The Greatest Progressive Classic Rock Singers Of All Time
via Olivier Robichaud/YouTube
Breathtaking and Astounding
Ever since the birth of progressive rock, the bands have always pushed the envelope when it came to making music. The structural elements are different and they broke every single rule that exists in rock ‘n roll. Each song is like a musical experience all in itself. You know when people say certain tracks take them places? This is probably what they mean.
Being a part of these prog-rock bands meant you are a far-from-mediocre musician because every single member of the group displays impressive mastery of their own musical instruments. That includes the singers. And over the years, we have seen several vocalists who employed various singing styles. The following singers knew that it was about the delivery. Songs are just songs until they squeeze your soul.
10. James LaBrie (Dream Theater)
On his first album with Dream Theater, James LaBrie showcased his impressive range. He’s a solid singer and his voice fits their music perfectly. But unfortunately, he suffered from a vocal cord injury after eating oysters and vomiting so hard he ended up coughing blood. He never sounded the same since but that’s not to say we won’t remember him as one of prog-rock’s greatest vocalists.
9. Geoff Tate (Queensryche)
Geoff Tate has a god-tier range and a great vibrato. We can name several songs where he truly shined but for their Unplugged sessions, his clear and precise delivery gave us goosebumps. He’s a real powerhouse vocalist.
8. Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth)
Even discounting his monstrous growls, he can also go mellow. There’s a haunting quality to his voice that allows him to sing from both ends of the spectrum (death metal or ballads) and still pull them off seamlessly. It’s not one-dimensional. There’s a certain character to his vocal chops that’s truly unmatched.
7. Steve Walsh (Kansas)
At their peak, Steve Walsh’s voice was unlike any other. The sheer power and beauty of his vocal abilities astounded anyone who heard it. His voice may not have aged well but all you have to do is listen to his early works to recognize his stellar vocals.
6. Greg Lake (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
With a wide and diverse range like his, Greg Lake can go from mellow and melodic to hard rock. Listening to his voice is so incredibly soothing. He’s definitely in the same league as other rock ‘n roll greats.
5. Maynard James Keenan (Tool)
His monstrous vocals are unrivaled. He also sings with so much depth and soul.
4. Geddy Lee (Rush)
His high register is no joke. He’s one of those singers who are clearly irreplaceable. Without him, Rush wouldn’t sound the same.
3. Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree)
The thing about Porcupine Tree is, excellent is the minimum requirement. His singing is not as explosive as others but it’s brilliant all the same.
2. Peter Gabriel (Genesis)
There’s a reason why a lot of Genesis fans didn’t easily accept Phil Collins as a replacement for Peter Gabriel. Gabriel gave the songs some edge and flair. From a technical standpoint, his range was astounding. Plus, his singing stirs your soul.
1. Jon Anderson (Yes)
Powerful and exquisite – he has one of the most breathtaking voices in prog-rock. And it’s easily recognizable too. As a singer, he could do no wrong.