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The Split Up (and the Almost Inevitable Reunion)
21 April 2010
Forum Posts: 3404
Member Since:
31 March 2008

Next on:

Saturday, 20:00 on BBC Radio 4


Episode image for The Split Up (and the Almost Inevitable Reunion)

mark the 40th anniversary of the Beatles disbanding, the Reverend
Richard Coles, whose own band The Communards split up, examines how
rock groups through the decades have decided to call it a day. From the
Beatles through to the Verve who've disbanded several times, Richard
trawls the BBC archives to find examples of rock split-ups and to ask
whether there can ever be a dignified parting of the ways. He examines
the many reasons that bands split and reveals a myriad of circumstances
underlying these partings of the ways, from artistic differences to
personal animosity, the wish of one singer to go solo or simply the end
of a particular zeitgeist which characterised their sound. He also asks
whether the energy and drive of the music and early days of a band
means that tensions and a sundering is often inevitable.

The programme features a wealth of archive material from bands
through the decades, of all kinds of musical styles from the Rubettes
to The Verve, and from 10cc to The Eagles. There are also new
interviews with the record executive Tony Wadsworth and the artist
manager Jazz Summers, which give the view points of those working
behind the scenes who have to manage and deal with the fall-out when a
band splits up. Extra comment is provided by the rock specialists
Stuart Maconie and Laura Lee Davies.

But the story doesn't just stop when the bands split. The members
may go off and pursue other careers, but often, the creativity which
fuelled them at the beginning still drives them 10 years down the line.
In addition, touring is now where the big money is to be made. So, for
many different reasons, many of the bands we thought we'd never see
again are being coaxed from their separate career paths to reunite and
go on the road once more. The Police regrouped, Take That have had a
new lease of life and the Spice Girls took their children touring the
second time around.

Of course, the reunion doesn't always go well. Perhaps the band is
without the lead singer who gave such a distinctive sound. Sometimes
the artistic differences which sundered the artists in the first place
rear their heads again 10 years later. Maybe the fans have grown up and
moved on. And that means that a reunited band can do the split-up all
over again…

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