Top 8 Music Band Break Ups

Why do so many music bands break up? Though music brings people together it seems to tear musicians apart. Think of all the bands who have decided to call it a day. But is it music driving bands apart or the ego? We look at the top 8 band break ups to try and find out.


It took eight years of touring, small label single and E.P releases and support from US college radio stations for R.E.M to arrive at the big time with their single The One I Love. It led to a deal from Warner Brothers and they subsequently developed a catalogue that made them one of the most successful rock bands in history.

REM Band

In 2011 they announced their split with no obvious reason. Between the lines of vague statements they seem to have said they’re bored (and out of ideas)… for now. As of yet there have been no new musical projects announced by individual members.


No band has threatened to break up as much as Oasis. Fans began to view the internal rivalry as a publicity stunt but in 2009, after a backstage fight with his brother and lead singer Liam, lead guitarist and vocalist Noel Gallagher wrote on the band’s site: “…I quit Oasis tonight…”.

Noel has gone on to have a successful solo career and Liam and other Oasis members formed a new band Beady Eye.

The Sex Pistols

Though they only released four singles and one studio album, they, as founders of the punk movement, are considered one of the most important bands in history. Their live appearances were surrounded by controversy and arrests and after three years they disbanded when frontman Johnny Rotten left feeling cheated by management.

Since 1996 they have regrouped for occasional tours and shows without original member Sid Vicious who died of a heroin overdose in 1979.

The Verve

The worldwide smash Bittersweet Symphony came after three albums for this UK indie rock band. s They broke up shortly after citing internal rivalry. They reunited in 2008 to tour and release an album but broke up for the third and apparently final time a year later.

Other members felt frontman Richard Ashcroft was simply using the band to boost his solo career. He has since formed a new band, RPA & The United Nations of Sound. Two other Verve members have started a new band, Black Submarine.


Suicide was quite simply the reason for the break up of this legendary grunge band whose frontman Kurt Cobain was considered “the spokesman of a generation”. After struggles with drug addiction and depression Cobain killed himself in 1994.

The drummer Dave Grohl has replicated Nirvana’s success with his own band Foo Fighters while bassist Krist Novoselic has recorded two albums with two different bands since and has been involved in local Seattle politics.

The Jacksons

It was obvious from the very beginning this R&B/pop band would eventually break up. Nothing could contain the super talented lead singer Michael Jackson who progressed on to need no introduction or description. However, few bands have broken up so publicly.

After selling tens of millions of albums over several decades, on the final night of their Victory tour in L. A., Michael announced he was leaving to not only a stunned audience but also to shocked band members. With the exception of Michael, the most high profile member is Jermaine who re-cultivated his celebrity status with an appearance in Celebrity Big Brother. A reunion tour (without MJ obviously) was launched earlier this year titled Unity.

The Smiths

This band prove that though the fun may start with sex, drugs and rock n roll, it ends with alcoholism, paranoia and rivalry. After 5 years this alt rock, indie pop band parted ways. Suffering from alcoholism, guitarist Johnny Marr’s relationship with singer Morrissey hit tipping point as he believed the latter was planting stories in the media about a split.

Morrissey has since had a successful solo career, Johnny Marr has played with various other bands, bassist Andy Rourke is currently a club DJ in New York and drummer Mike Joyce DJs globally and manages a radio station.

The Beatles

We won’t patronize you with an introduction. The break up was over business and creative differences and a personal feud between Paul and John. The latter wanted to move the band into deeper experimental territory tackling social and political injustices while Paul wanted to make mainstream pop.

Harrison has since died of cancer; MCartney continues to sell out tours and occasionally release bland music; Starr still tours with his All Starr Band but it is Lennon who in death lives on as the greatest ex-Beatle inspiring other musicians and artists as well as social movements such as the global Occupy campaign.

Music bands like these will remain in our history and we look forward to seeing the up and coming new creative bands out there. Let us know if you have more such bands in mind by leaving a comment below and if you like this article, please hit the share buttons to share it.

Thanks to DV247 Online for contributing this guest article to Island Crisis. If you wish to guest write for us, check the guidelines here.

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