Rock bands, like relationships, are difficult to manage. In both cases, egos and emotions are involved and it is extremely difficult to judge when it is time to quit.
For many musicians who choose to break away from their bands, the classic line rings true: “It’s not you, it’s me.” For various reasons, artists grow out of the groups that brought them to fame, be it due to personality clashes with bandmates or simply differing opinions on musical directions.
In other cases, the pitfalls of fame may lead one to leave. Drugs, the stress of touring, declining mental health – all of this and more have caused notable members to leave.
Some musicians remain close with their old bandmates even after saying goodbye. Earlier The Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman has noted that he and the rest of the band are “still family”, despite his decision to leave after more than 30 years.
Tragedy has occasionally prompted difficult decisions. Queen bassist John Deacon famously chose to retire from the limelight following the death of the band’s singer, Freddie Mercuryalthough the other members of the group, Brain May and Roger Taylorhas continued to tour and make music in the decades since.
Such should-I-stay-or-should-I-go decisions also include solo acts. Bill Withers is an artist who chose to step away from music altogether rather than give in to a record label deal he felt was unfair.
Below, we’ve compiled a collection of rock stars who walked away and never looked back.
Rock stars who walked away and never looked back
Sometimes you just have to move on.