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  • Milli Vanilli's career came crashing to the ground in 1990 when it was revealed that the faces of the band were not only lip-syncing during live shows, but that they never recorded the vocals on the album at all, the songs having actually been sung by other artists in the studio (who, after the controversy, recorded an album of their own as The Real Milli Vanilli). This was enough for the duo to have their Grammy for Best New Artist be withdrawn, and more broadly, the affair triggered a strong backlash against dance-pop that lasted well into The '90s and fueled the growth of adult alternative during that decade.
  • Arrested Development's sophomore album Zingalamaduni, despite being highly regarded, pretty much arrested the development of the group's mainstream career (at least in America).
  • Digable Planets was an up-and-coming jazz-rap group who were well on their way to stardom thanks to cross-genre appeal of their single "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)" and debut album Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space). Then their second album, Blowout Comb, bombed despite critical acclaim, likely due to its more sociopolitical and Afrocentric themes. The band disbanded soon after.
  • A Tribe Called Quest broke up after the polarizing The Love Movement, although this had more to do with members Phife Dawg and Q-Tip being unable to get along with each other. Phife's health issues led to the group reuniting to pay for his medical expenses and were in talks to produce a new album to complete their contract with Jive Records, but nothing came to fruition. They continued to tour together through 2013, with their last performance as a group as supporting acts to Kanye West's "Yeezus" tour, and they reformed again in 2015 to record the critically acclaimed We Got It from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service. This became the last album to feature Phife, as he passed away in March 2016, eight months before its release.
  • Dexys Midnight Runners followed up their international hit album Too-Rye-Ay with Don't Stand Me Down, an expansive experimental soul album, which was acclaimed by critics... but didn't sit too well with their fans, who wanted another "Come On Eileen". An actual single from the album wasn't released until several months after the album was, and the single chosen — "This Is What She's Like" — was twelve minutes long. The band was gone soon afterward. When Dexys returned in 2012, they and leader Kevin Rowland were significantly more humble than the band that had such lofty artistic aspirations in 1985.
  • Morbid Angel had been one of the most popular and acclaimed death metal acts around for most of their career, but they hit a decidedly low point with Heretic, which was derided for its awful production, poor songwriting, and large amounts of filler. After that, the band more or less fell off the radar for a long while aside from the release of a new song. Then Illud Divinum Insanus hit almost eight years later, with no small amount of hype, and it was not the album fans had been waiting for. The straight death metal songs were by far the album's best, and even those were far below their usual standards; the other tracks ranged from Lamb of God-esque post-thrash to outdated industrial buttrock, worsened by David Vincent's degraded voice and the weak lyrics. Even drummer Pete Sandoval, who didn't play or write anything on the album, had no love for it. While the band still does well live, Illud stained Morbid Angel's reputation so badly all the band members aside from Trey Azagthoth left, and the band reformed with former vocalist Steve Tucker for their next album Kingdoms Disdained in 2017.
  • The departure of Phil Collins in 1996 and the release of ...Calling All Stations... the following year ultimately killed Genesis. After the release of their smash hit Invisible Touch, the band entered a period of gradual decline due to the growing backlash against Collins' over-saturation of the pop charts (not helped by the fact that he had an extremely successful solo career) and the rise of Alternative Rock that would take over much of the rock charts of the 90's, not to mention growing disagreements within the Genesis fanbase over whether or not Collins could match the legacy of former lead vocalist Peter Gabriel, who had left in 1975 and replaced by Collins. Five years after the release of We Can't Dance, which sold well but generated only one Top 10 hit single, "I Can't Dance," in the US, Collins decided to quit Genesis to focus on his solo opportunities, leaving Mike Rutherford and Anthony Banks, neither of whom were experienced with lead vocals, as the only remaining members of the band. In an effort to stay relevant in the nineties, the band hired Post-Grunge musician Ray Wilson, who was the frontman of Scottish band Stiltskin, to take over lead vocals and rushed out ...Calling All Stations..., which consisted primarily of pop tunes with cheesy lyrics and awkward fusion with alternative rock and art rock. Fans of Genesis didn't like the album at all (and neither did critics) and it ended up becoming the lowest-rated album of the band's discography. After a concert tour promoting the album bombed, Genesis formally split up, with only two one-off reunions that did not include any material from ...Calling All Stations....
  • Happened to post-hardcore band Hum in 1998. After they scored some unexpected success with You'd Prefer An Astronaut in 1995, the band spent waited nearly 3 years before they released their followup, Downward Is Heavenward. The album was a commercial failure in comparison to its predecessor, and the band's label, RCA, lost a great deal of money trying to promote it. Partially because of the album's inability to reach an audience, the band broke up shortly afterward. However, over the years the album has come to be recognized as not only Hum's masterpiece but as one of the best albums of the 90s.
  • Some victims of the Sophomore Slump manage to recover with a third album, others fall apart after the failure of album number two:
    • Second Coming by The Stone Roses, which had been delayed by Executive Meddling, a productivity-halting lawsuit trying to stop them from moving to Geffen, and general band procrastination (moving to Wales to record did not help). The album was finally released in 1994, over five years after their debut album. The album completely failed to live up to its hype and despite lead single "Love Spreads" becoming a genuine hit, the album received middling reviews and disappeared from the charts quickly. Both critics and fans were disappointed by the album's abandonment of the dance-influenced sound that had made the band popular in favor of Led Zeppelin-style heavy blues-rock and guitar wankery (although the aforementioned "Love Spreads" continues to be well-regarded). The band didn't last much longer: they split up two years later, after a series of badly-reviewed live appearances and hiring Replacement Scrappies after their guitarist and drummer left. Frontman Ian Brown later began a modestly-successful solo career and the band reformed in 2011 with a successful reunion tour.
    • The Knack followed up their hit album Get the Knack and #1 hit single "My Sharona" with ...But the Little Girls Understand. The album was critically eviscerated (though it went gold in two months), and despite releasing a couple more albums before they broke up, those releases never troubled the pop charts and were released with almost no fanfare.
  • Sepultura was one of the biggest names in metal during the early/mid-'90s. Unfortunately, the departure of lead singer Max Cavalera and a string of poorly-to-averagely received studio albums with new singer Derrick Green essentially drove the band into a musical wasteland, forgotten or neglected by all but a few loyal and dedicated fans, which tend to see either Dante XXI or A-Lex as a Career Resurrection for them.
  • The Jacksons made out quite well financially from their troubled Victory tour. But, to the unpleasant surprise of everyone but him, Michael announced after the last show that the brothers would never tour together again. They and their father had been planning to do another leg of shows in Europe. But Michael was right, as he had a massively successful solo career.
  • Todd in the Shadows, in his list of the Worst Songs of 2011, insisted that the critical mauling of The Black Eyed Peas' album The Beginning, along with their poorly-received Super Bowl performance and the failure of their video game The Black Eyed Peas Experience, badly damaged their career and led to them going on hiatus in 2011. Since then, has had success and failure as a solo artist (his popularity in his home country has since fallen into obscurity, but he remains popular outside due to his involvement as one of the four coaches in the UK and Australian versions of The Voice), but there has been little talk of a reunion or a new album. There were two songs featuring everyone but Fergie in 2015 and "#WheresTheLove", a reworked version of their Breakthrough Hit "Where is the Love?" (which did have Fergie back and had several featured artists), but a follow-up album wouldn't be released until 2018, to very little fanfare, though it was well received by critics for its Revisiting the Roots sound for the group.
  • Sugarland had the unfortunate distinctions of their career not being destroyed by music or behavior but bad weather. Their 2010 New Sound Album The Incredible Machine was extremely divisive to both fans and critics, and only one of its singles ("Stuck Like Glue") was a hit. In August 2011, only about a month after the album's last single became their lowest-peaking to date, the duo was subject to a series of lawsuits after a stage collapse during one of their concerts at the Indiana State Fair which killed seven concertgoers. They went on hiatus soon afterward, with both halves of the duo (lead singer Jennifer Nettles and guitarist/mandolinist Kristian Bush) releasing solo efforts in the interim to minimal success. They issued a reunion album Bigger in 2018, but its two singles faltered, sales were abysmal, and the State Fair stage collapse seemed to infiltrate nearly all discussion of the album and its singles.
