​big boybands don’t cry, but their fandoms sure do…

With the news that 1D are due to, um, “take a break” next spring, let’s take a look back at the boyband break-ups that rocked the world.

by i-D Staff
27 August 2015, 12:37am

We once read something that claimed the average lifespan of a boyband was about five years, which, incidentally, is the same as a hedgehog, gerbil and queen bee. Having formed on X-Factor back in 2010, One Direction has technically exceeded their life expectancy by a whole year, amassing 20 million fans on social media, 50 million album sales and an estimated £25 million each in the process. Lucky little gerbils. But, as with everything, the circle of life must go on and following the first dagger in the hearts of Directioners that came with Zayn's departure, next March will see the remaining four boys go their separate ways. It's not the first time a generation of fans have had their worlds torn apart, and it certainly won't be the last.

The Beatles 1960 - 1970
Formed in 1960, The Fab Four managed to stick together for almost ten years. It started when John Lennon told bandmates he'd had enough, before all hell broke loose when Paul McCartney announced he was leaving on 10th April 1970. Despite their universal appeal, according to the brilliant footage available online, the real fanatics were -- you guessed it -- teenage girls. Aren't screaming/sobbing fans funny? Oh, to feel so passionately about something…

Bros 1986 - 1992
The Goss twins' fans - the self-styled Brosettes - were probably more famous than the actual band. More than fanatical (who wouldn't scream if they caught a glimpse of those gorgeous, identical blonde barnets today?), the girls wore ripped 501s and Doc Martens with Grolsch bottle caps threaded onto their laces, scared passers by, and gave up years of their life loitering outside the brothers' Maida Vale home waiting for one of them to leave the house. But when third member Craig Logan left in 1989, the remaining two disbanded three years later and the Brosettes were left to mourn the union of the boys of their dreams.

Take That 1990 - 1996, 2005 - present
"We always said we'd finish on top," said Howard Donald (who?) in the 1996 GMTV news report announcing the split of Take That. By this point, Robbie Williams had already done a Zayn and left the year before, but the band played on for the remainder of their world tour and another few releases. It's a mystery why this bloke was called in for a quote, but Paul Taylor of the Manchester Evening News appeared in the report predicting quite rightly that of the remaining four members, "Gary Barlow will have a career but what'll happen to the others is perhaps less certain." With no Twitter to help vent their anger, distraught fans were provided with a Samaritans style helpline number. Teen salvation was just a phone call away.

Oasis 1991 - 2009
As with most things they did, Oasis split up in dramatic rock 'n' roll fashion. After an altercation between the Gallagher brothers minutes before they were due to go on stage, which involved Liam brandishing his guitar "like an axe" -- in Noel's words -- and throwing a plum (?) at him, Noel packed up his things and left Oasis forever. I mean, who didn't see that one coming, but it was a sad, sad day for those reminiscing over the good old Brit Pop era.

*NSYNC 1995 - 2002
Justin, JC, Chris, Joey and Lance went into hiatus in 2002 with 50 million albums sold. Despite the release of JT's Justified, the band lessened the blow somewhat by pissing around at events together and performing at the 2003 Grammy Awards. Finally, in 2004, Justin formally said Bye Bye Bye to the others and completed his transition into the musical god he is is today.

Busted 2000-2005
Everything went to shit when Charlie Simpson aka Eyebrows abruptly decided he had to leave Busted. Let's face it, they always had the upper hand on McFly. Who knows, maybe they'll pop up again in the year 3000 in Peter's Flux Capacitor.


Text Francesca Dunn and Felicity Kinsella
Photography via

One Direction