Bands where the other guy has a better voice than the lead singer...

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

A strange and rare phenomenon, but nevertheless something I've noticed on more than one occasion:

Martin Gore's got a much sweeter, more soulful tone to his voice on songs like Question of Lust and Home than Gahan's more gravelly delivery
People who are new to XTC tend to find an entry point with Colin Moulding's more melodic vocal style than Andy Partridge's nasal West Country bark

Any others?

And while we're talking about 'the other guy' singers, I've always been interested in how they often sound kind of similar to the main singer. Graham Coxon apes Damon's mockney tenor. Spiral Stairs has the same slackery tones as Malkmus. I'm trying to think of a rock band with more than one singer of the same sex who sound utterly distinct from each other and I'm having trouble.

Badgers (dog latin), Friday, 9 February 2018 15:24 (three months ago) Permalink

Genesis was pretty much this for about 5 years

frogbs, Friday, 9 February 2018 15:25 (three months ago) Permalink

This is more of a personal taste thing but I think Mick Jones has a better voice than Joe Strummer.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Friday, 9 February 2018 15:30 (three months ago) Permalink

jc chasez had a better voice than justin timberlake imo. or would he count as the 'second lead vocalist of the group'?

dyl, Friday, 9 February 2018 15:31 (three months ago) Permalink

Oasis, surely.

I'm very active in the pegasus community (Old Lunch), Friday, 9 February 2018 15:33 (three months ago) Permalink

“Don’t Fear the Reaper” was BOC’s biggest hit and it was sung and written by the lead guitarrist Buck Dharma. He also wrote and sang the bands second biggest hit “Burnin For You”.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Friday, 9 February 2018 15:34 (three months ago) Permalink

I know it's objectively wrong but I've always prefered Keith Richards's singing to Mick Jagger's !
It's rawer and more emotional to me.

AlXTC from Paris, Friday, 9 February 2018 15:36 (three months ago) Permalink

the cars

mookieproof, Friday, 9 February 2018 15:36 (three months ago) Permalink

I think Africa by Toto was also written and sung by the keyboard player who was not the lead singer of the band. Not saying he’s a better singer though but it was their biggest hit too.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Friday, 9 February 2018 15:36 (three months ago) Permalink

Oasis is a good one btw since Noel got pushed into singing lead vocals every now and then when Liam was being a diva asshole.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Friday, 9 February 2018 15:38 (three months ago) Permalink

It was years before I learned that "Candy Says" is sung by Doug Yule. He makes such a great job of it that I'm tempted to say I prefer his voice to that of Lou Reed.

the word dog doesn't bark (anagram), Friday, 9 February 2018 15:38 (three months ago) Permalink

I'm trying to think of a rock band with more than one singer of the same sex who sound utterly distinct from each other and I'm having trouble.

The Band? I guess sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between Helm and Manuel, but Helm's drawl is far more pronounced

hoooyaaargh it's me satan (voodoo chili), Friday, 9 February 2018 15:39 (three months ago) Permalink

Yeah The Band is a good call for the second question. Also Squeeze.

the word dog doesn't bark (anagram), Friday, 9 February 2018 15:40 (three months ago) Permalink

Pink Floyd too

the word dog doesn't bark (anagram), Friday, 9 February 2018 15:41 (three months ago) Permalink

And not only did Noel wrote ther biggest hits, his voice is better (I find Liam’s croaky voice annoying as hell after a couple songs) and he proved to be far more professional and commited to his fans.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Friday, 9 February 2018 15:41 (three months ago) Permalink

I'm trying to think of a rock band with more than one singer of the same sex who sound utterly distinct from each other and I'm having trouble.

Animal Collective ?

