The new Jonas Brothers documentary Happiness Begins shed some light on how brutal their split really was, but as far as dramatic breakups go, the JoBros barely crack the top ten. Just look at the viral breakup of Canadian metal band Witchrot in 2018 — their guitarist hooked up with their lead singer's girlfriend of seven years and their drummer may or may not have died, and they shared all of this on Facebook to announce their split. Now *that's* brutal.
These seventeen groups who made this list broke up under equally bonkers circumstances, providing a cautionary tale to anyone who has ever considered dating a musician is thinking about starting a band. Keep your bandmates close and your enemies far, far away from any musical equipment.
Johnny Marr and Morrissey hate each other so much, they’ve turned down offers from Coachella to make the festival entirely vegetarian and Morrissey has said he’d rather eat his own testicles than reform the beloved ‘80s rock band. The pair were once close friends, but a mountain of avoidable issues — a manager Morrissey hated, a coke and alcohol problem that probably didn’t do wonders for Johnny’s blood sugar, a premature breakup story in NME — led them to call it quits for good after five pitch-perfect years.
Like many bands, NWA kept going after the departure of one of its biggest stars, Ice Cube (back when he was a fearsome MC and not starring in movies like Are We There Yet 2). The group and Cube began a steady stream of insults, diss tracks, and general unfriendliness, but NWA stayed alive until Dr. Dre left Ruthless to join Death Row Records. The rivalry between Eazy-E and Dre lasted until E’s AIDS-related death in 1995, and it got ugly. “B*tches Ain’t Sh*t” off of The Chronic? Yeah, that was about E. Since his death, Dr. Dre, MC Ren, and Ice Cube finally buried the hatchet, but it was too late for the legendary group to reunite.
Blink-182 is still around, albeit without Tom DeLonge, but their road back into the studio after breaking up in 2005 was a crazy ride. Blink entered an indefinite hiatus because of bickering between Tom and his bandmates. Tom felt creatively constricted and didn’t enjoy being away from his family, while Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker actually gave a sh*t about their band. Tom didn’t speak to his bandmates again until 2008 when Travis and his friend, DJ AM, were the only two survivors of a plane crash that killed four people. After sixteen surgeries and 48-hour blood transfusions, Mark and Tom visited Travis in the hospital to lay the groundwork for Blink-182’s reunion. That lasted for about five years, at which point Tom realized he actually still wanted nothing to do with Blink-182 and quit again. Twice.
Every member of *NSYNC except Justin Timberlake sat down with the Huffington Post to explain the band’s breakup, and if that doesn’t give you a hint as to what exactly went wrong, we’d highly recommend staying far, far away from the LSAT because your deductive reasoning skills are terrible. The band mutually agreed upon a hiatus — back in the days when a “hiatus” really was just a quick pause — to try out a few side projects until they could come up with fresh ideas for the band. Justin’s solo career took off while the remaining band member’s solo projects more or less floundered, and they eventually realized JT was never planning on coming back at all. Justin Timberlake invented ghosting, no clickbait.
Before the Jonas Brothers let fame get in the way of family, The Everly Brothers spent twenty years as a sibling rock duo before things got hairy. Phil and Don Everly had their ups and downs like any siblings, but their longest and most public break happened onstage at a concert in 1973. Don showed up drunk, and Phil got so mad at Don messing up the lyrics that Phil smashed a guitar over his brother’s head. The only time they spoke in the following decade was at their father’s funeral.
People have always cautioned against getting involved with coworkers, so having a band entirely composed of two married couples kind of seems like it was doomed to fail. Considering the 70% divorce rate, there was a 140% chance that at least one of the ABBA couples were going to call it quits, but both marriages sadly ended in divorce during the band’s tenure. They kept working but understandably decided to take a break following their first post-divorce album. That ended up being the last album ABBA would ever record as a quintet.
The Everly Brothers and the JoBros always had an undercurrent of brotherly love, even when they were estranged. Noel and Liam Gallagher? Not so much. Even now, a decade after Oasis’s breakup, a quick Google search for the pair brings up dozens of recent articles where the brothers pummel each other in the press (since they’d have to be in the same room for more than a minute to pummel each other IRL). Two decades of barely disguised animosity came to a head in 2009 at a Parisian music festival, where Noel destroyed Liam’s guitar backstage before the brothers started brawling in earnest. The gig was canceled, and the brothers haven’t played together since.
“Hotel California” should clue you into the toxic atmosphere The Eagles found themselves entrenched in at the height of their fame. Original members Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon saw the writing on the wall ahead of time and called it quits, likely to preserve what was left of their sanity, but Don Henley and Glenn Frey were too ambitious to leave the thriving band. Guitarist Don Felder wasn’t a huge fan of the group dynamics and decided the best way to express his autonomy was to mouth off to a senator’s wife before a show. Rolling Stone describes the following gig as a series of escalating public threats between songs, where Glenn actually started to count the number of songs left until the set ended and he could whoop Don, who escaped in his limo before Glenn could catch him. It was the last set The Eagles would play for fourteen years.
The Spice Girls are back together, kind of, but it’s hard to believe that the legendary girl group only lasted four years in its original iteration. While Posh Spice made the biggest name for herself outside of the group as Victoria Beckham, it was actually Ginger Spice who pulled a Zayn Malik and yeeted out early. The group was actually sued by a motorcycle manufacturer after Ginger Geri showed up for a commercial photo shoot after pulling out of the band, and the case became a landmark decision in English law regarding misrepresentation by conduct because Geri had made it seem like she was still a part of the band. The Spice Girls lasted two more years before officially having their first breakup, but nothing was the same after Geri’s departure.
