Friday, November 03, 2006


The supergroup is an interesting but often sketchy phenomenon in pop music. I'd venture to say that most are nothing more than publicity stunts that result in sub-par material. However, sometimes the stars align and for whatever reason, the right people come together to create music that actually transcends their prior works.

In honor of the upcoming release Beast Moans by newly formed supergroup Swan Lake, I present a list of the most impressive lineups in supergroup history. This isn't a list of the best music per se, but simply the most star-studded lineups. I also tried to spread the wealth over different eras as best as I could. The music itself is hit-or-miss, most often miss. Let me know if I missed any big ones...

One important note...I don't count retroactive supergroups, or bands who later spawned huge artists (e.g. N.W.A., Wu Tang Clan, Genesis, The Yardbirds, etc.)

10. Swan Lake
Spencer Krug - Frog Eyes, Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown
Dan Bejar - Destroyer, The New Pornographers
Carey Mercer - Frog Eyes

9. Temple of the Dog
Eddie Vedder - Pearl Jam
Jeff Ament - Pearl Jam
Mike McCready - Pearl Jam
Stone Gossard - Pearl Jam
Matt Cameron - Soundgarden
Chris Cornell - Soundgarden

(honorable mention in the supergroup grunge category goes to Mad Season)

8. The New Pornographers
Carl Newman - Zumpano
Neko Case - Neko Case & Her Boyfriends
Dan Bejar - Destroyer

7. The Firm
Jimmy Page - Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin
Paul Rodgers - Free, Bad Company

6. Blind Faith
Eric Clapton - Yardbirds, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Cream
Steve Winwood - Traffic

5. Oysterhead
Trey Anastasio - Phish
Les Claypool - Primus
Stewart Copeland - The Police

4. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
David Crosby - The Byrds
Stephen Stills - Buffalo Springfield
Graham Nash - The Hollies
Neil Young - Buffalo Springfield

3. The Super Super Blues Band
Howlin' Wolf
Muddy Waters
Bo Diddley

2. The Highwaymen
Johnny Cash
Willie Nelson
Waylan Jennings
Kris Kristofferson

1. The Traveling Wilburys
Bob Dylan
Roy Orbison
Tom Petty
George Harrison - The Beatles
Jeff Lynne - ELO


MAL said...
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MAL said...

I originally clicked to leave a comment because I was going to debate the Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin as being supergroups themselves, but caught what I missed originally--they're ineligible.

But to write something, the top five is quite impressive. A noteworthy success, is the G3 idea--though only a performing act. Rather than leave guitar fans to debate whether a Steve Vai concert is worth it, throw the best three guitar virtuosos you can find together on one bill and have them play individually then collaboratively. I believe it's been around for a decade now.

JTM said...

Ahh...good one. G3 is definitely a worthy enough line-up (in any of its forms) to have made my list. Yes, it is a bit debatable about whether it would qualify, since there was never actually a band per se with any sort of proper album, but a good mention nonetheless. Didn't we see a G3 show in Dallas?

Anonymous said...

Where's Trio on your list? :):
Dolly Parton
Emmylou Harris
Linda Ronstadt

~miah said...

what about 'the game'
you have to have a well rounded mix in there ;)