The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:
9. Dennis DeYoung – Styx
Styx started releasing albums in the 70’s, and achieved moderate success. When guitarist Tommy Shaw joined the band in 1976, Styx became more well known. But, with the release of Paradise Theater in 1981, Styx shot to super stardom. It went to number one on the Billboard pop albums chart and contained five hit singles, including “The Best of Times” (#3) and “Too Much Time on My Hands“(#9). This was followed by the album Kilroy Was Here , which contained the hits “Mr. Roboto” (#3) and power ballad “Don’t Let It End” (#6).
Even though Kilroy Was Here was successful, it caused creative tension in the group. Tommy Shaw went on to a solo career, and the band went on hiatus until 1990. In the meantime, Dennis DeYoung also started a solo career.
Dennis DeYoung had a huge hit with the album and single Desert Moon. It reached to #10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, and was on heavy rotation on MTV. He then followed that with the song “Don’t Wait for Heroes“, which did not get much radio play, but was played heavily on MTV. DeYoung also released the single “This Is the Time” for The Karate Kid, Part II soundtrack.
Artistic differences. Wear and tear from touring. Party lifestyle getting to be too much. Egos. Yoko Ono.
Those are some of the reason bands go their separate ways – sometimes permanently, sometimes temporarily (or until they need more money). Sometimes members move on to a solo career with great success. I have compiled a list of successful 80’s solo artists that came from a band that had success in the 80’s.
I have compiled a top 10 list. I have ranked these in order of how successful the artist and the band were, in my humble opinion. The qualifications are that they have had to have had a hit album or song that was released in the 80’s. Although The Jacksons had the Album Victory with the hit “State of Shock”, I left Michael Jackson off the list because his solo career had already started in the 80’s before the brothers got back together. Besides Michael is in a category all by himself.
We will begin with:
10. Bobby Brown – New Edition
New Edition released their first album, Candy Girl, in 1983, and had a hit with the title track. The band’s self-titled second album was also a big hit, which had the top-5 hit song “Cool It Now“. New Edition’s third album, All For Love, was released in 1985. It was not as big as the previous albums, but it did contain the hit “Count Me Out“.
Then in December 1985, as shocking as it may sound, the group was forced to vote Bobby Brown out of the band, due to behavioral problems.
In 1986, Bobby Brown released his first solo album, King of Stage. He had a small hit with the song “Girlfriend”. Then Brown skyrocketed to super stardom in 1988 with his album Don’t Be Cruel. The album sold 8 million copies, and produced 5 top ten hits: “Don’t Be Cruel” (#8), “Every Little Step” (#3), “Rock Wit’ Cha” (#7), “My Prerogative” (#1), and “Roni” (#3).
He has had his problems, but in the late 80’s Bobby Brown was on top of the world.
MTV redesigned its logo by removing “Music Television”.
The new look was revealed on-air yesterday. It features the original 3-D large “M” with the small, graffiti-style “tv” on the right side. But the new design is expanded, so that photos of MTV “talent”, including the cast of “Jersey Shore,” “The Buried Life” and “My Life as Liz,” can be seen through it.
This has probably been a long time coming since I can’t remember the last time I actually saw a music video on that channel.
Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” hit #1 this week in 1981.
The song came from the album Celebrate!, which was released in 1980. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on February 7, 1981, and stayed there until February 20, 1981.
Even today, “Celebration” is played at most wedding receptions. My father-in-law says that the wedding is not official until that song is played.
Kool and the Gang formed in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1964. They started as a jazz band, then moved on to R&B and funk.
In 1979, James “J.T.” Taylor joined the band as the new lead singer, and the group’s popularity skyrocketed. They started with “Ladies Night“, then hit big with “Celebration”.
They also had big hits in the ’80s with “Get Down On It” and “Joanna“.
Then Kool & the Gang released their album Emergency, which contained four top-20 pop hits – the title track “Emergency“, “Misled“, “Fresh“, and “Cherish“.
In 1986, Kool & the Gang released their last significant album Forever. This album had 2 hits – “Victory” and “Stone Love“.
A judge has ruled that the flute riff in Men at Work’s Australian anthem “Down Under” plagiarized a popular nursery rhyme, called “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree”, which was written in 1932. It was written by Australian teacher Marion Sinclair for a Girl Guides competition.
Sinclair died in 1988. In 1990, an Australian publishing group called Larrikin Publishing bought the copyright to the song. “Down Under” was composed and performed by Men at Work founding member Colin Hay in 1978. Greg Ham added the flute riff after he joined the band in mid-1979.
According to court documents, Ham added the riff to the song to inject some “Australian flavor.” He admitted he had heard the song while growing up in the country in the late 1950s and was “pretty sure” that Kookaburra was in his school’s song book.
Judge Jacobsen found that Ham deliberately included the bars from Kookaburra into the flute line, but accepted that Colin Hay didn’t realize it was from the nursery rhyme until early in the last decade.
The judge ordered both sides to enter mediation on royalty payments and reappear in court on February 25 to discuss whether Larrikin should receive compensation from Hay and Strykert.
The Scorpions announced on their web site that they plan to break up after the release of their next album and tour.
Their next album, “Sting of the Tail” is set to be released on March 19, 2010. They are going to begin their next tour in their home country of Germany, and will travel to five different continents over the next few years.
The band formed in 1965, and released several albums throughout the 70’s. But they began their commercial success in the 80’s, with the album Love at First Sting. “Rock You Like a Hurricane” was a huge hit on MTV.
Their biggest hit was “Wind of Change“, which celebrated the end of communism in Eastern Europe.
R&B Singer Teddy Pendergrass passed away January 13, 2010.
Pendergrass was a very successful recording artist until he was slowed down by spinal cord injury, from a car accident in 1982, which left him paralyzed from the waist down.
Pendergrass was the lead singer of the group Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes who, in 1972, released the song “If You Don’t Know Me By Now“. The song became a number 1 hit in 1989 by Simply Red.
Another great song he performed was “Hold Me“, which was a duet with Whitney Houston on her debut album.
Men at Work’s “Down Under” hit number 1 on January 15, 1983 which came from their debut album Business as Usual.
“Down Under” was Men at Work’s biggest hit. It is the first song that comes to mind when you mention the group. The song is also synonymous with Men at Work’s native Australia. If it was not for this song, how many of us would have heard of Vegemite sandwiches?
The band had a great run in the early 80’s. Sure, they are most known for “Down Under”, but “Who Can It Be Now” was also a big hit. “Be Good Johnny” was also a fun song, and now I have an ear-worm!
“be good be good, be good be good, be good be good…”
Three other songs I love are “Overkill”, “It’s a Mistake”, and “Dr. Heckle and Mr. Jive”