B List: 11 Bands w/ Only One Original Member

10. New Riders of the Purple Sage

David Nelson – Guitar

Nelson formed the New Riders in 1969 with John “Marmaduke” Dawson, Robert Hunter, Mickey Hart and some guy named Jerry Garcia. The group, after Bob Matthews and then Phil Lesh replaced Hunter on bass, would open many Grateful Dead shows in the early ’70s and went on to find commercial success with a new lineup featuring Buddy Cage and without Lesh, Hart and Garcia later in the decade. The New Riders were revived in 2005 with Nelson as the only original member.

9. Foreigner

Mick Jones – Guitar

British guitarist Mick Jones formed Foreigner in 1976 with multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald and vocalist Lou Gramm. The band scored many big hits and sold more than 70 million albums worldwide. Gramm had an off-again/on-again relationship with Foreigner throughout the ’80, ’90s and ’00s, but he hasn’t performed with the band since 2002 leaving Jones as the only remaining original member.

8. Lemonheads

Evan Dando – Guitar/Vocals

Evan Dando formed The Lemonheads with Ben Deily and Jesse Peretz in 1986 and that lineup stayed together to record three albums for the now-legendary Taang! label. Deily left the group in 1989 with Peretz’s departure following soon behind. Over the years, Dando changed the act’s roster numerous times. He remains on as The Lemonheads only original member still in the band.

7. The Temptations

Otis Williams – Vocals

Since The Temptations formed in 1960, first performing under the name The Elgins, the group has gone through many lineup changes with over 20 musicians able to consider themselves a member of The Temptations at some point over the past 50 years. The one constant has been baritone Otis Williams, who continues to tour as The Temptations with newer members in 2011.

6. Lynyrd Skynyrd

Gary Rossington – Guitar

Gary Rossington has seen either the death or departure of each original Lynyrd Skynyrd member since the band’s formation, leaving the guitarist as the only remaining original member left in the group. He has survived the tragic plane crash that killed vocalist Ronnie Van Zandt and Steve and Cassie Gaines as well as a number lineup changes throughout the years. Lynyrd Skynyrd still performs with a completely different set of musicians surrounding Rossington than the band that started in Jacksonville.

5. Beach Boys

Mike Love – Vocals

Vocalist Mike Love helped form the Beach Boys with his cousins, The Wilsons, and remains the only original member still touring under that name. In fact, he has “leased” the right to tour under that name. Bruce Johnston joined the Beach Boys in 1965 and tours with Mike Love in the current incarnation of the Beach Boys, but was not an original member of the group.

4. Little Feat

Bill Payne – Keyboardist

The original version of Little Feat was formed shortly after Lowell George and Roy Estrada’s departure from The Mothers of Invention and featured George, Billy Payne, Richie Hayward and Estrada. Estrada left the band in 1972, George died in 1979 and Hayward passed away last year, leaving Payne as the only remaining original member still in Little Feat.

3. Motörhead

Lemmy  – Bass/Vocals

Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister formed pioneering heavy metal band Motörhead in 1975. The band went through many lineup changes throughout the ’70s and ’80s before Kilmister settled on the current lineup featuring guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee in 1992.

2. Smashing Pumpkins

Billy Corgan – Guitars/Vocals

Smashing Pumpkins broke up in 2000 after an extremely successful career. When the band got back together in 2006, vocalist/guitarist Billy Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin were the only original members left. Chamberlin left Corgan’s employ in 2009, leaving Corgan to carry on the name.

1. Guns N Roses

Axl Rose – Vocals

In reading Slash’s autobiography, the former GN’R guitarist mentions how adamant vocalist Axl Rose was to take ownership of the band’s name over the years. Slash found out why after Rose sent all the members of the group packing and reformed the band with completely new members. Axl still tours under the Guns N’ Roses name without any of the other guys who helped create the legendary band.

So, who did we miss? Let us know what other bands only have one remaining original member left and are still touring by leaving a comment below…

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47 Responses

  1. The band that immediately sprang to my mind when I saw the title of the article was King Crimson/Robert Fripp.

  2. @666

    Your “fluffing jambandz” (great use of “z” there) comment was absolutely brilliant. Go fuck yourself. You have no clue.

  3. How about Ultravox – possibly unique in that none of the original members were in the final incarnation of the group (Warren Cann was close, though, but not in the original line up)

  4. Queens of the Stone Age definitely belongs on here. Josh Homme is the only consistent member of the band and basically has a rotating cast of people who’ve appeared on the albums over the years.

  5. Queens of the stone age is much like NIN – its a project more than a band, with constantly changing members. NIN is Trent Reznor.. pretty much

  6. ewww: Creed still has their original members. Scott Stapp may be doing a solo thing too, but Creed is still Creed. I’m also pretty sure that Nickleback has more than one original member, too.

  7. A Flock of Seagulls still tours, with only Mike Score, the original vocalist/keyboardist. The entire band got together for a live performance on the VH1 show Bands Reunited.

  8. How about KMFDM? Been around 25+ years with lineup changes. The driving force is and always has been Sascha Konietzko.

  9. Berlin.
    Teri Nunn is the only remaining original band member after the break up about 10 years ago and she has wont he band name in court to continue touring.

  10. Foo Fighters?? Dave Grohl made the album himself then got members so technically that means Dave Grohl’s the only original member right??

  11. Yegor Letov, guitarist/singer/songwriter of Soviet punk band Grazhdanskaya Oborona, was the only original member from 1984 until his death of a heart attack in 2008. Every album he had new members, until settling in the early 2000s with a group of permanent members.

  12. Come to think of it, Moody Blues Grahame Edge is the sole original member left. He was there during the Denny Laine era.

  13. The beach boys have two original members Love and Jardine. Meanwhile steppenwolf has 1 original member John Kay. and everybody forgot that James Hetfield in the only original member of metallica

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