It's the Singer, Not the Song

AC/DC isn’t the only band to replace its original singer and maintain (or expand) its commercial success. While the difficult change has derailed countless artists — or, at the least, lessened their artistic credibility and relevance — the move has been a boon to others. Here are the most significant occasions wherein a substitute vocalist equaled or topped their predecessor.

Pink Floyd

David Gilmour, getting lost in a guitar solo. By Jean-Perre Jeannin, Wikimedia Commons, 2008

With the mental health of its lead singer, co-founder and acid-rock visionary Syd Barrett, failing, Pink Floyd brought in David Gilmour for the recording of its sophomore album, “A Saucerful of Secrets” (1968). The effort turned out to be Barrett’s swan song with the band. Gilmour picked up the mantle and, sharing vocal duties with Roger Waters until the latter left in the mid-’80s, steered Pink Floyd through its most commercially successful eras.

Bob Gendron has been obsessing over music, albums and audio ever since he landed a job at an indie record store at age 13. A longtime contributor to the Chicago Tribune and the first Associate Editorial Director at The Coda Collection, he was also the longtime Music Editor at The Absolute Sound and performed the same role at TONEAudio. Gendron is the author of “Gentlemen” (Bloomsbury) and a coauthor of “Nirvana: The Complete Illustrated History” (Voyageur). His writing has also appeared in DownBeat, Rolling Stone, Revolver and other outlets.

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