20 Bands That Changed Their Lead Singers And Sparked A Revolution

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Sometimes changing your frontman means changing your fanbase and kissing your preverbal ass goodbye.

But these twenty bands not only switched out . . . they switched out successfully and went on to rock the world.

1. Alice in Chains

Though no singer will be able to replace the great Layne Staley as the lead singer of Alice in Chains, they could not have found a better replacement after their singer’s death.

Alice in Chains were one of the most popular and influential rock bands of the 90s and a lot of it had to do to Staley unique voice and lyrics.

The band went through a lot with Staley at the helm, and even had to take a few hiatuses while Staley was going through problems and dealing with his constant problems with drug addiction.

He ended up dying in 2002 and many thought that Alice in Chains would never be on stage again.

However, they decided to reunite a couple of years later and finally found a good enough replacement to go on without Staley. That replacement was William DuVall, who was previously in a little known band called Comes with the Fall.

He was the perfect singer to make the band whole again. He is able to sing Staley songs perfectly in a live situation and still has a style all of his own. Best of all, his singing style mashes perfectly with the vocals of Alice in Chains guitarist and leader Jerry Cantrell.

The vocal harmonies between Cantrell and Staley were what made the vocals of the band very unique and instantly recognizable.

DuVall fits into this harmony work perfectly and also gives the band a new sound that does Staley justice without trying to copy him. As evidence of this and a new found creativity, the band has released two excellent albums with DuVall up front, in 2009 and 2013.

This has enables Alice in Chains to reach a whole new generation while still allowing old fans to hear great versions of their favorite Staley live thanks to DuVall’s brilliant interpretations of the early stuff.

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  • Tired Of This Crap

    Lynyrd Skynyrd and AC/DC don’t really belong on this list, as they didn’t have a choice about changing their singers. Journey should be on this list, though.

  • SMM

    I don’t think this list states whether or not they had a choice to change lead singers. It’s just a list of bands that did so relax. Journey? haha

  • Jeffery Lebowski

    Journey.,,,,hahahahaha. .The Runaways?

  • Scott Felts

    Jezz the author of this story is not very intune with music.. AC/DC had to there was no choice in that since Bon Scott died. And probaly the most famous band out there who did change their singer by choice and went on to become even bigger was Iron Maiden

  • John

    When Sammy Hagar can front a band that gets 4 #1 albums that tells you how bad rock was in the 80s.

  • John

    Pink Floyd wasn’t even known after their first album.

  • cufarley

    I wonder if they asked Phil Collins’ mom for that baby picture?

  • Sean Saley

    Nice job on the article and proofreading. Lynyrd Skynyrd is spelled wrong, and you have the drummer pictures backward for Skynyrd and Van Halen as well as AC/DC and Black Sabbath. Duuurrr…

  • BluezplayerAJ .

    No, but Syd had charisma like none of the others and he had some pretty good talent to boot ( In all fairness Gilmour has plenty of talent as well ). He also seemed to bring the best out in Rick Wright. We’ll never know, but I often wonder that if he had been able to keep it together, if they would have been even bigger than they actually became.

  • Carl

    I don’t think the author understands that music careers build on momentum. It was the early DLR fronted albums where EVH first showcased his then unique skills and blew everyone’s mind with what could be done with an electric guitar. By the time Sammy Hagar showed up the band (brand name) had been well established. Sammy is a decent singer, his tonality is palatable, but his generic vocal style sounded like Eddie bought him at the ‘Rockstar store’. Besides, the follow up releases to hit-single-laden landmark albums tended to sell more copies because their fans rushed out hoping for another ‘Sixteen Stone’ or ‘Vulgar Display of Power’ whether they got it or not. And, I’m not so sure that commercial sales always equates music revolution.

  • Carl

    I tend to think that Syd mostly served as an enigma that sparked the momentum of the band and inspired the other’s to become the writers and performers they matured into. It wasn’t until Syd’s stopped ‘shining on’ that the other’s stepped up to make their experimental prog sound more accessible and reach a wider audience and achieve a rarely heard balance of high-artistry and accessible commercial sensibility. Those early Syd albums are still pretty awesome but they’d be mostly forgotten if it weren’t for Dark Side et al.

  • Amo Green

    Yep – Good Ol` Hammy Sammy – He Should Have ” O D `ed” Shortly After Ronnie Montrose ” Dumped ” His ” Whiney ” ASS !!!!

  • Sara McD

    I couldn’t get past the first sentence. “preverbal”, like before you learn to speak.

  • chris

    LynArd Skynyrd???? First and last time I visit this site!

  • LouisVA

    Machine Head was made in 1972 and Morse is 59. I do not think he joined Purple @ age 13 (grin).

  • LouisVA

    OOps, he was 18 and I do math really well!

  • FastGM3

    You Boobs forgot Motley Crue! John Corabi replaced Vince Neil for an album self titled Motley Crue and quite frankly despite it’s lack of success it kicked major butt. Audioslave should have never been mentioned unless Chris Cornell joined the band as Rage Against the Machine which he did not, despite having many members from RATM.

  • Reggie1971

    No one recognizes the name Lou Gramm or his image? Well they sure do recognize his voice.

  • Kevin

    Umm, Fleetwood Mac?

  • Kevin Ice

    Morse didn’t join Purple until the ’90s, after Blackmore left for the last time. ‘Machine Head’ is their most successful album, from 1972, with Blackmore on guitar.

  • j238

    Missed Jefferson Airplane and The (Small) Faces. Both went on to fame by taking on Grace Slick and Rod Stewart.

  • avlisk

    Guess Who isn’t on this list?

  • GordonRanger

    No mention of the Frank Zappa with Mothers of Invention …. hmmmm

  • Alex Johnson

    Where is Creed/Alter Bridge?