How many lineup changes can you endure before a band no longer resembles the band you love? It's easy when it's just one guy, maybe a drummer or a bassist. But what happens when the band changes guitarists, or more importantly what happens when they change vocalists? Are they still recognizable as the same band? There's been so many changes my little visual aid will be even too hard to see any names. But you can get the idea. Here's a great example - Lynyrd Skynyrd. They have exactly one original member from their glory days now playing in the band, Gary Rossington. I could make an entire blog out of who has played with them and who has been in and out of their lineups. So the newest version - do you still accept that as the same band that recorded Free Bird?
Lynyrd Skynrd Timeline
Another band with an ongoing revolving door of musicians is Black Sabbath. Sure, we all know the classic lineup of Ozzy, Geezer, Bill Ward and Tony Iommi. That lineup fell apart in the mid-70's, first with the firing of Ozzy, then the floodgates opened so much so that at one point they were known not as Black Sabbath, but as "Black Sabbath Featuring Tony Iommi". They've reformed the various lineups several times for different "reunion" tours, and even had a spinoff band, Heaven and Hell, because they no longer could legally even use their own name. So who is Black Sabbath?
Black Sabbath Timeline
It's not just the bands from the 70's either. We all remember Tawny Kitaen slinking over the rooftops of cars in Whitesnake's 1987 videos. However, even then, of all the guys in the video only David Coverdale actually performed on the album. In fact, they actually began their careers as "David Coverdale's Whitesnake" Whitesnake has had a long and complicated history, with only Coverdale remaining the steady constant. And yes, even today they are still marching on and recording. I suppose that as long as you have the original singer, someone somewhere can say it's still Whitesnake. When your biggest album to date featured guys who didn't even last long enough to do the tour to support it, what really is the worth of the musician? So can you accept this as Whitesnake? The list of musicians who have been in Whitesnake is just crazy.
Then of course there is Guns N Roses. Or, as I like to refer to them, the world's biggest and possibly worst cover band. The Axl Rose Band seems much more fitting. One of the best bands of the late 80's and early 90's, now nothing but a sad, sad joke. At least that's my opinion. There is absolutely no way I can reconcile the current music and band with what the band represented in the past. Can you accept this as Guns N' Roses?
Guns N Roses Timeline
I hope Axl doesn't sue me over that.