Bands where no one can be replaced

Mrs. Cad and I were talking about bands where everyone is integral that if any of them left, it just could not be the same band. Here’s what we came up with.

The Mamas and the Papas

She says the Police members are irreplacable. I say Gordon Sumner replaced all the band members and plays with the band Sting which is Police 2.0. She said I wasn’t funny.
The Beatles: You can get rid of Ringo. His only job was to play live and keep the illusion going that Paul didn’t overdub the drum track
Fleetwood Mac: Get rid of Christine McVie and no one would notice

Who’s on your Irreplacable or (Surprisngly) Replacable list?

Pink Floyd. As demonstrated by A Momentary Lapse of Reason.

(ETA: or indeed The Final Cut)

If we consider Nine Inch Nails to pretty much be Trent Reznor, then I’d say there are no replaceable people in NIN.

:dubious: I’d notice. She sings backup on a lot of songs, for one thing.

I totally disagree! Christine has a unique voice that you can totally hear whether she is singing lead or back up.

Since we’re including bands that don’t necessarily still exist, I’ll nominate the obvious: Led Zeppelin.

Time-warpy OP. I really don’t know where to start.

U2 - Is Bono, The Edge and two other guys. Replaceable parts.

Fleetwood Mac - Is Mick Fleetwood, John McVie and whoever they’re playing with this decade. The band has had so many line-ups over the years that it takes a chart to keep track. And Christine quit the band 15 years ago, yet they still perform to this day.

I agree. She also sings lead on a number of hit songs. She’s the brass to Nicks’ woodwind. You could, however, replace her husband.

The Everly Brothers, unless you count studio musicians as band members.

The Rolling Stones.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young :smiley:

The one that comes to mind for me is Led Zeppelin. They broke up in 1980 after John Bonham died. And as Spinal Tap has shown us, you can usually replace the drummer.

The Mamas and the Papas still toured about fifteen years ago with John and Denny and two younger women (they joked it was “The Papas and the Daughters”). Worked out just fine.

Peter, Paul, and Mary.
Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross (Once Annie Ross left, it wasn’t the same, even with other singers)
The Who (again, their quality dropped precipitously when Keith Moon died and they quickly stopped being relevant).

The members of The Band, to me are exactly what this thread is all about. Levon Helm, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko, and Garth Hudson made some good music after Robbie Robertson left, as did the other three after Manuel’s death, but it was never the same.

No one can be replaced in:

The Minutemen
The Police
The Clash
Talking Heads
Beastie Boys

I’m sure I can come up with more, but that’s just off the top of my head.

It wasn’t the same but they still did it. So, replaceable. Rush will not go on once Peart hangs it up. They almost were no more when he went through his personal tragedies. I agree that half of U2 is replaceable.

Huh? I had no idea the OP meant literally not replaceable.

I second The Who. Each one provided a unique, irreplaceable talent. And, The Monkees.

Nah, don’t you remember the whole Kenney Jones thing? :slight_smile:

Just kidding, Loach.

Depends what you mean by “not be the same band”—what the threshold is. If you’re talking about bands where, if any of the band’s members left (or died), with or without being replaced by another musician, people would notice, and at least some fans would say “They’re just not the same without _____,” then there are lots of bands that fit that definition, including most definitely the Police, the Beatles, and Fleetwood Mac.

If you’re talking about situations where, if any of the members left, it would seem wrong somehow for the rest of the band to continue on and keep calling themselves by the same name, it’s a lot harder. I still think the Beatles and the Police qualify, and I’m not sure about U2, but Fleetwood Mac definitely wouldn’t, as evidenced by the fact that they’ve actually had quite a few personnel changes.

No and that’s not how I meant either. I am a big Robbie Robertson fan. And I saw The Band several times without him. Would I have prefered to have seen them with Robbie? Yes. But it was still The Band and still great.

For most bands I thInk it’s the singer that irreplaceable. Replace him and it’s an entirely different band even it the name is the same. For some bands like U2 its two people.

Oh come on! Michelle Phillips? There’s lots of other hot chicks who can carry a tune.

She’s right.

George too, actually. OK, when they started he may have been what passed for a pretty good guitarist, but even though he probably improved over the lifetime of the band, by the end he was what passed for a pretty mediocre guitarist.

Incidentally, I know you are mostly joking, but was there ever really a stage in their history when they were both playing live, and had Paul overdubbing the drums in the studio?:dubious:

Which of the many, very different incarnations of Fleetwood Mac are you talking about? (To me, they have always been Peter Green’s sidemen.) Anyway, Christine made a major contribution both as a vocalist and songwriter (less, I think, as a keyboard player), to many of those incarnations, including the Buckingham-Nicks one that you probably have in mind.

I am surprised no-one has yet said Cream, a band deliberately constructed for irreplacability.

And The Who: Kenny was a decent drummer, but he couldn’t fill Keith’s shoes, nobody could. I do quite like “You Better, You Bet,” but they should have chucked it (as a band) when Keith died. Please God! They absolutely should have chucked it when John died!!!

ETA: Opps! Ninjaed on The Who.

Emerson, Lake and Palmer. :smiley:

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick, and Titch. :smiley:

No one has mentioned The Doors? Jim Morrison was The Doors. The Doors without Jim are…The Windows perhaps.