AlXTC from Paris, Friday, 9 February 2018 15:42 (three months ago) Permalink

I also like Alan Wilson’s, from Canned Heat, cartoony voice better. They sound like two different bands when he takes the mic.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Friday, 9 February 2018 15:44 (three months ago) Permalink

fugazi's (male) singers are distinct

mookieproof, Friday, 9 February 2018 15:44 (three months ago) Permalink

As for rock bands with very different vocalists I nominate Fleetwood Mac. Peter Green vs Lindsey Buckingham and Christine Mcvie vs Stevie Nicks.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Friday, 9 February 2018 15:47 (three months ago) Permalink

Yeah, was about to say. Or Drive-by Truckers. Or Mekons (four distinct singers!).

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 9 February 2018 15:50 (three months ago) Permalink

I don't know about 'better', but Clint Conley is definitely the Colin Moulding to Roger Miller's Andy Partridge in Mission of Burma.

Talking of Rogers - Roger McGuinn doesn't sound much like Gene Clark, or vice versa.

Agharta Christie (Ward Fowler), Friday, 9 February 2018 15:51 (three months ago) Permalink

dl, Depeche Mode IS a counterexample for your second point - they sound quite distinct. Actually, many of the bands that answer the first question would fit

It did take me many years to realize Ric Ocasek and Ben Orr alternating singing lead in the Cars and were not the same person though

Vinnie, Friday, 9 February 2018 15:55 (three months ago) Permalink

Almost everyone in the Beach Boys has a better voice than 'lead singer' Mike Love. Not that I dislike Mike Love's voice.

Video reach stereo bog (Tom D.), Friday, 9 February 2018 16:01 (three months ago) Permalink

'Better' is debatable, but I've always preferred the deeper-voiced one out of Wild Beasts

Steve Reich In The Afternoon (Against The 80s), Friday, 9 February 2018 16:02 (three months ago) Permalink

FWIW I agree with Moka about the Clash

I will finish what I (Ye Mad Puffin), Friday, 9 February 2018 16:02 (three months ago) Permalink

Conway Savage in the Bad Seeds

chr1sb3singer, Friday, 9 February 2018 16:05 (three months ago) Permalink

Bunny Wailer in the Wailers.

Video reach stereo bog (Tom D.), Friday, 9 February 2018 16:06 (three months ago) Permalink

Jason Isbell was the best singer of the three in the Drive-By Truckers.

kornrulez6969, Friday, 9 February 2018 16:07 (three months ago) Permalink

Pink Floyd too

I honestly almost never know whether Gilmour or Waters is singing.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Friday, 9 February 2018 16:08 (three months ago) Permalink

Rick Wright and David Gilmour are more similar, Waters' foghorn vocals are easier to spot.

Video reach stereo bog (Tom D.), Friday, 9 February 2018 16:09 (three months ago) Permalink

Yeah I’m in the same boat they sing in a very similar style.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Friday, 9 February 2018 16:09 (three months ago) Permalink

Parquet Courts for the first question, if you count Savage as the other guy.

o. nate, Friday, 9 February 2018 16:10 (three months ago) Permalink

Martin Gore's vocal on 'Home' sounds uncannily like Alison Moyet when I come to think of it.

Badgers (dog latin), Friday, 9 February 2018 16:16 (three months ago) Permalink

Again, pretty much everyone in Parliament/Funkadelic was a better singer than George Clinton, though considering George Clinton the lead singer might be pushing it - he was the lead singer in the Parliaments though.

Video reach stereo bog (Tom D.), Friday, 9 February 2018 16:22 (three months ago) Permalink

With the caveat that "better" doesn't necessarily mean "more appropriate for the material," Jerry Cantrell vs. Layne Staley in Alice in Chains.

Millennial Whoop, wanna fight about it? (Phil D.), Friday, 9 February 2018 16:30 (three months ago) Permalink

Tanya Donnelly arguably has a "better" voice than Kristen Hersh, but I wouldn't want them singing each others' songs.

Millennial Whoop, wanna fight about it? (Phil D.), Friday, 9 February 2018 16:30 (three months ago) Permalink

(xp) Yes.

