Rock Supergroups: When Rockstars Collide


Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Photo Courtesy of GrawLIN via Wikimedia

A supergroup is defined as an exceptionally successful rock group formed by musicians already famous for playing in other groups. Recently, a new supergroup has formed. Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro, and bassist Chris Chaney have teamed up to create a new band called NHC. Supergroups are nothing new, but with this most recent formation, we thought this would be an excellent time to look at supergroups in rock music.

The First Supergroup

The first Supergroup was formed in 1966 with Eric Clapton (formerly of The Yardbirds), Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker (formerly of Graham Bond Organisation). The three of them removed themselves from the band that previously made them famous and decided to form Cream. The result is one of the greatest rock bands in history. This essentially changed the dynamic of rock bands and gave high-profile artists the option of sacrificing loyalty for greater fame.

Three years later, another supergroup formed in the rock industry. The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and The Hollies would lose some of their best artists: David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash, respectfully. The trio would form one of the most well-respected bands ever: Crosby, Stills & Nash. Not only was the band inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but each individual was inducted with their previous bands. Later, Neil Young would join the band to create an even greater supergroup, known as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

Unsuspecting Supergroups

As time went on, countless more rock bands formed throughout the world. Many of these bands, specifically the more successful ones, are supergroups. Surprisingly enough, most fans are shocked to learn their favorite band is a collection of already well-known musicians. Often, musicians will form multiple supergroups throughout their careers, such as Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones. Here are a few famous bands you probably didn’t know were supergroups.

Led Zeppelin – Jimmy Page (The Yardbirds), Robert Plant and John Bonham (Band of Joy), and John Paul Jones (session musician)

ABBA – Agnetha Fältskog (solo), Björn Ulvaeus (Hootenanny Singers), Benny Andersson (The Hep Stars), and Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad (solo)

Journey – Gregg Rolie and Neal Schon (Santana), George Tickner (Frumious Bandersnatch), Ross Valory (Steve Miller Band), and Prairie Prince (The Tubes)

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Nick Cave (The Birthday Party), Mick Harvey (Crime and the City Solution, The Birthday Party, etc.), Blixa Bargeld (Einstürzende Neubauten), Barry Adamson (Magazine), Hugo Race (the Wreckery, solo), Thomas Wydler (Die Haut)

The Breeders – Kim Deal (Pixies), Tanya Donelly (Throwing Muses), Josephine Wiggs (The Perfect Disaster), Jim Macpherson, and Kelley Deal

Temple of the Dog – Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Audioslave), Stone Gossard (Green River, Mother Love Bone, Pearl Jam), Jeff Ament (Green River, Mother Love Bone, Pearl Jam), Matt Cameron (Soundgarden), Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), Mike McCready (Pearl Jam)

Foo Fighters – Dave Grohl (Scream, Nirvana), Pat Smear (The Germs, Nirvana), Nate Mendel (Sunny Day Real Estate, The Fire Theft), William Goldsmith (Sunny Day Real Estate, The Fire Theft), Taylor Hawkins (Sass Jordan, Alanis Morissette), Franz Stahl (Scream, Wool), Chris Shiflett (No Use for a Name, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes), Rami Jaffee (The Wallflowers, Pete Yorn)

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes – Spike Slawson (Swingin’ Utters), “Fat” Mike Burkett (NOFX), Joey Cape (Lagwagon), Dave Raun (Lagwagon)

Broken Social Scene – Kevin Drew (KC Accidental), Brendan Canning (By Divine Right, Head, Valley of the Giants), Justin Peroff (Junior Blue), Charles Spearin (Do Make Say Think, KC Accidental), Leslie Feist, Jason Collett, Andrew Whiteman (Apostle of Hustle), Emily Haines (Metric, Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton), James Shaw (Metric), Evan Cranley (Stars), Amy Millan (Stars), Ohad Benchetrit (Do Make Say Think, The Hidden Cameras), Marty Kinack (Hayden), Bill Priddle (Treble Charger, Don Vail, The Priddle Concern), Torquil Campbell (Stars), Lisa Lobsinger (Reverie Sound Revue), Julie Penner (The FemBots, Do Make Say Think, The Hylozoists, The Lowest of the Low, The Weakerthans), Jason Tait (The FemBots, The Weakerthans), Mitch Bowden (Chore, Sons of Butcher, Don Vail, The Priddle Concern), Elizabeth Powell (Land of Talk)

A Perfect Circle – Billy Howerdel, Maynard James Keenan (Tool), Josh Freese (The Vandals, Devo, Nine Inch Nails, Guns N’ Roses, Weezer), James Iha (The Smashing Pumpkins), Jeordie White (Marilyn Manson, later Goon Moon and Nine Inch Nails)

Audioslave – Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, solo), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, Lock Up), Tim Commerford (Rage Against the Machine), Brad Wilk (Rage Against the Machine)

The Postal Service – Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel, Figurine), Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis, and the Watson Twins), Laura Burhenn (The Mynabirds)

Velvet Revolver – Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots), Slash (Guns N’ Roses, Slash’s Snakepit), Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses, Loaded, The Fartz), Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses, Hawk, The Cult), Dave Kushner (Wasted Youth, Electric Love Hogs, Loaded)

Angels & Airwaves – Tom DeLonge (Blink-182), David Kennedy (Over My Dead Body), Ilan Rubin (Lostprophets, Nine Inch Nails), Matt Wachter (Thirty Seconds to Mars)

The Last Shadow Puppets – Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys), Miles Kane (The Rascals), James Ford (Simian Mobile Disco, Simian)

The Dead Weather – Alison Mosshart (The Kills, Discount), Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age), Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs, The Greenhornes), Jack White (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs)

Them Crooked Vultures – Dave Grohl (Scream, Nirvana, Foo Fighters), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Josh Homme (Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal)

Atoms for Peace – Thom Yorke (Radiohead), Flea (The Red Hot Chili Peppers), Nigel Godrich (long time producer for Radiohead), Joey Waronker (who has played drums for acts such as R.E.M, Beck, and Smashing Pumpkins), Mauro Refosco (David Byrne and Forro in the Dark)

Hollywood Vampires – Alice Cooper (Alice Cooper), Johnny Depp (Rock City Angels, P), Joe Perry (Aerosmith, The Joe Perry Project)

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