Rock Stars Who Walked Away and Never Looked Back
Rock bands, like relationships, are difficult to manage. In both cases, egos and emotions are involved, and knowing when it’s time to quit is extremely difficult to gauge.
For many musicians opting to break away from their bands, the classic line is true: “It’s not you, it’s me.” For various reasons, artists outgrow the groups that brought them to fame, be it due to personality clashes with bandmates or simply differing opinions regarding musical directions.
In other cases, the pitfalls of fame can lead one to exit. Drugs, the stresses of touring, declining mental health - all of these and more have led notable members to leave.
Some musicians remain close with their old bandmates, even after saying goodbye. Former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman has noted that he and the rest of the band ”are still family,” despite his decision to leave after more than 30 years.
Tragedy has occasionally prompted tough decisions. Queen bassist John Deacon famously chose to retire from the limelight following the death of the band’s singer, Freddie Mercury, though the group’s other members, Brain May and Roger Taylor, have continued touring and making music in the decades since.
Such should-I-stay-or-should-I-go decisions extend to solo acts as well. Bill Withers is one artist who opted to step away from music entirely rather than relent to a record label agreement he deemed unfair.
Below, we’ve rounded up a collection of Rock Stars Who Walked Away and Never Looked Back.