The messiest break-ups in music history

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When they broke up: 28 August, 2009

Who was involved: Noel and Liam Gallagher

What happened: The relationship between the Gallagher brothers has always been a turbulent one, and with the addition of drugs, rock n’roll and tabloid fascination, so was Oasis’s history. But after nearly a decade of constantly changing bandmates, poor record sales and worse gigs, the brothers called it a day after yet another fight backstage. Two gigs were cancelled at the last minute with the statement that Oasis “does not exist anymore”. Two hours later, Noel elucidated: “with some sadness and great relief…I quit Oasis tonight. People will write and say what they like, but I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer.”

Picture: BBC


When they broke up: 1993

Who was involved: Joey Santiago, Black Francis, David Lovering, and Kim Deal

What happened: Deal and Francis never got on well, the former only joining the band via an ad in the The Pixiesnewspaper. Francis became extremely jealous of Deal – who was adored by the fans – and after a draining tour supporting U2, he announced in an interview that the band was over, unbeknownst to the other members. He later notified Deal of his decision by fax, and over the next decade, didn’t speak to her at all.

Picture: Rex Features

The Spice Girls

When they broke up: They always maintained they never did, but they went on indefinite hiatus from December 2000

Who was involved: All of them, but Geri Halliwell sparked the beginning of the end when she left in 1998The Spice Girls

What happened: In the middle of their North American tour, Halliwell announced, via her solicitor, that she was leaving the Spice Girls “because of differences between us.” The band continued valiantly as a foursome for a further 18 months, even styling out their record-breaking Christmas single Goodbye in tribute to Halliwell at the end of the year. But a change in production team and musical direction, coupled with Victoria (then Adams) Beckham’s rising profile and Mel B’s pregnancy, proved too much. By December they had all decided to pursue the success Halliwell was enjoying with her solo career.

Picture: Channel Five

Take That

When they broke up: February 1996

Who was involved: It was mutual, but Robbie Williams’ departure eight months earlier set the ball rolling

What happened: The band gave Williams an ultimatum after his drug habit left him almost for dead the night before the MTV Awards and a photograph of him partying with Brit-pop badboys Oasis at Glastonbury tarnished their reputation.Take That

He was to either clean up or get out. Williams chose the latter. While the band continued successfully as a foursome and toured America, they announced the inevitable the day before Valentine’s Day. It broke so many teenage girls’ hearts, the government set up a hotline to deal with their grief.

Picture: Rex Features


When they broke up: 2000

Who was involved: Sisters Easther and Vernie Bennett, Kéllé Bryan and Louise Redknapp

What happened:Easther and Vernie Bennett, Kéllé Bryan in Eternal

Nineties R&B band Eternal were often accompanied by rumours of discontent within the ranks. Louise Redknapp left to pursue a solo career after Eternal had released just one album but the trio forged ahead. Their next two albums were hits but the Bennett sisters and Bryan still couldn’t see eye to eye. When Bryan announced that she would be recording her vocals separately to the rest of the group, they had their solicitor sack her by fax. Eternal continued as a duo but poor record sales saw them dropped from their record label in 2000.

Picture: Jimmy Gaston

Pink Floyd

hen they broke up: 1994

Who was involved: Roger Waters and David Gilmour

What happened: As if the sad decline – and, in 1968, ejection from the band – of joint founder-member Syd Barrett wasn’t enough, by 1982’s album The Final Cut, further storm clouds were gathering. Pink FloydDisagreements between Pink Floyd’s two dominant members and main songwriters Waters (bass, vocals) and Gilmour (guitar, vocals) over the content of the album eventually stretched their patience to breaking-point. An acrimonious split saw Waters leave the band to embark upon solo projects, though the two have since managed to put their differences aside for the occasional charity gig.

Picture: Rex Features

Depeche Mode

When they broke up: Never officially… But 1995 was a rocky time for them.

Who was involved: Alan Wilder, Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, Andy FletcherDepeche Mode

What happened: Torn apart by internal friction and drug addiction, the band lost keyboardist Alan Wilder in 1995 after he quit at the height of Martin Gore’s alcoholism and lead singer Dave Galan’s near-fatal heroin abuse. The synth-pop rockers started recording again in 1996, when Galan left rehab.

Picture: Rex Features

Spandau Ballet

When they broke up: 1990

Who was involved: Gary Kemp, in that the rest of the band tried, and failed, to sue him

What happened: The band split in 1990, but it wasn’t until a decade later when things really reached their ugly peak. Singer Tony Hadley,Spandau Ballet drummer John Keeble and saxophonist/percussionist Steve Norman unsuccessfully sued Gary Kemp over royalties. Kemp’s brother Martin, the band’s bassist, didn’t get involved with the proceedings.

Picture: Rex Features

The Libertines

When they broke up: 17 December 2004

Who was involved: Frontmen Carl Barât and Pete DohertyThe Libertines

What happened: After months of Doherty’s increasing drug use, he ended up in prison after burgling Barât’s flat when the latter failed to turn up to a reunion gig. In the process, the pair worked hard on their fractured relationship, writing their most successful music to date, second album The Libertines, and Top 11 single, Don’t Look Back Into the Sun. Unsurprisingly, even matching tattoos couldn’t fix the fact they couldn’t play a gig together. Finally, a year after they all played together, Barât called it a day in Paris.

The Kinks

When they broke up: 1984/1996

Who was involved: Mick Avory/Ray Davies/Pete Davies

What happened: The Kinks rumbled along from 1964 for the next 20 years but then drummer Avory fell out with Dave Davies. The two brothers kept going until 1996 but repeated disagreements, including Ray reportedly stamping on his brother’s birthday cake, ended the band.The Kinks

In May 2014, Ray Davies was asked at Hay whether there would be a reunion. “Ah, we were always tempestuous,” he said, recalling the time that drummer Mick Avory “tried to kill my brother on stage in Cardiff”. The altercation ended with Dave unconscious and hospital treatment for a wound requiring 16 stitches. Ray Davies said a reunion would require new music, adding with a wry smile: “In any case, my brother still has an issue with the drummer. If they resolve their issues, I might be there.”

Picture: Rex Features

Fleetwood Mac

When they broke up: 1995, although they went on a longer hiatus in 1982

Who was involved: Everyone, at one point or another, but in particular: Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey BuckinghamFleetwood Mac

What happened: For a band made famous by their break-ups and songs about breaking up, Fleetwood Mac were only officially broken for a few weeks in the mid-Nineties.

However, their past as a band was a chequered one, with a constantly changing line-up during the 70s and marital fall-out between Christine and John McVie and Nicks and Buckingham – who Fleetwood claimed had a physical fight in 1987. Fleetwood Mac live on, however: they’ve been the most consistently hoped-for Glastonbury headliner favourites for years.

Picture: Rex Features

The Beatles

When they broke up: 1970

Who was involved: Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr

What happened: The break-up itself was a cumulative process for the last two years of the Sixties, with numerous causes: the end of their touring in 1966, the death of their manager, Brian Epstein, in 1967, resulting in financial and legal conflicts and artistic differences. The Beatles in 1963, shortly after Please Pleas Me went to number one in the album chart

There were artistic differences between the late Lennon and McCartney and many diehard fans blamed the influence of Lennon’s wife Yoko Ono. “She certainly didn’t break the group up, the group was breaking up,” McCartney said later.

Picture: PA


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