd, they aren't particularly known for their vocals. Roger Waters' voice isn't quite the cleanest and even though David Gilmour's voice is amazing, it's not that special.
    I love the contrast between Roger's harshness and David's softness. Beats RHCP anyway (WTF?).
    I'm sorry to say that but Daron from SOAD is a terrible singer
    I think on record he brings a unique blend that no one else could, but live it's a little bothersome.
    Good list. I still think Aerosmith should be there. I love how Steve and Joe sound when they do their harmonies!
    Queen was a solid choice for #1. Listen to "The Prophet's Song" and "Death on Two Legs" from A Night at the Opera .
    I think Bad Religion deserve an honorable mention. They've got the best backing vocals of any punk band I've heard. The harmonies they call the "Ooh's and Ah's" are fantastic.
    yeah, i was thinking the same thing. they don't get the credit they deserve for their musicianship.
    im always uneasy about weather or not i like mastodon. talented band. but i dont like the vocals so it was always super hard for me to listen to the whole thing.
    That's exactly where I'm at. I go back and forth on them so much, and it's usually because of the vocals.
    This is a pretty solid list. RHCP is a bit of a head-scratcher for me though. Great band, good songwriters, energetic and engaging performers, but not great singers.
    The Everly Brothers were one of the 1st to do this. Influence of The Beatles. I've actually work with one of their kids. Sweet Child O' Mine is written about his sister. Little River Band, Extreme, U2, Police and Def Leppard are great bands with amazing harmonies.
    This list is shit. Def Leppard should've been on here. Their harmonies are legendary. Listen to the chorus from "Photograph" incase you need a reminder, it's on almost every rock radio station all the time still. "Alice in Chains, the Layne Staley era." I'm tired of people shitting all over William DuVall, their current singer and shitty internet publications like UG perpetuating the hate-on with crap like this. News flash *******s, the 2 NEWEST Alice in Chains records are some of their most consistent stuff, and the vocals sound just as good as they ever have. There is an embarrassing amount of motown and soul that belongs on this list instead of crap like Mastodon, system of a down or Porcupine Tree. Jesus Christ, not everyone on UG is a 22 year old naive prog-metal douche-bag. THREE "metal" acts on a list about VOCAL SECTIONS. What a joke.
    OMGOMGOMGOMG I'M FAMOUS Either way, pleasantly surprised by how this list turned out and that it's not as predictable as expected. Although I still think Anathema belongs here without a single doubt.
    Anathema should definitely be on here, I agree. Glad PT made the cut, though.
    That's a shitty list. Queen is very deserving of the #1 spot, but Def Leppard should be at #2.
    The eagles should be on this list. F**k system being on this list, i love em but dont deserve that placement. Hell id even get rid of rhcp to put nickelback in there. Love em or hate em, ryan peake and chad kroeger are vocally tighter than most bands on this list.
    This is possibly the worst out of place list I've yet seen on this site...The only reason Queen is #1 is because of all the Brits that frequent this site. The Beach Boys should be #1 and Mastadon/RHCP/SOAD....give me a freaking break
    Are you serious dude?! Anybody who has listened to the majority of Queen's work know without a doubt that they fully deserve the #1 spot. Although I can definitely understand your frustration about RHCP/Mastodon/SOAD, they don't deserve to be on this list and Beach Boys should be higher so I also agree with that but your statement about Queen is just ignorant. Put in Eagles, Van Halen, and APC instead of RHCP, SOAD, Mastodon for me and that list would be much better.
    This happens every single time... 1. UG posts a subjective list of "best this" or "best that" 2. Everyone freaks out 3. Comment wars What's the point of having these lists? Why do we care about one opinion? :/
    Well, I guess that if you own internet website, it's better for you to have comment wars than no comments.
    Mostly a good list, but I would have left out Mastodon and RHCP, and would have included the DuVall era AiC. I swear the majority of people who hate on the newer AiC haven't even listened to the new records all the way through. The vocal harmonies are still very prevalent and still very chilling.
    Man, when I saw them live at the 9:30 Club in DC they played, "Love hate Love." DuVall impressed me!
    Id swap 1 & 2. Idk why SOAD is here, and I would take the tag (Layne Staley era) off and include the current incarnation of AIC)
    All great bands but I'm sad that The Band wasn't mentioned. Between Levon Helms, Danko, and Robert Manuel, The Band had damn fine vocals
    Absolute Rock-O
    I find Alice In Chains' vocal section with DuVall as good as (if not better than) with Layne. It sounds darker and heavier. Especially songs like Check My Brain, Lab Monkey, Pretty Done and Hung On A Hook
    Bee Gees should be top 3 at least.
    I've been scrolling through the comments waiting to see this. As soon as I saw this article they were the only group that sprang to mind - I believe I gave a rather drunken lecture about how impressive their vocal harmonies are to my girlfriend once.
    How about America, Momma's and Poppa's, Smokey Robinson. Jan and Dean ? And of course THE EAGLES !!!