When it comes to forming a band, everyone knows the number one rule. No romance between bandmates! A relationship can break up a group before they even have a chance to make it big, so why take the risk right? You would think that most would agree, but naturally, when it comes to the world of rock n’ roll, anything goes and rules need not apply.
We’ve all heard the term, “don’t mix business with pleasure,” well for these legendary musical groups, it seems they were ready to send that phrase out the door. With that, here’s our list of some of the most noteworthy intraband relationships. For some, their relationship worked wonders on the creative process, for others, it ultimately led to the band’s demise.
Debbie Harry is musical royalty. Anyone who doesn’t believe us clearly hasn’t heard much of Blondie’s work over the years. This music group has been categorized by critics as the leading pioneers for punk music to craze the scene during the mid-1970s. We suspect a lot of this band’s success was due to the undeniable connection two of the members shared.
Who could we possibly be talking about here? None other than the lead singer, Debbie, and her guitarist, Chris Stein. Not only do these two look good together, but they knew how to make some pretty remarkable music in their heyday. Despite never tying the knot, these two are remembered as some of the most creative couples in history.
Gwen Stefani has treated us to many hits over the years, but she has her old bandmates to thank for launching her into such a fruitful career. Who remembers No Doubt? This rock band certainly served the goods with hit singles like “Don’t Speak.” Not only were this group topping the charts, but a couple of members were enjoying a little romance of their own!
Back in the day, the glamorous Gwen was spending every weekend getting cozy with the band’s bassist, Tony Kanal. The relationship lasted a whopping seven years, and although it didn’t work out between them in the long run, we’re glad they persevered through with their music even after the split. Talk about a mature relationship.
If one band will have you singing along to their songs until the end of time, it’s the epic Swedish foursome that goes by the name, ABBA. It must be a big compliment to have nearly all your songs feature as the backing track to the high-grossing Mamma Mia! franchise, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. It turns out, these bandmates thought quite highly of one another.
Before they had formed one of the greatest bands of all time, members Bjorn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Faltskog decided to take their relationship to the next level in 1971 by tying the knot. The ceremony was held in the village of Verum, with co-member Benny Andersson playing the organ during the ordeal. Unfortunately, just nine years later, the couple decided to end their marriage. However, despite the divorce, ABBA lived on.
E Street Band
Nothing beats a real love story, so we’ve got a treat in store here. If you know anything about Bruce Springsteen, you’ll know this legend began making headlines during his impressive time with the rock group, the E Street Band. What we think made this musical team stand out from the rest, was the beautiful romance that blossomed between two members of the group.
We’re talking about Mr. Springsteen and the love of his life, Patti Scialfa. Clearly, this woman’s skills as a singer/guitarist impressed the “Born In The U.S.A.” musician just a little, because the married couple is still going strong to this day. While the E Street Band days are behind them, the couple now enjoys family life with their three children. Talk about a happy ending!
No one knows you quite like your other half, and the successes of Talking Heads will prove that point all day. This US rock band came into formation back into 1975 and has since become one of the bands credited for shaping rock and roll. Let’s take a more intimate look at some of the members.
Well, this is quite something… Just two years after creating their tremendous rock band, drummer Chris Frantz and bassist Tina Weymouth declared their love for one another in a tremendous ceremony after officially tying the knot. It must be a pretty special feeling to enter the world of rock and roll with your other half.
Ike & Tina Turner
Great things happen when you work with the ones you love. Tina Turner is the vocal powerhouse we all needed in our lives. If you’re having a bad day, just put on one of the hits from this Tennessee-born star, and your troubles will disappear. Her incredible songs and touching ballads really make us wonder though…what’s love got to do with it?
Tina’s partnership with Ike Turner created one of the best vocal duos we’ve ever heard. Thanks to these talented musicians, the world danced along to tunes like “Proud Mary” and “River Deep – Mountain High.” Around the time these two got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they were embarking on a beautiful love story. Rumor has it the pair eloped in Tijuana. The marriage may not have lasted long, but it was iconic, to say the least.
You know you’ve made it in life when you’ve got your own, personal backing band. Providing the musical tracks to Prince’s legendary vocals was The Revolution. Of course, this five-member group remained loyal to the main star, but if you dig deep into their past, you’ll discover there was a secret romance going on between two of the members.
So, who could it be? Two of the musicians that had to keep quiet about their love affair was keyboardist Lisa Coleman and guitarist Wendy Melvoin. The romance may not have lasted too long, but the two still get together every so often to collaborate on more epic music. Talent like theirs cannot simply go to waste.
