Well, it's all come down to this.
About a month ago, GuitarWorld.com launched a new readers poll in partnership with Samson: the Greatest Rock Singers of All Time Readers Poll.
We were certain that, even though our core readership is mainly made up of guitarists from different genres, locations and age groups, you — like us — have strong opinions about the skills (or lack thereof) of some of rock's most legendary singers. Based on your many comments on our poll stories and via Facebook, it looks like we were correct!
When we launched the poll, we had hundreds of rock singers to choose from — but narrowed things down to 16 names, all of which were carefully chosen by Guitar World's editorial staff. We took great care in choosing what's 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. We were actually pretty pleased with the way the bracket turned out.
Now, however, Round 1, the Elite Eight and the Final Four rounds have come and gone, and it's time for the ultimate showdown! And, as we said earlier, it's all come down to this: Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin against Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Audioslave.
We admit we're a little surprised that these two names wound up in our ultimate showdown. As it turns out, the match we imagined would be the perfect final shootout — Freddie Mercury Vs. Ronnie James Dio — took place many matchups ago, with Mercury winning and advancing to the Final Four. Then Chris Cornell came along and knocked the late Queen singer out of the poll.
Note that you can vote only once in this matchup (once per device, that is). You'll just need to decide which singer has or had the most to offer within his genre and time period, which one has or had more natural talent or technical skill, which one had the biggest influence on other singers or rock in general — maybe which one was simply the stronger frontman.
Latest Final Four Results
Winner: Chris Cornell (51.51 percent)
Loser: Freddie Mercury (48.49 percent)
The Samson Greatest Rock Singers Ultimate Showdown!
Robert Plant Vs. Chris Cornell
Born: August 20, 1948, West Bromwich, Staffordshire, England
Associated Acts: Led Zeppelin, Band of Joy, the Honeydrippers, Page and Plant
Quote: "I don't know how much more expressive you can get than being a rock and roll singer."
Born: July 20, 1964, Seattle, Washington
Associated Acts: Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of the Dog
Quote: "To me, music shouldn't be ego-driven. When you go out on stage and play songs, it is. But when you're sitting in a room, writing songs, it's a completely different process. It's a completely different place. It's a creative place, a musical place. It has nothing to do with who likes what."
Check out the latest version of the 16-singer bracket below. We'll update it after each Samson Greatest Rock Singer of All Time matchup.