Musicians Who Disappeared In 2018

Every artist has their time in the sun — they score a couple hits that define a particular era, become tremendously famous, make millions of dollars, and then over the years slowly fade away into a life of touring casino showrooms, county fairs, and boat shows. Then there's that select handful of acts — your Paul McCartneys, your Beyoncés, your Weird Al Yankovics — that never quite go away. They've got the talent and charisma to make albums and filling stadiums and arenas for decades, and they'll probably keep doing that stuff until they retire or die.

In other words, popular music mirrors the competitive nature of life itself. And while there are a bevy of new artists competing for attention each and every year, quite a few bands, singers, and rappers also completely drop out of sight. Sometimes it's intentional, and sometimes it's not. At any rate, here are some of the biggest acts in music who virtually vanished in 2018.

Neil Diamond's sweet end-o'-the-line

Neil Diamond has enjoyed one of the longest careers in music history. After getting his start as a songwriter in the '60s (he wrote "I'm a Believer" for the Monkees), he became a chest-baring pop and then soft rock superstar, creating classics of both genres like "Cracklin' Rosie" and "Sweet Caroline," and "Love on the Rocks" and "America," respectively. He hasn't had a top 40 hit in more than 35 years, but Diamond had such a beloved back catalog of favorites that he was still a top touring act well into his 70s.

Sadly, he retired from touring in 2018, but only because he had to. On January 22, 2018 — two days before his 77th birthday — Diamond announced he'd been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, a devastating, progressive neurological condition that had, according to a statement on his website, "made it difficult to travel and perform on a large scale basis." However, Diamond did promise to keep writing and recording music.

Kenny Rogers is in pretty old condition

Kenny Rogers has been around forever in various incarnations. Yes, that's a comment about his forays into music, acting, and extensive plastic surgery. The first edition of Rogers? Singer for the First Edition, who had a huge hit in 1967 with the psychedelic "Just Dropped In (to See What Condition My Condition Was In)." Rogers went solo and became a superstar with country hits that crossed over to pop and soft rock radio in the '70s and early '80s, including "She Believes in Me," "Lady," and "Islands in the Stream." He also starred in a series of TV movies built around his song "The Gambler," co-founded Kenny Rogers Roasters, and drove your mom wild with his perfectly manicured white beard.

Rogers turned 80 in 2018, which is a more than reasonable age to retire. In late 2016, he told Billboard he'd wrap things up shortly, would no longer record, and would stop performing live after one last tour. "Every goal I've set, I've done that, and there's a point where you have to say, 'I've had my turn. Let someone else have it,' and that's kind of where I am," Rogers said, adding that what he really wants to do is spend more time with his family, particularly his twin teenage boys. Rogers canceled the last dates on "The Gambler's Last Deal" tour in April 2018, and he's been quiet since.

Adele won't be hitting the road anymore

At least in terms of sales figures, few musicians can touch Adele in popularity. She's one of the top-selling artists of the 21st century, as all three of her albums, 19, 21, and 25 have all sold in excess of 10 million copies each in the United States alone. More people bought 25 than any other album released in 2015. That album of the year Grammy-winner also marks the last time Adele put out a record.

She followed the album with the Adele Live tour in 2016, which took her all around the world well into 2017, but two shows of a final stand at London's Wembley Stadium had to be canceled because Adele damaged her vocal cords. (Singing the way she does, night after night for months on end, can be rough.) That's about the last time Adele made any major musical headlines. In June 2018, she announced she's working on her fourth album ... which will drop in 2019 at the earliest.

Anita Baker's swan song

Okay, so Anita Baker's career peaked a long time ago, but that doesn't diminish her talents or accomplishments. In the '80s and '90s, she released a string of four straight platinum albums full of bright, sweet, and sultry baby-making music, such as "Sweet Love," "Giving You the Best That I Got," and "Body and Soul." While she placed her second of two top-10 hits on the pop chart in 1988, Baker was always a dominant force on soul radio, scoring 19 hit singles on the Billboard R&B chart, with the last, "Lately," coming in 2012.

