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Author Topic: Guitarists as occasional vocalists  (Read 684 times)

hbelkins

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Guitarists as occasional vocalists
« on: July 15, 2021, 11:54:15 AM »

Most bands have one main vocalist -- with some notable exceptions. Chicago had three in their prime (Lamm, Kath, and Cetera) and Kiss had three (Simmons, Stanley, and Criss; Frehley's vocals came along later). The Eagles and BTO were two other groups with more than one regular singer.

Was it a fad or novelty for some bands to have a guitarist or other instrumentalist as a vocalist on a handful of songs? Most famous example is probably the Stones, with Keith Richards singing on a few tunes such as "Happy," "Before They Make Me Run," "Little T&A," and probably some others I can't recall offhand.

What about other examples?

Aerosmith -- Joe Perry singing on "Combination" and "Bright Light Fright."

Foreigner -- Mick Jones on a number of tunes like "Starrider," "I Have Waited So Long," "The Modern Day," "Woman Oh Woman," and others.

More examples?
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Rothman

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Re: Guitarists as occasional vocalists
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2021, 11:56:58 AM »

Most bands have one main vocalist -- with some notable exceptions. Chicago had three in their prime (Lamm, Kath, and Cetera) and Kiss had three (Simmons, Stanley, and Criss; Frehley's vocals came along later). The Eagles and BTO were two other groups with more than one regular singer.

Was it a fad or novelty for some bands to have a guitarist or other instrumentalist as a vocalist on a handful of songs? Most famous example is probably the Stones, with Keith Richards singing on a few tunes such as "Happy," "Before They Make Me Run," "Little T&A," and probably some others I can't recall offhand.

What about other examples?

Aerosmith -- Joe Perry singing on "Combination" and "Bright Light Fright."

Foreigner -- Mick Jones on a number of tunes like "Starrider," "I Have Waited So Long," "The Modern Day," "Woman Oh Woman," and others.

More examples?
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KeithE4Phx

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Re: Guitarists as occasional vocalists
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2021, 02:03:31 PM »

All of the Beatles sang.  Carl Wilson and Al Jardine of the Beach Boys did also.  Dennis Wilson contributed a few vocal leads as well. 

Pete Townshend and John Entwistle of the Who sang lead on quite a few of the songs they wrote.  Even Keith Moon sang (and I use the term loosely) a couple.

David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young were all lead or 2nd-lead vocalists, both with CSNY and their previous bands:  Crosby with the Byrds, Stills and Young with Buffalo Springfield, and Nash with the Hollies.

But I think the record for the number of band members who sang lead has to be Sha Na Na, where all 12 (later 10) members led a few songs each.
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TheHighwayMan394

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Re: Guitarists as occasional vocalists
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2021, 02:12:27 PM »

Styx had rotating vocals from Tommy Shaw ("Blue Collar Man, "Crystal Ball", others) and occasionally James Young ("Miss America:) in addition to Dennis DeYoung. Shaw might be too broad for what you're asking for.
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Pink Jazz

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Re: Guitarists as occasional vocalists
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2021, 02:16:08 PM »

Smooth jazz/R&B musician George Benson is both a guitarist and a vocalist. He started off mainly as a guitarist, then rose to fame with many vocals in the 1970s, but then later shifted back mostly to instrumentals (with occasional scat singing).
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TheHighwayMan394

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Re: Guitarists as occasional vocalists
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2021, 02:17:50 PM »

Brian May sang lead or co-lead on a few Queen songs.
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Re: Guitarists as occasional vocalists
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2021, 02:42:07 PM »

Ler LaLonde and Tim Alexander (as well as Jay Lane) have had occasional backing vocals in Primus, Ler being on the guitars and the other two being drummers.
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jp the roadgeek

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Re: Guitarists as occasional vocalists
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2021, 02:44:15 PM »

The Grateful Dead had a few songs not sung by Jerry Garcia or Bob Weir. Phil Lesh sang lead on a couple (Box of Rain, Unbroken Chain [released in 1974, not performed live until 1995], and a cover of Dylan's Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues).  He sang many of the high harmony parts up until they took a break from the road in 1974.  Citing vocal burnout, (coupled with his love for alcohol indulgence), Phil sang very little between 76 and 84 (Donna Godchaux, then Brent Mydland and Vince Welnick after that assumed that part).  Having cleaned up his act and adjusting to singing in more of a baritone, he resumed singing backup vocals, and a few duets with Mydland.  Mydland and Welnick (formerly of The Tubes) also sang lead on a few songs (Mydland mostly on his own contributions and Welnick on a combination of his and cover tunes).  Since the demise of the band, Phil sings lead quite a bit in his side projects, including on several of Garcia's tunes. Donna even sang lead on a couple numbers, and Keith, her keyboardist husband, contributed one song that was performed a handful of times live, but he never sang again with the band (though he did offer some backup vocals in Garcia's side band).  And Bruce Hornsby in his short tenure with the band contributed a couple of his own tunes.  But the rarest thing you'll ever hear is drummer Mickey Hart attempting to sing (there's a rap version of Fire on the Mountain with him contributing the spoken word, as well as one April Fool's gag with him on lead). 

