There were many artists from bands who pursued solo careers in the 80s and had huge success. Others, tried and had moderate success.
My criteria for this list is that the bands these people came from had to be hugely successful or have become hugely successful, so guys like Rod Stewart are not on the list as Faces was not a hugely successful band. Neither is Alison Moyet (Yazoo).
Secondly they must have had at least two very successful 80s albums with hit songs in the charts.
Disagree with any of this? Anyone I’m missing? Simply comment below.
Belinda Carlisle (The Go Go's)
I don't know any Go Go's songs, but when Belinda started coming up with solo numbers the radio stations were making a big deal that she was from the Go Go's. She was clearly better off on her own.
Bryan Ferry (Roxy Music)
This guy sounded way too much like David Bowie for my liking, but I did love "Slave to Love".
David Lee Roth (Van Halen)
The thing I liked about Dave's music, was that he always seemed to so happy and having a great time.
(DD Smash & Th' Dudes)
Dave has never been that well known outside of New Zealand and Australia, but he is one of our New Zealand pop icons, so he makes my list.
Debbie Harry (Blondie)
I never really liked any of her solo stuff. At least she went back to Blondie later.
Diana Ross (The Supremes)
A very brief return to music in the 80s did her well, but then she was gone.
Don Henley (The Eagles)
What a great voice. Have come to appreciate his music more as the years have progressed.
Eric Clapton (Cream)
Can't say I've ever been a fan, nor do I know that much of his music, but he is just so popular.
George Michael (Wham!)
I always wished he'd stayed with Andrew Ridgely as Wham!, but that wasn't going to happen.
Glenn Frey (The Eagles)
"The Heat is on" was awesome! Beverly Hills Cop. What a great role to get.
Gloria Estefan (Miami Sound Machine)
Perhaps shouldn't be on the list as Miami Sound Machine remained her backing band for years. One could argue that it was really just a change of name.
Jimmy Barnes (Cold Chisel)
Powerful voice on this guy. A true rock performer. I'd still rather have Cold Chisel though.
Went from a great 70s disco band to have a great solo career. At least until the end of the 80s anyway.
Michael Jackson (The Jackson 5)
What magical days he had in the days of Thriller. He was undoubtedly the top guy on the radio back then. And he was still considered relatively normal!
Mike Rutherford (Genesis)
Not really sure if he belongs on this list as he hasn't really had a solo career, but he did start his own band "Mike & the Mechanics". It seems he handed lead vocals over to other guys though. Silent Running for sure!
Ozzy Osbourne (Black Sabbath)
Never been a fan. Doubt I ever will, but I can remember one old friend of mine being Ozzie mad in the 80s. When I asked him recently what he thought of Ozzie now that he was a doddery old man, I didn't get a reply.
Paul McCartney (The Beatles)
What a legacy this man has had even once the Beatles split up. Performing with Wings and also on his own.
Paul Simon (Simon & Garfunkel)
Never much liked his 70s stuff but I loved his Gracelands album and the hits that came off it. Especially his "Call me Al" video with Chevy Chase.
Peter Gabriel (Genesis)
Quirky songs, quirky videos. How can you not love this guy. Just a pity he couldn't make Genesis work.
Phil Collins (Genesis)
It took Phil to make something of Genesis. The interesting thing is, his solo career took off before Genesis's did.
Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin)
"Big Log" is the only song I can recall of his and I never liked it at the time. Love it now though.
Steve Winwood (Spencer Davis Group)
I know nothing of the Spencer Davis Group, apart from the fact it was a successful 70s band. I liked Winwood in the 80s though.
Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac)
Can't really see the appeal of that raspy voice of hers, but she did well on her own. At least briefly.
Sting (The Police)
I just wish he'd stayed with the Police. Some of his solo songs I like, but not that much.
Tim Finn (Split Enz/Crowded House)
Another Kiwi icon who makes my list. He may not have been an international star, but he has been rocking for many years now and had a lot of hits down under. His solo career has been more successful than his brother Neil's (Crowded House), although he has released more solo albums.
Others that didn’t quite get there in the 80s as solo artists, but had a hit or two:
Benjamin Orr (The Cars)
Freddie Mercury (Queen)
George Harrison (The Beatles)
James Reyne (Australian Crawl)
Jerry Harrelson (Talking Heads)
John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
Lou Gramm (Foreigner)
Neil Finn (Split Enz/Crowded House)
Peter Cetera (Chicago)
Pete Townsend (The Who)
Ric Ocasek (The Cars)
Steve Perry (Journey)