10 Solo Stars Who Are Bigger Than Their Bands

During the lifespan of a group, it’s common for one or more members to step out to do something on their own without leaving the comfort of the band.  But sometimes those solo projects take off and that member becomes bigger than the band itself.

FoxNews has a slideshow of those sorts of situations.

1.  Michael Jackson and The Jackson.  Obviously.

2. While No Doubt went on a prolonged break, Gwen Stefani ended up with a career that’s arguably bigger.

3.  Rod Stewart really annoyed the other members of The Faces in the early 70s.  He tried to maintain his gig as their frontman while simultaneously selling more records as a solo artist.  That didn’t last.

4.  Ozzy and Sabbath?  You can make an argument for that.

5.  Eric Clapton has almost always been larger than any group of which he’s been a part.

Good points.  Let me add to this.

6.  Damon Albarn over Blur.  From Gorillaz to his operas, he’s long eclipsed his role of just being Blur’s frontman.

7.  Chris Cornell bigger Soundgarden itself?  Maybe.  But he released that stupid record with Timbaland.

8.  Eddie Vedder can sell out tours on his own.  No one else in Pearl Jam can do that.

9.  Morrissey. Then again, the Smiths haven’t existed since 1987, so it’s not really a fair comparison.

10. Jack White.

Who else?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

15 thoughts on “10 Solo Stars Who Are Bigger Than Their Bands

  • January 24, 2013 at 2:42 pm
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    That guy who was the lead singer for Wings. He was pretty good.

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  • January 24, 2013 at 2:48 pm
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    Dallas Green has had great commercial success with the City and Colour gig. Although I am a major Alexisonfire fan, I can admit that his solo act has a much wider audience.

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  • January 24, 2013 at 2:55 pm
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    Cee-Lo Green versus Gnarls Barkley.

    Ice Cube versus N.W.A.

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  • January 24, 2013 at 2:59 pm
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    How about Sting vs The Police? What do people think about that?

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  • January 24, 2013 at 3:02 pm
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    How about David Usher over Moist?

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  • January 24, 2013 at 3:52 pm
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    Justin Timberlake and Beyonce.

    "Eddie Vedder can sell out tours on his own." –Couldn't you say that line about a lot of lead singers? Bono, Anthony Keidis, Dave Grohl, Gord Downie, etc..

    How is Ice Cube bigger than Dr. Dre?

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  • January 24, 2013 at 5:45 pm
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    Ricky Martin and Menudo?

    George Michael and Wham?

    Wings…LOL.

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  • January 25, 2013 at 2:18 am
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    I second Doug's comment, though I do love the Paso Mino/Zeus boys, they have not invented a word for how magnificent Afie is. Agree with other noms (Sting, George Michael & Dallas particularly) but would add also Peter Gabriel and/or Phil Collins, possibly Neil Young. Lastly, Van Morrison – didn't he start off in a band that no one's ever heard of?

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  • January 25, 2013 at 2:30 am
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    Bjork over The Sugarcubes.

    Aimee Man over Til Tuesday.

    Peter Murphy over Bauhaus? Okay… perhaps thats a stretch.

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  • January 25, 2013 at 2:44 am
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    Phil Collins was bigger than Genesis. Ironically, Genesis with Peter Gabriel would be bigger than Phil Collins.

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  • January 25, 2013 at 3:04 am
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    Definitely agreed on Neil Young, Van Morrison and Peter Gabriel. Would also like to suggest Feist as being more successful than Broken Social Scene. And I want to say Brian Eno and Bryan Ferry compared to Roxy Music, but I can't seem to commit to it. I could go either way on that one.

    I think, based on your suggestions, that you've missed the point. It isn't "frontmen whose name a lot of people know." It's about having a solo career that dwarfs the band the artist originated in. Eddie Vedder has never had a hit as a solo artist, and Chris Cornell couldn't fill a stadium in this country on his name alone. And then there are people like Annie Lennox, Roger Waters, Paul Simon or Paul Weller. As successful as they have been on their own, they will never eclipse their success as a member of a band. Roger Waters could sell out every stadium on Earth and never transcend being Roger Waters From Pink Floyd to most people.

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  • January 25, 2013 at 3:15 am
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    Ha, there was an argument here on why I refused to include Roger Waters! Never been a huge Floyd fan, but even I know, never gonna happen. I also debated the Feist inclusion, but I am not sure there is enough history there yet – give her a few more albums and I am quite certain I will happily give it to her.

    Reply

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