Musical acts that changed styles after getting new members


Ron Pownall/Getty Images In cases when bands change members, it’s for the best. And often, the overall sound of the group changes. Not always for the better, but enough to bring critical and commercial success that had been lacking.

Here are some of the more notable bands (listed in alphabetical order) that changed their sound with the addition of new members — or repurposing those already in the group. In the late 1970s, Black Flag was a promising hardcore punk outfit amid the ever-growing Los Angeles and Southern California punk community. When lead singer Keith Morris quit in 1979, charismatic and lurching Henry Rollins eventually helped Black Flag become, perhaps, the most influential American hardcore punk band. Rollins had an aggressive and devoted stage presence, looking as if he was in pain and always ready to unleash his musical aggression. Thanks to Rollins’ wide musical influence, Black Flag went from a raw punk focus to offering elements of jazz and breakbeats, while playing longer, drawn-out songs as opposed to the frenetic pace of, say, the Ramones. It’s also known for its use of spoken word tracks , something that would become a staple of Rollins’ career.

For roughly a decade spanning the late 1960s and prior to the start of the ’80s, Chicago made a living as a highly talented rock band that fused, jazz, blues, and R&B. It was most notably known for its innovative brass section. However, after leader and guitarist, Terry Kath died from an accidental self-inflicted gun-shoot wound in 1978, and the 1980s rolled around, Chicago became a soft-rock band . The addition of keyboardist/vocalist Bill Champlin and producer David Foster’s growing influence on the mainstream, Top 40, pop sound made Chicago a lot of money with tunes still heard in dentist offices around the United States.

From its beginning in the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, Fleetwood Mac was a guitar-driven blues-rock band that also progressed some progressive tendencies . Then when Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined up prior to its 1975 eponymous album, Fleetwood Mac became a commercially pop-rock band. Buckingham’s songwriting was a big reason for the group’s consistent mainstream success that followed, but so was the personal tension within the band during the late 1970s and into the ’80s.

Here’s a case where it wasn’t the addition of new members, but the departures of vocalist Peter Gabriel and guitarist Steve Hackett that eventually allowed Genesis to shed its critically acclaimed but not-so commercially successful progressive rock sound . Drummer Phil Collins became the main vocalist (which was almost as important as adding a new member). And, the three-piece Genesis with Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks became a full-fledged pop-rock band that was in heavy rotation on Top 40 radio and MTV thanks to hits like "No Reply at All," "Invisible Touch," "Land of Confusion" and "I Can’t Dance."

It can be argued that the first two Maiden records with Paul Di’Anno had a more punk feel. Not completely, but enough to that when Bruce […]