11 Musicians Who Had Hits with Two Bands
1. Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris, Peter Hook with Joy Division and New Order
Along with lead singer Ian Curtis, Sumner, Morris, and Hook were members of Joy Division. The band was a critical success, but failed to produce a commercial hit until the release of the single "Love Will Tear Us Apart" in April of 1980. After Curtis committed suicide in May, the song peaked at #13 on the UK charts.
In the aftermath of Curtis' death, the remaining members of Joy Division went on to form New Order, with Sumner taking over vocals. The band had hits throughout the 80s, including "Ceremony," "Blue Monday," and "Bizarre Love Triangle." New Order, minus original bassist Peter Hook, continues to tour.
2. Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz with Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club
Married couple Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz, founding members of the Talking Heads, created the side project Tom Tom Club in 1981. That year, they released the single "Genius of Love," a hit that rivaled anything their original band had released up to that point. The song topped the U.S. dance charts and would go on to be widely sampled by hip hop and R&B artists, most notably by Mariah Carey in her song "Fantasy."
The Talking Heads had massive success in their own right, with hits such as "Once in a Lifetime" and the top ten single "Burning Down the House." Their 1984 concert movie Stop Making Sense even featured a Tom Tom Club cameo (Weymouth and Frantz performed "Genius of Love"). In 2002, the Talking Heads were inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame.
3. David Grohl with Nirvana and Foo Fighters
Grohl, who cut his teeth drumming for legendary Washington D.C. punk band Scream, joined Nirvana just before the recording of Nevermind. With the release of that album and the accompanying video for the lead single, "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Nirvana became the biggest band in the world. Nevermind sold millions of copies and included multiple hit songs, including "Come As You Are" and "In Bloom." The album's follow up, In Utero, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Charts.
Following Kurt Cobain's suicide in 1994, Nirvana disbanded, and Grohl began to focus on the songs he had been writing on guitar. This solo project grew into the Foo Fighters, which released their first album in 1995. The Foo Fighters have gone on to release multiple albums—most recently 2011's Wasting Light—and have released numerous hit singles, including "Everlong" and "The Pretender."
4. Johnny Marr with The Smiths and Modest Mouse
Johnny Marr formed the iconic indie band The Smiths with Morrissey in 1982. The group, while not commercially successful in the United States, had hits in Britain with songs like "Panic" and "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now," which reached #11 and #10, respectively, in the UK charts. The Smiths have gone on to have a large cultural impact, and remain a constant influence in indie music.
Marr left the band in 1987, and The Smiths disbanded shortly thereafter. Marr went on to focus on other projects and had modest success with Electronic, a band he formed with Bernard Sumner of New Order and Joy Division in the late 1980s. In 2006, Marr joined the indie rock band Modest Mouse and helped them record their 2007 album We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Charts and was certified gold. The album featured the singles "Dashboard" and "Missed the Boat." Marr left Modest Mouse in 2008 and has since played with The Cribs and on Hans Zimmer's soundtrack for Inception.
5. Jimmy Page with The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin
Jimmy Page gained worldwide fame as a member of British rock band Led Zeppelin, but his career began as a session musician and then as a member of the Yardbirds. The Yardbirds had already featured Eric Clapton on guitar by the time Page joined Clapton's replacement, Jeff Beck, in 1966. The band released the single "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago," which reached #30 on the U.S. charts. The song was viewed as a disappointment and following the firing of Jeff Beck, Page continued as the Yardbird's lone guitarist until they disbanded in 1968.
Led Zeppelin grew out of Page's desire to continue after the Yardbirds' demise. He recruited session bassist John Paul Jones, as well as vocalist Robert Plant and drummer John Bonham. The band went on to be one of the most successful bands of all time, selling hundreds of millions of albums and releasing hit songs like "Stairway to Heaven" and "Whole Lotta Love." The band disbanded following drummer John Bonham's death in 1980, but have played several one-off shows since, most recently in 2007.
6. Eric Clapton with The Yardbirds and Cream
While Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page both went on to have wildly successful careers after leaving the Yardbirds, Eric Clapton perhaps had the most eclectic post-Yardbirds career. Clapton joined the band in 1963, when he was only 18, and played on the Yardbirds biggest hit, "For Your Love," which peaked at #6 on the U.S. charts. Unsatisfied with the group's shift towards a more pop-oriented sound, he left in 1965.
Following his departure, Clapton briefly joined John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers before forming Cream with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce in 1966. The short-lived band would release the hits "Crossroads," "White Room," and "Sunshine of Your Love." The band broke up in 1968 and Clapton would go on to have a successful solo career spanning decades. Clapton would be inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame three times, as a member of both The Yardbirds and Cream in addition to his solo work.
