10 most devastating band breakups of all time
Best get a pack of Kleenex handy...
Because things are about to get emotional as we take a look at some of the worst band breakups of all time including a very recent one...
1. Daft Punk
The French Techno duo has announced their break-up after 28 years with a farewell Youtube video titled "Epilogue" in February 2021.
The two band members, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, have often concealed their features behind a robot concept, a theme recalled in their farewell video. The reason behind the split is still unclear. As soon as the video was published fans took to social media expressing their gratitude towards the band, remembering their greatest pieces of work while acknowledging that time might have come for Daft Punk to pass the baton to younger DJs and artists in the Electronic Music scene.
Daft Punk was formed in 1993 with their first album, Homework, released in 1997, featuring hits such as Around the World and Da Funk. Throughout their career the band has won six Grammy Awards, two in 2009 and four in 2014.
2. One Direction
There can be no list of band breakups that devastated fans without including One Direction.
In 2015, Zayn Malik shattered the hearts of millions when he announced he would be leaving the band to pursue a solo career. One Direction saw out the year as a foursome and recorded a fifth album sans Zayn, but ultimately announced a “hiatus”. At this stage, it appears to be an indefinite arrangement.
Since the split, each member of the band has gone on to start promising solo careers. Zayn’s debut album and single went to number one in both the UK and US, while Harry Styles has enjoyed similar success with his new album, single and tour. Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson have all released top ten singles.
3. The Beatles
The Fab Four were the architects of boy band fan obsessions and the first to create global misery when they decided to split in 1969.
Fans were eventually pleased to see solo albums from each of the Liverpudlian lads the following year, and a reunion didn’t seem to be completely off the cards as they remained in the public eye. But true tragedy struck in 1980 when John Lennon was shot dead outside his home in New York City.
After John’s death, there were no talks of a Beatles reunion with the remaining three members, although Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have played together since.
DID YOU KNOW?: Paul McCartney played drums on a Foo Fighters album
4. Take That
Gary Barlow, Mark Owen, Jason Orange and Howard Donald continued briefly without Robbie for a while before the band officially split in 1996. It wasn’t until 2006 that Take That performed again as a foursome, heading straight to the top of the album charts with ‘Beautiful World’. And it seemed they were back for good, following up with 2008’s ‘The Circus’..
But no one expected what came in 2010, when Take That announced that Robbie’s feud with lead singer and chief songwriter Gary was finally over. Robbie joined the band in the studio for hit album ‘Progress’ before they went on tour together as a five-piece - to rave reviews.
Robbie has since left again to focus on his solo career, but the band claim the door is always open for him to return. However, considering Jason has also walked away from the group, a full reunion may never happen - unless the Take That 25th anniversary tour convinces them otherwise...
Oasis’ eight-album career came to an end when tensions between the Gallaghers resulted in a full-on fist fight before they were due to go on stage. The pair have apparently not spoken since the incident.
Liam is very vocal about the bad blood between him and Noel, while rumours of an Oasis comeback emerge frequently. But considering the tempers involved, it’s probably best not to hold your breath...
If starting a band with family members seems like a recipe for disaster, imagine what happens when a pair of married couples launch a music career… Way before One Direction won the hearts of music fans with their story of TV talent show success, ABBA stormed onto the scene after winning the Eurovision song contest in 1974.
The cracks began to show when Björn Ulvaeus and Agneth Fältskog's marriage ended in 1979, before Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad added to tensions when they followed suit two years later. While continuing to work together as divorcees should have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, the breakups actually inspired some the group’s biggest hits including ‘The Winner Takes it All’, before they ultimately went their separate ways.
Despite the split, ABBA’s music has lived on in the smash-hit musical ‘Mamma Mia!’ - featuring their back catalogue - and a film of the same name, which enjoyed huge box-office success.
The band reunited briefly in 2016 at a private show in Sweden to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Andersson and Ulvaeus' meeting. An unnamed digital ABBA experience is also in the works.
7. Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd’s history is wrought with creative differences, legal battles and a level of on-offery better suited to reality TV show couples.
The band has existed in one form or another since 1965, but a full reunion with lead members Roger Waters and David Gilmour seems unlikely. Pink Floyd briefly got back together as their original lineup in 2005 for a performance at Live 8, but the reunion went no further - despite being offered £150 million to tour the US.
Rumours of a reunion surface regularly, considering Waters and Gilmour still tour as solo acts, with Pink Floyd material on both's setlists - but nothing official so far.
8. Spice Girls
The 90s was responsible for some of pop’s biggest boy band phenomenons, and the Spice Girls came when the music world was begging for a little girl power.
But the biggest-selling female group of all time hit a roadblock in 1998 when Geri Halliwell - also known as Ginger Spice - announced her intention to leave the group.
The girls reformed as a five-piece again in 2007 and embarked on a world tour before going their separate ways. Rumours that the group will reform without Victoria Beckham keep circulating, but no confirmations yet.
UPDATE: Scratch that. They're back together.
9. Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin may be the classic rock band with the most promising chance of getting back together...
It seems it wasn’t so much infighting that caused the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ stars to split - they simply decided not to continue after the tragic death of drummer John Bonham in 1980. The band’s statement at the time read, “We wish it to be known that the loss of our dear friend, and the deep sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were."
However, Led Zeppelin have played several one-off gigs together since the split, with Bonham’s son Jason filling in for his father. Lead members Robert Plant and Jimmy Page expressed disappointment with the way some of the performances went, but their last show together in 2007 was very well received.
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It’s hard to say if the Backstreet Boys also deserve a place on this list, being rivals with NSYNC and certainly creating shockwaves of wailing fans around the world when they announced their split. But considering they got back together a while ago, we decided to shed a tear over Justin Timberlake’s former bandmates instead.
After the band announced a hiatus in 2002, Timberlake further cemented the band’s breakup by announcing he would be leaving to focus on his flourishing solo career.
It’s fair to say it worked out for the best, with TImberlake going on to wear the Prince of Pop crown for a new generation. NYSYNC have made occasional appearances together since the split, but no official reunion has been announced.
Stay tuned to LineUp for more music features and news on band breakups and reunions.