Video reach stereo bog (Tom D.), Friday, 9 February 2018 16:36 (three months ago) Permalink

that recent supergroup Gizmodrome is a good example of this, Stewart Copeland handles nearly all of the vocals despite having Adrian Belew in the band

frogbs, Friday, 9 February 2018 16:40 (three months ago) Permalink

Some would say Florence Ballard was a stronger singer than Diana Ross in the early Supremes, but Diana had the more "pop" voice so...

Josefa, Friday, 9 February 2018 17:02 (three months ago) Permalink

It was years before I learned that "Candy Says" is sung by Doug Yule. He makes such a great job of it that I'm tempted to say I prefer his voice to that of Lou Reed.

― the word dog doesn't bark (anagram), Friday, February 9, 2018 9:38 AM (one hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i used to play this game with my friends called "doug or lou?" with my friends, skipping through tracks in itunes.

still blows my mind that he's singing lead on "who loves the sun", "new age", "lonesome cowboy bill", "she's my best friend" and "candy says" !! dead ringer if there ever was one.

budo jeru, Friday, 9 February 2018 17:11 (three months ago) Permalink

er and " oh! sweet nuthin' "

budo jeru, Friday, 9 February 2018 17:16 (three months ago) Permalink

tom and/or sally. if jon is considered lead.

scott seward, Friday, 9 February 2018 17:19 (three months ago) Permalink

Mills and Stipe for the second question

alpine static, Friday, 9 February 2018 17:27 (three months ago) Permalink

i think, don't know about y'all

alpine static, Friday, 9 February 2018 17:27 (three months ago) Permalink

corin tucker's voice is distinct from everyone's, including carrie brownstein's

mookieproof, Friday, 9 February 2018 17:32 (three months ago) Permalink

hearing Karl Bartos sing "The Telephone Call" was pretty surprising - he's no great singer of course, but the fact that a guy in that group could sing at all...

frogbs, Friday, 9 February 2018 17:35 (three months ago) Permalink

utterly distinct: colin newman and graham lewis of wire.

new noise, Friday, 9 February 2018 17:36 (three months ago) Permalink

David Lovering in Pixies

flappy bird, Friday, 9 February 2018 17:37 (three months ago) Permalink

for distinct I'd say Devo, no one on the planet sounds like Mark Mothersbaugh

frogbs, Friday, 9 February 2018 17:38 (three months ago) Permalink

And not only did Noel wrote ther biggest hits, his voice is better (I find Liam’s croaky voice annoying as hell after a couple songs) and he proved to be far more professional and commited to his fans.

― ✖✖✖ (Moka), Friday, February 9, 2018 7:41 AM (three hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

in the live forever documentary they show clips of noel singing wonderwall, he originally intended to do the lead vocals on the track. then it cuts to liam doing it. it's night in day in terms of quality, liam was just a far better vocalist (yes his voice has an annoying and abrasive quality)

khat person (jim in vancouver), Friday, 9 February 2018 18:44 (three months ago) Permalink

They are such polar opposites when it comes to melody-writing and text-setting tho that I always find them easy to tell apart

right, and this is a pitfall to look out for itt. separate songwriters in bands may write very different types of songs but still have similar voices. imo the test here is if you can tell the singers apart when they're harmonizing or singing in unison, i.e. Mould & Hart in Husker Du, who always sound distinct even when they're singing the same melody at the same time.

flappy bird, Friday, 9 February 2018 20:01 (three months ago) Permalink

FWIW all my favorite The Band songs are the Richard Manuel songs, don't know if that counts.

