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.

1
1,096 372
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
504 504
John Lennon is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
John Lennon Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music - The Beatles

3
664 615
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Michael Jackson Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music - The Jackson 5

4
500 468
Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Paul McCartney Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock - The Beatles

5
441 431
Freddie Mercury is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarleneAureliePfeiffer added Freddie Mercury Pop music, Rock music, Rockabilly

6
497 478
Eric Clapton is listed (or ranked) 6 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

7
284 255
Eminem is listed (or ranked) 7 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"

8
481 481
Gwen Stefani is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Gwen Stefani Hip Pop R&B, Synthpop, New Wave - No Doubt

9
430 408
Phil Collins is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Phil Collins Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music - Genesis

10
398 387
Sting is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Sting Medieval music, Classic rock, New Wave - The Police

11
251 249
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 11 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

12
429 414
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
318 319
Jon Bon Jovi is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Jon Bon Jovi Glam metal, Classic rock, Rock music - Bon Jovi

14
255 254
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarkLuscombe added Alice Cooper Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock

15
290 290
Debbie Harry is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Debbie Harry Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Wave - Blondie

16
177 178
Steve Perry is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Steve Perry Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock - Journey

17
285 285
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Robert Plant Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock - Led Zeppelin

18
255 255
Annie Lennox is listed (or ranked) 18 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

19
124 123
Ringo Starr is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Ringo Starr Pop music, Rock music, World music - The Beatles

20
397 394
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Ozzy Osbourne Doom metal, Glam metal, Blues-rock - Black Sabbath

21
324 324
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Diana Ross The Supremes

22
282 282
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Neil Young Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge - CSNY, Buffalo Springfield

23
184 175
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Dr. Dre Hip hop music, Rap music, Gangsta rap - N.W.A.

24
305 305
George Michael is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
George Michael Synthpop, New Wave, Dance-pop - Wham!

25
296 296
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Lionel Richie Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music - The Commodores

26
263 263
Joan Jett is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Joan Jett Glam punk, Rock and roll, Hard rock - The Runaways

27
242 242
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
252 252
Iggy Pop is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Iggy Pop Punk blues, Garage rock, Protopunk - The Stooges

29
140 140
John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
hotrodheart added John Fogerty Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop

30
146 146
Chrissie Hynde is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
386 385
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Beyoncé Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music - Destiny's Child

32
184 184
Gloria Estefan is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Gloria Estefan Pop music, Latin pop, Dance-pop - Miami Sound Machine

33
179 179
Roger Daltrey is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Roger Daltrey Rock music, Pop rock, Power pop - The Who

34
181 181
Don Henley is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Don Henley Pop music, Rock music, Country rock - The Eagles

35
264 264
Rod Stewart is listed (or ranked) 35 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

36
171 171
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
171 171
Belinda Carlisle is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Belinda Carlisle Pop punk, New Wave, Pop music - The Go-Gos

38
243 243
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
244 244
Pharrell Williams is listed (or ranked) 39 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.

40
259 258
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Peter Gabriel New Wave, Pop music, Rock music - Genesis

41
133 133
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
126 126
Frankie Valli is listed (or ranked) 42 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

43
198 198
Billy Idol is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Billy Idol New Wave, Rock music, Dance-rock - Generation X

44
211 211
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Sam Cooke Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz - Soul Stirrers

45
186 186
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
194 194
Ricky Martin is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Ricky Martin Pop music, Latin American music, Latin pop - Menudo

47
160 160
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Roger Waters Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock - Pink Floyd

48
240 240
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 48 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

49
127 127
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
263 266
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 50 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