The Frontman

Who is Rock’s greatest Frontman?

I know, it’s a broad and tough question with any answer surely to start an argument.  If not an argument at least a “but….”

Anybody would have to say that Mick Jagger served as the model or “template” for any rock band that has come since.  Once Jagger hit the stage, it was no longer enough just to be a talented singer with a voice.   As a matter of fact, it almost became secondary.

He served as a wake up call for any frontmen out there that they now had to be showmen as well.  Larger than life.  Jagger’s energy and emotion brought an attitude and swagger that’s simply the quintessential frontman.

From Jagger’s model there basically just become different degrees of style.

Steven Tyler is probably the closest to basically mimicking Jagger, but with more raw sex appeal.

Then there’s Diamond Dave….

Love him or hate him there is no question David Lee Roth is one of the greatest frontmen of all time.  He wore his over the top personality and flamboyance like other men wear cologne.

But then a Robert Plant and Jim Morrison could captivate an audience without being over the top.  Back to a matter of style and degree.

And speaking of captivating an audience, who would deny the charisma of Bruce Springsteen?  I’ve watched him bring an entire civic center silent as he lightly played harmonica and basically told a story.  The place was in the palm of his hand.

There’s Ozzy, Axle, Alice, Bono, who are all contenders with arguments to be made.

But all this said has been done so by excluding Elvis Presley from the list from the beginning.  Because then…well, it just wouldn’t be fair.

“Before Elvis there was nothing.”

-John Lennon

Sir Michael Philip Jagger

My top ten List:

1. Elvis Presley

2. Mick Jagger

3. Bruce Springsteen

4. Roger Daltrey

5.  Bono

6.  Freddie Mercury

7. Alice Cooper

8.  David Lee Roth

9.  Robert Plant

10. (Tie) James Brown / Little Richard

Have a list?

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2 responses

  1. Well, first off, Elvis, Little Richard and James Brown don’t qualify as “front men”, they’re performers in their own right. They could play with ANY band (and often changed members like underwear) If you believe they’re front men, then how do you leave Chuck Berry off the list?
    Second, we praise Steven Tyler in the piece, but leave him off the list? Is that because he’s a Mick Jagger knockoff? If so, David Lee Roth just ripped of Jim Dandy from Black Oak Arkansas, so we should leave him off, too.

    Oh, and Freddy Mercury should be MUCH higher.

    January 23, 2011 at 11:10 pm

  2. Derek Scudder

    I’ll second Dixon’s response to Jim Dandy Mangrum being the template Roth used to steal his persona. BTW, Jim Dandy is still workin’ it at, what, 65 years old?

    Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band DEMANDED you pay attention to him with that non-stop hipster jive even with Magic Dick blowing crazy harp all the time.

    Can we call Cherie Currie a frontman? God, I LOVED the Runaways !!!

    January 26, 2011 at 6:05 pm

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