Supergroup

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In the late 1960s, the term supergroup was coined to describe ‘a rock music group whose performers are already famous from having performed individually or in other groups.’ In some cases, an act will later be referred to as a supergroup when multiple members from said group end up securing individual fame later on.

Supergroups are often short-lived, lasting only for an album or two, although this is not always the case. They are sometimes formed as side projects that are not intended to be permanent, while other times can become the primary project of the band members’ careers.

There are also instances in which an existing band added a prominent new member or members, where the resulting group might have been considered a supergroup had it not kept its original band name, such as Van Halen after recruiting Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone, and the Eagles after hiring Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit, and Styx, hiring Lawrence Gowan, and Ricky Phillips.

The term took its name from the 1968 album ‘Super Session’ with Al Kooper, Mike Bloomfield, and Stephen Stills. The coalition of Crosby, Stills & Nash (later Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) is another early example, given the success of their prior bands (The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and The Hollies respectively). In 1969, Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner credited Cream with being the first supergroup.

Music writers have also applied the term, incorrectly, to bands or vocal groups that sold huge numbers of albums, headlined massive concerts or have a high celebrity or media status, regardless of the previous (or even subsequently acquired) fame of their individual members, such as the band Led Zeppelin, wherein only Jimmy Page was well known at the time the group formed.

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