The 10 Singers That James Hetfield Picks His Favorites
James Hetfield picks his favorite vocalists and singers of all time. Metallica‘s frontman James Hetfield is one the clever artist and Hetfield like to add old-school heavy metal vocal styles to his music and lyrics for Metallica band. In this article, we will detail the vocalist that James Hetfield picked as his favorite of all time.
James Alan Hetfield was born on August 3, 1963, this vocalist needs no introduction as he is the epitome of what it means to be a good singer. Since its beginning in 1981, James Hetfield has been the driving force behind Metallica’s success, working so hard to create the unique sound that has defined heavy metal for decades.
As a guitarist, James Hetfield‘s skills are unparalleled, particularly in his precise rhythm playing, which has earned him a reputation as one of the greatest heavy metal rhythm guitarists of all time. But don’t let that fool you – this guy can handle lead guitar duties and solos with ease, both live and in the studio.
With 9 Grammy Awards and a discography that includes 10 studio albums, three live albums, four extended plays, and 24 singles, Metallica‘s contribution to the world of music is undeniable. And it all started with Hetfield’s response to a simple ad in The Recycler, placed by none other than drummer Lars Ulrich.
With his powerful lyrics, mesmerizing vocals, and unmatched rhythm guitar skills, James Hetfield has influenced a generation of musicians who consider him one of the greatest of all time. In fact, back in 2008, Rolling Stone magazine conducted a poll to determine the 100 best singers of all time, and Hetfield was not only one of the voters, but he also made the list himself.
And get this – out of the 100 vocalists on that list, James Hetfield chose 10 rock, metal and grunge singers, showing his love and appreciation for the genre. Rock & Roll magazine even compiled a list of James Hetfield’s thoughts and comments on those vocalists over the years, highlighting his deep relationship with some of them.
Also, during one of his latest interviews, James Hetfield also revealed what he feels after rehab and Metallica’s new album. He also shared his favorite songs of all time here.
James Hetfield’s Favorite 10 Vocalists
In addition to his own successful music career with Metallica, James Hetfield has also been known to share his admiration for other talented musicians. He has a particular fondness for hard rock singers and has even listed his favorite 10 vocalists.
During his appearances in magazines, James Hetfield shares his favorite vocalists of all time:
- Ozzy Osbourne
- Rob Halford
- Layne Staley
- Ronnie James Dio
- Lemmy Kilmister
- Sean Harris (Diamond Head)
- Maynard James Keenan
- Paul Di’Anno (Iron Maiden)
- Chris Cornell
- John Bush (Armored Saint/Anthrax)
Metallica‘s frontman James Hetfield revealed their Top 10 Greatest Vocalists Of All Time in Rolling Stone magazine. Here is the James Hetfield picks favorite vocalists as follow:
1. Ozzy Osbourne
Ozzy Osbourne is the Prince of Darkness himself. This legendary musician has been rocking the stage since 1968 as the frontman of Black Sabbath before embarking on a successful solo career. With his iconic voice, electrifying stage presence, and a career spanning over five decades, Ozzy Osbourne is truly a living legend of rock and roll.
James Hetfield talks about why he choose Ozzy Osbourne as a favorite rock vocalist:
“[All time favorite] band is hard because there is so many. Led Zeppelin is in there, Motörhead, boy… they all offer a little bit different. But if I was stuck for one: Black Sabbath.
Picture a 9 year-old boy, quiet, well behaved on the outside. But on the inside boiling and dying for life to burst open with any sort of stimulation. The discovery of music was what was to burst it wide open. But not just any music. This was more than just music. [It was] a powerful loud heavy sound that moved his soul.”
2. Rob Halford
In addition to his incredible vocal range and stage performance with Judas Priest, Rob Halford has also been a pioneer for inclusivity and acceptance in the heavy metal community. As one of the few openly gay musicians in the genre, he has been an inspiration and role model for many fans who may have felt marginalized or excluded from the metal scene.
Halford’s impact on the world of heavy metal has been undeniable, and he has received numerous accolades for his contributions to music. In 2017, he was awarded the prestigious Lemmy Lifetime Achievement Award at the Heavy Music Awards, recognizing his decades-long career and influence on the heavy metal community.
From his soaring vocals to his unapologetic persona, Rob Halford has earned his place among the greatest rock frontmen of all time.
Metallica played live on stage with each other many times. Rob Halford, that is also known as The Metal God, they also performed the Judas Priest song “Rapid Fire” with Metallica on their 30th-anniversary celebration in 2011.
James Hetfield talks about why he choose Rob Halford as a favorite rock vocalist:
“Judas Priest is everything we wanted to be as a band starting out. If someone asked you to define what heavy metal is, that’s one of the bands you would show them.”
