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The Pete Best

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The Fab Four... well, the Fab Three with Pete.

"People get kicked out of bands. It happens. The Beatles nixed Pete Best because Ringo Starr was a superior drummer. Metallica got rid of Dave Mustaine because only two very low IQ rageaholic jackasses are allowed in a band and they already had James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich." note 


A subtrope of Suspiciously Similar Substitute and/or The Other Darrin, wherein one actor is in a role or position, then is dropped (or leaves voluntarily) for another actor who is the one everyone remembers after the work/group becomes famous.

Named for Pete Best, the drummer of The Beatles, who was replaced by Ringo Starr just before they hit it big, with Ringo having suddenly become available after leaving another band.

Less likely in film (since you can only get one actor to play a role, any replacement will have to reshoot the scenes and become The Other Marty), more likely in theater, television and music.

If the guy's in the band when they're famous, but all but forgotten, that person's Stuck in Their Shadow. If the guy never had a chance of becoming famous anyway, that's Breakup Breakout. If the band tries to avoid talking about the guy in the event he's brought up, or tries to take down any uploaded footage of the period he was with them, he's an Old Shame. If their successor ends up more remembered, it's a case of More Popular Replacement.


As a final thought, notice that in Real Life this trope is quite common, since music groups or any team whose future success is not quite clear normally go through a series of line-up changes.

Contrast Lesser Star.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Eric Stuart, the longtime voice actor for James in the 4Kids dub of Pokémon, was actually the second voice actor for the character. Ted Lewis was James's voice actor for the first few episodes of the show's run. Lewis went on to voice Tracey and Giovanni, among many other minor characters, and notably returned to the role of Giovanni even after the mass voice actor replacement of 2006.
    • Another case of this happened with Meowth, who is best known as being voiced by the late Maddie Blaustein. However, for the first thirty or so episodes of the dub, his voice actor was Matthew Sussman (credited under the name "Nathan Price"), who retired the role afterwords while continuing to provide additional voices for a couple more years.
  • Raoh was originally voiced by Norio Wakamoto when he appeared in Episode 32 of Hokuto no Ken before Kenji Utsumi took over the role. This was actually before Raoh's proper first appearance, before Raoh's design and backstory was finalized (before he even had a proper name even), since Raoh only shows up as a silhouette. Wakamoto would later appear as another character named Shuren.
  • Tristan Taylor from the 4Kids dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! was voiced by Sam Riegel for the first ten episodes until Greg Abbey took over. However, Riegel's goofier take is almost more well-known these days, especially to fans of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, simply because of how easy it is to make fun of.
  • In Slayers, Crispin Freeman is best known for being the voice of Zelgadis, however, Daniel Cronin had voiced the character for nine episodes before the character was Put on a Bus and recast with Crispin after he reappeared eight episodes later (apparently, the people working on the dub couldn't get back in contact with Cronin). Interestingly, this was a controversial recast in the day, as many fans were used to Daniel's voice, and had a hard time adjusting to Freeman. However in later years, as well as today, people only see Cronin as Zelgadis' "old voice" when they watch the earlier episodes.
    • The same could be said for Joan Baker as Amelia. Most people associate Veronica Taylor as the character's voice actress, not knowing there was another actress who had briefly voiced the character for her first three episodes. In addition, Luci Christian also briefly voiced the character for "Slayers Premium", but her performance is usually also sidelined by Taylor's.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • The entire Ocean voice cast for Dragon Ball Z. Once associated as the voices of the series, that honor now goes to Funimation's voice cast, who has completely replaced the former (with actors like Sean Schemmel and Chris Sabat instead of Ian Corlett and Brian Drummond). While Ocean did do their own dub of the second half of the series for Europe and Canada in association with AB Groupe, this has also been displaced by Funimation's version, which is all that's on DVD in those (and all English-speaking) territories.
    • Within Funimation's studios itself, their very first dub, Sleeping Princess in Devil's Castle, had several regulars like Christopher Sabat as Yamcha, Laurie Steele as Young Krillin, and Mike McFarland as Master Roshi, but also had several actors who would soon replaced with cast members fans are much more familiar with. Kid Goku was originally voiced by Ceyli Delgadillo before Stephanie Nadolny and later Colleen Clinkenbeard handled him for more recent stuff, Leslie Alexander voiced Bulma in the dub before being replaced by Tiffany Volmer and later Monica Rial, and Launch had two different voice actresses for her good and bad sides (Monika Antonelli, the original Puar and Chiaotzu, was the good side, and Christine Marten, who has no other credits, was the bad side) while Meredith McCoy would provide the voice of both her personalities for the rest of her appearances.
    • Funimation also had a few cases of this in their first dubbed season of Dragon Ball Z, which covered the "Ginyu" and "Freeza" arcs. Chris Cason (who also voices Shou in the franchise) was the original voice for both Tien Shinhan and Mr. Popo, but temporary retired the following year, leaving the characters to be respectively recast with John Burgmeier and Christopher Sabat. While Cason returned to the role of Mr. Popo beginning in 2010 for Dragon Ball Kai, Burgmeier has continued to provide the voice for Tien. Dale Kelly was the original voice for Captain Ginyu in FU Nimation's dub, but 2 years later he was replaced with Brice Armstrong, and after Armstrong's retirement R. Bruce Elliot. Lastly, Chris Sabat himself is the Pete Best for both Nappa and Raditz, providing their voices for a flashback in one episode, as well as providing the voice for the former in the original English dub of the Bardock TV special. In all future appearances in anime and video games, Phil Parsons has been Nappa, while Justin Cook (who is also the voice of Teen and Adult Dende as well as Super Buu) is Raditz.
    • Funimation's original voices for the Pilaf Gang for their appearances in the third Dragon Ball film were completely different than their usual voices that have played them in all other appearances. Pilaf was voiced by Mike McFarland rather than Chuck Huber, Justin Cook voiced Shou instead of Chris Cason (an inversion of his status as Tien), and Cynthia Cranz originally voiced Mai, while Julie Franklin handled her for the dub of the TV series and Colleen Clinkenbeard has provided her voice for all future appearances.
    • In the Japanese version, Naoko Watanabe is best known as the voice of Chi-Chi, but Mayumi Sho voiced her in the original Dragon Ball and first two seasons and three movies of Dragon Ball Z, before taking a hiatus from seiyuu work to care for her family. She actually very briefly returned to voice Chi-Chi in the first Budokai game, but otherwise, the role has long been associated with Watanabe (who also voices Puar).
    • In the Latin American Spanish dub of DB, Jesús Barrero was the first voice actor of both Yamcha and Puar from their first appearance until episode 45, when he left and the roles were given to separate actors (Yamcha to Ricardo Mendoza, who continues on the role up to this day, and Puar to Cristina Camargo).
  • Battle of the Planets (the first English dub of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman) had entirely different actors for Tiny and Jason in the earliest-dubbed episode, "Attack of the Space Terrapin". Most fans associate Alan Dinehart and Ronnie Schell with the respective characters, however, Schell actually voiced Tiny in this first episode, while Jason was voiced by David Jolliffe. For some reason or another, Sandy Frank recast the parts after that, leaving Schell to take on the more prominent role of Jason (and voicing the character in a higher, somewhat raspier voice than Jolliffe's take), while Dinehart took over Tiny.
  • In Ranma ½, the girl-type Ranma is best known for being voiced by Venus Terzo in the English dub, but Brigitta Dau voiced her in the first 6 episodes of the TV series and first two OVA episodes, before moving away. Both Dau and Terzo sounded somewhat similar, and many viewers didn't even notice the change. In addition, Cologne's voice was Elan Ross-Gibson 99% of the time, but Kathleen Barr voiced her in her first couple OVA appearances.
  • Saint Seiya:
    • Saori Kido's Latin Spanish voice was originally Cristina Camargo. After 26 episodes, the more remembered María Fernanda Morales took over.
    • For most of the franchise, Ricardo Mendoza voices Shiryu and Roberto Mendiola voices Ban, but in their first appearance in the second episode, it was the other way around.

    Comic Books 
  • The Hulk could be said to be the Pete Best of The Avengers — one of the five founding members, he left at the end of the second issue, never to rejoin the team. In issue #4 Captain America joined the Avengers and became one of those three members (along with founders Thor and Iron Man) of which you almost invariably can expect to see at least one on the active roster. The Avengers actually altered their charter to make Cap a founding member and remove the Hulk from it, despite it being the other way around. Averted in modern adaptations like The Avengers and The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!, which keep Hulk on the team to have more Marvel A-list heroes that aren't wrapped up in licencing red tape like Spider-Man or Wolverine.
  • For the first few issues of Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog, Michael Gallagher and David Manak were the main writer and artist respectively, giving a zany, No Fourth Wall, Hurricane of Puns flavor. Over time, he was phased out in favor of several different artists and head writer Ken Penders, who (before his own departure) gave the comic its somewhat darker tone that it's been known for ever since.
  • Barbara Gordon is the character that fans primarily associate as Batgirl thanks especially due to appearing in other media such as Batman: The Animated Series, but most are surprised to learn that she was actually the second heroine to use the identity: the original Batgirl is actually Betty Kane, who made a few appearances in the early 1960's before largely being dropped, only showing up sporadically since. Barbara's two successors in the comics, Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown, also overshadow Betty.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
    • In the Death Star briefing scene in the original Star Wars, Ensemble Dark Horse (or is he an Ascended Extra?) Wedge Antilles is played by Colin Higgins. In the rest of the movie — and in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi — he's played by Denis Lawson (who also dubbed Higgins' lines in his one scene).
    • In the original version of The Empire Strikes Back, Emperor Palpatine's face was provided by veteran actress Marjorie Eaton and voiced by Clive Revill. Ian McDiarmid played the character in Return of the Jedi and the prequels, and when Empire was re-released to DVD in 2004, Palpatine's scenes were re-shot with McDiarmid in the role.
    • The actors playing Cammie (British actress Koo Stark) and Fixer in the deleted scene of A New Hope where Luke goes to Tosche Station and talks to Biggs Darklighter.
  • Peter Burton, who played Major Boothroyd/Q in Dr. No, was unable to return for From Russia with Love and so was replaced by Desmond Llewelyn, who would become the iconic Q actor, appearing in seventeen James Bond movies.
    • Another one from James Bond. Before Sean Connery, there was an American actor, Barry Nelson, who played "Jimmy Bond" in an adaptation of Casino Royale for an anthology called Climax!, with the idea being for it to act also as a pilot for a possible TV Show based on James Bond. Nothing came out of it and eight years later came Dr. No and Barry Nelson (who was thirteen years older than Connery) wasn't even considered for the role. The movie pretty much made Sean Connery a star and relegated Barry Nelson's performance as Bond to total obscurity. The fact that the production was believed lost to time until a kinescope emerged in the 1980s didn't help much either.
  • Hannibal Lecter was first played by Brian Cox in Manhunter (as Dr. "Lecktor"), and later by Anthony Hopkins. Cox's substantial roles in Rushmore, Super Troopers, X2: X-Men United, RED, and the Bourne films have since made him a recognized character actor, but as Manhunter is far less known the other films (especially since the novel Red Dragon it was based on was later remade a second time) and Hopkins' portrayal became so iconic, Cox carried the 'first to play Lecter' footnote for much of his career. Many still wonder what he could've done with the role if he'd been cast in the later films.
  • Tom Clancy's character Jack Ryan was originated in film by Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October. However the role is best remembered from the portrayal by Harrison Ford in the follow-up adaptations Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. (even if Ben Affleck and Chris Pine played the role afterwards as well in the big screen, not to mention John Krasinki online).
  • Ted Healy was this to The Three Stooges, and was the star of the act in vaudeville for long before his assistants were billed as the Stooges. Healy left the Stooges when they moved in 1934 to Columbia Pictures from MGM, for which they had done six shorts and various cameos. Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Shemp Howard also played minor supporting roles in Soup to Nuts, a 1930 Fox feature film starring Healy. Shemp was replaced by Curly in the early 1930s, but returned in the mid-1940s after Curly had a stroke. Healy, meanwhile, had died in 1937.
  • The first movie about the amnesiac super assassin, Jason Bourne, was a 3 hour epic film called The Bourne Identity that premiered on television in 1988 and starred Richard Chamberlain. However, when people mention Jason Bourne, the first person most people think of is Matt Damon and his role in the remake and sequels that came afterwards. How bad is this? The official tropes page for the Bourne series doesn't even mention the 1988 film.
  • Like The O.C. example below, Shailene Woodley had it happen to her a second time when she was cut from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and the series was left behind with her role of Mary Jane Watson being recast in upcoming movies.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • Bill & Ted originated in an improv sketch called ''Bill, Ted and Bob". The guy who played Bob lost interest, causing Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson to go ahead and make a movie about the duo.

