Solo Artists Who Were More Successful Than Their Bands

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15. Ricky Martin (Menudo)
> Billboard entries as solo artist: 16 songs, 9 albums
> Billboard entries with group: 1 song, 3 albums
> Biggest album as solo artist: Ricky Martin (1999) (1 week at No. 1)
> Biggest album with group: Menudo (1985) (2 weeks at No. 100)

Formed in 1977, Puerto Rican boy band Menudo became one of the territory’s biggest success stories. Ricky Martin hopped aboard in 1984 and launched his solo career seven years later, gradually achieving international fame. He released the hit single “Livin’ la Vida Loca” in 1999 and the rest is pop history.

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14. Ice Cube (N.W.A)
> Billboard entries as solo artist: 12 songs, 15 albums
> Billboard entries with group: 1 song, 5 albums
> Biggest album as solo artist: The Predator (1992) (1 week at No. 1)
> Biggest album with group: Straight Outta Compton (1989) (1 week at No. 4)

Contractual disputes with N.W.A. manager Jerry Heller prompted Ice Cube to leave the group and embark on a solo career. His debut album “AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted” – which explored pointed social themes within a gangster rap milieu – was an instant smash. Multiple hit songs and albums would follow, as would a robust career in Hollywood as an actor and filmmaker.

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13. George Michael (Wham!)
> Billboard entries as solo artist: 19 songs, 11 albums
> Billboard entries with group: 9 songs, 4 albums
> Biggest album as solo artist: Faith (1987) (12 weeks at No. 1)
> Biggest album with group: Make It Big (1984) (3 weeks at No. 1)

The main talent in the musical duo Wham!, George Michael went solo in the pursuit of a more adult-oriented sound and audience. His debut album “Faith” spent 12 non-consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard 200 and spawned four #1 singles, among other accomplishments.

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12. Joan Jett (The Runaways)
> Billboard entries as solo artist: 10 songs, 9 albums
> Billboard entries with group: 0 songs, 2 albums
> Biggest album as solo artist: I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll (1981) (3 weeks at No. 2)
> Biggest album with group: Queens Of Noise (1977) (1 week at No. 172)

Soon after their formation in 1975, all-female rockers The Runaways became a darling of the burgeoning punk scene. Creative differences over the band’s sound led to an irreparable split between Joan Jett and band member Lita Ford, causing the band to break up. Jett overcame multiple rejections and eventually formed her own record label when launching her subsequent solo career.

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11. Justin Timberlake (‘N Sync)
> Billboard entries as solo artist: 36 songs, 5 albums
> Billboard entries with group: 12 songs, 6 albums
> Biggest album as solo artist: FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006) (2 weeks at No. 1)
> Biggest album with group: ‘N Sync (1998) (3 weeks at No. 2)

Boy band NSYNC were at the forefront of a thriving pop movement by the late 1990s, with their sophomore album selling over one million copies in a single day. Timberlake’s star continued to rise even as the group’s momentum waned, paving the way for an enduring career as both a singer and actor. He’s since become one of the best-selling solo artists of all time.

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