Musicians And Bands That Retired Or Split Up In 2023

As unpredictable, spontaneous, and surprising as music can be, the business of making it endures the same natural tribulations year after year. Pop music, and rock, and country, are forever evolving. Bands are constantly forming, and would-be stars are learning to sing or picking up guitars for the first time. It's all part of the circle of musical life, as fresh new voices and superstars come along to replace the ones who die, retire, or break apart the world-famous bands they've been in for decades.

The year 2023 was no different, if a little more active in terms of major bands announcing their splits, influential solo artists of the past deciding to retire, or popular bands announcing that its next tour will be its last. Here, then, is a compilation of cultural obituaries — these are the musicians the world won't get to enjoy as much past 2023 because they're all walking off the stage or turning off their microphones for good.

Fleetwood Mac

Created by guitarists Jeremy Spencer and Peter Green, and a rhythm section populated by namesakes Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, Fleetwood Mac formed in the late 1960s as an electric blues band. In the 1970s, and after some lineup changes, the band reinvented itself as a soft rock juggernaut with the addition of vocalist Stevie Nicks and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham after bringing in McVie's wife, Christine McVie, a veteran of British band Chicken Shack.

In the 1970s and 1980s, after Fleetwood Mac blew up into one of the biggest bands on Earth with the 21-times platinum "Rumours," Christine McVie wrote and sang lead on many of the group's most memorable hits, including "Don't Stop," "You Make Loving Fun," and "Hold Me." Christine bowed out of Fleetwood Mac following the 1998 tour behind the comeback album "The Dance," but would rejoin in 2014 for more touring and recording.

In November 2022, Christine McVie, under treatment for cancer, suffered a stroke and died at the age of 79. Fleetwood Mac hadn't played together since 2019, but McVie's death put any speculation about any more band activities to rest. "When Christine died, I felt like you can't replace her," Nicks told Vulture in October 2023. "She was like my soul mate, my musical soul mate, and my best friend." As far as continuing as Fleetwood Mac in the wake of McVie's death, Nicks proclaimed, "We really can't go any further with this. There's no reason to."

Elton John

Elton John is a crucial part of the musical firmament of the 20th and 21st centuries. He consistently churned out classic hits throughout the '70s, '80s, and '90s, proving that a piano could be an effective rock 'n' roll instrument. While fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bernie Taupin writing the lyrics, John composed the melodies and sang and played on dozens of classic songs and huge hits, including "Your Song," "Tiny Dancer," "Rocket Man," "Daniel," "I'm Still Standing," and "Candle in the Wind" — the best-selling single of all-time in its tribute version written for the deceased Princess Diana in 1997. John won five Grammy Awards, two Academy Awards for his soundtrack cuts from "The Lion King" and "Rocketman," and a Tony for his "Aida" musical score.

He's the kind of act who could fill a stadium, and consistently has for decades; when he decided to stop touring, it took him five years to meet audience demand. In July 2023, his 330-date, $900 million-plus-grossing "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" series of shows wrapped up with a concert in Stockholm, Sweden. While he won't hit the stage much anymore, John may still have another album in him. In 2023, John and Taupin separately admitted that a new collection was in the works.


With nearly 70 million records sold across its 50-year-plus history, Aerosmith trails only the Eagles on the list of the most commercially successful American bands of all time. Often compared to the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith offered a similarly blues-influenced, hard-rocking, hard-partying sound, and lead singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry performed just as charismatically and distinctively as their counterparts Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Aerosmith just endured, never really changing its sound. The Boston band created just as many memorable hits in the '70s ("Walk This Way," "Dream On") as it did in the '80s ("Rag Doll," "Love in an Elevator"), and in the '90s ("Livin' on the Edge," "Cryin'").

Following a big tour in 2015 and a Las Vegas residency, Aerosmith told the world in May 2023 that it would be winding down soon. The 40-show "Peace Out" tour was set to run from September 2023 to January 2024, but after Tyler strained his vocal cords so severely that he suffered a larynx fracture, future dates were postponed. After Tyler was medically barred from singing for 30 days, the last-ever Aerosmith show was scheduled to go down in Cleveland on February 29, 2024.


