Being a big fan of Jon Hein's Jump The Shark book, but disappointed by its accompanying Web site (which only deals with TV shows) and Yahoo group (which lumps all discussions on all topics into one giant ungainly "forum"), I'll instead revive the discussion here. Here are some of my favorite (and not-so-favorite) recording artists and when they "jumped the shark":
AC/DC: "For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)" (both the album and its title track); it's been almost all downhill for them ever since. Aerosmith: They collaborate with Run-DMC to remake "Walk This Way," signaling their sellout to the MTV set. The Beatles: Enter Yoko Ono. Boston: The Third Stage album. After "Amanda" it was a big disappointment, and they've not come anywhere near their former glory since. The Doors: Jim Morrison dies. Electric Light Orchestra: Their Time album, where they drop their string section in favor of (you guessed it) synthesizers. Genesis: Lead guitarist Steve Hackett leaves the group, beginning in earnest their metamorphosis from progressive rock to power pop. Janet Jackson: The Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show, where Justin Timberlake made good on his promise to have her naked by the end of the song. KISS: They lose the makeup, costumes and associated theatrics, and with them most of what made the band interesting. Led Zeppelin: In Through The Out Door, where they started using synths. John Lennon: One word: "Imagine". Metallica: Their self-titled album. One listen and you could tell they weren't the same band their fans knew and loved. Milli Vanilli: "Girl you know it's-Girl you know it's-Girl you know it's-Girl you know it's-" Pink Floyd: Roger Waters departs on a depressing note with The Final Cut. REO Speedwagon: Lead guitarist Gary Richrath departs. The Rolling Stones: They adopt the tongue-and-lip logo that symbolizes their now-nearly-complete corporatization. Rush: Grace Under Pressure, which cemented their transformation to synth-oriented power pop. Ashlee Simpson: See Milli Vanilli. Cat Stevens: He becomes Yusuf Islam. Styx: Kilroy Was Here - not just the lame album, but also the traveling musical that passed for the ensuing tour! Van Halen: David Lee Roth departs. The Who: Keith Moon dies and his bandmates get old. Yes: "Don't Kill The Whale". ZZ Top: Afterburner. A blues-oriented rock band with a synth-dominated sound - what's wrong with this picture?