So what kind of downgrade an I talking about? I tried to pick the top ten line-up changes where I feel the band got a replacement who was not as good as the predecessor. In some cases it's not that the replacement was bad, but that the player they are replacing was just that good. Now so you don't think I am all negative, I am working on a top ten upgrade list and that will also be out this week. So here are the top ten downgrades, the band it happened in, the year and my reasons for picking them.
10)Brian Robertson for "Fast" Eddie Clark, Motorhead, 1982
Brian Robertson had played in Thin Lizzy and was a decent guitarist, but Fast Eddie is a huge influence on early speed metal and a real underrated player.
9)Blaze Bayley for Bruce Dickinson, Iron Maiden,1994
Somebody had to step in and Maiden had the guts to bring in someone of a different style, but Bruce was just such a huge part of Maiden's success. The bands watered down music during the Bayley era didn't help matters.
8)Ripper Owens for Rob Halford, Judas Priest,1996
Priest went the opposite direction of Maiden in that they went for a guy they thought sounded like Halford. Sorry, but there is only one Rob Halford. Priest's rotten musical directions and Ripper's inability to find his own personality only made the situation worse. Some shoes are just too big to fill.
7)Paul Bostaph for Dave Lombardo, Slayer, 1994
Paul Bostaph is actually better than average speed metal drummer. However, Lombardo is the God of speed metal drumming. He brought the thunder, he destroyed and he couldn't be replaced.
6)Tommy Bolan for Ritchie Blackmore, Deep Purple, 1975
This is mainly a matter of I don't consider it Deep Purple without the great Ritchie Blackmore. It doesn't matter if the replacement was the late Tommy Bolan or Steve Morse, it just didn't work.
5)Brad Gillis for Randy Rhoads, Ozzy Osbourne, 1982
Let me put it this way, Randy Rhoads was the best guitarist to ever play in Ozzy's solo band and Brad Gillis went on to be the second best guitarist in Night Ranger.
4)Sammy Hagar for David Lee Roth, Van Halen, 1985
Anyone who reads my blog much had to have known this would make the list. Sammy may actually have a better voice, but stage presence is just as if not more important than vocals. Diamond Dave in Van Halen was one of the best frontmen of all time.
3)Randy Castillo for Tommy Lee, Motley Crue, 1999
Randy Castillo was competent with Ozzy, but this move didn't work. Tommy Lee is certainly not the sharpest tack in the world, but he is an amazing talent with enthusiasm that is almost impossible to match.
2)Graham Bonnet for Ronnie James Dio, Rainbow, 1979
Graham Bonnet was an okay singer while Ronnie James Dio is one the greatest vocalists in heavy metal. After making this vocal change, Ritchie Blackmore also took the band away from a metal sound and they became much more commercial.
1)Brian Johnson for Bon Scott, AC/DC,1980
The situation that caused this change was sad. However, Bon Scott was not just a good singer, but a good frontman and a good writer. When he died, much of the personality of this band died with him. Johnson has a voice that grates on my nerves at times and his stage presence was just okay. Angus Young had to become the major focus of this band once Scott died.