  • Max Frei of Labyrints Of Echo fame is actually none other than Svetlana Martynchik, but it didn't start this way. Igor Styopin originally co-wrote Frei's early works. After Martynchik was revealed as the woman behind Max Frei in 2001,she continued writing under that name alone.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Brian Dunkleman was the co-host of American Idol in Season 1, and chose the wrong time to play hardball in contract negotiations, considering that the audience clearly preferred Ryan Seacrest. From that point, the show just kept getting bigger.
  • ESPN's Around the Horn was originally hosted by Max Kellerman, who left in early 2004 for a show on Fox Sports. ESPN tapped Tony Reali (then known as Stat Boy from Horn's sister show Pardon the Interruption) as a temporary fill-in until they could hire a permanent replacement. Nine years later, Reali's still hosting the show (with Kellerman coming full circle to host SportsNation).
  • Sara Lance wound up becoming a Breakout Character on Arrow, playing a heavy recurring role starting in the second season, getting brought back from the dead after the unpopular decision was made to kill her off in the show's third season, and ultimately being promoted to a main cast member of the show's spinoff Legends of Tomorrow. Caity Lotz is immediately credited to the role, to the point where most people forget she was played by a completely different actress, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, in Arrow's pilot episode.
  • The A-Team: In the feature-length pilot episode, Face was played by Tim Dunigan. The role was recast after the pilot and he was replaced by Dirk Benedict for the rest of the show's run.
  • Ian Hendry played Dr. John Keel, the lead of the first season of The Avengers, with Steed (Patrick Macnee) as the secondary lead. The show was a moderate success, but Hendry moved on, with Steed becoming the lead - joined by first Cathy Gale ( Honor Blackman) and then Emma Peel (Diana Rigg). The show became a big hit when Blackman joined, then a full-blown craze when Rigg took over. No-one really remembers Hendry (not helped by only one of his episodes still existing).
  • Tamlyn Tomita as Lt. Cmdr. Laurel Takashima and Johnny Sekka as Dr. Benjamin Kyle in the Babylon 5 Pilot Movie — both of whom declined to return for the subsequent TV series. Neither ever appear again in person (although Dr. Kyle does get referred to several times throughout the series). Ultimately averted with Patricia Tallman (as Lyta Alexander), who also didn't return at first, but ended up rejoining the cast much later in the series when her replacement quit.
    • Tragic example: Michael O'Hare (Captain Sinclair) was found to be suffering from mental illness, and replaced with Bruce Boxleitner (Captain Sheridan, new look, same great taste) in time for Season Two, though he did make sporadic appearances in Season 3. He didn't stay long enough to make an impression on fans or his castmates, and never told anyone about his condition, leading to rumors of drug addition. That said, the revelation of his condition in 2013 did spark a new wave of admiration and respect for him from longtime fans of the show, particularly with the hindsight of just how harrowing episodes like "And the Sky, Full of Stars"note  must have been for him to film.
  • The original pilot episode of The Big Bang Theory was quite different from the show that eventually aired. Leonard and Sheldon had an extroverted female co-worker and friend named Gilda, who was dropped and replaced by Raj and Howard. The main story revolved around the guys trying to help the cynical Hard-Drinking Party Girl Katie, played by Amanda Walsh. Test audiences famously hated Katie, who was retooled into the more warm and friendly Penny, played by Kaley Cuoco.
  • The mid-60's comedy Camp Runamuck! featured Leonard Stone as Doc in most of the episodes. In the pilot, however, Doc was portrayed by Frank DeVol, who the role was originally intended for and who left due to health problems.
  • Originally, in the recurring role of black-sheep alcoholic older brother Gary Ewing, Dallas had cast David Ackroyd. When a spinoff, Knots Landing, was launched in the third season, Ted Shackelford got the part that would keep him working for the next 14 years.
  • The Daily Show started with Craig Kilborn for the first three years, but the show really became popular after Jon Stewart took over and retooled the direction and comedy style. The show's full title was eventually changed to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and remained so until Stewart's retirement in 2015.
  • Samantha Morrison played Emma Nelson as a baby on Degrassi Junior High and Ashlee Harris played toddler Emma Nelson on Degrassi High before Miriam McDonald played Emma Nelson on Degrassi: The Next Generation.
  • Ed had an in-universe example. A band sued their founder, lead singer and songwriter on the grounds that she plagiarized her lyrics. It was all a pretense because the record label didn't like her. They had already scouted a potential replacement but the trial took so long, the replacement joined another band. They tried to take back their leader, in vain. The episode ended with the band performing in front of a not so impressed talent scout.
  • Before Mary Hart began her near 30-year run as co-anchor of Entertainment Tonight, the initial female anchors were Marjorie Wallace and subsequently, Dixie Whatley.
  • The first season of The Facts of Life had several characters who didn't make it past the first season (outside of occasional appearances), but special attention should be given to Miss Mahoney, a teacher who was dropped after the fourth episode.
  • Family Matters:
    • Judy Winslow was played by one Valerie Jones in the very first episode (she could also briefly be seen during the opening from behind for a bit longer) before Jaimee Foxworth took over the role. Who didn't really hit it big, either, but at least became famous for that.
    • Laura's original best friend, Penny Peyser (Ebonie Smith), disappeared after the first season, and Eddie's, Rodney Beckett (Randy Josselyn) didn't last much longer. Their successors, Maxine Johnson (Cherie Johnson) and Waldo Faldo (Shawn Harrison), are much more recognizable.
  • Firefly: In a possible reference to the Trope Namer, a flashback sequence in the episode "Out of Gas" establishes that Serenity's original mechanic was a man named Bester, who was quickly forgotten by the crew after he lost his job to Kaylee.
  • Friends: Carol is played by Anita Barone in her debut episode, before Jane Sibbett takes over the role for the rest of the show.
  • George Carlin joked in his "sortabiography" that he replaced Ringo Starr on Shining Time Station becoming the reverse Pete Best.
  • By Season 3, all the original members of Glee's New Directions had been fully developed... except for Matt Rutherford, played by Dijon Talton who left the show after Season 1.
  • Elizabeth Ward played Carol Seaver in the pilot for Growing Pains, but was replaced by Tracey Gold when the series was picked up.
  • The "pilot" of Happy Days did air as an episode of Love, American Style. The pilot was initially rejected, only to have the network pick it up after Ron Howard starred in American Graffiti. Tom Bosley replaced Harold Gould as Howard Cunningham and Erin Moran replaced Susan Neher as Joanie.
  • Home Improvement originally had actress Francis Fisher playing Jill, but producers were uncertain about her take on the character (playing her a lot more exasperated over Tim's antics) and this led to her being replaced with Patricia Richardson for the series itself.
  • Pert Kelton was the original Alice Kramden when The Honeymooners was just a segment of Jackie Gleason's variety show. She was caught up in the Red Scare and was replaced by Audrey Meadows around the time for the show's "Classic 39".
  • When the syndicated newsmagazine Inside Edition premiered in January 1989, it was originally hosted by British journalist David Frost. After about three weeks into its first year, Frost was replaced by Bill O'Reilly, who would host the show for about the next six and half years. After O'Reilly's departure came former Today anchor Deborah Norville. Norville began hosting Inside Edition in March 1995 and continued to host it a good 20 years later.
  • A number of Iron Chefs are "the Pete Best" because of how the English dub was handled: The first dubbed episodes were from the last two seasons, featuring the lineup of veteran Chinese chef Kenichi Chin (credited in the English dub of the show as Chen Kenichi, family name first even though the other chefs were credited Western-style with their given name first), French chef Hiroyuki Sakai, then-new Japanese-American fusion chef Masaharu Morimoto (the third Iron Chef Japanese), and Italian chef Masahiko Kobe (by far the youngest of the Iron Chefs, 26 at the time of his appointment, 28 in the earliest dubbed episodes at which time he had already been on the show for 2 years). Later, the decision was made to dub a new order of episodes starting with the second season, featuring the lineup of Sakai and Chin with Iron Chef Japanese I, Rokusaburo Michiba. Not shown in the English dub except for a single episode (in which he lost) was Iron Chef French I, Yutaka Ishinabe, who left the show after a single season because he disliked the artificial pacing of Reality Television, and not shown until very late in the show's run was Iron Chef Japanese II, Koumei Nakamura, appearing in seasons 4 and 5 after Michiba's departure from the series. Until relatively late, most American viewers had little idea that Nakamura had been part of the show for two years, as Morimoto was depicted as being Michiba's direct successor.
  • In the JAG two-parter that provided the backdoor pilot for NCIS, Robyn Lively played the female field agent. By the time the actual series premiered, she was replaced by Sasha Alexander (notable in that she herself would be replaced by Cote de Pablo after the second season). And from the NCIS two-parter that provided the backdoor pilot for its spinoff, NCIS: Los Angeles, Louise Lombard played the character who would have been that show's team leader. When it began in Fall '09, she was replaced by Linda Hunt.
  • The Late Late Show: This happened to Kilborn a second time with his next show. He replaced Tom Snyder as the host of The Late Late Show and re-vamped it, giving it a new set and a more comedic style than Snyder's. Then he left the show...and in came Craig Ferguson, who became a darling in the late night ranks. Then Ferguson left and James Corden took over.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Elliot Stabler's most prominent child Kathleen was originally played by Holiday Segal before Alison Siko officially takes over the role starting Season 3.
  • The talk show Live! with Kelly and Ryan was known for most of its life as Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, and hosted by Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford. Kelly Ripa replaced Gifford in 2001 (thus renaming the show Live with Regis and Kelly) and Regis stepped down in 2011, with several guest hosts in both cases until the replacement was chosen. Strahan announced his own departure in May 2016, and yet another rotation of guest hosts followed until Ryan Seacrest replaced him. However, Gifford was not the original co-host; under its original name of The Morning Show, it was co-hosted by Philbin and Cyndy Garveynote  for its first season in 1983, followed by Ann Abernathy for another season before Gifford entered in 1985. The show began naming itself after its hosts in 1988. Thus, the show is a double example — those who remember it only for the Regis and Kelly era onward may not realize that Ripa replaced Gifford; and those who do remember Gifford may not realize that she herself was a replacement.
  • Penny Santon originally played Nurse Consuelo Lopez in the TV movie that started Marcus Welby, M.D. before recast by Elena Verdugo for the rest of the run.
  • The original pilot for Married... with Children was never aired. When the show went into production, they used new actors for Bud/Kelly.
  • Pretty much the entire cast of the series adaptation of M*A*S*H could be considered this when compared to the cast of the original movie; however, series-specific, Father Mulcahy was played by George Morgan in the pilot episode, before being replaced by William Christopher for the series proper - it's easy to forget Morgan as Mulcahy in the pilot, because Mulcahy never spoke in that episode. Ironically, Christopher had originally tested for the part, but instead of doing a table reading, ad-libbed much of his dialogue, which was seen as unprofessional, and the part went to Morgan instead. Afterwards, the producers decided Christopher's quirky personality was a better fit for Mulcahy, so they brought him back, on the condition that he would stick with the script.
  • Everybody knows that the IMF on Mission: Impossible was always led by Peter Graves' Jim Phelps. Mostly forgotten is Dan Briggs, played by Steven Hill in the first season. Hill left the show (and temporarily, acting) for reasons that were partly religious, and his character was given the Brother Chuck treatment.
    • Ironically, Hill would become the "Ringo" figure when he assumed his most famous role, DA Adam Schiff on Law & Order. The DA in the original pilot was Alfred Wentworth, played by Roy Thinnes; however, the pilot was filmed two years before the show was finally picked up by NBC, and Thinnes chose not to return as a regular.
  • Another variant focused on original Monday Night Football play-by-play broadcaster Keith Jackson. Jackson was assigned to call play-by-play for MNF's first season in 1970 only to give way to Frank Gifford (who ABC Sports president Roone Arledge wanted from day 1; eventually bringing Gifford in as soon as his contract with CBS expired). Became a Zig Zagged Trope for Jackson, who later would become most famous as the voice of ABC's college football coverage.
  • Tim Brooke-Taylor was an early member of what would eventually evolve into Monty Python, alongside Graham Chapman, John Cleese and Michael Palin, and made appearances in At Last the 1948 Show and How to Irritate People. He left the group between the latter and the start of Monty Python's Flying Circus — by which time Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam had arrived — though still went on to be a pretty successful actor in his own right.
  • On The Munsters, Marilyn was originally portrayed by Beverly Owen. She left the show after less than three months, however, and thereafter Pat Priest took over the role.
  • The Muppets: When Jim Henson got started in puppetry, he worked with his friend Russell Wall. However, Wall only worked for a few months, long before The Muppets had become big. Henson's wife Jane did some of the early puppet work before becoming a mother, and Jerry Juhl did puppetry on some of Henson's material from The ’60s but decided to turn his Muppet focus to writing.
  • Josh "J. Elvis" Weinstein was the original voice of Tom Servo on Mystery Science Theater 3000, and also Dr. Forrester's original assistant (Dr. Erhardt). Weinstein left after only one season on Comedy Central and was replaced with Kevin Murphy and Frank Coniff respectively for Season 2, which was when the show starting to make it big and becoming really good.
  • MythBusters:
    • While she filled a different role in the show in its original format, folklorist Heather Joseph-Witham became the Pete Best of MythBusters, effectively replaced by the Build Team as the show's focus shifted from the myths themselves to MacGyvering and Stuff Blowing Up.
    • Scottie Chapman is another MythBusters example; she was originally the machinist of the Build Team, but left the show during Season 3, right around the time the Build Team's role on the show was expanded and they were added to the theme sequence, and was replaced by Grant Imahara. While Scottie has made sporadic appearances since then (and the hosts/current producers have not been shy about showing flashbacks that prominently feature her), the regulars on the show have become far more famous.
  • My Wife and Kids: The original Claire, played by Jazz Raycole in the first season (only 11 episodes), is pretty forgettable. The second Claire, played by Jennifer Freeman in seasons 2–5, is much more recognizable.
  • Ensemble topical comedy show Not the Nine O'Clock News ran for several series in the period 1978-83. Everyone will recall the lineup was Rowan Atkinson, Mel Smith, Pamela Stephenson and Gryff Rhys-Jones. However, in the first series, Rhys-Jones was nowhere to be seen and the Pete Best of the group was comic actor and writer Chris Langham, who performed creditably but left at the end of the series citing artistic differences. He was replaced by Rhys-Jones only at he start of the second series. The fact Langham has since been convicted of crimes to do with indecent photographs of children has made it easier for the BBC to airbrush his involvement out of the series' official history.
  • Shailene Woodley originally played the role of Kaitlin Cooper on The O.C. in the first season who was pretty irrelevant. When the show decided to bring Kaitlin back for Season 3 with storylines based around her, she was played by Willa Holland, who was also more developed at the time.
  • One Tree Hill: Haley (Bethany Joy Lenz) was not in the original pilot. Instead, Lucas' best friend was a different character named Reagan (more tomboyish than Haley) portrayed by Samantha Shelton. All of the key scenes featuring Shelton as Reagan in the pilot were re-shot with Bethany Joy Lenz taking her place, although you can still see "Reagan" in the background scenes where she has no lines.
  • Our Miss Brooks: Joe Forte played Mr. Conklin in the first few radio episodes of the series, before being replaced by the legendary Gale Gordon.
  • Parks and Recreation had its own "Pete Best" with Paul Schneider, who played Mark Brendanawicz in the first two seasons. However, the character was widely disliked by the fans for coming off as bland compared to the other characters while critics noted Schneider never seemed to quite gel with the rest of the ensemble cast, his status as the odd man out only becoming more obvious when the show began finding more of its own distinct identity away from its parent show. Eventually, Schneider left the show at the end of Season 2 (with Mark being Put on a Bus and never coming back), and was replaced by Adam Scott and the character of Ben Wyatt, who was an instant hit with fans as well as a perfect fit for the show's newfound style, rapidly becoming a More Popular Replacement.
  • The first season of Pee-wee's Playhouse had a number of human characters who only appeared that season, including Captain Carl (who had been around since the original stage show the show is based on), Ms. Steve, Dixie, and Tito, as well as a different actor playing The King of Cartoons. However, half of the original cast also makes up a portion of retroactive recognition - Captain Carl was played by Phil Hartman (who had also helped create Pee Wee Herman) and Dixie was played by Johann Carlo.
  • The first series of Robot Wars was hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, much better known nowadays for Top Gear (UK). He was replaced in Series 2 by Craig Charles (best known as Dave Lister on Red Dwarf) who was much better-suited to both the material and the show format (Clarkson was known for being quite rude to the contestants and didn't really hold the show in high regard) and Robot Wars really took off after that. Charles would remain the host of UK Robot Wars up until it went off the air after Series 7 and fans were quite upset when other commitments prevented him from returning as the host of the 2016 reboot series (hosted by Irish comedian Dara O Briain).
  • Sal Barone played D.J. Conner in the pilot of Roseanne. Then the Writers' Strike happened, during which he grew half an inch and couldn't be perceived as a 7-year-old kid anymore. He was replaced with Michael Fishman, who, besides being a bit younger, looked decidedly more like Roseanne than Sal did.
  • Saturday Night Live:
    • Billy Crystal was scheduled to be in one sketch in the first episode and would have been a featured player throughout that season. But it was cut and he went home, crying all the way back because he thought he'd just blown the only break he was ever going to get. He stuck with his standup career and eventually did get to be a regular ten years later.
    • The show parodies Pete Best's story with Eddie Murphy as Clarence Walker, the saxophonist who's still bitter about being kicked out of the band.
    • In the second episode of the 14 season, with Mathew Broderick as a guest, they make a parody of Albert Goldman, author of a controversial biography of John Lennon, which made this character (played by Phil Hartman) claim that he had been part of The Beatles and played trombone in the band before they reached the stardom, but was expelled by everyone present (both John, Paul, George, Ringo ... and Elvis) on considerations about his lack of talent and large build. At the end Mr. Goldman threatened to take revenge sooner or later for that affront (it should be noted that this autor wrote a polemic biography of Elvis, too).
    • Happened on the show as well. George Coe made a bunch of appearances in the first season as a utility player when they needed someone to play an older man, and was credited as a Not Ready For Prime Time Player on the first episode, though he was never really a full cast member.
  • For its first three years, the PBS show Scientific American Frontiers was hosted by MIT professor Woodie Flowers. He was replaced by Alan Alda, who hosted for 12 years.
  • Canadian sketch comedy series SCTV originally had a seven-person cast that included Harold Ramis. Ramis only appeared in sketches for the first season and first couple of episodes of season 2- after season 1, he chose to focus on writing before leaving the show entirely to help write Animal House. He did alright for himself, though.
  • In the Seinfeld pilot "The Seinfeld Chronicles" the lead female role was Claire, the waitress played by Lee Garlington, Elaine was brought in on the second later, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus didn't find out about the pilot episode until years later.
  • Sesame Street: Practically every American under the age of 40 will immediately say "hey, it's Gordon!" upon seeing the face of Roscoe Orman, but most don't know that he was actually the fourth Gordon. Garrett Saunders originated the role in the first test episode in 1969, which only aired on one station, but was replaced by Matt Robinson for the actual series. note  Robinson left after three seasons; he did all right for himself, later working for Bill Cosby, and you've probably heard of his daughter - Holly Robinson-Peete. Hal Miller took over from 1972-74.
  • Lauren Sanchez was the original host of So You Think You Can Dance, but left after one season and was replaced by Cat Deeley, who is now the face of the show.
  • Only two characters from Stargate retained their original actors when the movie was adapted into Stargate SG-1. Who do people usually remember as Jack O'Neil(l)? Richard Dean Anderson, not Kurt Russell. Daniel Jackson? Michael Shanks, not James Spader.
    • Most people associate Torri Higginson with Dr. Elizabeth Weir, since she played the role in Stargate Atlantis. However, in the character's first appearance on SG-1, she was played by Jessica Steen.
  • Jeffrey Hunter played Christopher Pike in the original pilot for Star Trek. Reception was thin for that first pilot, but NBC, in a unprecedented move at the time, let Gene Roddenberry produce a second pilot, replacing Hunter (and Number One, played by Majel Barrett, who later played Nurse Christine Chapel in the series proper) with William Shatner as Captain Kirk, and folding much of the traits of the Number One character into Leonard Nimoy's Spock. The rest, as they say, is history.
    • Apparently, despite being asked to return, Hunter didn't want to, and he used a loophole in his contract to get out of his role in the series. He would've had to star in the show if it was picked up after the first pilot, but since a second pilot was commissioned instead of a full season order, he was free to walk away.note 
    • Shatner claims in his memoirs that Hunter was actually sort of manipulated into leaving by his girlfriend at the time, who was always on set complaining about how dumb the show made him look. Apparently the producers didn't like that situation much either, and by some accounts they were planning to recast Pike anyway.
    • The majority of the first pilot with Hunter was later incorporated in an memorable two-part episode, The Menagerie, in the show's first season, placing Pike firmly into the canon of the series. Pike would would also be a major character in the series' motion picture reboot, played by Bruce Greenwood.
  • Denise Crosby left Star Trek: The Next Generation before the first season was up, roughly a year before it became a merchandising giant. You might see her on a Trek celebrity cruise, but apart from that, she's a bit player in the DVDs and doesn't join the roundtable discussions about the show. However, her character was revived for three time-travel plots, including the series finale. Crosby also got to play her own daughter thanks to the Timey Wimey shenanigans.
    "For me, I was miserable. I couldn’t wait to get off that show. I was dying. This was not an overnight decision...I didn’t want to spend the next six years going 'Aye, aye, captain,' and standing there, in the same uniform, in the same position on the bridge. It just scared the hell out of me that this was what I was going to be doing for the next X-amount of years."
  • In the original unaired pilot of Three's Company, Samantha, the character who would become Chrissy Snow, was portrayed by Susanne Zenor. Zenor was not picked for the second filming of the pilot, so actress Susan Lanier took over the role of Chrissy. Suzanne Somers ultimately won the permanent role in the third and final pilot.
  • 3-2-1 Contact was retooled and thus completely recast after just the first season.
  • Jason Dawe, who was a presenter on Top Gear for one season and then was replaced by James May.
    • And for US fans, The Black Stig (since BBC America hasn't gotten around to airing the earliest seasons of Top Gear (UK)).
  • Branford Marsalis was Jay Leno's original bandleader on The Tonight Show. Unfortunately, because of the legendary rapport Leno had with his replacement Kevin Eubanks (not quite as legendary as that between Johnny Carson and Doc Severinsen, or David Letterman and Paul Schaffer, but close), no one remembers that fact.
  • Katie Lee Joel (now Katie Lee) hosted the first season of Top Chef before being replaced by the more telegenic Padma Lakshmi.
  • Alex McLeod was the original host of Trading Spaces. Seasons 2 onward were hosted by Paige Davis.
  • In 1981 MTV hired five people as its original lineup of VJs: Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson and Meg Griffin (no, not that one). Griffin was a radio vet (as were some of the others) but she had difficulty adjusting to an on-camera role during rehearsals, and quit just two weeks before the August 1 launch date. She was hurriedly replaced by 22-year-old radio intern Martha Quinn, who went on to become arguably the most famous VJ.

