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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.

Whitesnake Timeline

  

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.

February 15, 2011  02:23 PM ET

Fun fact: I saw Skynard in concert summer with my dad. It had been storming all day, but stopped during the concert. As the last song they're playing is coming on (obviously Freebird) the storm clouds kind of circled around and the lightning was everywhere. One of the cooler moments of my life, standing outdoors listening to Freebird with the storm all-around us

February 15, 2011  03:59 PM ET

Do your charts include studio musicians that played with them? If not, that is just crazy! There are a lot of bands with new/different members. ACDC comes to mind, Van Halen. About the only band I can think of off the top of my head that still has the original members is ZZ Top.

February 15, 2011  04:10 PM ET
QUOTE(#2):

Do your charts include studio musicians that played with them? If not, that is just crazy! There are a lot of bands with new/different members. ACDC comes to mind, Van Halen. About the only band I can think of off the top of my head that still has the original members is ZZ Top.

The lists include people who were considered actual members of the band, not just guests on a song or two.

February 15, 2011  04:35 PM ET

Reminds me of this past summer when I saw "Bad Co."
There was not one member of the band that I knew as Bad Co. The band I saw had the guy who replaced Paul Rodgers when he left Bad Co., along with a bunch of other musicians whose names I'd never heard before.
What I really ended up seeing was "The Guy Who Filled In as Lead Singer for Bad Co. along with a cover band."

February 15, 2011  04:52 PM ET

It's harder to find a band that still does have all their original members. I wasn't so much thinking of bands that have ALL their original members. As UBP says, there's ZZ Top and .... More like the bands that are still going on, when it's just one guy from the original or most famous lineup.

February 15, 2011  05:01 PM ET

Nice, Thug.

February 15, 2011  05:29 PM ET
QUOTE(#2):

About the only band I can think of off the top of my head that still has the original members is ZZ Top.

Rush is the only one I could add to that off the top of my head.

But both these groups also have an advantage with just 3 guys each.

February 15, 2011  05:38 PM ET

Reminds me of my grandfather's hammer. I've replaced the handle 3 times and the head once, but it's still his hammer! LOL

February 15, 2011  05:54 PM ET
QUOTE(#7):

Rush is the only one I could add to that off the top of my head.But both these groups also have an advantage with just 3 guys each.

Aerosmith but with an *

Joe Perry and Brad Whitford left for a period of time, but came back.

February 15, 2011  07:24 PM ET

I'm more interested in finding out how long it took you to create all those graphs...

February 15, 2011  07:49 PM ET
QUOTE(#10):

I'm more interested in finding out how long it took you to create all those graphs...

Their from Wikipedia. I'm not that insane.

February 15, 2011  08:56 PM ET
QUOTE(#8):

Reminds me of my grandfather's hammer. I've replaced the handle 3 times and the head once, but it's still his hammer! LOL

That is funny as hell!

February 16, 2011  09:26 AM ET

I think it's also remarkable that every time there's a personnel change, the music changes to accomodate the new "artist," and the sound changes with them.

 
February 16, 2011  12:20 PM ET
QUOTE(#11):

Their from Wikipedia. I'm not that insane.

LMAO! Good to know! :)

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