I consider the following people the greatest rock stars ever for at least 1 of the 3 reasons below...
1. Charisma/ Grandiosity/ Showmanship
2. Skill/ Musicianship
3. Social Commentary/ Integrity/ Authenticity
May I also note that a few people have been ranked in pairs, because their ranking is due in large part to the person they`re included with.
I`ll start at #40...
40. Trent Reznor- Nine Inch Nails (Singer). Ranked for integrity and honesty. Has never buckled down to the music industry, a total free spirit.
39. Gene Simmons- Kiss (Bassist). Ranked for grandiosity and memorability. His hair sticking straight-up, his face paint, his notorious 6 inch tongue. Memorable in every way, shape, and form.
38. Phil Lynott- Thin Lizzy (Singer). Ranked for Charisma. Charismatic, influential (he was one of the first rock frontmen to play bass), and a black irishman in a time when being a black irishman was not exactly hip. If only he were still alive.
37. Zach De La Rocha- Rage Against The Machine (Singer). Whether you agree with them or not, you have to admit Rage know how to get a message across, and their foundation is the sheer ferocity of Zach De La Rocha.
36. Keith Moon- The Who (Drummer). Ranked for grandiosity, skill, and memorability. A classic rock and roll Icarus, who just flew too close to the sun. Surpassed only by Neil Peart and John Bonham, as the greatest drummer of all time.
35. Jon Bon Jovi- Bon Jovi (Singer). Ranked for showmanship and integrity. While his image is far from hip today, he captivated and spoke for his generation. Anyone who has seen the "Lay Your Hands On Me" video, will not deny his showmanship.
34. Dave Navarro- Guitarist (Jane`s Addiction). Ranked for skill and authenticity. Anyone who puts up with Perry Farrel (See my list of the 10 biggest rock ***holes below) on a day to day basis, gets my props. Also the most skilled member of his band.
33. Pete Townshend- Guitarist (The Who). Ranked for image and skill. His over-exaggerated windmills, while never impersonated any more, are the stuff of legend. Also a phenomenal songwriter.
32. David Coverdale- Singer (Whitesnake). Ranked for showmanship. While certainly not commendable when it comes to integrity (he switched Whitesnake`s lineup constantly to remain hip), as a rock frontman, he was electrifying.
31. Scott Weiland- Singer (Stone Temple Pilots). Ranked for image and showmanship. As his work with Velvet Revolver continues to show, this guy can work a crowd. Also a very inspirational person (Rising to success, falling from success, and rising back up again).
30. Zakk Wylde- Guitairst (Ozzy), Singer (BLS). Ranked for skill and honesty. Who contests him when it comes to sheer honesty? Wylde just doesn`t give a flying **** what the establisment thinks about him, and he has maintained his integrity completely. And if you didn`t know, he`s also a pretty sweet guitarist.
29. Ann Wilson & Nancy Wilson- Heart (Singer & Guitarist). Ranked for skill and integrity. Proved chicks know how to rock, and were free-spirited in their approach to rock. Ann, is also the greatest female vocalist of our generation.
28. Roger Daltrey- The Who (Singer). Ranked for grandiosity and skill. One of the first great rock frontmen, and also a phenomenal singer.
27. Ritchie Blackmore- Deep Purple (Guitarist). Ranked for skill. The greatest of Purple`s 3 virtuosos (The other 2 are Paice and Gillan). A total visionary, and one of the best rock guitarists ever.
26. Flea- Red Hot Chili Peppers (Bassist). Ranked for skill. Plain and simply, the greatest bassist of the past 30 years. He is phenomenal.
25. Angus Young- AC/DC (Guitarist). Ranked for skill and image. A 5`2 scottish guitarist, who performs in a schoolboy outfit. Need I say more?
24. Nikki Sixx- Motley Crue (Bassist). Ranked for grandiosity and memorability. The epitome of an 80`s rock star. This dude was just crazy, and his infamous Heroin OD and revival, is one of the most legendary stories ever, in rock history.
23. Ted Nugent- Solo, Damn Yankees (Singer/Guitarist). Ranked for authenticity and integrity. The motor-city madman, he just flat out doesn`t care what anyone thinks of him, and has never censored himself for the liberal media`s sake.
22. Rob Zombie- White Zombie, Solo (Singer). Ranked for image and authenticity. The dude made a song with 20 seconds of a chick moaning, at the beginning. That should tell you all you need to know.
