Musical Marriages That Made Music Last…Even If They Didn’t

Love is a powerful thing. It can be beautiful and hopeful, but love can also be ugly. He can be capricious and, at times, cruel. Good or bad, love changes us. It makes us vulnerable, crazy, passionate and inspired. And love makes some damn good music. But what happens when that love is gone?

Here are 9 couples who made music to last, even if they didn’t.

1. Captain and Tennille

It came as a shock when soft rock couple “Captain” Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille divorced in 2014, after 39 years of marriage. The split came long after the duo’s heyday, but still, if anyone could pull it off, you’d think it would be the artists behind “Muskrat Love.”

The couple’s 1975 hit, “Love Will Keep Us Together,” now plays like a gut punch, but that doesn’t make the song any less enduring. The melody’s roaring bass and tiptoe touches are nothing more than reminders of the love that built the rock yacht.

2. Sonny and Cher

Sonny Bono was a legendary entertainer, and for decades Cher had an illustrious career. But together, the two worked magic. Sonny and Cher have juggled singing, acting, hosting TV shows, and being husband and wife. In the 1970s, they were the “it” couple.

However, with the beloved duo’s very public divorce in 1975, the entertainment empire they had built together came crashing down. Their joint television program, Sonny and Cher Comedy Hourquit despite exorbitant ratings and the two went their separate ways.

In the end the love was still there and they remained friends until Sonny died in 1998. They meant it when they sang “I Got You Babe”.

3. Ike and Tina Turner

The legendary husband and wife duo, Ike & Tina Turner, were THE live performers from 1960 to 1976, gracing the stages as the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. The sensations of “Proud Mary” were known for their slow, soulful acoustic arrangements that exploded into a rock and roll frenzy led by the electrifying singer.

All the captivating performances and genre-changing songs in the world can’t make up for the abuse Tina has faced in their marriage. After years of a union marred by violence, drug addiction and infidelity, Tina broke up in 1976. The couple left behind R&B classics like “A Fool In Love”, “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine” and “River Deep-Mountain”. Haute.” In the aftermath, Tina would be crowned “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll” with a successful solo career to date.

4. Agnetha Fältskog and Björn Ulvaeus; Benny Andersson and Anni Frid Lyngstad

Swedish supergroup ABBA consisted of two married couples: Agnetha Fältskog and Björn Ulvaeus, and Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. ABBA ruled the global charts from 1974 to 1982, delivering feel-good pop songs that will last forever.

However, the group’s international success led to personal problems and the couples’ married life took a hit. Fältskog and Ulvaeus announced their divorce in 1979. Speculation about the band’s longevity sparked rumors in the media and among fans, but ABBA assured that the band would continue and the divorce would have no effect on them.

As the relationships changed between the band members, this was reflected in their music. Their signature flair for upbeat, hard-hitting, disco-tinged pop began to dissolve into darker, more introspective compositions later on.

“Winner Takes It All” was one of the band’s first songs after the Fältskog-Ulvaeus divorce. Many thought it was written about the couple’s marital problems, but Ulvaeus insisted the lyrics weren’t about the separation.

Andersson and Lyngstad’s divorce followed in 1981. The headliners were still regularly released, but ABBA’s latest sound was far removed from “Dancing Queen”. Early ’80s hits like “One Of Us” and “When All Is Said and Done” dealt very blatantly with the pain of parting with a partner.

Even with Top 10 hit after hit, speculation grew about the tension within the group and fans eagerly awaited the end. There was never an official announcement declaring the end of ABBA. It kind of happened after their last public performance together in 1982.

A band like ABBA, however, needs a refresher. In 2018, the quartet announced that they had recorded two new songs which featured on their 2021 reunion album, Travel. While all of the band members have made statements saying this project will likely be their last, ABBA will live on in songs like “Waterloo,” “Mamma Mia,” “Gimme! Give me ! Give me ! ” and many others.

5. Carly Simon and James Taylor

The golden couple of ’70s folk, Carly Simon and James Taylor’s marriage coincided with the height of their individual fame. Their union made them a musical dream team, seemingly unstoppable when the duo recorded duets.

They would make cameos on each other’s albums, but full-fledged duets like “Mockingbird” and “Devoted To You” were major hits, charting in the Top 10. However, behind the songs, their marriage n was not so harmonious.

“Our love has become bipolar,” Simon wrote of their relationship in his 2015 memoir, Boys in the trees, “going from love to hate, from lust to hate, and back again, sometimes in a day.” Both sides’ infidelity and Taylor’s drug addiction drove them apart and the two parted ways after a decade together in 1983. Although their relationship is now non-existent, we will always have Simon-Taylor’s raw and emotive songwriting styles.

6. Jack and Meg White

For a while, husband-wife alt-rock duo The White Stripes performed as brother and sister. Looking at Jack and Meg White – both slim, fair-skinned and raven-haired – it made sense. News of their 1996 marriage emerged in 2001, along with evidence of the couple’s divorce in 2000. The “Seven Nation Army” performers reportedly continued the charade for music.

In a 2005 interview, Jack White explained to rolling stone “When you see a band that’s two pieces, husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, you think, ‘Oh, I see…’ When they’re brother and sister, you say, ‘Oh, that’ is interesting.’ You care more about the music, not the relationship – that they’re trying to salvage their relationship by being in a band.

The duo disbanded in 2011 after a long hiatus from performing and without hard feelings. An announcement about the split said it happened “to preserve what is beautiful and special about the band.” The couple left numbers like “Icky Thump” and “We’re Going to Be Friends.”

7. Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon

Bassist Kim Gordon and vocalist Thurston Moore formed indie band Sonic Youth in 1981. Somewhere in the band’s 30th year, producing 16 studio albums and influencing an entire alternative culture, the two got married. Their songs “Superstar”, “100%” and “Kool Thing” filled an era with otherworldly dissonance.

In 2011, Sonic Youth disbanded, as did the couple after 27 years of marriage. This makes you think, would the band have continued if the couple had and vice versa?

8. Christine McVie and John McVie

Fleetwood Mac is an incestuous box of verse that doesn’t need to be opened here, but some great music is born out of inter-band marriage (well, inter-band divorce), specifically.

Vocalist and keyboardist Christine McVie and bassist John McVie had one of Fleetwood Mac’s strongest songwriting partnerships during their marriage. But it’s the post-divorce music they made together that will go down in history. The two leaned into the pain of separation, infidelity, drug addiction, all to create songs like “Don’t Stop”, “Say You Love Me” and “Songbird”.

(Photo by Gus Stewart/Redferns)

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