You know the drill.
Member of rock band gets big head, thinks he is bigger than the band that made him, and strikes out on his own.
Only to come back five years (and few albums sales) later, tail between his legs, asking for the band to take him back.
Yet every so often, those artists — even the ones who come back — come up with better material on their own than they ever did with their homies.
So here my five favorite solo artists who were better than the bands that brung them.
5. Jason Isbell. You may not have heard of the Drive-By Truckers, but they had some powerful stuff, most notably Decoration Day. Yet the poet and vocalist extraordinaire at the center of that band is making some of the grittiest, meatiest music around. Traveling Alone is one of my favorites.
4. Neil Young. I think I’d have a Heart Of Gold if I had some time away from David Crosby, too.
3. Steve Winwood. Cream was fine, Spencer Davis Band was cool, Traffic was alright, but “Higher Love” is epic.
2. Paul Simon. Is it pop music blasphemy to suggest that Simon solo is better than with Garfunkel & “Bridge Over Troubled Water”?? Or is it accepted as conventional wisdom? I don’t know the answer to that, I just know my answer. Just don’t call me Tal.
1. Don Henley. Oh, Mr. Henley. Please stay by yourself. I don’t think you play that well with others to begin with. Give us some more Boys Of Summer and Heart Of The Matter, will you?