The Pete Best

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
The Fab Four: Paul, John, Pete, and George. ...Wait, Pete?!


A subtrope of the Suspiciously Similar Substitute and/or The Other Darrin, wherein one actor is in a role or position, then is dropped (or leaves voluntarily) for another actor who is the one everyone remembers after the work or group becomes famous.

Named for Pete Best, the first drummer of The Beatles, who was replaced by Ringo Starr just before they hit it big (he was dropped as a condition of the band being signed).

Less likely in Film (since you can only get one actor to play a role, any replacement will have to reshoot the scenes and become The Other Marty in a standalone film or The Other Darrin in a franchise), more likely in theater and television.

If the guy is in the band when they're famous, but all but forgotten, that person's Stuck in Their Shadow. If the guy never had a chance of becoming famous anyway, that's Breakup Breakout. Contrast Lesser Star.

Examples of The Pete Best include:

Anime and Manga

  • Actors who would work for 4Kids! Entertainment worked for the now out-of-business Central Park Media before the former became notable among dubbing companies. Similarly, the actors for ADV Films and FUNimation did one another's work occasionally.
  • Fans of The Slayers often have a "Hey, It's That Voice!" moment when they hear Crispin Freeman in non-Zelgadis roles. However, those same fans will, on going back and re-watching the first half of the first season years later, have a moment of confusion on hearing Daniel Cronin's voice coming out of Zelgadis' mouth. The same thing usually happens for Veronica Taylor's Amelia, though a bit less so because her first actress (Joani Baker) only acted for three episodes.
  • Eric Stuart, the longtime voice actor for James in the 4Kids dub of Pokémon, was actually the second voice actor for the character. Ted Lewis was James's voice actor for the first few episodes of the show's run. The transition from Lewis to Stuart was notable as a specific point of Flanderization in the dub, where James suddenly became less smooth and suave and a lot more dim-witted and incompetent. That's not to say that Lewis missed out on Pokémon. Quite the opposite, in fact - he went on to voice Tracey and Giovanni, among many other minor characters, and notably returned to the role of Giovanni even after the mass voice actor replacement of 2006.
  • Raoh was originally voiced by Norio Wakamoto when he appeared in Episode 32 of Hokuto no Ken before Kenji Utsumi took over the role. This was actually before Raoh's proper first appearance, before Raoh's design and backstory was finalized (before he even had a proper name even), since Raoh only shows up as a silhouette. Wakamoto would later appear as another character named Shuren.
  • Tristan Taylor from the 4Kids dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! was voiced by Sam Riegel for the first ten episodes until John Campbell took over. His "Barney The Dinosaur" sounding voice was continued on in The Abridged Series.

Comic Books

  • The Hulk could be said to be the Pete Best of the Avengers - one of the five founding members, he left at the end of the second issue, never to rejoin the team. In issue #4 Captain America joined the Avengers and became one of those three members (along with founders Thor and Iron Man) of which you almost invariably can expect to see at least one on the active roster.
    • The Avengers actually altered their charter to make Cap a founding member and remove the Hulk from it, despite it being the other way around.
  • Thunderbird was one of the "Second Genesis" X-men, and the first main to die (If you don't count Professor X's fakeout death, that is). That's pretty much all he's known for now.
    • Although Sunfire fits the trope even better, since he voluntarily left the team in the issue immediately following the first adventure.


  • That Thing You Do has the original drummer for The Wonders (then The One-ders) break his arm before a talent competition. The band asks Guy to fill in for him. This talent show led the The Wonders towards the path to recognition. The former drummer, Chad, ends up working at an appliance shop.
  • The Rocker: The whole plot revolves around this trope. Rainn Wilson plays Robert "Fish" Fishman, the drummer in an 80s Glam Metal band called Vesuvius. When his band gets signed, Fish gets dropped in favor of their producer's nephew. Despite his swearing to become even bigger than they do, he fails, until more than 20 years later when his nephew asks him to fill in for the drummer for his band, and they manage to hit it big, thanks largely to YouTube and a series of videos entitled The Naked Drummer.
  • In the Death Star briefing scene in the original Star Wars, Ensemble Darkhorse (or is he an Ascended Extra?) Wedge Antilles is played by Colin Higgins. In the rest of the movie - and in the other two movies in the original trilogy - he's played by Denis Lawson (who also dubbed Higgins' lines in his one scene).
    • In the original version of The Empire Strikes Back, Emperor Palpatine's face was provided by Elaine Baker, wife of the film's makeup artist Rick Baker, and voiced by Clive Revill. Ian McDiarmid played the character in Return of the Jedi and the prequels, and when Empire was re-released to DVD in 2004, Palpatine's scenes were re-shot with McDiarmid in the role.
    • The actors playing Cammie (British actress Koo Stark) and Fixer in the deleted scene of A New Hope where Luke goes to Toshi Station and talks to Biggs Darklighter.
  • Peter Burton, who played Major Boothroyd/Q in Dr. No, was unable to return for From Russia with Love and so was replaced by Desmond Llewlyn, who would become the iconic Q, appearing in seventeen James Bond movies.
  • Another one from James Bond. Before Sean Connery, there was an american actor, Barry Nelson, who played "Jimmy Bond" in an adaptation of Casino Royale for an Anthology Series called Climax!, with the idea being for it to act also as a pilot for a possible TV Show based on James Bond. Nothing came out of it and eight years later came Dr. No and Barry Nelson (who was thirteen years older than Connery) wasn't even considered for the role. The movie pretty much made Sean Connery an star and relegated Barry Nelson's performance as Bond to total obscurity. The fact that the production was believed lost to time until a kinescope emerged in the 1980s didn't help much either.
  • The Social Network uses this as a major plot point: it it's interpretation of Facebook's founding, Eduardo Saverin, who has been part of the company since the start, becomes aware of his business partner's attempts to minimize his contributions and force him out of the company. Lawsuits ensue. In real life Saverin has been candid that he didn't care so much about being on the facebook "inside" as maintaining his deserved financial stake.
  • Hannibal Lecter was first played by Brian Cox in Manhunter, and later by Anthony Hopkins
  • Jennifer in the Back to the Future series is an excellent example. Jennifer was played by Claudia Wells in the first film. When she was unable to return for the sequels she was replaced by Elisabeth Shue. This included reshooting the end scenes of Back to the Future with Shue in the role for the beginning of Back to the Future II. Needless to say, Shue is the actress most associated with the role.
    • However, Wells returned to the role for the game.
  • Tom Clancy's character Jack Ryan was originated in film by Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October. However the role is best remembered from the portrayal by Harrison Ford in the follow-up adaptations Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger.


  • Parodied in the Discworld novel The Thief of Time, where Ronnie Soak left The Four Horsemen of the Apocralypse before they got famous--he was "Kaos", the Fifth Horseman. He still manages to get a He's Back moment near the end when he rejoins the Horsemen for the big battle against the Auditors.
    • Also used in Soul Music, where the Librarian briefly joined (and then quit) the Band With Rock In before they went on tour and made it really big.
  • Speaking of the Four Horsemen, in the original text they were Famine, Death, War, and Conquest. In the King James edition of the Bible, Conquest was replaced with the much more widely known Pestilence.
  • And speaking of Pratchett and replacing the fourth Horseman, in Good Omens, Pestilence has retired and been replaced with Pollution.

