We're the Replacements: The Top Nine Bands Who Did Better With a New Frontman
4. Joy Division
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If you've ever had a girlfriend who is even mildly pretending to be goth, you've heard some Joy Division songs, likely "Love Will Tear Us Apart." Unsurprisingly, the lead singer of such happy little ditties, Ian Curtis, had serious emotional problems and committed suicide right before Joy Division was going to tour the U.S.
The band, not wanting to break up, decided to form a new band: New Order, which would go on to pioneer synth dance music. In fact, New Order's first band line-up was everybody from Joy Division, plus the drummer's girlfriend on keyboards. Their first album even featured two songs that Joy Division hadn't gotten around to recording before Curtis's death and pretty much sounded like Joy Division minus Ian Curtis, this being right before the terrible moment the ‘80s discovered synthesizers and dance music.
In short, if Ian Curtis had just found something to live for, ravers never would have existed and we would have had a better, more loving world.
3. Pink Floyd
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If there's an all-time king of the face of the band ditching the band, and the band just keeps on going, it's Pink Floyd. It's happened to them not once, but twice.
The first time was with lead singer Syd Barrett, who's mostly famous these days for having consumed more drugs than the entirety of Woodstock and going insane. After Barrett quit, the guy you've heard of, Roger Waters, took the lead.
Under Waters, Floyd released Animals, Wish You Were Here, The Wall, which introduced us to the idea of literal talking buttholes, and of course the obscure cult classic Dark Side of the Moon, which sold about 45 million albums, making it one of the best-selling albums worldwide, and stayed on the charts for fourteen years. Waters also wrote the hit single off of Moon ("Money"), in what turned out to be one hell of an irony considering how much of the long green Moon pulled in. And once somebody figured out where to drop the needle, it probably made sure The Wizard of Oz kept selling copies, too.
Waters eventually chose to quit, and actually announced that because he was quitting, Pink Floyd was breaking up. When the rest of Floyd said they were quite happy to keep going without him, he sued. And lost.
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Keeping up the theme of two frontmen ditching in a row, except this time around they're both guys you've actually heard of.
Genesis was started by Peter Gabriel and friends in 1967 because nobody wanted to play the music they were writing. After putting out a string of classic progressive rock albums, which is literally one of five times those seven words have been strung together, Peter Gabriel left the band in 1975, a year after one of their singles finally charted somewhere, to crank out arty world music and generally try (and fail) to outweird David Bryne.
After auditioning about 400 lead singers, the band decided "to hell with it" and made Phil Collins, at that point the drummer, the lead singer too. This turned out to be a great idea, because about five years later, Collins began selling obscene amounts of albums and suddenly Genesis was popular, mostly because people probably mistook Genesis for Phil Collins' side project. Collins at least had the decency not to leave the band until 1996, well after the band was done cruising on his coattails.
And how lucrative are Phil Collins' coattails? So popular they've managed to beat even U2 in record sales.
1. Van Halen
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We couldn't wrap this article up without bringing up the single biggest fight in popular music: a guy who can't drive 55 versus Howard Stern's would-be replacement.
Some people are dedicated to David Lee Roth, some people are dedicated to Sammy Hagar, but the truth is, after Roth quit and started singing songs about how everybody should feel bad for him because he was knee-deep in women paying him to bone them (which clearly proves he's not gay, nope, not at all, no way no how), Van Halen took off. They had their first #1 album, 5150, the first of four #1 albums with Hagar at the wheel.
Of course, Roth sang all the Van Halen songs anybody actually remembers, but we're sure Hagar takes some small measure of comfort in his massive pile of money.