Bands/Musicians Famous Bands That Changed Lead Singers  

Jessica L. Yarbrough
3.1k votes 675 voters 45.5k views 20 items

List Rules Vote up the famous bands that were better after changing lead singers.

When it comes to putting together a killer band, it's all about the chemistry. There are so many groups that switched lead singers in the hopes of finding that *one* vocalist that could help propel them to superstardom—sometimes it works (Fleetwood Mac) and sometimes it doesn't (Axl Rose, please leave AC/DC alone). Whatever your opinion on these bands that changed frontmen, there's no denying that most switches were pretty controversial. From bands that changed lead singers for personal reasons, to bands that reformed once a founding member quit (and everything in between), here are the most famous bands that replaced lead singers. Do you prefer their music before or after the switch? 
 
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Lead Singer Change: Syd Barrett to David Gilmour and Roger Waters

Syd Barrett was the original vocalist for Pink Floyd, but his erratic behavior, drug use, and alcoholism got him kicked out in 1968. That's when guitarist David Gilmour and bassist Roger Waters started switching off on lead vocals. The band's subsequent albums were hugely successful—Pink Floyd is now one of the best-selling bands of all time.

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Lead Singer Change: Bob Welch to Stevie Nicks/Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie

Fleetwood Mac went through more than its fair share of lineup changes throughout the '60s and '70s. In 1971, Bob Welch joined the band as a vocalist and guitarist, but the era of Welch was short-lived. When Lindsey Buckingham was asked to join in '74, he made sure his girlfriend (Stevie Nicks) could come along for the ride—and that's when Fleetwood Mac started seeing mainstream success. 

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#21 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#30 on The Best Pop Artists of the 1980s

#12 on The Greatest American Rock Bands

#34 on The Greatest Live Bands of All Time

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Lead Singer Change: Paul Di'Anno to Bruce Dickinson

British metal band Iron Maiden changed its lineup on an almost monthly basis until singer Paul Di'Anno joined the band in 1978 and sang on Maiden's first two studio albums. He was kicked out because of his drug abuse in 1980. Bruce Dickinson joined the band in 1981 and brought Maiden its first number one album in the UK, The Number of the Beast. 

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#5 on Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

#3 on The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands

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#65 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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Lead Singer Change: Peter Gabriel to Phil Collins

Peter Gabriel, the original lead vocalist of Genesis, seemed to care more about being a frontman than part of the band, which caused a lot of tension between him and the other band members until he quit in 1975. Drummer Phil Collins took over on vocals, and Genesis's first album without Gabriel was a huge commercial success. 

Also Ranked

#25 on Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

#48 on The Best Rock Bands of All Time

#37 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#55 on The Best Pop Artists of the 1980s

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