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In the late 1960s, the term supergroup was coined to describe music groups comprising members who had already achieved fame or respect in other groups or as individual artists. 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. Led Zeppelin can also be termed as an early supergroup, as it was originally meant to act as a replacement for The Yardbirds, and the members were chosen by Jimmy Page (already a much sought after guitarist) by virtue of their already impressive catalogue of work (except for Robert Plant, who was chosen because of his very distinct voice).

With the success of Cream (only two of the band's three members had previously achieved significant fame), the term also came to include groups that sold huge numbers of albums and headlined massive concerts, regardless of the previous fame of the individual members. However, the term as correctly applied refers to the architecture, not the achievements, of the group. By any standards, it is not a rigidly defined category and has become, more than anything, a marketing term.

Supergroups tend to be short-lived (often lasting only for an album or two), perhaps because of the natural conflict of egos between established stars. Also, some supergroups were formed as side-projects that were never intended to be permanent.


Notable supergroups

  • Asia
    Geoff Downes (Yes and Buggles), John Wetton (King Crimson and UK), Steve Howe (Yes), and Carl Palmer (Emerson Lake and Palmer)
    Chris Cornell (Soundgarden); Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk (Rage Against The Machine).
    Bad Company
    Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke from Free, Mott The Hoople's Mick Ralphs, and Boz Burrell from King Crimson.
    Blind Faith
    Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker (Cream); Steve Winwood (Traffic); Ric Grech (Family).
    Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
    David Crosby (The Byrds); Stephen Stills (Buffalo Springfield); Graham Nash (The Hollies); Neil Young (Buffalo Springfield)
    Eric Clapton; Jack Bruce; Ginger Baker
    Damn Yankees
    Ted Nugent; Jack Blades (Night Ranger) Tommy Shaw (Styx)
    Emerson, Lake & Palmer
    Keith Emerson (The Nice); Greg Lake (King Crimson); Carl Palmer (Atomic Rooster).
    Power Station
    Robert Palmer; John Taylor and Andy Taylor (Duran Duran); Tony Thompson (CHIC).
    Traveling Wilburys
    Roy Orbison; Tom Petty; George Harrison; Bob Dylan; Jeff Lynne.
    Velvet Revolver
    Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots); Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum (Guns N' Roses); Dave Kushner (Wasted Youth)
  • Charity supergroups

    Artists United Against Apartheid
    Band Aid: Three groups of British artists who released "Do They Know It's Christmas?" firstly in 1984, then in 1989 and finally in 2004 as part of Live Aid
    Dreamtime Christmas All-Stars
    Hear 'n Aid, a heavy metal charity organized by Ronnie James Dio
    Northern Lights: Canadian supergroup, recorded "Tears Are Not Enough" in 1984 to combat famine in Ethiopia (song was later included in the USA for Africa album).
    One World Project
    Rockestra: large group led by Paul McCartney and featuring Pete Townshend, David Gilmour, John Paul Jones and John Bonham; recorded "Let It Be", "Lucille", "Rockestra Theme", and "So Glad to See You Here" to benefit people of Cambodia suffering from Pol Pot's reign. Released as a promotional EP and film.
    Supergroup TV show - UK Supergroup vs USA Supergroup in a charity battle of the bands reality show concept
    USA for Africa: 45 American recording artists who recorded "We Are the World" in 1984 to combat famine in Ethiopia as the American part of Live Aid
    Voices That Care: a group of musicians, entertainers and athletes who recorded the song with the same name for the U.S. troops in Operation Desert Storm.

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    Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

    This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.