Once a band or an artist has found a style that they're successful in, they generally stick pretty closely to that formula. They might dabble in different genres, but mostly their style will transcend these flitting aesthetic deviations. The following songs are some examples of pretty familiar artists doing some distinctly different sounding songs, so much so that at first listen you might be astonished to think that THAT band could sound like THIS?
The Turtles - Buzzsaw
The Laurel Canyon staples of the pop-rock scene (everyone knows their ubiquitous "Happy Together" hit) do their best Booker T. & the M.G.s on their finest album, "Battle of the Bands". Check out a post next door at Weed, Whites & Wine for another song from this same album.
Mick Fleetwood & the Superbrains Group - Superbrains
The patriarch of the Mac from 1981 and his first solo outing. He recorded the entire album in Ghana with a handful of anglo players and a rotating set of Ghanaian musicians and groups. The songs on the album range from bluesy-rock to straight-up afrobeat. This song was written and performed by the group Superbrains with just Mick and his bassist sitting in. I love the haunting echo-laden guitar part that runs through this tune.
Michael Nesmith & the First National Band
So I finally got this, Nesmith's second solo album with the First National Band, and when I flipped the record to the first song on side two, I was floored. That spooky kalimba-sounding intro is ripe for sampling and then he starts singing in nasally, white-bread country-inflected Spanish! A weird song, but definitely worth checking out. Nesmith keeps me guessing. Check out the lengthy post I did on WW&W if you like what you hear here.
Nina Simone - Baltimore
Nina does reggae? Yep, and damn well. And its a Randy Newman tune. What a weird combo, but it sounds as natural as peanut butter and jelly. The only tip off that it's 70s CTI jazz is the string arrangement. Arranger David Matthews of James Brown fame is responsible for the production.
Bill Wyman - Si Si (Je Suis Un Rockstar)
This has been my jam for awhile. Many thanks to Josh Nice for hooking me up with this one. Yes, this is THE Bill Wyman that played bass for the Stones FOREVER. A weird song, but trust me, upon repeat listen this will be a new fav!
Oh and for something unrelated, but equally strange, check this out over on Waxidermy and be sure to read all of the comments.