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The Band Minus the Face

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When a musical group loses one (or more) of its key members, such as the lead singer or a similar Face of the Band figure, it usually breaks up — but not always. Occasionally, a band tries to continue without its "face", sometimes because it is legally obligated to.

Sometimes the group tries to replace the departed member, sometimes not. (If this happens, the new member is often dismissed by fans as a Replacement Scrappy.) Either way, more often than not, the result is bad, and the band rarely lasts more than one or two more albums. It can also lead to both Canon Discontinuity and Fanon Discontinuity, as performers and fans all try to forget the inferior post-face recordings ever existed. However, on rare occasions, a band gets lucky and averts the trope by attracting a new, larger audience.


Many bands both avert this trope and play it straight; it isn't uncommon for a band to survive the departure of one key member only to later see their popularity fade after the loss of a different member.

In a related phenomenon, sometimes a famous singer's backing band takes a "vacation" from its leader, releasing its own original material while still under the singer's employ. It's kind of a Solo Side Project, only involving more than one member of a group.

Compare and contrast the musical applications of Growing the Beard.



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    Straight Examples 
  • 2 Unlimited was reformed as a girl group after the original two faces, Ray Slijngaard and Anita Doth, parted ways. It didn't last long, as they only produced one album before breaking up themselves.
  • By the time of 4 Strings' third album, Mainline, Vanessa van Hemert had completely left the group, although the album included her swan song single "Sunrise". They subsequently faded into obscurity.
  • 10,000 Maniacs soldiered on after Natalie Merchant left. They gained a new lead singer, Mary Ramsey and their first album with Ramsey produced the biggest hit in the band's career, a Cover Version of Roxy Music's "More Than This". Since then however, their album sales have stagnated and they never retained the overall popularity they had when Merchant was the singer.
  • Accept have had this twice. The first time, they replaced iconic lead singer Udo Dirkschneider with David Reece. The resulting album, Eat the Heat, was derided as being too commercial, and they quickly split up. The second time, Udo was replaced by Frank Tornillo. However, since Blood of the Nations has received fairly good reviews, this may count as an aversion.
  • When Alice Cooper transitioned from being a band to being a solo act, the original members of the band other than Cooper himself (along with an additional guitarist/vocalist and keyboardist) became Billion Dollar Babies. Their lone album, 1977's Battle Axe, didn't do well critically or commercially, and now it's mostly known as a footnote to Alice Cooper's career.
  • After Alice Deejay's girl trio split up, the producers attempted to start anew as Candee Jay with vocalist Ilze Lankhaar. But like the aforementioned fellow Dutch act 2 Unlimited, the reformation only lasted for one album.
  • Bad Religion lost their lead guitarist and co-songwriter, Brett Gurewitz, twice. The first was for a single EP that most fans have never even heard (the Old Shame that preceded it reluctantly included Gurewitz). The second was for several years on a major label, spanning three albums. While The New America is considered a reasonable album, the other two are a Dork Age, mostly from Greg Graffin not being able to come up with enough album-worthy material by himself in a just a year or two. Worth noting is that Guerwitz appears as a guest guitarist on The New America and returned to the band full-time for their next album.
  • Another band that suffered following the departure of its lead singer was Big Brother and the Holding Company. After Janis Joplin left, the band recruited several new members (including two replacement vocalists) and released Be a Brother. Few accepted the invitation, which may be why Big Brother's next album (and their last for 15 years) was titled How Hard It Is.
  • When brothers Chris and Rich Robinson, of The Black Crowes, finally couldn't stand each other any more, the band dissolved. Lead singer Chris started his own band - pointedly called The Chris Robinson Brotherhood - almost immediately. Guitarist Rich, meanwhile, did solo work for a few years before recruiting former Black Crowes guitarist Marc Ford and bass player Sven Pipien to form The Magpie Salute. They perform covers, new works, and Black Crowes tracks.
  • After Shannon Hoon's death in 1995, Blind Melon reformed with a vocalist who had a somewhat similar style and released one album under the name Unified Theory; years later they reformed again with a vocalist with a very similar singing style, this time touring and releasing an album under the Blind Melon name again. Both albums had relatively good reception from fans, but didn't attract much attention outside of the fan base.
  • Bloodrock was sort of a cross between Grand Funk Railroad and Black Sabbath, a Hard Rock band best known for their morbid Teenage Death Song hit "D.O.A.". When singer Jim Rutledge and guitarist Lee Pickens left, the remaining members brought in singer/flutist Warren Ham and went in a new direction, changing their style to Progressive Rock and refusing to play much of their earlier material, including "D.O.A.", in concert. However, old fans weren't interested and they didn't get many new fans, so Bloodrock finally broke up.
  • After Melanie Thornton left La Bouche, the rest of the group produced the single "All I Want" with Natacha Wright, which was a flop. Following Thornton's death in a plane crash, they posthumously used vocals from her unfinished solo material to produce "In Your Life" and its B-side "Take Me to Heaven Tonight".
  • Following Severina Sol's departure from The Break Up, the remaining members continued under the name Blakk Glass, though they too have been AWOL in recent years.
  • Bronski Beat's trademark falsetto vocalist, Jimmy Somerville, left after The Age of Consent to found The Communards, and was replaced by non-falsetto Jon Foster for Truth Dare Double Dare, the group's second and last full-length album. Following Foster's departure, Steve Bronski and Larry Steinbachek continued as a duo for a few years before disbanding completely.
  • Damo Suzuki wasn't Can's original vocalist (their first album featured Malcolm Mooney) and was only with them for three years, but for many people Can are that band with the crazy Japanese singer, with the Malcolm Mooney era seen as Early Installment Weirdness and the post-Suzuki albums (with the possible exception of the first, Soon Over Babaluma) generally ignored altogether.
  • Chrome became known in the early '80s when the band was a collaboration between Damon Edge and Helios Creed. Therefore, they've gone through this trope twice: first when Helios left and Damon took full control, and second when Damon died and Helios took the name back.
  • By 1985, The Clash had lost two of its classic lineup, Mick Jones and Topper Headon. The two left behind, Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon, recruited some new musicians and recorded Cut the Crap — an ironic title, considering that the album was rejected by most fans, most critics, and the group itself. Indeed, it was a very Troubled Production; Strummer is the only band member on most of the tracks because manager Bernie Rhodes, who took creative control of the album over Strummer's vociferous protests, replaced Simonon and the new members with session musicians. With the exception of one well-regarded track, the single "This Is England", Cut the Crap has been more or less purged from Clash history. Strummer regarded it as an Old Shame; as he said in a 1989 interview, "I often think of [the new members]. I hope it didn't mess up their lives too much".
  • Danny and the Juniors released "At the Hop" in 1957, and didn't have a whole lot of success after that. Danny Rapp committed suicide in 1983, but the remainder of the quartet — now a trio — continues performing on the oldies circuit as Danny and the Juniors despite the absence of anyone named Danny in the group.
  • The Dead Kennedys' messy breakup resulted in the band continuing to tour without singer Jello Biafra, angering fans who felt that the new version of the DK's betrayed everything the original group stood for — for example, rewriting "MTV Get Off the Air" into "MP3 Get Off the Web"note ; this may help explain why the new DK's have gone through no less than four singers. Atypically for this trope, the post-Biafra Dead Kennedys haven't attempted any new material (all their releases since the split have been compilations or live albums dating from the Biafra era), while Jello has released several solo/spoken word albums, collaborated with multiple bands - including Lard, the Melvins, D.O.A., and Ministry, among others - and has even started a new band, Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine. The kicker? More Dead Kennedys fans have voiced their support for Jello's post-DK's career than they support the current Dead Kennedys.
  • Decoded Feedback's Marco Biagiotti and Yone Dudas split up due to internal tensions in 2018, with the latter now using the name as a solo vehicle.
  • The Russian band Diskoteka Avariya suffered from this twice. Up until 2002, while there was no official face for the band, rapper Oleg Zhukov was the most popular member, not only due to his stature and tendency to pop up for one verse in every song, but also to his charisma, comedic timing, very good rapping skills and recognizable voice. Not to mention, that the other members (mostly self-effacing composer/lyricist/keyboardist/occasional rapper Alexey Ryzhov and two virtually interchangeable vocalists Nikolay Timofeev and Alexey Serov) didn't particularly stand out. Zhukov died in 2002, and the band decided to go on, with Pretty Boy Timofeev as the band's official face, but the loss had clearly hit their popularity hard. In 2012, Timofeev either left the band or was fired from it (it depends on who you ask) and was completely un-personed despite being one of the band's two founders. After a brief attempt to put a new female singer in the spotlight that fizzled out after one album, the wiry and energetic Serov seems to have become the band's third face.
  • Most people agree that Don Caballero hasn't been the same since guitarist Ian Williams left. The bassist quit shortly after he did, leaving only drummer Damon Che left. Che tried to salvage the band, but the results were...disappointing, to say the least.
  • After Jim Morrison died in 1971, the surviving members of The Doors recorded two contractually obligated albums without him, Other Voices (shown above) and Full Circle. The albums were poorly received and eventually forgotten, and they were not included in reissues of the Doors' catalog until they were finally rereleased in 2015.
  • After Stevie Ray Vaughan's death in a helicopter crash in 1990, his band Double Trouble kept playing and recording together. In 2001, they released the album Been a Long Time, which featured guest appearances from blues musicians such as Susan Tedeschi, Kenny Wayne Sheppard and Dr. John in Vaughan's stead. The album didn't sell despite the star-studded lineup, and Double Trouble didn't release another album until 2019.
  • When Vancouver-based band Doug And The Slugs stopped recording studio albums, lead singer Doug Bennett toured for a good 12 years with a rotating group of backing musicians, still billing them as Doug And The Slugs. Following his death in 2004, the other original band members reunited with a new singer and are now touring as Doug And The Slugs despite not having Doug.
  • Following their initial breakup in 1997, the UK boy band East 17 had periods where it was either singer/songwriter Tony Mortimer or lead singer Brian Harvey leading the band by themselves while backing singers Terry Coldwell and John Hendy remained the only constant members of the group. Today the band has no longer either Mortimer or Harvey but continues with the two backing singers and new lead singer Robbie Craig.
  • Echo & the Bunnymen reformed in 1990 with original singer Ian McCulloch replaced by Noel Burke. Only one album was recorded, Reverberation, before its poor reception led the band to dissolve again. McCulloch returned for the 1997 reformation.
  • Hard Rock band Evans Blue, known for their dark experimental sound and inventive lyrics, famously broke their own fan base in firing lead singer and lyricist Kevin Matisyn. He was eventually replaced by the more radio-friendly Dan Chandler, resulting in a much more generic sound. The band never quite reached the level of success and visibility they had enjoyed with Matisyn, and are currently on hiatus. Matisyn moved on as a solo act and as the lead singer of Parabelle but has found even less success than his former bandmates in either case.
