Tuesday, 23 April 2013

10 Great Songs By Supergroups

Ahhh the Supergroup. It's a musical All-Star Game. High profile, already established musicians getting together to form one mega band. Like five hall of fame guitarists combining their powers to become on rock and roll Voltron. I'll try to cover as many genres here as I can. 10 Super Songs By Supergroups

1. Cream - "SWLABR"

Often recognized as one of the very first Supergroups formed Cream came together in 1966. Featuring Eric Clapton who had already found fame with The Yardbirds, Jack Bruce (Manfred Mann) and Ginger Baker on drums who first approached Clapton about forming the new band. Clapton was for the idea as long as Bruce be included as well. This caused tension in the group as Baker and Bruce never got along and Cream would only last a couple years. Their impact on the rock and roll landscape is legendary and are often cited as one of the UK's most influential bands.

2. The Transplants - "One Seventeen"

Once Travis Barker left The Aquabats to take over drumming duties in Blink 182, the trio from California exploded into the spotlight. Everyone wanted a piece of Barker...which is fine, because it seems like thats all the guy does is play drums....extremely well I might add. The Transplants were initally Rancid's Tim Armstrong and his roadie pal "Skinhead Rob", when they decided they needed a drummer to flesh out the group of course Barker's name was top of their list. Barker would always play drums for Boxcar Racer, +44 and was even featured on a P. Diddy album.

3. The Highwaymen - "Highwayman"

For Country music's contribution to the supergroup arena we get The Highwaymen. Consisting of Woody Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings it is perhaps the most star studded lineup of this list....ok maybe second. They spanned ten years and released three albums, impressive considering the colossal solo careers each of the four members maintained over that time span as well.

4. The Firm - "Firm Biz"

The Firm was the name of two separate supergroups believe or not. One in the 80's featuring the likes of Jimmy Page and Paul Rodgers. The second being the hip-hop trio of NAS, AZ & Foxy Brown who released just one album in 1997. The group was the brainchild of NAS and Dr. Dre among others and was highly hyped and eagerly anticipated. After the album dropped however, expectations weren't met and the album did poorly. The Firm disbanded shortly after. This song also has a bonus member for the supergroup as Dawn Robinson from En Vogue sings the chorus.

5. The Traveling Wilburys - "Handle Me With Care"

Easily the best known supergroup and likely the one with the most star power, The Traveling Wilburys were George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and Bob Dylan.  The band was created by Harrison and their first album feature songs written entirely by the all-star line up. Though they all adopted different names for the record it was painfully obvious who was behind the Wilburys. Orbison passed away in 1988, shortly after the album's release, but that didn't stop the remaining 4 to record their second album Volume 3 in 1990. The intentional misnumbering was Harrison's idea...that whacky Beatle.

6. Them Crooked Vultures - "New Fang"

Dave Grohl is a supergroup unto himself...any group he starts or joins get immediate Supergroup status. This one he formed with Josh Homme of Queens Of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal, and John Paul Jones who is best known as being the bassist for a little group called Led Zeppelin. Them Crooked Vultures has perhaps the coolest band names in history. The name and lineup combined with the fact that you can hear the instruments actually being played not produced made their 2009 debut album easily one of the decade's most exciting.

7. Magnetic Man - "Perfect Stranger"

Yup I actually included a dubstep song...or house...or techno....whatever this is considered it's worth a mention. Skream, Benga and Artwork 3 DJs who originally met in the 90's but this collaboration didn't materialize until 2010. "Perfect Stranger" features English singer Katy B on lead vocals. This is another one of those one off projects...at least for now.

8. Oysterhead - "Mr Oysterhead"

Initially intended to be a band for one performance only Oysterhead was a group assembled by Les Claypool (Primus) for the New Orleans Jazz Festival in 2000. He asked Phish's Trey Anastasio to join him and together they recruited Stewart Copeland of The Police. While rehearsing for the show the trio came up with hours of original music and eventually released The Grand Pecking Order in 2001. I'm not sure there is enough weed in the world to prepare us for a permanent Oysterhead incarnation, though the band did reunite at Bonnaroo in 2006.

9. Broken Social Scene - "Lover's Spit"

Even Canada can through it's hat into the ring of the Supergroup showdown. Though Broken Social Scene formed in 1999 it's been a revolving door of the Canadian music scene's who's who since it's conception. Over the years members have included Kevin Drew, Feist, Emily Haines (Metric), Bill Priddle (Treblecharger), Evan Cranley (Stars) and other members of such groups as By Divine Right, The Weakerthans and The Hidden Cameras.

10. Mad Season - "River Of Deceit"

Not just a legend among the Seattle grunge scene that brought this mega power together, but Mad Season has since become one of the greatest "what if?" groups of recent history. Featuring Alice in Chains vocalist Layne Staley, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike Mcready, Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin and The Walkabouts bassist John Saunders the fact that they only came out with one album was a shame. Drug problems and schedule conflicts kept Mad Season on the shelf and the deaths of Saunders and Staley sadly put talks of a true reunion to rest. "River Of Deceit" has become their best known song.

Thanks as always

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  1. I love that you included some non-traditional (read non-rock) groups in this list. So many of these kinds of lists (http://www.ranker.com/list/best-supergroups-ever-made/rockboy for example) tend to stick to rock music when there are so many supergroups from other genres that are worth a mention. I guess it would make more sense for supergroups to form in rock since there's a need to have members who play specific instruments but still good to notice Magnetic Man and others. Also, big props for the Mad Season love. They are one of my all-time favorites. Great stuff!