Home Music Music Features

13 ‘Farewell’ Tours That Didn’t Stick — From Mötley Crüe to Kiss

Mötley Crüe are the first band to tour again after signing a legal document saying they wouldn’t, but they’re hardly the first band to hit the road after a so-called final tour

Mötley Crüe are joining a long line of acts that toured after supposed farewell tours, including Kiss, Cher, Cream and Ozzy Osbourne.


When Mötley Crüe announced their “Final Tour” in 2014, they knew they’d have to make a huge effort to convince people it wasn’t just an elaborate con, so they signed a “cessation of touring activity contract” at a press conference. They never actually shared the document with the public, but they claimed it meant they could never tour again. The enforcement mechanism was always a little vague since there’s no rock & roll police to stop them from just touring again anyway, but it seemed to work since it caused fans to pack arenas all over the world thinking it was their last chance to see the band.

Some of them were probably a little burned when the news hit that Mötley Crüe are returning to the road in 2020 for a stadium tour with Def Leppard and Poison. They shouldn’t be surprised, however, since the Crüe are just one of many acts that said have farewell and then toured again. Here’s a look at 11 of them. (Note: We’re discounting the Eagles Farewell 1 tour of 2005 and Phil Collins’ First Final Farewell tour of 2004 because both made it clear by their very titles that they weren’t meant to be taken seriously.)

Motley Crue (2014)

What They Said Then: “Legally, we can’t play again. The only loophole is if all four band members agreed to do it, we could override our own contract. But we know that will never happen. There are people in this band who will refuse to ever do it again, and you’re talking to one of them. There is no amount of money that would ever make me do it again because I have such pride in how we’re ending it.” —Nikki Sixx

Years Until Next Tour: Six

Explanation: They have yet to comment on this publicly, but it will probably be something about their Netflix movie The Dirt creating a new generation of fans and a feeling that they ended the band prematurely.

Judas Priest (2011)

What They Said Then: “It’s not exactly the end of the band; it’s just the fact that we won’t really be doing any more world tours. In general, this is probably the last chance you’ll get to see Priest live.” —Glenn Tipton, 2011

Years Until Next Tour: Two

Explanation: “We, uh, lied. It’s pretty arduous out there — almost two years, the last one, playing two-and-a-half hours every night, four or five shows a week. But we enjoyed every second of it. And we said that at the end of it, we weren’t gonna do any more world tours, but we didn’t rule out any dates. And we just got so enthused with the new album and everything that we put some dates in, and we’ll see where it goes from there.” —Glenn Tipton, 2013

LCD Soundsystem (2011)

What They Said Then: “The thing I’m saying goodbye to is being a professional rock & roll artist. I don’t want to make albums and tour and make videos. I don’t want that to be my life anymore. When you have a kid in college, all your money goes to college. You stop saving, stop going on vacation, you don’t buy a new car. When they get out of college you go phew, OK. That’s what I’m doing with my time. Right now my time is in LCD college and when LCD graduates then I can go back to the DFA and production and DJ’ing and all the other things. And maybe gardening. I want a garden. I want to grow some vegetables.” —James Murphy, 2010

Years Until Next Tour: Five.

Explanation: “We’ve always talked about how we’d never betray anyone who cares about us, but here we are now. Given the chance again to make new music with the people I care about, and who have given a big part of their lives to doing this weird thing together, and who wanted to do it again, I took it. And in doing so, I betrayed whoever feels betrayed by that action. I by no means think that everyone who liked our band feels bad right now. A lot of people who liked our band are very happy, and we’ve been pretty blown away by the almost overwhelmingly positive response.” —James Murphy, 2015


Nine Inch Nails (2009)

What They Said Then: “NIN as a touring live band or live band that’s on the road all the time is stopping. I’ve just reached the point where it has invaded every other aspect of my life. I’d never want to be Gene Simmons, an old man who puts on makeup to entertain kids, like a clown going to work. In my paranoia, I fear that if I don’t stop this, it could become that.” —Trent Reznor, 2009

Years Until Next Tour: Four

Explanation: “I think I haven’t done everything I can do — if I have something to say and a way to present it that warrants it, and I can physically pull it off, and it’s something that I think belongs under the heading of Nine Inch Nails and what that means to people, then yeah. And I’ll catch some flak for saying I wasn’t going to do that again, but I changed my mind. I feel much more invigorated and inspired than I did when I said I didn’t want do it anymore.” —Trent Reznor, 2013

Phish (2004)

What They Said Then: “Last Friday night, I got together with Mike, Page and Fish to talk openly about the strong feelings I’ve been having that Phish has run its course and that we should end it now while it’s still on a high note. Once we started talking, it quickly became apparent that the other guys’ feelings, while not all the same as mine, were similar in many ways — most importantly, that we all love and respect Phish and the Phish audience far too much to stand by and allow it to drag on beyond the point of vibrancy and health. We don’t want to become caricatures of ourselves, or worse yet, a nostalgia act.” —Trey Anastasio, 2004

Years Until Next Tour: Five.

