Reinvention. It’s part of an artist’s nature. Start out sounding and looking one way, get bored, evolve into something different. But for a lot of artists, this evolution is pretty subtle from album to album.
In fact, for some bands (*ahem* AC/DC), there’s almost no change in style throughout their entire catalogue. But what about the artists who experienced a complete metamorphosis? Bands who overhauled their initial sound in favor of something a little more…defining? Whether based on a desire to experiment, to change with the times, or simply to make a bigger impact, this type of thing happened a lot more than you think. Was it a good thing for these artists? Well, that’s all a matter of opinion. It certainly propelled them into a different league and helped them sustain a career, placing them among the most popular bands of all time. From The Bee Gees to Genesis, David Bowie to T. Rex, they all started with one specific sound and morphed into something different. Here’s a list of 10 Classic Artists Who Transformed Their Sound. And we’re (for the most part) happy they did.
10. Bee Gees
“Turn of the Century” (1967)
The group started off as a psychedelic rock/folk band in the late 60s before moving into their signature disco, R&B and pop-influenced sound starting with 1975’s Main Course.
“Jive Talkin'” (1975)
9. David Bowie
“Silly Blue Boy” (1967)
Perhaps more than any other artist on the list, Bowie evolved the most over time. His debut album contained a mix of folk and pop music, but starting with 1969’s David Bowie he began to introduce elements of prog rock and psychedelia, and later glam rock, funk, dance and many other styles.
“Suffragette City” (1972)
8. Deep Purple
“One More Rainy Day” (1968)
Though they displayed some elements of hard rock on early albums, the band actually formed as a progressive/psychedelic rock group. They officially changed direction into hard rock/heavy metal territory starting with the release of 1970’s Deep Purple in Rock.
7. Fleetwood Mac
“Need Your Love So Bad” (1968)
Partly due to the numerous lineup changes within the band, the British-American group has changed up its sound a few times – most notably from their early blues albums to their 70s and 80s pop-rock.
“Don’t Stop” (1977)
“Watcher Of The Skies” (1972)
The British band began as a progressive/art rock group but eventually moved into a more pop-rock sound starting with 1978’s …And Then There Were Three…
“Follow You Follow Me” (1978)
“Kakteen, Wüste, Sonne” (1971)
The German band went from post-hippie Krautrock on their first few albums to electronic music on later albums like 1977’s Trans-Europe Express.
“Trans Europa Express” (1977)
4. Status Quo
“Pictures Of Matchstick Men” (1968)
The English band shifted from psychedelic rock on their first 2 albums to their signature boogie/hard rock, starting with 1970’s Ma Kelly’s Greasy Spoon.
“Down Down” (1974)
3. The Moody Blues
“Let Me Go” (1964)
After releasing one album (their debut) as an R&B band, the English group quickly moved on to their signature progressive/psychedelic rock sound with 1967’s Days of Future Passed.
“Tuesday Afternoon” (1967)
2. T. Rex
“Chariots Of Silk” (1969)
Originally known as Tyrannosaurus Rex, the band moved from folk and psychedelic rock on its first four albums to more glam and hard rock on later releases, starting with 1971’s Electric Warrior.
“Bang A Gong (Get It On)” (1971)
“(Come Away) Melinda” (1970)
The English band started out as a space rock group on their debut album, UFO 1, but eventually embraced more of their hard rock/heavy metal leanings on later albums like 1977’s Lights Out.
“Lights Out” (1977)
[Photo Credits: Getty Images]