Over the years, it has become increasingly easier for artists to collaborate and create unforgettable masterpieces. With guest appearances becoming the new normal, it can be easy to be forgotten in the crowd. Even so, these 12 guest performances in rock and heavy metal history will leave a lasting impression on your heart and soul.
12 Must-See Guest Performances in Rock and Heavy Metal
These songs have been carefully picked out from the crowd based on quality, legacy, and the impact they left on their audience. That being said, to each their own.
1. My Chemical Romance feat. Liza Minnelli – Mama
There is no denying that Liza Minnelli’s guest appearance on My Chemical Romance’s Mama certainly tops the list and is well-deserving of it as well. This was one of those appearances that you will remember for a lifetime.
Some unforgettable moments include when Minnelli was singing the lines, “And if you would call me your sweetheart / I’d maybe then sing you a song,” as well as lip-syncing to the crying sound on the record.
Gerard Way was the one who reached out to get Minnelli. Way went so far as to say that she was the first person to come to mind for the role and that there couldn’t have been anyone better. He wanted a motherly figure who was also a survivor. Once he reached out to Minnelli, she was all in and even performed the show for free, and she was happy to do so.
2. Motörhead feat. Ozzy Osbourne – I Ain’t No Nice Guy
Next on this list is none other than Ozzy Osbourne’s appearance on Motörhead’s performance of I Ain’t No Nice Guy. You would think that this unlikely duo would mismatch when in fact, it was a match made in the heavens.
This was a sentimental ballad, a perfect soulful tune for this dynamic duo. Known as The Prince of Darkness, Ozzy Osbourne serenaded the audience with a heartfelt confessional that left everyone in awe. Osbourne’s vocals fitted seamlessly into Kilmister’s raspy voice, creating the perfect combination for two of the biggest heavy metal icons.
It is no surprise that this guest performance is this high on the list. With a bridge that is heavily influenced by popular boyband The Beetles, this performance gives the audience a peek into their shared past, one that is dark but filled with heartfelt serenades.
3. Deftones feat. Maynard James Keenan – Passenger
Anyone who has heard Deftones’ album White Pony knows that this album needs no explanation. As an incredible album already, Maynard James Keenan had the tedious task of trying to stand out. Nonetheless, he did so effortlessly.
Keenan is known for having mesmerizing vocals on his own, as do the Deftones members. Now if we combine these incredible voices together, Maynard James Keenan with Chino Moreno, it was almost certain to create a mind-blowing masterpiece that keeps the audience on their toes. And it did exactly that.
In an interview with Launch, Chino Moreno reveals, “Having Maynard perform on the record wasn’t something that we planned on doing. We didn’t plan on having any guest on the record. Being a fan of Tool and A Perfect Circle, once Maynard was involved, it was just a magical thing for us.”
4. Tenacious D feat. Ronnie James Dio and Meat Loaf – Kickapoo
If you’re looking for a performance that you can’t look away from, then this version of Kickapoo by Tenacious D featuring Ronnie James Dio and Meat Loaf should be at the top of your watch-list. Jack Black has given it his symbol of approval.
For their debut album in Tenacious D, Jack Black and bandmate Kyle Gass knew they had to mix up a track named after the ex-Black Sabbath icon, Ronnie James Dio. As big fans of this iconic legend, Black and Gass wanted him to pass the torch. And Dio just couldn’t resist. There was no doubt that even the talks of this team up was wreaking havoc in the metal community.
If you think this guest appearance was chaos enough, wait till you find out that the song was further amplified by none other than Meat Loaf playing Jack Black’s strict dad. With this appearance and Dio starring as a deity to inspire the young Jables during Kickapoo, there was no denying the dynamic performance given that night.
5. Bring Me The Horizon feat. Josh Franceschi – Fuck
Bring Me The Horizon is known for featuring guest performances that blow the roof off the stadiums. They are not a stranger to controversial lyrics and if you’re looking for an alternate reality experience, you should jump onto the very next show.
While there’s no denying that Dani Filth’s performance with his shopping trolley that one time definitely drove the heavy metal community absolutely insane, we can say that the iconic song Fuck is our top pick simply because it finally gave Josh Franceschi the opportunity to use his mesmerizing vocal skills in something more heavy on swearing.
However, Josh Franceschi was not the only one, and certainly not the last one, from Bring Me The Horizon to deliver such a performance. Not soon after, Oli Sykes would come very close the following year on YMA6’s performance of Bite My Tongue.
6. Gojira feat. Randy Blythe – Adoration For None
Gojira’s album The Way of Flesh is full of heavy metal tracks for all generations. Nonetheless, none come nearly as close to the level of satisfaction given by Adoration For None. Randy Blythe’s guest performance on this track was certainly one meant for the top charts.
It all started in 2008 when Gojira was exploring the idea of curating a song that would serve as the perfect backdrop for Randy’s vocal wildness. It would need to be a synthetic mixture of death and groove metal in order to seamlessly blend in the Lamb of God’s singer.
