Often, only one solo star will emerge from a popular band – usually the lead singer. But every now and then, two or more members will go on to have a degree of success away from their band-mates – usually when there is more than one lead singer. Here are a few examples of groups that have spawned more than one side career, and a look at which members had the biggest hits on the Australian singles chart without their band-mates.
Although Stevie Nicks has had the most consistently successful solo career away from Fleetwood Mac, with six top 30 hits to her name, her former musical and romantic partner Lindsey Buckingham achieved something she hasn’t come that close to doing – landing a number 1 song in Australia. “Trouble” was, however, his only song to make the top 50, although that is still one more that Christine McVie.
Lindsey Buckingham – biggest hit: "Trouble" [number 1 in 1982]
Christine McVie – biggest hit: "Got A Hold On Me" [number 55 in 1984]
Stevie Nicks –biggest hit: "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" [with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers] [number 10 in 1981]
There was no competition between the two late vocalists for new wave band The Cars in terms of their Australian chart solo success, with Ric Ocasek’s “Emotion In Motion” a considerably larger hit here. In the US, things were more closely fought, with “Stay The Night” peaking at number 24 to the number 15 placing of “Emotion In Motion.”
Ric Ocasek – biggest hit: "Emotion In Motion" [number 8 in 1986]
Benjamin Orr – biggest hit: "Stay The Night" [number 66 in 1987]
Phil Collins’ run of hits during the 1980s – he also reached number 2 with “One More Night” and had three songs reach number 3 – was much more substantial than that of Genesis’ former vocalist, Peter Gabriel, who also made the top 5 with Kate Bush duet “Don’t Give Up”. Besting them both by topping the chart was Mike Rutherford, whose side-project, Mike + the Mechanics, was also responsible for top 10 single “All I Need Is A Miracle.”
Phil Collins – biggest hit: "A Groovy Kind Of Love" [number 2 in 1988]
Peter Gabriel – biggest hit: "Sledgehammer" (number 3 in 1986)
Mike Rutherford – biggest hit: "The Living Years" [with Mike + the Mechanics] [number 1 in 1989]
All four members of the Beatles reached number 1 in Australia after the band split, and all of them except for Ringo Starr did it more than once. Obviously it’s not really fair to compare the overall careers of the band’s biggest hit-makers, Paul McCartney and John Lennon, since the latter’s life was tragically cut short, but looking at just the period between 1970 and 1980 (inclusive), Paul reached the top 10 on seven occasions to John’s four. And his biggest hit, “Mull Of Kintyre”, stayed at number 1 for a massive 11 weeks.
George Harrison – biggest hit: "My Sweet Lord/Isn’t It A Pity" [number 1 in 1971]
John Lennon – biggest hit: "Imagine" [number 1 in 1971-72]
Paul McCartney – biggest hit: "Mull Of Kintyre/Girls’ School" [as part of Wings] [number 1 in 1977-78]
Ringo Starr – Biggest hit: "Photograph" [number 1 in 1974]
Although a number of other Eagles members released solo material, including Timothy B. Schmidt, who didn’t chart locally, it was singers Glenn Frey and Don Henley who enjoyed the most success away from the band. And while Glenn just edged out Don for a higher charting single with his Beverly Hills Cop tune, Don was the only one to return to the ARIA top 5, which he did in 1992 alongside Patty Smyth on “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough”.
Glenn Frey – biggest hit: "The Heat Is On" [number 2 in 1985]
Don Henley – biggest hit: "The Boys Of Summer" [number 3 in 1985]
Randy Meisner – biggest hit: "Deep Inside My Heart" [number 24 in 1981]
Joe Walsh – biggest hit (after joining Eagles): "Life’s Been Good" [number 56 in 1978]
Tim Finn is the only member of Split Enz to have a truly solo hit, reaching the top 10 with his debut single, “Fraction Too Much Friction”, but if we compare the post-band careers of the various members, brother Neil’s years of success as frontman for Crowded House (of which Tim was also briefly a member) outweighs all others. That said, Phil Judd (who was also in Schnell Fenster) did score a chart-topping single with The Swingers – something Crowded House were never quite able to do.
Noel Crombie – biggest hit: “Whisper” [with Schnell Fenster] [number 56 in 1988]
Neil Finn – biggest hit: ”Better Be Home Soon” [with Crowded House][number 2 in 1988]
Tim Finn – biggest hit: “Fraction Too Much Friction” [number 8 in 1983]
Phil Judd – biggest hit: “Counting The Beat” [with The Swingers][number 1 in 1981]
Interestingly, the biggest solo hits by Eurythmics partners Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart weren’t actually solo hits – both of them were duets with other performers. Dave’s instrumental soundtrack hit was his only top 50 appearance away from Eurythmics, while Annie made the chart on her own with “No More ‘I Love You’s’” (number 16), “Why” (number 17) and “Little Bird” (number 38).
Annie Lennox – biggest hit: “Put A Little Love In Your Heart” [with Al Green] [number 6 in 1989]
David Stewart – biggest hit: “Lily Was Here” [with Candy Dulfer] [number 10 in 1990]
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