  • The Hawthorne Muchachos were ascending the ranks of Drum Corps International when they were disqualified for marching an overage member just prior to the 1975 DCI Championship Finals. The corps never made it back to Finals and folded three years later.
  • (West) German liedermacher Hannes Wader invoked this. When he became too popular with the German bourgeoisie, he recorded Hannes Wader singt Arbeiterliedernote , a live album of radically leftist music that earned him the status of a Persona Non Grata for multiple decades.
  • The album Kilroy Was Here sold well and generated a hit single with "Mr. Roboto", but it would pretty much be the end of Styx. Guitarists Tommy Shaw and James "JY" Young were growing increasingly disgruntled with Dennis DeYoung's preference for a poppier sound over the hard-edged prog-tinged material that had made them stars in the late '70s and feared that another Concept Album after Paradise Theatre would pigeonhole the band. As such, they went along with DeYoung's project with a great deal of hesitation. Shaw hated "Mr. Roboto" especially, saying he'd rather quit Styx than sing about robots. The tour for the album, a full-blown musical Rock Opera, not only disappointed fans who came simply for the music, but only further alienated Shaw, who had neither the talent nor the taste for acting and was intensely frustrated by it, finally snapping and smashing his guitar during a show in Landover, Maryland. He quit the band the next day, and Styx spent the next seven years on hiatus. It would be thirty-five years before the band (now led by Shaw and Young) finally gave in to fan requests and played "Mr. Roboto" live again (which DeYoung praised). Todd in the Shadows goes into more detail on the band's breakup in this episode of Trainwreckords.
  • While Down on the Upside performed well with critics and fans and sold over a million copies, it would be the growing tensions between the band and the music business that brought down Soundgarden. Criticism over the band's departure from the grunge musical style that made them popular, combined with frontman Chris Cornell wanting to retire the heavy guitar riffing that became a trademark toward the band, caused a seemingly irreparable rift that kept them apart. Cornell sank into alcoholism following the breakup and attempted a comeback with several Rage Against the Machine members with a band called Audioslave, which despite three successful albums also broke up due to creative differences. However, in 2010, Cornell and his former Soundgarden colleagues finally made up their differences and reunited the band, releasing King Animal in 2012 to critical acclaim and good sales. Tragically, King Animal turned out to be the band's only post-reunion effort, as five years after its release Cornell died by suicide, and the band ultimately broke up for good after his death.
  • The First Class followed their self-titled debut album, featuring the hit "Beach Baby," with SST, which sold so poorly that they broke up shortly thereafter.
  • Queen's American popularity took a nosedive thanks to their 1982 album Hot Space. Their previous album The Game in 1980 had been heavily informed by disco just as that genre was becoming, well, Deader Than Disco, yet it was their biggest hit to date, selling over four million copies in the United States. As a result, Queen decided to build on that album's disco and dance-pop stylings with Hot Space, whose release came well into the early '80s backlash against disco in the US. Needless to say, the reaction was not pleasant; while "Under Pressure", their duet with David Bowie, was very well-received, the rest of the album is widely seen as the band's worst, a reaction that was especially pronounced Stateside. Overseas, Queen quickly recovered from that misstep and remained successful, but they were pretty much dead in America as a result of Hot Space. It went From Bad to Worse with the video for their 1984 single "I Want to Break Free", which featured the band in drag as a parody of Coronation Street, and which was banned on MTV for that reason. Only after the death of Freddie Mercury in 1991, followed by the use of "Bohemian Rhapsody" in Wayne's World the following year, did Queen's American popularity start to recover.
  • The Japanese pop duo Pink Lady started out as teenagers after winning the talent competition Star Tanjo! in 1976. They scored #4 on the Oricon charts with their debut single "Pepper Keibu", followed it up with several more, their own anime, and a movie, then scored a hit in the United States with "Kiss in the Dark". However, in early 1980, they were caught in a scandal involving a New Year's special and a school for the blind.What happened?  Then they tried to save their careers by eyeing the States once again with Pink Lady and Jeff, which killed not only their careers but also the variety show genre for good. After four part-time reformations, they reunited for good in 2010 and have been active ever since.
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival's infamous 1972 album Mardi Gras turned out to be their last. While all of the band's members have highly conflicting, mutually hostile stories of what went down behind the scenes, the general gist of it (laid out by Todd in the Shadows in this episode of Trainwreckords) is that Tom Fogerty, Doug Clifford, and Stu Cook thought that John Fogerty was wielding too much power in the band, and came together in what John called "the night of the generals" to confront John and demand more authority over songwriting and composition. Eventually, John decided that he, Doug, and Stu (Tom having been forced out of the band by then) would each write a third of their next album. The tensions were visible for all to see on the finished product, a half-baked, half-formed mess that left none of them looking good and which everybody involved clearly wanted to just get finished so they wouldn't have to keep dealing with each other. Mardi Gras was seen as their weakest album and got barely any play on the radio, with the band's final concert ending with them getting pelted by coins and walking off, incinerating what was left of the goodwill in the band and ending it for good. To this day, they are not on speaking terms with each other.
  • Back in 1995, The Smashing Pumpkins was one of the biggest bands in the alt-rock movement, with its first two albums having been hugely successful. For the third album, the band insisted on going bigger. What emerged was Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, a double album meant to follow in the footsteps of Pink Floyd's The Wall or The Beatles' White Album. While it was a critical and financial success, the work required to create and mix two compact discs' worth of material caused tensions within the band. The tour exacerbated these tensions, especially after Jonathan Melvoin and Jimmy Chamberlain overdosed on heroin, leading to Melvoin dying and Chamberlain, who survived, getting fired. Soon after, Billy Corgan's personal issues, including his divorce and his mother's death, caused him to become a control freak. note  While the band released three more albums, none of them got the same acclaim as their previous efforts, and the original band dissolved in 2000 (they did eventually reunite in 2007.)
  • Axiomatic, the third album by Australian pop-rock group Taxiride was an attempt at Genre Shift to a more hard rock style. Needless to say, it bombed dramatically compared to their two prior albums (which were both certified platinum). To put it into perspective, Axiomatic peaked at #91, whereas their other albums peaked in the top 5. After releasing an acoustic best-of album Electrophobia that completely flew under the radar, Taxiride pretty much fell into obscurity after Axiomatic.
  • Eagles have been hit with this twice. An acrimonious split in the late 70's (which came complete with one of their last concerts, the "Long Night at Wrong Beach", having band members Glenn Frey and Don Felder taunting each other about a backstage beating) was the first wedge in the band and ended Glenn Frey's relationship with everyone else, especially Felder; he also fired his agent. The band reunited in 1994 (sparked mainly by the success of Common Thread, a covers album put out by multiple Country Music artists), but Felder was forced out of the band in 2001 and sued them as a result. The band seemed effectively done again in 2016 due to Frey's death — but, in spite of Henley announcing that the Eagles would not continue without him, they performed several concerts in 2017 featuring Frey's son Deacon and country singer Vince Gill and have been touring frequently since then.
  • Kill Hannah were a band who were fairly well-regarded and built up a cult following in the indie rock scene for their unique mix of Electronic Music with elements of Shoegazing and Post-Punk, compounded by singer Mat Devine's breathy Dream Pop inspired vocals. Their singles "Kennedy" and "Lips Like Morphine" were used in quite a few youth-oriented shows such as One Tree Hill which compounded their fandom. The band was due to release a new album on a major label in 2013, but Mat Devine was attempting to become a Broadway star and the band ended up never recording the songs due to being tied down by their continued touring as well as Devine's continued performances in Broadway. They finally called it quits in 2016, after 18 years as a band.
  • Britpop band Kula Shaker, despite being loathed by critics for their style, were a moderately-successful band in the 1990s. However, the band's fate was slimmed when lead singer Crispen Mills admitted to hoping the Swastika would be reused for its positive mystical meanings during a newspaper interview. Some research then discovered that Mills' previous band The Objects of Desire had included a former member of the National Front (who had dated Mills' mother), and had played at a conspiracy theory conference in London that had also neo-Nazis among the speakers. While Mills did apologize for his comments later on and ridiculed neo-nazi ideology, the band broke up in 1999 from fierce backlash, before reuniting in 2004 to slim success.
