Fans Think This Iconic Rocker Should Never Have Left Their Band

For fans, band break-ups and members going solo can be akin to watching close friends get a divorce. You love them together. You've had so many great times, created so many memories. Now, people whose relationship has brought you happiness are going their separate ways and it's going to be awkward at parties. Sometimes we never even really get over it and it wasn't even our band, or marriage, or whatever. 

Since hindsight brings so much clarity, we at Grunge figured it was a good time to see what band breakups our readers think were the biggest mistake. We asked 598 of you fine people, "Which iconic rocker should have never left their band?" and threw out a few answer options: Paul Simon (Simon & Garfunkel), Peter Gabriel (Genesis), David Lee Roth (Van Halen), Sting (The Police), Noel Gallagher (Oasis), Steve Perry (Journey).

Nearly 11% wished Noel Gallagher would've stayed in Oasis with his brother, Liam. But that notorious narcissist Noel recently told Sky News that Oasis' break up helped the band be "seen as up there with all the greats," and it wasn't that way in 2009 when he decided to leave the band after a fight with his brother. 

Noel said of the breakup, "I'd written every meaningful song that was ever recorded by Oasis. And it was my life, I directed it and creatively it was my thing. With the benefit of hindsight it was the best thing for me and for the band."

There was a lot of success to be had after some bands split

Just over 13% of respondents think Peter Gabriel should've stayed with Genesis. A co-founder and lead singer in the band, Gabriel chose to take his leave in August 1975. According to Ultimate Classic Rock, Gabriel said in the documentary "Genesis: A History", he left because "I didn't like myself, I didn't like the situation, and I didn't feel free." He also had a new baby which changed his outlook. Genesis went on to do just fine with Phil Collins as their singer, and Gabriel had some notable hits on his own, especially in the 1980s. It worked out.

A few Grunge readers —16%— think Paul Simon messed up when he split from bandmate Art Garfunkel. Those guys made some great music together, but Simon went on to have a successful solo career and marry Edie Brickell so we probably don't need to feel too bad for him. We hope Garfunkel is cool though. 

A little over 16% of people said Sting should've stayed with The Police, likely for the simple reason that they like his stuff with that band more than they like his solo effort, which according to Under Scoop Fire, was hella-successful with nine of his 10 solo albums reaching top-10 status on the Billboard 200 album chart. Plus, Sting is still good about playing with The Police and playing some of their songs on his solo tours. People like that.  

Neither of these rock icons did as well solo as they did with their bands

Two more vocal powerhouses are left in the survey — but neither of them went on to sustained commercial success after splitting with their bands. Steve Perry, the frontman with renowned vocal chops helped propel his band, Journey, to super stardom from the late 1970s until he decided to leave in 1987 after being burned out, according to The New York Times

To this day you can't turn on classic rock radio and avoid hearing a Journey song from Perry's era. A Journey song is just gonna happen. Perry did have a solo hit with the song "Oh Sherrie" in 1984 during a side project phase, according to Song Facts, but after he officially left Journey he didn't find commercial success. That's probably why nearly 20% of our poll responders said he should've stayed with the band.

Still, most respondents think David Lee Roth messed up when he left Van Halen, more than 23% to be exact. Van Halen was huge in 1985 when Roth decided to quit. According to Loudersound, in 1983 they played to a crowd of 375,000 earning $1 million. Their album "1984" had sold nearly 10 million copies, and the single "Jump" from that album went to No. 1. 

Roth's departure made room for Sammy Hagar to front the band though, jump-starting the enduring debate as to whether Van Halen or "Van Hagar" is superior. We think we know who 23% of Grunge voters would choose.