One of the most defining music bands from the eighties would have to be Sonic Youth. After all, if it wasn’t for this group of noise rockers, we’d never had had the privilege to dance along to tunes like “Bull in the Heather” and “Kool Thing!” This band may get commended for its ability to produce chart-topping hits, but that’s not the only thing they’re known for.
The other important factor for them is love. For an impressive total of 27 years, band members Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore celebrated making sweet music and touring together as a married couple. If there’s anyone people looked up to for a healthy inside-band relationship, it was these two talented individuals.
The White Stripes
From one duo, over to the next. Rewinding back to the year 1997 in Detroit, Michigan, and these two talented individuals decided to take their musical abilities to the next level by forming the hit rock duo, The White Stripes. Being responsible for helping to restore the garage rock scene, these two earned all the success they could get!
Not only did they flourish on the music front, but these two enjoyed four years of being happily married to one another. The union may have not lasted in the long run, but the tunes certainly did. Keen to carry on the dream, Meg and Jack White continued making music for a whole decade later.
The Smashing Pumpkins
This Chicagoland alternative rock group made their way to the mainstream back in 1993 with the release of their second album, Siamese Dream. Soon after they became one of the most commercially successful rock bands of the 90s.
According to original bassist D’arcy Wretsky, her and guitarist James Iha were romantically involved for the first four years of their time as bandmates. Although she stayed on following their break up, Wretsky eventually left the group in 1999, 11 years after the band first came together.
To say the members of British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac got along well would be an understatement. When it comes to this group, they were all about the rock n’ roll lifestyle and their revolving love life proved it. Now let’s see if you can follow this love triangle…or pentagon rather. The core members of Fleetwood Mac included Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, and Stevie Nicks.
Nicks and Buckingham were already intimate when they formed the band in 1975 however Nicks would eventually have an affair with Fleetwood. Fleetwood’s wife also had an affair with one time Fleetwood Mac guitarist Bob Weston, who soon after got the boot for that very reason. To add to the love drama, Christine McVie and John McVie were also married for seven years prior to joining Fleetwood Mac but divorced a year after joining in 1976.
Sonny & Cher
Now this one should not come as a surprise for any of you music lovers out there. Rock duo, Sonny and Cher were the stars crossed lovers of their generation. Since starting their career together in the mid-60s, couples around the world have not stopped emulating them or dressing up as them. But what came first, the music or the romance?
As it turns out, Sonny Bono and Cher actually paired up before they started performing together. They met in 1962 and instantly became best friends. It didn’t take long for this friendship to turn to romance. As we now know, this romance quickly resulted in some great quality music. Unfortunately, their love story ended in divorce and by 1976, after a decade of success, they officially parted ways as a musical duo.
The Fugees were a hip hop group that rose to fame in the mid-90s. Members included Haitian natives, Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel as well as American rapper and singer, Lauryn Hill. Unfortunately, the group split following the release of their second album in 1996. Most believe that the breakup was mainly due to members aspiring to pursue solo careers. However, rumor has it, there was another factor at play.
Years following, Wyclef Jean revealed in his memoir that his affair with Lauryn Hill actually played a big part in the split.” We had fights on planes. We had huge fights, and a few times when it went down, she started swinging at me right there in the seats,” wrote Jean, who was married at the time. “She could no longer be my muse,” Jean recalled. “Our love spell was broken.”
This psychedelic rock group from California was a force to reckon with from day one. But besides killing it commercially, defining the San Francisco Sound genre and eventually making it on the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, they also had their own romantic woes to maneuver. Grace Slick joined the group already married to a bandmate from her previous group, The Great Society.
That did not stop her from romancing with Jefferson Airplane guitarist, Paul Kanter, with whom she had a daughter during their six-year relationship. Following the band’s breakup in 1972, Kanter and a newly divorced Slick went on to form a new band, Jefferson Starship. The pair ended their relationship in 1975 but continued making music together until the mid-80s.
Whoever said romance between bandmates can never work has clearly never heard this love story. Arcade Fire is a Canadian indie rock band that came to life not too long ago in the early 2000s. The members consist of husband and wife Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, as well as Win’s younger brother, William Butler and remaining, non-related members, Richard Reed Parry, Tim Kingsbury and Jeremy Gara.
Butler and Chassagne not only make music and love work, but they also managed to do wonders with both. The pair tied the knot in 2003 and ten years later, welcomed a son into the mix. But that doesn’t mean the music had to fall behind. On the contrary, Arcade Fire continues to see commercial success and the awards and accolades have not stopped coming.
Here’s another musical duo that let love last with the music. As the founding members of The Cramps, married couple Lux Interior and Poison Ivy managed to defy the odds. Since their formation in 1976, The Cramps saw many members come and go. However, the husband-and-wife duo remained at the group’s core through and through.
