Rock Rock Bands That Have Tarnished Their Legacies  

Jessica DeFino
3.5k votes 791 voters 27.8k views 12 items

List Rules Vote up the bands that you agree have tarnished their legacy for good.

Even the most successful bands have had their share of problems – it’s the nature of the beast. Personal tensions can become bigger than the music (The Beatles, The Beach Boys), the changing industry can prove challenging (Metallica, U2), or the lure of selling out can be hard to resist (Aerosmith’s pop reinvention of the '90s). Whatever the reason, these are the biggest bands that ruined their legacy, to varying degrees. Oh, the price of success!

1 258 VOTES

INXS


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Their Legacy: Australian rockers INXS were one of the best rock groups to come out in the '80s—and that's saying a lot. They popularized the new-wave-meets-ska style of rock that no one else was making at the time.

How They Tarnished It: When lead singer Michael Hutchence killed himself in 1997, INXS took a year off from music. Totally acceptable. What wasn't acceptable, though, was how they found their new lead singer in a reality TV singing competition. This sell-out move all but ruined INXS's rock-hard reputation.

Also Ranked

#63 on The Best Pop Artists of the 1980s

#35 on The Greatest Musical Artists of the '80s

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2 430 VOTES

Metallica


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Their Legacy: 1980s headbangers Metallica are considered to be one of "The Big Four" of thrash metal. They built an underground cult following and their first handful of albums were so critically acclaimed that Metallica became one of the first heavy metal bands to seep into pop culture consciousness. Even their band tee shirts are iconic and have been mass-produced by everyone from H&M to Forever 21. 

How They Destroyed It: Metallica stood up to Napster in 2000 and sued them for sharing the band's music for free. While they eventually won their lawsuit, many fans saw the band's stand as hypocritical; underground sharing was how they got their start, after all. Metallica's first post-Napster album, St. Anger, alienated fans even more with a new sound and they never recovered the popularity.

Also Ranked

#37 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#12 on The Best Rock Bands of All Time

#9 on The Greatest American Rock Bands

#44 on Rank the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

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3 220 VOTES

Hole


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Their Legacy: Grunge rock band Hole, fronted by Courtney Love, left a lasting impression on the world. They are considered the most commercially successful grunge band with a female singer and Love has made a name for herself as a feminist icon by becoming one of the first songwriters to touch on third-wave feminism with her raw lyrics. 

How They Tarnished It: Controversy surrounded the group's 1998 album, Celebrity Skin, which credited Billy Corgan as a co-writer; Corgan stirred up drama by claiming to have written the entire album. But it wasn't until Hole went on tour to promote Celebrity Skin as the opening act for Marilyn Manson that the real theatrics began. Love and Manson could not get along or agree on tour costs and Hole dropped out of the tour after only nine shows. The band couldn't survive the fallout and officially broke up in 2002.

Also Ranked

#80 on The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s

#75 on The Most Hipster Bands

#18 on The Greatest Chick Rock Bands Ever

#77 on Bands/Artists With Only One Great Album

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4 368 VOTES

Guns N' Roses


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Their Legacy: One part hair metal, one part rock and roll, Guns N' Roses made a name for themselves as one of the hardest rocking bands in town. The mastery of their instruments was unparalleled and their live shows were something to see. 

How They Tarnished It: Due to tensions between singer Axl Rose and guitarist Slash, GNR unofficially broke up in the mid-'90s.The band decided to get back together—sans Slash—in 2008 and release Chinese Democracy, which did well but still didn't meet industry expectations. In 2016, the full band reunited for a pretty disastrous tour. Rose broke his foot during the warm-up show and had to sit on a makeshift "throne" to sing during the group's headlining gig at Coachella. The crowd consensus? Guns N' Roses should've left well enough alone.

Also Ranked

#47 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#16 on The Best Rock Bands of All Time

#11 on The Greatest American Rock Bands

#64 on Rank the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

220 148
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