  • Exposé's original lineup disbanded in 1985 after their first two singles, "Exposed to Love" and "Point of No Return", with two of the members pursuing solo careers, and producer Lewis Martineé reformed the group with Gioia Bruno, Ann Curless, and Jeanette Jurado for their third single "Come Go With Me" and the albums Exposure and What You Don't Know. In 1992, Bruno lost her voice due to surgery for a benign throat tumor and was replaced by Kelly Moneymaker for their self-titled final album, which performed rather poorly.
  • The classic lineup of Noise Rock band Flipper had Will Shatter and Bruce Lose trading duties on vocals and bass, along with guitarist Ted Falconi and drummer Steve DePace. Over time, Shatter OD'd and Loosenote  retired due to back injuries. However, Flipper endures, with Falconi and DePace joined by a rotating cast of singers and bassists.
  • Guns N' Roses (seen in the averted examples) could also be seen as an inversion - all but Axl Rose left. The "new" GNR put out Chinese Democracy after 14 years without an album, and many fans declared it a massive failure, pretending it was never made. A few only cut him some slack once he brought Slash and Duff back.
  • Highway 101's fortunes faded fast after lead singer Paulette Carlson left and Nikki Nelson took her place. Carlson had a #21 hit with "I'll Start with You" and had no further success, while her former band's biggest hit with Nikki, "Bing Bang Boom", only got to #14. Carlson later rejoined the band (by which point their momentum had stopped entirely), but after she left a second time, Chrislynn Lee replaced her. Then Lee left and Nelson rejoined.
  • After lead singer Allan Clarke left The Hollies in 1971, the band hired an unknown Swedish singer named Mikael Rickfors to replace him. Rickfors was solid in the studio, but live shows were another matter. Rickfors completely lacked Clarke's charisma on stage, and his sound was so different from Clarke's that when the band tried to play their old hits, the results sounded strange and awkward. The albums recorded with Rickfors are highly regarded but were commercial failures that sounded nothing like the trademark Hollies sound. The band eventually reunited with Clarke, and Rickfors was let go.
  • The Idle Race released one last album, Time Is, in the UK after Jeff Lynne left for The Move and Mike Hopkins and Dave Walker took over. Never mind that they had a Top 10 hit, albeit only in Argentina, with a cover of Mungo Jerry's "In the Summertime."
  • When original singer Edwin left I Mother Earth, they managed to put out two more albums with Brian Byrne before imploding, though admittedly there were other factors. On the other hand, four studio albums is an impressive catalogue for an early 90s Canadian alt-rock band, since most were lucky to get to three.
  • After Michael Hutchence, the singer for INXS, tragically died in 1997, the group continued on with a new lead singer named Jon Stevens, who joined the group in 2002. Stevens then quit the group a year later to focus on a solo career, and the band eventually became involved with the Rock Star television series, where they crowned Canadian unknown J.D. Fortune as the new lead singer. Fortune released an album with the group (which received moderately good reviews and spawned a surprise top 40 hit with "Pretty Vegas"), the band "fired" him via an informal handshake at a Hong Kong airport, and they are once again without a singer.
  • When charismatic singer Peter Wolf left The J. Geils Band, the lead vocal duties were handed over to keyboardist Seth Justman. This arrangement lasted for all of one disappointing album before the band called it quits. The band reunited in 2009 with Wolf in tow, but namesake guitarist J. Geils quit following a legal spat in 2012 and died in 2017. The band toured until 2015 with the rest of its classic lineup intact, but it left them in the precarious position of being without the person who both founded the band and for whom it is literally named after.
  • When Rob Halford left Judas Priest in 1992 to pursue other projects, they recruited Tim "Ripper" Owens to front the band until his return in 2003, releasing two albums in that time. Owens' previous gig was singing for a Judas Priest tribute band, which inspired the movie Rock Star. These albums were not as well received as the albums with Halford, and when he returned to the band, the fandom rejoiced.
  • The Kentucky Headhunters lost brothers Ricky Lee Phelps (lead vocals) and Doug Phelps (bass guitar) before their third album, Rave On!! They were replaced by lead singer Mark Orr and bassist Anthony Kenney. Orr left after only one album, and Doug came back, taking over his brother's former role as lead singer. After Kenney left, Doug also became bassist again.
  • The KLF sampled from some Wanda Dee songs on their stadium house singles and their album The White Room—and owing to some weird copyright clause, this left Dee holding partial rights to the songs that sampled her. These songs wound up being much more popular than her original music. So when Jim Cauty and Bill Drummond (the only members of the KLF) retired from making music, she took advantage of their absence by using those tracks at her live shows and touring as "Wanda Dee featuring The KLF". No one was particularly amused.
  • Little Texas also went through this a lot. Initially, Tim Rushlow was the frontman, although keyboardist Brady Seals and rhythm guitarist Dwayne O'Brien occasionally sang lead instead (except for the fourth album, where Seals' replacement Jeff Huskins was only a keyboardist and not a vocalist). The band was broken up between 1997 and 2004. After the other four members of reunited without Seals, Rushlow, or Huskins (both Seals and Rushlow were in other bands at the time, and Huskins had founded a record label), they chose Steven Troy as their new lead vocalist. A record producer then convinced them to promote lead guitarist Porter Howell to lead vocals instead, and Howell is the one singing on their 2007 album Missing Years.
  • Until 1998, Lonestar had two lead singers: Richie McDonald and bassist John Rich. John was fired from the band in 1998, eventually founding Big & Rich with Big Kenny, and Lonestar went on to have some of its biggest hits, such as "Amazed" and "I'm Already There", with McDonald as sole lead singer. McDonald left in 2007 over Creative Differences, and was replaced by Cody Collins, who sounds nothing like McDonald. The band cut one middling album (Party Heard Around The World) with Collins as lead, then he left in 2011. McDonald rejoined after his solo career went nowhere, but by this point, the band's star had deeply faded.
  • When Lord Worm was fired from Cryptopsy, they continued with new vocalist Matt McGachy. Their first album with him, The Unspoken King, was a gigantic misstep that very nearly destroyed their career, but their subsequent releases with him have been far better received.
    • Lord Worm had actually left Cryptopsy once before, in 1997. They went through two lead singers, Mike DiSalvo and Martin Lacroix, before he returned in 2003.
  • Lostprophets lost its frontman Ian Watkins in 2013 after Watkins was arrested for and confessed to child sexual abuse. The remaining members formed No Devotion with Geoff Rickly of Thursday.
  • The Lovin' Spoonful released one more album after John Sebastian left (with drummer Joe Butler taking over lead vocals), then called it quits.
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd is probably the most extreme example in popular music. In 1977, a plane crash killed Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines (who had performed on the band's just-released Street Survivors album), his sister Cassie (a member of the band's backup singers, The Honkettes), and several members of the band's production staff. The crash also injured bassist Leon Wilkeson, who needed over two years of physical therapy to recover. The band disbanded after the tragedy but reformed ten years later with Ronnie's younger brother Johnny and a rotating cast of new blood. Of the original members, only guitarist Gary Rossington remains.
  • When Ian Matthews left Fairport Convention, he started his own country rock group, Matthews Southern Comfort, which released two albums. Afterwards, Matthews went solo, but his backing band renamed themselves Southern Comfort and did three albums without him.
  • After Meat Loaf attained massive popular success with Bat Out of Hell, songwriter-producer Jim Steinman wrote a followup album for the singer. When he proved unable to perform due to illness, Steinman brought Meat Loaf's band into the studio and sang the songs himself, releasing the album, Bad for Good, under his own name. While critics generally deemed it mediocre and found Steinman's voice a poor substitute for Meat Loaf's, it achieved a Top 40 hit with "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through". Meat Loaf would eventually record most of the songs on the album himself for various projects.
  • Fear Factory disbanded in 2002 after all members were in a feud with founding member Dino Cazares, but reformed the following year without him. This line-up made 2 albums: Archetype, which was favourably received, and Transgression, which, to date, is considered by many fans as their worst album.
    • Dino Cazares finally came back in 2009 after Fear Factory was pretty much in hiatus since 2006. As a result, Raymond Herrera and Christian Olde Wolbers left the band. For good.
  • In the world of gospel music, this happens pretty frequently, with a group forming around a person, or name, and trying to keep going after the founder/dominant personality is gone. When JD Sumner of JD Sumner and the Stamps Quartet died, Ed Enoch tried to keep the name and keep going but was forced for a few years to call the group Ed Enoch and Golden Covenant, which few knew or cared about. He finally got the rights to the name, but without JD, nobody thought of them as the Stamps. James Blackwood was the driving force behind the Blackwood Brothers, especially as his actual brothers eventually all left. When he left as well in 1980, leaving the group in the hands of his son and nephew, not many were thrilled with it and tried to pretend the group no longer existed. Several years after James's death, his son Jimmy started the group up again, eventually helping the group live up to its name when his brother Billy joined. Billy is the only Blackwood still with the group today, and their popularity is once again fading. Hovie Lister and the Statesman Quartet were gospel superstars, but after Lister's death, the other four members tried to keep going as the Happy Rhythm Quartet. No one remembers this happening. The Cathedrals officially ended their run with the death of Glen Payne, but several groups rose from their ashes, including the Legacy Five and Ernie Haase & Signature Sound. Both have repertoires that heavily draw from their years with the Cathedrals, but wisely, neither group has even tried to use that name.
  • A few years after The Guess Who broke up in 1975, they received offers to reunite. The best-known members — Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman — were busy with their solo careers, but some of the other members formed a new version of the group—and at the same time, bassist Jim Kale secured rights to the band's name. While the classic lineup played some gigs and released the live album and video Together Again in 1983, the rest of the Guess Who's post-1975 releases have come from several different lineups, many of which had Kale as the only original member, none of which featured Cummings or Bachman.
  • Waylon Jennings, Tommy Allsup, and Carl Bunch backed up Buddy Holly on the ill-fated Winter Dance Party, and after the crash, Holly was replaced with Ronnie Smith, and this new lineup later became the Jitters. They had little success, they soon broke up, Jennings became a solo star, and Smith was committed to a Texas state hospital for drug abuse in 1962, where he hanged himself in the bathroom.
  • A while after The Misfits front man Glenn Danzig (a multi-instrumentalist responsible for writing 90% of the original band's music) left the band for Samhain and later his own solo work, some of the remaining members, led by Jerry Only, went on to revive the band in the '90s. New member Micheal Graves (who actually admitted to never having heard a Misfits song before he joined the group) performed vocals on two reasonably well received (though far more accessible and pop-punk influenced) albums, while Only himself took over for the remainder of their (far less popular) work. Many fans of the classic Misfits refuse to allow that any band lacking Glenn Danzig truly qualifies as "The Misfits".
