Singers The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band  

Ranker Music
Originally by
48.6k votes 3.7k voters 71.5k views 136 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
1,245 415
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
366 366
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
558 559
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
718 718
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
547 548
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
495 492
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
241 242
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
538 537
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
523 521
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
162 163
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
468 467
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
438 436
Sting is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Medieval music, Classic rock, New Wave - The Police

13
286 286
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
460 460
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
329 328
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
358 357
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
211 210
Steve Perry is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock - Journey

18
320 319
Debbie Harry is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Wave - Blondie

19
315 314
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock - Led Zeppelin

20
465 464
Stevie Nicks is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Classic rock, Pop music, Rock music - Fleetwood Mac

21
272 271
Iggy Pop is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Punk blues, Garage rock, Protopunk - The Stooges

22
281 282
Annie Lennox is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Coolza added Blue-eyed soul, New Wave, Pop music - Eurythmics

23
345 346
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
The Supremes

24
305 304
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge - CSNY, Buffalo Springfield

25
333 332
George Michael is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Synthpop, New Wave, Dance-pop - Wham!

26
318 317
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
256 255
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
283 282
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
266 265
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
159 158
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
162 161
Chrissie Hynde is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Coolza added New Wave, Rock music, Punk rock - The Pretenders

32
414 414
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music - Destiny's Child

33
200 199
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
202 201
Don Henley is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Rock music, Country rock - The Eagles

35
194 193
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
289 288
Rod Stewart is listed (or ranked) 36 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

37
174 173
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
183 183
Pete Townshend is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat - The Who

39
261 260
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
144 145
Ronnie James Dio is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarkLuscombe added Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

41
148 147
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
184 185
Belinda Carlisle is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop punk, New Wave, Pop music - The Go-Gos

43
258 258
Pharrell Williams is listed (or ranked) 43 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.

44
277 276
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
New Wave, Pop music, Rock music - Genesis

45
213 212
Billy Idol is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
New Wave, Rock music, Dance-rock - Generation X

46
137 136
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
225 224
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz - Soul Stirrers

48
237 237
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 48 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.

49
210 210
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
289 288
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap - Digital Underground