singers The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band  

Ranker Music
Originally by
39.6k votes 2.9k voters 56.2k views 130 items Embed

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
1,042 333
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
587 568
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
396 380
Freddie Mercury is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarleneAureliePfeiffer added Freddie Mercury Pop music, Rock music, Rockabilly

4
455 456
John Lennon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
John Lennon Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music - The Beatles

5
451 439
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
388 372
Phil Collins is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Phil Collins Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music - Genesis

7
440 431
Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Paul McCartney Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock - The Beatles

8
359 350
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
226 217
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarkLuscombe added Alice Cooper Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock

10
392 377
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
294 292
Jon Bon Jovi is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Jon Bon Jovi Glam metal, Classic rock, Rock music - Bon Jovi

12
264 263
Debbie Harry is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Debbie Harry Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Wave - Blondie

13
438 432
Gwen Stefani is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Gwen Stefani Hip Pop R&B, Synthpop, New Wave - No Doubt

14
231 227
Annie Lennox is listed (or ranked) 14 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

Famous People with the Same Real Name

15
259 259
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Robert Plant Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock - Led Zeppelin

16
263 252
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Neil Young Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge - CSNY, Buffalo Springfield

17
281 270
George Michael is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
George Michael Synthpop, New Wave, Dance-pop - Wham!

18
363 358
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Ozzy Osbourne Doom metal, Glam metal, Blues-rock - Black Sabbath

19
225 219
Chris Cornell is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Chris Cornell Rock music, Grunge, Psychedelic pop - Soundgarden, Audioslave

20
301 301
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Diana Ross The Supremes

21
271 267
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Lionel Richie Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music - The Commodores

The Best New Female Artists

22
154 153
Steve Perry is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Steve Perry Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock - Journey

23
239 237
Joan Jett is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Joan Jett Glam punk, Rock and roll, Hard rock - The Runaways

24
233 235
Iggy Pop is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Iggy Pop Punk blues, Garage rock, Protopunk - The Stooges

25
167 164
Gloria Estefan is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Gloria Estefan Pop music, Latin pop, Dance-pop - Miami Sound Machine

26
346 345
Beyoncé Knowles is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Beyoncé Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music - Destiny's Child

27
128 131
Chrissie Hynde is listed (or ranked) 27 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

28
247 241
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

The Best Band Name Origins Stories

29
117 120
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
151 147
Belinda Carlisle is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Belinda Carlisle Pop punk, New Wave, Pop music - The Go-Gos

31
158 156
Don Henley is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Don Henley Pop music, Rock music, Country rock - The Eagles

32
177 168
Billy Idol is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Billy Idol New Wave, Rock music, Dance-rock - Generation X

33
236 228
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Peter Gabriel New Wave, Pop music, Rock music - Genesis

34
223 216
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 34 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

35
160 162
Roger Daltrey is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Roger Daltrey Rock music, Pop rock, Power pop - The Who

The Best Documentary Movies on Netflix Instant

36
152 153
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
117 117
Glenn Frey is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Glenn Frey Pop music, Rock music, Country rock - The Eagles

38
194 191
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Sam Cooke Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz - Soul Stirrers

39
111 111
Frankie Valli is listed (or ranked) 39 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

40
171 168
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
226 228
Pharrell Williams is listed (or ranked) 41 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.

42
224 227
Morrissey is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Morrissey Jangle pop, Indie pop, Rockabilly - The Smiths

Historical Events You Most Wish You Could Learn About In Song

43
224 220
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 43 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

44
112 110
Ronnie James Dio is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarkLuscombe added Ronnie James Dio Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

45
174 175
Ricky Martin is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Ricky Martin Pop music, Latin American music, Latin pop - Menudo

46
227 225
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 46 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

47
140 140
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
327 322
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
214 216
Fergie is listed (or ranked) 49 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

50
112 114
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