>Without purposely ranking them like this, this next seems to be a celebration of of artists who were a major part of a incredible groups, but also were able to emerge and have incredible solo careers as well.
In the late 90’s No Doubt had their big breakthrough in the now classic album “Tragic Kingdom”. The Orange County based ska/pop/rock group exploded on MTV and have since stayed a constant staple on U.S. Pop radio. Their big hits like “Underneath it All” “Just a Girl” “Spiderwebs” and their timeless classic “Don’t Speak” can be heard daily on Pop, Alternative and Rock stations. The bands work was incredible, but it wasn’t just the music that made America fall in love with the group. Their front woman Gwen Stefani can take a lot of the credit for making the group so marketable, a gorgeous, smart, fun and stylish blonde. And much respect for Stefani who decided to make a fun Pop Dance album in 2004 while the group was on hiatus which became a huge success, leading to a second album and two national solo tours. She has now said she is done with the solo thing and the group is back in the studio hoping to deliver some incredible new music (crossing our fingers) together in 2010.
12. Janet Jackson/ Michael Jackson & Jackson 5 (tie)
May he rest in peace, all of the various and never ending specials about Michael Jackson can’t really describe the impact he had on the 80’s. And I imagine the same can be said about the impact of the Jackson 5 in the 70’s. I just remember seeing his concerts on TV and all the people who had to be wheeled out on stretchers because they were so overwhelmed with the guy. And I also remember how whenever Michael Jackson had a new video coming out… All the family would gather around and watch it like it was the Oscars or something. I remember all the 80’s Douchebags with one glove or the “Beat It” jacket. And than I remember how quickly everybody turned on poor MJ when a scandal hit. However, before the possible pedophilia was exposed he already created a great catalogue of music for himself. And let’s not forget the scandal can’t erase the fact that he’s still regarded as The best Music Video artist ever. And his death this past summer is somewhat bittersweet. We lost a legend, but now people appreciate his legacy a lot more and his groundbreaking music.
By the time that the scandal hit, it was already time for Miss Jackson to take over as the most popular Jackson. Janet, while sort of a puppet, is a performance artist point blank. And you can criticize her minimal vocal skills, or alleged Co-writing skills, or her plastic personality, or that she has a pattern of blatantly lying to the media. One thing you can’t talk bad about is her on stage. Compared to concerts by her brother, I won’t hesitate in saying she’s a way better performer than he is. And probably one of the best performers of the past 30 years. It’s no secret that she often lipsyncs, but she Attacks the stage like nobody’s business. And (up until the last two albums) she was a very consistent album artist… you were almost guaranteed an excellent album if her name was attached.
13. Beyoncé & Destiny’s Child
I’m not going to go on and on about Beyoncé (because I could… easily), what I will say is I didn’t think an artist like her was possible anymore. So accustomed to having a female artist who could either Dance and entertain but couldn’t sing and wouldn’t sing live. Or the powerhouse singers whose performances consisted mainly of dramatic gowns and alot of standing. In comes Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child. It wasn’t until maybe 2001 where the true artist in Knowles truly started to emerge and on her debut solo album she easily shot to the top of the list in the industry. And incredibly gifted vocalist, who also is an incredible performer who sings Live (in stiletto heels no less) and engages the crowd. And she continually, in all areas, improves album after album. A True Legend in the making. Okay that’s all I’m going to say =)
14. Raphael Saaqiq & Tony! Toni! Toné!
Saadiq is one of the most underrated Geniuses out there today. Beginning with the New-Jack swingers Tony! Toni! Toné! of the early 90’s. They were never the majorly successful mainstream group, or flavor of the moment either. They did provide a consistent string of solid and truly soulful hit singles, creating new sounds all with clear influences from the 50’s 60’s and 70’s and using live instrumentation. At the top of this decade Saadiq formed the short lived Lucy Pearl with En Vogue’s Dawn Robinson and Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammed. Though they only had one album, it was as flawless earthy and soulful as previous Tony! Toni! Toné! albums. His first solo album “Instant Vintage” is one of my all time favorites and his productions for other artists (Badu, Joss Stone, Dangelo, Whitney, Total) include a lot of my all time favorite songs.