Recently I was enjoying the company of some old college buddies whilst spinning some even older vinyl and enjoying a frosty beverage (please add advertising sponsor here). The Traveling Wilburys were requested and as a DJ, I felt obligated to thumb through a massive collection of Talking Heads Lp’s to find that one record that for all intensive purposes blew the lid off of “Super Groups.” Right? It got me thinking High Fidelity style, 10 best Super Groups. Go:
1. Traveling Wilburys- Is there really any question? Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne. The only person you may not know is Lynne and that dude was in both ELO and The Move. Seriously, they could have farted happy birthday and it would have gone platinum.
2. CSN&Y- So, David Crosby(The Birds), Stephen Stills, Neil Young(Buffalo Springfield) and Graham Nash(The Hollies) made four part harmonies super hip, long before The Fleet Foxes came around. The 2nd show they all played together was at Woodstock. Epic.
3. Cream- Eric Clapton (The Yardbirds), Jack Bruce (Manfred Mann) and Ginger Baker (Graham Bond). Their 3rd album Wheels of Fire, was the world’s first platinum-selling double album. Nuff said.
4. Raconteurs, Dead Weather- Jack White has ADD. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but it sure seems like it. Thank God he’s not on a steady diet of Adderall, cus then we might not have these 2 amazing Super Groups. Keep it up Jack.
5. The Highwaymen- This probably should be higher on the list…. Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. Dear Lord, send me to country heaven. Someone fedex Taylor Swift a copy of Highwayman. Scrach that, send everyone under the age of 21 or working on Music Row a copy of Highwayman. That’s how you do country.
6. Them Crooked Vultures- I like the thought of mixing Nirvana with Led Zeppelin. It wasn’t quite the Mordor deodorant I thought it was going to be but… Dave Grohl, John Paul Jones and then add Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age are pretty dang tight.
7. Monsters Of Folk- The newbies! Yim Yames(My Morning Jacket) Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis(Bright Eyes) and M. Ward(She & Him) connected Jacket fans with She & Him fans…no easy task. Bright Eyes fans probably had already heard about both the other acts before they were popular…and liked their early work but now that they were… you know- big, they were over them. Ha.
8. Middle Brother- The even newerbies! The lead singers of 3 of my favorite bands right now come together and create a 4th favorite band. Matt Vasquez(Delta Spirit), Taylor Goldsmith(Dawes) and John J. McCauley III(Deer Tick) make it look easy and make it sound so freaking good.
9. Robert Plant and Allison Krauss- Yeah, Allison Krauss and Robert Plant are in this band. So that makes a “Super Duo.” Add T-Bone Burnett, Marc Ribot and Buddy Miller and you have a Super Group. The record Raising Sand was all covers, but it made a lot of people unknowingly love The Everly Brothers, Townes Van Zandt, Doc Watson and others.
10. The Band- The Last Waltz. I know this doesn’t really count, but for one Thanksgiving night in San Francisco, it was the greatest Super Group of all time. The Band was Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel and Robbie Robertson…That night The Band was also Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Neil Diamond, Emmylou Harris, Muddy Waters, Ringo Starr, Dr. John, Paul Butterfield and Ronie Hawkins. Good job Martin Scorsese.
Honorable mentions: Tinted Windows, Temple of the Dog, Audioslave, Blind Faith, Velvet Revolver, The New Pornographers, Damnocracy, Chickenfoot, Atoms For Peace and The Baseball Project.
Who did I miss? Love it, Hate it, indifferent? Holler at me.