Who Are the 20 Best Rock Singers of All Time? (2023)

Rock and roll music is many things to many people. Its earliest roots branch out to encompass a wide variety of genres that include everything from and gospel to folk music and country and western.

As it evolved, rock music spawned its own vast array of sub-genres including folk rock, punk rock, glam rock, heavy metal, and grunge, to name only a few. As a result, a rock song can by anything from a power ballad to a screaming rant of dissent, a thought-provoking commentary to a joyous tune you just can’t help dancing to.

Since there’s no one definition of rock and roll, you’d think it might be hard to define what makes a great rock singer. Having a beautiful voice and being able to belt out a tune certainly have their place in most musical formats, but to be considered a truly memorable rock singer takes something more. Great rock singers deliver a message that makes listeners feel connected to the music. It’s not about the notes these singers hit, but rather the hearts and minds that they touch and the lasting impression (sometimes lifelong) they make. The following list showcases 20 of the best rock and roll singers of all time.


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Robert Plant

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While growing up in England, Robert Plant hid behind curtains and pretended to be Elvis Presley. In 1968, he joined the group Led Zeppelin after an audition in front of lead guitarist Jimmy Page. In the 1970s, he was acclaimed by many as the world's greatest rock vocalist. Led Zeppelin's certified album sales exceed 100 million. After the group broke up in 1980, Robert Plant embarked on a successful solo career.


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Freddie Mercury

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Born and raised in Zanzibar and India, Freddie Mercury gained acclaim as the flamboyant frontman for the rock group Queen. He was the lead vocalist on such classic songs as "Bohemian Rhapsody," "We Are the Champions," and "Somebody To Love." Queen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. Freddie Mercury died tragically from AIDS complications in 1991.


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Mick Jagger

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For the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger, showmanship has always been just as important as his trademark voice. Childhood friends with guitarist Keith Richards, Jagger was heavily influenced during the group's formative years by American blues and rock and roll. Starting out in 1962, the Rolling Stones have been acclaimed as the "World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band" and celebrated more than 50 years as active performers. Nine of their albums have hit #1 on the U.S. charts.



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Paul McCartney

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Paul McCartney proved himself a superb rock vocalist in the early days of the Beatles. However, it's his performances on such songs as "Helter Skelter" and "I'm Down" that showcase his abilities as a true rock screamer. His later work with Wings includes understated rock brilliance on songs like "Jet" and "Live and Let Die." Paul McCartney is credited with writing or co-writing 32 songs that reached #1 on the U.S. pop chart.

Janis Joplin

Who Are the 20 Best Rock Singers of All Time? (5)

Janis Joplin's raw, soulful vocal style has made her one of the most legendary rock vocalists of all time. She first gained fame as the singer in the rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company. However, she experienced even greater success as a solo artist. Sadly, she passed away in 1970 at age 27. Her single "Me and Bobby McGee" was a posthumous #1 hit.


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Bruce Springsteen

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Bruce Springsteen's trademark rugged voice is noted by many as a distinctively American rock sound. His songs center around the experience of the American working class. Bruce Springsteen has sold more than 120 million records worldwide. In 2009, he was a Kennedy Center Honors recipient, and in 2016, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


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Axl Rose

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Axl Rose's troubled road to fame began in Indiana, where his early years were less than ideal. He was arrested more than 20 times and served multiple jail terms. In 1982 at the age of 20, he moved to Los Angeles to seek a music career. He helped form Guns N' Roses in 1985, one of the most critically acclaimed rock bands of all time. Their debut album, "Appetite For Destruction," has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, and is the bestselling debut album of all time. In addition to his work with Guns N' Roses, Axl Rose began singing lead for AC/DC in 2016.


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Ann Wilson

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Singer-songwriter Ann Wilson and her sister guitarist Nancy Wilson joined the band Heart in the early 1970s. They became one of the most successful Canadian bands of all time. Heart has sold over 20 million albums and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. Ann Wilson released her first solo album "Hope & Glory" in 2007. In 2015, she embarked on a solo tour as "The Ann Wilson Thing."


