The 10 Messiest Band Breakups

The bitter ends of the Clash, the Police, Guns N' Roses and more

The Clash

Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Joe Strummer, Topper Headon
Michael Putland/Getty Images

Like the Police, the Clash had a difficult time dealing with success. Their 1982 single "Rock the Casbah" turned them from a popular punk band into MTV superstars. Ironically, it was written by drummer Topper Headon, who'd been forced out of the band due to his heroin addiction before the song even started climbing the charts. When the Clash opened for the Who on their "farewell" tour, Strummer and co. saw it as a sad glimpse into a possible future: playing old hits for big bucks in football stadiums. It didn't seem appealing. 

Even worse, the bandmates were unable to agree on a future musical direction. Guitarist Mick Jones was becoming enamored with hip-hop, bassist Paul Simonon liked reggae and frontman Joe Strummer wanted a return to punk. Jones and Strummer were barely talking when they returned from a long hiatus to play the US Festival in 1983. The show didn't go very well, and the Clash felt like sellouts for playing the corporate gig. Jones left the band soon afterwards, and the less said about the Clash's 1985 swan song, Cut the Crap, the better.

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