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
776 232
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
417 413
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
333 333
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
253 252
Freddie Mercury is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarleneAureliePfeiffer added Freddie Mercury Pop music, Rock music, Rockabilly

5
345 344
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
313 312
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
285 284
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
264 262
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
331 332
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
289 288
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
237 236
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Diana Ross The Supremes

12
258 257
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Ozzy Osbourne Doom metal, Glam metal, Blues-rock - Black Sabbath

13
212 211
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
198 198
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
189 190
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
181 181
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
175 175
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
171 171
Annie Lennox is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Coolza added Annie Lennox Blue-eyed soul, New Wave, Pop music - Eurythmics

19
173 173
Pharrell Williams is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Coolza added Pharrell Williams Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music - The Neptunes, N.E.R.D.

20
259 259
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
188 188
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Neil Young Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge - CSNY, Buffalo Springfield

22
191 191
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
182 182
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
180 180
Joan Jett is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Joan Jett Glam punk, Rock and roll, Hard rock - The Runaways

25
173 173
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 25 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

26
150 150
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarkLuscombe added Alice Cooper Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock

27
169 169
Chris Cornell is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Chris Cornell Rock music, Grunge, Psychedelic pop - Soundgarden, Audioslave

28
172 172
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
134 134
Steve Winwood is listed (or ranked) 29 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

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30
161 161
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Ice Cube Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop - N.W.A.

31
150 150
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Sam Cooke Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz - Soul Stirrers

32
129 129
Selena is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Selena Mexican cumbia, Pop music, Latin American music - Selena y Los Dinos

33
136 136
Ricky Martin is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Ricky Martin Pop music, Latin American music, Latin pop - Menudo

34
209 209
George Michael is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
George Michael Synthpop, New Wave, Dance-pop - Wham!

35
74 73
Ronnie James Dio is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarkLuscombe added Ronnie James Dio Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

36
83 82
Chrissie Hynde is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Coolza added Chrissie Hynde New Wave, Rock music, Punk rock - The Pretenders

37
89 89
Ice-T is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Ice-T Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, Hard Rock music -  Body Count

38
263 264
Justin Timberlake is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Don Davis added Justin Timberlake Hip hop music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music - 'N Sync

39
165 165
Fergie is listed (or ranked) 39 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

40
78 78
Tom Morello is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
177 177
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Peter Gabriel New Wave, Pop music, Rock music - Genesis

42
95 96
Courtney Love is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Coolza added Courtney Love Noise rock, Grunge, Folk rock - Hole

43
75 75
John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
hotrodheart added John Fogerty Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop

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44
168 168
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 44 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

45
74 74
Frankie Valli is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Frankie Valli Doo-wop, Blue-eyed soul, Disco - The Four Seasons

46
125 125
Gloria Estefan is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Gloria Estefan Pop music, Latin pop, Dance-pop - Miami Sound Machine

47
173 174
Eminem is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
ejlinehan added Eminem Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop - "D 12"

48
130 130
Björk is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Björk Electronic dance music, Jazz, Tribal house - Sugarcubes

49
122 122
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
101 100
Steve Perry is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Steve Perry Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock - Journey