10 ‘Farewell’ Tours That Didn’t Stick: Sinatra, Judas Priest – Rolling Stone
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10 ‘Farewell’ Tours That Didn’t Stick

Members of the biggest bands ever to return from retirement on why they quit – and why they came back

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The Who perform in 1982.

Clayton Call/Redferns

When Mötley Crüe raised the idea of a farewell tour, the band was stunned by their booking agents’ reaction. “They said to us, ‘This is a good marketing thing,'” says bassist Nikki Sixx. “It really bummed us out.” It’s hard to fault the Crüe camp for their skepticism: Farewell tours are an easy way to sell tickets to fans who want to come see their idols before they “retire.” It has even become somewhat of a joke. Phil Collins cheekily labelled his 2004 outing the “First Final Farewell Tour” and the Eagles went on their “Farewell 1” tour around the same time. The Crüe swear they are for real, but many groups in the past were equally emphatic when they announced their final tours. Here’s a look back at 10 of them. 


Cher (2002)

What She Said Then: "If I come back in five years, I'd be driving around in one of those carts with the joy-sticks. This truly is it." – Cher, 2002

Years Until Next Tour: 10, but there was a long-running Las Vegas show during the downtime.

Explanation: "This is my farewell tour. I'm never coming back. I swear to God." – Cher, 2014


Tina Turner (2000)

What She Said Then: "I've done enough. I've been performing for 44 years. I really should hang up my dancing shoes." – Tina Turner, 2000

Years Until Next Tour: Eight.

Explanation: "With the 50th anniversary, I figured I should do it. All of the acts of my time started to go out, all of my peers. It just seemed right I should go out now." – Tina Turner, 2008


Kiss (2000)

What They Said Then: "There just aren't any more mountains to climb. We want to go out in style with the people that put us here, the fans." – Gene Simmons, 2000

Years Until Next Tour: Two

Explanation: "People change their minds, and in this case that goes along with being a living, thinking person. What one says one day with total commitment may at another time turn out not to be so. Am I doing this for the money or the fans? Both, and let's not forget I'm doing this for me." – Paul Stanley, 2002


Ozzy Osbourne (1992)

What He Said Then: "This is absolutely for real. It's the end of the road for me. I've been doing it for 25 years, and I want to go home. I've got a house I never see. I've got a car I never drive. I've got a family I never go home to." – Ozzy Osbourne, 1992

Years Until Next Tour: Three

Explanation: "Retirement sucked. It wasn't too long before I started getting antsy and writing songs again." – Ozzy Osbourne, 1995

The Who

The Who (1982)

What They Said Then: "There's so many new media concepts opening up now to us that I think touring in five years time is going to be outdated anyway. It's got as big as its ever going to get. What are we going to do next time round? We can't play any bigger stadiums to any more people. We'd just be parodying ourselves." – Roger Daltrey, 1982

Years Until Next Tour: Seven

Explanation: "Pete changed his mind. It's our 25th anniversary. We're going to celebrate the fact that we're still here." – Roger Daltrey, 1989

Elton John

Elton John (1977)

What He Said Then: "I've made a decision tonight that this is going to be the last show. There's a lot more to me than playing on the road and this is the last one I'm going to do." – Elton John, 1977

Years Until Next Tour: Two

Explanation: "I was doing drugs. I never smoked dope. It was basically cocaine, and dabbling in smack a couple of times, but never through a needle; always ingesting it. I went through my period of hallucinations, too." – Elton John


Frank Sinatra (1971)

What He Said Then: “I’m serious about my decision. There are lots of things I want to do that I haven’t done before. I want to meet some girls and build a house someplace.” – Frank Sinatra, 1971

Years Until Next Tour: Two

Explanation: “Don’t be surprised. If Bobby Riggs can come back, so can I. You may wonder why I gave it all up in the first place. It seemed like a very good idea at the time. I’d just loaf and play golf and mess around. But things kept happening to me that I didn’t anticipate. For example, after two years of playing golf I’m still a 17 handicap. That’s not possible.” – Frank Sinatra, 1973


Cream (1968)

What They Said Then: "I think the Cream reached its peak last year at San Francisco. From that we all went on such a huge ego trip. Making it in the States was a bang in the head … I just want to perform contemporary blues. With the Cream solos were the thing, but I'm really off that virtuoso kick. It was all over exposed. We died the death from playing exposure." – Eric Clapton, 1968

Years Until Next Tour: 37 (To be fair, they only played two cities when they reformed 2005.)

Explanation: "Given the fact that we were all still capable of playing together, I thought it would be a fitting tribute to ourselves while we still could." – Eric Clapton, 2007