21. Eddie Vedder- Pearl Jam (Singer). Ranked for skill, social commentary, and integrity. The most riveting frontman of the 90`s, he is another guy with integrity written all over him. He did for the 90`s, what Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison did for the 60`s.
I`ll post the top 20 soon...
20. Neil Peart- Rush (Drummer). Ranked for skill. If from the beginning of mankind, there have been less than 40 people who were plain and simply born to be musicians, than Neil Peart is one of them. He's kind of like a modern-day Beethoven. He is the greatest drummer of all-time, with only Bonham and Moon contesting him, and also probably the best rock songwriter of our time. An impossibly talented musician.
19. Dimebag Darrell- Pantera (Guitarist). Ranked for skill. Surpassed only by Eddie Van Halen, Kirk Hammett, and Slash, as the greatest metal guitarist ever, Dimebag is a legend in the realm of metal. Like the rest of his bandmates, Dimes was oblivious to the rest of the world when it came to music. He did his own thing, and didn't care if people liked it or not (Considering Pantera's considerable popularity, I guess people did like it). A great musician, who died too young.
18. Layne Staley & Jerry Cantrell- Alice In Chains (Singer & Guitarist). Ranked for skill and memorability. The Page & Plant of the 90's, the unbelievable chemistry between these two is the reason Alice is so commonly hailed as one of the best bands of their time. The way Layne's incredible vocals (He is one of the best rock vocalists ever) and Cantrell's soaring guitar complimented each other, was something truly special, and something not seen since Roth & Van Halen.
17. Slash- Guns N' Roses (Guitarist). Ranked for charisma, skill, and memorability. An unforgettable image (Top hat with black hair covering his eyes), an incredible guitarist, and one of the last true rock stars, Slash is unforgettable. While his memorability and charisma are obvious, his skill often goes unnoticed, and that's really a shame considering November Rain and Sweet Child O' Mine are two of the best guitar solos ever, in the history of rock and roll.
16. Alice Cooper- Solo (Singer). Ranked for showmanship and memorability. The original king of shock rock, No one was like Alice before Alice. A totally original artist (and a very underrated one too), a total disregard for the music industry and it's evils and an unbelievable performer (His show nowadays is just as mesmerizing today as it was 30 years ago).
15. Ronnie James Dio- Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio (Singer). Ranked for authenticity and skill. The little man with the big voice, is a legendary metal frontman and vocalist (Top 10 material). Any band he was ever in, he carried with his vocal talent and shownmanship. He is also just as commendable for his work outside music, his construction of The Hear N Aid was a very selfless thing that made those "Make A Brighter Day" morons look like *** holes and sissies at the same time.
14. Tommy Lee- Motley Crue (Drummer). Ranked for grandiosity, skill, and memorability. A quinissential heavy metal badboy, Tommy Lee is the Mick Jagger of our generation. Probably the most notorious of the 4 walking-talking notorieties who were Motley Crue, his epic and grandiose antics are the stuff of legend, but overshadow his incredible skill as a drummer (If you've heard Dr. Feelgood, you know what I'm talkin' about).
13. Freddie Mercury- Queen (Singer). Ranked for skill, showmanship, and memorability. I can't do it proper justice, so I'll just say it; Freddie Mercury had the greatest voice of any rock vocalist ever. He was the greatest, and not even his vocals could overshadow his incredible showmanship. One of rock and roll's great tragic heroes, who died of aids before he could say all he had to say.
12. Rob Halford- Judas Priest (Singer). Ranked for skill and integrity. Considered by many to be second only to Ozzy in the realm of metal frontmen, Rob Halford is one of metal's legendary vocalists. Undoubtedly one of the best screamers ever, he inspired several wannabes like Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) and Geoff Tate (Queensryche). His coming out, was one of the ballsiest moves in metal history, and anyone who doesn't accept for who he is, is not only a homophobe, but also completely oblivious as to what metal is.
11. Eddie Van Halen- Van Halen (Guitarist). Ranked for skill and memorability. What more can you say about Eddie Van Halen, that hasn't been said a million times before. Arguably the greatest guitarist of the post-Hendrix era, Eddie influenced everyone from Guns N' Roses to Gorillaz. Eruption is widely hailed as the greatest rock instrumental of all time, and rightfully so. If it's still mindblowing today, than imagine what it was like to hear it in 1977! An absolute legend, who no one in coming years will ever surpass.
To be continued...
