Bands That Broke Up

Bands Who Broke Hearts When They Split Up


| LAST UPDATE 10/17/2021

By Mahlik Campbell

From verbal arguments to physical altercations, there are many reasons why some of the most famous bands once broke up. But with lifestyles like theirs, perhaps it's no surprise their breakup backstories are just as striking.

Daft Punk

After having a musical epiphany in 1993, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo birthed the band Daft Punk. But after a 28-year run, everything turned downhill when they made a big announcement.

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Nearly 30 years after joining forces to bring their music into the world, the band announced their split in a YouTube video titled "Epilogue." As of 2021, Daft Punk was a band no longer. The reason for the breakup remains unclear, but in response to the farewell video, fans showed an out-pour of gratitude and love on social media.

One Direction

The modern-day boy band nearly took over the world after making an appearance on The X Factor in 2010. With their cheeky smiles and talented voices, people from across the globe loved their songs. But, in 2015, everything changed for the young men - thanks to Zayn Malik. 

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As the first to leave the band to "be a normal 22-year-old…and have some private time out of the spotlight," as Malik told StubHub Magazine, Zayn shook 1D's fandom. Not long after, the band revealed they were taking a hiatus in 2016. Today, the rest of the members have since pursued solo careers of their own.

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The Beatles

The Beatles quickly rose to stardom in the 1960s. But less than a decade later, the band would leave their Strawberry Fields behind. Singer-songwriter John Lennon left the group in 1969 without releasing a public announcement. The Beatles would never be the same again, but no one knew that until McCartney released a solo album.

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It was then, in 1970, that news broke of Lennon's offical exit from The Beatles. For a whole year, the former band-members had kept the secret from leaking to the press. Now the doors were finally burst open, causing the world to cling on to their iconic songs for decades to come.

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Take That

"Take that!" Robbie Williams might have said when he left his band after a brutal feud between himself and lead singer Gary Barlow. Although it took some adjusting, the band, Take That, kept performing. Leaving hard feelings aside, they said Williams would always be welcomed back if he wanted.

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This open-door only made fans wish the band would get back together even more. Finally, dreams came true in 2010 when Robbie rejoined Take That for a tour like the good ole days. However, the fairytale didn't last long because later that year, Williams officially left again to focus efforts on his solo career.

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Liam and Noel Gallagher were not only brothers but bandmates! The pair created Oasis, and for 2 decades, their band thrived. The brothers released a new album every few years. However, when they reached lucky number 8, they began having issues within their family - and their relationship took a turn for the worst.

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They overused substances and experienced a revolving door of band mates in 2009. But the nail in Oasis' coffin came when a physical fight broke out between the siblings. Reportedly, Liam smashed one of Noel's guitars in a bout of anger, causing them not to speak - never mind sing together, to this day.

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ABBA was a band made up of a pair of married couples. But, when their relationship trajectories changed, so did the future of the group. Unfortunately, when Björn Ulvaeus and Agneth Fältskog's marriage ended in 1979, followed by Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad's divorce 2 years later, ABBA changed forever.

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In an unexpected turn of events, the group of 4 stuck it out a bit longer, utilizing their life-altering divorces to create new music. Then, after a necessary break from each other, ABBA briefly reunited to celebrate the men of the group meeting 50 years prior. But that was as close as the band ever got to mending its wounds.

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Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd was a rock band that released catchy hits but was unfortunately riddled with legal battles, creative differences, and a never-ending cycle of being on-again-off-again. The group got its start back in 1965, but between leading members, Roger Waters and David Gilmour, not all was sunshine and butterflies.

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Pink Floyd could not figure out their differences, causing the band to break up in 1985. Years later, in 2005, the group got back together for a Live 8 performance. But even after being offered a whopping check of about $208,041,000 to tour the U.S., they declined and went their separate ways.

