Rock n’ Roll has been a genre that’s changed quite a bit over time, but there’s no doubt that it has had its fair share of memorable and beloved blond rock stars. So in this article, I’m going to provide you a list of my favorite blond male and female rock singers that have left a lasting impression on music industry.
The Best Blond Male Rock Stars
Jon Bon Jovi
I’m from New Jersey. Jon Bon Jovi is from New Jersey. And a fun little fact is that my parents saw him perform at a local club before hitting the big time.
Before he rocked the world with classics such as Livin’ On a Prayer and You Give Love a Bad Name, Bon Jovi originally formed a rhythm and blues band called Atlantic City Expressway, which is based on a famous toll road in New Jersey.
Over time, Bon Jovi carved a niche for themselves by adding intense guitar riffs to their power ballads. In 2017, after more than 30 years after their first album came out, Bon Jovi was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
What you’ll discover for most of these artists on this list is that Bon Jovi inspired countless bands. However, interesting enough, they made their biggest influence on country artists, who started adding more rock riffs to country songs. Bon Jovi’s music catalog has always spoken of relatable moments and even now, they’re still releasing songs that highlight the most recent political landscape, as is evident in his album titled, “2020.”
Originally hailing from Aberdeen, Washington, Kurt Cobain would become the voice of his generation with Nirvana’s breakthrough 1991 album Nevermind with hits like Smells Like Teen Spirit, In Bloom, Lithium and Come As You Are.
While the Grunge movement had been growing in underground circles for years before that, Nevermind is the album that brought Grunge to the mainstream, helping launch the careers of bands like Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, and Stone Temple Pilots.
Nirvana would skyrocket to stardom in the years that followed, getting airplay on both radio and MTV. Unable to cope with the pressures of fame, Cobain took his own life in April of 1994 at the age of 27. Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl would then go on to form the highly successful Foo Fighters. Despite his death, Cobain’s legacy lives on as ushering in a whole new genre of music that defined the early 1990s.
Bret Michaels of Poison
From the 1980s through the 1990s, Poison was one of the biggest hair metal bands in the country with hits like Nothin’ But a Good Time and Every Rose Has Its Thorn. Leading the way was frontman, Bret Michaels.
While you’d probably never rank Bret Michaels on the list of greatest singers of all time, the band itself really epitomized everything that the big hair metal movement meant. And more significantly, they never apologized for it. Poison played a big role in ushering in the glam metal movement that was started by the glam rock movement that took place in the 1970s.
Though the movement didn’t reach the same level of heights as others in music history, the glam metal movement made metal music more mainstream and inspired really popular bands such as Motley Crue and Bon Jovi.
David Lee Roth of Van Halen
Even though Eddie Van Halen was probably the far more influential member of Van Halen for his guitar playing, David Lee Roth was the entertaining frontman. A showman to his core, Roth belted out hits like Runnin’ With the Devil, Panama, and Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love that are still considered classics to this day.
The reason why David Lee Roth is added to this list, much like Brett Michaels of Poison fame, is because Van Halen as a whole had developed a very radio-friendly sound, allowing a new wave of fresh music to become more socially acceptable and widely popular for regular radio.
Mike Love of The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys have sold over 100 million albums since hitting the airwaves (pun intended) back in the 1960s and part of that ongoing success has to do with band member and co-founder Mike Love.
Though there is some dispute that was sorted out in Mike Love’s favor, Love wrote 35 popular Beach Boys songs, including I Get Around. Regarding their legacy, the Beach Boys have continually been cited as one of the most influential bands of all time, but most significantly, they are cited for giving rise to the pop genre.
Though they may not be rock and roll in the traditional sense, pop and rock and roll have always been pretty synonymous with each other, with the former being more commercially accepted on regular radio. As it stands, nothing has been – or ever will be – as commercial or popular as the Beach Boys.
While the Beach Boys’ success can be wildly attributed to all of its founding members and not just Mike Love, his songwriting of many iconic songs cemented them in pop culture forever.
Though he’s had red hair throughout his career, this sometimes blond artist has been – and probably will continue to be – one of the most famous names in music history thanks to hits like Space Oddity and Changes.
