10 Classic Rock Lineup Changes That Got Success

LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 1: Fleetwood Mac (L-R Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood) backstage at the Los Angeles Rock Awards on September 1, 1977 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Richard Creamer/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

In the world of rock music, lineup changes can have a significant impact on a band’s sound and success. Whether prompted by personal reasons, creative differences, or tragic events, altering a key member of a group can either lead to disaster or pave the way for even greater achievements. This article highlights ten iconic bands that experienced successful lineup changes, ultimately reaching new heights of creativity and popularity.

These ten examples of successful lineup changes demonstrate the transformative power of new band members. Despite the challenges they faced, these bands embraced change, reinvented themselves, and achieved remarkable levels of creativity and popularity. Their stories serve as inspiration for


Deep Purple

Deep Purple’s revolving door of members over the years has resulted in different sounds and styles. Each lineup brought its own unique contributions, from the progressive rock era to pioneering proto-metal and boogieing hard rock. With drummer Ian Paice as the sole founding member, Deep Purple continues to evolve.



Despite tragic losses with the deaths of James Honeyman-Scott and Pete Farndon, the Pretenders persevered. Frontwoman Chrissie Hynde assembled a new lineup, including Robbie McIntosh, and released the critically acclaimed album “Learning to Crawl,” showcasing their resilience and creativity.


Small Faces/Faces

When Steve Marriott left Small Faces, the remaining members recruited Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, rebranding themselves as Faces. This change transformed the band’s sound from mod pop to rough and ragged rock and roll, catching the attention of many music enthusiasts.


The Yardbirds

The Yardbirds boasted not one, but three iconic guitarists in their history. Eric Clapton’s departure led to Jimmy Page joining, who then brought in Jeff Beck. The Yardbirds’ influence on hard rock was profound, and they eventually transformed into the legendary Led Zeppelin.


Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac underwent a transition from post-psychedelic blues-rock to a softer rock sound with the addition of Christine McVie and the duo Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. This lineup change propelled them to unparalleled success, with their album “Rumours” becoming iconic.


Van Halen

Despite the departure of charismatic frontman David Lee Roth, Van Halen defied expectations with the introduction of Sammy Hagar as their new lead vocalist. Together, they achieved a streak of chart-topping albums and numerous hit singles, showcasing the band’s enduring talent.


Pink Floyd

After Syd Barrett’s mental health issues affected Pink Floyd, the band redefined itself with David Gilmour joining the remaining members. This lineup shift marked the beginning of their groundbreaking experimentation and led to the creation of progressive rock masterpieces like “The Dark Side of the Moon.”


Allman Brothers Band

The tragic loss of guitarist Duane Allman could have devastated the band, but Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts persevered. They released the landmark album “Eat a Peach” and continued to produce enduring hits like “Ramblin Man” and “Jessica,” solidifying their status in rock history.



AC/DC faced a significant setback with the death of Bon Scott, but they found a worthy replacement in Brian Johnson. With Johnson’s powerful vocals, they released the iconic album “Back in Black,” paying tribute to Scott and solidifying their position as one of the greatest rock bands of all time.


The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones experienced lineup changes throughout their illustrious career. From Brian Jones’ departure to Mick Taylor’s tenure and Ronnie Wood’s arrival, the band endured and evolved. Their ability to adapt and maintain their signature sound is a testament to their longevity and resilience.