Best Grunge Singers

The Top Ten
1 Layne Staley - Alice In Chains Layne Thomas Staley was an American musician who served as the lead singer and co-songwriter of the rock band Alice in Chains, which he founded with guitarist Jerry Cantrell in Seattle, Washington in 1987. Alice in Chains rose to international fame as part of the grunge movement of the early 1990s. ...read more.

Though Layne may not have had as large of a vocal range as Chris Cornell, Layne Staley has quite arguably a more powerful voice over the rest of the "Big Four" of grunge. Layne had so much raw and gritty emotion in all of his songs. From the vocal masterpiece that is "Love, Hate, Love" to the growls and eerie harmonies of "Dam That River" and "Dirt." And When speaking of harmonies, the great "Sickman" clearly comes to mind. And don't even get me started on "Frogs (Unplugged)" which truly shows all the emotion and energy Layne had in his performances. Just, AAAAH! It's all so good. It's clear that Layne remains the winner for beset grunge vocalist.

Regardless of how you feel about alice in chains to nirvana, or to soundgarden or pearl jam, or mother love bone etc, Layne deserves to be number one why? Were talking about vocal talent here and this guy not only had a big range but he also had a voice that would grab you and take you away from whatever you were doing. Jerry cantrell said he would make awesome vocal melodies just like that, and despite his drug addiction he was still able to keep a great voice, some times better than others though. Plus he was a great song writer, he had so much emotion and passion when he sang and you could feel his pain.R.I. P Layne, Andrew, Kurt.

Let's be honest here, this discussion should come with an asterisk stating #1 is Layne Staley, and we can argue about everyone else. No one else sings with the same raw emotion or overpowering harmonic greatness as Layne Staley.
Nirvana may have started the 90s rock movement, and Pearl Jam may have become the most consistent group to emerge from Seattle, but no one had more of an impact on future rock & metal bands than Alice In Chains. The guy was just that rare, once-in-a-generation voice that comes along where everyone who is stopped dead in their tracks when they hear it for the first time.
From the tortured screams of 'Them Bones'; the surprisingly melodic 'Man In The Box'; to the soulful channeling of 'Rooster'; or the soaring harmonies atop the thundering 'Would? ', no one did it as well as Layne Staley.

Easily the number 1 spot. Yes, Chris Cornell started the Grunge genre with Soundgarden and is a phenomenal vocalist, but Layne's sound will never be matched. Those powerful inhuman notes he belted out with the satisfying rasp was a god given gift. He left this world way too soon and had he not died, Alice in Chains would definitely be on EVERYONE'S top 3 bands list. As for the top 3 Grunge vocalists, Kurt shouldn't be in 2nd.. Chris Cornell is my 2nd with Vedder following in 3rd. Nirvana had a great sound but Kurt is not a stand alone vocalist. Don't get me wrong, I love Kurt and I think that he was a great artist, but he couldn't even come close to touching the level that Layne and Chris were at. There would be a very noticeable change to music as a whole if Layne was never in the picture. He was an influence to a great number of notable singers, most of which are personal favorites of mine. Though his style will never be 100% replicated, his sound will forever be heard by all of the ...more

2 Chris Cornell - Soundgarden Christopher John "Chris" Cornell was an American rock musician and singer-songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist, primary songwriter and rhythm guitarist for Seattle rock band Soundgarden and as former lead vocalist and songwriter for the supergroup Audioslave. His vocal range was C2 to A5, while ...read more.

Easily the best of the genre and frankly it's not even close. I absolutely love Layne and AiC as well, but Cornell is simply better than Staley in every quantifiable way. He could belt notes that Staley couldn't even get near in falsetto, his mid chest voice had more power and he could hold notes for longer. If people prefer Layne because of the music that's one thing, but claiming that Layne was better than Chris in any technical sense is just objectively wrong.

