Inspiration for my blog posts can come from several different sources. Recently, my TU blog bro Ken Screven posted a picture of the Supremes and remarked that this was the anniversary of one of that lineup’s last major hits, “Someday We’ll Be Together.”
Yes, it was – at least for the lineup that included Diana Ross. But after she left, the Supremes continued having Top 10 and Top 40 hits for the next five years, as Jean Terrell took over as lead singer (Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong were still in the lineup). This was one of their Top 10 hits in the 1970’s, “Stoned Love.”
Another band that had at least one major hit after their lead singer left? The Commodores, who had a hit called “Nightshift” after the departure of their leader Lionel Richie.
Although Smokey Robinson had several monster tracks after departing from the Miracles, that didn’t mean that the Miracles packed up their microphones. Especially when they snapped off this 1976 #1 hit, “Love Machine.”
The Drifters had a rather fluid lineup, with over twenty different men conclusively identified as singing on their hits. The original lineup featured Clyde McPhatter as the lead singer; eventually that lineup changed to include Ben E. King on lead vocals. By the time “Under the Boardwalk” was released, the lead singer was Rudy Lewis, as both McPhatter and King had moved on to solo careers.
A Canadian group called Chad Allen and the Expressions had one major international hit, albeit as the band Guess Who. Chad Allen left. The band continued its international hitmaking run. Here’s the song that started them off.
And although it’s almost a fait accompli to denigrate the works of Van Halen after David Lee Roth left, I felt that the group matured musically when Sammy Hagar joined the lineup. That would explain songs like “Why Can’t This Be Love,” “Dreams” and this track, “Finish What You Started.”
Way back in the 1950’s, Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield created a vocal harmony group called the Impressions. They had one major hit together, “For Your Precious Love,” then Butler went for a solo career. The rest of the Impressions? Let’s see… “People Get Ready,” “Amen,” “It’s All Right” – yeah, they did okay as well.
Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders had a #1 hit in the 1960’s with “Game of Love.” Eventually Fontana left… and the Mindbenders returned to the top of the charts, with future 10cc lead singer Eric Stewart, and had the hit “Groovy Kind of Love.”
Let’s see. Chicago. Terry Kath died. Peter Cetera went solo. And somehow, the group returned to the top of the charts with this song, “Look Away.” I know it was a #1 hit, but putting this next to “25 or 6 to 4” or “Colour My World” just doesn’t seem right.
Even after losing Gladys Horton of “Please Mr. Postman” fame, the Marvelettes kept on going, and recorded a string of smooth soul hits with Smokey Robinson as producer.
One more. At one point in time, Genesis sold millions of albums. Then their lead singer left. The group continued to dominate the pop charts. Oh, I should mention that the “lead singer” I’m referring to is Peter Gabriel. Here’s what Genesis sounded like before Phil Collins took the mic.
Just remember, lead singers of popular bands out there… You’re replaceable. And the band will continue on without you. Even if it’s only for one more hit… they’ll still keep on grooving.