― Fedora Dostoyevsky (man alive), Friday, February 9, 2018 2:14 PM (forty-nine minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

The Band said they considered Manual to be their lead singer, but it always seemed to be more of an even split. For example, on the self-titled album Manuel sang lead on 5 songs, Helm on 4, and Danko on 3

hoooyaaargh it's me satan (voodoo chili), Friday, 9 February 2018 20:06 (three months ago) Permalink

The Cars are weird because Orr seemed to have two distinct singing styles, one that sounds really different from Ocasek and one that sounds pretty similar (e.g. on Candy-O)

soref, Friday, 9 February 2018 20:22 (three months ago) Permalink

Madness : Chas vs Suggs.

i love it when Chas is in charge.

mark e, Friday, 9 February 2018 20:25 (three months ago) Permalink

Cats eyes - Rachel is a more versatile and engaging singer than the horrors guy

kolakube (Ross), Friday, 9 February 2018 20:25 (three months ago) Permalink

"I'm trying to think of a rock band with more than one singer of the same sex who sound utterly distinct from each other and I'm having trouble."

Don't think Bob Weir sounds all that much like Jerry Garcia. Back in the 60s early 70s the Dead used to do more gang singing also adding in Phil, but that faded a way as time for the most part as time went on.

earlnash, Friday, 9 February 2018 20:31 (three months ago) Permalink

first act to occur to me after seeing the thread title was Tears for Fears, and how they started out with pretty much a 50/50 lead vocal split between Curt and Roland on the Hurting before Curt is gradually edged out over the course of the next two albums despite having the better voice

soref, Friday, 9 February 2018 20:33 (three months ago) Permalink

Both Andy McLusky and Paul Humphreys are average-cabbage singers (whose voices I adore) but I'd edge Paul out over Andy some days

flamboyant goon tie included, Friday, 9 February 2018 20:44 (three months ago) Permalink

Not really pertinent to this original question but I love that chronologically the first voice you hear on a Neu! record is two-and-a-half albums in and it is Michael Rother whispering and simpering pathetically, only for Klaus to start screaming endlessly and perfectly a track later

flamboyant goon tie included, Friday, 9 February 2018 20:48 (three months ago) Permalink

any of the wilburys songs not primarily sung by orbison

mookieproof, Friday, 9 February 2018 20:50 (three months ago) Permalink

Joe Goddard > Alexis Taylor in Hot Chip, especially as Taylor has gotten slightly worse since their second album

Haribo Hancock (sic), Friday, 9 February 2018 21:05 (three months ago) Permalink

At this point, I much prefer Townshend's croon to Daltrey's corn, but in general you can sense that Daltrey based his delivery on what he heard in the demos, his own character coming out only when he pushes the chorus to the all out growls and screams. As I was becoming a fan, I had a hard time telling them apart. His solo stuff is where you get Daltrey unadulterated, and clearly he benefits from adulteration.

Same phenomenon happens in the Cars - a lot of Orr vocals seem like smoother extensions of how Ocasek probably presented the songs. Same in the Velvets with Yule. I can certainly picture Reed, Ocasek and Townshend putting a damper on broader interpretations of their material on albums they were masterminding. No, the fucking melody goes like this goddamnit.

Mungolian Jerryset (bendy), Friday, 9 February 2018 21:08 (three months ago) Permalink

Not really pertinent to this original question but I love that chronologically the first voice you hear on a Neu! record is two-and-a-half albums in and it is Michael Rother whispering and simpering pathetically, only for Klaus to start screaming endlessly and perfectly a track later

What track is Rother's voice on? Also there's vocals on all of their albums!

Video reach stereo bog (Tom D.), Friday, 9 February 2018 21:11 (three months ago) Permalink

i think it's rother on "Leb' wohl" from "75"

budo jeru, Friday, 9 February 2018 21:35 (three months ago) Permalink

Sonic Youth? Lee Ranaldo's voice is passable at best, Kim Gordon's voice is 100X more distinctive.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Friday, 9 February 2018 21:37 (three months ago) Permalink

Sounds like Dinger to me. (xp)

Video reach stereo bog (Tom D.), Friday, 9 February 2018 21:37 (three months ago) Permalink

I adore "Eminence Front"

I will finish what I (Ye Mad Puffin), Friday, 9 February 2018 21:57 (three months ago) Permalink

i mean, it sounds like that to me too. but i've seen it credited to rother in a number of places. i'm not really sure if it's true though, especially since i've also seen the vocals credited to dinger (and dinger's vocals on "hero" credited to rother).

xpost

budo jeru, Friday, 9 February 2018 21:58 (three months ago) Permalink

Rother doesn't seem the type to indulge in any "By the way, I'm totally out of my gourd here, man" vocalizing.

