Top Ten Very Successful Artists Whose Music Career Suddenly Ended

Some artists and bands remain active snd successful for decades. The Rolling Stones, Madonna or Eminem have discographies full of legendary music, and whatever they touch turns to solid gold or platinum. In contrast to that, there are so called one hit wonders who have exactly one smash hit that everyone knows by heart but are then never heard of again. Often, this one particular song remains very popular for decades to come, but no one knows who it's by.

But then there's this special case in between: artists who had a very successful career over a certain time span including a bunch of hits and tons of media coverage, but suddenly, from one day to the next, they dropped out of the public eye. They were considered the top league of music and everybody knew their names, but overnight, they were never heard of again. Either their new outputs didn't sell well, or they simply decided to not release anything new. This list is about such artists.

What doesn't count:
1. Artists whose career ended because they died
2. Bands whose career ended because they disbanded

What does count:
1. Artists and bands who haven't released any new music in ages but are alive/still together
2. Bands who are still together although a member died
3. Artists whose career ended before they died
4. Bands whose career ended before they disbanded
5. Unsuccessful comebacks
6. Artists who changed their main profession from music to something else and are successful at that, but not music anymore

I hope that covers all the information you need.
The Top Ten
1 The Black Eyed Peas The Black Eyed Peas is an American hip hop group, consisting of rappers will.i.am, apl.de.ap, Taboo, and singer Fergie.

Yeah, sometimes I find myself wondering where the heck these guys are now. Good to know they still make music and do what they love. At least.

They were terrible. Absolutely terrible! I'm glad they don't exist anymore!

Between 2003 and 2011, the Black Eyed Peas, in the lineup featuring will.I.am, Fergie, Taboo, and apl.de.ap, were among the biggest groups on the planet. Their third album "Elephunk" (2003), the first to feature female member Fergie, marked their commercial breakthrough. It spawned international hits "Where is the Love?", "Hey Mama," and "Shut Up." The latter was the biggest of the three in Europe, although it did not chart in the US. The album was also positively received, featuring a mix of funk, hip-hop, and pop, with both party and conscious lyrics, which was unheard of.

Then they repeated this style on "Monkey Business" (2005), before undergoing a departure towards electro-pop on the albums "The E.N.D." (2009) and "The Beginning" (2010). Their commercial success increased while their critical reception became weaker. Each album had a handful of hit songs. Ever since the late 2000s, rumors spread that the band might break up, which was always denied. But after 2011, years passed without any new music (spare an underwhelming and almost unnoticed 2016 re-recording of "Where is the Love?") - until 2018.

Without Fergie, but with an anonymous female singer replacing her, the group came back with a more old school inspired style and political lyrics, and received critical praise. However, their comeback album "Masters of the Sun Vol. 1" was probably the single biggest commercial failure of the 21st century. The contrast between their previous sales and their new music was disastrous. We're not talking about a band who had a top ten album in 2008 and came in at number 40 in 2018. No, this is more extreme. This is a band who had a bunch of number one hit songs, a dozen of top ten entries, and four very successful albums all around the world (e.g., in Austria, their number one hits are "Where is the Love?", "Shut Up", "I Gotta Feeling", and "The Time (Dirty Bit)", but in different countries they have different chart toppers). They were HUGE, as big as a... more

2 Paula Abdul Paula Julie Abdul is an American singer-songwriter, dancer, choreographer, actress and television personality.

Thanks for the reply. I am actually not from the US, so I might be wrong and maybe there she is much better known than in other parts of the world. As for which stars are likely to be remembered, I don't think Kendrick Lamar is less likely to be remembered than, for example, Bruno Mars, Adele, or Imagine Dragons.

Additionally, I don't think there is that much of a difference between radio play and sales for hip hop, besides some of the most explicit songs. I think those artists with big hits that will be less remembered might well be those that don't have as much of a fan base, such as Pitbull and Flo Rida (judging by them having relatively low album sales), but that is just a guess.