    • Well, at least the Michael Graves era is well regarded by many fans of the band as a good, but different band, the Heavy Metal influences opened the fanbase beyond the Punk Rock niche, however Jerry Only's later work is bashed by a select number of both punk rockers and metalheads for being weak and not as scary as their previous material.
    • On the other hand, a number of fans have willingly accepted Devil's Rain as genuinely good, and have grown weary of a lot of Danzig's Jerkass behavior over the years. Examples include the incident with the Northside Kings (in which Glenn threw a sucker punch, only to get knocked out when the Kings' frontman punched back), the concert where Glenn tried to encourage his fans to physically assault a member of the audience for talking on a cell phone (which resulted in Danzig being booed off stage),and his repeated homophobic remarks aimed at Hugh Jackman (Glenn has repeatedly claimed to have been in line to play the part of Wolverine in the X-Men Film Series, despite Bryan Singer's statements that Jackman was the only actor he ever considered for the part). Not to mention that while Jerry tried to C&D Hasbro from stealing the Misfits name for the rival band in the Jem franchise, Glenn apparently gave his blessing to Hasbro.
  • Moby Grape recorded two albums after Skip Spence left, went on hiatus, and pretty much released nothing until Spence returned.
  • By 1970, after The Monkees' TV series had been canceled and both Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork (the only members of the band who were actual musicians) had left, the band's future looked bleak. However, Saturday morning reruns of the show did well enough that the two remaining members — Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones — made one more album — Changes, a return to the bubblegum pop of the group's earliest hits, only not as good. Despite songs from Changes being inserted into the existing reruns, the LP didn't even make the Billboard Top 200 album chart on its initial release, and The Monkees were finished — until their successful 20th-anniversary reunion in 1986. When Changes (along with the rest of The Monkees' catalogue) was subsequently reissued, it finally made the charts, peaking at #152.
  • While 'Fast Eddie' Clarke wasn't strictly The Face of Motörhead, his replacement with former Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson met with this reaction in 1983. Although the resulting album, Another Perfect Day, was strong, Robertson indulged in behavior that alienated Motorhead fans, including performing in tight disco shorts and insisting on playing long blues jams while refusing to play Clarke's songs.
  • After Ian Hunter left Mott the Hoople, the band shortened its name to Mott and continued with two more albums, Drive On (which was at least a decent seller, peaking at #35) and Shouting and Pointing (which didn't chart at all).
  • Once Gary Numan temporarily retired as a live act in 1981, his backing band went on as Dramatis. Their lone album, For Future Reference, had keyboardist Chris Payne taking lead vocals, and mimicked Numan's science-fiction-themed Synth-Pop to some extent. They did manage a top 40 hit in the UK with "Love Needs No Disguise", which featured Gary Numan himself on guest vocals. Otherwise, they're largely a footnote to Gary Numan's career, enough so that when their album finally saw release on CD in 2000, it was repackaged as an album called The Dramatis Project by Tubeway Army Featuring Gary Numan.
  • In 1979, after a very successful and a not-so-successful album, Nina Hagen dumped her band, the Nina Hagen Band, in favor of a solo career. The next year, the band returned as Spliff and probably became even more successful than Hagen herself. Also inverted: Before they became Nina Hagen's backing band, they were known as Lokomotive Kreuzberg.
    • Spliff themselves suffered from this, for their lead singer only stayed for one album.
  • After Noel Gallagher left Oasis, Liam and the other three guys renamed themselves Beady Eye. Their debut album sold decently, but nowhere near as well as an Oasis album would have. They broke up after their follow-up Be flopped (in sales; it received significantly better reviews than Different Gear, Still Speeding) and drummer Chris Sharrock wound up joining Noel's considerably more successful band, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds.
  • When they were dumped by their record label, October Project's Mary Fahl then struck out on a solo career, taking her signature contralto with her. October Project, meanwhile, attempted several times to carry on without her, first as November Project, then as October Project again. While Mary has been able to get a CD out in stores since then, as well as appear on a couple of movie soundtracks, the larger part of the group has had only a few limited-run releases.
  • Indie pop girl group The Pipettes has seen many lineup changes: the band's most successful lineup of Rebecca "RiotBecki" Stephens, Rose Elinor Dougall, and Gwenno Saunders is the second lineup. Saunders replaced Julia Laird-Clowes, who left to become the singer and keyboardist for the indie band The Indelicates. After the release of their popular 2006 debut We Are the Pipettes, Stephens and Dougall left the band, with Dougall going onto a critically acclaimed solo career. Saunders and Monster Bobby (the group's co-creator and leader of their backing band) continued the group, recruiting replacements that also departed soon afterwards. The group's second album, Earth vs. Pipettes only features Saunders and her sister Ani in the lineup, and it tanked in both sales and critical reception.
  • The Pogues continued for a few years after firing lead singer and songwriter Shane MacGowan, who was temporarily replaced by Joe Strummer of The Clash before the band settled on co-founder Spider Stacy as their new lead singer. Their first post-MacGowan album, 1993's Waiting for Herb produced one of their biggest hits, "Tuesday Morning", but the album itself was savaged by critics and suffered poor sales. The band called it quits after their next album 1996's Pogue Mahone fared worse critically and sales-wise, and did not reunite until the members patched things up with MacGowan in 2001.
  • Sixteen years after the death of Freddie Mercury, Queen performed a reunion tour and recorded an album with Paul Rodgers of Bad Company and Free as vocalist. Sensing that perhaps their fanbase wouldn't accept Rodgers as a replacement for Mercury, the album was listed as being by "Paul Rodgers and Queen" as if to suggest Rodgers was a collaborative artist rather than a band member. Many fans reacted less warmly to this new team than to their solo work. Queen has since done a number of such performances and singles, credited as Queen + [artist].
  • Speaking of Bad Company and Paul Rodgers, the band reunited in 1986 minus Rodgers, hiring Brian Howe as his replacement and taking on a more contemporary hard rock sound. (To be fair, they only used the name "Bad Company" at the insistence of Atlantic Records.) While Howe-era Bad Company didn't do too badly on the charts, hitting the Top 40 thrice, fan and critical reception were nowhere near that of the classic Bad Company with Rodgers, guitarist Mick Ralphs, bassist Boz Burrell, and drummer Simon Kirke. Eventually, Howe himself was replaced by Robert Hart. The classic lineup would briefly reunite in the late 1990s, recording four new songs for a Greatest Hits compilation before Burrell left. (He died in 2006, ending further reunions of the classic lineup.) Since then, Rodgers and Kirke (joined by Ralphs when his health permits) have toured sporadically, although there have been no studio recordings since 2002 when two new songs were included on a Live Album.
  • Scum of the Earth was formed when Rob Zombie's lead guitarist Riggs and drummer John Tempesta got tired of doing nothing while Rob himself was filming House of 1000 Corpses. While reviews of Scum of the Earth mainly range between average to good, the lack of a frontman with the charisma of Rob Zombie and a failure to carve out an identity beyond "Rob Zombie's band without Rob" caused the band to remain in relative obscurity. Tempesta eventually got frustrated with this and left Scum of the Earth to play drums for The Cult.
  • Sector 27 released at least one single after Tom Robinson left.
  • The Sex Pistols recorded a few songs after Johnny Rotten left.
  • Skeletonwitch fired Chance Garnette from the band around the end of 2014 due to many, many serious character flaws that were made far worse by his excessive drinking and mean drunk tendencies, and after a tour with a fill-in the following year, they welcomed in Adam Clemans of Wolvhammer in 2016 and released The Apothic Gloom, their first release with him on vocals. Fan reaction has been mixed and they have still yet to warm up to him completely; while most fans understand that Chance had to go for the sake of the band's wellbeing, they also feel that Chance was such a major part of their sound and live show that it's not really Skeletonwitch without him.
  • The Sneaker Pimps' face in their early stages was singer Kelli Ali. Part of the reason why they dropped her was that she was the face - but she only sang the songs. Despite the warnings of their record label and the fans, Kelli was ignored and eventually kicked out of the band. Chris Corner, who did write the songs, became the singer (and the face) after that, and they released two more albums (the latter of which didn't chart at all) that failed to reach the success of Becoming X before disbanding completely in 2004.
  • Disbanded in 1973, David Bowie's glam-era backing band the Spiders From Mars 'regrouped' in 1975, without Bowie or guitarist Mick Ronson (and of course without pianist Mike Garson, who had played on the Ziggy Stardust live tour). That left the original drummer and bassist alongside a number of unknown replacements: the group stayed together for one critically-panned album.
  • Cat Stevens' backup guitarist Alun Davies released an album titled Daydo in 1972 using some of Stevens' backing band, making this a Cat Stevens album in all but name (though Stevens himself appeared as guest artist). Critical reception was rather mixed (mainly because of its inclusion of "I'm Late"), and Daydo remains Davies' lone solo album to date.
  • Stone Temple Pilots. After Scott Weiland left and the band broke up, the other members formed Army of Anyone with Filter singer Richard Patrick. Most STP fans don't know Army of Anyone exists, and if they do, they tend to deny it exists.
    • STP reunited in 2008, but fell into this trope once again when Scott Weiland was fired for unknown reasons and subsequently replaced with Chester Bennington. With 2015 marking both Bennington’s departure and Weiland’s death, followed by Bennington's suicide in 2017, the band has carried on with former The X Factor US contestant Jeff Gutt.
    • In another Pilots-related example, there was Talk Show, a band the members formed with vocalist Dave Coutts in 1997, while Weiland was struggling with drug addiction and working on his first solo album. As with Army Of Anyone, the one album they released didn't do very well commercially and isn't too well-known even among fans.
  • The Stranglers recorded ten albums, the last four being international hits. They went for an eleventh (called 10, just to confuse matters), which fell flat. Singer Hugh Cornwell left, considering them a spent force, but the band kept going. The band's 2004 album Norfolk Coast and single "Big Thing Coming" were mildly successful, but far less so than the albums made when Cornwell was in the band.
  • After Brian Setzer left The Stray Cats, the other two members — Jim Phantom and Lee Rocker — teamed up with former David Bowie guitarist Earl Slick to form a new group, Phantom, Rocker, and Slick. They had minor hits with "Men Without Shame" and "My Mistake" (which featured Keith Richards on guitar) and released two albums before dissolving.
