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* * EVENTUAL POLL -- past or present, greatest frontman or solo artist of all time?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Low84, Aug 12, 2018.

  1. Low84

    Low84 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    In rock & roll music, past or present, who's the greatest frontman (or frontwoman) or solo artist in history?

    We're gonna throw all form of popular "rock" together... rock, pop, hard rock, heavy metal, hair band, speed metal, thrash, punk, prog, rockabilly, soul, r&b, WHATEVER YOU LIKE.

    ** I was originally going for best frontman but then thought about artists like Elvis, Elton John and Prince that were known for playing WITH a band and not being IN a band. So the voting is for whoever you feel is the best between frontmen and solo artists. **

    And to define "great," I'm talking about one individual person who collectively does the following: KILLS it in the studio and on the stage + has the ability to move an audience + is part of a musical force that lasts for decades + sells records and concert tickets + gets hefty YouTube views + contributes to a memorable live show you talk about for weeks. Just doing one of those things and not the others ain't gonna cut it. Take a hike, you Justin Biebers.

    Yes, we're talking about those names who when you throw them down in a conversation like this, you hear "That's a good one!" and not "No way -- what a tool!" This thread is for the TRUE ICONS, not the weenie flavors of the month.

    No country / no rap/hip-hop. This is a poll for ROCK. But we all know that in this conversation, those cats can't hold a candle to the rockers... not an opinion, just a fact. Hey, I like country and hip-hop, but let's be real -- Diamond Dave... on his worst day... is gonna eat Eric Church and Jay Z's lunches and go back to their mamas for seconds (and probably more).

    And if someone previously posted a similar thread in the history of this site (and sure, someone probably has), I DON'T CARE. Give your fingers a rest, have fun with this one or go play around in the pedal forums. :smug:

    I'll take the top vote-getters between over the next couple of months and make a poll for everyone.

    My vote: Freddie Mercury

    Honorable mentions: David Lee Roth, Prince, James Brown, Tina Turner
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
    elgranluis likes this.
  2. dan1952

    dan1952 Commercial User

    Jun 27, 2012
    Anderson IN
    Artist Endorsement with Supro Huntington Basses / Owner, Dan's Music, Inc..
    Never was a huge Queen fan but have grown to be one. Freddie Mercury may have been the greatest frontman ever. Can't think of anyone who is or was a better musician or singer, let alone showman. Otis Redding could have been, but had a very short career. James Brown was pretty great, too, but not the musician or singer, same with Jagger.
    rtav, kesslari, biguglyman and 6 others like this.
  3. Oddly

    Oddly Unofficial TalkBass Cartographer! Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    Jimmy Buffett.:)*

    Seriously, though, I'll vote for Bruce Springsteen.
    I've seen him at least 20 times, and while the last few years it all seems a bit too predictable, I'll freely admit some of his music has hit me deeply, making me laugh, cry and even do a sort of embarrassing little dad-dance...live and on record.
    I know a lot of people don't like him, but I've never heard of someone coming out of one of his shows disappointed.

    Freddy would get my number 2.

    *I have in fact seen Jimmy and he does put on a damn fine show.
    kesslari, MCF, sabre79 and 5 others like this.
  4. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    I don't know about this... I kinda doubt that Diamond Dave and the rest of the boys in their absolute prime, time travelled, and opening for a stadium or a small club of people who bought Jay Z tickets would fly. That, I think is the true measuring stick: who could play any crowd and slay? Freddie? In front of a jazz crowd, a country crowd, a hip hop crowd, he probably could do it. Jon Bon Jovi? Maybe. Do I think Jay Z could light up a VH/Dokken crowd? Probably not, but I do think that Bruno Mars could make it happen.

    Edit: I would like to see, with a carefully selected setlist and the S&M symphony, Jaaaames Het Fieeeeld try to open for Lady Gaga.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
    dan1952 and Oddly like this.
  5. Curtis.

    rtav, jchrisk1, Gasman and 7 others like this.
  6. dan1952

    dan1952 Commercial User

    Jun 27, 2012
    Anderson IN
    Artist Endorsement with Supro Huntington Basses / Owner, Dan's Music, Inc..
    jamro217 likes this.

  7. TB's all time favorite band:

  8. Sharknose79

    Sharknose79 UNPAID greenboy/fEARful endorser Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2011
    South Cackalacky
    I have nothing to disclose at this time.
    bkbirge, ptg, jmlee and 1 other person like this.
  9. Low84

    Low84 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    Oh, that's FANTASTIC!!! :woot: :roflmao: :) :D :hyper:
    jamro217 and 5StringBlues like this.
  10. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
    I'll mention a guy who can't sing a lick, plays no instruments, yet headed one (two?) of the most polarizing units in musical history.

