10 Bands Who Ruined Their Legacy

10 Bands Who Ruined Their Legacy | Society Of Rock Videos

via Cameron Posh / YouTube

Even the most successful bands face problems – it’s just how things go. Sometimes, personal tensions among band members become more significant than the music itself (like with The Beatles and The Beach Boys). Other times, the music industry changes in ways that prove challenging (as experienced by Metallica and U2). And then there are instances when the temptation of commercial success leads to selling out (as seen with Aerosmith’s pop reinvention in the ’90s). These factors, among others, have affected the legacies of these bands to varying degrees. It’s a reminder of the price of success.


Legacy: Oasis is often remembered when someone at a party picks up a guitar. Their song “Wonderwall” has become a staple for newbie guitarists. Their Britpop sound and alternative rock hits were extremely popular in the ’90s and ’00s.

How They Ruined It: Sibling rivalry played a big part in their downfall. Brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher openly expressed their contempt for each other in interviews and even got into physical fights during live performances. In 2009, Liam famously smashed Noel’s guitar, and the band broke up for good.



Legacy: INXS, an Australian rock band, emerged as one of the best groups in the ’80s, especially known for their unique fusion of new wave and ska sounds.

How They Ruined It: When lead singer Michael Hutchence tragically took his own life in 1997, the band took a year-long break from music. That was understandable. However, their decision to find a new lead singer through a reality TV singing competition was seen as a sell-out move, severely damaging their reputation as a rock band.


Guns N’ Roses

Legacy: Guns N’ Roses gained fame as one of the hardest rocking bands, blending elements of hair metal and rock and roll. They were known for their immense musical talent and captivating live shows.

How They Ruined It: Due to tensions between lead singer Axl Rose and guitarist Slash, Guns N’ Roses unofficially disbanded in the mid-’90s. In 2008, the band reunited without Slash and released the album Chinese Democracy, which did moderately well but fell short of industry expectations. Their subsequent reunion tour in 2016 was marred by misfortune, with Rose breaking his foot before a show and having to perform from a makeshift “throne” at Coachella. It left many feeling that Guns N’ Roses should have left well enough alone.



Legacy: Metallica, one of the prominent bands in the 1980s thrash metal scene, established a dedicated following with critically acclaimed albums. They were among the first heavy metal bands to achieve mainstream success, with their influence extending into pop culture. Their band merchandise became iconic and widely available.

How They Ruined It: Metallica made headlines in 2000 when they took a stand against Napster and sued the platform for allowing free sharing of their music. Although they ultimately won the lawsuit, many fans saw their actions as hypocritical since the band’s early success was built on underground sharing. When Metallica released their first album after the Napster controversy, titled St. Anger, the new sound alienated even more fans, and they struggled to regain their previous popularity.



Legacy: U2 started as a group of high school friends jamming together in Dublin and went on to become one of the most successful bands in the world. They have won an incredible 22 Grammy Awards and sold over 170 million records worldwide.

How They Ruined It: In 2014, U2 faced a significant setback with the release of their 13th studio album, Songs of Innocence. On the day of its release, the album automatically appeared in the music libraries of all iPhone users, whether they wanted it or not. This move, intended to reach a wider audience, backfired as many users found it intrusive. “How to remove U2 album” became one of the most Googled searches in the following weeks, tarnishing the band’s nearly four-decade-long legacy.


Quiet Riot

Legacy: Quiet Riot was the first heavy metal band to reach the Top 10 on the music charts. Their cover of Slade’s “Cum on Feel the Noize” made them famous in rock and roll history.

How They Ruined It: Unfortunately, Quiet Riot couldn’t match their success with their own songs. Instead of creating their own unique material, the band decided to release another cover song from Slade called “Mama Weer All Crazee Now.” It wasn’t the best choice and didn’t help preserve their legacy as a heavy metal band.



Legacy: Aerosmith, a rock band from the 1970s, was considered one of the best in the genre, alongside The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. Steven Tyler, their charismatic frontman, and the band rocked hard throughout the ’80s.

How They Ruined It: In 1992, with the release of their album “Get a Grip,” Aerosmith shifted from rock and roll to a more adult contemporary sound. The album’s three singles were all power ballads, which the band continued to release. Their most popular ballad, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” in 1998, marked a departure from their classic rock style. It ended their legacy as hard rockers. In the late 2000s, Steven Tyler even became a judge on American Idol, which gave off a softer image.


The Beach Boys

Legacy: The Beach Boys are known as the pioneers of California rock. Their music, with unique melodies, precise harmonies, and inventive arrangements, created a genre that influenced many rock musicians that followed. Even The Beatles have said they were inspired by The Beach Boys for their album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

How They Ruined It: The Beach Boys struggled with personal tensions, causing numerous breakups and reunions throughout their career. Disagreements about creative decisions, business matters, and touring plans made it difficult for the band to stay together.



Legacy: Queen is regarded as one of the greatest bands of all time. Known for their operatic arena-rock sound, they were led by the phenomenal frontman Freddie Mercury.

How They Ruined It: After Freddie Mercury passed away in 1991 due to AIDS complications, the band decided to continue performing. They had various reunion performances with Adam Lambert, an American Idol contestant, as their lead singer. However, without Freddie Mercury, Queen’s essence and magic just aren’t the same.


The Doors

Legacy: The Doors carved their place in rock music history as an essential listen. Their unique blend of blues, jazz, rock, and avant-garde opened up new possibilities for future musical explorations. But at the core of their artistry was Jim Morrison’s commanding voice and mesmerizing stage presence.

How They Ruined It: Unfortunately, the band’s trajectory took a disappointing turn. Following their acclaimed blues-infused album “LA Woman,” Jim Morrison relocated to Paris, focusing on his poetry and personal life. Tragically, he passed away from heart failure. Instead of gracefully bowing out, the remaining members chose to soldier on, but without the magnetic force of Morrison’s presence. Their decision to carry on playing the same music they had always performed proved detrimental to their legacy.

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