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411 Music Top Five 05.15.12: The Top 5 Supergroups

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411 Music Top Five 05.15.12: The Top 5 Supergroups  Empty 411 Music Top Five 05.15.12: The Top 5 Supergroups

Post by Soulmonster on Tue May 15, 2012 7:29 am

Note: My list of supergroups are limited to bands that formed from people were were already famous from having performed individually or in other groups and who created at least one full album together. Thus, Temple of the Dog as an example wouldn't apply because it took place before Pearl Jam, and in fact lead to that group's formation.

Honorable Mention: Audioslave, Traveling Wilburys, Bad Meets Evil, How to Destroy Angels, Bad Company

5. Velvet Revolver

Starting off my list of supergroups is the newest one on this list. Following their departures from Guns N' Roses in 1996 to 1997 Slash, Duff McKagan, and Matt Sorum all went their own ways; Slash reformed Slash's Snakepit while Duff did a solo album and Sorum rejoined The Cult. They continued occasional collaborations though, and after the three performed at a benefit concert to commemorate the late Randy Castillo, they realized that they still had it. Fellow GNR alumni Izzy Stradlin almost joined up with them but didn't; however, Wasted Youth's Dave Kushner did. When Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots joined in following STP's dissolution in 2003, the formula was complete and they became THE supergroup of the twenty-first century (all due respect to Audioslave, who I just don't get into the same way). The band released two albums, 2004's Contraband and 2007's Libertad which were both very, very good. Among modern supergroups, they really are the kinds of it and despite a lot of drama thanks to Weiland's love of drugs, they've managed to keep the music good.

4. The Plastic Ono Band

The Plastic Ono Band is probably one of the most talented formation of musicians in the history of modern music. This group, formed by John Lennon in 1969 just before the dissolution of the Beatles, consisted of Lennon, Eric Clapton, Phil Spector, Keith Moon (The Who), Alan White (Yes), R&B legend Billy Preston and a ton more. So why are they not higher on this list? Surprisingly, to some, it's not just because Yoko Ono single-handedly drags the talent down. It is because the name was more of a name for whoever played with Lennon on his own pursuits, thus blurring the line somewhat between supergroup and solo artist with a backing band. Still, they greated one of the greatest protest songs of all-time in "Give Peace a Chance," not to mention "Instant Karma" and others. Debate if they really count all you want; I say they do.

3. The Highwaymen

I don't talk a lot about country, mostly because I'm not a fan of the genre. Funny how that works. But I do like old-school country, the kind that doesn't get really have potential to crossover to the pop charts. The Highwaymen was the culmination of four of country music's all-time greats in Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. That right there is a metric crapton of pure genius. They came together in 1985 and in their ten years of collaboration produced three fantastic albums: Highwayman, Highwayman 2 and The Road Goes On Forever. The groupo didn't actually have their name set in stone when Highwayman was released, meaning that it was credited to "Nelson, Jennings, Cash, Kristofferson." The titular single from that album is a country classic and puts anything put out in the last seventeen years of pop-country to shame.

2. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

The top two are more or less no-brainers to me. First up is what is probably the first group that most people think of when they think of a supergroup (if they're older than thirty, anyway). David Crosby (the Byrds), Stephen Stills (Buffalo Springfield), Graham Nash (the Hollies) and Neil Young were once called the mightiest of the supergroups and it's kind of hard to disagree. Having started off as just Crosby, Stills and Nash in 1968, they put out an album with just them before Young joined in 1969. Crosby, Stills & Nash spawned two great hits, but it was the addition of Young that gave them the final piece they needed to go from supergroup to legend. The group was well-known for bickering and infighting that caused them to split up more than once, and Young came and went from the band a few times, but when they're together they are one of the best. Even if they aren't your style of music, you have to give respect to their iconic status.

1. Cream

Some have called Cream the original supergroup, and whether it's true or not, they are the best. The British rock group formed from Eric Clapton, Manfred Mann's Jack Bruce and Bruce's bandmate from his other band, Ginger Baker of Graham Bond Organisation. The band had a huge impact on popular music of its time, blending blues, hard rock and psychedelia into one sound and blasted through into the mainstream. They are the first band to have a platinum-selling double album (1968's Wheels of Fire), they are Rock & Roll Hall of Famers and their influence on popular music almost literally can't be properly quantified other than to say that music would be an exceedingly different place for the worse without them. They are the bar that has been set for supergroup excellence and are unlikely to ever be equalled.

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