Multiple Bands, Multiple Success

A lot of people wish they were in a successful band. But what about the select few that are in multiple successful bands? It’s like some sort of elite grouping of people with egos that are so huge they had to spread it across multiple acts. Ok, maybe their egos weren’t the only factor, but it’s probably at the root of any reason you can come up with.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list; the purpose is to bring attention to this interesting (and somewhat rare) process. And I’m not saying that all of the following bands were necessarily “successful,” but they are certainly worth being part of the conversation.

Eric Clapton is the undeniable poster-boy for multiple bands, multiple success. The dude is ridiculous. His writing of “Layla” would be plenty to put him in the mega-success category, but no, there’s more. Clapton’s resume of purposefully-formed music groups goes like this: The Yardbirds, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Powerhouse, Cream, Blind Faith, Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, Derek and the Dominos.

Jimmy Page was also part of The Yardbirds before Led Zeppelin.

Slash didn’t make the cut for Poison, but became part of Guns ‘N’ Roses.

Paul McCartney was in a band called The Quarrymen before The Beatles, which was followed by Wings.

Chris Cornell went from Soundgarden to Audioslave.

Three members of Rage Against the Machine joined Cornell to form Audioslave (Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk).

John McVie was part of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers before joining up with Fleetwood Mac.

Jimi Hendrix was part of Jimmy James and the Blue Flames before starting The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Jeff Beck was another member of The Yardbirds before The Honeydrippers.

Robert Plant was part of The Honeydrippers following Led Zeppelin.

Traveling Wilburys comprised: Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison.

This could go on and on and on. Please comment with transitions that are interesting to you.


12 thoughts on “Multiple Bands, Multiple Success

    • Thanks friend. When I first thought about this topic I didn’t realize just how extensive it could get. I love seeing other transitions that stand out in people’s minds.

  1. Dave mustaine – metallica to megadeth. Matt cameron soundgarden to pearl jam. Bad examples, but it seems like there’s more I just can’t remember. I never had heard of the traveling ??? with all those guys! That’s incredible. Oh yeah congrats on harvey you fool.

    • Traveling Wilburys is a very interesting example of a “super group.” The Highwaymen (Willie, Waylon, Johnny and Kris) are probably my favorite super group. I think few have effectively ever put one of these together, but it’s definitely something worth looking into further.

  2. On the Jimi Hendrix listing, you forgot Band of Gypsys — GREAT album, both the original single vinyl disc and the extended (complete) CD release…

    • Jerry, great point on Band of Gypsys. Hendrix is one of the most fascinating characters in music history (my opinion, of course). Since I live in Nashville, I hear rumblings of the time he spent in Nashville. I hope to get further into Hendrix’s history, from Band of Gypsys to Nashville to Woodstock, sometime soon.

      Thanks for reading.

  3. Let’s see:

    Ritchie Blackmore – Deep Purple, Rainbow, others

    Ronnie James Dio – Black Sabbath, Dio, others

    Steve Vai – Zappa, Alcatrazz, DLR, Whitesnake, others

    Gene Simmons – Kiss w/ make up, Kiss w/o makeup 🙂

  4. Kiss with and without makeup. I love it.

    These other guys are further great examples of the multiple bands.

    Thanks for reading.

  5. Josh Homme:

    Queens of the Stone Age
    Eagles of Death Metal
    The Desert Sessions

    The last three projects he has worked on simultaneously.

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