The most versatile front man in rock ?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Tomm Williams, Sep 7, 2019.

  1. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'd still go with Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, or Elton John- these guys still bring it ( don't phone it in)

    AND my personal fave, NEIL YOUNG!
    ( one constantly touring/prolific artist)

    Passed:
    Freddie ( Freddy?, I can never remember) Mercury - what a voice and charisma!
    Prince
    Michael Jackson
     
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  2. jimash

    jimash Friend of Leo's

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    Many good names mentioned.
    Paul Rogers.
    He can still sing. And has done Queen and Bad Company. Versatile.
     
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  3. gwjensen

    gwjensen Friend of Leo's

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    Clapton. Writer, singer, instrumentalist.... does/did all three really well, and across different genres.
     
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  4. Ron R

    Ron R Friend of Leo's

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    Mike Patton
     
  5. Marc Muller

    Marc Muller Tele-Holic

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    Bruce. If you saw his abilities in the studio as a musician/multi-instrumentalist/arranger you'd be blown away.
     
  6. TwangToInfinity

    TwangToInfinity Tele-Holic

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    Elvis
    Dwight
    Jerry
    Johnny
    Chuck
    Stevie

    etc
     
  7. Texicaster

    Texicaster Tele-Holic

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    Most Versatile?

    Without question...Frank Zappa.

    Frank could sit on a lawn chair and smoke a cigarette and command attention. More talented than every player in his or other bands .

    As good a guitarist as there is/was. Composer, lyricist, singer, commentator, film maker, producer etc....

    Again if you can perform LESS "dig me" maneuvers and STILL be focus of attention.... That's what bugged me about Hendrix and SRV... feather boas .....please...... You're the best player and you need gimmicks.....
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
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  8. ppg677

    ppg677 Tele-Meister

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    Prince. He could do it all. Any genre. Drums. Guitar maestro.

    Here is a cool video where he's in the drums rather than guitar:
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
  9. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    Again (and with apologies for being repetitious) every candidate here is very talented and enjoyable....but we can't even agree on what constitutes "versatile". Perhaps the OP should have explained what he meant when he posed the question, but it's too late now. Did he mean "how many instruments someone plays? or how many "hats" he wears in creating his art? or how many different styles of music he plays?".....or even something else entirely. At any rate.....I hope everyone has a good weekend. ;)
     
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  10. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    I’m voting George Michael..

    Boy Band pinup



    Solo Ballads



    Only guy who could hold a candle to Freddie and his operatic range

     
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  11. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Most versatile?

    The multi-instrumentalist and singer who did rock, country, blues, jazz, R&B, soul, folk, bluegrass, psychedelic, and Celtic with equal grace and aplomb: Jerry Garcia.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
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  12. Bones

    Bones Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I don't know.
     
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  13. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Voting for versatile without personal preference skewing the results can't really happen unless there are some guidelines.
    The OP was clearly just chatting when he suggested Plant Jagger and Mercury, or IMO anyhow.

    So to get down to the work of the frontman in Rock, and judge versatility based on what is useful for Rock band success, I look at the useful part as much as the does lots of stuff part.

    Many people see a Swiss army knofe or leatherman tool as being versatile.
    But those tools are virtually never the choice of professionals when they go to do a job.

    So one criteria I started with when suggesting Chris Cornell was the ability to do the job of the whole Rock band without the band, and do it live.
    That alone should narrow it down a bit.

    Another criteria we might not all agree on is the number of jobs that artist (tool) can cover.
    A job for a Rock band might be satisfying an audience.
    IOW drop your contender for most versatile frontman in Rock into random packed saturday night bars and judge how well they rock the house alone, no matter what audience they encounter.

    This is the core of versatility in a worker: can you send them on virtually any job and they will get it done to the satisfaction of the customer?
    I still think Cornell is a pretty strong frontman in terms of being able to do any job, alone, and leave nobody wishing they hired the other guy.

