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 Ten

1 Jerry Cantrell - Alice In Chains Jerry Cantrell - Alice In Chains Jerry 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.
2 George Harrison - The Beatles George Harrison - The Beatles George 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.

3 Jason Newsted - Metallica Jason Newsted - Metallica Jason 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

4 Kai Hansen - Gamma Ray, Helloween Kai Hansen - Gamma Ray, Helloween

I put him on low because he's a complicated case - basically he's been a guitarist all the time but he switched several times from lead to backing vox and vice versa:
In Helloween - first lead vox and then backing vox
In Gamma Ray - first backing vox and then lead vox.
Lead vox: Gamma Ray - Rebellion in Dreamland, Land Of The Free, Armageddon - Metal_Treasure

5 Roger Taylor - Queen Roger Taylor - Queen Roger 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

Oh YA! ROGER! All the way! The Best!

How is he not the first?

Oh, I forgot about him. Thanks for adding Mr. Taylor, zxm. - Metal_Treasure

6 Eric Clapton - Cream Eric Clapton - Cream Eric 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..

7 Dave Grohl - Nirvana Dave Grohl - Nirvana David Eric "Dave" Grohl is an American rock musician, multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, producer and film director. He is best known as the former drummer of the hugely popular 90s grunge band Nirvana and the vocalist/guitarist for the alternative rock band Foo Fighters. He has sat behind the more.

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

8 Jon Schaffer - Iced Earth Jon Schaffer - Iced Earth Jon 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

9 Glenn Hughes - Deep Purple Glenn Hughes - Deep Purple Glenn 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

Unrivaled voice and huge contribution to all bands involved with.

10 John Frusciante - Red Hot Chili Peppers John Frusciante - Red Hot Chili Peppers John Anthony Frusciante is an American guitarist, singer, producer and composer.He is best known for his time with the Funk Rock California based band the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

No one can hit high notes like fur isn't especially as a back up vocalist. His singer in desecration smile, under the bridge, and other side are incredible

John has very good backing vocals. Especially in Can't Stop, Sir Psycho Sexy, Venice Queen and Knock me Down.

Just listen to Dosed, the harmonies he makes are incredible and beautiful like no other

Both the By The Way and Stadium Arcadium albums are elevated because of his vocals.

V 4 Comments

The Newcomers

? Mark Tremonti Mark Tremonti Mark Thomas Tremonti is an American musician, singer and songwriter, best known as the lead guitarist of the rock bands Creed and Alter Bridge.

His work in Alter Bridge not only displayed his virtuosity as a guitarist but as a powerful singer. Blending flawlessly with the incredible range of Myles Kennedy, marks smooth, deep vibrato rich backing vocals create a warmth and a powerful town which completes many songs, particularly “come to life”, “waters rising”, “before tomorrow comes” just to name a few. Not only that, but his work in creed also highlights his ability to blend with different singers. “My own prison” was his first introduction to singing at the start of his career and his growth can be seen in the raw power and clarity of tone in the song “a thousand faces”. He has gone on to complete three albums and working on a fourth, and he deserves all the praise in the world as well as Myles, because they’re truly two of the most talented musicians in the world currently and if you haven’t seen their work, check it out. - LachlanM

The Contenders

11 Mat Sinner - Primal Fear Mat Sinner - Primal Fear Mat 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

12 Richie Sambora - Bon Jovi Richie Sambora - Bon Jovi Richard 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

13 Mike Shinoda Mike Shinoda Michael Kenji "Mike" Shinoda is an American musician, rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, graphic designer, manager and film composer.
14 Erich Awalt - Disturbed
15 Steve Priest - The Sweet Steve Priest - The Sweet

He's their bassist. I like his vocals more than the lead vocals, especially on "No You Don't" and "Fox On The Run". The song "Restless" was sung by Steve Priest. - Metal_Treasure

Also, his lead vox (shared) on The Ballroom Blitz are fantastic. - Metal_Treasure

16 Timo Tolkki - Stratovarius Timo Tolkki - Stratovarius Timo 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

17 Jeff Waters - Annihilator Jeff Waters - Annihilator Jeff 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

18 Adrian Smith - Iron Maiden Adrian Smith - Iron Maiden Adrian 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.
19 Jen Ledger - Skillet Jen Ledger - Skillet
20 Daron Malakian - System of a Down Daron Malakian - System of a Down Daron Vartan Malakian is an Armenian–American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer.
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List Stats

200 votes
51 listings
1 year, 158 days old

Top Remixes

1. George Harrison - The Beatles
2. Roger Taylor - Queen
3. Eric Clapton - Cream
1. Jerry Cantrell - Alice In Chains
2. Dave Grohl - Nirvana
3. Eric Clapton - Cream
1. George Harrison - The Beatles
2. Jerry Cantrell - Alice In Chains
3. Glenn Hughes - Deep Purple



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