digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















For the lead voice in counterpoint, see Hauptstimme.
Queen illustrating a typical band layout during a 1984 concert. Lead vocalist (frontman) Freddie Mercury stands centre-stage in front of drummer Roger Taylor and positioned between bassist John Deacon and guitarist Brian May.

The lead vocalist or lead vocal (or lead singer) is the member of a band who sings the main solo vocal portions of a song. The lead vocalist may also play one or more instruments, and is usually the "leader" of their group, often the spokesman in interviews and before the public. The lead vocalist is sometimes referred to as the frontman.

In certain types of music, notably soul and rock'n'roll, there is a line-up of a lead vocalist with a named group of backing vocalists (Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Diana Ross & the Supremes, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Bill Haley & His Comets). Such line-ups can be very fluid, with both the lead vocalist and the backing group pursuing independent careers; and frequent personnel changes are not uncommon. While members of backing bands were often replaceable, the lead singer would be regarded as having a more marketable name and would have to hire or fire backing musicians at will. Cases of backing bands "defecting" to rival vocalists were rarer, but did happen on occasion as seen by Tony Orlando and Dawn.

Ambiguous lead vocalists[edit]

Some rock groups, such as Cream, Linkin Park, The Libertines, Alkaline Trio, Hollywood Undead, Less Than Jake, Jefferson Airplane, Eagles, Pink Floyd, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, KISS, Blink-182, Hüsker Dü, They Might Be Giants, The Monkees, The Moody Blues, Mushroomhead, and Barenaked Ladies have or had more than one featured vocalist, making it difficult to establish a single "lead singer" or "front man."

Other bands, such as Queen, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Clash, The Doors, Oasis, Depeche Mode, Guns N' Roses, System of a Down, Avenged Sevenfold, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, Wings, The Cars, Styx, Status Quo, Animal Collective, and Crosby, Stills & Nash had, in addition to the designated "lead singer", one or more members who provided significant lead vocals in the course of the group's career.

While the lead vocalist often defines the group's image and personality to the general public, several bands, such as AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Van Halen, Alice in Chains, INXS, Boston, Three Days Grace and Helloween have changed lead singers and maintained the original band name and, to some extent, identity. Other bands such as Fleetwood Mac, Escape the Fate, Underoath, Journey, Judas Priest, Genesis, Anthrax, Rainbow, Rage Against the Machine, Misfits and Black Sabbath have gone in an almost completely different musical direction with the arrival of a new vocalist.


The lead vocalist of a band is sometimes called the frontman or frontwoman. This term "frontman" refers to being the most visible performer in a group, who is often, but not always, also the band's leader and spokesperson. While lead vocalists or spokespersons for any musical ensembles can be called a frontman, the term is used very widely in rock music. Since the position commonly has an expanded role from simple lead vocalists, there have been cases in which the frontman for a band is someone other than the lead vocalist. For example, while the lead vocalist for the band Fall Out Boy is guitarist Patrick Stump, the bassist and lyrics writer, Pete Wentz, is generally called the frontman, both in the media and by the band members themselves, since he represents the band in most interviews and contributes most to the band's image in the popular media.[1] Additionally, Dave Clark of The Dave Clark Five was the group's drummer, not the main vocalist (this role was fulfilled by Mike Smith). Another example is Angus Young of AC/DC, who is the band's lead guitarist, and co-leader with his brother Malcolm Young; while lead singer Brian Johnson (and before him Bon Scott) is the band's frontman, Angus Young can be thought to share the frontman position with Johnson, due to his on-stage antics and his role as the band's mascot, frequently featuring on album covers and promotional materials.

An example of a band with two lead vocalists is The Libertines, whose members Pete Doherty and Carl Barat sing lead vocals on an equal number of songs on an album; these two singers are also considered frontmen for the band. Pink Floyd also can be considered a band with two frontmen, as both the guitarist David Gilmour and the bassist Roger Waters sang and wrote most of the songs. In the beginning of the band's career, however, Pink Floyd's frontman and guitarist was Syd Barrett, who left the band in 1968.

In several bands (such as Led Zeppelin, Queen and Oasis) the lead guitarist may share spokesman responsibilities with the lead singer. Usually, this is derived from that guitarist's specific role as a co-songwriter, co-founder and/or co-vocalist. The normal configuration of The Who follows this pattern. Also in some cases, there are two frontmen, such as Underoath, with singers Spencer Chamberlain and Aaron Gillespie (drummer) sharing vocal duties. Another example is Blink-182, in which vocal duties are split between bassist Mark Hoppus and guitarist Tom DeLonge. Hoppus usually carries out most media either by himself or together with DeLonge, while the band's other member, drummer Travis Barker usually remains quiet. Linkin Park has two vocalists as well, Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda, both considered as frontmen. Another example is the thrash metal band Metallica, in which James Hetfield (lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist) and Lars Ulrich (drummer) share the spokesperson duties for being both founders and the only members who have never left the band.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ CARAMANICA, JON (December 12, 2008), "The Frontman in the Background". The New York Times. (accessed 2009-01-19)

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_vocalist — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
628836 videos foundNext > 

Video Interview with GWAR lead vocalist Oderus Urungus [Unmasked]

25 Years in the making and breaking of our stupid morals, GWAR comes to the stage with their latest offering of molten music, 'Lust In Space'. They celebrate...