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TheHighwayMan394

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Re: Guitarists as occasional vocalists
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2021, 02:59:49 PM »

Yes:

Chris Squire: "Can You Imagine", "The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be"
Trevor Rabin: "Lift Me Up", "Shoot High Aim Low", "Changes", "Walls", "Endless Dream" (most of these co-lead with Anderson)
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Re: Guitarists as occasional vocalists
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2021, 03:15:38 PM »

James Iha has sung on some Smashing Pumpkins songs over the years. Usually he wrote them.
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Mr_Northside

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Re: Guitarists as occasional vocalists
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2021, 03:39:07 PM »

Pete Townshend and John Entwistle of the Who sang lead on quite a few of the songs they wrote.  Even Keith Moon sang (and I use the term loosely) a couple.

Yeah.... but if you really want some Keith Moon vocals, you gotta play some of his solo album "Two Sides of the Moon".
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davewiecking

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Re: Guitarists as occasional vocalists
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2021, 04:49:08 PM »

Although Gregg Allman and later Dickie Betts were the primary singers for the original Allman Brothers Band, Berry Oakley did the vocals on their cover of Hoochie Coochie Man.
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hbelkins

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Re: Guitarists as occasional vocalists
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2021, 05:18:48 PM »

Not sure how I could have forgotten about Townshend and May. And poor Entwistle. Wonder if his wife ever caught up with him, or if he's still running?

And speaking of May's band, Roger Taylor (drummer) had a few vocals on some good Queen tunes. "I'm In Love With My Car" and "Tenement Funster" are a couple.
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dlsterner

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Re: Guitarists as occasional vocalists
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2021, 08:16:41 PM »

Most famous example is probably the Stones, with Keith Richards singing on a few tunes such as "Happy," "Before They Make Me Run," "Little T&A," and probably some others I can't recall offhand.

Not just Keith Richards singing the occasional lead, but Bill Wyman sang lead on the Stones' song "In Another Land" (from the "Their Satanic Majesties Request" album)
(OK, technically he's a bassist and not a guitarist)

Keith's "Happy" is (I believe) the only non-Jagger vocal to be released as a single (hitting #22 on Billboard's Hot 100).

cabiness42

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Re: Guitarists as occasional vocalists
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2021, 08:40:44 PM »

Three of my favorite bands, Chicago, Fleetwood Mac and Styx, all had more than one singer. They had singers who could rock (Kath/Lamm, Buckingham, Shaw) as well as singers who could belt out a great ballad (Cetera, Nicks [granted she could rock too], DeYoung).
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KeithE4Phx

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Re: Guitarists as occasional vocalists
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2021, 09:35:14 PM »

Pete Townshend and John Entwistle of the Who sang lead on quite a few of the songs they wrote.  Even Keith Moon sang (and I use the term loosely) a couple.

Yeah.... but if you really want some Keith Moon vocals, you gotta play some of his solo album "Two Sides of the Moon".

No thanks.  I've heard enough of Moon"s "singing."  Compared to Moon, Bob Dylan is Pavarotti.  :)
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roadman65

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Re: Guitarists as occasional vocalists
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2021, 12:19:39 AM »

Blood, Sweat, & Tears had their guitar player sing lead on Sometime in Winter on the self titled album (which was not their debut, but the first with David Clayton Thomas) as Thomas sang lead on the rest except the Erik Satie Theme start and end.  I believe it was Tony Katz was his name.
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Re: Guitarists as occasional vocalists
« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2021, 12:25:00 AM »

The Band had multiple players who had lead vocals.  Robbie Robertson (The Weight) on guitar.  and Levon Helm (Cripple Creak, The Night they drove ole Dixie Down) on Drums. I remember that Rick Danko on bass also sings and does backing vocals.  Not sure about Garth Hudson or Richard Manuel though
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Mr_Northside

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Re: Guitarists as occasional vocalists
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2021, 01:36:28 PM »

I don't think Robbie did that much actual singing though.   I'm pretty sure I've read they didn't even turn his microphone on during The Last Waltz (don't know if he knew that or not).
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Throckmorton

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Re: Guitarists as occasional vocalists
« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2021, 08:27:37 PM »

The Band had multiple players who had lead vocals.  Robbie Robertson (The Weight) on guitar.  and Levon Helm (Cripple Creak, The Night they drove ole Dixie Down) on Drums. I remember that Rick Danko on bass also sings and does backing vocals.  Not sure about Garth Hudson or Richard Manuel though

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I don't think Robbie did that much actual singing though.   I'm pretty sure I've read they didn't even turn his microphone on during The Last Waltz (don't know if he knew that or not).

Levon, Danko and Manuel were the lead vocalists.
   
Robbie rarely sang. There is one song on Big Pink he does the lead vocal but I don't think they ever played it live. I think the microphone thing is true and was standard practice for all live shows. But it is on when he addresses the audience. I'm pretty sure he knew about it. He did not sing lead on The Weight.   
   
Garth Hudson did not sing.   
   
Richard Manuel was considered by the others to be the best vocalist among them. He had a  tenor voice but sometimes sang falsetto.   
   
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