Not only does David Bowie have a truly unique vocal range, but he dabbled in a lot of different bands before becoming the solo artist we all know and love today. After graduating high school, he formed the band Davy Jones and the Lower Third, then later formed a mime troupe called Feathers, and eventually settled on becoming Ziggy Stardust.
Bowie was influenced by Syd Barrett, Anthony Newley, John Coltrane, The Beatles, and countless others, highlighting his diverse interests.
Bouncing back between acting and singing, Davie Bowie has always been the pinnacle for reinvention, having inspired everyone from the Sex Pistols (which will be later evident in Johnny Rotten’s on-stage presence), to Lady Gaga.
One of Bowie’s lasting legacies continues to see singers get involved in acting. From Mandy Moore to Lady Gaga and Selena Gomez, the ability to “do it all” and constantly push the boundaries of what a singer can do can all be traced back to the critical success Bowie had, showing that rock and roll can be a catapult for many other ventures.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking: Ozzy Osbourne wasn’t always blonde. Though he’s back to his darker roots now, there was a short while in the 1980s when he was rockin’ that blond hair color. So, that’s good enough for me.
Ozzy Osbourne fronted Black Sabbath in the 1970s and created heavy metal hits like Iron Man and Paranoid. Not only did they create heavy metal hits…they actually created heavy metal. Furthermore, they redefined what artists could do with a distorted guitar. After being fired from Black Sabbath, he went on to start his own highly successful solo career with other popular hits such as Mama I’m Coming Home and Crazy Train.
Both Ozzy and Black Sabbath as a whole influenced metal but rock and roll music, as a whole.
Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols
The Sex Pistols were the first British punk band to make it to 31 on the UK charts with rowdy, expressive hits like Anarchy in the U.K and God Save the Queen. Even though they only ever released one album, they influenced several other punk bands, especially those that would form in the late 90s/early 2000s such as Green Day and Nirvana. Even actor Heath Ledger cited Johnny Rotten as an influence for his iconic Joker character in The Dark Knight.
What’s their lasting influence? Anything that is still influenced by punk today, whether it be music, fashion, or lifestyle. All of it can be traced back to the Sex Pistols. They forever changed the music industry, making punk a popular sub-genre of rock and roll.
Roger Daltrey of The Who
The Who was part of the iconic British Invasion in the 1960s along with the Rolling Stones and the Beatles – and Roger Daltrey led the way.
What made The Who different from other bands of its time was the fact that they popularized playing as loudly as possible. In fact, they are often credited as being one of the loudest bands at the time. They also would regularly smash their instruments on stage during their performances.
With songs like Baba O’Reilly and Pinball Wizard, The Who also popularized the concept of combining a rock opera with an album. They’re continually cited as being a major influence on modern pop-punk and regular punk bands.
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Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones
When you think of the Rolling Stones, chances are you don’t think of Brian Jones, but you should. Jones was the original leader of the Rolling Stones, and in fact, founded the band in the 1960s. Jones was a songwriter, singer, and guitarist for the band.
Though he left the band after a problem with drug and alcohol addiction and tragically joined the 27 Club that’s so famous in the music industry, he doesn’t get the credit he deserves for forming one of the longest-reigning bands in music history.
The Rolling Stones combined blues with rock and roll and over time, incorporated a lot of different genres with their music including but not limited to country and reggae. You can hear their influences in songs like Paint it Black, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, and You Can’t Always Get What You Want.
Aerosmith, David Bowie, and even newer(ish) bands like the White Stripes have all cited the Rolling Stones as influences, and that’s a pretty big compliment considering how vastly different these three bands/solo artists sound.
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Tom Petty was part of the New Wave movement during the 1970s, which combined different types of music genres such as reggae, pop, and funk that went completely mainstream. Petty’s influence on the music scene is not unnoticed, as he made sure that his music was accessible and relatable to wide audiences. This can be seen in the artists that have been influenced by him such as Taylor Swift, Dave Grohl, and The War on Drugs.
Particularly, Tom Petty’s lyrical and cool style continually heavily influenced a genre of music called Americana, which is traditionally defined by folk, blues, and bluegrass that emerged from small, rural towns. While he didn’t create the genre, he was one of the most notable voices to be attributed to it. When you compare songs like Tom Petty’s American Girl and Angela from The Lumineers, you can see just how much of an influence Petty had on the Americana genre.
