What is a supergroup you may ask? Picture something like a fantasy sports league, where you’re trying to pair up the best with the best. It’s the same premise, except with musicians instead of athletes. In order to be a supergroup the band must consist of members who’ve made a name for themselves as members of another band and have had some sort of notable success. These projects usually occur in between a hiatus or right after break-ups, and in some cases the success of the supergroup can eclipse the success of the band members’ original groups.
Sadly, most supergroups fall apart due to rather large and conflicting egos, and some fall into the hellish limbo that is the seemingly endless hiatus. Because of that, there is often little material to be heard from these talented collaborations, which in a way makes them all the more special.
Here are the Top 10 Best Supergroups of All Time.
10. Temple of the Dog (1990–1992)
Temple of the Dog started off as a tribute to Malfunkshun and Mother Love Bone lead vocalist Andrew Wood. Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell pioneered the project that comprised of former Mother Love Bone members Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament, as well as Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron, guitarist Mike McCready and newcomer Eddie Vedder on backing vocals. The band’s only album – their self titled debut Temple of the Dog – was released in 1991 and went platinum in the States, peaking at 5th on the Billboard 200. Despite being a one time only deal, Vedder, Ament, Gossard and McCready went on to form the legendary Pearl Jam and released their debut album Ten in 1992, just one year after the release of Temple of the Dog.
9. The Raconteurs (2005–2011, hiatus)
Already on his second soupergroup, Jack White hit gold with the Raconteurs. Comprised of White and solo artist Brendan Benson along with The Greenhornes’ Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler, The Raconteurs released their critically acclaimed album Broken Boy Soldiers in 2006. It was a commercial success selling close to 425,000 copies, headlined by the monster single “Steady, As She Goes.” An awesome mix of alternative and blues – with some folk rock sprinkled in – the group’s two albums have been certified gold in the UK. With White busy with his other side projects – The Dead Weather and his solo project – there hasn’t been much of a chance for these guys to put out any new material. Despite White announcing that the band was back in the studio last February, an interview with Benson in March might’ve put any hopes of a new album to rest, stating that it was “kind of off the table.”
8. A Perfect Circle (1999–2004, 2010–present)
A Perfect Circle was conceived when Tool vocalist Maynard James Keenan heard some demos recorded by former Tool and NIN guitar tech Billy Howerdel. Originally desiring a female vocalist, Howerdel decided to go forward with Keenan as the band’s vocalist and a short time after A Perfect Circle was formed. Joined by former Failure guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen and Primus drummer Tim Alexander, the band released their debut album, Mer de Noms which quickly became the highest selling debut for any rock band with 188,000 copies sold in the first week. After two more albums and a hiatus lasting almost 5 years, the band returned to touring in 2010. After more than a decade with no new album release the band has yet to give word when, or if fans can get their hands on a new record.
7. Asia (1981–1986, 1989–present)
The wheels had been set in motion since the mid 70s, but nothing concrete formed until 1981, when King Crimson bassist and vocalist John Wetton, Yes guitarist Steve Howe, Yes keyboardist Geoff Downes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer drummer Carl Palmer came together and Asia was officially born. Their self-titled debut Asia was a huge success peaking at #1 on the Billboard 200 and selling over 4 million copies in the States. However, the band was unable to replicate the success of their debut with their next two albums, leading to the end of the band and the end of the original line up. The band returned with a new line up and a new album just a few years later. In 1990 Then & Now was released, with the album’s only single “Days Like These” making it to the No. 2 spot on the American Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.
6. Velvet Revolver (2002–2008)
Velvet Revolver was formed almost 5 years after Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum left Guns N Roses. After trying out a myriad of different vocalists, including Skid Row’s Sebastian Bach, U.P.O.’s Shawn Albro and Days of the New frontman Travis Meeks, the band finally found what they were looking for in Stone Temple Pilots vocalist Scott Weiland. However, Weiland was hesitant to join the group until Stone Temple Pilots broke up in 2002. With Weiland now in the line-up the band released two albums – 2004’s Contraband and 2007’s Liberated – the former producing the hit single “Slither”. After getting arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, Weiland slowly fell out of the rest of the band members’ favour. The band fired him shortly after and have since adopted Linkin Park’s vocalist Chester Bennington.