  • Twisted Sister was among the hottest acts in rock in 1985. "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock", both from the album Stay Hungry, were catchy, instantly memorable songs that did well on MTV and/or the Billboard charts, while singer Dee Snider earned praise for his rational, intelligent arguments in the notorious PMRC Senate hearings, which proved to be a Pyrrhic Victory for Tipper Gore and her organization. The follow-up, Come Out and Play, sold much less than Stay Hungry, and didn't have any standout hits. The video for "Be Chrool to Your Scuel" was banned by MTV for alleged offensive content, and the one for their cover of "Leader of the Pack" by The Shangri-Las was panned.

    While Come Out and Play was a letdown, 1987's Love is for Suckers polished the band's sound, took away most of their sense of humor and wiped their makeup off Kiss-style. Twisted Sister split up the following year; after three one-off reunions in 1997, 2001 and 2002, the band reunited full-time in 2003 and officially disbanded with a 2016 farewell tour after the death of drummer A. J. Pero.
  • On March 10, 2003, just ten days before the invasion of Iraq, the Dixie Chicks were performing in London. There, lead singer Natalie Maines told the crowd that she was ashamed that President George W. Bush came from her home state of Texas, comments that earned applause from the British crowd (where public opinion was staunchly against the war) but infuriated her fans back home. American Country Music in 2003 was filled with pro-war jingoism almost to the point of parody, and many fans saw Maines' opposition to the war as borderline treasonous. Virtually overnight, one of the biggest country acts and all-female music groups in history was all but blacklisted from American country radio, with the band's singles rapidly falling off the charts, Maines receiving death threats, and at least one radio station holding a contest where listeners could bring their Dixie Chicks albums and merchandise to be crushed by a bulldozer. They only recorded one more album afterward (Taking the Long Way in 2006), one that was heavily informed by the controversy at that, and while it was commercially and critically successful, this was in spite of a near-total rejection from country fandom and radio. Two years later, they went on hiatus. The worst part? Just a few years later, Maines would enjoy the last laugh when the rest of the country turned against the war, though it didn't help the band recover its past glories; after their Accidents & Accusations Tour in 2006, they wouldn't tour the US as a headlining act again until 2016.
  • Shadows Fall was poised to become one of the biggest names in heavy music in the 2000s alongside other rising stars like Lamb of God, Avenged Sevenfold, Mastodon, Trivium, and their fellow hometown heroes Killswitch Engage. 2004's The War Within managed to chart at #20 on the Billboard 200 while signed to an indie label, and their mix of metallic hardcore, thrash metal, and hard rock had endeared them to a wide variety of fans. Like all of the aforementioned bands, they were snatched up by a major label. Unlike the aforementioned bands, their major label debut, 2007's Threads of Life, was a bomb, debuting at #46 (compared to #27 for Ashes of the Wake, #30 for City of Evil, and #34 for Blood Mountain; Ascendancy barely charted but wound up selling far more over the long run) and providing two singles ("Redemption" and "Another Hero Lost") that went nowhere, as the former was too heavy for the average rock radio listener and the latter sounded nothing like the rest of the album. Furthermore, it did nothing to increase their live draw and also helped alienate a lot of longtime listeners with its decidedly more commercial sound. While it didn't destroy their career immediately, it did kick off the start of a lengthy downward slide that took them from being able to pull 800-1,000 people a night in the mid 2000s to pulling 70 a night if they were very lucky by the time of their farewell tour in 2014 and turning them into has-been jokes in terms of reputation.
  • Madison Avenue, an Australian-based pop group helmed by singer Cheyne Coates and DJ Andy Van Dorsselaer, rose to fame with a pair of hits in 1999, including "Who The Hell Are You?" and "Don't Call Me Baby". Despite riding a wave of popularity with their debut album, their success evaporated virtually overnight after Cheyne's diva antics and disastrous performance at the 2000 Australian ARIA Awards, the most prestigious music event in the country. The night started badly for her after she was caught rolling her eyes after Van Dorsselaer accidentally stepped on the back of her dress when they walked to the stage to pick up an award for Single of the Year. Afterward, the group performed a medley of their hits. Aside from singing out-of-tune through the entire performance, Coates called for a glass of water midway through the set. As guests looked on, she proceeded to set it down at the front of the stage and left it there for the rest of the performance, even pausing at one point to pick up the glass and drink from it in the middle of a choreographed dance sequence. Her diva antics became an instant punchline in the Australian media, and the band never recovered from the incident, disbanding in 2002 after attempting to produce a second record. While Coates did attempt to have a solo career, her album failed to produce any traction and she left the music industry soon after to become an interior designer. The ARIA Awards incident is so infamous that, nearly two decades on, it's still used as a punchline on social media.
  • From Cracked: "6 Hit Songs That Destroyed the Bands They Made Famous."
    • The New Wave Music band Berlin scored their biggest hit with "Take My Breath Away" for the soundtrack to Top Gun, which won the Academy Award and Golden Globe for best original song in 1986. However, this Black Sheep Hit created a rift in the band between singer Terri Nunn, who liked the song, and bassist and songwriter John Crawford, who hated it. The resulting infighting saw the band break up less than a year after the song was released.
    • The recording of Guns N' Roses' cover of "Sympathy for the Devil" for the Interview with the Vampire soundtrack caused tensions that had long been boiling between Axl Rose and the rest of the band to snap. Axl attempted to micromanage the song's production, with Slash recounting that he demanded that the guitar be played note-for-note as Keith Richards did on the original; when he was unhappy with Slash's version, Axl had his friend play over Slash's part. Slash left the band shortly afterward, and Gilby Clarke followed shortly thereafter; he was upset that he hadn't been called in to help record the song at all, especially given his fandom of the Stones. GNR would only record one album of original material in the two decades it took Axl and Slash to reconcile, and his and longtime bassist Duff McKagan's return in 2016 may send a signal that the band is coming back big-time.
    • "Creep" probably would have destroyed TLC in the long run even if Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes hadn't died in a car wreck. Lopes was disgusted by its Pay Evil unto Evil message (a girl gets revenge on her boyfriend's cheating by cheating on him in turn), and she was not shy about letting it be known, even threatening to wear black tape over her mouth in the video.
    • The use of Violent Femmes' "Blister in the Sun" in a commercial for Wendy's drove a deep rift into the band. Not only did fans accuse them of selling out, but bassist Brian Ritchie felt the same way and sued frontman Gordon Gano, claiming joint ownership of the rights to the song. The group disbanded, and wouldn't reunite until 2013.
    • When "Take It to the Limit" became a hit, Eagles frontman Glenn Frey pushed bassist Randy Meisner to perform the song during live performances, as he was the only member of the band who could consistently hit the high notes. Meisner grew increasingly disgruntled with having to sing it at every show, culminating in a backstage fistfight between him and Frey during the Hotel California tour in 1977 that led Meisner to quit the band. The rest of the band broke up three years later after the "Long Night at Wrong Beach" when tensions between Frey and Don Felder boiled over at a concert in Long Beach, California and the two of them threatened physical violence against each other after the show. The Eagles only stayed together long enough to finish the concert tour and record a live album before going on a fourteen-year hiatus.
  • Welsh rock band Lostprophets lost its prestige when frontman Ian Watkins was charged with predatory child molestation in 2012 and sentenced to 29 years in prison. The rest of the band has since disowned the Lostprophets name, and started over as No Devotion with Thursday frontman Geoff Rickly.
  • A more literal case occurred with Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, who died of suicide two months after the release of his group's 7th album One More Light, which earned polarizing reviews from critics and fans alike due to its pop-oriented sound. Linkin Park currently remains inactive and it's unknown whether or not they'll ever recover from this.
  • The Band Perry seems to have fallen into this. After two equally successful albums on Republic Nashville produced big hits such as "If I Die Young", "All Your Life", "Better Dig Two", and "DONE.", the sibling trio announced that their third project would be a New Sound Album with flashier pop influences. "Live Forever", the intended lead single to their third Republic album Heart + Beat, was absolutely trashed by fans and critics for being too extreme and different from their previous work, and it bombed so horribly at radio that Republic dropped them. The band even deleted nearly all references to "Live Forever" off their social media, to the point that the single was even unavailable on iTunes for a time. In 2016, they signed to Interscope Records — all while fighting rumors that they had abandoned country music entirely, with the band members even saying they only chose Interscope so that they could distribute singles to pop while also having sister label Mercury Records Nashville service their country material. They announced a new album title, My Bad Imagination, but their first Interscope single "Comeback Kid" fared even worse at country radio, and another single titled "Stay in the Dark" made no noise on the AC format. Although initially slated for a 2017 release, My Bad Imagination was stuck in Development Hell well into 2018. While they did issue a New Sound Album electronica EP titled Coordinates in 2018, it came and went without anyone noticing. Given how thoroughly the band seems to have abandoned its core, combined with the highly negative reception to their poppier material, it remains unlikely that The Band Perry will ever return to their "If I Die Young" glory days. The consensus among fans is that the band just got too full of themselves and too pompously wrapped up in their Genre Shift.