    Game Shows 
  • The original host of Beat the Geeks was J. Keith van Straaten. He was replaced after the first season by Blaine Capatch, apparently because the producers thought van Straaten was not geeky enough. For some reason, original Music Geek Andy Zax, aka the Walking Encyclopedia of Music, was nearly this after being fired and replaced near the middle of the first season. After two different replacements (Michael Jolly and Michael Farmer) proved inadequate, Zax returned to his rightful place.
  • When Dealer's Choice debuted in January 1974, its host was Bob Hastings. He lasted only a few weeks before Jack Clark took over, mainly due to talking way too much for the editors' liking.
  • Remember Paul Lynde, that sassy gay guy who was the center square on The Hollywood Squares (minus a period from 1979-80)? Yeah. Well, from 1966-68, there were various people in the center square, most notably (from the GSN reruns of the 1968 nighttime show) Buddy Hackett.
  • The UK classic The Golden Shot (1967-75) was a huge hit with host Bob Monkhouse. His introduction was the network's saving throw after the show bombed under original host Jackie Rae.
  • The Gong Show. Gary Owens hosted the unaired pilot, and John Barbour did five also-unaired episodes (GSN aired his first) before creator Chuck Barris took over.
  • Art Fleming, the original host for Jeopardy!, is not as well known to newer generations as his successor Alex Trebek despite two Emmy nominations and a fairly long run as host (1964-1975, 1978-1979). However this is mostly due to Trebek hosting for an even longer period of time — his version has run continuously since 1984. Also, as with Wheel below, most of Fleming's run has been erased.
    • In a literal case of the "Weird Al" Effect, a lot of people only know about Fleming because he's mentioned in (and appeared in the video for) "Weird Al" Yankovic's "I Lost on Jeopardy".
    • The Trebek version has its own version in the Clue Crew, a set of assistants who have regularly provided video-based clues since 2001. The most famous are Kelly Miyahara, Jimmy McGuire, and Sarah Whitcomb Foss. However, the original Clue Crew consisted of McGuire, Foss, Cheryl Farrell, and Sofia Lidskog. Lidskog left in 2004, with both Miyahara and Jon Cannon replacing her; Farrell left in 2008, and Cannon in 2009.
  • Jay Stewart is known for his long role as the announcer/sidekick on the original incarnation of Let's Make a Deal in The ’60s and The '70s. However, the first season of the original show's 1963-77 run was announced by Wendell Niles instead.
  • While Lingo is most well-known by Americans for its 2002-07 run on GSN with iconic host Chuck Woolery (and the short-lived dirty-minded 2011 reboot hosted by Bill Engvall), it actually began as a Ralph Andrews production from 1987-88, hosted originally by Michael Reagan (Ronald Reagan's son) and later (the last five weeks) by Andrews himself.
    • The GSN version itself has an example. There was no hostess or announcer in the first season. Season 2 had Randy Thomas (best known as the voice of Hooked on Phonics commercials) as announcer, but no hostess. In Season 3, Stacey Hayes joined as hostess (with modeling assistance from Paula Cobb on the first two taped episodes) while also taking over as announcer, before Shandi Finessey took over the hostess/announcer role for the rest of the run.
  • Brett Somers and Charles Nelson Reilly didn't appear on Match Game until a few weeks into the run, when they almost immediately became regular panelists. They stayed for the next nine years, except for a few weeks when Charles was busy with other projects and a few times when Brett was unavailable. This is a curious case, as they didn't Pete Best any individual people; they just became mostly-permanent panelists alongside Richard Dawson (who would later leave after he got the hosting gig on Family Feud).
  • The Newlywed Game's original announcer was Scott Beach, who was apparently fired for singing anti-war songs to the audience during commercial breaks. He was replaced by Johnny Jacobs, who held the role until his death in the early 80's, and racked up several more announcing gigs, primarily for Newlywed creator Chuck Barris and Jack Barry-Dan Enright productions.
  • The original version of The Price Is Right ran on NBC from 1956-63 and ABC from 1963-65, hosted by Bill Cullen. It isn't brought up too often nowadays.
    • When Mark Goodson wanted to revive Price in 1972, he had a clear setup in mind: weekly syndication, hosted by Dennis James and distributed by Viacom. Once CBS got wind of the revival, Bud Grant approached Goodson about doing a daytime show with Bob Barker as emcee. Barker wanted no part of it, not liking those in charge of the revival, and begged Grant for another game show; Grant declined, which suggests that Barker's alleged backstage tyranny was payback for having the show forced on him.
    • As for James, he did nighttime Price until 1977, when his contract expired and Barker took over until its end in 1980. His version, along with those of Tom Kennedy (1985-86) and Doug Davidson (1994-95), are largely ignored in pretty much every way.
  • For the first few years of the original What's My Line?, Hal "Dimples" Block was a regular panelist. As the show progressed it became more and more dignified and refined, and Block's loutish persona soon became undesirable and his seat was permanently replaced by Bennett Cerf. To add insult to injury, most of Block's run is lost due to the films being destroyed for their silver content after the episodes ran once on live TV.
  • When it started on NBC's daytime lineup in 1975, Wheel of Fortune was hosted by Chuck Woolery and Susan Stafford. Chuck was replaced by Pat Sajak in December 1981, followed by the iconic hostess Vanna White taking Susan's place almost exactly a year later. Pat and Vanna successfully made the transition to nighttime syndication in 1983, and still hold those roles to this day, although Pat relinquished his daytime duties two years before that version ended in 1991. This also led to a reverse Pete Best situation with his daytime successors (Rolf Benirschke for a few months, then Bob Goen after a Channel Hop to CBS), as their runs on daytime are comparatively lesser-known.
    • Interestingly, Woolery zig-zags this trope, as he is well-known for hosting Scrabble, Love Connection, Greed, and the aforementioned Lingo, but his Wheel tenure is comparatively less known. It doesn't help that most of his run has been erased. He is also a further zig-zag, as he hosted the very first pilot in 1973 (under the Working Title Shopper's Bazaar), while Edd "Kookie" Byrnes hosted the second and third pilots.
    • Original announcer Charlie O'Donnell managed to Pete Best himself. He was the original announcer for the show from the aforementioned second and third pilots until 1980, when he left due to the show getting a cancellation that was later overturned. He was replaced by Jack Clark, whose voice is the one that many think of when they think of early Wheel. Clark died in 1988, and was replaced by M. G. Kelly for just under a season before Charlie returned in 1989. (Charlie died in 2011 and Jim Thornton replaced him.)
  • Zig Zagged with Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. Meredith Vieira hosted the show for 11 seasons in syndication, versus only 3 on ABC for original host Regis Philbin; however, the ABC version was explosively popular and spawned a legion of tropes that revived the then-flagging game show field, so Regis is still seen by many as the most iconic host of the show. (After Meredith left in 2013, she was replaced by Cedric the Entertainer, then Terry Crews, then Chris Harrison.) In addition, all four hosts are known in varying capacities for something other than Millioniare (Regis for the aforementioned Live!; Meredith for The View; Cedric for The Steve Harvey Show; Crews for Everybody Hates Chris, and Harrison as host of The Bachelor).
  • Pole Chudes, a Russian copycat of Wheel of sorts, has a downplayed case of this. The show is for the most part associated with Leonid Yakubovich, who hosts it since 1991. The position of the host was handed over to Yakubovich by Vlad Listyev, who started P Ch and hosted it for about a year. However, Listyev himself was one of the most influential figures on Russian television (if not the most), being the founding member of VID television company (famous for the 'Mask of Doom' logo) and the first CEO of the first Russian non-state-owned networks, all of which keeps him from being totally forgotten.