Live-Action TV

  • Pert Kelton was the original Alice Kramden when The Honeymooners was just a segment of Jackie Gleason's variety show. She was caught up in the Red Scare, blacklisted, and replaced by Audrey Meadows around the time for the show's "Classic 39".
  • Jeffrey Hunter played Christopher Pike in the original pilot for Star Trek. Reception was thin for that first pilot, so Gene Roddenberry made a second pilot, replacing Hunter (and Number One, played Majel Barrett who played Nurse Christine Chapel in the series proper) with William Shatner as Captain Kirk. The rest, as they say, is history.
    • Apparently, despite being asked to return, Hunter didn't want to, and he used a loophole in his contract to get out of his role in the series. He would've had to star in the show if it was picked up after the first pilot, but since a second pilot was commissioned instead of a full season order, he was free to walk away.
    • Shatner claims in his memoirs that Hunter was actually sort of manipulated into leaving since his girlfriend at the time was always on set complaining about how bad the show made him look.
      • Ironically, walking away from Star Trek may have directly resulted in Hunter's death three years later.
  • In the JAG two-parter that provided the backdoor pilot for NCIS, Robyn Lively played the female field agent. By the time the actual series premiered, she was replaced by Sasha Alexander (notable that she herself would be replaced by Cote de Pablo after the second season).
    • And from the NCIS two-parter that provided the backdoor pilot for its spinoff, NCIS: Los Angeles, Louise Lombard played who would have been that show's team leader. When it began in Fall '09, she was replaced by Linda Hunt.
  • The Daily Show started with Craig Kilborn for the first three years, but the show really became popular after Jon Stewart took over and retooled the direction and comedy style. Now, the show's full title is even "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."
  • This happened to Kilborn a second time with his next show. He replaced Tom Snyder as the host of CBS' Late Late Show and re-vamped it, giving it a new set and a more comedic style than Snyder's. Then he left the show...and in came Craig Ferguson, who became a darling in the late night ranks.
  • Everybody knows that the IMF on Mission: Impossible was always led by Peter Graves' Jim Phelps. Mostly forgotten is Dan Briggs, played by Steven Hill in the first season. Hill left the show (and temporarily, acting) for reasons that were partly religious, and his character was given the Brother Chuck treatment.
    • Ironically, Hill would become the "Ringo" figure when he assumed his most famous role, DA Adam Schiff on Law and Order. The DA in the original pilot was Alfred Wentworth, played by Roy Thinnes; however, the pilot was filmed two years before the show was finally picked up by NBC, and Thinnes chose not to return as a regular.
  • Jason Dawe, who was a presenter on Top Gear for one season and then was replaced by James May.
    • And for US fans, The Black Stig (since BBC America hasn't gotten around to airing the earliest seasons of Top Gear).
  • Ian Hendry played Dr. John Keel, the lead of the first season of The Avengers, with Steed (Patrick Macnee) as the secondary lead. The show was a moderate success, but Hendry moved on, with Steed becoming the lead -- joined first by Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman) and then Emma Peel (Diana Rigg). The show became a big hit when Blackman joined, then a full-blown craze when Rigg took over. No-one really remembers Hendry (which isn't helped by only one of his episodes still existing).
  • Branford Marsalis was Jay Leno's original bandleader on The Tonight Show. Unfortunately, because of the legendary rapport Leno had with his replacement Kevin Eubanks (not quite as legendary as that between Johnny Carson and Doc Severinsen, or David Letterman and Paul Schaffer, but close), no one remembers that fact.
  • Tamlyn Tomita as Lt Cmdr Laurel Takashima and Johnny Sekka as Dr Benjamin Kyle in the Babylon 5 Pilot Movie—both of whom declined to return for the subsequent TV series. Neither ever appear again in person (although Dr Kyle does get referred to several times throughout the series). Ultimately averted with Patricia Tallman as Lyta Alexander, who also didn't return at first but ended up rejoining the cast much later in the series.
  • Josh "J. Elvis" Weinstein was both the original voice of Tom Servo on Mystery Science Theater 3000, as well as Dr. Forrester's original assistant (Dr. Erhardt). Weinstein left after only one season on Comedy Central and was replaced with Kevin Murphy and Frank Coniff respectively for Season 2, which was when the show starting to make it big and becoming really good.
  • Brian Dunkleman was the co-host of American Idol in Season 1, and chose the wrong time to play hardball in contract negotiations, considering that the audience clearly preferred Ryan Seacrest. From that point, the show just kept getting bigger.
  • Ed had an in-universe example. A band sued their founder, lead singer and songwriter on the grounds that she plagiarized her lyrics. It was all a pretense because the record label didn't like her. They had already scouted a potential replacement but the trial took so long, the replacement joined another band. They tried to take back their leader, in vain. The episode ended with the band performing in front of a not so impressed talent scout.
  • Lauren Sanchez was the original host of So You Think You Can Dance, but left after one season and was replaced by Cat Deeley, who is now the face of the show.
  • Similarly, Katie Lee Joel (now Katie Lee) hosted the first season of Top Chef before being replaced by the more telegenic Padma Lakshmi.
  • While she filled a different role in the show in its original format, folklorist Heather Joseph-Witham became the Pete Best of MythBusters, effectively replaced by the Build Team as the show's focus shifted from the myths themselves to MacGyvering and Stuff Blowing Up.
    • Scottie Chapman is another Mythbusters example; she was originally the machinist of the Build Team, but left the show during Season 3, right around the time the Build Team's role on the show was expanded and they were added to the theme sequence, and was replaced by Grant Imahara. While Scottie made sporadic appearances after that point, the regulars on the show became far more famous.
  • Saturday Night Live parodies Pete Best's story with Eddie Murphy as Clarence Walker, the saxophonist who's still bitter about being kicked out of the band.
  • Similar to the Star Trek entry above, Married... with Children's original pilot was never aired. When the show went into production, they used new actors for Bud and Kelly.
  • For its first three years, the PBS show Scientific American Frontiers was hosted by MIT professor Woodie Flowers. He was replaced by Alan Alda, who hosted for 12 years.
  • In 1981 MTV hired five people as its original lineup of VJs: Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson and Meg Griffin (no, not that one). Griffin was a radio vet (as were some of the others) but she had difficulty adjusting to an on-camera role during rehearsals, and quit just two weeks before the August 1 launch date. She was hurriedly replaced by 22-year-old radio intern Martha Quinn, who went on to become arguably the most famous VJ.
  • Sesame Street: Practically every American under the age of 40 will immediately say "hey, it's Gordon!" upon seeing the face of Roscoe Orman, but most don't know that he was actually the fourth Gordon. Garrett Saunders originated the role in the first test episode in 1969, which only aired on one station, but was replaced by Matt Robinson for the actual series. (Saunders wasn't credited and his identity was lost for several decades until Sesame Workshop launched a website asking for help identifying him). Robinson left after three seasons (he did all right: he later worked for Bill Cosby and you've probably heard of his daughter, Holly Robinson-Peete). Hal Miller took over from 1972-74.
    • In season three (1971–72) a bunch of new human characters were added. Luis and Maria are still on the show. David was on for more than a decade (before his portrayer Northern Calloway ran into personal and health problems, then died). But Rafael (Luis' assistant at the Fix-It Shop), Molly (the mail carrier) and Tom (Mr. Hooper's assistant) all lasted just one season. But there's plenty of Retroactive Recognition for them: Rafael was played by Raul Julia, Molly by Charlotte Rae, and Tom by Larry Block, a character actor who's been in a million things since then.
  • 3-2-1 Contact was retooled and thus completely recast after just the first season.
  • Ensemble topical comedy show Not the Nine O'Clock News ran for several series in the period 1978-83. Everyone will recall the lineup was Rowan Atkinson, Mel Smith, Pamela Stephenson and Gryff Rhys-Jones. However, in the first series, Rhys-Jones was nowhere to be seen and the Pete Best of the group was comic actor and writer Chris Langham, who performed creditably but left at the end of the series citing artistic differences. He was replaced by Rhys-Jones only at he start of the second series. The fact Langham has since been convicted of crimes to do with indecent photographs of children has made it easier for the BBC to airbrush his involvement out of the series' official history.
  • Tim Brooke-Taylor was an early member of what would eventually evolve into Monty Python, alongside Graham Chapman, John Cleese and Michael Palin, and made appearances in At Last the 1948 Show and How to Irritate People. He left the group between the latter and the start of Monty Python's Flying Circus—by which time Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam had arrived—though still went on to be part of the longer-lived team The Goodies and a pretty successful actor in his own right.
  • Billy Crystal was scheduled to be in one sketch in the first episode of Saturday Night Live, and would have been a featured player throughout that season. But it was cut and he went home, crying all the way back because he thought he'd just blown the only break he was ever going to get. He stuck with his standup career and eventually did get to be a regular ten years later.
  • Originally, in the recurring role of black-sheep alcoholic older brother Gary Ewing, Dallas had cast David Ackroyd. When a spinoff, Knots Landing, was launched in the second season, Ted Shackleford got the part that would keep him working for the next 15 years.

