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Top 10 Secret Weapon Band Members

VO: Matt Campbell
Script written by George Pacheco They may not receive all of the attention or recognition, but these are the guys and gals who have no problem holding down the musical fort. For this list, we're ranking musicians whose talents often ensure the success of their respective bands, but may slip under the radar when it comes to their group's image. Special thanks to our users liam_schell for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by George Pacheco

Top 10 Secret Weapon Band Members


They may not receive all of the attention or recognition, but these are the guys and gals who have no problem holding down the musical fort. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Secret Weapon Band Members.

For this list, we're ranking musicians whose talents often ensure the success of their respective bands, but may slip under the radar when it comes to their group’s image. So, without further ado, let's shine a light on somesecret musical weapons, shall we?

#10: Stewart Copeland
The Police


The name "Stewart Copeland" is one which is mentioned often within the circles of drum aficionados everywhere, and with good reason as Copeland has long been considered to be one of the best to ever sit behind a kit. Indeed, it may be difficult to stand out from the rock star icon which is Sting, but Copeland manages to achieve an equally impactful status, thanks to his hard hitting physical style and incredibly energetic stage presence. The drummer has even branched out from rock music into the world of film score composition, lending his creative talents to such films as "Highlander II: The Quickening."

#9: Kim Deal
Pixies


Bass players sometimes get a bad rap, often hanging in the back of stage, holding down the rhythm and not getting super involved up front with the audience. Not so with Kim Deal, former bassist of indie rock band Pixies, who not only enjoyed a rabid fan following, but also helped co-write some of the band's biggest hits and live favorites. Deal also stepped up within The Pixies on both co-lead and backing vocals, eschewing not only bass player stereotypes, but also strengthening the role of women in rock. Not bad for someone who didn’t even own a bass when she joined the band.

#8: Cliff Burton
Metallica


Speaking of bassists who bucked stereotypes, the legacy of Metallica's Cliff Burton is one which has not been diminished, despite the metal legend's tragic death while on tour in Sweden in 1986. Burton was not a quiet bassist, preferring instead to amplify his sound with an approach which was both melodic and forward-thinking. One need only look to Burton's work on such Metallica classics as "Orion" and "For Whom the Bell Tolls" to hear how this bass player moved outside the box to create some of his band's most memorable musical moments.

#7: John Entwhistle
The Who


As the third bassist on our list- and, spoiler alert, there are more to come- John Entwhistle attacked his chosen instrument with a dizzying ferocity throughout the sixties and seventies, earning fans and admirers along the way. Sure, it may be tough to stand out when you're sharing a band with hard rock heroes Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and Keith Moon, but Entwhistle held his own, even branching out with his own group in later years, playing such high profile shows as Woodstock '99. Songwriting and musical chops? John Entwhistle was in no shortage of either one.

#6: Geezer Butler
Black Sabbath


Terence "Geezer" Butler isn't your average bass player, approaching his instrument with the brash, confident sensibilities of a lead guitarist. This is exactly why the criminally underrated Butler's star shone so brightly during his tenure with the mammoth heavy metal gods Black Sabbath. The fact that Sabbath possessed a one guitar lineup, that of band founder Tony Iommi, made it possible for Butler to spread his creative wings as both songwriter and bassist, often playing against Iommi's riffs with memorable melodies of his own. Add to this Butler's open mind for more modern musical influences, and you have one seriously effective secret weapon.

#5: Meg White
The White Stripes


A band is only as good as their drummer. This holds quite a bit of water when it comes to the case of Meg White and The White Stripes, as this musician's simplistic and regressive drum work is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to her band's straight ahead brand of rock 'n roll. Jack White's garage rock riffing and direct songwriting demands an equally direct approach to the drums, an approach which Meg was only too happy to provide. To be honest, it probably wouldn't sound quite right any other way, with Meg's four-on-the-floor style driving home White's songwriting, and allowing it maximum impact.

#4: Izzy Stradlin
Guns N' Roses


If you were to look at a selection of Guns 'n Roses classics from the band's back catalog, it's highly likely that this secret weapon was responsible for some of the songwriting. Izzy Stradlin may not enjoy as big of a rock star status as lead-man Slash, but Stradlin's talent is without question, having penned or co-written the massive hits "14 Years" and "Patience." The guitar player even took lead vocals on tracks like the memorable "Dust 'n Bones," before embarking on a solo career of his own with Izzy Stradlin and the Ju-Ju Hounds after parting ways with Guns.

#3: Alex Lifeson
Rush


What do you do when you're in a power trio alongside drummer Neil Peart and bassist Geddy Lee? You speak softly and carry a big axe. It may seem strange that a guitar player with a pedigree the size of Alex Lifeson might be considered to be a secret weapon in a prog rock band, but for Lifeson it's always been a careful balancing act between the guitarist's frenetic fretwork skills and humble, unassuming personality. Rush's muscular progressive rock relies on the sum of its parts, and it's Alex Lifeson's reliably impressive ratio in that equation which makes him the band's devastating secret weapon.

#2: Ringo Starr
The Beatles


Sure, this Beatle has always been the brunt of good natured jokes by the band's worldwide fanbase, but the work of this trailblazing drummer and songwriter speaks for itself when it comes to inhabiting a wildly varied creative headspace. Ringo Starr has not only written and recorded plenty of LPs on his own, but the former Beatle's approach to drumming while performing alongside John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison was forward thinking and bold for the time, embodying a progressive spirit which helped craft numerous classics along the way.



Before we reveal our strongest secret musical weapon, here are a few honorable mentions.

Nels Cline
Wilco

Rex Brown
Pantera

Chris Squire
Yes

Rick Allen
Def Leppard

Adrian Smith
Iron Maiden

#1: John Paul Jones
Led Zeppelin


What can we say about John Paul Jones? Standing just out of the limelight, Jones was a songwriter, keyboardist and bass player extraordinaire, anchoring Led Zeppelin during his tenure with the hard rockers. Jones didn't stop there, however, and continued to be creative long after Zeppelin called it a day, collaborating with artists as varied as Lenny Kravitz, Diamanda Galás and even Dave Grohl, with whom Jones formed the rock supergroup Them Crooked Vultures. Remaining relevant for over four decades? That's what we call the sign of a true musical secret weapon.

Do you agree with our list? Which unsung rock hero do you feel deserves a little more respect? For more heavy top ten lists, published every day, please subscribe to WatchMojo.com!
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