  • Oasis' 1997 album Be Here Now not only snapped the momentum they'd built off their first two albums, 1994's Definitely Maybe and 1995's (What's the Story) Morning Glory? (both of which were '90s rock classics), it played a major role in killing the Britpop scene that they were among the leaders of. Described on this very wiki as "a sprawling, cocaine-fueled ode to the excess of Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll", it initially earned rapturous praise from music critics (now generally seen as stemming from a desire to avoid making the same mistake as when they missed the boat on their first two albums) but was soon derided as a bloated mess, a monument to the sheer Spinal Tap levels of dysfunction that the band was in. By 2000, the album had become infamous in the UK for being a common sight in used bins at charity shops. While they continued recording music until finally breaking up in 2009, none of their later material received anything close to the acclaim or impact of Definitely Maybe or Morning Glory, and the fall of the Gallagher brothers from rock gods to tabloid punchlines was swift. Todd in the Shadows goes into more detail in this episode of Trainwreckords, comparing it to The Phantom Menace as an overhyped late '90s project that went from major success to Hype Backlash to "was it really that bad?" twenty years later.
  • Saturday Night Live is known as the show that has been able to make many unknown musicians into overnight superstars... but it's also known as the show where many other artists have derailed their careers just as rapidly.
    • In 1981, former cast member John Belushi convinced new Show Runner Dick Ebersol to book the Los Angeles punk band Fear, whose frontman Lee Ving was a friend of his, for the season 7 episode hosted by Donald Pleasence (on October 31, appropriately enough). What followed was a rowdy punk show complete with mosh pit that ended in a riot; among other things, Ebersol was hit in the chest with a pumpkin, somebody got on stage and shouted "fuck New York!" into the microphone, the crowd of actual punks bused in for the show (which included a young Ian MacKaye, Tesco Vee of the Meatmen, and multiple members of the Cro-Mags) trashed the SNL set, and NBC cut the broadcast short and went to commercial. Not only was Fear permanently banned from SNL, but they also found it much harder to tour afterward as venue owners who had seen the nationally-televised SNL performance refused to let them use their venues, greatly limiting their career prospects. (Not like the tried-and-true punks of Fear really cared about mainstream success, mind.)
    • Karmin was a music duo composed of Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan who built their success with cover songs on YouTube before they were tapped to perform on Saturday Night Live in 2012, the second YouTube act to do so. While the first, Lana Del Rey, met scathing reviews for her performance, her career managed to come out mostly unscathed; Karmin, however, didn't. The group performed two original songs off their forthcoming debut EP Hello, and were roundly mocked for both Amy's fashion sense and their Pretty Fly for a White Guy tendencies. Critics compared them to Pat Boone and an unironic version of The Lonely Island that was better at dancing and gesturing than they were at singing or rapping, and Hello vanished without a trace when it was released a few months later. Although Amy and Nick got married in 2016, their professional collaboration never recovered commercially from the SNL appearance, as their band subsequently released two full-length albums to minimal attention before going on hiatus in 2017, with Amy moving on to a solo career under the name Qveen Herby. Karmin is now largely remembered as a One-Hit Wonder for their lone Top 40 hit "Brokenhearted".
  • Although it was a moderate commercial success, "National Express" ended up doing permanent damage to the career of The Divine Comedy, as the perceived class snobbery of its Buses Are for Freaks lyrics finally gave critics who'd always hated Neil Hannon for his aristocratic background some ammunition.
  • 1987's Door to Door ended the career of The Cars. Despite eventually going gold, the album was a sales dud, especially compared to the five multi-platinum albums that preceded it. Meanwhile, critics were deeply disappointed by the album, which they felt was mediocre, formulaic, and half-hearted. First single "You Are the Girl" was a #17 hit in the US, but it fell off the charts quickly and didn't stick around on radio, with its quirky video directed by John Waters being just about the only well-remembered thing about the entire project. The album's other two singles were duds, and the band broke up in February 1988. They wouldn't release another album until 2011.
  • Pink Floyd's The Final Cut has a lot of parallels with Styx's Kilroy Was Here mentioned above. The album was a vanity project Concept Album by Roger Waters that the other members were dead-set against, with Waters taking so much control that the album was credited as "By Roger Waters, performed by Pink Floyd". The tensions between Waters and guitarist David Gilmour boiled over, with the two of them recording their parts in different studios. Waters finally left the band after its release, declaring the band "a creatively spent force". This was the end of the Waters-led incarnation of the band. Pink Floyd subsequently reformed without Waters to massive success. Waters had his own career setbacks described below but subsequently reunited with the band for a one-off performance at Live 8 in 2005.
  • Van Halen's 1998 album Van Halen III.
    • It marked the debut of Gary Cherone of Extreme as the band's third frontman after David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar. It was also the last album he'd be featured on, as well as the last album of new material they would release until 2012, as its sharply negative reception would cause Cherone to leave Van Halen and the band to go on hiatus. As Todd in the Shadows would argue in this episode of Trainwreckords, the same factors that drove both Roth and Hagar to quit Van Halen on bad terms were responsible for the failure of Van Halen III — namely, that, despite Cherone ostensibly being the frontman, Eddie Van Halen was the one who was really in charge, even though he had depended on Roth and Hagar to help compose the music in the past.
    • It was also the last album that composer Mike Post would produce, after which he would return to his day job composing theme music for TV shows.

    Female artists (solo) 
  • Anita Bryant, from Dade County, Florida, was once a very popular singer in the 1960s. She was known for four top 40 hit songs, her Super Bowl V performance, her muzak covers of then-contemporary hits, and being the ambassador of the Florida Citrus Commission (which promoted the sale of oranges). However, her career went entirely sour in 1977 when she set up the Save Our Children group against new laws against sexual discrimination. Almost immediately, Bryant received fierce backlash from the public, with many popular singers such as Elton John boycotting performances in Florida, boycotting of FCC products, several counter-protests to her actions, and bars in the USA to change names of their cocktails to her. Soon, Bryant's actions upheld the new laws in Dade County, only for her to immediately lose her FCC contract, and her music career died soon. While she has remained under the radar for years now (although she has had a website as of 2007), the fundamentalist community eventually turned from her after a divorce with another popular anti-LGBT crusader. Her musical career is mostly forgotten for in favor of her actions and is mostly the butt of jokes about her actions.
  • More casualties from Saturday Night Live:
    • Sinéad O'Connor's performance of "War" in October 1992, in which she tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II while saying "Fight the real enemy!" in reaction to the then-recent sex abuse scandals within the Catholic Church, caused a massive outcry among Catholics (even Madonna, no stranger to controversy herself, thought she went beyond the pale) that greatly sapped her career momentum in the '90s. After the 1994 album Universal Mother, which was a sales disappointment, she wouldn't release another album of new material for six years. The worst part of it? Her "j'accuse" method was only a decade ahead of its time; when the sex abuse scandals she was criticizing burst open in the 2000s such that the Catholic Church could no longer cover them up, her response amounted to "I told you so."
    • Ashlee Simpson was expected to be the next Avril Lavigne, following in the footsteps of her big sister Jessica to become a major pop star. Her first album, Autobiography, went triple platinum, and like her sister, she had a successful Reality Show on MTV. Then came her disastrous performance on Saturday Night Live in October 2004, where she was caught lip-syncing when her band started playing the wrong song, followed by an embarrassing "hoe-down" when she realized what was happening. Following an equally disastrous half-time performance at the Orange Bowl a few months later, Ashlee's music career was all but over. Her following album, 2005's I Am Me, sold far less than Autobiography and didn't even reach the platinum mark, and her 2008 follow-up Bittersweet World was an out-and-out flop that finished off the remnants of her music career. She's had a bit more success as an actress, playing Violet Foster on the short-lived Melrose Place Sequel Series and Roxie Hart in Broadway and West End performances of Chicago.
