Some first gained fame as members of a band. A few started and stayed on their own. All share an extraordinary degree of success in a genre that is dominated by groups. Based on longevity, album sales, radio airplay, and their musical influence, here is the About.com list of the Top 25 Classic Rock Solo Artists.
1. Paul McCartney
Essential Album: All The Best
In the Guinness Book of World Records as the most successful composer of the 20th Century, the success of his solo career has rivaled that he enjoyed as a member of The Beatles.
2. Elton John
Essential Album: Greatest Hits 1970-2002
Like the Energizer® bunny (which actually brings to mind some of his early career costumes) he just keeps going and going after 35+ years, 43 albums, and over 200-million albums sold.
3. John Lennon
Essential Album: Working Class Hero - The Definitive Lennon
His influence on rock music ranged from founding The Beatles to writing some of the most popular songs of the era, to introducing social and political messages into rock lyrics.
4. Bruce Springsteen
Essential Album: Born In The USA
Since his breakthrough album in 1974, "The Boss" has established himself as the voice of the working class. His album Born In the USA is among the top 20 best selling albums of all time.
5. Eric Clapton
Essential Album: Eric Clapton
His command of the guitar is legendary, and his role in groundbreaking groups like Cream, The Yardbirds, and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers has made him the only person to earn three inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
6. George Harrison
Essential Album: All Things Must Pass
As a member of The Beatles, a solo artist, and a film producer, he quietly left an indelible mark on the rock music scene. He is 21st on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time.
7. Rod Stewart
Essential Album: The Very Best Of Rod Stewart
He fronted Faces and Jeff Beck Group before breaking out as a solo artist. He has parlayed a unique voice and style into album sales topping 100-million in a career that has spanned more than four decades.
8. Bob Dylan
Essential Album: Blonde On Blonde
A successful performer in his own right, he is regarded as one of the most influential songwriters of the rock generation, penning dozens of songs that have been substantial hits for those who have recorded them.
9. Jimi Hendrix
Essential Album: Electric Ladyland
Considered by many to be rock's best electric guitarist, the reach of his influence was exponentially greater than the length of his short career, which ended with his death at the age of 27.
10. Janis Joplin
Essential Album: Pearl
Her powerful, raspy voice was different from any other female rock artist’s. Her explosive style, on stage and off, created a unique persona, but also resulted in her death from a drug overdose at age 27.