As music was evolving in all genres, the ‘70s saw they emergence of ‘supergroups’ — bands whose members comprised famous solo performers or artists who were successful in previous music groups.
When they came together to form new bands, these superstars took the music world by storm.
From Country & Western’s Highwaymen to Eric Clapton’s two bands, Blind Faith and Derek & The Dominos, or British outfit Bad Company to The Traveling Wilburys, arguably the greatest supergroup of all time, these acts helped enrich the music scene. Here we look at the five seminal ‘supergroups’ of all time:
The Traveling Wilburys
Arguably the biggest and greatest supergroup of all time. Formed in 1988 by ex-Beatle George Harrison (Cloud Nine), the Wilburys featured Jeff Lynne (Electric Light Orchestra) and the legendary Bob Dylan, Tom Petty (‘Heartbreaks’) and Roy Orbison.
Their signature album was ‘The Traveling Wilburys’. The band came together to record a song as a B-side single for Harrison and enjoyed themselves so much that they decided to record a full album of 12 hugely entertaining and high spirited songs.
The album featured two hit singles ‘Handle With Care’ and ‘End of the Line’, which were such a hit that it prompted the reissue of a two-CD set that included a DVD documentary and videos including a stylish, collectors booklet.
Among the other outstanding tracks on the album were Orbison’s beautiful ‘Not Alone Anymore’, Dylan’s alternative love song ‘Congratulations’, Petty’s light reggae tinged ‘Last Night’, and Jeff Lynne’s brilliant ‘Rattled’.
Each song an epic that has not been diminished by time.
The Highwaymen were an American supergroup that featured four of country music’s biggest names – Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristoffer.
All four artists were pioneers of the outlaw genre of country music that was big during the mid ‘80s to mid ‘90s.
Together they recorded just three albums as The Highwaymen but all of them were major hits, featuring the best work from each of the legends.
The four of The Highwaymen also starred in one movie together: the 1986 film ‘Stagecoach’, which was a made for television action-drama firm that was a remake of the 1939 movie of the same name.
Derek & The Dominos
Clapton got the idea to form this band after enjoying the connection that he felt when playing together on Harrison’s first solo album, ‘All Things Must Pass’.
Like with Blind Faith, Derek & The Dominos recorded just one album. Apparently an attempt to make a second record did not materialise as the band were struggling to deal with personal issues and drugs.
But the album was a critical and commercial success and produced an evergreen classic in ‘Layla’, which was born out of Clapton’s hopelessness as he was desperately in love with Harrison’s wife at the time, Pattie Boyd.
However, ‘Other Assorted Love Songs’ is not just about one song, no matter how big a hit ‘Layla’ would become,
‘Have You Ever Loved a Woman’, ‘Nobody Knows You (When You’re Down and Out)’ and ‘Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?’ are as passionate Clapton and his co-writers could get.
Bad Company was formed in 1973 by Paul Rogers and Simon Kirke, formerly members of Free, King Crimson’s Simon Burrell and Mick Ralphs from Mott The Hoople.
Although it was thought that the name came from a Western film featuring Jeff Bridges, Rogers said that it was taken from a book he had read when he was young.
The band’s eponymous 1974 debut is regarded as their best work and introduced fans to a new sound that would define the mid-70s rock.
One of the cleanest rock albums ever made ‘Bad Company’, featured pristine guitars, bass and drums with electric sounds mixing seamlessly with pastoral acoustics.
The title track boasts a powerful heavy feel with Rogers at his very best on the vocals while ‘Ready for Love’, is as sweet a ballad as you will ever find on a hard rock album.
The bluesy ‘Can’t Get Enough’, powerful ‘Rock Steady’ and ‘Movin’ On’ are classic Bad Co material while ‘Seagull’ brings the album to a blissful conclusion.