Lots of people say that the lead singer is the most important member of a band, whatever the genre. I’m inclined to agree.

In fact, there are many bands whose lead singers, in my opinion, are so dire that I simply cannot enjoy the band at all. For me, if I like the sound of a singer’s voice, that is half the battle won. Of course, the rest of the band need to be of a particular standard too, but the lead singer literally leads the way.

Here are seven amazing lead singers (in no particular order!). I’d love to know whether you agree with me!

1. James Dean Bradfield

Lead singer and guitarist of Welsh band Manic Street Preachers, James Dean Bradfield has a beautiful voice in my opinion. He has such an incredible range, can go from angry shouting to soothing tunes in an instant.

Stand out track:

Demo (from their first-ever London gig):

2. Rick Witter

Growing up in North Yorkshire, local band, Shed Seven, caught my attention fairly early on in their career. I remember borrowing their first album, Change Giver, on cassette from the town’s library.

I first saw the band at the York Barbican, and Rick, their lead singer, blew me away. Likened to Mick Jagger in terms of his on-stage swagger and dancing style, he also has great banter with the audience. He may not have the strongest voice in the history of rock ‘n’ roll, but he definitely deserves a place in my top (shed) 7.

Stand out track:

3. Roger Daltrey

Roger Daltrey is by far the most accomplished lead singer on this list. With huge accolades as part of the Who and also as a solo singer, Daltrey has fantastic tones to his voice and a superb range. A little less hectic on stage these days, he still engages brilliantly with the audience, and it is clear to see why he and the Who have continued to sell records and tickets since their inception in 1964.

Stand out track:

4. Simon Neil

I first saw Biffy Clyro in 2001, supporting a band called the Llama Farmers. Totally blown away, I was a fan instantly. Simon had such stage presence, alongside twins, James and Ben, who make up the rest of the band and who also sing at times. Since then, I have been lucky enough to see Biffy Clyro many times, and they never fail to impress. Simon Neil has wonderful tones to his voice, with his Scottish accent making a welcome appearance at times.

Stand out track:

5. Justin Schlosberg

I suppose, being a huge Symposium fan as a teen, it was inevitable that I would fall in love with Hell is for Heroes. I did. Very quickly. The first time I saw them, at the Cockpit in Leeds, I was overwhelmed by their noise and Justin’s ability to stir up the crowd. What he lacks in height, he certainly makes up for in engagement and craziness, scaling the amps and anything in his sight. I’m lucky enough to have tickets to see Justin nailing each and every track again next year as they head back off on tour with Hundred Reasons. Can’t wait!

Stand out track:

6. Thom Yorke

I’ve got to admit that I wasn’t 100% sure about adding Thom Yorke onto my list… bear with me. I loved Radiohead in the ’90s, and I was lucky enough to meet Thom, along with Colin and Phil, at a gig of theirs at Doncaster Dome. He was a very quiet man, visibly shaking as though nervous about setting off on tour again. That man transformed himself into an immense character on stage; the volume, range and abilities were incredible. And while I am by no means an enormous Radiohead fan these days (I don’t listen to anything beyond the first three albums – apologies, but I am just being honest!), Thom definitely deserves his place in my top seven.

Stand out track:

7. Damon Albarn

Yes. He’s arrogant. Yes. He’s said and done some unnecessary things in the past. Yes. He’s a bit of an arse. BUT he’s an incredible lead singer and I love watching him perform live. Blur were the first band I saw live, and I’m lucky to have those memories. Damon’s voice might not be the strongest, much like Rick Witter’s in that sense, but I love his style. I really hope that Blur do some more gigs when this pandemic is finally over and done with because I’d love to see them again.

Stand out track:

Special mention must also go to this track… a lesser known delight!