Top 10 Rock Frontmen

Your votes have been counted - find out who the top 10 rock frontmen of all time are right here.

logo
Ultimate Guitar
19

Rock singers have one of the hardest jobs in the whole music business. Unlike metal frontmen who can get by with a single solid roar, rock frontmen have to sweep across a stunning vocal range while spanning the stage with their crowd-pleasing antics.

Beyond that, they've got to have the charisma to keep the crowd engaged and excited between songs. And when you're stood in front of 100,000 people, it's no mean feat.

This week we asked UG readers to nominate and vote for their favourite rock frontmen and women ever. After hundreds of nominations and thousands of votes, the results are in - but who made it to the top 10? Read on to find out!

10. Axl Rose (Guns N' Roses)

Axl is better known for his voice than his time keeping, but he's rocking on as Guns N' Roses frontman, three decades after the band was formed. Let's hope his next album doesn't take as long as "Chinese Democracy."

YouTube preview picture

9. Chris Cornell (Soundgarden)

With a career that started in Soundgarden in 1984, Chris has stepped in and out of the limelight with several acts including the Rage Against the Machine-infused supergroup Audioslave and with the James Bond theme to 2006's "Casino Royale." Soundgarden reformed in 2010, but recently announced plans to go back on hiatus.

YouTube preview picture

8. Geddy Lee (Rush)

The award-winning singer and bassist for Canada's best love rock band Rush. He's been rocking at the front of this prog outfit since 1968, making him one of the most enduring frontmen of all time - and judging by Rush's exceptional output over recent years, there's plenty of life left in them yet.

YouTube preview picture

7. Bon Scott (AC/DC)

The first great AC/DC singer died in tragic circumstances. He was found in a car after a night of heavy drinking, but not until leaving a legacy of classic albums and heroic live performances. AC/DC went on to greater things, but never forgot the foundations left by their old friend.

YouTube preview picture

6. Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin)

Plant could be the first truly modern rock frontman. He radiated with charisma, slung his voice with charm and had the cry of an army when it suited him. Led Zeppelin was always about every member, but there's no doubt it wouldn't be the same without their legendary frontman.

YouTube preview picture

5. Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)

Kurt was defined by his sudden ascent to fame, which became his downfall. He felt crushed by his celebrity status and turned to drugs, which sent him spiralling towards his eventual suicide in 1994. He was immortalised by a catalogue of powerful music with Nirvana which still rings true with the youth of today.

YouTube preview picture

4. Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam)

Pearl Jam's frontman could be mistaken for a lion, with his powerful roar and thick mane - but it's his ability to connect emotionally with an audience through moving lyrics and a dedicated performance that keeps them coming back for more.

YouTube preview picture

3. Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters)

Grohl promoted himself from Nirvana drummer to fully-fledged rockstar frontman with the Foo Fighters in the 90s. He became a hit machine, and continues to lead the Foo Fighters with a fun-loving attitude that endears him to fans and the press alike. All together now: Fresh pots!

YouTube preview picture

2. Jim Morrisson (The Doors)

The second member of the fateful 27 club in the list, after Kurt Cobain. Jim Morrison died before his time, but was a huge influence on singers in future rock movements. His rebellious attitude was tempered by a poetic streak which could have been his primary career in another life.

YouTube preview picture

1. Freddie Mercury (Queen)

Only one man could top this list. His life was a roller coaster of talent, songwriting and debauchery, and if actor Sacha Baron Cohen had his way it would all be told on the big screen in the long-awaited Queen movie. The band might have blocked those wishes for now, but Mercury's story doesn't matter as much as the music which echoes on. This video at Live Aid could be his defining moment.

YouTube preview picture

That's the end of our list of the top 10 rock frontmen ever. What do you think of the results, and how would you tweak the list? Let us know in the comments below.

