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Musical artists who evolve?

Pareto Pragmatic

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Yesterday I listened to 4 albums while working around the house. Miles Davis-Kind of Blue (1959), and Bitches Brew (1970). Brubeck-Time Out (1959), and some live 1972 performance in Berlin.

The Brubeck albums were very similar, and could have been from just a few years apart. Miles? WAY different. And that got me thinking about artists who evolve and change over time. A classic example would be the Beatles, who definitely changed and changed some more, very quickly.

I am not talking about artists who release genre albums (Christmas, "sings the blues", etc). Rather, I am talking about core development of different sound over time.

I have some time in January to explore, so I was wondering if people here have some suggestions for artists, where if I play some things sequentially by release date, I can hear the changes over time. Artists appreciated, specific 2-4 album suggestions even more so. Any genre is fine. Even things I might not listen to much at all will be fun to explore.

Thanks in advance!
 

RayDunzl

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Zappa:
1988 Freak Out
1969 Hot Rats
1972 The Grand Wazoo
1974 Apostrophe
1979 Joe's Garage
1986 Jazz from Hell
1988 Broadway the Hard Way
1993 The Yellow Shark

Discography (skipped a lot that could be recommended)


Another favorite is Carla Bley,. Differences are mainly the size or type of band she builds.

1977 Dinner Music
1981 Social Studies
1985 Night Glow
1988 Duets
1993 Big Band Theory
1994 Songs With Legs
1998 Fancy Chanber Music
2007 The Lost Chords find Paulo Fresu

Discography (skipped a lot that could be recommended)
 
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Robin L

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Mark Knopfler. Starting out as a rocker focusing on guitar work, he became a music producer then developed his skills as a singer/songwriter, with increasingly sophisticated productions as time went on. "Sultans of Swing" is a fine song, don't get me wrong, but something like "5:15 am" goes much further as both storytelling and as music. Also, it's clear that his vocal technique has improved over time.
 

GD Fan

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@Robin L beat me to the punch on that one. I'd suggest that even within the Straits, Communique is very different from On Every Street. And the solo stuff that much more indeed.

Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and U2 are pretty clear examples.

Jimi Hendrix: Are You Experienced vs. Band of Gypsies.

Anders Osborne: Which Way to Here and Coming Down vs. American Patchwork and Black Eye Galaxy.

Most bands are a little more subtle - decided evolutions within the primary theme. E.g. Kill 'em All vs. Justice for All. That's probably an evolution of maturity.

Love this topic, hope to see some more ideas!
 

eddantes

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Radiohead? Although I stopped listening at OK Computer...

Pablo Honey (1993)
The Bends (1995)
OK Computer (1997)
Kid A (2000)
Amnesiac (2001)
Hail to the Thief (2003)
In Rainbows (2007)
The King of Limbs (2011)
A Moon Shaped Pool (2016)
 

Chrispy

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Lots of artists evolve, some sell more records, some can do both.
 

eddantes

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Sting? Especially if you include The Police...

The Dream of the Blue Turtles (1985)
...Nothing Like the Sun (1987)
The Soul Cages (1991)
Ten Summoner's Tales (1993)
Mercury Falling (1996)
Brand New Day (1999)
Sacred Love (2003)
Songs from the Labyrinth (2006)
If on a Winter's Night... (2009)
Symphonicities (2010)
The Last Ship (2013)
57th & 9th (2016)
44/876 (2018) (with Shaggy)
My Songs (2019)
The Bridge (2021)[119][120]
 

eddantes

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Goldfrapp... Although Silver Eye was a step backwards

Felt Mountain (2000)
Black Cherry (2003)
Supernature (2005)
Seventh Tree (2008)
Head First (2010)
Tales of Us (2013)
Silver Eye (2017)
 

tmtomh

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No discussion of this topic is complete without prominent mention of Talk Talk, who went from New Romantic synthpop to pretty much singlehandedly inventing post-rock in less than 10 years. Their leader and chief songwriter the late Mark Hollis spoke about how the notes not played were more important than the notes played, and after their fifth album they carried this idea to its logical conclusion and just... stopped.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk_Talk

I'm hard-pressed to think of another band that transformed itself so radically.

