Over the years there have been some epic breakups in bands that everyone thought would be together always. After all, they were trendsetters and sometimes even the authors of a new generation in music. This was most definitely the case with the once and always legendary band, The Beatles. While the world knew they had their differences and were taking a hiatus from recording and touring, few really believed that this was the end of the most famous band in history.
No one has ever surpassed The Beatles in global fame and it is doubtful any group ever will. However, more to the point here is understanding what drove them to split and how many of those reasons have led to the demise of other groups as well. If you look carefully at the following five reasons, you’ll probably see that The Beatles were weighted under each and every one of them.
1. The Root of All Evils – Money
While it can’t be said that The Beatles were lacking in money, this could very well have been a factor in the eventual breakup of the band. It would take volumes of encyclopedias to delve into the finances of the band, but there was a huge amount of tension both within the band and with managers as well. In recent years, the press shed some light on the death of manager Brian Epstein who literally led the boys to glory. It was rumored at the time but the facts were only revealed, at least in part, just a few years ago. Headlines read, “The Beatles lost millions…” and went on to describe how and why that happened. Money is often the reason bands break up, but it wasn’t a lack of money for this group, the group of all groups.
2. Conflict in Goals and Direction
Here again, it is plain to see that there were major conflicts in goals and directions during the time when an imminent split was in the winds. George Harrison was off and into his mystical love of all things Eastern while Paul was loving family time, in his words having, “more fun with the family.” John was also living between two worlds with an Eastern wife and a luxury condo in the heart of the Big Apple. Only Ringo seemed to be out of the limelight at this time so no one really knew what his goals were.
Even so, the case in point here is that there would be no Beatles if the group split, which of course, they eventually did. No one could believe that Journey found a ‘replacement’ for Steve Perry when his direction led him to make the split. However, they didn’t need to question how to find band members when Arnel Pineda was spotted doing a Journey cover in 2007. The rest, as they say, is history. Music studios like Pirate that have rentals around the globe suggest that bands looking to replace a missing member might do so in a studio setting. Not only can they have that bit of “bonding privacy” in the fully equipped Pirate studios for rent but they can use professional equipment to gauge the sound, and video equipment to get a feel for the visual effect that new members might bring to the mix.
3. Who Does What When – Allocation of Duties
This can be a contributing factor to a band of any size. While it was certainly one of the reasons for the epic breakup of The Beatles, they had a lot going on in every direction. It was obvious there was tension between the songwriting duo of Lennon and McCartney but that is to be expected. They were having issues weeding through the financial losses said to be caused by Epstein’s early ineptitude. Fortunately, what Epstein is said to have lost the band in income was insignificant in relation to what he did to bring them to a spectacular worldwide spotlight. Financial strains were reportedly a royal mess and something few bands, if ever, could get through unscathed.
It should come as no surprise that addiction is one of the leading causes of splits in bands around the world. Drugs and alcohol have long been an issue for rockers on the road and at home as well. Many people assume it’s because of the 24/7 party atmosphere but that is only one of many factors leading to addiction. Yes, drugs and alcohol are readily available to bands out touring but the need to use varies. Sometimes it’s the pressure of being on the road most of the year and other times the ready availability of drugs is just feeding a habit begun years ago in the club circuit. For whatever reason, drugs and alcohol have led to the demise of many groups.
Here, let’s take a step back to Journey at the time Steve Perry, dubbed the Voice by fellow rocker Jon Bon Jovi, left the group. His personal and musical directions were in conflict with the directions in which Neal Schon was headed and so Perry took some downtime. He was off on what was to be a hiking journey of enlightenment and renewal when he broke his hip. That put a screw in the coffin of his high energy stage presence, which was probably the last proverbial straw. The band insisted he get the hip surgery necessary to get back on the road or he would be ‘fired’ from the group. At that time, no one believed it could happen. Steve’s voice was the identifying trademark of the group and although the band went through other front men before the ultimate find in Pineda, knowing how to find band members ultimately led to success.
Perhaps understanding these five most common reasons why so many bands break up, even in the pinnacle of their careers will help upcoming bands stay the course. Sadly, talent isn’t always enough but for fans, the saving grace is the quality of recordings in today’s hi-tech world of music. They may not get to attend that live concert at the arena but they can kick back with surround sound and enjoy the show as often as they want. At least there’s that!