In my opinion, technically, no one compares to Chris. Layne and Eddie are close behind, and realistically, outside of the Top 3, it falls off dramatically. Cornell's eyes conveyed so much raw emotion, and you could almost hear the pain in his voice. Both Chris and Layne were taken way too soon,

Chris is my #2, a HUGE number of famous Grunge bands would've never been heard outside of Seattle if Chris Cornell and Soundgarden didn't exist. This pioneer and his band was a driving force behind the genre. Not only does he have a unique sound with technicality and a range untouched by anyone on this list (aside from Layne), his creativity alone is enough to put him high on anyone's list of most influential artists. Not many artists can standalone and captivate an audience equally with/without their band. We lost Layne, but we still have Cornell and he is never going to stop cranking out new material. Kurt had a good sound going for him with Nirvana, but as a stand alone vocalist, he doesn't come close to Cornell or Layne and he shouldn't be in the top #3 vocalists. Nirvana deserves to be a notable band in Grunge, but if someone thinks that they created the genre or was the best out of them all, then they are just on the bandwagon. Real Grunge fanatics know Soundgarden set it in ...more

A truly unique voice, amazing range . Powerful lyrics, so much depth showed vulnerability in his voice so gentle listening to sun showers to so gritty and unique in when in sound garden to even more depth and edge in like a stone , highway , pretty much every track off audio slaves first album. Sadly missed gave us all so much. Such a distinctive amazing voice , what a gift to us all especially seeing him sing with his beautiful daughter

3 Eddie Vedder - Pearl Jam Eddie Vedder is an American musician, singer and songwriter best known as a member of the rock band Pearl Jam, with whom he performs lead vocals and is one of three guitarists.

A gifted singer and song writer, amazing voice , gentle yet strong a true story teller
Get lost into another world another time when I hear black and release me .

People keep saying cornell had better range and cornell, may he RIP did have an amazing voice but eds is just as amazing and people don't get that octaves and note ability make up the whole package. eds voice to me and writing ability and my god the electrifying stage presence and literally how the music moved thru him so visibly back in the day...no comparison. staleys voice no way compared to these guys it was mostly deep, gritty and yes powerful but to me in a more basic way. saying that I love laynes music too. aic great. kurts voice quirky and perfect for nirvana but really technically not so good.

He has a very unique voice, and extra points that now, he is about the only grunge/90s alternative singer left now that Chris Cornell is dead, and he was the only singer of the grunge era not to get hooked on heroin.

Eddie vedder is the best because of his lyrics. But Chris cornell has the best voice. Love layne staley and no one else sounds like him but a lot of people forget that Cantrell wrote Alice in chains songs.

4 Kurt Cobain - Nirvana Kurt Cobain was born February 20, 1967, in Aberdeen, Washington. In 1987, he started the grunge band Nirvana, which became one of the most successful bands ever. He was a talented yet troubled grunge performer. Kurt Cobain became a rock legend in the 1990s with his band. He committed suicide at his ...read more.

Nirvana was by FAR the best grunge band of all time. Put cobain to number one please, he's one of my top 5 singers EVER!
R.I.P Kurt Cobain.

he was the voice of a generation. His voice is just so raw but that's what so iconic and awesome about it. His talking voice is so different. He should be #1. Also I know he didn't start grunge, but it was Nirvana's Nevermind that put grunge into the mainstream and made the other grunge bands get more attention because before they were just little known rock bands from the Washington area.

Voice of grunge... with Layne and Chris Cornell . All are so talented and so hot ! All such distinctive amazing voices . Evoke such much emotion and energy .

The way his talking voice is kind of course goes to show you how much he is dedicated to singing. For instance listen to the song Territorial Pissings to show you how far he goes for music. If you are talking lyrical wise listen to Heart-Shaped Box or Polly.

5 Scott Weiland - Stone Temple Pilots Scott Richard Weiland was an American musician, singer and songwriter. During a career spanning three decades, Weiland was best known as the lead singer of the band Stone Temple Pilots from 1989 to 2002 and 2008 to 2013.

Scott Weiland has the most diverse range. From his soft acoustic versions of Sour Girl, Wonderful, Atlanta or Kitchenware and Candybars, to the fast and powerful Sex Type Thing, Meat Plow, No way Out, Dead and Bloated, etc... Then he can do great pop melodies like Big Bang Baby, Trippin on A Hole, Interstate Love Song and Days of the Week. Who else on this list can pull off all those songs, not only in the studio, but in one live setlist as well!
Amazing performer, writer, vocalist!

So many memories of good times listening to stone temple pilots, a unique voice, so much talent . Music so much better than today's music

By far the most versatil. Enchanted us with his vocals in Plush, Creep, Sex type Thing, surprised us with his vocals on Tiny music album, his voice was changed in No.4 and Shangri La Dee Da and he still surprised us with songs like Sour Girl, Atlanta, Wonderful

From STP to Velvet Revolver to his solo career this guy has the most diverse range. He can sing soft with smooth balanced vocals, and he can sing loud and rock arenas.

