Category Archives: Going Solo

Going Solo – #1

The countdown concludes for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands. And now, drum roll please (provided by Phil Collins), without further ado…

1. Phil Collins – Genesis

Genesis was formed in 1967. Phil Collins joined the band in 1971 as the drummer. When the lead singer, Peter Gabriel, left the band between 1975-1977, Genesis held auditions for a new lead singer. Phil Collins had previously been a background singer, and coached prospective lead singers. Eventually the band decided to name Collins the lead singer. In 1979, Collins almost left the band due to personal issues at home with his wife. But the remaining members (Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks) decided to take a hiatus instead. Phil Collins’ marriage ended in divorce, and the band started back up. In 1980, the album Duke was released, and contained the hit singles “Misunderstanding“, and “Turn It On Again“. In 1981, Genesis had the follow up album Abacab. The singles from that album were “No Reply At All” and the title track “Abacab“.

Also in 1981, Phil Collins released his solo debut, Face Value, which consisted of material he wrote while on hiatus. It had the one of his biggest hits, “In the Air Tonight“. Then Collins had another successful solo album called Hello, I Must Be Going!, which spawned the singles “I Don’t Care Anymore” and “You Can’t Hurry Love“.
Then Genesis released another album called Genesis. It had the hits “Mama“, “That’s All“, and “Illegal Alien“.

In 1984, Phil Collins released a song for the movie Against All Odds, called “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)“. He also produced an album for Philip Bailey called Chinese Wall, and performed a duet with Bailey on it called “Easy Lover“.

In 1985, Phil Collins released his most successful solo album, No Jacket Required. It contained the hits “Sussudio“, “One More Night“, “Don’t Lose My Number“, and “Take Me Home“, as well as smaller hits “Who Said I Would“, and “Only You Know and I Know“.

In 1986, Genesis released their most successful album, Invisible Touch. The following were hits from that album:
Invisible Touch
Tonight, Tonight, Tonight
Land of Confusion
In Too Deep
Throwing It All Away

The band then went on hiatus for 5 years. In the meantime, Phil Collins continued his solo career.
In 1988, he starred in the movie Buster. He had 2 hits from the movie – “Two Hearts” and “A Groovy Kind of Love“.
In 1989, Collins released another very successful album – …But Seriously. “Another Day in Paradise” went to Number 1 on the Billboard Charts at the end of 1989 and Collins won a Grammy for Record of the Year for the song. Interesting note – it became the last #1 U.S. pop hit of the 1980s. Other songs included “Something Happened on the Way to Heaven” (#4 U.S., #15 UK), “Do You Remember?” (#4 U.S.), and “I Wish It Would Rain Down” (#3 U.S., #7 UK).

Going Solo – #2

The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:

2. Steve Perry – Journey

Journey was formed in the 70’s, and started as a jazz fusion band. They gradually added more vocals and made the songs shorter. But their record label, Columbia Records, wanted them to change musical directions and add a new lead singer. In 1977, they brought in Steve Perry, and their popularity began to grow.
In 1980, they had the hit album Departure, and had a hit with the single “Any Way You Want It“. The song was also featured in a scene in the movie Caddyshack. In 1981, Journey released the classic #1 album Escape, which has sold over 9 million copies so far.
There were three top-10 hits from that album, including “Don’t Stop Believin’“, “Who’s Cryin’ Now“, and “Open Arms“. “Still They Ride” was also a top-20 hit.
In the meantime, they had released a live album called Captured, which was recorded before Escape was released. After the concert portion of the album, there was a studio single called “The Party’s Over (Hopelessly In Love)“, which was also a hit song.
In 1983, Journey released another smash album called Frontiers. It featured the hits “Separate Ways,” which reached #8, “Faithfully,” which reached #12, “Send Her My Love“, and “After the Fall“, both of which reached #23. They also had the hit song “Only the Young” from the Vision Quest soundtrack, and “Ask the Lonely” from the soundtrack Two of a Kind.
After Steve Perry’s solo album, but before their long hiatus, Journey released another hit album, Raised On Radio. It also produced four top 20 singles, “Be Good to Yourself” (#9), “I’ll Be Alright Without You” (#14), “Girl Can’t Help It“, and “Suzanne,” both of which reached #17, and they had a minor hit with “Why Can’t This Night Go On Forever“. This is also the album that American Idol judge, Randy Jackson, performed on.

