another list to ponder
10. Alice Cooper
When you look at Alice Cooper, it isn't hard to see that a very vital part of being one of the great frontmen of all time is theatrics. Cooper seems to understand better than most that rock is part of show business, and he makes sure that his is a show worth seeing. Over the years, others such as Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson have studied at the feet of this master, who has thrilled and delighted with his macabre stage performances for years. Cooper's black humor and elaborate staging never fail to keep the audience captivated.
9. Jim Morrison
The Doors frontman was the prototype for the modern bad-boy rocker. But for Morrison it was more than just some affected act. He seemed to be indelibly linked to his music, and onstage his songs practically poured out of his very soul, washing over the audience like an unstoppable tide. The Lizard King didn't have the most versatile voice, but when he sang it was like crushed velvet running through your brain, and that was more than enough. Add to that the dark, angst-ridden poet persona he exuded, and it isn't hard to see why he has become an archetype.
8. Iggy Pop
Onstage, Iggy Pop is a madman whose intensity is off the charts. Iggy is the living personification of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle -- and it's clear that it isn't just an act or a show or a persona. This is the life that he lives and breathes, and it is that honesty and genuine lust for life that truly resonates with his audiences. He seems more like a force of nature than merely a man when he is up there belting out songs in his brusque baritone. Iggy Pop is a man who lives and bleeds rock n' roll.
7. Ozzy Osbourne
The father of heavy metal, Ozzy has been up and down the road, seen it all and done it all -- twice. First as the frontman of Black Sabbath and then branching out on his own, the "Blizzard of Oz" never disappoints. Ozzy is a wildman who isn't above biting the heads off of bats or doves to wow his audiences – not that he would need to. There is a charisma that Ozzy just naturally exudes when he takes the stage. Maybe it is the realization that you are in the presence of one of the great ones. Whatever it is, even after all these years, Ozzy can still steal a show like no one else.
6. Gene Simmons
We've talked about Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson and Alice Cooper in terms of the showmanship and spectacle. But when it comes to honing the art of bringing theater to rock, no one holds a candle to Gene Simmons. Whether it is coughing up a stream of blood, blowing a towering gout of fire into the air or simply gesticulating his abnormally long and seemingly prehensile tongue at the adoring ladies in the front row, he is a showman first and foremost. And from the success that Kiss have enjoyed in the past 35 years, there is little doubt that this is exactly what people want.
5. Axl Rose
Axl Rose has attained an almost mythical status -- and not only for his onstage presence. Rose is a lightning rod for controversy, be it punching an unruly reporter or taking 14 years and $12 million to make an album. Despite all that, when he is on his game, there is no one better. Barely contained intensity mixes with manic energy to make him an attention magnet. And even with the depth of talent that the other members of Guns N' Roses possessed, it was impossible to keep from watching Axl as he rushed across teh stage, belting out notes that could shatter glass or bloody eardrums.
4. David Lee Roth
Whether you love him or you hate him, there is no question that Diamond Dave is one of the greatest rock n' roll frontmen of all time. His over-the-top personality, his flamboyance on and off the stage, his style, his swagger -- there is no question that Roth lives the rock n' roll lifestyle and he lives it hard. The former Van Halen frontman wears animal sexuality like some men wear cologne, and not only does he have all the ladies swooning onstage -- he had the guys getting into it and rocking out as well.
3. Mick Jagger
In many ways, the Rolling Stones serve as a model for any rock n' roll band that has come since -- and without question, Mick Jagger has served as very direct inspiration as to what a great frontman should be. Once Jagger hit the scene, it was no longer enough to just be a talented singer with solid vocal chops. He served as a wake-up call for frontmen everywhere that they now had to be showmen as well – larger than life. Jagger has the energy, the emotion and, most important, the talent to round out the whole package. He has brought an attitude and a swagger that is second to none.
2. Freddie Mercury
Mercury could bring a crowd to life like no other. With his refined, theatrical style, the king of Queen had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand each and every time he took the stage. He could rouse them into singing along with him note for note, or could call for a hush with the smallest gesture of his hand. This spellbinding relationship between a frontman and their audience is something that few other performers have been able to duplicate before or since, and is a testament to the charisma that Mercury possessed.
1. Elvis Presley
"Nothing really affected me until I heard Elvis. If there hadn't been an Elvis, there wouldn't have been a Beatles. --John Lennon
To be honest, if there had been no Elvis, the rest of this list would not exist. He could touch the hearts of his audience like no one else. His music could bring tears to the eye, and the crook of his lip or the sway of his hips would send the girls swooning. He had a way about him that made each person in the audience feel like he was singing just to him or her and that there was no one else around.