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Updated by Love It Loud on Jul 03, 2013
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Top Ten Bands Who Replaced Their Singer


Iron Maiden went through several vocalists before settling on the frontman that would help propel them into the mainstream during the 1980s. The brainchild of bassist Steve Harris, who created the band in the mid-1970s, the group’s first singer was Paul Day, who was soon replaced by Dennis Wilcock. But when he was fired by Harris in 1977 they instead hired Paul Di’Anno, who would contribute to a handful of tracks from their first two studio albums, including the classic Running Free. In 1981 Harris fired yet another singer and recruited Bruce Dickinson, which resulted in their breakthrough album The Number of the Beast the following year. The next few years saw the band at their most successful, including such iconic tracks as 2 Minutes to Midnight, Wasted Years and Can I Play with Madness, whilst in 1990 they achieved their first UK number one with Bring Your Daughter… to the Slaughter (a reworking of a Dickinson track he had first recorded for the movie A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child the previous year). Dickinson eventually left the band in 1993 and was replaced by Wolfsbane singer Blaze Bayley, although he would eventually return to the band several years later.




Malcolm and Angus Young had begun jamming together as AC/DC in 1973 with singer Dave Evans, but the following September he was replaced by Bon Scott and they recorded the album High Voltage, which at the time was only released in their native Australia. The band soon gained acclaim for their basic-yet-infectious tunes and major success followed with Highway to Hell in 1979. But when Scott died following a heavy drinking session in February 1980 the band’s future looked bleak. Eventually they decided to search for a new singer and recruited English-born Brian Johnson. The result would be Back in Black, one of the best-selling albums of all time. Throughout the 1980s they continued to remain one of the most popular rock bands in the world and, despite a lull during the late 1990s, enjoyed a major comeback over recent years with the album Black Ice and their soundtrack to the blockbuster Iron Man 2.


Considered by many to be the first true heavy metal band, Black Sabbath were formed in Birmingham in 1969 and released their iconic self-titled debut the following year. Taking elements of blues, coupled with images of witchcraft, the band soon developed a cult following with classic tracks like The Wizard and N.I.B. Their second album, Paranoid, eclipsed its predecessor, whilst the title track remains one of their most known songs. Following the release of the band’s eighth album, 1978′s Never Say Die!, frontman Ozzy Osbourne was fired by guitarist Tony Iommi and replaced by former Rainbow singer Ronnie James Dio, who remained with the group for the next three years. When he eventually left, Deep Purple‘s Ian Gillan took over for their next album, Born Again. Following several different singers (including Glenn Hughes, another Deep Purple graduate), Osbourne returned to the band after almost twenty years in 1997, although they have yet to record a new studio album.


When Shades of Deep Purple was released in July 1968 it was arguably the first heavy metal album and a major influence on other bands of the era. Fronted by Rod Evans, who had previously performed with drummer Ian Paice in The Maze, Deep Purple‘s acclaimed debut was soon followed by two more successful albums before Ian Gillan took over as singer for 1970′s Deep Purple in Rock. Two years later they released Machine Head, which featured the classic tracks Highway Star and their signature tune Smoke on the Water. Following Gillan’s departure a year later, future Whitesnake singer David Coverdale took over as frontman, who remained with the band for three years. Following several different line-ups, Gillan rejoined the band in 1984 for a five-year stint, before returning once again in 1992.


Long before they achieved international success with the hits Walk and This Love, Texan band Pantera attempted to break into the hair metal scene with a slew of mediocre albums that were a far cry from their later material. Brothers Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul had started the band in 1981 and had first begun performing with singer Donnie Hart. But when Hart left the band guitarist Terry Glaze took over as frontman and Pantera recorded their debut album Metal Magic. Following the release of their third record, I Am the Night, Glaze was replaced by Phil Anselmo and the result was Power Metal which, whilst still hampered by the hair metal style, saw them taking a new direction. Their breakthrough album was 1990′s Cowboys from Hell, which was soon followed by the phenomenally successful Vulgar Display of Power two years later. The band continued to enjoy success through the decade, eventually splitting three years after the release of their final album, 2000′s Reinventing the Steel.


London-formed Pink Floyd were first formed with the eccentric Syd Barrett as frontman and principal songwriter. The band’s earlier success included the single Arnold Layne, followed in 1967 by their first album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Soon afterwards guitarist David Gilmour joined the group and they returned to the studio to record A Saucerful of Secrets, which would feature significant contributions from bassist Roger Waters, who replaced Barrett as songwriter. When Barrett finally left the band Waters took over as singer, commencing Pink Floyd‘s most successful era, resulting in such classic albums as The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall. But following Waters’ departure in 1985 the band began to struggle with commercial and critical success and their last two studio albums, A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell, failed to achieved the same kind of recognition as their earlier efforts.


Since forming in San Francisco in 1981, Faith No More have undergone numerous line-up changes. Prior to recording any material, the band auditioned several singers, including a then unknown Courtney Love, before eventually hiring Chuck Mosley in 1984, shortly before commencing work on their debut album, We Care a Lot. Yet following the minor success of Introduce Yourself three years later, Mosley was fired from the group and replaced by twenty-one year old Mike Patton, who at the time was still performing with his high school band Mr. Bungle. Having written and recorded the lyrics for what would become the Grammy Award-nominated The Real Thing in two weeks, Patton achieved acclaim for his diverse vocal skills, ranging from rap, growling and ballads.


Sepultura were still teenagers when they formed in Brazil in 1984. Although their earlier releases were crudely produced and lacked focus, the band soon attracted attention from Roadrunner Records and they soon labelled thrash pioneers with their iconic album Beneath the Remains. During the 1990s they took a new direction, embracing both traditional metal and Brazilian tribal music, which would be most notable on the albums Chaos A.D. and Roots. Following the release of the latter frontman Max Cavalera left the band due to a personal dispute and formed Soulfly. Sepultura began searching for a suitable replacement and eventually hired Cleveland-born Derrick Green. Although their first couple of albums with a new line-up failed to bring them back to the forefront of the metal scene they soon gained a new following and acclaim for their albums Dante XXI and A-Lex.


Almost immediately following their formation in 1972 Van Halen became one of the most popular live acts in California, making regular appearances around Los Angeles. Fronted by both singer David Lee Roth and guitarist Eddie Van Halen, the band’s first five albums would gain major acclaim and inspired a generation of musicians, but when the record 1984 saw them mostly replace their guitars with keyboards Roth soon departed. The group hired Sammy Hagar and recorded their seventh album 5150, which included the hit single Why Can’t This Be Love. Hagar remained with the band until 1996 and, following a brief spell with Extreme singer Gary Cherone, reunited with Roth, who had enjoyed a successful solo career over the previous decade. Van Halen are currently working on their first album with Roth in twenty-seven years.


Guitarist Scott Ian formed Anthax with bassist Danny Lilker in the early 1980s and began performing around New York, recruiting John Connelly as frontman, before undergoing several line-up changes until they eventually settled on Neil Turbin, who co-wrote and performed on their debut album Fistful of Metal (which also featured a cover of Alice Cooper’s I’m Eighteen). Joey Belladonna replaced Turbin soon afterwards and the band gained momentum with their second album, Spreading the Disease. Belladonna remained with the group for their next three albums, including 1990′s Persistence of Time, which included their hit single Got the Time (a cover of a Joe Jackson track), as well as making a guest appearance on the popular sitcom Married… with Children. Belladonna left Anthrax in 1992 and former Armored Saint singer John Bush took over as frontman for the recording of their next four albums, before being replaced by Belladonna once again.