10 “Retired” Musicians Who Broke Their Word


Perhaps you heard the screams of your younger sister and cousins on Christmas Eve as they scrolled through Twitter on their smart phones in between rolling their eyes at whatever conversation your dad and your uncle were having that night. Clearly nothing was more important than the shocking announcement that Justin Bieber would be retiring from music at the tender age of 19. Did you make any attempts to console them, suggesting that maybe, like many other musicians before him, Bieber might be a little dramatic (he did, after all, follow that tweet with one saying, “I’M HERE FOREVER”)? Maybe you can assure them that Bieber, like a few of these famous music acts, might come back around again.


In March 2000, Kiss embarked on their farewell tour. Two years later, the retirement plans were scrapped (I’m sure the ticket sales were very convincing), and in 11 years since Kiss continued touring and released two albums.

Tina Turner

Sure, she actually did end up retiring from music before moving to Switzerland, but Turner made this promise before: in 1990, her Foreign Affair tour (supporting the album of the same name) was supposed to be her last. Of course, she hit the road again for four more tours.

Jay Z

Jay Z once said that 2003’s The Black Album would be his last. We all know how long that lasted.


Cher has made retiring a very long, arduous process, what with a three-year-long farewell tour that led to a three-year-long Las Vegas residency. Don’t worry: she released another album this year and has a tour headed our way in 2014.

Garth Brooks

Country superstar Garth Brooks came out of retirement in 2009 after five years of being under the radar. He celebrated with a five-year Vegas residency deal. Luckily, he didn’t bring alter ego Chris Gaines with him.

Barbra Streisand

In 2000, Streisand announced she was retiring from performing. Six years later, her Streisand tour pulled in $119.5 million worldwide. You do the math.

Ozzy Osbourne

The Black Sabbath singer practically made retiring and not-retiring a full-time job. His 1993 live album, Live & Loud, was to be his last recording, and the follow-up tour was called No More Tours. Two years later, Osbourne was back with a new album and a new tour, called The Retirement Sucks Tour.


The Eagles’ appropriately titled reunion album, 1994’s Hell Freezes Over, brought the group together after 14 years. The band has toured together since, and they released their first studio album since their breakup in 2007.

Fleetwood Mac

It’s not a surprise that a collective of former lovers might find themselves at each others’ throats, which is what happened in the late ’80s with Fleetwood Mac: Lindsey Buckingham left the band after 1987’s Tango in the Night, followed by Christine McVie’s departure after 1995’s Time. But the bandmates kept collaborating, and their resurgence followed the 1997 live album, The Dance. While McVie has not rejoined the band on their tours and album, she did show up this year to perform “Don’t Stop” with the band in London.

David Bowie

David Bowie surprised us all with a new album, The Next Day, released this year. And thank goodness for that! Here’s one guy we’ll always welcome back.