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The Five Best and Worst Replacement Singers

on May 21, 2013, 8:57am
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microphone The Five Best and Worst Replacement Singers

This past weekend at KROQ’s Weenie Roast, Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington stepped into Scott Weiland’s shoes as the new singer for Stone Temple Pilots. Judging from the lukewarm chaos that ensued online, it’s not a decision that’s been accepted with “Open Arms”.

That inspired us to list our top five best and worst replacement singers in music history. Now, mind you, we wanted to keep each choice to one name — otherwise we would have just listed every Dead Kennedys frontman that didn’t go by Jello Biafra — so hopefully that clears up some confusion.

And before you reply, “What? No women?” Here’s something that female singer-songwriters can celebrate everywhere: They’re irreplaceable. Really, we couldn’t think of one female singer that fit either side of the line, which, technically, is a major compliment. We think.

Anyways, debate, suggest, or sing.

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June 23, 2013 at 5:26 pm

It wasn’t an official replacement but George Michael’s one-off performance with Queen was pretty great.

Jerry Ray
June 15, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Oddly enough, two of the “worsts” could be solved in one move. Extreme’s performance at the Freddie Mercury tribute show (and Cherone’s guest appearance with Queen later in the show) convinced me that Cherone would have been a credible substitute for Mercury. Cherone ends up in Queen rather than Van Halen and everybody goes home happy.

Dumb Idiot
June 13, 2013 at 9:10 am

JD Fortune

Mark Francis
June 12, 2013 at 6:21 pm

it certainly looks like you aren’t aware that Bruce Dickinson wasn’t the original vocalist for Iron Maiden … in fact there are still many fans that think he was a poor replacement.

June 8, 2013 at 7:21 am

Mate, with all due respect, try 5 minutes’ research before you bag people out. Noddy Holder would have killed it in AC/DC. You do know that Jonna’s previous band, Geordie, were a huge Slade rip-off, don’t you? I have to agree that he is the best lead singer replacement I can think of (although had Dio stayed with the Sabbs a bit longer there might be an argument!). Sammy Hagar? Are you kidding? Talk about a lightweight. I’m no huge VH fan but Roth was an awesome frontman, Hagar was no threat to Eddie hence he was hired !

June 8, 2013 at 12:59 am

Funny thing is, Bob Tench did a great job following the departed Rod Stewart in the Jeff Beck Group.

June 8, 2013 at 12:54 am

Rod Stewart replacing Steve Marriot AND Peter Frampton making Small Faces > Faces. I guess Rod the Mod was a BIG face.

Woody Hemphill
June 6, 2013 at 7:29 pm

How about Eddie Vedder joining Mother Love Bone and becoming Pearl Jam?

June 3, 2013 at 7:45 pm

You’ve made a mistake including Sublime, Queen and Iron Maiden in this. The three vocalists in question are totally inimitable. I know you stated that, but on that basis… Why rate someone amongst the “worst replacement singers”? They did find jobs in their own rights (Paul Rodgers perhaps less so, but it was entertaining at least). Sublime with Rome are a legitimate act, as were Iron Maiden without Bruce – just different. Not bad, different.

June 3, 2013 at 4:57 pm

ummmm when I think of successful transitions I do NOT think of David Lee Roth —> Sammy Hagar. However, I love the inclusion of Doug Yule. I wasn’t alive back then, but WTF *was* that atrocity???

Dan Worcester
May 25, 2013 at 3:59 pm

How about any and all of the attempted reincarnations of The Doors? Just terrible ideas all around.

May 23, 2013 at 1:16 am

Gotta agree on the Duval/Staley call, it’s practically flawless. Also, if you’re looking for a better Queen singer than Rodgers, how about Grohl?

Sparky Bunny
May 21, 2013 at 5:06 pm

You forget whoever replaced Natalie Merchant in 10000 Maniacs? And don’t forget that Hope Sandoval replaced Kendra Smith in Opal then became Mazzy Star…

May 21, 2013 at 4:39 pm

And William Duval for Layne Staley?????

Justin Pritchard
May 21, 2013 at 4:05 pm

where’s Henry Rollins for Black Flag? big ball dropper on this especially with all the Black Flag/FLAG coverage you guys have been doing lately.

May 21, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Fail on Phil Collins, i’m sorry he had nothing on Peter.

May 21, 2013 at 1:34 pm

I would like to add Damo Suzuki becoming the lead singer for CAN to the best list!

May 21, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Does David Gilmour count as replacing Barrett? If so, that’s gotta make the best list!

Michael Roffman
May 21, 2013 at 2:16 pm

We thought of him, but agreed he was more of an addition.

Frank E E Grubich
May 21, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Natalie Merchant > Mary Ramsey
Jon Anderson > Trevor Horn
Fish > Steve Hogarth
Peter Green Ronnie James Dio > Joe Lynn Turner

Michael Roffman
May 21, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Great suggestions, though we agreed to skip Fleetwood because they felt more like additions rather than replacements. Also, Merchant was technically with the band since its inception, too.

Mike Patterson
May 21, 2013 at 12:18 pm

You left Bruce Dickinson out of the best category!
Solid list tho!

May 21, 2013 at 10:19 am

The main problem with Chester is that he is vocalist in Linkin Park, and many STP fans hate this band. He has a very special voice and can cover almost everything, singing like the original singers (exept Adele obviously), which is very rare. That’s why they chose him as replacement. Honestly I think that he is wasting his talent in LP. Let’s see, what he can really do.

Robert Dessimoz
May 21, 2013 at 10:08 am

Where is Mike Patton joining faith no more? (Best)


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