James Hetfield of Metallica
James Hetfield, alongside drummer Lars Ulrich, formed Metallica in 1981 and is one of the most commercially successful bands in music history. In fact, their self-titled album (commonly referred to as the Black Album) topped the Billboard charts for an unprecedented 550 weeks straight. They are one of only four bands to have ever done so.
Despite their niche sound, Metallica changed the music industry by helping metal go mainstream – particularly thrash metal – in the 1980s and 1990s with songs like Seek and Destroy, Creeping Death, and Enter Sandman. The Foo Fighters, Korn, and Slipknot have all referenced Metallica as major influences on their sound.
Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day
Considered by many to be the Godfathers of what would later become the pop-punk genre, Green Day, led by sometimes blonde frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, brought punk music back into the mainstream after it died down in the 1980 and early 1990s.
Especially in the early 2000s, Green Day’s songs such as American Idiot and Boulevard of Broken Dreams spoke to the restlessness and angst teenagers felt at the time. Even now, their ability to write songs that relate to the goings-on of the world around them makes them one of the most popular bands of all time.
The Best Blond Female Rock Stars
A lot of people don’t know this, but Fleetwood Mac almost missed out on who would eventually be their biggest catapult to fame: Stevie Nicks. When Fleetwood Mac asked Lindsay Buckingham to join the band, he agreed to do so only if they allowed his girlfriend, Stevie, to be a part of it as well.
While they say “the rest is history,” the reality is that Fleetwood Mac had a lot of tumultuous moments on account of Nicks’ romantic involvement with Mick Fleetwood. Though many artists attempt to have a solo career after their band breaks up, none have been quite as successful as Stevie Nicks. With hits like Edge of Seventeen and Leather and Lace with Eagles’ drummer, Don Henley, Nicks asserted herself as a music legend. And the reason why is simple: Stevie Nicks is different.
Not only is her voice one of the most recognizable ones in the industry, but she has been continually celebrated for being one of the greatest lyricists of all time. She remains relevant, partaking in women’s rights events, contributing to wounded warriors, and more specifically, has been very open about her past drug addictions and choices. That kind of raw vulnerability sparked a flame with many of today’s artists including but not limited to Harry Styles and even Beyonce.
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Debbie Harry, the lead singer of Blondie has had so many No. 1 hits including but not limited to The Tide is High and Call Me, whose renditions have been featured in many films. When Blondie was formed back in the 1970s, it ushered in a new era of music that had previously been unheard of.
Originally inspired by punk, reggae, and electronica, Blondie was the epitome of originality. While most music experts categorize Blondie as punk due to their involvement and presence in New York’s punk scene, they tend to not just fit into one category because of how varied their music catalog is.
Blondie encouraged future bands to take risks when it came to their music, influencing even major artists like Madonna. That’s what their lasting legacy is and chances are, always will be.
How many artists can say they influenced the legendary Bob Dylan? None other than Joni Mitchell.
Coming to fame in the 1970s, the multi-time Grammy winner set herself apart from other musicians by writing about the female point of view, especially when it came to her issues and disillusionment with traditional gender roles, such as Blue. If that sounds like anyone famous today, that’s because Taylor Swift has gone on record as being influenced by Mitchell and her raw vulnerability.
In 2022, Joni Mitchell requested to be taken off Spotify in protest against Joe Rogan’s podcast, sending a message to everyone about the importance of having strong conviction—regardless of who disagrees with you.
Like a Prayer, Vogue, Material Girl, Like a Virgin—it’s impossible to name a Madonna song that isn’t completely catchy or played on the radio all the time, even more than 30 years after they were first introduced.
When Madonna hit the music scene in the 1980s, she was unlike any performer of the time. Her performances and lyrics were both sexual and provocative and she redefined what it meant to be a modern pop star, playing a major influence on the artists of today. Simply put, Madonna changed pop culture and found a way to continually keep herself relevant and on the line of controversy (think Britney Spears MTV kiss back in the early 2000s).
