New Wave of British Heavy Metal set the bar pretty high when it came to metal and the sound continues to dominate many live shows and new artists. After the success of our “Best in Thrash According to the Internet” series we decided to explore another popular genre. NWOBHM got the call and I can’t think of a more controversial one. With the importance of guitars, vocals, drums and bass very apparent in each and every song it turned out no one could really agree on who was the best. However, numbers don’t lie.
After combing through over 50 sites of our peers we compiled a list of who is mentioned the most when it comes to the various activities in NWOBHM. This week we are doing vocalists. If you didn’t think the internet was a wasteland before you might after this series. This is a messed up list.
Here are the Top 10 NWOBHM vocalists as chosen by the internet:
10 – Dave Hill (Demon): I was very surprised to see anything to do with Demon on the list, but a lot of talk goes on about how underrated they were in the NWOBHM movement; especially Dave Hill. All this talk got Hill on the list.
9 – Zeeb Parkes (Witchfinder General): I couldn’t disagree with this one more. Witchfinder to me was an early and influential doom band that started a generation down a dark and awesome path. Parkes vocals style was a huge part of that. Saying they are NWOBHM because of when they were formed is silly in my books, but a lot more people disagree with me, then agree.
8 – Jon Deverill (Tygers of Pan Tang): Deverill has the pipes and stamina it takes to play with the big boys and I had anticipated him being much higher on the list. The issue might be Jon being overshadowed by the incredible shredding of John Sykes.
7 – Dave King (Fastway): love them or hate them there is no denying the impact that Fastway had on the heavy metal scene. The big time vocals of Dave King play a huge role in that success. The defenders of Fastway against negative comments is actually what got King on the list.
6 – Enid Williams (Girlschool): if we were all perfectly honest with ourselves Williams would be much higher on the list. The duo of Williams and Kim McAuliffe on vocals bring the Girlschool music to life and put them in vocals ranges that very few in metal can hit. These ladies showed the men how it was done.
5 – Kevin Heybourne (Angel Witch): I was pulling for Kevin and wanted to see him very high on the list. Angel Witch gets grouped in a lot of different genres and that is due to the complexity and ever changing voice of Heybourne. AW deserves much more respect than they generally get in all metal circles.
4 – Joe Elliott (Def Leppard): you would have to reach way back in the vault for me to find songs that would constitute Def Leppard as a NWOBHM band. I’m not overly picky with genres, but give me a break on this one. Also, the strength of Leppard isn’t in it’s vocals. The guitars are what keep this band in the eyes of everyone around.
3 – Biff Byford (Saxon): what a voice. Personally I would have put Biff in the number one position because of the numerous styles his voice can hit. When doing these internet polls you have to figure that the more commercially successful bands will tend to have members higher on the list. In the case of Byford that rings true.
2 – Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden): he was going to be #1 or #2, we knew that going in. There is no arguing with the range and the “it” factor Dickinson has behind the mic. Fronting one of the most successful bands in the world requires you to be an incredible voice.
1 – Rob Halford (Judas Priest): if Bruce was #2, then Rob is #1. The apex of NWOBHM is Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. A big reason for that is the voices of our final two guys. This was a very close battle separated by one vote. Rob’s ability to sing anything, in any style may have given him the edge.
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