Thursday, October 30, 2008

They ain't related but they do be brothers.

What do you think of when you hear the word Queen?
Perhaps the Queen Elizabeth of England?

My first thought is Freddie Mercury. Although he lived in England and Queen was/is an English band, Mercury was born in exotic sounding Zanzibar.Queen is one of my favorite bands and I listen to their Greatest Hits CD in the car all the time. For more than a few months my CD was MIA and I finally found it in Cameron's CD collection. I took it back! Mercury had a very distinct and recognizable voice that could span several octaves. There are some vocalists that are so entrenched in a band that they can't be replaced. Freddie was one of those. I hear that Queen is releasing a new album (oops, I'm showing my age) entitled The Cosmos Rocks. To me that really isn't Queen. Freddie Mercury was that band and I've never bothered to listen to the songs without him.

I started thinking about bands that were never the same after the lead singer left or died. Some groups can change their lead vocalist and be fine but others it just doesn't work for me and I don't listen any longer. In my opinion that happened to these groups.

The Doobie Brothers; I liked them when Tom Johnson was the lead but when he stepped down due to health reasons and was replaced by Michael McDonald in 1976 I never listened again. I don't like McDonald's voice and to me they just aren't the Doobie Brothers any longer. I switch the radio station if they come on the song is post Johnson.

The Doors; you can't replace Jim Morrison and they didn't really try to after his death in July 1971 at age 27. (coincidentally the same age as Jimi Hendrex, Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain) Two years after his death the band disbanded. The surviving members must have known that The Doors were nothing without Morrison. I'll say this, Jim Morrison was one strange dude.

Some bands with larger than life lead singers can go with a new guy and it works out okay.

AC/DC; They had a good run with Bon Scott with albums I loved, Highway to Hell, Back in Black and For Those of You About to Rock We Salute You until Scott died of alcohol poisoning in February 1980. Brian Johnson took over and I still like them.

Van Halen; David Lee Roth did pretty well for them considering he failed at his first audition for V.H. DLR was their front man from 1972-85. He was replaced with Sammy Hagar (I Can't Drive 55) and he stuck around through 1996. Roth has since rejoined Van Halen but I don't listen to anything new.
I'm stuck in the 60's, 70's and early 80's musically. Give me Reo Speedwagon, Styx, Def Leopard, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Boston and more, I'm happy.
PS. Is there anyone who likes the Burger King commercials with the two folk/Renaissance type singers? I loathe them. The darker haired one with the glasses and weird nose just creeps me out. I never eat there and those two dopes will never change my mind.
One final note; thanks to all who commented and emailed me regarding my post about Ginny.


Craze said...

I agree AC/DC, Van Halen and Lynard Skynard just weren't the same. Jim Morrison was a freak!

Nobody™ said...

I love Van Halen with DLR and with Hagar, but they are very different sounds. Eddie held the two together though with his very distinctive sounding guitar playing. Then there was Van Halen 3 with the lead singer from Extreme. I never bothered with that. Kind of like I won't bother to see them on tour without Micheal Anthony.

Slick said...

AC/DC is my favorite of all time. As far as Van Halen, every one of their songs sound the same. I don't really care for them.

Queen's Fat Bottomed Girls is one of the best!!

Kitten Herder said...

Great post. I agree, some bands owe their success to their unique frontmen. Here are some others that have distinctive vocalists (IMO) that make the band: Rush, U2 and Crash Test Dummies (that guy has a really unique deep voice).

I hear that Journey picked a new front man who sounds just like Steve Perry. I haven't listened yet. I can't imagine it would be the same. But, maybe I'll give them a chance.