Explanation: “We’re trying to create a format to keep playing for a long time. For people in hard times, we can play long shows of pure physical pleasure. They come to dance and forget their troubles. It’s like a service commitment.” —Trey Anastasio, 2009

Cher (2002)

What She Said Then: “If I come back in five years, I’d be driving around in one of those carts with the joy-sticks. This truly is it.” —Cher, 2002

Years Until Next Tour: 10, but during the downtime, she appeared at a long-running Las Vegas show.

Explanation: “This is my farewell tour. I’m never coming back. I swear to God.” —Cher, 2014. (Note: It’s more than five years later and she’s still touring.)

Tina Turner (2000)

What She Said Then:
“I’ve done enough. I’ve been performing for 44 years. I really should hang up my dancing shoes.” —Tina Turner, 2000

Years Until Next Tour: Eight.

Explanation: “With the 50th anniversary, I figured I should do it. All of the acts of my time started to go out, all of my peers. It just seemed right I should go out now.” —Tina Turner, 2008


Kiss (2000)

What They Said Then: “There just aren’t any more mountains to climb. We want to go out in style with the people that put us here, the fans.” —Gene Simmons, 2000

Years Until Next Tour: Two

Explanation: “People change their minds, and in this case that goes along with being a living, thinking person. What one says one day with total commitment may at another time turn out not to be so. Am I doing this for the money or the fans? Both, and let’s not forget I’m doing this for me.” —Paul Stanley, 2002

Ozzy Osbourne (1992)

What He Said Then: “This is absolutely for real. It’s the end of the road for me. I’ve been doing it for 25 years, and I want to go home. I’ve got a house I never see. I’ve got a car I never drive. I’ve got a family I never go home to.” —Ozzy Osbourne, 1992

Years Until Next Tour: Three

Explanation: “Retirement sucked. It wasn’t too long before I started getting antsy and writing songs again.” —Ozzy Osbourne, 1995

The Who (1982)

What They Said Then: “There’s so many new media concepts opening up now to us that I think touring in five years’ time is going to be outdated anyway. It’s got as big as its ever going to get. What are we going to do next time round? We can’t play any bigger stadiums to any more people. We’d just be parodying ourselves.” —Roger Daltrey, 1982

Years Until Next Tour: Seven

Explanation: “Pete changed his mind. It’s our 25th anniversary. We’re going to celebrate the fact that we’re still here.” —Roger Daltrey, 1989


Elton John (1977)

What He Said Then: “I’ve made a decision tonight that this is going to be the last show. There’s a lot more to me than playing on the road and this is the last one I’m going to do.” —Elton John, 1977

Years Until Next Tour: Two

Explanation: “I was doing drugs. I never smoked dope. It was basically cocaine, and dabbling in smack a couple of times, but never through a needle; always ingesting it. I went through my period of hallucinations, too.” —Elton John

Frank Sinatra (1971)

What He Said Then: “I’m serious about my decision. There are lots of things I want to do that I haven’t done before. I want to meet some girls and build a house someplace.” —Frank Sinatra, 1971

Years Until Next Tour: Two

Explanation: “Don’t be surprised. If Bobby Riggs can come back, so can I. You may wonder why I gave it all up in the first place. It seemed like a very good idea at the time. I’d just loaf and play golf and mess around. But things kept happening to me that I didn’t anticipate. For example, after two years of playing golf I’m still a 17 handicap. That’s not possible.” —Frank Sinatra, 1973

Cream (1968)

What They Said Then: “I think the Cream reached its peak last year at San Francisco. From that we all went on such a huge ego trip. Making it in the States was a bang in the head … I just want to perform contemporary blues. With the Cream, solos were the thing, but I’m really off that virtuoso kick. It was all overexposed. We died the death from playing exposure.” —Eric Clapton, 1968

Years Until Next Tour: 37 (Note: To be fair, they only played two cities when they reformed in 2005.)

Explanation: “Given the fact that we were all still capable of playing together, I thought it would be a fitting tribute to ourselves while we still could.” —Eric Clapton, 2007