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?  


Very few famous groups then onto a famous solo career. Commodores Lionel Richie,  Cream Clapton, Beatles Mccartny that's it. 


I'm not sure I understand your breakdown of solo artists, it doesn't follow @chayro 's original post.

Are you saying Debbie Harry was better solo than when she fronted Blondie? And Clapton, you don't mention Cream. Was his solo career better? 

Rockpile is a complicated one. Dave Edmonds is a great talent and is intertwined with Nick Lowe and Rockpile. IMO, solo Edmonds would be greater than the one-off Rockpile. I was lucky enough to see Rockpile live as headliners circa 1980. 

How 'bout if we clear up the Solo Artist vs. Group Artist to-do by looking at the album's front cover? Does the album cover have the band's name or the artist's name? If it's both, the group name still gets the chicken dinner. Even better, how 'bout we look at the album's edge and see whose name is there?

Sometimes it's not that clear cut.  Brian Wilson post Beach Boys may have an artistic edge, but certainly not popularity.  Frank Zappa post Mothers Of Invention by volume alone overwhelms the earlier work.

Nile Rodgers production work after Chic is vast and very impressive.  Bill Nelson's work post BeBop Deluxe could be obscure, but reached heights that the band did not.  Janis Joplin was certainly most popular as a solo artist after Big Brother & the Holding Company.  Elvis Costello as a solo act has released a number of superb recordings throughout his long career.  Curtis Mayfield achieved greater fame as a solo act than with the Impressions.  Finally, Mick Taylor's s/t debut album is far better than his output with the Rolling Stones.  The songs weren't up to the Jagger/Richards level, but the performances were better.  Unfortunately, he never reached that level again.

@lowrider: No, I’m saying Debbie Harry was better in Blondie than she was in Wind In The Willows, which of course doesn’t conform to the point of the post. Guilty as charged! Many people refer to her as "Blondie", though that is actually the group’s name. I consider the other members of Blondie as Debbie Harry’s back-up band. I never cared for Blondie, and have never heard Harry’s solo albums, so can’t comment. I assume they are even worst than those of Blondie.

As for Dave Edmunds, his pre-solo group Love Sculpture were relatively successful (at least in the UK, where "Sabre Dance" was a hit single). I much prefer his post-Love Sculpture music. I too saw Rockpile live, with Moon Martin opening. Great double bill! As good as Rockpile was, Edmunds live was even better.

Nick Lowe’s group Brinsley Schwarz were also well known in the UK, and again I prefer his post-BS music. Moon Martin’s pre-solo group Southwind had two albums on a major label, and toured the states. John Hiatt is very well-known, and his solo work is far better than was his stuff in White Duck. The Steeldrivers are very well known (at least to fans of Americana), and Chris Stapleton is now a huge solo artist. Not "monster" enough? ;-)

I didn’t realize only guys who "fronted monster bands" were eligible. What constitutes a "monster" band? Vince Gill was very well known as a member of Pure Prairie League. Do you guys listen to only "monster Rock bands"?! ;-)

I don’t care for most huge stars, whether as members of a band or solo. The Stones/Mick Jagger/Keith Richards? Who cares?! The Who/Roger Daltry/Pete Townshend? Likewise! II guess I’m talking to the wrong audience. Back to hibernatin'.