Welcome to the part of the program where we discuss the worst solo albums of all time. I'm sure I'm forgetting plenty. It's a self-defense mechanism. You wish to forget those painful purchases. You loved a band. They could do no wrong. Their bass player made an album. You bought it. It was very, very bad. But you persisted. Clearly, you're mistaken. They wouldn't do this to you. But they did.
No one, with the exception of Sting and Peter Cetera, goes into a recording studio to make a bad album. It sometimes feels like they're doing it on purpose, but rest assured most people record albums with the best of intentions. They want the world to sing their songs.
In any event, the criteria here was that the performer in question had to be in a successful band at some point. So, even though Bob Dylan's Saved is one horrible crime against humanity, he established himself first and foremost as a solo performer. His idea of taking a break was to join a band (The Traveling Wilburys).
Rest assured, I bought most of these albums (except Sting and Peter Cetera). Which is why it is often personal. I still remember the feeling--of hopes dashed, money wasted, time lost. Perhaps you actually like some of these albums. In which case, I have to wonder, did you pay for them?The Golden Scarab--Ray Manzarek: I think this might be a concept album. I just remember thinking I'd found gold--a solo album by a member of the Doors. Then I remembered he wasn't much of a singer. And without Morrison around to write his goofy lyrics, it was up to Ray. He succeeded. But I'm not sure if this is what defines success.
24) Whitford-St. Holmes--Brad Whitford, Derek St. Holmes: Aerosmith fell apart in the early '80s and the Joe Perry Project was actually not so bad. Not great. Not Aerosmith. But not this. Take two sidemen, Brad Whitford of Aerosmith and Derek St. Holmes from Ted Nugent's band and you've got what? Two guys who don't know how to write songs! Great!Wonderwall Music--George Harrison: Those Beatles were so determined to break the mold that they'd release anything they could. And most of us bought it because we were born with OCD and had to check everything out. This makes "Blue Jay Way" sound like a pop hit.
22) Sentimental Journey--Ringo Starr: I remember reading somewhere that Ringo recorded this album for his "mum." I hope she enjoyed it. I sure didn't. And I'll never forget the road trip that this album absolutely ruined. Going to the mall that day was awful.Monkey Grip--Bill Wyman: These days every lame indie rock band on earth has a bass player who's made a solo album or has a side project. They should all make this list, but you would never have heard of them and I've already forgotten who they are myself. But back in the 1970s, it was a big deal for a member of an established rock band to issue a solo album. The only Bill Wyman track Rolling Stones fans had been treated to had been "In Another Land" off Their Satanic Majesties Request. While it was one of the album's highlights, "Land" turned out to be a fluke, judging by the crud Wyman unearthed for this one. Earthquake Weather--Joe Strummer: I know he's St. Joe Strummer these days. But crap, man, no one bought this album. If they did, they didn't like it and were convinced that his career was over. Revisionists now act as if this fallow period didn't exist or wasn't as dire as it was. There wasn't a cut-out bin that didn't have this album in it. And even for $2.99, you didn't touch it. Smart.
18) Goddess In The Doorway--Mick Jagger: This is here more because of its legendary "five star" review in Rolling Stone that established a new joke standard for old rock stars and their feeble solo album attempts. It's not payola that got Mick Jagger that five star review. But I'm sure that had the album been released as something by "Stan McDonald," it wouldn't have rated two stars. "Visions Of Paradise" was pretty nice, but the rest of it is as memorable as anything the Rolling Stones have cut in the past two decades, which is a pretty awful thing to say.Two Sides Of The Moon--Keith Moon: Keith Moon was a terrific drummer. He was not a solo act. And while sentiment may run high for the sweet old boy, it doesn't make this album any more listenable.
16) Two Virgins--John Lennon and Yoko Ono: Again, another Beatle with a self-indulgent streak. Maybe I should've taken The Wedding Album instead, but that's a little more pleasurable than this. The worst part is that Lennon's self-indulgence encouraged the indie-rock world years later to issue their own "moments of feedback" and "tape loops" and "spoken word chatter" and pass it off as "solo work." Well, it is masturbatory.Peter Cetera: I've already told you I never bought a Peter Cetera album. Like most of you, I heard him on the radio. It was at that point I knew, things would never get better for any of us.
14) Eazy-Duz-It--Eazy-E: What's this doing here? Who even remembers the first solo album from this pivotal member of NWA? I do. Because I bought this. And I have no recollection of it. I remember giving it away. And the person who took it never listened to it either. Or he did and he doesn't remember it either. I asked.The Pros And Cons Of Hitchhiking--Roger Waters: Most Pink Floyd fans don't like The Final Cut, so this must seem even more unfathomable. I was a huge Pink Floyd fan at this point and I was willing to go with Roger Waters through any concept he could imagine. Except this one. This is one of the most tuneless albums I have ever heard. And I've heard plenty of tuneless albums.
12) Sweet 75--Sweet 75: Krist Novoselic tries to rebuild his musical life after Nirvana, except there's no way he's going to find another musical collaborator like Kurt Cobain. And he doesn't. Oh boy, he doesn't.Peter Criss--Peter Criss: The drummer from Kiss went on to make another solo album after this. He didn't learn the first time. Apparently, the other members of the band were equally baffled by this collection of old time rockers and crappy power ballads. But then their own work wasn't all that much to speak of...
10) Gene Simmons--Gene Simmons: The other guy from Kiss who went on to make another bad solo album. But we'll take this one because we bought it the day it came out and took it home and practically cried. I remember bringing it over to a friend's house and listening to "Burning Up With Fever" and being asked to leave.Mercy--Steve Jones: It's a bit disheartening to learn that a member of the Sex Pistols had a secret desire to be an industry hack like anyone else. Rick Wakeman: Has anyone ever made it through this gobbly-gook? I know the 1970s were a special time, but this is ridiculous. Makes The Golden Scarab seem modest by comparison. Happy In Galoshes--Scott Weiland: This was just released and I rooted it for it. But midway through I found myself thinking about lots of other things and mostly wondering when this was going to be over. I wouldn't even call it "tolerable."
4) Cyberpunk--Billy Idol: A concept album from a guy who never had a clue? Sure, he had a look and a need to go solo from his derivative Generation X band. And he wanted to be relevant. We all want to be relevant, I suppose. But this falls clearly in the "ungood" category.Schizophonic--Geri Halliwell: Someone has to represent all the bad spin-offs from bad bands and since Geri was the first Spice Girl to go solo, she gets to be the one awarded to this list. Not that her fellow contemporaries should be allowed a free pass. But they're just lucky that there are limits.
2) Oh Yes I Can--David Crosby: Oh no you don't.The Dream Of The Blue Turttles--Sting: He breaks up the Police for this? Snotty art jazz-pop? I knew kids who listened to this with the utmost sincerity, who wanted to believe that understanding this album would lead to greater spiritual enlightenment and make them a better person. It didn't. It gave them the wrong idea about jazz. And that's the opposite of enlightenment. It's de-lightenment.
- Peter Cetera