The 15 Most Exciting Supergroups Of All Time

  • Forget the worst ever supergroups, here are the best, starting with…The Postal Service. Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard and Jimmy 'Don't Shake Me' Tamborello of Dntel joined forces way back in 2003 for the hugely acclaimed electro-indie album 'Give Up', reissued this year ahead of a world tour. Still no sign of a follow up though, making it rocktronica's 'Chinese Democracy'.

    Photo: Press

    Added: 18 Mar 2013

  • Them Crooked Vultures. Get the three hardest rocking alt.rock he-men – Dave Grohl, Josh Homme and Led Zep's John Paul Jones – to challenge each other to a desert rock drag race and you'd get a chest-beating cracker like Them Crooked Vultures' self-titled 2009 debut.

    Photo: Dustin Rabin

    Added: 16 Nov 2009

  • The Traveling Wilburys. They were all a bit trad and gnarly by the time they got it together, but The Traveling Wilburys – Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison – played on their tongue-in-cheek antiquity to create a remarkably fresh few albums as the most legend-stuffed supergroup ever.

    Photo: Press

    Added: 18 Mar 2013

  • Cream. The first of several Eric Clapton supergroups – see also Derek & The Dominos and Blind Faith – his psych-blues incarnation with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce of The Graham Bond Organisation under the name Cream were also the first successful supergroup full stop.

    Photo: PA

    Added: 18 Mar 2013

  • Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds. Bringing together not just the frontman from The Birthday Party but members of Einsturzende Neubauten and Magazine in 1983, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds would go on to produce some of the most sublime and seditious music of the next three decades.

    Photo: Cat Stevens

    Added: 27 Nov 2012

  • Electronic. Manchester's finest minds of the 80s – Johnny Marr and Bernard Sumner, taking occasional contributions from The Pet Shop Boys and Karl Bartos of Kraftwerk – combined in the late 80s with the intention of anonymously releasing Italo-dance white labels as Electronic. The world, inevitably, listened.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 18 Mar 2013

  • Broken Social Scene. Refusing the tag of 'supergroup', BSS were a collective of Canadian musicians variously numbering between six and 19 members of acts including Stars, Metric, Feist and Do Make Say Think, who concocted psychedelic baroque pop headfucks throughout the 00s.

    Photo: Andy Willsher / NME

    Added: 10 Jul 2010

  • Monsters Of Folk. Consisting of M Ward, Jim James of My Morning Jacket and Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes, MOF were perhaps the quietest supergroup ever on their formation in 2004, and so laid-back it took them until 2009 to release a debut album. For those about to folk, we saluted them.


    Added: 03 Aug 2009

  • Broken Bells. In the image of The Postal Service, The Shins' James Mercer joined forces with producer Danger Mouse in 2008 to create "melodic but experimental" folktronica as Broken Bells, purveyors of lush and liquid laptop languor at its finest.


    Added: 11 Jan 2010

  • Atoms For Peace. Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich, yes. Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich and REM's session drummer, OK. But Thom Yorke, Nigel Godrich, REM's session drummer and Flea? From Red Hot Chili Peppers? The cock-out guy? How does that work? But it does.

    Photo: Pieter M Van Hattem

    Added: 15 Apr 2010

  • The Raconteurs. For Jack White's first foray into proper what-the-hell-is-that-big-guitar-with-four-strings-the-guy-over-there's-playing? band-dom, he teamed up with master hooksmith Brendan Benson and a couple of Ohio indie legends The Greenhornes to make freewheeling highway rock like 2006 classic 'Steady, As She Goes'. See also: The Dead Weather with Alison Mosshart of The Kills.

    Photo: Andy Willsher/NME

    Added: 18 Mar 2013

  • Plastic Ono Band. For his first solo album, the result of primal therapy sessions in LA to purge himself of his suppressed issues, Lennon roped in Ringo, Phil Spector, Billy Preston and Yoko on – we shit you not – "wind".

    Photo: PA

    Added: 18 Mar 2013

  • Crosby Stills, Nash & Young. The blueprint for Monsters Of Folk, CSN&Y formed from splits within The Byrds, The Hollies and Buffalo Springfield, their multi-part harmonies gelling harmoniously even while they were chewing each others' throats out backstage.

    Photo: PA

    Added: 28 May 2012

  • G.O.O.D. Music. Not so much a 'supergroup' as a label collaboration, last year's 'Cruel Summer' album featured everyone from Jay-Z to Judakiss, Raekwon, Common, R Kelly, Ma$e, Big Sean, Kid Cudi and Ghostface Killah.

    Photo: Tom Oxley

    Added: 16 Nov 2011

  • Gorillaz. Ostensibly a bunch of weird zombiefied illustrations playing music, closer investigation revealed the string-pullers of Gorillaz to be Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, conducting a shifting array of contributors including remaining members of The Clash, The Verve's Simon Tong and Senseless Things' Cass Brown. And every legend-level star guest imaginable.

    Photo: Andy Willsher

    Added: 05 May 2010