12 Greatest Classic Rock Singers Of All Time

Plant, Mercury and the original screamers and squealers.

 Jimmy Page Robert Plant Led Zeppelin
Jim Summaria / Wikimedia Commons

As far as rock music goes, the singer is the most important person out of the bunch. While many people will say what they want about how great the guitar riffs are, your song has no chance of being seen by millions unless you have a singer out front ready to deliver it to the audience.

That being said, it's not necessarily a walk in the park when it comes to singing rock and roll. Not only do you have to be able to carry a tune, but also push your voice to its outer limits in order to find something no one has ever heard before. From there, we got falsetto, harmonies, and even the occasional scream every now and again. Whether they were pulling from other genres or reaching deep inside themselves, the sounds coming from the back of these vocalists' throats always left audiences awestruck.

Along with being brilliant in the studio, these vocalists were able to take their vocal chops on the road and deliver that same magic to the audience night after night. With a gold mine of records to choose from, let's take a look at the voices that taught every rock and roller how to sing.

12. Little Richard

If you ask any rock artist who their favorite singer is, many will tell you that it all goes back to Little Richard. Along with being one of the first wild men of the genre, Little Richard made his vocal timbre the star of the show rather than an added extension.

Coming from Macon, Georgia in the 1950's, Richard Pennimen knew that he needed more than just a good voice to leave an impression on his audience. In addition to his more androgynous stage garb, fans were left shellshocked once he went to open his mouth. As opposed to the crooners of the day like Pat Boone and Frankie Avalon, Little Richard reached deep down to create a tone that sounded like he was shredding sandpaper every time he held out a note.

This kind of approach to music and showmanship left a huge impression on everyone from the Beatles to the Stones to even Motorhead. From the first few bars of "Tutti Frutti," rock and roll singers threw out the rulebook and started to experiment with their own primal form of musical expression. Once Little Richard first hollered into the microphone, a different kind of musical force was now at play.


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