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Spice Girls

The Spice Girls were what StubHub Magazine called the "Biggest selling female group of all time." That is, before Geri Halliwell declared her 1998 split from the band. But Mel B, Emma Bunton, Mel C, and Victoria Beckham knew the show must go on. So, in 2007, they went on a world tour before going their separate ways. 

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But, in 2019, The Spice Girls (minus Beckham) got together to announce big news! "There are many exciting possibilities that will…embrace the original essence of The Spice Girls, while reinforcing our message of female empowerment for future generations," their official statement teased of the group's long-awaited reunion tour.

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Led Zeppelin

The classic rock band Led Zeppelin broke hearts worldwide when they split in 1980. But, this group separated for a different kind of reason than those previously mentioned on our list. In a terrible turn of events, LZ tragically lost its drummer, John Bonham. Due to that life-altering event, the group disbanded.

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Led Zeppelin performed their last show together in 2007 and have occasionally played one-off gigs here and there. Although things were never the same, Bonham's son, Jason, filled in for his late father, which was thought of as a superb close-second by many.

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Many believe NSYNC propped Justin Timberlake into the spotlight in the 1990s. Not only was he the boyband's frontman, but in 2002, he released his first solo album. This was equally exciting as it was nerve-racking for the rest of the group, as Justin may have been the glue holding them together.

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Big news came 2 years later when Timberlake decided to act on his gut instinct. He announced his split from the band to pursue a solo career in an official media announcement. NSYNC then took a hiatus and occasionally made appearances together, but without a word of a reunion set in stone.

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Guns n' Roses

There's no denying that the band Guns n' Roses released some catchy music. They quickly made a name for themselves, but not necessarily in the best way. With a reputation of a party lifestyle that called for the use of various substances, it may not have come as a surprise to many that they endured trouble in later years.

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After significant success in 1987 with the hit "Appetite for Destruction," the band fired drummer Steven Adler in 1990 due to his substance abuse habit. That plus Axl Rose's bout of showing up late to concerts caused guitarist, Slash to leave in 1996, followed by bassist Duff McKagan in '97. Thus, Guns n' Roses was no longer.

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The Everly Brothers

The Everly Brothers was a band made up by, what one might have guessed, a pair of brothers: Phil and Don. The siblings had a successful 20 years on stage before Don showed up intoxicated to a 1973 performance. He took to the stage but forgot all of their lyrics.

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When Phil realized his mate wouldn't be able to recover that night, he acted out in a way that changed their band and brotherhood forever. Everly was so disappointed that he smashed a guitar over Don's head and left the venue. Thus, The Everly Brothers were over, and the siblings reportedly didn't speak for upwards of 10 years.

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Smashing Pumpkins

Led by Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins was a rock band whose members couldn't seem to get along. With Corgan calling most of the shots, other band members weren't happy. And when they posed new ideas, the conversations often ended in verbal arguments. This, plus a tragic loss, caused the band to drastically change in 1996.

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Keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin passed away from a substance-related accident, and the same day, Jimmy Chamberlin nearly lost his life. Unfortunately for him, he was subsequently kicked out of the band. Chamberlin later rejoined Smashing Pumpkins in 1999, but after bassist Darcy Wretze quit the same year, the band was no longer.

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The Clash

The Clash had their highest success in 1982 with the punk hit, Rock of the Casbah. This success quickly turned them into MTV stars, but the free-spirited lifestyle of these musicians soon caught up with them. Topper Headon, who wrote the widely successful tune, passed away from a substance accident, changing the band forever.

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Fights between the remaining members over which direction to take the band became normalcy. In the end, The Clash’s members ended on non-speaking terms. To everyone’s surprise, they reunited in 1983 for a U.S. gig, but it didn’t go well and ended in guitarist Mick Jones leaving the band for good.

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Rage Against The Machine

Widely considered one of the best rap/rock bands of the 1990s, Rage Against The Machine had magnetic energy on stage. But, behind the curtains, things looked bleak. After a scheduled tour got canceled, the band broke out in arguments. Tensions reached such heights that lead singer Zack de la Rocha decided he had enough.

