Singers The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band  

Ranker Music
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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
1,251 419
Paul Simon is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock - Simon and Garfunkel

2
370 373
Eminem is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
ejlinehan added Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop - "D 12"

3
565 563
John Lennon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music - The Beatles

4
725 724
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music - The Jackson 5

5
552 552
Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock - The Beatles

6
498 499
Freddie Mercury is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarleneAureliePfeiffer added Pop music, Rock music, Rockabilly

7
244 245
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Hip hop music, Rap music, Gangsta rap - N.W.A.

8
540 540
Eric Clapton is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae - Derek and the Dominos, The Yardbirds, Cream

9
527 525
Gwen Stefani is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Hip Pop R&B, Synthpop, New Wave - No Doubt

10
165 166
Ringo Starr is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Rock music, World music - The Beatles

11
444 441
Sting is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Medieval music, Classic rock, New Wave - The Police

12
470 470
Phil Collins is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music - Genesis

13
290 290
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock - The Beatles, Traveling Wilburies

14
463 464
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Doom metal, Glam metal, Blues-rock - Black Sabbath

15
332 334
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarkLuscombe added Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock

16
359 361
Jon Bon Jovi is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Glam metal, Classic rock, Rock music - Bon Jovi

17
321 322
Debbie Harry is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Wave - Blondie

18
213 215
Steve Perry is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock - Journey

19
467 467
Stevie Nicks is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Classic rock, Pop music, Rock music - Fleetwood Mac

20
316 317
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock - Led Zeppelin

21
285 286
Annie Lennox is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Coolza added Blue-eyed soul, New Wave, Pop music - Eurythmics

22
273 275
Iggy Pop is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Punk blues, Garage rock, Protopunk - The Stooges

23
350 348
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
The Supremes

24
321 319
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music - The Commodores

25
306 307
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge - CSNY, Buffalo Springfield

26
335 336
George Michael is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Synthpop, New Wave, Dance-pop - Wham!

27
257 257
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word - The Velvet Underground

28
284 284
Joan Jett is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Glam punk, Rock and roll, Hard rock - The Runaways

29
267 267
Chris Cornell is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Rock music, Grunge, Psychedelic pop - Soundgarden, Audioslave

30
160 160
John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
hotrodheart added Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop

31
416 416
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music - Destiny's Child

32
162 164
Chrissie Hynde is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Coolza added New Wave, Rock music, Punk rock - The Pretenders

33
202 202
Gloria Estefan is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Latin pop, Dance-pop - Miami Sound Machine

34
290 290
Rod Stewart is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
New Wave, Rock music, Rhythm and blues - The Faces, Jeff Beck Group

35
202 204
Don Henley is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Rock music, Country rock - The Eagles

36
194 196
Roger Daltrey is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Rock music, Pop rock, Power pop - The Who

37
174 176
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock - Pink Floyd

38
146 148
Ronnie James Dio is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarkLuscombe added Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

39
183 185
Pete Townshend is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat - The Who

40
279 278
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
New Wave, Pop music, Rock music - Genesis

41
185 187
Belinda Carlisle is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop punk, New Wave, Pop music - The Go-Gos

42
261 263
Morrissey is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Jangle pop, Indie pop, Rockabilly - The Smiths

43
214 214
Billy Idol is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
New Wave, Rock music, Dance-rock - Generation X

44
238 237
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop - N.W.A.

45
149 150
Glenn Frey is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Rock music, Country rock - The Eagles

46
139 139
Frankie Valli is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Doo-wop, Blue-eyed soul, Disco - The Four Seasons

47
258 260
Pharrell Williams is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Coolza added Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music - The Neptunes, N.E.R.D.

48
226 225
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz - Soul Stirrers

49
211 211
Ricky Martin is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Latin American music, Latin pop - Menudo

50
162 162
David Lee Roth is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Glam metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock - Van Halen