The vocalist is typically referred to be the “de facto boss of the situation” when analyzing the structure of any significant rock band. The majority of the top bands in the world use the vocalist as the mouthpiece to assist sell whatever they’re trying to convey, and they have the microphone in their hands. But there’s always more to a band than the lead vocalist, and groups like Oasis and Aerosmith realized they could hang around behind the microphone as well.
Even while some of the band’s silent musicians may be recognized by fans as a certain voice, certain songs have a way of shaking things up and bringing out other players to sing a song. Each musician fits the lead role wonderfully, creating a distinct vibe from what listeners would generally hear on the album, even though this is typically the result of egos and people trying to exert their dominance in the group.
Since not every musician has the same vocal range, adding a new vocalist allows musicians to show off their versatility by using various voice timbres. Even while the lineup may not have changed, the tone has shifted, giving the impression of listening to an entirely new band.
Since the original vocalist is all that most fans are familiar with, it’s wonderful to hear someone else’s perspective on the band. This will allow the singer to breathe a little more between onstage belters. Even though many fans might not have anticipated it, including these songs on the album gave the whole track much more personality.
10 rock songs that are not performed by the lead singer:
‘Cold Dark World’ – Weezer
The Red Album stands out a little bit when compared to the rest of Weezer’s catalog as a whole. This album was primarily about the band attempting new things whenever they could, for better or worse, even if it is wedged between two of the more divisive songs in their discography. Even while ‘Troublemaker’ has lost favor with listeners over time, the record’s most daring moments occur when Rivers Cuomo isn’t on the mike.
Every band member takes the lead on a song in the second half, with Scott Shriner’s “Cold Dark World” unquestionably being the finest of the group. The song, which Shriner originally wrote as a warm-up exercise to keep his fingers going before performances, is far less frightening thematically than it seems as Shriner sings of wanting to court a woman whatever she wants.
While Shriner portrays the more cynical side of Cuomo’s geeky nature, Cuomo can be heard providing the song’s backup vocals toward the conclusion, and their voices merge pretty well. Shriner ultimately sang the B-side song “King,” demonstrating his vocal talents even more in the background. This is the ideal case of Weezer taking a chance and having it pay out, especially in light of all of the experimental catastrophes that occurred on Raditude afterward.
‘Liquid State’ – Muse
Muse won’t ever actually be in need of a lead vocalist as long as Matt Bellamy is still in the group. Bellamy’s theatrical style of singing has guided the band into arena-sized rock and roll arenas throughout the years, putting on some huge rock extravaganza that seems destined to reach other planets. His delivery is equal parts, Freddie Mercury and Thom Yorke. For most progressive performers, change is a constant, and sometimes being progressive entails Bellamy taking a backseat.
The back part of their electronic album The 2nd Law actually has two songs performed by bassist Chris Wolstenholme amid the more glitchy elements. ‘Liquid State’ is undoubtedly the better of the two songs, written on his battles with alcoholism over the years, even though ‘Save Me’ may be a good simple ballad about his own troubles. Although the song’s riff may be evocative of the band’s heavier side, which is heard on songs like “Stockholm Syndrome,” Wolstenholme’s lower register works much better for this song and breaks up Bellamy’s high-end vocals.
Wolstenholme is no slouch either; he adds a lot more drama to his voice every time he hits the peak of each chorus even when they perform the song live. Even though he probably won’t ever take Bellamy’s place, songs like this one allow the other men to show off their skills a bit more.
‘Medicine Jar’ – Wings
After quitting The Beatles, Paul McCartney didn’t really need to start a brand-new band. Despite the fact that Paul McCartney and Wings may have made music well together, there’s a solid reason why the record business referred to them as ‘Paul McCartney and Wings’ for a long time. This was done to make sure that everyone understood that the former Beatle was writing the majority of the songs. After Band on the Run ignited the world, Macca decided it was time to distribute lead vocal responsibilities more evenly.
Denny Laine had been a part of the group from the start, but Jimmy McCullough provides the strongest voice on a Wings album that isn’t by Paul. He adds a lot of swagger to the song “Medicine Jar.” Being the new kid in the band, McCullough comes through with a tune that was almost too perfect for Wings’ first arena rock endeavor, fusing the sounds of Aerosmith-style boogie rock with the more technical prowess of a song like ‘Money’ by Pink Floyd. While the song’s pace and groove are ideal for a rock performance, the lyrics are far more somber as McCullough discusses the death rate in rock and roll, counting the number of his friends who have died as a result of drug use and the perils of narcotics.
