Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lead Guitarist VS Lead Vocalist - Who Is More Important?

Lead Guitarists VS Lead Vocalists
Or a practical way to compare apples to oranges

It’s no secret that I use blogs and social media and other forms of marketing to promote my music. I have written thousands of songs and recorded thousands of hours of raw music over the years. My musical career took a big long hiatus for personal reasons and so a lot of stuff never got out into the public.
"Image courtesy of Dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net"
So what . . . as a recording artist I prefer the creating and recording part of music first, performing second so that’s the reason I do not tour. As a composer I play most of the rhythm and lead guitar. I write all my music using the guitar. 

Many of my lyrics come from the chord progression of an already written musical piece (like “Hey Mr. Cloud”). For some of my stuff I write the words first and then adapt the music (like “I Am A Sinner”).

So from what I have just told you, I am both a lead guitarist and a lead singer. To me, they can be the same. Which all of this brings us to the point where there is a continuing argument, “Who is more important to the band – the lead singer or the lead guitarist?”

Obviously many groups do and need both dominant talents. HOWEVER, if a choice had to be made (and many groups have found themselves in this predicament), one or the other has to go.

The first group that comes to mind is Van Halen. Is Van Halen still Van Halen without the super ego of David Lee Roth? Would Van Halen be better without Eddie? Roth was replaced by Sammy Hagar and he brought more of TV commercial sound to the band, not the creative energy Roth developed. On the opposite side, who could replace Eddie Van Halen? Ronnie Montrose? Joe Walsh? Joe Satriani? Joe Bonamossa? (A lot of Joes!). Anybody less than Eddie would make the band sound like Loverboy.

A while back I wrote a Hub Pages article about Top 50 guitarists. I pushed Hendrix back because I believe the only reason people still include him as a great axeman is for nostalgic reasons, not that he is the all-time best. Read about how Hendrix Drops To #50 Greatest Guitarist Of All Time

I wanted to couple my Top 50 guitarists with Top 50 Singers but that was too big a task. Rock singers, Crooners, Blues or Jazz vocalists I had to narrow it down. You can’t have Sinatra included with Elvis and Roger Daltrey! You can’t compare apples to oranges.

So I went back to see if I can do a competition between rock guitarists and rock singers. This is not a competition against one another, but a competition for one another. In other words, which guitarists could vie for the lead spot of a particular singer and should they get together put out some awesome tracks. And I thought also that a lead singer could “audition” for the top spot in a guitarist’s band.

Well, to keep it brief, I am choosing 10 lead singers who may be looking for a new lead guitarist and 10 lead guitarists who need a new vocalist.

Here are the rules: 

1. Classic rock only (sorry punk rockers and rappers)
2. The pair should not have been matched on record anywhere before
3. If they were matched and I was not aware of it you need to email me so I may disqualify those contestants and pick two new ones
4. Only doing male performers this time
5. This is a fantasy game, folks, don’t start spreading rumors!
6. If you have your own pairing email me and let me know so I can put on an addendum.
7. Don’t get angry at the results – it’s just a game!


Lead Singer and Group Seeking
Experienced Lead Guitarist                          Guitarist                                 Runner Up

  1. Robert Plant/Led Zeppelin                   Joe Perry                                  Mike Pinera
  2. Rick Ocasek and the Cars                   G E Smith                                 Bill Spooner
  3. Alice Cooper                                       Richie Blackmore                     Randy Rhodes
  4. Robert Lamm and Chicago                   Mick Box                                Andy Scott
  5. Roger Daltrey and the Who                  Joe Walsh                                Steve Mille
  6. Dennis DeYoung and Styx                    Chris DeGarmo                        Rick Derringer
  7. Rick Springfield                                    Eddie Van Halen                      Randy Bachman
  8. Mark Lindsay & Raiders                      George Harrison                      Glen Buxton
  9. John Kay & Steppenwolf                      Ted Nugent                              Jim McCarty
  10. Mark Farner and Grand Funk               Rory Gallagher                        Mick Taylor


Lead Guitarist and Group Seeking
Experienced Lead Vocalist                           Singer                                     Runner Up

Keith Richards Rolling Stones                       Mitch Ryder                               Bob Seger
Jeff Beck and Yardbirds                               Van Morrison                             John Lennon
Ace Frehley and Kiss                                   Don Brewer                                Pete Rivera
Steve Howe and Yes                                    Mickey Dolenz                           Kevin Cronin
Michael Schenker                                         David Coverdale                        Ronnie Dio
Santana                                                        Dave Peverett                             Rusty Day
Richie Sambora and Bon Jovi                       Barry Manilow                            Iggy Pop
Rick Nielsen & Cheap Trick                        Bryan Adams                              Peter Gabriel
Alex Lifeson & Rush                                    Peter Cetera                                Mickey Thomas
Brian May & Queen                                    Tommy Shaw                               Barry Gibb      

Ok I don’t think the bands might go for my choices but who cares – this is not real.
Here’s another competition I concocted two years ago: Chicago or Detroit? Which had the better music?

I hope you music afficionados had fun with this game and yes, I think Barry Manilow had the energy needed to replace Bon Jov himself.

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