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Breaking the Band

The Beatles

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The Beatles

This episode charts the rise and fall of the world’s most successful band seen through the prism of the turbulent relationship between its two key members, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. From meeting as teenagers in the UK city of Liverpool we hear how the early trauma of losing their mothers brought them together but how their different personalities and musical aspirations would ultimately tear them apart. Using first hand testimony from colleagues and close friends we examine the key factors that led to the breakup. From the introduction of Yoko Ono to the death of their beloved manager, Brian Epstein, ‘Breaking the Band: the Beatles’ reveals the psychological factors that ended the most successful song writing partnership in history.

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The Eagles

The Eagles are one of the biggest bands in history, selling over 150 million records. Their music defined the 1970s, with songs like Hotel California, Take It Easy and Life In The Fast Lane and their greatest hits album was the greatest selling album of the twentieth century. Their music was the soundtrack to our lives. They were a band who left nothing to chance. Founder members Glenn Frey and Don Henley had a ruthless ambition for The Eagles and let nothing and nobody stand in their way. Yet after almost a decade together, the band suddenly fell apart amidst power struggles , bullying and feuding. the sex, drugs and rock’n’roll lifestyle eventually caused them to self destruct.

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The Supremes

The Supremes were the greatest girl band ever. Over the course of the 60’s they had 12 Billboard chart topping hits, including 5 consecutive number 1’s - still a record for a girl band. They were an international sensation – three teenage, African American girls from the Detroit projects who conquered the world. Berry Gordy, the boss of Motown, moulded Mary Wilson, Flo Ballard and Diana Ross into music stars as The Supremes. When they first got together, they were inseparable, but as their fame grew something happened to shatter the bonds between these friends. Diana Ross rose to become a superstar, but for another band member it would end in a tragedy of drink, despair and death. Told through the first hand testimony of those that were there, including original band member Mary Wilson, and with expert psychological analysis from Dr Linda Papadopoulos, this is the story of the Break Up of the Supremes.

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Van Halen

At the height of their success they were the biggest rock band in the world infamous for their excess and raucous live performances. With their strutting frontmen, wild hair and penchant for spandex they are often portrayed as the archetypal 80's American rock band. The band went through two 'break ups' covered by our timeline owing to a variety of factors but most prominently conflicts over the Van Halen brother's desire for total control and the destructive impacts of substance/alcohol abuse. By 1984 they were the biggest band in the world but, behind the scenes, all was not well and a battle for control raged between the brothers at the heart of the band and it’s lead singer, David Lee Roth. Years of touring, drugs and personality clashes had left them on the brink. When Roth’s ambitions grew beyond the band, the brothers moved quickly to force him out. Their millions of fans were left devastated, but rising from the ashes the they would regroup with a new front man, Sammy Hagar. Against the odds they reached even greater heights with a string of 4 consecutive No.1 albums. Apparently vindicated by their decision the band appeared harmonious. But as the success grew, new tensions emerged and in 1995 the tale of ten years earlier was repeated when Hagar too was ousted for his apparent disloyalty.

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Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac has sold over 100 million records making them one of the most successful bands in the world. It was their album Rumours that propelled them into the rock and roll stratosphere but behind the scenes the record was a story of two couples at war. Hit songs like Dreams and Go Your Own Way were evidence of the bitter conflict. Out of fame and extraordinary fortune came jealousy and infidelity, raging egos, addiction and unadulterated excess. Yet they held it together for another decade and the biggest surprise was how they kept going for so long. ‘Breaking the Band: Fleetwood Mac’ reveals the story of the legendary band.

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NWA

In the late 80s, notorious LA rap group NWA rocked the world with their brutal, violent music about racism and police brutality. Known as ‘the most dangerous band in the world’, their first album Straight outta Compton changed the face of rap music and went triple platinum, yet after only three short years the band split up. Breaking the Band – NWA uncovers the greed, violence and recriminations that led the members of NWA to tear themselves apart, as told by the people who were there.

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Sonny & Cher

On the 27th of February 1974 Cher filed for divorce from her husband Sonny, citing ‘involuntary servitude’ aka. slavery. It was a scandalous end for the duo, who had charmed America with their kooky relationship and heart felt songs. A decade earlier Sonny & Cher released their international chart topping single ‘I got you babe’. In the decade that followed they sold over 40 million records making them one of the most successful duos of all time. But after just a few years at the top, the couple would be pulled apart by financial ruin, infidelity, and a demand for total control by one over the other. This is the story of what really broke up America’s oddest couple, from those who were there.

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The Beach Boys

In the mid 1960s, with hits like Surfin USA and Good Vibrations, the Beach Boys became THE carefree sound of American youth. On stage the three brothers and cousin that formed the backbone of the band seemed like one happy family but nothing could be further from the truth. Its lead singer songwriter Brian Wilson battled with his mental health and the legacy of an abusive father. His drug-addicted brother Dennis redefined the meaning of excess. And frontman Mike Love’s obsession with the bottom dollar clashed with the rest of the band’s creative ambitions. Mental breakdowns and bitter fist fights would overshadow much of their 20 year reign as one of the world’s greatest ever bands.