The band and their marriage came to an end in 2009 following the passing of Lux Interior. The Cramps managed to leave behind quite a legacy. Other than being one of the first punk bands to hit the scene, they are also credited with being one of the primary innovators of the psychobilly genre.
Here’s another punk rock romance for the books. It seems when punk is involved, love is indefinitely in the air. Such is the case for this Los Angeles based group that goes by the simple name of X. They were first formed in 1977 by bassist-singer John Doe and guitarist Billy Zoom.
After meeting his new girlfriend, Exene Cervenka at a poetry workshop, Doe began inviting her to band practices. This eventually led to Cervenka joining the group as a vocalist. The couple turned bandmates married in 1980 but unfortunately split just five years later. Naturally, X went on an indefinite hiatus soon after. Despite the split, X has shared the stage several times since.
South African hip hop group Die Antwoord continues to simultaneously impress and disturb their fans with their catchy songs and trippy music videos. The group consists of rappers Ninja and Yolandi Visser and producers HITEK5000 and Lil2Hood.
Since their forming in 2008, the rap duo Ninja and Visser were romantically involved for several years and even have a daughter together whom they named Sixteen Jones. Despite their intraband romance, this group keeps on keeping on and released their most recent album this past 2016.
The Mamas & The Papas
This folk-rock group from the 1960s managed to make waves during their five short years together. During that time, they managed to release five studio albums, sell 40 million records worldwide and earn their spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But did you know, that other than worldwide fame, two of the group’s key members also managed to hold on to love? At least until the group’s disbandment.
As their names insinuate, John Phillips and Michelle Phillips were married from 1962 until filing for divorce in 1969. Not surprisingly, this split also coincided with the breakup of The Mamas & The Papas. Although many say the break up was due to fellow members, Cass Elliot wanting to pursue a solo career, the timeline seems a little suspicious if you ask us.
Yo La Tengo
In 1984, co-founders Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley made the bold and often ill-advised decision to form a band as a couple. Lucky for all of us, that decision led to the formation of Yo La Tengo and as far as mixing business with pleasure, it’s so far so good for this pair. Although they might not have made it to the mainstream, Yo La Tengo has a dedicated cult following both for their original songs and their wide repertoire of cover songs.
Before coupling off and forming their band, Kaplan and Hubley would often see each other at shows or record shops. They clearly shared a love for music as well as for the New York Mets. They began meeting up for jam sessions and from there Yo La Tengo was born, a name which came from a baseball anecdote from the 60s. They have been married since 1987 and continue making music together today.
Matt & Kim
Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino began dating after a chance encounter in Brooklyn. They first caught each other’s eye outside of the ‘silk-screen studio’ at Pratt Institute where Matt was studying and Kim had just graduated from. It didn’t take long for them to move from acquaintances to friends and then to rock star couple goals. The pair moved in with each other after the first month of dating and the rest was history.
After establishing themselves as the indie-pop duo, the couple tried to keep their personal lives on the down-low. It wasn’t until their fifth album, New Glow, that they first addressed themselves as a couple. Naturally, they did so via song. “We felt like it wasn’t being honest not talking about our relationship,” Schifino admits, “because it’s a huge part of us.” They have now released six studio albums and both their love and their music is going strong.
Miami Sound Machine
Just like the beginning of a typical rom-com, these two lovebirds met at a wedding, where love is in the air and liquid courage is without limit. Emilio Estefan and the rest of the Miami Latin Boys were hired to perform at this Cuban wedding, where Gloria Fajardo was attending as a guest. Gloria and her friend, Merci ended up holding an impromptu performance and Estefan and his boys were blown away.
Merci and Gloria were invited to join their group and they changed their name to Miami Sound Machine. Emilio and Gloria fell in love and tied the knot just three short years later. Although Gloria has since pursued a solo career, she and Emilio have been together ever since.
The Plastic Ono Band
Now here’s a musical romance that’s riddled in controversy. Beatles fans across the globe have blamed John Lennon’s beau, Yoko Ono for ultimately splitting up one of the greatest rock groups in history. As you can imagine, this was not taken lightly. None the less, John Lennon and Yoko Ono ignored the hate and kept on pursuing their career as a musical duo.
Following their marriage, in 1969, the pair decided to form a musical collaborative called The Plastic Ono Band. Under this title, John and Yoko featured big-name musicians such as Eric Clapton and Alan White as well as former Beatles bandmates George Harrison and Ringo Starr. They continued this concept until 1974 and John and Yoko remained together until Lennon’s tragic death in 1980.