Most notably, Madonna played a significant role in music television during the early days of MTV, pushing the limits of what was socially acceptable to be seen on TV and marketing to a whole new generation. Basically, Madonna walked so that artists like Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus could run.
Most would pigeon hole Madonna solely in the pop realm—and I get that. She’s not, on the surface, what one would deem a “rock star.” But, I think we’d be kidding ourselves if we didn’t (much like someone such as Lady Gaga) acknowledge some of Madonna’s DNA is tied to a bit of rock and roll.
The thing that I find so interesting about Pink is her initial journey in music. You might forget, my friends—Pink jumped onto the scene as a borderline R&B-Pop singer.
Her first single to blow up was “There You Go,” a song that felt so 2000s-esque R&B that I’m sure Pink got the Teena Marie and Lisa Stansfield treatment (meaning, the average person probably thought she was a talented black female singer).
But by the time songs like “Don’t Let Me Get Me” started rolling out, you knew Pink was on that transition out of playing into who other people expected her to be, and moving more towards who she always wanted to be.
Like those who have come before her, Pink broke traditional gender roles and beauty standards for a whole new generation. She has even gone so far as to vocalize her dislike for being constantly compared to other pop singers of her time, like Britney Spears.
Never one to let society define her, Pink’s music has always been a mix of realness and rebellion.
In many cases, Pink has been said to have carved a path for other artists like Lady Gaga, Halsey, and Katy Perry who are a bit more “outside the box” than traditional female pop artists. When it comes to her lasting legacy and the impact she had on the music industry, she’s remained consistent and open to collaborating with different artists from different genres, creating music that appeals to a wide scope of fans.
Agnetha Faltskog of ABBA
Not many people write their first song at the age of six, but Agnetha Faltskog isn’t a regular person. Despite her proclivity for songwriting, Faltsksog’s biggest contribution to the Swedish band, ABBA, was her operatic voice and impressive vocal range, which ranges from D3 to Eb6.
During their career, ABBA had over 20 Billboard Hot 100 hits, including Mamma Mia and Dancing Queen, influenced a Broadway stage show, and have had two films made based on their popular songs. The band has been credited for being one of the best-selling musical acts in the world, with chart-topping hits spanning as far back as 1974 and as most recently as 2021.
The real reason ABBA is so popular – and has cemented themselves in rock and roll history – is that their sound is unlike any other. Even more so, their lyrics and melodies (much like the Beatles) are hard to replicate. That’s what makes them popular even all these years later.
Gwen has had a pretty amazing career when you think about it. Because of her work with No Doubt, she’s been able to have a foot in rock music with hits like “Don’t Speak” and “Spiderwebs” since the 1990s.
And yet, as Gwen branched out and went solo, she’s been able to make a nice transition to pop music, with bass heavy, infectious tracks like “Hollaback Girl,” “The Sweetest Escape” and quasi-newer songs like “Rare” or “Make Me Like You.”
And then there’s reality television, when Gwen has been able to judge musical talent on singing competition shows like The Voice. It’s not easy to stay relevant in the music industry as the decades roll by, let alone the entertainment industry as a whole.
And yet, Gwen manages to make it all look so easy.
Girls just want to have fun, right?
Of course, that’s the name of one of Cyndi Lauper’s biggest hits, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, which has firmly cemented itself as one of the greatest female anthems in all of history.
When Lauper first hit the music scene, she immediately struck a chord with teenagers who identified with her punk rock, edgy style. Lauper happened to be in the right place at the right time, as she rose to fame (and prominence) during the shift from records to music videos, which completely transformed how artists marketed their songs to new fans.
In terms of her influence on the music industry, it wasn’t so much her songs that did the trick as much as it was her actual personality. Early in her career, Lauper has gone on record saying that her former label wanted to mold her after Barbara Streisand, to which she vehemently fought against in favor of just being herself. Even when it came to songs she’d written like Time After Time, Lauper faced an uphill battle with her record label.
Rock and Roll has been popular for so many years, and though one could argue its lost some ground to genres like hip hop, there’s no doubt that the best blond rock stars on this list have left an indelible imprint on the music business that can never be erased or minimized.
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This article is written by Courtney with one addition by Michael (Gwen Stefani).