Five bands that kept on rockin’ with replacement singers


Today, Queen with Adam Lambert announced a new tour that includes a pair of Vegas dates on July 5 and 6 at The Joint at the Hard Rock.

I saw the band last September when they headlined the first night of the iHeartRadio music festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and came away impressed at how invigorated they sounded.

Of course, no singer could ever replace Freddie Mercury, one of the greatest frontmen of all time, and Lambert doesn’t really try to, instead, he handles the material in his own way, the common denominator between the two being that both Mercury and Lambert have stadium-sized voices and a natural, effortless flamboyance.

I’ll definitely check them out again come July.

The announcement of the Queen shows got me to thinking about other bands that successfully replaced a lead singer, either through an untimely death or simply because everyone in the band wasn’t on the same page musically.

Below, are five of my favorites.

Who are some of yours?

Dropkick Murphys. Their original frontman Mike McColgan left the fold in ‘98 to become a firefighter after tracking the band’s rousing debut, “Do or Die,” but with singer Al Barr leading the way, the Murphys have become the greatest Celtic punk band next to The Pogues.

Cannibal Corpse. They were one of the biggest bands in death metal when they split from original singer Chris Barnes in 1995. Since then, Cannibal Corpse has only gotten bigger — and better — with George “Corpsegrinder” Fischer, a mountain of a man with maybe the most powerful voice in the genre who sounds like a constipated Orc. You know, in a good way.

Black Sabbath. When these metal pioneers gave Ozzy Osbourne the boot in ‘79, they switched gears considerably with Ronnie Jame Dio, whose far greater singing range led Sabbath to cut two of their most dynamic, hardest hitting records in “Heaven and Hell” and “Mob Rules.”

AC/DC. Not only did the band fully recover from the tragic death of true rock ‘n’ roll hellion Bon Scott, they did so in record time, releasing “Back in Black” with new singer Brian Johnson but five months after Scott’s passing. “Back in Black” is the ultimate tribute to their fallen frontman, one of the five greatest hard rock records of all time whose tunes will live forever — right along with Scott’s legacy.

Corrosion of Conformity. They kept their name the same, but when C.O.C guitarist Pepper Keenan took over as vocalist for the departed Karl Agell in 1993, these crossover pioneers essentially became a different band, a Sabbath-meets-Skynyrd Southern rock hybrid responsible for such classic, often overlooked albums as “Deliverance” and “Wiseblood.”

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.