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Needless to say, lineup changes at the early stages of the band can fill whole pages about this trope in music.

NOTE: Examples are sorted alphabetically.

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  • 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. Can also count as a Fake Shemp.
  • 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.
    • The band also went through countless bassists and drummers before settling on Mark Evans and Phil Rudd. Evans himself would be overshadowed by his replacement, Cliff Williams, who played on the band's breakthrough album Highway to Hell.
  • 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.
  • Alabama had three different drummers: Bennett Vartanian, Jackie Owen, and Rick Scott all held this role until Mark Herndon took over in 1979. (Despite this, Herndon usually played only in live settings and almost never on albums, due to Executive Meddling.) Vartanian is name-dropped in the band's song "Tar Top".
  • Argentinean Heavy Metal band Almafuerte, while by no means an unknown band by the time of its formation (due to its leader being a key member in Hermética, THE pillar of Argentina's Heavy Metal scene), still has an example in drummer Claudio Cardacci, who only played in Mundo Guanaco before being replaced by Walter Martínez, considered the best drummer the band ever had.
  • There's a ton of members of Anthrax just about no one knows. For example: Joey Belladonna is the band's FOURTH singer.
  • 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.
  • George Johnston was the original drummer for April Wine. He and the band parted ways shortly before they hit it big.
  • 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.
  • 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 on to see much success with Arctic Monkeys over the next decade, while Nicholson has kept a low profile, only popping up again in Arctic's drummer Matt Helders' short-lived side project Mongrel.
  • 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.
  • Avenged Sevenfold went through three bassists (Matt Wendt, Justin Sane [not the Anti-Flag frontman] and Dameon Ash) before finding mainstream success with Johnny Christ. Justin did in fact play on Sounding the Seventh Trumpet, but he was dismissed because he suffered brain damage in a suicide attempt.

  • Babasonicos had DJ Peggynn, who played in all five albums between 1992's debut Pasto and 1999's Miami and left before the band hit the big leagues with 2001's Jessico. Coincidentally, the band also hit big after leaving Sony Music and founded their own label, Bultaco Records.
  • 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.
  • Annette Zilinskas played the bass and harmonica on The Bangles' eponymous 1982 EP, but left the band before they signed with Columbia Records, eventually rejoining over 30 years later in 2018.
  • Andy Creeggan only appeared on the first two albums by Barenaked Ladies before leaving to study music at McGill University, but apparently is fine with his obscure status, as he was uncomfortable with fame.
  • Helsinki power metalers Battle Beast won two band competitions and a record deal with Nuclear Blast with Nitte Valo on lead vocals. Valo chose to leave the band upon getting married in 2012, and was replaced with Noora Louhimo, who has become The Face Of The Band.
  • The Beach Boys had in their early line-up Al Jardine who would quickly leave the band in order to focus on dentistry studies. He was replaced with David Marks who played rhythm guitar on the band's first four albums and on tour. One year later, Al came back and David was reportedly fired by the band's manager Murry Wilson. Even though David came back to join the band on tour in the 90s and on the band's 50th Anniversary Tour, Al Jardine was best remembered as the band's rhythm guitarist (on top of contributing to the band's repertoir).
  • Back when they were a hardcore punk group, the Beastie Boys' original guitarist was John Berry, who Adam Horovitz replaced in 1982. Another early member of the band was future Luscious Jackson drummer Kate Schellenbach, who left during their transition towards hip hop. Both members' contributions can be heard on Some Old Bullshit (a compilation of the music they released before being signed to Def Jam Recordings), but as the title suggests, those songs are considered Old Shame at best.
  • The Beatles:
    • Pete Best, the Trope Namer, was the former drummer for the band. 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 in close contact with the band, who convinced Ringo to leave his previous group, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. 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 Beatles' fame when he released an album of original music titled The 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).
    • Stuart Sutcliffe was John Lennon's classmate at the Liverpool College of Art, and in 1960 agreed to play bass despite having no experience in music, 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 switched from piano and rhythm guitar (with Lennon) to take over Sutcliffe's duties as bassist and became known for that role in the band. Sadly, Sutcliffe died less than a year later from a brain hemorrhage before he could become a successful painter; the rest of the Fab Four paid tribute to him by including his face on the front cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
  • 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.
  • Kim Hill was the female vocalist for Black Eyed Peas 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.
  • 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 The 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.
  • 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.
  • Bomshel originally consisted of lead vocalist Buffy Lawson and backing vocalist/fiddler Kristy Osmunson. This lineup cut a three-song EP and a soundtrack song for Evan Almighty but was unable to break through. When Lawson quit over Creative Differences, Kelly Sheppard replaced her, and it was Sheppard who sang lead on their most successful song and only full studio album Fight Like a Girl. In addition, Sheppard did not sing any of the Lawson-era songs in concert except for "Bomshel Stomp".
  • BUCK-TICK had a vocalist named Araki at the beginning. No one really knows about him, because then-drummer Atsushi Sakurai took over as singer, was far better, and the rest was history...

