|Going Solo to Hell in a Handbasket...5 Things....
|Rod Stewart, "Italian Girls"|
Thanks to nodressrehersal
for suggesting this topic....
When we think of group members turned solo artists successfully, we can start with John and Paul, of course, with George close behind and even Ringo enjoying success. But The Beatles, as in most matters in rock history, are sort of a law unto themselves. They're the exception that makes the rule. For every Sting or Todd Rundgren, there are other artists for whom leaving their original group was the worst decision of their careers.
Today we look at artists who decided to leave their original bands in order to further their own stardom as solo artists. The uniting feature of all these cases? These artists fell short of the glory, we might say. Their solo careers were at best mere shadows of their work with their original groups.
As always, I invite you to offer your own examples of such cases. Here are mine:
1) Tony Williams, The Platters - The lead singer on such timeless hits as "The Great Pretender," "Only You," and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" left the band in 1961 - and both he and the real group (ignore the 125 versions of the group playing oldies circuits) disappeared into the mists of rock history....
2) David Ruffin, The Temptations - Another lead singer whose decision to leave his group was ill advised - after a couple of solo hits, he drifted into drug abuse and became another of rock's forgotten stars.....
3) Rod Stewart, The Faces - Stewart's early solo work, begun before he joined The Faces, is genuinely brilliant and worthy of an artist of Stewart's considerable talents. But once he left The Faces, in love with his own success and celebrity, his work became spotty, and he has never scaled the artistic heights he reached in his early solo work or with The Jeff Beck Group or The Faces.
4) Roger Waters, Pink Floyd - the mind behind much of the work that made Pink Floyd THE FLOYD, Waters' insistence on acting like an insufferable ass to his band mates (considerable talents themselves) led to his leaving the group - and both Pink Floyd and Waters were never able to scale the heights again....
5) Roy Wood, The Move, ELO - Wood was one of those wonderful "mad scientist" sorts of geniuses - and with The Move he made some truly remarkable records - he even played for a brief time with The Electric Light Orchestra - but Wood was never able to stand success, evidently, and while ELO climbed the heights of rock success, he became a footnote....
|2007-06-27 12:06 (UTC)
Rod Stewart? Well VH1 writers may agree with you...
...I like this:http://www.rockhall.com/inductee/rod-stewart
Yes, ol' Rod did look totally ridiculous in leopard print tights (I cannot possibly call them pants). ;)
So...to my Bee Gees 'thing' I shall add Rod Stewart and Boney M (although looking at the videos now I cry with laughter).
Oh, and when I visited Denmark a few years ago with work I was amazed at the Party held on one night how popular Boney M was. It was the group played the most from their Juke Box. Great fun dancing to all those *disco* hits.
The best quote I ever heard about Rod went something like this: "If Rod Stewart had died in 1974, he'd be as revered as Jimi Hendrix. Perhaps his tragedy is that he didn't."
I do love his cover of "People Get Ready" with Jeff Back on guitar from about 15 years ago, though.... ;-)
1. Greg Allman. He recorded an LP with Cher. 'Nuff said.
2. Noel Redding. Tried fronting his own band, Fat Mattress. As if.
3. Does Mick Taylor count? If so, he probably oughta head the list.
4. Ian Anderson. Sans Tull, recorded a decent LP, "Walk Into Light." Anybody heard of it? Anybody know if he did anything else on his own?
5. Peter Wolf. I'm not sure if he was pushed or if he jumped from the J. Geils Band, but either way, his profile got as thin as a shadow afterward.
6. Bonus addition: Dave Mason.
Ian Anderson did some other solo albums, but I haven't heard them. I'm kinda wondering what the difference between his solo stuff and a Tull album would be. I'm pretty sure he's the only original member left, though I think the guitarist has been around almost since the start. It would make sense that Anderson would have almost complete control over what JT puts out, so what made him say "No, this is not a song for Jethro Tull." Does his solo stuff go in some radically different direction he thought would offend fans?
"Remain in Light" was from (gulp) 1983. Your comment got me curious, so I headed for the basement to check out the LP. There was another musician who played piano and synthesiser; Anderson played everything else, most notably drums/drum samples, guitar, bass and flute. Maybe that's why it was a solo album: because he wanted more musical control. I seem to recall reading once about Zappa liking the Synclavier so much for the same reason.
As for the songs on "Remain in Light," they struck me at the time as being very Tull-ish, but overall the music was more airy than JT (if that description makes any sense).
