When one door closes and another one opens. At least, that’s how the old proverb goes anyway, especially when things usually don’t always turn out as rosy as once hoped.
The artists on this list haven’t let the end of their first project set them back. Instead, they chose to flourish into the artist they have grown into today. Their second bite at the apple has been more prosperous than the first time around, and they’ve all made sure that they make their second chance count.
Whilst on the outside it may seem as though there’s a flock of artists who don’t know how to make a bad record, a run of creativity that seemingly appears as though everything they touch instantly turns to gold, once artists are removed from an environment that has given them such great successes, they can fly or fall flat on their faces.
The array of artists below worked within the music industry for large sections of their life, and more often than not, it’s hard to beat the success of your first project. When musicians step outside of their comfort zone, it is truly a flight or fight moment. Some musicians will leave their first group, determined to succeed on their own, or find a new home for their talent. Others will merely flounder on the sidelines, hoping for a lucky break. Here, we’ve got all those who refused to be determined by one facet of their professional careers.
All of the artists took a risk and delved into uncharted territory, which shows why sometimes in life, you need to trust your gut by giving something new a shot. Check out the list below.
10 artist who went on to better things:
There’s no doubt that The Stooges are an iconic group who made Iggy Pop into the artist he is today. However, they never had the commercial success that they deserved during their heyday, and it wasn’t until Bowie took him under his wing that he fulfilled his potential, as well as rescuing his career.
Iggy struggled with heroin addiction before making a move to Berlin, but he was also in a blip creatively. The Stooges had called it a day, and his last record was in 1973 before Bowie came along to whisk him away to Berlin in 1976, which would lead to them recording two albums together that revived his artistry, making him a star in his own right.
Ever since that moment, Iggy has thrown himself into his art and carved out a career as one of rock’s finest forefathers.
Neil Young’s songwriting prowess is unparalleled; Old Shakey can make listeners feel every emotion under the sun within one song. He is a modern-day poet with rock ‘n’ roll DNA that, when combined, creates a match made in heaven. However, his career hasn’t always been smooth sailing, and there have been many road bumps on the way that have shaped him into the artist he is today.
Before becoming one of the most recognisable singer-songwriters on the planet, Young first cut his teeth with Buffalo Springfield and following their rocky split, things could have gone badly for him. However, it was evident from early on that he was made to be a solo star and has never looked back since.
Young gathered up his songs, slung his guitar around his back and motored on, knowing he would achieve success. Countless studio albums later and Young is still regarded as one of the finest songwriters around.
With Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno created some of the most forward-thinking rock sounds we’ve ever seen. Eno and Ferry were a force to be reckoned with, but the two of them had different intentions with them both flying in their paths following the split of Roxy Music.
Ferry remains a searing performer who can command a stage like few others and a true one of a kind talent. His brand of pop music is the most sophisticated on the planet, and his timeless nature has only continued to prosper following the disbandment of Roxy Music.
All Ferry really needed for success was the spotlight and a microphone. His charisma knows no bounds and his talent falls in line. There was never any doubt that Ferry would become a superstar in his own right.
Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker is a one-of-a-kind indie-pop genius. He’s a creative who has single-handedly created one of the most dynamic music repertoires over the last decade.
The multi-instrumentalist has a wide span of influences, evident from listening to any work by Tame Impala, which encapsulates an eclectic range of sounds whilst having a contemporary edge to it.
However, before Tame Impala’s success, Parker was the drummer with fellow Australian psych juggernauts Pond for two years before leaving in 2011 to focus on his following his heart. While Parker still works closely with the group and produces their records, he was never in charge of the project, but with Tame Impala, it is entirely his vision.
Few musical icons are as omnipresent as Bob Marley. Even almost 40 years after his death, Marley is still a figure held in the highest of pantheons. Forming the Wailers in the early 1960s, alongside Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, Marley helped bring reggae tones across the world.
The Wailers then disbanded in 1974, even though Marley continued to tour and produce music as Bob Marley & The Wailers despite the band no longer existing. A clever marketing ploy that kept his fans engrossed in his work.
Without his trusted band beside him, Marley continued to conquer, and his albums gradually charted higher with every release until he died in 1981.
Dev Hynes, AKA Blood Orange, is one of the most sought after producers on the planet and a stellar artist on top of that. Hynes has worked with the likes of Mac Miller, A$AP Rocky, Blondie, FKA twigs and a ton more accomplished names, as well as four-studio albums as Blood Orange.
Before Blood Orange, Hynes was originally in Test Icicles in the mid-2000s before they split in 2006. He then re-emerged with an acoustic guitar as Lightspeed Champion before retiring from the project in 2010 to focus on Blood Orange, which was his true calling.
The experience of the projects, so varied as they were, helped Hynes become the artist he is today.
Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham are seen by many as integral pillars of the Fleetwood Mac coliseum, but the band were active for almost a decade before their arrival. The pair had been already journeying through the musical landscape’s pitfalls and mires, operating as Buckingham Nicks.
The pair had finished their debut record and were in the middle of paying off the studio fees. Nicks kept herself busy working for wealthy Aspen families and Buckingham with session guitar work with the Everly Brothers when Mick Fleetwood walked into L.A.’s Sound City Studios and was hugely impressed by Buckingham’s talent.
However, Buckingham made sure that he’d only join the group if Nicks could join the band with him. Letting these two mercurial talents into the fold was the best decision that Fleetwood would ever make, and Stevie Nicks added a new dimension to the group’s sound.
When you add to that Nicks’ departure from Fleetwood Mac and subsequent starring solo career, you have a double entry, as well as the world’s first female, doubled Rock & Roll Hall of Famer.
Paul Simon’s musical career began after he met his kindred spirit, Art Garfunkel, when they were both 11-years-old and immediately hit it off, but little did they know about what would come of their fruitful partnership. The meeting was the start of a beautiful relationship that blossomed into one of the best musical partnerships and one of the most dysfunctional.
Simon & Garfunkel fought endlessly, never quite sure who was in the spotlight, they jostled for position until eventually splitting up.
While the two men made some timeless music together, it was in his solo career that Simon morphed into the artist that he’d always wanted to be and didn’t have to compromise any longer.
It’s impossible to ignore the zeitgeist appeal of Blur. Few bands have managed to pull off what they managed at the peak of their powers, effortlessly toying with the commercial values of pop stardom alongside an arthouse approach.
If you grew up as an adolescent in the 1990s, then likely there’s only one answer when it comes to Blur or Gorillaz — but the charm of the latter is undeniable.
Gorillaz have continued to embrace that music taste isn’t a binary thing, and it’s a complex beast that can change depending on the mood, weather, or a million other factors. Blur can be a wonderful tonic when you’re in the right frame of mood to listen to their cocksure sound. Conversely, the cartoon band have a sound for every mood or emotion, which not only makes them Albarn’s most outstanding achievement but the quintessential modern band, who refuse to be pigeon-holed or pinned down.
Father John Misty
Father John Misty is one of the most enticing artists of the last decade. He’s a character that seemed as though he was born to be front and centre rather than hiding away at the back. However, for four years between 2008 and 2012, he was the drummer for Fleet Foxes.
The job was a cushty position for Misty, who could have easily played it safe by sticking with Fleet Foxes. Instead though, he quit and re-emerged a matter of months later with his first release under the Father John Misty moniker. Following his gut and starting this new journey was something that Misty needed to do.
Almost a decade on, there isn’t an ounce of regret about his decision as Father John Misty has become a legendary indie talent.