For these guys, one band simply wasn’t enough! Once an artist finds success in a band, they usually tend to stay in the group they found the best acclaim. However, that was not good enough for these individuals, who – through changing creative direction, band disagreement or other – decided to form another band, who too were majorly prosperous.
Arguably the most famous musician alive today, Paul McCartney has created a legacy on music that will likely be felt for centuries.
Taking inspiration from rock ‘n’ roll acts of the 1950s such as Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly, a young Paul McCartney joined John Lennon’s skiffle group, The Quarrymen in 1957. In 1958, school friend George Harrison joined and by 1962, Ringo Starr had been appointed as a drummer – finalising the set-up to the biggest band in the history of commercial music. Between 1962 and 1970, the Fab Four took over the world with their history-making Ed Sullivan Show performance in 1964 drawing an estimated 73 million viewers. With 20 US number 1s (and 17 in the UK), they have a nearly unlimited back-catalogue of success, being regarded as one of the most influential bands ever.
In 1970, the band famously broke up after years of drifting apart creatively. As the others pursued solo careers, McCartney went about creating new project Wings. Featuring wife Linda, the group had multiple big hits such as ‘Band on The Run’, ‘Silly Love Songs’ and ‘Let ‘Em In’. However, the undisputable biggest song for Macca and Wings was ‘Mull of Kintyre’. Spending an extremely rare 9 weeks at number 1 in the UK, the song was the 1977 Christmas number 1. It soon became the biggest selling song of all time in the UK. Today, it is still the 4th best-selling single in UK history as well as being an unofficial anthem for Scotland.
Both bands have songs within the top 10 selling UK singles of all time, with the aforementioned ‘Mull of Kintyre’ at 4 and The Beatles’ 1963 hit ‘She Loves You’ currently in the 9th position.
Originally making his break as the drummer for Nirvana, Dave Grohl has gone on to enjoy a long, decorated and fruitful career.
Having spent a number of years in the highly successful grunge band Nirvana, Grohl was now regarded as one of the greatest drummers in the music industry. In 1994, Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain committed suicide, therefore ending the band who were still in the middle of revolutionising a counterculture movement in the 90s.
Despite failed entry into Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, in the days since Nirvana Dave has gone on to a great detail of success. In the mid-90s, Grohl formed the Foo Fighters.
A group involving old Nirvana session musician Pat Smear, the band are still one of the biggest rock bands in the world today – still selling out stadiums as well as having a large amount of radio play. Still making music today, the band have shown great longevity, having been huge and constant since the mid-90s. In this, Grohl commonly plays the guitar, ditching the drums for this band (the drumming is instead done by Taylor Hawkins).
Additionally, Grohl has gone on to perform in multiple bands alongside Josh Homme. Most famously, Grohl was the drummer for Queens of The Stone Age. In 2002, they released the highly-acclaimed ‘Songs for the Death’ album to much fanfare. They are likely best remembered today for singles such as ‘Go With The Flow’ and ‘No One Knows’. Furthermore, Grohl is apart of the supergroup trio Them Crooked Vultures alongside Homme and Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones.
Grohl has also aided other groups, famously working alongside Tenacious D., Grohl even depicted the devil for the comedy Jack Black and Kyle Gass duo’s ‘Tribute’.
Titled ‘The Modfather’ for his contributions to the genre, Paul Weller was one of the front-runners in the rebellious music scene in the 80s.
As the big 3 names in punk (Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Buzzcocks) made their mark, The Jam furthered the brand of anti-establishment music with their mod style. Leading the trio to 4 UK number 1 singles, the Jam’s music was a much more commercial sound, spreading the message – all as sung by Paul Weller. Singing about the inequality and issues of Britain, they became a huge act who have still left a significant mark on music to this day that can be felt in the musicians of today.
In 1982, the band suddenly broke up after having been one of the biggest groups of the early 80s. After this, Weller went about creating The Style Council – a duo with pianist Mike Talbot. Having a number of top 10 singles and albums, their success was enough to be placed in the Wembley Stadium portion of Live Aid. Lasting in the limelight longer than The Jam, Talbot and Weller parted ways in 1989, with Weller claiming, “It’s something we should have done two or three years ago. We created some great music in our time, the effects of which won’t be appreciated for some time”.
Weller successfully afterwards would go on to a successful career as a solo act, never uniting with his old bandmates.
In the latter 1990s, music was dominated by a new genre called Britpop. The frontrunners in this newly-emerging sound included Damon Albarn-lead band Blur.
Memorably feuding with Oasis, Blur memorably beat Oasis in a 1995 race to number 1 when ‘Country House’ managed to outsell ‘Roll With It’ for the top position.
The ‘Battle of Britpop’ continued for years with Oasis arguably winning, but nonetheless, Blur came out having cemented their legacy. Having another number 1 with ‘Beetlebum’ in 1997 as well as 13 total top 10 singles, they are one of the most popular acts of the 1990s.
