music The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band  

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List Rules Only musicians who were the lead singers of other bands. Rank them on their solo careers.

Music groups, no matter how successful they may become, tend to have an expiration date. When a rock band or rap group eventually breaks up, not too many of its members go on to have solo success. This list, however, celebrates that small group of musicians who have managed to break out as a solo artist and reach the top on their own. From Sting to Stevie Nicks, every musician on this list are solo artists who used to front a band.

Icons like Neil Young, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Joan Jett and Ozzy Osbourne are great examples of musicians who had success with an earlier outfit but continued on to achieve success on their own as well. All of these artists have been critically and commercially lauded for their solo work and sometimes, their solo material is greater and more popular than the output they had with their original band. The aforementioned artists are great examples of this.

There are plenty of great solo singers on this list who had varying degrees of success with their first band or group or collective. But, we're trying to measure who had the best solo career, not overall career. That's why the frontmen or frontwomen on this list should be judged primarily on their solo careers.

This is the list of the best solo artists who used to front a band. If you notice someone is missing from the list, feel free to add him or her as you deem fit. Vote or re-rank this list according to the artist's solo career only.
list ordered by

1
+ - 708 221
Paul Simon is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Paul Simon Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock - Simon and Garfunkel

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2
+ - 388 388
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Michael Jackson Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music - The Jackson 5

3
+ - 318 318
John Lennon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
John Lennon Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music - The Beatles

4
+ - 235 235
Freddie Mercury is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Freddie Mercury Pop music, Rock music, Rockabilly

5
+ - 329 329
Eric Clapton is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Eric Clapton Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae - Derek and the Dominos, The Yardbirds, Cream

6
+ - 299 299
Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Paul McCartney Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock - The Beatles

7
+ - 251 251
Sting is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Sting Medieval music, Classic rock, New Wave - The Police

8
+ - 268 268
Phil Collins is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Phil Collins Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music - Genesis

9
+ - 313 313
Gwen Stefani is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Gwen Stefani Hip Pop R&B, Synthpop, New Wave - No Doubt

10
+ - 271 271
Stevie Nicks is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Stevie Nicks Classic rock, Pop music, Rock music - Fleetwood Mac

11
+ - 244 244
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Ozzy Osbourne Doom metal, Glam metal, Blues-rock - Black Sabbath

12
+ - 228 228
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Diana Ross The Supremes

13
+ - 199 199
Jon Bon Jovi is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Jon Bon Jovi Glam metal, Classic rock, Rock music - Bon Jovi

14
+ - 190 190
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Lionel Richie Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music - The Commodores

15
+ - 177 177
Debbie Harry is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Debbie Harry Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Wave - Blondie

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16
+ - 171 171
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Robert Plant Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock - Led Zeppelin

17
+ - 168 168
Iggy Pop is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Iggy Pop Punk blues, Garage rock, Protopunk - The Stooges

18
+ - 163 163
Annie Lennox is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Annie Lennox Blue-eyed soul, New Wave, Pop music - Eurythmics

19
+ - 168 168
Pharrell Williams is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pharrell Williams Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music - The Neptunes, N.E.R.D.

20
+ - 247 247
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Beyoncé Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music - Destiny's Child

21
+ - 185 185
Rod Stewart is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Rod Stewart New Wave, Rock music, Rhythm and blues - The Faces, Jeff Beck Group

22
+ - 182 182
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Neil Young Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge - CSNY, Buffalo Springfield

23
+ - 175 175
Joan Jett is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Joan Jett Glam punk, Rock and roll, Hard rock - The Runaways

24
+ - 177 177
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Lou Reed Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word - The Velvet Underground

25
+ - 163 163
Chris Cornell is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Chris Cornell Rock music, Grunge, Psychedelic pop - Soundgarden, Audioslave

26
+ - 169 169
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Tupac Shakur Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap - Digital Underground

27
+ - 166 166
Morrissey is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Morrissey Jangle pop, Indie pop, Rockabilly - The Smiths

28
+ - 153 153
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Ice Cube Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop - N.W.A.

29
+ - 141 141
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Alice Cooper Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock

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30
+ - 145 145
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Sam Cooke Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz - Soul Stirrers

31
+ - 129 129
Steve Winwood is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Steve Winwood Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music - Traffic, Spencer Davis Group

32
+ - 131 131
Ricky Martin is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Ricky Martin Pop music, Latin American music, Latin pop - Menudo

33
+ - 124 124
Selena is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Selena Mexican cumbia, Pop music, Latin American music - Selena y Los Dinos

34
+ - 252 252
Justin Timberlake is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Justin Timberlake Hip hop music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music - 'N Sync

35
+ - 200 200
George Michael is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
George Michael Synthpop, New Wave, Dance-pop - Wham!

36
+ - 86 86
Ice-T is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Ice-T Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, Hard Rock music -  Body Count

37
+ - 91 91
Courtney Love is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Courtney Love Noise rock, Grunge, Folk rock - Hole

38
+ - 169 169
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Peter Gabriel New Wave, Pop music, Rock music - Genesis

39
+ - 74 74
Tom Morello is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Tom Morello Rock music, Acoustic music, Heavy metal - Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave

40
+ - 160 160
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
George Harrison Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock - The Beatles, Traveling Wilburies

41
+ - 159 159
Fergie is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Fergie Hip hop music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music - Black Eyed Peas

42
+ - 79 79
Chrissie Hynde is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Chrissie Hynde New Wave, Rock music, Punk rock - The Pretenders

43
+ - 70 70
Ronnie James Dio is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Ronnie James Dio Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

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44
+ - 166 166
Eminem is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Eminem Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop - "D 12"

45
+ - 68 68
Frankie Valli is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Frankie Valli Doo-wop, Blue-eyed soul, Disco - The Four Seasons

46
+ - 69 69
John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
John Fogerty Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop

47
+ - 123 123
Björk is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Björk Electronic dance music, Jazz, Tribal house - Sugarcubes

48
+ - 119 119
Gloria Estefan is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Gloria Estefan Pop music, Latin pop, Dance-pop - Miami Sound Machine

49
+ - 113 113
Roger Daltrey is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Roger Daltrey Rock music, Pop rock, Power pop - The Who

50
+ - 107 107
Pete Townshend is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pete Townshend Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat - The Who