Video reach stereo bog (Tom D.), Friday, 9 February 2018 22:08 (three months ago) Permalink

Rother doesn't seem the type to indulge in any "By the way, I'm totally out of my gourd here, man" vocalizing.

budo jeru, Friday, 9 February 2018 22:23 (three months ago) Permalink

imo

budo jeru, Friday, 9 February 2018 22:24 (three months ago) Permalink

That as well.

Video reach stereo bog (Tom D.), Friday, 9 February 2018 22:37 (three months ago) Permalink

Ugh if there are vocals on Neu! and Neu! 2 then I've forgotten, I've only got Neu! 75 on vinyl

I was always under the impression that Rother wrote (and sang) what is on the A-side of Neu! 75 and Klaus Dinger did the same for the B-side

Either way "Hero" is great, thank you very much, good bye

flamboyant goon tie included, Friday, 9 February 2018 22:59 (three months ago) Permalink

People who are new to XTC tend to find an entry point with Colin Moulding's more melodic vocal style than Andy Partridge's nasal West Country bark

i don't disagree but most of partridge's singing comes in an irritating faux-american accent

rove mcmanus island (Autumn Almanac), Friday, 9 February 2018 23:06 (three months ago) Permalink

xpost

NEU!’s recording commitment with Brain/Metronome was three albums. In order to fulfil this contract and because I felt a musical interest working again with Klaus Dinger to realize certain ideas, which weren’t possible in the Harmonia context, I composed some tracks and Klaus and Conny Plank went to the new Conny Plank Studio in 1974. It was my agreement with Klaus, that we would record one side of the album in the classic NEU! style just the two of us, and the B side would be recorded in a four piece band, in which two drummers would take over Klaus’ drum part: Thomas Dinger, Klaus’ brother and Hans Lampe, who had worked as an assistant engineer with Conny Plank. Klaus back then insisted on performing live and for this purpose he had trained both of those musicians with his style. For me this line-up wasn’t musically satisfactory for a live performance, but in the studio we did alright. "Hero" is one of my favourite NEU! tracks (when I am in the mood). After recording NEU! ‘75 I moved on with Harmonia and Klaus started his project La Düsseldorf, still working with both drummers.

http://www.furious.com/perfect/michaelrother.html

budo jeru, Saturday, 10 February 2018 00:25 (three months ago) Permalink

i don't disagree but most of partridge's singing comes in an irritating faux-american accent

― rove mcmanus island (Autumn Almanac)

cf. the beginning of this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wR8MQOmIVoQ

flappy bird, Saturday, 10 February 2018 01:31 (three months ago) Permalink

this arguably applied to the Goo Goo Dolls before Takac took a backseat to Rzeznick, but some would argue the opposite

Hi diddley dee, hen fapper's life for me (Neanderthal), Saturday, 10 February 2018 03:06 (three months ago) Permalink

xp good lord

rove mcmanus island (Autumn Almanac), Saturday, 10 February 2018 03:24 (three months ago) Permalink

Nash Kato and King had pretty different vocal stylees in Urge Overkill. Nash was the hipster. King usually had the emo story tunes.

earlnash, Saturday, 10 February 2018 03:33 (three months ago) Permalink

the cars

― mookieproof, Friday, February 9, 2018 10:36 AM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Hi diddley dee, hen fapper's life for me (Neanderthal), Saturday, 10 February 2018 03:34 (three months ago) Permalink

Straitjacket Fits - Andrew Brough's voice much easier on the ears than Shayne Carter's, regardless of which one you prefer...

henry s, Saturday, 10 February 2018 14:56 (three months ago) Permalink

Who was considered the lead singer in the Monkees? I always figured it was Davey Jones, mainly because he didn't seem to play any instrument beyond the tambourine. And Mickey Dolenz clearly had the better voice. But then again, Dolenz sang lead on many, if not most, of their big hits. I'm so confusing!

henry s, Saturday, 10 February 2018 15:06 (three months ago) Permalink

I don't know that the Monkees really had a lead singer. Dolenz and Jones contributions were fairly evenly split with Nesmith not terribly far behind.

