The band of the Coldstream Guards features no original members. Nor does Manchester United. Both are accepted by majority decision to be the real thing. Sugababes now have no original members. So are they Sugababes? It seems that they are.
In dance hall days there was an unspoken protocol. Bands were allowed by fans to soldier on as long they still had the legacy of at least one original member. And recourse to law has often decided just who owns an identity.
I researched this with some rigour. There is an example at http://www.wordmagazine.co.uk/content/bands-with-no-original-members of T Rex appearing, as the post says, ‘without an urn in sight’ . The Sugababe innovation is to apply the principal to a current big name. And hence to create brandband – or bandbrand. Bandbrand is a promise of a vibe. The folks on stage are employees. That’s fine for brands.
Just don’t expect to see Pink Floyd on stage in your old age. Something else is demanded of bands.
PS: since posting have read re Neil Mccormick in the Daily Telegraph, http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/culture/neilmccormick/100003474/sugababes-what-makes-a-band-a-brand/ He has uncovered the work of The Blind Boys of Alabama, gigging since 1939, undeterred by death. Also checked out www.sugababes.com. Someone should tell them.