Music

The Best Rock Vocalists 

Adam Tyler
Originally by
Updated May 3, 2020 1.2M votes 78.8k voters 794.3k views

List Rules Only vocalists primarily associated with rock music

Update: Follow Ranker's official New Rock 2020 playlist on Spotify!

The best rock vocalists of all time are the frontmen of our favorite rock bands or those solo artists whose voices are some of the best ever. These talented men and women of rock could easily captivate audiences with just their vocals. Their voices set them and their bands above the rest and define them as the best rock singers of all time. List includes both men and women. 

To be included on this list, the vocalists must be primarily known for their association with rock music and (obviously) must have a great voice. That really doesn't narrow down the many greatest rock singers in recent rock music history, though a certain few stand out as above and beyond all the rest. Greats like Robert Plant, David Bowie, Steve Perry and Neil Young come to mind, as do icons like Bono, Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen.

While there are many notable vocalists of today's rock music, arguably many of the best rock vocalists of all time are those from earlier generations. Elvis Presley, Freddie Mercury from Queen, John Lennon from The Beatles, Jim Morrison from The Doors and Bob Dylan are only a few of some of the best rock vocalists ever but also some of the most influential singers of all time. Freddie Mercury especially had an amazing voice and was ranked second only to Mariah Carey by MTV for the best voices in music ever.

A perfect combination of range, power, articulation and control is needed to become one of the greatest vocalists of all time. All of those can be taught but the natural ability to have that golden voice, as all of these great rock vocalists possess, is nothing that can be learned. Have a favorite rock singer that we missed? Think one vocalist should be above another? Want to put these singers in your own order? You can do all that and more be voting on, re-ranking and adding rock vocalists below! Rock on!

list ordered by
1
Freddie Mercury is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
Adam Tyler added
Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara; 5 September 1946 – 24 November 1991) was a British singer, songwriter, record producer, and lead vocalist of the rock band Queen. Regarded as one of the ...more

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2
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
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Robert Anthony Plant (born 20 August 1948) is an English singer, songwriter, and musician, best known as the lead singer and lyricist of the rock band Led Zeppelin. Plant enjoyed great success ...more

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3
Steve Perry is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
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Stephen Ray Perry (born January 22, 1949) is an American singer and songwriter. He is best known as the lead singer of the rock band Journey during their most commercially successful periods ...more

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4
Stevie Nicks is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
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Stephanie Lynn Nicks (born May 26, 1948) is an American singer and songwriter. Nicks is best known for her work as a songwriter and vocalist with Fleetwood Mac, and also for her chart-topping ...more

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5
Chris Cornell is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
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Christopher John Cornell (né Boyle; July 20, 1964 – May 18, 2017) was an American musician, singer and songwriter. He was best known as the lead vocalist for the rock bands Soundgarden ...more

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6
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
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David Robert Jones (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), known professionally as David Bowie (, BOH-ee), was an English singer-songwriter and actor. He was a leading figure in the music industry ...more

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7
Ann Wilson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
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Ann Dustin Wilson (born June 19, 1950) is an American musician, best known as the lead singer and songwriter for the rock band Heart. Wilson was listed as one of the "Top Heavy Metal ...more

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8
Don Henley is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
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Donald Hugh Henley (born July 22, 1947) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer and founding member of the Eagles. He was the drummer and co-lead vocalist for the Eagles ...more

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9
Prince is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
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10
Johnny Cash is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
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John R. "Johnny" Cash (February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor, and author. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, ...more

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11
Paul Simon is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
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12
Elton John is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
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13
Steven Tyler is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
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Steven Tyler (born Steven Victor Tallarico; March 26, 1948) is an American singer, songwriter, actor, and former television panelist. He is best known as the lead singer of the Boston-based rock ...more

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14
Janis Joplin is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
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Janis Lyn Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970) was an American rock, soul, and blues singer-songwriter, and one of the most successful and widely known rock stars of her era. After ...more

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15
Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
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16
Eddie Vedder is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
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Eddie Vedder (born Edward Louis Severson III; December 23, 1964) is an American musician, multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter best known as the lead vocalist and one of three guitarists ...more

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17
Billy Joel is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
William Martin Joel (born May 9, 1949) is an American singer-songwriter, composer, and pianist. Commonly nicknamed the "Piano Man" after his first hit and signature song of the same ...more

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18
Roger Daltrey is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
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Roger Harry Daltrey (born 1 March 1944) is an English singer and actor. He is a founder, member, and lead singer of the rock band the Who. Daltrey is known for his powerful voice and energetic ...more

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19
Elvis Presley is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
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20
Pat Benatar is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
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Patricia Mae Giraldo (née Andrzejewski; born January 10, 1953), who goes by the stage name Pat Benatar, is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and four-time Grammy Award winner. She ...more

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21
Roy Orbison is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
Roy Kelton Orbison (April 23, 1936 – December 6, 1988) was an American singer, songwriter, and musician known for his impassioned singing style, complex song structures, and dark, emotional ...more

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22
John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
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23
Ronnie James Dio is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
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24
Bob Seger is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
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25
Jon Bon Jovi is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Rock Vocalists
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