Game Shows

  • When Dealer's Choice debuted in January 1974, its host was Bob Hastings. Problem is, the man tended to ramble and once told a trailing contestant "You don't have a Chinaman's chance." Jack Clark did the rest of the run.
  • Remember Paul Lynde, that sassy gay guy who was the center square on The Hollywood Squares (minus a period from 1979–80)? Yeah. Well, from 1966-68, there were various people in the center square, most notably (from the GSN reruns of the 1968 nighttime show) Buddy Hackett.
  • While Lingo is most well-known by Americans for its 2002-07 run on GSN and subsequent dirty-minded 2011 reboot, it actually began as a Ralph Andrews production from 1987–88, hosted originally by Michael Reagan and later (the last five weeks) by Andrews himself.
  • The original version of The Price Is Right ran on NBC from 1956–63 and ABC from 1963–65, hosted by Bill Cullen. It isn't brought up too often nowadays.
    • When Mark Goodson wanted to revive Price in 1972, he had a clear setup in mind: weekly syndication, hosted by Dennis James and distributed by Viacom. Once CBS got wind of the revival, Bud Grant approached Goodson about doing a daytime show with Bob Barker as emcee. Barker wanted no part of it, not liking those in charge of the revival, and begged Grant for another game show; Grant declined, which suggests that Barker's alleged backstage tyranny was payback for having the show forced on him.
    • As for James, he did nighttime Price until 1977, when his contract expired and Barker took over until its end in 1980. His version, along with those of Tom Kennedy and Doug Davidson, are largely ignored in pretty much every way.
  • For the first few seasons into the 17 year run of What's My Line? Hal "Dimples" Block was a regular on the panel. As the show progressed it became more and more dignified and refined, and Block's loutish persona soon became undesirable and his seat was permently replaced by Bennett Cerf. To add insult to injury, most of Block's run is lost due to the films being distroyed for their silver content after the episodes ran one time on live TV.
  • Chuck Woolery and Susan Stafford were the original host/hostess tandem on Wheel of Fortune when it debuted on January 6, 1975. Chuck left due to a salary dispute with Merv Griffin in December 1981, while Susan departed to pursue humanitarian work in October 1982. As in Hal Block's case above, almost all of their episodes have been erased. They were replaced by Pat Sajak and Vanna White, respectively, who are still with the show 30 years later.
  • UK: The Golden Shot was a huge hit with host Bob Monkhouse. His introduction was the network's saving throw after the show bombed under original host Jackie Rae.


  • Pete Best, the Trope Namer.
    • Just to rub it in, the fates decreed that Pete should happen to run into Paul McCartney's dad in a bar on the night The Beatles had their big television debut. Mr. McCartney, totally oblivious to Best's feelings, ribbed Pete and said "Isn't that great? They're on TV!" To Pete's credit, he wasn't too bitter—he later donated several props to the cover shoot for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, including the medals on the Fab Four's "uniforms" (actually family heirlooms).
      • It probably helps that he's dodged a lot of the problems that plagued the Beatles (drug addiction, overbearing celebrity, and assassination) and went on to live a happy life with a nice family. Oh, and he's made decent money on "early Beatles" royalties and his autobiography. Life wasn't all wine and roses, though; most of his success has come relatively recently[when?] with the release of Beatles recordings made when he was still part of the band as part of the Anthology series. At the time, he suffered a severe bout of depression upon the band making it big and attempted suicide at one point, following several failed contemporary efforts to strike gold with various cash-in acts designed to catch the same lightning the Beatles had bottled.
    • The Beatles also had a minor case in Stuart Sutcliffe, the original bassist, who left the band to stay in Hamburg with his girlfriend (turning them into a quartet), and died less than a year later; he wasn't replaced by a new member, but Paul McCartney took over his duties as bassist and became known for that role in the band. In Sutcliffe's case, however, he left the band voluntarily.
  • Unlike what some perceive, The Beatles were not the first British act to have a No. 1 hit on the Billboard pop charts; the Fab Four's "I Want to Hold Your Hand" (from February 1964) is actually the fourth single from across the Atlantic to top the Hot 100. The first English act to top the charts in America came more than 11½ years earlier – "Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart" by London-born female vocalist Vera Lynn, which spent nine weeks atop the "Best Sellers in Stores" chart in the summer of 1952. "Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart" was the only pre-rock era British No. 1 single, and it would be another decade – in the middle of the rock era – before UK acts Acker Bilk and the Tornadoes had No. 1 singles. Both were instrumentals: Bilk topped the chart in May 1962 with "Stranger on the Shore" (a horn-heavy ballad) and the Tornadoes followed with the synth-heavy "Telstar" that Christmas. As such, Vera Lynn, Acker Bilk and the Tornadoes are Pete Bests, all preceding the Beatles in making UK-music popular with the American masses ... although none of them came close to the accomplishments of John, Paul, George or Ringo.
  • Two examples with the progressive power metal band Kamelot, the first being their original bassist, Sean Tibbets (who originally used the stage name Sean Christians and recently rejoined the band, which will probably help alleviate this problem) who left shortly after the band formed, replaced by Glenn Barry, the only member besides Thomas Youngblood to play on all of the band's albums up to Ghost Opera. Less commonly, this happens with vocalist Roy Khan who was preceded for 7 years (and two albums) by Mark Vanderbilt.
    • Tibbets being a founding member is less likely to be forgotten now that he has rejoined the band due to Glenn's personal issues forcing him to leave.
  • Any lead guitarist of X Japan before hide. There were a few including Jun and Hally, but...
  • Many don't realize that Alex Lifeson is the only remaining founding member of Rush. Neil Peart was preceded by John Rutsey (who played on their self-titled debut album) for 6 years. Geddy Lee was preceded by Jeff Jones. For a month.
  • The Moody Blues both exemplified and subverted this trope; Denny Laine was in their first (unsuccessful) professional incarnation, as were Clint Warwick and, later, Rod Clark (who replaced Warwick), but when Laine and Clark left and the band held auditions for replacements, John Lodge (an ex-member from their amateur days) turned up for an audition and was accepted back without one.
  • Fleetwood Mac has this trope in spades. Better to read the entry on The Other Wiki than explain it here.
  • Nirvana went through a bevy of drummers before finally hitting it big with Dave Grohl behind the kit. Chad Channing, who played drums on Nirvana's first album, Bleach, is probably the most well-known of these, although the book Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana actually uses the phrase "The Pete Best of Nirvana" in reference to Aaron Burckhard, their very first drummer.
  • Lloyd Grant from Metallica. He only played on the first demo of "Hit the Lights", which is by far slower than the one on the album. Lars said in a video, that they were so close to a record deal, but that's debatable.
    • Similarly, Ron McGovney, who was replaced by Cliff Burton.
    • Dave Mustaine, after being replaced by Kirk Hammett, made an entire career out of making sure he would never be a Pete Best.
  • Within Megadeth itself, there is Greg Handevidt and Dijon Carruthers, not much is known about them. To a degree, Kerry King of Slayer counts, as he performed with Megadeth during some of its earlier shows but left to commit to Slayer.
  • Only two of the Spice Girls (Posh and Scary) were in the group from the very start to the very end. Ginger, Sporty and Baby got there before the group recorded anything, but they did replace previous members.
  • Pink Floyd has some shining examples, often unfamiliar even to ardent fans of their early work. Accomplished guitarist Bob Klose was pressured into leaving by his father and college tutors less than a year before they got their record deal. Vocalists Keith Noble and Clive Metcalfe left to form their own band two years before that. And their replacement, Chris Dennis, was also an RAF technician and got posted overseas.
    • Meanwhile, Syd Barrett has been granted an aversion of this. Although he was fired after their first album due to Creator Breakdown, they had some decent pop success with that record, and after he left the band, he recorded two well received solo records. The fact that the band wouldn't stop writing songs about him probably helped as well.
  • Quick, name any member of Iron Maiden's pre-Number Of The Beast line up (excluding Steve Harris and Dave Murray). If you're big fan, you might remember Paul Di'Anno, but the rest are downright obscure. There's also Clive Burr, who recorded that album, but is not as remembered as his Crazy Awesome replacement Nicko McBrain.
    • In fact, Iron Maiden had quite a few different lineups before finally getting a record deal and bringing out an album. Paul Di'Anno? He's their third singer. It does help that Maiden brought out "The Early Days" DVD, which chronicles the first eight years of their career and all the different musicians that were in the band until they settled on their most "Classic" lineup with Piece of Mind.
    • YMMV may vary on all that, as there are many who prefer the earlier versions of the band. Especially with Clive Burr, who may actually be the single best musician to pass through that band.
  • Visual-kei band Malice Mizer recorded one album with their original lead singer, Tetsu (which is farther than they got with their original drummer, Gaz, who was replaced after one SONG); however, they had their biggest successes when Gackt was brought in, and modern fans are more likely to remember him or HIS replacement, Klaha, before they remember the original.
  • Guns N' Roses' name comes from Axl Rose and Tracii Guns, and the names of their previous bands, Hollywood Rose and L.A. Guns, respectively. But the latter didn't last long in the band, being replaced by Slash after missing a rehearsal (Guns eventually reformed L.A. Guns and had minor success later in the 1980's). As well, the other two members of L. A. Guns who founded the band, Ole Beich and Rob Gardner, were replaced by Duff McKagan and Steven Adler, respectively. The only founding members of G'n'R that remained by the time the band hit the big time were Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin, which gives a touch of irony to the fans' upset about Axl's firing the "original" band members between 1994 and 1997.
    • It does lend a fair bit of insight into Axl's stance on the matter. In his eyes all the band members besides Izzy were hired hands in his band while from the perspective of the other members it was a five-way equal partnership until Axl started taking over.
  • The original bassist of The Sex Pistols, Glen Matlock, was replaced by Sid Vicious after the release of their first two singles. However, Glen Matlock wrote their third single "Pretty Vacant", but it only got into the charts after he had been chucked out of the band. When the band reunited in 1996, however, Matlock returned to the fold and has remained with the band ever since.

