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Most Popular Band Breakups of the ’80s

The decade of 1980s witnessed many ugly band breakups; whether the causes of these breakups were cited as personal tragedies or artistic differences, the fact of the matter is that an unusually large number of major bands called it quits in the 1980’s. Even though many of these music groups ended up reuniting sometime in the future, this list takes a look at the bands who separated, some for a short period of time and others for longer.


American punk rock band formed in 1980 and broke up in 1985.

No doubt, Minutemen was one of the most underrated rock bands in the history. The band came to a halt when D. Boon, the band’s singer and guitarist died in 1985. Boon suffered from an accident and died at the age of 27 when the American band was at its peak. Other members of the band George Hurley and Mike Watt never made an attempt to reunite.

Led Zepplin

Led Zeppelin broke up in 1980.

Unlike Minutemen, Led Zeppelin was one of the most popular bands of the decade. And just like Minutemen, the band faced the calamity in the form of drummer John Bonham. Back in the 1960’s, Led Zeppelin recorded their first album and after a 12 year long stint and 8 critically acclaimed albums, the band was shut down abruptly by the tragic death of the band’s guitarist.

The creativity and songwriting prowess demonstrated in these 12 years however meant that the band cemented it’s name in the history books as one of the greatest musical groups of all time, selling more than 300 million copies of their 8 albums making them one of the biggest selling bands of all time.

The Jam

‘A Town Called Malice’ was one of the finest songs of the band.

Luckily, not every band of the 1980’s broke up due to a tragic loss of life. Another major reason for the breaking up of bands during this period was the underlying personal conflicts between band members which eventually saw the breaking up of The Jam.

The band led by Paul Weller but in 1982, Paul decided to leave the band due to the difference in their music approach and direction. Other band members Rick Buckler and Bruce Foxton decided not to pursue their careers further without Paul. In its short existence, the band gained a lot of fame before finally breaking up in 1982.

The Police

The Police – a British rock band – was formed in 1977.

Probably the only band in this compilation that successfully reunited after their 1980’s break up, Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers were joined by Sting in 2008 when they performed during a tour to North American. Just like Weller, Sting had moved on from the band in 80’s with no intention to come back again but 2008 saw a reuniting of the band members after persistence from their die hard fans.

The Eagles

American rock band “The Eagles” was formed in 1971.

Back in 1979, after the release of “The Long Run”, “the Eagles” were headed for some serious trouble; the band members experienced serious differences which would result in a lot of fights and bickering, sometimes even on stage! There were many reasons for the band members to reunite again but they disliked each other to the point that it took them 14 long years before finally reuniting.

The Clash

English rock band “The Clash” was formed in 1976.

The Clash is one of those bands which experienced a very public falling out between the band members, a spat which even erupted at times on stage.

In 1982, Topper Headon, the drummer of the band, was dismissed from the band due to drug problems, followed by guitarist Mick Jones who left the band in 1983.

Other band members Paul Simonon and Joe Strummer tried their best to continue the legacy of the band without their counterparts before finally giving up and calling it quits in 1986.

Husker Du

‘Makes No Sense at All’ is one of the best songs of the band.

Husker Du is one of those bands which had it’s fair share of controversy and personal differences, but to everyone’s amazement, the band members managed to remain together as a music group despite their fundamental differences.

The two leaders of the band Bob Mould and Grant Hart would regularly lock horns over the creative approach and stylistic direction of their music. The band was formed in 1979 and despite numerous major differences between the band members, managed to stay together until 1988 when the band eventually broke up.

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