With its story-like songs, jangly guitars, and exquisite harmonies, the Eagles racked up a lot of hits and sold millions of albums. It's the best-selling American band of the '70s, with "Their Greatest Hits 1971–1975" and "Hotel California" ranking as the No. 1 and No. 3 most-bought LPs in American music history. But tensions were high among the musicians who recorded relaxing, laid-back songs like "Take It Easy" and "Peaceful Easy Feeling." Don Felder and Glenn Frey threatened to beat each other up onstage at what seemed like its last concert in 1980. Frey and the rest of the Eagles recorded their last album, "The Long Run," in separate studios on opposite coasts.

When the Eagles did reunite in 1994 with the self-aware, self-deprecatingly titled live album "Hell Freezes Over," it was both unlikely and permanent. The reconstituted band released the 2007 record "Long Road Out of Eden" and toured regularly, even after Frey's death, with the addition of country star Vince Gill. In 2023, the Eagles hit the road for the "Hotel California 2023 Tour," in which the band played that album all the way through. That series of dates gave way to "The Long Goodbye" — an Eagles farewell tour. "Our long run has lasted far longer than any of us ever dreamed. But, everything has its time, and the time has come for us to close the circle," the band said on its website of its 13-date series of concerts scheduled for late 2023.


Having slapped its name, logo, and image on everything from coffins to toys to a coffeehouse, Kiss markets itself with an expertise equaling its production values. Announcing a tour as an act's final one can generate hype, which in turn generates ticket sales. Kiss, well known for its stage show filled with fire, pyrotechnics, fake blood, complicated makeup, and giant boots, took a supposed farewell tour from 2000 to 2002, but then kept going. But its second farewell tour supposedly really is it for the band, with Kiss deciding to wrap it up after 50 years.

It's been a long goodbye. Kiss' "End of the Road" tour began in January 2019, with 2020 shows delayed until 2021 due to the COVD-19 pandemic. In 2022, the group added about 100 more shows, taking the farewell tour into 2023. The last chunk of dates kicked off with a show in Austin on October 29, and will conclude with two big concerts in the band's hometown of New York City in early December 2023. "It will be a privilege and honor to finish touring at Madison Square Garden, 10 blocks and 50 years from where we first started," members of Kiss collectively said in a statement (via Rolling Stone).


More of an elaborate, ongoing performance art project than a band, Devo made futuristic, synthesizer-driven, heavily processed philosophical rock that spoke to its central thesis: that humanity wasn't evolving, but rather rapidly de-evolving (hence the name Devo). A huge influence on and participant in the New Wave sound of the late '70s and early '80s, the group only ever landed a single Top 40 hit, "Whip It," but were well known for other works, like deconstructive covers of "Working in a Coal Mine" and "Satisfaction," and taking the stage in yellow jumpsuits and hats called "energy domes."

After forming in 1973 after witnessing the Kent State University massacre, Devo never split up but kept experimenting. Frontman Mark Mothersbaugh became a prolific and in-demand composer for TV, film, and video games, and in 2006, Devo's members replaced themselves with a group of children for a Disney project, Devo 2.0. Having not released an album since 2010 and tiring of life on the road as its members entered their 70s, Devo decided to stop performing. Its 2023 "Celebrating 50 Years of De-Evolution Tour" will be its final road trip. "It's tricky being in a band," Mothersbaugh told The Guardian. "I'm looking forward to 2073. We'll play 100th anniversary Devo shows and then maybe retire."

Kenny Loggins

In some shape or form, Kenny Loggins has been kicking around the music industry for more than 50 years. In 1970, he wrote songs for a Nitty Gritty Dirt Band album and shortly thereafter formed the folk-rock duo Loggins and Messina with ex-Poco member Jim Messina. By decade's end, he was a purveyor of shiny, ultra-produced yacht rock — he co-wrote the Doobie Brothers' "What a Fool Believes" and scored soft-oriented hits on his own with "This Is It" and "Whenever I Call You Friend" (featuring Stevie Nicks). In the '80s, Loggins was the king of the soundtrack single, recording smashes for "Caddyshack" ("I'm Alright"), "Footloose" (the title song), and "Top Gun" ("Danger Zone").