  • Pete Best, the Trope Namer. While John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison had been friends and bandmates together since 1957, Pete had only been added to the group in 1960 when they got their gig playing in Hamburg and needed to find a drummer. By 1962 when the band was auditioning for their EMI contract, there was a feeling that Best wasn't a good enough drummer; after EMI signed them, George Martin told the band that he was going to use a session drummer on their recordings. (Wikipedia has a lot more about this.) And worse luck for Pete, highly regarded Liverpool drummer Ringo Starr was a free agent at this time, having left his previous group. So the other three canned him.note  Best suffered from depression, leaving show business a few years later. He eventually married and raised a family, and he received several million pounds in the 1990s when the Anthology 1 record was released with several tracks featuring Best on drums.
    • Best was eventually able to capitalize on The Beatle's fame when he released an album of original music titled Best of The Beatles. The album title is not strictly a lie — it was, after all, music by Pete Best of The Beatles — even though many of its sales reportedly came from Beatles fans who misunderstood its deliberate ambiguity (despite the fact that the sleeve artwork clearly circled him).
    • The Beatles also had a minor case in Stuart Sutcliffe. He was John's classmate at the Liverpool College of Art, and in 1960 agreed to play bass, but he left in 1961 to stay in Hamburg with his girlfriend (turning them into a quartet) and progress with his dreams of being a painter; he wasn't replaced by a new member, but Paul McCartney who switched from rhythm guitar (with Lennon) to take over his duties as bassist and became known for that role in the band. Sadly, Sutcliffe died less than a year later from a brain haemorrhage before he could become a successful painter; the rest of the fab four paid tribute to him by putting his face on the front cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
  • The Rutles mocked this with Leppo, who parodied Stuart Sutcliffe, but they also played it straight — when they first appeared on television Dirk mocked George and Stig lampooned Paul. Dirk was portrayed by Eric Idle, but Stig was portrayed by David Battley before the two swapped their parodies and Ricky Fataar stepped in.
  • Two examples with the progressive power metal band Kamelot, the first being their original bassist, Sean Tibbets (who originally used the stage name Sean Christians and rejoined the band) who left shortly after the band formed, replaced by Glenn Barry, the only member besides Thomas Youngblood to play on all of the band's albums up to Ghost Opera. Less commonly, this happens with vocalist Roy Khan who was preceded for 7 years (and two albums) by Mark Vanderbilt.
    • Tibbets being a founding member is less likely to be forgotten now that he has rejoined the band due to Glenn's personal issues forcing him to leave.
  • Queen was originally called Smile, and the bassist, Tim Staffell, was the singer before he left to join the band Humpy Bong, and Freddie Mercury (who was Smile's biggest fan) joined Smile and they changed the name to Queen. Staffell ironically did get some fame, but not as a musician, rather as a model maker, designing sets and costumes for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and, more famously, Thomas the Tank Engine.
    • A straighter example would be the three bassists they had before settling on John Deacon. The one that stayed around the longest was called Barry Mitchell, and that was for about 5 gigs.
  • Miles 'Flicker' Woodward was originally the bassist in the Manic Street Preachers, but left in 1988 as he felt the band were moving away from their punk roots. Nicky Wire changed from rhythm guitar to bass, and Richey Edwards joined the band as rhythm guitarist/lyricist. Apparently, after the band made it big with their Britpop hit 'A Design For Life', Woodward's friends would play it on the jukebox in his local pub as a joke.
  • Any lead guitarist of X Japan before hide. There were a few including Jun and Hally, but...
  • Many don't realize that Alex Lifeson is the only remaining founding member of Rush. Neil Peart was preceded by John Rutsey (who played on their self-titled debut album) for 6 years. Geddy Lee was preceded by Jeff Jones (later of "Lunatic Fringe" rockers Red Rider). For a month.
    • Rutsey is notably a different case than a lot of the other examples here since he left in large part due to irritating health problems (struggles with diabetes that would eventually take his life) and maintained connections with the other band members. The group has a nice tribute to him in their 2010 documentary film Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage.
  • The Moody Blues both exemplified and subverted this trope; Denny Laine was in their first (unsuccessful) professional incarnation, as were Clint Warwick and, later, Rod Clark (who replaced Warwick), but when Laine and Clark left and the band held auditions for replacements, John Lodge (an ex-member from their amateur days) turned up for an audition and was accepted back without one.
  • Fleetwood Mac has this trope in spades. Better to read the entry on The Other Wiki than explain it here.
    • The person who most fits the "Pete Best" mantle in their history was bass guitarist Bob Brunning. Founding member Peter Green had named his new band after his former Bluesbreakers bandmates Mick Fleetwood and John McVie to intice them to join him. Fleetwood accepted, but McVie opted to stay on with the Bluesbreakers. Brunning was hired instead, and joined the band with full understanding that he was out if McVie changed his mind...which he did. Two weeks later.
  • Nirvana went through a bevy of drummers before finally hitting it big with Dave Grohl behind the kit. Chad Channing, who played drums on Nirvana's first album, Bleach, is probably the most well-known of these, although the book Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana actually uses the phrase "The Pete Best of Nirvana" in reference to Aaron Burckhard, their very first drummer.
    • Guitarist Jason Everman was only a member of Nirvana for six months in 1989; He's credited and appears on the cover of Bleach, but does not play on it; He was only credited as a gesture of gratitude from Kurt Cobain because he forked over the $600 to record the album. After leaving Nirvana, Everman played bass for Soundgarden for about a year before being kicked out. Having washed out of two of the fastest rising bands in Seattle - in the words of The New York Times, he was "Pete Best twice" - Everman decided to focus his attention on something else: He joined the Army, and became a decorated member of the U.S. Special Forces.
  • Grohl's band has weird cases, as the band had already been successful when they joined. After doing the Foo Fighters first album by himself, Grohl recruited a full band for the tour. The drummer, William Goldsmith (of Sunny Day Real Estate fame), quit during production of the second album as Grohl didn't like his drum tracks and redid them himself (only one and a half of Goldsmith's contributions remained). Then the new guitarist for that album's tour, Franz Stahl (who played with Grohl in Scream), quit before the third album's production, with his only studio recordings being soundtrack contributions "A320" and "Walking After You".
  • Metallica:
    • Lloyd Grant only played on the first demo of "Hit the Lights", which is by far slower than the one on the album. Lars said in a video, that they were so close to a record deal, but that's debatable.
    • Similarly, Ron McGovney, who was replaced by Cliff Burton.
    • Dave Mustaine (who helped McGovney leave through constant mistreatment), after being replaced by Kirk Hammett, made an entire career out of making sure he would never be a Pete Best.
  • Within Megadeth itself, there is Greg Handevidt, Lee Rauch, and Dijon Carruthers. The former went on to form Kublai Khan, which released a full-length and toured a few times in the mid-80s before falling off the map; he later went to law school and wound up becoming a licensed attorney. Rauch, meanwhile, was very briefly part of Dark Angel and Wargod (thereby doubling as a Pete Best for the former; while not as big as Megadeth by any means, Dark Angel was not a small-time band then and is not a small-time band now), while Carruthers left music altogether. To a degree, Kerry King of Slayer also counts, as he performed with Megadeth during some of its earlier shows but left to commit to Slayer.
  • The original lineup of the group that would become Spice Girls included a singer named Michelle Stephenson. She was fired a few months after they formed was replaced by Emma Bunton. It was only after Bunton joined the group (at the time called "Touch") that member Geri Halliwell coined the name Spice Girls.
  • Saliva's original drummer, Todd Poole, left the band soon before their album "Every Six Seconds" was released. He was replaced by Paul Crosby, who has remained on the drumkit ever since.
  • Social Distortion is an extreme case. The band started in 1978 with lead singer Tom Corvin, guitarists Frank and Rikk Agnew, and Mike Ness, bassist Mark Garrett, and drummer Casey Royer. Garrett left and was replaced by Dennis Dannell, who later switched to guitar until his untimely death in 2000. Then Corvin left, leaving Ness to take over as lead singer (while still playing guitar). The Agnew brothers soon left with Royer to join the Adolescents, and the rest is history.
  • Pink Floyd has some shining examples, often unfamiliar even to ardent fans of their early work. Accomplished guitarist Bob Klose was pressured into leaving by his father and college tutors less than a year before they got their record deal. Vocalists Keith Noble and Clive Metcalfe left to form their own band two years before that. And their replacement, Chris Dennis, was also an RAF technician and got posted overseas.
    • Meanwhile, Syd Barrett has been granted an aversion of this. Although he was fired during the making of their second album due to Creator Breakdown, they had some decent success with their first album and their singles, and after he left the band, he recorded two well received solo records. The fact that the band wouldn't stop writing songs about him probably helped as well.
  • Quick, name any member of Iron Maiden's pre-Number Of The Beast line up (excluding Steve Harris, Dave Murray and Adrian Smith). If you're a big fan, you might remember Paul Di'Anno, but the rest are downright obscure. There's also Clive Burr, who recorded that album, but is not as remembered as his replacement Nicko McBrain.
    • In fact, Iron Maiden had quite a few different lineups before finally getting a record deal and bringing out an album. Paul Di'Anno? He's their third singer. It does help that Maiden brought out "The Early Days" DVD, which chronicles the first eight years of their career and all the different musicians that were in the band until they settled on their most "Classic" lineup with Piece of Mind.
    • There are many who prefer the earlier versions of the band. Especially with Clive Burr, who may actually be the single best musician to pass through that band.
  • Visual Kei band Malice Mizer recorded one album with their original lead singer, Tetsu (which is farther than they got with their original drummer, Gaz, who was replaced after one SONG); however, they had their biggest successes when Gackt was brought in, and modern fans are more likely to remember him or HIS replacement, Klaha, before they remember the original.
  • Buck Tick had a vocalist named Araki at the beginning. No one really knows or cares about him, because then-drummer Atsushi Sakurai took over as singer, was far better, and the rest was history...
  • Guns N' Roses' name comes from Axl Rose and Tracii Guns, and the names of their previous bands, Hollywood Rose and L.A. Guns, respectively. But the latter didn't last long in the band, being replaced by Slash after missing a rehearsal (Guns eventually reformed L.A. Guns and had minor success later in the 1980's). As well, the other two members of L. A. Guns who founded the band, Ole Beich and Rob Gardner (also Pete Bests for L.A. Guns), were replaced by Duff McKagan and Steven Adler, respectively. The only founding members of G'n'R that remained by the time the band hit the big time were Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin, which gives a touch of irony to the fans' upset about Axl's firing the "original" band members between 1994 and 1997.
    • It does lend a fair bit of insight into Axl's stance on the matter. In his eyes all the band members besides Izzy were hired hands in his band while from the perspective of the other members it was a five-way equal partnership until Axl started taking over.
  • The original bassist of Sex Pistols, Glen Matlock, was replaced by Sid Vicious after the release of their first two singles. Matlock did write their third single "Pretty Vacant", but it only got into the charts after he had been chucked out of the band. When the band reunited in 1996, however, Vicious had been dead for 17 years, and so Matlock returned to the fold and has remained with the band ever since.
    Johnny Rotten: "He wanted us to be more the Beatles"
  • George Johnston was the original drummer for April Wine. He and the band parted ways shortly before they hit it big.
  • The Dixie Chicks originally consisted of Martie Maguire, Emily Irwin Robison, Robin Lynn Macy, and Laura Lynch, the latter two of whom split lead vocal duties until Macy left in 1993 over Creative Differences. By the time they signed with Sony's Monument Records, Lynch left on good terms (she wanted to raise her daughter) and was replaced by Natalie Maines. With Maines on lead vocals, the band went from obscurity to mainstream success.
  • Black metal band Mayhem has Manheim, their original drummer who is only heard on their first EP, Deathcrush, after which he was replaced with the much-better-known Hellhammer.
    • Someone named Messiah did vocals on a few tracks of that EP.
  • Slipknot had a few members leave/get fired before they hit it big but two fit the trope more than others, Anders Colsefni, original vocalist who sang on the Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. demo/first album (depending on who you ask) and guitar player Josh Brainard who played guitar on all songs for the Self Titled album save for two tracks before leaving the band and being replaced with current guitar player James Root.
  • Progressive Metal band Dream Theater has Charlie Dominici, the singer on their debut album. He was dropped from the band because he wanted to pursue a hair metal style while the rest of the band wanted to pursue a progressive metal style and was replaced with James LaBrie (who ironically started his career with a hair band), and the band promptly recorded Images and Words, their most successful album ever.
    • Dominici himself was preceded by Chris Collins, who sang only on a few of the band's early demos.
  • John Kiffmeyer, a.k.a. "Al Sobrante", played drums on the first Green Day album 39/Smooth. He then left for college and was replaced by Tré Cool, and the band was on the way to stardom soon after. The only song Kiffmeyer ever wrote was "I Was There". The original lineup of Green Day has only reunited once since, to play a gig under their original name Sweet Children in 2015.
  • blink-182's first drummer was Scott Raynor, who played on most of their early releases, including their first two albums and their early hit single "Dammit (Growing Up)". Raynor left before recording Enema of the State and was replaced by former Aquabats drummer Travis Barker. Enema of the State wound up being the album where Blink-182 went from being another 90's pop-punk also-ran into one of the most popular rock bands in the United States.
    • Since Raynor left just as the band was getting very famous, the timing led to some confusion: Travis Barker appeared alongside his new bandmates in 1999's American Pie, but his appearance was credited to Scott Raynor.
  • Steve Peregrin Took left Tyrannosaurus Rex about one album before Marc Bolan renamed the band T.Rex and found massive commercial success. Took outlived Bolan by a few years, but he's best remembered in rock lore for his death certificate listing his C.O.D. as "asphyxiation from choking on a cocktail cherry".
  • Mark Wakefield used to be the lead singer of an obscure, LA-based rap-rock band named Xero. He got fed up with their lack of success and left to become the manager for Taproot. A new lead singer and two name changes later, "lack of success" would not be something you'd describe the band with.
    • Linkin Park's bassist for the debut album Hybrid Theory wasn't Dave "Phoenix" Farrell, who was on hiatus and rejoined them during the first tour. Only the most diehard fans could tell you that it was actually Brad Delson, the band's lead guitarist (with Scott Koziol and Ian Hornbeck as secondary bassists on several songs) who performed bass on the album. While Delson himself isn't really an example (since he's still famous for being the lead guitarist), but Koziol and Hornbeck counts.
  • Lee Keczmarek was the founding member and original bassist of what would eventually become Cold Chisel (but was at the time called "Orange"). He left over a dispute about transitioning from being a cover band to playing original songs (Keczmarek was against it) and was replaced by Phil Small — Cold Chisel later went on to be arguably the biggest rock band in Australia ever.
  • Signe Anderson sang for Jefferson Airplane on their first album, but was replaced by Grace Slick for Surrealistic Pillow. The album has Skip Spence on drums, but in the middle of it he left to form Moby Grape.
  • David Ruffin replaced Al Bryant of The Temptations. Ruffin ended up singing some of the group's most memorable hits, "My Girl" included.
  • Eric Gaffney was a founding member of Sebadoh, and co-fronted the band with Lou Barlow for a while. He left in 1993 over a dispute about what direction the band should go next. That direction was 1994's Bakesale, an indie rock classic.
  • Destiny's Child. The original members were Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, LaTavia Robertson, and LeToya Luckett. Around 2000, the video for "Say My Name" premiered, without Robertson or Luckett. They had been replaced by Farrah Franklin (who left the group shortly afterward) and Michelle Williams. Luckett and Robertson sued the manager and the other group members. The majority of people remember Destiny's Child as having Beyonce, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams, in descending order.
  • Most fans of the Melodic Death Metal band Arch-Enemy are unfamiliar with the band's original vocalist, Johan Liiva, who was fired by the band for his lack of energy during live performances. They hired Angela Gossow and went on to achieve international success.
  • Ian Stewart was fired about a year before The Rolling Stones released their debut album at the behest of their manager because he apparently disliked the fact that the band had a keyboardist (or the fact that Ian's big, burly frame contrasted with the image he was trying to form for the band). Stewart gracefully accepted a demotion to the band's driver and later The Sixth Ranger, playing keyboards on all their albums (except Beggars Banquet) and most of their tours until his death in 1985. When the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, the members successfully lobbied for Stewart to be inducted too.
    • For more straightforward examples that didn't even record anything with the Stones, there were six of them, and in fact two of them did become famous with different bands. Guitarist Geoff Bradford and vocalist Brian Knight were on the band's first rehearsal but declined to join, bassist Dick Taylor played for a few months before he left to finish college, and drummer Tony Chapman, whom had preceded previous drummer Mick Avory, left just after bringing along a new bassist, Bill Wyman (who remained with the Stones for 30 years), and drummer, Carlo Little. Little left not that long later and thus came Charlie Watts (who is still with the band to this day).
  • Sad/extremely inconvenient example: Right after the release of Crossfade's debut album, Brian Geiger left the band due to a persistent shoulder injury. To add insult to said injury, their first single "Cold" was starting to get a lot of national radio play, which led to their mainstream success... and to this day, many fans believe that his replacement and the current drummer, James Branham was the one who laid the drum tracks on the album.
  • Ask anyone who the original members of Stratovarius were, and they'll probably say Timo Kotipelto, Timo Tolkki, Jens Johansson, Jari Kainulainen and Jörg Michael. (If they're particularly big fans they'll know that Timo Kotipelto didn't join until four albums in). Virtually no one will say Tuomo Lassila, Staffan Stråhlman and John Vihervä, who were the founding members of Black Water, the original name for the band. Additionally, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who remembers Jyrki Lentonen (second bass guitarist, replaced John Vihervä in 1984), Jari Behm (third bass guitarist, replaced Jyrki Lentonen in 1989), Antti Ikonen (original keyboardist, joined in 1988) or Sami Kuoppamäki (replaced Tuomo Lassila on drums and played for one year before being replaced by Jörg Michael). Katriina "Miss K" Wiiala (temporary vocalist, replaced Timo Kotipelto in 2004 before being replaced by Kotipelto again) and Anders Johansson (replaced Jörg Michael on drums in 2004 before being replaced by Jörg again) are usually not remembered for quite different reasons.
  • The Who had a drummer before Keith Moon came along named Doug Sandom, who himself had replaced Harry Wilson. Before that they had Colin Dawson, the lead singer whose departure led rhythm guitarist Roger Daltrey to take up the vocals himself.
  • Prog-rock band Yes subverts, inverts, and generally twists this trope around in mind-warping ways. Bassist Chris Squire was the only consistent member until his death in 2015, and no more than 2 consecutive albums have ever had exactly the same lineup. This resulted in several "eras" in Yes's output, each one gaining and losing fans with its changes in style and sound; with the second keyboardist, Rick Wakeman (who replaced Tony Kaye), both credited with catapulting Yes to superstardom, and blamed for later dragging the band down with his overblown electronic noodling. note  After his hiatus, Wakeman returns to revive a band sliding into cult status after losing popularity to the burgeoning Grunge movement; once again replacing original keyboardist Tony Kaye. In the meantime, side project Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, and Howe was credited as a return to Yes's original and popular sound; although it remained a bit more obscure.
    Yes does have some straight examples in guitarist Pete Banks, who left after the second album and was replaced by Steve Howe, and in drummer Bob "Tub Thumper" Hagger (replaced by Bill Bruford) and secondary guitarist Clive Bayley (not replaced) who left while the group was still called Mabel Greer’s Toy Shop. Bruford attempted to become a prime example himself, leaving to go to university just as the renamed group’s star was starting to ascend. However, replacement drummer Tony O’Reily became their most obscure example, struggling in the role until the rest of the band successfully petitioned Bruford to return.
    • An interesting example is Trevor Horn, who was already well known as the singer for The Buggles and was brought in to replace vocalist Jon Anderson for the 1980 album Drama. Despite feeling more at home behind the mixing desk, Horn managed a convincing imitation of Anderson's countertenor vocal style. Nonetheless when the band toured the album audiences were confused by the new line-up. Eventually Horn found that his voice couldn't take the rigours of constant live performance - he had a deeper vocal tone than Anderson, but the group was unwilling to pitch their instruments to suit him - and he retired from the band, with Anderson coming back. Horn remained as the band's producer, in which capacity he was far more successful. He's an odd example of a Pete Best who overshadowed himself - although Drama is mostly written-off as a weak attempt to copy New Wave, Horn's production work helped 90125 become one of the band's most popular albums, and hit single "Owner of a Lonely Heart" has Horn's signature sound all over it.
  • No Doubt was founded in 1986 by lead vocalist John Spence and keyboardist Eric Stefani, who filled out their lineup with Eric's younger sister Gwen (backing vocals), Jerry McMahon (guitar), Chris Leal (bass), Gabe Gonzalez (trumpet), Chris Webb (drums), Kevin Wells (trombone), and Alan and Tony Meade (backing vocals/trumpet and saxophone, respectively). By the time they made their first album, Spence had killed himself, Gwen was the lead singer and the familiar lineup of bassist Tony Kanal, guitarist Tom Dumont, and drummer Adrian Young were already in were Eric Stefani, saxophonist Eric Carpenter, trumpeter Don Hammerstedt, and trombonist Alex Henderson (actually the third trombonist, with Paul Caseley bridging the gap between Wells and Henderson). If none of these guys sounds familiar to you, it's because their first album was considered a flop by the record company, and their second album had current touring members Gabrial McNair and Stephen Bradley replacing Hammerstedt and Henderson; Eric Stefani was still a member at the time but left shortly after the group made it big — he's on the cover of Tragic Kingdom at the behest of his sister (he's the one facing away from the camera).
  • Most people know Brian Johnson is not the original singer of AC/DC, but fewer know that it is NOT Bon Scott either, but Dave Evans.
  • Similarly, Judas Priest's original singer is NOT Rob Halford but Al Atkins.
  • There's a ton of members of Anthrax just about no one knows, for example: Joey Belladonna is the band's FOURTH singer.
  • Restless Heart's original lead singer was Verlon Thompson, but he was replaced by Larry Stewart before they released their first single. Stewart left in 1991 and the band carried on for a few years without him, disbanded, and reunited with him. Verlon later had a deal with Capitol Records that went nowhere, but nabbed some songwriting and guitar-playing credits.
  • Buffy Lawson, lead vocalist of the duo Bomshel (fiddler/backing vocalist Kristy Osmunson being the other member), split over Creative Differences. At the time, the duo had little to show for themselves: three cuts from an EP had all chartednote , plus a soundtrack cut from Evan Almightynote , but they still didn't have a full album. Kelly Sheppard took over on lead vocals, and after two false starts, the duo finally got two Top 40 hits and a full album with Sheppard singing. The four songs that Buffy sang lead on were not included, and except for "Bomshel Stomp", those songs quickly became Canon Discontinuity. After a few years of the Osmonson/Sheppard lineup, the duo split in 2013 and Osmonson founded a second duo called American Young with record producer Jon Stone.
  • The Oak Ridge Boys: Fans of country music may recall only the lineup of Joe Bonsall (tenor), Duane Allen (lead), William Lee Golden (baritone), and Richard Sterban (Basso Profundo). The group actually dated back to the 1940s, when it consisted of Wally Fowler, Lon Freeman, Curley Kinsey, and Johnny New. Fowler split from the other three members and chose a Revolving Door Band lineup for the next several years, then passed the Oak Ridge Boys name onto new lead singer Smitty Gatlin in 1957. The lineup continued to fluctuate until Golden joined in 1964. Allen took over on lead vocals in 1966 after Gatlin retired, with Noel Fox as bass and Willie Wynn as tenor at the time. The latter two were finally replaced by Sterban and Bonsall in 1972 and 1973, respectively. Golden was replaced with Steve Sanders between 1987 and 1995 due to Executive Meddling, when Golden came back.
  • Alabama had three different drummers: Bennett Vartanian until 1976, then Jackie Owen for a few months, then Rick Scott until 1979, when their most famous drummer, Mark Herndon, took over. Then only a year later, the band broke through with their big hit "Tennessee River". Interestingly, Herndon rarely played the drum tracks in-studio, and he split from the group in the 2000s, leaving lead vocalist Randy Owen, bassist Teddy Gentry, and guitarist/fiddler Jeff Cook.
  • David Hodges, former keyboardist for Evanescence, left the band four months before Fallen, the album that brought it into the mainstream, was released.
  • If you ask most people to name the members of Deep Purple, they'll call Ian Gillan the singer and Roger Glover the bassist, because they filled those positions during the most popular incarnation of the band. The original lead singer was Rod Evans and the bassist was Nick Simper. Evans was lucky enough to get inducted along with better remembered members into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (largely because he sang on their first big hit "Hush"). Simper? Not as much.
    • In the 1980s, Rod Evans was sued for continuing to perform under the Deep Purple name. This is at a time when the "Mark II lineup" reunion was still in the rumor stage.
  • Sigur Rós's original drummer, Ágúst Ævar Gunnarsson, left the band after creating two albums and was replaced by Orri Páll Dýrason — it was only with the next two albums that they made it big outside of their native Iceland.
  • Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran wasn't the band's first frontman. He wasn't even the second or third. The band went through numerous personnel changes between 1978 and 1980, the year the "fab five" lineup gelled. The band's first ever lineup was Stephen "Tin Tin" Duffy on main vocals, Simon Colley on bass and occasional clarinet, John Taylor (as Nigel John Taylor) on lead guitar, Nick Rhodes (as Nick Bates) on keyboard, and a drum machine. Then Stephen and Simon left because they wanted to be in a more rock & roll band, and were replaced with Andy Wickett and then Jeff Thomas on lead vocals, John switched over to bass after Simon left and got Alan Curtis to be on lead guitar (at which point Roger Taylor joined the band), then Jeff and Alan left, they put out an ad in the Melody Maker (a British music magazine) for a "high wire guitarist", got Andy Taylor that way, and only after that did Le Bon (a drama student) join the band. The band even recorded a demo which included an early version of "Girls on Film" in 1979 when Andy Wickett was lead vocalist. Of all the former members, only Stephen Duffy had a notable career after leaving Duran Duran, first embarking on a short-lived but successful solo career before forming the folk rock band The Lilac Time.
  • Sepultura started with Max Cavalera on guitar and another singer, Wagner Lamounier, who left before their first release and formed Sarcófago, leaving Max to take over vocals. Then they hired a second guitarist, Jairo Guedes, who played in their debut album, but quit after getting tired of Death Metal. Andreas Kisser arrived, and a few years later they were really popular outside their native Brazil.
  • For Red Hot Chili Peppers, it's anyone who played in the band other than the four originals (Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Hillel Slovak and Jack Irons - though this formation only played for their first demo tape and was eventually reformed for their third album, with Slovak appearing in another album) and the most well-known formation] (Kiedis, Flea, John Frusciante and Chad Smith). Dave Navarro doesn't count.
    • Jack Sherman (who played on the first album) made more money in royalties when the band got big than he ever did whilst a member of the group. This is not the case with Jack Irons or Dave Navarro who were both successful in other bands. Another pre-fame drummer, Cliff Martinez, became a much respected film composer, particularly for his work with Steven Soderbergh and Nicolas Winding Refn.
  • Genesis had a whole series of these. Taken in reverse order, the completion of their first "real" album, Trespass, saw the departure of drummer John Mayhew, so they put an ad in Melody Maker and Phil Collins responded. Co-founding guitarist Anthony Phillips also left at this juncture to pursue a prolific but obscure solo career, and was replaced by Mick Barnard (with whom no albums were recorded) for a couple of months, until Barnard himself was replaced by Steve Hackett. Mayhew note  replaced his predecessor, John Silver, a few months after their actual debut album was released (the largely disregarded From Genesis to Revelation), and about a month after they went pro. And Silver was himself the replacement for their founding drummer, Chris Stewart, who had performed on their first two singles and all the early demos. Plus, while hardly obscure, Peter Gabriel deserves honorary mention: far more fans will have experienced the group with Phil Collins in the lead vocal spot, and many have noted how Collins sounds more like Gabriel than Gabriel did.
  • Matt Pelissier was My Chemical Romance's drummer for two albums until 2004, when the lead singer's drinking and discord within the band (such as the guitarist's opinion of his skills) led him to quit. This was literally days before the band was scheduled to film the music video for "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)". An old friend of the band and manager, who worked as a sound guy for The Used during a previous joint tour, agreed to join and flew out overnight. Bob Bryar is the viking guy in all of their videos and promos up until Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys.
  • Panic! at the Disco went from four teenagers in a garage to touring without playing a single live show. The original bassist, Brent Wilson, left the group after realizing that it wasn't right for him. A guitar tech and friend of the band, Jon Walker, was the much-loved replacement.
  • The wilfully genre-defying Australian group Crime And The City Solution is subject to a particularly extreme and bizarre version of this trope in that their original line-up was most likely never even recorded, while their second only released one song ("Moments") on a cassette magazine in 1980. Five years later, the group was reconstituted with a line-up including several ex-members of The Birthday Party (with only founding vocalist Simon Bonney returning from the original lineups), after which they went on to release six albums and tour relentlessly before disbanding in 1993. Most fans do not even know that there was a version of the band prior to 1985, let alone who was in it.
  • The Fall subverted and perverted this trope even more than Yes, having gone through at least fifty different members, many of whom only held their positions for a single album or tour. Played straight or almost straight on several occasions, however, most notably with the replacement of original drummer "Dave"note  with multi-instrumentalist Karl Burns in early 1977. Burns remained with the group in various capacities until the late 1990s, and is generally regarded as the group's best drummer.
  • Wire, a band later renowned for their "anorexic" post-punk sound, initially had a wildly self-indulgent lead guitarist in one George Gill. He even wrote most of their material for a while. This didn't last. After breaking his arm in an accident, he took a month-long leave from the band; on returning, their sound had changed radically, eliminating any need for lead guitar parts. Feeling out of place, Gill left in February 1977. To add further insult to injury, by the end of their first gig without him, they were on record. Specifically, the epochal punk compilation Live At The Roxy WC2. Ouch.
  • Annette Zilinskas played the bass and harmonica on The Bangles' eponymous 1982 EP, but left the band before they signed with Columbia Records.
  • Erich Awalt, a singer who could be best described as a cross between Phil Anselmo, Lajon Witherspoon and Burton Bell was a singer of a little metal band from Chicago called Brawl (a temporary name in every respect). In the band's words, "He bailed on us" which would lead to them hiring the mic-slinger who would give them their true name, David Draiman. The rest is history.
  • Swans, a band notorious for its line-up changes, generally held over at least a few members from the previous incarnation, with older ones popping in perennially. Now look at their first release... No, not Filth. The self-titled EP they released in 1982. Now ask yourself: Who is Daniel Galliduani, the one on the sax? Or Bob Pezzola, the guitarist? Answers have slowly surfaced: Galliduani played with drummer Jonathan Kane as Transmission in the 1970s, later becoming a respected photographer; Pezzola was a teenage tagalong, recruited from an obscure NYC outfit called Phosphorus. And he wasn't the first; Glenn Branca acolyte Sue Hanel was. And more interesting yet, the bass playing, prior to the arrival of Harry Crosby, was a shared effort between the band's leader Michael Gira and a then little-known guitarist named Thurston Moore.
  • For a brief period in the early 1970's, Aerosmith featured guitarists Joe Perry and Ray Tabano. Tabano, a childhood friend of Steven Tyler's, was soon replaced by Brad Whitford. Tabano however continued to be associated with the band throughout the seventies, working in their office and recording studio, running their fan club, designing and selling merchandise and writing the fan club newsletter until 1979 when he was fired by the band's current management.
    • Joey Kramer would have been this if Aerosmith had not been successful, because the band he left to join Aerosmith eventually had a couple of gold records as Tavares. Likewise, that band's keyboardist was eventual P-Funk member Bernie Worrell.
  • In the band Black Eyed Peas, Kim Hill was the female vocalist when they released their debut album in 1998. By 2000, however, she left and in 2001 she was replaced by Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson. Very few people remember Kim Hill.
  • Back when KISS was still called Wicked Lester, the band actually consisted of Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss (in its final lineup) and Ron Leejack as a lead guitarist. The latter resigned for undisclosed reasons and the group went to hire Ace Frehley, went through a name change, and the rest is history... a history that, unfortunately, doesn't involve Ron Leejack at all.
  • Sugarland originally consisted of lead vocalist Jennifer Nettles, and guitarists/backing vocalists Kristian Bush and Kristen Hall. Hall quit after the first album, leaving the two-person lineup of Nettles and Bush, with which Sugarland had its greatest commercial success. Hall's departure also resulted in a Lighter and Softer acoustic pop-influenced sound than the more sensitive folk singer-songwriter material of the first album.
  • Original Def Leppard second guitarist Pete Willis was replaced by Phil Collen for their breakthrough Pyromania album after his heavy drinking problems started interfering with the band, however Willis later said that getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to him.
    • Tony Kenning was a member of the band very early on, and he was the one who suggested the band modify its spelling from "Deaf Leopard" to what it is today. However, he left before the band's debut album was recorded.
  • Nigel Olsson left Uriah Heep before they hit major success, but catching on with Elton John's band and having two solo hit singles of his own was probably more than consolation.
  • Supertramp recorded two poorly-selling albums in their native England. Then the two songwriters relocated to Los Angeles, formed a new band under the Supertramp name, and met with huge success in the late 1970s. One of their abandoned British former members later resurfaced as King Crimson's lyricist in their Larks' Tongues in Aspic era.
  • Don't you forget about the many of these that passed through Simple Minds in their early years.
  • Henry Padovani, replaced by Andy Summers before the recording of The Police's first album.
    • According to most accounts, he took getting fired better than Sting and Stewart Copeland took having to fire him. He was more of a "punk" guitarist (i.e., he couldn't play), and went on to several other bands. He even joined the band onstage at one show during their reunion tour.
  • John Curulewski was the lead guitarist on the first several Styx albums, which were moderately successful. When he could no longer tour, Tommy Shaw was recruited as a replacement. Shaw's presence led to a series of platinum-selling albums that made the band a household name.
  • Who really remembers Spinal Tap's first 18 or so drummers? Or those of Hawkwind, who have burned through more?
    • Hawkwind could be viewed from one perspective, as a Pete Best band. When autocratic band leader Dave Brock sacked his bass player for not fitting in, the spurned bassist took a track he had written for Hawkwind with him, named his new band after it, recorded the ex-Hawkwind track, and had a monster hit with it. Motörhead then proceeded to eclipse their parent group by very many orders of magnitude.
  • Dennis Travis was part of a band called Trojan Rubber Company (or The Space Brothers), and was replaced with Mark Stone when they renamed themselves Mammooth. Stone was kicked out because of being too comitted to school and was replaced with Michael Anthony around the same time Mammooth was rechristened Van Halen...
    • And that's not even getting into the whole David Lee Roth/Sammy Hagar controversy...
  • Marillion were gigging for a year under the name Silmarillion with Doug Irvine on vocals (and bass) before they hired Fish and shortened the name. Or, if you prefer, Marillion had a Scottish frontman for eight years before Steve Hogarth joined the band in 1989...
  • For reasons that are still undisclosed, Weezer's original rhythm guitarist, Jason Cropper, left the band in 1993, just as they were recording their self-titled debut. He was quickly replaced by Brian Bell, who's been with the band ever since. In fact, the turnover happened so quickly that Brian Bell isn't on the first album either (though he's credited in the liner notes and he's pictured alongside the rest of the band on the front cover) - Rivers Cuomo had to play all the guitar parts himself in order to get the album finished on time. Cropper is credited with co-writing "My Name Is Jonas" (he came up with its signature acoustic guitar riff), and demos he played on can be heard on the deluxe edition of the first album. He's had sporadic involvement with music since, and is apparently still friends with the band.
  • The drummer for the proto-Steely Dan band The Leather Canary was Chevy Chase. Chase presents an interesting variation of this trope: he didn't become famous as the drummer for Steely Dan, but as an actor and comedian, he became just as famous as the band he left.
  • Likewise, Richard Edson was the original drummer for Sonic Youth, and played on their self titled 1982 EP. He then quit to pursue an acting career. It worked out pretty darn well for Edson, who went on to a very successful career as a character actor in films like Stranger Than Paradise, Platoon, Do the Right Thing, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off (he's the creepy parking garage attendant who accepts Cameron's car).
  • The Birthday Massacre had a keyboard player called Dank who left quite early on in the band's career. Owen, the current keyboard player, is much more well-known.
  • Drummer Simon Wolstencroft is one of these twice over. He was the drummer for The Patrol, a group which became The Stone Roses after he left it. He then joined another Manchester band called Freak Party, which he later left because he thought their new singer was awful. The singer was Steven Morrissey and Freak Party soon became The Smiths. Wolstencroft eventually found a steady job as one of The Fall's two drummers, a gig which lasted almost a decade.
  • Wayne Coyne wasn't the first frontman of The Flaming Lips - originally Wayne's brother Mark Coyne handled vocals. Before their first full-length album, Mark got married and left the band, and he hasn't been involved with music since. The only thing they released while he was part of the band was a self-titled EP, but their box set Finally The Punk Rockers Are Taking Acid included several demos and live tracks featuring his singing (mainly cover songs and early versions of songs that would end up on the first album).
  • Da Yoopers' first bassist was Jim Pennell, who left shortly after their second album. Joe DeLongchamp took over for the next two, followed by Dave "Doc" Bradbury for the next two after that. From that point onward, guitarist Jim Bellmore (who took over from Joe Potila in 1995) typically played both guitar and bass in-studio, although Reggie Lusardi became their touring bassist at the end of the 90s.
  • Marilyn Manson has their fair share. When Antichrist Superstar was released in 1996, the band was on their third bassist, second guitarist, second keyboardist, and second drummer.
  • Andy Creeggan was only on a couple albums for Barenaked Ladies, but apparently is fine with his obscure status, as he was uncomfortable with fame.
  • In the 1960s, Billy Gibbons was part of The Moving Sidewalks, along with three other guys. Once two of them were drafted for the US Army, he brought a different bassist to a new project, which he called ZZ Top and recorded a single in 1970, "Salt Lick". The bassist was replaced, and then in 1971 both the bassist (Bill Ethridge) and the drummer (Dan Mitchell) were replaced by Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, which have been in the band ever since.
  • Bruce Slesinger [a.k.a. "Ted"] on Drums and Carlos Cadona [a.k.a. "6024"] on Rhythm Guitar for Dead Kennedys.
  • Carcass was originally a trio composed of Bill Steer on guitar, Ken Owen on drums, and Sanjiv on vocals. After Sanjiv left the band, Bill Steer and the newly-hired bassist, Jeff Walker, split vocal duties.
  • Opeth was originally a straight-up Death Metal band founded by vocalist David Isberg. Isberg quit the band in 1992—two years before the debut album, Orchid, was released. Mikael Akerfeldt, who was the bassist at the time, took over Isberg's vocal duties and moved the band in a more prog-oriented direction.
  • Jimmy Stokley was the lead vocalist of Kentucky-based band Exile only during their somewhat brief and not-too-fruitful pop career ("Kiss You All Over"). They were far more successful as a country-rock band fronted by Les Taylor and J. P. Pennington. An early member, Mark Gray, parted before the switch to country, and became a somewhat successful solo singer with five Top 10 country hits and a couple co-writer's credits.
  • Nickelback was originally Chad Kroeger, Mike Kroeger, Ryan Peake, and Brandon Kroeger (the brothers' cousin). Brandon was later replaced by Ryan Vikedal, who was replaced by Daniel Adair before the release of All the Right Reasons.
  • Ian van Dahl's signature debut "Castles in the Sky" was originally sung by Martine Theeuwen (Marsha), but for the album version and all subsequent songs, Annemie Coenen took over vocals.
  • While Jethro Tull has had so many members come and go it would be pointless to name them all, special mention goes to the guitarist. Tull fans recognize Martin Barre as the lead guitarist, but on the group's first album it was blues guitarist Mick Abrahams in the role. Abrahams wanted the band to remain blues-rock but Anderson wanted to write in other styles. Abrahams decided to quit the band, Barre was hired, and has been with the band every since. Fun fact: Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi toured with the band in the time between Abrahams' departure and Barre's hiring.
  • In the late eighties, Niall Quinn sang lead for a four-piece band called The Cranberry Saw Us (say it quickly) in Ireland. He left within a year and the other band members started looking for a replacement. They found one with Dolores O'Riordan. Shortly after she joined, the band's name was shortened to The Cranberries.
  • Rare case of the one who started the band becoming The Pete Best: In 1990–1991, Atlanta teenager Crystal Jones put out a call for two more girls to join her in a trio to be called 2nd Nature. Then came singer Tionne Watkins and rapper Lisa Lopes. After getting a manager, who renamed them TLC, they had an audition to get a record deal. They passed on the condition of replacing Jones - and with Rozonda Thomas (nicknamed "Chili" so the acronym would still work) they sold millions worldwide. Jones's dismissal was because she refused to sign Reid's major label contract - a suspiciousness that wound up prescient: following the success of their hit album CrazySexyCool, TLC declared bankruptcy because they were almost no money off of album sales.
  • Damon Albarn joined a band called Circus in 1988 with his college friends Tom Aitkenhead and Eddie Deedigan. Both quit the band, and with the three members that joined, the band evolved into Seymour, which later changed its name to Blur, one of the spearheading groups of Brit Pop.
  • Country Music band The Mavericks' first guitarist was Ben Peeler, who was fired because the other band members felt that he didn't fit their intended style. He was replaced by David Lee Holt, and then by their longest-tenured guitarist, Nick Kane. (While Kane is pictured on their 1994 breakthrough album What a Crying Shame, that disc featured session guitarists in the role instead.) Kane was replaced by Eddie Perez for their 2003 Self-Titled Album, and Perez returned to that role when the band reunited in 2011.
  • Pantera was Dimebag Darrell, Phil Anselmo, Vinnie Paul and Rex Brown right? Well, not many people know about their Old Shame as a glam metal band in the 1980s. Terry Glaze was originally on lead vocals and rhythm guitar during this glam era, fronting the band's first three albums (Metal Magic, Projects in the Jungle, and I Am the Night). note  In a Washington Post article, he even described himself as "The Pete Best of Pantera" in his own words. Similarly, it's been made clear that Terry is at peace with that status, being very content to stick to his smaller musical projects and being a family man as well.
    • Early on in 2004, Vinnie Paul attended one of Terry's shows with Lord Tracy, and they briefly tossed around the idea of a one-off reunion show where the glam-era Pantera songs could be played live again. Had it worked out, Terry might've actually made a bit of a comeback from being a Pete Best anymore. Of course, later that year, the idea was scrapped for obvious reasons...
    • Terry and Rex Brown eventually did briefly regroup in 2010, with Rex's new band called Arms of the Sun. For one show, they played two 80s Pantera songs (All Over Tonite and Come-On Eyes) live again.
    • Tommy Bradford (original bassist) and Donnie Hart (the very first singer) both left very early in the band's life.
    • If you want to get to the REAL obscure Pete Bests of the group, Matt Amour, David Peacock, and Rick Mythaisin were Pantera's temporary replacement singers after Terry Glaze left, and before Phil Anselmo joined. They're almost completely unknown, although Mythaisin has since been in the power metal act Steel Prophet. He was also a live vocalist for Agent Steel; while nowhere near as big as Pantera, isn't exactly an unknown.
  • John Rich was Lonestar's bassist on their first two albums, but he was fired in 1998 (a year before the release of their Signature Song "Amazed") and has not been officially replaced. Rich later became famous as one-half of Big & Rich, in addition to holding several songwriting and production credits, to the point that many people may be surprised that he was previously in another band.
  • Faith No More had a number of lead singers before they found Face of the Band Mike Patton. Original lead singer Mike Morris was ousted after a couple years. Then they went through a bunch of temporary singers, including a young Courtney Love, before hiring Chuck Mosley. Mosley sang lead on their first two albums, making it onto the band's first landmark single "We Care A Lot", then got fired. After Patton took over they had their commercial breakthrough with "Epic" and The Real Thing.
  • Any Dead or Alive member, that played with the band before the classic line-up (Pete Burns, Steve Coy, Mike Percy and Tim Lever) was established in 1984. Partial exception could probably be guitarist Wayne Hussey, who joined The Sisters of Mercy and then formed his own band The Mission.
  • Lostprophets had a member named DJ Stepzak. He played on the first album Thefakesoundofprogress and then was replaced by Jamie Oliver. Stepzak then fell of the face of the earth (no one knows his real name).
  • Country music duo Love and Theft consists of Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson, both of whom share the lead vocal. Brian Bandas was their third vocalist, but he left after the first album.
  • Fairport Convention had a female vocalist before Sandy Denny, Judy Dyble. Ian Matthews, the male co-lead vocalist, also counts, though he went on to a moderately successful solo career.
  • TNT had their first singer and rhythm guitarist Dag Ingebrigstein, who was fired from the band in the middle of recording demos for the second album. This is seen by most fans as a good thing, as Dag is not nearly up to par with either of TNT's subsequent vocalists.
  • While KMFDM has always been a Revolving Door Band, there are a few members who fell by the wayside before the band's debut album, What Do You Know Deutschland? Udo Sturm (who co-founded the group with Sascha Konietzko) was only involved with the group for a very short time while they were still called Kein Mitleid Fur Die Mehrheit. There was also drummer Ton Geist, who only appeared on their demo cassette Opium (before En Esch was involved with the band).
  • Country group Gloriana originally consisted of former teen pop singer Cheyenne Kimball, along with Rachel Reinert and brothers Tom and Mike Gossin. Kimball, who sang part of the group's debut single "Wild at Heart", departed after the first single from the group's second album. The failure of said single ("Wanna Take You Home") allowed the other three time to refine what would eventually become their second album, essentially making Kimball an Un-person — a song she wrote was cut from the track list, while "Wanna Take You Home" and a few other already-finished songs were re-recorded without her. Their first release after Kimball's departure, "(Kissed You) Good Night", was their only big hit.
  • The Tractors, a mid-1990s One-Hit Wonder country band, essentially consisted of Ron Getman (guitar, tenor vocals), Jamie Oldaker (drums), Walt Richmond (keyboards, bass vocals), Steve Ripley (guitar, lead vocals), and Casey van Beek (bass guitar, baritone vocals). Even though their debut had literally dozens of guest musicians, the lineup on later albums has basically been Steve Ripley and whoever else is in the studio that day, and may or may not include the other four.
  • U2's original lineup consisted of Bono (vocals/guitar), The Edge (lead guitar/vocals), Dik Evans (rhythm guitar), Adam Clayton (bass) and Larry Mullen (drums). Dik Evans, The Edge's brother, would leave the lineup to join art rockers Virgin Prunes, who were led by Bono's friend Gavin Friday. U2, of course, would later achieve super-stardom.
  • OK Go's original lead guitarist, Andy Duncan, left the band in 2005. Shortly afterwards the band shot to fame with their inventive music videos (to songs Duncan had still recorded), featuring his replacement Andy Ross.
  • Doug Hopkins of the Gin Blossoms is a rather tragic case. He played with the band as a guitarist and wrote several of the band's songs until he was fired for alcoholism. When the band started to chart without him, he committed suicide.
  • Bon Jovi has a curious example: original bass player Hugh McDonald. An experienced session hand, who looked more like the band's dad than the garden-variety glam metal bassist, Hugh was replaced with Alec Jon Such shortly after the release of first single "Runaway". Kind of. When Such was turfed from the band in 1994, it was revealed that McDonald had continued to play all the band's bass tracks in the studio. Since 1994, as an employee of the band, he has also played with them live.
    • And in a lesser case, Jon Bon Jovi would initially hire his neighbor Dave Sabo to play guitar, but he went on to form Skid Row instead.
  • Jars of Clay's original rhythm guitarist, Matt Bronleewe. He played on Jars' obscure, limited-print-run debut EP, then decided to focus on his education and left the band. The others found another guy named Matt to replace him, then scored a record contract and wrote a bunch of hits. Bronleewe has still done okay for himself, though.
  • The Kentucky Headhunters was founded in 1968 as Itchy Brother, consisting of brothers Richard and Fred Young, along with Greg Martin and Anthony Kenney. This lineup held until 1980, except for a short time when James Harrison temporarily replaced Martin. When they reunited in The '80s as The Kentucky Headhunters, the Youngs and Martin recruited brothers Ricky Lee and Doug Phelps as lead singer and bassist respectively. This lineup lasted only two albums before the Phelpses quit to form Brother Phelps. As a result, Kenney returned and Mark S. Orr became the new lead singer. Orr quit only one album later over Creative Differences, so Doug returned to take his brother's former post as lead singer (and, after Kenney quit in 2008, Doug once again became bassist). These membership changes are unusual in that the band's biggest success came during the short period of time (1989-1992) when Ricky Lee Phelps was lead vocalist, even though Doug has held that role far longer.
  • Kerry Katona was with Atomic Kitten for four underperforming singles and one flopped album; literally the week she left the band they shot to No. 1 in the UK with their single "Whole Again", a last-ditch attempt at success as they were about to be dropped by their record label. The band marched on with her replacement Jenny Frost, re-recording their debut album (which also went to #1), and releasing two more successful ones. Subverted later when Katona became (in)famous as a reality TV and tabloid "star", but she never released any music of her own.
  • Bites was the only Skinny Puppy album to feature Bill Leeb (under the alias Wilhelm Schroeder, not listed in the liner notes), although he went on to found Front Line Assembly the following year.
  • The Backstreet Boys had two members who dropped out before the group made it big: Sam Licata and Charles Edwards. Charles eventually formed — and subsequently dropped out of — another group with one Chris Kirkpatrick, leading to the creation of what would become *NSYNC.
  • Early on in the group's history, *NSYNC's bass vocalist was a guy named Jason Galasso. He ended up dropping out right before a live showcase that was to be recorded and sent out to record labels alongside their demo tape, apparently unhappy with the direction the group was heading (read: Boy Band). After some scrambling, they recruited Lance Bass and the rest is history.
  • S Club 7 rescued two people from this trope. Tina Barrett was originally slated to be part of what would later become Mis Teeq, a popular girl group in the early 2000s, but abandoned the lineup after successfully auditioning for S Club 7. Jo O’Meara, interestingly, was part of two separate projects before S Club 7. First, she was in an early lineup for the girl group Solid HarmoniE, who were later briefly successful across Europe in the late ‘90s. She left before they put out their official debut single “Got 2 Have Ya” but did record vocals for the track “7 Seconds”, which never got a proper release. After being dropped, she joined the German-based pop-rap group 2-4 Family but promptly left after being accepted into S Club 7. Of Jo’s two cases, only the former would have been a straight example of this trope, as she appeared on the latter’s debut single “Stay”, which was a top 10 hit in Germany. Of course, S Club 7 proved to be much bigger than any of the aforementioned groups.
  • Early lineups of what would later became The Statler Brothers included Joe McDorman, who was replaced by Lew DeWitt by the time the group got going.
  • Perfume was originally founded by Ayaka Nishiwaki (A~chan), Yuka Kashino (Kashiyuka), and Yuka Kawashima (Kawayuka). In fact, their namesake was based on the fact that the "ka" in their first names was written with the character for "perfume." Before they were recorded their first single, Kawashima dropped out to focus on school, and Nishiwaki recruited Ayano Oomoto (Nocchi) as her replacement.
  • Korean Pop Music Girl Group Wonder Girls went through line-up changes twice. Before they reached mainstream popularity with "Tell Me", Hyuna was pulled out of the group because of health issues. She was subsequently replaced by Yubin. To their American fans, (or, the ones who weren't already familiar with them prior to their overseas debut), this was the case with Lee Sunmi, who left the group in 2010, with Woo Hyelim taking her spot. Fans who knew the Wonder Girls from their Made-for-TV Movie on TeenNick often are unaware that Hyuna and Sunmi were originally in the group, especially after both girls went to pursue successful solo careers that are Hotter and Sexier than any of the content they produced while in the Wonder Girls.
  • Though he was there for FT Island's very successful debut "Lovesick", rapper/guitarist/sub-vocalist Oh Wonbin left after being a member for about a year and a half. Thus his replacement Song Seunghyun has been with the band much longer and been a part of their vital musical development, making him more well-known than Wonbin especially to newer fans.
  • Before CN Blue made their official and successful Korean debut, bassist Kwon Kwangjin left to continue training and was replaced by Lee Jungshin. Thus only those who are/were fans of the band in their indie days in Japan know Kwangjin quite well - the general public and casual fans not so much. Kwangjin would go on to debut in another band called N.Flying.
  • Everyone knows about Soundgarden's prolific and outspoken Token Asian guitarist Kim Thayil, but far fewer people are aware that, prior to their commercial breakthrough Badmotorfinger in 1991, they had another member of similar ethnicity in bassist Hiro Yamamoto, later replaced by the more proactive Ben Shepherd. Despite his final appearance being on 1989's Louder than Love—the band's major label debut and partial Beard Growing (several of the songs went on to become major fan favorites)—he still fails to be recognized, partly due to his tokenness being overshadowed by Thayil, and partly due to the fact that Chris Cornell was responsible for almost all of the songwriting up to that point. (Hiro did offer occasional writing contributions, but the songs that received the most listener acclaim were almost exclusively Cornell-penned.)
  • Inverted with Trick Pony. The group existed from 1996-2008 with Heidi Newfield (lead vocals), Keith Burns (guitar), and Ira Dean (bass). Newfield departed in 2008 and was replaced with Aubrey Collins for six months before Creative Differences led to their breakup.
  • Dave Richmond was Manfred Mann's original bassist, but he doesn't appear on a single recording, and Tom McGuinness played bass on both their first album and "Doo Wah Diddy Diddy."
  • Early on, Country Music band Diamond Rio was known as the Tennessee River Boys. The founding members were Vocal Tag Team Matt Davenport (Lead Bassist), Danny Gregg (brother of Restless Heart bassist Paul Gregg), and Ty Herndon, along with Larry Beard, Mel Deal, Al Deleonibus, and Ed Mummert. Herndon quit early on to compete on Star Search, with Marty Roe taking his place. Deleonibus, Mummert, and Beard were replaced by Dan Truman, Jimmy "J.J." Whiteside, and Jimmy Olander in short succession; Brian Prout replaced Whiteside, and Gene Johnson replaced both Deal and Gregg. While recording some demos, a producer persuaded them to let Roe sing lead instead of Davenport; as a result, Davenport quit and was hastily replaced by Dana Williams. The lineup of Roe, Truman, Williams, Johnson, Olander, and Prout has remained exactly the same since 1989. Among the former members, Herndon was the most successful after leaving the band, as he recorded for Epic Records between 1995 and 2002, and had three #1 hits in the process.
  • Japanese pop-rock band Silent Siren originally had Yana (Ayana Sogawa) as the keyboardist during their indies period. Yana left after their second indies mini album released in 2012, and was replaced by Yukarun (Yukako Kurosaka) two months later.
  • Information Society's first single, "Running", was sung by Murat Konar, who left the group shortly after its release, though he would later reunite with them for live performances of the song.
  • The initial line-up of O-Zone consisted of Dan Balan and Petru Jelihovschi, both former members of a band called Inferialis. After their first album hit it big in home Moldova, Jelihovschi decided to leave the project since music was a hobby for him, and he did not plan to perform professionally. Balan ended up bringing in Arsenie Todiraş and Radu Sîrbu, and the band recorded their biggest hit, "Dragostea din tei", as a trio.
  • Canadian Country Music band Emerson Drive was originally known as 12 Gauge, and was founded in 1995 with Brad Mates (lead vocals), Pat Allingham (fiddle), Remi Barre (drums), Dan Binns (guitar), Chris Hartman (keyboards), Jeff Loberg (bass), and David Switzer (guitars). In 1998, both Switzer and Binns were replaced by just Dan Bauman, reducing the group to a sextet. Derrick Kuzemchuk took over on drums briefly before Mike Melancon replaced him, Danick Dupelle took over on guitar, and Patrick Bourque became bassist in 2002. Dale Wallace then replaced Hartman, creating the lineup that the band had on its first album as Emerson Drive in 2002. For the second album in 2004, David Pichette took over on fiddle, creating the lineup that held until Bourque committed suicide in 2007 and Pichette quit in 2013.
  • Very early in Zac Brown Band's history, Marcus Petruska and Tim Ussery were the drummer and lead guitarist, with Joel Williams later replacing Ussery. Petruska and Williams are credited on their major-label debut The Foundation, but promotional material around the release of their major-label debut single "Chicken Fried" was already crediting Chris Fryar and Coy Bowles in those respective roles. They are also an inverse example, as three other members were added to the lineup without anyone else leaving: Clay Cook (keyboards) joined shortly after the release of "Chicken Fried", Daniel de los Reyes (percussion) just before their third major-label album Uncaged in 2012, and Matt Mangano (bass guitar) right after the same, causing existing bassist John Driskell Hopkins to move over to guitar and banjo.
  • The Insane Clown Posse originally appeared in promotional photographs with a third member, John Kickjazz. (This is how Violent J spells his name in "Behind The Paint" - fan sites call him 'Kickchass'.) By the time the first Joker's Card (album) Carnival of Carnage was completed, John was nowhere to be found. He did get mentioned in the song "The Juggla," though.
    • Likewise, though Shaggy 2 Dope was already a member of the gang/group, Violent J initially shared lyrical duties on the Inner City Posse's album Intelligence and Violence with an otherwise unknown individual named D-Lyrical. J admits in his book that he could've cared less about D-Lyrical, who happened to be a kid with a tape recorder. As one would suspect, J used him for the sake of that one album and never spoke to him again.
  • Petra was always something of a Revolving Door Band, but their most well-known eras were between 1980 and 1985 (when Greg X. Volz was the lead singer and everyone else save founding member Bob Hartman left) and 1986 to 1993 (when Head East vet John Schlitt took over). Everyone who left in 1980 could be considered a Pete Best. Special mention, however, goes to keyboardist John Slick, who performed on three of the four studio albums recorded during the Volz era but has been largely forgotten in favor of his replacement John Lawry. To the point where, when Hartman reunited the "classic Petra" lineup for a 2010 tour, the lineup featured Lawry rather than Slick.
  • Can one be a Pete Best if their replacement happens while their band is one of the biggest in the country? Just ask Andy Nicholson, the original bassist for Arctic Monkeys. The band had already had two #1 UK singles and the fastest selling debut album in British history when he was fired before they started their first American tour. His replacement Nick O'Malley has gone onto see much success with Arctic Monkeys over the next decade, while Nicholson has kept a low profile, only popping up again in Arctics drummer Matt Helders' short-lived side-project Mongrel.
  • Very early on, the drummer for Hootie & the Blowfish was Brantley Smith. He was replaced by Jim Sonefeld before the band began recording.
  • Canadian Country Music duo High Valley consists of brothers Brad and Curtis Rempel. A third brother, Bryan, was a member on their first two albums, but he left before their first major Canadian hit "Rescue You" in 2013. American audiences will also know them only as a duo, as their third Canadian top 10 hit "Make You Mine" was released in the States in 2016.
  • Randy Rhoads was one of the founding members of Quiet Riot, but grew frustrated with their early lack of success (their first two albums were only released in Japan), and jumped at the offer to become Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist.
  • Rhoads' replacement Greg Leon arguably has three cases of this, with that band (he was gone when they broke out with Metal Health), along with Mötley Crüe (he played with Tommy Lee, and rehearsed with him and Nikki Six), and Dokken (he toured Europe with Don Dokken before the band started recording). Leon still made a name for himself in the Los Angeles rock scene, mostly as a guitar teacher.
  • In a rare example of this happening within a band that had already been signed and released several albums, cofounder John Foxx left Ultravox after three albums to start a solo career, having helped steer the band from its punk roots to early synthpop pioneers. Despite being praised and cited as an influence by Gary Numan, then at the peak of his success, among others, his first solo record MetaMatic flopped as it was derided as unoriginal and excessively derivative and imitative of Numan and other more recent synthpop stars who had cited Foxx as an influence. Ultravox, on the other hand, replaced him as lead singer with Midge Ure ... and had the first-ever Top Forty singles, including Signature Song "Vienna", as the beginning of a run of success that would last into the mid-80s.
  • Creed had a second guitarist, who left two years before they recorded their first album.
  • Velvet Underground had their original drummer Angus MacLise, who departed because the other band members were fed up with his unreliability, and because he thought that getting paid to play music was selling out. He subsequently became an artist and avant-garde musician in his own right.
  • R&B Cover band The Soul Giants was led by Saxophonist David Coronado, but when Guitarist Roy Collins quit over creative differences with Coronado, he was replaced with Frank Zappa. Zappa then convinced the other members to play his original material, which Coronado thought would ruin the band, and also quit. Zappa assumed leadership and brought back Collins (who would permanently quit in '68). He also changed the name soon after to 'The Mothers', then The Mothers Of Invention.
  • Apoptygma Berzerk co-founder Jon-Erik Martinsen split with the band after their first single, "Ashes to Ashes", due to feeling uncomfortable with the musical direction they were taking.
  • Madness was co-founded by drummer John Hasler, who dropped out of performing to become their manager instead. They had several other short-lived members before settling on the classic line-up, including replacement drummer Gary Dovey, and vocalist Dikran Tulaine, who went on to some success as an actor. Both Graham "Suggs" McPherson and Cathal "Chas Smash" Smyth averted this by being fired early on, only to subsequently return.
  • When Phish formed in 1983, keyboardist Page McConnell was not part of the lineup, but second guitarist Jeff Holdsworth was. Holdsworth quit three years later, about six months after McConnell joined the band, and well before they released their debut album or became a hugely successful touring act.
  • The Human League's co-founders, Martyn Ware and Ian Marsh, quit the band in 1979 due to internal tensions with singer Philip Oakey. The band were already an underground favorite in the late 70s British electronic scene, and many of their early fans considered the group to be over and done with when Ware and Marsh left, because they were the only members that actually played instruments: Apart from Oakey, the only remaining member was visual artist Adrian Wright. Oakey and Wright replaced Ware and Marsh with singers Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley and went on to have major international success. However, Ware and Marsh teamed up with singer Glenn Gregory in 1983 to form Heaven 17, who were also successful in the UK.
  • ABBA had an interesting variation of this. Agnetha, Björn, Benny, and Anni-Frid were all the original members of the band, but just shortly after properly establishing as a band (and still going by the name "Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid"), Agnetha became pregnant with her first child, and she was replaced for a short period of time by a friend of Anni-Frid, a gospel singer named Inger Brundin, on a trip to West Germany before Agnetha came back.
  • The original lineup of Country Music band Sons of the Desert was Doug Virden, Jim Beavers, Troy von Haefen, Kyle Mathis, and Curtis Beck. The lineup on their first major-label album, however, was Virden, brothers Drew and Tim Womack, Brian Westrum, and Scott Saunders. Jim Beavers went on to follow his brother Brett into songwriting, while von Haefen became a financial advisor.
  • While Trout Fishing In America has always had guitarist Ezra Idlet and bassist Keith Grimwood, there was a time in The '80s when their membership also included keyboardist Rom Rosenblum and drummer Orville Strickland.

