Supergroup (music)

Supergroup (music)

In the late 1960s, the term supergroup was coined to describe "a rock music group whose performers are already famous from having performed individually or in other groups." [ [ supergroup definition - Dictionary - MSN Encarta ] ] While the term is also used in a broader sense, to describe any "highly successful rock group" [ [ supergroup - Definition at the #1 Online Dictionary ] ] , this article focuses on the first definition. Supergroups tend to be short-lived, often lasting only for an album or two. Additionally, supergroups are often formed as side projects that are not intended to be permanent.

Some of the most well-known supergroups include: 1960s groups Cream and Crosby, Stills & Nash (and Young); 1970s progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer; the 1990s groups The Firm, the Traveling Wilburys, Asia, and Power Station; and the 2000s-era metal/hard-rock band Velvet Revolver, 2006s group The Good, the Bad & the Queen including former Blur (band) lead singer and co-creator of virtual band Gorillaz (character of 2D), frontman Damon Albarn . It is not a rigidly defined category and it can be applied subjectively. Some music writers use the term to describe groups that sold huge numbers of albums and headlined massive concerts regardless of the previous fame of their individual members. In some cases, it has become merely a marketing term used to promote a new ensemble.


The term took its name from the 1968 album "Super Session" with Al Kooper, Mike Bloomfield, and Stephen Stills. The coalition of Crosby, Stills, and Nash (later Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young) is another early example, given the success of their prior bands (The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and The Hollies respectively). In jazz, famous artists often play together, but the term is rarely used. Music writers have also applied the term to groups that sold huge numbers of albums and headlined massive concerts regardless of the previous fame of their individual members, such as the band Led Zeppelin, wherein only Jimmy Page was well known at the time the group formed. The term is also used to describe existing bands whose members achieved individual fame after the band's founding, such as Pink Floyd, Queen, Genesis and Yes.

There are also instances in which an existing band added a prominent new member or members, where the resulting group might have been considered a supergroup had it not kept its original band name, such as Van Halen after recruiting Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone, and The Eagles after hiring Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit. In the 1990s, the term began being used to describe Hip Hop collectives. By the 2000s, the term was tending to become a vague marketing term. In 2006, IGN labeled The Raconteurs the "Best Indie Rock Supergroup". The group consisted of Jack White, (White Stripes), Brendan Benson (solo) , Patrick Keeler, and Jack Lawrence (the last two are from The Greenhornes). [ [ presents The Best of 2006 ] ] While a 1974 "Time" article pointed out that "each man in C. S. N. & Y. was a skilled guitarist and singer-songwriter capable of filling an entire album with original tunes" [,9171,879436,00.html Return of a Supergroup - TIME ] ] , the members other than White and Benson are less well-known.


In 1974, a "Time" magazine article entitled "Return of a Supergroup" quipped that the supergroup was a "potent but short-lived rock phenomenon" which was an "amalgam formed by the talented malcontents of other bands." The article acknowledged that groups such as Cream and Blind Faith "played enormous arenas and made megabucks, and sometimes megamusic", with the performances "fueled by dueling egos." However, while this "musical infighting built up the also made breakups inevitable."

Chris DeVille's 2008 article "Super or blooper?", which is subtitled "Supergroups: So much promise, so often squandered", notes that "when well-known rockers get together in new configurations, they're guaranteed lots of attention, but these ego summits rarely bear fruit as fresh as what made these guys famous in the first place." [ [ Columbus Alive ] ] DeVille praises supergroups such as Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; Emerson, Lake and Palmer; Fantomas (a post-Faith No More supergroup); and Velvet Revolver. However, he rates a number of other projects as "bloopers", including Blind Faith, the country supergroup The Highwaymen (which included Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson); The Traveling Wilburys; Audioslave; Zwan; Eyes Adrift; and The Good, The Bad & The Queen.

Notable groups

This list is of each band's founding line-up, and members who joined within a year of founding.

This list contains only groups which have performed more than a single song or live show together.

Project supergroups

These were often one-show or one album projects, though some played more than one show, because all or most members were involved in other bands or groups.

Charity supergroups

These are usually one-shot projects, organized to create a charity record to raise money or awareness for a cause or charity. Notable examples are Band Aid ("Do They Know It's Christmas?"), USA for Africa ("We are the World") and Northern Lights ("Tears Are Not Enough").


ee also

*List of grunge supergroups
*List of progressive rock supergroups
*Superstar: a term applied to some celebrities

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