Johnny Rotten: "He wanted us to be more the Beatles"

  • George Johnston was the original drummer for April Wine. He and the band parted ways shortly before they hit it big.
  • The Dixie Chicks originally consisted of Martie Maguire, Emily Irwin Robison, Robin Lynn Macy and Laura Lynch, the latter two of whom split lead vocal duties until Macy left in 1993. By the time they signed with Sony's Monument Records, Lynch was replaced by Natalie Maines, with whom the band had its mainstream success.
  • Black metal band Mayhem has Manheim, their original drummer who is only heard on their first EP, Deathcrush, after which he was replaced with the much-better-known Hellhammer.
    • Someone named Messiah did vocals on a few tracks of that EP.
  • Progressive Metal band Dream Theater has Charlie Dominici, the singer on their debut album. He was dropped from the band because he wanted to pursue a hair metal style while the rest of the band wanted to pursue a progressive metal style and was replaced with James LaBrie (who ironically started his career with a hair band), and the band promptly recorded Images and Words, their most successful album ever.
    • Dominici himself was preceded by Chris Collins, who sang only on a few of the band's early demos.
  • John Kiffmeyer/Al Sobrante played drums on the first Green Day album 39/Smooth, left for college and was replaced by Tré Cool, with the band on the way to stardom soon after. The only song he ever wrote was "I Was There".
  • Blink-182's first drummer was Scott Raynor, who played on most of their early releases, including their first two albums and their early hit single "Dammit (Growing Up)". Raynor left before recording Enema of the State and was replaced by former Aquabats drummer Travis Barker. Enema of the State wound up being the album where Blink 182 went from being another 90's pop-punk also-ran into one of the most popular rock bands in the United States.
  • Steve Peregrin Took left Tyrannosaurus Rex about one album before Marc Bolan renamed the band T.Rex and found massive commercial success. Took outlived Bolan by a few years, but he's best remembered in rock lore for his death certificate listing his C.O.D. as "asphyxiation from choking on a cocktail cherry".
  • Mark Wakefield used to be the lead singer of an obscure, LA-based rap-rock band named Xero. He got fed up with their lack of success and left to become the manager for Taproot. A new lead singer and two name changes later, "lack of success" would not be something you'd describe the band with.
    • Linkin Park's bassist for the debut album Hybrid Theory wasn't Dave "Phoenix" Farrell, who was on hiatus and rejoined them during the first tour. Only the most diehard fans could tell you that it was actually Scott Koziol and Ian Hornbeck who performed bass on the album.
  • Lee Keczmarek was the founding member and original bassist of what would eventually become Cold Chisel (but was at the time called "Orange"). He left over a dispute about transitioning from being a cover band to playing original songs (Keczmarek was against it) and was replaced by Phil Small—Cold Chisel later went on to be arguably the biggest rock band in Australia ever.
  • Signe Anderson sang for Jefferson Airplane on their first album, but was replaced by Grace Slick for Surrealistic Pillow.
  • David Ruffin replaced Al Bryant of The Temptations. Ruffin ended up singing some of the group's most memorable hits, "My Girl" included.
  • Destiny's Child. The original members were Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland, LaTavia Robertson, and LeToya Luckett. Around 2000, the video for "Say My Name" premiered, without Robertson or Luckett. They had been replaced by Farrah Franklin (who left the group shortly afterward) and Michelle Williams. Luckett and Robertson sued the manager and the other group members. The majority of people remember Destiny's Child as having Beyonce, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams, in descending order.
  • Most fans of the Melodic Death Metal band Arch Enemy are unfamiliar with the band's original vocalist, Johan Liiva, who was fired by the band for his lack of energy during live performances. They hired Angela Gossow and went on to achieve international success.
  • Ian Stewart was fired about a year before The Rolling Stones released their debut album at the behest of their manager because he apparently disliked the fact that the band had a keyboardist (or the fact that Ian's big, burly frame contrasted with the image he was trying to form for the band). Stewart gracefully accepted a demotion to the band's driver and later The Sixth Ranger, playing keyboards on all their albums (except Beggars Banquet) and most of their tours until his death in 1985.
  • Sad/extremely inconvenient example: Right after the release of Crossfade's debut album, Brian Geiger left the band due to a persistent shoulder injury. To add insult to said injury, their first single "Cold" was starting to get a lot of national radio play, which led to their mainstream success... and to this day, many fans believe that his replacement and the current drummer, James Branham was the one who laid the drum tracks on the album.
  • Ask anyone who the original members of Stratovarius were, and they'll probably say Timo Kotipelto, Timo Tolkki, Jens Johansson, Jari Kainulainen and Jörg Michael. (If they're particularly big fans they'll know that Timo Kotipelto didn't join until four albums in). Virtually no one will say Tuomo Lassila, Staffan Stråhlman and John Vihervä, who were the founding members of Black Water, the original name for the band. Additionally, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who remembers Jyrki Lentonen (second bass guitarist, replaced John Vihervä in 1984), Jari Behm (third bass guitarist, replaced Jyrki Lentonen in 1989), Antti Ikonen (original keyboardist, joined in 1988) or Sami Kuoppamäki (replaced Tuomo Lassila on drums and played for one year before being replaced by Jörg Michael). Katriina "Miss K" Wiiala (temporary vocalist, replaced Timo Kotipelto in 2004 before being replaced by Kotipelto again) and Anders Johansson (replaced Jörg Michael on drums in 2004 before being replaced by Jörg again) are usually not remembered for quite different reasons.
  • The Who had a drummer before Keith Moon came along named Doug Sandom. Before that they had Colin Dawson, the lead singer whose departure lead rhythm guitarist Roger Daltrey to take up the vocals himself.
  • Prog-rock band Yes subverts, inverts, and generally twists this trope around in mind-warping ways. Only one member has been consistent from its founding, bassist Chris Squire; and no more than 2 consecutive albums have ever had exactly the same lineup. This resulted in several "eras" in Yes's output, each one gaining and losing fans with it's changes in style and sound; with the second keyboardist, Rick Wakeman (who replaced Tony Kaye), both credited with catapulting Yes to superstardom, and blamed for later dragging the band down with his overblown electronic noodling.[1] After his hiatus, Wakeman returns to revive a band sliding into cult status after losing popularity to the burgeoning Grunge movement; once again replacing original keyboardist Tony Kaye. In the meantime, side project Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, and Howe was credited as a return to Yes's original and popular sound; although it remained a bit more obscure. Yes does have some straight examples in guitarist Pete Banks, who left after the second album and was replaced by Steve Howe, and in drummer Bob "Tub Thumper" Hagger (replaced by Bill Bruford) and secondary guitarist Clive Bayley (not replaced) who left while the group was still called Mabel Greer’s Toy Shop. Bruford attempted to become a prime example himself, leaving to go to university just as the renamed group’s star was starting to ascend. However, replacement drummer Tony O’Reily became their most obscure example, struggling in the role until the rest of the band successfully petitioned Bruford to return.
  • No Doubt was founded in 1986 by lead vocalist John Spence and keyboardist Eric Stefani, who filled out their lineup with Eric's younger sister Gwen (backing vocals), Jerry McMahon (guitar), Chris Leal (bass), Gabe Gonzalez (trumpet), Chris Webb (drums), Kevin Wells (trombone), and Alan and Tony Meade (backing vocals/trumpet and saxophone, respectively). By the time they made their first album, Gwen was the lead singer and the familiar lineup of bassist Tony Kanal, guitarist Tom Dumont, and drummer Adrian Young were already in were Eric Stefani, saxophonist Eric Carpenter, trumpeter Don Hammerstedt, and trombonist Alex Henderson (actually the third trombonist, with Paul Caseley bridging the gap between Wells and Henderson). If none of these guys sounds familiar to you, it's because their first album was considered a flop by the record company, and their second album had current touring members Gabrial McNair and Stephen Bradley replacing Hammerstedt and Henderson; Eric Stefani was still a member at the time but left shortly after the group made it big.
  • Most people know Brian Johnson is not the original singer of ACDC, but fewer know that it is not Bon Scott either, but Dave Evans. Similarly, Judas Priest's original singer is NOT Rob Halford but Al Atkins. There's a ton of members of Anthrax just about no one knows, for example: Joey Belladonna is the band's FOURTH singer.
  • Country-pop band Restless Heart lost lead singer Verlon Thompson before the first single and replaced him with Larry Stewart, who held that role into the 1990s. Although he left in 1991 (with three of the other four members trading lead vocals until a mid-1990s disbanding), the band reunited in 1998 and again in 2004, both times with Larry again on lead vocals.
