Have you ever thought that schools teach us various other skills besides the obvious ones? In short, it’s not all about complex projects, lengthy papers, and piles of assignments. Instead, many students use this period to make new friends, let their abilities surface, and pave their career paths.

Colleges and universities provide the perfect opportunity for youngsters to find common ground, form music groups, and test their musical capacity. But only the right combo of talent, ambition, and perseverance can attain global popularity and success. Not every garage-performing bunch of boys and girls have realized their potential to the fullest.

What does it take to conquer the world and achieve sky-high fame? Does everything come down to vocal skills and pretty looks? We considered the original stories of the most famous musicians of our age and compiled this list of ten groups that met in college.

  1. Public Enemy

Adelphi University on Long Island was the meeting place of hip-hoppers Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Hank, and Keith Shocklee. At first, they were active on the student radio station. Public Enemy was founded after their tapes caught the attention of Def Jam Records founder Rick Rubin. Some musicians became rappers, while others were producers and onstage personnel.

They combined styles like RUN DMC with pressing issues of black youngsters. This approach brought them success.Soon, their trajectory skyrocketed, and in 2013, it hit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “No career can take off if you lack the stamina and passion to go to extremes,” reckons Tom Walters, a music expert and a writer for PapersOwl. Ha also adds: “The perfect combination of the abovementioned traits will definitely give positive results, just like it happened with this particular affiliation.”

  1. The Strokes

While the five young musicians met at various boarding schools, the influential music entity emerged at New York University or NYU. Julian Casablancas, Fabrizio Moretti, and Nick Valensi had been into music since childhood. When Nikolai Fraiture and Albert Hammond, Jr. joined, the gang began performing in NYC bars.

Their first performance was in 1999. Very quickly, the release of Is This It was a major success in the United States. Though they were headliners at Coachella, fame soon took its toll. Some members suffered from substance abuse, so they took time off performing. The five original players are still together, and in 2020, they released The New Abnormal.

  1. Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd started at the Regent Street Polytechnic School. Roger Waters played the bass, Richard Wright the keyboards, and Nick Mason the drums. A bit later, Guitarist Syd Barrett joined the gang.

The name we know today came in 1965 when Barrett became a frontman. The group’s debut, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, was released in 1967 in England. The band became famous for its philosophical lyrics, sonic breakthroughs, and elaborate live shows. Demise came due to substance abuse, depression, and retirement.

  1. Queen

Queen formed in 1970 at the Imperial College in London when Brian May and R. Taylor ran across Freddie Mercury. When bassist John Deacon joined, the band was complete. After graduation, they released their debut album in 1973.


Their big hits Bohemian Rhapsody and We Are the Champions have become immortalized and symbolic on many occasions. Everything went downwards with the death of Freddie, one of the best vocals ever. Today, Adam Lambert is the lead singer of the gang.

  1. Commodores

After meeting at Tuskegee University, the six musicians quickly won the annual freshman talent show. William King, Lionel Richie, Thomas McClary, and The Jays made their name by playing local places. During their peak (the late 1970s – mid-1980s), the band became the biggest R&B name that toured the world. 

Unfortunately, they lost Richie, who decided to build a solo career. The rest of the gang carried on and had a performance at their alma mater in 2019.

  1. Pixies

Francis and Joey Santiago of the famous indie band studied at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. However, both musicians dropped out and dedicated their days to writing songs. In 1986, they established the band and took Kim Deal and David Lovering on board. For eleven years (1993-2004), they were inactive. The gang still performs today, though a few alternative rock artists left the original crew.

  1. Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend boys Koenig, Baio, Tomson, and Batmanglij are all Columbia grads. The foursome came on stage in 2006, right before graduation. They first performed at the SEAS event.

Their demos took off early, and the party released a self-titled debut tape in 2008. So, if you wonder how to start a band in college, there’s obviously no single recipe. You’d probably have to follow your intuition and love for music and be persistent in your attempts to succeed. Unfortunately, Batmanglij left the gang in 2016, but it continued to flourish thanks to the Grammy nomination.

  1. R.E.M.

R.E.M. met at the University of Georgia when Michael Stipe and Peter Buck found Mike Mills and Bill Berry. The 1980s were the perfect timing for a rock band because punk was already winding down, and new movements were trending.

Their albums evoked the South and had a timeless sound. The alternative rock band solidified as a chart-topper, inspiring a whole generation of artists. Three decades later, they disbanded amicably without cash-in reunion tours or messy media spats.

  1. Talking Heads

David Byrne, Chris Frantz, and Tina Weymouth went to the Rhode Island School of Design or RISD. They were still studying while taking part in four shows. Their style was prototypical punk, and their shows consisted of covers and two originals.


Later, the gang headed to New York City to build their careers when Jerry Harrison joined. Eventually, they left the scene in 1991.

  1. 10.MGMT

Multi-instrumentalists Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden studied at Wesleyan University when they founded MGMT in 2002. Since then, the group has released numerous hits. As for the style, the American indie rock band has picked up features of several pop and rock genres.

To Sum Up

Do you still think becoming successful while in the education process is impossible? Think again. College campuses have been the meeting place for some of the world’s best groups. They are a perfect place because students are usually full of passion, interesting ideas, unexpected talents, and they also have lots of free time to practice. It might just happen so that you can find your real partner in crime for such an exciting and life changing activity. 

Of course, the idea of starting a band does sound a bit like high school, but not for those who have a true calling for music. The examples above prove that following your dream will always pay off in the end. Life’s a song!