Sometimes when bands first start out, the members don’t necessarily know what their strengths are. As a result, some rockers actually started out playing instruments instead of singing, which they eventually became famous for.
There are plenty of musicians who switched roles within their bands, but the vocals are typically one of the most identifiable parts of a band’s sound. It’s hard to imagine what Metallica would have sounded like if James Hetfield never became their frontman — because at first, he wasn’t going to be. It’s also hard to imagine how Megadeth would have sounded all these years without Dave Mustaine, who never even would have formed the band if he hadn’t been fired from Metallica.
Instances like these prove that one simple decision or change can affect the trajectory of music forever. And there were quite a few of them. A couple of singers started out in bands playing a different instrument, so they were never really meant to become singers in the first place. We compiled a list of singers who weren’t actually supposed to be singers, which you can scroll through below.
One example that’s a bit confusing is Chris Cornell, as he started in Soundgarden as a singing drummer. As guitarist Kim Thayil told us in an interview in 2021, though, when it came down to Cornell picking between the two, he wanted to be a singer, and the rest of the band wanted him to stick to the drums. Cornell obviously had the right idea in mind by choosing the microphone, as he was later able to showcase his guitar abilities as a result as well.
Since he was always singing from the start, we opted not to include him in the list, and felt that we owed an explanation for it… before you come at us with pitchforks.
Scroll through the gallery below to see rock and metal singers who weren’t actually supposed to be singers.
Rock + Metal Singers That Weren’t Actually Supposed to Be Singers
These singers weren’t actually supposed to sing.
Gallery Credit: Lauryn Schaffner
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Gallery Credit: Various