10 Artists Who Changed Their Sound Completely... Part Two
The Kooks return next week with a brand new record titled Listen, an album that it’s fair to say is going to divide opinion. Back in 2006, the band arrived clad in battered winklepickers and drainpipe jeans with a clutch of jangly pop hits, their debut album Inside In/Inside Out, which featured hits like ‘Naïve’ and ‘She Moves In Her Own Way’, was a massive success, selling over two million copies.
After touring that album into the ground, the band followed it with the altogether more sedate Konk in 2008 and the delicate Junk Of The Heart in 2011, both of which didn’t come close to matching the success of their predecessor.
So this time around with Listen, the band are shaking things up a bit. They’ve called in somewhat underground hip-hop producer Inflo and replaced the jangly guitar lines with jagged guitar stabs and bombastic beats, with groove right at the heart this time.
All this overhaul got us thinking about change, and which other artists had gone through radical changes in sound, ditching what they'd done before for something completely new. So here is the second part of our top 10 artists who changed their sound completely...
5. Pink Floyd
The first seven Pink Floyd records, the first two of which were with eccentric frontman Syd Barrett, all contained madcap experimentalism and a serious taste for the grand and portentous. All their records drew critical acclaim and were cult favourites, but nothing could prepare people for what came next in 1973…
…which was a stomping success that spent the band into the stratosphere and stadiums. 1973’s The Dark Side Of The Moon was a runaway hit with a series of big songs, like ‘Money’ and ‘The Great Gig In The Sky’. At the last count it had sold just over 50 million records…
Did It Work?
It’s fair to say it did…
4. Goo Goo Dolls
For five albums, the Goo Goo Dolls were a scrappy, unremarkable punk-pop band, who had clearly spent their formative years adoring Husker Du and The Replacements. None of their albums troubled the charts, until…
…1998’s Dizzy Up The Girl, which saw the band forsaking their fuzzy punked up tunes, in their place came ballads and big pop melodies, and three million album sales in the US alone. This is also the album that featured megahit ‘Iris’, a track that sat on top of the Billboard Chart for 18 weeks straight.
Did It Work?
Many of the group’s early fans turned their back at this point, but the trio picked up millions of news ones…
3. David Bowie
Take your pick. The Thin White Duke has gone through so many changes and transformations, the one we’ve gone for took place in 1976, when Bowie moved from the jaunty, upbeat whimsy of Young Americans into…
…the downcast, experimental and brooding album that is Station To Station. Young Americans had been full of soul and funk, whereas Station To Station looked to cold synthesisers and minimalistic arrangements.
Did It Work?
Bowie has done this so often, it feels hard to judge any transformation as a success or failure, it’s all part of a much bigger picture.
2. Fleetwood Mac
There have been many iterations of Fleetwood Mac over the years, with drummer Mick Fleetwood the only member to have been there since the beginning. Guitarists came and went in the early years of the band, as did folk, blues and jazz, but the group’s biggest change came in 1974 with…
The arrival of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks changed the band’s dynamic completely, with the bluesy guitars and meandering folk gone in place of pop and melody. The following year’s self-titled album sold over five million copies and contained big hits like ‘Landslide’ and ‘Say You Love Me’. Two years later, Rumours came out, an album that has so far shifted over 45 million copies…
Did It Work?
It turned a respected band into an iconic one, and all its members into multi-millionaires.
1. Katy Perry
Back in 2001, Katy Perry was only 16 and simply known as Katy Hudson (which is actually her real name). Brought up in a devout Christian household, her initial attempt at becoming a singer saw her record an album of Christian rock, with song titles like ‘Faith Won’t Fail’ and ‘Trust In Me’. It sounds oddly like one-long Evanescence B-Side and it was a spectacular failure, selling just 200 copies and bankrupting record label Red Hill Records in the process.
Seven years later, Hudson, now known as Katy Perry, returned. Her faith-based lyrics had firmly been shoved in a draw, with cheeky pop songs and catchy choruses in their place. One Of The Boys, her first album under her new moniker, which featured ‘I Kissed A Girl’, ‘Hot N’ Cold’ and ‘Waking Up In Vegas’, shifted over five million copies
Did It Work?
And how. Although bizarrely her debut album has become something of a collector’s item, with copies very, very hard to find these days. They change hands on Ebay for a lot of money…