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
1,134 384
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
323 302
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
520 519
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
684 653
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
512 509
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
456 455
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
211 212
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
505 506
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
494 495
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
134 135
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
441 441
Phil Collins is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music - Genesis

12
260 260
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock - The Beatles, Traveling Wilburies

13
409 410
Sting is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Medieval music, Classic rock, New Wave - The Police

14
413 414
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
332 332
Jon Bon Jovi is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Glam metal, Classic rock, Rock music - Bon Jovi

16
278 277
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarkLuscombe added Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock

17
301 301
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
188 188
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
439 438
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
292 293
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
262 262
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
255 255
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
330 330
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
The Supremes

24
313 312
George Michael is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Synthpop, New Wave, Dance-pop - Wham!

25
286 286
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
301 301
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music - The Commodores

27
244 244
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
267 267
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
248 248
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
396 395
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music - Destiny's Child

31
144 144
John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
hotrodheart added Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop

32
150 150
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
188 188
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
272 271
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
183 183
Roger Daltrey is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Rock music, Pop rock, Power pop - The Who

36
187 187
Don Henley is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Rock music, Country rock - The Eagles

37
172 172
Pete Townshend is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat - The Who

38
173 173
Belinda Carlisle is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop punk, New Wave, Pop music - The Go-Gos

39
246 246
Morrissey is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Jangle pop, Indie pop, Rockabilly - The Smiths

40
246 246
Pharrell Williams is listed (or ranked) 40 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.

41
138 138
Glenn Frey is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Rock music, Country rock - The Eagles

42
263 263
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
New Wave, Pop music, Rock music - Genesis

43
201 201
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
216 215
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz - Soul Stirrers

45
128 128
Frankie Valli is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Doo-wop, Blue-eyed soul, Disco - The Four Seasons

46
223 223
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 46 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.

47
189 189
Selena is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Mexican cumbia, Pop music, Latin American music - Selena y Los Dinos

48
199 199
Ricky Martin is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Latin American music, Latin pop - Menudo

49
276 276
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap - Digital Underground

50
163 163
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock - Pink Floyd