Added on 30-Mar-2010
One of the most poignantly sung songs of all time, "We Are The Champions," features one of the greatest frontmen, if not the greatest frontman, of all time, Freddie Mercury. It is that song, and "Bohemian Rhapsody,"
that come to mind whenever the name Freddie Mercury -- or Queen, the band he fronted for over 20 years until his death in 1991 -- is mentioned in my presence. It is the ascending power and the heartfelt emotion behind the lyrics that come to the fore and pulls the listener in on many of Queen's songs, because Freddie Mercury, first and foremost, was a great vocalist letting voice sell his music.
So it was with some surprise that I read that Q magazine in Britain had published a poll where Freddie Mercury placed third on the list of greatest frontmen of all time. To be clear, it wasn't so much that Freddie Mercury placed third, it was who placed first that produced a feeling of puzzled incredulity. In a poll of Q readers, Liam Gallagher of Oasis had placed first.
Liam Gallagher? Really? The readers of Q magazine thought more highly of Gallagher than Bono (U2), too , placing him second. Other famed frontmen were listed in the Top 20 as well: David Albarn of Blur (4), Chris Martin of Coldplay (5), Matt Bellamy of Muse (6), Jim Morrison of the Doors (7), Bob Marley of the Wailers (8), Paul McCartney and John Lennon (9 and 10, respectively) of the Beatles, Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones (13), Morrissey of The Smiths (14), James Brown (16), Bruce Springsteen of the E Street Band (17), and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin (18).
There are listed some great names but any list of great lead singers is suspect when it contains singers like Deborah Harry of Blondie (12) and Robbie Williams of Take That (11). The list is British band-centric as well. And where was Roger Daltrey of The Who? Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath? Jon Bon Jovi of Bon Jovi? Eric Burdon of The Animals? John Fogerty of Credence Clearwater Revival? Prince of the Revolution? Steven Tyler of Aerosmith?
Regardless, with the exceptions of Jim Morrison, Mick Jagger, John and Paul, James Brown, Springsteen, and Robert Plant, the list has a decided feel of inauthenticity.