The art of music, as a whole, has its fair share of notable figures. Ranging from the incredibly talented to the downright outrageous, there’s no doubt that the colorful world of artists and musicians is full of it’s crazy characters.
But which ones stand out above all else? Which ones are household names, regardless if you listen to there music or not.
I decided to conduct an experiment. I surveyed some of a fellow music affecionados to determine what we think are the 10 most iconic frontmen of all time.
10: Aretha Franklin
What? “Frontman” is strictly a title and should never be gender specific. Besides, how could I start this article without mentioning the Queen of Soul? Often considered to be one of the first divas, Franklin solidified her rightful spot in music history with her powerful vocals and a empowering songs. I mean, come on, have you really listened to “Respect?” Of course it’s fun to sing along to “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” but there’s a reason it’s titled that.
9: Snoop Dogg
It really doesn’t matter if you’re from the streets or the suburbs, Snoop Dogg is a household name. From being one of Rap’s most notable figures, to reality shows, to being on an episode of Martha Stewart, EVERYONE knows who Snoop is. Granted his music has been more on the back burner as of late, but there is no questioning his spot on this list.
8: Debbie Harry
Blondie’s lead singer is the face of women in Rock. From Blondie’s early days at CBGB’s to the rapping tryout of “Rapture,” Debbie Harry is one of the women that helped open the door for women in not only rock, but punk, rap, and even alternative. Hell, my mom even modeled her look in the 80’s after her! You really can’t help yourself from bobbing your head along to “One Way or Another” or tapping your feet to “Heart of Glass.” And speaking of influential women in rock…
7: Joan Jett
As a founding member of rock’s first all-girl outfit The Runaways, Joan Jett’s solid guitar playing, attitude, and gritty vocals showed the world that women can be kickass rock stars too. After The Runaways split, Jett couldn’t land a label. So do you know what she did? She created her own damn label! That’s right! No giving up, no calling it quits. Jett created Blackheart Records and released mega hits “Bad Reputation” and “I Love Rock ‘n Roll.” She continues to release new music and tour to this day, and she STILL sounds as awesome as she did when she debuted.
6: Alice Cooper
Monsters, mayhem, and mascara. Alice Cooper, the man that killed the Summer of Love, is known for his gritty vocals, shocking stage performances, and rock anthem “School’s Out.” We’re talking about the man who pioneered Shock Rock, without whom acts like Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, GWAR, and countless others wouldn’t even exist! “Everyone wanted to be the hero of rock. I wanted to be the villain.” – Alice Cooper: Golf Monster. If you think Cooper’s only claim to fame is being a shock rocker,myou’re sorely mistaken. He’s not only a proficient golfer, he was friends with Groucho Marx and Elvis Presley. Frank Sinatra performed one of his ballads at the Hollywood Bowl, and he wrote of of John Lennon’s favorite songs, “Elected.” I knew Alice Cooper had to be on this list, and the only reason he is t higher up is because of our #5 spot.
5: Ozzy Osbourne
Along with his band Black Sabbath, Osbourne literally created the Heavy Metal genre. From his crazy antics on and off stage, to his unique vocals, Ozzy is easily one of the all-time most memorable characters in music. In addition to an impressive and expansive catalogue of music, both with Sabbath and Solo, Ozzy is known for his MTV reality show with his family, being in various commercials, and even creating an annual music festival named after him. “I’m the Prince of f***ing Darkness” he shouts, and rightfully so.
4: Bob Marley
The reggae icon has wonderful hits like “One Love,” and his face can be seen on T-Shirts and posters pretty much everywhere. While he’s herald as the stoner’s Jesus in recent years, Marley is an incredibly influential musician, and he even predicted his own early death. It’s nearly impossible not to feel relaxed and empathetic towards your fellow man when a song from Bob Marley & the Wailers comes on.
3: Freddie Mercury
No one is more deserving of the title “The Man, The Myth, The Legend” quite as much as Freddie Mercury. The frontman of legendary English band Queen, Mercury was set on bringing “Ballet to the masses” and wrote legendary songs like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Will Rock You,” “We Are The Champions,” and countless other iconic rock songs. He tragically died of AIDS the day after he came out as gay, but his legend lives on.
An insanely talented singer, songwriter, and musician, Prince is not only one of the most iconic Musicians of all time, but easily one of the most influential as well. With a decades-spanning career up until his sudden death earlier this year, Prince was a known workaholic and it has been discovered that he has a literal vault full of unreleased music. Enough for a new album to be released every year for the next 100 years! Now THAT’S intense! He may have been incredibly strict and unforgiving when it came to his musicians, but it was considered one of the highest honors to play with him. Prince broke the mold when it came to Black men with his androgynous appearance, stage antics, and musicianship. However, there would be no Prince without our number one spot…
1: David Bowie
The original Starman. David Bowie is the number one most iconic frontman of all time for a myriad of reasons. His androgynous appearance as Ziggy Stardust was unseen before, and paved the way for acts like Prince and the entire Hair Metal genre. His voice is unique and unmistakable, and he had a career that started in the sixties before tragically succumbing to cancer in January of this year. The music world took a terrible blow when we lost Bowie, and it was a loss felt all across the various genres. Not only was he am incredible musician, he was also an actor, fashion icon, and loving father and husband.
Well, that’s my list. How did I do? There are several, several people I wanted to include, but had to cut it down to 10. Who is on your list?