3. Layne Staley
Layne Staley is one of the most iconic and influential vocalists of the Grunge era. As the frontman of Alice in Chains, Staley’s haunting vocals and introspective lyrics captivated fans and critics alike. Despite his tragic death in 2002, his legacy lives on through his music, which continues to inspire and influence new generations of grunge rock fans.
James Hetfield talks about why he picked Layne Staley as a favorite rock vocalist:
“I was driving like a madman in this rented van, going on the median and scaring the shit out of my friend. ‘We gotta get there!’ And we get there, and they’d just got off. I was like, ‘Aw, man!’
I hung with them a little bit. Always just loved their music. I would say that Jerry and I share some life experiences. Like getting a second chance at life and realizing how cool things can be.
So we have got kind of a kinship that way. And seeing them play – I just love hearing those songs. Those songs are awesome and should be heard, you know? They were so unique. So ahead of their time. And out of all the Seattle stuff, that stuff is the most timeless. Unfortunately, Layne [Staley] just loved the junk too much, man. That was that. I just read in his lyrics his obsessiveness about it. And he knew where he was goin’! It’s like, in the school of driving, look where you want to go. That’s what he was doing, it seems like.”
4. Ronnie James Dio
Ronnie James Dio had an unmistakable voice that was often described as powerful, operatic, and theatrical. He was known for his ability to hit high notes with ease, and his performances were characterized by a fierce energy and intensity that captivated audiences around the world.
Dio’s influence on the heavy metal genre cannot be overstated. He helped to popularize the “devil horns” hand gesture, which has become synonymous with heavy metal music, and his lyrics often explored themes of fantasy, mythology, and the occult. Throughout his career, Dio collaborated with some of the biggest names and bands in the industry like Black Sabbath. Also, guitarists Ritchie Blackmore and Tony Iommi, and his impact on the music world is still felt today.
James Hetfield reveals why he picked Ronnie James Dio as a favorite rock vocalist:
“When we did the Ronnie [James] Dio tribute record. We did this medley of a bunch of different Dio songs. I just realized how f****ng amazing that guy was. And it pissed me off, because when I met him I said, ‘Hey, can I hear your warmup tape? What do you do. What’s your secret to all of this?’
And he said, ‘Well, I just have a little glass of wine and go out and sing.’ What?! Yeah right! But I don’t think he was bs’ing me. He was just a natural singer and he had a range that had power all the way through it. He just continues to challenge me which is great.”
5. Lemmy Kilmister
As the founder and frontman of Motörhead, he helped to shape the sound and aesthetic of the genre, with his signature growling vocals, driving basslines, and hard-hitting lyrics.
Kilmister’s influence on rock and metal music cannot be overstated, and his impact is felt by musicians and fans around the world. He was known for his hard-partying lifestyle, his distinctive look, and his irreverent sense of humor, which made him a beloved figure in the music world.
Despite his passing in 2015, Kilmister’s legacy lives on, and he continues to be celebrated as one of the greatest figures in heavy metal history.
James Hetfield shared why he picked Lemmy Kilmister as a favorite rock vocalist:
“Lemmy in particular was an icon. Sort of a godfather for people who love heavy metal. He was the captain of the ship. And we all felt he was immortal, doing the hard, hard, hard livin’ for such a long time on the road. Just really goin’ for it. We knew it would come to an end at some point. But we really didn’t expect it. There’s certainly no Metallica without a Motörhead.
We would get to jam with Lemmy. He was a very friendly guy. We covered quite a few of their songs. You know, Motörhead never made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which is a shame. But he did win a Grammy for a song called Whiplash that we had recorded on Kill ’Em All. We were trying to write a Motörhead song. He covered our song that was kind of inspired by him – he wins a Grammy for it. That is very cool.”
6. Sean Harris
We could say that Sean Harris is a highly influential figure in the world of heavy metal music, best known as the co-founder and former lead vocalist of the iconic British band Diamond Head. Harris helped to shape the sound and style of the new wave of British heavy metal in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with his powerful vocals and hard-hitting lyrics.
Harris’ impact on the metal scene is still felt today, with many musicians citing Diamond Head as a major influence on their work. Despite leaving the band in the mid-1980s, Harris’ contributions to the group’s legacy cannot be understated, and he continues to be celebrated as one of the most important figures in British heavy metal history.
Diamond Head, a British heavy metal band famous for their hit song “Am I Evil?”, was a significant influence on American band Metallica. Metallica covered the song in 1984, releasing it as a single and achieving great success. Diamond Head’s impact on the metal scene continues to be felt, with their music inspiring generations of musicians and fans alike.
7. Maynard James Keenan
Maynard‘s unique vocal style and powerful stage presence have helped to establish him as one of the most innovative and influential musicians of his generation.
