10 pop bands that lost members but soldiered on

10 pop bands that lost members but soldiered onby David Hillier



Not only do S Club 7 perform the sort of sheeny, serotonin-drenched pop music to lift the mood of the saddest wake, but they are also pop’s great survivors.  Over the course of their career they’ve performed as a six-, four- and three-piece, and this spring Jo and Bradley are hitting Swansea’s illustrious Popworld nightclub as the ultimate S Club twosome.

In honour of their Brit-award winning single Don’t Stop Movin’ celebrating its 15th anniversary, we’re honouring the acts that didn’t let the departure of a member or five stop them from chasing that pop dream.

5ive (4our/3ree)

5ive were conceived as an edgier alternative to the schmaltzy ballad-heavy stylings of other pop bands of the time. They went on to sell 20 million records, which helped them Keep On Movin’ to a Brit Award for Best Pop Act.

They reunited twice as quartet before alighting on their current incarnation as a three-piece.  They still tour as 5ive, which seems a bit of a liberty. 

Blazin’ Squad 

Blazin’ Squad had 10 members on the cover of their debut album In The Beginning, but try naming anyone other than Kenzie. You can’t.

After encountering something of a Crossroads in his career post-Big Brother, Kenzie led a splinter band called Friday Hill. Their three members eventually rejoined Blazin’ Squad in 2009, who as a five-piece hit the vertiginous chart heights of 51 with the auto-tuned ballad Let’s Start Again.  


After winning Popstars, Hear’Say sold over half a million copies of their debut single and were A Proper Big Pop Deal.

This wasn’t enough for Kym Marsh, who left the group saying she didn’t vibe with fellow members Myleene Klass and Noel Sullivan. The band drafted in former backing dancer Johnny Shentall but, Pure And Simple, the magic had died and they only released one more single. 


Robbie Williams. Zayn Malik. Brian McFadden – all heroic pop gazelles that left their bands at their peak. To that list A1 aficionados would presumably add Paul Marazzi, who fled the band in 2002.

They’ve jogged on as a trio since – like a Same Old Brand New band, really – doing the reality TV circuit, releasing two further albums and coming second in Norway’s equivalent of Song For Europe. 

Destiny’s Child

Spare a thought for LaTavia Roberson and LeToya Luckett, original members of Destiny’s Child, who made the mistake of voicing displeasure at the influence of their manager.

Said manager was Beyoncé’s dad Richard Knowles who had them booted out of the band quicker than you could say Bug-A-Boo. They were replaced by Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin. Franklin would be phased out, with Williams left as survivor to complete the classic line-up.

East 17

East 17 have a chequered past and it’s been anything but a House Of Love for its four founding members: principal songwriter Tony Mortimer has left the band three times, Brian Harvey twice (strictly speaking he was kicked out the first time around after bragging about drugs on Radio 1).  The band’s last gig in 2015 saw them getting just 30 people along; most of whom presumably wished Mortimer or Harvey had Stayed Another Day.


Mis-Teeq are now best known as the trio that spawned professional foghorn Alesha Dixon, but they actually started life as a quartet. Zena McNally left the group just before the release of their debut album Lickin’ On Both Sides, a decision that proved itself to be Scandalous as the band went on to have a brace of top 10 albums. 


For any Eternal fan, the day when Louse Redknapp left is the day when it all changed – the band they wanted to last Always And Forever was changed irrevocably.  Fortunately the three remaining members actually smashed out a subsequent number one (I Wanna Be The Only One), and had a spell as a duo before they all (minus Redknapp) reformed for the inevitable Big Reunion tour.

So Solid Crew

The absolute daddies of survivors, who started out with 19 members and topped out somewhere around 30, despite losing members to prison, acting careers and reality TV. When 21 Seconds got to number one in 2001 it marked the commercial  peak of grime’s first wave and if anyone says otherwise, well, tell them that They Don’t Know jack. 

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