Top 10 Singer/Guitarist Duos in Rock Bands
The best singer/guitarist duos in rock bands feature charismatic frontmen and electrifying guitarists. Not only do they team up to write great songs, they command the stage when they perform live. Sometimes the combination of their larger-than-life personalities can be toxic, resulting in a series of breakups and make-ups. But most of the time, the pairing of two iconic musicians results in pure magic. Without further ado, as part of our Twice as Nice Week, here is Ultimate Classic Rock's list of the Top 10 Singer/Guitarist Duos in Rock Bands:
Ozzy Osbourne / Tony Iommi
Ozzy Osbourne has played with sensational shredders like Randy Rhoads and Zakk Wylde, but we're pairing the “Prince of Darkness” with the man who helped him make Black Sabbath godfathers of heavy metal — Tony Iommi. Along with their bandmates, the two introduced a whole new genre of music to the world, with Osbourne's haunting vocals and Iommi's powerful riffs on classic songs like 'Paranoid' and 'Iron Man.'
Brian Johnson / Angus Young
It's hard to replace a beloved lead singer and subsequently become an iconic figure in rock 'n' roll. But that's exactly what Brian Johnson did when he stepped in for the late Bon Scott and hit the ball out the park immediately with AC/DC's 'Back in Black.' His business-like approach and raspy howl offer the perfect complement to charismatic guitarist Angus Young's school-boy antics and Chuck Berry duckwalk.
Freddie Mercury / Brian May
Pair one of rock 'n' roll's greatest and most flamboyant singers with a big-haired guitar virtuoso and you get the nucleus of Queen. Freddy Mercury defined the term 'frontman' with a commanding stage presence, while Brian May's masterful guitar-work provided an exquisite soundtrack to Mercury's histrionic vocals. Sadly, Mercury died in 1991 after a battle with AIDS, but his legacy lives on in Queen's music.
Axl Rose / Slash
A relationship that started out in paradise city is now a rumble in the jungle. Despite the current bad blood between singer Axl Rose and guitarist Slash, there's no denying the chemistry between the two during Guns N' Roses' heyday in the late '80s and early '90s. The pair's combination of rock 'n' roll excess and musical genius resulted in several hard-rock masterpieces, but ultimately led to a venom-filled breakup.
Steven Tyler / Joe Perry
How can two people be twins if they're not even biologically related? Simple: Dress the same, look the same, rock the same and do a lot of f–kin' drugs. That's how singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry became the Toxic Twins. As the faces of Aerosmith, the two combine to write most of the band's songs. Now clean and sober, they still maintain their flamboyant rock 'n' roll personas, as Aerosmith continue to tour and make new music.
David Lee Roth / Eddie Van Halen
Talk about two guys who enjoy running with the devil, here's a beautiful marriage made in hell: It's well-documented that Van Halen singer David Lee Roth and guitarist Eddie Van Halen don't always get along. However, when they do see eye-to-eye, the result is a musical eruption of pure hard-rock adrenaline. After a long time apart, Diamond Dave and EVH are back together, as Van Halen are touring and working on a new album.
Bono / The Edge
From a match made in hell, we turn to a match made in heaven: Bono and the Edge have been playing music together since their school days in Dublin. With Bono's unmatched showmanship and the Edge's unmistakable guitar sound, U2 have arguably become the biggest band in the world. After more than 30 years together, Bono, the Edge and the rest of U2 continue to make relevant and popular music today.
Roger Daltrey / Pete Townshend
Sometimes a musical genius needs a big voice to give his compositions the treatment they deserve. And that's exactly what guitarist Pete Townshend found in singer Roger Daltrey. While Townshend is the brains behind the Who's music, Daltrey takes the songs to another level with his powerful vocals. Onstage, Townshend's windmill riffing and Daltrey's lasso-like microphone twirl are a sight to be seen.
Robert Plant / Jimmy Page
Despite still being alive, Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant and axe-man Jimmy Page have already been deified as the “golden god” and “guitar god,” respectively. Plant is the ultimate hard-rock frontman, combining sex appeal, a charismatic aura and a wide-ranging voice. Page, meanwhile, is the prototypical hard-rock guitarist, whose monster riffs and captivating solos are delivered with equal parts calm and cool.
Mick Jagger / Keith Richards
When it comes to musical output, longevity and stage presence, not to mention sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, the supreme singer/guitarist duo is Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. The Glimmer Twins, as they are affectionately known, paved the way for the above acts by defining what it takes to be rock stars. Amazingly, Jagger and Richards, along with the rest of the Stones, are still kicking ass nearly 50 years into their career.