Are solo efforts ever better?

I’m sure someone will think of something, but IMO, I can’t think of any artist that went solo and produced a significant amount of material that was “better” musically than what they did with their bands. Paul Simon did some decent stuff, but I don’t think it ever reached the artistic levels of what S&G did together.  Sting, Fogarty, Bruce…  I guess Diana Ross and Beyoncé were far more successful solo, but I think the Supremes and Destiny were more of window dressing for the star and less of a collective effort. Again, IMO. What do you think?  


I will through my vote in for Peter Gabriel. While I like his time with Genesis, I feel he had more room to be himself on his solo work. A good deal of excellent material to discover. .

I also prefer Genesis with Phil out front, even on material Peter originally sung. Phil as a solo artist is very strong as well and there is quite a bit of great songs in his catalog and perhaps more accessible to a general audience,

Overall, I like them both. 

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I managed to leave out a few prime examples from the San Francisco Bay area:


- Stevie Nicks & Lindsey Buckingham. Prior to moving to L. A. and securing a record deal, this duo were members of The Fritz Reiner Memorial Band (shortened to simply Fritz after being being challenged by the conductor’s estate). I saw them live only once---opening the 1968 Santa Clara County Folk/Rock Festival. If you look hard enough, you can find a pic of Fritz on stage at Mother Butler High School, Stevie in a prom dress/formal wear (the Catholic girls school had a serious dress code). The duo’s sole 1973 album on Polydor now fetches somewhat serious money, in spite of it being not very good (imo, of course).

- Prior to joining Copperhead (John Cipollina’s post-Quicksilver Messenger Service band), bassist/songwriter/singer Jim McPherson was in San Jose band Stained Glass (two albums on Capitol Records).

- Prior to joining Moby Grape, Skip Spence was a member of The Jefferson Airplane (first album only). Moby Grape was a serious step up from The Airplane.

- Prior to launching a solo career, Dan Hicks was the drummer of The Charlatans (one album).

- Though I much prefer The Sons Of Champlin to Chicago, joining the latter no doubt resulted in a serious career boost for Bill.


And then there is Tom Petty, originally a member of Mudcrutch.