singers The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band  

Ranker Music
Originally by
41k votes 3.1k voters 60.2k 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.

1
1,060 352
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
625 580
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
485 465
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
422 393
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
477 445
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
473 433
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
410 375
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
382 355
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
406 384
Stevie Nicks is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Stevie Nicks Classic rock, Pop music, Rock music - Fleetwood Mac

10
238 228
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarkLuscombe added Alice Cooper Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock

11
456 446
Gwen Stefani is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Gwen Stefani Hip Pop R&B, Synthpop, New Wave - No Doubt

12
303 302
Jon Bon Jovi is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Jon Bon Jovi Glam metal, Classic rock, Rock music - Bon Jovi

13
271 266
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Robert Plant Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock - Led Zeppelin

14
239 234
Annie Lennox is listed (or ranked) 14 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

29 Celebrities Who Quit Being Famous

15
271 257
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
290 278
George Michael is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
George Michael Synthpop, New Wave, Dance-pop - Wham!

17
269 274
Debbie Harry is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Debbie Harry Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Wave - Blondie

18
282 271
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
375 367
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
130 123
John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
hotrodheart added John Fogerty Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop

21
250 242
Joan Jett is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Joan Jett Glam punk, Rock and roll, Hard rock - The Runaways

Politicians Who Were Busted Using A Song Without The Artists' Permission

22
309 307
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
234 227
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
170 158
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
239 219
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 25 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

26
189 171
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
363 353
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Beyoncé Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music - Destiny's Child

28
175 168
Gloria Estefan is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Gloria Estefan Pop music, Latin pop, Dance-pop - Miami Sound Machine

The Best New Male Artists

29
248 233
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Peter Gabriel New Wave, Pop music, Rock music - Genesis

30
239 242
Iggy Pop is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Iggy Pop Punk blues, Garage rock, Protopunk - The Stooges

31
134 137
Chrissie Hynde is listed (or ranked) 31 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

32
157 165
Steve Perry is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Steve Perry Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock - Journey

33
256 249
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
159 154
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
117 115
Frankie Valli is listed (or ranked) 35 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

The Best Cruise Ships for Families

36
158 160
Pete Townshend is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pete Townshend Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat - The Who

37
164 170
Roger Daltrey is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Roger Daltrey Rock music, Pop rock, Power pop - The Who

38
230 231
Morrissey is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Morrissey Jangle pop, Indie pop, Rockabilly - The Smiths

39
200 197
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Sam Cooke Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz - Soul Stirrers

40
253 224
Eminem is listed (or ranked) 40 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"

41
123 125
Glenn Frey is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Glenn Frey Pop music, Rock music, Country rock - The Eagles

42
232 235
Pharrell Williams is listed (or ranked) 42 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.

The Best Female Musicians of All Time

43
230 226
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 43 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

44
182 184
Ricky Martin is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Ricky Martin Pop music, Latin American music, Latin pop - Menudo

45
175 178
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
147 149
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
338 337
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
113 106
Ringo Starr is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Ringo Starr Pop music, Rock music, World music - The Beatles

49
115 121
Ronnie James Dio is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarkLuscombe added Ronnie James Dio Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

50
116 122
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