ROCK SUPERGROUPS

Written by Michael Oshust

Supergroups have been around in music since the '60s. 

A Supergroup is a band where members are already successful as solo artists or as part of other groups or well known in other musical professions. Here is a partial list of supergroups of the '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s and 2000s.

Other incredible bands include Bad English, Mike + The Mechanics, Bad Company, Mr. Big, Badlands, Blind Faith, Contraband, Derek and the Dominoes, Heaven and Hell, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Brides of Destruction, Black Country Communion and The Highway Men.

VELVET REVOLVER

Velvet Revolver were active from 2002 until 2008.

 

The band consisted of Guns N' Roses members Slash (lead guitar), Duff McKagan (bass, backing vocals), and former member Matt Sorum (drums, backing vocals), alongside Dave Kushner (rhythm guitar), and Scott Weiland formerly of the Stone Temple Pilots. 

 The band achieved commercial success with their debut album "Contraband" and their follow-up "Libertad" which produced the hit singles "Fall to Pieces," "Slither," and "The Last Fight." 

In April 2008, Weiland abruptly left Velvet Revolver and the band was put on indefinite hiatus.

CHICKENFOOT

Chickenfoot is a group that consists of vocalist Sammy Hagar (ex–Van Halen and Montrose), bassist Michael Anthony (also ex–Van Halen), guitarist Joe Satriani, and drummer Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) that formed in 2008. Michael Anthony stated "There are three talons on a chicken's foot and there were three of us. It was just supposed to be a bullshit name that we'd used for a while, and then the rumours spread about the band, everybody used that name so we thought, 'Fuck it, let's call it Chickenfoot'." The band released two studio albums and a live album. When asked if there are any plans for another Chickenfoot album, Hagar stated "Joe and I have been talking, when he finishes his [solo] tour next June, if he has enough time and if Chad's available, about doing another Chickenfoot record. And if they can't do it, if we can't all get together, then I'm gonna do a Circle album. It's gonna be one or the other. Those are my two favorite bands in the world. And I would like to do a Circle record first.

ASIA

Asia formed in London in 1981. The band consisted of four members of different progressive rock bands of the 1970s.

Vocalist and bassist John Wetton of King Crimson, guitarist Steve Howe of Yes, keyboardist Geoff Downes of Yes and the Buggles, and drummer Carl Palmer of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The band underwent multiple line-up changes before the original four members reunited in 2006.

Signed by Geffen Records, Asia Asia clicked with fans of popular arena acts such as Journey, Boston and Styx. The debut album released in March 1982, gained considerable commercial success, spending nine weeks at number one.

CREAM

Cream was a British rock band formed in London in 1966. The band consisted of lead vocalist/bassist Jack Bruce, drummer Ginger Baker, and guitarist/vocalist Eric Clapton.

The band is widely regarded as the world's first successful supergroup.

The band released four studio albums  Fresh Cream, Disraeli Gears,

Wheels of Fire and Goodbye. Cream's hits include "Sunshine of Your Love", "White Room", "Crossroads", and "Badge".


Tensions between Bruce and Baker led to their decision in May 1968 to break up, though the band were persuaded to make a final album, Goodbye, and to tour, culminating in two final farewell concerts at the Royal Albert Hall on the 25 and 26 November 1968 which were filmed by the BBC and shown in theatres.

LED ZEPPELIN

Some individuals may wonder why is Led Zeppelin on a Supergroup list?

Well, Led Zeppelin had a member of the Yardbirds, a session musician and two members from The Band of Joy which was a UK group that performed from 1965 to 1968.

 

Led Zeppelin consisted of vocalist Robert Plant (of the Band of Joy), guitarist Jimmy Page (of the Yardbirds), bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones (session musician) and drummer John Bonham (of the Band of Joy). Led Zeppelin formed in London in 1968. The band is said to be one of the most successful, innovative, and influential rock groups in history. A North American tour, the band's first since 1977, was scheduled to commence on 17 October 1980.