In 1984, Steve Perry released his first solo album called Street Talk, which was a huge success. The song, “Oh Sherry” was a #3 hit. “Foolish Heart” was a top 20 hit, and there was also minor success with the songs “She’s Mine” and “Strung Out“. In 1982, Steve Perry also had a successful duet with Kenny Loggins called “Don’t Fight It“. He also appeared in the original “We Are the World” video, and recorded a song, “If Only For the Moment, Girl” for the We Are the World album.

Going Solo – #3

The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:

3. Peter Cetera – Chicago

Chicago is one of the longest running and most successful groups in rock history. They formed in 1967, and released their first album in 1969. They were constantly on the Billboard charts throughout the 70’s. Then in 1978, the lead guitarist, and one of the the founding members, Terry Kath, died of an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound. Then the band went into a major transitional period. They eventually brought in producer David Foster, and were able to start the next phase of their career. In 1982, the band released Chicago 16, and were back on the top of the charts again. They had a #1 hit with “Hard to Say I’m Sorry/Get Away“, then was followed by another hit “Love Me Tomorrow“.
The band then followed up with their highest selling album – Chicago 17. They released four singles from the album, all of them sung by Peter Cetera. They were all top 20 hits – “Stay the Night” (#16), “Hard Habit to Break” (#3), “You’re the Inspiration” (#3) and “Along Comes a Woman” (#14). Around this time, MTV was becoming more popular, and Cetera became the face of Chicago. With this new fame, Cetera decided to start a solo career, and not to continue with Chicago’s busy touring schedule.

Peter Cetera was a very successful solo artist. His first single, “Glory of Love” was the theme song for the movie The Karate Kid, Part II, and it reached #1. Then he released the album Solitude/Solitaire, and sold over 1 million copies. “The Glory of Love” was on this album as well as another #1 hit “The Next Time I Fall“, which was a duet with Amy Grant. Solitude/Solitaire outsold Chicago 18, which was Chicago’s first album without Cetera. In 1988, Cetera released another solo album, One More Story. It featured the #4 hit “One Good Woman“. The song “Save Me” was also on the album, and was the original theme song for the television show Baywatch. Then Peter Cetera wrapped up the 80’s by recording the duet “After All” with Cher, which was on the soundtrack for the movie Chances Are. The song went on to reach #6 on the charts.

Going Solo – #4

The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:

4. Lionel Richie – The Commodores

The Commodores had some huge hits in the 70’s. But they were also very successful in the early 80’s with hits such as “Oh No” and “Lady (You Bring Me Up)“.

In 1981, Lionel Richie sang “Endless Love” as a duet with Diana Ross. The result was a #1 hit. This encouraged Richie to go out on his own as a solo artist. His first album was self-titled, and featured three hits – “Truly“, “You Are” and “My Love“. The album hit #3 on the music charts and sold over 4 million copies. Then Richie’s follow-up, Can’t Slow Down was even more successful as it sold twice as many copies as his debut, and won 2 Grammys, including Album of the Year. There were five hit songs on the album – “All Night Long“, “Running With the Night“, “Hello“, “Penny Lover“, and “Stuck On You“. Richie’s next album, Dancing on the Ceiling, was also a success. The hit singles from that album were “Say You, Say Me“, “Dancing on the Ceiling“, and “Ballerina Girl“.

Then Richie became exhausted, and took a break for a long time. He has a more relaxed schedule now, and releases a new album every few years.

Going Solo – #5

The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:

5. Belinda Carlisle – The Go-Go’s

The Go-Go’s had a great start with Beauty and the Beat as their debut album in 1981. It had the smash hits “Our Lips are Sealed” and “We Got the Beat“. In 1982, the Go-Go’s were nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. The next album, Vacation, was not as big a hit, but the title track was a top-ten hit. In 1984, the album Talk Show was released, and had the hits “Head over Heels” and “Turn to You“. However, were personality conflicts in the band, and there were drug addiction problems with some members. So, towards the end of 1984, guitarist Jane Wiedlin announced that she was leaving the group. In 1985, the rest of the members decided to disband.

Lead singer, Belinda Carlisle decided to start a solo career. Her first solo album, Belinda, was very successful, and she had a hit with “Mad About You” from that album. Her follow-up album Heaven on Earth was a huge success. The first release, “Heaven is a Place On Earth” topped the singles charts in several countries. The second single from the album was “I Get Weak“, and it went to #2 in the U.S. The following single, “Circle In the Sand” was another top-ten hit. The next album was Runaway Horses, and it produced the hit “Leave a Light On“.

