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
+ - 621 198
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
+ - 355 355
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
+ - 293 293
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
+ - 208 208
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
+ - 311 311
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
+ - 278 278
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
+ - 252 252
Phil Collins is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Phil Collins Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music - Genesis

8
+ - 232 232
Sting is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Sting Medieval music, Classic rock, New Wave - The Police

9
+ - 289 289
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
+ - 248 247
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
+ - 222 222
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
+ - 212 212
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
+ - 184 184
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
+ - 175 175
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
+ - 160 159
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Robert Plant Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock - Led Zeppelin

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16
+ - 162 162
Debbie Harry is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Debbie Harry Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Wave - Blondie

17
+ - 156 156
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
+ - 150 150
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
+ - 155 155
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
+ - 182 163
George Michael is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
George Michael Synthpop, New Wave, Dance-pop - Wham!

21
+ - 227 227
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Beyoncé Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music - Destiny's Child

22
+ - 174 174
Rod Stewart is listed (or ranked) 22 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

23
+ - 168 168
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 23 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

24
+ - 169 169
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Neil Young Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge - CSNY, Buffalo Springfield

25
+ - 163 163
Joan Jett is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Joan Jett Glam punk, Rock and roll, Hard rock - The Runaways

26
+ - 148 147
Chris Cornell is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Chris Cornell Rock music, Grunge, Psychedelic pop - Soundgarden, Audioslave

27
+ - 154 154
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 27 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

28
+ - 152 152
Morrissey is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Morrissey Jangle pop, Indie pop, Rockabilly - The Smiths

29
+ - 139 139
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 29 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.

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30
+ - 134 134
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
+ - 128 128
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Alice Cooper Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock

32
+ - 124 124
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
+ - 120 120
Steve Winwood is listed (or ranked) 33 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

34
+ - 114 114
Selena is listed (or ranked) 34 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

35
+ - 237 237
Justin Timberlake is listed (or ranked) 35 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

36
+ - 160 160
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Peter Gabriel New Wave, Pop music, Rock music - Genesis

37
+ - 78 78
Ice-T is listed (or ranked) 37 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

38
+ - 152 152
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 38 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

39
+ - 80 80
Courtney Love is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Courtney Love Noise rock, Grunge, Folk rock - Hole

40
+ - 150 150
Fergie is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
+ - 66 66
Tom Morello is listed (or ranked) 41 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

42
+ - 73 73
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
+ - 157 157
Eminem is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Eminem Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop - "D 12"

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44
+ - 64 64
Ronnie James Dio is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Ronnie James Dio Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

45
+ - 61 61
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
+ - 119 119
Björk is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Björk Electronic dance music, Jazz, Tribal house - Sugarcubes

47
+ - 62 62
John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
John Fogerty Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop

48
+ - 114 114
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
+ - 102 101
Belinda Carlisle is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Belinda Carlisle Pop punk, New Wave, Pop music - The Go-Gos

50
+ - 101 100
Don Henley is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Don Henley Pop music, Rock music, Country rock - The Eagles