Better Luck Next Time: 10 Weird Musical Past Lives Of Famous Rock Stars

by (@JordanRuntagh)

2. Billy Joel was in a pre-metal drum and organ duo called Attila (1969)

Before you go any further, just check out this friggin’ album cover. That’s a pre-Piano Man Billy Joel, flaunting some SERIOUS hair, poising in a meat locker while dressed as (we assume) a Hun. So there’s that.


[Photo: Epic Records]

Joel’s first band was the Hassles, a mid sixties Beatles knock-off based out of his native Long Island. It was here that he honed his organ playing, as well as his McCartney-like vocals, to pop perfection.

When the band folded, he broke off with drummer Jon Small to form this power duo. The self-titled album has been ranked among the worst records ever made, and even Billy himself has dismissed it as “psychedelic bulls–t.” He had much more to say during an interview in 1985: “We were heavy metal, we were going to destroy the world with amplification. We had titles like ‘Godzilla’, ‘March of the Huns’, ‘Brain Invasion’. We had about a dozen gigs and nobody could stay in the room when we were playing. It was too loud. We drove people literally out of clubs.”

It all came to an end in 1970, when Joel ran off with Small’s wife Elizabeth Weber, who eventually became his wife, business manager, and the inspiration behind less-noisy tunes like “Just The Way You Are” and “She’s Always A Woman To Me”.


1. Ricky Gervais was an ’80s new-wave pop star in Seona Dancing (1982)

Yup, THAT Ricky Gervais. The future Office creator and star had a different sort of brush with fame in 1982 as the lead singer for Seona Dancing, a duo he formed with his college friend Bill Macrae. They had two singles, “More to Lose” and “Bitter Heart”, but neither song made the UK Top 40 and the band split in 1984.


[Photo: London Records]

OK, Ricky’s not a “rock star”, but this one was too good not to include. We have to say, he did a pretty mean David Bowie impression. Which must have been quite a talking point when this happened…

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