  • Country Music band Shenandoah broke up in 1997 when lead singer Marty Raybon left to do one album with his brother Tim as the Raybon Brothers. Three years later, the band reunited with new lead singer Brent Lamb. He didn't last long, so new guitarist Curtis Wright became lead singer afterward. Wright then left to join Pure Prairie League, so songwriter Jimmy Yeary (who sounds uncannily like Raybon) took over. Yeary then quit to tour with his wife, Sonya Isaacs, in her gospel group, so Doug Stokes became the lead singer. Finally, in 2014, Raybon rejoined.
  • Styx lost Dennis de Young, their vocalist and keyboardist/pianist whose singing had made the band. They've hardly done as successfully as de Young himself, who continues with his own band....still singing Styx songs just as well as he did before.
    • The 1990 Edge of the Century album retained De Young, but Glen Burtnik replaced Tommy Shaw in the line-up.
  • In 2009, Sublime started touring with new singer/guitarist Rome Ramirez replacing the late Brad Nowell. This didn't stick, as the Nowell family claims that Brad was the sole owner of the band name. The other two original members soon decided they didn't want to alienate Brad's widow, family, and friends and changed the name of the project to Sublime with Rome, which was accepted by Brad's family. After the release of Sublime with Rome's first album, drummer Bud Gaugh quit as he also felt the new musical project was disrespectful to Nowell, making Eric Wilson the only original member of Sublime in Sublime with Rome.
    • Prior to this there was Long Beach Dub All-Stars, who were also Sublime without Nowell.
  • The Supremes managed to last several years after Diana Ross left (and even had a few minor hits), but were tremendously overshadowed by Ross's solo career. Most Supremes best-of albums barely acknowledge the Ross-less years (when Mary Wilson remained throughout), if at all. For this reason, they are sometimes called The '70s Supremes.
  • Talking Heads broke up because of tension between singer/guitarist David Byrne and the rest of the band. In 1996, the group (under the shortened name The Heads) recorded No Talking, Just Head, an album on which Byrne was replaced by a new guitarist and a variety of guest singers, including Debbie Harry, Iggy Pop, Michael Hutchence, Andy Partridge and Johnette Napolitano (who sang lead on the accompanying tour). The album was not well received, and that was the end for any version of Talking Heads (except for a one-shot 2002 reunion gig celebrating the band's induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame).
  • After Thin Lizzy broke up and Phil Lynott died, the band had a few reunion projects before reuniting on a permanent basis in 1996 with former guitarist John Sykes as the lead singer. They've only released a single live album under the Thin Lizzy name since, so most people didn't really care. When a more recent lineup, with Ricky Warwick on vocals, started writing new material, they opted to release it under the name Black Star Riders out of respect for Lynott - they've said this doesn't rule out the same lineup still doing occasional live performances as Thin Lizzy though.
  • Trick Pony tried to continue after the departure of Heidi Newfield, replacing her with Aubrey Collins. She only lasted eight months before leaving over Creative Differences. After guitarist Keith Burns left to form another group, the remaining member (bassist Ira Dean) tried in vain to re-form the band for many years until they finally got back together in 2014.
  • Ali Campbell, frontman for UB40 left the band in 2008 (he and the remaining bandmembers disagree as to why), along with keyboardist Mickey Virtue, and was replaced by his brother Duncan. Then in 2013, Ali, calling the existing group "my brother murdering my songs" and "playing smaller and smaller venues", recruited Virtue and rapper Astro (who had remained with the group up til then) to form another UB40, which following a 2014 court case must be legally referred to as "UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue". So UB40 now refers to the Band Without the Face and The Face Without (Most of) the Band.
  • When Lou Reed left The Velvet Underground in 1970, guitarist Doug Yule (whom Reed had brought in to replace John Cale) kept what was left of the band touring for two years, then recorded the album Squeeze with session musicians (including Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice). According to the Wikipedia article, Squeeze "could justifiably be regarded as a Doug Yule solo album in all but name". While the album has its defenders, rock critic David Fricke sums up the general consensus when he describes it as "an embarrassment to the VU discography."
  • Inverted in a sense by Rush. Original drummer John Rutsey left after the band's rather formulaic debut album and was replaced by Neil Peart, whose distinctive drumming and lyrics added significantly to the band's appeal.
  • When The Who lost drummer Keith Moon after 1978's Who Are You, the band replaced him with Kenney Jones. Everything went OK for a while, including a decently-received tour, until 11 fans were killed at a concert in Cincinnati a year later. The band then released two studio albums with Jones, Face Dances and It's Hard. While the former had a bonafide hit in "You Better You Bet" and a charter in "Another Tricky Day", the latter was panned by just about everyone (though Rolling Stone infamously awarded it 5/5 stars). Though they've reunited since then (recently without bassist John Entwistle, who died in 2002) many times for tours and even a studio album Endless Wire which was warmly received, they've never REALLY been The Who since Keith passed away.
  • The all-girl trio Wild Orchid achieved a modest amount of success with three albums and singles like "Talk to Me" in the late '90s and early '00s. In 2001, Stacy Ferguson (the face of the group at the time) met from the Black Eyed Peas, and left Wild Orchid to pursue her goals with the hip-hop group. Wild Orchid continued on as a duo, and their final album, Hypnotic, was only released on the band's website in 2003 and sold a pitiful 5,000 copies. By the end of the year, the group had disbanded.
  • A variation: X's first four albums (from Los Angeles to More Fun in the New World) featured Billy Zoom on guitar and were produced by Ray Manzarek of The Doors. Afterwards, Zoom left and the band stopped working with Manzarek; fan consensus is that these changes led to a Dork Age for the group, and the two albums they recorded before going on hiatus (Ain't Love Grand and See How We Are) aren't quite as good as what came before, although there are some who appreciate this era of the band.
  • Zilch tried to go on as a performing band after the death of lead guitarist hide, but eventually finally ended their less-than-successful attempt at this with the death of bassist Paul Raven.
  • Europop group Novaspace replaced frontwoman Jessica Boehrs with Jenny Marsala after the former left in 2006 to focus on her TV acting career, and re-recorded their prior singles "Dancing with Tears In My Eyes" (Ultravox cover) and "Time After Time"(Cyndi Lauper cover) with Marsala on vocals. Needless to say, their popularity and musical quality took a nosedive, and they disbanded altogether in 2011. (The Dutch Euro-trance group of the same name founded around this time is unrelated)
  • Yankee Grey's lead singer quit after their first album due to vocal cord issues. The band's label closed around the same time, so they released one album independently with the keyboardist singing lead vocals instead and were never heard from again.
  • In 1979, with one more album due, lead singer Jon Anderson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman confessed to each other that they were absolutely miserable in the band, and left Yesnote . The other members, vital parts of the band in their own right over the years, wound up hiring both members of The Buggles when the latter approached them with a song they'd written, unaware at the time of Anderson and Wakeman's departure. Trevor Horn sang lead on the resulting album, Drama, making it the only Yes album without Anderson's vocals.

  • AC/DC. Their original singer, Dave Evans, was fired before the band became famous. Their second singer Bon Scott joined and the band got signed and released albums throughout the '70s. After Scott's death in 1980, the band came back with new singer Brian Johnson and Back In Black, their most successful album and, indeed, the most successful album by any actual band, surpassed in sales only by Michael Jackson's Thriller. Several of the band's most iconic songs date from this period, which continued to tour and release material to the present day, and for an entire generation of fans Johnson was the face of the band, as much as Scott ever was (remembering, of course, that this the band includes Angus Young, he of the eternal school uniform).
  • Alice in Chains reunited and began touring in 2005, three years after lead singer Layne Staley died, and eventually selected William Duvall as his replacement. The band's first album with Duvall, Black Gives Way to Blue, received good critical and fan reception, with most of the fandom that had been against Duvall changing their tune.
  • Alter Bridge is Creed without Scott Stapp. While not as commercially successful as its predecessor, Alter Bridge has earned significantly more respect from critics and rock fans to the point where some have held up Creed (as compared to Alter Bridge) as a textbook example of how a bad vocalist can drag down the work of good instrumentalists. Myles Kennedy, Alter Bridge's frontman, is now additionally lead vocalist for Slash's solo band, producing an interesting cross-pollination of minus-the-face groups.
  • Thrash-metal band Annihilator. Guitarist Jeff Waters has always been the "real" face of the band, the band has gone through FIVE vocalists so far, first was Randy Rampage (though Jeff himself did sing on some of the demos from the debut album), who despite being well-loved among fans left after one album, then Coburn Pharr replaced him and he was considered a competent replacement, he too left and was replaced by Aaron Randall, who most people thought sounded too commercial to fit in with Annihilator. Annihilator split after that, though Jeff Waters released several albums under the Annihilator name despite not featuring any members other then himself (he sang all the songs and performed all the instruments himself) Then the band reunited with Randy Rampage for one album before he quit yet again, he was replaced with Liege Lord singer/guitarist Joe Comeau, who was by a large majority considered to be Annihilator's best vocalist, then he left and was replaced with the band's now current singer Dave Padden, who most fans consider to be Annihilator's weakest vocalist by far as they felt his was too "modern" sounding (though most agree that Dave's singing has improved since he first joined the band).
  • Anthrax went through four different lead singers: first there was Neil Turbin (1982-1984), then there was the very successful Joey Belladonna era (1985-1992). After that, John Bush (1992-2004) took over, and after a reunion tour with Belladonna in 2005, Dan Nelson became the current frontman. Nelson later left and Joey Belladonna reunited with Anthrax, just in time for the Big Four tour and a new album.
  • Asking Alexandria became one of the biggest Metalcore bands in the United States (despite being British) with frontman Danny Worsnop on lead, and was the definite Face of the Band for many listeners (though guitarist and original founder Ben Bruce is a close second). However, overtime Danny became disaffected with metalcore, and (combined with his troubles with drug addiction), eventually left the band. He moved to Los Angeles to form the '80s Hard Rock throwback band We Are Harlot. For most bands, this would've been the end. But they were able to continue with Ukrainian singer Denis Stoff (formally of the short-lived band Make Me Famous), and still remain popular in the mainstream metal scene (albeit not without a massive Broken Base over which vocalist is better). The fact that they have another face with guitarist and founder Ben Bruce likely helped them transition from one vocalist to another easier.
  • The Band. In 1965, Bob Dylan recruited an unknown group called Levon and the Hawks as his backing band for his first electric tour. After his 1966 motorcycle accident the following year led him to withdraw from the public eye for a time, the group changed its name to The Band and went into business for itself, with considerable success. They played this straight with some later reunions minus Robertson (depending on whether you view him or Levon Helm as The Face). In the 80s the four other members did some tours of tiny clubs and theatres but halted after Richard Manuel was Driven to Suicide. In the early '90s, the three remaining members reunited again with some success, but the death of Rick Danko (and later Helm) finally put a stop to The Band once and for all.
