The 15 most exciting supergroups of all time

From Them Crooked Vultures to Gorillaz, these are the best music hook-ups ever

So, it turns out that Freddie Mercury, Elton John and Rod Stewart were nearly – but not quite – in a super-group together during their heydays. They joked about calling themselves Nose, Teeth & Hair. Ho ho ho. Well, anyway, we love a super-group, and here are 15 of the best. Super!

READ MORE: Mark, My Words: let’s keep the term ‘supergroup’ for special occasions

1
The Post Pop Depression lads

Iggy Pop, Matt Helders and Josh Homme: Technically not a supergroup, but in a particularly exciting turn of events, Iggy Pop, Josh Homme and The Arctic Monkeys’ Matt Helders have joined forces on Iggy Pop’s album ‘Post Pop Depression’ and the sound is as exciting as you’d expect. Watch them preview first track ‘Gardenia’.

2
The Postal Service

The Postal Service.

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’.

3
Them Crooked Vultures

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.

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4
The Traveling Wilburys

The Traveling Wilburys.

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.

5
Cream

Cream.

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.

6
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds

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.

7
Electronic

Electronic.

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.

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8
Broken Social Scene

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.

9
Monsters Of Folk

Monsters Of Folk.

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.

10
Broken Bells

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.

11
Atoms For Peace

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.

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12
The Raconteurs

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.

13
Plastic Ono Band

Plastic Ono Band.

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”.

14
Crosby Stills, Nash & Young

Crosby Stills, Nash & Young.

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.

15
G.O.O.D. Music

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.

16
Gorillaz

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.

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