When Rock Stars Said Goodbye

The idea of announcing a farewell tour has long been a slippery slope.

Ozzy Osbourne, the Who, Elton John, Kiss, Phil Collins and Motley Crue are among the many who have made concrete plans to retire from the road. Others, including Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards and Eagles singer and drummer Don Henley have hinted at different points that their bands could be approaching an end date but avoided fully committing to road retirement.

Not all goodbyes are premeditated, though. In some instances, bands didn’t realize they’d embarked on a farewell tour until after the final bow. Such was the case for Rush and their 2015 R40 tour. “It’s clear we are at a point in our career that we have to slow down and slow down dramatically,” frontman Geddy Lee said in a VH1 interview at the time. Even though guitarist Alex Lifeson thought the band could have played more, he came to appreciate the way things wrapped up. “There were lots of reasons – and very valid reasons for ending the tour in 2015 when we did,” he told UCR in 2021. “I’m glad we did because we ended off on a really high note. We were playing great.”

As classic rock fans have learned time and time again, farewell tours are rarely an actual goodbye. A 2014 “Cessation of Touring Agreement” wasn’t enough to stop Motley Crue from announcing a reunion in 2019. The first Who farewell tour in 1982 was at least 40 years too early: The British rock legends continue to play shows. Kiss said goodbye in 2000, but it wasn’t until 2018 that they felt like they had finally reached the “End of the Road.” When they play their final show on this current tour, will it really be the end?

Those artists and more are rounded up in the below list of 45 Farewell Tours: When Rock Stars Said Goodbye.

45 Farewell Tours: When Rock Stars Said Goodbye

They said it was the end, but it wasn’t really.

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