Singers The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band  

Ranker Music
Originally by
47.9k votes 3.6k voters 69.4k 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
1,186 406
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
351 351
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
543 542
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
706 705
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
537 536
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
483 482
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
233 234
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
528 527
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
513 512
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
154 154
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
459 458
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
276 275
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
430 429
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
315 313
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarkLuscombe added Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock

15
447 448
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Doom metal, Glam metal, Blues-rock - Black Sabbath

16
206 205
Steve Perry is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock - Journey

17
350 350
Jon Bon Jovi is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Glam metal, Classic rock, Rock music - Bon Jovi

18
315 314
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
309 308
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
457 456
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
277 276
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
269 268
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
343 342
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
The Supremes

24
330 329
George Michael is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Synthpop, New Wave, Dance-pop - Wham!

25
315 314
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music - The Commodores

26
298 298
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge - CSNY, Buffalo Springfield

27
255 254
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
280 279
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
262 262
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
155 154
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
410 409
Beyoncé is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Pop music - Destiny's Child

32
159 159
Chrissie Hynde is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Coolza added New Wave, Rock music, Punk rock - The Pretenders

33
198 198
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
192 191
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
198 197
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
172 171
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock - Pink Floyd

37
284 284
Rod Stewart is listed (or ranked) 37 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

38
180 179
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
142 142
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
183 183
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
146 145
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
256 256
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
258 259
Morrissey is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Jangle pop, Indie pop, Rockabilly - The Smiths

44
274 273
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
210 209
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
235 234
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 46 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.

47
135 136
Frankie Valli is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Doo-wop, Blue-eyed soul, Disco - The Four Seasons

48
209 208
Ricky Martin is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Latin American music, Latin pop - Menudo

49
223 224
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz - Soul Stirrers

50
198 198
Selena is listed (or ranked) 50 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