It’s just bad he never bothered to heed his own counsel, passing away from a heroin overdose not long after Wings split up. This song has a certain attitude that is absent from much of Wings’ other work, but it also shows how terrible that medicine jar can be.
‘Mankind’ – Pearl Jam
It wasn’t always the greatest to be a Pearl Jam member in the mid-1990s. Pearl Jam had their fair share of issues before Kurt Cobain’s death, including taking on Ticketmaster and becoming increasingly eccentric on their album Vitalogy, which had a few moments that left fans perplexed, even though grunge had already started to lose its luster. Why not give Stone Gossard some time in front of the microphone because No Code was the project where the ‘everything goes’ mindset was in effect?
‘Mankind’ is really one of the rare moments of hope on this record, even though Gossard had already been working double-time on his side project, Brad, at this time. Eddie Vedder’s attempts to minimize his status as a rock star resulted in songs like “Off He Goes” and “Red Mosquito” that were either excessively aloof or outright alienating. Aside from those songs, this is essentially a pure power pop song, with Gossard’s delivery being considerably different from what is typical of a Pearl Jam release.
While he doesn’t have Eddie Vedder’s shrill voice and is a touch hesitant on stage, it works well in the song’s setting by giving it a somewhat new-wave vibe when he had to shout out the lyrics. It’s good to hear one of the rare times the band was truly having fun because No Code may have been the album where their morale was at its lowest.
‘In the Cold Cold Night’ – The White Stripes
Numerous fans have wrongfully criticized Meg White’s position in the band for as long as The White Stripes have existed. Even if she fills pale in comparison to what Jack is accomplishing on the guitar and at the microphone, it was always the goal to infuse each of their songs with a whimsical, even childlike quality. Meg was capable of being much more ominous when she so desired.
After getting into the rhythm of Elephant, the White Stripes immediately launch into one of their most eerie songs, “In the Cold Cold Night,” which is propelled along by Jack’s dead simple acoustic guitar riff and features Meg singing about being left outside in the cold and pleading for help. Even if there isn’t much happening, what it does capture is much more intriguing than the instruments themselves.
It nearly feels as though you are right there on the route with Meg, attempting to carve a path through snow in the moonlight, waiting for someone to come to your aid. There are just those few components to lead the way. However, the song ends before any of those persons arrive, leaving it unclear as to what exactly transpires. She may still be out in the cold right now, for all the listener knows.
‘Walk on Down’ – Aerosmith
There won’t be any discussion about why Steven Tyler is Aerosmith’s main singer. Tyler’s interpretations of his sexual experiences, which combined the voices of Mick Jagger and Robert Plant into one voice, served as the ideal backdrop for hard rock enthusiasts to relive the ’70s. Tyler always had Joe Perry as his sidekick in his mischief, thus it was high time Joe Perry get some attention in the 1990s.
Perry would occasionally switch off on lead vocals with Tyler on songs like “Combination,” but “Walk on Down” marks one of the first occasions he takes over the full tune. Although Get a Grip is regarded as one of the group’s “sell-out” albums, Perry is in terrific form and brings the same vigor to his performance as his heroes Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards.
It’s good to hear a song every now and then that pays homage to historic inspirations like The Yardbirds, especially during a period when the majority of Aerosmith fans were spoon-fed pop masterpieces like “Cryin” and “Amazing.” Does he intend to take Tyler’s place any time soon? No, however, this is a good palate cleanser from the rock that has been scrubbed clean.
‘Coming Down Again’ – The Rolling Stones
The majority of rock and roll vocalists who have come and gone throughout the years continue to imitate Mick Jagger’s style of delivery. Jagger was always affected by the more blues-based vocalists he heard in his childhood, such as John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters, tapping into something a little more primal in his delivery. While there are seeds of everyone from Little Richard to Chuck Berry in his delivery, Mick Jagger was always influenced by these artists. However, there were always two “Glimmer Twins,” and by the time the band began recording Goats Head Soup, Keith Richards was wearing his emotions on his sleeve.