  • Flautist David C. Johnson was one of the founding members of Can, but left over Creative Differences as it became apparent the group were pursuing more of a rock direction than the avant-garde approach he favored.
  • Bob Rusay was one of the founding guitarists for Cannibal Corpse, but he was fired during the recording of the band's breakthrough album Tomb of the Mutilated because of his poor guitar playing. The band's other guitarist, Jack Owen, re-recorded most of Rusay's tracks. Rusay retired from music, cut off all ties with his bandmates, and became a golf instructor.
  • 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.
  • The Chicks (previously known as the Dixie Chicks) originally consisted of sisters Martie Irwin (now Maguire) and Emily Irwin (later Robison, now Strayer), along with bassist Laura Lynch and vocalist Robin Lynn Macy. Macy quit after the first album and Lynch became lead vocalist for their second. 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, daughter of their then-Record Producer Lloyd Maines. With Maines on lead vocals, the band went from obscurity to mainstream success.
  • 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.
  • Lee Keczmarek was the founding member and original bassist of what would eventually become Cold Chisel, back when they were 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 one of Australia's biggest rock bands.
  • 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.
  • Creed had a second guitarist, who left two years before they recorded their first album.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • It keeps happening. After Branham left, Will Hunt did the drumming on We All Bleed. Hunt left the band when the album's release kept getting delayed and was replaced with Mark Castillo. Most of the promotional material for We All Bleed features Hunt, little to none for Castillo. When the band reunited in 2018, Castillo was replaced by Ryan Yerdon.