Amadou & Mariam
If you haven’t heard of this musical duo yet, it’s about time to tune in. Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia, both Mali natives, make up two out of two members of their self-titled group, Amadou & Mariam. Besides being from Mali and loving music, these two have another important thing in common. They are both blind.
They met at Mali’s Institute for the Young Blind, where they both performed at the Institute’s Eclipse Orchestra. The musical duo hit it off and in 1980 decided to make things official and tie the knot. Three years later, and they took their relationship even further by beginning to make music together. They released their latest album, La Confusion this past 2017.
Here’s another pair that made love and music work out…at least in the long run. The two members of this Los Angeles based indie band, John Dragonetti, and Blake Hazard had quite an on-again, off-again love story throughout their time as bandmates. After being introduced by a mutual friend, it didn’t take long for John and Blake to start both their musical and romantic partnership.
This relationship lasted for four years before they parted ways romantically but continued writing songs together. They soon began to notice the sadness in each other’s songs following the breakup and decided to get back together. Today they are happily married and have since introduced new band members to The Submarines.
Although they did not witness widespread commercial success, English-French avant-pop band, Stereolab is still considered by many as one of the most influential groups of the 90s. The group was formed by Tim Gane (guitar and keyboards) and Lætitia Sadier (vocals, keyboards, and guitar) in the late 1980s.
Gane and Sadier were boo’d-up for fourteen years and even had a son together that today is 22 years old. The pair ended their relationship in 2002 however they continued making music together for many years following. In February 2019, the group announced a tour of Europe and the U.S.
The Besnard Lakes
Here’s another husband and wife collab that you might want to give a listen to. Canadian indie group Besnard Lakes was formed not too long ago in 2003 by married couple Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas. The musical duo named the band after a secluded water feature where they would spend their summers to escape and find inspiration.
The pair, along with four other key members have released five studio albums, two of which have been nominated for a Polaris Music Prize. Not only that but they are also responsible for creating the score for the film, Sympathy for Delicious, which was released in 2010 as actor Mark Ruffalo’s directorial debut.
Paramore was first officially formed in 2004 by Josh Farro (lead guitar/backing vocals), Zac Farro (drums), Jeremy Davis (bass guitar) and Hayley Williams (lead vocals). Williams was only 14 years old at the time. For the first three years of the band’s existence, vocalists, Hayley Williams and Josh Farro were more than just bandmates.
In 2010, three years after Williams and Farro split, both Farro brothers decided it was time to call it quits. In true rock n’ roll fashion, they did not do so without causing a scene. Josh Farro wrote a controversial statement following the departure, claiming that the band was “a manufactured product of a major-label.” While Williams went on to perform with Paramore’s new lineup, Farro went on to pursue a solo career of his own.
Scottish rock band, Cocteau Twins are often credited for pioneering the dream-pop subgenre. Since their forming in 1979, the band released a series of critically acclaimed singles and albums and saw mainstream success at the start of the 90s. Unfortunately, heartbreak got the best of two key members, and their love and loss eventually led to the groups split.
While recording what was meant to be their ninth LP, the band was instead forced to part ways. This decision was largely in part to the break-up between singer Elizabeth Fraser and guitarist, Robin Guthrie. Fraser and Guthrie were together for over 13 years and even had a daughter together. Although they split up in 1993, they kept the band together for several years following.
After the passing of singer-songwriter Ian Curtis, the three remaining members of the English band Joy Division decided to regroup under a new name. They renamed the band New Order and invited fellow musician Gillian Gilbert to join as keyboardist and guitarist.
Fast forward thirteen years and Gilbert had found love in New Order drummer, Stephen Morris. The pair were engaged in 1993 and said their ‘I dos’ the following year. After having two children, Gilbert decided to temporarily leave the band to focus on raising the family. She has since rejoined and both her relationship and the band are intact to this day.
Mates of State
Indie pop duo Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel were both already spoken for when they first met in Lawrence, Kansas. This did not keep them from falling head over heels for each other. After meeting, they became pen-pals, exchanging emails on the regular but did not meet again in person until three months later.
In 1998, the now coupled up pair decided to move to San Francisco to realize their dreams. It didn’t take long for them to fully commit their lives to each other as well as to music. They tied the knot in 2001 and began touring together. Today they also have two daughters and touring has since become a family affair.
June Carter & Johnny Cash
Although they had never technically formed a band, the iconic love story between Johnny Cash and June Carter has become one of music’s favorite romances. The musical duo met backstage of Johnny Cash’s debut on the Grand Ole Opry stage in 1965. By the early 1960s, Carter was touring with Cash regularly as a backup singer and duet partner. They were both still married at the time.