317 comments sorted by best / new / date

    shoegazer'
    I think people lack any sort of historical context, putting Grohl as the third best frontman of all time. I'm not even a huge Zepp fan, but I don't believe for one minute that Grohl possesses the singing voice, songwriting talent, charisma, or attitude that made Plant such a wonderful frontman. I honestly believe Dave Grohl would be the first to admit he doesn't belong on this list... he just does NOT. IMO his best role was as a drummer for Nirvana.
    Zoso67
    I love Dave Grohl and he is an entertaining frontman, but he does not deserve to be in the top 10. I'll have fun with this. Here's my top 10 1 - Freddie Mercury 2 - Robert Plant 3 - Mick Jagger 4 - Jim Morrison 5 - Elvis Presley 6 - James Brown 7 - Bon Scott 8 - Eddie Vedder 9 - Steven Tyler 10 - Iggy Pop Honorable Mentions: Jimi Hendrix, Joe Strummer, Geddy Lee, Chris Cornell, Dave Grohl, Liam Gallagher, Bono, Marc Almond, Kurt Cobain, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, David Lee Roth
    Noob_Brood
    Damn...this is an even better list lol. Nice job. Forgot about David Lee Roth...that dude was fantastic.
    webber243
    Now that my friend, is a good list - and although liam gallgher is a twat, not many people hold a crowd like he does!
    sylvain.tellier
    Zoso67 should be in charge of Top Ten lists from now on. His is not a list biased by Grunge enthusiasm (Vedder, Cornell, Cobain and Grohl in the same Top Ten???) Gimme a ****ing break... Might as well keep going with every damn Seattle junkies, Layne Staley, Drew Wood, Mark Arm, etc...
    rockfreak611
    Plant at #6 behind Grohl, Vedder and Cobain?!?! What the actual ****, UG.
    Diresdemolished
    I'm a huge nirvana fan, but cobain is barely a frontman. he plays guitar, he sings and says thank you after every song, and that's about it. Shouldn't be here at all.
    matteo cubano
    Where the hell is roger ****in daltrey
    nl_wilson
    Robert Plant should be way higher. Personally he's my #2 though, all hail Freddie Mercury. I know its votes, but I still dont see how more people could vote for grohl, cobain, and eddie vedder over him. All respect to those guys, I grew up listening to them. But now being able to look back on the history of rock 'n' roll, what changed and why (more importantly-who) it is a pretty clear picture of Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and the late and almighty John Bonham.
    Epi g-310
    Reading comments on UG is like playing Mad Libs. Where's [name of frontman]? [name of different frontman] should be lower on the list. What's [name of another frontman] doing on the list? [gender specific pronoun] isn't even [genre].
    cmvideo
    Having Kurt Cobain above Robert Plant is a crime. Robert Plant is the epitome of rock front man... great voice, sex appeal, stage presence, weird persona... perfect. Kurt Cobain is a good front man for a very specific type pf music... dirty grunge. Plant could front about any rock band and fit in seemlessly. And Dave Ghrol #3 of ALL TIME? Come on now. Can't argue with Freddie being #1 though... I'm not even a big Queen fan, but who commanded the stage and played to the crowd better than Freddie?
    Bleak91
    My opinion: Mick Jagger should be on the list and Robert Plant should be higher... both of them on the top four
    KevinDG
    Grohl better than Kurt? Nope, but Freddie is #1 for sure
    gus_metallica
    I am not sure what is up with these people and Dave. He is seems ok at best. I don't know but Foo Fighters just seems bland to me.
    jclepev
    agree, if there's an overrated artist it is Dave. I just get tired of his voice, and completely forgettable as vocal/guitar player
    sklaiss24
    I agree. I mean Dave Grohl seems like the nicest and coolest guy of all time, and he does what he does very well, but overall he's not that memorable. Every song sounds like Everlong. Opens with a clean guitar, builds up with a nice prechorus, and then the last 3 minutes he's just screaming the chorus line over and over and over. That's what I hear. But don't get me wrong, I love Dave Grohl, but it's very hard to believe that he should be included, and he would 100% agree that he shouldn't be on here considering the people that got left off.
    Ste Ramakers
    yeah but this list isn't "singers from the best rock bands" or "best rock singers", it's "best frontman', and that isn't just judging them on their voice, its stage persona etc, and (in Grohls case) his ability to entertain the crowd, include every single one of those 10000 people, and his sincere stupid grin that makes everyone else enjoy themselves as much as he is.
    sklaiss24
    He's a good frontman, but not nearly the best. I think he's still more entertaining from behind the drum kit myself. Watching Dave Grohl rock the drums is inspiring to watch. He just beats the shit out of them lol. Although, you can tell he's truly enjoying every second of it which is something we can all appreciate. That's what makes him so appealing, but that doesn't make him a great frontman when you consider some of the all time greats that were left off.
    christianonbass