    Multiple Media 
  • This phenomenon can also happen when a movie is adapted for a television series; for instance, more people recognize Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy the Vampire Slayer than they do Kristy Swanson.
  • Alan Alda is more identified as Hawkeye Pierce than Donald Sutherland. This goes for most of the cast of Mash. This is helped by the fact that most of the TV cast of M*A*S*H face a certain amount of I Am Not Spock while many of the actors from the film are famous in their own right.
  • Similar to the Buffy example above, how many people remember Kurt Russell as Jack O'Neil in Stargate as opposed to Richard Dean Anderson's Jack O'Neill in Stargate SG-1?
    • O'Neill himself does, actually. When spelling his name in one episode he mentions that there's also a Jack O'Neil who is far grumpier. On the other hand, many people can go from James Spader in the movie to Michael Shanks at the beginning of the series and not notice the change in actor.
  • Gummo Marx was a member of the Marx Brothers' vaudeville act, but he quit around World War I. Thus he was never one of "The Four Marx Brothers," as they would be billed on Broadway and in Hollywood.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Legendary WWE tag-team Demolition is best known as Bill "Ax" Eadie and Barry "Smash" Darsow — but Darsow was not the original Smash. No, in their first couple of matches, Smash was Randy Culley, better known as Moondog Rex. Culley was replaced in the team because too many fans recognized him from his former role, and chanted "Moondog" for him. His distinctive mustache didn't help matters (and really made the Demolition facepaint look silly on him). It should be noted that the gimmick was Culley's idea in the first place, so he got kicked out of his own creation only to see it reach stardom.
  • The promos for NXT season 3 advertised Vickie Guerrero mentoring a 6 foot 9 beast known as Aloisa (indie wrestler Isis the Amazon). However WWE officials discovered Aloisa had erotic photos online and removed her from the competition to replace her with the unknown Kaitlyn. Of course Kaitlyn ended up winning the season.
  • The infamous Mickie James / Trish Stratus Stalker with a Crush storyline was written by Mickie herself but it was written with Lita in mind, Lita having acted as Mickie's mentor down in OVW. However when Mickie was called up Lita was out with an ACL injury and the angle was rewritten for Trish Stratus instead. It is now considered one of the best feuds in diva history. Of course, Lita was also forced to turn heel because of the unfortunate "Edge incident," so the angle wouldn't have worked anyway.
  • Bray Wyatt's first follower was a guy named Eli Cottonwood. Cottonwood left wrestling after only a few appearances alongside Wyatt in NXT, leaving Wyatt to form The Wyatt Family with Erick Rowan and Luke Harper instead.
  • Norvell Austin, and to a lesser extent Randy Rose, of The Midnight Express. The Midnight Express was originally formed in a promotion called Southeastern Championship Wrestling as a three man team consisting of Austin, Rose, and Dennis Condrey. The original team split in '83, and Dennis took the gimmick with him to Mid South Wrestling where he met up with Bobby Eaton and Jim Cornette. Condrey was in turn replaced a couple years later by Stan Lane, and it's debated among fans to this day whether the Condrey/Eaton or Eaton/Lane version of the team was better. Rose eventually rejoined Condrey and they feuded with Eaton and Lane over who was the "real" Midnight Express, but Rose gets little recognition compared to Condrey Lane and Eaton, and Austin is essentially a footnote.
  • Claudio Castagnoli, aka Cesaro, aka Antonio Cesaro, has been the Breakout of multiple teams.
    • He originally debuted as part of a team called Swiss Money Holding, and was by far the most successful of the Swiss Money Holding trio. Ares is still working the US indies but isn't getting much attention. Marc Roudin stayed in Switzerland and people who missed his appearance on a CHIKARA show probably don't even know Swiss Money Holding was a trio...what's that? It was once a quartet? Yep, really early on when the stable was still based in German Stampede Wrestling they had a fourth member named Don Heavy.
    • He has also outperformed his partner in the Kings of Wrestling, Chris Hero aka Kassius Ohno, as Ohno has yet to make it out of WWE's developmental system.
    • In WWE, he became the breakout of The Real Americans. Technically Jack Swagger had been more successful than Cesaro has as of 2018 before the team ever formed, but Swagger eventually slid down the card and was released, while Cesaro went on to form successful teams with Tyson Kid and Seamus.