  • Brazilian band Barão Vermelho managed to remain successful after lead singer Cazuza left for a solo career and his songwriting partner, guitarist Roberto Frejat, took over the vocals. Their revival without Frejat, on the other hand, not so much.
  • Barenaked Ladies had two lead singers in Steven Page and Ed Robertson. Both men have fine voices and strong songwriting skills, but Page really was more "the face" as he did the lead vocals on some the band's earliest hits, like "Enid", "Grade 9", "Be My Yoko Ono", "What a Good Boy", "Jane", "The Old Apartment", etc. Robertson's star-maker was "One Week", which is when he really began to be noticed as equal in esteem to Page. He's now the only lead singer after Page's departure, and opinions on whether or not this has hurt the band vary. The common consensus is that the current line-up is really good, great even, but with Steven's voice and multi-layered lyrics, they were truly something special.
  • Tyondai Braxton, the singer and guitarist for math rock group Battles, left the band after the tour for their successful 2007 debut album Mirrored. The band pressed on without replacing him and their sophomore effort, 2011's Gloss Drop was extremely well received. Instead of replacing him directly, the songs on Gloss Drop are either instrumental or feature guest vocalists. Their third album La Di Da Di dropped the guests entirely and is purely instrumental.
  • Battle Beast well withstood the departure of its original lead vocalist Nitte Valo due to family issues in 2012, which may have had something to do with the fact that they had to date only released one album with Valo (2011's Steel). She was replaced with Noora Louhimo the same year, who sings in a similar style, and the band has gone on to release three more albums and tour with such names as Sonata Arctica and Sabaton.
  • Bauhaus, a notable British goth band from the late '70s, disbanded in 1983. Singer Peter Murphy went on to a reasonably successful solo career while the three remaining musicians reformed as Love & Rockets. L&R achieved greater commercial success than Bauhaus over the course of several albums and tours until 1998. In 1998, Peter Murphy and Love & Rockets reformed Bauhaus. In 2008, Bauhaus recorded a new album but imploded after recording it. The band is now back to being splintered between Love & Rockets and Peter Murphy.
  • The Beach Boys carried on after Brian Wilson slid into mental illness and drug addiction in the late '60s, and continued to release charting singles and sell out concerts throughout the following decade, and while they continued releasing excellent albums artistically, they never did reach the commercial heights of the mid-'60s.
  • It even happened to The Beatles: Pete Best may be a relative unknown in this day and age, but when the band replaced him with Ringo Starr, it led to a fan uprising in Liverpool. Of course, you know the rest of the story already...
  • After Ozzy Osbourne was fired from Black Sabbath due to his increasingly uncontrollable behavior, he was replaced by Ronnie James Dio. Dio's tenure only lasted three years and two albums (plus a third one in 1992 during Tony Martin's period away from the band), but was accepted by fans as an adequate replacement for Osbourne during that time, sang on the group's only commercially significant live album, and toured with a reunited Sabbath under the name Heaven and Hell. While Osbourne remains the most popular and well-known frontman, Sabbath saw enough success with Dio to form a bit of a Broken Base (although not as big as Ozzy's solo career).
    • The Sabs actually fell victim to this trope multiple times; after Dio left, they went through four other vocalists (Ian Gillan, Glenn Hughes, Ray Gillen, and Tony Martin - not counting a short-lived reunion with Dio during a two-year period when Martin quit the band) before Ozzy finally returned in 1997. And throughout the band's long history, guitarist Tony Iommi was the only consistent member.
  • Buffy Lawson, lead singer of the duo Bomshel, left in 2007 over Creative Differences between her and backup vocalist/fiddler Kristy Osmunson. Lawson's replacement was Kelley Shepard. At this point, the duo had only released three singles, two of which they quickly disowned once Shepard took over. Although the first two singles with Shepard both tanked too, they finally managed to get two Top 40 hits and a full album with Kelley. However, after one more failed single, they broke up in 2013 and Kristy formed another duo called American Young.
  • During his long career, Eric Burdon has inverted this trope in two different ways.
    • Burdon's first group, The Animals, started as one of the pre-eminent Blues Rock bands of The British Invasion. They'd already become a Revolving Door Band with Burdon as the only consistent member by 1967 when they re-emerged with an amended name (Eric Burdon and the Animals) and a new sound (Psychedelic Rock). So the Animals became The Band Minus Everyone But the Face, but despite all the changes they continued to have hits.
    • After the Animals split up again, Burdon went on to lead the Funk ensemble Eric Burdon and War, which he left after a year and a half. War continued without him, becoming one of the major acts of The '70s in their own right.
  • After recording "Eight Miles High," The Byrds lost Gene Clark, their principal songwriter, because he was afraid of flying. Although this began the Revolving Door Band that ensued in the next three years, Roger McGuinn became the new "face" and the group wrote and recorded some of their best material on Fifth Dimension (which has "Eight Miles High" and "Why," both with Clark) and Younger Than Yesterday (which doesn't have Clark at all).
  • Death metal pack leaders Cannibal Corpse ended up firing their original frontman, Chris Barnes, over attitude issues. What they didn't account for was that Chris Barnes was the most beloved death metal frontman outside of Chuck Schuldiner. Fortunately, the guy they ended up getting, George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher, was not only a vastly superior vocalist, he pretty much converted any skeptics with his first vocal section on his first album with the band.
  • Caramell's original lineup disbanded in 2002, but following the success of the Caramelldansen Vid in 2008, the producers reformed the group as Caramella Girls with all-new vocalists, releasing "Boogie Bam Dance" in 2011 followed by several more new singles.
  • Chicago averted this twice, going on both after Terry Kath's accidental death in 1978 and Peter Cetera's departure in '85. Cetera, however, is the only ex-member who most identify as the band's 'face.'
  • The Russian band "Chorny Obelisk" (Black Obelisk) broke up after the untimely demise of their founder, lyricist, bass guitarist and main vocalist Anatoliy Krupnov in 1997. In 1999, three former members of the band started playing together again, and, after hearing people refer to them as "Black Obelisk", decided to revive the band. The first album they released (with guitarist Dmitriy Borisenkov providing lyrics and main vocals), was dedicated to Krupnov's memory. While Borisenkov has become the new face of the band, and the band itself has regained a lot of its former popularity, they still cite Krupnov as their biggest influence and hold annual concerts in his memory.
  • The Commodores had one final big hit, "Nightshift", several years after Lionel Richie left.
  • Creedence Clearwater Revisited has Stu Cook and Doug Clifford of Creedence Clearwater Revival. They haven't had the success they enjoyed with John Fogerty, but their new band has lasted much longer.
  • After Buddy Holly parted ways with them the Crickets continued to perform for years without him, and they even backed up Eddie Cochran in the recording studio on "Three Steps to Heaven."
  • Da Yoopers continued nearly 20 years beyond the 1995 departure of frontman Joe Potila, who co-wrote and co-produced everything with drummer Jim DeCaire, played lead guitar, and sang many of the lead vocals. His replacement Jim Bellmore took over in all of those duties, while also expanding the band's sound through his skills on several other instruments (notably, he also played bass on We're Still Rockin', as it was recorded while the band was between bassists). As the band is a No-Hit Wonder, it's not like they had much success to lose in the first place.
  • Deep Purple went through a ridiculous number of lineup changes - in fact, the changes were so drastic that lineups are often referred to by number instead of by name. The only member to be involved in every incarnation is drummer Ian Paice, and nobody ever remembers the drummer - and while the second lineup remains the most popular, the others have done fairly well for themselves as well.
  • The Dixie Chicks were complete unknowns until after Natalie Maines took over lead vocal duties from Laura Lynch. This trope then got averted again; see "Vacations" below.
  • It happened very gradually, but The Dropkick Murphys are now better known with replacement vocalist Al Barr than they were with original frontman Mike McColgan. McColgan, who left The Dropkick Murphys after their first album to become a firefighter, later started Street Dogs, who have been successful in their own right, but aren't as well-known as his first band. Al Barr actually made a guest appearance on the first Street Dogs album Savin Hill, trading verses with Mike McColgan on "Stand Up".
  • Duran Duran became considerably more successful after their original vocalist Stephen "Tintin" Duffy was (ultimately) replaced by Simon Le Bon.
  • Back in the '20s, there was this jazz band called The Washingtonians, and their leader was the banjoist Elmer Snowden. In early 1924, the rest of the band accused Snowden of keeping too much of the band's earnings for himself, and they fired him. Their piano player Duke Ellington took the reins of the band—and turned them into one of the greatest bands in jazz history.
  • Emerson, Lake & Palmer disbanded in 1978 after the disappointing contractual obligation album Love Beach flopped. The three of them went their separate ways, Keith Emerson mainly to do film scores, Greg Lake working as a solo artist, Carl Palmer as a member of another supergroup, Asia. In 1986, Emerson and Lake formed Emerson, Lake & Powell with ex-Black Sabbath and Rainbow drummer Cozy Powell, released one Self-Titled Album before disbanding. Moderate sales and financial problems led to the original ELP trying to reunite, but after Lake opted out, Emerson and Palmer formed 3 with American singer/guitarist/bassist Robert Berry (who replaced Steve Hackett in GTR for one ill-fated attempt at a second album), but 1988's Three To The Power Of Three, their only album together, also stalled. ELP finally reunited in 1992.
  • Ely Buendia, vocalist and main songwriter of Filipino rock band Eraserheads, left the band in 2002 and was quickly replaced by a female vocalist, Kris Gorra-Dancel of Fatal Posporos. The band played for a few months under the Eraserheads name, but when guitarist Marcus Adoro decided to leave the band and new members (Sugarfree's Ebe Dancel and Monsterbot's Diego Mapa) were added, they became known as a totally different band called Cambio — a supergroup of sorts considering everyone in the lineup came from established bands.
  • Three former members of Evanescence (including co-founder Ben Moody) and a new female lead singer (former American Idol contestant Carly Smithson) founded We Are the Fallen, a band that sounds not unlike Evanescence. Frontwoman Amy Lee later formed a new Evanescence, making it a case of "The Face Minus the Band".
  • Exile went both ways with this. In their original incarnation in The '70s, with Jimmy Stokley on lead vocals, they scored only one major hit with "Kiss You All Over". Many failed albums later, J. P. Pennington and Sonny LeMaire became the frontmen, and the group reinvented itself as a country band which scored ten #1 hits in The '80s. Then in 1989, Pennington and several other members quit, leaving LeMaire and new member Paul Martin to carry only a couple minor hits before their success tapered off entirely.