10. Mick Jagger & Keith Richards- The Rolling Stones (Singer & Guitarist). Ranked for charisma/grandiosity, chemistry, and memorability. The original rock and roll badboys, and arguably the two most memorable rock stars of all time. The showmanship, the never-ending on-and-off feud between them, and of course the chemistry between them, are still remembered to this day.the Jagger and Richards set a standard in chemistry for every singer-guitarist duo to follow after them (Only one singer-guitarist duo ever surpassed them, see #4).
9. Chris Cornell- Soundgarden (Singer). Ranked for skill and authenticity/integrity. Chris Cornell is the greatest american rock vocalist of all-time (If you need any proof, listen to Jesus Christ Pose). His magnificent vocal talent set aside, Chris is most memorable for being the single LEAST pretentious, LEAST selfish, and most down-to-earth rock star who ever lived. He never acted like he was better than his bandmates just because he was the frontman, and he brought a sense of honesty and integrity back to rock and roll, that it had been missing for a long time.(A sense of honesty and integrity that is much needed nowadays, considering today's dominant rock bands).
8. Jim Morrison- The Doors (Singer). Ranked for charisma, skill, honesty, and memorability. 4 for 4 on criteria, that is impressive, but that's just how great a rock star The Lizard King was. Jim Morrison was kind of like a rock and roll Socrates, who used his dark and deeply philosophic visions to captivate and mesmerize his generation. Besides his nearly unmatched charisma, Morrison was also an inredible singer and trademarked a sense of honesty and uncensored antics that many rock stars have aspired to, but none have surpassed. Another rock and roll Icarus, who lived fast and died young.
7. Steven Tyler- Aerosmith (Singer). Ranked for showmanship/charisma and memorability. Considered by many to be one of the greatest on-stage performers in rock and roll's long history, Steven Tyler has created an image that won't soon be forgotten. While much of his reputation and respectability comes from his incredible chemistry with guitarist Joe Perry, sheer showmanship is Tyler's true claim to fame. The fact that he's so ugly, some women find him sexy, his unique screeching vocals, and the lazarus-esque rise from the dead he and his bandmates pulled, are other things that can't go unnoticed when identifying Steven Tyler as one of the greatest rock stars of all time.
6. Axl Rose- Guns N' Roses (Singer). Ranked for charimsa, skill, honesty, and memorability. To be fair, let's acknowledge that Axl Rose was an *** hole, who took his band's incredible success, and threw it all away with his egocentric personality. That said, he is one of the most electric and memorable rock and roll frontmen ever. He has one of the widest and most versatile vocal ranges in rock history, and he held nothing back, on stage and off, for better or for worse. While I do think his assembly of today's GNR, is pure heavy metal sacrilege and blackmarks GNR's legacy, that same legacy is as grand, epic, and memorable as it is because of, more than any other original GNR member, Axl Rose himself.
5. Kurt Cobain- Nirvana (Singer/Guitarist). Ranked for skill, authenticity/integrity, and memorability. The frontman and creative force behind the most memorable band of our generation. Cobain found rock and roll immortality the exact opposite way that almost every other rock star did; by being as reclusive, reluctant, vulnerable, and above all else, passionate, as a rock star could possibly be. The greatest songwriter of the past 25 years, and an incredible vocalist as well, none of Kurt Cobain's talents can seem to overshadow his vulnerable personality and unabashed passion for music, which stand as his trademarks to this day. Rock and roll's greatest tragic hero, Kurt Cobain died young, but I think it's fair to say his legend will live forever.
4. Robert Plant & Jimmy Paige- Led Zeppelin (Singer & Guitarist). Ranked for grandiosity/charisma, skill, chemistry, and memorability. Paige and Plant are the greatest singer-guitarist duo ever, in rock history. It was truly, a match made in heaven, that no one had seen before, and we haven't seen since. Unbeatable chemistry, unbeatable talent, and grandiose antics on and off stage, these two were the rock kings of the 70's. No two other people's talents, have complimented each other the same incredible way Paige and Plant's did, and people aspire to achieve that same chemistry to this day. While they both would have ranked high individually, these two are best ranked as a team, because that's the same reason they were as great as they were, and as legendary and memorable as they are.