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David Bowie

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David Bowie, one of the most influential rock vocalists of all time, stretched the boundaries of rock into both avant-garde and mainstream dance music territory and was known for continuous reinvention of his music and his image. David Bowie released his final studio album "Blackstar" to critical acclaim just two days before his death in 2016.


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Bob Dylan

Who Are the 20 Best Rock Singers of All Time? (10)

Some observers believe the distinctive croaking quality in Bob Dylan's sound might disqualify him as a top rock vocalist, but the passion he puts forth in such classics as "Like a Rolling Stone," "Just Like a Woman," and "Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man" more than makes upfor a less than pretty voice. Bob Dylan is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016.


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U2's lead vocalist Bono was born Paul David Hewson. U2 has won 22 Grammy Awards and sold more than 150 million records worldwide. Their 1987 landmark album "Joshua Tree" produced two number-one U.S. singles: "With Or Without You" and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." Beyond his illustrious career as frontman for one of the world's most celebrated rock bands, Bono is a well-recognized philanthropist and is occasionally known to put his star power behind political causes.


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John Lennon

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(Video) Top 20 Greatest Female Rock Singers Of All Time

Both John Lennon and Paul McCartney showed strong rock vocal chops with the Beatles and in their solo careers. Many consider John Lennon's lead performance on the Beatles' cover of "Twist and Shout" his all-time best with the band. Solo songs such as "Cold Turkey" and "Mother" present another side of Lennon's talent with a harrowing and evocative vocal style that remains haunting decades after his tragic shooting death in 1980.


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Neil Young

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As a member of the groups Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young played a key role in the development of the late 1960s folk-rock scene. Later, with his own band, Crazy Horse, he began forging his own distinctive path with an unmistakable high tenor singing voice. Neil Young has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame both as a solo artist and a member of Buffalo Springfield.


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Stevie Nicks

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When Stevie Nicks and her boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham joined the English blues-rock group Fleetwood Mac in 1975, no one foresaw the legacy that would soon unfold. Fleetwood Mac went on to become one of the most acclaimed pop groups of all time. "Dreams," written and sung by Stevie Nicks, became the group's only number one pop single. As a solo artist, Stevie Nicks turned in a stronger rock direction and experienced significant success. Six of her solo albums have hit the top 10 on the album chart and her songs "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," "Stand Back," and "Edge of Seventeen" are considered rock classics.


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Kurt Cobain

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Kurt Cobain is remembered as both leader of the rock band Nirvana and the face of the grunge rock movement that emerged from Seattle from the late 1980s through early 1990s. Cobain's deeply emotional vocals reveal the pain and frustration that accompanied much of his personal life. He died by suicide in 1994. Although they only released three studio albums, Nirvana sold over 25 million albums in the U.S. and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame their first year of eligibility.


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Roger Daltrey

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Shortly after The Who formed in the mid-1960s, Roger Daltrey asserted himself as the group's charismatic leader. As the group's popularity grew, he became less of a dominant figure and shared the spotlight with guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend. In addition to his vocal contributions to The Who, Daltrey also embarked, with some success, on an acting career and recorded a series of solo albums. The Who have sold over 100 million albums worldwide.

(Video) Top 20 Male Rock Singers - Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy


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Jim Morrison

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Jim Morrison co-founded The Doors in 1965. Two years later, they hit number one on the pop charts with "Light My Fire." Jim Morrison was acclaimed as an iconic rebel among rock singers. He was also arrested for indecent exposure and attempting to incite riots at Doors live performances. Jim Morrison died at the age of 27 in Paris in March 1971.


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Steven Tyler

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Aerosmith's lead vocalist Steven Tyler credits seeing a Rolling Stones concert at age 17 as one of his life's most influential events. Aerosmith formed in 1970. In 1972, the band signed a recording contract with Columbia Records. In 1976, the group hit the Pop Top 10 with both "Dream On" and "Walk This Way." Since then, Aerosmith has become an iconic rock band with Steven Tyler's screaming vocals and flamboyant style of dress leading the way. The group has sold more than 150 million records worldwide.