  • While Ashlee's career was killed by her SNL performance, her sister Jessica Simpson found her musical career killed by a Genre Shift. In 2008, Jessica decided to release a Country Music album, Do You Know. Although the lead single "Come On Over" was somewhat well-received, and she had scored a touring gig with Rascal Flatts, the album promptly fell flat on its face. Critics panned the material as boring and lifeless, saying that she felt like a dollar-store knockoff of Carrie Underwood (not helping matters was that nearly half the album was written by frequent Underwood collaborator Hillary Lindsey). Followup singles went absolutely nowhere, with the third completely failing to chart at all, and sales petered out at 200,000 copies. She was booed offstage at a concert in Wisconsin, and ultimately lost her record deal with Epic Records. Simpson's only musical output since then was an independently released Christmas album in 2010, which came and went without a trace. Since then, she has largely focused on business ventures and television work.
  • In the early '00s, Jennifer Lopez endured a double-header of bad career moves that put her success on the skids.
    • First, in 2002, she released the single "Jenny from the Block" at the height of the tabloid storm surrounding her romance with Ben Affleck. The song and its accompanying video (which co-starred Affleck) attempted to reinforce her street cred as a working-class Puerto Rican girl made good, but they backfired, instead painting a picture of Lopez as an out-of-touch celebrity who had forgotten her roots and sold out. "Jenny from the Block" became the defining image of Lopez, often in mockery. Although the song itself was a hit, reaching #3 on the US Billboard Hot 100, her next few albums were sales disappointments, and she largely faded from the limelight until her Career Resurrection in the early 2010s.
    • "Jenny from the Block", however, was just a speedbump compared to the fallout from the infamous Gigli released a year later — a film starring Lopez and Affleck that featured their romance at center stage. Widely derided by virtually everybody who saw it as one of the worst films ever made, "winning" six out of nine nominated Razzies (a subsequent seventh award was bestowed to the film a couple of years later) and grossing barely above $7 million out of its $75 million budget, Gigli was the double-tap that finished Lopez's A-list stardom for good. (Co-star Affleck and director Martin Brest were no better for wear in the film's aftermath either, with Affleck's relationship with Lopez falling apart and his career floundering before he took up directing films, and Brest retiring from filmmaking altogether.)
  • A particularly disheartening example would be that of Alison Gold, who followed up her Guilty Pleasure Ear Worm "Chinese Food" with the 2014 single, "Shush Up". Not unlike "Rock Me Tonite," the song itself wasn't the killer, but rather the video for it that borders on child pornography. The video was shot when Gold was 11 years old, yet it features an 11-year-old being pregnant, electrocuted to death, tortured, committing suicide and dancing in skimpy (lack of) clothing and doing extremely inappropriate dance moves - not to mention that titling the song "Shush Up" seems to imply that the term "Shut Up" is more offensive than sexualized depiction of minors! The video's dislikes went through the roof and it received a record number of complaints about its barrage of offensive content that it was swiftly pulled, and Gold hasn't done anything noteworthy since then. It also seems to have left a black mark on the Ark Music Factory's reputation too, especially when founder Patrice Wilson awkwardly defended the video as "art". With the lone exceptions of Rebecca Black (who has managed an active online and musical presence) and Patrice Wilson (who released a bizarre music video in 2015), none of its acts have done anything noteworthy ever since.
  • Country Music singer Holly Dunn's career was abruptly halted by her 1991 single "Maybe I Mean Yes". Although the song was merely about a flirtatious woman playing the By "No", I Mean "Yes" trope, some listeners felt that the lyric "When I say 'no' I mean 'maybe', or maybe I mean 'yes'" was a condonement of date rape. Dunn solicited radio stations to stop playing the song, had its music video pulled off the air, and stopped performing it in concert, but the damage had already been done. None of her other songs made any impact anywhere, and she was quietly dropped from Warner Bros. Records one album later. She retired from music by the late 90s, working as a deejay and then as a painter before dying of ovarian cancer in 2016. Most news articles at the time of her death placed prominence on the controversy surrounding "Maybe I Mean Yes", even above the actual hits she had in her career.
  • Gretchen Wilson came out of nowhere in 2004 with her country smash "Redneck Woman", the lead single to her quintuple-platinum smash Here for the Party. The album was heralded for her unpolished, hardcore style, and seen as a welcome change as the last wave of country females had died out so hard that no solo female had a #1 country hit in all of 2003. Her success also dovetailed into that of the MuzikMafia, a Nashville-based singer-songwriter aggregation spearheaded by Big & Rich, who had almost equal success with their own debut album Horse of a Different Color. Although she had some detractors, most critics and fans saw Gretchen as a new voice of women in country music, balancing old-school honky-tonk with a fresh level of aggression and grit. But it all came tumbling down fast in 2005 with "All Jacked Up". Despite debuting at #21 on the country charts, the highest debut ever made by a female artist at the time, the song came to a dead halt at #8 less than two months later before reversing course. While the album itself was still successful and almost as critically lauded as its predecessor for many of the same reasons, radio apparently felt that "All Jacked Up" was a cartoonish almost self-parody of "Redneck Woman". Gretchen's next few singles went absolutely nowhere, and she lost her contract entirely in 2008. Her only output since has been entirely self-released. Her undoing seemed to also unravel nearly everyone else in the MuzikMafia, as other acts such as Cowboy Troy fell off the radar entirely due to the novelty wearing off. Only Big & Rich persisted, due mainly to John Rich's prolificacy as a songwriter/producer.
  • British electropop singer Natalia Kills, after enjoying some success in Europe and Australia in the early '10s, saw her career come to a screeching halt in 2015 when she and her husband Willy Moon's gigs as judges on the New Zealand version of The X Factor went horribly awry. On the first live show of the season, Natalia horribly bullied a contestant simply because she thought that he had copied his style from her husband, with Willy joining in with her. The outrage against the two was immediate and scathing, with Natalia and Willy being booted from the show and replaced the very next day. Natalia had to drop her stage name and start using her legal name Teddy Sinclair in order to keep working in the music industry at all, and while she still works as a songwriter and with the band Cruel Youth, her career as a pop star in her own right ended with that incident.
  • Liz Phair was an indie darling in The '90s but did not enjoy much commercial success, which she sought to rectify in 2003 with a Self-Titled Album that marked a Genre Shift from indie alt-rock to mainstream teen pop-rock. The album met a scathing reception from critics who saw it as a Sell-Out (Meghan O'Rourke of The New York Times even called it "career suicide"), and the modest Top 40 success of the lead single "Why Can't I?" failed to last. Phair only recorded two little-heard albums after that, her career momentum and reputation having been effectively snapped overnight. Phair spent the rest of the 2000s and 2010s slowly rebuilding her indie cred, owing in part to some well-received tours, an acclaimed 2018 reissue of her breakthrough Exile in Guyville album, and the self-titled album receiving an unexpected critical re-evaluation in the late 2010s. However, she has not released any new music since 2010.
  • In 2002, Jewel's career took an unexpected turn with "Serve the Ego", which brought the folksy singer-songwriter a surprise #1 hit on the dance charts. Seeking to capitalize, in 2003 she recorded and released the full-blown electronic dance-pop album 0304 — a move that went over like a lead balloon with her existing fanbase, who branded her a Sell-Out, and failed to bring her new fans. Todd in the Shadows, in the debut episode of Trainwreckords discussing the album, compared it to Joni Mitchell suddenly releasing a disco album out of nowhere, or Taylor Swift jumping straight from "Teardrops on My Guitar" to "Look What You Made Me Do". An attempted Parody Retcon claiming that she was satirizing the vapid Idol Singers of the early '00s did little to stem the damage, especially given that she had licensed the lead-off single "Intuition" to promote a line of razors by that name. While she quickly retreated back into her comfort zone after 0304 crashed and burned (her later forays into Country Music feeling far less removed from her usual style), her career never returned to its post-Pieces of You heights.
  • Lisa Loeb's mainstream success ended with the commercial failure of her 2002 album Cake and Pie, which got her dropped from A&M Records. Notably, the album received such poor promotion from the label that Loeb eventually bought the rights to the masters of the songs and rereleased the album later that year as Hello Lisa, with an altered track listing and some new songs.