In 2001, The Go-Go’s reunited to release a new album, God Bless the Go-Go’s, with all new material. And they have recently announced that they are going to have a farewell tour.

Going Solo – #6

The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:

6. David Lee Roth – Van Halen
We are on a roll with 70’s groups with continuing success in the 80’s.
Women and Children First was released in 1980, and had the hits “And the Cradle Will Rock…” and “Everybody Wants Some!!“. The latter song was also featured in the movie Better Off Dead. Fair Warning was released in 1981. At that time, tensions were beginning to rise between Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth. Eddie wanted to produce more serious and complex songs, and David had more of a poppy fun style. The only song of note from that album was “Unchained“. The following year, Diver Down was released and performed better. There were a couple of pop remakes that were on the album that contributed to the success – “(Oh) Pretty Woman” and “Dancing in the Street“. “Where Have All the Good Times Gone!” also went to #17 on the mainstream rock charts. Then the band peaked in 1984 with their mega-successful album 1984. “Jump” was the bands first and only #1 pop hit. You couldn’t watch MTV for more than a half hour without seeing it. The first song on the album was a short keyboard instrumental called “1984“, and it led into “Jump”. We referred to “1984” as the song to get you psyched for “Jump”. “I’ll Wait” reached #7 on the mainstream rock charts. “Panama” was another huge success, and another song that got a lot of airplay on MTV. This was followed by the hit “Hot For Teacher” (“Sit down, Waldo”!).

On April 1, 1985, Van Halen and David Lee Roth had a bitter break-up.
Just before the break-up, Roth released 2 big hit singles – “California Girls” and “Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody“. In 1986, Roth released his first full solo album Eat ‘Em and Smile. The first single from that album was his most popular – “Yankee Rose“, which featured great guitar work by Steve Vai. “Goin’ Crazy” also had some success.
Then in 1988, Roth released the album Skyscraper which featured the hit “Just Like Paradise” which reached to #6. “Stand Up” was also a moderate hit.

[Note: I chose David Lee Roth over Sammy Hagar because Hagar was already a successful solo artist before he joined Van Halen (or as some people call it – Van Hagar). Sammy definitely had a more successful solo career than David]

Going Solo – #7

The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:

7. Lou Gramm – Foreigner
Foreigner is yet another band that was formed in the 70’s that also had success in the 80’s. Their first hit album of the 80’s was 4. It produced the hits “Urgent“, “Waiting for a Girl Like You“, “Juke Box Hero” and “Break it Up“. The next album was Agent Provocateur, which gave them their first and only #1 hit in 1985, “I Want to Know What Love Is“. It also had the hit “That Was Yesterday“. In late 1987 Foreigner released Inside Information, producing hits such as “Say You Will” and “I Don’t Want to Live Without You“.

Also in 1987, Lou Gramm released his first solo album as he and Mick Jones were developing creative differences. The album Ready or Not was successful, and produced the hits “Midnight Blue” and the title track “Ready or Not“. “Heartache” and “Time” are also very good songs from that album. Then in 1989, Gramm released his second solo album Long Hard Look. The hit singles from that album were “Just Between You And Me” and “True Blue Love“.

Going Solo – #8

The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:

8. Stevie Nicks – Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac is mostly known for their huge 1977 album Rumours. But they did have some success in the early 80’s with their 1982 album Mirage. The hits from that album included “Hold Me“, “Love in Store“, and “Gypsy“.
After that album, the band went on hiatus for a little while. So some members pursued solo albums.

The most successful was Stevie Nicks.

Before Mirage was released, Nicks released the album Bella Donna, which produced the hits “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (#3), which was a duet with Tom Petty, “Leather and Lace” (#26), which was another duet with Don Henley, and “Edge of Seventeen” (#11).
After Mirage, Stevie continued her success with “Stand Back” (#5), which was followed by her next hit “If Anyone Falls” (#14), which came off the album The Wild Heart. Stevie’s next album, Rock a Little, was also a hit. It had the songs “Talk to Me” (#16), and “I Can’t Wait” (#4).

Going Solo – #9

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.

Styx started back up without Tommy Shaw with the album Edge of the Century. This album produced the hits “Show Me the Way“, “Love at First Sight“, and “Love is the Ritual“.

In 1995, Tommy Shaw rejoined the group. But the tensions rose again, and this time Dennis DeYoung was left behind by the group, and went solo again.

Going Solo

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.

To be continued…