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Rock’s 30 Most Shocking Transformations

Some bands evolve, some musicians don’t and other artists make such an abrupt pivot with their music that even the most dedicated of fans are left scratching their heads. Today we’re focused on those head-scratching moments by looking at rock’s most shocking transformations with a before-and-after gallery..

When exploring the most radical reinventions in punk, indie, new wave and alternative rock, it’s easy to start categorizing the reasons for their transformations with the benefit of hindsight. In some cases, the stylistic shifts that led a band to gain a wider sphere of influence happened in a moment of genius artistry; in others, changes that became infamous came about because of a moronically misguided musician. Then there were the drastic modifications that brought about chart success and were perceived as cynical plays for stardom.

Regardless of the result, and its perception by music fans years down the line, it takes a fearless act to make a sharp left turn with its music – much less a 180-degree swing from punk to disco or metal to pop. The safe option is always to just keep doing what you’ve been doing. Successful or not, respected or reviled, none of the musicians in this gallery did what was expected based on their previous history. From U2 to Radiohead, Amy Winehouse to Lou Reed, the Beastie Boys to Depeche Mode and beyond, everyone here was willing to crumple it up and start all over again. Click above to begin.

Next: 50 'Last True' Rock Stars

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