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The 25 Boldest Career Moves in Rock History

From Bob Dylan becoming born again to Panic! at the Disco dropping the exclamation mark, the decisions that have changed the music world

From the very beginning of rock & roll musicians have made shocking career moves – from marrying their cousins to shaving their heads in front of hundreds of flashing cameras. Here’s a look at the 25 boldest ones of all time.

3

Garth Brooks Transforms Into Chris Gaines

Garth Brooks sold more albums than any other artist from the Nineties, but he was bored by the end of the decade and decided to do something radical: he created a musical alter-ego named Chris Gaines. This new persona sang pop music and had a whole fabricated backstory that Brooks planned on turning into a movie called The Lamb. Unfortunately, fans hated everything about Gaines and the whole thing dealt an incredible blow to Brooks' career.

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2

Neil Young Goes New Wave

Neil Young spent the first 15 years of his career building a loyal audience of rock fans. Then he devoted most of the Eighties to alienating them with a series of eclectic, genre-based albums. It started with the release of his 1982 LP Trans. For people raised on "Heart of Gold" and "Old Man," it was quite jarring to see Young in a skinny tie singing "Computer Age" into a vocoder made his lyrics unintelligible. It sounded like Kraftwerk, not Crazy Horse. The disc has developed a following over the years, but at the time most people just found it baffling. Label chief David Geffen was so upset he sued Young for creating "unrepresentative work."

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1

Bob Dylan Gets Born Again

On 1965's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" Bob Dylan sang "Don't follow leaders, watch your parking meters" – but in 1979 Dylan started singing a different tune when he became a born-again Christian.  He hit the road performing nothing but new gospel songs from his LP Slow Train Coming, often to incredibly hostile crowds. Here's some sample stage dialogue: "I told you 'The Times They Are A-Changing' and they did! I said the answer was 'Blowin’ In The Wind' and it was! And I'm saying to you now, Jesus is coming back, and he is! There is no other way to salvation."

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