3 Ace of Base Ace of Base was a Swedish pop group, originally consisting of Ulf "Buddha" Ekberg and three siblings, Jonas "Joker" Berggren, Malin "Linn" Berggren and Jenny Berggren.

In the '90s, Ace of Base were hailed as the next ABBA. They were Swedish, excelled in pop with exceptional songwriting, and consisted of two women and two men. They were also hugely successful worldwide, both critically and commercially.

Their debut album, titled "The Sign" in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Japan, and "Happy Nation" in the rest of the world, was a major hit in 1993. The album not only topped the American charts, but also those of 13 other nations, and was certified nine times platinum in the U.S. Overall, it sold 19 million copies internationally.

The album spawned a number one hit in several countries, "All That She Wants," and its deluxe edition (which is identical to the U.S. version) contained the chart-topper "The Sign." In 1995, their sophomore record, "The Bridge," followed. It was a top ten success in much of Europe, but only performed moderately in the U.S. Its single "Lucky Love" topped the Swedish charts.

Around that time, the group was offered the theme song for the James Bond movie "GoldenEye." They wrote and recorded a song of the same name, but ultimately, their management turned it down. At the time, Ace of Base were extremely popular, while the James Bond film series was considered dated. After they rejected the offer, Tina Turner was hired to perform the theme. This anecdote illustrates the level of stardom they had - surpassing even James Bond and the Queen of Rock and Roll.

Their James Bond theme can be found on YouTube, and it is easily one of the top five James Bond themes alongside "Live and Let Die," "Skyfall," "Goldfinger," and "Diamonds Are Forever." One line from their song poignantly comments on the fears of the post-Cold War generation: "We're in the '90s, nothing is the same. The Cold War is replaced by different tactics, using different names."

In 1998, their third album, "Flowers" ("Cruel Summer" in the U.S.), was released. In several European countries, it was still a major success... more

4 50 Cent Curtis James Jackson III, better known by his stage name 50 Cent, is an American rapper, actor, entrepreneur, investor, record, film, and television producer.

From 2003 to 2007, 50 Cent was the face of hip hop, next to Eminem. His style was sinister and thug, but still had a certain coolness and laid-back vibe to it. His first two albums, "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" and "The Massacre," were multi-million sellers that topped the American charts and hit the top ten in numerous other countries. He even had his own movie, titled after his debut album (which retrospectively gives a good look at how differently hip hop was seen back in 2005). With "In da Club," "21 Questions," and "Candy Shop," he managed to have three number one hits in the USA, which were also very successful abroad, and also managed to have other top ten songs that were well known at the time.

But in 2007, it happened. The two most anticipated hip hop albums of the year were released simultaneously: 50 Cent's "Curtis" and Kanye West's "Graduation." Both albums sold very well, but Kanye West was the one who would top the US charts, and 50 Cent the one who would come in second place (although in Europe, "Curtis" did better). His status did not immediately decline, but the impact of this sales competition on the music landscape was enormous. Suddenly, West's more artful and decidedly not street-oriented hip hop was seen as the new direction of popular rap and pop music, while 50 Cent's gangsta rap would appear more and more dated to most fans.

His next two albums, "Before I Self Destruct" (2009) and "Animal Ambition" (2014) still managed to enter the top ten of the American charts but sold weakly compared to his previous work, and didn't do well internationally. They also spawned no hit songs. After that, he completely dropped out of the public eye, constantly delaying his sixth studio album for years. But who knows, maybe he will manage to do a comeback.

5 Lauryn Hill Lauryn Noelle Hill is an American singer, rapper and songwriter. She is known for being a member of Fugees and for her solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which won many awards and broke several sales records.

The career of Lauryn Hill is legendary and well known. Both a gifted neo-soul singer and a skilled rapper, she originally made a name for herself in the industry starring in the sequel of the successful musical comedy "Sister Act" in 1993. As part of the hip-hop/RnB Fugees, she would later become a worldwide superstar after their second studio album "The Score" became a worldwide chart topper in 1996 (the first one, "Blunted on Reality," didn't chart yet). Their rendition of Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly," found on the record, became a number one hit in several countries around the world, in some even the biggest song of the year. In the USA, it hit number 2 on the Airplay charts. Both the album and the song have since become beloved classics of the 90s.

