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
1,158 399
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
341 338
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
533 533
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
698 682
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
524 524
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
471 471
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
224 224
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
518 518
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
506 506
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
147 147
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
452 452
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
272 272
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
424 424
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
433 434
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
298 297
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
344 344
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
311 311
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
199 199
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
303 303
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
449 449
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
271 271
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
265 265
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
338 338
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
The Supremes

24
296 296
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
325 325
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
309 309
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
253 253
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
277 277
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
258 258
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
151 151
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
157 157
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
406 406
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
196 196
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
190 190
Roger Daltrey is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Rock music, Pop rock, Power pop - The Who

35
195 195
Don Henley is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Rock music, Country rock - The Eagles

36
280 280
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
169 169
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
178 178
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
138 138
Ronnie James Dio is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarkLuscombe added Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

40
180 180
Belinda Carlisle is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop punk, New Wave, Pop music - The Go-Gos

41
255 255
Morrissey is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Jangle pop, Indie pop, Rockabilly - The Smiths

42
252 252
Pharrell Williams is listed (or ranked) 42 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.

43
143 143
Glenn Frey is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Rock music, Country rock - The Eagles

44
270 270
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
207 207
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
134 134
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
230 230
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 47 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.

48
220 220
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz - Soul Stirrers

49
195 195
Selena is listed (or ranked) 49 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

50
205 205
Ricky Martin is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Latin American music, Latin pop - Menudo