    You brought up a good point: When Nirvana appeared onto the scene and suddenly was all over the radio and MTV we all noticed, "Hey, that drummer wails on those drums!" But I wonder if anyone had a clue that he could have been playing guitar and singing in a band all of that time. I just thought he was a great drummer, then a little while after Kurt died there he was, playing guitar and singing for Foo Fighters! What an amazing talent!
    Toadvine
    Mick Jagger, and Springsteen should be on here.
    DvanG
    Springsteen? Really? Why not include Bon Jovi while we're at it.
    j-mac71
    theres a good ****in reason they call springsteen the boss. his charisma on stage grabs you by the balls who cares about political motivations
    eatfresh1736
    Actually, they call him the boss because despite the fact that he is the frontman of a gigantic band, they must all defer to him in terms of creative license and stuff. It's BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN (and in small fine print "the e street band")
    thkoby
    Comparing Springsteen to Bon Jovi is like comparing The Clash to Sum 41.
    200dbFeedback
    I love both Dave Grohl and Kurt Cobain but I think there is no way that Dave should be rated as a better frontman than Kurt.
    N7Crazy
    Really hoped I'd see some more underrated frontmen (well, underrated on this site at least) such as Ian Curtis or Michael Stipe - But that was just a dream... No, but seriously, it's a pretty good list, with some solid choices, so no complaints from here!
    sklaiss24
    I compare Ian Curtis to Jim Morrison, but he wasn't mainstream enough like Morrison was to get away with only being around for such a short period of time. Michael Stipe would have been awesome to have seen on here: Great and unique voice, interesting stage presence, and great songs. One of my favorite and completely underrated, but REM has got forgotten in the last 10 years or so I'd say, which is sad.
    N7Crazy
    I always wonder what might have happened if Curtis hadn't hanged himself, and Joy Division had broken through to the US. Perhaps he would had been up there taking someone elses spot, say, Axl Rose's But yeah, it would had been awesome if Michael Stipe got the acknowledgement he deserves here - It sad that people stopped really paying attention to them in their final years since Accelerate and Collapse into now were damn fine records, and IMO made them able to step of the stage in knowledge that their final efforts were solid, something few bands can claim who close off at the age R.E.M.
    duane baldwin
    How does Diamond dave lee roth not make the list. Saw him five times back in the day and when he was on there was no one else
    Maiden95
    No doubt, Freddie is far and away the number one choice. Also, Dave Grohl is rock's best frontman at the moment for sure. Good to see Ged from Rush on the list.
    miguel.maria.te
    I think his Grohliness is the best at interacting with the crowd, but i think Ricky Wilson should be here, because if you ever saw Kaiser Chiefs live, you go crazy with the type of shit he does on stage.
    GCanuck_39
    Knew it would be Freddie, quite glad too. A bit surprised Mick Jagger didn't make the cut though.
    smittyanthrax
    Brian Johnson should have been on here.I really dislike the rolling stones but Mick Jagger should have been here probably in the top 3.
    clegtr
    I actually think Paul Rodgers should be on there... He had great stage presence and a great voice in both Free and Bad Company
    codyjt5150
    Sorry if I'm wrong. Eddie Vedder Dave Grohl and Kurt are great musicians. But why the hell are they somehow "greater" than Bon Scott and Robert Plant and Chris Cornell?
    axlizgod
    No way Dave Grohl should be on this list. I think Mike Patton and Mick Jagger definately were overlooked.
    thrill606
    No way Dave shouldn't be on this list. He's modern rock's greatest frontman by far.
    waltb87
    I would kick off Dave Grohl and Chris Cornell, put them in our imaginary top 12 list, and add DLR and Mick Jagger to it and rearrange a few spots.
    JAHellraiser
    I would've replace Bon Scott with Roger Daltrey, and moved Eddie Vedder down a bit. but other than that a pretty solid list. The real question is: how many complaints will this receive? and what will be the stupidest complaint?
    solidrevolver20
    Seriously, what's the love Dave Grohl gets? He's at #3 I mean c'mon Layne obviously deserved to be there more than Dave, I even think people only vote him for being a cool guy and not for his music which is overrated,, anyways I'm Chris Cornell made it.
    satanist39
    Maybe it is just me but I don't understand the hype for Chris Cornell. I just don't enjoy him.What about Lee Roth?
    BealeStBlues
    Check out his live solo album where its just him and an acoustic. Voice is incredible. I agree with you though, he's not a guy that I think of when it comes to over the top stage presence like David Lee Roth.
    Drg23
    If you're speaking about Cornell as a 'frontman', I would agree, he isn't anything special. As a singer, however, Cornell is up there with the best of 'em.
    MattTheGreat
    wait, what? Dave Grohl no. 3 on the list? Don't get me wrong, Grohl is an awesome musician, but higher than Eddie Vedder and Robert Plant? And where the hell is Anthony Kiedis and Steven Tyler?
    GrungeHippie26
    No Layne Staley. No Mick Jagger. You got Dave Grohl in front of Kurt Fucking Cobain. Bitch please.