We don’t need to tell you what ultimately happened to Sid Vicious, but the Sex Pistols were over long before Sid’s life starting looking like a particularly depressing episode of a true crime podcast. A 1978 US Tour put the Pistols in front of increasingly hostile audiences, leading to bad blood between band members. The band’s manager purposefully booked redneck bars to stir up trouble, the boys were increasingly isolated by each other, and Sid’s behavior was becoming a bit much, even by his standards. The heroin addiction and subsequent withdrawals probably didn’t help much, but egged on by belligerent audiences, Sid pulled stunts like fighting anyone who would beat him to a pulp, carving the words “gimme a fix” onto his chest with a razor blade, and receiving simulated head onstage. Fed up, Johnny Rotten left, and Sid continued his descent into madness.
Roger Waters has admitted he was wrong to sue the remaining Pink Floyd members for trying to use the name Pink Floyd in his absence. It’s bad enough the band’s co-founder went solo, but he had to go and try to ensure they couldn’t continue on without him. This was while knowing that by not making new albums, the band would be in breach of contract and unable to receive royalty payments their work. It’s rumored that Roger was really trying to get back at the remaining members for trying to remove him from the group, and the bad blood between Roger and bandmate David Gilmour never really ceased, even in their occasional reunions.
Like their idols The Everly Brothers, Simon & Garfunkel didn’t end on good terms. The folk duo have tried to talk through their differences, but each time, it ends with them back on acrimonious terms. It’s hard to pin-point exactly where things went sour, between digs from Art Garfunkel that he created a monster by interpreting Paul’s songs for a wide audience and Paul Simon wiping Garfunkel’s vocals from an album and releasing it as a solo effort, but The Hollywood Reporter thinks things truly went bad when Simon’s part was cut from the Catch-22 movie and Garfunkel’s wasn’t. That film’s director, Mike Nichols, has been called the Yoko Ono of Simon & Garfunkel.
If you’ve seen Dreamgirls, you already know what went down between Diana Ross and The Supremes. When Beyoncé is starring in a fictionalized musical about your breakup, that’s when you know things got ugly. Diana really did have a relationship with Motown CEO Berry Gordy that ended before she gave birth to their child, Black-ish’s Tracee Ellis Ross, but it was Florence Ballard’s alcoholism that drove the inspiration behind Jennifer Hudson’s character out of the band. They then became Diana Ross & The Supremes until Diana went solo, at which point the returning members became The Supremes again and slowly left the public eye before disbanding.
Best-known for their soaring masterpiece “Bittersweet Symphony” and its featured placement in Cruel Intentions, The Verve were on the cusp of becoming a massive global hit. The only problem was that the band had already broken up prior to the recording of their breakthrough record, Urban Hymns, and sudden fame isn’t the best medicine for internal bickering caused by stress. Ironically, the success they were hoping to achieve through their record caused exhaustion, illness, and a renewed vitriol between Richard Ashcroft and Nick McCabe. Their close friends and mentors happened to be the boys of Oasis, so we're thinking they might not have received the best advice during these trying times.
The Beatles broke up with John Lennon privately informed his bandmates that he was going solo in 1969, leading everyone and their second cousin to blame the demise of the world’s greatest band on Yoko Ono. It was easier to blame a confident woman than to admit that the writing had been on the wall for a long time. George Harrison and Ringo Starr had both left the group at various points during the band’s final years, and it wasn’t because they were having such a fabulous time together. The death of their longtime manager Brain Epstein is what really marked the beginning of the end, as his strong management was the only thing keeping the peace between four superstars with different artistic desires. George’s growing strength as a songwriter also didn’t help things, as his ideas would get pushed aside by Lennon and McCartney and too much phenomenal material was being written by all parties to reasonably record and promote. Yoko also didn’t *help* the artistic frustrations, as adding another cook to the kitchen wasn’t going to do anything but exacerbate the situation, but ultimately, it was the Beatles' attempts to evolve from musicians into businessmen that led to their collapse. At least, that’s what Paul McCartney thinks, but what does he know?
One Direction’s breakup is a pretty classic tale. A member of a popular boy band decides to go solo, the band tries to carry on, but for one reason or another, the magic is gone. In this case, the final nail in the coffin was that there were two clear stars in 1D, and after Zayn left, Harry Styles eventually realized he wanted to work on his own music of a different genre, as well. Unlike JT and JC in *NSYNC, both Harry and Zayn have done fairly well for themselves as solo artists, but in another departure from their spiritual boy band brethren, there's definitely some love lost between Zayn and the rest of the band. *NSYNC has nothing but nice things to say about Justin Timberlake, while Zayn has been trading barbs with 1D members on social media since the minute he called it quits. Niall Horan's debut solo album was a success and both Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson had babies since the band's split, so they're all doing just fine — except Zayn, that is, who seems to be descending into madness if his social media presence is any indication.
Thank God happiness began again for this lovable trio because the Jonas Brothers' breakup was a sad, sad time. Nick, Kevin, and Joe Jonas have been honest about their breakup and the exhaustive amount of therapy and rebuilding it took for the trio to reconnect. Nick openly admits to causing the split by being the first one to leave and realizing the band wasn't in a healthy place creatively, while Joe and Kevin were angry and blindsided by his departure. The boys barely spoke in the years following their artistic split, even avoiding family holidays, until the birth of Kevin's first daughter. Luckily, they got their sh*t together, and now they're back and happy to be here.