Which Band Has Had The Most Line-Up Changes?

Deep Purple must come pretty close. In order of appearance, their line-up has comprised of:

Vocals - Rod Evans, Ian Gillan, David Coverdale, Ian Gillan {again}, Joe Lynn Turner, Ian Gillan {yet again!}.

Bass - Nick Simper, Roger Glover, Glenn Hughes, Roger Glover {again}.

Guitar - Ritchie Blackmore, Tommy Bolin, Ritchie Blackmore {again}, Joe Satriani {touring only}, Steve Morse.

Keyboards - Jon Lord, Don Airey.

Drums - Ian Paice {who deserves some kind of award as the only member who has never flounced out}.

There is probably a band who can top this - Fleetwood Mac? - but who are they? Your submissions, please.

The Iron Maiden lineup changed rather a lot over the years. Steve Harris, the bassist, is the main writer and the only one never to be replaced. He is, not coincidentally, always pretty high in the mix, too. :wink: Linky.

Come on, who’s going to be first with the Spinal Tap references?

After Nigel quit, David mentions that Tap has had 17 different members over the years. Most of them drummers, I would assume.

Back in reality, Prince and the Revolution has had quite a bit of attrition. I don’t really feel like looking up exact numbers at the moment however.

Fairport Convention

Bs: Ashley Hutchings
Gu: Simon Nicol
Gu: Richard Thompson
Dr: Martin Lamble

  • Vo: Judy Dyble

  • Vo: Iain Matthews

  • Judy Dyble
  • Vo: Sandy Denny
  • Lamble
  • Matthews
  • Dr: Dave Mattacks
  • Fid: Dave Swarbrick
  • Hutchings
  • Denny
  • Bs: Dave Pegg
  • Thompson

  • Nicol

  • Mattacks

  • Gu: Trevor Lucas

  • Gu: Jerry Donahue

  • Denny

  • Mattacks

  • Mattacks
  • Dr: Bruce Rowlands
  • Lucas
  • Denny
  • Gu: Dan Ar Bras

  • Kys: Bob Brady

  • Fid: Roger Burridge

  • Mattacks

  • Pegg

  • Nicol

  • fid: Ric Sanders

  • various: Martin Allcock

  • Allcock
  • Man/Fid: Chris Leslie
  • Mattacks
  • Dr: Gerry Conway
    And it should be noted that short-time bandmembers during the seventies escaped my research skills.

My vote goes to Frank Zappa. He never had the same members in a band for more than a year. Every tour had a different lineup. He toured every year in bothe the U.S. and Europe. Usually, but not always, the members would change between the U.S. and Europe shows. Hell, sometimes the members would change from show to show!

From re-reading Cosmik Debris The Collected History And Improvisations Of Frank Zappa (Son of Revised Edition), I note that starting with his first band The Soul Giants, in 1964, there were at least 36 different lineups. I say at least because some of the lineups were for specific albums and in some cases, specific songs.

I’d list all the different musicians that have been in his bands over the years but then my hands would fall off so I’m not gonna.

Well, bear in mind that some “bands” aren’t really bands. To use an example… Dire Straits WAS a real band for two albums, after which it became Mark Knopfler and whoever he was surrounding himself with. And Rainbow was Ritchie Blackmore + whoever he hired for an album/tour. Ditto for Whitesnake, which began as a real band but quickly became David Coverdale and whoever he was working with this month.

That said, I suppose King Crimson is a contender.

Guitar: Robert Fripp (the only constant member since 1969)

Bass/vocals: Greg Lake, Gordon Haskell, Boz Burrell, John Wetton

Flute/sax/keyboards: Ian McDonald & Mel Collins

Drums: Michael Giles, Andy McCulloch, Ian Wallace, Bill Bruford, Pat Mastelotto

Guitar/vocals: Adrian Belew

Bass: Peter Giles, Tony Levin, Trey Gunn

Percussion: Jamie Muir

Piano: Keith Tippett

Lyricist: Pete Sinfield, Richard Palmer-James

Oh, and God knows how many people have been in Jethro Tull, with Ian Anderson being the only constant.

Mick Abrahams
Ian Anderson
Barriemore Barlow
Martin Barre
Clive Bunker
John Evan
John Glasscock
Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond
Tony Iommi (yes, the Black Sabbath dude was in Tull for a short time)
Eddie Jobson
David Palmer
Dave Pegg
Tony Williams
And those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Anderson and Barre have been together for 35 years or so, but the bassists, drummers and keyboard guys seem to change every other year.

I was definitely going to say Jethro Tull. Either them or Yes.