  • Michelle Branch's future looked bright after a pair of hit albums, The Spirit Room in 2001 and Hotel Paper in 2003. Unfortunately, her career was a victim of turbulence at Warner Bros. Records, with a revolving door of five label presidents each attempting their own Executive Meddling on her third album, pushing her to sound like (at various times) Avril Lavigne, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry. It wouldn't be until 2017, fourteen years after Hotel Paper, that she finally released her third solo studio album Hopeless Romantic after getting out of her contract at Warner Bros., by which point she had long since fallen out of the spotlight.
  • Former S Club 7 member Rachel Stevens had a moderately successful solo career upon her original group’s disbandment, reaching #2 twice on the UK Singles Chart. Critics fell in love with her sophomore record, Come and Get It, thanks to its progressive electronic sound, but it fared poorly with general audiences, despite the positive hype and Stevens being one of the biggest English sex symbols at the time. The album’s failure can be attributed to her general abstinence from a celebrity lifestyle and therefore lack of a provocative public persona, not helped by the fact that she had almost no writing credits on the record. Although her Polydor contract promised three more albums, she never returned to the studio after her label prematurely stopped promoting Come and Get It, and after a failed attempt at a Hollywood breakthrough, she instead opted to focus on modeling, Reality Television, and raising a family. However, the record is still a minor cult hit, having featured on The Guardian’s “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die” and retaining enough of a fanbase that Stevens DJ’d at a celebration of its 10th anniversary.
  • In 2012, Kesha was a polarizing yet highly successful pop star coming off her second album Warrior. It was around this time, however, that her continued sexual abuse at the hands of her Record Producer Dr. Luke grew too much for her to bear, leading to a Creator Breakdown as she checked into rehab for bulimia and engaged in a long legal battle to get out of her contract. Together, these problems prevented her from releasing any new material for five years, sapping her career momentum just as it looked like she had a number of interesting projects in the works. Fortunately, after getting out of her contract with Dr. Luke (who wound up disgraced by the whole affair; see below for more on him), she enjoyed a Career Resurrection in 2017 with the New Sound Album Rainbow.
  • Kiely Williams tried to pursue a solo career after The Cheetah Girls broke up, but it was killed by her first single, "Spectacular". It received negative reviews and became highly controversial thanks to its questionable lyrics that celebrate binge drinking and unprotected sex with strangers, and arguably date rape. Williams tried to defend the song by saying it was actually a protest against the behaviors it portrayed, but it didn't help. Since then she hasn't released anything (ignoring the 2018 leak of her unreleased single "Make Me a Drink", which was expected to be her solo debut).
  • When Lauryn Hill's 1998 solo debut album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill won critical acclaim, massive sales, and the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, she quickly emerged as the Breakup Breakout of The Fugees and looked to have a long career ahead... only for her studio follow-up to fall into Development Hell amid reports of mental health problems. The Last Straw for many fans awaiting new material was her 2002 Live Album MTV Unplugged No. 2.0, a Creator Breakdown recorded on compact disc in which, instead of performing her hits, she performed a series of brand-new, unfinished, and very lengthy songs without her backing band (who she was in a legal fight with at the time), after having blown her voice out in rehearsals the night before (leaving her sounding raspy and frequently flubbing her lyrics), and spent the time in between rambling about "reality" and how Celebrity Is Overrated. Many listeners and critics found it preachy, self-indulgent and lacking the energy of Miseducation, and even some of the executives at Columbia Records admitted that had anybody other than Hill recorded that album, it never would have been released. She vanished from mainstream attention soon after and came to be better known for her personal troubles than her music. Todd in the Shadows goes into more detail in this video.

    Male artists (solo) 
  • Peter Frampton's follow-up to his highly popular live album Frampton Comes Alive! was I'm In You, a low-key experimental funk album. Despite the title track managing to become his biggest hit (#2 on the US pop charts), the album confounded his teenybopper fans, and the combination of the album's failure and his role in the film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (which also killed producer Robert Stigwood's RSO label) the next year completely obliterated his career. To add insult to injury, Frank Zappa spoofed the album with "I Have Been In You", a cut from his own album Sheik Yerbouti.
  • Despite only finishing as runner-up in The X Factor UK 2005, Andy Abraham initially had a very promising career, and his first two albums enjoyed strong sales. Unfortunately, his future was destroyed virtually overnight by his disastrous failure and last-place finish in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest. Aside from the single release of his Eurovision song (which flopped so badly it didn't even get into the charts), Abraham hasn't released a single album since.
  • Ironically, despite "Rock Me Tonite" being Billy Squier's biggest hit single, the video killed his career. Kenny Ortega stepped in to direct it two weeks before it was due for a World Premiere Video on MTV; Billy was too much of a nice guy to junk an already troubled video in that time frame. Within days of people seeing the footage of him arising from satin sheets and prancing around in a pink tank top, they drew the only obvious conclusion, and he stopped selling out shows. He fired his manager and didn't release another album for two years.
  • As explained here by Todd in the Shadows, soul singer Billy Paul's career took a massive blow after his debut single "Me and Mrs. Jones" was followed up by "Am I Black Enough For You?". Nearly everybody on the label, including Paul himself, thought that "Black Enough" was a terrible choice for a single, and that its black nationalist themes and message would alienate mainstream white listeners and paint a picture of Paul as a Malcolm Xerox, but the head of the label loved the song and released it as his second single anyway. Sure enough, while "Black Enough" became a minor cult hit among black nationalists, Paul became remembered as a One-Hit Wonder afterward.
  • 50 Cent's third album Curtis, particularly the media storm he built around it, ruined his career and image virtually overnight. His debut album Get Rich Or Die Tryin' is widely considered to be a Glam Rap classic, and is one of the best-selling rap albums of all time, but his sophomore album The Massacre received a very polarized reaction from both critics and fans. With people questioning his staying power, Fifty, in an attempt to build hype around Curtis, boastfully announced to the public that if Kanye West's album Graduation sold more copies than Curtis during their first week of release (both albums were deliberately released on the same day), he would officially retire from rapping. This drew the ire of many fans, who began to perceive him as an arrogant prick on top of being a mediocre talent. The fact that Fifty went back on his word when Graduation did indeed sell far more copies than Curtis was the finishing blow. His fourth album, Before I Self Destruct, was both a critical and commercial failure, and the album Animal Ambition was stuck in Development Hell before quietly being released in 2014. While Get Rich Or Die Tryin' still has many fans, Fifty himself is now seen as a joke by the rap community.
  • In 2013, Robin Thicke was the hottest artist in the world, propelled by the tremendous success of his controversial hit "Blurred Lines", featuring Pharrell Williams and T.I.. His album of the same name sold 177,000 units in the first week. Then, his career was taken down by two heavy blows. First, he attempted to promote the album by doing an extremely indecent dance with Miley Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards that year. While it skyrocketed Cyrus's career to the greatest heights since her Hannah Montana days, it, unfortunately, torpedoed that of Thicke's, setting off a chain reaction that caused his single and album to disappear from the charts. Second, Thicke's affair and divorce finished the job. While he always had a very flamboyant, overly-sexed stage persona, he always had the excuse that it was just for show and that he was a faithful family man in real life. A photo released of him groping a fan and subsequent revelations of his infidelity ruined that instantly. His next album Paula (which he solely made just to win his wife back) was critically panned and gained very, very low sales. His fate was formally sealed in March 2015, when a jury in a Los Angeles civil court found that "Blurred Lines" had infringed on the copyright of Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give it Up", which both Thicke and co-writer Pharrell stated to be an influence to writing their song.note  His next work following that case, a featured spot on Flo Rida's "I Don't Like It, I Love It," went nowhere as it fell just short of the Top 40, possibly ensuring that he may never find an audience again.
  • David Guetta launched his career with the hit song "Sexy Bitch". However, it also had the side effect of killing off guest-artist Akon's career, as he hasn't had a hit since. The Auto-Tune craze slowly dying down, plus the heavy scrutiny he received for simulating sex acts on a 15-year-old girl onstage, certainly didn't help for him.