  • Our Miss Brooks: Joe Forte played Mr. Conklin in the first few radio episodes of the series, before being replaced by the legendary Gale Gordon.
  • American Country Countdown's most famous host Bob Kingsley, who helmed the show from 1978 to 2005, was not its original host. From 1973 to 1978, it was hosted by singer/comedian Don Bowman, whose run has largely been forgotten. Kingsley left at the end of 2005 when he was forced out in favor of Kix Brooks, but seamlessly switched over to his own show, Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40.
  • When The Goon Show began in 1951 as Crazy People Michael Bentine starred alongside Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe. Bentine also appeared in the low-budget Goon Show spinoff movie Down Among the Z-Men, but left the show soon after. According to one interview, Milligan fired him for suggesting the show would work better without Milligan, who created and mostly wrote it.
    • Because so few recordings of early series remain, most of the show's fans, who only discovered it later, will also be unfamiliar with Bentine's character Osric Pureheart, an inventor and adventurer, who was usually a very important character in the scripts of the first and second series.
    • The show's original announcer Andrew Timothy also left early in the show's run, claiming that the surreal humour was damaging his sanity.
  • The Burkiss Way's female cast member Denise Coffey left after one season, to be replaced by Jo Kendall from I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again. Coffey returned when the show was adapted for television as the short-lived End of Part One.
  • Country Gold, a classic Country Music radio show, is best known for its hosts Big John Howell (1999-2006) and Rowdy Yates (2006-present)note . What's lesser-known is that Country Gold was originally hosted by Mike Fitzgerald when it started in 1992.

