Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted by Spinner
They say winners never quit, but in the music biz there's something to be said for going out at the top of your game. Whether they left for greener pastures, fled amid feuds and controversy, or just dropped off the face of the earth, here are some of the biggest quitters in rock music history.
D'Arcy Quits the Smashing Pumpkins:
After five albums with the Smashing Pumpkins, bassist D'Arcy Wretzky ditched the notoriously difficult Billy Corgan (and ex-fiancé James Iha), which Corgan later blamed on D'Arcy's drug and emotional problems. D'Arcy played briefly in other bands before leaving the industry altogether to "pursue other interests." Those interests included owning an antique store, living on a horse farm, becoming a masseuse -- and recently entailed calling a Chicago radio station to inquire about Davy Jones of the Monkees.
Zack de la Rocha and Rage Against the Machine stuck it to The Man with their politically incendiary hits, but in 2000 the fiery frontman quit the band at the peak of their fame, citing the ever-popular "creative differences." While his former bandmates joined Chris Cornell to form Audioslave, de la Rocha toiled on an abortive solo album and a never-released collaboration with Trent Reznor. RATM reunited for some festival appearances in 2007-08, but the band's future remains uncertain.
Lauryn Hill Quits Singing (and Rapping and Acting):
The Axl Rose of the neo-soul crowd, Lauryn Hill went from superstar to super ... hermit. A hip-hop sensation with the Fugees in the late 1990s -- and 'Sister Act 2' movie star -- Hill struck platinum with 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill' in 1998 before dropping out to focus on motherhood, religion and a new album that's been "in development" for more than a decade. Despite an awkwardly conceived 'MTV Unplugged' and a brief 2004 Fugees reunion, Hill remains a troubling enigma.
When Metallica bassist Cliff Burton died in 1986, Jason Newsted won the most coveted gig on the mullet circuit. Despite his good fortune, he quit in 2001 when his side project, Echobrain, led James Hetfield to question Newsted's commitment to the Biggest Metal Band on Earth. When Echobrain fizzled, Newsted joined Voivod and toured with Ozzy Osbourne, and in 2006 he joined a cast of washed-up rockers on the less-than-successful "supergroup" reality show 'Rock Star: Supernova.'
Abba Couples Quit Each Other and Music:
'Mamma Mia!' had audiences dancing in the aisles, but not even an entirely new generation of fans -- or a reported offer of $1 billion in 2000 -- could entice the Swedish pop deities out of retirement. One of the best-selling groups ever, Abba disbanded in the early 1980s following the divorces of both couples. They've since vowed never to perform together again, no matter how much 'Money, Money, Money' they're offered.
Ace Frehley Quits Kiss (Twice):
They called him Space Ace, but "head case" might've been more appropriate. In the early 1980s, the substance-addled lead guitarist quit the band in disgust at its move toward disco and concept albums. The fans seemed to agree, as both a separated Kiss and Frehley encountered only mild success until they all put their makeup back on for a 1996 reunion tour. True to form, he left the band again after its 2002 "farewell" tour.
Boasting a feverish guitar attack and Rob Halford's distinctive wail, Judas Priest brought leather-and-spikes metal to the mainstream with such Beavis and Butt-head–approved headbangers as 'Breakin' the Law.' When self-proclaimed "metal god" Halford exited the band in 1991 over "creative differences," he was famously replaced by a fan (inspiring the unfortunate Mark Wahlberg film 'Rock Star'). After fronting other bands, Halford made headlines when he announced his homosexuality in 1998. The newly liberated singer rejoined Priest in 2003.
The blame has been placed on Yoko's shoulders, but the Beatles' breakup was going to happen sooner or later. After a long period of infighting, Lennon officially resigned from the band in 1969, asking his bandmates to keep it private so they could "work it out" legally. But the cat was let out of the bag when Paul McCartney released his solo debut in 1970, triggering a spate of lawsuits that took years to settle.
After years as indie darlings, the Natalie Merchant–led 10,000 Maniacs finally hit their commercial stride in 1993 with 'Our Time in Eden,' which spawned the hits 'These Are Days' and 'Candy Everybody Wants.' So how did Merchant celebrate? By leaving the band. Her first two solo efforts, 'Tigerlily' and 'Ophelia,' were hugely successful with adult alternative audiences, and though subsequent albums have seen diminishing returns, she remains popular with the hemp-and-organic-vegetable set.
