singers The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band  

Ranker Music
Originally by
40.8k votes 3.1k voters 60k views 133 items

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
1,058 351
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

2
623 579
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
482 465
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
421 392
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
475 444
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
471 433
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
407 375
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
381 354
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
237 226
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarkLuscombe added Alice Cooper Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock

10
405 383
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
302 301
Jon Bon Jovi is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Jon Bon Jovi Glam metal, Classic rock, Rock music - Bon Jovi

12
270 265
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Robert Plant Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock - Led Zeppelin

13
238 232
Annie Lennox is listed (or ranked) 13 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

14
451 446
Gwen Stefani is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Gwen Stefani Hip Pop R&B, Synthpop, New Wave - No Doubt

The Greatest Rock Band Logos of All Time

15
270 256
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Neil Young Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge - CSNY, Buffalo Springfield

16
269 272
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
289 277
George Michael is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
George Michael Synthpop, New Wave, Dance-pop - Wham!

18
281 270
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Lionel Richie Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music - The Commodores

19
373 367
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Ozzy Osbourne Doom metal, Glam metal, Blues-rock - Black Sabbath

20
250 240
Joan Jett is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Joan Jett Glam punk, Rock and roll, Hard rock - The Runaways

21
129 122
John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
hotrodheart added John Fogerty Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop

The Best Sodas of All Time

22
308 306
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Diana Ross The Supremes

23
233 226
Chris Cornell is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Chris Cornell Rock music, Grunge, Psychedelic pop - Soundgarden, Audioslave

24
169 157
Don Henley is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Don Henley Pop music, Rock music, Country rock - The Eagles

25
175 166
Gloria Estefan is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Gloria Estefan Pop music, Latin pop, Dance-pop - Miami Sound Machine

26
189 170
Billy Idol is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Billy Idol New Wave, Rock music, Dance-rock - Generation X

27
237 219
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 27 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

28
361 353
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Beyoncé Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music - Destiny's Child

The Greatest Band Cameos In Movie History

29
157 163
Steve Perry is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Steve Perry Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock - Journey

30
247 232
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Peter Gabriel New Wave, Pop music, Rock music - Genesis

31
238 241
Iggy Pop is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Iggy Pop Punk blues, Garage rock, Protopunk - The Stooges

32
133 136
Chrissie Hynde is listed (or ranked) 32 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

33
255 248
Rod Stewart is listed (or ranked) 33 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

34
158 153
Belinda Carlisle is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Belinda Carlisle Pop punk, New Wave, Pop music - The Go-Gos

35
157 158
Pete Townshend is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pete Townshend Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat - The Who

Catchiest Viral Internet Songs of All Time

36
116 114
Frankie Valli is listed (or ranked) 36 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

37
200 196
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Sam Cooke Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz - Soul Stirrers

38
163 169
Roger Daltrey is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Roger Daltrey Rock music, Pop rock, Power pop - The Who

39
122 124
Glenn Frey is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Glenn Frey Pop music, Rock music, Country rock - The Eagles

40
228 231
Morrissey is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Morrissey Jangle pop, Indie pop, Rockabilly - The Smiths

41
231 234
Pharrell Williams is listed (or ranked) 41 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.

42
230 225
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 42 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

The Best New Female Artists

43
181 183
Ricky Martin is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Ricky Martin Pop music, Latin American music, Latin pop - Menudo

44
245 224
Eminem is listed (or ranked) 44 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"

45
174 178
Selena is listed (or ranked) 45 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

46
146 147
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Roger Waters Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock - Pink Floyd

47
336 337
Justin Timberlake is listed (or ranked) 47 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

48
115 120
Ronnie James Dio is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarkLuscombe added Ronnie James Dio Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

49
235 243
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 49 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

50
115 121
Brian Wilson is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Brian Wilson Pop music, Rock music, Outsider music - The Beach Boys