Some people have all the luck. Not that it doesn’t require a ton of hard work, dedication and practice to make a living playing music. But imagine being in one of the biggest rock bands of the early 90s, and then starting another band that dominates for a quarter century after that. Or imagine being the drummer for two of the most popular hard rock bands in the world at the same time.
There are dozens of musicians who have had the good fortune of playing in two or more successful bands. Paul Rodgers sang one of the biggest classic rock hits of all time in “All Right Now” with Free before moving on to Bad Company. Dave Navarro played guitar on a Red Hot Chili Peppers album and tour until John Frusciante returned (the first time). And so on and so on.
But what have been some of the most impressive feats of versatility and success in rock and roll history? For this list, we tried to narrow it down to those who weren’t mainly in supergroups or those who spent a small amount of time in another band they weren’t really known for.
If we were ranking the musicians on this list, Grohl would be number one. It's hard to beat the drummer of Nirvana turning into the frontman of the Foo Fighters. Nirvana was one of the most impactful bands of all-time while the Foo Fighters have spent 25 years just being amazing.
All he's done is play drums for two of the biggest bands of the last thirty years, sometimes at the same time. Cameron played on all of Soundgarden's releases and has been Pearl Jam's drummer since 1998. Bonus points for bridging the gap in Temple of the Dog.
He's been in the Rolling Stones for so long that it seems like he's an original member. But Wood transitioned to the Stones after playing with Rod Stewart in Faces and The Jeff Beck Group. Faces released four albums in the early 70s with Wood co-writing two of their most memorable songs: "Stay With Me" and "Ooh La La."
The versatile vocalist can sing anything from a power ballad by Stone Sour to a headbanging metal song by Slipknot. He's also the best cover band singer in the world when he's killing time in the small clubs of L.A.
The Michigan native routinely finds himself on best guitarist lists for his work with Creed and now Alter Bridge and his own Tremonti. He's played on a total of 14 studio albums with those three bands.
He helped start a music movement in Seattle with Soundgarden and then fronted Audioslave. On the surface, the latter band was Rage Against the Machine with a new singer. But the band had its own sound and own success while producing three albums. Their self-titled debut was one of the best rock albums of the oughts, while Soundgarden's Superunknown was required listening in the 90s. Add bonus points for his work with Temple of the Dog.
Best known by younger generations for his solo work that included 80s hits like "Higher Love" and "Valerie," Winwood got his start in rock much earlier. He began with The Spencer Davis Group ("Gimme Some Lovin") before moving on to Traffic. He also played in the short-lived supergroup Blind Faith with Eric Clapton.
It was hard to predict where Jack White would end up after moving on from the experimental duo The White Stripes. Anywhere there was music turned out to be the best answer, but he's made his biggest impact with The Raconteurs.
CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG
These legends make the list together. They ran in the same L.A. circles but started off in different bands. David Crosby with The Byrds, Stephen Stills and Neil Young with Buffalo Springfield. And Graham Nash with The Hollies.