Band Member Going Solo - Better Music?

This lockdown is obviously getting to me :grinning:

It’s been a common desire over the years for band members in well known groups to go off and record a solo record or leave the group and go solo entirely. All very understandable.

But has their best solo work ever topped the best music their band ever made?

I’m struggling to find examples of those that have. I’m not sure that these have, for instance:-

Peter Gabriel/Genesis?
Eric Clapton/Cream?
Waters, Gilmour/Pink Floyd?
Don Henley/Eagles?
Paul Weller/Jam?

The only one that comes to mind immediately is Michael Jackson/Jackson 5 but that may not be quite the best example. There is no right answer, it’s all opinions but would welcome any thoughts.


Percy, having moved on from Led Zep, hasn’t been too shabby with his output since then?


I’m a fan of The Drive By Truckers,but think that Jason Isbell comes into this category.
Another might be Lou Reed.

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Rory Gallagher/Taste
Graham Nash/Hollies
Neil Young/Buffalo Springfield
Jeff Tweedy/Uncle Tupelo


Best example is in my view… Mr Sumner.

Gordon or Bernard? :grinning:

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Robbie Williams and that Sporty spice girl with Bryan Adams hit is not so bad.

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Ha Alan… Very good point… The former… Deffo not the latter… JD and NO were exemplary bands.


Just testing Neil, just testing :+1:

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The Birthday Party/Nick Cave

I love The Birthday Party but NC’s solo work is sooo much better

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In my experience when a band becomes something special it is the cumulative artistic genius that does it, and in the vast majority of cases subsequent solo endeavours by members are rarely anywhere near as. One who I think has bucked the trend is Roger Waters, with particularly with Amused to Death, but also Pros and Cons of Hitchiking and Ca Ira. In other cases that I can currently think of, including some of those mentioned by others (e.g. Led Zeppelin), the solo efforts have been a poor second to the main event. I am sure there must be other exceptions, but. can’t think of any right now.

Iggy Pop/the Stooges (with a question mark)
Brian Eno/Roxy Music
Nick Lowe/Brinsley Schwartz

I certainly agree with:
Neil Young
Nick Cave
Uncertain about Jeff Tweedy, Wilco outshine the solo work imo.

Certainly not:
Lou Reed/The Velvet Underground
Morrisey/The Smiths
Thurtson Moore/Sonic Youth
Black Francis/The Pixies
Any Beatle/The Beatles
and countless others

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I was meaning Wilco not Jeff’s solo offerings, maybe doesn’t quite satisfy the criteria.

I much prefer Jack White’s music outside of the White Stripes. The songwriting was always great, but the construct of the WS was just too limiting, in my view.

Thanks for all the feedback guys, some very interesting mentions there.

I agree with IB in that when you have more than one main guy or contributor in a band, it’s the collective that enhances the work. Where one guy is the driving force, generally he tends to break out and do his best work thereafter - I’m thinking of guys like Nick Cave, Neil Young, Jack White and Rory Gallagher to mention just a few.

But Sting is an interesting one as Neilb mentioned, he has done some terrific solo work.

Any more contributions welcomed.

By the way can you think of any female artists in the same situation? I don’t think Annie Lennox, Chrissie Hynde or Debbie Harry did better solo stuff but what about someone like Natalie Merchant/10,000 Maniacs?

Thanks for your thoughts.


There are several in the OP’s category. Perhaps Dr Dre’s solo work trumps NWA. Richard Ashcroft did some good stuff post-The Verve.

The Band didn’t do too badly after leaving Dylan :wink:

Janis Joplin/Big Brother and the Holding Company ?

Van Morrison / Them

Ozzy/Black Sabbath: Early Ozzy solo albums were better than later Sabbath albums.
Steve Winwood/Traffic
Paul Rogers/Free/Bad Company
Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin
Even the above two collaborating in The Firm would never eclipse their previous bands

I love both the Maniacs and NM solo. Tough call.