11 Reasons Why Most Classic Rock Bands Fail
Harder Than It Seems
It’s not easy making it big in rock ‘n roll. Musicians nowadays are lucky because they can still put their music out there even with minimal budget. There’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more importantly, there’s YouTube. They can grow their following and increase their reach from one part of the globe to the other even without travelling.
But back in the day, there was no shortcut to success. And like what AC/DC said, “It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n roll.” There were hundreds of classic rock bands but not everyone made it. Here are some of the reasons why:
11. Nobody knew how to write songs.
Take The Beatles for example – every single one of them, even Ringo Starr, could write a song. This is why they had one classic hit after another, several groundbreaking albums, and timeless musical masterpieces. At a time when the artists themselves drew inspiration from their personal lives to pen chart-topping hits, it wasn’t enough that bands would just wait around for someone to hand them their next song.
10. Friendship got in the way.
Some bands started out with friends from school or around the neighborhood. And that’s okay but sometimes, members will find it hard to replace or kick out someone because they’re, well, friends. This is why it was easier to get together with strangers or mere acquaintances.
9. One member is unreliable or unpredictable.
Remember when Pink Floyd fired Syd Barrett because he was getting increasingly erratic? It broke their hearts to have to let him go but they knew they had to make that hard decision because otherwise, Barrett would pull them all down.
8. Band members didn’t have a common musical direction or goal.
From the beginning, they should have talked about which direction they’re headed – are they trying to break into mainstream? Or stay faithful to their roots? Will they want radio-friendly hits or try experimenting with different styles? A lot of bands made the mistake of just winging it. But in the end, they failed because of their lack of common goal.
7. They couldn’t find their sound.
Some groups like Guns N’ Roses found their sound from the get-go, others had to experiment with what worked for them. But there were also those who just couldn’t decide on what kind of style or subgenre their music will be. Punk rock? Folk rock? Southern rock? Heavy metal? With so many bands vying to be the next big thing, finding their sound is of utmost importance. They definitely couldn’t just copy what’s trending.
6. One member did everything.
This often became the cause of a band’s downfall. Not only did it lead to more in-fighting but eventually, that one member got tired.
5. They had different priorities.
One of the things that instigated The Beatles breakup was when John Lennon started bringing Yoko Ono to their recording sessions. This is what happened to other failed bands too – albeit, on a less dramatic note. Some had their wife and children waiting at home or others had day jobs – either way, if the band members didn’t have their music as their top priority, they would never work. This also resulted to more conflict.
4. They didn’t offer anything new or exciting.
If they sounded like a copycat version of more popular bands like Black Sabbath, The Who, or The Rolling Stones, no one would ever bother listening to them or coming to their shows. Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery but it’s still imitation. This is why they needed to find their own sound and style.
For some musicians like Brian Wilson, they ended up with masterpieces like Pet Sounds after an acid trip. For others, they went into a downward spiral and hit rock bottom. Especially bands who were just starting out, easy access to drugs became overwhelming.
2. Big egos.
People don’t need to be successful to have massive egos – some are just born with it. And in the history of rock ‘n roll, there’s no shortage of big egos. From word wars to walkouts – the band is doomed to fail once they cannot compromise with each other.
1. Money issues.
From recording to touring – they needed money for it. Production costs could easily skyrocket. It’s not like today where home recording systems aren’t THAT expensive anymore. And back then, if you want people to know your band’s name and your music, you had to bring it to them.