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In October 2000, Rocha left the band, ending Rage Against The Machine. But, 7 years later, the group came together for a performance. Unfortunately falling into old habits, the band broke out into fights once more, and Zack stood his ground by refusing to take the stage with his old band.

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Freddie Mercury is believed to be the main reason that the well-known band Queen came as it popular as it once did. When he passed away due to AIDS-related bronchial pneumonia in 1991, the band didn't break up forever - but everything drastically changed without him.

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A year after he passed, Queen performed alongside many others as a benefit concert to raise money. The show was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the "largest rock star benefit concert." It raised over $27,746,000 for AIDS charities in honor of Mercury. In his honor, Taylor and May continued producing albums.

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The Eagles

In the 1980s, The Eagles were due to be one of the biggest bands in America. Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon joined longtime members Glenn Frey and Don Henley for a bit. Unfortunately, Meisner and Leadon later quit the band due to feelings of a toxic work environment. The final straw came soon after.

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Before they could live up to their widely-set expectations, The Eagles broke up in 1980. The members were unable to agree on anything, and there was too much substance abuse to handle. At their last performance, the band members fought through their microphones, and the night ended in a fleeing limo ride.

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My Chemical Romance

Despite none of the group's members claiming they wanted the band to end, My Chemical Romance split in 2013. The lifestyle pressure had become overwhelming for the band, despite the considerable success they had experienced. Opinions of how they should be or act quickly got to the members, which grew to be too much. 

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"It wasn't an easy thing to come to," Gerard Way told NME Magazine. "It was sad because it wasn't a situation where anybody hated each other. It was nobody's fault," he explained. After breaking the hearts of many with the news in 2013, years later the band confirmed that some highly-rumored reunion shows would be happening.

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Backstreet Boys

One of the nation's most popular bands of the 1990s, the Backstreet Boys, experienced both highs and lows. In 2002, they expressed wanting to leave their management company, The Firm. But, feeling that they had limited options, Kevin Richardson left the band in 2006 to pursue other interests.

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After a 6 year hiatus, he returned to the group. Then, in 2013, the Backstreet Boys celebrated their 20th anniversary and released their first album, independent of The Firm. Thankfully, it's been reported that since the whole crew got back together years ago: Things have returned to normal, just like in the 90s!

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Blink 182

After a heavy touring schedule in 2004, Blink 182 member Tom DeLonge felt exhausted and unable to join the band for their next project. The hopes were to launch a reality TV show, but not everyone was keen. Tom then left the band, changing the group forever. But, after reorganizing, Blink 182 still managed to crank out music.

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Today, DeLonge is missed, but the current members, Travis Barker, Mark Hoppus, and Matt Skiba, still rock and roll on stage all day and night long. Despite rotating between 5 members since getting their start, the band got back on their feet in no time.

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Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac may have released some stellar music, but with threats of members leaving left and right, waters were uneasy. After Christine McVie decided to take a step back from music to spend more time with her family in 1988, the rest of the band carried on without her. Just when fans thought all hope was lost, big news came.

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Christine had returned to tour with Mick Fleetwood from 2013-14. And just like old times, they announced that Fleetwood Mac had officially reunited! Some time apart must really make the heart grow fonder, as many believe their music became lively all over again once they hit the stage.

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Destiny's Child

There's no denying that Destiny's Child experienced many splits and reconciliations throughout the years. Although they sold more than 60 million records, after the original members - LeToya Luckett, Farrah Franklin, and LaTavia Roberson - formed the band, things quickly changed.

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Michelle Williams, Kelly Rowland, and Beyonce Knowles soon took over the iconic name and reputation. Sadly, they later disbanded in 2006. Thankfully, the story didn't end there! Destiny's Child reunited in 2013 to perform at the Superbowl Halftime Show and again in 2018 at a Coachella performance.

