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The 10 Biggest Supergroups

When heavyweights join forces

The 10 Biggest Supergroups

A brand new supergroup has just announced its debut EP, with At the Drive-In's drummer Tony Hajjar joining forces with bassist and singer Troy Sanders, of Mastodon, Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen and guitarist-keyboardist Mike Zarin to form Gone Is Gone, an experimental rock behemoth.

You can check out their lead single Violescentright here.

Of course, famous friends getting together to forge a new path is nothing new; but it's not always the case that the final product adds up to the sum of the constituent, already successful, parts. We take a look at the 10 biggest supergroups and see which ones combined talents to great effect, and which ones cancelled each other out.

Listen to a playlist of the biggest supergroups on Spotify



Who? Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton

Did it work? Yes

The original supergroup, and still one of the best, Cream pulled together the...erm...cream of London's instrumentalists, in the form of virtuoso drummer Baker, legendary bassists Bruce and 'God' himself, Clapton. 3 hugely successful albums followed - as did some mammoth on-stage jams and solos, but you can't argue with tunes like Sunshine of Your Love and Wishing Well.

Velvet Revolver

Who? Scott Weiland, Slash, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Dave Kushner

Did it work? Sort of

After Axl went loco and broke up Guns 'n' Roses, the rest of the band were looking for a new home, which they duly found by teaming up with Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland and Wasted Youth's Dave Kushner. On paper, Velvet Revolver (hmm...that reminds me of another band name...nope, can't think of it) were a mouthwatering prospect and while, debut record Contraband did well, the follow up Libertad was a disappointment. It was often felt that there was a disconnect between Weiland and the rest - but at the end of the day, the likes of Slither and Fall to Pieces were classic rock songs that stood up against any of the members' previous bands' efforts.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Who? David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, Neil Young

Did it work? Yes

All stupendously successful in their own right, CSNY worked like a dream, as, for the first album, the initial three, and then for the second, the four singer-songwriters combined to heavenly effect. A selection of brilliant records and live shows over the following years established their place as a bona fide classic group; plus, their second-ever gig was at Woodstock. That's not bad is it?


Who? Johnny Marr, Bernard Sumner, plus Neil Tennant, Karl Bartos, Jimi Goodwin, Ged Lynch

Did it work? Yes

An almost perfect supergroup, where the talents and styles of all the members joined in the middle: Sumner indulging his passion for electronic (of course) music even further, Marr adding his trademark melodic guitar gloss to synth tracks for the first time, while the Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant guested on tracks which were 'indier' than his day job. The result was a million-selling debut album, featuring one of the great classic indie-pop songs in Getting Away With It. As if that wasn't enough stardust, they were joined on later albums by Kraftwerk's Bartos, Sub Sub/Doves' Goodwin and Black Grape's Lynch, before the core members went on to pursue other projects.

Them Crooked Vultures

Who? Dave Grohl, John Paul Jones, Josh Homme

Did it work? Sort of

It's hard to think of a supergroup that came together with bigger individual reputations that these three: Grohl, of Nirvana and the Foo Fighters and widely regarded as one of the best drummers in the world; Jones, visionary bass player with Led Zeppelin and Homme, singer and guitarist with the none-more-cool Queens of the Stone Age. Initial reaction to the collaboration was frenzied, with secret performances building the hype. However, when the album emerged, it was...good. It was, in reality, very good, but the expectation of an era-defining rock record was, ultimately, not met. There's been talk of the Vultures flying again soon - maybe they'll get that magic second time around.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Who? Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Carl Palmer

Did it work? Yes

The three members of ELP had already done great work with The Nice, King Crimson and The Crazy World of Arthur Brown before teaming up to become the ultimate progressive rock supergroup. Frankly, they were utterly bananas, setting organs on fire, stabbing them with knives, utilising 100-piece drum kits and being influenced by classical music and jazz. Of course, they also knew how to write a pop song, which explains their incredible 40m album sales, while their live shows were truly legendary feats of stage performances and never-ending solos. A crucial band, if only because their manifold excesses paved the way for punk rock, and because they inspired this amazing Big Train sketch.


Who? Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, Brad Wilk

Did it work? Sort of

After Zack de la Rocha left Rage Against the Machine in 2000, the remaining 3 members decided to continue making music together, but as part of a new project, and with a vocalist that sounded nothing like their previous frontman. Super producer Rick Rubin put them in touch with ex-Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell and - lo - one of the most powerful vocals in rock was added to one of the most powerful rhythm sections in rock. When they got it right, the results were astounding - Cochise is a worthy addition to rock's ultimate canon - but often it slipped into MOR territory. Nonetheless, their three albums were all warmly received, before they returned to their previous acts. A seriously good band, but as good as either RATM or Soundgarden? Probably not.

Atoms For Peace

Who? Thom Yorke, Flea, Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker, Mauro Refosco

Did it work? Sort of

An experimental supergroup, the component parts of Atoms for Peace feature Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, REM and Beck amongst their previous credits. Initially forming to perform songs from Yorke's solo album The Eraser, they soon fermented plans to record an album, with Amok emerging in 2013. However, those hoping for big, powerful hit singles - and all four of those acts previously mentioned had a fair few in their arsenal - were sorely disappointed. Technically brilliant, sonically adventurous but - an issue Radiohead fans have had for a while - not much in the way of songs.

Traveling Wilburys

Who? Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty

Did it work? Yes

Seriously, just look at that lineup. Did you think it wouldn't work? This group of friends got together in 1988 to create an album written by all five of them, and recorded in just ten days. Following Roy Orbison's death, they recorded a second and final album, intentionally mis-named Volume 3. Both albums were critically-acclaimed and received a commercial boost when they were collected together and reissued in 2007, going in at number 1 in the UK, and selling 500,000 copies in 3 weeks. An understated, relaxed supergroup which worked brilliantly - perhaps that's the way to do it.

Swedish House Mafia

Who? Axwell, Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso

Did it work? Yes

Talk about getting your timing right. Angello and Ingrosso were childhood friends from Stockholm and first teamed up with Axwell in 2007. Their first release as SHM was in 2010, with the epic One (Your Name), just as EDM was breaking in the US, dominating across the rest of the world and with demand for a big name to lead the revolution. With 3 already famous DJs and a host of hits, they were unstoppable, headlining festivals and dancefloors everywhere; an experience which formed the basis of the unintentionally-hilarious documentary Take One - a ...Spinal Tap for the EDM generation. Their final tour concluded in early 2013 and off they went to forge their own paths again, with none of them ever needing to work again. Nice work if you can get it.

(Images: Rex)