  • Buffy Lawson, lead vocalist of the duo Bomshel (fiddler/backing vocalist Kristy Osmonson being the other member), split over Creative Differences. At the time, the duo had little to show for themselves: three cuts from an EP had all charted, plus a soundtrack cut from Evan Almighty, but they still didn't have a full album. Kelly Sheppard took over on lead vocals, and after two false starts, finally got two Top 40 hits and a full album with Osmonson, Sheppard and three new producers. Obviously, the four singles that Buffy sang lead on were not included, and except for "Bomshel Stomp", those songs are now Canon Discontinuity.
  • When you think of The Oak Ridge Boys, do you picture four old-looking guys, one of whom has a Badass Beard that the guys in ZZ Top would envy? That guy, William Lee Golden, joined the group in 1964 as baritone vocalist. The most familiar lineup, which also includes tenor Joe Bonsall, lead singer Duane Allen and Basso Profundo Richard Sterban (the guy who did the "giddyup, ba oom papa oom papa mow mow" that everyone remembers from "Elvira"), didn't come to be until the early 1970s, just before the band began having country music success (they had been a gospel group since the 1940s, and even won a Grammy in their gospel era). The original lead vocalist was Wally Fowler, who left to become a preacher; Smitty Gatlin later took over before Allen joined in 1966.
  • Alabama had three different drummers: Bennett Vartanian until 1976, then Jackie Owen for a few months, then Rick Scott until 1979, when their most famous drummer, Mark Herndon, took over. Then only a year later, the band broke through with their big hit "Tennessee River".
  • David Hodges, former keyboardist for Evanescence, left the band four months before Fallen, the album that brought it into the mainstream, was released.
  • If you ask most people to name the members of Deep Purple, they'll call Ian Gillan the singer and Roger Glover the bassist, because they filled those positions during the most popular incarnation of the band. The original lead singer was Rod Evans and the bassist was Nick Simper.
    • In the 1980s, Rod Evans was sued for continuing to perform under the Deep Purple name. This is at a time when the "Mark II lineup" reunion was still in the rumor stage.
  • Sigur Rós's original drummer, Ágúst Ævar Gunnarsson, left the band after creating two albums and was replaced by Orri Páll Dýrason—it was only with the next two albums that they made it big outside of their native Iceland.
  • Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran wasn't the band's first frontman. He wasn't even the second or third. The band went through numerous personnel changes between 1978 and 1980, the year the "fab five" lineup gelled. The band's first ever lineup was Stephen "Tin Tin" Duffy on main vocals, Simon Colley on bass and occasional clarinet, John Taylor (as Nigel John Taylor) on lead guitar, Nick Rhodes (as Nick Bates) on keyboard, and a drum machine. Then Stephen and Simon left because they wanted to be in a more rock & roll band and was replaced with Andy Wickett and then Jeff Thomas on lead vocals, John switched over to bass after Simon left and got Alan Curtis to be on lead guitar (at which point Roger Taylor joined the band), then Jeff and Alan left, they put out an ad in the Melody Maker (a British music magazine) for a "high wire guitarist", got Andy Taylor that way, and only after that did Le Bon (a drama student) join the band. The band even recorded a demo which included an early version of "Girls on Film" in 1979 when Andy Wickett was lead vocalist.
  • Sepultura started with Max Cavalera on guitar and another singer, Jairo Guedes. Guedes left and Cavalera took over the vocals. Then they hired a second guitarist, Wagner Lamounier, who played in their debut album, but quit after getting tired of Death Metal. Andreas Kisser arrived, and a few years later they were really popular outside their native Brazil.
  • For Red Hot Chili Peppers, it's anyone who played in the band other than the four originals (Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Halel Slovak and Jack Irons - though this formation only played for an album and an EP, with Slovak appearing in another album) and the most well-known formation (Kiedis, Flea, John Frusciante and Chad Smith). Dave Navarro doesn't count.
  • Genesis had a whole series of these. Taken in reverse order, the completion of their first "real" album, Trespass, saw the departure of drummer John Mayhew, so they put an ad in Melody Maker and Phil Collins responded. Guitarist Anthony Phillips also left at this juncture to pursue a prolific but obscure solo career, and was replaced by Steve Hackett. Mayhew [2] replaced his predecessor, John Silver, a few months after their actual debut album was released (the largely disregarded From Genesis to Revelation), and about a month after they went pro. And Silver was himself the replacement for their founding drummer, Chris Stewart, who had performed on their first two singles and all the early demos. Plus, while hardly obscure, Peter Gabriel deserves honorary mention: far more fans will have experienced the group with Phil Collins in the lead vocal spot, and many have noted how Collins sounds more like Gabriel than Gabriel did.
  • Matt Pelissier was My Chemical Romance's drummer for two albums until 2004, when the lead singer's drinking and discord within the band (such as the guitarist's opinion of his skills) led him to quit. This was literally days before the band was scheduled to film the music video for "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)". An old friend of the band and manager, who worked as a sound guy for The Used during a previous joint tour, agreed to join and flew out overnight. Bob Bryar is the viking guy in all of their videos and promos up until Danger Days: The True Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys.
  • Panic! at the Disco went from four teenagers in a garage to touring without playing a single live show. The original bassist, Brent Wilson, left the group after realizing that it wasn't right for him. A guitar tech and friend of the band, Jon Walker, was the much-loved replacement.
  • The wilfully genre-defying Australian cult group Crime And The City Solution is subject to a particularly extreme and bizarre version of this trope in that their original line-up was most likely never even recorded, while their second only released one song ("Moments") on a cassette magazine in 1980. Five years later, the group was reconstituted with a line-up including several ex-members of The Birthday Party (with only founding vocalist Simon Bonney returning from the original lineups), after which they went on to release six albums and tour relentlessly before disbanding in 1993. Most fans do not even know that there was a version of the band prior to 1985, let alone who was in it.
  • The Fall subvert and pervert this trope even more than Yes, having gone through at least fifty different members, many of whom only held their positions for a single album or tour. Played straight or almost straight on several occasions, however, most notably with the replacement of original drummer "Dave"[3] with multi-instrumentalist Karl Burns in early 1977. Burns remained with the group in various capacities until the late 1990s, and is generally regarded as the group's best drummer.
  • Wire, a band later renowned for their "anorexic" post-punk sound, initially had a wildly self-indulgent lead guitarist in one George Gill. He even wrote most of their material for a while. This didn't last; he was kicked out in February 1977. And, to add insult to injury, by the end of their first gig without him, they were on record. Specifically, the epochal punk compilation Live At The Roxy WC2. Needless to say: Ouch.
  • Annette Zilinskas played the bass and harmonica on The Bangles' eponymous 1982 EP, but left the band before they signed with Columbia Records.
  • Erich Awalt, a singer who could be best described as a cross between Phil Anselmo, Lajon Witherspoon and Burton Bell was a singer of a little metal band from Chicago called Brawl (a temporary name in every respect). In the band's words, "He bailed on us" which would lead to them hiring the mic-slinger who would give them their true name, David Draiman. The rest is history.
  • Swans, a band notorious for its line-up changes, generally held over at least a few members from the previous incarnation, with older ones popping in perennially. Now look at their first release... No, not Filth. The self-titled EP they released in 1982. Now ask yourself: Who is Daniel Galliduani, the one on the sax? Or Bob Pezzola, the guitarist? Answers have slowly surfaced: Galliduani played with drummer Jonathan Kane as Transmission in the 1970s, later becoming a respected photographer; Pezzola was a teenage tagalong, recruited from an obscure NYC outfit called Phosphorus. And he wasn't the first; Glenn Branca acolyte Sue Hanel was. And more interesting yet, the bass playing, prior to the arrival of Harry Crosby, was a shared effort between the band's leader Michael Gira and a then little-known guitarist named Thurston Moore.
  • For a brief period in the early 1970's, Aerosmith featured guitarists Joe Perry and Ray Tabano. Tabano, a childhood friend of Steven Tyler's, was soon replaced by Brad Whitford.
    • Joey Kramer would have been this if Aerosmith had not been successful, because the band he left to join Aerosmith eventually had a couple of gold records as Tavares. Likewise, that band's keyboardist was eventual P-Funk member Bernie Worrell.