Loggins toured throughout the 21st century, but hasn't released a solo album since 2009. In 2023, he announced that he'd sunset the performance element of his career. "It's been an amazing journey since starting with Jimmy Messina in 1971, and I'm fortunate to have had such a long touring career," Loggins reflected in a statement (via Vulture). "I don't see this as the end of my professional career but certainly a halt to the grind of major touring."

Panic! at the Disco

Brendon Urie started Panic! at the Disco in 2004, a pop-punk collective that took the moody sensibilities and wordy, introspective lyrics of the emo subgenre into the mainstream. Panic! at the Disco captured a moment and the zeitgeist in the 2000s and 2010s. It reached the Top 10 of the pop chart with "I Write Sins Not Tragedies," which would later win the MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year. Other smashes would follow, like "Nine in the Afternoon," "Say Amen (Saturday Night)," and "High Hopes," which spent a record 31 weeks atop Billboard's Hot Rock Songs chart.

Through it all, members slowly but steadily departed. The 2013 LP "Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!" was the last to feature any of the band's original musicians beyond Urie, who used Panic! at the Disco as a solo vehicle. In a January 2023 post on the Panic! at the Disco Instagram page, Urie announced his wife, Sarah, was pregnant. "The prospect of being a father and getting to watch my wife become a mother is both humbling and exciting. I look forward to this next adventure," Urie wrote. "That said, I am going to bring this chapter of my life to an end and put my focus and energy on my family, and with that Panic! at the Disco will be no more."


As bands from or near Seattle ruled rock radio with grunge in the early 1990s, another Seattle band with a heavier sound enjoyed national success: Candlebox. The band's debut, self-titled, quadruple-platinum album yielded three big rock radio hits in 1993 and 1994: "You," "Cover Me," and "Far Behind," the latter of which crossed over to the Top 20 of the Billboard pop chart. As the grunge and hard rock styles of the era eventually fell out of a dominant cultural position, Candlebox continued to record albums and perform well on rock stations, with their last minor hit, "Vexatious," arriving in 2016.

Candlebox stuck around for more than three decades, and it celebrated with a 2023 tour commemorating the anniversary of its first LP. And 31 years is plenty for band founder and frontman Kevin Martin. In 2022, he told radio station 94.3 The Shark of Long Island, New York, that he would retire his band after its 2023 tour. "I think every kid wants to have that opportunity and a career that lasts decades, and I'm very grateful that it has," Martin said. "But there comes a time where my responsibilities as a husband and a father supersede my responsibilities to the music that I make. And that's kind of where I'm at."

Dead & Company

For three decades, the Grateful Dead was a relentless phenomenon, a hippie-rock jam band that kept alive the countercultural spirit of the late '60s. It spawned a subculture, a self-contained economy, and a library of imagery (skeletons, dancing bears, tie-dye) all adopted by its following of "Deadheads." The Grateful Dead was more than a band, and when chief creative force, lead singer, and main singer-songwriter Jerry Garcia died at age 53 in 1995, the operation was so big and so important to so many people that it kept on trucking. Members played together in various permutations, including a series of "Fare Thee Well" shows in 2015. By the end of the year, Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead were ready to get back out in front of fans, and after recruiting pop-rocker John Mayer, they formed Dead & Company.

The supergroup, and living link to rock history, played hundreds of shows over the next near-decade. But the Grateful Dead franchise, in its current spinoff version, may finally meet its end. In October 2022, Mayer announced via his Instagram account that Dead & Company's upcoming summer 2023 tour would be its last one.


