Solo Careers That Began In a Band – Part II

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Last month, I posted a blog about some of the greatest solo musical artists of all time who got their start in a successful band (go check it out). Here’s some more mega-star artists that started their career in a successful band.

Diana Ross – Ross was the lead singer of Motown’s most successful act, The Supremes. The Supremes were best charting all-female group of all time, with a record setting 12 singles that topped the Hot 100 chart. Her run with The Supremes was from 1959 to 1970. She started her solo career in 1970, and since then she released 24 studio albums and 5 soundtrack albums (3 of which were for films in which she had a starring role). As a solo artist, she had 27 singles in the top 40 of the Hot 100, with 6 reaching the top of the chart. She is particularly beloved in the UK – as a Supreme or as a solo artist, she charted at least one single in the UK chart for 33 consecutive years. She received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 2012, and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Supremes in 1988.

Stevie Nicks – Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975 and was the primary vocalist for the band, as well as the songwriter for many of their hits. She performed with the group until 1991, and subsequently returned in 1997. She continues to perform and record with the band today. Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album from 1977 became one of the biggest selling albums of all time, with over 40 million copies sold. She began her solo career in 1981, and she released 8 solo studio albums between 1981 and 2014, four of which were certified platinum. She had 11 solo singles land in the top 10 of various Billboard charts. Rolling Stone ranked her at #53 on their Greatest Songwriters of All Time list. She is the only woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice – as part of Fleetwood Mac in 1998 and as a solo artist in 2019.

Sting – The frontman for The Police from 1977 to 1984, Sting started his solo career in 1985. The Police were one of the most successful new wave bands of all time, winning 6 Grammy awards and selling over 75 million albums worldwide. They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2003As a solo artist, Sting released 14 studio albums, 7 of which were certified platinum. Five of his singles reached the top 5 of the Hot 100. Sting won 11 Grammy awards for his work after leaving The Police, most recently in 2019 for Best Reggae Album for a collaboration with reggae artist Shaggy.

Paul Simon – Simon’s music career started with his musical partner Art Garfunkel. With Simon writing nearly all of the music, Simon & Garfunkel were one of the best selling musical acts in the 60s. Their folk rock style earned them 10 Grammy awards and ultimately led to their induction into to Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. After their breakup in 1970, Simon launched his solo career. He released 13 studio albums from 1972 to today, with 11 singles reaching the top 10. He has won 4 Grammy awards as a solo artist, including Album and Record of the Year for Graceland, considered by many to be one of the greatest albums of all time (#71 on Rolling Stone’s GOAT list). He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist in 2001.

George Michael – Michael started his career as a songwriter and lead singer of the pop duo Wham!. Wham! was active from 1981 to 1986, releasing 3 studio albums and reaching #1 on the Hot 100 chart with 3 singles. When Michael began his solo career in 1987, he recorded I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), a duet with Aretha Franklin, that won a Grammy award. Later that year, he released his debut solo album Faith, which won the Grammy for Album of the Year. It sold over 25 million copies worldwide and was certified diamond in the U.S. Four singles from the album topped the Hot 100. He released 4 more studio albums between 1990 and 2004, and also did a duet with Elton John, a cover of Sir Elton’s Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me, that reached #1 on the Hot 100.

Watch Stevie Nicks performing Stand Back at her induction ceremony to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. Pretty great singing and great looks for a 70+ year old woman!


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