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15 Bands That Carried On With New Singers

Watch Motley Crue, Van Halen, Journey and others soldier on without their frontmen

Sammy Hagar; Van Halen; David Lee Roth; New Singer; 1985; 1986

Ebet Roberts/Getty, Brian Rasic/Getty

Stone Temple Pilots are hitting the road next month with Chester Bennington at the helm. Their new song "Out of Time" is doing OK on rock radio, but the odds are definitely against this working in the long run. For reasons that are very easy to understand, fans want to see bands play with their original lead singers. Bands including Genesis, AC/DC and Black Sabbath seamlessly brought in new singers, but many bands struggle through the process. Journey took decades to find Arnel Pineda, and they still aren't nearly as popular as they were during the Steve Perry days. Here's a look at 15 groups that bravely soldiered on without their frontman. Note: we aren't counting groups like the Doors, Alice In Chains and Blind Melon who hired a new singer after the original died.

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Fleetwood Mac with Bekka Bramlett (1993-1995)

Fleetwood Mac hit a low point in 1993. Earlier that year the Rumours lineup reformed to play Bill Clinton's inaugural bash, but old tensions remained and they didn't bring the show on the road. Instead, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie brought in 25-year-old Bekka Bramlett, daughter of Delaney and Bonnie. Her job was to essentially play Stevie Nicks, and guitarist Billy Burnette played the Lindsey Buckingham role. It looked like a tribute band featuring two original members, and they found themselves in the pretty humiliating position of opening up for REO Speedwagon. By this point, the Eagles were making a large fortune on the reunion circuit, so in 1996 the entire classic lineup came back, meaning it was curtains for Bekka and Billy. 

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Judas Priest with Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens (1996 – 2003)

The 2001 Mark Wahlberg/Jennifer Aniston movie Rock Star makes it all seem so easy. In the movie, Eighties hair metal band Steel Dragon fires their lead singer and brings in Mark Wahlberg, who was the frontman of a Steel Dragon cover band. His entry into the band is seamless. The group is still playing arenas, and few fans seem to care someone else is behind the mic. The story is very, very loosely based on the real story of Tim "Ripper" Owens. He was the lead singer of an Ohio-based Judas Priest tribute band who became part of the real thing when Rob Halford quit in 1991. The new Priest cut two albums and worked their asses off on the road, but without Halford they were a club band. The whole thing was a long and difficult slog, and extremely unglamorous. Halford came back in 2003 and Ripper was tossed to the side like a bag of moldy tangerines. 

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