Foreigner ruled rock radio in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and then became a foundational staple of classic rock stations. Led by the soaring voice of Lou Gramm and the hooky guitar riffs of Mick Jones, Foreigner churned out many arena rock anthems, like "Urgent," "Juke Box Hero," "Double Vision," and "Cold as Ice." But it scaled the pop chart with tender, yearning power ballads, namely "Waiting for a Girl Like You" and the No. 1 hit "I Want to Know What Love Is." After helping to sell millions of albums, Gramm departed Foreigner for a solo career in 1989, returned in 1992, left again in 2003, and ultimately came back, touring with the band well into the new century and releasing a live album in 2018.

After experiencing medical issues in 2011 and a heart surgery in 2012, Jones declared himself a part-time member of Foreigner, and would occasionally join the band for a concert, health permitting. That arrangement is set to end, because in late 2022, Foreigner announced that it had a final tour planned for 2023. "By the end of our farewell tour, over 50 years will have passed," Jones told Billboard of his group's longevity, "and that's a long time to be on the road."

Mr. Big

Mr. Big functioned primarily as a hard and heavy near-metal rock band, its membership consisting of technical-minded musicians who'd already been in other moderately successful projects. Billy Sheehan previously played bass for David Lee Roth, guitarist Paul Gilbert had been in Racer X, and singer Eric Martin had a mid-'80s solo career that didn't click with audiences. Mr. Big's 1989 self-titled debut sold poorly in the U.S. but was a smash hit in Japan. It kept up the heavy sounds for the 1991 LP "Lean Into It," while also tacking on a ballad made up of little more than Martin's lovelorn wailing, Gilbert's acoustic guitar, and some handclaps. "To Be With You" went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The group enjoyed a few more minor hits and released more than a dozen albums well into the 2010s, many of them just for its fans in Japan. Gilbert left Mr. Big in 1999, and the band split in 2002, reunited in 2010, and then weathered the death of drummer Pat Torpey in 2018. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Big took an extended break, which it officially converted into a retirement in March 2023. "We wanted to do a proper farewell, and this seems like the right way to do it," Sheehan said of its 2023 tour in a statement (via Stereogum).


The prototypical pop-punk band, NOFX operated on the fringes of the rock mainstream for about 40 years. Led by comical frontman and founder Michael "Fat Mike" Burkett, NOFX made records full of short, frenetic songs with punk energy and politics and also plenty of humor and a pop sensibility. Among NOFX's best-selling albums: "The War on Errorism," "Never Trust a Hippy," and "45 or 46 Songs That Weren't Good Enough to Go on Our Other Records." After years with the label Epitaph Records (home of influential punk bands like Bad Religion and the Offspring), NOFX joined Fat Wreck Chords, co-created by Fat Mike for his own band and which would later release projects for major punk acts like Rancid, Against Me!, and Descendents.

In 2021, NOFX released its 14th LP, "Single Album." In September 2022, Fat Mike revealed that the band would break up in 2023. "It's been an amazing run," he said on Instagram (via Rolling Stone). "Los Angeles will be the last place we play. It's where we started, it's where we'll end."

Sum 41

When Ajax, Ontario, teenagers Deryck Whibley, Steve Jocz, Richard Roy, and Jon Marshall first got together in 1996 to start a punk band, they decided to be a NOFX cover band. Before long, Sum 41 performed original material and landed a contract with Island Records in 1999. Breaking out in a time when pop-punk was a very popular genre, Sum 41 hit big in the early 2000s, topping the Billboard alternative rock chart with "Fat Lip" and getting lots of airplay for subsequent singles "In Too Deep," "Still Waiting," and "We're All to Blame."

In May 2023, Whibley, the sole founding member left in Sum 41, announced that the group's forthcoming ninth studio album would also be its last — the group would separate before year's end. (That LP, "Heaven :x: Hell," was later shelved for a 2024 release.) "Sum 41 will be disbanding. We will still be finishing all of our current upcoming tour dates this year," read a post on the group's page on X, formerly known as Twitter.


Anti-Flag was never an act that sold a lot of records, and that was partially by design. Formed in Pittsburgh in 1988, Anti-Flag was a loud, aggressive punk band that sat on the far left of the political spectrum, performing songs that called out corrupt governments, police brutality, and economic oppression. The group earned a cult following over its 30-plus years of existence for albums such as "Die for the Government," "Mobilize," and "The Terror State," and toured with like-minded acts like Rage Against the Machine and NOFX.