    George Clinton:cool:

    I want to add George started his career in 1955 at the age of 14 which has him doing it for over six decades...and still doing it at 77.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
    kesslari, gfen, biguglyman and 8 others like this.
  11. FilterFunk

    FilterFunk Everything is on the ONE! Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2010
    I didn't know Freddie was a musician. What instruments did he play?

    I'm going with James Brown. I find myself almost out of breath after watching James Brown at his best! And he could play some raw, funky piano or organ that always enhanced the song. I wish he had done it more.

    Honorable mentions: Prince, Michael Jackson, Jackie Wilson, Elvis Presley.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
  12. Queen? I like Freddy but it's unquestionably the King: Elvis </thread>
    kesslari, Atshen, jmlee and 3 others like this.
  13. FilterFunk

    FilterFunk Everything is on the ONE! Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2010
    I can't believe I didn't think of Elvis!!!:facepalm:

    Elvis is his prime...WOW! I'm still going with James Brown, but I'm going right back and putting Elvis on my list.
    Booty Shaman and 2tonic like this.
  14. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I love Queen, but truth be told... Freddie Mercury is practically an obscure artist in comparison to any of the following:

    Mick Jagger
    Bruce Springsteen
    Michael Jackson
    Steve Tyler
    Alice Cooper
    Jim Morrison

    I could go on and on and on...
  15. Spent


    May 15, 2011
    Upstate NY

    I’m a huge fan of Phil Lynott. Great musicians and performer.
    Gluvhand and comatosedragon like this.
  16. After reading up a bit I have to put Howlin' Wolf in the mix here.

    "The thirty minute set went by like an express train, with Wolf switching from harp to guitar (which he played while rolling around on his back and, at one point, doing somersaults) and then leaping up to prowl the lip of the stage. He was the Mighty Wolf, no doubt about it. Finally, an impatient signal from the wings let him know his portion of the show was over. Defiantly, Wolf counted off a bone-crushing rocker, began singing rhythmically, feigned an exit, and suddenly made a flying leap for the curtain at the side of the stage.

    Holding the microphone under his beefy right arm and singing into it all the while, he began climbing up the curtain, going higher and higher until he was perched far above the stage, the thick curtain threatening to rip, the audience screaming with delight. Then he loosened his grip and, in a single easy motion, slid right back down the curtain, hit the stage, cut off the tune, and stalked away, to the most ecstatic cheers of the evening. He was then fifty-five years old."

    Robert Palmer, Deep Blues, 1982

    Mark Hoffman, co-author of Moanin' at Midnight: The Life and Times of Howlin' Wolf, says:

    "Wolf would crawl around on his hands and knees, and he'd howl like a wolf," he says. "He'd pound on the stage. And people would watch him; they couldn't take their eyes off him."

    "He was a big man, wore size 16 shoe," guitarist Jody Williams says, "and his stage presence -- when he talk or sing, people listen to him, you know."

    Williams played guitar alongside Hubert Sumlin in Wolf's band in 1954. Of all the famous musicians Williams backed up -- Bo Diddley, Memphis Slim, Big Joe Turner -- Wolf is the one he remembers best.

    "He even went outside the door of the club," he says. "He had a long, 100-foot cord on his microphone. So Hubert and rest of the band and I were onstage playing, and Wolf just howling and singing. So he went out that door, down the sidewalk to the corner, he [was] just blowing his harmonica and howlin' and carryin' on. But that was the Wolf."

    Cab Calloway?

    Louis Jordan?

    Little Richard?
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  17. 2F/2F


    May 26, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    Your post has a major problem. R&B and soul do not belong as options to answer the question that you asked: "In rock & roll music, past or present, who's the greatest frontman (or frontwoman) or solo artist in history?"

    Of course the greatest frontman is James Brown, if you include R&B and soul...but you said rock-n-roll music. James Brown was R&B through and through. So were Tina Turner and Prince most of the time (anything they did that was good, anyhow).

    So, 1) You need to change your rules to remove "Soul, r&b, WHATEVER YOU LIKE," or else your question is negated, and 2) Once you do that, it's Little Richard.
    eJake, Alex Bass and 5StringBlues like this.
  18. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Putting aside his troubles, I can’t think of anyone who fits within the OP’s parameters better than Michael Jackson. Incredible voice, even better moves, stage presence, choreography, videos, Thriller, a commercial giant, fashion influence, and to some, an idol. He did it even in the face of his eccentricities and demons without slowing down until maybe his last few years. Heck, he did it AS A KID. He’s not even on my list of top 50 favorite artists, but I don’t know how anyone else tops such a multi-faceted performer. I think Elvis is close on pure fan devotion and what he means to rock as a whole.
    bkbirge, baileyboy, Alex Bass and 2 others like this.
  19. scuzzy


    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO
    Won't get many (if any) votes, but Matt Bellamy from Muse is the most entertaining frontman I have witnessed and he is a great guitarist and pianist to boot.

    Daniel Piper likes this.
  20. Three way tie.
    Burton Cummings

    Steve Winwood

    Paul Rodgers

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