Music HistoryOngoing History of New Music

The Ongoing History of New Music Encore Presentation: Spectacular Acts of Self-Destruction

You probably know someone like this: A guy (or woman) who, though having loads of talent or tons of luck (or both!) have become tremendously successful. They have everything anyone could ever hope to have. Money. Fame. Stuff.  Access to all kinds of pleasure, adventures and opportunity. Everyone wants to be this person.

And then they all screw it all up. I

It wasn’t bad luck, illness or any other misfortune. They just made some bad decisions or questionable moves that damage or destroy their careers–and even their lives.

Sometimes this downfall happens in slow motion over a period of weeks or months or even years. Then there are those crashes that come in seconds. In the end, there’s no one that can be blamed except the person tthemselves

This sort of self-destruction happens a lot in music. Ego, bad advice, hubris, arrogance, drugs, stubbornness, mental illness–all these things can lead to tarnished legacies at the very least and full-on catastrophes at worst. What can we learn from these stories of spectacular acts of self-sabotage?

MGMT, Congratulations

Chris Cornell, Long Gone

Smashing Pumpkins, Ava Adore

Nirvana, Heart-Shaped Box (Original 1993 Steve Albini mix)

Metallica, Until It Sleeps

Stone Temple Pilots, Between the Lines

Sinead O’Connor, War

U2, The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)

Playlistist Eric Wilhite has created this for us.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38341 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “The Ongoing History of New Music Encore Presentation: Spectacular Acts of Self-Destruction

  • The thing is though is that most of the artists on your list managed to salvage their careers afterwards.

    I think it’s more fascinating when an artist actively sabotages themselves and permanently halts their career. Liz Phair’s ‘Funstyle’ is the best modern example I can recall. That album drills a hole in the hull of her career, sending it permanently to the bottom of the ocean.


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