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Credit: Ed Vill

Music

Slash selects the four greatest lead singers of all time

British-American guitarist Slash, best known for his work in the now-iconic rock band Guns N’ Roses, is considered by many to be one of the best guitarists in history, boasting accolades and critical success that most could only dream of.

In addition to his exploits with Guns N’ Roses, Slash has famously engaged in work outside the band and released five solo studio albums to date. So, it’s safe to say that he’s a man with the adequate credentials to pass judgement on the great and good of music, and not to forget he’s worked closely with a large number of them. While Axl Rose is an obvious choice in terms of the astonishing singers that Slash has worked with – despite the controversies that follow his private life – he just kicks off the list of Slash’s favourite singers of all time.

While, of course, everyone’s list is subject to change, ebb, and flow, it’s insightful nonetheless to see what an incredible musician like Slash looks for in the talents and skills that differ from his own. So, when it comes to the best vocalists of all time, we can check out what Slash had to say when he named his top four.

Slash’s four favourite lead singers:

Alx Rose

Working with a person for as long as Slash and Rose have been together obviously warrants some appreciation and respect, and that’s clear in the way in which Slash has spoken about his bandmate throughout their careers.

Slash once said of Axl: “I’d worked with different singers on and off for a while, and then when I met Axl and we started jamming together, he was the only singer that ever brought an emotional content to it that affected me on an emotional level, on an energy level.”

He continued, “A song all of a sudden went to a whole new level, and I felt it. And that’s when I realised where music and vocals really meet. Because prior to that, everybody that I’d worked with sucked and I had no use for it, and I would just rather play instrumentally. But that’s when I first really arrived at that poignant feeling that you get when things connect on a lyrical and the vocal level and the music level.”

Transforming a person’s entire view of music and how it interacts with vocals? That’s some of the highest praise possible.

Michael Jackson

Does Michael Jackson even need an introduction? He’s the king of modern pop music if there ever was one, but it does feel like a curious choice for Slash, right? 

Well, Slash said himself: “Initially, it was a phone call from my manager where he said, ‘Michael is trying to get in touch with you.’ I was like, ‘Wow.’ So I called him back and he wanted me to play on ‘Dangerous.’ We made a date. I went down to the Record Plant in Hollywood and he was there with Brooke Shields. That was very surreal. These were two people that I’d sort of grown up with, in a way.”

He said of working with the singer, “So we hung out for two minutes and they went off to dinner and left me with this song. I did my thing, he really dug it and afterwards he kept asking me if I’d be into doing this or doing that. I’d do some shows here and there and it was fun because he was such a pro. He was such a fucking talent from on high. That was the main thing: he was so amazingly musically fluid. Such a treat to be around.”

Not only a great vocalist but also a great working partner.

Mick Jagger

Lead vocalist and founding member of The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger is considered to be one of the most influential rock stars of history. Additionally, he seemed to have quite the impact on Slash, considering that he listened to The Rolling Stones a lot growing up.

In 2016, he recounted: “From day one it was all about the Stones, The Yardbirds, Cream and the Kinks.” Although he, of course, mentioned other bands too, The Rolling Stones made their way in there.

The pair have also been photographed together on plenty of occasions and have even worked together, albeit briefly.

James Brown

James Brown is the classic to end all classics, so it would only make sense that he would end up on anybody’s list. The funk music icon passed away in 2006, but not before posing for a photo alongside Slash with a few other notable stars.

Slash has even expressed his affections and admiration by posting a video to Instagram of James Brown’s ‘I Feel Good’ with a bit of the history behind it.

It’s made clear with this pick that not only does Slash have incredible talent, but the musician also has a vast and intriguing taste that spans generations.