  • Tracy Lawrence was a constant chart presence on country radio for most of The '90s. He hit #1 on the country music charts with his 1991 debut single "Sticks and Stones", boosted by the publicity that he received when he survived getting shot four times after protecting a female friend from an attempted robbery and rape at a Nashville hotel. His next nineteen singles all peaked within that chart's Top 10 while his first four albums all sold either platinum or double-platinum. Even a 1994 incident where he was charged with reckless endangerment after allegedly shooting at some teenagers on the freeway didn't seem to have a negative impact on his career, partially because he was cleared of the charges. But his momentum stopped abruptly in fall 1997 when he was accused of abusing his then-wife, former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Stacie Drew, after a concert in Las Vegas. His then-current single "The Coast Is Clear" fell off the charts entirely from a #26 peak, and a Nevada judge convicted him and ordered him to pay $500 to a women's shelter. Atlantic Records allegedly put a temporary recording ban on him, although Lawrence himself later denied this. While he had momentary returns to the Top 10 with "Lessons Learned" in 2000 and "Paint Me a Birmingham" in 2004, both were quickly stunted by label closures. His last radio hit was 2008's "Find Out Who Your Friends Are", an independent release which only took off due to a remix featuring Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney. Combined with his increasing age and his twangy traditionalist style falling out of favor at the Turn of the Millennium, he was unlikely to last much longer anyway, but his 1997 misdeeds almost certainly hastened the end of his ongoing relationship with radio.
  • Cat Stevens narrowly escaped this with Numbers, but Executive Meddling pushed him on to complete two more albums, Izitso and Back to Earth. The latter was a true Creator Killer for him, as it failed to make the Top 30 and left Stevens, by this time formally known as Yusuf Islam, absent from the pop world for nearly thirty years.
  • Jerry Lee Lewis was, in 1958, one of rock 'n' roll's biggest stars, with hits like "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" and "Great Balls of Fire", and a wildman persona that left fans breathless. Then, while on tour in England, word got out to the press that Lewis' new wife Myra was thirteen years old. And his cousin. English fans booed him mercilessly and forced the early cancellation of his U.K. tour. Upon returning home to America, Lewis discovered that even his youthful fan base back home didn't want anything more to do with him. He was blacklisted in the music industry and soon reduced to playing small gigs. Seemingly washed-up in his early 20s, it took several years before Lewis regained the respect of fans and the industry, having switched to country music in 1968 and topped the country charts with the song "Another Place, Another Time".
  • Willy Moon, the husband of Natalia Kills (described above under Female Artists), harpooned his own career just as badly in the same incident. His stumble wasn't as steep given that he wasn't as big a name and didn't have as far to fall, but it still effectively buried his shot at success.
  • Biz Markie's music career was derailed severely by a lawsuit filed by singer-songwriter Gilbert O'Sullivan over a track on his album I Need a Haircut, which heavily sampled Sullivan's 1972 hit, "Alone Again (Naturally)" without Sullivan's permission. The track was permanently banned, Warner Bros. Records was permanently banned from selling the album (which would eventually be re-released by another company without the offending track), and Markie was referred to the criminal courts. Though he narrowly avoided criminal charges of copyright infringement due to the attorney general declining to press charges, the damage had been done, and his next album, All Samples Cleared!, would sell extremely poorly as a result. Markie would only release one more album of original material after that.
  • Country Music singer Chris Cagle had been a fairly consistent hit-maker for the first decade of the 21st century with big hits such as "Laredo", "I Breathe In, I Breathe Out" (part of a Network to the Rescue moment for Cagle, as Capitol Records picked him up for this song after buying out his previous label, Virgin Records Nashville), "Chicks Dig It", and "What a Beautiful Day". In late 2007, he looked to be shaping up for one of the biggest hits of his career with "What Kinda Gone". But right as that song peaked, Cagle was arrested and jailed for domestic assault of his girlfriend. Followup singles bombed completely, and Capitol dropped him. While he released another album on Bigger Picture Music Group in 2012, its singles were largely unsuccessful and the label closed two years later. Cagle ultimately retired in 2015.
  • Macklemore and his producer/partner-in-crime Ryan Lewis followed up the surprise success of 2012's The Heist, which featured songs like "Thrift Shop" and "Same Love" which are forever cemented in the modern pop music pantheon as game changers, with 2016's This Unruly Mess I've Made. The album itself wasn't the killer (it did quite well in its first few weeks of release, though not on the same level as The Heist, as it was clear at that point his 15 minutes had ended a long time ago), but rather the album's second single, "White Privilege II", which was, putting it mildly, a huge disaster. The song was nine minutes long and was seen in the public eye as a self-indulgent, self-pitying mess that shamelessly pandered to Macklemore's left-wing fanbase, who mostly hated it themselves and saw it as insincere. The backlash came almost immediately, and while Macklemore had already begun to be seen in the public eye as a joke as far back as his debut, said song pretty much confirmed it. Later single "Dance Off" bombed on the charts and despite the album being released in 2016, Macklemore and Lewis announced that they would be taking a break from recording music in 2017 with Macklemore focusing on his solo career as his single "Glorious" was well received by critics and wasn't a US Top 40 hit but it was more successful in Europe and Oceania, to the point that it was a number two hit in Australia and a number one hit in New Zealand.
  • While the '90s did not bring him any significant hits, Gary Glitter was still a respected and bankable performer and one of the symbols of the '70s glam rock scene. In 1997, however, he was convicted for possession of child pornography on his computer; he was banned from all performances and his cameo in Spice World was cut. With this, and various organizations (including the NFL) banning the use of his songs during events, he was forced to produce and release his final studio album On (2001) independently as no record company or distributor wanted their name attached to him, dooming it to sell only 5,000 copies. Whatever slim chances he had of winning back the crowd were lost when he was convicted in Vietnam for performing sexual acts on minors in 2006, and again in 2015 (in his native UK) for several child molestation cases from the late '70s.
  • Marilyn Manson attributes his downfall to the Columbine massacre, for which he was widely Mis-blamed by Moral Guardians who felt that his music had influenced Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to become killers. While he's kept working to this day and still has a good core of fans, his A-list mainstream momentum was snapped by the shooting, and his subsequent albums Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death) and The Golden Age of Grotesque were both sales disappointments, signaling a Dork Age that would last until the release of The Pale Emperor in 2015. Ironically, he thinks that the killers likely would have been better off had they actually listened to his music; in real life, Harris is known to have dismissed Manson as a poser.
  • Jerrod Niemann had an inconsistent chart presence in The New '10s, but when he hit, he hit big: "Lover, Lover" (a cover of Sonia Dada's "You Don't Treat Me No Good") was a #1 smash on the Hot Country Songs charts in 2010, and "Drink to That All Night" was also a chart-topper in late 2013-early 2014, despite derision from fans and critics over its Auto-Tune-dominated production and simplistic lyrics about partying that predicted the rise of "bro-country" a couple of years later. But following the latter, he put out "Donkey", another electronic-influenced novelty with embarrassingly bad Double Entendre lyrics about, well, the ass (and possibly even sodomy, given the line "They all walk funny when they're done, riding you know who"). This caused the song to go over abysmally in the traditionally conservative-minded country fandom, so Arista pulled it less than two months later in favor of the much safer "Buzz Back Girl". Despite their attempts to cover up "Donkey" by referring to "Buzz Back Girl" as the second single in ad copy, the damage had already been done. An intended single for a fourth Arista album ("Blue Bandana") also underperformed so poorly that he exited the label. He moved to Curb Records in 2016 and released a duet with labelmate and close friend Lee Brice which, despite Brice's better track record and name recognition, barely made any noise either. Jerrod released an album on Curb in fall 2017, but it sold so poorly that it failed to chart, and almost no mainstream critics except Allmusic even bothered to review it. Any discussion about Jerrod in the country music fandom seems to center on what a terrible choice "Donkey" was for a single, and how badly it seems to have damaged his career. "Donkey" also seems to have killed the career of Sony Nashville's then-head Gary Overton, who made several other bad decisions on the Sony-owned Arista and RCA Nashville labels in the same timespan.
