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Mick Jagger, Stevie Nicks, Axl Rose, Kurt Cobain: Most Iconic Classic Rock Singer | Poll
"You need cooling, baby I'm not fooling." "Have you any dreams you'd like to sell?" "Welcome to the jungle, we've got fun and games." "I found it hard, it's hard to find. Oh well, whatever, never mind."
Sure enough, as these lyrics reverberate in your head, the first thing that probably comes to mind is the inimitable voices behind them. Indeed, the classic rock era — the mid-'60s to the late '80s, and now including the '90s — was littered with a variety of one-of-a-kind singers — instantly recognizable voices who breathed life into classic anthems spanning "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and beyond.
In the '60s, the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger arguably set the template for the modern rock and roll frontman, commanding the stage and matching bandmate Keith Richards' meaty guitar riffs with his distinctive vocal delivery. Other iconic frontmen such as Roger Daltrey and Robert Plant put their own vocal stamps on classics by the Who and Led Zeppelin, respectively, perfectly complementing master six stringers Pete Townshend and Jimmy Page on songs like "My Generation" and "Whole Lotta Love."
With his operatic tenor, Freddie Mercury began his reign with Queen in the '70s, sprinkling magical vocals on top of songs such as "Bohemian Rapsody," "Another One Bites The Dust" and "We Will Rock You." Initially dismissed as a Jagger knockoff, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler ultimately proved his mettle with his inimitable blues-rock yowl, adding gravelly character to hits such as "Dream On," "Walk This Way" and "Sweet Emotion."
Ann Wilson brought intense dynamics to the Heart catalog, going from a whisper to 11 on "Crazy On You" and bringing fire and fury to the likes of "Barracuda." Meanwhile, Stevie Nicks' expressive, husky voice yielded a beautiful yet haunting dimension to Fleetwood Mac hits such as "Dreams," "Gold Dust Woman" and "Sara."
Perhaps the very definition of a soaring rock tenor, Steve Perry's voice gave Journey fans goosebumps whether presiding over infectious anthems such as "Don't Stop Believin'" or soft ballads like "Open Arms" and "Faithfully." Arguably the most volatile figure from the '80s L.A. rock scene, Guns N' Roses' Axl Rose slithered through multiple vocal personalities, evidenced by his patented screams on "Welcome To The Jungle" and laidback, heartfelt delivery on "Sweet Child O' Mine."
Speaking of volatility, the music of Seattle erupted in the early '90s. Leading the way were Nirvana, with Kurt Cobain whispering and seething on songs such as "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and showcasing a more dynamic vocal approach on quieter numbers like "Something In The Way." Armed with an astonishing voice, Soundgarden's Chris Cornell bridged the hard rock of the '80s and the unique sonic characteristics of grunge. His vocals spanned the sustained howls of "Rusty Cage" to the confessional delivery of "Black Hole Sun" and the hypnotic "Spoonman."
To quote Steve Perry, as far as classic rock vocalists, we could keep going "on and on and on and on." So, we want to know: Which classic rock lead singer has the most iconic voice? Cast your vote!