When the new millennium dawned, Albarn believed it was time for reinvention. Drastically differing from Blur – Gorillaz are an animated, virtual band that has gained a cult following for their unique brand of music. With hits such as ‘Clint Eastwood’, ‘Feel Good Inc.’ and ‘DARE’ to their name, they have endured a lengthy spell – still releasing new material to this day. Despite being something nearly unheard of and something unique, they have managed to connect well with the mainstream music consumer, having had 6 UK top 10 albums and 5 UK top 10 singles.
Ranked #51 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, Johnny Marr has been a member of both The Smiths and Modest Mouse.
Hailing from Manchester, England, The Smiths have commonly been praised as one of the most significant acts in alt-rock. Rejecting the synth-heavy sounds of the era, they instead focused on a more raw, genuine sound. Singing about the issues of the time, Morrissey became the voice of a generation.
Backing him on guitar was Johnny Marr – a well-versed guitarist in the mould of the Byrds’ Roger McGuinn and Neil Young. Despite not necessarily being successful on the charts or being around for too long, the group crammed a lot into what would be a successful career with albums such as ‘Meat is Murder’ and ‘The Queen is Dead’ as well as songs such as ‘This Charming Man’, ‘How Soon Is Now?’ and ‘Panic’.
Leaving the Smiths in 1987 due to the breakdown of his relationship with the often-controversial Morrissey, Marr found work in bands such as The Pretenders, The The and Electronic before working as a session musician for a number of artists. From 2006-2009, Marr was recruited for the guitarist of Modest Mouse, in no small part due to his tremendous guitar skill. With Modest Mouse releasing ‘We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank’ in 2007, it was Marr’s first taste of US success, with it topping the US album chart. Subsequent songs ‘Dashboard’, ‘We’ve Got Everything’ and ‘Missed The Boat’ were released to try to capitalise on the success of the LP. After an unfinished Heath Ledger-collaborated piece fell through due to The Joker actor’s death, Marr left the group to pursue a career in The Cribs.
Rivals of the aforementioned Blur, Oasis were the defining Britpop band of the 90s and even into the 2000s. Racking up 8 UK number 1s and 22 consecutive top 10 hits between 1994 and 2008 on top of megaly-successful albums ‘Definitely Maybe, ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory’ and ‘Be Here Now’, Oasis were one of the biggest British acts of their era.
This group also became known due to the foul-mouthed duo of Noel and Liam Gallagher. 2 crude-spoken bad boys, they became centres of public attention at every turn. In 2009, Oasis officially split after 15 years after the issues between the brothers blew up before a performance after Liam allegedly swung a guitar at Noel. Despite occasional murmurs of a reunion, as of now – the final chapter has been closed on the Manchester band.
Still wanting to further a variety of musical interests, the older Gallagher went on to form Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. With such name value, the group have had a vast amount of success having had all 3 studio albums top the chart, as well as singles such as ‘AKA…What A Life!”, ‘Everybody’s On The Run’ and ‘In The Heat of The Moment’.
Having had more radio play popularity than mainstream chart success, they are still a British favourite and welcomed addition to any tour or festival. However, it has not always been smooth sailing with brother Liam (who himself formed band Beady Eye) mocking Noel’s band’s scissor player – parodying this by having a potato peeler on stage with him.
As the fire between the 2 continues, they have nearly reunited multiple times but always failed, to the chagrin of fans. It seems less and less likely the spite-filled relatives will ever join together again, but never say never in the always crazy music industry!
One of the most recognisable faces in rock music, Ronnie Wood has had a long and lengthy career in the genre, having worked for a number of musical groups.
In 1969, Faces was formed as an incarnation of Small Faces after lead singer Steve Marriott left to join Humble Pie. The remaining 3 members of Small Faces joined up with Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood of the Jeff Beck Group to form Faces.
With the Small Faces had already made their name in the US due to the musical British Invasion of the early-late 60s, the news Faces act could easily tour the country to much success, as well as furthering their name in Japan, Australia and across Europe. Following the breakthrough single ‘Stay With Me’, the group went on to find success until Wood decided to leave in 1975 to join the Rolling Stones.
After Mick Taylor left the Stones in 1974, Wood was introduced. Helping take over guitar duties. Playing slide guitar, he often played rhythm but occasionally played the lead. As one of the biggest bands in the world for over 5 decades, it has given large exposure to Wood who has used such fame to work solo, alongside other bands and with some of the biggest artists in the world such as Bob Dylan, David Bowie and Aretha Franklin. His work in the band – of which he is still a member today – has made him one of the best-known rhythm guitarists in the world (with Wood commonly using only 3 chords).
Today, he is a 2-time Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee, inducted as a member of the Rolling Stones in 1989 and as a member of Faces in 2012.
