The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 950: 18 bands that managed to change their lead singer


When someone in your group decides to leave, gets fired or, God forbid, dies, you have a problem. It’s a problem if a member leaves, but if we’re talking about your singer, it’s an injury on a whole different level.

Your frontperson is an integral part of your sound, the voice of your music. And there are few things more important than that. And it gets worse too.

Your frontperson often provides the central image of the group. This person is in front. This is the person who takes center stage when you play live. This person is the one the camera follows in a video. This is the person that photographers focus on. And it’s likely to be the name of the person that comes to mind first among fans.

So what do you do when that person gives up?

You have two choices: fold up your tent, go home, and maybe come back in a different form with a different name and a…different whole. Or you can suck it up and risk replacing that singer with someone else.,

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It’s incredibly difficult on so many different levels. Again, I come back to the notion of your group’s voice. You might find a similar sound (like we saw with Journey, a period with Judas Priest, and maybe Queen. But more than likely fans will realize you just plugged that hole with a fac -fake reasonable at best or at best false at worst.

Instead, it’s probably best to just focus on skills and chemistry. Maybe they bring something new to the table, a tangible talent that not only heals the wound, but makes the body as a whole stronger.

It’s really difficult, but it can be done. And here are 18 examples of groups that rose to the challenge and succeeded.

Songs heard on this show:

  • Alice in chains, check my brain
  • Faith No More, epic
  • I Mother Earth, not quite sonic
  • New Order, Blue Monday
  • Audioslave, Cochise
  • STP, Meadow
  • Sublime with Rome, Wicked Heart
  • 3 days of grace, infrared

Eric Wilhite produced this playlist.

The story continues new music can be heard on the following stations:

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