  • Da Yoopers' original bassist was Jim Pennell, who quit after the second album and has been largely forgotten; it doesn't help that the two famous songs from that second album, "Rusty Chevrolet" and "Second Week of Deer Camp", don't even feature him at all. Pennell's replacement was Joe DeLongchamp, and then Dave "Doc" Bradbury, both of whom also quit after only two albums (although Bradbury sang "Grandpa Got Run Over by a Beer Truck", one of their better-known songs). What makes this unusual is that Jim Bellmore, who replaced founding member Joe Potila on lead guitar in 1995, has been both guitarist and bassist in the studio ever since (although they did hire Reggie Lusardi as a touring bassist before retiring from touring in 2016).
  • Any Dead or Alive member who 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.
  • To most people, Chuck Schuldiner is the face of the band Death. However, what many non-fans don't know is that he was not the band's original vocalist. Back when the band was known as Mantas, Chuck was actually the bass player, while the other two founding members were guitarist Rick Rozz and vocalist/drummer Kam Lee. Kam performed the vocals on the band's early demos, and also contributed to the design of their original logo and songwriting for some of the tracks that ended up on Scream Bloody Gore, but due to having a falling out with the other members, he left the band in 1986 before they released any completed material. While Lee would go on to have a successful career on his own, becoming a well-known name as the frontman for Massacre and continuing to perform with numerous underground bands today, most people who aren't into death metal don't tend to remember him.
  • 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 performing under the Deep Purple name. This is at a time when the "Mark II lineup" reunion was still in the rumor stage. And it was set up by others who enlisted Evans. Evans subsequently withdrew from the public eye, becoming a Reclusive Artist.
  • 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.
  • Depeche Mode have a very quirky example in Vince Clarke, their keyboardist and primary songwriter for their first album, Speak & Spell. While Speak & Spell was a commercial hit, the band's much more critically acclaimed work would come after Clarke's departure allowed the band to go in a Darker and Edgier direction, and both Depeche Mode themselves and fans largely regard Speak & Spell as an early curiosity disconnected from the band's main body of work. Clarke is also a rare example of a Pete Best who went on to greater success after leaving the band, as he would found both Yazoo and Erasure.
  • 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 Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams, in descending order. LeToya later had a couple Top 10 hits on Urban radio, but that was it.
  • 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, and was briefly replaced with Anthony Crawford and then Virgil True before Marty Roe took 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.
  • The original vocalist and founding member of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Dmitri Minakakis, left after their debut album, but is duly recognized due to that album's acclaim.
  • Disturbed had 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.
  • Originally, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince consisted of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince... and Clarence Holmes, known as Ready Rock C, who was largely relegated to supporting the group during live performances. Ready Rock C ended up leaving in 1990, feeling as though Will Smith "wanted the spotlight all to himself". He tried suing the duo for unpaid royalties in 1999, but the case was thrown out due to the statute of limitations expiring.
  • Dream Theater has Charlie Dominici, the singer on their debut album, When Dream And Day Unite. 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, and was sacked after his poor performances and an altercation with bassist John Myung.
    • While appearing on When Dream..., Images... and Awake this trope also applies to keyboardist Kevin Moore and Derek Sherinian, his successor, who played in the EP A Change of Seasons as well as Falling Into Infinity. Nowadays whenever someone brings up Dream Theater and keyboards in the same conversation, it usually features long-running keyboardist and musical toymaker Jordan Rudess. Both Dominici and Sherinian joined the band for a 2004 live album celebrating the 20 years of When Dream..., though.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Europe was founded as "Force" in 1979 (becoming "Europe" in 1982) with Joey Tempest (lead vocals), John Norum (guitar), Peter Olsson (bass), and Tony Reno (drums). The band went through three bassists in 1981 alone. First, Olsson left and was replaced by John Levén, who in turn left two months later for Yngwie Malmsteen's band, with Malmsteen's former bassist Marcel Jacob coming in. However, Levén and Malmsteen had major differences, and three months later Norum and Jacob swapped bands again. Reno was fired in 1984 and replaced by Ian Haugland. In that same year, the band added Mic Michaeli on keyboards. This lineup saw the band make their international breakthrough with the 1986 release of The Final Countdown, but Norum left after the tour for that album, with Kee Marcello taking his place. The band then went on hiatus in 1992, reuniting for a single concert in 1999 with both Norum and Marcello on guitars. However, the Final Countdown lineup reunited in 2003 and has been together ever since.
  • David Hodges, former keyboardist for Evanescence, left the band four months before Fallen, the album that brought it into the mainstream, was released. He's done quite well as a songwriter for adult contemporary and country radio.
  • When EXID debuted in February 2012, they consisted of Yuji, Hani, Haeryeong, Jeonghwa, LE, and Dami. The group experienced minor success with their debut track “Whoz That Girl”, but weren’t widely known by the public. Only two months after debuting, Yuji, Haeryeong, and Dami left the group and later went on to form their own group, Bestie, in 2013 along with one new member, Hyeyeon. Two new members were added to EXID in their stead, Solji and Hyelin. Originally, Bestie and EXID both struggled to gain popularity, with Bestie being slightly more successful sales-wise than their former group. Then in late 2014, everything changed: a fan-taken video of Hani performing EXID’s single “Up & Down” went hugely viral, causing the months-old song to shoot up the charts to number one and launching the group to overnight stardom. Most people are unaware that Solji and Hyelin weren’t original members, and while EXID went on to have a string of hits, Bestie unfortunately never hit the same success- after the release of their song “Excuse Me” in 2015, they silently disbanded without ever having mainstream popularity.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 appear on the first album).
  • Fleetwood Mac had too many examples to count, but 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.
  • Foo Fighters has weird cases, as the band had already been successful when they joined. After Dave Grohl did the first album by himself, he 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".
  • 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 settling with its long-lasting lineup (guitarist/vocalist Kai Hansen, guitarist/later bassist Dirk Schlächter, guitarist/keyboardist Henjo Richter and drummer Dan Zimmerman), Gamma Ray had many other members:
    • Drummer Matthias Burchard only played in Heading For Tomorrow and the EP Who Do You Think You Are?. He was replaced by Uli Kusch, who played in Sigh No More, left... and joined Helloween, Kai's previous band, with whom they played until he and guitarist Roland Grapow departed in order to form Masterplan.note  The third drummer, Thomas Nack, played in Insanity & Genius and Land Of The Free before joining Iron Savior... a band led by Piet Sielck, who co-founded Helloween alongside Kai. Then Zimmerman came aboard. Thankfully for Kai, Zimmerman didn't went to anything Helloween-related, though he quit Gamma in protest after Kai joined Unisonic, and he formed Freedom Call... the band where current Helloween lead guitarist Sascha Gerstner originates from.
    • Vocalist Ralf Scheepers sang in the first three albums before departing for a failed audition for Judas Priest and forming Primal Fear alongside some members of Sinner.
    • Bassist Uwe Wessel played in Heading... and Sigh... and left only to fade into obscurity. His successor, Jan Rubach, played in Insanity... and Land.... Then Schlächter switched from guitars to bass.
  • 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.
  • Doug Hopkins was the founding guitarist of the Gin Blossoms until he was fired for depression and alcoholism. A&M Records withheld $15,000 in royalties to his name, and forced him to sign away over half his publishing royalties to the band, and all his mechanical royalties to his replacement (Scott Johnson). When the band started to chart with songs that Hopkins wrote ("Hey Jealousy" and "Found Out About You"), he committed suicide.
  • 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 Go-Go's had two notable Pete Bests. The first was original drummer Elissa Bello, who left in 1979 so she could commit to her regular job. She was promptly replaced by Gina Schock, who brought a more professional culture to the group that would help ignite their rise to stardom. The second and more extreme case was bassist Margot Olavarria, who the band fired mere months before the release of their breakout debut album Beauty and the Beat. She had already toured with them in the UK, where they opened for Madness and The Specials and almost got signed to Stiff Records, but by the time they were signed to I.R.S. Records, she had been dropped due to her health ailments and opposition towards their shift towards pop. She was ultimately replaced by Kathy Valentine, who very quickly learned the parts to the band's songs without much prior experience.
  • John Kiffmeyer, a.k.a. "Al Sobrante", played drums on their early EPs and 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 Green Day 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.
  • The only founding members of Guns N' Roses 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.
    • The band's 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 LA Guns and had minor success later in the 1980's).
    • The other two members of L. A. Guns who founded the band, Ole Beich and Rob Gardner (also Pete Bests for L.A. Guns, with Ole also being one for Mercyful Fate), were replaced by Duff McKagan and Steven Adler, respectively.

