“Solo: Some were great but others not so much”

It is rare for bands to stay together for a long time. One of  Two things will usually happen, the first is that the band simply start disliking the arrangement and want to try new things or the record companies get nervous if album sales drop. Either of these can lead to a temporary or permanent split.

Whatever the reason it’s usually the lead singer that ventures outside the band, but this doesn’t always mean succesolo2-liam-luskss. In this post I look at seven solo singers and give my opinion on them.

Some of my favorite bands are mentioned in the list.

“If I Was” – Midge Ure (Ultravox) – 1985

“Tattooed Millionaire” – Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) – 1990

“Made in Heaven” – Freddie Mercury (Queen) – 1985

“Good-Bye Bad Times” – Philip Oakey (Human League) – 1985

“Sunflower” – Paul Weller (The Jam, The Style Council) – 1993

“Solsbury Hill” – Peter Gabriel (Genesis) – 1977 (78 in the US)

“Mr Crowley” – Ozzy Osbourne (Black Sabbath) – 1980

Here is some extra information about each song for you.

  1. “If I Was” – Midge Ure (Ultravox) – 1985
  • It reached #1 on the UK singles chart for a single week in October 1985.
  • The song features Mark King of Level 42 on bass guitar.
  • The Gift, released in 1985, is the first solo album by former Ultravox frontman Midge Ure.
  • It reached #2 in the UK Albums Chart.
  • The album was released when Ultravox were losing their footing in the UK charts.
  • Ultravox would make one more album U-Vox in 1986 before splitting.
  • They reformed from 1992 – 1996 (not original line-up) and again in 2009 with the original line-up of Chris Cross, Warren Cann, Billy Currie and Midge Ure.
  • As you know I am a huge fan of Ultravox but this wasn’t Ure’s finest hour in my opinion even though both this song and the album were commercially successful.
  1. “Tattooed Millionaire” – Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) – 1990
  • This is the first single from Bruce Dickinson’s debut solo album, Tattooed Millionaire.
  • “Tattooed Millionaire” reached number 18 on the UK charts.
  • The album project began when Dickinson was asked to record a song for the film ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 5’: The Dream Child.
  • Blaze Bayley (lead singer of Wolfsbane from 1984 to 1994) was the lead singer of Dickinson’s previous home British metal band Iron Maiden from 1994 to 1999.
  • Bayley sang on two studio albums for Iron Maiden The X Factor (1995) and Virtual XI (1998) but they weren’t well received by Maiden fans.
  • Dickinson returned to the band in 1999 and remains the lead singer.
  • I personally feel that Dickinson is better and stronger with Iron Maiden.
  1. “Made in Heaven” – Freddie Mercury (Queen) – 1985
  • “Made in Heaven” is the third single recorded by Freddie Mercury, and his fourth release as a solo artist.
  • After Mercury’s death, the song’s title gave the name to Queen’s 1995 posthumous album Made in Heaven.
  • Bad Guy was Mercury’s first solo album.
  • All eleven songs were written by him.
  • It was dedicated to his cat Jerry—also Tom, Oscar and Tiffany.
  • Mercury to me was and is the band Queen, I was never keen on his solo stuff.
  1. “Good-Bye Bad Times” – Philip Oakey (Human League) – 1985
  • “Good-Bye Bad Times” is a song written by Oakey and Moroder and recorded for the album Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder.
  • It reached number 44 in the singles charts and remained in the charts for 5 weeks in 1985.
  • Because the single was not a huge success, it didn’t do much to promote the album.
  • After a final single “Be My Lover Now” the short partnership between Oakey and Moroder effectively ended. Oakey then returned to work with his band The Human League full-time.
  • To me this was a dreadful song, Oakey was clearly better with the Human League.
  1. “Sunflower” – Paul Weller (The Jam, The Style Council) – 1993
  • Wild Wood was Paul Weller’s second solo record, released in September 1993.
  • It made it to number 2 in the UK charts, and contained three UK hits: “Wild Wood”, which reached #14 in the UK charts, “Sunflower”, which reached #16 and “Hung Up”, which reached #11.
  • Starting out with the band The Jam (1976–82), Weller branched out to a more soulful style with The Style Council (1983–89), before establishing himself as a successful solo artist in 1991.
  • Weller’s stated influences range widely, including The Beatles, Dr Feelgood, The Kinks, The Who, Small Faces and 1960s and 1970s soul music.
  • A truly remarkable singer songwriter and a British heavy weight in the industry.
  • Bands including Oasis, Ocean Colour Scene and Blur cited Weller and The Jam as a major influence.
  • Weller was fantastic with The Jam, I wasn’t so keen on The Style Council years but as a solo artist he is unbeatable. Whatever your opinion his success shows how good he is.
  1. “Solsbury Hill” – Peter Gabriel (Genesis) – 1977 (78 in the US)
  • Peter Gabriel is the first studio album by British singer, musician and songwriter Peter Gabriel and the first of four with the same eponymous title.
  • “Solsbury Hill” was his debut single.
  • This album is often referred to as Peter Gabriel 1 or Car referring to the album cover by Peter Christopherson.
  • “Solsbury Hill” is an autobiographical piece expressing his thoughts on leaving Genesis.
  • Gabriel has been a champion of world music for much of his career. He co-founded the WOMAD festival in 1982.
  • Gabriel refused to title any of his first four solo albums, which were all labelled Peter Gabriel using the same typeface, but which featured different cover designs
  • I definitely prefer Gabriel as a solo artist, I especially love his album ‘So’.
  1. “Mr Crowley” – Ozzy Osbourne (Black Sabbath) – 1980
  • Blizzard of Ozz was Osbourne’s first release following his 1979 departure from Black Sabbath.
  • “Mr Crowley” is the second single from Osbourne’s debut solo album Blizzard of Ozz, released in 1980.
  • Blizzard of Ozz is the first of two studio albums Osbourne recorded with guitarist Randy Rhoads prior to Rhoads’ death in 1982.
  • The album has sold over 6,000,000 copies to date worldwide, making it Osbourne’s best-selling solo album.
  • Osbourne has released 11 studio albums as a solo artist compared with 9 with Black Sabbath.
  • A performer who just keeps going and going. Great with both Sabbath and as a solo act.

I hope as always that you enjoyed the list.

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