"Anti-Flag has disbanded," a July 2023 posting on Anti-Flag's Patreon page read (via Pitchfork). No reason was offered, but a September 2023 Rolling Stone exposé surmised that the band broke up in light of a rape allegation against its singer-guitarist Justin Sane; a woman recounted the 2010 assault on a podcast. Rolling Stone dug deep into the matter, and spoke with 13 women who accused Sane of various and numerous acts, including predatory behavior, statutory rape, and sexual assault. Sane's bandmates — Patrick Bollinger, Chris Barker, and Chris Head — then released a statement to Rolling Stone. "To Justin, we believe you are very sick and in need of serious professional help. We want to have compassion and have faith in restorative justice, but f*** you for hurting so many people," the rest of Anti-Flag wrote.


In 1983, Kix would score a minor hit in the U.S. with "Body Talk," one of the first mainstream strikes in a rock movement that would come to be known as hair metal, or glam metal. The members of Kix dutifully wore tight pants and teased their out until it was big and tall and played the types of songs for which their genre would become famous — lascivious, catchy, wailing-guitar-driven jams like "Girl Money," and plaintive power ballads, such as "Don't Close Your Eyes," a No. 11 hit in 1989 and Kix's most successful song ever.

Hair metal died out as a major commercial force and viable radio presence in the early 1990s, and Kix split up, but not forever. The band reunited (with some new musicians replacing the original ones) in the 2000s, embarked on regular tours, and recorded a couple of albums. Only in 2023 did Kix decide to finally and officially close it all down. Frontman Steve Whiteman announced during a concert at the M3 Festival in Columbia, Maryland, in May 2023 that its scheduled show for September 17 — featuring a reunion of the classic Kix lineup — would be its last one.

The Band Perry

Alabama-based family act The Band Perry formed in 2005, creating a unique blend of both traditional and pop-country sounds along with some traces of rock 'n' roll. Its self-titled 2010 debut went platinum in the U.S., reached No. 2 on the country album chart, and generated the country mega-hits "If I Die Young," "You Lie," and "Postcard from Paris." Just after the cycle for that record ended, The Band Perry unleashed "Pioneer," a Billboard country albums chart-topper that spawned four hit singles.

The Band Perry had been inactive for years, having not released a full-length album since "Pioneer" in 2013 or a standalone single since 2019. What was obvious became official on March 27, 2023. All three Perry siblings, Kimberly, Reid, and Neil, cosigned a letter on their band's Instagram page announcing that the group had split, at least for the immediate and foreseeable future, effective immediately. "We wanted to let you know that the three of us have decided to take a creative break as a group and each focus on our individual creative pursuits," The Band Perry wrote. "During this season we will continue to support each other as artists and family in all we do."

Barnes and Barnes

Child actor Bill Mumy is best known for his role as Will Robinson on the original 1960s "Lost in Space." He'd act only on occasion since, as he devoted a lot of time to his experimental comedy band, Barnes and Barnes. In 1970, teenage Mumy teamed up with his childhood friend, multi-instrumentalist Robert Haimer, to make weird and silly music to entertain themselves, but then decided to release their projects to the world after they got some airplay on the nationally syndicated comedy music program "The Dr. Demento Show." The surreal, low-budget video for one of their tunes, "Fish Heads," aired on "Saturday Night Live" and on MTV in 1981, becoming the best known song by the duo, who used the jokey stage names Art Barnes (Mumy) and Artie Barnes (Haimer).

Barnes and Barnes would eventually record 11 full-length albums. In March 2023, Mumy announced that the band was essentially through, on account of the death of Haimer. "I'm so sad to share the news that Robert Haimer, my friend since childhood and musical partner in Barnes and Barnes passed away this morning after a long illness," Mumy wrote on Facebook. "Sometimes there was dissonance and silence and sometimes we made a mighty raucous roar together. I will miss making that unique 'Barnes' music very much."

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).