The Most Super Duper Supergroups Formed In Rock History
We’ll lead off with the relevant rockers of Velvet Revolver, a hard rock supergroup who won a lot of us over at a young age but recently lost their leading man, Scott Weiland, of Stone Temple Pilots. Formed in 2002 with Guns ‘N Roses guitarist, Slash, and his bandmates Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum, along with Wasted Youth’s Dave Kushner, Velvet Revolver crafted a hit debut with “Contraband” in 2004. Their single “Slither” won a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. Weiland left the band in 2008, only to return in 2012 for a one-off performance.
One of the many Eric Clapton inventions, Cream was one of the first supergroups in rock history. Immediately after his start with the John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers in 1965, Clapton jumped into Cream head first in ’66 with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce (formerly of The Bluesbreakers). The band broke up in the late ’60s after its fourth album, “Goodbye,” but not without eventually being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for its conception and songs like “White Room” and “Sunshine of Your Love.”
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY)
One of the eldest and still working groups of super would be the four-man band of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. David Crosby (previously of The Byrds), Stephen Stills (previously of Buffalo Springfield) and Graham Nash (previously of The Hollies) started the group when they gelled at a party at Joni Mitchell’s house in 1968. Occasionally they’re joined by their fourth, Neil Young, who still flies solo successfully, but after a dust-up in 2013, Young announced they were done touring together. The band is known for record great “Dèjá Vu.”
Them Crooked Vultures
As if Dave Grohl hasn’t had his fair share of kicks, he managed to get his chops back on the sticks with a three-man supergroup, Them Crooked Vultures, a one-off self-titled album featuring John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) and Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age). Formed in 2009 and touring into 2010, the band pulled together a nice Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2011 for their debut single, “New Fang.” From there, Grohl returned to his Foo Fighters, but a reunion is not out the question according to the former Nirvana drummer.
Monsters of Folk
The name, however ironic for folk music, is fairly accurate as well in its ability to bring together some of the biggest folk songwriters: Jim James My Morning Jacket, Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes) and half of one of the greatest rock collaborations, M. Ward. Despite their formation in 2004, the band never got around to finishing a full-length debut until 2009 due to their respective projects. After a successful debut with singles “Dear God” and “Say Please,” folks are looking forward to the return of these folk monsters.
Atoms for Peace
Two of the most uniquely talented mainstream artists, Thom Yorke of Radiohead and Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers gathered as one of greatest music collaborations before Yorke brought on his longtime producer, Nigel Godrich, and Joey Waronker of Beck and Mauro Refosco of Forro in the Dark. After banding together in 2009, they released their first album, “Amok,” in 2013, a follow-up to Yorke, a lead man successfully going solo in 2006. But now Radiohead is back in the sack, as is the Chili Peppers, so the supergroup has been suspended for the time being.
The Postal Service
The Death Cab for Cutie singer, Ben Gibbard, has spun his wheels in a few bands, his first being the 2001 indie supergroup with the held-high one-off record people have begged for more of: The Postal Service. The invention of the band with Jimmy Tamborello (Headset) and Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley) came in Seattle just a few years after Death Cab. Despite their 2003 debut “Give Up” being more than a decade old, designs for a reunion amongst its fans remain strong. They did get a taste at Coachella 2013.
The Traveling Wilburys
The mix of Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and George Harrison in a time of their peak performance may seem like a musical wet dream to many, and it is, each taking on new aliases with the last name Wilbury. With two additional members, the group formed in 1988 in Dylan’s Malibu studio and comprised two albums. The supergroup began right after Harrison’s “Cloud Nine” and ended about a year after the death of Roy Orbison in 1990. They won a Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo in 1989, but they collaborated with one another on several solo projects outside of The Traveling Wilburys.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
One of the best things about supergroups is their ability to change super members and evolve over time, and so is the case for Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds. Consisting of longtime collaborators, Cave initially brought on Mick Harvey and Blix Bargeld in 1983 before switching the lineup across the groups 15-album cycle in its three-decade existence.
Jack White has also formed a number of musical projects, one of the best and also short-lived being his Raconteurs in 2005. Comprised of Brendan Benson, another successfully solo singer, Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler, both of The Greenhornes. With a successful debut in 2006 with “Steady As She Goes” off of “Broken Boy Soldiers,” the band managed a follow-up album in 2008 before going on hiatus. Benson claims each member is currently a little busy for a reunion, but that it’s not out of the question.