With his bands Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Puscifer, Keenan has released a string of critically acclaimed albums, exploring themes of spirituality, consciousness, and personal growth. His lyrics are often introspective and deeply personal, resonating with fans around the world who find meaning and inspiration in his work.
In addition to his music career, Maynard James Keenan has also made a name for himself as a winemaker and entrepreneur. He founded his own vineyard in Arizona, where he produces a range of wines under his own label, Caduceus Cellars.
Overall, Maynard James Keenan (Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer) is a true icon of the rock music world, known for his groundbreaking work, his uncompromising artistic vision, and his continued dedication to pushing the boundaries of what is possible in music and beyond.
Here is what Maynard thinks about Metallica:
“For me, the weight comes from the mood. So I find a more creative space and a more productive space in a more moody piece. So as far as weight, I think most people kind of think of weight in terms of Metallica, you know, some of the heavier bands – Slayer.
But I [Maynard James Keenan] find weight in things like PJ Harvey and Gillian Welch. And a band called Low. That’s where I find weight. In those almost… they’re uplifting but emotionally sad. But because they’re sad they’re uplifting to me.”
8. Paul Di’Anno
He is best known as the former lead vocalist of the legendary British band Iron Maiden. Paul Di’Anno’s powerful vocals and hard-hitting lyrics helped to define the early sound of the band, and his contributions to their legacy continue to be celebrated by fans around the world.
Di’Anno’s impact on the metal scene is still felt today, with many musicians citing his work with Iron Maiden as a major influence on their own music. Despite leaving the band in the early 1980s, Di’Anno’s legacy as one of the most important figures in British heavy metal history cannot be understated.
In addition to his work with Iron Maiden, Di’Anno has also released several successful solo albums, showcasing his versatility as a vocalist and songwriter. Despite struggles with addiction and legal troubles throughout his career, Di’Anno remains a beloved figure among metal fans, and his music continues to inspire generations of musicians around the world.
James Hetfield revealed why he picked Paul Di’Anno as a favorite rock vocalist:
“I bought this (Maiden’s debut album) just because of this (the cover), because look at that! Why would you not buy this? That dude look really menacing and evil. I bought that and I had never even heard of them. So I bought it, put it on and I’m glad I did. Because it was a really was a big inspiration for me in the early days.”
9. Chris Cornell
Chris Cornell is one of the most talented and versatile vocalists in the history of rock music. Known for his powerhouse vocals and dynamic range, Cornell fronted several legendary bands including Soundgarden, Audioslave, and Temple of the Dog. His music and influence continue to inspire and resonate with fans around the world, cementing his status as a true rock icon.
James Hetfield mentioned why he picked Chris Cornell as a favorite rock vocalist:
“It does make you hug those around you, for sure. Bandmates, family that it’s out here, family at home. It makes you realize that there is a darkness that anyone and everyone can find, and feel that they’re trapped in.
I know the depth of my darkness at times. It is difficult when you’re in that space to even fathom that there’s someone there that can help you or has been through that before. Sometimes you are just in such a loss. I can’t [James Hetfield] obviously explain what he was going through. But we have our darkness. So check in with each other, let each other know how you’re doing. It is a sad story. There is a lot of sad stories recently. Especially in the grunge world.”
10. John Bush
John Bush is known for his work as the lead vocalist of the bands Armored Saint and Anthrax. With his powerful and distinctive voice, Bush helped to define the sound of both bands, becoming a major influence on the world of heavy metal music in the process.
Bush’s music is known for its intensity, with his hard-hitting vocals and thought-provoking lyrics resonating with fans around the world. He has worked with some of the biggest names in metal music, collaborating with artists like Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer over the course of his career.
In addition to his music career, Bush has also dabbled in other creative pursuits, including acting and voiceover work. He is known for his versatility as a performer, and his ability to adapt to a range of different projects has helped to establish him as one of the most respected musicians in the industry.
Overall, John Bush is a true icon of the heavy metal scene, with a career spanning decades and a legacy that continues to inspire new generations of fans and musicians alike.
James Hetfield mentioned why he picked John Bush as a favorite rock vocalist:
“A lot of those early memories were celebrated with a band called Armored Saint. [They] were a fellow L.A. band back in the early ’80s when we were getting started. Obviously, John Bush was a singer we got to know really well. [We] really, really tried to get him into the band as the singer.
It didn’t work out. He was dedicated and very in love with what he was doing with his brothers in Armored Saint. We absolutely respect that. But we got to hear them and love them every single night.”
These are just a few of James Hetfield‘s favorite hard rock singers, but there are countless others who have inspired him over the years. As a heavy metal legend, Hetfield has a unique viewpoint on what makes a great vocalist and singer, and his opinions are appreciated in the world of the rock and metal genre.
I agreed with James Hetfield most of them for Maynard, Ozzy, Dio, Lemmy and Rob Halford.