A heavily influential star in heavy and nu-metal, Corey Taylor has proved himself to be one of the most important and diverse acts of the 21st century. Having had a drug addiction, overdosed twice and been sexually assaulted all by his mid-teens, Taylor has fortunately taken his struggles and turned them into a long-standing music career.
Likely Corey’s best-known band is Slipknot. Masters of metal imagery, the group is noted for their horror-inspired masks and violent, dingy sound. With Taylor being member number 8 in the band, he has proved to be a tenured lead singer, aiding the act to become a cult favourite who is one of the biggest bands of the genre.
Following on from the successful album ‘Iowa’, the metalheads went on to become one of the most unique and alternative acts of the mid-2000s, vastly changing the music scene from Destiny’s Child, Steps, Westlife and other acts of the early 2000s. Still having a massive fanbase, hits such as ‘Psychosocial’, ‘Duality’, ‘Dead Memories’, ‘Before I Forget’ and ‘Snuff’ helped the group to be elevated into the cultural mainstream – overcoming the common limitations of a band as graphic as Slipknot.
However, Taylor has another band in that of Stone Sour (which Slipknot guitarist Jim Root is also in). Contrasting the masks and gritty music of Slipknot, Stone Sour tends to focus on more subdued, sombre and soulful songs. Sour has gained acclaim over the years for their brilliant music videos whether it is the expertly-deceiving ‘Through Glass’ or the reflective and symbolic ‘Bother’. The band have had their fair share of success on the Billboard charts on both album and singles section.
Between these 2 acts, Taylor must juggle his time – finding success in both.
Ranked the 9th greatest lead singer of all time by Rolling Stone, the late, great Chris Cornell was an inspiration to any rock artist who came after him.
Cornell originally rose to fame in Soundgarden. Emerging alongside Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains, Soundgarden established the Chicago grunge sound in the 90s – signalling a change in musical direction. Thought of as one of the greatest and most versatile albums of all time, album ‘Superunknown’ was an undebatable smash hit for the band – going gold in the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands as well as triple platinum in Canada and quadruple time platinum in the USA.
Additionally, the album and subsequently released tracks – ‘Spoonman’ and ‘Black Hole Sun’ – won multiple Grammys for the band which further proved the heights the grudge movement had hit at the time. However, despite early success, it did not last for much longer as, in their prime, the group disbanded in 1997 due to internal fighting over the band’s musical direction.
In 2001, Cornell joined the new band Audioslave alongside Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello. The group nearly never saw the light of day however as Chris’s personal demons were creeping upon him. Luckily overcoming his addictions, they released their debut, self-titled album (a US triple platinum) which had hits ‘Cochise’ and ‘Like A Stone’ on the tracklist. Despite having less success than their debut, their follow up album ‘Out of Exile’ was met with better acclaim. Notably, they also became the first US rock group to perform in Cuba, doing a 2005 free concert in front of 70,000 fans in Havana – playing their biggest ever set of 26 songs. After a successful run, they broke up in 2006. They collaborated again in 2017 in protest of Donald Trump’s inauguration, afterwards leaving the door open for a full-time reunion.
Tragically, however, Cornell committed suicide shortly after. Following a Soundgarden gig, Cornell hung himself as a result of a deep depression. He is nonetheless one of the most important figures in music during the crossover into the new millennium.
We have spoken about individuals in multiple bands, but what about a whole group?
Creed burst onto the scene in the late 90s. From their debut album ‘My Own Prison’, the band had 4 songs reach the top of the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart – a first for a band to do so with their debut LP. Selling over 6 million copies, their next album (‘Human Clay’) too was commercially prosperous, earning the group more chart-toppers as well as memorable hits such as ‘Higher’ and ‘With Arms Wide Open’. Selling 10 million copies in 2 years, it is one of the very few rock albums to be certified diamond by the RIAA.
However, after the well-performing ‘Weathered’ album, things start to fell apart. Injuries and drug issues within the band led to a disastrous December 2002 concert – which resulted in a lawsuit where Creed was sued for their terribly-performed act. This one simple controversy singlehandedly destroyed the band as this resulted in their split up in 2004. In more recent years, Creed has gained a reputation as one of the worst rock bands of all time – being hated by a large portion of the rock community,
Now with Mayfield Four lead singer Myles Kennedy in their group, all Creed members except lead singer Scott Stapp went on to form Alter Bridge. A band known to wrestling fans for their single ‘Metallingus’ being used as the WWE theme of Adam ‘Edge’ Copeland, they are a heavy yet melodic group that are more focused on theme than their screaming, instead using Kennedy’s more soulful vocals. Remaining a massive name of the touring scene, Alter Bridge have had success in singles such as ‘Isolation’, ‘Rise Today’ and ‘Blackbird’. Bridge have managed to keep their reputation clean and their music well, not amalgamating the sheer amount of hate that Creed have.
So, in all – this just goes to prove that even once you reach success, with enough talent and drive, another can be just as good.
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