Rock Music Menu: Rockers who went solo and thrived

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Rock Music Menu: Rockers who went solo and thrived

Postby tater1977 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:21 pm

Rock Music Menu: Rockers who went solo and thrived ... nd-thrived

By Michael Christopher, Delaware County Daily Times
Posted: 03/08/18

Last week, Rock Music Menu touched on a series of musicians who left their main bands for a solo career but who ultimately found that the old adage about the grass being greener when going it alone didn’t always mean it would be better. Now it’s time to look at the opposite, those went on similar success or who had a second act by taking the road less traveled.

Journey’s Steve Perry, Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson, David Lee Roth, Judas Priest’s Rob Halford and Motley Crue’s Vince Neil were examples cited of the negative side of attempting to be the main focus of the spotlight. Some had a brief spark at the beginning of their venture before a painful descent into smaller and smaller venues, others tanked almost right out of the gate. Most were forced to return to their former outfits at some point to relive past glories. Here’s some who made it a lasting voyage on their own.


The Police were still one of the biggest bands in the world when they officially called it a day in 1986, but they had been effectively done for almost two years at that point, when the ‘Synchronicity’ tour concluded in March 1984. Though they came together in 1986 to play three benefit shows for Amnesty International, a follow-up recording session for a new album was aborted and Sting left to pursue solo career.

No, he didn’t sell out stadiums like he did with The Police, but he fills arenas to this day and has had hit singles like “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You,” “Fields of Gold” and “Desert Rose.” His old trio reunited in 2007 for a year-long jaunt to celebrate their 30th anniversary — and make boatloads of cash — but Sting was more than happy to return to his more personally rewarding solo works.


There’s no eclipsing the popularity of The Beatles. Even as recently as the mid to late 90s, had they reunited with just the then three surviving members, there wouldn’t be a stadium large enough to hold their audience. That said, when McCartney quit the mop tops in 1970, it was assumed that either he or John Lennon would have the best chance at solo triumphs. While the latter came out strong, he withdrew from music as the 70s wore on, with a return in 1980 cut tragically short by an assassin’s bullet.

Macca also hit hard out of the gate, and barely let up. He formed Wings in 1971, collaborated with Michael Jackson for a song on the mega-seller ‘Thriller’ in 1982 and resumed touring after over a decade off in 1989, continuing to this day at the age of 75. He’s had dozens of Top 10 hits and is one of the most respected musicians in history.


This is an incredibly rare case of two singers who went on to massive solo success that came from the same band. Peter Gabriel had outgrown Genesis by the mid-70s and released his self-titled solo debut in 1976, which featured the hit “Solsbury Hill.” A decade later, he became an unlikely MTV staple with the groundbreaking videos for “Sledgehammer” and “Big Time.” To this day he can sell out any arena he wants whenever he wants.

While Gabriel was finding solo success, Genesis was garnering mainstream acclaim having moved their drummer Phil Collins from behind the kit the front of the stage at the mic. With his bandmates exploring solo avenues and Genesis on hiatus, he released ‘Face Value’ in 1981 which featured the smash “In the Air Tonight.” The next several years saw him delicately balancing an accomplished solo output alongside the band having continued growth. Collins split the group in 1996 to concentrate on his own works, though Genesis reunited for a tour in 2007.


From The Yardbirds to John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers to Cream to Blind Faith to Derek and the Dominos, Eric Clapton is like that one friend everyone has who is always starting a new job, trying to find his way — except he leaves a path of rock classics in his wake. Yet solo is where Slowhand has always seemed most comfortable, from his sophomore album ‘461 Ocean Boulevard’ which topped the charts in 1974 and ‘From the Cradle’ which did the same thing two decades later, Clapton has earned his status as a six-string icon who doesn’t need a band to blend into.


The Misfits were one of those bands who went on to become legends long after they broke up, having had a cult following which were made up of a lot of musicians who went on to form their own, more successful groups like Metallica, AFI, White Zombie and Slipknot. When those artists began appearing in magazines and onstage adorned in shirts and sometimes tattoos featuring the Misfits’ “Crimson Ghost” mascot, the Misfits mythos exploded.

Unfortunately, lead singer Glenn Danzig had tired of the drama surrounding the horror-punk unit and dissolved the Misfits in the fall of 1983. He formed the more metal sounding Samhain and in 1987 launched Danzig — the band — which was rooted in equal parts blues and hard rock. It was there the vocalist found the most fame with the songs “Mother” and “Her Black Wings.”

He’s continued to forge ahead with 11 solo albums, including last year’s ‘Black Laden Crown.’ Lately though, the Misfits are getting their just due in front of large audiences with Glenn having rejoined them for a series of one-off gigs beginning in 2016.
Perry's good natured bonhomie & the world’s most charmin smile,knocked fans off their feet. Sportin a black tux,gigs came alive as he swished around the stage thrillin audiences w/ charisma that instantly burnt the oxygen right out of the
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Re: Rock Music Menu: Rockers who went solo and thrived

Postby Pacfanweb » Sun Mar 11, 2018 1:05 am

Minor quibble: The Police were never "selling out stadiums" even in their heyday. They were an arena act. That's what they toured. Sting was also an arena act when he was active as a solo artist. Literally toured the same arenas.
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Re: Rock Music Menu: Rockers who went solo and thrived

Postby tj » Sat Mar 24, 2018 12:39 pm

Peter Gabriel had about 4 songs in the late 80's that got traction because of the videos. Not bad songs, necessarily, but not great. If it weren't for Genesis's later success after he left them, I doubt he would be more than a footnote - much like Howard Jones, Richard Marx, and a few others who had a lot of 80's hits and then the world moved on.

Danzig isn't even a name that registers with me. Perhaps I am just not knowlegeable. That's OK. But to have him (and Gabriel, IMO) listed with Sting, McCartney, Collins and Clapton is pretty ridiculous. Those guys sold millions of records and impacted a generation of music. If the bar is only guys who had more success outside of their bands than in them, well then that list is pretty long.
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