5. Audioslave (2001–2007)
Yup, another Chris Cornell project on the list. After Rage Against the Machine split in 2000, the remaining members, guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk, decided to start jamming together in hopes of finding a new singer. After trying out a few vocalists, the band decided to move away from another rapper and instead went with former Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell. The result was an awesome mixture of 70s style hard rock and alternative music, all held together by Wilks’ drums and Commerfords solid bass lines. Audioslave put out three albums in a span of four years, with their debut self titled Audioslave being certified 3x Platinum in the states and their 2005 follow up Out of Exile peaking at #1 on the Billboard 200. Less than one month after Rage Against the Machine announced a one time only reunion show in January of 2007, Cornell left Audioslave due to “personality conflicts” as well as “musical differences.” Since then, both Rage and Soundgarden have reformed, with Soundgarden releasing their sixth studio album King Animal in 2012.
4. Them Crooked Vultures (2009–2010, on hiatus)
Besides being “the nicest guy in rock,” Dave Grohl is also the king of the side project, and he proved it when he reeled in Led Zeppelin legend John Paul Jones and Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme to put together Them Crooked Vultures in 2009. A mixture of Grohl’s intense drumming style, with overtones of Homme’s psychedelic desert rock roots and Jones’ world class skills on the bass, mandolin, keys and pretty much everything else, the band had been mentioned to be in the works as early as 2005. Their self titled debut was released in 2009 to critical acclaim, being certified gold in Canada and peaking at 12th on the Billboard 200. After a year of touring, all three members left to continue work on other projects. With Foo Fighters releasing their 7th studio album Wasting Light in 2011 and another on the way, and Queens releasing their 6th studio album …Like Clockwork in 2013, there’s no timeframe on when this great bad will hit the studio again.
3. The Traveling Wilburys (1988–1990)
The Traveling Wilburys started off when George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty met up at Bob Dylan’s place to record a B-side for Harrison’s single “This is Love”. The result, “Handle With Care” was so good that the guys decided to create a complete album together. The result, Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 was recorded in a span of ten days in May of 1988 and was released later that year to much critical acclaim. It was certified 6x Platinum in Canada and 3x Platinum in the States and within six months the album sold some 2 million copies in the US. Shortly after the release of the album, Orbison died of a heart attack. The band would come together one last time to release the intentionally misnumbered Traveling Wilburys Viol. 3 in 1990.
2. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (1968–1970, 1973, 1974, 1977–present)
Before they were CSNY, there was only Crosby, Stills and Nash. The band came to fruition after Crosby and Stills left their respective bands. After some jamming they recruited The Hollies’ Graham Nash. The band’s first album was highlighted by the masterful harmonies of the talented trio and had been certified 4x Multi-Platinum in the States. The trio were later joined by another Buffalo Springfield member, Neil Young. With the addition of Young the quartet released their second album Deja Vu a year after the release of the self titled debut. Conflicts of interest and large egos lead to the band breaking up that same year. They got back together in 1977 but Young’s participation shifted from time to time, as he only recorded two of the following six albums.
1. Cream (1966–1968) Reunions: 1993, 2005
As a member of both the Yardbirds and the Bluesbreakers, Eric Clapton had established himself as one of the premier guitarists in Britain. In 1966 he met Ginger Baker of the Graham Bond Organization and the two decided to form a group along with Jack Bruce on bass. The band called themselves Cream since they were considered to be the “cream of the crop” in Britain. They found much success with their psychedelic sound and their third album Wheels of Fire became the first platinum selling double album. However, Bruce and Baker had a history of animosity towards each other. The two were once a part of the Graham Bond Organization and had constant arguments, even going so far as to sabotage each other’s equipment. Eventually the strain of Bruce and Baker’s relationship, as well as Clapton’s desire to distance himself from Cream’s iconic psychedelic sound lead to the band breaking up in 1968.
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