singers The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band  

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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
966 285
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

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2
507 507
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
397 398
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
325 323
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
392 390
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
380 380
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
337 335
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
311 310
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
253 254
Jon Bon Jovi is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Jon Bon Jovi Glam metal, Classic rock, Rock music - Bon Jovi

10
390 390
Gwen Stefani is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Gwen Stefani Hip Pop R&B, Synthpop, New Wave - No Doubt

11
216 216
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Robert Plant Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock - Led Zeppelin

12
338 338
Stevie Nicks is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Stevie Nicks Classic rock, Pop music, Rock music - Fleetwood Mac

13
316 313
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Ozzy Osbourne Doom metal, Glam metal, Blues-rock - Black Sabbath

14
270 270
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Diana Ross The Supremes

15
243 242
George Michael is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
George Michael Synthpop, New Wave, Dance-pop - Wham!

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16
225 224
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
220 220
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Neil Young Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge - CSNY, Buffalo Springfield

18
241 241
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
185 185
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarkLuscombe added Alice Cooper Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock

20
206 206
Iggy Pop is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Iggy Pop Punk blues, Garage rock, Protopunk - The Stooges

21
198 198
Annie Lennox is listed (or ranked) 21 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

22
304 304
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Beyoncé Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music - Destiny's Child

23
119 119
Steve Perry is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Steve Perry Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock - Journey

24
220 220
Rod Stewart is listed (or ranked) 24 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

25
207 206
Joan Jett is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Joan Jett Glam punk, Rock and roll, Hard rock - The Runaways

26
105 103
Chrissie Hynde is listed (or ranked) 26 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

27
192 192
Chris Cornell is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Chris Cornell Rock music, Grunge, Psychedelic pop - Soundgarden, Audioslave

28
205 202
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Peter Gabriel New Wave, Pop music, Rock music - Genesis

29
201 201
Morrissey is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Morrissey Jangle pop, Indie pop, Rockabilly - The Smiths

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30
203 203
Pharrell Williams is listed (or ranked) 30 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.

31
190 190
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 31 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

32
174 173
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Sam Cooke Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz - Soul Stirrers

33
94 95
John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
hotrodheart added John Fogerty Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop

34
93 94
Frankie Valli is listed (or ranked) 34 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

35
147 147
Gloria Estefan is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Gloria Estefan Pop music, Latin pop, Dance-pop - Miami Sound Machine

36
150 150
Selena is listed (or ranked) 36 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

37
156 156
Ricky Martin is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Ricky Martin Pop music, Latin American music, Latin pop - Menudo

38
138 138
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
132 132
Don Henley is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Don Henley Pop music, Rock music, Country rock - The Eagles

40
120 120
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Roger Waters Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock - Pink Floyd

41
202 202
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 41 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

42
206 206
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 42 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

43
129 129
Belinda Carlisle is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Belinda Carlisle Pop punk, New Wave, Pop music - The Go-Gos

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44
130 131
Pete Townshend is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pete Townshend Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat - The Who

45
90 90
Ronnie James Dio is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarkLuscombe added Ronnie James Dio Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

46
99 99
Brian Wilson is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Brian Wilson Pop music, Rock music, Outsider music - The Beach Boys

47
188 188
Fergie is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Fergie Hip hop music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music - Black Eyed Peas

48
293 293
Justin Timberlake is listed (or ranked) 48 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

49
99 99
Glenn Frey is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Glenn Frey Pop music, Rock music, Country rock - The Eagles

50
149 148
Billy Idol is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Billy Idol New Wave, Rock music, Dance-rock - Generation X