DAILY DIRT: Ex-Beatles dominate the pop stars who left groups and achieved individual stardom

CIRCA 1964: Rock and roll band Beatles pose for a portrait in circa 1964. (L-R) Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Harrison. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

John, Paul and George did just fine after The Beatles broke up. Don't feel sorry for Ringo, though. He still got his residuals. — Wikimedia Commons

Daily Dirt for Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024

The top female in that department would be Diana Ross … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 854 of The Daily Dirt.

1. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

For every Diana Ross who leaves a group like the Supremes and goes on to achieve worldwide acceptance and fame, there is a Natalie Maines, who left the (Dixie) Chicks to try it on her own and flopped. Or every member of KISS who tried to launch a solo career.

“Many times people have left bands who were having plenty of success to pursue solo careers,” writes Chris Morgan for yardbarker.com. “These don’t always work out, but on other occasions solo acts become as popular, or even more popular, than their bands.”

Here are my thoughts on the 10 most successful singers who left their bands/groups behind and reached even greater heights as a solo act:

  • 1. John Lennon: The Beatles changed the face of popular music forever, and Lennon was well on his way to adding more riveting chapters to that legacy until his his 1980 murder.
  • 2. Paul McCartney: Same with this ex-Beatle, although his path of individual musical success was a bit more sugar-coated than Lennon’s efforts, which dealt marhely with social injustice.
  • 3. Beyonce: Only time will tell if Beyonce will one day be regarded as the biggest pop star of all-time. But it’s safe to say her individual work has far exceeded anything with Destiny’s Child.
  • 4. Phil Collins: If you didn’t live through the 1980s, it’s probably hard to imagine how big Phil Collins became after exiting Genesis. 
  • 5. George Harrison: Yes, a third Beatle in this grouping, and if lung cancer had not taken him from us, former Beatles might have very well have swept the top three spots. 
  • 6. Sting: From the very beginning of The Police, it was obvious Gordon Sumner (a.k.a. Sting) was an individual megastar in waiting.
  • 7. Diana Ross: The Supremes were (and will always remain) the best girl group in history, and Ross later became one of the premier individual talents. I always felt she would become an equally big movie star, but for some reason that never panned out. 
  • 8. Stevie Nicks: Following her exit from Fleetwood Mac, Nicks’ popularity continued to soar, accented by her “Bella Donna” album that went platinum four times over.
  • 9. Neil Young: He gained early fame with both Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, but cemented his Hall of Fame career as a solo artist. His epic “Heart of Gold” is a member of my all-time top 10 non-Rod Stewart songs.
  • 10. Paul Simon: I thought long and hard on this one, since SImon and Garfunkel was “just” a duo, but it’s my list and my rules. So, Paul you’re in, buddy!

2. Some fun food facts it might be useful to know, thanks to information supplied by ranker.com:

Gold medal: Beavers produce castoreum, a substance sometimes used as a food additive; the rodents secrete it from their anal glands and use it to mark their territory. Castoreum contains hints of strawberry, raspberry and vanilla. According to wildlife ecologist Joanne Crawford, it is actually quite pleasant.”I lift up the animal’s tail and I’m like, ‘Get down there, and stick your nose near its bum.’ People think I’m nuts,” Crawford said. “I tell them, ‘Oh, but it’s beavers; it smells really good.'”

Due to its appeal, castoreum may be used in perfumes and other fragrances, alongside food flavorings. It’s considered safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but the expense associated with it has caused its presence to decline. 

Silver medal: In its guidelines about food defects, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that peanut butter can have 30 or more insect fragments per 100 grams. Additionally, one rodent hair is acceptable per 100 grams of peanut butter. 

A 12-ounce jar is about 340 grams, meaning it can contain as many as three rodent hairs. Purchasing a 40-ounce jar would get you more than 1,000 grams of peanut butter, enough to mix in 11 acceptable rodent hairs.

Bronze medal: Shrimp eat living and decaying algae, plants, worms and other bits floating in the waters near them — and sometimes consume the excrement of other living creatures. When shrimp are caught, killed and sold to consumers, the remnants of their omnivorous eating habits are still visible in what are generally thought to be veins. 

But the most prominent vein is the intestinal tract and the black substance is fecal matter. Removing this line and its contents may be called deveining, but it’s really a “de-pooping.” It’s not essential to devein shrimp before consuming it, but not doing so may change the flavor of the shrimp itself.

3. Let’s look at Rolling Stone magazine’s all-time top 10 country songs and see what we think:

  • 1. “I Walk the Line (1956),” by Johnny Cash: Flip a coin on the Man in Black’s greatest hit. It’s either this one or “Ring of Fire”.
  • 2. “Crazy (1961),” by Patsy Cline: A true classic that would be popular in any generation.
  • 3. “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (1949),” by Hank Williams: I would rather see Hank Williams Jr.’s “All My Rowdy Friends: in this spot.
  • 4. “He Stopped Loving Her Today (1980),” by George Jones: I would probably have this No. 1.
  • 5. “Standing On the Corner Blue Yodel No. 9 (1930),” by Jimmie Rodgers: Seriously?
  • 6. “Stand By Your Man (1968),” by Tammy Wynette: Her finest effort, but I’m not sure it’s top-10 worthy. 
  • 7. “You Don’t Know Me (1962),” by Ray Charles: A masterpiece.
  • 8. “Mama Tried, (1968),” by Merle Haggard: What about “Okie from Muskogee?”
  • 9. “Jolene (1973),” by Dolly Parton: Kind of pedestrian.
  • 10. “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys (1978),” by WIllie Nelson and Waylon Jennings: I’d probably have this at least in top five, maybe top three.

Steve Thought O’ The Day — I think Alabama’s “Love In the First Degree” and/or “Feels So Right” are deserving of being in that country top 10, plus “What I I Told You (What If I Said)” by Steve Wariner and Anita Cochran.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. “Friends in Low Places” is another glaring omission from that list.

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