You’re holding me back

The Police

It’s a familiar story: Relationships formed when members saw each other as equals fray when one person’s star shines brighter than the other’s (or others’). The Police were a tight three-man partnership when they formed in 1977, but by the early 1980s, Sting’s star was ascending. He was cast in 1984’s Dune (no matter that it was a flop), and with the success of his solo album Dream of the Blue Turtles in 1985, it became clear there was no going back. The Police reunited to record a sixth album in 1986, but when drummer Stewart Copeland broke his collarbone falling off a horse, it gave Sting the excuse he needed to pull the plug. “It was clear Sting had no real intention of writing any new songs for the Police,” Summers later wrote. “It was an empty exercise.”

Bad behavior

Sly and the Family Stone

When one member of a marriage or band is abusing substances, the rest can try and soldier on. But when everyone involved is on drugs you have a real problem. Sly and the Family Stone was a brilliant band that blended funk, soul, and rock, but was undone by drug use, particularly that of lead singer Sly Stone. The band became notorious for members missing gigs or performing while high, occasionally leading their sometimes-furious audiences to riot. Eventually word about their unreliability spread. In 1975, when the band booked Radio City Music Hall in New York, the venue was less than a quarter full. Broke after that fiasco, the Family Stone called it quits.

It’s Breakup Week at Quartz! Here are more stories on breakups, breaking up, and heartbreak:

Breakups suck, but the word “breakup” is wonderful

Before you ghost your date, practice politely dumping our chatbot

A definitive guide to the best breakup movies since 1970


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