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Worst Musician Career Choices


Carl
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We got some Songfacts on "My Guy" by Mary Wells. She was the first female star at Motown, and could have been Diana Ross, except she decided to leave the label and pursue acting. This is an example of a bad career choice.

In my efforts to think of some others, Van Halen firing Sammy Hagar and going with Gary Cherone comes to mind, as does John Fogerty's record contract.

I'm talking about professional disasters here where almost certainly, the musician regrets the decision. Lou Reed making a Country album might not have been the best professional decision, but it may have suceeded in proving a point. Bad lifestyle decisions like drugs or relationships don't count, so keep Jim Morrison out of this. I reserve the right to make up more rules as we go along, but let 'em rip. This way, the next time your co-worker leaves to join the World Poker Tour and blows though all his money in a month, you can say something like, "That worked out about as well as Lindsey Buckingham's solo career."

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In the mid-'60's Chad Mitchell left the Chad Mitchell Trio to pursue a solo career. He really hasn't been heard from since. Ironically he was replaced in the newly named Mitchell Trio (figure that one out) by a guy named John Deutchendorf who also left shortly afterward to pursue his own solo career. He changed his name to John Denver. Whatever became of him?

Curiouser and curiouser.

Edited by Guest
To include an approximate date.
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Here's another.

Remember in '67 or '68 when The Supremes became Diana Ross and The Supremes? Well, David Ruffin thought that was a pretty good idea.

So while The Temptations were performing just outside Philly at The Valley Forge Music Fair David Ruffin approached the group with a proposition. He insisted that the group change its name to David Ruffin and The Temptations.

The group kicked this around for about 3 seconds and Otis Williams said to David, "How about just David Ruffin?" He was fired on the spot.

Ruffin went on to a modest solo career (some of his best work in my opinion) but never hit it as big as he thought he would.

He spiraled into a life of drug use and spousal abuse until he was found dead of an overdose under suspicious circumstances in Philly in July of '91 (check me on that date).

Sad story really.

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David Lee Roth quit Van Halen and took his clown prince act on the road, to mild success. His ep, 'Crazy With the Heat', released while still with VH, sold moderately. Apparently, that was enough of an ego boost for Roth, who either quit, or was fired, in 1985, depending on which side you talk to.

His first solo record, Eat Em and Smile, did fairly well, and Roth toured with his own supergroup, consisting of Steve Vai on guitar, Billy Sheehan on bass, and Greg Bissonette on drums.

His second solo effort, Skyscraper, produced the mild hit 'Just Like Paradise'. However, Roth's clown character soon wore thin, and album sales were tepid, at best. Vai and Sheehan left the band, and Roth realeased his third solo effort, 'A Little Ain't Enough', in 1991, but with the explosion of grunge, Roth looked even more like a clown, with his silly inflatable females and whatnot on stage. His happy-go-lucky style flew right in the face of the angst-ridden grunge movement, and his career was done.

Since then, he's been spotted running from the cops in New York after buying pot, (or trying to, I forget now) appeared briefly with VH and cut a few songs with them, and is now training to be an EMT.

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Another tale of egos run amok , but with a happier ending :

After years of infighting and nasty remarks about each other in the press and an album which made most fans cringe ( Dirty Work ) , Mick Jagger struck out on his own and put out a couple of solo albums trying , it seemed , to prove that he was the main force behind The Stones and to 'catch' some of the '80s sound . They sold moderately well , based, I think, mostly on a loyal fan base who wanted to check them out , but most ended up disappointed with these albums after a few listenings , and they largely collect dust , now, in most collections.

Keith also put together a group , The Expensive Winos , which stuck to a R&B formula , and were well recieved by fans and critics . Songs from these albums ( 2 , I think ) are still performed at Rolling Stones concerts , today .

The split , while devastating for fans at the time , probably was for the best in the end . Jagger , I think , read the writing on the wall : he was in a sort of musical limbo as a solo artist and realized that his career depended on The Stones, who , he now saw , were a sum all it's components-- not a one-man show , their strengths were mainly in a rock/ R&B sound , and the rivalries were put to rest . The next album, Steel Wheels , was a relief to all and the beginning of some great work which continues to this day. As well , it's nice to see a genuine comradery and respectfullness toward each other at their concerts and in their interviews .

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Michael Jackson invites friends for a sleepover.

:googly:

George Harrison has Phil Spector produce My Sweet Lord for him. Phil, after producing so many "Girl Group" records, doesn't notice it's almost note for note with the Chiffons' He's So Fine.

:doh:

Prince changes his name to... (my keyboard doedn't have the symbol).

:P

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Hi Marc. I know he was teed off and threatened to stop recording altogether before the name change, but it still made him a symbol of ridicule.

No one agree with me that Phil Spector, Svengali of the Girl Groups, should have picked up on "My Sweet Lord" ? I don't blame you, because it doesn't really fit Carl's criteria. I'm sure George Harrison's career didn't suffer because of it. The opposite in fact.

:)

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No one agree with me that Phil Spector, Svengali of the Girl Groups, should have picked up on "My Sweet Lord" ? I don't blame you, because it doesn't really fit Carl's criteria. I'm sure George Harrison's career didn't suffer because of it. The opposite in fact.

:)

I do. I remember some journalist asked George Harrison if he was to change something in his life what would it be, and he answered "A couple of chords in My Sweet Lord"

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Any 70's rock band who turned to synthy 80's garbage was a bad career choice.

Actually, Van Halen went from straight up, rock and roll, to splashing a synth all over the place on '1984', and it was hugely successful. If anything, I think they sold more albums with Sammy that with Dave.

It'd be interesting to comapre the numbers, for someone energenic enough to look that stuff up.

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Diamond Dave, in a landslide. Though I think they had more big hits with Sammy, apart from "Jump". I guess that nostalgia counts for something, in terms of catalog sales.

With DLR: 34 million total

Van Halen...1978...10 million

Van Halen II...1979...5 million

Women and Children First...1980...3 million

Fair Warning...1981...2 million

Diver Down...1982...4 million

1984...1983..10 million

With SH: 18 million

5150...1986...6 million

OU812...1988...4 million

For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge...1991...3 million

Balance...1995...3 million

Live: Right Here, Right Now (album)...1993...2 million

With that other dude: 500,000 total

Van Halen III...1998...500,000

Best Of's, so all singers combined: 4 million

The Best of Van Halen, Vol. 1...1996....3 million

The Best of Both Worlds...2004...1 million

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