16 Singers Whose Solo Careers Crashed After Leaving the Group (PHOTOS)

Michele Marin | Aug 26, 2015 Celebrities

Zayn Malik may have left millions of One Direction fans heartbroken when he left the band in 2015. Just ask any of the 50,000 Twitter followers who unfollowed him in the wake of his departure. But Malik isn't the first singer who had the idea that the grass might be greener in a pasture he has all to himself. Some have enjoyed incredible success as a result of going solo -- Gwen Stefani, Beyonce, and Justin Timberlake, to name a few. But not everyone can be so lucky.

Some try hard, but the magic just isn't there without the band backing them up. Check out these 16 singers whose solo careers crashed after their leaving the group. 

 

Image © Xavier Collin/Image Press/Corbis

  • JC Chasez

    1

    'NSYNC catapulted to the top of the charts and achieved teen idol status quickly. Having sold over 50 million albums and accumulating a bevy of Grammy nominations, Rolling Stone recognized their success as one of the top 25 teen idol breakout moments of all time. But when Chasez said "Bye, Bye, Bye" to the group, he didn't discover the same success as fellow bandmate Justin Timberlake. Chasez's first single, "Blowin Me Up," did OK, but the album, not so much. (Let's try to forget about the song "All Day Long I Dream About Sex," shall we?) These days, Chasez has traded in his solo career for guest appearances on Las Vegas, songwriting for other artists, and judging America's Best Dance Crew.

  • Jordan Knight

    2

    Can you think of a few top 10 hits by this pop star? Um, probably not. In fact, you may not have even know that he released a solo album if you weren't a die-hard New Kids On The Block fan. He had one hit, "Give It To You," in 1999, a few years after leaving NKOTB. These days, Jordan isn't trying to race to the top of the charts, but he is racing. He and his boyfriend, Harley Rodriguez, will be competing in Season 26 of The Amazing Race.

  • David Lee Roth

    3

    He had a few decent solo tracks after he left Van Halen, but Roth's Eat 'Em And Smile album was mostly covers, as was Diamond Dave. So it's probably a good thing that David took a little time off from his solo career to become a paramedic and lounge singer in Las Vegas, where he can do all the covers he wants.

  • Michelle Wiliams

    4

    Do you want the good news or the bad news? After leaving Destiny's Child, Williams definitely did not achieve the same success as Beyonce. But she did have a best-selling gospel album in 2002, Heart to Yours. Not much since, though. 

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  • Nick Carter

    5

    The baby of the Backstreet Boys, Carter released a couple of solo albums, but problems with drugs and alcohol and a high-profile romance with Paris Hilton seemed to take center stage instead. Looks like Carter is giving it another go, however, as he tweeted earlier this year that he's releasing a solo album with some pretty big names, including Natasha Bedingfield. Thus far, it's still "Unwritten."

  • Boy George

    6

    We couldn't help but call out Boy George, especially as Culture Club wraps up its North American tour. But Boy George without Culture Club? He tried! In 1987, his first solo album, Sold, had only one hit, "Everything I Own." Good thing he decided to go back to his roots.  

  • Brian Littrell

    7

    This former Backstreet Boy traded his teen idol status for deep, spiritual roots with his first solo album, Welcome Home. It didn't score much attention, unfortunately, but rumor has it he's returned to the recording studio for an album due in 2016. We'll have to wait and see.

  • Debbie Harry

    8

    Harry's lead vocals were the soundtrack of the '70s, but her solo career, not so much. Right around the time that she was releasing her first album, which had cover art so controversial some stores refused to carry it, Harry reportedly went back to using heroin. A couple more solo albums followed, but eventualy Harry rejoined Blondie, and in 1997 they released Ghosts of Downloads

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  • Steve Perry

    9

    After 10 years together, Journey and Perry went their "separate ways" in 1987. Perry released his first solo album while still with Journey, and one song became a hit, "Oh Sherrie." But we would be hard-pressed to say that he had many more hits in his solo career. Still, Journey is one of the top-selling rock groups of all time, so it was great to see him perform two of their hits during a 2014 concert with the group known as the Eels -- his first performance in 19 years.

  • Daryl Hall

    10

    You can turn on Sirius and still hear "Man Eater" or "You Make My Dreams Come True," but chances are you won't hear Hall's singles from his Soul Alone album. It pretty much flopped.

  • Scott Weiland

    11

    While the Stone Temple Pilots enjoyed huge success in the 1990s, founder Weiland's solo career didn't. In 1998, his album, 12 Bar Blues, was --um -- nothing to sing about. Critics dismissed it as being overly arty. His newest album, Blaster, is more bluesy and had somewhat better reviews, but certainly not STP-worthy.

  • Paul Westerberg

    12

    In the '90s Westerberg was the face of the Replacements. But when the band split, so did his attempt at a solo career. His first album received lackluster reviews and his second album didn't fare much better.

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  • Ali Campbell

    13

    They rose to stardom with hits such as "Red Red Wine," but UB40's lead singer couldn't make a go of it on his own. In fact, due in part to his failed solo career, he is said to be pretending that he's still part of the group. The result? A lawsuit.

  • Grace Slick

    14

    She may have co-written White Rabbit and been the voice of the '70s groups Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship, but Slick's solo albums were not quite as psychedelic. Her second attempt, Dreams, was reportedly inspired by her 12-step program. Need we say more?

  • El DeBarge

    15

    Did you even know he went solo? I mean, we all know "Rhythm of the Night" from DeBarge. But did you know that El DeBarge was the main voice behind the group that bore his name? Neither did we. Despite the nearly identical moniker, his solo career went nowhere. 

  • Ashley Parker Angel

    16

    Unlike O Town's song, "I Won't Lose," it seems that this band member did in fact lose. While his solo career never quite made it, Angel does have impressive vocals; just listen to the track he recorded for the audition to replace One Direction's Zayn Malik. Now that even 1D is splitting up to pursue solo careers, who knows when we'll ever hear from him again.

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