5 Weird Replacement Singers of Legendary Bands

PhilHaney by PhilHaney on Apr. 24, 2014
A lot of classic bands have replaced their lead singer and go on to continued financial and critical success.  Big rock bands like AC/DC, Van Halen and Black Sabbath just to name a few, have recruited new vocalists and had (arguably) big hits. That’s not what I’m interested in; I’m interested in groups that after years of hiatus begin performing live again long after their original lead singers have left the group or died.

Recently grunge rockers Nirvana were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and gave a performance utilizing several female vocalists including Joan Jett, Kim Gordon and Lorde to fill in the Chucks of Kurt Cobain. While no one is claiming that the surviving members of Nirvana are going to go on tour with Joan Jett anytime soon, it does bring up an interesting area of rock history; bands with the most surprising replacement singers. For some groups changing a singer is like changing the spark plugs on a Mustang, for others it’s like having a green door on your brown Toyota.

Stone Temple Pilots… with Chester Bennington  

Original Singer: Scott Weiland

Replacement: Chester Bennington (of Linkin Park fame)

Stone Temple Pilots was one of the most successful bands of the 1990’s. Featuring drug addled singer Scott Weiland the group shot to alt music stardom with pop rock hits like Plush that inspired a generation of grunting front men. After several hit albums Weiland started fighting with founding members, the DeLeo brothers as his drug and personality problems went into high gear. The band took a hiatus in 2002 while Weiland teamed up with former Guns N Roses band members to form super group Velvet Revolver as Slash apparently loves having his bands ruined by completely insane front men. Once Weiland left Velvet Revolver, he returned to STP for a tour and new album in 2010 so generation X could face middle age watching a guy in a sailor suit scream into a megaphone.

Calm down, we all loved “Plush.”

Oh No You Didn’t Moment: In 2013 STP fired Weiland after he insisted on performing the band’s entire album Core on a solo tour. They argued that this infringed on their ability to make money as a band. And while you could apply this logic to any singer that goes on a solo tour, I have to agree them on this point.  If you’re the drummer for STP and Scott Weiland goes and decides to sing your songs solo, you’re out a paycheck! “Rockers rights, man!”

So they brought in Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington on lead vocals. Bennington said he was always a big fan of STP and dreamed of one day joining the group and singing for them. Which is sort of psychotic; that’d be like saying, “I’m a huge Rolling Stones fan, I can’t wait for Mick Jagger to just go away so I can take over his life!”

Journey… With Arnel Pineda

Original Singer: Steve Perry

Replacement: Arnel Pineda

Journey is a classic rock band best known for their string of hits in the 1980’s such as their song “Don’t Stop Believin’” which was how Glee started and The Sopranos ended. As lead singer Steve Perry delivered a nine times platinum album, some amazing power ballads and some sweet moves, like popping into frame like a boss:

The greatest music video of all time.

Oh No You Didn’t Moment: Steve Perry injured his hip while hiking in Hawaii and instead of waiting for him to get surgery, the rest of the band decided to fire the guy that helped them create a diamond album. The next singer to replace Perry was Steve Augeri in 1998, however he was fired in 2006 after he got a chronic throat infection. The guys in Journey really hate health issues.

Jeff Scott Soto briefly sang for Journey before founding guitarist Neal Shcon discovered Filipino singer Arnel Pineda on Youtube covering their hits. The group dusted off their wall keyboard and went on tour! Let's hope it's nailed down tight. If that falls on Pineda's foot, the band will fire him before he's done rubbing lidocaine on it.

The Doors… Of The 21st Century

Original Singer: Jim Morrison

Replacement:  Ian Astbury, Brett Scallions, Dave Brock

The Doors led by singer Jim Morrison were icons of the 1960’s and early 70’s, selling over 100 million albums worldwide. These riders of the storm road their way into fame with hits like L.A. Woman and Light My Fire. Jim Morrison joined the “27 Club,” dying of heart failure at the rocking age of 27. This is better than the age comedians die such as John Belushi and Chris Farley at 33, where they get to be remembered slightly pudgier and middle aged.

Oh No You Didn’t Moment: While The Doors tried to continue as a three piece post-Morrison in the early 70’s, the surviving members Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger later reunited in 2002 with Cult singer Ian Astbury, calling themselves The Doors of 21st Century. However, original drummer John Densmore sued the group, objecting to use of The Doors name, because apparently he has integrity and doesn’t like money. Manzarek and Krieger then changed the group’s name to the simple Manzarek- Krieger and toured with Brett Scallion and Dave Brock on vocals until Manzarek died in 2013.

INXS… with Reality TV Show Winner

Original Singer: Michael Hutchence

Replacement:  J.D. Fortune

If you’re the bass player for INXS, you’ve dedicated your life to this band, you’re not going to let a little auto erotic asphyxiation stop your meal ticket. This Australian group found huge success in the 80’s and 90’s selling around 40 million albums until lead singer Michael Hutchence was found dead in his hotel room from an apparent suicide, which was later reported to be a possible accidental death by masturbation belt. This is probably the most rock and roll way to go out if you don’t think about it too hard. Sure, anyone can die from drugs and alcohol, but it takes a real rock star to love himself so much that he dies from fucking himself.

Oh No You Didn’t Moment: The group went through a couple replacement singers before partaking in a reality TV show called “Rock Star: INXS” where 15 people tried out for the group. J.D. Fortune was the eventual winner, and recorded two albums with the band before being fired and they realized their lead singer was discovered via the same cultural wasteland that gave us The Jersey Shore, Kim Kardashian and Hoarders. INXS eventually broke up for good in 2012.

Queen… With Adam Lambert

Original Singer: Freddie Mercury

Replacement: Paul Rodgers, Adam Lambert

The British rock band is one of the biggest selling groups of all time, with over 300 million in sales. Singer Freddie Mercury is considered by many to be one of the greatest vocalists in rock history, but his tenure with the band was cut short in 1991 when he died due to complications from AIDS in 1991. Speaking of reality TV show contestants, Adam Lambert, a runner up on American Idol is currently on tour with Queen.  Which is sort of like The Beatles going on tour with Kermit The Frog filling in for John Lennon.

Oh No You Didn’t Moment: Adam Lambert is singing for Queen now.

Should they have replaced Freddie Mercury with the lead singer of this band?

Which is your favorite singer replacement?

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