5 Artists you thought were Solo Acts that are actually Bands

I’m a self-professed music snob, one that will check festival line-ups or get annoyed at someone calling a band a solo act.

So imagine my fury, with rumours of Florence and the Machine headlining Reading and Leeds that my fellow journalists were attributing the Florence Welch lead seven-piece as a solo act and not a band.

But even I am guilty of it…

Yes, even solo acts have bands, and frontmen and women of bands often steal the show, but here are five more bands that people – including myself once – think of as solo acts, but are actually bands.

La Roux

London synth-pop act La Roux burst onto the scene with the critically and commercially successful self-titled album in 2009. Top 30 singles, a number one and many award gongs later – the duo struggled to swiftly create a follow up.

Unsuccessful collaborations, falsely promised release dates, and reported conflict between the duo boiled over in 2012 with producer Ben Langmaid leaving the new wave tinged act.

Now technically a solo act again, no wonder journalists are confused. Elly Jackson released a second La Roux album in 2014 to little success.

Gnarls Barkley

The first song to top the UK Singles Charts on downloads alone, Crazy is the lead single from the 2006 collaboration of Cee Lo Green and Danger Mouse. The internet remembers otherwise, with “When did Cee Lo Green change his name from Gnarls Barkley” leading a wave of often-Googled questions around the project.

The real-sounding name of unknown origins certainly justifies confusion.

Now with Cee Lo Green on hiatus as a solo artists, its unlikely that Gnarls will be “getting the band together so to speak any time soon”.

Danger Mouse still produces and recently has worked with Run the Jewels and Adele.

Lukas Graham 

Okay, so get this? Remember Lukas Graham? Famed for their ageing song 7 Years? Who else thought they were a solo act?

Lukas Graham is a Danish pop and soul band named after their front man Lukas Forchhammer, to add to the confusion, the bands only two albums are self-titled.

Since their global prominence in 2015, the three-piece have most recently contributed to the soundtrack of a My Little Pony movie.

The band are apparently working on a new album according to their Twitter, but the account is only run by the frontman to add to the solo-band conundrum.


There was a time when New Zealand wasn’t the home of Lorde, Kimbra and Flight of the Conchords.

The latter half of the Nineties were a fertile breeding ground for one-hit wonders, open to all-genres. So up comes “How Bizarre”, a flamenco/Pacific influenced pop-rap track with two choruses and an Spanish guitar.

Maybe the male and female choruses are a giveaway that maybe they are a band, but no they are not band members.

Lead and assumed one-man band Pauly Fuemana was joined by hip-hop/R&B influenced producer Alan Jansson as a behind-the-scenes man.

Stardom didn’t last long, so the public didn’t really get the chance to learn about the fact they were a band, bar a brief reunion in the mid-2000s before Pauly’s early death at age 40.

Marilyn Manson 

Originally the journalist name of Brian Hugh Warner, pop culture icon Marilyn Manson formed his band as Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids, presumably to shock the public with the combination of actress Marilyn Monroe and murderer Charles Manson.

Now just Marilyn Manson, one has to wonder whether the man himself would have to go for another rebrand if he ever actually wanted to go it solo.

Glam. Alt. Metal. Industrial rock. The project has moved through almost as many genres as their cast of sixteen different members over the years.

Unlike other bands on this list, there is no hidden producers. Actual instrument playing members are in this band – Marilyn Manson, currently Tyler Bates – lead guitar, backing vocals and Gil Sharone – drums.

Any other bands you can think of that people mistake for solo acts? Join in the conversation @Fly_FM and @GreensmithAlex on Twitter

You can hear these bands occasionally, and more on Alex G and Charlotte C, every Monday 4-6 on Fly FM.


Featured Image: Caterina Mirra 

Alex Greensmith

Derbyshire-born, 18, join me on Friday Mornings 10-12 on Fly FM for a blend of New Music Friday and play-at-home fun and games. Including the elusive Footballer Or Pokemon. Tweet in @GreensmithAlex Past shows can be found here: https://www.mixcloud.com/GreensmithAlex/

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