It was followed by the more rap oriented "Ready or Not," which also managed to enter the top ten in some individual nations. However, right after this success, the group disbanded for reasons unknown. But in 1998, Lauryn Hill came back with her debut solo album "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" - and it was even bigger. Showing off her talent as a thought-provoking songwriter, the RnB/hip hop album was certified eight times platinum in the USA, entered the top ten around the world, sold over 20 million copies internationally, and was released to euphoric reviews, winning her five Grammys and the title of one of the most praised albums of all time. It also spawned a US number one hit with "Doo Wop (That Thing)."

However, after this enormous success, Hill decided not to continue her work in the music landscape, being disappointed by the industry and what it means to be famous. Her only other release was the 2002 live unplugged album "MTV Unplugged 2.0," on which she performed new material. It did sell okay, but nowhere near as well as her studio album, and received lukewarm reviews. She occasionally toured in the 2010s, but it was always met with negative reception due to her lackluster... more

6 Rednex

If you live in America, you'll probably wonder what this group is doing on this list. In the US, the sole hit of Rednex was "Cotton Eye Joe," which peaked at number 25 on the Billboard charts and was seen as little more than a mildly funny novelty song. However, in much of Europe, the Swedish band were major superstars of the mid-90s. The group mixed country (or rather the European vision of country, with banjos, fiddles, rodeos, cowboys, and square dance) with then-modern dance beats, creating an inventive blend of genres. "Cotton Eye Joe" was one of the biggest number 1 hits of the year in several nations.

But that wasn't all. The two follow-up singles, "Old Pop in an Oak" (in the same musical style) and "Wish You Were Here" (which surprised audiences as it is a dramatic, emotional ballad), were major hits as well. These singles even managed to top the charts in some countries. In Austria, all three were number one hits, and "Wish You Were Here" was the best-selling song of 1995. Naturally, their debut album "Sex & Violins" was a hit as well (despite the awful cover artwork).

It would take them five years until they came back with a new album, "Farm Out!", with lead singer Mary Joe replaced by Whippy. In much of Europe, they could not continue their success story, and the album was a commercial failure everywhere. However, its second single, "The Spirit of the Hawk," a Native American inspired anti-war song, was a number 1 hit in Germany and Austria and was the second and third best-selling song of the year in the respective countries. It was also a top ten hit in Sweden and Switzerland.

In the following years, the project had constant lineup changes, and the producer had the "brilliant" idea of turning them into a performance group rather than a band. However, for some tracks, original singer Mary Joe returned. Between 2006 and 2008, they scored five top ten hits in Sweden, the last of which even topped the charts ("Football is Our... more

7 Lil Pump Gazzy Garcia (known professionally as Lil Pump, born August 17th, 2000) is an American rapper, producer and songwriter. Gazzy began his career in 2016 with a collaboration freestyle with Smokepurpp, which was eventually posted in Soundcloud to popular success. He broke out to mainstream the following... read more

At the time he was added, it was doubtful whether he belonged here. Now I would say he absolutely does. Few popular artists have been so forgotten as Lil Pump.

Also doesn't qualify for the list. His 2019 album "Harverd Dropout" was a top ten success in the US and spawned a worldwide hit single with "I Love It."

8 Madonna Madonna Louise Ciccone, known professionally as Madonna, is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. She influenced a lot of singers such as: Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Beyonce Knowles and Britney Spears. She is known as Queen of Pop and at modern pop culture specifically... read more

I think she's one of the people that least deserve to be on this list. Apart from the fact that since the 1980s she had countless hits and worldwide number one albums, her newest record was just released and hasn't even had the chance to chart yet.

