Every now and then a lead singer needs a water break, so someone else takes over on vocals. And every now and then one of those songs becomes a huge hit.
Rolling Stone has a list of 15 classic examples. Here are the highlights:
“We’re An American Band”, Grand Funk Railroad, 1973 . . . sung by drummer Don Brewer.
“Take It to the Limit”, The Eagles, 1975 . . . sung by original bassist Randy Meisner.
“Beth”, KISS, 1976 . . . sung by drummer Peter Criss.
“Don’t Fear the Reaper”, Blue Oyster Cult, 1976 . . . sung by guitarist Buck Dharma. (This one’s kind of a cheat . . .All FIVE members of BOC sang. And while Eric Bloom was their most frequent lead singer, Buck sang a lot of tracks, including their three best-known songs, “Reaper”, “Burnin’ For You” and “Godzilla”.)
“Africa”, Toto, 1983 . . . sung by keyboardist David Paich. It was the band’s only #1 single.
“Sister Christian”, Night Ranger, 1984 . . . sung by drummer Kelly Keagy, who wrote it for his younger sister.
“These Dreams”, Heart, 1986 . . . sung by guitarist Nancy Wilson. It was actually one of two songs they were offered by outside songwriters. The other one was “We Built This City”, which somehow became a hit for Starship.
“Happy”, The Rolling Stones, 1972 . . . sung by Keith Richards, who generally takes the vocals on one song per album, and this is one that became a hit.