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Jon Bon Jovi

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Jon Bon Jovi grew up in New Jersey and has claimed to be a blood relative of Frank Sinatra. He joined the rock group Scandal briefly in 1983, but after receiving a recording contract the same year, he formed the group Bon Jovi.

Bon Jovi experienced a significant breakthrough with the 1986 number one hit album "Slippery When Wet" that includes the anthems "You Give Love a Bad Name" and "Livin' on a Prayer." Bon Jovi has sold more than 130 million records worldwide. Jon Bon Jovi has also experienced solo success with his song "Blaze of Glory" hitting number one on U.S. pop charts.


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Ozzy Osbourne

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Early in his career, Ozzy Osbourne set the bar for every heavy metal vocalist to come as lead singer with Black Sabbath. After being fired from the group in 1979, he had a highly successful solo career and eventually rejoined the band, releasing the album "13" in 2013. Ozzy Osbourne credits the song "She Loves You" by the Beatles with inspiring his musical career.

(Video) Best Rock Singers of All Time (Top 25 Vocalists Ranked)


Who is considered the best rock singer of all time? ›

1. Bruce Springsteen. Bruce is the link between folk, '60s R&B, punk, and of course, rock and roll. He's the common man's arena superhero and in his mid sixties, his concerts still last over three hours.

Who is the No 1 rock star? ›

1. Elvis Presley. Known as the king of rock'n'roll, Elvis Presley is the second best-selling solo artist of all time and has sold over 146.5 million units to date.

Who has the best male voice in rock? ›

19 Of The Greatest And Most Famous Male Rock Singers Of All Time
  • Freddie Mercury (Queen)
  • Elvis Presley.
  • John Lennon (The Beatles)
  • Paul McCartney (The Beatles)
  • Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin)
  • David Bowie.
  • Rod Stewart.
  • Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)

Who are the top 10 male singers? ›

We've ranked who we reckon are the greatest male singers of all time, in terms of ability, pitch and power.
The 20 best male singers of all time, ranked in order of pure...
  • Elton John. EltonJohnVEVO. ...
  • Paul McCartney. ...
  • Rod Stewart. ...
  • Andy Williams. ...
  • Tom Jones. ...
  • Michael Bublé ...
  • Art Garfunkel. ...
  • Stevie Wonder.
Jan 3, 2023

Who is considered the king of rock music? ›

Introduction. Elvis Presley is, quite simply, the King of Rock & Roll. In 1954, the performer kicked off a musical revolution by modernizing traditional genres such as blues, country and bluegrass for contemporary (and more youthful) audiences.

Which rock singer has the best vocal range? ›

Based on the findings, Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose has demonstrated the greatest vocal range in studio. Mariah Carey comes in second, followed by Prince, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Christina Aguilera and David Bowie.

Which rock band drank the most? ›

This is the life of Mötley Crüe, the heaviest drinking, hardest fighting, most oversexed and arrogant band in the world. Their unbelievable exploits are the stuff of rock 'n' roll legend." Thus begins Motely Crue: The Dirt, a 448-page "confession" of their epic tales.

What singers can hit 7 octaves? ›

The seventh octave is the range of notes between C7 and C8. It is easier for very high coloratura sopranos to sing in this octave, but some people who are capable of singing in the bass range (like singers Adam Lopez, Virgo Degan, Nicola Sedda or Dimash Kudaibergen) can do it.

Who is the most talented male singer of all time? ›

Check out this list of ten of the greatest male vocalists of our time!
  • David Bowie. ...
  • John Lennon. ...
  • Freddie Mercury. ...
  • Prince. ...
  • Axl Rose. ...
  • Frank Sinatra. ...
  • Marvin Gaye. ...
  • Elvis Presley. Sometimes being cited as one of the world's first famous rock artists, Elvis was no stranger to exploring different genres.
Feb 4, 2016

What male rock singer has the most octaves? ›

Mike Patton's octave range

He has one of the widest known ranges for any singer, with a full 6 octaves.