  • 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. That bassist was Lemmy, whose band Motörhead then proceeded to eclipse their parent group by very many orders of magnitude.
  • Helloween was formed by guitar players Kai Hansen and Piet Sielck. Hansen went on to play in the band's most acclaimed era, exited the band due to Creative Differences at its highest peak, and went on to form Gamma Ray. As for Piet? He lasted less than a year, but eventually made a name for himself as a productor and as the driving force behind Iron Savior.
    • Smaller examples include the myriad of drummers who cycled in the band from Roland Grapow and Uli Kusch's exit all the way to Dani Löble's hiring. Former Metalium drummer Mark Cross had to abandon the band due to an illness, although some bonus tracks featured him behind the drums, the drumwork in Rabbit Don't Come Easy was done by Motörhead drummer Mikkey Dee. Former Accept drummer Stefan Schwarzmann was the live drummer for some gigs until the band managed to get Löble behind the drums.
  • Canadian Country Music group High Valley was founded by brothers Brad, Bryan, and Curtis Rempel. Bryan quit before the band's breakthrough album County Line in 2013, and they continued as a duo. American audiences would also know them as a duo, as "Make You Mine" and "She's with Me" were both re-released in the States. After Curtis quit in 2020, Brad assumed the backing band (Dave Meyers, Sam Bergeson, Raymond Klasson, Clint Milburn, and Andrew Hemmerling) into the lineup.
  • Very early on, the drummer for Hootie & the Blowfish was Brantley Smith. He was replaced by Jim Sonefeld before the band began recording.
  • 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.

  • Information Society's first single release, "Running", as with a few other tracks on their debut full-length album Creatures of Influence, 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 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.
  • Iron Maiden had many personnel changes before settling with the Golden Years lineup of vocalist Bruce Dickinson, Lead Bassist Steve Harris, guitarists Dave Murray and Adrian Smith and drummer Michael Henry "Nicko" McBrain. It helps 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:
    • Before Dickinson there was, of course, Paul Di'Annonote . However, Di'Anno was their third singer. Prior to him, there were Paul Daynote  and Dennis Wilcocknote .
    • Clive Burr is a lesser case, as both the fans and the band like him a lot even if he only remained for three albums (both of Di'Anno's as well as The Number of the Beast), but he is not as remembered as his replacement, Nicko McBrain, who went on to record everything else and is still with the band. But before them? There were Ron Matthewsnote , Barry "Thunderstick" Purkisnote  and Doug Sampsonnote .
    • In the guitars section, only Dave Murray played in all of the band's albums, but even he was replacednote , his place being occupied by Terry Wapramnote . On the lead guitar side, there were *deep breath* Terry Rancenote , Bob "Rob Angelo" Sawyernote , Dave Sullivannote , Paul "Mad Mac" Cairnsnote , Paul Toddnote , Tony Parsonsnote , and Dennis Strattonnote .
    • Oh, and these lineup changes also included a keyboardist: Tony Moore joined the band in 1977, but he left the band believing they would be better off without keyboards. Ironically, Maiden has a keyboardist these days for touring purposes, Michael Kenney, who joined in 1988.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Jimmy Eat World's original bassist was Mitch Porter and has only played in their independent self-titled debut. He quit shortly before they signed a major record deal, being replaced by Rick Burch. According to the drummer Zach Lind, he went out to become a Mormon missionary.
  • Judas Priest, to such an extent that every original member can be counted as Pete Bests. The band was formed in 1969 featuring Al Atkins on vocals, John Partridge on drums, Brian Stapenhill on bass and John Perry on guitar. By the time this lineup split only 7 months into formation, two of the members were already replaced.note  Atkins reformed the band in 1971 with K.K. Downing on guitar, Ian Hill on bass and a revolving door of drummers until they settled on John Hinch, who brought along his bandmate Rob Halford (by which time Atkins called it quits), finally completing the lineup that released Rocka Rolla. Long story short, before they even recorded an album, Judas Priest already had no original members in them.

  • Two examples with the progressive power metal band Kamelot, where the only members to play on all of the band's albums up to Ghost Opera are Glenn Barry and Thomas Youngblood:
    • The first is their original bassist, Sean Tibbets, who originally used the stage name Sean Christians and left shortly after the band formed, replaced by Glenn Barry. This fact is less likely to be forgotten after he rejoined the band due to Glenn's personal issues forcing him to leave.
    • Less commonly, this happens with vocalist Roy Khan who was preceded for 7 years (and two albums) by Mark Vanderbilt.
  • 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.
  • The Killers have three examples. The band was formed with long-term members Brandon Flowers and Dave Keuning, alongside bassist Dell Neal and drummer Matt Norcross. Norcross was briefly replaced with Brian Havens, before both Neal and Havens left to be replaced with Mark Stoermer and Ronnie Vannucci respectively, forming the quartet that created Hot Fuss and have been together ever since.
  • 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.
  • 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).

  • Linkin Park:
    • Mark Wakefield used to be the lead singer of the band, back when it was named Xero. He got fed up with their lack of success and left in 1998 to become the manager for Taproot. A couple of years later, with a new lead singer (Chester Bennington) and two name changes later, "lack of success" would not be something you'd describe Linkin Park with.
    • The bassist for their debut album, Hybrid Theory, wasn't Dave "Phoenix" Farrell, who had left around the same time Mark Wakefield did due to live touring commitments for another band before returning after the album's release. Only the most diehard fans could tell you that it was actually Brad Delson, the band's lead guitarist, who performed bass on the album.
    • Delson himself isn't really an example (since he's still famous for being the lead guitarist), but Scott Koziol and Ian Hornbeck, secondary bassists on several songs of Hybrid..., definitely count. While the initial US press for the album had actually credited Koziol as the band's touring bass player during the band's earliest tours, this mention is removed on later editions and is replaced by Phoenix's name as a band member. Koziol's credit for playing bass in "One Step Closer" is kept, however.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A case where this trope was for sad reasons a life-saver: Utopia were a struggling band when keyboardist Márcio Araújo decided he couldn't juggle between music and college and left. 3 years later, Utopia had reinvented itself as comedy rock group Mamonas Assassinas and became the biggest thing in Brazil, leading Araújo to suffer massive teasing. Although once Mamonas' success was cut short after eight months once everyone died in a plane crash, Araújo, in the words of his boss at the time, "went from unlucky to luckiest guy in the planet".
  • 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."
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • Mastodon was originally formed in 2000 as a five piece with a lead singer named Eric Saner. Saner left the band for "personal reasons" after only a couple of months. Lead guitarist Brent Hinds and bassist Troy Sanders, both of whom had already been doing backing vocals, split the lead vocalist role between them. Aside from Saner's departure, the lineup of Mastodon hasn't changed once as of 2021.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Megadeth:
    • Guitarist Greg Handevidt later 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.
    • Lee Rauch 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).
    • Dijon 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.
  • 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 played in several of the early demos prior to Kill Em All, where he was replaced by Cliff Burton.
    • Guitarist 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.
  • 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.
  • Motörhead was founded by Lemmy Kilmister after he was fired from Hawkwind. Guitarist Larry Wallis and drummer Lucas Fox both played on the band's early recordings, which were released after the band's third album.
  • 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.
    • After Bryar's departure 2010, drumming duties were passed to Michael Pedicone, although he was not an official member. This ended in 2011, when he was caught red-handed stealing from the band, and was promptly fired. This hit guitarist Frank Iero particularly hard, as the two were reportedly close friends. During the show immediately following the incident, in Salt Lake City, Iero (who usually says "trust me" during the bridge of their song "I'm Not Okay,") instead said "trust no one."

  • Nickelback was originally Chad Kroeger, Mike Kroeger, Ryan Peake, and Brandon Kroeger (the brothers' cousin). Brandon was later replaced by Mitch Guindon, who lasted only a year, before the drums were ultimately taken by Ryan Vikedal, who played in the band's first three albums (and even then, some would say Videkal qualifies, as he got replaced by Daniel Adair, who joined with their most successful record, All the Right Reasons, and has been in the band ever since).
  • Nightwish's original bassist Sami Vänskä recorded the first three albums before leaving and being replaced with Marko Hietala of Tarot in 2001. Hietala spent two decades as Lead Bassist and secondary vocalist before resigning from the band in 2021.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.

  • 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 (bass). 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.
  • 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.
  • One OK Rock used to be a five-piece, until their lead guitarist, Alex, was arrested in 2009 for being intoxicated and molesting a woman on a train. He was "let go" from the band in May of that year, and one year later, the band released their breakout album, Niche Syndrome, putting them in the top 4 of the Oricon chart for nine days, with the album's lead single, Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer becoming the band's Signature Song in Japan. Since then, the band, with only four remaining members, has gone on to become recognized internationally, even signing a deal with Fueled By Ramen in the U.S., releasing three international albums, and collaborating with famous Western musicians like Avril Lavigne and Ed Sheeran.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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 after his death...
    • 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.
  • Brazilian band Os Paralamas do Sucesso had original drummer Vital Dias, whose unavailability to perform in a gig led to the first appearance of the drummer who has since never left. Vital remained a friend of the band until his death, even serving as inspiration for their first hit.
  • Parallels co-founder Cameron Findlay split with Face of the Band Holly Dodson following the release of their 2010 debut album, Visionaries, and was replaced by Holly's brother Nick Dodson on drums and Artem Galperine on synthesizers.
  • Legendary Argentinean rock band Patricio Rey y sus Redonditos de Ricota started as a troupe with a rock band added on top of it, though in all reality all members not named Carlos "Indio" Solari, Eduardo "Skay" Beilinson, Daniel Fernando "Semilla" Bucciarelli, Walter Sidotti and Sergio Dawi count.
    • Depending if you like the New Sound Albums Ultimo Bondi a Finisterre and Momo Sampler, the same is true of programmer and half-time drummer Hernán Aramberri, who later became one of two drummers in Solari's solo backing band Los Fundamentalistas del Aire Acondicionado.
    • Well-versed fans may remember bassist Daniel Fenton, guitarist Tito Fargo D'Aviero, saxofonist Willy Crook, drummer "Piojo" Ábalos, and multiinstrumentist Gabriel "Conejo" Jolivet. Of them, only Crook had any kind of notoriety, having played in Los Abuelos de la Nada. The entirety of this lineup got replaced when the band transitioned to a full-time rock band, with Skay remaining as the single guitarist after Oktubre was released.
    • Monologuist and journalist Enrique Symns also had some routines with the band, though he left in bitter terms.
    • The band had also a trio of female singers, the Bay Biscuits (composed of Fabiana Cantilo, Isabel De Sebastián and Vivi Tellas). This trio is an example within an example as well, as Cantilo, despite being mostly well known for doing cover versions, became a legendary star on her own right for her solo work, while De Sebastián became the lead singer of Metropoli. As for Vivi Tellas? She became an actress.
    • A sad example is Andrés Theocharidis, who played keyboards for some shows between Oktubre and Un Baion Para El Ojo Idiota and became a permanent member... a run that lasted a few weeks before he was killed in a car accident.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. Their replacement, Chris Dennis, was also a 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.
  • 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.
    • It is also entirely possible Andy's more experimental (trademark use of effects) and jazz-inspired guitar playing was inspiring Sting and Stewart a lot, and they simply did not need two guitarists (one had to go).