  • The English rock band Faces. The group (originally known as The Small Faces) lost their original lead singer, Steve Marriott, when he left to form Humble Pie. The group renamed itself and then picked up two new members - Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart (both of which led the band to drop the "Small" from the nameexplanation ). Their subsequent output included four successful studio albums and a series of major hits like "Stay With Me" and "Ooh La La". After the release of their fourth album, though, Ronnie Lane left and Stewart focused far too much on his solo career. Finally, Wood's work (and popularity) with The Rolling Stones caused the band to disintegrate.
  • In 1970, Fleetwood Mac lost its frontmen, guitarist/singers Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer, to Creator Breakdown - Green quit due to stress and poor health, while Spencer stepped out to "buy a magazine", disappeared, and joined a cult. The group went through several frontmen in the next several years, most notably Bob Welch, before Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined, leading the band to the height of their popularity. The trope eventually caught up with them, though. Buckingham quit in 1987. The group's next release, Behind the Mask, flopped, after which Nicks left the group as well. The band assembled a new line-up which released one album, Time (which flopped even worse than Behind the Mask), and then dissolved until 1997 when Buckingham and Nicks rejoined.
  • Flyleaf is still doing fairly well, though not as popular, without their original singer. The choice to keep the band name and sing old Flyleaf songs without Lacey Sturm has been... Controversial to say the least. Many fans ditched the band after Lacey left, and Kristen May gets flack for not being Lacey, but it still has fans. Though, the overall image is different now that Lacey isn't around being The Ophelia and the songs sound different because Kristen sings differently than Lacey.
  • Funker Vogt's longtime Face of the Band, Jens Kastel, quit in 2013 following the release of Companion in Crime, being replaced by Sacha Korn on the ill-received single "Sick Man". Luckily, they found a better replacement in the form of Chris L. from Agonoize for their 2017 album Code of Conduct.
  • Genesis...for a while. When Peter Gabriel left, the band's unlikely replacement was Phil Collins, the group's drummer. It turned out that not only did Collins have a singing voice similar to Gabriel's, but his sensibilities were also far more mainstream. Under Collins' leadership, Genesis went from cult heroes to one of the biggest-selling bands of The '80s. While this was happening, Collins maintained an equally, eventually more successful solo successful that he eventually left as well. This time the replacement, a new member named Ray Wilson (former singer with UK One Hit Wonders Stiltskin), only lasted one album.
  • The original lead guitarist, bassist, and second drummer of Guns N' Roses (i.e., the entire band except for Axl Rose... and Izzy Stradlin) eventually regrouped under the name Velvet Revolver (with Scott Weiland, the vocalist of Stone Temple Pilots and another guitarist, Dave Kushner, old-time friend of Slash and who played with Duff in the band Loaded), and while they didn't reach the heights of the earlier band in their heyday, they released several well-regarded albums and hits.
  • When Bruce Dickinson left Iron Maiden in 1993, he was replaced by a relative unknown, Wolfsbane singer Blaze Bayley, who also had a different singing style from the iconic Dickinson. Sales of Maiden albums were disappointing with Bayley as vocalist, and during this period, the band was on CMC International Records, a label that was to hard rock and metal in the grunge/alt era as Branson, MO is to '50s and '60s pop and country stars. Dickinson would return to the band in 1999, and pretty soon Maiden was back to its old glory, releasing the well-received and successful Brave New World in 2000.
  • Happened twice in the history of Jefferson Airplane:
    • After Marty Balin and Jorna Kaukonen left, the band added John Barbata, Craig Chaquico, Papa John Creach and David Freiberg and became Jefferson Starship.
    • When Paul Kantner left, leaving the band with none of the original Airplane founders, the rest of the band hired Mickey Thomas and continued simply as Starship. With Thomas as lead singer, the band went a more mainstream pop-ish direction, gaining three major hits with "We Built This City", "Sara," and "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now." By 1990, Thomas was the only one left, as the rest of the Jefferson members felt going pop was the wrong direction for them creatively. The others found their way to Jefferson revivals, and Slick retired from music altogether.
  • Journey. Steve Perry had to step away from the band when he developed a degenerative bone disease and couldn't join a planned reunion tour, and they went through several lead singers to try and replace him. They eventually settled on Arnel Pineda, who did much for Journey financially. With Pineda at the helm, Journey had one of the most successful tours of 2008, and the first album with him as lead vocalist, Revelation, was certified platinum. Also, it seems that he has brought appeal to a generation two decades younger than Journey's initial fanbase and in territories outside their normal North American base. (Pineda is Filipino and the band's popularity has skyrocketed in the Asian area). It probably helps that Pineda's voice is practically indistinguishable from Perry's.
  • After Ian Curtis' suicide, the remaining members of Joy Division changed the group name to New Order and added the drummer's girlfriend on keyboards, and became more successful than ever.
  • When Kamelot's founding vocalist Mark Vanderbilt quit in 1998, they hired the almost completely unknown (for anywhere that isn't Norway) opera-style vocalist Roy Khan, but instead of being minus the face, this actually marked the origins of their beard growth in the early 2000s.
  • When Jonas "B" Bergqvist, co-founder, guitarist, lyricist and additional vocalist of Lifelover, passed away due to an accidental prescription drug overdose, the remaining members put the band to rest and went to form Kall, which was less Lifelover-like, although they still kept some of its original themes and even had some fans from the old band.
  • Linkin Park is still around despite the tragic suicide of Chester Bennington their lead singer. However they are on hiatus and are trying to shape the band's future.
  • Lydia is most associated with female vocals done by Maria Sais De Sicilia (the debut album) or Mindy White (the second and third albums). In 2010, the band temporarily broke up after Mindy left, but they got back together in 2011 with Leighton Antelman on vocals. They've since released several albums and have released more albums then when Maria and Mindy were in the band.
  • Huey Lewis and the News got their start this way. Initially, they went by the name Clover, and their first recording was as the backing band on Elvis Costello's My Aim Is True. They changed their name after parting ways with Mr. Costello, and went on to be one of the big hitmakers of the '80s.
  • Malice Mizer. The loss of their first vocalist, Tetsu, not only didn't end the band, but his replacement by Gackt drastically increased the band's popularity. The loss of Gackt on the other hand...
  • Manfred Mann changed labels in 1966, and this coincided with Mike d'Abo replacing Paul Jones. The band actually had a lot of success with d'Abo, with their version of Bob Dylan's "The Mighty Quinn" a big hit in 1968, though not quite as much as they did with Jones.
  • British neo-progressive rock band Marillion enjoyed success during the 1980s (including mainstream hit "Kayleigh") with original frontman Fish (Derek William Dick). When Fish left in 1988, he was replaced by Steve Hogarth. Though they've never enjoyed the same mainstream prominence as they did in the mid-80s, and lost their major record deal in the 1990s, they retain an extremely dedicated core following, many of whom place as much- if not more- importance on the Hogarth era, and even managed to hit the UK top 10 again in 2004.
  • A weird version: The Real Milli Vanilli started performing under that name after it was revealed that the Faces had never actually been involved in the music at all. However, in addition to the actual original singers, this new incarnation also included new members Ray Horton and Gina Mohammed - two young pretty faces who were shown off more prominently in marketing material than the actual veteran members. The stigma following the band's lip-synching scandal sank the new album anyway, and Mohammed and Horton were shuffled off into the new group Try 'N' B. The old "faces", Rob & Fab, also recorded an album, but it too went nowhere.
  • Shortly after "The Game of Love" came out in 1965, Wayne Fontana began a solo career that went virtually nowhere. But his backing band, the Mindbenders, continued for three more years, scoring, in that time frame, another hit with "A Groovy Kind of Love," sung by guitarist Eric Stewart.
    • Stewart wound up on the other side of this trope when he left 10cc, leaving Graham Gouldman the sole founding member.
  • The Miracles are an interesting case. Smokey Robinson decided to leave in 1969, putting the group in limbo. The next year, without any new recordings to release, Motown's UK branch decided to take a 1967 album track called "Tears of a Clown" and issue it as a single. It became their all-time biggest hit, prompting Robinson to rejoin The Miracles for a couple more years before a final farewell album and tour. After that, they regrouped (again without Robinson) and managed to score some more hits, including a #1 ("Love Machine" in 1976).
  • Goth rock band Mono Inc's original frontman, Miky Mono, whom the band was named after, left in 2006 during the production of their second album, whereupon drummer Martin Engler stepped up to the microphone, and newcomer Katha Mia took up drums. To date, they're still going strong. As for Mono himself, he died in a paragliding accident in 2010.
  • The Moody Blues were originally a well-respected but only moderately successful white R&B band. After lead singer Denny Laine left (along with bassist Clint Warwick), the band brought in Justin Hayward and John Lodge, switched its focus to symphonic rock and became massively popular.
  • Mother Love Bone became popular after their singer's death in 1990. After Andrew Wood's heroin overdose, they found their unlikely replacement in a surfer from San Diego named Eddie Vedder and changed their sound from a glam punk-ish style of grunge to more of a more classic hard rock sound. They went on to become Pearl Jam, one of the most successful bands of the '90s.
  • Following the firing of vocalist Vince Neil in 1992, Mötley Crüe replaced him with Scream vocalist John Corabi, who sang for the band in their self-titled 1994 album. With grunge and alternative dominating the rock scene, the album was a comparative flop to its predecessors, and diehard Crue fans had a hard time getting used to the guttural, deeper-voiced Corabi replacing the nasal, high-pitched Neil on lead vocals. The shift to a harder-edged sound also didn't sit too well with longtime fans. Neil eventually returned to the band in 1997, and while the Crue never sold as well as they did in their 1980s hair metal heyday, they at least did better than with Corabi. Subsequent albums with Neil were more faithful to the band's classic sound, bar 1997's alternative-ish Generation Swine.
  • The New Cars was a touring group in the mid-2000s consisting of the original guitarist and keyboardist of The Cars, fronted by Todd Rundgren, accompanied by the bassist from Rundgren's solo band and the founding drummer of Journey. A few years later, original singer Ric Ocasek rejoined the band and they released a new album.
  • Nightwish managed to stay in business after the female lead Tarja Turunen got fired. Their first album with their new singer Annette Olzon was their most successful to date. Annette later left the band, and she was replaced by Floor Jansen. Their subsequent album, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, received very positive reviews.
  • After the Gangsta Rap pioneering group N.W.A. released their influential debut album they lost Ice Cube, the group's third rapper and (most importantly) another member's ghostwriter. Despite this, they released a successful EP and a great LP after his departure even though they were one member short. Ice Cube's departure actually worked in everyone's favour because Ice Cube met huge success as a solo artist, N.W.A. had something else to be angry about and producer Dr. Dre was forced to become a rapper which is probably the reason that the Dr. was able to have a highly successful and influential solo career.