  • In the band Black Eyed Peas, Kim Hill was the female vocalist when they released their debut album in 1998. By 2000, however, she left and in 2001 she was replaced by Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson. Very few people remember Kim Hill. Some claim it is a case of Unfortunate Implications, since Hill was black and Fergie is white.
  • Back when Kiss was still called Wicked Lester, the band actually consisted of Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss (in its final lineup) and Ron Leejack as a lead guitarist. The latter resigned for undisclosed reasons and the group went to hire Ace Frehley, went through a name change, and the rest is history... a history that, unfortunately, doesn't involve Ron Leejack at all.
  • Sugarland started as a trio with Jennifer Nettles (lead vocals) Kristian Bush (background vocals, mandolin, guitar) and Kristen Hall (background vocals, guitar). Hall left after the first album, with Nettles and Bush carrying on as a duo. The three studio albums they've done as a duo have moved their sound in several different directions, and generally gotten more critical acclaim than their (also fine) first album.
  • Original Def Leppard second guitarist Pete Willis was replaced by Phil Collen for their breakthrough Pyromania album after his heavy drinking problems started interfering with the band, however Willis later said that getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to him.
    • Tony Kenning was a member of the band very early on, and he was the one who suggested the band modify its spelling from "Deaf Leopard" to what it is today. However, he left before the band's debut album was recorded.
  • Nigel Olssen left Uriah Heep before they hit major success, but catching on with Elton John's band and having two solo hit singles of his own was probably more than consolation.
  • Supertramp recorded two poorly-selling albums in their native England. Then the two songwriters relocated to Los Angeles, formed a new band under the Supertramp name, and met with huge success in the late 1970s. One of their abandoned British former members later resurfaced as King Crimson's lyricist in their Larks' Tongues in Aspic era.
  • Uli Jon Roth left Scorpions in 1978, in a mutual disagreement over the band's direction: he favored experimentalism, the others favored commercialism. Both got what they wanted.
  • Don't you forget about the many of these that passed through Simple Minds in their early years.
  • Henry Padovani, replaced by Andy Summers before the recording of The Police's first album.
    • According to most accounts, he took getting fired better than Sting and Stewart Copeland took having to fire him. He was more of a "punk" guitarist (i.e., he couldn't play), and went on to several other bands. He even joined the band onstage at one show during their reunion tour.
  • John Curulewski was the lead guitarist on the first several Styx albums, which were moderately successful. When he could no longer tour, Tommy Shaw was recruited as a replacement. Shaw's presence led to a series of platinum-selling albums that made the band a household name.
  • Who really remembers Spinal Tap's first 18 or so drummers?
  • Dennis Travis was part of a band called Trojan Rubber Company (or The Space Brothers), and was replaced with Mark Stone when they renamed themselves Mammooth. Stone was kicked out because of being too comitted to school and was replaced with Michael Anthony around the same time Mammooth was rechristened Van Halen...
  • Marillion were gigging for a year under the name Silmarillion with Doug Irvine on vocals (and bass) before they hired Fish and shortened the name. Or, if you prefer, Marillion had a Scottish frontman for eight years before Steve Hogarth joined the band in 1989...
  • For reasons that are still undisclosed, Weezer's original rhythm guitarist, Jason Cropper, left the band in 1993, just as they were recording their self-titled debut. He was quickly replaced by Brian Bell, who's been with the band ever since. In fact, the turnover happened so quickly that Brian Bell isn't on the first album either (though he's credited and he's on the cover) - Rivers Cuomo had to play all the guitar parts himself in order to get the album finished on time. Cropper is credited with co-writing "My Name Is Jonas" (he came up with it's signature acoustic guitar riff), and demos he played on can be heard on the deluxe edition of the first album. He's had sporadic involvement with music since, and is apparently still friends with the band.
  • The drummer for the proto-Steely Dan band The Leather Canary was Chevy Chase. Chase presents an interesting variation of this trope: he didn't become famous as the drummer for Steely Dan, but he arguably became just as famous as the band in another field, comedy.
  • The Birthday Massacre had a keyboard player called Dank who left quite early on in the band's career. Owen, the current keyboard player, is much more well-known.
  • Drummer Simon Wolstencroft is one of these twice over. He was the drummer for The Patrol, a group which became The Stone Roses after he left it. He then joined another Manchester band called Freak Party, which he later left because he thought their new singer was awful. The singer was Steven Morrissey and Freak Party soon became The Smiths. Wolstencroft eventually found a steady job as one of The Fall's two drummers, a gig which lasted almost a decade.
  • Wayne Coyne wasn't the first frontman of The Flaming Lips - originally Wayne's brother Mark Coyne handled vocals. Before their first full-length album, Mark got married and left the band, and he hasn't been involved with music since. The only thing they released while he was part of the band was a self-titled EP, but their box set Finally The Punk Rockers Are Taking Acid included several demos and live tracks featuring his singing (mainly cover songs and early versions of songs that would end up on the first album).
  • Jim Pennell, bassist for Da Yoopers, left just before their Signature Song "Second Week of Deer Camp" took off. He was replaced by Joe DeLongchamp for a short time, then Dave "Doc" Bradbury, then Reggie Lusardi, who has held that post the longest (since at least 1998).
  • Marilyn Manson has their fair share. When Antichrist Superstar was released in 1996, the band was on their third bassist, second guitarist, second keyboardist, and second drummer.
  • Andy Creeggan was only on a couple albums for Barenaked Ladies, but apparently is fine with his obscure status, as he was uncomfortable with fame.
  • In the 1960s, Billy Gibbons was part of The Moving Sidewalks, along with three other guys. Once two of them were drafted for the US Army, he brought a different bassist to a new project, which he called ZZ Top and recorded a single in 1970, "Salt Lick". The bassist was replaced, and then in 1971 both the bassist (Bill Ethridge) and the drummer (Dan Mitchell) were replaced by Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, which have been in the band ever since.
  • Bruce Slesinger [a.k.a. "Ted"] on Drums and Carlos Cadona [a.k.a. "6024"] on Rhythm Guitar for Dead Kennedys.
  • Carcass was originally a trio composed of Bill Steer on guitar, Ken Owen on drums, and Sanjiv on vocals. After Sanjiv left the band, Bill Steer and the newly-hired bassist, Jeff Walker, split vocal duties.
  • Opeth was originally a straight-up Death Metal band founded by vocalist David Isberg. Isberg quit the band in 1992—two years before the debut album, Orchid, was released. Mikael Akerfeldt, who was the bassist at the time, took over Isberg's vocal duties and moved the band in a more prog-oriented direction.
  • Jimmy Stokley was the lead vocalist of Exile only during their somewhat brief and not-too-fruitful pop career ("Kiss You All Over"). They were far more successful as a country-rock band led by Les Taylor.
  • Nickelback was originally Chad Kroeger, Mike Kroeger, Ryan Peake, and Brandon Kroeger (the brothers' cousin) Brandon was later replaced by Ryan Vikedal who was replaced by Daniel Adair before the release of All the Right Reasons.
  • Ian van Dahl's signature debut "Castles in the Sky" was originally sung by Marsha, but for the album version and all subsequent songs, Annemie Coenen took over vocals.
  • While Jethro Tull has had so many members come and go it would be pointless to name them all, special mention goes to the guitarist. Tull fans recognize Martin Barre as the lead guitarist, but on the groups first album it was blues guitarist Mick Abrams in the role. Abrams wanted the band to remain blues-rock but Anderson wanted to write in other styles. Abrams decided to quit the band and Barre was hired and has been with the band every since. Fun fact: Black Sabbath guitarist Tommy Iommi toured with the band in the time between Abrams departure and Barre's hiring.
  • In the late eighties, Niall Quinn sang lead for a four-piece band called The Cranberry Saw Us (say it quickly) in Ireland. He left within a year and the other band members started looking for a replacement. They found one with Dolores O'Riordan. Shortly after she joined, the band's name was shortened to The Cranberries.
  • Rare case of the one who started the band becoming The Pete Best: In 1990–1991, Atlanta, Georgia, teenager Crystal Jones put out a call for two more girls to join her in a trio to be called 2nd Nature. Then came singer Tionne Watkins and rapper Lisa Lopes. After getting a manager, who renamed them TLC, they had an audition to get a record deal. They passed on the condition of replacing Jones - and with Rozonda Thomas (nicknamed "Chili" so the acronym would still work) they sold millions worldwide.
  • Glyn Jones, the original lead singer for Arctic Monkeys, quit the band shortly after their 2002 formation, leading to guitarist Alex Turner becoming the group's lead singer.

