Saturday, 7 September 2013

10 Great Songs Not Sung By The Lead Singer

Ever hear a song by a popular artist and for some reason it sounds a little off? You can't place it, but the style of song is right, however the vocals are completely different. Maybe the singer was tired that day or they used a different mic. It's not far off that other members of the group are talented singers as well, not just the one designated as the "lead singer". Here's 10 songs where the lead singer stepped aside to give someone else a shot at the chops.

1. "Mankind" - Pearl Jam

No Code has always been given a bad rap. Largely ignored by radio and slammed by critics. It's one of my favourite Pearl Jam albums though. It's got a wide variety of musical styles and influences that makes Pearl Jam great and it's a true testament to their longevity. "Mankind" perhaps is the stand out bizarre track as not only does it sound like it was written in the 1950's, it features guitarist Stone Gossard on lead vocals.

2. "Off My Line" - Spin Doctors

Along your musical journey when someone brings up the Spin Doctors there is typically only one song that gets mentioned: "Two Princes" or if they are a seasoned music adventurer they'll also discuss "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong". Such a shame as Pocket Full Of Kryptonite has so much more to offer, but couldn't shine out from behind the massive success of that one song. "Off My Line" is a funky track that I always felt sounded different from typical Spin Doctors songs...which is because as I recently found out, guitarist, pianist Eric Shenkman handles the lead vocals. You can still hear the familiar voice of Chris Barron doing the background "Yeah YEAHs"

3. "Absolutely Anytime" - The Watchmen

The Watchmen were one of Canada's most popular acts throughout the 90's. Their album Silent Radar was certified gold in 1998 and produced the hits "Stereo" and "Any Day Now" which are still played on mainstream radio. Different musical aspirations brought the group to an end in 2001, but not before they rewarded fans with a double disc of old favourites and new songs that had never seen the light of day. Among them was "Absolutely Anytime" which was not only written soley by guitarist Joey Serlin but also featured him on lead vocal duty.

4. "Shackled" - Vertical Horizon

On previous albums from Vertical Horizon Keith Kane and Matt Scannell would typically share songwriting and singing vocals, but on 1999's Everything You Want Scannell handled lead vocal duties on all but the last track on the album. "Shackled" features Kane as the singer and was written by him and in my opinion is the album's best track.

5. "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" - Blue Oyster Cult

I always wonder was the deal with those parenthesis in the title of this song. Just call it "Don't Fear The Reaper" nobody calls it just "The Reaper". Perhaps BOC's most popular song, if not only for that SNL skit with Christopher Walken, yet how many listeners knew that Blue Oyster Cult's guitarist wrote and sang lead on this song instead of usual vocalist Eric Bloom? Donald Roeser, also known as Buck Dharma sang a handful of BOC's songs yet most of them ended up being hits. See also "Godzilla" and "Burning For You"

6. "Bloodcot" - Rancid

The first single from 1998's Life Won't Wait featured Rancid guitarist Lars Frederiksen on lead vocals. Diehard Rancid fans will tell you that he and Tim Armstrong typically alternated lead vocal duties on previous albums, but most of their well known hits featured Armstrong on the mic. This was the first Rancid single and video that had Lars front and center.

7. "The Lines You Amend" - Sloan

While it's true all four members of Sloan are capable vocalists, the majority of their songs and hits in particular were sung by bassist Chris Murphy or guitarist Patrick Pentland. "The Lines You Amend" from 1996's fantastic album From One Chord To Another features Jay Ferguson on the lead. It's always been my favourite Sloan song. Don't worry Murphy and Pentland couldn't stay away, they sing the bridge on this song.

8. "I'm One" - The Who

I love how this song starts out mellow and eventually becomes a rock anthem of the dejected and solidarity. We know now that Pete Townsend had no problem stepping in front of the mic, but hearing The Who without Roger Daltry just brings another great aspect to an already great group.

9. "Don't Look Back In Anger" - Oasis

During the recording session of What's The Story Morning Glory? Noel Gallagher told his brother Liam that he wanted to sing vocals on either "Wonderwall" or "Don't Look Back In Anger". He was hoping he'd get to do "Wonderwall" as he wrote it as a love song for his girlfriend, of course Liam chose that one in an act of spite and Noel sang the lead on this track. I actually prefer Noel's voice to Liam's and this song ended up one of my favourite Oasis tunes. Noel would take over on lead vocals often as Liam would notoriously no-show concerts or simply storm off stage and refuse to perform.

10. "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)" - The Arcade Fire

Montreal's now world famous Arcade Fire boasts a line up of 9 musicians and are known for their diverse style and intricate performances. Typically group founder Win Butler handles lead vocal duties, but slowly Regine Chassagne has been taking the charge on various songs. Firstly the song "Haiti" on Arcade Fire's smash debut Funeral and more recently "Sprawl 2 (Mountains Beyond Mountains)" on 2010's The Suburbs.

Thanks for reading as always!

Gonna try to update more often....pesky life keeps getting in the way


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