  • Many people thought La Oreja de Van Gogh's time was up when lead singer Amaia Montero departed the group in 2007 to pursue a solo career. They have been proved wrong: as of 2016, the band is still running fine with Factor X alumnus Leire Martínez as their new lead vocalist, while Montero enjoys moderate success as a solo act.
  • Pantera benefited from this trope. The band started out playing Hair Metal with Terry Glaze as lead singer. As their style evolved into a Darker and Edgier Groove Metal sound, Glaze became dissatisfied; he left and was replaced by Phil Anselmo. The new Pantera became much more successful than they'd ever been, with their early albums regarded as Early Installment Weirdness.
  • In 1985, Christian Rock band Petra lost its lead singer Greg X. Volz and recruited John Schlitt (formerly of non-Christian band Head East) to take his place. The two sounded nothing alike: Volz has been compared to Kansas frontman Steve Walsh, while Schlitt sounds like... well, pretty much every Hair Metal vocalist ever. Perhaps noticing this, the band (under the guidance of new producers) shifted to a heavier sound that fit Schlitt's vocal range quite well and released some of their most well-known songs during this period. Ironically, their new producers were... John Elefante of Kansas fame and his brother!
  • Pink Floyd averted this trope twice. Rick Wright initially took over from the departing Syd Barrett and was quickly overshadowed by Roger Waters, and David Gilmour took over from Waters when he left in 1985, but the band's records have just kept on selling. Waters attempted to invoke this trope. When he left the band, he infamously declared Pink Floyd disbanded, and then tried to sue them when they quite rightly said: "No, we're not finished yet". He failed and admitted later that he was wrong.
  • Rage Against the Machine became Audioslave when Zack de la Rocha quit and was replaced by Chris Cornell. And then Chris wanted to go solo again so was replaced by... Zack. Both incarnations of the band have done quite well, mostly because they sound completely different.
  • The band Rainbow, which Ronnie James Dio was a founding member of, attained its greatest commercial success after he quit the group and it underwent numerous other personnel changes.
  • After Red Hot Chili Peppers' guitarist, Hillel Slovak, died in 1988, the band went through a lot of effort to replace him. The eventual replacement, John Frusciante, helped turn the band into mainstream success and is currently regarded as one of the 20 best guitarists of all time. Whether or not RHCP will continue this trend with new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer remains to be seen.
  • Progressive jazz/rock band The Reign of Kindo was formed by four out of five members of indie band This Day & Age, after the latter's vocalist left. As of 2013, Kindo has outdone their former band by one album after releasing their third and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
  • Folk-classical fusion band Renaissance. This ancestry is often ignored because, after releasing two albums and touring, the band stalled and then gradually underwent a complete change of lineup. The new band started afresh, abandoned the old songs and folk influences, and became a straight classical fusion band, often using orchestral backing. And suffice to say, while original lead vocalist Jane Relf had a fine voice, her replacement, Annie Haslam, was even better, and the new group went from strength to strength.
    • When the original line-up reunited to record new material in the mid 1970s (minus founder member Keith Relf, alas), they had to do so under a new name (Illusion, taken from the title of their second album), because Renaissance Mk. II were still a quite successful going concern.
  • Reset's lead singer Pierre Bouvier quit in 1999, but founding member Philippe Jolicoeur took over and the band has grown and continued with him. The previous singer is better known for fronting Simple Plan.
  • Restless Heart is one of the few bands to zig-zag this trope. Original lead singer Verlon Thompson quit before the first single and was replaced by Larry Stewart. After Larry parted for a solo career in 1991, the next album featured drummer John Dittrich, keyboardist Dave Innis, and bassist Paul Gregg alternating as lead singers. That album produced their biggest crossover hits in "When She Cries" and "Tell Me What You Dream", both sung by Dittrich, but their momentum dropped off completely after that. Innis quit before the next album, leaving just Dittrich, Gregg, and guitarist Greg Jennings (who did not sing) to carry one album on their own with several studio musicians. Finally, the band broke up in 1993. Everyone but Innis reunited briefly in 1998 to cut two tracks for a Greatest Hits Album, then all five members reunited for good in the early 2000s.
  • Sepultura was essentially just the Cavalera brothers, Max and Igor, with some other musicians. Even though both brothers have left the band (in 1996 and 2006 respectively), Sepultura is still touring and making music and are led by guitarist Andreas Kisser and the band's lone remaining original member, bassist Paulo Junior. The Cavalera brothers later reunited to form the Sepultura-esque Cavalera Conspiracy, essentially The Face(s) Minus The Band.
  • The Shadows were Cliff Richard's backing band, but also wrote and performed instrumental numbers without him, and were extremely successful. They carried on doing this after he no longer required their services, and eventually followed Richard into the British record books: Cliff has scored a total of 16 UK No.1 singles, the 2nd highest total after Elvis Presley, while The Shadows, had 12 UK No.1 singles, the sixth highest total.
  • After the release of Elysion, Sound Horizon's lead vocalist Aramary left the band for unspecified personal reasons. However, while this resulted in a significant change in musical style (longer songs; more Song Style Shifts; the use of more and varied vocalists; Revo making his presence more apparent in the songs and on stage; etc.), the band actually became more successful than in their "first era".
  • British three-piece girl group Sugababes have had members replaced THREE times - in fact, none of the original members are even left in the group now. But they've continued on with success - their most successful lineup was their second with Heidi Range, Keisha Buchanan, and Mutya Buena. Heidi replaced Siobhan Donaghy. In 2005, Mutya left the group and was replaced with Amelle Berrabah. In 2009, the only original founding member of the band, Keisha, was kicked out by the record label and replaced with Jade Ewen. This is the fourth lineup of the Sugababes, and their most recent album Sweet 7 is their second poorest selling. But the second and third lineups were hugely successful. And it gets even more complicated now that the original Sugababes reformed as Mutya Keisha Siobhan...
  • Supertramp was formed in 1969 by keyboardist/vocalist Rick Davies (the bluesy, lower-pitched singer) and guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist (and at the time, bassist) Roger Hodgson (high tenor vocals), with a revolving-door lineup. The "classic" lineup (Hodgson, Davies, woodwind player John Halliwell, Scottish bassist Dougie Thomson, and American drummer Bob Siebenberg) formed in 1973. Hodgson and Davies rotated or shared roles as lead singers, and (for the most part) wrote Supertramp's material individually, though in Lennon/McCartney style credited the songs as Hodgson/Davies; Hodgson wrote and sang the majority of the band's hits. By 1983, Hodgson left, and Davies became the band's sole leader and main writer since, to lesser success.
  • Dave Bickler was the lead singer on Survivor's biggest hit, "Eye of the Tiger", but that was the only top ten hit for the band during Bickler's tenure. They had four top ten singles with Bickler's replacement, Jimi Jamison, none of which are nearly as famous as "Eye of the Tiger."
  • After parting ways with lead singer David Ruffin in 1968, The Temptations kept on racking up hits well into the 70s while Ruffin's solo career floundered (his brother Jimmy had a slightly bigger career), who wasn't. That said, The Temptations were established R&B stars before he joined the group, and remained so afterwards.
  • Fans were skeptical after Theater Of Tragedy decided to continue on after Liv Kristine left, but replacement vocalist Nell Sigland is considered by most people to be a worthy successor.
  • The Irish group Them is best remembered for Van Morrison's 1964-66 stint as lead singer. However, after Morrison left for a successful solo career, various versions of Them continued recording and touring until 1971, with a reunion in 1979. While Them never regained their Morrison-era level of popularity, some fans hold their work without him in high regard.
  • Three Days Grace was one of the biggest rock bands out there with Adam Gontier on vocals. He then left for unexplained reasons and formed Saint Asonia. The band continued with Matt Walst of My Darkest Days. Though highly controversial to say the least, and they aren't as successful as they were before, they've managed to remain a big name in the rock scene despite losing their most prominent member. The new Three Days Grace have had no problems scoring hit-after-hit on rock radio, just like they did before. Although Saint Asonia also scored some rock hits, they weren't as big as the Three Days Grace hits; many old fans do, however, prefer Saint Asonia to the Walst-fronted Three Days Grace. This all changed with the release of Outsider, widely considered one of their best albums with 3 #1 singles.
  • Tristania lost both their lead and death vocalist Morten Veland and their backing female operatic vocalist Vibeke Stene and they still survived, even if many fans consider their original two albums better.
  • When Jack Grisham, the original singer of punk band TSOL, became disillusioned and left the band, they recruited new vocalist Joe Wood and continued without him. Eventually, as with Renaissance, the entire membership was replaced. This made things interesting when Grisham formed a new version of TSOL, since the other one was still around — and Woodnote  owned the rights to the name. There were times when Grisham's group, using the Sdrawkcab Name LOST, played in the same city on the same night as Wood's group! However, in 1999 Grisham successfully sued for the right to the TSOL name, which he has used ever since.
  • When original singer and cofounder John Foxx left Ultravox, critics predicted great success for him as a solo artist and doom for the rest of the band. However, once Midge Ure replaced him, the band enjoyed its greatest success ever, while Foxx's career never got anywhere near the heights imagined for it.
  • Van Halen achieved its greatest commercial success after David Lee Roth quit the band and was replaced by Sammy Hagar, though the change has always caused great division among fans, with many Roth purists disdainfully referring to the latter group as "Van Hagar". After Hagar quit, they tried it again with Gary Cherone (which didn't take at all). In their two reunion tours since then, they've toured once with Hagar and once with Roth, who was with the band until its breakup when its other face, Eddie Van Halen, died in 2020.
  • Averted with Wall of Voodoo, at least in Australia. WoV has had two lead singers, Stan Ridgway and Andy Prieboy. In the Land Down Under, "Far Side of Crazy" (which Prieboy sang lead on) outsold "Mexican Radio" (the band's biggest hit with Ridgway), and the new lineup is seen much more favorably.
  • Wilco was originally seen as Uncle Tupelo minus singer/lead guitarist Jay Farrar (who left to form Son Volt), but this was gradually averted as the band formed their own musical identity and most of the founding members (excepting leader Jeff Tweedy and bassist John Stirratt) either left the band or were fired.
  • The Yardbirds wound down in 1968, with falling sales and band members jumping ship to pursue new projects, leaving relative newcomer Jimmy Page as the sole member. He recruited a new band of unknowns and carried on under the Yardbirds name (reusing the old songs when needed). Following questions over ownership of the name, they switched to calling themselves "The New Yardbirds". Then Keith Moon and John Entwistle made their historic remark about them going down "like a lead balloon" and... you know the rest. Another new version of the Yardbirds have also been active since The '90s. Following Chris Dreja's departure due to a series of strokes in 2013, Jim McCarty has been the group's only consistent member.
