Best Grunge Singers

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The Top Ten

1 Layne Staley - Alice In Chains 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.

Now this is actually a top ten list with merit. Staley was by far the best singer of this group. I give props to Cornell and of course Jerry Cantrell, but as far as sheer god given talent. Layne shines brighter than anyone else here. RIP Angry Angel

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.

A great singer that can really rasp very well, and also hit high notes at the same time. He's awesome, and so is Alice in Chains.

Taking a look at all vocal aspects you can see that Layne could overcome in a general view all of the other grunge singers:
-He had an almost 4 octave vocal range (similar to Chris)

-In his best days he sounded better live than at studio (love hate love, junkhead)

-He could sing slow and acoustic songs with a clean voice that expressed infinite sadness

-He could rasp those high notes with the iconic sound of grunge

-And most of all you can see that he sang with loads of passion that could express anger or sadness.

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2 Chris Cornell - Soundgarden 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.

Chris Cornell was the best singer, Layne Staley brought forth the most emotion, and Kurt had an imperfect voice but it worked just as well.

"no one sings like you anymore" chris cornell

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 - xMaGiKx

Listen to Jesus Christ Pose and tell me he isn’t the best. He has such a great range with an incredible amount of powerful emotion! He is by far my #1. Layne is good, Chris is great.

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3 Eddie Vedder - Pearl Jam 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.

I'm aware that most grunge fanatics look at eddie and PJ as the softer side of the genre, and I would have no problem what so ever in putting any of the top4 in the number one spot of this list. Chirs cornell was technically the most gifted having the widder range of them all, layne was probably the one to sing with more emotion and had a versatility that was second to none, although he only did shine the brightest when next to cantrell, kurt had the grungiest voice, as in the most imperfect yet amazing one, but the only real reason he is even is this discussion is due to romantic figure he has become, and last but definitely not least eddie vedder, for me the best voice in grunge, he might no be as edgy as others in here, but the melody in his tenor and baritone deep voice, in my opinion, gets the first place every time, not to mention that he is the only one out of the four that truly rose from his music and sheer talent alone and not because his self destructive, angry charisma ...more

He is great, that's it.

The one problem with Eddie (aside from everyone after him trying to copy his vocal style) is I could rarely ever understand what the hell he was singing. - truckturner

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.

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4 Kurt Cobain - Nirvana

kurt cobain is definitely, without doubt, the best singer of any GENRE, grunge or not!
this voting definitely SMELLS LIKE A TEEN SPIRIT

his voice was the real voice that could define grunge music... how many can say they have a voice like his... he's truly no. 1!

best ever

Super iconic and just absolutely amazing

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5 Scott Weiland - Stone Temple Pilots 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.

One of the most underrated voices of that era. I list him a close 3rd, behind Cornell and Staley. Scott's voice was very Bowie-esque, with a layer of Jim Morrison (two of his biggest influences). A vocal chameleon, his voice could go from gritty and powerful; most notably with STP's "grungier" Core debut and songs like "Sex Type Thing" and "Dead and Bloated", to a little bit Country; think "Big Empty"; to open and crooning in songs like "Atlanta" and "And so I know" - which truly showcased the depth and range in his voice, and then all out rock and roll in Velvet Revolver's "Slither" and the hauntingly powerful "Fall to Pieces". - Not to mention the fact that he wrote everything. A literal aresenal of timeless hits and lesser known beauties. And if you ever saw STP live in their heyday, you couldn't deny he was one of the best frontmen ever to grace the stage. RIP

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.

Easily the most versatile. Amazing band

Most well rounded of them all. Not even close. STP is on the radio more than the others. Awesome versatility

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6 Jerry Cantrell - Alice in Chains 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.

He was also a solo artist. I still think Layne had a greater gift, though.

Listen to his performance in Down in a Hole Unplugged and you will understand why he is one of the best

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 - Sabbath

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7 Billy Corgan - Smashing Pumpkins 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 Gavin Rossdale - Bush 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.

Actually, most people would consider him more like Eddie Vedder and Bush is somewhere in-between grunge and post-grunge but I agree he does have his own style. - PewPewAssassin

9 Dave Grohl - Foo Fighters 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?

Lol he can't sing

He can't sing

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

Underrated. - Gruunge

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.

Best singer of the 90's grunge era lost to soon

Andy wood
Kurt cobain
Layne staley
Mark arm
Eddie vedder - qaz9999

12 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.

13 Adam Gontier - Three Days Grace 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.

He has a better voice than kurt

The greatest voice in Post-Grunge ever

He deserves number uno

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

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14 Benjamin Burnley - Breaking Benjamin 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!