John Bonham passed away after a day of rehearsals in September 1980. The planned North American tour was cancelled and the band issued a statement in December 1980 which read -

"We wish it to be known that the loss of our dear friend, and the deep sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were."

 

Led Zeppelin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.

 

On 10 December 2007, Led Zeppelin reunited for the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert at the O2 Arena in London, with Jason Bonham taking his father's place on drums.

THE POWER STATION

The Power Station formed in the '80s with singer Robert Palmer, former Chic drummer Tony Thompson, and Duran Duran members John Taylor (bass) and Andy Taylor (guitar).

The supergroup was formed in New York City in 1984 during a break in Duran Duran's schedule that became a lengthy hiatus. The Power Station was named after The Power Station recording studio where their debut album was conceived and recorded. The group began as something of a whim as they were jamming to the T-Rex song "Get It On".

The band released two albums, titled

The Power Station (released March 1985) and Living in Fear (released September 1996).

HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES

The Hollywood Vampires formed in 2015 by Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, and Joe Perry to honour the music of the rock stars who died from excess in the 1970s.

 

The band has released two studio albums, featuring guest appearances by Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Joe Walsh, and Christopher Lee among others.

 

Cooper and Perry have discussed plans for a future live album, stating that Depp's schedule works differently than theirs.

The group currently tours in between other scheduled touring commitments.

SUPERHEAVEY

SuperHeavy is a supergroup that consisted of Mick Jagger, Joss Stone, Dave Stewart, A. R. Rahman, and Damian Marley. 

Jagger wanted SuperHeavy to showcase different musical styles, with music ranging from reggae to ballads to Indian music. The group began recording their self-titled debut album in early 2009 at a studio in Los Angeles where they recorded more than 35 hours of music recorded, from which Dave Stewart and his engineer found the highlights that would work as the roots of songs.

 

Their debut single, "Miracle Worker", released on 6 July 2011 received mostly positive reviews. The song is performed by Marley, Stone and Jagger.

THE CIRCLE

The Circle is a band that consists of vocalist Sammy Hagar (ex–Van Halen and Montrose), bassist Michael Anthony (also ex–Van Halen), drummer Jason Bonham and guitarist Vic Johnson.

The group toured and performed songs from Montrose, Van Halen, Hagar's solo albums and Led Zeppelin. The band released "At Your Service" which is a live album.

The group released an album of original material in May 2019 titled "Space Between." The album debuted at No.4 on the Billboard 200 chart, making it Hagar's highest-charting album to date. Hagar debuted one of the new songs at his High Tide Beach Party & Car Show in 2018.

TEMPLE OF THE DOG

Following the collapse of Mother Love Bone after the death of frontman Andrew Wood, Seattle’s leading bands got together to pay tribute to their former colleague. Involved were Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron of Soundgarden and Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament and Mike McCready of Pearl Jam. Eddie Vedder provided some lead and backing vocals.

They released one self-titled album in April 1991. The recording sessions took place in November and December 1990. Although earning praise from music critics at the time of its release, the album was not widely recognized until 1992, when Vedder, Ament, Gossard, and McCready had their breakthrough with Pearl Jam. Cameron would later join Pearl Jam, serving as a drummer since 1998.

THEM CROOKED VULTURES

Them Crooked Vultures formed in Los Angeles in 2009 by John Paul Jones (formerly of Led Zeppelin) on bass and keyboards, Josh Homme (of Queens of the Stone Age, and Eagles of Death Metal) on guitar and vocals and Dave Grohl (of Foo Fighters and formerly of Nirvana) on drums and backing vocals. The band began recording in February 2009, released their self-titled debut album in November 2009. The group won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance for the single "New Fang."

Grohl said in an interview that they are working on a second album that will be "more powerful than the first one".  John Paul Jones also stated in an interview while touring in New Zealand that they will be recording a new album. When asked about the futures of Grohl and Homme's bands Jones said that they will get their frontmen back "eventually".