  • The four major North American pro sports leagues all had numerous franchises in their early years that went defunct. The Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Bulldogs, Frankford Yellow Jackets, Providence Steam Roller (all NFL), Baltimore Bullets (NBA)note  and Montreal Maroons (NHL) all had the distinction of winning league championships before going under.
  • The Ottawa Senators are a subversion. The original Senators teams won 11 Stanley Cups in the early 1900s, their last one coming in 1927, before, like the Maroons, going bankrupt and folding. Therefore, the Senators would've been a straight example until 1992, when a new Ottawa team, also called the Senators, started playing, making the original teams somewhat notable again (in fact, the current Senators team even has the Stanley Cup banners from the original Senators championships hanging from the rafters). Technically speaking, the Sens do play the trope straight, since they were considered a brand new team when they arrived in 1992 and not an official continuation of the old team.
  • In American intercollegiate sports, most of the "Power Five" conferences (the top 5 leagues who have automatic bids in the top tier of football bowl games) trace their roots to the late 19th/early 20th centuries, when college sports conferences were still loose affiliations of regional schools. When college sports started becoming Serious Business, some schools elected to de-emphasize their athletics programs and dropped out of what would eventually become the Power Five leagues. Some are now members of the NCAA's lower profile divisions, others are in "Group of Five" Division I leagues. The most famous example is The University of Chicago leaving the Big Ten in 1946. Tulane and The University of The South (aka Sewanee) were founding members of the Southeastern Conference. Idaho and Montana were in what eventually evolved into the Pac-12. And the two forerunners of the current Big 12 (The Big 8 and Southwest Conferences) once counted Drake, Grinnell, Southwestern University, Washington University of St. Louis and the since-closed Phillips University as members.
  • On 2 June 1925, New York Yankees first baseman Wally Pipp was benched for a game against the Washington Senators that came after a five-game losing streak.note  The guy who takes over for him? None other than Lou Gehrig.
    • A similar situation happened in the NFL in 1992, when then Packers-star Don Majkowski was injured, and subsequently replaced by Brett Favre.
    • Then, a few years later, Patriots star Drew Bledsoe (who'd just signed a massive contract) gets injured and this sixth-round pick named Tom Brady takes over...
      • This actually happened to poor Bledsoe, who was a great QB in his own right, twice, as he was benched midway through what ended up being his final season in the league for a 2nd-year undrafted free agent by the name of Tony Romo - less dramatic example, but this occurred in 2006 and, after a several-year period post-Aikman of QB woes, Romo held the Cowboys' starting spot for almost a decade.
    • The same example happened with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tommy Maddox got injured and the rookie Ben Roethlisberger took over. The result? A nearly undefeated season in 2004, losing only to the aforementioned Tom Brady. And two Super Bowl wins in the 2005-2006 season and the 2008-2009 season.
  • In a more general sense, any non-superstar player who held a certain starting position before being replaced (due to injury, retirement, or just poor play) with a superstar. Bonus points if the replaced player was clearly good, or even a star in his/her own right. This obviously does not apply if the player was able to make enough of a name for themselves to be remembered even after being replaced.
  • Quarterback Craig Morton, like Drew Bledsoe, had the unfortunate situation of being the Pete Best to two superstar quarterbacks. He brought the Dallas Cowboys to Super Bowl V, where they lost to the Baltimore Colts. After that, he was gradually replaced by backup quarterback Roger Staubach, and finally moved on to other teams. Morton eventually managed to revive his career with the Denver Broncos, leading them to Super Bowl XII, where they lost to...the Dallas Cowboys, led by Staubach. He eventually retired from football with the Broncos, just in time to be replaced by a young rookie named John Elway....
  • People often argue that Tony Dungy was this for the 2002-03 Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that won Super Bowl XXXVII - coached by Jon Gruden. Dungy had been there several years and assembled the vast majority of the talent on that team before playoff frustration and disagreements with management over his coaching philosophy cost him his job. Dungy landed on his feet, though - that same offseason, he took a job with the Indianapolis Colts, who had a then 26-year-old Peyton Manning at quarterback. The Colts would go on to a sustained run of success under Dungy, and a Super Bowl XLI championship.
  • Isiah Thomas, well-known as the star of the Detroit Pistons during the "Bad Boys" era of the late 1980s-early 1990s (and before that known as the star of Indiana's 1981 NCAA champions), is more well-known now for being snubbed by the Dream Team before the 1992 Summer Olympics, possibly due to his rivalry with Michael Jordan.
  • Manchester United's first pinnacle of success was winning the European title in 1968. But the retirement of legendary manager Sir Matt Busby was followed by the catastrophe of relegation from the top flight a mere five years later. United were not fated to win the English league title for another twenty-three years. It is often forgotten - especially after Sir Alex Ferguson's stellar period as manager - that a lot of the work that needed to be done to make United credible contenders again was achieved during those 23 years by managers like Tommy Docherty and Ron Atkinson, who in their own right would have been acclaimed as great managers had they not been eclipsed by Ferguson's stellar achievement. Alex Ferguson inherited a club in great health with a roster of impressive young players, testament mainly to Atkinson.
  • One main reason why the Golden State Warriors have been very successful nowadays (especially when compared to past Warriors teams) is the coaching genius of Steve Kerr, particularly his offensive system based on unselfish passing, three point shooting, and the pick-and-roll. A huge part of success, though, can be credited to previous coach Mark Jackson, who improved the Dubs' defense (which was their greatest weakness back when they were the NBA's laughingstock).
    • In the same vein, a lot of people credit the Warriors' success to the three point shooting of "Splash Brothers" Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the gritty versatility of Draymond Green, and (later) the sheer talent of new addition Kevin Durant. However, the first star of the Dubs' successful era (and the precedent of the big names mentioned above) was David Lee, who was the Warriors' best player back when Curry was injury-prone, Thompson was considered a relative disappointment for a Lottery Pick, Green was either a reserve (or, pre-2012, playing in Michigan State), and Durant was still part of the OKC Thunder. In true Pete Best fashion, Lee's status as the Dubs' star ended with his injury in 2014, which catapulted Draymond Green to the starting lineup and turned the Dubs into the NBA's most feared team (alongside the lights-out shooting of Curry and Thompson).
  • Younger fans might not be aware that ESPN aired most of the first round NCAA Tournament games until 1991, when CBS snagged the rights for the entire tournament. ESPN's coverage was a big factor in popularizing the tournament and ESPN itself.

  • A common occurrence for many modern Broadway shows is for them to start Off-Broadway, then if they find success there, moving to Broadway, typically with most of the original cast and crew. The cast members who are replaced almost always become this, especially if theirs is the performance immortalised on the cast recording:
    • Brian d'Arcy James, who originated the role of Dan in Next to Normal Off-Broadway, was the only cast member to not move with the show to Broadway, being replaced by J. Robert Spencer, who promptly got a Tony nomination and a whole lot of notoriety.
      • Another Brian d'Arcy James example: few people seem to remember that he originated the role of King George III in Hamilton while it was off-Broadway. He was replaced by the much more celebrated Jonathan Groff once the show moved onto Broadway.
    • Contrary to popular belief, Andrea McArdle was not the first to play Annie in the musical. She was the first Broadway Annie, and replaced Kristin Vigard, who played her in the Goodspeed Opera House previews before the show went to Broadway.
    • Dear Evan Hansen: The role of Alana was played by Alexis Molnar when the show premiered in Washington, DC. She was replaced by Kristolyn Lloyd when the show opened off-Broadway and subsequently moved to Broadway, and Kristolyn is the one featured in all the show's Broadway hype and publicity alongside the rest of the original cast.
  • Jules Bledsoe introduced "Ol' Man River" as Joe in the original Broadway production of Show Boat. Paul Robeson would play that part (which consists of little more than the famous song and its reprises) in the 1928 London production, the 1932 Broadway revival, and the 1936 film version (for which he got a Movie Bonus Song). Robeson was the most famous black dramatic actor of his day, and Bledsoe was really not a good actor, so it's no wonder whose performance was regarded as definitive.
  • Steve Harley sang in the original single release for The Phantomofthe Opera, but when the London production began was replaced by Michael Crawford after preparing for the role for several months.
  • Paul Hecht originated the role of John Dickinson in the musical 1776 - but it was Donald Madden, who took over the role on Broadway, who went on to star in the film version and create the definitive Dickinson. The same thing happened with John Cullum, actually the third Rutledge on Broadway, who played the role the longest and went on to recreate the role for the film.
  • An interesting example is the role of Sally in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. The original 1967 production didn't even feature the character, with Patty (not Peppermint Patty) instead. Patty eventually got Demoted to Extra in the Peanuts universe, and by the time of the 1999 Broadway production was largely forgotten. She was replaced with Sally, who was a good fit for Kristin Chenoweth, complete with an extremely catchy solo, and she won the Supporting Actress Tony. Meanwhile, Patty's been almost nearly forgotten.
  • Thanks to the 2006 Broadway revival of Company, Raúl Esparza has well and truly eclipsed any other actor to play the role of Bobby, despite being born in the same year the show debuted.
  • In the world of Cirque du Soleil, no one seems to remember that Cool Old Guy Brian Dewhurst (aka Brian Le Petit) was not the original performer of Mystère's principal clown act; he only joined the cast in 2000, and the show has been running since 1993. There were no less than three sets of performers handling clown duties before him: Wayne Hronek (who created the act and taught it to Dewhurst), Alex El Sobrino, and Alfredo et Adrenaline (a male-female duo who presented a completely different act in 1995-96). Mystere has never been filmed in its entirety, and its making-of documentary didn't come along until Dewhurst's tenure, so very little footage of Hronek's version of the act exists, and none at all of the other two.

    Video Games 
  • Atari was founded in the early 70s by Nolan Bushnell, Al Alcorn, and a third guy named Ted Dabney who dropped out. Guess which one is no longer remembered.
  • Canadian developer BioWare was originally founded by three people: Ray Muzyka, Greg Zeschuk, and Augustine Yip. After Yip left to continue his medical career during development of the company's breakout game, Baldur's Gate, he was for the most part forgotten by all but the most dedicated of the developer's fans.
  • Rockstar North was founded by David Jones, Mike Dailly, Russell Kay and Steve Hammond. It was initially called DMA Design and developed the original Grand Theft Auto, however a year after the release, most of the employees and founders quit. Jones, who was the producer of the game, was the only founder remaining. Sam and Dan Houser, who founded Rockstar Games, actually started to work in the franchise with the first expansion, London 1969, but sometime after the release of Grand Theft Auto 2, Jones decided to leave and found Realtime Worlds, leaving the Houser brothers with DMA and developing Grand Theft Auto III, which would be a massive sucess and a game-changer in the market, making the original founders, especially Jones, forgotten.
  • Erin Fitzgerald wasn't the first English voice for Chie Satonaka, but since she's been doing the voice longer, and is more well known than Tracey Rooney, people usually associate her with the role. The same can be said for Teddie - Dave Wittenberg isn't exactly an obscure voice actor, but more people have heard Sam Riegel.
  • The two main stars of Ratchet & Clank were David Kaye as Clank and Mikey Kelley as Ratchet, who was replaced for the rest of the franchise by James Arnold Taylor.
  • The original Elite was developed by two people, Davidd Braben and Ian Bell. Braben took the Elite rights and made Frontier: Elite II, later founding Frontier Developments which, among others, made Frontier: First Encounters (the followup to Elite II), RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, and Elite: Dangerous.
  • In Devil May Cry Reuben Langdon is Dante's third voice actor after Drew Coombs (who voiced in in the first game and Viewtiful Joe) and Matthew Kaminsky (who voiced in in the second game and Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne) but because Langdon became a mainstay since the third game and also voiced Dante in the animated series and other cameos, he's a lot more iconic than his predecessors.

