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7 Bands That Broke Up After The Death Of A Member: Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, And More

by Joey DeGroot   Sep 15, 2014 20:16 PM EDT

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Out of all the problems a band can face, the death of a member seems like it would be one of the most difficult to overcome. Though plenty of bands have managed to move on from the death of a member, including AC/DC, Metallica, Stereolab, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, there are others who found that they couldn't continue. Here are seven bands who broke up after the death of a member.

1. T. Rex

Legendary British glam rock band T. Rex is pretty much the solo project of frontman Marc Bolan, so it makes perfect sense that the band couldn't possibly function without him. In September 1977, Bolan died in a car crash at age 29, ending the band entirely.

2. Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin is one of the rare bands that never went through a single line-up change, which goes to show how committed they were to the band as a complete unit. When drummer John Bonham passed away in 1980 after a night of heavy drinking, they decided to call it quits rather than replace him.

3. Joy Division

In 1980, post-punk legends Joy Division were on the verge of an American tour and international success when frontman Ian Curtis tragically committed suicide at age 23. Though his death effectively ended Joy Division, the band's three remaining members would team up with synth player Gillian Gilbert and form New Order just months later.

4. Minutemen

The Minutemen were one of the most influential punk bands of all time, forming in 1980 and lasting until late 1985 when singer and guitarist D. Boon died in a car accident at age 27. Though fellow Minutemen Mike Watt and George Hurley were so devastated by Boon's death that they considering quitting music altogether, they formed a new band called Firehose with guitarist Ed Crawford in 1987.

5. Nirvana

Like D. Boon, another member of the 27 club is Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, who committed suicide in 1994 after struggling with heroin addiction, depression, chronic stomach pain, and his band's overwhelming success. Drummer Dave Grohl would of course go on to form Foo Fighters the following year, while bassist Krist Novoselic played with the bands Sweet 75, Eyes Adrift, and Flipper.

6. Type O Negative

Brooklyn's Type O Negative was one of the most unique metal bands of all time, playing an atmospheric, gothic style that had more in common with The Cure than Metallica. The band played together for 21 years until 2010, when bassist and lead singer Peter Steele passed away from heart failure at age 48.

7. Beastie Boys

Though Adam Yauch (a.k.a. MCA) of the Beastie Boys was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, the release of the group's 2011 album Hot Sauce Committee Part Two offered some hope that he would overcome the disease. Unfortunately, Yauch passed away in 2012, and though the Beastie Boys didn't immediately disband, Mike D announced this past July that the band wouldn't continue.

What other bands broke up after the death of a member? Let us know down in the comments section!

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