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.
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list ordered by
1
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
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
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music
4
John Lennon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music
The Beatles
5
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
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
Eric Clapton is listed (or ranked) 7 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
8
Gwen Stefani is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Hip Pop R&B, Synthpop, New Wave
No Doubt
9
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Hip hop music, Rap music, Gangsta rap
N.W.A.
10
Lionel Richie is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music
The Commodores
11
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
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
MarkLuscombe added Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock
13
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Doom metal, Glam metal, Blues-rock
Black Sabbath
14
George Michael is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Synthpop, New Wave, Dance-pop
Wham!
15
Stevie Nicks is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Classic rock, Pop music, Rock music
Fleetwood Mac
16
Debbie Harry is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, New Wave
Blondie
17
Sting is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Medieval music, Classic rock, New Wave
The Police
18
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock
The Beatles, Traveling Wilburies
19
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
The Supremes
20
Ringo Starr is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Rock music, World music
The Beatles
21
Jon Bon Jovi is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Glam metal, Classic rock, Rock music
Bon Jovi
22
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
Steve Perry is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock
Journey
24
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock
Led Zeppelin
25
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band
Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word
The Velvet Underground