Multiple Media

  • This phenomenon can also happen when a movie is adapted for a television series; for instance, more people recognize Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy the Vampire Slayer than they do Kristy Swanson.
  • Alan Alda is more identified as Hawkeye Pierce than Donald Sutherland. This goes for most of the cast of M*A*S*H. This is helped by the fact that most of the TV cast of M*A*S*H face a certain amount of I Am Not Spock while many of the actors from the film are famous in their own right.
  • Similar to the Buffy example above, how many people remember Kurt Russell as Jack O'Neil in Stargate as opposed to Richard Dean Anderson's Jack O'Neill in Stargate SG-1?
    • O'Neill himself does, actually. When spelling his name in one episode he mentions that there's also a Jack O'Neil who is far grumpier. On the other hand, many people can go from James Spader in the movie to Michael Shanks at the beginning of the series and not notice the change in actor.
  • Gummo Marx.
  • Insane Clown Posse originally appeared in promotional photographs with a third member, John Kickjazz. (This is how Violent J spells his name in "Behind The Paint" - fan sites call him 'Kickchass'.) By the time "Carnival of Carnage" was completed, John was nowhere to be found.
    • Likewise, though Shaggy 2 Dope was already a member of the gang/group, Violent J initially shared lyrical duties on the Inner City Posse's album "Intelligence and Violence" with an otherwise unknown individual named D-Lyrical. J admits in his book that he could've cared less about D-Lyrical, who happened to be a kid with a tape recorder. As one would suspect, J used him for the sake of that one album and never spoke to him again.

Professional Wrestling

  • Legendary WWE tag-team Demolition is best known as Bill "Ax" Eadie and Barry "Smash" Darsow—but Darsow was not the original Smash. No, in their first couple of matches, Smash was Randy Culley, better known as Moondog Rex. Culley was replaced in the team because too many fans recognized him from his former role, and chanted "Moondog" for him. His distinctive mustache didn't help matters (and really made the Demolition facepaint look silly on him).
    • It should be noted that the gimmick was Culley's idea in the first place, so he got kicked out of his own creation only to see it reach stardom.
  • The promos for NXT season 3 advertised Vickie Guerrero mentoring a 6 foot 9 beast known as Aloisa (indie wrestler Isis the Amazon). However WWE officials discovered Aloisa had erotic photos online and removed her from the competition to replace her with the unknown Kaitlyn. Of course Kaitlyn ended up winning the season.
  • The infamous Mickie James/Trish Stratus Stalker with a Crush storyline was written by Mickie herself but it was written with Lita in mind, Lita having acted as Mickie's mentor down in OVW. However when Mickie was called up Lita was out with an ACL injury and the angle was rewritten for Trish Stratus instead. It is now considered one of the best feuds in diva history.


  • American Country Countdown: While a Garfunkel (Kix Brooks, of the former country duo Brooks and Dunn) currently hosts ACC, the show also had its Pete Best – Don Bowman, the original host of this American Top 40 spinoff. Bowman – a comedian, disc jockey and songwriter – did a very credible job as host, but he was all but forgotten by the 1980s, well after the show's best-known host (Bob Kingsley) took the helm. (Bowman hosted from 1973-April 1978; Kingsley was host from May 6, 1978 – December 24, 2005; and Brooks since January 21, 2006.)
  • When The Goon Show began in 1951 as Crazy People Michael Bentine starred alongside Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe. Bentine also appeared in the low-budget Goon Show spinoff movie Down Among the Z-Men, but left the show soon after. According to one interview, Milligan fired him for suggesting the show would work better without Milligan, who created and mostly wrote it.
    • Because so few recordings of early series remain, most of the show's fans, who only discovered it later, will also be unfamiliar with Bentine's character Osric Pureheart, an inventor and adventurer, who was usually a very important character in the scripts of the first and second series.
    • The show's original announcer Andrew Timothy also left early in the show's run, claiming that the surreal humour was damaging his sanity.
  • The Burkiss Way's female cast member Denise Coffey left after one season, to be replaced by Jo Kendall from I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again. Coffey returned when the show was adapted for television as the short-lived End of Part One.