It was the perfect tag team as Randy Blythe was an OG fan of Gojira. He was more than excited to be part of this track. He flew all the way from France just to collaborate with his idol in person. While speaking to the crowd in 2021, he reveals, “We had a wonderful time together.”
7. Probot feat. Wino – The Emerald Law
Who would’ve thought that rock legend Dave Grohl actually had a taste for heavy metal? It was only on the Probot project that we were able to see his true colors which revealed that he was a hardcore metalhead at heart. This project consisted of several top-tier heavy metal legends.
You would think that having several vocalists would be a crowd, but it ended up creating the perfect blend of vocals that would have the audience at the edge of their seats. By teaming up with heavy metal legends like Venom’s Cronos, Max Cavalera, and Tom G Warrior of Celtic Frost, Dave Grohl finally got to bring his heavy metals dreams to life.
While there were several tracks worth listening to, the one that stood out was The Emerald Law. Featuring a combined performance from Wino, The Obsessed, and Saint Vitus, this track was created to enter stardom and live forever in the hearts of the heavy metal community.
8. Halford feat. Bruce Dickinson – The One You Love To Hate
Rob Halford was not a stranger to creating hit singles and number-one albums during his career. He had some memorable performances during his time with Judas Priest. He also had some unforgetting tracks during his solo project with Bruce Dickinson.
Bruce Dickinson was just reunited with his band Iron Maiden when he got the opportunity to partner up with heavy metal legend Rob Halford. This dynamic duo went on to create the cherished track The One You Love to Hate which signified an alliance that would last a lifetime.
While this track was created two decades ago in the 2000s, heavy metal fans worldwide still adore the entire album Resurrection. Fans of all generations would enjoy this junction of two eras, a time when the world was simpler and music was louder and more heartfelt.
9. Blink-182 featuring Robert Smith – All Of This
When Blink-182 was still finding its footing in the rock, they nervously approached Robert Smith for a guest performance of the track All Of This. At the time, he was known for being the legendary lead vocalist of The Cure.
Because of his reputation, Blink-182 didn’t have very high expectations that he would accept their invite. Nonetheless, despite being known as the grumpy one, he exceeded all expectations by agreeing to the collaboration because he saw their true potential.
In an interview with Billboard, Tom DeLonge revealed, “What [Robert] said was, ‘Nobody knows what kind of songs you are going to write in the future and nobody knows the full potential of any band. I really like the music you sent me,’ and he wanted to do it. And it was just amazing.” Thus, the prince of punk would join forces with Blink-182 to create a masterpiece.
10. Beastie Boys feat. Kerry King – No Sleep Till Brooklyn
During their prime era, the Beastie Boys were known for coming up with hits that would shock the metal community. If they were ever going to release another track, we would already know it would be a bop. Kerry King’s contribution to the Beastie Boys is nothing short of a bop either.
No Sleep Till Brooklyn was a track by the Beastie Boys that left no stone unturned and no sand untouched. The perfect combination of heavy metal and hip hop, this track defied gravity and genre boundaries to become a hit in both of its fan communities.
Known for being the guitarist on Slayer, Kerry King brought out the free-roaming spirit of the 80s and laid the foundation for more cross-genre collaborations in the future. They will always be known as the legendary duo that brought the opposite poles of music together.
11. Five Finger Death Punch feat. Rob Halford – Lift Me Up
It’s not surprising that Rob Halford made the list a second time, considering he was known to be a part of the heavy metal music revolution. As a screamer for Judas Priest, he left an imprint on the minds of everyone who was fortunate enough to hear his records.
As a result, the Five Finger Death Punch knew they didn’t have to look very far and wide when searching for a guest performer for Lift Me Up. Although it seemed unlikely at the time considering Halford was treated like a God in the community, the legend was also known for giving a shot to those who have something different to offer.
The Five Finger Death Punch were big fans of Rob Halford and it was evident after Ivan Moody revealed in an interview, “First and foremost, just to work alongside an icon like Rob Halford, the Metal God, was absolutely surreal.”
12. Mastodon feat. Neil Fallon – Blood And Thunder
When Neil Fallon performed as a guest on Mastodon’s Blood and Thunder, little did anyone know the true impact this track would have on the community. Many of us just couldn’t get the lyrics “White whale! Holy grail!” out of our minds for weeks at a time.
Moby Dick inspired Mastodon’s Leviathan album. And there was no one better to bring his dreams to life than Neil Fallon and his electrifying performance that shook the entire audience. We certainly weren’t expecting to hear some ferocious growls but that is exactly what we heard from Fallon who gave it his all during the performance and it didn’t disappoint.
Although this performance makes it to the end of our list, it certainly is among the top guest performances in rock and heavy metal history. There is no way to organize this in order as every entry on this list is number one in our hearts.
What’s your favorite guest performance in rock and heavy metal? Let us comment below!