Bands whose frontmen don’t write the lyrics

4 October 2020, 12:00

The Who in 1969, around the time of Tommy: Pete Townshend, Roger Daltey, Keth Moon and John Entwistle
The Who in 1969, around the time of Tommy: Pete Townshend, Roger Daltey, Keth Moon and John Entwistle. Picture: Jack Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Sometimes, the extrovert up front is singing someone else's words…

  1. The Who

    The majority of classic 'Oo numbers were Roger Daltrey singing Pete Townshend's songs. There was an ill-fated attempt for all the members to compose tracks on the1966 album A Quick One: bassist John Entwistle came up with the brilliant Boris The Spider, but Keith Moon's attempts were rubbish.

  2. Depeche Mode

    Initially, Vince Clarke was the man behind the songs in Basildon's finest exponents of synth-pop. But he left in 1982 to find stardom with Erasure and Martin L. Gore stepped up to take over the duties. Critics thought the Mode would flop, but they went on to become one of the world's biggest alternative acts.

  3. Kaiser Chiefs

    Originally, drummer Nick Hodgson was the lyricist for the Chiefs, with our man Ricky Wilson singing the words.- the music was written by the group. He produced their wry slice-of-life stories until 2012 when he left to pursue a songwriting and production career.

  4. Keane

    Tom Chaplin may sing the songs, but pianist Tim Rice-Oxley composed them.

  5. Manic Street Preachers

    Richey Edwards was the primary lyricist in the Welsh rabble-rousers, but when he went missing in 1995, Nicky Wire took over the task full time. James Dean Bradfield is tasked with delivering the invective.

  6. Oasis

    One of the conditions of Noel Gallagher joining Liam's band was that they all had to do what Noel said. And they did - that is, until Little James came along. Thanks, Liam.


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