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Best and Worst Transitions to a New Singer


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#1 Three Eyes

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 05:45 PM

The position of singer is probably the hardest to fill for a band that's already successful. That person's voice is a part of what made your band successful to begin with, after all. You can go the Journey route and recruit a guy who's a replica of your previous guy or you can take your chances on someone with their own unique voice. 

 

I'll start it off with Bon Scott to Brian Johnson. That's a hella transition. Both brilliant singers with their own distinctive styles but both worked perfectly with AC/DC's sound. Win.

 

Others?


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#2 Greg

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 06:00 PM

Interesting...I think Scott is/was far superior sem-monotonous singing of Johnson.  Johnson is effective for what AC/DC is now, but with Scott, the ethos was more punk and wasn't the same song over and over.  I agree that most often the singer is what makes a band the most distinctive and recognizable.  

 

Look at the transition that Journey made (had to look this up, cuz I forgot who was who).  The first four albums KILLED.  Enter Steve Perry...schlock rock at its best.  Perry debuted on the fourth album and did ok there, I'd say.  After that, horrible.  I think Steve Perry killed journey.  Neil Schon's fro may have had something to do with it, too...  :D


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#3 Slim

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 06:00 PM

A brilliant example of a change of singer that worked brilliantly for me is Marillion, with Fish being replaced by Steve Hogarth. I love most of the stuff they did after Hogarth joined and they became a much more interesting band. The Fish-era Marillion leaves me cold.

 

However in one sense the AC/DC transition was more successful, in that they continued in very much the same vein without changing their style much - and Brian's voice works well with Bon's material. So in that sense it was more seamless, even though Brian's voice is his own, not a copy of Bon's.

 

Another one that works very well for me is Ian Gillan to David Coverdale (and Glenn Hughes, who also had a lead vocal role as well as playing bass) - in Deep Purple, of course. But like Marillion, they became to a degree a different band after Gillan and Glover left.

 

Ian Gillan himself replaced a singer called Rod Evans in that band.


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#4 GhostWriter

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 06:01 PM

I thought the DLR to Sammy Hagar transition was awesome. The one to Gary Cherone, not so much. Win. Then lose.


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#5 GhostWriter

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 06:04 PM

I'd also add Black Sabbath from Ozzy to Ronnie James Dio. Very different voices but both excellent within the band.


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#6 Slim

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 06:08 PM

Dio in Sabbath springs to mind as well - once again though they somewhat became a different band; Dio's vocal style was nothing like Ozzy's. I suppose he must have performed some of the old Ozzy-era classics live. I can just about imagine him belting out Paranoid.


Sabbath went through some remarkable vocalist changes, Ian Gillan was a member at one time, so was Glenn Hughes.

 

EDIT I see Ghostie beat me to it on RJD :2  thumbs up:


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#7 Three Eyes

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 06:10 PM

I feel like the Back in Black album was a holy shit moment in rock. Johnson just nailed it. You didn't forget Scott but AC/DC was roaring forward into the '80s with this guy. 


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#8 Three Eyes

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 06:14 PM

I'm not the biggest fan of Phil Collins' vocal tone but his stepping in on vox after Gabriel left was a very win transition. 


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#9 Slim

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 06:17 PM

Yes, because he was understandably hugely influenced by Peter Gabriel. I still think it's remarkable that Genesis' drummer ended up being a globally successful singer/songwriter.


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#10 Slim

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 06:21 PM

I like bands where more than one of the members regularly performs lead vocal duties. The Beatles for example, and 10CC. Oasis as well, and Pink Floyd. Keeps it interesting and varied.


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#11 Greg

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 06:40 PM

Early Cars comes to mind.  I much preferred Orr's vocal stylings to Ocasek's.  But the transition was more song-to-song than anything.  

 

I think Johnson DID nail it on BiB...but every subsequent album was more of the same but without the panache that BiB had.  I think the album was well-received because it was good, but also because it was a comeback tour-de-force.  Things became snoozy thereafter...

 

The transition to RJD was the best thing Sabbath could have done.  Heaven and Hell is one of the greatest albums in the history of rock music, IMO.  Turn that thing to 11 and it STILL kills.  Holy crap that's a great album from start to finish.  


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#12 A Rebel and a Runner

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 06:53 PM

I'm not the biggest fan of Phil Collins' vocal tone but his stepping in on vox after Gabriel left was a very win transition. 

He was already doing vocals occasionally before that.  "More Fool Me" from Selling England by the Pound comes to mind.


labente deinde paulatim disciplina velut desidentes primo mores sequatur animo, deinde ut magis magisque lapsi sint, tum ire coeperint praecipites, donec ad haec tempora quibus nec vitia nostra nec remedia pati possumus perventum est.

 

First our declining morals slid, bit by bit, and then our very national spirit.  Then the collapse became greater and greater, and our principles began to go, until at last, it has come to this age, in which we can bear neither our crimes nor the cure for them.

 
 

#13 Three Eyes

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 07:02 PM

I kind of figured he did. I don't have a ton of knowledge about Gabriel era Genesis admittedly.

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#14 RushDoggie

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 07:06 PM

Look at the transition that Journey made (had to look this up, cuz I forgot who was who).  The first four albums KILLED.  Enter Steve Perry...schlock rock at its best.  Perry debuted on the fourth album and did ok there, I'd say.  After that, horrible.  I think Steve Perry killed journey.  Neil Schon's fro may have had something to do with it, too...   :D

 

I will throw out there that it was not Perry who killed Journey. I think Infinity, Evolution and Departure were all pretty decent albums with a token schlocky love song. They are less prog but that was the journey (see what I did there) Schon and Rolie wanted when they hired on a lead singer for their prog band.

 

It was Jonathan Cain who killed Journey. He wrote all that shitty schlock in the 80s. Bring back Greg Rolie.


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#15 baldiepete

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 07:09 PM

I'm conflicted about the transition from Jon Anderson to Trevor Horn for Yes. There is no way that Horn was as good as Anderson and he really struggled with the early material on the Drama tour. However I really enjoyed the Drama album where he was singing his own material.
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#16 Three Eyes

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 07:11 PM

Poor Cherone. Just not a good match for VH's sound. And although Hagar was a relatively successful transition from Roth I think his wider vocal range enabled Eddie to write in a more schlocky MOR style of rock and thusly dissipated some of the band's danger.

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#17 Greg

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 07:18 PM

Could very well be, I'd have to revisit the personnel back then.  I guess it's easy to blame Perry because he was upfront.  Such terrible music in the 80s.  The 70s material was just terrific...

 

And get off my lawn!



#18 Three Eyes

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 07:52 PM

I think Johnson DID nail it on BiB...but every subsequent album was more of the same but without the panache that BiB had.  I think the album was well-received because it was good, but also because it was a comeback tour-de-force.  Things became snoozy thereafter...

 

I'll agree with that but they have released some pretty cool songs post BiB. You can only do so much with AD/DC's basic arrangements though. The band just hasn't changed things up much over the years. They are a brand like Coca-Cola or Tide at this point.  It's very likely things would have gotten old with Scott too even though he was the more distinctive singer.


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#19 chemistry1973

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 08:03 PM

Black Sabbath may have had the best run of replacement singers of any band in history.


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#20 chemistry1973

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 08:06 PM

For worst transition, I'd like to nominate Live.

 

Chris Shinn, a great singer, musician, and songwriter in his own right, cashed in big time as an Ed Kowlaczk impersonator.

 






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