The most traumatic breakups in music history
From The Beatles and Guns N’ Roses to Héroes del Silencio, The Spice Girls and Daft Punk, the list of messy musical breakups are endless. Here we look back at some of the most traumatic, crying while we listen to the great songs they left us as a legacy.
The bust-ups that led to the breakup of the legendary rock band Guns N’Roses are common knowledge, with years of bad blood between the principal members Axl Rose (vocals) and Slash (guitar). Gilby Clarke was the first to abandon the ship in 1994, followed two years later by Slash, the flag bearer of rock ‘n’ roll excess, who finally left the band after countless fights with Axl. But nothing is set in stone in rock, so after getting an offer they couldn’t refuse, this dynamic duo decided to reunite in 2018, delivering a world tour that exceeded all expectations.
One of the biggest bands in Latin America – and the first Spanish-speaking band to achieve massive success – ended its days amidst heartaches, sorrows and an estranged relationship between Gustavo Cerati (vocals) and his bandmates Zeta Bosio (bass) and Charly Alberti (drums). The Argentinean band established itself as an alt-rock standard-bearer, putting Latin America on the map for this music and paving the way for many others later. Soda Stéreo could not overcome their differences, and they rarely saw each other from their separation until Cerati’s death in 2014. We will always have Amor Amarillo to remember this unprecedented band at its finest.
After a 28-year career, the famous French electronic music duo Daft Punk announced their split in 2021. The duo, formed by Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, started out when they were two clean-shaven youths who dreamed of making music that would be heard on five continents. Oh, boy, did they do that! The fact that they parted ways at the height of their fame after almost 30 years together left millions of fans heartbroken. The reasons for the Robot Rockers’ split are a mystery, but they left us with timeless music that will sound out till the end of time.
HÉROES DEL SILENCIO
In October 1996, this band from Zaragoza, led by Enrique Bunbury, announced a temporary retirement from music, or so it seemed at the time. They said they needed time to rest, recover and dedicate more time to their personal lives. However, this break became ever longer over time, leading to an indefinite separation. Ultimately, it took them 11 years to get back together on stage. The reasons were an enigma for a long time until a Netflix documentary about the band arrived on the small screen, where Juan Valdivia (guitar) tells the story of an episode in a hotel in Tijuana. According to Valdivia’s words, Bunbury held a meeting where he read a ‘manifesto’ to the band, announcing abrupt changes in the artistic direction of Héroes, which included the absence of guitars and the incorporation of new technology on the musical side. Valdivia promptly got up and left the meeting, marking the beginning of the end.
Between 1996 and 2000, a musical tsunami swept the earth called The Spice Girls. Everybody danced to Wannabe ad nauseam in the 90s. Both girls and women wanted to be like Emma Bunton, Victoria Adams, Geri Halliwell, Mel B. or Mel C, and short Union Jack dresses became very popular as a present. The most famous girl group of all time broke every record in the music industry and set precedents with the cry of “Girl Power!” The cultural impact of these five women on stage is hard to put into words. They represented different types of women and girls across the world felt represented by one of them. It isn’t surprising that their split, initiated by the redhead Halliwell (the first to launch her solo career), came as a tremendous shock to their fans. To their delight, they got back together in 2007 for a tour that lasted two years that once again took attracted vast numbers of fans.
By now, no one blames Yoko Ono for the breakup of the greatest, most famous and psychedelic band of all time: The Beatles. This is thanks to extensive interviews with Paul McCartney over the years, a documentary with new material called Get Back and other posthumous revelations after John Lennon’s death in 1980. We now know that the relationship between the band’s most prominent members and creative brains (Lennon and McCartney) was not exactly a bed of roses and that George Harrison was a frustrated composer who was barely allowed to contribute songs and express himself creatively). Many years of being at the top of the game finally took its toll on the group. Nothing lasts forever. However, the Liverpool quartet left us with one of the most prolific discographies in music history and a song for every moment of life.