Would it really be "suddenly" if, after over 30 years of success, her sales decreased? This is more about artists who were extremely hyped for a certain period of time and were expected to become the next big stars that would go down in music history, then suddenly went into obscurity overnight either by failing to have further success or simply not releasing anything. Madonna is far past that state.

9 Jeanette Jeanette Biedermann, going only by Jeanette as her stage name, is a German singer and actress born on February 22, 1980 in former East Berlin.

She was originally known for playing a minor role in Germany’s most successful and longest running soap opera “Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten” in... read more

German singer Jeanette Biedermann initially gained fame as an actress on Germany's most popular soap opera, "Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten," which first aired in 1992 and is still running. Biedermann joined the cast in 1999 and starred in over 1000 episodes until her departure in 2004. Concurrently, she launched her singing career in 2000, performing under the mononym Jeanette. Her early music, particularly on her first two albums "Enjoy!" and "Delicious," showcased a teen pop style reminiscent of early Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Despite having top ten hits such as "Go Back," "How It's Got To Be," and "No More Tears," her albums initially did not sell well, although they were quite enjoyable.

Jeanette then shifted to a more pop-rock oriented style, leading to commercial success with two top ten albums, "Rock My Life" and "Break on Through." This period produced numerous hits, including "Rock My Life," "We've Got Tonight," "It's Over Now," "Right Now," "Rocking on Heaven's Floor," and "No Eternity," all of which entered the top ten and were prominent on TV. In 2004, she released the darker, more aggressive "Run With Me," which arguably became her signature song. Despite never reaching number one, Jeanette was a household name and hugely popular.

However, her success could not be sustained. Her fifth album, "Naked Truth" (2006), which I consider her best, failed to enter the top ten or produce a significant hit, with "Run With Me" only featured as a bonus on the deluxe edition. In 2009, she released her last solo album to date, "Undress to the Beat," which marked another stylistic shift to electro pop. Although the title track entered the top ten, the album did not sell well and was her least successful work.

After fading from the public eye, Jeanette joined the German indie pop band Ewig in the 2010s as their lead singer, but they never achieved significant success. In early 2019, she released two singles in German under her full... more

10 Dat Adam Dat Adam was a German experimental hip hop and electronica group consisting of vocalists Thaddeus “Taddl” Tjarks and Ardian “Ardy” Bora, and producer Marius “Marley” Ley, which was formed in 2014 and disbanded in 2018... read more

Dat Adam's existence was very short, lasting from 2015 to 2018. During these three years, they experienced all stages a career can have. The trio consisted of rappers Taddl and Ardy, and producer Marley. They produced a more experimental, electronic genre of hip hop, which some categorized as SoundCloud territory, though the group themselves dubbed it cyber hip hop.

Taddl and Ardy were already famous before forming Dat Adam, as they had popular YouTube channels where they released comedy videos, shared useless facts, and posted let's plays. In early 2015, both deleted all of their work, announcing that they could no longer identify with it and were dissatisfied with the commercial evolution of YouTube and its impact on their character. This was essentially career suicide. They founded Dat Adam the same year but did not announce it. They turned down a major label contract in favor of full creative freedom and chose not to use their names to cash in on their music.

Their self-released debut EP "Chrome" immediately grabbed the attention of the masses and was a big commercial and critical success, especially in Austria where it hit number one on the charts. This was a milestone because they were still seen as YouTubers-turned-musicians, and every other YouTuber who had attempted this before was heavily panned. A year later, their debut album "HYDRA 3D" followed, and it was a really big deal. Filled with inclusive lifestyle and political ideas that captured the mindset of a young and socially aware audience, it peaked at number 5 in both Germany and Austria. For weeks, the internet, especially YouTube, went crazy about the album as if it was the only one released at that time, discussing it, analyzing it, and reviewing it. Suddenly, other smaller artists jumped on the bandwagon, and a small group of cyber rappers followed.

