Thursday, May 15, 2008

Let Carlos Sing!

I was listening to a little Santana recently, and I was struck by the fact that despite Carlos Santana's awesome guitar playing, he does not bother to sing, for whatever reason. Perhaps his voice is horrible. Perhaps he can't sing and play at the same time. Perhaps he's shy. Whatever the reason, the lead singer for Santana has always been someone other than Carlos (wikipedia shows twelve different vocalists thru the years). This got me to thinking - what other prominent rock stars had their name as part of the band's name, but did not do any of the singing? I could not think of too many:

Carlos of course played the distinctive guitar licks, but the singing was done by others. Even in his more recent solo efforts (Supernatural and Shaman), he enlisted others to do the singing for him on songs that required vocals. This makes me interested to hear him sing, just to know how awful it might be.

Jeff Beck Group
Vocals were handled by Rod Stewart. He is well known as a great guitarist, but none of the bands he was a part of (Yardbirds, Jeff Beck Group) featured him as a vocalist.

Phil Lesh and Friends
Actually I'm only half kidding about this one. Phil actually does some of the singing, but as a favor to everyone listening, he usually has guest vocalists on his tours. Ryan Adams, Susan Tedeschi, Joan Osborne, Chris Robinson, Trey Anastasio, and Warren Haynes have all been featured as guest vocalists during the last few years. Phil's strength is playing the bass, not singing. Chants of "Let Phil Sing" by fans at Grateful Dead shows probably reflected the spirit of community and the fans' affection for Phil and his rare compositions (Unbroken Chain, anyone?), rather than his vocal prowess. The man knows his limitations.

Can anyone think of any others?


candyman said...

The only two that come to mind immediately are the Spencer Davis Group and the Dave Clark 5. Of course, the great (and very young at the time) Stevie Winwood was on the vocals for Spencer Davis - but I am not sure if and how much Spencer sang. Same for the DC5, where drummer Mike Smith did most of the vocals - not sure if and how much Dave Clark actually sang.

Assman said...

Nicely done. Dave Clark is listed as a drummer, but not a vocalist. So I would say that one's a definite yes. As for Spencer Davis, his credits also include vocals, but Winwood was the main vocalist on their most well known songs, so I'd give that one a thumbs up too.