The Southern Rock band .38 Special, known for their hit "Hold On Loosely," will be playing The Marquee in Tempe, on Aug.1, featuring the great Don Barnes on lead vocals. There will be many bands on tour this summer, but only a few with what has become a rare ingredient: The traditional Frontman.
Formed in 1974 by Barnes and Donnie Van Zant, .38 Special featured Barnes on lead vocals not only on their breakthrough hit, but on many of their songs including "Caught Up In You", "Like No Other Night," and "If I’d Been The One."
Barnes left .38 Special briefly but rejoined in 1992 to front the band ever since, and will be fronting the band in Tempe. Lead vocalists like Barnes have become a rare breed, a missing piece in the traditional rock band formula that should strike another, different chord altogether, raising an important question, not only with rock fans, but with music lovers in general: Where are the great rock vocalists?
The traditional frontmen and front women, who with virtuosic ability, charismatic stage presence, and talent seemingly touched by the divine, who once graced the stages, filling not only the evening air with their voices, but hearts and souls, lifting the listener to a higher level of consciousness have become a rare breed, the white whale of the current music scene. Rock vocalists like Barnes, Steven Tyler, Paul Rodgers, Robert Plant, Stevie Nicks, Debbie Harry, are from a bygone era.
Another legendary rock singer, Steve Perry, recently resurfaced, taking the stage at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minn. on May 25th, and sang the first few notes in public for the first time in nearly twenty years, Journey fans everywhere were ecstatic.
Perry’s resurfacing, albeit brief, is yet another reminder of the not so long ago history in music, the missing piece, so desperately needed today.
Sure, lead singers of the great current bands can carry a tune, and sing a nice melody. But the truly great rock singers, who through the anthem or ballad, could pierce through the crowd with their ringing vocals is becoming more and more an extinct species, a mythical creature. It is rare, and sorely missed.
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