Even Cro's acclaimed chart-topping 2017 album "tru." had its share of Hydra aesthetics. The record also collided with an era in... more

The Contenders
11 LaFee Christina Klein, better known by her stage name LaFee, is a German rock and pop singer of Greek descent born on December 9, 1990.

Having released her self-titled breakthrough album at the age of only 15, she was often compared to fellow German group Tokio Hotel, who at the time of her biggest... read more

German singer LaFee became famous in 2006 at the age of 15, with songs like "Virus" and "Prinzesschen" (English versions "Scabies" and "Little Princess"). Her style and imagery were heavily inspired by the gothic subculture, and her lyrics sometimes used pretty vulgar vocabulary. However, her topics commented on relatable problems of teenage and young adult life (superficiality, first love, first night together, dealing with being cheated on...), as well as some very dark subject matter that mainstream didn't talk about (child abuse, bulimia,...). Her outfit was edgy and revolting (sometimes, the music was very Rammstein-esque), but her content had some pretty decent values and gave good advice for those who felt insecure while growing up - so much that she even had an unexpectedly big adult following.

Her first self-titled album from 2006 immediately managed to top the German and Austrian charts. One year later, her sophomore record "Jetzt erst recht", which spawned her biggest hit "Heul doch" (English version "Shut Up"), managed to do the same. German music TV channel VIVA aired her videos over and over again, and in the biggest German youth magazine Bravo she was one of the most talked about celebrities.

After Tokio Hotel unexpectedly charted overseas with their "Scream" album, on which they re-recorded songs from their first two records in English, LaFee tried to do the same by releasing her English language compilation "Shut Up" in 2008, but didn't succeed. The translations were accurate but didn't sound as good - the wordings don't really work in English, unlike Tokio Hotel's. Her third studio album "Ring Frei" (2009) was still a commercial success, entering the top ten in her two major countries, although it already didn't top them.

After that, LaFee underwent a complete departure of style for her fourth album "Frei" in 2011. Instead of sinister rock, she made electro pop, did a 180 degree turn on her appearance (instead of gothic, she... more

12 Lil Yachty Miles Parks McCollum, known professionally as Lil Yachty, is an American rapper, singer and songwriter. Yachty first gained recognition in August 2015 for his singles "One Night" and "Minnesota" from his debut EP Summer Songs. He released his debut mixtape Lil Boat in March 2016.

Yes, he slightly decreased in relevance and sales, and probably will even further, but I'd wait until he releases more music. Number 12 on the US charts is still decent, judging by the size of the country.

His relevance is honestly decreasing, especially after Nuthin' 2 Prove. N2P was decent and the best of the three albums he put out, but it's not saying much. Also, it did flop and Lil Boat has generally been flopping in album sales. I don't see much for Lil Boat 3.

13 Ja Rule Jeffrey Bruce Atkins, better known by his stage name Ja Rule, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and actor from Queens, New York.
14 Tracks****az

Tracksh-ttaz were an Austrian techno-pop-rap duo, who arguably had the harshest downfall of any artist on this list. In 2010, they had a smash hit with "Oida taunz!", which topped the Austrian charts. The song had an inventive idea that wasn't heard of before, by interpolating Austrian dialect and aesthetics into the EDM style that was internationally popular at that time. It was self-ironic and entertaining, and nonetheless catchy and infectious.

The follow-up single "Guuugarutz" repeated this success, being another number one hit. Naturally, their debut album "Oidaah pumpn muas's" also shot straight to the top of the charts in 2011. Just under 5 months later, their next album was released: "Prolettn feian längaah". Although it contained no hit single, it also became a number one record.

In 2012, the duo participated in the Eurovision Song Contest with their track "Woki mit deim Popo", and in Austria, this massive international competition is one hell of a big deal, like a sports event. You need to know that I love the ESC because it's a wonderful show where countries come together to celebrate inclusion, tolerance, and peace even in hard times through the love of pop music (which varies in quality but still). But it's also a time when the obnoxious Austrian national pride that you get all the year becomes especially strong. Austria's contribution is on air 24/7, and the performers are a hot topic in all media.

