Table of Contents
From athletes to musicians, some people just don’t know when to hang up the cleats (or, I suppose, the microphone). When you spend your life in the game, it’s hard to imagine moving on without it. Hanging on past your prime, then, is a relatively normal thing.
We’ve gathered a list of 21 bands that once had incredible careers but have reached their best by date. Rather than choosing to tour again and again, these men and women should have stopped before staining their legacy. Let’s dive in.
Oasis is first on our list of bands that still tour but should have hung it up, starting their career with a bang of a hit with Definitely Maybe in 1994. The band technically stopped performing in 2009, but singer Liam Gallagher announced their 30th anniversary tour for their original album.
Let’s be honest – once you’ve stopped performing, it’s probably time to leave the touring scene behind forever, as there was a reason you stopped in the first place. Plus, the members are well into middle age at this point which doesn’t fit the band’s aesthetic.
U2 just nailed a residency at the Las Vegas Sphere, even after incidents like forcing users to download their album Songs of Innocence. Bono will forever be a legend, but we must be truthful here – the guys aren’t in their prime anymore, and they’re stuck in place musically.
The band might still have a residency, but they should consider retiring before they go out with a fizzle instead of a bang.
3. The Beach Boys
Original Beach Boys members Dennis Wilson and Carl Wilson passed away in 1983 and 1998, respectively. Today, the only surviving members are Brian Wilson, Mike Jardine, and Al Love, but only Bruce and Mike continue to tour. Brian Wilson tours separately, which makes it even more confusing.
The rest of the current Beach Boys are fill-ins – the famous group is a shadow of what it once used to be, so they are definitely one of the bands that should have hung it up long ago.
Related: 21 Best 60s Songs
4. Paul McCartney
It seems like McCartney has fallen in love with the stage too much to see his reality – his new music is mediocre, and his voice is far from what it used to be. It’s time for him to hang up his guitar (and bass, and piano…well, store the piano safely) for good and relax into retirement.
Related: 10 Best Beatles Songs 1963-1965
5. The Who
The Who have been together for an astounding six decades – and they’re only considering retiring! The youngest member, Zak Starkey, is nearing 60, while the oldest, Roger Daltrey, is nearly 80. They’re well passed their prime, and it’s starting to show in their performances.
Not to mention that two of the original members, Keith Moon and John Entwistle, are dead, so it isn’t even the original group! They should probably call it quits like 10 years ago. Or maybe when they had their first “retirement tour” in the 1980s.
Aerosmith is finally headed into a retirement tour, but they should have stopped performing long ago. The group, led by Steven Tyler, is too old to perform, which makes tours very complicated. Also – does anyone even remember they’re still appearing onstage anymore?
7. The Rolling Stones
The 2024 Rolling Stones tour is being sponsored by AARP, which should hint that they are one of the bands that still tour but should have hung it up. Lead singer Mick Jagger is 80 years old – he can only rebel against aging for so long before it becomes too much for even their biggest fans.
8. Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton will always be known as the Queen of Country, but she’s in her late 70s – it’s probably time for her to get off the stage. At a recent performance for the halftime show of a Dallas Cowboys game, she could barely walk as she crooned her all-familiar tunes, having to hold on to the side of the Dallas Cowboys star for support.
We love Dolly, but hasn’t she made enough money to at least enjoy the last decade or two of her life?
Madonna is in her 60s and has no plan to retire anytime soon. She almost died earlier in 2023 thanks to a bacterial infection leading us to think it’s time for Madonna to hang up her hat before the “Like A Virgin” singer tarnishes her legacy forever.
10. Green Day
Green Day is an icon in the pop-punk world, but they’ve struggled to grasp that they’re much older and don’t represent the youthful rebellion they once did. Along with bands like Weezer and Fall Out Boy, the middle-aged rockers need to make way for the younger upcoming bands.
11. Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton has said he is going to retire time and time again – and he never does. In 2014, he stated that touring was “miserable,” yet he is still touring in 2023.
No offense, but it’s clear Clapton is aging, and it shows in his guitar playing. He’s not where he once was, and it would probably be best for him to stay true to his word and hang up his music career.
Related: 16 Best Guitar Players
12. Guns N’ Roses
Guns N’ Roses is one of the most obvious bands that still tour but should have hung it up – as stated by so many fans who have gone to see them live. Axl Rose just doesn’t have the youthful energy that it takes to make the band’s songs come alive.
Hopefully, they will see this, because we are so tired of the concerts of nothing offered by this once famous band.
13. Maroon 5
Maroon 5 had a great time in the mid-2000s as the group behind smash hits like “Payphone,” “Girls Like You,” and “She Will Be Loved.” Singer Adam Levine has since undergone a cheating scandal, and the band overall has a legacy of releasing semi-corny music in recent years.
Truly, it’s time for them to make way for different catchy pop groups and hang up their own musical instruments before they go down a musical road of no return.
14. Bruce Springsteen
Fans who have seen his recent concerts report that the singer isn’t what he once was and that he definitely isn’t worth the high ticket prices they have to pay to see 74-year-old Springsteen perform.
Metallica is another hard rock group that should hand up their guitars and give the touring and performing life a rest. They’ve been around for more than four decades, and this year, drummer Lars Ulrich revealed they still have no plans to retire anytime soon.
The band still has quite a few fans, but they’re way behind other, more modern, younger heavy metal bands in their content and popularity.
KISS was formed in 1972, and while leather outfits and face paint are fun when you’re in your younger years, with most of KISS’s members being in their 60s and 70s, their signature look borders on gross. It’s time for KISS (and Gene Simmons) to accept that they are one of the bands that still tour but should have hung it up at least a decade ago.
17. The Monkees
A pop band formed in 1966, The Monkees reached fame thanks to their appeal to the younger generation…but that “younger generation” isn’t so young anymore. They even had a farewell tour in 2021.
The only living member, Mickey Dolenz, continues to tour under the name, though. We love you, Monkees…but it’s time to call it quits and fondly remember the past.
18. Golden Earring
Formed the same year as the Beach Boys (!), Golden Earring is definitely one of the bands that still tour but should have hung it up. Although they are currently on hiatus, there have been rumors that they will return to the stage in 2024 despite the fact that most of their members are approaching 80 years old.
Related: 40 Best Rock Songs
19. Def Leppard
Def Leppard released their debut album in 1980, over 40 years ago. Although they are one of the world’s best-selling music artists, selling over 100 million copies of their music, there comes a time when it’s appropriate to say goodbye. With members of the band now in their mid to late 60s, it’s probably time to schedule a farewell tour and let Def Leppard be a band of the past.
20. Lynyrd Skynyrd
Rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd released their first album in 1973, and they lost their last original member in 2023. However, despite this tragedy, all the replacement/new members of the band still continue to tour.
While we love Lynyrd Skynyrd, if there are NO remaining original members of the band, it’s over, we’re sorry, but this is the way it goes you are now a cover band. End of story.
21. REO Speedwagon
Last on our list of bands that still tour but should have hung it up is REO Speedwagon. Founding member and keyboardist Neal Doughty announced his retirement in January 2023, but the band didn’t go with him – instead, they’re booked for dozens more shows in the coming year.
REO Speedwagon is known for being a touring force, but maybe it’s time for them to accept they aren’t as relevant as they once were.
You May Also Enjoy: