We get used to the line-up of our favourite bands, swearing loyalty to their music and style. However, it is often necessary to replace one or more of the band members. Sometimes, the band dies a death soon after but not always; successes are mixed but some find a new lease of life. Some carry on in honour of a member who died or in defiance after ousting one or more in an argument. Here are ten of the most noteworthy.
Quite possibly the biggest pop band of the 1970s and 1980s, even loyal long-term fans need the reminder that Phil Collins was not originally the lead singer. A later replacement on the drums, he was soon thrust into the lead role when Peter Gabriel left. In fact, Genesis is still going and has had so many band changes over the years that a more apt title might be ‘Evolution’! The only original members are Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford.
One band exit that certainly ended on bad terms, Robbie Williams departed the band amidst a media storm in which he was presented with an ultimatum: clean up (party lifestyle and drugs) or get out. Robbie chose to leave ahead of a tour and the band carried on without him. Though they only lasted another year, they did have Number One hits in that time. However, they did experience success when they reformed in 2005 without Robbie (but he rejoined in 2010)
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Only two members remain in this band that has possibly had more line-up changes in the history of music; each time the lead guitarist and drummer have changed. Front man Anthony Kiedis and bassist Flea remain as the only original members. The band has gone through an eye-opening seven guitarists and five drummers during its history. The band is still going strong having released an album in 2013.
Manic Street Preachers
You would think that death of a band member might encourage a band to part out of respect, especially when his body has never been found. But ‘The Manics’ decided to do the opposite when their lyricist and guitarist Richey Edwards disappeared. His car was found at the motorway services car park on the Severn Bridge and it was clear it had been lived in for some time. The band released a heartfelt album the following year (Everything Must GO) with tracks about death, despair and loss, some of which were written by Richey. It is considered one of their best albums.
Guns N’ Roses
To purists, Guns N’ Roses is its original five members: Slash, Axl, Steve, Duff and Izzy’¦ some of the best hard rock musicians ever to come out of the USA. Yet the band grew to an eight piece over the following years. Yet, one by one the original members drifted away, usually following arguments with Axl who is the only original member left.
The biggest rock band ever to come out of Australia might have chosen to call it a day after the death of lead singer of 20 years, Michael Hutchence. His good looks, distinctive voice and singing style could never be replaced but instead of breaking up, the band went on hiatus from 1997 to 2003. They did perform in those years but each time with a different guest lead singer. In 2005, a reality TV show was launched to find a new lead. Despite reservations, JD Fortune was accepted by fans and lasted six years in the band before differences forced him to leave. The band finally called it a day in 2012.
It is a surprise that Heidi Range, Amelle Berrabah and Jade Ewen even call themselves ‘Sugababes’ considering not one of them was in the band when they first made chart success in the early 2000s. The original trio were SiobhÃƒ¡n Donaghy, Mutya Buena and Keisha Buchanan. SiobhÃƒ¡n left after a spat with the other two girls and was immediately replaced with Heidi. Amelle replaced Mutya following the birth of her daughter and Keisha left due to personal reasons that were never made clear.
No band has had so many changes of lead singer during its history. Starting off with Ozzy Osbourne, he was replaced in 1979 by Ronnie James Dio. Fans are still divided over what was their golden age but Dio left in 1982 to pursue a solo career. Deep Purple lead singer Ian Gillan replaced him in 1983 but he soon returned to his former band; Sabbath then went through a further four lead singers but none of them were able to recapture their past success. Each successive reunion tour has featured Ozzy or Dio at the helm.
The most surprising entrant into this list, the fab foursome of John, Paul George and Ringo started life as John, Paul, George and Pete. In fact, Pete Best was present during the iconic Hamburg tour of 1960 and was in the band for two years. What happened then is a matter of some debate but the other three insist that they did not want Best to leave ‘ that it was at the insistence of the Label. However, the then manager of the Label insisted that it was phrased as a question ‘would it be possible to replace Pete Best?’
What they really, really wanted was to continue as a five piece music group but due to alleged falling out between any number of the girls and ‘Ginger Spice’ Geri Halliwell, it was decided that she should leave the band in 1998. This courted controversy because they had been about to embark on a tour of North America. The remaining four continued without her. Their continued success meant that they barely noticed her absence until they split up seven years later.
Bands that lose a member experience mixed success, some try and fail to recapture their former glories but just as many either come back stronger or manage to carry on for a few years before deciding to end it. Some of the above bands have had the most amazing successes so much so that the original members are soon forgotten.
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