Michael Nesmith Quits the Monkees:
In the Monkees, Michael Nesmith was clearly destined for better things. That's why in 1970 he asked to be released from his contract. Nesmith became a pioneer of both country-rock and music video production, and in 1980 he sold the concept to what would become MTV. Not that he needed the money, being the heir to the Liquid Paper fortune -- freeing him from the need to bash out 'Last Train to Clarksville' at state fairs.
Prince Quits Being Prince:
Quitting a band is one thing, but how do you quit being yourself? In 1993, to prove a point to his record company, the mercurial superstar changed his name to a symbol. So what's in a name? Well, the "Artist Formerly Known as Prince" years coincided with some of the weakest music of his career, so let's just say everyone was happy when he once again proclaimed, 'My Name Is Prince.'
Steve Perry Quits Journey:
Steve Perry led Journey from 1978 until he and the band went their "separate ways" in 1987. Despite early solo success with 'Oh Sherrie,' by 1995 he was ready to resume knocking out power ballads with his former bandmates. Perry retuned to the sidelines after a 1998 hip injury -- and has since been replaced by pint-sized Filipino karaoke star Arnel Pineda -- but if he asked nicely, the band would surely welcome him back with "open arms."
Dee Dee Ramone can be credited with giving the band not only its name but also its signature punk sound. But in 1989, after 15 years in the Ramones, he said, "Hey ho, let's go" and left to pursue, of all things, a rap career. Although his solo endeavors failed miserably, Dee Dee continued to write songs for the Ramones until his death from a heroin overdose in 2002.
Cat Stevens Quits Music for Religion:
Cat Stevens, born Steven Georgiou, sold millions of copies of his touchy-feely folk rock. But after nearly drowning in 1976, Stevens began searching for higher meaning. He converted to Islam, changed his name (again) to Yusuf Islam and auctioned off his guitars for charity. Though praised for his philanthropy, Yusuf's support of Islamic charities landed him on an FBI watch list in 2004. Fortunately, his name was cleared in time to promote his 2006 return album.
Mase Quits Rap for the Ministry:
After a long stint as P. Diddy's sidekick, Mase broke out on the Notorious B.I.G.'s megahit 'Mo Money Mo Problems,' and his 1997 debut album, 'Harlem World,' blew up multiplatinum. But then "rap's newest bad boy" found Jesus after an arrest for soliciting a prostitute. After his second album sagged, Mase quit the biz to become neither a baller nor a shot-caller but instead a minister. His failed 2004 comeback album, 'Welcome Back,' needed some divine intervention.
Tom Fogerty Quits on His Brother in Creedence:
The musical interplay between brothers Tom and John Fogerty fueled Creedence Clearwater Revival, but with frontman and songwriter John getting all the attention, fraternal tensions boiled over and Tom quit the band in 1971. While he continued to make music and perform on his own, Tom's strained relationship with his sibling culminated in a lawsuit over CCR royalties. Although the suit was successful, Tom Fogerty died tragically in 1990 after contracting AIDS from a blood transfusion.
A mere three years after the global success of 'Relax' in 1984, Frankie Goes to Hollywood frontman Holly Johnson quit the band over, what else, creative differences. After winning a landmark court case to get out of his contract, the openly gay Liverpool native found some solo success with a new label, but upon learning he was HIV positive in 1991, Johnson left the music business to focus on painting. Frankie -- and Frankie's physicians -- say relax.
Brian Wilson set the template for the Tortured Rock Genius. The Beach Boys leader had scored hit after hit in the early 1960s with 'Surfin' U.S.A.' and 'I Get Around,' but soon Wilson wasn't having any 'Fun, Fun. Fun.' He stopped touring in 1964 and eventually had a breakdown while trying to perfect his magnum opus, 'Smile.' Showing he's not a complete quitter, a much-improved Wilson finally released 'Smile' in 2004, a mere 38 years after he started it.
When Oasis announced they wouldn't be taking the stage at a Paris music festival in August 2009, the crowd thought it was a joke. But after a wicked backstage fight, Noel Gallagher quit the band, declaring he couldn't "go on working with Liam a day longer." Noel and Liam aren't exactly the poster boys for brotherly love -- they once got in a fistfight over their favorite Christmas song -- but despite their many well-publicized feuds, this is Noel's first official departure.