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Five for Friday: Band Breakups

The breakup of a band can be as tragic for fans as for the band members. In the nastiest cases, splits happen with wild – and very public – endings. For our latest edition of Five for Friday, here are five bands with crazy divorce stories.

The downfall of the Eagles can be traced to one specific day: July 31,1980. While on tour in support of 1979's The Long Run, the group scheduled a benefit show in support of California Senator Alan Cranston. Before the concert, the politician and his wife came backstage to thank the band. Due to his political aversion guitarist, Don Felder told them, "You're welcome...I guess." Glenn Frey immediately felt angered and embarrassed, and ultimate fought with Felder onstage during their set. "Only three more songs [until I kick your ass]," Felder said to Frey, to which Frey responded, "Great, I can't wait," among other remarks. The show marked the last time the band played together for 14 years.

The Everly Brothers
No one fights like siblings – an actuality proven true by Don and Phil Everly. During a show in Hollywood in 1973, Don showed up so drunk, he forgot the lyrics to several songs. Incensed by his brother's behavior, Phil ended up smashing a guitar over Don's head before walking off stage in the middle of the set. The venue's manager attempted damage control by announcing the concert had been cancelled because Don was "too emotional" to play any longer. It was the last time the brothers spoke for nearly a decade. They later went on a brief tour together in 1983.

The Replacements
On July 4, 1991, the Replacements created their own fireworks on stage when – to the surprise of everyone, including themselves – they decidedly broke up during their Taste of Chicago set. Bassist Tommy Stinson introduced the final song, "Hootenanny," by stating, "It's the (expletive) last time you'll ever hear it!" During the encore, band members switched instruments while paying no attention to skill level. They proceeded to walk off stage one by one, completely unannounced, only to be replaced by their road crew. The band reunited in 2012, lasting for three touch-and-go years before Paul Westerberg and company broke up again.

Smashing Pumpkins
Smashing Pumpkins forewarned fans of their impending breakup before it occurred. On May 23, 2000, leader Billy Corgan announced the group would dissolve at the end of the year. While he said there was nothing wrong within the band, his statement later proved false. Years later, Corgan released an online statement that claimed James Iha really broke up the band. Corgan also added the Pumpkins' internal chemistry wasn't helped by bassist D'arcy Wretzky, fired earlier for being a "mean-spirited drug addict, who refused to get help." Bad blood ran thick between Corgan and Iha for years. Corgan later revealed Iha never said goodbye following their final show. However, the two performed together for the first time since 2000 earlier this year when Iha joined the Pumpkins onstage in Los Angeles and Chicago.

Violent Femmes
Violent Femmes' breakup might be one of the most humorous in music history, considering much of it revolves around a fast-food commercial. In 2007, while the band's "Blister in the Sun" song was still a huge favorite, frontman Gordon Gano licensed it for use in a Wendy's ad. Bassist Brian Ritchie largely and openly disagreed with the choice, and criticized Gano for combining art with commerce. The group briefly disbanded following the debate, which also resulted in a court appearance after Ritchie sued Gano. The former stated he was deprived of credit from some of songs – as well as proper accounting of earnings. Apparently, a team of lawyers settled the accounts. Violent Femmes reunited in 2013 and recently released their first album in 16 years, We Can Do Anything.

What wild band breakups did we miss? Which artist divorces stick out in your mind? Let us know in the comments below.

September 16, 2016

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