Bands with None of the Original Members Left

What’s in a name really?  When it comes to music, band members and line-ups change.  In fact, some later line-ups of groups such as Fleetwood Mac and Red Hot Chilli Peppers have proven more  commercially successful than their original ones – but they still retained at least one original member.  Here are some groups that became totally different beasts altogether!

Velvet Underground

One of the most influential groups of all time, VU’s leader Lou Reed left shortly after the release of their fourth album Loaded.  Original guitarist Sterling Morrison departed shortly after the Loaded tour.  A fifth album, Squeeze was released with Doug Yule (who replaced original bassist John Cale) at the helm, with the band’s manager firing all other members, including original drummer Maureen Tucker.

The original line-up reunited in 1993 and were inducted into the RNR HOF.  The Squeeze album has been banished from the band’s discography, and confusingly shows up on iTunes under the artist name ‘Squeeze’ and the album name ‘The Velvet Underground’.

The Weather Girls

Martha Wash and Izora Rhodes were brought together by the legendary singer Sylvester as his backing group (from 1977 to 1981), who also gave them the name ‘Two Tons O’ Fun.’  For their smash hit, “It’s Raining Men” they changed their name to The Weather Girls and continued until 1985.

Wash moved on to a solo career that continues to this day. (Wash also sang lead on the song “Everybody, Everybody” for the group Black Box, and recorded with C+C Music Factory at the peak of that band’s popularity in the early 1990s.)

Rhodes with her daughter Dynelle resurrected the group in the 90’s with Wash’s blessing.  Izora passed away in 2004 and was replaced by Ingrid Arthur.

The Cover Girls

With several latin-freestyle hits under their belt and an opening slot on the New Kids on the Block tour in 1990, each of the original members were replaced one-by-one until 1993, when none of them remained.  The new Cover Girls soldiered on till 1996, while original lead singer Angel Sabater still tours to this day singing Cover Girls songs under the name ‘Angel (The Original Cover Girl)’.


Menudo was founded by  producer Edgardo Díaz in the late 1970s. His idea was to form an all-boys group where the members would rotate as they grew older, with the intention to keep the group young. A member would be replaced when he reached his 16th birthday, his voice changed, he grew facial hair, or grew too tall.  The first incarnation of the band in 1977 included two groups of brothers, the last of which, Ricky Melendez, was replaced by a young Ricky Martin in 1984.  The band achieved worldwide fame and continued until 2009.

Napalm Death

Credited with creating Grindcore, the first stable line-up of the group consisted of founders Nic Bullen aka Nic Napalm on vocals and bass, Miles Ratledge on drums (who were 13 and 14 years old respectively) and Simon Oppenheimer on guitar…this line-up lasted TWO MONTHS. Graham Robertson joined on bass in January 1982. Simon Oppenheimer left the group in August 1982 and was replaced by Darryl Fedeski who left the group in October 1982.  Nic Napalm left the group for college in 1986. Ratledge left the group in 1985 and is currently living in Denmark where he runs an Ashtanga Yoga school…did someone say, PULLING A 180?!

Christian Death

Singer Rozz Williams founded Christian Death. During the first album’s tour, all other members of the group left and Williams quickly merged the band with the tour’s opening act Pompeii 99.  Two albums later, Williams himself left the group.  In the 90s, when trying to resurrect the original line-up of Christian Death, Williams failed to reclaim the band name from the un-original members in court and later committed suicide.


The Sugababes were formed in 1998 with founding members Siobhán Donaghy, Mutya Buena and Keisha Buchanan.  Donaghy was replaced by Heidi Range and achieved worldwide (‘cept the USA) fame with their cover of “Freak Like Me” originally by Adina Howard.  By the time the band’s 7th album was released, Range remained with the group, but original members Mutya and Keisha were replaced.

The original line-up reformed in 2011 as Mutya Keisha Siobhan or MKS for short, and were nominated for a 2012 Yahoo award for Best Girl Band, without having released anything! Their first single followed in 2013.


Exposé was formed in the mid-80′s by Lewis A. Martineé and became the first group to have four top ten hits off their debut album.  The group originally consisted of Sandra Casañas (Sandeé), Alejandra Lorenzo (Alé), and Laurie Miller.  After two club hits, “Point of No Return” and “Exposed to Love” the group signed to Arista and all three members were fired midway through production by Martineé and the label for lack of star potential. By the time their debut album was released Ann Curless, Jeanette Jurado and Gioia Bruno became the popular line-up of Exposé.  And even though, “Point of No Return” was re-recorded with the new line-up and became a hit for the second time, “Exposed to Love” remained on the group’s debut album as recorded by the original line-up.

In 2009, after reforming for latin-freestyle revivals shows and club appearances, a court awarded Jurado, Bruno, and Curless exclusive rights to the name Exposé as a trademark after a lawsuit by their former management.

Honorable Mention:

Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship/Starship

Okay okay, so if you aren’t a stickler about the name changes, by the time the revolutionary Jefferson Airplane were churning out radio-friendly corporate rock as Starship, none of the original members remained.  Oh, Grace Slick you ask?  She wasn’t the band’s original singer believe it or not! xx

Can you think of any others, let us know in the comments!! x

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