Top 10 Backing Vocalists in Rock and Metal

Some backing vocalists are very good - maybe not better than the lead singers but still.
There are backing vocalists who:
1) Released solo albums as lead singers
2) Are lead singers for another band (usually less known)
3) Sang whole songs for the same band as lead singers (studio or live)
4) Sang big parts of songs for the same band as lead singers (studio or live)
5) Provide great backing vocals.

The Top TenXW

1Jason Newsted - MetallicaJason Curtis Newsted is an American metal musician, known for being the third bass guitarist with the band Metallica from November 1986 until his departure in January 2001, he was also a part of Voivod and Flotsam and Jetsam.

Long-term Metallica bassist who sang some of their songs live as a lead singer. Not bad at all. - Metal_Treasure

Made their live concerts 10x better

2George Harrison - The BeatlesGeorge Harrison was an English guitarist, singer, songwriter, and music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles.

How ironic; one of the greatest musicians of all time, but only the third best in his own band.

Check out "Something" - The Beatles. - Powerfultekin

3Jerry Cantrell - Alice In ChainsJerry Fulton Cantrell Jr. is an American musician who is best known as the lead guitarist, co-lead vocalist and main songwriter for the rock band Alice in Chains.
4Richie Sambora - Bon JoviRichard Stephen "Richie" Sambora is an American rock guitarist, producer, singer and songwriter who was the lead guitarist of the rock band Bon Jovi for 30 years.

Bon Jovi guitarist released solo albums. - Metal_Treasure

5Roger Taylor - QueenRoger Meddows Taylor is an English musician , multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter born on April 26th,1960 in Kings Lynn, Norfolk. He was the drummer of the band Queen and wrote few of many hits such as including Under Pressure, A Kind Of Magic and Radio Ga Ga. Despite being well known in Queen more.

His high vocals and vibratos complete all the Queen songs like Bohemian Rhapsody, I want to break free and Somebody to love. - Plonderss

V2 Comments
6Eric Clapton - CreamEric Patrick Clapton is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and Cream. He has also been a member of Derek and the Dominos.

Jack Bruce is up front in most of Cream's songs, with a few notable exceptions..

7Glenn Hughes - Deep PurpleGlenn Hughes is an English rock bassist and vocalist, best known as a member of Deep Purple and the rock pioneers Trapeze, and his solo career. Hughes was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Deep Purple. He is acclaimed for his wide vocal range.

He was the bassist and backing vocalist during the Coverdale era. Later he started a solo career as a lead singer and bassist. - Metal_Treasure

He did lead vocals on an entire Black Sabbath album (Seventh Star, 1986). - Metal_Treasure

8Mike ShinodaMichael Kenji "Mike" Shinoda is an American musician, rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, graphic designer, manager and film composer.
9Adrian Smith - Iron MaidenAdrian Frederick "H" Smith is an English guitarist, best known as a member of Iron Maiden, for whom he writes songs and performs live backing vocals on some tracks.

He backed up vocals in Iron Maiden and was the lead singer of a band called Urchin for 8 years. - Powerfultekin

10Mat Sinner - Primal FearMat Sinner is a bassist, vocalist, songwriter and record producer from Stuttgart, Germany. He is best known as the bassist and primary songwriter for the metal band Primal Fear.

Primal Fear bassist is the lead vocalist for his band Sinner (mostly hard rock). Check out:
Sinner - Every Second Counts, Born To Rock, All Men Are Heroes, Call My Name - Metal_Treasure

The Newcomers

?Steve Harris - Iron MaidenStephen Percy "Steve" Harris is an English musician and songwriter, known as the bassist, occasional keyboardist, backing vocalist, primary songwriter and founder of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden.
?Malcolm Young - AC/DC

The Contenders

11Kai Hansen - Gamma Ray, HelloweenV1 Comment
12Dave Grohl - NirvanaDavid Eric "Dave" Grohl is an American rock musician, multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and producer. He is best known as the drummer for the grunge band Nirvana and the vocalist/guitarist for the alternative rock band Foo Fighters.

This man is a rock god in and of himself... There is no other.

13Brian Head Welch

Korn's besting backing vocalist seperated and formed Love and Death.

14Chris Fehn - SlipknotV1 Comment
15Richard Wright - Pink FloydRichard William "Rick" Wright was an English musician, composer, singer and songwriter. He was the main keyboardist and a backup vocalist for the psychedelic and progressive English rock band, Pink Floyd .
16Timo Tolkki - StratovariusTimo Tapio Tolkki is a Finnish musician best known as the former guitarist, songwriter and producer of the power metal band Stratovarius.

Provided lead vocals for 10 years (1985-1994) and then backing vox. He handed over lead vocal duties to Kotipelto because Tolkki was handling all lead and rhythm guitars, and at times bass guitar (until 1993). Tolkki wanted to concentrate on his guitar work and songwriting because he was almost the sole composer of the band. - Metal_Treasure

17Jon Schaffer - Iced EarthJon Ryan Schaffer is an American heavy metal musician. He is best known as the guitarist and last remaining original member of the Florida-based heavy metal band Iced Earth, which he formed in 1985 under the name "Purgatory".

Rhythm guitarist who sang entire songs for Iced Earth (ex., Stormrider) and provides lead vox for his side project 'Sons Of Liberty'. Not bad. - Metal_Treasure

Check out the song Stormrider, his vocal performance is fantastic! - Metalmaniakkk

18Daron MalakianDaron Vartan Malakian is an Armenian–American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer.

Well he was / is the lead guitarist of System of a Down and he also sang in many of the bands songs along with Serb.most notably lonely day and lost in Hollywood.he also started a solo project - Toucan

19Jen Ledger - Skillet
20Jeff Waters - AnnihilatorJeff Waters (born February 13, 1966) is a Canadian metal musician and founder of the metal band Annihilator . He's best known as the guitarist for Annihilator, appreciated for his fast riffs and solos . Waters is also the primary songwriter in the band . Very often he has taken on the role of lead singer, more.

Annihilator guitarist provided lead vocals for 3 entire Annihilator albums and some songs on other albums. Also, his backing vox on Alison Hell are more interesting than the lead vox. I wouldn't say he's a great singer but pretty good for thrash.
Songs he sang entirely - 21, King of the Kill (youtube videos available) - Metal_Treasure

PSearch List

Recommended Lists

Related Lists

Greatest Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Vocalists Best Hard Rock / Heavy Metal Vocalists Best Modern Metal and Rock Vocalists Best Backing Metal Vocalists Most Talented Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Vocalists

List StatsUpdated 9 Dec 2016

100 votes
47 listings
120 days old

Top Remixes (5)

1. George Harrison - The Beatles
2. Roger Taylor - Queen
3. Eric Clapton - Cream
1. Richard Wright - Pink Floyd
2. George Harrison - The Beatles
3. Roger Taylor - Queen
1. Jason Newsted - Metallica
2. Brian Head Welch
3. Chris Fehn - Slipknot

View All 5


Add Post

Error Reporting

See a factual error in these listings? Report it here.