    Web Original 
  • Hat Films was initially made of four people: Ross Hornby, Chris Trott, Nathan Asheman, and Ben Adams. Both Asheman and Adams eventually left the group (although Adams is almost never mentioned and seemingly left first) at some point, to later be replaced by Alex Smith. New fans as a rule tend not to remember either Asheman or Adams so well.
  • Subverted with Jon Jafari who left Game Grumps eleven months into the series. Jon still has enough memorable moments to be associated with the series as his replacement Danny currently is.
  • The longest-lasting hosts of Midnight Screenings are Brad Jones, Laura Jones, Brian Lewis, Brian Irving, Dave Gobble, and Sarah Gobble. Early on, the team also included three other members who have largely been forgotten: Jerrid Foiles, who quit due to a falling out between him and Brad (they later reconciled, but other than a handful of cameos, he hasn't officially returned), Jillian Zurawski (Brad's ex-wife, who quit the show because she didn't enjoy doing it anymore), and Jake Norvell (who was fired from all of Brad's shows due to spreading nasty rumors about Brad).

    Western Animation 
  • Lacey Chabert was the original voice for Meg on Family Guy for about the first dozen episodes before being replaced by Mila Kunis. Combined with a bit of Characterization Marches On, as Chabert's Meg was more of a softer voiced, younger sounding Daddy's Girl, while Kunis' slightly harsher voice was better suited to expressing Butt-Monkey-related frustration and anger.
    • This has been lampshaded a few times, for example Peter threatening to replace Lois in "Business Guy", causing her to back down by simply mentioning Chabert's name, and the episode "Back to The Pilot" when Stewie and Brian travel back in time to the pilot episode and they comment that Meg sounds different.
      Stewie: She sounds like someone who's about to make a terrible career decision.
  • The Simpsons - the voices of Moe Szyslak and Monty Burns were originated by Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer, right? Actually both characters were first voiced by Christopher Collins, aka Chris Latta, aka Cobra Commander and Starscream - but his part as Burns was only used in one episode ("Homer's Odyssey"), and none of his voice work as Moe was heard in any finished episode (he recorded all of Moe's lines in "Some Enchanted Evening", but Hank Azaria re-recorded the lines late in production, so Chris Latta is only heard as a TV presenter in that episode).
  • Karri Turner (of JAG fame) was originally intended to be the lead voice actress for South Park, but was let go in the time between the original pilot and the start of the series as it was felt that her voice wasn't distinct enough. Mary Kay Bergman went on to voice nearly all of the major female characters until her suicide in 1999, while Turner showed up briefly in a guest spot in the first season (voicing Kathie Lee Gifford).
    • In the Latin Spanish dub, Kyle and Cartman were originally voiced by Vivian Ruiz for seasons 1 and 2. Ruiz quit the series after season 2 because Cartman's voice was very difficult on her. She was replaced by Patricia Azan in season 3 and beyond, as well as the redubs of seasons 1-2.
  • Recess: T.J. is very well-known as being voiced by Andy Lawrence... even though Ross Malinger played him for the first fifteen episodes until his voice broke.
  • The pilot episode of Inspector Gadget was the only time Mona Marshall voiced Penny; the role being taken over by Cree Summer for the rest of the first season and Holly Berger in the second season. Also in the first edition of the pilot, Gadget was voiced by the British actor Gary Owens, (not that Gary Owens), who was subsequently dubbed over by the more Don Adams-esque Jesse White, who himself was replaced with Don Adams himself for the rest of the show.
  • Scooby-Doo: Heather North is usually associated as being the classic, original voice of Daphne Blake, with Mary Kay Bergman even mentioning it in an interview during her tenure in the role, but in reality, the role was originated by Indira Stefanianna Christopherson for the first 17 episodes (and majority) of the classic Where Are You?! series before the role was recast with North. Many viewers don't know they're actually hearing a whole other actress in the role for the majority of the classic episodes.
    • Also happened to Scrappy-Doo, where Don Messick is usually associated as his voice actor (doing double-duty with Scooby), but actually Lennie Weinrib had voiced the character for all 16 episodes of "The Scooby-Doo & Scrappy-Doo Show" before quitting the role over a pay dispute and other personal reasons. In addition, Daws Butler, Dick Beals, Frank Welker, Marilyn Schreffler, and others all voiced the character in unaired test versions of the pilot before producers settled on Weinrib.
    • Happens in universe when Scrappy-Doo became The Scrappy, replacing Scooby-Doo's other relative who only appeared in a few episodes: Scooby-Dum.
  • Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Walt Disney made a whole series of cartoons featuring him and wanted to continue them, but Universal owned the character and didn't let him have the rights. When Disney struck out on his own, he invented Oswald's Suspiciously Similar Substitute, Mickey Mouse. Ozzy was eventually bought back by Disney (in a deal that gave NBC Al Michaels and John Madden for Sunday Night Football) and gained some recognition by appearing in the video game Epic Mickey.
  • Who remembers Scrooge McDuck having the voice of Alan Young? (A large number of hands are raised.) Who knows that in his first appearance, 1967's Scrooge McDuck and Money, Bill Thompson provided Mr. McD's voice? (Most of the hands fall.) Or that in the 1986 special "Sport Goofy in Soccermania" Scrooge was voiced by Will Ryan? (Even more hands go down.)
  • Danger Mouse is often remembered as either voiced by David Jason (for the original 1981 series) or Alexander Armstrong (for the 2015 reboot). However, his first voice artist, for the 1979 pilot "The Mystery of the Lost Chord", was William Franklyn.
  • The Powerpuff Girls
    • In the original shorts that aired as part of the What A Cartoon show, Bubbles was voiced by Kath Soucie rather than Tara Strong, who is much more commonly associated with the role. And prior to that, the show was merely a 1992 college project named "Whoopass Stew" with all the girls voiced by Jennifer Fried, and instead of the as-of-yet iconic Tom Kenny as the Narrator's voice, Craig McCracken himself provided the voice for his own production. In addition, Ernie Anderson was the narrator in the WAC shorts, but he had passed away by the time the TV series was greenlit, and Kenny was cast.
    • In his first appearance, Gangrene Gang memner Lil' Arturo was voiced by Carlos Alazraqui. Tom Kenny voices him in all subsequent episodes.
    • In a non-voice acting example, Townsville had a completely different mayor in the first WAC short. The character in that episode appeared to be modeled after Bill Clinton, and was voiced by Jim Cummings. The classic Mayor (voiced by Tom Kenny) and Miss Bellum replaced him in the main TV show. This is also an example of Art Evolution as the earlier mayor had a more realistic look compared to the classic mayor, who's as stylized as the girls themselves.
  • The animated adaptations of Garfield have two examples:
    • Garfield's original voice was not Lorenzo Music. In the very first animation that aired on The Fantastic Funnies (1980), adapting five newspaper strips, Garfield was voiced by Scott Beach. Music became Garfield's voice starting with Here Comes Garfield.
    • While Thom Huge did voice Jon Arbuckle in The Fantastic Funnies, the role was handed over to Sandy Kenyon for Here Comes Garfield, the first of the Garfield Specials. Huge returned for the rest of the animated specials through Garfield Gets a Life in 1991, along with the entirety of Garfield and Friends (1988-1994).
  • Most people remember Jeremy Shada as the voice of Adventure Time's Finn even though he took over, ironically enough, just as his brother Zach was going though puberty years after he recorded for the Random! Cartoons version.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: Alfred was voiced by Clive Revil (who seems have a habit of being this) in the first three episodes "On Leather Wings", "Christmas With the Joker" and "Never Fear". Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. took over for the rest of the series and its spinoffs.
  • Jack Mercer was not the original voice of Popeye. That honor goes to William Costello, who was the sailor man's voice actor for his first two years before Mercer took over afterward, supplying Popeye's voice for the majority of the remainder of his shorts and continuing to do so for all appearances afterward until his death in 1984.
  • Spongebob Squarepants has several examples from it's Latin American Spanish dub:
    • Spongebob himself was voiced by Kaihiamal Martínez in the first season, after which he was one of several voice actors who were fired from the dubbing company, Etcetera Group, after a pay dispute. Because of this, Luis Carreño replaced him, and he continues to voice the role to this day (even after moving to Miami).
    • Óscar Zuloaga voiced Plankton until the Christmas special Cristmas Who?. From Welcome to the Chum Bucket to Squirrel Record, Luis Miguel Pérez would voice him and become associated with the role.
    • Karen was usually voiced by Melanie Henríquez until her retirement, and by Gabriela Belén since then, but her voice actress in the first season was actually Rocio Mallo, who had to quit the role after moving to Mexico (she has since moved back to Venezuela).
    • Sandy was originally voiced by Mercedes Prato but was fired for the same reasons as Martínez, leading her more famous successor Anabella Silva (as well as Yaraivi Alcedo, Lidia Abautt, and Lileana Chacón) to take over.
    • Most people remember Juan Guzmán as the French Narrator, as well as the voice reading the signs in Spanish, but he actually replaced Orlando Noguera in both after he moved to Mexico (Noguera would later move again to Miami, where he continues to do voiceover work).
  • Clifford the Big Red Dog was not originally voiced by John Ritter. In a series of direct-to-video specials from the late '80s, Brent Titcomb provided his voice.

    Real Life 
  • Ron Wayne co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. His 10% ownership in the company would be worth $22 billion today... if he hadn't sold his shares back to the Steves 12 days into the partnership for $800.
  • Joe Green decided not to take up his roommate Mark Zuckerberg's offer to help him with his website called Facebook.
  • The supermarket chain Waitrose was started by three men — Waite, Rose and Taylor. Taylor left after a couple of years, and the business was renamed after the remaining two.
  • Sears, Roebuck & Co. Roebuck's name isn't even on the sign anymore. Historically, he had to retire earlier than expected due to ill health. Though, in Roebuck's favor, "Roebuck & Co." is now a Sears clothing brand and one of the store's more popular products.
  • Dow Jones & Company was founded by Charles Dow, Edward Jones... and Charles Bergstresser. What makes this example particularly unfair is that he was the chief financier for the new company and he came up with the name "The Wall Street Journal". However, it was his decision to become a silent partner, so his name never appeared on the company's name. Still, it's somewhat subverted since his influence is still expressed by the publication (such as during its 125th anniversary.
  • MGM Studios was created by merging three earlier production companies: Metro, Goldwyn, and (L. B.) Mayer. The Goldwyn company in turn had got its name from its two founders, Samuel Goldfish and Edgar Selwyn. By the time the company merged into MGM, Sam Goldfish had long since parted ways with Selwyn to set up as an independent producer ... after changing his own name to Goldwyn.

Fictional examples

  • In-Universe in 20th Century Boys, Friend refers to himself as Major Michael Collins, after the third member of the Apollo 11 space mission where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first and second men on the moon; the idea, of course, being that the last two are more famous than Collins is.

  • Thunderbird was one of the "Second Genesis" X-Men, and the first main to die (If you don't count Professor X's fakeout death, that is). That's pretty much all he's known for now. The fact that his powers were largely the same as the Beast probably didn't help his case. Although Sunfire fits the trope even better, since he voluntarily left the team in the issue immediately following the first adventure.
  • Back when X-Statix was still called X-Force, they had an entirely different lineup. Of that lineup, only U-Go Girl and Anarchist survived the first issue. And they weren't even the original lineup! The average X-Forcer had a very short life expectancy. It didn't help that their crazy, amoral sponsor Spike Freeman preferred that the team have a high turnover rate
  • The first issue of The Order features Henry Hellrung and Pepper Pots having to fire four of the Order's initial lineup after they decide to get drunk after their first mission.
  • During the Runaways' first year, they recruited a boy named Topher to their ranks. He turned out to be a vampire, and was killed off after trying to feed on Karolina.
    • Alex Wilder could be an example as well, as his unofficial replacement Victor Mancha not only is more well known thanks to his ties to the greater Marvel Universe (he's the son of Ultron, making him the brother of The Vision, a well-known member of the Avengers) but he proved to be far more popular as well.
  • Early in their history, the Great Lakes Avengers had a guy named Leather Boy on their roster. He misread the personal ad that Mr. Immortal had put out and quit after realizing that they weren't a fetish community. He later returned, seeking revenge on the team after finding out that they were looking to expand their membership and hadn't even thought to call him.

    Films - Live-Action 
  • In Zoolander, main villain Mugatu was originally in Frankie Goes to Hollywood but was booted out shortly before they got big. He used their song "Relax" as his keyword to activate his brainwash programming.
  • That Thing You Do! has the original drummer for The Wonders (then The One-ders) break his arm before a talent competition. The band asks Guy to fill in for him. This talent show led the The Wonders towards the path to recognition. The former drummer, Chad, ends up taking Guy's old job at his father's appliance shop.
  • The Rocker The whole plot revolves around this trope. Rainn Wilson plays Robert "Fish" Fishman, the drummer in an 80's glammetal band called Vesuvius. When his band gets signed, Fish gets dropped in favor of their producer's nephew. Despite his swearing to become even bigger than they do, he fails, until more than 20 years later when his nephew asks him to fill in for the drummer for his band, and they manage to hit it big, thanks largely to YouTube and a series of videos entitled The Naked Drummer. Pete Best even makes a cameo as himself.
  • The Social Network uses this as a major plot point: in its interpretation of Facebook's founding, Eduardo Saverin, who has been part of the company since the start, becomes aware of his business partner's attempts to minimize his contributions and force him out of the company. Lawsuits ensue. In real life Saverin has been candid that he didn't care so much about being on the Facebook "inside" as maintaining his deserved financial stake.

  • Discworld:
    • Parodied in the novel The Thief of Time, where Ronnie Soak left The Four Horsemen of the Apocralypse before they got famous — he was "Kaos", the Fifth Horseman. He still manages to get a He's Back moment near the end when he rejoins the Horsemen for the big battle against the Auditors.
    • Also used in Soul Music, where the Librarian briefly joined (and then quit) the Band With Rocks In before they went on tour and made it really big.
  • In the original text of The Bible the Four Horsemen were Famine, Death, War, and Conquest. In the King James edition, Conquest was replaced with the much more widely known Pestilence.

    Live Action TV 
  • Invoked in-universe in Breaking Bad. One of the reasons that the protagonist Walter White decides to enter the meth business is to create a successful enterprise of his own, after having missed out on a chance to be a part of the multi-billion company Gray Matter, which he had founded along with two of his college friends. Though he was one of the primary forces behind the creation of Gray Matter, no one at the company is willing to acknowledge it in public, especially once Walt is publically exposed as a drug lord near the end of the series, and his role in starting the company has long since been forgotten.

    Web Comics 
  • Kairi in Ansem Retort, namely, the Show Within a Show Ansem Retort. She was killed off in the first season and replaced by Aerith, who more people associate with the show nowadays, especially since her wedding was broadcast on it.

    Western Animation 
  • In the season three premiere of Metalocalypse, there's a flashback of Dethklok signing its first contract. The rhythm guitarist there is not the current rhythm guitarist, Toki Wartooth, but a man named Magnus Hammersmith. Hammersmith, we later learn, was kicked out of the band and replaced because he was abusive and violent. Predictably enough, he worms his way into a friendship with Toki, then literally stabs him in the back during the Revengencer attack. When Dethklok awakens the power of the Doomstar while rescuing Toki, Magnus realizes he was the villain the whole time and stabs himself.
  • The Simpsons: The episode "Homer's Barbershop Quartet" is a deliberate spoof on the Beatles' career, with Chief Wiggum playing the role of Pete Best and Barney Gumble (who turns out to have a breathtaking singing voice) as Ringo Starr. Wiggum takes it poorly, repeatedly trying to either get back into the group or screwing them over (like trying to arrest them).
    • In "Team Homer", Homer forms a bowling team with Moe, Apu, and Otto, with Homer getting the sponsorship money out of Mr. Burns while he's high on ether. When Mr. Burns finds out, he wants to join the team, so in order to appease him (and maintain their funding) Otto has to go. However, he still helps them win indirectly when he accidentally knocks over the bowling alley's prize-grabber machine, which causes a big enough impact that it knocks over Burns' pins and wins them the tournament.
      • The same thing had happened to Otto before in "A Streetcar Named Marge", where director Llewellyn Sinclair took him out of the cast of "Oh! Streetcar!" just before the opening performance, replacing him in the part of Pablo with himself.
  • In Meet the Raisins, a mock-biopic about the California Raisins, the Raisins are revealed to have had a Pete Best of their own - Zoot the grapefruit. He was replaced by Stretch, who ironically started out as the only raisin in a grapefruit band.

Alternative Title(s): Left Before They Got Famous, Replaced And Forgotten


Example of: