music 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
845 249
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
452 451
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
359 359
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
280 280
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
367 367
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
339 339
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
305 305
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
283 283
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
356 356
Gwen Stefani is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Gwen Stefani Hip Pop R&B, Synthpop, New Wave - No Doubt

10
313 313
Stevie Nicks is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Stevie Nicks Classic rock, Pop music, Rock music - Fleetwood Mac

11
250 250
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Diana Ross The Supremes

12
280 280
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Ozzy Osbourne Doom metal, Glam metal, Blues-rock - Black Sabbath

13
226 226
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
199 199
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Neil Young Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge - CSNY, Buffalo Springfield

15
214 214
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Lionel Richie Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music - The Commodores

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16
203 203
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
160 160
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarkLuscombe added Alice Cooper Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock

18
192 192
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Robert Plant Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock - Led Zeppelin

19
183 183
Iggy Pop is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Iggy Pop Punk blues, Garage rock, Protopunk - The Stooges

20
179 179
Annie Lennox is listed (or ranked) 20 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

21
182 182
Morrissey is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Morrissey Jangle pop, Indie pop, Rockabilly - The Smiths

22
186 186
Pharrell Williams is listed (or ranked) 22 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.

23
160 160
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Sam Cooke Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz - Soul Stirrers

24
277 277
Beyoncé is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Beyoncé Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music - Destiny's Child

25
220 220
George Michael is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
George Michael Synthpop, New Wave, Dance-pop - Wham!

26
191 191
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 26 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

27
79 79
Ronnie James Dio is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarkLuscombe added Ronnie James Dio Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

28
200 200
Rod Stewart is listed (or ranked) 28 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

29
192 192
Joan Jett is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Joan Jett Glam punk, Rock and roll, Hard rock - The Runaways

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30
188 188
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
81 81
John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
hotrodheart added John Fogerty Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop

32
88 88
Chrissie Hynde is listed (or ranked) 32 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

33
82 82
Frankie Valli is listed (or ranked) 33 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

34
179 179
Chris Cornell is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Chris Cornell Rock music, Grunge, Psychedelic pop - Soundgarden, Audioslave

35
187 187
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Peter Gabriel New Wave, Pop music, Rock music - Genesis

36
176 176
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 36 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

37
142 142
Steve Winwood is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Steve Winwood Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music - Traffic, Spencer Davis Group

38
136 136
Gloria Estefan is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Gloria Estefan Pop music, Latin pop, Dance-pop - Miami Sound Machine

39
168 168
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Ice Cube Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop - N.W.A.

40
138 138
Selena is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
136 136
Björk is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Björk Electronic dance music, Jazz, Tribal house - Sugarcubes

42
145 145
Ricky Martin is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Ricky Martin Pop music, Latin American music, Latin pop - Menudo

43
129 129
Roger Daltrey is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Roger Daltrey Rock music, Pop rock, Power pop - The Who

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44
124 124
Don Henley is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Don Henley Pop music, Rock music, Country rock - The Eagles

45
122 122
Pete Townshend is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pete Townshend Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat - The Who

46
110 110
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Roger Waters Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock - Pink Floyd

47
108 108
Steve Perry is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Steve Perry Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock - Journey

48
120 120
Belinda Carlisle is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Belinda Carlisle Pop punk, New Wave, Pop music - The Go-Gos

49
94 94
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
93 93
Brian Wilson is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Brian Wilson Pop music, Rock music, Outsider music - The Beach Boys