The Fascinating Frontmen of Rock N’ Roll

Despite rock n’ roll music having been a historically vast and fluid genre, there is one major commonality amongst those that the world ranks within the legendary category of the best live bands of all time. Beyond the obvious electrifying tunes paired with an out of this world sort of image, each of these bands possess a secret weapon that individualizes them from the rest while simultaneously motivating crowds to continuously beg for more. A front man, regardless of his/her discipline, encompasses the rare and seemingly magical ability to encourage, motivate, and inspire thousands of people to dance, sing, and just straight up feel alive.

Traditionally thought of as the lead vocalist, many front men from the past dawned the stage sans an instrument but equipped with an arsenal full of attitude. Just a few of the most world renowned may be Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones, Steven Tyler from Aerosmith, Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin, and Freddie Mercury from Queen. Though each portraying a distinctive sound far different from the others, there does appear to be a common thread linking this iconic group. Each man exudes a raw sense of sex appeal, or dare I say, femininity, through their movement, makeup, garb, and language. This dichotomy of feminine energy matched with the masculinity demonstrated in a number of rock n’ roll bands creates an intriguing and compelling performance that clearly resonates amongst millions of people from varying degree of cultures and backgrounds.

Though often lead vocalists, there are massive exceptions to this rule. One that I find to be most inspiring is that of Angus Young from AC/DC. There is no doubt that Bon Scott and Brian Johnson are both equally outstanding front men, but Angus Young has become a sort of head banging, hype man whom is able to astound even the most rigid of rock n’ roll critics. Young’s personality and outstanding skill level leave the man with no need for words, he is instead capable of thrilling audiences from his rhythmic movement and sheer passion alone.

Of course when discussing front men, it is imperative to highlight those that are both lead vocalist in addition to being instrumentalists. Harboring the ability to play, sing, and entertain remains a rare talent that few appear to be born with. A small fraction of these gifted individuals may be Jimi Hendrix, Joan Jett, Kurt Cobain, Bruce Springsteen, Jack White, Tom Petty, Billy Joe Armstrong… a list that is honestly too long to name. Regardless, it appears to me, that the link between each of these unique frontmen lies within their ability to connect with an audience. Whether that be through dance, fashion, instrumental talent, or lyrics, each of these individuals possesses an ability to align fans from all over the world, crafting a tangiable environment of unity and undeniable fun.

–Victoria Shaffer

8 thoughts on “The Fascinating Frontmen of Rock N’ Roll

  1. I love that you reference the front man (or woman) need not be the lead singer. Angus is the one to watch during the show. Even with David Lee Roth’s antics, the band is called Van Halen for a reason, as people went to see Eddie play early on. There was this guy named Clapton who was the one to see in a number of bands, he led or was in.

    Usually, though, it is a duo of front men or women. LZ had Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. Jon Bon Jovi is a tremendous front man, but Richie Sambora made them sizzle with his guitar playing.

    We cannot leave this topic without mentioning Ann and Nancy Wilson. Ann has one of the greatest rock voices ever, while Nancy would enliven the audience up with her acoustic guitar. Great post! Keith

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Joan Jett. Pat Benatar. Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. The Who’s Roger Daltrey and guitarist Pete Townshend. Plus all the ones you mentioned! Great leaders of the band make us all want more.

    Liked by 1 person

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