Nonsense Ape Debones His Foot (Old Lunch), Saturday, 10 February 2018 15:22 (three months ago) Permalink

always thought James Iha had a more pleasant voice than Billy Corgan but I didn't particularly "like" Iha's voice either.

Hi diddley dee, hen fapper's life for me (Neanderthal), Saturday, 10 February 2018 15:25 (three months ago) Permalink

Bill Ward was a better singer than Ozzy technically, though he'd have never fit the doomier stuff.

Hi diddley dee, hen fapper's life for me (Neanderthal), Saturday, 10 February 2018 15:29 (three months ago) Permalink

also Corrosion of Conformity, Pepper was a better vocalist than Karl Agell on the Blind album which is largely why he became the lead vocalist after that album (that and Karl's departure).....

Hi diddley dee, hen fapper's life for me (Neanderthal), Saturday, 10 February 2018 15:29 (three months ago) Permalink

Sonic Youth? Lee Ranaldo's voice is passable at best, Kim Gordon's voice is 100X more distinctive.

Most SY albums have an approximately equal number of Moore-sung and Gordon-sung songs, with one or two Ranaldo songs thrown in. Not sure who counts as "lead singer" in this case.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Saturday, 10 February 2018 16:07 (three months ago) Permalink

Oddly, I sometimes argue that Gordon was the better singer but Sister and Murray Street, maybe the two that are most Moore-dominated, are two of their albums that I play the most.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Saturday, 10 February 2018 16:12 (three months ago) Permalink

The Flaming Lips should let Steven Drozd sing lead on more songs

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Saturday, 10 February 2018 16:48 (three months ago) Permalink

they'd certainly be less irritating without wayne

global tetrahedron, Saturday, 10 February 2018 17:00 (three months ago) Permalink

Joy Division

brotherlovesdub, Saturday, 10 February 2018 17:03 (three months ago) Permalink

No

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Saturday, 10 February 2018 17:05 (three months ago) Permalink

I suppose you are the expert. Well argued. I would delete my comment if I could but my humiliation will just have to live on.

brotherlovesdub, Saturday, 10 February 2018 17:06 (three months ago) Permalink

Massively butthurt. How could I not be with that take down! Fortunately taste isn’t subjective.

brotherlovesdub, Saturday, 10 February 2018 17:29 (three months ago) Permalink

Jeez, dude. I wasn't pulling rank or even making an argument, just expressing a more-or-less irrational but strong personal disagreement on that particular opinion. 2xp

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Saturday, 10 February 2018 17:31 (three months ago) Permalink

Hook sounds a bit like Chris Rea here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U08U2RbqFi8

soref, Saturday, 10 February 2018 18:20 (three months ago) Permalink

while obv not the case overall, I do think oates's gives his all to songs like 'friday let me down' whereas hall would sleepwalk his way through it, so theres usually an oates banger on each of their albums. Also noticed between song like this, 'youve lost that loving feeling' and 'alone too long' that poor old oates seems to live quite the lonely existence :(

yermawsjawsonmahbaws, Saturday, 10 February 2018 18:59 (three months ago) Permalink

ZZ Top. Bassist Dusty Hill tends to sing a song or two per album and has a much higher, cleaner voice than Billy Gibbons.

grawlix (unperson), Saturday, 10 February 2018 19:06 (three months ago) Permalink

I know Suzanna Hoffs has the more distinctive voice, but I feel like Michael Steele and the Peterson sisters have prettier voices.

LeRooLeRoo, Sunday, 11 February 2018 16:31 (three months ago) Permalink


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.