  • The Creator Couple behind Future Perfect, Simon Owen and Rebecca Morgan, separated in the fall of 2019 due to the latter's ongoing health problems, with Simon continuing the project as a solo act.

  • Mark Chavez, the lead singer of Adema, left the band after their second album in 2004. Luke Caraccioli replaced him on the third album then Bobby Reeves on the fourth. Chavez returned in 2010, left again the following year and he came back again in 2017... only to leave again in 2019 and be replaced by Ryan Shuck from Julien-K.
  • Alabama has pretty much been in semi-retirement since their last major single in 2002. Lead singer Randy Owen recorded one solo album in 2008, but not to distance himself from the band. They did some more projects since.
  • In 1980, the Attractions (Elvis Costello's then-band) released Mad About the Wrong Boy, an LP on which they wrote and sang their own songs. Attractions keyboardist Steve Nieve has also done several albums on his own.
  • At least three vocalists in 1959-60 (Sammy Davis Jr., Nat King Cole and Sarah Vaughan) recorded with what was effectively the Count Basie Orchestra, except without Count Basie himself, who was under exclusive contract to Roulette Records. All three of their albums took the then-unusual step for "pop vocalist" albums of crediting the musicians in the liner notes so that those in the know would see they were indeed Basie's men. While Davis' album (I Gotta Right to Swing!) was otherwise mum about the band, Cole's album (Welcome to the Club) included a sly reference to "a band you can count on" and Vaughan's album was outright cheeky about it, being titled No Count Sarah and mentioning "the no-William-Basie-band".
  • Big & Rich went on hiatus after their third album. Both members (Big Kenny and John Rich) recorded solo albums with each other's blessings, but have since officially started touring again as Big & Rich.
  • Crazy Horse recorded several "solo" albums both during and after its tenure with Neil Young.
  • The title track of Tina Turner's Private Dancer features all the members of Dire Straits except bandleader/guitarist Mark Knopfler - and he wrote the song! The band had originally recorded the song in 1982, but Mark decided it needed a female voice and gave it to Tina. Then, due to Executive Meddling from their record company declaring Mark could not appear on it, they had to re-record the song with Jeff Beck on guitar in place of Mark, who was not happy with the end result.
  • When Mark Farner left Grand Funk Railroad in 1976, the remaining members continued on under the name Flint (after the city in Michigan where the band was formed), until Farner came back five years later.
  • Sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robison of the Dixie Chicks recorded one album as the Court Yard Hounds because lead singer Natalie Maines didn't feel like recording another Dixie Chicks album.
  • Dune singer Verena von Strenge took a vacation from the group between 1997 and 1999, during which time they used a vocalist named Vanessa.
  • Eiffel 65's Gabry Ponte went solo in 2005, and the rest of the band split with Bliss Corporation, changing their name to Bloom 06 due to said company holding onto the rights to their former name. In 2010, Ponte regrouped with the other members and they changed their name back to Eiffel 65.
  • Kraftwerk founding member Ralf Hütter briefly retired from the band in 1971, deciding that he "couldn't play anymore". During Hütter's sabbatical, Florian Schneider toured with Eberhard Kranemann, Klaus Dinger, and Michael Rother, though this lineup never released any recordings. After Dinger and Rother left to found Neu!, Hütter rejoined the band at Schneider's request, and they recorded Kraftwerk 2 in the fall of that year.
  • Morbid Angel vocalist/bassist David Vincent left in 1996 and returned in 2004. The band recorded three albums with replacement Steve Tucker which had mixed-to-positive reviews. After 7 years, finally, an album was recorded with Vincent. It was not received well at all.
  • Pantera's Dimebag, Rex Brown and Vinnie Paul collaborated with country singer David Allan Coe on an album called Rebel Meets Rebel. Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo was supposed to appear on the duet song "Rebel Meets Rebel", but the secondary vocalist was switched to Dimebag.
  • Tom Petty's backing band, The Heartbreakers, released a retraux Surf Rock album, Surf-N-Burn, under the alias The Blue Stingrays.
  • Graham Parker's band, The Rumour, released three albums without Parker.
  • Secret Chiefs 3 gradually turned from this variety of band minus the face project to I Am the Band: Their first two albums were essentially Mr. Bungle being led by guitarist Trey Spruance rather than Mike Patton. Once Mr. Bungle broke up, they were largely Spruance and a rotating cast of collaborators (albeit with former Mr. Bungle members sometimes among them). Long after they stopped being considered a Mr. Bungle side project, Patton made a one-time guest appearance with SC3 for a single A-Side, namely a Cover Version of Jacque Brel's "La Chanson de Jacky".
  • An unusual example is The Shadows. They were formed as a backing group for Cliff Richard, but took to releasing their own records as well, and, as if to emphasise this trope, the majority of their records were instrumentals. But they kept their association with Richard all the while and continued to work with him as well. It's hard to say if they were taking regular vacations or if they had become a successful band in their own right who often collaborated with their old frontman — of their 69 charting records, 34 were with Cliff and 35 without.
  • Shiny Toy Guns' female lead, Carah Faye, had a falling-out with the band shortly after the release of 2006's We Are Pilots, and moved to Sweden, where she married former STG sound engineer Daniel Johanson, being replaced by Sisely Treasure for the band's 2008 second album, Season of Poison, which adopted a more guitar-based sound. In 2010, keyboardist Jeremy Dawson and drummer Mikey Martin traveled to Sweden to reconcile with Faye, who subsequently divorced Johanson and rejoined STG for III.
  • Difficult as it is to imagine the Strawbs without Dave Cousins fronting them, he did take a break at the end of the '70s. Roy Hill took over as frontman, deploying his unique variety of mind screwiness in the role, until Dave felt ready to return.
  • Keyboardist Rick Wakeman took a vacation from Yes for the second time in 1979, and lead singer Jon Anderson followed suit. Their replacements were Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn, AKA the new wave pop duo The Buggles of "Video Killed the Radio Star" fame. The resulting album, 1980's Drama, was met with mixed reviews.
  • Information Society reformed in 2006 with Christopher Anton replacing Kurt Harland on vocals, aside from a guest appearance by the latter on "The Seeds of Pain". Harland contributed to a few live performances following the release of Synthesizer, and properly rejoined the band for _Hello World in 2014. Ironically, Harland previously inverted this trope by recording solo under the Information Society name, whilst founder Paul Robb went solo as Think Tank.

  • On April Fools' Day 2008, Brave Saint Saturn announced that lead singer and guitarist Reese Roper was leaving the band and that bassist Keith Hoerig would take his place. It was, of course, a joke—made funnier by the fact that Reese had started the band in the first place so he could record some songs that wouldn't fit the style of that other band he was in.
  • Project 86's music video for "The Spy Hunter" ends with the rest of the band knocking singer Andrew Schwab unconscious, tying him up, and leaving him to get shot by a cannon. This is continued in the video for "My Will Be a Dead Man", where Schwab tracks down the rest of the band and finds that they've replaced him (with the lead singer from He Is Legend, no less).
  • Parodied in the Rammstein Music Video for "Haifisch", which has the other band members discussing a replacement to the lead singer Till the poor guy's (fictional) funeral. Metallica's James Hetfield seemed a popular choice.
  • Peter Kay devised singing duo Park Avenue as an example of the sort of enthusiastic-but-barely-talented act you see in Northern clubs of the Phoenix Nights variety. Unfortunately, the egotistic Marc Park leaves the act just after they win the Grand Final of the "Stars In Their Eyes" talent competition to carry on solo. Ms. Avenue falls pregnant and is subsequently shunned by Marc Park. The series returns to this plot in the final episode, following Marc as he attempts to ride on the coattails of his (minor) success in a quest to release the year's Christmas number one. In an ironic turn of fate, Marc fails miserably and ends up returning to his pre-celebrity role as a greengrocer whilst his former partner becomes known widely after showing her singing talent on national television, and starring in a documentary where she allows the producers to paint Parc as the villain.
    • There is also Michelle Coffee, part of a double act 'Coffee and Cream'. Her more charismatic singing partner, revealed to be having an affair with her husband, leaves her to compete alone. Unfortunately the only songs she has rehearsed are duets such as "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" which leads to some painful scenes as she sings them all on her lonesome.

    In-Universe Examples 
  • Codex Equus: A few examples from the Second Age.
    • Moon Ray Vaughoof was the guitarist/singer of his band Double Trouble, and thus was its driving force. Unfortunately, his sudden death in a fatal helicopter accident left an absence that couldn't be filled. This didn't really become a problem, though, as he would be inducted into the Trimortidae, and he would eventually reunite with his surviving bandmates in the Heaven-Realms.
    • The Healing String Groove Band is an inversion. It was once a blues Rock Trio consisting of Healing Song (vocals/guitars), Tempo Groove (drums), and Steel String (bass). Healing Song later moved on to jazz and teaching aspiring musicians, but he and his bandmates stayed good friends and continued touring for many years. Then Healing Song became terminally ill with cancer in his middle-age years, which he gracefully accepted with some help. He Ascended to godhood on his deathbed instead of dying as he expected to, granting him divine power and immortality at the cost of outliving almost everyone he knew, eventually leaving him the Sole Survivor of his band once Steel String and Tempo Groove died from old age.
  • In This is Spın̈al Tap, the other members of the band try to carry on as "Spinal Tap Mark II", a jazz-blues improvisational band, after Nigel leaves during the tour.
  • In Milo Murphy's Law, Zack used to be the face of a lumberjack-themed boy band called the Lumberzacks. The band went on without him when he moved to Danville, with one member, Max, taking over and renaming it the Lumbermaxes. All of the other members then changed their names to "Max," which annoys Zack a bit.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Homer's Barbershop Quartet", The Be-Sharps' career trajectory mirrors that of The Beatles, including the popular Chief Wiggum's replacement by the far more talented Barney Gumble and the group's rise to pop stardom with Barney in the lineup.
  • South Park has a non-music example: the kids pretend to be superheroes, and Cartman, whose identity was "the Coon," dubs their team "Coon and Friends" with himself as leader. Eventually, the others get tired of his crap and kick him out, but still use the name.
    Stan: Mysterion, if Cartman's gone, why are we still calling ourselves "Coon and Friends?"
    Mysterion: Because it pisses Cartman off beyond belief, and I find that (chuckles) extremely funny.
  • On Steven Universe, Steven uses Time Travel to collect four of himself, then starts a band called Steven and the Stevens. However, eventually, Steven-1 becomes such a tyrant that the others kick him out, resulting in Steven and the Stevens...without Steven?


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