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The Verve

English rock band, The Verve, led by vocalist Richard Ashcroft, was a widely-loved band that went on to win many awards and recognition. But, in the 1990s, they split up several times, with 1999's break up being the one that stuck. The band had experienced internal conflicts that were too much to work through.

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Years later, The Verve briefly reunited but eventually split for the third time in 2008. As Billboard phrased it, "The group's rise was the culmination of a long, arduous journey that began at the dawn of the decade and went on to encompass a major breakup, multiple lawsuits, and an extensive diet of narcotics." 

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Pendulum, an Australian drum and bass band formed in 2002. They had a tremendous decade-long run before announcing that they would be taking a hiatus from touring. But, to keep their fans hooked, they teased the possibility of releasing an album in 2013.

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Rob Swire told NME Magazine, "Pendulum towards the end sort of felt like we were doing it because we had to, and that's never a fun way to do music." But, in 2017, Pendulum announced that they'd be getting back together! For the first time in a decade, they released new music in 2020. 

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Sonic Youth

Things can be a bit difficult when mixing work with personal life. Sonic Youth learned that first hand when after 27 years of rock and roll, everything came to a skidding stop in 2011. Unfortunately, Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon, the married couple and backbone of the band, announced their divorce.

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Billboard later reported that Moore and Gordon's marriage ended due to Thurston's trouble with infidelity. This led to nearly all of the blame over the band's split being put on his shoulders in the public eye. In the end, Sonic Youth's members grew apart, separately from one another. 

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Million Dead

Founded in 2000 by Cameron Dean and Julia Ruzicka, Million Dead was a band later joined by Ben Dawson and Frank Turner. But, the band, unfortunately, had a short run because 4 years later, guitarist Dean announced his leave from the group. Tom Fowler quickly replaced him, but everything soon turned a mess.

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In September 2005, the band's official website announced that Million Dead was officially over. Band member Turner told NME Magazine, "The last year of Million Dead was just murderous. Four people who want to kill each other sat in a van driving around Europe."

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The Police

The Police became globally popular in the late 1970s and early 80s. Per the Qatar Tribune, the band sold over 75 million records, making them "one of the best-selling bands of all time." But, the more successful the group got, the worse their relationships with each other became. 

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When Sting went off on Andy Summers in 1984, everything changed for the band. Summers couldn't make himself pursue a career with people who did not treat him with respect; thus, he was out. Despite widespread disappointment, the closest The Police got to a reunion was a brief worldwide tour in 2007.

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The Rascals

The Rascals were an American rock band formed in the small state of New Jersey in 1965. They seemed to be doing well, but when Brigati left the group in 1970 over creative differences, he was followed by Cornish the following year. Despite these changes, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

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With The Rascals shifting towards jazz music, some people were confused with their trajectory, including the members of the band themselves! 18 years after the group disbanded in 1970, Cavaliere, Cornish, and Danelli appeared at the same celebration and decided to take over the stage for a brief reunion tour.

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More than 3 decades of performing came to an end in 2011 when frontman Michael Stipe left REM to pursue his own solo career. But, to everyone's surprise, the band members were shockingly okay with the group's split. "We feel kind of like pioneers in this," the band members explained to Rolling Stone

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"There's no disharmony here, no falling-outs, no lawyers squaring-off. We've made this decision together, amicably, and with each other's best interests at heart. The time just feels right," they continued. In the end, they all respected each other enough to do what felt right at the time.

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The Blackout

Formed in 2003, The Blackout was a hardcore band that released its debut album in 2007. With a rotating stage of 7 members, the band had to juggle many opinions, wishes, and needs. This, unfortunately, caused the band to turn sour in 2014 when a tough announcement came to light.

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The news was that The Blackout was backing out. The band shared they would be playing their last shows in March 2015, which they did. But then, in a shocking turn of events, 2 of the members, Sean Smith and James Davies, formed a new band of their own called Raiders. At least they still seem to carry music in their hearts!

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