Why did a band like ELO become so popular and with such velocity when rock ‘n roll had already been around for so many years?
Because they weren’t playing rock ‘n roll as we knew it…they started something new. The Electric Light Orchestra added strings and a true “orchestra” experience for their performances. They had a new story and very unique design by way of both sound and stage presence. This experience had never been heard or seen before. They were the only ones doing it…and were quite good at it based on record sales. That’s what made them so hugely popular, so quickly.
Eventually, the “newness” and resulting success faded as other interesting acts came along, i.e., Queen, David Bowie, etc. They could no longer attract new fans with the same experience…it wasn’t remarkable anymore. And, there were too many other choices.
Occasionally, we need to change in order to keep ourselves interesting and attractive. It’s not good enough to rely on past successes, no matter how good they were. Being remarkable means coming up with something new as often as it is necessary. And, these days, with such short customer attention spans, that’s a much more frequent occurrence.
I’m sure you can think of other remarkable artists who had a great run. Some changed along the way to keep attracting new fans. Others had a short, but very successful go of it. Here’s a short list that comes to mind:
Jerry Garcia (the one who inspired us to be The One and Only)
Harry Connick, Jr.
The Rolling Stones