Current lineup
Jon Anderson - lead vocals (1968–1979, 1983–present)
Chris Squire - bass/vocals (1968–present)
Steve Howe - guitar/vocals (1970–1980, 1991–1992, 1996–present)
Rick Wakeman - keyboards (1971–1974, 1977–1979, 1991–1992, 1996, 2002–present)
Alan White - drums (1972–present)

Original members
Jon Anderson - lead vocals (1968–1979, 1983–present)
Chris Squire - bass/vocals (1968–present)
Tony Kaye - keyboards (1968–1971, 1983–1995)
Peter Banks - guitar (1968–1970)
Bill Bruford - drums (1968–1972, 1991–1992)

Other members
Patrick Moraz - keyboards (1974–1976)
Geoff Downes - keyboards (1980)
Trevor Horn - vocals (1980)
Trevor Rabin - guitar/vocals (1983–1995)
Billy Sherwood - guitar/vocals/keyboard (1994–1995, 1997–1999)
Igor Khoroshev - keyboards (1998–2000)

Napalm Death may not have the sheer number of lineup changes as some older bands, but I think they’re very close to hitting their third generation: not only are no original members left, but I don’t think there’s anyone left who was in the band with an original member.

Fleetwood Mac have some changes, but not nearly as many as previously mentioned bands:

Original lineup:

Peter Green
Mick Fleetwood
John McVie
Jeremy Spencer

Spencer and Green left in 1970.

Christine McVie joined in 1970

From 1970-1974, they went through a few guitarists:

Bob Welch
Bob Weston (note to Bob - wanna stay in the band? don’t screw the boss’ wife)
Danny Kirwan

By 1975, only McVie, McVie, and Fleetwood remained.

Then a couple from Southern California joined: Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.

Billy Burnette and Rick Vito joined in 1987. Christine & Stevie stopped touring in 1990. Vito left in 1991. Nicks & Burnette left in 1993 and Bekka Bramlett & Dave Mason joined that year.

In 1997, the 1975 lineup reunited for a successful tour and live album.

Christine McVie left after that tour, effectively retiring (she did release a decent solo project this year).

The most recent tour has the four remaining members from 1975. To me, it ain’t Fleetwood Mac w/o Christine.

I’d be remiss without mentioning the Electric Light Orchestra:


Roy Wood
Jeff Lynne
Bev Bevan
Bill Hunt
Steve Woolam


Jeff Lynne
Bev Bevan
Wilf Gibson (left after 1 album)
Mike Edwards
Colin Walker (left after 1 album)
Mike d’Alberquerque
Richard Tandy
Mik Kaminski


Jeff Lynne
Bev Bevan
Richard Tandy
Kelly Grocutt
Mik Kaminski
Hugh McDowall
Melvyn Gale


Jeff Lynne
Bev Bevan
Richard Tandy
Kelly Grocutt


Jeff Lynne
Bev Bevan
Richard Tandy


Jeff Lynne

And on the other hand:

The complete line-up of ZZ Top from 1970 to 2005

Billy Gibbons (vocals and guitar)
Dusty Hill (bass)
Frank Beard (drums)

I don’t know how close Uriah Heep might be, but I always found it amusing that the back cover of their "Best of " album actually had a chart showing all the members that had come and gone, and when.

Santana. I don’t have the time or patience to look up all of the members, but when Santana was a recording, touring band (and not a star-studded concept, like on the last three albums), they never had the exact same lineup for any two albums. In fact, I think Carlos, the namesake, was the only member to record on more than three of them.

I suppose U2 deserve an honourable mention here: from 1978 {?} to the present, they’ve always had the same line-up {except for once in Sydney when Adan Clayton was too pissed to play}: Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen, Adam Clayton. That’s what you get for splitting the royalties equally.

D.O.A. had approx. 25 different lineups from 1978 to 2003 (and probably more since then). The only constant being Joey Shithead

Joey Shithead
Harry Homo

Joey Shithead
Brad Kunt
Dave Gregg
Chris Prohom
Ford Pier

Randy Rampage
Simon Wilde
Dan Yaremko

Chuck Buscuits
Andy Graffitti
Kerr Belliveau
Jon Card
Ken Jensen
John Wright
Brien O’Brien
The Great Baldini


Actually, the current Jethro Tull lineup, with Andy Giddings on keys and Jonathan Noyce on bass, has been together since 1995. Doane Perry has been the main Tull drummer since 1984, although there have been occasional substitutes used on a few tours and sessions.

Well, hell.

The complete line-up of Cream from 1966 to 2005

Ginger Baker

Eric Clapton

Jack Bruce