In cases of musical divorce, there's often only one winner

Sometimes, `the other one' is the loneliest number

Pop Music

September 11, 2005|By Malcolm Mayhew | Malcolm Mayhew,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

Whenever a musical duo divorces, one party gets the mansion and the sports car and the money (i.e., a successful solo career), the other the motor scooter and one-room apartment (watching that solo career from afar).

Jim Messina knows. He's the "other guy" in Loggins & Messina, the massively popular '70s folk-rock duo that, after a 20-year-plus split, have reconciled for a tour. We all know Loggins - as in Kenny Loggins of Footloose fame - but did you even know Messina's first name, let alone what he did in the band?

We didn't think so.

In honor of their reunion, here's a look at some one-time dynamic musical duos and how they made out in the divorce.

Loggins & Messina

How they met: Singer/songwriter Kenny Loggins and record producer and former Buffalo Springfield/Poco band member Jim Messina hooked up in 1970 when Messina caught wind of Loggins' music and asked to produce it.

Relationship: At the request of label head Clive Davis, the two became a team, releasing a string of hit albums and singles, including their most recognizable song, "Your Mama Don't Dance."

Divorce: The duo ended amicably in 1976, with a greatest-hits package, Best of Friends, though they weren't. "We were never close buddies that hung out a lot because we're different kinds of people," Loggins recently told the Detroit Free Press.

Settlement: Judge was on Loggins' side: Had a wave of popular hits in the '80s, including "Footloose" and "I'm Alright." Messina didn't disappear, but his career did. Released solo records - we don't know anyone who has one of them.

Reconciliation? Perhaps to dig each other out of the bottom of the barrel - Loggins is not exactly a big deal lately - the two are touring again with another hits collection, The Best: Loggins & Messina Sittin' in Again.

DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince

How they met: Jeffrey Townes and Will Smith met at a party in Philadelphia; both were trying to make it in the music industry and decided to try together.

Relationship: Got along well. With harmless, humorous images, they became one of the first commercially successful rap acts. Hollywood noticed Smith's good looks and charisma and gave him a sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air; Townes, still buddies with Smith, made many cameos.

Divorce: The last DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince record was 1993's Code Red.

Settlement: Smith is a gazillionaire who makes big-budget movies and solo records that sell millions. Jeff, flying a little under the radar, has his own production company, where he's helped develop neo-soul artists Musiq and Grammy-winner Jill Scott.

Reconciliation? There might be some envy there, but the two still work together from time to time.

Eurythmics

How they met: Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox met when she was studying at the Royal Academy of Music in London and he had just left a band called Longdancer. They fell in love, then out, but stayed attached, so to speak.

Relationship: On again/off again from 1980 to 1990, while putting out a slew of singles, like "Here Comes the Rain Again," "Would I Lie to You?" and "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These)."

Divorce: Although walking papers were never officially served, the early '90s saw Lennox venturing into the music world without her musical soulmate.

Settlement: Lennox has had a successful solo career, while Stewart has produced records by Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan - she got the spotlight, he got the darkroom. Stewart's non-production career can be summed up by the name of his ill-fated debut: Greetings From the Gutter.

Reconciliation? They reunited in 1999 for the album Peace, then went their separate ways.

Wham!

How they met: In London, in the late '70s, George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley were members of a ska band called the Executive. When that broke up, the two started working on their own stuff.

Relationship: Short, not so sweet. After their 1984 single "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go" went nuts on the charts, Michael started laying the groundwork for a solo career.

Divorce: Michael released the single "Careless Whisper" as "George Michael of Wham!" in 1984. They disbanded two years later; a farewell show at Wembley Stadium in London drew more than 70,000 fans.

Settlement: Michael got the fame, prestige, solo career and arrest record (for lewd conduct in a restroom); that solo career has since dwindled. Ridgeley got his contract shredded. Now, he spends his time surfing.

Reconciliation? They've appeared with each other over the years, but never have had a full onstage reunion.

Hall & Oates

How they met: Daryl Hall and John Oates were in soul/pop bands in Philly, and they went to the same college, Temple University.

Relationship: Started in the '60s, it's still going strong - well, sort of. Their heyday was in the '80s, when they popped out one hit single after another: "Maneater," "Kiss on My List," "Out of Touch," "Private Eyes," "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)." In '84, the Recording Industry Association of America announced that Hall & Oates had surpassed the Everly Brothers as the most successful duo in rock history.

Divorce: They took a Ross-and-Rachel-like "break" in the mid-'80s to pursue solo careers.

Settlement: Hall's solo work was met with lukewarm reception, but at least he sold a few records. You probably didn't know that Oates put out a solo disc called Phunk Shuiin 2003.

Reconciliation? They still dabble in solo projects but have toured together nearly every single year since the late '90s - a nice, happy ending.

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