There have been certain signs that Baker's career might be winding down. A lifetime achievement award generally comes closer to the end of a run than the beginning, and Baker received that honor at the 2018 BET Awards. Another indication Baker retired in 2018: She announced a "farewell concert series" early in the year, eventually playing 30 shows.

A Tribe Called Quest calls it quits

The latest incarnation of A Tribe Called Quest, one of the best hip-hop crews of all time and a pioneer of the Afrocentric and jazz-influenced "Native Tongues" movement, just wasn't long for this world. In 2015, the group reunited to perform on The Tonight Show and enjoyed being back together so much they decided to cut one last record. The collective arranged recording around Phife Dawg's schedule, as he was undergoing thrice-weekly kidney dialysis treatments, but he died in March 2016 from complications related to Type II diabetes.

Remaining members Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad finished the album We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service and promoted it with a farewell tour of TV and festival appearances in 2016 and 2017, including a blistering performance of anti-gentrification anthem "We the People..." on the first post-presidential election episode of Saturday Night Live, and a headlining spot at Bestival in England. That September 9, 2017, show marked the last time A Tribe Called Quest would perform live.

Green Day is past its day in the sun

Green Day has been playing, recording, and releasing music so consistently for more than 20 years now that the punk-pop legends' sudden disappearance is more than a little conspicuous. Between 1994, when they became one of the biggest American rock bands ever with the release of Dookie (which sold 10 million copies), and 2016, the year of Revolution Radio, Green Day released 10 studio albums and two live records, and helped create the Broadway musical American Idiot. Those guys were probably and deservedly in need of a break. In retrospect, Green Day neglecting to release any new music in 2018 could have been predicted. The band's last album was the 2017 compilation Greatest Hits: God's Favorite Band. Pro tip: Anytime a band releases a "best of," they're buying themselves some time ... and some time off.

But they're not dead yet. In the summer of 2018, drummer Tre Cool hinted on Instagram that his band was prepping a 2019 tour to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Dookie. Well ... we'll see.

My Bloody Valentine breaks hearts again

Shoegaze pioneers My Bloody Valentine released Loveless, a wall-of-guitar-fuzz noise-rock masterpiece, in 1991, after spending so much time and money perfecting it that it nearly bankrupted Creation Records. That put a lot of pressure on the band, too, and it took the group a good 22 years to release the much-promised follow-up, mbv, which suddenly hit the internet in February 2013.

Slightly more than four years later — which is like a couple of days in MBV years — Shields said he was working on another album. My Bloody Valentine's bio on a website advertising a late 2017 music festival (via Consequence of Sound) claimed Shields was in the process of "working on material for a new My Bloody Valentine album to be released in 2018."

Well, 2018 is over. Fool us once, shame on you, My Bloody Valentine. Fool us twice, shame on us for believing that My Bloody Valentine would actually release an album in a relatively timely manner.

The sky is apparently a limit for Sky Ferreira

The entire notion of Sky Ferreira just isn't fair. Also a model and actress, Ferreira is a preternaturally talented and versatile DIY musician. After starting out making videos of herself performing original works and uploading them to MySpace, Ferriera got a record deal and in 2013 released her powerful and dreamy Night Time, My Time, which helped confirm that the "sound" of the early 2000s just might be synth-driven indie rock.

Ferreira failed to strike again while the proverbial iron was hot. Night Time, My Time is five years old now, and it remains Ferreira's only full-length effort. A burgeoning side career in film and TV maybe got in the way a bit, although in late 2017, Ferriera explained away the delay, tweeting that she's ill and has been for a while. She also said she needs "to get completely better so I can tour" and actually promote her music. However, she still promised to release "new music very soon." We're pretty sure the "very soon" window has officially closed, but hopefully Ferreira will be well enough for a return in 2019.