Monday, April 05, 2010

When band guys go solo on side... WORKED FOR STEVIE NICKS!

When band guys go solo on side, it rarely works:

The solo side project is the biggest longshot bet in mainstream music. For every good album produced by a band member striking out on his or her own - and we'll get to these exceptions later - there are 25 bad ones. Music fans who repeatedly blow money on solo side projects inevitably feel a lot of rage. After getting burnt by one Mick Jagger solo album, the decision to buy a second one is practically an act of self-hatred.

It's when an artist chooses to dabble in solo work while remaining with the band that everything seems to go to hell. The most memorable example came on Sept. 18, 1978, when each of the four members of Kiss simultaneously released solo side projects. Three of the entries were mind-bendingly atrocious. (Ace Frehley's was just bad.)

Below are four exceptions to the solo side project rule. Solo albums made by artists who are the clear front person of their band (Bruce Springsteen, etc.) weren't included. Add your solo side project winners and losers to the comments in the version of this column.

Stevie Nicks, "Bella Donna." The first solo album from Stevie Nicks released in 1981 was painfully straightforward - there was a white-winged dove in the lyrics and on the album cover - and still blew away its high expectations. Nearly 30 years later, "Edge of Seventeen" continues to sound urgent. ("After the Glitter Fades," not so much ...) And she kills on "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" by Tom Petty, who co-produced "Bella Donna."

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