(Photo : Wikimedia Commons) Last week, it was reported that EXO-M band member Kris Wu Yifan, known to fans as simply Kris, was terminating his contract with SM Entertainment.
Though the news shocked K-poppers from around the world, Kris is not the first star to leave a group at the height of their fame. Some bands, like the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd, survive the defection of key members. Other bands obviously do not.
Here"s our list of the five most infamous band members that bailed.
5. Guitarist After Guitarist Say Give It Away to the Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Red Hot Chili Peppers" guitarist John Frusciante put a sock on his second tenure with the band while the Peppers were recording the follow-up to their 2006 album "Stadium Arcadium." Frusciante left RHCP to the more than capable fingers of guitarist Josh Klinghoffer.
Frusciante wasn"t the Peppers" first guitarist. Anthone Kiedis and Flea formed the band with guitarist Hillel Slovak and drummer Jack Irons. Slovak died of an overdose and Irons said he couldn"t deal with the constant reminder of the loss of his friend and left the band. Neither musician actually played on the first album because they were doing musical duties with other bands at the time.
For a short time, Parliament-Funkadelic guitarist DeWayne McKnight shredded his fingers on the intricate fret work before he was replaced by John Frusciante in 1988.
Frusciante played with the Red Hot Chili Peppers for 1989"s Mother"s Milk and 1991"s Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Frusciante left in 1992, ushering in the Dave Navarro era. Frusciante came back for Californication, By The Way and Stadium Arcadium. He left to pursue other projects in 2006.
4. Pink Floyd Suffers Acid Casualty
Psychedelic prog band Pink Floyd had a great history. At the height of London"s reign as the swingiest place in the sixties, John Lennon showed up at one of their earliest shows, a happening that blended music, film and lights before mixed media was even a thing.
Pink Floyd progressed steadily over 30 years from 1965-1997, and they it in spite of the loss of their founding member, songwriting guitarist Syd Barrett. Syd, who formed the band with bassist Roger Waters, keyboardist Richard Wright and drummer Nick Mason, was brilliant but increasingly unreliable. He fueled his sonic masterpieces with hallucinogens, but would sometimes spend an entire concert playing one chord. Over and over again.
For a while Syd was joined by guitarist David Gilmour on stage. But slowly as the LSD trips became too frequent, Gilmore had to fill in more and more. He took on more of the guitar duties and wound up singing lead. Ultimately, Barrett nodded out entirely, retreating to his home studio and releasing two albums that are cult masterpieces. The crazy diamond shined.
Barrett"s breakdown was the subject of The Wall, which Roger Waters has said he wrote as a way to come to terms with the bandleader"s mythic disappearance.
3. Van Halen Takes David Lee Roth"s April Fool"s Joke Seriously.
On April 1, 1985, April Fool"s Day, high jumping singer David Lee Roth quit Van Halen. The band had been going strong for seven years. They had million-seller records. They sold out tours worldwide. They had guitar star Eddie Van Halen. This was a heavy rock outfit that actually scored a number one record. "Jump" hit number one and Roth jumped ship.
Van Halen asked "I Can"t Drive 55" singer Sammy Hagar if he could slow down long enough to do a couple albums. Hagar took the time to also keep up a running feud with David Lee Roth. In 1997, Roth told Howard Stern "Sammy"s a singer. David Lee is the singer."
On New Year"s Eve 1984, Roth released "Crazy from the Heat," a four song EP that went platinum largely on the videos for "California Girls" and "Just a Gigolo/I Ain"t Got Nobody." Columbia Pictures wanted to make a movie out of "Crazy from the Heat," it was so big.
2. The Rolling Stones Lose Brian Jones, Mick Taylor Exiled on Main Street
Brian Jones started The Rolling Stones. Singer Mick Jagger and lead guitarist Keith Richards may have been the songwriters, but Brian Jones was the one to bring them together with bassist Dick Taylor, keyboardist Ian Stewart and drummer Tony Chapman in 1962.
Jones was a blues purist. His slide guitar is legendary. By 1963, Charlie Watts was pounding the skins and Bill Wyman was walking his bass. As Mick and Keith took prominence, Brian collapsed into himself. Made paranoid by a crippling drug addiction that was apparently too much for him to cope with, Jones lost his girlfriend to Keith and his bandleader mantle to Mick. By 1968"s "Beggar"s Banquet" he was barely contributing in the studio. Though, again, that slide guitar was irreplaceable.
Brian quit The Rolling Stones in 1968. Or he was replaced. The stories vary. He drowned in a swimming pool shortly after. A workman confessed years later, though that is disputed too. Mick Taylor took over guitar duties for the Stones starting at Jones" memorial concert at London"s Hyde Park in 1969.
Taylor and Richards mingled guitars together through classic albums "Exile on Main Street," "Sticky Fingers," "Goat"s Head Soup" and "It"s Only Rock and Roll (But I Like It)." The former guitarist for John Mayall"s Bluesbreakers said he got hooked on heroin and had to get away from the constant pressure. He was replaced by The Faces" guitarist Ronnie Wood in 1975. Wyman quit the Stones in the 90s.
1, John Lennon Divorces The Beatles
The Beatles were, as John Lennon put it in "I"m the Greatest," a song he wrote for Ringo Starr, "the greatest show on earth." For what it"s worth, the band had hit every height there was, hit singles, albums, movies, merchandise, even a computer company called Apple. Their manager Brian Epstein, who guided them from rough punks in leather to cuddly moptops in Calvin Klein suits to leaders of the sixties popular and underground culture, died in 1967. The Beatles had recently released Sgt. Pepper"s Lonely Hearts Club Band and was going to spend the summer meditating in India.
The Beatles managed themselves. There were offers. Robert Stigwood wanted them. Allen Klein, who made his bones in the music industry by getting a million dollar contract for Bobby Darrin, wanted them. The Beatles were musicians and Apple began hemorrhaging money. John met Yoko and set up a bed for her in the recording studio. Ringo quit for two weeks during The White Album because he felt things were getting too tense and drum duties were being increasingly being handled by Paul. George Harrison quit for a short period, also reportedly due to a growing rift with McCartney.
But The Beatles was John Lennon"s band. He needed some space to explore new artistic frontiers with his new bride, Yoko Ono. The Beatles were just too big for something so underground.
Amid pressure for decisions and contracts and deals and concerts and studio time, Lennon exploded. He told McCartney he wanted a divorce from The Beatles, just like the one he got from Cynthia, his ex-wife.
Paul convinced John not make the announcement public. The Beatles went out on a high note and it was left to Paul McCartney to break the news. He did it in an insert to his first solo album, "McCartney."
Though Paul was the Beatle the media reported as splitting up the band, any true fan knows it was John"s need for musical freedom that made continuing impossible.