13 Rock legends with successful solo careers

Here’s a list of rockers who were part of epic bands and then decided it’s time to take a leap of faith and launch a solo career

Video Transcript

- Want to live a rock star life? Well, judging by the legends in this video, the key is to get out of your comfort zone and shake things up. Here's a list of rockers who are part of epic bands and then decided it was time to take a leap of faith and launch a solo career.

One of the most iconic voices in music is that of Stevie Nicks. She joined Fleetwood Mac as a package deal with boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham in 1975. Then in 1981, she stepped out on her own. Throughout the '80s, she released four solo albums on top of two others with Fleetwood Mac.

Her debut album "Bella Donna" was a major success hitting number one on the charts. Throughout her career, she's released some timeless classes, like "Edge of 17" and "Talk to Me." She hasn't slowed down either. She's released albums as recently as 2011 and 2014.

While Genesis was a great band, one can argue it wasn't as great as the sum of its parts. The band launched two wildly successful solo careers, Peter Gabriel's and Phil Collins. Let's start with Peter Gabriel who released his first solo album in 1977 two years after leaving Genesis.

And right out of the gate, he delivered a hit, "Salisbury Hill," a song that stands the test of time and is still a jam up till today. In 1986, he released the album "So" which went five times platinum and features some iconic songs, like "Red Rain," "Sledgehammer," and "Big Time."

And now, for the aforementioned Phil Collins. His impeccable talent has kept him afloat for decades. Throughout his career, he sold more than 150 million records worldwide and has a ton of hits under his belt. You know you'd be lying if you said you didn't go home and listen to "In the Air Tonight" after someone did you wrong. And who among us hasn't danced the night away to "Sussudio"?

Phil went from being a drummer in Genesis to being one of the most successful solo artists in history. He has more awards to his name than you can shake a stick at from Grammys to Oscars to Golden Globes. And if that's not enough, he's also in the Songwriters Hall of Fame-- not bad, Phil, not bad at all.

Now, you may have heard of a little band called The Beatles. The British band skyrocketed to international stardom in the '60s and has been a pivotal part of our pop culture ever since. And from that band came a few legendary solo artists. One of the more popular ones is none other than John Lennon.

Throughout his solo career, John released a total of 11 albums. The first three were avant-garde pieces done with Yoko Ono. And the last one was a posthumous record. In total, Lennon had 25 number one singles, including one of the most popular and no doubt most covered songs in history imagined. Tragically, John's life was cut way too short when he was assassinated in 1980 at the age of 40.

Another Beatle with a successful career of his own is Paul McCartney. In 2020, Paul celebrated the 50th anniversary of his first solo album simply titled "McCartney." Since his debut, he's released over 25 albums and has become the 11th best-selling singles artist in the UK with over 10 million singles sold.

He's a multiple Grammy-award winner and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist in 1999. His contributions to music have been so prolific that he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1997 for his services to music.

Neil Young's solo career has made such an impact. It's easy to forget that he got a start in Buffalo Springfield. The band broke up in 1969. And Young set off on his own to launch one of the most celebrated careers in music.

Since then, he's released 39 studio albums and countless recordings. His unique style has earned him several Grammy Awards and a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It also led to him being dubbed "the Godfather of Grunge."

David Lee Roth is next on our list. The rocker grew to fame as a member of Van Halen. And while he has been an on again, off again member of the band, ever since, his solo career is one that can't be overlooked.

In 1986, he released his first studio album called "Eat 'Em And Smile" which included the hit song "Yankee Rose." While his time in Van Halen was marked with a definite rock and roll edge, he has experimented musically on his own with everything from jazz to blues.

Unlike many on this list, Keith Richards' solo career is nowhere near as successful as his time in a band. But that doesn't mean it hasn't been an interesting journey. In 1978, the Rolling Stones member released his first single which was a unique one-- a cover of Chuck Berry's Christmas song, "Run Rudolph Run."

He followed that up with another cover. This time, reggae legend Jimmy Cliff's "The Harder They Come." Since then, he's released three albums, which included collaborations with artists, like Bootsy Collins, Norah Jones, and Bobby Keys.

The music landscape wouldn't be what it is without the Police and epic hits, like "Roxanne" and "Every Breath You Take." Another major legacy of the band is the solo career of its lead singer, Sting. Before they officially broke up, Sting tested the waters with a few solo performances and subsequently dove right in.

In 1985, he released his first album titled "The Dream of the Blue Turtles" which was well-received for its political nature. It peaked at number two on the Billboard 200. And he is no stranger to that list. Throughout his career, he has had 11 top 10 hits on that chart.

One of the leading ladies of rock and roll is Joan Jett. And man, does she love it. Rimshot please.

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Any [? who, ?] she's been part of the runaways. But, you guessed it. She has had a remarkable solo career as well. Her solo career was not a path of roses like some of the others on this list. She tried to pitch her debut album to nearly two dozen record companies, but none would sign the rocker.

So what did this badass chick do? Make her own record label with producer Kenny Laguna. In 1979, Black Sabbath broke up, and Ozzy Osbourne went off on his own. He released his debut album, "A Blizzard of Oz" in 1980, and it was a huge success.

With songs like "Crazy Train" and "Mr Crowley," the album went multi-platinum, and it wasn't the last to do so. Throughout the subsequent decades, Ozzy would release a steady stream of hits. He's had eight albums which crack the top 10 of the Billboard 200 charts.

It's hard to match the success of the Eagles. But Don Henley's career managed to do just that. Throughout his immensely successful run as a solo artist, Henley has released classics, like "Dirty Laundry," "The Boys of Summer," and "The End of Innocence."

He has a bunch of Grammys to his name and has sold over 10 million albums. Last but certainly not least is the former member of the Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, and Derek and the Dominoes. Of course, I'm talking about Eric Clapton.

Like Paul McCartney, Clapton's career has lasted over a whopping 50 years. And in those 50 years, he's put out 21 studio albums in total. He has the honor of being the only person to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times-- once as a member of the Yardbirds, another as a member of Cream, and lastly as a solo artist.

Needless to say, Eric Clapton is a living legend. Who's your favorite band member-turned solo artist? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.