3. Ozzy Osbourne- Black Sabbath, Solo (Singer). Ranked for grandiosity/charisma, showmanship, honesty, and memorability. More notorious than Aerosmith, Gun N' Roses, and Led Zeppelin combined, and arguably surpassed only by Motley Crue, Ozzy is probably the most consistently controversial rock star ever. From biting the head off a bat, to pi**ing on The Alamo, everyone knows at least one Ozzy story. After being the frontman of the legendary Black Sabbath, the world's 1st metal band, he was hung out to dry by his bandmates, only to achieve his greatest success, as a solo artist. He and his wife created the biggest music festival in the world, irrelevant of genre, and he remains as blatant and honest today, as he was when that first Sabbath album came out.
2. Jimi Hendrix- The Jimi Hendrix Experince (Singer/Guitarist). Ranked for charisma, skill, honesty, and memorability. In the realm of passion, in relation to rock music, who even comes close? Who has ever loved making music more than Hendrix did? The product of a troubled family, music was all Jimi ever had. But after The Experience was formed, Hendrix proved himself to be just as great a musician, as he was a passionate one. He remains to this day, the unabashed and unsurpassed godfather of the electric guitar. Not only that, but he was probably the first ever rock and roll virtuoso, the first rock musician who really knew his instrument inside and out, and that gave rock and roll a sense of virtuosity and skill that makes it special. Rock and roll's first tragic hero, Jimi Hendrix will be remembered forever, and will always be the greatest guitarist ever.
1. David Lee Roth- Van Halen (Singer). Ranked for charisma/grandiosity, showmanship, skill, and memorability. Electric, grandiose, larger-than-life, and truly unforgettable, David Lee Roth was everything a rock frontman should be. He is, in my opinion, the greatest rock star of all time. His trademark clownish antics and unbeatable showmanship, he was one of the last real rock stars. The key player in one of the greatest rock and rock stories ever (The Van Halen never-ending lead singer rotation), his feud with his former bandmates is often viewed as the greatest feud in rock history. That said, it's what he did when he was still in Van Halen, that makes him a legend, and what he did was give a grandiosity and epic feel to the second greatest hard rock/metal band of all time (Only Zeppelin beats them). Considering the lack of electric rock frontmen nowadays, I think it's fair to say David Lee Roth will forever stand as the greatest frontman in rock history.
Top 10 Biggest Rock *** Holes.
1. Courtney Love- Hole (Singer). Every day she lives, she blackmarks her dead husband's legacy.
2. Billy Joe Armstrong- Green Day (Singer). Honestly, the guy thinks he knows the secret to the universe. He seems pi**ed off that people don't take him seriously (Very surprising, considering he used to perform on stage in a cheetah-skin thong).
3. Roger Waters- Pink Floyd (Bassist). Had he stuck with Floyd, they could of become the greatest rock band ever, but he let his ego get in the way.
4. Bruce Dickinson- Iron Maiden (Singer). How big of an *** hole do you have to be, especially when you're frontman of a band so in debt to Ozzy as Maiden is, to go onstage and insult Ozzy himself? What a ****in' do***bag!
5. Perry Farrell- Jane's Addiction (Singer). Something doesn't work right in this dude's head, 'cause he's out there like ****in; Pluto.
6. Tom Morello- Rage Against The Machine (Guitarist). The classic example of a jack***, who can never admit when he's wrong.
7. Fred Durst- Limp Bizkit (Singer). He's more concerned with letting the world know he ****ed Britney Spears, as opposed to making music. His band also makes rock music look immature, talentless, and all in all stupid.
8. Tom Scholz- Boston (Guitarist). Proved how being a devout perfectionist can be a path to destroying your band's success.
9. Gary Cherone- Extreme/Van Halen (Singer). While not a technical *** hole (he seems like a nice guy) the blackmark he put on Van Halen's legacy, is something a hardcore VH fan like myself, cannot look past or forgive.
10. Mike Patton- Faith No More (Singer). I respect his abilities as a musician (he has the widest vocal range of any vocalist ever), and though his vocal range was Faith No More's salvation, his non-stop bitching was also their undoing.
I disagree about Roger Waters being the 3rd biggest rock star asshole. Pink Floyd was on the way out after the Wish You Were Here album and he managed to pretty much solely write The Wall which was one of PFs best albums before he left the band.
"4. Bruce Dickinson- Iron Maiden (Singer). How big of an *** hole do you have to be, especially when you're frontman of a band so in debt to Ozzy as Maiden is, to go onstage and insult Ozzy himself? What a ****in' do***bag!"
Ozzy is nothing but a pathetic sellout. Newsflash, Black Sabbath wasn't Ozzy Osbourne, on the contrary, he was kicked out of Black Sabbath. Iron Maiden owe absolutely nothing to them. You know nothing about music.