7. Paul McCartney with the Beatles and Wings
As a member of the Beatles, Paul McCartney found worldwide success. During their 10 year run, the group kicked off the musical British Invasion with their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and went on to release twenty seven #1 singles.
The Beatles broke up in 1970, and McCartney released a solo album that same year. In 1971, he formed Wings with his wife Linda, Denny Seiwell, and Denny Laine. The group had their first #1 hit with 1973's "My Love." Wings went on to have fourteen top ten singles in the U.S., including the Bond movie theme song "Live and Let Die." Wings disbanded in 1981, and Paul McCartney continued his successful solo career.
8. Damon Albarn with Blur and Gorillaz
Damon Albarn formed Blur with drummer Dave Rowntree, childhood friend Graham Coxon on guitar, and Alex James on bass. They were originally named Seymour, after a J.D. Salinger novella, but changed their name by request of their label. The band first became relevant with the release of the single "There's No Other Way" in 1991, but Blur was often overlooked in America as their distinctively British sound didn't meld with the heavier post-Nirvana sensibilities. They continued to chart in the UK and had moderate success in the U.S. charts with the song "Girls & Boys." Blur released "Song 2" in 1997, which peaked at #6 on the U.S. Alternative Charts and has became a mainstay in sports stadiums across the country. Blur went on a hiatus after the tour in support of 2003's Think Tank before reforming in 2008 for a string of concerts.
Albarn created the virtual band Gorillaz with artist Jamie Hewlett, creator of the comic Tank Girl. Albarn worked on music with a revolving cast of producers and guest musicians while Hewlett worked on visuals and created the virtual band. They released their first single, "Clint Eastwood," in 2000; the song reached #3 on the U.S. Alternative Chart. The band had its biggest hit in 2005 with "Feel Good Inc." from the album Demon Days, which topped the U.S. Alternative Chart. After released three albumbs, the band went on hiatus in 2012 following creative differences between Albarn and Hewlett.
9. Jack White with the White Stripes and The Raconteurs
Jack White started The White Stripes with his ex-wife, Meg White, in 1997. They released five albums before breaking up in 2011. The duo was known for their red and white color scheme and the air of mystery surrounding them. This was accentuated by Jack White's repeated references of his ex-wife as his sister. They reached #1 on the U.S. Alternative Chart with both 2003's "Seven Nation Army" and 2007's "Icky Thump."
In 2005, while still a member of White Stripes, Jack White formed the first of his many side projects, The Raconteurs. Their first album, Broken Boy Soldiers. Released in 2006, the album featured the single "Steady as She Goes," which reached #1 on the Alternative Chart. White released another with the Raconteurs album, Consolers of the Lonely, in 2008 and formed another band, The Dead Weather, in 2009. White played drums and sang for The Dead Weather, which also included vocals by Alison Mosshart of The Kills. In 2012, he released his first solo album, Blunderbuss.
10. Kim Deal with Pixies and The Breeders
Kim Deal founded Pixies with Frank Black, Joey Santiago, and David Lovering after answering Black and Santiago's classified ad. The band would become widely influential; Kurt Cobain cited it as a major influence. They had modest success with singles like "Monkey Gone to Heaven" and "Here Comes Your Man"; their song "Where is My Mind" featured prominently in the final scene of Fight Club. The band broke up in 1993, but reunited in 2004 and have been together ever since, with persisting rumors of a new album.
Kim Deal started The Breeders to showcase her own songwriting. The band released its first album in 1990 and added Kim's identical twin sister, Kelley, in 1991. The Breeders gained mainstream success with 1993's Last Splash and its single "Cannonball," which reached #2 on the Billboard Modern Rock Chart.
11. Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck" Dunn with Booker T & the MGs and The Blues Brothers Band
Cropper (above, with director John Landis) and Dunn played with Otis Redding and Sam and Dave as members of Booker T & the MGs, which acted as the house band for Stax Records. The band had a hit in their own right with the release of Green Onions, which reached #3 on the US charts and #1 on the R&B charts.
John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd recruited Cropper and Dunn, among other session musicians, to perform and record with them as the Blues Brothers. They recorded their first album, Briefcase of Blues, in 1978. The second single off that album was a cover of "Soul Man," originally recorded by Sam and Dave, and reached #14 on the Billboard Chart. Both Cropper and Dunn appeared in the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers, starring Belushi and Aykroyd.