Who has the greatest voice of all time? ›

The greatest singing voices of all time
  • 1 of 35. Celine Dion. Kevin Winter/Getty Images. ...
  • 2 of 35. Barbra Streisand. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for BSB. ...
  • 3 of 35. Etta James. ...
  • 4 of 35. Nina Simone. ...
  • 5 of 35. Aretha Franklin. ...
  • 6 of 35. Whitney Houston. ...
  • 7 of 35. Smokey Robinson. ...
  • 8 of 35. Mariah Carey.
3 days ago

Who is the most loved singer? ›

Popularity rankingArtist
01DrakeTrack artist
02RihannaTrack artist
03ColdplayTrack artist
04EminemTrack artist
94 more rows

Which is the greatest song of all time? ›

Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' is voted the greatest song of all time by Gold listeners. After thousands of votes, we have crowned the winner of Gold's Hall of Fame Top 300 for 2022!

Who is the real father of rock and roll? ›

But there was 'definitely' no one like Chuck Berry." Rolling Stone called him "the father of rock & roll" who "gave the music its sound and its attitude, even as he battled racism - and his own misdeeds - all the way," reporting that Leonard Cohen said, "All of us are footnotes to the words of Chuck Berry."

Who is real King of Rock and Roll? ›

"King of Rock and Roll" is a nickname most commonly associated with American singer Elvis Presley (1935–1977).

Who is the godfather of rock? ›

The “godfather of rock'n'roll” Fats Domino has been remembered as a pioneer whose pounding piano helped change popular music, after his death was announced in New Orleans. He was 89.

What rock singers had 4 octaves? ›

While David Bowie and Freddie Mercury both had ranges spanning four octaves, Prince could hit a gobsmacking B6.

Which singer has the best pitch? ›

13 Famous Singers And Musicians And With Perfect Pitch
  • Yo-Yo Ma.
  • Bing Crosby.
  • Glenn Gould.
  • Ella Fitzgerald.
  • Charlie Puth.
  • Lorin Maazel.
  • Yanni.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Apr 21, 2022

Which singer has the best vocal control? ›

The top 10 singers who have their very own technique and can bring something new to the audience are:
  • Shreya Ghoshal. ...
  • Lata Mangeshkar. ...
  • David Bowie. ...
  • Karen Carpenter. ...
  • Frank Sinatra. ...
  • Katy Perry. ...
  • Annie Lennox. ...
  • Axl Rose. Who does not know Axl Rose from Guns and Roses, right?
May 2, 2022

Who has the most #1 rock songs? ›

1 The Beatles Top The Ranks With 20 Songs

To no one's surprise, the greatest rock band of all time holds the record to the most number-one hits, though it was very close.

Who has the most powerful band? ›

South Korean boy band, BTS, has achieved global success: two consecutive #1 albums on the Billboard charts, a sold-out world tour, and a historic stadium show at Citi Field, with over 40,000 fans in attendance.

What is the biggest rock song in the world? ›


From its original birth in the fabled Bron-Yr-Aur cottage, to accusations of backwards Satanic messages, to copyright lawsuits, to the famous Gibson doubleneck guitar, it's rightly gone down in legend as the greatest rock song ever.

What is the hardest rock band ever? ›

Top 10 Heaviest bands of all time
  • Motörhead. A classic hitter, super intense for the time and they definitely set the standard for other bands and influenced many after them. ...
  • Slayer. ...
  • Pantera. ...
  • Death. ...
  • Cannibal Corpse. ...
  • Lil Thrash. ...
  • Gorguts. ...
  • Skinless.

Who is the biggest band of all time? ›

1. The Beatles — 183 million units.

What was Elvis vocal range? ›

Voice characteristics

Elvis Presley was a baritone whose voice had an extraordinary compass — the so-called register — and a very wide range of vocal colour. It covered two octaves and a third, from the baritone low-G to the tenor high B, with an upward extension in falsetto to at least a D flat.

How many octaves did Michael Jackson have? ›

Michael Jackson: Vocal Profile/ Range [High Tenor/ 4 Octaves]

How many octaves did Freddie Mercury have? ›

One study on Freddie's vocal range even confirmed that he was able to vary from about 92.2 Hz to 784 Hz, meaning he was reliably able to hit notes from the booming low of F#2 to the high pitch G5 – that covers a full three octaves!

