(Continuing last week’s post considering whether there was another rock and roll band whose members enjoyed as much success as solo artists as the Beatles.)
The Eagles have sold more than 150 million albums worldwide, and still tour and record, although they did break up for 14 years in the ’80s and ’90s. Two of their original members have had great solo success, the late Glenn Frey and current member Don Henley.
Henley has recorded five solo albums, every one a Top 25, two of them Top 10s. Four of his 13 Billboard Hot 100 singles were Top 10s, and 4 of those were No. 1s on the Mainstream Rock chart.
Frey had five solo albums to his credit, three of them Top 40s. His 12 charting singles included five Top 15s and two No. 2s; he had a No. 1 on the Mainstream chart.
Joe Walsh wasn’t an original member of the Eagles, and three of his 12 solo studio albums were recorded before he joined the band. He has several Top 20 LPs, but only one since 1981.
Timothy Schmit, who joined the band three years before its 1980 breakup, recorded six solo albums after that, none of which charted in the Top 100; one of his three charting singles was a No. 25. Bernie Leadon — an original member of the band who had played previously for several other groups, including the Flying Burrito Brothers — recorded two solo albums.
Randy Meisner, the founding Eagle who Schmit replaced, recorded seven solo LPs, two of which made it into the Top 100; all three of his singles charted in the Top 30. Don Felder, an early Eagle, cut three solo albums, only the last of which charted (on the Independent Albums list).
The Rolling Stones were nearly as big a name over the time the Fab Four were together, although their total records sales since 1962 are less than half those of the Beatles. But they have never broken up, so the individual members’ solo work has been a sideline.
Mick Jagger has recorded four solo albums, two of them charting in the Top 15, and 24 singles, six of them Top 40s. His songwriting partner, Keith Richards, has three solo albums and nine singles, four of the latter charting in Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Top 20.
Ronnie Wood, who joined the group in 1975, had a pre-Stones career with Jeff Beck and the Faces, and two of his seven solo albums were cut back then. One of his Stones-era projects was a No. 45 in the U.S.
Bill Wyman, who left the Stones in 1993, since has recorded six albums and 10 singles with his Rhythm Kings, but without much in the way of chart success. Drummer Charlie Watts has 10 albums with his Quintet, without any charting. Mick Taylor, who Wood replaced, has two LPs to his credit since going solo and session in 1974.
The Beach Boys were immensely successful in the 1960s, less so since, and total more than 100 million records sold. They also still exist, although without most of their original members currently not performing.
Brian Wilson, who is still listed as a member but is inactive, has recorded 11 solo albums. His brothers, Carl and Dennis, are both deceased; both recorded two solo LPs and a handful of singles.
The musicians who still perform under the Beach Boys name, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and Mike Love, have two, two and four solo works to their credit. None of those BB solo projects enjoyed much success commercially.
Creedence Clearwater had great success in the late 1960s and early ’70s, then had a very ugly and public crackup. That not-quite-four-year period was amazing: seven LPs, only one of which (the first) charted lower than No. 12, and two of which were No. 1s; and 15 charting singles, including nine Top 10s (although, surprisingly, no No. 1s!).
Towards the end of that run, bandleader John Fogerty tried to create the impression that he was solo-ly responsible for CCR’s success. Fogerty has had some solo success — nine albums, including a No. 1 and a No. 3, five Top 40 singles; legal problems limited his production somewhat, but he underperformed compared to his claims of credit for CCR’s success.
On the other hand, his former bandmates didn’t exactly light it up. Brother Tom Fogerty recorded a half-dozen LPs, but with minimal success; he died in 1990. Stu Cook recorded with a variety of bands post-CCR, but apparently none had albums that charted.
Cook and Doug Clifford — who recorded one non-charting solo album, and played with Cook in one of those bands — established Creedence Clearwater Revisited in 1995. Three years later, they released an album that went platinum — but consisted only of live versions of CCR songs.