Heard a Fleetwood Mac song and got to thinking how the band began as a straight-up British blues band in the Peter Green days, then took a big left turn into a hugely successful AM radio-friendly pop band when Nicks and Buckingham came on board.
The biggest and most famous example of a band that had a huge transformation would probably be The Beatles, evolving from “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” light poppy love songs to songs that were much more complex musically and thematically. When I was a teenager, discovering music like The Beatles and the Stones for the first time, my mom amusingly said to me once “I used to really like The Beatles in the early days. Then they went away for awhile, and when they came back, it was with that weird Sergeant Pepper’s album, and all their music was strange and hard to understand after that”.
The Rolling Stones, on the other hand, have experimented with different musical genres like Country and of course the attempt at their version of Sgt. Pepper-style psychedelia, “Her Satanic Majesties’ Request”. But by and large, I’d say they’ve always been a blues- based rock band.
So what other bands, without changing their name and having already been at least relatively famous, also underwent dramatic transformations of their musical style?