Which singer has the most number 1? ›

The most modern act on the list is Rihanna, who has released 14 chart-topping singles in her career. The oldest is Elvis Presley, who's had 18 No. 1 songs.

Who has the greatest singing voice of all time? ›

The greatest singing voices of all time
  • 1 of 35. Celine Dion. Kevin Winter/Getty Images. ...
  • 2 of 35. Barbra Streisand. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for BSB. ...
  • 3 of 35. Etta James. ...
  • 4 of 35. Nina Simone. ...
  • 5 of 35. Aretha Franklin. ...
  • 6 of 35. Whitney Houston. ...
  • 7 of 35. Smokey Robinson. ...
  • 8 of 35. Mariah Carey.
2 days ago

Who is the number 1 musician of all time? ›

Top-selling artists worldwide as of 2022. Perhaps unsurprisingly, British rock band The Beatles are top of the list for best-selling artists worldwide, with 183 million units certified sales. Second is Garth Brooks with over 157 million units sales, followed by Elvis Presley with 139 million units.

Who is the number 1 male singer of all time? ›

The unequivocal King of Pop, Michael Jackson, is and the most decorated singer in history, with 13 Grammys and 40 Billboard Music Awards, to name a few.

Who is No 1 singers? ›

Arijit Singh is the best singer in India in 2022, he has won a National Award and a total of six Filmfare Awards. He's often referred to as the “King of Playback Singing.” In his early days, he worked for music composer Pritam.

Who is the most famous singer alive? ›

fame is defined by the % of people who have heard of a contemporary music artist. Find out more
  • 1 Miley Cyrus97%
  • 2 Beyoncé97%
  • 3 Lady Gaga97%
  • 4 Taylor Swift96%
  • 5 Katy Perry96%
  • 6 Justin Timberlake96%
  • 7 Justin Bieber96%
  • 8 Rihanna96%

What is the most played song of all time? ›

There's even a dispute over the exact title. Yet “It's a Small World,” also known as “It's a Small, Small World” and “It's a Small World (After All),” is very likely the most played song in music history — nearly 50 million times.

Who has the most wonderful voice? ›

Who has the greatest voice in history?
  • Aretha Franklin. Aretha Franklin - Greatest Hits (Official Full Album) | Aretha Franklin Best Songs Playlist. ...
  • Freddie Mercury. Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody (Freddie Mercury). ...
  • Stevie Wonder. ...
  • Michael Jackson. ...
  • Mariah Carey. ...
  • James Brown. ...
  • Frank Sinatra. ...
  • Elton John.

What musician has the most Top 10 hits? ›

With 40 top 10 hits in the Hot 100 over her career, Swift surpassed Madonna as the woman with the most top 10s in the chart's history. (Madonna has 38 top 10 singles.) Swift is only surpassed by Drake, who counts 59 top 10 hits.

Who is considered the best band of all time? ›

The 10 best rock bands ever
  1. The Beatles. The Beatles are unquestionably the best and most important band in rock history, as well as the most compelling story. ...
  2. The Rolling Stones. ...
  3. U2. ...
  4. The Grateful Dead. ...
  5. Velvet Underground. ...
  6. Led Zeppelin. ...
  7. Ramones. ...
  8. Pink Floyd.
Mar 30, 2004

Who has the biggest selling records of all time? ›

Michael Jackson's Thriller, estimated to have sold 70 million copies worldwide, is the best-selling album ever. Jackson also currently has the highest number of albums on the list with five, Celine Dion has four, while the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Madonna and Whitney Houston each have three.

Which singer has the most number one hits? ›

Mariah Carey (USA) has topped the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart on 19 different occasions.

Who is the best singer right now? ›

But all would agree that a certain someone is the legend of the singer but Who Is The Best Singer In The World right now.
List Of Best Singers In The World 2022.
3Lady Gaga
4Bruno Mars
6 more rows
Apr 29, 2022


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