Guitar World Readers Vote Soundgarden's Chris Cornell Rock's Greatest Singer

Guitar World readers have dubbed a fellow guitarist—Soundgarden's Chris Cornell—rock's greatest singer.

Earlier this week, Cornell battled it out with an undisputed rock legend, Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant, in the final matchup of our month-long readers poll, the Greatest Rock Singers of All Time, which we launched in late September in partnership with Samson.

The final matchup lasted two days, but in the end it was a 60/40 split in favor of Cornell, the celebrated Soundgarden and Audioslave singer and solo performer. You can check out our final bracket below.

In 2011, the powerful-voiced Cornell came in at No. 9 in a similar poll launched by the gang at Rolling Stone—just ahead of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and a notch behind the Beatles' John Lennon. Besides Soundgarden and Audioslave, Cornell has worked with members of Rage Against The Machine, Santana, Pearl Jam and hip-hop producer Timbaland, to name just a few.

When we launched the poll, we were certain that, even though our core readership is made up of guitarists from different genres, locations and age groups, you'd have strong opinions about the skills (or lack thereof) of some of rock's most legendary singers. Based on the many comments posted on our poll stories and via Facebook, we were correct.

Although we had hundreds of rock singers to choose from, we narrowed it down to 16 names, all of which were carefully chosen by Guitar World's editorial staff. We took great care in choosing what was essentially a Sweet 16 starting point. Rock singers from every decade, starting with the 1960s, were represented, as were several rock sub-genres.

Here were our 16 rock singers in alphabetical order:

Phil Anselmo, Randy Blythe, Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell, Bruce Dickinson, Ronnie James Dio, Rob Halford, James Hetfield, Mick Jagger, Maynard James Keenan, Freddie Mercury, Jim Morrison, Ozzy Osbourne, Robert Plant, Axl Rose and Bon Scott.

From there, we drew singers' names out of a hat (It was, in fact, a Black Sabbath baseball cap) to help us create our opening 16-singer bracket, the fully updated version of which is available for your viewing pleasure below. Obviously, none of these of singers were ranked or coming from a previously compiled list, so we chose purely random matchups to have as little impact as possible on the final outcome.

As always, thank you for all your votes and comments!

Here are the top five singers, according to your votes:

  • 01. Chris Cornell
  • 02. Robert Plant
  • 03. Freddie Mercury
  • 04. Bruce Dickinson
  • 05. Ozzy Osbourne

FINAL RESULTS: Samson/Guitar World Greatest Rock Singers of All Time Readers Poll

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Guitar World Staff

Since 1980, Guitar World has been the ultimate resource for guitarists. Whether you want to learn the techniques employed by your guitar heroes, read about their latest projects or simply need to know which guitar is the right one to buy, Guitar World is the place to look.