THE TRAVELING WILBURYS

George Harrison and ELO frontman Jeff Lynne had such a good time making Harrison’s Cloud Nine album in 1987 that they decided to make their own group titled The Traveling Wilburys.

They called their mates, including Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and the legendary Roy Orbison. The project's work received much anticipation given the diverse nature of the singer-songwriters. The band members adopted tongue-in-cheek pseudonyms as half-brothers from a fictional Wilbury family of travelling musicians.

The first single "Handle with Care" was deemed too good for such a limited release, the group agreed to record a full album, titled Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1. They released the follow-up Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3, in 1990.

THE FIRM

The Firm is a UK supergroup that formed in 1984 that featured singer Paul Rodgers (of Free and Bad Company), guitarist Jimmy Page (of Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin), drummer Chris Slade (of Manfred Mann, Uriah Heep and AC/DC) and bass player Tony Franklin. During their tour Page and Rodgers refused to play material by their former bands and instead opted for a selection of Firm songs plus tracks from their solo albums.

Tracks ranged from the epic "Midnight Moonlight" which was originally an

unreleased Led Zeppelin track from the Physical Graffiti sessions, to the commercially successful "Radioactive."

Page indicated that the band was never meant to last more than two albums.  Chris Slade joined AC/DC in 1989 and Tony Franklin teamed up with guitarist John Sykes in Blue Murder.

ALTER BRIDGE

Formed in 2004, the group includes lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Myles Kennedy, lead guitarist and backing vocalist Mark Tremonti (of Creed), bassist Brian Marshall (of Creed), and drummer Scott Phillips (of Creed). 

Alter Bridge released its debut album One Day Remains in August 2004,

much of which was written by Tremonti the previous year.

In October 2007 the band released its second album Blackbird

Alter Bridge's music is often characterized and described as "heavy, yet melodic."

Alter Bridge continues to make new music and tour in between Myles Kennedy's other commitment to Slash's solo projects.

DAMN YANKEES

Damn Yankees is a supergroup formed in 1989 consisting of Tommy Shaw (of Styx), Jack Blades (of Night Ranger), Ted Nugent (of The Amboy Dukes), and Michael Cartellone (of Lynyrd Skynyrd).

They are remembered for the songs "High Enough" and "Where You Goin' Now", both Top 40 hits in the early 1990s. The band released their self-titled "Damn Yankees" album and the follow-up "Don't Tread."

As far as a potential Damn Yankees reunion goes, Cartellone told Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC that he and other members of the band have continued to meet and write over the years. While a new album has yet to materialize, he says that does not mean the Damn Yankees are finished. They never purposefully disbanded and are keeping a reunion an open door to this day. 

TIN MACHINE

The supergroup formed in 1988, notable for being fronted by David Bowie.

The band consisted of Bowie on lead vocals, sax, and guitar, Reeves Gabrels on guitar, Tony Fox Sales on bass, and Hunt Sales on drums. 

Tin Machine released its debut album on May 22, 1989, and it's second album Tin Machine II in 1991.

In reference to Tin Machine's dissolution, Bowie merely said "personal problems within the band became the reason for its demise. It’s not for me to talk about them, but it became physically impossible for us to carry on.

And that was pretty sad really."

AUDIOSLAVE

Audioslave formed in 2004, the supergroup included Soundgarden lead singer/rhythm guitarist Chris Cornell, Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello (lead guitar), Tim Commerford (bass/backing vocals), and Brad Wilk (drums).

In its six years of existence, Audioslave released three albums, received three Grammy nominations, sold more than eight million records worldwide and became the first American rock band to perform an open-air concert in Cuba.

Audioslave disbanded in February 2007 "due to irresolvable personality conflicts as well as musical differences." 

