UPDATE (Apr. 8): Odds have been updated to reflect Axl Rose’s rumored addition to the band; Mark Storace from Krokus has also been added to the list.
It wouldn’t be AC/DC without some sort of drama or tragedy stopping them from driving down the highway to to hell.
In 2014, original founding brother Malcolm Young had to retire due to his battle with dementia at only 61 years old. Then, in 2015, longtime drummer Phil Rudd was arrested on drug charges and had to leave the tour.
Now Brian Johnson’s days as lead singer are over. Johnson was told by his doctor to “stop touring immediately or risk total hearing loss.” Health should always come before performing, even if that means disappointing massive stadium crowds, which AC/DC surely has by cancelling its upcoming tour.
However, the Aussie rockers have also stated that they might make up those tour dates with one or more guest vocalists. Obviously, a guest vocalist wouldn’t be the same and many would probably consider it a glorified cover band, but maybe this would be the right send off for a legendary band that already had to find a new lead singer once before.
If the band goes through with this guest vocalist idea, who would you like to see belting out classic rock anthems alongside the strutting Angus Young? We’ve put together a list of singers along with their odds to fill the large shoes left, originally, by Bon Scott and now by Brian Johnson.
I’m sure there are many more ideas out there floating around, so by all means add some singers into the mix in the comment section, below.
Odds to fill in as lead singer of AC/DC
Axl Rose (Guns N’ Roses): 2/1
This one confuses me. According to sources, Axl Rose is expected to be the new lead singer of AC/DC. Now these rumors don’t mean that the scheduled GnR reunion is dead, but it appears Axl is kicking tires and auditioning for the legendary aussie band. I just don’t think that Rose is a good fit to replace Johnson because his voice doesn’t have that chesty bottom that both Johnson and Scott had. Rumors are circulating that Axl will sing for both GnR and AC/DC and the bands will tour together. None of this has been confirmed yet, but if these rumors are true, I think it would be a huge mistake.
Joel O’Keeffe (Airbourne): 4/1
If you look at other lists, many have Joel O’Keeffe of Airbourne (another Aussie rock band) at the top. He has fronted his band for well over a decade and a strong AC/DC influence has loomed over Airbourne’s last three studio albums. Just listen to tracks like “Runnin’Wild” from the album of the same name. You’ll hear the similarities.
Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters): 5/1
Dave Grohl loves a challenge and with the Foo Fighters currently on hiatus, we could see him come off the Fooies throne and give some of those classic tunes the good ol’ college try. He has done a few AC/DC covers at his live shows, so there’s some precedent. Feel free to pray to the Rock Gods and Let There Be Rock with Grohl!
Sammy Hagar (Van Halen): 6/1
Anytime a legendary rock band needs a new lead singer, Sammy Hagar’s name gets thrown around. If AC/DC is looking for a new vocalist, then the former Van Halen frontman could be the man for the job. He brings star power, stage presence, and the pipes to handle the demanding vocals of an AC/DC concert. This is a real possibility but Hagar has also been previously linked to a Led Zeppelin revival and even Aerosmith, so nothing is a guarantee. If you listen to some of his work, like the song “Right Now,” you can hear Hagar pulling off the necessary style.
Marc Storace (Krokus): 7/1
Storace actually sounds like Brian Johnson and was even asked to audition for the band back when Bon Scott died in 1980. So maybe it is a no brainer to have him step in as the lead singer for AC/DC. Both Krokus and AC/DC are under the Sony banner so there is some instant symmetry. Storace recently said that he would definitely be up for the job.
Josh Todd (Buckcherry): 8/1
Not only is he a fan of AC/DC, but tattooed Californian Josh Todd could definitely handle anthems like “Back in Black.” Not only does Todd have great showmanship on stage but his husky voice could provide AC/DC with some serious edge. Nobody is going to duplicate Brian Johnson, but Todd would definitely be a nice temporary replacement.
Vince Neil (Mötley Crüe): 9/1
With Mötley Crüe now done, the legendary lead vocalist could easily stand on stage and belt out the lyrics to “Highway to Hell.” Maybe Neil can fit AC/DC into his schedule somewhere between making tequila and partying in Las Vegas.
David Draiman (Disturbed): 11/1
There are two rock-fan camps out there, ones who love Disturbed and ones who hate Disturbed. Not a lot of middle ground. But there is no denying that lead singer David Draiman does have the vocal chops to handle AC/DC tunes. He showed great range when he covered Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence,” and could dramatically change the sound of the legendary Aussie rock band. Draiman would also be a fresh voice that could emphasize the hard rock and punk roots that are sprinkled throughout the AC/DC discography.
Pelle Almqvist (The Hives): 14/1
I only include Pelle Almqvist because the lead singer of The Hives has made it public that he wants a shot at being the man for AC/DC. The howlin’ Swede is a fantastic singer, but is he cut out to sing AC/DC tunes? Below, he gives it a shot, and just like Draiman above, he would definitely change the overall sound of the band. I wouldn’t discount him to at least get an interview.
(Photo Credit: Weatherman90 (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bc/ACDC_in_St._Paul%2C_November_2008.jpg).)