When Good Bands End Badly: The 5 Worst Rock 'n Roll Band Breakups
  • THURSDAY, JUNE 28, 2012

  • Posted by: Amanda Scherker

Nothing good lasts forever, and expiration rates are particularly unkind to the wildest rock 'n roll bands. Competing egos, rampant addictions, and snooty artistic differences have led some of history's most beloved rock stars to burn out, fade away, or worst of all, be escorted out by uptight managers. This is the dysfunction that tears our favorite bands apart, but hey, would you rather your rock stars be boring? Here's the tip of the iceberg list of chest-beating band breakups, along with a clip of each band's glory days:

1. The Talking Heads

Alpha dog David Bryne said asta la vista to his quirky New Wave crew in hopes of pursuing a solo career sans ball and chain. The three abandoned musicians formed "The Heads," and said their piece with a none-too-subtle "No Talking, Just Heads" album in '96. Though the band pulled it together to perform at their induction into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, they've been playing a high-school-exes "he said, she said" game with the news ever since.



2. The Clash

The Clash lost its charismatic drummer, Topper Headon, when his heroin addiction proved a little too "rock 'n roll" even for the wild punk kids. This kicked off a round of musical chairs over the next four years in which the band lost its guitarist Mick Jones, and attempted to replace its original members. The pieces didn't fit though, and this ill-fated puzzle game culminated with the mediocre album "Cut the Crap." Front-man Joe Strummer, mortified at the negative reviews, called a permanent siesta in '86, citing creative exhaustion. Revolution is a hard act to keep up, man.



3. Creedence Clearwater Revival

Two brothers in a band, what could possibly go wrong? We got out answer when Tom Fogerty peaced out from the 1960s folk group due to irreconcilable differences with his control-freak brother, says he. It didn't take shared DNA, though, to stir up trouble. John Fogerty's dominance over the band's music and business choices isolated the other band members as well. Eventually resentments proved fatal, and the band disintegrated entirely.



4. Smashing Pumpkins

You can rate how bad a band's break-up was by the strength of their reunions -- and Smashing Pumpkin's only includes two of the original members. Since they parted ways in 2000 after a long, successful career, the former members have fought it out like... pre-teens, by posting angry blog entries, pointing fingers, and making funny faces at each other. Corgan has since scrounged up 3 musicians and revived the band under the same title.



5. The Beatles

Lennon famously called the group's disastrous breakup a "divorce." Indeed, it took five years of court proceedings. Performance artist Yoko Ono is often blamed, but really, with the kind of pressure the Fab Four were under, the band's collapse is hardly surprising. McCartney and Lennon had been increasingly struggling for creative control, and tensions were at an all time high as they compiled Let It Be. All four subsequently released solo CDs. It's rumored Ringo Starr is now performing at Bar Mitzvahs. One of those statements is a lie.



So there you have it, some of rock 'n roll's nastiest splits. Let us know if we missed your favorite.
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