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Rolling Stone Readers Pick the Best Lead Singers of All Time Watch clips from the winners, including Robert Plant, Bono, John Lennon and Freddie Mercury

2. Freddie Mercury

Few men in rock basked in the love of a giant crowd quite like Freddie Mercury. Kurt Cobain even mentioned it in his suicide note: "When we're back stage and the lights go out and the manic roar of the crowds begins it doesn't affect me the way in which it did for Freddie Mercury," he wrote. "[He] seemed to love, relish in the love and adoration from the crowd which is something I totally admire and envy." Queen's set at Live Aid – where they stomped nearly every rock band of the day (besides U2) – shows that they were peaking right as Freddie's battle with AIDS took them off the road. Queen toured in the past few years with Paul Rodgers, but even a singer of that high caliber couldn't come close to filling Mercury's shoes.

Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Singers of All Time: Freddie Mercury

Photos: Queen, David Bowie, the Ramones, Lou Reed and more from Mick Rock's Book, 'Exposed'