Is his guitarist still Martin Barre? If so, he goes back to "Stand Up," the group's second record. I think I like that record and "Benefit" best. I'm really showing my age here, eh?
Those are good choices, Pat. A couple of notes, of which you're probably aware:
1) Allman did a brilliant solo album called "Laid Back." Has a beautiful cover of Jackson Brown's "These Days." But his Cher period may cancel that out....
2) Mick Taylor - one can't blame him for leaving the Stones if even half of the stories of mania and excess he tells about the Glimmer Twins are true. He did play in a cool band with Jack Bruce for awhile...
3) Peter Wolf left of his own volition, if memory serves. I bet he wishes he hadn't....Faye Dunaway divorced him, too, so he got a double whammy....
Did one brilliant solo album back about 1972, called "Alone Together."Had the big hit "We Just Disagree" on it. But the rest of the time he was only a cult figure....
I remember the buzz about "Laid Back": I'd forgotten about that record. I never knew the story behind Taylor leaving the Stones, but I knew he'd played with Jack Bruce. Jack Bruce has played with everyone, hasn't he? One of my favorite Bruce-the-Musical-Mercenary tunes is "Something Else is Working Harder," from the Golden Palominos' "Blast of Silence."
But back to Taylor: Either I can't tell him from Keith, or Taylor always got buried in the mix. I think that's his solo at the end of "Bitch," for instance, and it's a good one, but I'm damned if I can think of another Taylor solo with the Stones. I think part of the reason I lament his leaving the Stones is because they replaced him with Ron Wood, which perhaps coincidentally -- in my opinion, anyway -- marked the start of the band's "going-through-the-motions" period, which continues to this day. But it's so lucrative, who can blame them?
I was a huge J. Geils fan: saw them five times. Peter Frampton, believe it or not, opened for Geils at the peak of his popularity, and the crowd just loved him. Just loved him. I feared the Bad Boys from Boston wouldn't be able to follow him, but they rocked the house: pulled a woman up from the audience, sat her at a table with Wolf in a nightclub scene, with Magic Dick the waiter (complete with towel over his arm) as Wolf did his white-boy-with-soul fast-chatter jive routine that led straight into "Orange Driver." Outstanding.
When I listened to Traffic it was hard not to concentrate on Steve Winwood, but Mason finally caught my attention with the solo at the end of "Fear Mr. Fantasy." I saw him on the "Split Coconut" tour but remember nothing about the show, sad to say.
Check out "Laid Back." Well worth your interest.
I prefer to think of Jack Bruce as more of a peripatetic musician than just a mercenary. I don't think he ever got another opportunity like he had with Cream. Not sure why Baker cut him out with Blind Faith. I tend to think maybe that was Clapton - he "has a history" as we say in the business.
I was a Geils fan, but not to your degree. ;-) Saw them once. Good show.
Have never seen Mason - went to see Traffic three different times and they no-showed each time. Only guys worse than them were Zappa and, of course, the undisputed champ, Sly Stone.
Went on a double date once to see Sly - told them I didn't think he'd show - said it so much that my date, whom I'd wanted to go out with very much and finally snared her when a buddy and I snagged Sly tickets, got mad at me.
We waited 95 minutes between the opening act and the road manager coming out to announce that Sly wouldn't be appearing. I never said a word.
Somehow on the way home it became my fault that Sly bailed - I'd cursed him somehow. She just gave me a really hard time. She made me feel kinda bad about it til I got home, sobered up and realized she was full of it.
Didn't really see her again until about six months later - ran into her at a party and she acted like I'd hung the moon. The more we chatted and the more I thought about how she'd treated me before, the angrier I got - so I got even. She asked me to take her home - with all that implies. I excused my self to go to the john - and left the party, leaving directions with one of my buddies to go find her after 15-20 minutes and tell her I'd just done to her what Sly had done to me....
I was a mean booger when I was younger, I guess.... ;-)
You're right: bad word choice here for Jack Bruce. I think he was one of the more compleat musicians and songwriters of the late '60s, early '70s. Any idea why Cream didn't send tickets to Pete Brown for the London reunion shows?
I saw Zappa twice. The first time, the opening act was Taj Mahal, and the crowd was merciless: "Get off the stage, you f**k!" and similar shouts. Zappa got so angry he came out and deliberately played, by his own admission, one of his worst shows ever.
Personally, I would have found a different way to get even with your Sly Stone date or would have forgiven her for at least one night.