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by Dan Weiss

October 6, 2013

Bands Who Replaced Their Singers

by Dan Weiss  |  October 6, 2013

When beloved bands with an established fan base continue on after parting ways with their frontperson, it's either sink or swim. Most will agree that Paul Rodgers is no replacement for Freddie Mercury in Queen, but many Pink Floyd fans may be completely unfamiliar with the early whimsy of Syd Barrett. Few may remember what Fleetwood Mac was before the addition of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, while Alice in Chains fans have taken warmly to Layne Staley's successor and sound-alike William DuVall (seriously, just compare the surprisingly good "Check My Brain" to ["Man in the Box"]). And while no one believes Sammy Hagar actually improved on David Lee Roth in Van Halen, numbers don't lie and Hagar was responsible for plenty of their hits -- "Right Now" endures pretty well (and the video was a hoot). Short-lived third singer Gary Cherone, formerly of Extreme, is remembered as a failure, though their "Fire in the Hole" with him was an impressive rocker.

Replacing singers is most common in hard rock, from Deep Purple, who had hits with more than one ("Hush," "Smoke on the Water") to The Dillinger Escape Plan's cycle of screamers that at one point included Faith No More eccentric Mike Patton (who himself replaced Chuck Mosley after Faith No More already had an album out). But even Yuck -- of newer indie rock fame -- have decided to keep it going with Max Bloom out front on their second album after the departure of chief songman Daniel Blumberg. In the appended playlist, we line up many examples of bands who've replaced their singer, for better or for worse. If anything, it's a fascinating, if strange, lesson in revisionist rock history.

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