    I suppose we'd have to fix the possible bigotry issue if we drop the contenders into redneck bars, biker bars, old fogey bars and yuppie bars. For the sake of argument I'd say replace the image of the artist with one that is acceptable to the patrons, allowing they are only judged on the work they do.

    IMO while Prince was a phenomenon the world has seldom seen, he lacks the musical versatility required to satisfy any and every audience. Apologies to those who love him, but Michael Jackson could and did probably satisfy more audiences than Prince.

    Bowie is really strong in range of styles and multi skills, but while he plays every instrument I'm not sure how well he would do alone for a whole stadium show. Maybe he could pull it off, I'm sure he could for his own fans, but versatile means the ability to satisfy nearly all fans, not just your own loyal customers.

    And last I'd request that the quality of the work be high enough that it is lasting, not simply effective for a show.
    IOW the work continues to satisfy long after the artists leaves for good, and around the world even breaking past language barriers.
     
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  14. dan1952

    dan1952 Friend of Leo's

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    Paul Rodgers. Great singer, okay pianist, great guitarist (Rock and Roll Fantasy was all Paul).
     
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  15. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Now, if you hadn't said front man, it'd be obvious: Aretha.

    I mean, any rock star who could pinch hit for Pavarotti . . . .
     
  16. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    What's wrong with personal preference? Tomm wants our opinions, and he's getting them.

    And - guidelines? We don't need no steenking guidelines!
     
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  17. KyAnne

    KyAnne Tele-Afflicted

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    Huey Lewis wasn't bad!
     
  18. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Poster Extraordinaire

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    Roger Daltrey - great frontman, writes, plays, entertains and no rocker has ever swung a mic with so much flair. ;)
     
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  19. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Haha yeah and I can't separate my taste from frontmen who consistently fail to move me!

    Listened to the clips @Chunkocaster posted of Kotzen, and I agree the man has got it all.
    But none of it moves me, and the guitar wankery is IMO less musical and more wankery than I prefer, even though I'd love to have those skills. The thing to me about those guitar skills is that I would not use them in that way, because it does not IMO serve the music. Cool as hell to guitar players and fans of guitar wankery. I've always loved and pursued awesome guitar chops, but never really liked guitar chops oriented music. If the guitar licks are not melodically or thematically driving the core of the song home, they should not be there.
    Plenty of jaw dropping players manage to only play musically enhancing guitar solos, but skip cramming displays of chops that only technically fit the tune.

    Kotzen still might win the title of most versatile frontman in Rock if dropped alone into biker bars, redneck bars, fogey bars and yuppie bars though.

    I think as musicians we may have a hard time separating ability to do all the jobs from the ability to command lasting attention from fans.
    We think awesome skills are awesome, yet excessive skills have proven to put off audiences who need a compelling reason to stay with an artist and follow their work, to make that singers voice a part of their daily thinking.

    I'll admit that Prince tunes get stuck in my head more effectively than Kotzen tunes, yet neither of them make me want to make space in my head for their work.
    I'm sorry to fans but Prince tunes stuck in my head are targets for the tune exterminator.

    I suppose it's possible that versatility actually reduces the potential for a star to become an icon, because doing many things makes them harder to categorize.
    Again though, Bowie, Cornell, Michael Jackson, and even Sting and Hendrix have done fairly wide ranges of music, and at the same time maintained icon status and crossed audience borders. international borders, etc.

    Jerry isn't a bad candidate either, I liked some of his other band projects maybe better than the Dead, but I think he's still too niche to win versatile.

    I'll throw Gregg Allman out there just for the hell of it.
    I think you could drop him (in his prime) into any audience and they would be riveted for the show, and hum his tunes the next day.

    I've long been interested in what makes a musician compelling to other musicians vs to audiences.
    I think modern guitar training has focused on creating guitar players that are more interesting to other guitar players than they are able to compel an audience to listen and remember their work.

    Another nod to Gilmour for just having the whole package and keeping it satisfying world audiences for decades.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
  20. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's

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    Ian Anderson....Jethro Tull should be added if Plant is included. He was as much the showman as Plant

     
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