6 Jerry Cantrell - Alice in Chains Jerry Fulton Cantrell Jr. is an American musician, singer-songwriter and guitarist best known as the founder, lead guitarist, co-lead vocalist and main songwriter of the rock band Alice in Chains.

Only 5 % for one of the best voice of the grunge bands? Even if he never was the leadsinger, his voice is so important! And let's not forget: he wrote and sang with his partner Layne grunge/blues, grunge/rock, grunge/Gospel, NOT ONLY metal! I think people should have to listen more to "Sap" and"Jar Of Flies"!

Not even the actual singer of AIC but still an amazing backing vocalist. Him and Layne did some of the best harmonising in music.

Jerry was a great singer on his solo albums. I think he is just as good as Layne and now he is the lead singer in Alice In Chains

Just listen to jar of flys nutshell to feel this mans spirit . To Harmonize with Layne the way he did was pure magic

7 Billy Corgan - Smashing Pumpkins William Patrick "Billy" Corgan Jr. is an American musician, songwriter, producer, television writer, poet, and professional wrestling promoter best known as the lead singer, guitarist, and sole permanent member of The Smashing Pumpkins.

His whining is just legendary. Maybe he isn't the best for the grunge movement (that's quite a surprise for me as I've known him as part of the alternative movement) but for the music he used to write his voice is the icing on the cake. So much passion and rawness combines with ultradistorted and uberoverdubbed guitars is just what makes SP stand out from the all the 90s groups. Its kust like combining the old things (Black Sabbath/Dio/Rhandy Roads/Sonic youth/the smiths/joy division) along with some 90s neopunk attitude. that's what makes Gish Siamese dream and Melon collie and infinite sadness my favourite albums of the 90s.
Peace out

8 Dave Grohl - Foo Fighters 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 ...read more.

What?! Dave needs to be in the top 10! He has such an amazing voice! Get Corgan the hell outta there. Dave is a music icon and along with that has the voice to back it up. This is a shame; listen to the Foo Fighters.

Love him but is it grunge?

9 Gavin Rossdale - Bush Gavin McGregor Rossdale is an English singer, songwriter, musician, and actor, and is the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the rock band Bush.

Definitely a post-grunge legend. This guy has been dubbed a Kurt Cobain rip off by most, but if you really listen to this dude his voice is something else.

One of the most powerful voices of the 90s!

Guy's got one hell of a voice.

10 Mark Arm - Mudhoney

Though I believe layne staley is the best singer on this list and alice in chains are the most talented, they were more metal than grunge and even jerry cantrell admitted to that. staleys voice wasn't grungy enough in my opinion. saying that, I believe kurt cobain had a grungier voice than staley, but the man with the best overall grungiest voice was Mark arm. Eddie Vedder even said marks voice was grungier than his and Chris Cornell's (both excellent vocalist) his voice just screamed grunge at its finest. still though, though it makes me happy to see staley at the top of the list, it make me unhappy to see it at the top of of a grunge list ):
Now if the list was the best singer of the the 90s laynes voice wins hand down. IN MY OPINION

The Contenders
11 Andrew Wood - Malfunkshun

An extremely gifted singer with a most touchingly unique voice. Layne Staley was definitely a far better singer than most of the people on this list ( and Kurt Cobain doesn't even come close to having as magnificent a talent as him ), but in terms of versatility and sheer listening pleasure, I'd vote for Andrew Wood any day. Case in point: "Chloe Dancer/Crown Of Thorns". 'enough said.
P:S - I strongly feel that Andrew should have been listed as a member of Mother Love Bone instead of Malfunkshun.

12 Aaron Lewis - Staind Aaron Lewis is an American musician, who is the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and founding member of the rock group Staind, with whom he has released seven studio albums.

Amazing voice. Such great range and power. Also check out his solo covers.

13 Mark Lanegan - Screaming Trees

16th? Really? He's the best singer

His voice is just increadible, it's deep, rough, intense..., well you know, he doesn't need to do much effort to sing because even his speaking voice is mesmerizing.

Underrated vocalist and better than most of the vocalist listed here.I would put him in at #5 behind Vedder.And majestic red hair

14 Kevin Martin - Candlebox

Amazing voice, listen to he calls home, cover me, or far behind, beautiful range and by far one of the most grunge voices out there.

15 Ed Kowalczyk - Live

Great range, great power, great passion, and some great songs to complete the package, I get chills when I hear the opening of The Dolphins Cry. And nails live performances, one of my favorite vocalists ever, deserves to be top 10 on this list!

Best range by far!