Sometimes, talented newcomers get selected, but in this case, Tracksh-ttaz already were national superstars - and their new album peaked at number 3 on the charts, and the ESC song at number 2. At this point, the two guys were Austria's darlings, and with all the hype, danceable tracks and entertainment value, Austrians assumed other countries would love them just as much, right? Right!? The answer: a big fat no. The song came in last place in the first semi-final with mere 8 points (the winner of the semi-final had 152 points), and... more

15 System of A Down System of a Down, formed in 1994, is an Armenian-American alternative metal group from Glendale, California. The band name is sometimes shortened to System or SOAD. They've always been a very political band since their inception. Often being against genocide and war most notably in songs like: Pluck,... read more

Come on, we need the new System of a Down album. Even Tool will be releasing an album this year.

16 Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin was an English hard rock band formed in London in 1968 as the New Yardbirds. The group consisted of Robert Plant (Vocal), Jimmy Page (Guitar), John Paul Jones (Bass, Keyboard) and John Bonham (Drums) and was very much the child of Jimmy Page who even financed their first tour. He had tasted... read more

After Physical Graffiti, it seemed that they didn't have much success. Were they killed by punk?

They suddenly disbanded because of John Bonham's death.

17 Alanis Morissette Alanis Nadine Morissette is a Canadian-American alternative rock singer-songwriter, guitarist, record producer, and actress.

Admittedly, she has not had a true "flop" album, but she has not released in so long that I feel like she belongs on this list.

18 Tool Tool is an American alternative metal/progressive metal band, that was formed in 1990.

The band is set together between Maynard James Keenan (Vocals), Danny Carey (Drums), Adam Jones (Guitar) and since 1995 Justin Chancellor (Bass).

The band is known for their influences from electronic... read more

Tool is coming with a new album this year. We can party now.

19 Estelle Estelle Fanta Swaray, simply known as Estelle, is a British singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress from West London, England.
20 Spice Girls The Spice Girls are an English pop girl group formed in 1994. The group consists of Emma Bunton (Baby Spice), Melanie Chisholm (Sporty Spice), Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice), Mel B (Scary Spice), and Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice).

Major worldwide success from The Spice Girls from 1997-2000. Then they just seemingly vanished.

21 Carly Rae Jepsen Carly Rae Jepsen is a Canadian singer and songwriter from Mission, British Columbia, and later based in Vancouver. She is best known for her hit song "Call Me Maybe" which topped many charts in 2012.
22 Gotye Wouter Andre "Wally" De Backer, better known as Gotye, is an Australian-Belgian multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter. The name "Gotye" is a pronunciation respelling of "Gauthier", the French cognate of Gotye's given Dutch name "Wouter".

Definitely. Although it's a thin line between this list and one hit wonders ("Somebody That I Used To Know"), the reason he remained a one hit wonder is that he took a long time off and ended his own career. One hit wonders usually try to come up with a worthy follow-up but fail. Plus, he had solid successes in his home country before, so I'll make an exception for this.

Ironically, now he is just somebody that we used to know.

23 Drowning Pool Drowning Pool is an American Nu-Metal band formed in Dallas, Texas in 1996. The band was named after the film The Drowning Pool.
24 Oasis Oasis were an English britpop band formed in Manchester in 1991. Developed from an earlier group, the Rain, the band originally consisted of Liam Gallagher (vocals and tambourine), Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs, Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan, and Tony McCarroll. Noel Gallagher (Liam's Brother) served as the primary... read more

This was the first band that came to mind when I saw the title.

After Be Here Now, they quickly faded into the background.

25 MC Hammer Stanley Kirk Burrell (born March 30, 1962), known professionally as MC Hammer (or simply Hammer), is an American rapper, dancer, and record producer who had his greatest commercial success and popularity from the late 1980s until the early 1990s. Remembered for his rapid rise to fame, Hammer is known... read more

He made 2 Legit 2 Quit and then quit. How ironic.

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