Pettiest Reasons Bands Broke Up
Photo: KRLA Beat/Beat Publications, Inc. / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Pettiest Reasons Bands Broke Up

Over 3.0K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of Pettiest Reasons Bands Broke Up
Voting Rules
Vote up the band break-ups that strike you as petty.

Some of the greatest bands in music history called it quits at the height of their fame - sometimes because the band legitimately didn't work anymore, and others because of a petty dispute that caused a rift between members. The Police, for example, disbanded because of creative differences, whereas the Everly Brothers split up over a disagreement regarding when it was appropriate to over-consume alcohol.

When it comes to bands with a heavy history of petty behavior, their ultimate demise is unsurprising. And questions like, "Why did Oasis break-up?" are far easier to answer than "Why did Simon & Garfunkel break-up?" given the latter's reputation for being best-selling folk-rock heroes. The shock that comes with the untimely end of bands who seem to be steadily climbing their way to success leads to questions like, "Why did Rage Against the Machine break-up?" and "Why did the Smiths break-up?" 

From cake-smashing to palm-tree-climbing, it's safe to say no one does petty quite like rock and roll.

  • Without the Pixies, there would be no Nirvana or Radiohead. The influential alt-rockers pioneered the genre in 1986 up until their untimely break-up in 1993.

    Frontman Black Francis hired Kim Deal after she responded to a newspaper ad about the band needing a bassist, but he didn't expect her to become the fan favorite. Even Kurt Cobain was impressed with her. In 1992, Cobain stated in an interview that he wished Kim "was allowed to write more songs for the Pixies, because 'Gigantic' is the best Pixies song and Kim wrote it."

    Francis became jealous and blocked Deal from having any creative input in their later albums. In perhaps the pettiest move of all, Black Francis sent the news of the break-up to the rest of the band via fax.

    1,699 votes
  • Simon & Garfunkel Broke Up When Garfunkel Took An Acting Gig And Didn’t Tell Simon
    Photo: GAC-General Artists Corporation-management and Columbia Records / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Simon & Garfunkel were the famous folk-rock duo responsible for the soundtrack to The Graduate, spawning the classic, "Mrs. Robinson." Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel met in elementary school and went from practicing harmonies at recess to selling over 100 million records worldwide. The duo seemed to get along okay throughout most of their career, and according to documentarian Charlie Grodin, the rivalry between Simon and Garfunkel emerged when filmmaker Mike Nichols cast them both in a 1970 film adaptation of the novel Catch-22, then cut Simon's role.

    In the years that followed, Garfunkel distanced himself further and further from music in order to establish a career in film. Simon laments that it all came to a head when Garfunkel accepted the lead role in Mike Nichols's next film, 1971's Carnal Knowledge, and purposely failed to mention it to him. Apparently, Garfunkel was afraid Simon would quit the band if he told him. 

    1,609 votes
  • The Smiths ruled the '80s goth rock scene with their melancholy tunes about dreary days in England and heartbreak. Morrissey was the frontman, singer, and lyricist, and his word was law. So when he suggested they record a cover of "Work is a Four-Letter Word," a silly one-off single from singer Cilla Black (which Black only recorded to promote her film with the same name), the rest of the band obliged. This didn't sit well with guitarist Johnny Marr, however, who cited the song as the final straw before making a permanent departure from the band.

    Following their break-up in 1987, Morrissey stated that the Smiths simply suffered from business problems given their lack of a manager. Marr sings a different tune in his 2016 autobiography, stating that the Smiths "could have only ever lasted as long as we did because of the differences in my and Morrissey's personalities."

    1,036 votes
  • The Kinks Broke Up After Ray Davies Stomped On His Brother's Birthday Cake
    Photo: KRLA Beat/Beat Publications, Inc. / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Kinks ruled the '60s, were part of the British Invasion, and were eventually inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame. The band stayed together for 32 years (with brothers Ray and Dave Davies bickering throughout most of it) before Dave decided he just couldn't do it anymore.

    According to Dave, Ray lovingly decided to throw his brother a 50th birthday party, only to jump on the table and make a self-indulgent speech before stomping his foot into Dave's birthday cake. That was the last time they saw each other. Dave later said, "Ray's an a**hole."

    1,253 votes
  • The Wanted are often remembered as the Scooter Braun alternative to One Direction. The boy band formed in 2009 after a massive audition process and enjoyed a few Billboard chart hits and a couple of world tours for five short years before abruptly announcing an "indefinite hiatus" in 2014.

    After releasing a joint statement about pursuing other interests, member Siva Kaneswaran told the UK tabloid Mirror it was their E! reality show that ultimately did them in. A feud erupted between member Max George and Siva's fiancee Nareesha, who had moved into the the boys' party mansion - and the tiff became a major storyline for the show. Siva often sided with Nareesha, and the boys sided against them. The feud eventually turned into an online Twitter fight, leaving plenty of petty animosity in their wake. 

    656 votes
  • Oasis, an English rock band once thought to be "the next Beatles," will likely never reunite. They had a good run, spawned the overplayed radio hit "Wonderwall," and have sold over 75 million records worldwide. Despite their musical success, founding members and co-frontmen Liam and Noel Gallagher seem to be known more for their extremely public feud than their impressive discography. 

    In some of their more damning disputes, Noel once hit Liam over the head with a cricket bat for inviting strangers to their recording studio; Liam became intoxicated and heckled Noel at the band's own taping of MTV Unplugged; Noel split Liam's lip open during downtime on a tour in Spain because Liam mockingly questioned the legitimacy of Noel's child, and so on. Somehow, these events weren't enough to permanently break-up the band, and they stayed together, on and off, until 2009.

    Ahead of releasing his solo album in 2011, Noel revealed that his inevitable departure from Oasis two years prior stemmed from the launch of Liam's clothing label. According to Noel, everything came tumbling down when Liam demanded that he be allowed to advertise his new label in the Oasis tour programs. Noel felt it was wrong to sell his merchandise directly to their fans who were there for the music, so he left. 

    Liam sued Noel for libel and called him a potato on Twitter.

    921 votes