The Singer

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Episode 1 of 6

Duration: 1 hour

What is the DNA of a great rock 'n' roll band?

The series breaks this mythical beast down into its constituent parts: singer, guitarist, drummer as well as the shadowy 'other one', whose face we don't quite know but without whom the magic wouldn't happen. The evidence is examined closely in forensic studies of what makes these rock 'n' roll types tick, starting with the lead singer. Often he's the leader, sometimes the dictator, benign or otherwise. His voice is his instrument and out front there's nowhere to hide. He hires. He fires. And when it all goes wrong and the backlash begins, he will get the blame.

An eye-opening romp through great war stories from the rock 'n' roll frontline explores the myriad ways of tackling the daunting role of front person. From the seemingly fearless, like taboo-shattering Jim Morrison of The Doors, to the mesmerically fragile, like Joy Division's ill-starred Ian Curtis. From Mick Jagger, who drew up the blueprint of front man as athlete, lothario and chairman of the board to the swaggeringly cantankerous yet strangely static force of nature that is Liam Gallagher.

A starry cast list, including Iggy Pop, Roger Daltrey and Dave Grohl, considers how and why they do what they do on and off stage. Sting speculates where necessary confidence ends and arrogance begins, while Muse's Matt Bellamy wonders whether a tendency towards the diva-ish is an inevitable by-product of the pressures of being the band's focal point. Shaun Ryder of Happy Mondays recalls harsh lessons learnt from underestimating the tabloids, and Siouxsie Sioux revels in the moments when it all goes right.

Voting has now closed.

  • I'm In A Rock'n'Roll Band

    I'm In A Rock'n'Roll Band

    Vote for your favourite band and lead singer and watch videos of our long-lsited artists.

    Vote & Videos
  • I'm In A Rock'n'Roll Band Vote

    I'm In A Rock'n'Roll Band Vote

    A panel of BBC DJs have long-listed their favourite lead singers. Now it's your chance to vote for yours before the I'm In A Rock'n'Roll Band studio show.

    Watch video and vote for your favourite lead singer
  • Making I'm In A Rock'n'Roll Band

    Making I'm In A Rock'n'Roll Band

    Read series producer John Piper's blog about making the series and the graphic novelists who've created the brilliant animations.

    BBC Music Blog - John Piper


Ben Whalley
Ben Whalley
John Piper


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