It’s simple to detect the tiredness in Keef’s voice on “Coming Down Again,” as if he’s coming off another heroin binge, despite the fact that they are still riding the high of their great productivity on albums like Exile on Main Street and Sticky Fingers. Although the lyrics would seem that this song is about drugs, he is actually dealing with other complex situations in his life, such as the breakdown of his love relationships and his attempts to make peace with Brian Jones, who had to be sacked from the band and passed away soon after.
Richards is the only person who could have done this song properly, portraying the lonesome troubadour seeking to find some peace at the end of the day, despite the fact that Jagger may have his sensitive side on ballads like “Angie.” The rock and roll way of life might sound like fun, but if this song is any indicator, it can also be very taxing on a person.
‘Marigold’ – Nirvana
According to Dave Grohl, he never in a million years imagined adding any songs to the Nirvana discography. Grohl realized that he would never be able to destroy the synergy that existed when he played the drums to Kurt Cobain’s songs, transforming those straightforward recordings into something exceptional, even with all of his brilliance working with the Foo Fighters. Cobain was intrigued by one of his demos, which was hidden on the B-side of “Heart Shaped Box.”
It’s simple to tell that “Marigold,” which was recorded during the In Utero era, is more worn-out the moment it starts playing; it nearly sounds like a demo of the song’s intended tone. The song is just based on a few chords, but Grohl already has a knack for hooks. The majority of the time, he stays true to the core melody, and the chorus builds gradually with the most basic drumming ever recorded by Nirvana. Despite Cobain’s original interpretation that the rest of the band could participate, the truly collaborative Nirvana record would never materialize, inspiring Grohl to found Foo Fighters as a new artistic outlet.
At the earliest Foo Fighters concerts, this song was continually shouted out by fans, which greatly irritated Grohl over the years. However, Grohl appears to have found peace with his straightforward little song that launched the grunge era after years with it in the rearview.
’39’ – Queen
Who the heck even cared if the other members of Queen could sing? Since Freddie Mercury was the perfect showman and the composer of “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Don’t Stop Me Now,” no one needs to worry about singing when he is a member of the band. The more delicate songs occasionally need the touch of a different band member, even if they may have had the musical equivalent of a Ferrari behind the mike.
A folksy song served as the centerpiece of “39,” which was performed by Brian May doing his best imitation of Bob Dylan while also singing in tune. The twist in this song takes the worn-out narrative device of a man setting sail in quest of new places and has the hero boarding a spacecraft in an effort to spend a year away from his family in pursuit of his real calling. While the song’s story is rather fanciful, the production is just as intricate as any other Queen song, with Roger Taylor’s falsetto accompanying the trip portion before bursting back into the song.
In the final line of May’s song, in which he explains that the main character has been traveling at lightspeed for a year and returns to Earth that has aged a century, can still be heard Mercury singing in the background, proving that certain voices never fully go away. The time dilation effect is returning after years, yet I’ve only aged a year, what’s going on? It appears that Christopher Nolan took notes.
‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ – Oasis
There was a reason Liam Gallagher was given the responsibility of singing each and every one of the fantastic songs that Noel Gallagher composed for Oasis. Liam was always known as the rock star in the group, and the attitude he brings to each and every one of their great songs is unequaled by any other rock vocalist from the ’90s, regardless of how much his voice may have degraded over the years. Noel did choose to preserve one classic for himself when it was time to go up to the major leagues.
When they were recording the tunes for What’s the Story Morning Glory, Noel, who always reserved his solo songs for the B-side of singles, gave Liam a little bit of an ultimatum, telling him that he could either sing this song or “Wonderwall.” ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ may be Noel’s single greatest achievement as a songwriter, rivaling such timeless masterpieces as ‘Hey Jude’ and ‘Stairway to Heaven’ while Liam chose the song that would become the soundtrack of open mic nights all over the world.
Every element of this song is just right, moving around the chord changes as Noel tells the tale of what sounds like a bittersweet breakup song, which may or may not have been a true story of what occurred when he was living on the road. The vocals have a distinctly British flair. On the other hand, if people don’t dig into it, this song doesn’t necessarily have to be about a breakup. Everyone has a few setbacks in life, and it is their choice whether or not to react negatively.