  • Queen had many bassists before settling with John Deacon:
    • Back when the band was originally called Smile, bassist Tim Staffell was the singer before he left to join the band Humpy Bong. The rest of the band then proceeded to hire their friend Freddie Mercury (who happened to be Smile's biggest fan) and changed their 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 (1981) and, more famously, Thomas & Friends.
    • Mike Grose joined in 1970, when what was still Smile had yet to formally become Queen. He actually performed onstage with Brian and Roger before Freddie finally joined in June 1970, and was part of the same social circle as the rest of the band. Mike played three gigs with Queen before leaving in July 1970, amicably as the band would hire his haulage company when they got bigger touring gigs.
    • Barry Mitchell was next, playing 12 gigs with Queen (more than the other two combined) starting in August 1970 and leaving in January 1971. Allegedly, John Deacon was in attendance at one of the gigs Mitchell played as bassist.
    • 17-year-old Doug Bogie lasted all of two gigs over two days, February 19-20, 1971. According to him, the band had a bit of a falling out after that second gig and wouldn't play live again for four more months, and so Bogie moved on. At that next gig, on July 2, 1971, John Deacon became Queen's fourth and final bassist.
  • 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 Sixx), 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.

  • 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; Irons is also known for playing in Pearl Jam), the most well-known formation (Kiedis, Flea, John Frusciante and Chad Smith), and the two guys who replaced John Frusciante (although Dave Navarro is best known for Jane's Addiction).
    • 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.
    • Another pre-fame drummer, Cliff Martinez, became a much respected film composer, particularly for his work with Steven Soderbergh and Nicolas Winding Refn.
  • Restless Heart's original lead singer was Verlon Thompson, who quit before the first single and was replaced by Larry Stewart.
  • 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 Their Satanic Majesties Request,Beggars Banquet, and Some Girls) 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. Other, more straightforward examples that didn't even record anything with the Stones, include:
    • 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.
    • 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).
    • Drummer Carlo Little left not that long after Chapman, and thus came Charlie Watts, who stayed with the band until he passed away in 2021.
  • Many don't realize that Alex Lifeson was 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. 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.
    • Geddy Lee was preceded by Jeff Jones (later of "Lunatic Fringe" rockers Red Rider). For a month.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • German hard rock band Scorpions formed in 1964, but only two founding members were left by the band's 1972 debut album (guitarist Rudolf Schenker and drummer Wolfgang Dziony). After Dziony left, the band went through six other drummers before breaking through internationally with Herman Rarebell.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 was long dead, 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"
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Inverted with Six, a six person pop group consisting of three male and three female members put together by the Irish version of Popstars in the TV talent show craze of the noughties. One member of the band's lineup, however, was disqualified after it emerged she had lied about her age and blundered it badly in an interview and was swiftly replaced. Amusingly, the girl in question was Nadine Coyle, who went on to have great success with Girls Aloud, while Six.......didn't.
  • Skid Row had original vocalist Matt Fallon, who was replaced by Sebastian Bach before recording their first album.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Michael Morrison was a drummer for a band called Polarbear. He quit the band after suffering a mental breakdown before the band even had a debut album. He was replaced by Jonny Quinn afterwards, they renamed the band to Snow Patrol and the rest is history.
  • R&B cover band The Soul Giants was led by saxophonist David Coronado, but when guitarist Ray Hunt quit over creative differences with Coronado (and after a fight with singer Ray Collins), 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 changed the name soon after to 'The Mothers', then The Mothers Of Invention.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.)
  • The original lineup of the group that would become Spice Girls included a singer named Michelle Stephenson back when the group was called Touch. She was fired a few months after they formed and was replaced by Emma Bunton. It was only after Bunton joined the group that member Geri Halliwell coined the name Spice Girls.
  • 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.
  • When Status Quo began in the middle The '60s, they had a moderate amount of success and two or three chart hits in a swirly, keyboards-driven, psychedelic manner. When the band's direction changed from ''Pictures of Matchstick Men" to the more guitar-driven sound they are far more famous for, there wasn't so much call for a permanent keyboards player, and Roy Lynes left the band, which did not take another full-time keyboardist member until 1977, nearly ten years later. If people are asked "who played keyboards with Status Quo?", the answer is invariably going to be Alan Bown. Thus Lynes remains an obscure footnote to the group's history.
  • 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.
  • Drummer Simon Wolstencroft was the Pete Best for two bands. After leaving The Patrol (which became The Stone Roses), he 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Suicidal Tendencies was founded in 1980 by Mike Muir (vocals), Mike Ball (guitar), Mike Dunnigan (bass), and Carlos Egert (drums). By the time the band's first album was released in 1983, Muir was the only original member left.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • David Ruffin replaced Al Bryant in The Temptations. Ruffin ended up singing some of the group's most memorable hits, "My Girl" included.
  • Third Eye Blind was formed in 1993 and was on their fifth drummer by the time their 1997 debut album was released. Founding bassist Jason Slater never appeared on the band's records either, but he later produced a few albums for Queensrÿche.
  • 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 made almost no money off of album sales.
  • 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.
  • Don Kirshner's other telegenic transatlantic prefab bubblegum group, the Olivia Newton-John-fronted Toomorrow, replaced its drummer about five minutes before filming began on the Val Guest-helmed, Ray Dotrice-costarring sci-fi epic Toomorrow (1970).
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • Twisted Sister was founded in December 1972 as Silver Star, before taking its current name a few months later. Founder Jay Jay French was the only original member left when Twisted Sister's debut album was released in 1982, though bassist Kenny Neill played on the band's early studio recordings.

