10 Artists Who Switched Genres
Prior to the Academy of Country Music Awards show in 2007, Hootie and the Blowfish front man Darius Rucker shared a little secret about himself.
He really dug Hee Haw.
And just as he professed his love for the banjo-heavy variety show, Rucker announced his transition from earworm college pop to modern country. Of course, he's not the first artist to cross genre borders. (Snoop Lion, people!) For some, the genre move was just a passing fancy (Pat Boone's foray into metal). For others, the switch was instigated by a lineup change (the Moody Blues leaving rhythm & blues). Meanwhile, a few are still exploring their genre journey. (Jewel: folk/pop/country . . . ?)
With Rucker set to release his third country album, True Believers, this week, we explore our Top 10 Genre Jumpers.
Listen to the Bee Gees of the Sixties, and you'll notice a glaring omission: Barry Gibb's falsetto. The English brother band started out as a harmonizing Beatlesque act that delved into psychedelic and folk rock. While they had success with that early on, the Brothers Gibb lost steam in the early Seventies. So in 1974, Barry Gibb adopted his trademark high vocals, the brothers ditched their turtlenecks for bell bottoms, and – with John Travolta's help – became disco deities.
A hard rocker who once opened for Ozzy Osbourne and Krokus, Bolton's early-Eighties audiences were known to pump their fists in the air and shout, "BOLTON RULES!" But his rockin' out days – both as a solo act and as a member of the band Blackjack – left him broke and dogged by eviction notices. So in 1982, he began writing pop ballads, first for other artists. Then he started writing the ballads for himself – while also offering adult contemporary covers of R&B classics – and soon his mullet was mesmerizing women everywhere.
Even as the harmonizing Byrds helped pioneer folk rock and psychedelic rock, they offered a hint to their future when they covered the country hit "Satisfied Mind" in 1966. Once Gene Clark and David Crosby left the band, the band flocked toward the genre. Raised on bluegrass, bass player Chris Hillman took on a greater role in the group, finding a country ally in new member Gram Parsons. Their work on Sweetheart of the Rodeo in 1968 helped pioneer country rock.