Bands Who Never Say Die: Playing On Without Key Members


Despite the mysterious absence of guitarist Richie Sambora since April, Bon Jovi have continued to carry on regardless, playing up to tens of thousands of fans per night during their current Because We Can world tour. But they’re certainly not the first band to soldier on without a key member. Here’s a look at five others who refused to call it quits.

The Who

It’s extremely rare for the sticksman to be the focal point of a group. But through a chaotic mixture of a unique drumming style, a habit of passing out on stage and a fondness for explosives, Keith Moon became The Who’s biggest, if most self-destructive, weapon. Following his death from a drug overdose in 1978, the Quadrophenia legends released two albums with his replacement, Kenney Jones, before splitting. But since reuniting in 1996, they have continued to function as a nostalgic live act despite the loss of another key member, bassist John Entwistle, in 2002.

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Few bands have had to deal with such a colossal tragedy as Lynyrd Skynyrd. The Southern rock pioneers lost three members of their core line-up, including lead vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, when a chartered plane crashed into a forest in Mississippi in 1977. The rest of the group understandably called it quits soon after but ten years later reformed for a ‘one-time’ tribute tour which has now lasted 26 years, although guitarist Gary Rossington now remains the only founding member.

Manic Street Preachers

The Welsh trio became the self-styled Generation Terrorists of British rock in the ’90s thanks to an androgynous glam image, a revolutionary set of political ideals and troubled lyricist Richey Edwards’ dark themes of depression, self-harm and alcohol abuse. But following his still-unresolved disappearance in 1995, the band regrouped and reinvented themselves as an anthemic stadium rock act, later reaching No.1 in the UK with 1998’s This Is My Truth, Tell Me Yours.


Responsible for launching the careers of two of the ’80s biggest male vocalists, Genesis began life as an avant-garde prog-rock band before Peter Gabriel’s departure resulted in Phil Collins’ transition from drummer to lead vocalist and a radical pop reinvention. After losing their second frontman in 1996, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks then recruited one-hit wonders Stiltskin’s Ray Wilson for 1997’s critically-panned Calling All Stations before finally calling it a day.


Fronted by arguably the most charismatic showman in rock history, Queen’s highly influential career was presumed to be over following Freddie Mercury’s death in 1991. However, Brian May and Roger Taylor have continued to keep the name alive, sometimes rather questionably, through 1995’s posthumous album, Made In Heaven, collaborations with Wyclef Jean, boyband 5ive and The Muppets, and a 2008 LP recorded with former Free lead vocalist Paul Rodgers.

Rock Star Stage Names - Some Of The Best
Duets From Beyond The Grave
Pop Stars Who Need To Work On Their Sales Pitch

From Our Partners:
Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Outfits40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)
lives15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)