AC/DC defied the odds 36 years ago when they recorded one of the most iconic rock albums of all time, Back In Black, with the late (and very beloved) Bon Scott’s replacement Brian Johnson. Now they’re taking a similar gamble by bringing in Axl Rose to fill in for a sidelined Johnson on the road.
But there’s a reason why most bands dread taking such a risk with a replacement vocalist. That’s because for every one band that finds success with someone new, there are at least five acts whose attempts at continuing on with a replacement end up unsuccessful. Sure, a few diehard fans might stick around through thick and thin, and some bands’ material with replacements may even gain a cult following over the course of time. Yet some bands end up losing so much favor with their fan base that they not only have to get rid of the new guy, but end up forced to do something they had sworn against: reunite with its “classic” lineup.
With that in mind, Metal Insider has ranked the top 10 bands whose attempts to replace key members proved to be unsuccessful amongst fans and critics. Some of these bands are still trying to avoid bringing back the vocalists they attempted to replace in the first place, while a majority of groups listed gave in and brought back the faces their fans are familiar with.
In 1989, Skid Row released their debut, self-titled album. While Sebastian Bach wasn’t the band’s first singer, he was a big part of the band’s success. His strong vocals made musicians take notice, and his looks landed him on the cover of Rolling Stone. With support from then-colossal Bon Jovi, Skid Row’s first two albums went multi-platinum, and 1991’s Slave to the Grind was actually significantly heavier than their first album. After another album, the less popular Subhuman Race, Bach was fired and eventually replaced with Johnny Solinger.
Debuting in 1999, Solinger lasted six years, two albums, and a pair of EPs before being replaced with former TNT vocalist Tony Harnell. Harnell lasted eight months before leaving the band, and now they’re in between vocalists once again (though it looks like ex-Dragonforce Singer ZP Theart has the gig for the time being). While Bach certainly doesn’t seem like he’s in any hurry to return to the band, it’s certainly what the fans want.