  • A common occurrence for many modern Broadway shows is for them to start Off-Broadway, then if they find success there, moving to Broadway, typically with most of the original cast and crew. The cast members who are replaced almost always become this:
    • Brian d'Arcy James, who originated the role of Dan in Next to Normal Off-Broadway, was the only cast member to not move with the show to Broadway, being replaced by J. Robert Spencer, who promptly got a Tony nomination and a whole lot of notoriety.
    • Contrary to popular belief, Andrea McArdle was not the first to play Annie in the musical. She was the first Broadway Annie, and replaced Kristin Vigard, who played her in the Goodspeed Opera House previews before the show went to Broadway.
  • Jules Bledsoe introduced "Ol' Man River" as Joe in the original Broadway production of Show Boat. Paul Robeson would play that part (which consists of little more than the famous song and its reprises) in the 1928 London production, the 1932 Broadway revival, and the 1936 film version (for which he got a Movie Bonus Song). Robeson was the most famous black dramatic actor of his day, and Bledsoe was really not a good actor, so it's no wonder whose performance was regarded as definitive.
  • Paul Hecht originated the role of John Dickinson in the musical 1776 - but it was Donald Madden, who took over the role on Broadway, who went on to star in the film version and create the definitive Dickinson. The same thing happened with John Cullum, actually the third Rutledge on Broadway, who played the role the longest and went on to recreate the role for the film.
  • An interesting example is the role of Sally in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. The original 1967 production didn't even feature the character, with Patty (not Peppermint Patty) instead. Patty eventually got Demoted to Extra in the Peanuts universe, and by the time of the 1999 Broadway production was largely forgotten. She was replaced with Sally, who was a good fit for Kristin Chenoweth, complete with an extremely catchy solo, and she won the Supporting Actress Tony. Meanwhile, Patty's been almost nearly forgotten.

Video Games

Web Comics

  • Kairi in Ansem Retort, namely, the Show Within a Show Ansem Retort. She was killed off in the first season and replaced by Aerith, who more people associate with the show nowadays, especially since her wedding was broadcast on it.

Western Animation

  • Lacey Chabert was the original voice for Meg on Family Guy for about the first dozen episodes before being replaced by Mila Kunis. Combined with a bit of Characterization Marches On, Chabert's Meg was more of a softer voiced, younger sounding Daddy's Girl, while Kunis' slightly harsher voice was better suited to expressing Butt Monkey-related frustration and anger.
  • In the season three premier of Metalocalypse, there's a flashback of Dethklok signing its first contract. The rhythm guitarist there is not the current rhythm guitarist, Toki Wartooth.
  • The Simpsons - the voices of Moe Szyslak and Monty Burns were originated by Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer, right? Actually both characters were first voiced by Christopher Collins, aka Chris Latta, aka Cobra Commander and Starscream - but his part as Burns was only used in one episode ("Homer's Odyssey"), and none of his voice work as Moe was heard in any finished episode (he recorded all of Moe's lines in "Some Enchanted Evening", but Hank Azaria re-recorded the lines late in production, so Chris Latta is only heard as a TV presenter in that episode).
    • And it happens in-universe in "Homer's Barbershot Quartet," as the titular group drops Chief Wiggum in favor of Barney for being "too Village People." It should be noted that the episode was a completely intentional Beatles' career parody.
      • Also in "Team Homer", where Montgomery Burns muscles himself into the Pin Pals - alongside Homer, Moe, and Apu - just before the big final match against the Holy Rollers, forcing out original member Otto.
      • The same thing had happened to Otto before in "A Streetcar Named Marge", where director Llewellyn Sinclair took him out of the cast of "Oh! Streetcar!" just before the opening performance, replacing him in the part of Pablo with himself.
  • Karri Turner (of JAG fame) was originally intended to be the lead voice actress for South Park, but was let go in the time between the original pilot and the start of the series as it was felt that her voice wasn't distinct enough. Mary Kay Bergman went on to voice nearly all of the major female characters until her suicide in 1999, while Turner showed up briefly in a guest spot in the first season (voicing Kathie Lee Gifford).
  • Recess: T.J. is very well-known as being voiced by Andy Lawrence...even though Ross Malinger played him for the first thirteen episodes until his voice broke.
  • The pilot episode of Inspector Gadget was the only time Mona Marshall voiced Penny; the role being taken over by Cree Summer for the rest of the first season and Holly Berger in the second season.

Real Life

  • Ron Wayne co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. His 10% ownership in the company would be worth $22 billion today... if he hadn't sold his shares back to the Steves 12 days into the partnership for $800.
  • The supermarket chain Waitrose was started by three men—Waite, Rose and Taylor. Taylor left after a couple of years, and the business was renamed after the remaining two.


  • Several technologies have been adopted, then quickly replaced.
    • The SKS was the main service rifle of the Red Army after World War II... for less than 5 years before it would be replaced by the service rifle of the post WW2 Soviets, the AK47 [4]. The SKS would largely serve as a cheap export weapon with Chinese copies popular among civilians (the SKS's semi-auto only nature and fixed magazine made it easy to import to countries and states that would never allow a civilian to have even a semi-only version of the AK) while the AK47 was the AK47.
    • During World War II the US replaced the heavy, expensive and not entirely reliable in battlefield conditions M1 Thompson submachinegun (which is near universally known) with the M2 Hyde. The Hyde was quickly forgotten as it was itself quickly replaced by the also classic (though not as well known) M3 Grease Gun.


  • The four major North American pro sports leagues all had numerous franchises in their early years that went defunct. The Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Bulldogs, Frankford Yellow Jackets, Providence Steam Roller (all NFL), Baltimore Bullets (NBA) and Montreal Maroons (NHL) all had the distinction of winning league championships before going under.
  • In American intercollegiate sports, most of the BCS conferences (the top 6 leagues who have automatic bids in the football Bowl Championship Series) trace their roots to the late 19th/early 20th centuries, when college sports conferences were still loose affiliations of regional schools. When college sports started becoming Serious Business, some schools elected to de-emphasize their athletics programs and dropped out of what would eventually become the BCS leagues. Some are now members of the NCAA's lower profile divisions, others are in non-BCS Division I leagues. The most famous example is The University of Chicago leaving the Big Ten in 1940. Tulane and University of The South (aka Sewanee) were early members of the Southeastern Conference. Idaho and Montana were in what eventually evolved into the Pac-12. And the two forerunners of the current Big 12 (The Big 8 and Southwest conferences) once counted Drake, Grinnell, Houston, Rice, Southern Methodist, Texas Christian, Southwestern University, Washington University of St. Louis and the since-closed Phillips University as members.

  1. (The truth is that Yes wanted to start making use of synthesisers - Wakeman, as well as being one of the best keyboardists out there, had already used them extensively and was happy to help build their new sound, while Kaye stuck firmly to his Hammond organ. As for the noodling and fan disappointment, this was mostly tied up in the concept double album and accompanying tour Tales from Topographic Oceans, largely an Anderson/Howe work - Wakeman had next to no input, disliked the concept from the start, found recording and performing it tedious, and quit in disgust after the tour, wishing to avoid more of the same.)
  2. (also responding to a Melody Maker ad)
  3. Or "Steve"... His actual name was Steve Ormrod. He was a jazz session drummer, a "rabid Conservative", and had schizophrenia. He committed suicide by lying on the train tracks in Longsight, and letting the train run him over on Saturday August 20th 1994. He was in his 40s.
  4. which was itself quickly replaced by the AKM, but even among firearms enthusiasts non-Russians rarely distinguish the AK47 and AKM