Top 5 Reasons Why Bands Break Up

Featured Image by David Blackwell. via Flickr

It’s inevitable for a band to break up eventually, whether it is after fifty years or one year. It’s heartbreaking to see your most beloved band unplug for good, and withdrawal symptoms are normal (I’m still reeling from Blink-182’s recent fallout). When you think about it, band breakups tend to fall into only five categories, and we decided to list them all here.

Amicable Split


Photo by Broad Bean Media via Flickr

Sometimes bands feel like they accomplished everything they wanted together and agree to part ways. While this type of breakup is unfortunately rare, it does happen. In 1997, Soundgarden disbanded so the members could pursue other interests and promised it was a mutual decision. When pop duo Wham! split in 1986, George Michael famously said at the farewell concert, “I think it should be the most amicable split in pop history.” Perhaps, it was.

Creative Differences


Photo by mahalie stackpole via Flickr

In a romantic relationship, someone may feel like he/she does not have much in common anymore with his/her partner, and that they simply grown apart. A similar scenario happens to many bands whose members want to go in different directions with their music. Often this tends to be the case in manufactured boy and girl bands. One Direction’s ex-member Zayn Malik has been rumored to be recording material for a solo career, possibly following in the footsteps of N*SYNC’s Justin Timberlake. The Jonas Brothers broke up before a scheduled world tour, and now Nick Jonas is pursuing his own solo career. John Lennon and Paul McCartney struggled to maintain a unified vision for The Beatles’ music as well.




Photo by Gabriel S. Delgado C. via Flickr

As a band takes off, fame can be a dangerous risk to the longevity of a band. Some members of the band tend to get more of the media spotlight, and therefore those members feel like the leader of the group. Sting of The Police and Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins were criticized by their respective members as treating them more like employees and controlling the entire recording process. Axl Rose of Guns ‘n’ Roses became an anathema to the other members due to his secret deals and diva behavior.

Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll? 


Photo by Michael Coghlan via Flickr

Bands are notorious for living a life of debauchery and excess. The rock star life is a paradox of sorts because, while bands are celebrated for their crazy antics, if they take it too far they risk losing everything. Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver has been kicked out of both groups as of now partly due to addiction issues. Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band claims that drugs played a huge factor in his band’s breakup. In almost every Behind the Music feature, drugs come into play for the band’s demise.

Death of a Member


Photo via Pixabay

The most tragic, and obviously permanent, end of a band is due to a death of a member. Sometimes a band will regroup quickly and replace the member successfully (such as The Who replacing Keith Moon). Other times, the member was such an integral part of the band’s identity that the other band members respectfully disband. There was no way Nirvana could continue without Kurt Cobain, or Queen without Freddie Mercury. When John Bonham, drummer of Led Zeppelin, died suddenly in 1980, the other members agreed to disband.

So which category matches your favorite band’s breakup? Let us know in the comments!

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