Three important metal bands that got better when changing their lead singer

One of these bands even improved after replacing an icon.

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Lots of bands have made the mistake of changing their vocalist and getting much worse. Some, such as Van Halen, made the move because they wanted to make more versatile music. Many times it is simply better if a band stays in their lane. Van Halen still sold lots of records with vocalist Sammy Hagar, but their credibility as a great rock band diminished.

While lots of bands change their initial vocalist, not all find success. Journey still plays live and is excellent, but they don't consistently produce new music so Steve Perry's eventual replacement, Arnel Pineda, is truly doing high-end karaoke. No one should get high-dollar tickets to see that in concert.

But other bands, such as the three that follow, did move on successfully from the initial singers. In the first case, the group had to replace a beloved front man. In the other two cases, the band simply moved on from their first vocalists because they were being held back.

Three bands that greatly improved when adding new singers

AC/DC

The Australian band was forced to make a change of direction after vocalist Bon Scott passed away. Thankfully, they were able to find Brian Johnson who didn't sound exactly like Scott, but Johnson was a huge fan of AC/DC and had his own unique style. He also didn't lack confidence. To take Scott's spot, a singer had to have no fear.

The band's first album with Johnson was Back in Black which not only had sold more than 50 million copies worldwide (and is the best-selling AC/DC record), but was from start to finish arguably the best album the band would ever make. Bangers on the tracklist include "Hell's Bells," "Back in Black," and "Shoot to Thrill." Johnson, however, has continued to front the band for the last four decades and is irreplaceable at this point.

Faith No More

Faith No More changed their name a few times before their debut record. They were once even called Faith No Man (which is awkward and weird). But their first record does not include Mike Patton on vocals. Instead, some guy named Chuck Moseley was on vocals.

Thankfully, Faith No More replaced Moseley with Patton and Patton immediately yielded results. He was writing songs with the band within a couple of weeks and many of those songs would be on the band's second record, The Real Thing. Faith No More has gone years at a time without playing, but there is no way their slightly odd take on metal would be the same without Patton's voice.

Iron Maiden

On Christmas Day in 2025, Iron Maiden will officially have been around for 50 years. The band is one of the pillars of heavy metal and formed what we listen to today. But while Maiden has some terrific musicians, singer Bruce Dickinson brings the stage charisma that the band might otherwise lack. He also might have the most perfect voice for metal ever.

Dickinson wasn't the band's first vocalist, however. He didn't join the band until 1981. The group's first album with Dickinson was The Number of the Beast which became Iron Maiden's first No. 1 album in the UK.

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