  • Another one of Sony's bad choices occurred with Tyler Farr. After having three straight Top 10 hits with "Redneck Crazy", "Whiskey in My Water", and "A Guy Walks Into a Bar" (the last of which was his first #1 hit on the Billboard Country Airplay charts), Farr released the impassioned ballad "Withdrawals". The song was only on the charts for two months before the label decided to withdraw it in favor of "Better in Boots". This was a massive case of Executive Meddling, as the newly-appointed label heads felt that Tyler should release a more upbeat song with female appeal instead of a ballad (even though both "Redneck Crazy" and "A Guy Walks Into a Bar" were also ballads). "Boots" was derided as a lightweight novelty track, and stalled out at #26. The choice seems to have completely derailed Farr's career, as his attempts at follow-ups have completely failed on the charts, and even his big hits seem to have fallen into obscurity. (It doesn't help that, except for "A Guy Walks Into a Bar" and "Withdrawals", most of Farr's material was heavily divisive due to stock "country boy" lyrical content and Farr's gruff singing voice.)
  • MC Hammer was a Hip-Hop superstar in the early '90s, but the Gangsta Rap boom caused his goofy, PG-rated persona to go out of style, which led him to adopt a Darker and Edgier image on his 1994 album The Funky Headhunter. It alienated his existing fanbase, who saw the new, gangsta-flavored Hammer (he dropped the "MC" from his name) as a betrayal of the parents and kids who made him famous, and was mostly laughed at by actual gangsta rappers, who saw it as a ridiculous and shallow pose and a desperate attempt to stay relevant. After the failure of The Funky Headhunter, Hammer's Conspicuous Consumption caught up with him, causing him to file for bankruptcy in 1996. Todd in the Shadows goes into more detail here.
  • Billy Idol's career never recovered from the 1993 bomb of Cyberpunk, a Concept Album inspired by the cyberpunk literary movement and the new computer technology of the time. His new image and sound, far from futuristic and rebellious, were ironically seen as woefully out-of-date and pretentious at the height of the grunge era, while actual cyberpunk enthusiasts saw him as a shallow poser. Between that and a near-fatal drug overdose shortly after, Idol went on hiatus for eleven years starting in 1994 in order to concentrate on his family. Again, Todd in the Shadows has the details.
  • Downplayed with Elvis Presley. In The '50s, he was the poster child for youth rebellion. In The '60s, he was more of a bubblegum pop type, and while he was still successful as a movie star and live performer, he didn't have very many hits in his music career after he served a tour of duty in the US Army in Europe. John Lennon put it quite plainly when he said following Elvis's death, "Elvis died in the Army."
  • Former Pink Floyd bassist/vocalist/songwriter Roger Waters derailed his solo career with the failure of The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking and Radio K.A.O.S combined with his feud with the rest of Pink Floyd. While his third solo album, Amused to Death was hailed as on par with classic Floyd albums, his career never truly recovered until his 1999-2000 "In The Flesh" tour and a one-off reunion with Pink Floyd at Live 8 in 2005. Waters subsequently staged successful live revivals of The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall.
  • Ike Turner was a respected blues/funk musician for decades, but all that stopped in the early '90s when ex-wife Tina Turner's autobiography I, Tina, adapted into the biofilm What's Love Got to Do with It, utterly destroyed his reputation by revealing him to be a domestic abuser. The fact that he defended himself with statements like "Yeah I hit her, but I didn't hit her more than the average guy beats his wife" didn't help matters. Even in death, he is known as Tina's abusive ex-husband first and a musician second.

  • Although nowadays it's seen as one of his best ever productions, the relative American failure of the Ike & Tina Turner single "River Deep, Mountain High" brought producer Phil Spector's career to a standstill and was a major factor in driving him into seclusion for the rest of his life, along with his divisive production of The Beatles' Let It Be. Ironically, it was actually a huge success in Europe, not that this brought him much comfort.
  • At the premiere of Lily in 1977, the audience turned out in droves within just 20 minutes. Leon Kirchner never wrote another opera thereafter, although his musical career continued.
  • It wasn't so much a failure as it was long, but William Tell prevented Gioachino Rossini from composing a fortieth opera altogether.
    • Constantino Dall'Argine composed a Barber of Seville that failed miserably at its premiere in Bologna in 1868 — two days before Rossini's death — and destroyed his career as a composer.
  • After the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show, where Janet Jackson's breast was accidentally exposed on national television in the middle of a highly sexualized performance, MTV was effectively blacklisted from ever putting on another Super Bowl halftime show, and the NFL turned to classic rock for the next six halftime shows before switching back to mainstream pop in 2011. Janet's career also suffered; while it wasn't quite a Creator Killer for her, she did undergo a Dork Age and a career downturn that lasted into the 2010s, only ending with the 2015 album Unbreakable. Justin Timberlake, however, went virtually unscathed from the incident.
  • Lithuanian producer Ten Walls was a rising name of the EDM stage, scoring a top 10 hit in 2014 with "Walking with Elephants", only for his career to implode in June 2015 after going on a homophobic rant on Facebook. Because of that, he was dropped from several EDM festivals and has remained mostly quiet since.
  • Japanese rock musician Mamoru Samuragochi's composing career was suddenly halted in February 2014 when it was revealed that not only were most of his compositions were actually ghostwritten by Takashi Niigaki, but he wasn't deaf. This was enough to have his Hiroshima Citizen's Award rescinded and Nippon Columbia to drop him from their roster. Samuragochi has remained relatively quiet since the controversy.

    Record labels 
  • MCA formed the sub-label Infinity Records in 1978 in the hopes of the Los Angeles-based label expanding its operations to the East Coast. It only produced one hit, the Rupert Holmes album Partners in Crime which contained the mega-hit "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)". The label also had some modest success with albums by the jazz fusion band Spyro Gyra, but most of their other releases flopped or failed to turn a profit. Desperate to stay alive, Infinity spent millions of dollars to the Roman Catholic Church in order to secure the rights to a number of Pope John Paul II's recordings, which were compiled in the album Pope John Paul II Sings at the Festival of Sacrosong for an October 1979 release in the hopes that his international popularity would save the label. They instead lost even more money on it, as the album in question was widely panned and sold far below what Infinity hoped for. After its failure, MCA got smart and shuttered Infinity, sending its operations and masters back to the main MCA label and dropping all of its artists from their roster with the exceptions of Holmes and Spyro Gyra.
  • The pioneering New Wave Music label Factory Records was taken down by Yes Please!, the disastrous 1992 album by Happy Mondays. The album went several times over-budget and the band members spent more time doing crack (which, ironically, was the result of them relocating to Barbados to kick their heroin addiction; there was no heroin on the island, but plenty of crack) than recording any material (the first demos sent to the label didn't even have vocals because the band forgot to write any lyrics). The failure of the album also took down Happy Mondays, who wouldn't record another album until 2007.
    • Lead singer Shaun Ryder's side-project Black Grape was also killed off. After the critical and commercial success of "It's Great When You're Straight...Yeah", the band followed it up with Stupid Stupid Stupid, which flopped and ended Black Grape.
    • New Order's delay in following up Technique has also been cited as contributing to Factory's demise. When the band finally released Republic the year after Factory went under, it was a major hit for their new label London Records and would have been the album that saved Factory from its sad demise.
  • Master P and his record label No Limit's popularity declined due to a lawsuit and split from production company Beats By the Pound. These events forced the bulk of their catalog to cease production, forcing them to attempt to restart their empire from scratch.
  • Interscope Records's Suretone imprint was killed off by the one-two punch of Chris Cornell's Screamnote  and Shwayze's Let It Beatnote , both of which failed commercially and critically. Suretone's implosion had unintended consequences for the label's biggest act The Cure, who found themselves without a recording contract after the dust settled. Angels & Airwaves, another successful Suretone band, also got lost in the shuffle but were able to find their footing as an independent act. The Suretone brand was revived in 2017 with distribution through Warner's ADA division, with a new lineup of acts including Collective Soul.
  • While WWF - The Music, Vol. 3 was a major hit for low-budget VHS leader Simitar Entertainment, they lost a copyright infringement lawsuit from WWF parent company Titan Sports, Inc. and music licensee Cherry River Co., and the resulting debts drove them to bankruptcy.
  • Music producer Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald's music label, Kemosabe Records, was closed in April 2017 after Sony Music began distancing themselves from him, amidst allegations of sexual assault and abuse which already claimed his career.note  Luke's career never recovered from the scandal, not having had a hit since R. City's "Locked Away" in late 2015. Even Katy Perry stopped collaborating with him as her 2017 album Witness became her first album to have no involvement from him.


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