  • 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 superstardom.
  • 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.
  • Nigel Olsson left Uriah Heep before they hit major success, but he later found consolation with two solo hit singles and as Elton John's longtime drummer.

  • Argentinean Heavy Metal band V8 is famous for two things: being the Trope Codifier for Argentinean Heavy Metal (with Riff being the Trope Maker), and its status as a Revolving Door Band, where the only consistent member was bassist/lyricist/former vocalistnote  Ricardo Iorio.
    • Ricardo "Chofa" Moreno is a tragic case: he was a founder of the band alongside Iorio (and a good friend of his) and drummer Gerardo Osemberg, but his untimely death in 1982 forced the band to pick another guitar player, who turned out to be the late Osvaldo Civile. Civile not only played in Luchando Por El Metal, but also went on to form Horcas, one of the scene's biggest pillars. In a dark twist of fate, Civile would also be murdered in 1999.
    • Drummers Gerardo Osemberg and his successor Alejandro Colantonio aren't remembered as much as Gustavo Rowek, who not only played in V8's debut, Luchando Por El Metal, but also went on to form Rata Blanca, another of the biggest pillars in Argentina's Heavy Metal scene, alongside (also former V8 guitar player) Walter Giardino.
  • 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.
  • 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 Genesis (not that one) and Mammoth. Stone was kicked out because of being too comitted to school and was replaced with Michael Anthony around the same time Mammoth was rechristened Van Halen...
  • 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.
  • Venom's founding bassist, Alan Winston, never appeared on the band's recordings. Founding singer "Jesus Christ" (Clive Archer) sung on their Demon demo before bassist "Cronos" took over vocals.

  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • Any lead guitarist of X Japan before hide. There were a few including Jun and Hally, but...

  • 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.
    • Guitarist Pete Banks left after the second album and was replaced by Steve Howe.
    • Drummer Bob "Tub Thumper" Hagger was replaced by Bill Bruford.
    • Secondary guitarist Clive Bayley 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 its hit single "Owner of a Lonely Heart" has Horn's signature sound all over it.

  • 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 took over on bass guitar after said album so that existing bassist John Driskell Hopkins could switch to guitar and banjo.
  • 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, who both remained in the band for over 50 years until Hill passed away in 2021.