16 Benjamin Burnley - Breaking Benjamin Benjamin Jackson Burnley IV is an American musician, composer, and producer, best known as the founder and frontman of the American rock band Breaking Benjamin.

An amazing song-writer and vocalist. Love his voice!

17 Andrew Wood - Mother Love Bone

Andy Wood opened the door for the grunge bands that followed. Incredible stage presence, with song writing ability and a voice to match. Had he not passed so early on in his career, there would have been no Pearl Jam. But Mother Love Bone would have been just as big.

18 Adam Gontier - Three Days Grace Adam Wade Gontier is a Canadian musician and songwriter. He is the lead singer, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter for Saint Asonia, but is best known as the former lead singer, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter of the Canadian rock band Three Days Grace.

The best hard rock singer I have ever heard, number one with james hetfield from Metallica. just listen to never too late by three days grace and you will understand. Adan is awesome!

He deserves to be in top 10 instead of Shaun Morgan. He's scream is so heavy and beautiful. much better then Shauns and Dave's. It's my opinion.

The best vocal ever after Chester Bennington...he is the best..simply the best

He deserves number uno

19 William DuVall - Alice in Chains

Amazing replacement that is often overlooked. It is because of him that one of my favorite bands are alive and well today.

He is a really smart and great fit for replacing Layne.

20 Todd Lewis - Toadies

He's got a very solid grungy voice that I think deserves some attention on this list.

21 Chester Bennington - Grey Daze Chester Charles Bennington (March 20th, 1976 - July 20th, 2017) was an American musician, singer, songwriter and actor, best known for being the lead singer of Linkin Park. He also participated in side projects like Julien K and Dead By Sunrise and was briefly the lead vocalist of Stone Temple Pilots ...read more.
22 Tad Doyle - Tad

Easily one of the harshest vocalists, he went hard when considering the fact that Tad as a group seemed to be a very heavy band to begin with. They weren't quite metal and nowhere near as "nice" as other groups like Audioslave or AIC, but they were the most intense grunge band around. Sadly underrated as a band, Tad's vocals were rough, and being slightly out of tune much of the time seemed to add to the expression that he sought in the music. I truly enjoy their music and the vocal expression that is put into the sound.

23 Shaun Morgan - Seether Shaun Morgan Welgemoed, known publicly as Shaun Morgan, is a South African musician and singer for the post-grunge/alternative metal band Seether.

Upon first hearing, Shaun Morgan's voice sounds like every other Kurt Cobain wannabe. But something will compel you to listen longer, and that's just the sheer passion behind the voice. Morgan excels with his incredible full filled and strong voice, making it perfect for heavy rock songs. However it's in the softer acoustic songs where he really shines, he has complete voice control, even in his whimpers. Unlike Cobain in Unplugged, Morgan seems at his most comfortable when he's at his purest. He really is a step above all his peers in this genre, and yes, that include Cobain.

No one has a voice like Shaun... I don't care about who started grunge. Morgan is above them all. I've never heard anyone be so raspy yet soft and tender at the same time, and neither have you. YouTube 'Seether Fake It 98 rock' and click on the first selection. Bottom line... Grunge is about emotion. And Shaun delivers more of that than anyone I've heard.

I would like to vote shaun morgan because no: 1 well he is alive! No: 2: His lyrics and vocal timing is brilliant! No 3: Out of all the recent post grunge band or whatever you call them, he definitely stands out. I would rank him number 1. If Cobain was alive, he would by number 1 for sure.

I suspect that had Shaun Morgan been born in the US or UK, and not in South Africa, then he would have received the recognition that he deserves. He voice is incredible and better than anyone else unplugged.

24 Ben McMillan - Skin Yard

Everyone talks about people ripping off Eddie Vedder's voice, but Ben was around before Pearl Jam existed and he hasn't got any credit for his band or voice. Ben should be in the top ten, because his band is an actual grunge band( not like smashing pumpkins, Foo Fighters, three days grace, or seether, don't get me wrong, there good bands/singers but there not grunge).

Skin yard 1984-1992. Gruntruck 1989-1996.

25 Quorthon Tomas Börje Forsberg, known by the stage name Quorthon (1966-2004), was a Swedish musician. He was the founder, songwriter, vocalist and guitarist of the band Bathory, which pioneered the black metal genre and is credited with creating the Viking metal style. A multi-instrumentalist, Quorthon wrote ...read more.

Now before you all say "That's not a grunge singer! " Take a listen to Purity of Essence, Quorthon's grunge album.

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