Music

The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band 

Ranker Music
Originally by
Updated March 18, 2020 61.3k votes 4.7k voters 95.3k views 183 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
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Genre: Motown Sound, Rock music & Electronic music; Nationality: United States of America
The Jackson 5
2
Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Genre: Pop music, Rock music & Experimental rock; Nationality: England
The Beatles
3
Freddie Mercury is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarleneAureliePfeiffer added Genre: Pop music, Rock music & Rockabilly; Nationality: United Kingdom
4
Eric Clapton is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Genre: Blues-rock, Rock music & Reggae; Nationality: England
Derek and the Dominos, The Yardbirds, Cream
5
Phil Collins is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Genre: Blue-eyed soul, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: United Kingdom
Genesis
6
Paul Simon is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Genre: Rock music, Folk music & Folk rock; Nationality: United States of America
Simon and Garfunkel
7
Stevie Nicks is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Genre: Classic rock, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America
Fleetwood Mac
8
John Lennon is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Genre: Blues-rock, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: England
The Beatles
9
George Michael is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Genre: Synthpop, New Wave & Dance-pop; Nationality: United Kingdom
Wham!
10
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Genre: Adult contemporary music, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America
The Commodores
11
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Genre: Rock music, Experimental rock & Grunge; Nationality: Canada
CSNY, Buffalo Springfield
12
Gwen Stefani is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Genre: Hip Pop R&B, Synthpop & New Wave; Nationality: United States of America
No Doubt
13
Beyoncé Knowles ... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Genre: R&B, Pop & Hip hop; Nationality: United States of America
Destiny's Child
14
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarkLuscombe added Genre: Glam metal, Experimental rock & Shock rock; Nationality: United States of America
15
Sting is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Genre: Medieval music, Classic rock & New Wave; Nationality: England
The Police
16
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Genre: Doom metal, Glam metal & Blues-rock; Nationality: England
Black Sabbath
17
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Genre: Disco, Pop music & Dance music; Nationality: United States of America
The Supremes
18
Jon Bon Jovi is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Genre: Glam metal, Classic rock & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America
Bon Jovi
19
Rod Stewart is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Genre: New Wave, Rock music & Rhythm and blues; Nationality: England
The Faces, Jeff Beck Group
20
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Genre: New Wave, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: United Kingdom
Genesis
21
Justin Timberlake is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Don Davis added Genre: Pop, Contemporary R&B & Hip hop; Nationality: United States of America
'N Sync
22
Joan Jett is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Genre: Glam punk, Rock and roll & Hard rock; Nationality: United States of America
The Runaways
23
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Genre: Blues-rock, Rock music & Folk rock; Nationality: United Kingdom
Led Zeppelin
24
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Genre: Pop music, Rock music & Experimental rock; Nationality: United Kingdom
The Beatles, Traveling Wilburies
25
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Genre: Hip hop music, Political hip hop & Gangsta rap; Nationality: United States of America
Digital Underground