The Party's Over (1982)
It's My Life (1984)
The Colour of Spring (1986)
Spirit of Eden (1988)
Laughing Stock (1991)
 

pavuol

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For a spirit of this thread I can imagine a better example like "frontman/frontwoman going solo" evolution, but here is some "team member" vs. solo work example:

JJ72 - October Swimmer (Hillary Woods played bass guitar there)

Hilary Woods - Mud and Stones [Feral Hymns EP - 2021]

On the contrary, some artists I tend to "partially" hate in this manner, resting on their laurels and being firmly cemented in their comfort zone for ages, dont't want to be specific here but warm greetings to millions of diehard fans of Lana Del Rey :)
 

boswell

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Zappa:
1988 Freak Out
1969 Hot Rats
1972 The Grand Wazoo
1974 Apostrophe
1979 Joe's Garage
1986 Jazz from Hell
1988 Broadway the Hard Way
1993 The Yellow Shark

Discography (skipped a lot that could be recommended)


Another favorite is Carla Bley,. Differences are mainly the size or type of band she builds.

1977 Dinner Music
1981 Social Studies
1985 Night Glow
1988 Duets
1993 Big Band Theory
1994 Songs With Legs
1998 Fancy Chanber Music
2007 The Lost Chords find Paulo Fresu

Discography (skipped a lot that could be recommended)
Ray, I have noticed you have referenced Zappa at times, I am also a fan of his and have the vinyl of Freak Out and more, my first was Mothermania, a compilation, wasn't easy to get in Australia in late 60s and 70s. My daughter (31 yo) has known every word to the songs of "Cruising with Ruben and the Jets" since she was 5, I love that album.
Zappa was music evolution.
 

TonyJZX

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the one of the top of my head is... Madonna

check out the radio friendly stuff at the start

erotica

and then Ray of Light

and now irrelevance
 

eddantes

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Jeez! David Bowie should've been top of the list! Just think about this body of work:

David Bowie (1967)
David Bowie[f] (1969)
The Man Who Sold the World (1970)
Hunky Dory (1971)
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
Aladdin Sane (1973)
Pin Ups (1973)
Diamond Dogs (1974)
Young Americans (1975)
Station to Station (1976)
Low (1977)
"Heroes" (1977)
Lodger (1979)
Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (1980)
Let's Dance (1983)
Tonight (1984)
Never Let Me Down (1987)
Black Tie White Noise (1993)
The Buddha of Suburbia (1993)
Outside (1995)
Earthling (1997)
Hours (1999)
Heathen (2002)
Reality (2003)
The Next Day (2013)
Blackstar (2016)
 

Robin L

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Rosanne Cash started with country/pop, well ahead of the game right from her beginnings. Then she moved on to a singer/songwriter phase, peaking with the song cycle of Black Cadillac. She moved back into country with The List. One of my favorites.
 
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Pareto Pragmatic

Pareto Pragmatic

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WOW! I am going to have a busy January.

Zappa and Bley were not on my list. Zappa should have been, but Bley I have not really heard much (if at all, the name is unfamiliar, put "Sextet" on just now). Lots of suggestions so far make sense to me, but I have tended to take these artists one album at a time and not thought about their progression. Other than Zep, since I do sometimes go 1-4 in sequence.

Let me mention the Replacements. From punk to pop, with some interesting stops along the way. I tend to go with Let it Be or Pleased to Meet Me. But given it is finals week, I think one track from The Replacements Stink is calling to me. That track would be "F*** School." I do sometimes wish they were less self destructive.
 
D

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A lot honestly.
Recently I've watched Robbie Williams documentary and listened to his albums afterwards. Many different genres. Lately he has ventured into EDM/ house!
 
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