Classic Rock Corner

Years of Refusal: 8 More '80s Icons Who Should Follow Morrissey Into Retirement

Morrissey announced this week that he plans to retire in two years. That's tragic news in some circles, but we think it's a good move. In 2014, he'll turn 55, and the Smiths thing is never happening. How much longer is he supposed to do this? Another ten years 'til he's 65? He's Morrissey, not a Chicago bluesman. Better to go out on your own terms and enjoy your success than to wait for your fanbase to die of old age before settling down.

There's a lot to be said for knowing when to call it quits. Take R.E.M., for example. Michael Stipe and his bandmates walked away last year with their dignity and esteem intact, leaving fans only memories of their best. Would it be such a bad thing if more of '80s superstars followed their lead?

The concert industry would shit a brick, but no, it would not be such a bad thing. Rock stars shouldn't need a Golden Jubilee. After 30 or 40 years of touring and recording, your message has been received. It would be unfair of us to ask you to squeeze into those leather pants again so we can make a futile attempt to travel back through time for a night.

The Moz has the blessed vanity to quit before he becomes hideously old. Good on you, pal. Here are eight more '80s icons who could stand to do the same:

8. U2

Years in the Game: 36 Last Time We Loved Them: 1993

After nearly four decades together, even Bono admitted to Rolling Stone that U2 has been "on the edge of irrelevancy for 20 years." The group's last album, No Line on the Horizon, failed to deliver anything resembling a hit single, and fans won't likely be mentioning it in the same breath as The Joshua Tree anytime soon. Must we really demand another one?

At this point, U2 are more famous for their lavish stage shows and Bono's humanitarian work than for the brilliant songs they're putting out. After 36 years, is there anything left for them to say? Stick that mirror-ball lemon in the Rock Hall of Fame and go bail Ireland out of its financial crisis or something.

7. Van Halen

Years in the Game: 40 Last Time We Loved Them: 1991

Can anyone really deny that today's Van Halen is a big ol' clusterfuck of a mess? The Van Halen brothers and David Lee Roth openly despise one another, Eddie's kid is playing bass, and no one in the group even appears to be on speaking terms with former members Sammy Hagar or Michael Anthony. All that appear to be keeping Van Halen going are the massive egos involved.

Sure, their recent LP, A Different Kind of Truth, wasn't horrible. But a lot of the material was repurposed from '70's-era demos. Their new album ain't even new! In fact, its chief accomplishment is existing at all -- faint praise for a group that was, at one time, the biggest band in the world. Van Halen has been a model of dysfunction for nearly 20 years. Let's not drag this out any longer, OK?

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Nathan Smith
Contact: Nathan Smith