15 Todd Lewis - Toadies

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

16 Aaron Lewis - Staind 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.

I am not sure staind is grunge, but AL is amazing, listen to covers of Tool (sober), AIC Nutshell n Pearl Jam, Black or Garden n you will hear what I mean, grunge voice for sure.

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 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!

He was great

19 Shaun Morgan - Seether 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.

Shaun is able to sing in a wide range and he sounds great. He is the best screamer in rock. Every time he sings, he displays such emotion.

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20 Tad Doyle - Tad
21 Mark Lanegan - Screaming Trees

Awesome vocalist, deep voice and resonates

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.

I was expecting at least top five, number one in my list

16th? Really? He's the best singer

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22 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.

He was the true grunger singer, and the grunge Goldman.

23 Quorthon 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.

24 Thom Yorke - Radiohead
25 Shannon Hoon - Blind Melon Shannon Hoon - Blind Melon

It's a shame! Shannon deserve a place in the top 3, along with Layne & Chris!

26 Buzz Osborne Buzz Osborne Buzz Osborne is an American musician, and composer. He is mostly known for the lead vocalist of the American Sludge Metal band "The Melvins".
27 Daniel johns

Better than kurt and for me he's a better singer than layne but not as a rock singer johns was genius and he has to go back to silverchair and make badass music again

The best of the best

28 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.

29 Brett Scallions - Fuel
30 Mac Powell - Third Day
31 Courtney Love - Hole Courtney Love - Hole Courtney Michelle Love is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and visual artist. A notable figure in the punk and grunge scenes of the 1990s, Love's career has spanned four decades.

Chad kroeger is better

Great voice

32 Krist Novoselic Krist Novoselic Nirvana's bassist for the entirety of their lifespan before the group was disbanded in 1994. Nowadays, Krist is a humanitarian and a human rights activist.
33 Kat Bjelland - Babes in Toyland
34 Chester Bennington - Grey Daze 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. He committed suicide in 2017 after a period of depression. ...read more.
35 Vinnie Dombroski - Sponge

Remember that "say a prayer for me" song? That's him. It might not be heard the best on his singles (plowed, Molly, have you seen mary, wax ecstatic, go speed racer go) but Vin hits all the notes low and high. Very good new LPs since their popularity (listen to "glue" & "ugly on the inside")

LOVE SPONGE! Vinnie is Awesome!

36 Stephen Jenkins - Third Eye Blind
37 Wes Scantlin - Puddle Of Mudd Wes Scantlin - Puddle Of Mudd Wesley Reid "Wes" Scantlin is an American songwriter, lead singer, guitarist, and the only remaining founding member of the American post-grunge band Puddle of Mudd.

Let me remind everyone about a 1992 band called Puddle Of Mudd. The grungiest band there ever has been. The world is so ignorant.

38 Scott Stapp - Creed Scott Stapp - Creed Scott Stapp is an American singer, songwriter, and musician, known as the lead vocalist and lyricist of hard rock bands Creed and Art of Anarchy. He also has two solo albums: The Great Divide and Proof of Life.

Top 10 on a list that includes post-grunge.

39 Chad Kroeger - Nickelback Chad Kroeger - Nickelback Chad Robert Kroeger is a Canadian musician and producer, best known as the lead vocalist and guitarist for the Canadian rock band, Nickelback.

Pure emotion and amazing voice. Truly a Top 10!

the best

Sold 50 million records...deserves a mention in the top 20 of all time.

40 Mark Hennessy
41 Neil Young Neil Young Neil Percival Young is a Canadian singer-songwriter and musician, producer, director and screenwriter.

Definitely better than Scott stapp and chad kroeger

Should be top 3 for creating grunge

42 Black Francis Black Francis Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist. He is best known as the frontman of the influential alternative rock band Pixies, with whom he performs under the stage name Black Francis.
43 Travis Meeks
44 Michał Wiśniewski - Ich troje

The best ever in every genere

45 Scooter Ward - Cold
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List Stats

2,000 votes
45 listings
9 years, 146 days old

Top Remixes (16)

1. Chris Cornell - Soundgarden
2. Layne Staley - Alice In Chains
3. Jerry Cantrell - Alice in Chains
NuMetalManiak
1. Layne Staley - Alice In Chains
2. Eddie Vedder - Pearl Jam
3. Kurt Cobain - Nirvana
andrewwace
1. Layne Staley - Alice In Chains
2. Chris Cornell - Soundgarden
3. Eddie Vedder - Pearl Jam
MetalMania

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