“It was not a convenient time for me to fall in love with him.” Wrote June. “I was frightened of his way of life. I thought I can’t fall in love with this man, but it’s just like a ring of fire.” This was what inspired Carter to write one of Cash’s biggest hits, “Ring of Fire.” By 1968, Carter overcame her fear and married Cash. They remained together for the rest of their lives and continued a successful music career for many years.
Noah and the Whale
British rock and folk band, Noah and the Whale first formed at the start of the last decade in 2006. Award-winning singer-songwriter Laura Marling got her first start as one of the original members of the band. She joined the group as a background vocalist and can be heard in their debut album, Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down. Unfortunately, her time with the group was cut short as the power of love had once again run its course.
Marling was in a relationship with the band’s singer/guitarist Charlie Fink until 2008. Not coincidentally, this is the same year that Marling left the band. It seems though it was all for the best as Marling has since won numerous awards as a solo artist and had even found love again in Mumford and Sons lead singer, Marcus Mumford. A relationship that also did not last. It seems music comes out on top with this one.
It’s been public knowledge for some years now that lead vocalist of 80s English pop group, Boy George and drummer Jon Moss were dating during Culture Club’s prime years of fame. However, the pair decided to keep their love on the down-low and it was unbeknownst to the public and their fans. Although these two managed to make their secret relationship work for four years of the band’s existence, it did wind up causing quite a stir.
The pair would often argue and the tension between them coupled with the pressure to keep their love a secret did take a toll on the band. This stress eventually led to personal issues for George and both him and Moss not only ended up splitting up, they could also barely be around each other anymore. Following George’s arrest for possession, the band was forced to break up and Boy George continued his career as a solo act.
From secret love affairs within band members to openly married musical duos, here’s the indie pop-folk duo, The Weepies. Deb Talan and Steve Tannen started off as mutual fans of each other. They eventually met in person following one of Tannen’s shows and decided to make their musical bond official. They started playing together and released their first album as The Weepies in 2003
Five years later, and the pair decided to tighten their bond even stronger and in 2007 they went from a musical duo to a musical marriage. Today they also have four children together. Their music has now become a family affair. “It’s the Partridge Family all the way,” Steve says. “We take the kids everywhere. They’re part of our life. We just did 21 shows and we took them to everyone. We’re the luckiest people in history.
The Dresden Dolls
Boston native musical duo, The Dresden Dolls have gained quite a cult following over the years. The band consists of lead vocalist Amanda Palmer and instrumentalist Brian Viglione. They describe their unique sound and style as “Brechtian punk cabaret.”
Although the pair were never officially married or even dating, they have admitted to sleeping together several times over their time together. At least until Palmer announced her engagement to author Neil Gaiman whom she married in 2011. Palmer and Viglione clearly have not let their physical chemistry get in the way of their music as they are set to release a new album this year.
Carly Simon & James Taylor
Although this duo never officially formed a band together, they are still a perfect example of mixing business and pleasure. Musicians Carly Simon and James Taylor tied in the knot in 1972 and from there began collaborating musically. It didn’t take them long to become the ultimate power duo of the 1970s.
In fact, some of Simon’s greatest hits, including “Mockingbird” and “Devoted to You” were duets that she sang with her then-husband. The pair also had two children who followed in their parent’s footsteps and are both now musicians. Although their songs created the illusion of a happy couple, in reality, Simon and Taylor’s relationship was tumultuous and eventually ended in divorce in 1983.
British pop duo Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart were no strangers to taking their chemistry off the stage. Before forming Eurythmics, both Lennox and Stewart were part of a punk rock band called The Tourists. It was during this time that the musical pair were romantic.
By the time they decided to split from The Tourists and create their own project, they had already decided to set love aside and focus on the music. Their romance lasted three years during the late 1970s but their relationship as bandmates lasted much longer. They stayed together until 1990 but not without creating a collection of chart-topping hits throughout the 80s.
Indie rock band Rilo Kiley first formed back in 1998 with members Jenny Lewis, Blake Sennett, Pierre de Reeder, and Dave Rock. Lewis and Sennett must have bonded over their love of music as well as their early careers as child actors. After being introduced by a mutual friend, the two were responsible for forming the band and also dated for several years following. They broke it off in 2002 and the band parted ways a few years later in 2010.
When asked if the band would ever get back together, Sennett responded, “I never say never. I loved Rilo Kiley—I loved writing with Jenny. I think she’s a great artist and great to write with. I think we’re not there yet. Maybe one day we’ll dust it off and give it a go; I’d be open to it. I think it was fun—for all of the pitfalls, it was great. I had a great time in Rilo Kiley. I always did.”