The List: 10 musical acts that should have quit when they were ahead

From the November 22, 2012 edition

With lumbering former rock giants Aerosmith and Cheap Trick both bringing shells of their former selves to town this week, we’re counting down 10 artists who kept releasing music well past the peak of their artistic relevancy.


Pro tip: If you start a song by singing “Uno, dos, tres, catorce!” and you aren’t Black Francis, you’ve taken a terribly wrong turn.


We can split hairs about when they lost the plot (the answer is Load, or when they went to get the haircuts for Load), but no matter how many outlandish new ways James Hetfield-ah and the boys find to tarnish their legacy, the memory of their relevance remains.

Pink Floyd

A decade of post-Roger Waters Floyd generated some huge tours, two albums and zero contributions to the canon.

Red Hot Chili Peppers

This is the sound of settling.


Inspired performers can reinvent themselves time and again, but when it goes, it goes quicker than a ray of light.

Dr. Dre

Preemptive strike: After hearing lethargic singles like “I Need a Doctor,” we’d prefer Dre never get around to releasing Detox. Thankfully, the good doctor seems busy enough lifting weights and hawking headphones that he just might oblige us.


Not that there weren’t a handful of great singles post-Pinkerton, but if they had only released that album and self-titled “Blue Album,” they would have retired batting 1.000.

The Beach Boys

The bait-and-switch tease of a reunited Beach Boys tour in 2012 was the last straw. Also: “Kokomo.”

Van Halen

We know there are loyal supporters of the post-David Lee Roth Sammy Hagar version of Van Halen, but think you can just throw Gary Cherone up on stage? That’s just hubris, Eddie.

Guns N’ Roses

The 15-year wait for Chinese Democracy was a setup for (huge) disappointment. It would have been nice to have properly mourned the band’s demise rather than the years on life-support.