The job of frontman is difficult.
You have to dazzle an audience, perform a song, sing it the way you mean it, and for many you have to play guitar, write music and lyrics, and lead a band.
But for some outstanding singers and leaders, they were never songwriters. They never had the burden of writing the tunes they performed and made famous.
But who are these lucky artists? Let’s dive below and find out.
1. Dionne Warwick
Everyone’s favorite musical aunt, Warwick doesn’t write the songs she sings — in fact, she told American Songwriter in a recent interview. Instead, Warwick is a glamorous performer, one who shines on stage and, more recently, on Twitter, where she tweets! Warwick is a national treasure, even though she didn’t write tracks like “Say a Little Prayer.”
Elvis Presley didn’t write his hit songs. Yet he possessed and performed them to such a high degree that many thought he had them. But Presley was the benefactor of many black artists and their blues tunes which he translated into rock and roll hits. The king, in other words, had a lot of help from the people.
3. Frank Sinatra
Back then, not writing your own songs wasn’t a black mark against you. Writers were writers and performers were performers. Perhaps no one means that more than Ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra, who sang many of the songs we wrote for him with such aplomb and panache that he flew away.
The modern-day icon has very few songwriting credits on her tracks, but that’s okay. He is the kind of person who is more an artist than a writer of words. And when you’re so famous and so sought after, you don’t have to spend your time with your rhyming dictionary.
5. Celine Dion
Celine Dion is known for having one of the greatest voices in modern music. Just as his heart will continue, his voice seems to do the same, projecting to the back of the room and even well outside the room at times. But Dion didn’t write many, if any, of his most famous songs. Instead, she’s the amplifier for those tunes.
6. Diana Ross
Diana Ross became a household name when she fronted The Supremes and later when she left the Motown band to break out as a solo artist. But the talented singer never wrote the songs that made her famous. Instead, she relied on these talented people who wrote songs that fit her style perfectly.
7. Whitney Houston
Another big-voiced star, Whitney Houston didn’t have to worry about lyrics. Instead, she found the songs that matched her skills and she honored them and made them her own. Even Dolly Parton, who wrote “I Will Always Love You,” said that song now belongs to Houston. Who can argue with that?