"Next Big Things" that weren't so big

I happened to stumble upon a video of Terence Trent D’Arby today. “No doubt some of you younger dopers are scratching your heads, saying Terence who who?” But in 1988, he burst upon the national music scene in a blaze of glory. “The new Prince!” "The future of rock & roll!’ “Guaranteed to be the next big thing in music!” were some of the things the gushing music press were exclaiming.

To be fair, Mr. Darby did have a number one record, and his first album sold well, but after that…by 1989, he wasn’t even in the “where are they now?” category, more like “who was he?”
Around about the same time, a group called Hothouse Flowers came out. Every time they came on the radio, the announcer promised that “these guys are gonna be BIG!” Why did every music critic think these guys had a future? Because they were from Ireland - just like U2!!! Hothouse Flowers lasted less time and had even less impact than Darby did.
Anyway, that got me to thinking about who else was announced to be “the Next Big Thing” and just fizzled out? This seems to happen most often in pop music, but doesn’t have to be limited to it. Take comedian / film “star” Yahoo Serious for example. But what other examples do you remember of Next Big Things that didn’t take?


In Leiber and Stoller’s joint autobiography Hound Dog, they describe their unshakeable belief that Stealers “Stuck in the Middle with You” Wheel were the second coming of the Beatles, and almost bankrupted themselves producing their record, which proved to be their last major album.

Good example. Other bands that have been touted as the “next Beatles” have included the Knack, Coldplay, Radiohead, the Bay City Rollers, Rockpile, and Duran Duran. See here for an excellent 2004 article on “Next Beatles” bands.

And Oasis, too. Some of those bands are big, even great, but none were stunningly huge.

Christopher Reeve was hailed as being the next huge Hollywood actor. He was so good in Superman, he seemed like a total A-lister actor…and one who could actually act.

He never fully got past Superman, though.

Remember “the next Dylan” Donovan? If you do…you are OLD!

There have been as many “next Dylans” as there have been “next Beatles”

Every single American Idol winner since Kelly Clarkson. Now you are better off losing or being the funniest screwup in the audition process then winning.

The Segway. Marketing claimed that it would be bigger than the internet.

We all know how that went.

Carrie Underwood has done well.

Saturn was supposed to be the car company to change the industry. Oh well—

I knew who Donovan was, and I’m in my twenties. Obviously ‘the next Dylan’ is an overstatement, but I don’t think he’s particularly obscure. Certainly not as much as the musicians in the OP.

I see it has been said, but seriously, Carrie Underwood is one of the biggest winners.

This one almost bought a tear to my eye. We’ve got an early model ('93? '95? One of the good years). We’ve also got an '03. Guess which one runs better now?

Off a cliff, if I remember correctly.

Very nice, Ike Witt!

I think there is a strong correlation between being called the next big thing and failing to achieve any significant status. Next big things “win” do to their being up and coming at the right time and of their own merits, not for publicizing the fact. Facebook was seen as niche behind MySpace and Friendster. Nobody saw Groupon as anything remarkable until they turned down Google’s offer. My corollary is that any company or technology featured on NOVA, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics never makes it.

He wasn’t the next Dylan, he was hailed as the Scottish Dylan as I recall. Also he was pretty successful.

Anyone remember Dexys Midnight Runners? They were going to be big, instead in the US they were one-hit runners though a mild success over in the UK & Ireland.
I remember Laser-Disk was going to be huge. DAT Tapes and even 8-Track.

Oh, every 10-20 years, Pro-Soccer is going to be huge in the US.

I’ve said this before but if you want to curse a promising new artist or group and guarantee their failure, dub them the “next Dylan” or the “next Beatles.”

I recall a big push to learn to love the metric system when I was a kid.

Ain’t that the truth—They have been pushing this since I was a kid, and as far as I know, professional soccer can’t even hold it’s own with the NHL, let alone baseball, basketball or football.

For whatever reasons, soccer seems like it will always be an afterthought in the USA, no matter how out-of-step that may make us with the rest of the sports-loving world…