4 Great Lead Singers With Inexplicably Terrible Solo Careers

#2. Scott Weiland

Mike Lawrie/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

I'll excuse everyone who needs to head to the comments section to leave a joke about Scott Weiland being on a list of "great" musicians at this time.

Make all the jokes you want, but goddammit, I like Stone Temple Pilots. Compared to a lot of the other bands who got rich during the orange-distortion-pedal rush of the early '90s, they actually had some musical chops, and they were at least moderately less depressing than the Alice in Chainses of the world. I like Nirvana more, and I think Scott Weiland probably did, too, but still, shut up, they were a good band. Here, have a listen to "Big Bang Baby" while you agree with me:

Unfortunately, because heroin is also a hell of a drug, STP was rarely able to keep itself on the road or even together as a band for more than a few years at a time. During his many stints as an ex-member of Stone Temple Pilots, Scott Weiland recorded a few solo albums and ... one of them isn't bad! It's called 12 Bar Blues, and it proves the old adage that even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes. There's a song on that album called "Lady, Your Roof Brings Me Down" that makes me particularly happy:

Fun fact: Sheryl Crow plays accordion on that song. That's also the only Scott Weiland solo song I can name off the top of my head. And I'm not a casual Stone Temple Pilots fan. I mean, everyone is technically a casual Stone Temple Pilots fan. There aren't any other kind. It isn't a band that breeds rabid fans. But I am a fan. I give Scott Weiland a fighting chance any time he makes an album with someone other than Stone Temple Pilots, and I'm never anything short of disappointed.

That's what's special about the Scott Weiland case. It's not just that he shouldn't go solo; he also shouldn't be allowed to join any other bands. For the remainder of his days, Scott Weiland should be forced to travel with two things: a sobriety coach who carries a gun and the DeLeo brothers.

Charley Gallay/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
"Is that heroin up there?"

I see a lot of confused faces in the crowd, but believe you me, I'm killing it with STP fans after that combo of references. Especially the ones who hated Velvet Revolver, a band some of you might recognize as the most confounding failure in rock supergroup history since Chris Cornell turned Rage Against the Machine into a funk band or whatever went wrong there.

Velvet Revolver looked like a champion on paper. "Guns 'N Roses - Axl Rose + Someone I Like Significantly More" should have all added up to something pretty wonderful. But it didn't. It's not that they were terrible. They were just unremarkable, mostly because they seemed to have all the chemistry of opposing sides of a Middle East peace negotiation. That might be putting it too mildly. It honestly seemed like they just plain hated each other, and I will admit that I liked that, because I hated them, too. And everyone who works with Scott Weiland seems to hate him. Only one band has ever been able to balance hating him with still making good music, though.

#1. Paul McCartney

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty

I'm not going to tell you you're wrong to feel angry that Paul McCartney is on this list. I will tell you that if you enjoy the solo work of Paul McCartney that much, I suspect you're too much of a pussy to do anything about it, though.

Just joking, kind of, but I stand by my assertion that Paul McCartney is an awful solo artist. If you've already started typing up your angry comment to the tune of "Live and Let Die," I'd ask you to keep your calm for one second and think about this: "Paul McCartney solo" covers a lot fewer years than you probably think, and they're mostly the really terrible years when he was pulling horrific stunts like this "Temporary Secretary" fiasco from McCartney II, his first solo album after ending Wings:

While his first two post-Beatles efforts count as "solo" work, they're also most likely the result of years of songs that were written with the Beatles in mind but never made it onto any albums. It's the same reason George Harrison's first solo album was three discs and was overflowing with songs that would eventually become classics. He only got to release two songs per Beatles album, he was sitting on a lot of stuff from those years.

So was Paul McCartney, at first. After those initial albums, though, he didn't keep at it alone. He formed Wings in 1971, and for the remainder of that decade and into the early part of the '80s, Paul McCartney was still in a band and still making relatively great music, even if it wasn't Beatles great.

Then, as so many "creative geniuses" do, Paul McCartney decided he had done all he could with the band he was a member of and opted to go solo. Guess what his first solo single was after disbanding Wings?

Right, "Ebony and Ivory" was the world's reintroduction to Paul McCartney, solo artist. Sure, it's a duet, but make no mistake, it's a Paul McCartney song. And since we're having so much fun with race relations and terrible music, who wants to guess what McCartney's last U.S. Billboard No. 1 hit was?

If you correctly guessed that it was "Say Say Say," it's because you either have terrible taste in music or have lost all faith in the public's ability to make sound buying decisions. You're probably right on all counts, but definitely on the "Say Say Say" part. That was indeed Paul McCartney's last No. 1 hit, most sales undoubtedly coming on the strength of some of the most unrelentingly manly cover art of all time.


That absurd image actually does a fairly decent job of explaining what is, at least in my opinion, Paul McCartney's failing as a solo artist. To put it bluntly, Paul McCartney is corny as fuck. When there's no one else around to tame it, Paul McCartney's tendency to embrace the sappiest things in life often makes his music impossible to stomach. Great example: Try to make it all the way through "Freedom," the cringe-worthy song he released to benefit victims of 9/11:

Easy to appreciate the sentiment there, but damn if that performance doesn't feel a lot like watching your dad try to dance at a wedding. And that, unfortunately, is a pretty accurate description of Paul McCartney's solo career in general.

Adam hosts a podcast called Unpopular Opinion that you should check out right here. You should also be his friend on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.

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