Sunday, February 19, 2006

A solo mission

After my father picked me up from the airport Saturday afternoon, we took a trip to Trader Joe's. When the classic "The Glory of Love" from Karate Kid II began playing over the store's public address system, I oh so sarcastically commented to my dad that I adore Peter Cetera's work.

My dad recalled that before his solo career, Cetera led Chicago. This got my father to thinking: How many solo artists actually benefited artistically from leaving his band? I suggested that George Michael's solo work was superior to his work with Wham!, to which my father gave me a dirty look. I guess he feels that none of Michael's solo work could possibly compare to the brilliance of "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go."

When I gave the question more serious consideration, I couldn't think of many artists whose solo work is as good as or better than the music made with his band. I managed to come up with only three names: Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, and Michael Jackson.


At 3:42 AM, Blogger Pete said...

Hmmm... Great question, DA.

You could make the argument that Clapton is more well-known for things he did after leaving The Yardbirds and Cream.

And I'll go out on a limb and say Mark Knopfler's material is just as strong now as it was with Dire Straits, although certainly not more commercially successful.

It's a great question that I will keep pondering.

At 1:03 PM, Blogger jeffro said...


Lionel Richie became a huge pop star (though less funky) solo when he left the Commodores.

Both Ice Cube and Dr. Dre hit it big after leaving NWA.

I'd say Ryan Adams solo is more "successful" than Whiskeytown was.

I hate Rod Stewart. But one could consider him more successful in his "post-The Faces" career.

At 3:41 PM, Blogger Pete said...

Van Morrison was far more successful on his own after leaving Them.

At 6:10 PM, Blogger CCHarmony said...

This is so fun, Dan! Off the top of my head, I would say Belinda Carlisle was at least equivalent to the Go-Gos and her solo career lasted longer.

I think Lauren Hill may have surpassed The Fugees.

Maybe John Waite versus the Babys?
Steve Winwood versus Traffic?
And what about Justin Timberlake versus N'SYNC? Though it pains me to say that cause I hate him.

At 1:05 PM, Blogger Antigona said...

I loved Phil Collins and all the music he made when he went solo.

Sting on the other hand...

At 2:11 PM, Blogger Dan said...

Just thought of another: Neil Young. His music with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young was great, but he didn't truly come into his own until he went solo.

At 12:52 PM, Anonymous eoin said...

Don't for get Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, George Harrison and Jeff Lynne. They were all way better after they left the Traveling Wilburys.

At 5:39 PM, Blogger heather said...

i love this post. colorado is sadly, sadly (SADLY) lacking in all forms of trader joe's sales. and i love to discuss music with my dad too, who still thinks i write for a webknob.

thanks for the nice story and the interesting question posed.


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