Kelly Rowland Claims to be a Lead Vocalist for Destiny's Child


Keith Richards on Mick Jagger and 'Lead Singer Syndrome'

Complete video at: http://fora.tv/2010/10/29/Stones_Guitarist_Keith_Richards_Talks_About_Life Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards discusses his occasiona...

Interview with lead vocalist David Draiman from Disturbed and talking about his new band Device

New band, but same rockin' vocals, David Draiman's latest project is getting a deserved high praise. A few pics and interview while at Culture Room.

David Pack - Lead Vocalist of "Ambrosia"

http://www.seeyourmemories.com/index.html YTS Digital Films had the great pleasure of filming David Pack performing "Holdin' on to Yesterday" and "How Much I...

Producer and Goldfinger lead vocalist, John Feldmann - Pensado's Place #124

Dave and Herb are joined by producer and Goldfinger lead vocalist John Feldmann on the 124th episode of Pensado's Place! Subscribe on iTunes: Video: http://i...

Journey "Original Lead Vocalist Steve Perry" Anytime - Live In Osaka 1980


Brad Arnold, Lead Vocalist, 3 Doors Down - PRS All Access

Brad Arnold started off as the drummer for 3 Doors Down, but moved to vocals when the band was signed. In this video, Brad discusses growing up with Chris an...

Making Love - Air Supply - Arnel Pineda Version (Journey lead vocalist)

Arnel Pineda of the Philippines, now journey's lead vocalist.

311 Lead Vocalist - Nick Hexum

Nick with 311 thinks Ultimate Ears are perfect for pro musicians!

628836 videos foundNext > 

1319 news items

Wed, 13 Aug 2014 19:26:15 -0700

With Hook'd, you can record a snippet of a popular song or even the whole thing, replacing the lead vocalist's voice with your own. But not just an everyday version of your voice - a version improved with MuseAmi's powerful tools, which can add echo or ...

Meriden Record-Journal

Meriden Record-Journal
Tue, 29 Jul 2014 08:30:40 -0700

Since the 1991 death of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury and the retirement of bassist John Deacon, the remaining members (Brian May and Roger Taylor) of Queen have always pondered whether or not to continue as a band. In 2005, they first attempted to ...


Wed, 20 Aug 2014 18:18:45 -0700

They closed out the festival taking the stage and introducing new front-creature by the name of Blothar. Blothar, aka the original Beefcake the Mighty bassist member, Michael Bishop, assumed a new role and took the place of Oderus Urungus as lead ...

Music Times

Music Times
Sun, 27 Jul 2014 12:30:00 -0700

Today, July 27, marks the 35th anniversary of AC/DC's Highway To Hell, a hard rock classic that would be the band's last album with lead vocalist Bon Scott, who died after a night of heavy drinking seven months after the album's release. Here are ten ...


Thu, 21 Aug 2014 21:07:30 -0700

The Pre-Punk Postscript published awhile back detailed the history of this band, so I won't get into that; but this is the first and most important album by Captain Beyond (drummer/songwriter Bobby Caldwell, lead vocalist/songwriter Rod Evans ...
The Reporter
Thu, 21 Aug 2014 21:52:30 -0700

Even with a year's notice that Tower of Power lead vocalist Larry Braggs was changing horses in the middle of the stream, band founder Emilio Castillo was concerned. Until gospel-raised Georgian Ray Greene filled in an East Coast gig for Braggs. And ...


Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:57:33 -0700

The lead singer of The Blackout believes this year's hotly anticipated Merthyr Rock will blow music fans' minds with its lineup. Just last week, Merthyr Rock announced the final bands to play this year's festival. Merthyr band The Blackout will be ...
Sioux City Journal
Wed, 20 Aug 2014 22:37:30 -0700

Thursday marks the last time the blues band Trampled Under Foot will perform in Sioux City. After the departure of the band's drummer and the success of the Trampled Under Foot's latest album, Badlands, lead vocalist and bassist Danielle Schnebelen ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Talk About Lead vocalist

You can talk about Lead vocalist with people all over the world in our discussions.

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!