ALIAS

Alias is a Canadian rock supergroup, formed in 1988 in Toronto by vocalist Freddy Curci and guitarist Steve DeMarchi of the Canadian arena rock band Sheriff, along with Heart founding members Roger Fisher, Steve Fossen, and Mike Derosier.

The band released its self-titled debut album in 1990 which went gold in the US and platinum in Canada, scoring hits with the power ballad "More Than Words Can Say," and hits "Waiting for Love" and "Haunted Heart."

In January 2009, Alias announced the release of their long-awaited second album. Curci stated "Alias never split. Music changed. We couldn't get our music out there. No one wanted to hear it anymore. Grunge was in and, you know what, that's OK, 'cause music needs to do that. It needs to change all the time. That's how it stays fresh. Alias is still Steve and I. Alias will always be Steve and I. Steve and I will do a record tomorrow if the fans need one."

BLUE MURDER

Blue Murder was founded by ex-Whitesnake, Tygers of Pan Tang and Thin Lizzy guitarist John Sykes in 1988. The band consisted of Sykes on guitars and vocals, Tony Franklin on bass and Carmine Apice on drums.

In an early version of the band, drummer Cozy Powell (with whom Sykes had played in Whitesnake) was attached to the band. Ray Gillen sang for an early version of Blue Murder, and reportedly the band recorded demos with him. Upon comparing the original demos with Sykes' vocals to the demos with Ray Gillen, an A&R executive for Geffen Records encouraged Sykes to handle the vocal duties himself.

The band's debut album was released in 1989 and produced by Bob Rock. 'Nothin' But Trouble' was released in 1993 and is the second and final studio album that was released by Blue Murder.

THE HONEYDRIPPERS

The Honeydrippers formed in 1981 by Robert Plant to satisfy his long-time goal of having a rock band with a heavy rhythm and blues basis. Robert Plant got the name from Roosevelt Sykes, an American blues singer also known as "Honeydripper".

 

Formed originally in Worcestershire, the band was also composed of fellow former Led Zeppelin member Jimmy Page. The band released only one recording, on 24 September 1984 titled The Honeydrippers: Volume One.

"Rockin at Midnight" is a cover of the 1949 recording by Roy Brown, the song's author, who wrote it as an answer record to his 1947 composition and recording, "Good Rockin' Tonight". The EP produced two singles, "Sea of Love" and "Rockin at Midnight".

The star-studded lineup included:

Robert Plant vocals, Jeff Beck guitars ("I Got a Woman," and "Rockin' at Midnight"), Jimmy Page guitars ("Sea of Love" and "I Get a Thrill"), Nile Rodgers rhythm guitar, Paul Shaffer piano, Dave Weckl drums, Wayne Pedzwater bass, and Keith Evans saxophone ("Rockin' at Midnight").

The band appeared on Saturday Night Live on December 15, 1984, performing "Rockin' at Midnight" and "Santa Claus Is Back in Town featuring Brian Setzer and Georg Wadenius on guitar, Tom Barney on bass, Paul Schaffer on piano, Buddy Williams on drums, Michael Brecker, Lou Marini, and Ronnie Cuber on saxophones, Jon Faddis on trumpet and Tom Malone on trombone.

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The Honeydrippers performing on SNL

ARCADIA

Arcadia formed in 1985 by Simon Le Bon on vocals, Nick Rhodes on keyboards, and Roger Taylor on drums as a side project during a break in Duran Duran's schedule. The name of the band was reportedly inspired by the Nicolas Poussin painting Et in Arcadia ego (also known as "The Arcadian Shepherds"). Drummer Roger Taylor appeared in only a few band photographs and in none of the music videos and stated he was only to be involved in the recording side of the project (he also had minor involvement in The Power Station)

 

The group recorded just one album, the platinum-selling So Red The Rose. It peaked at No.30 in the UK and No.23 in the US, and featured the UK/US Top 10 single "Election Day", as well as the top 40 hits "The Promise" and "Goodbye Is Forever".

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