Is It Time to Break Up the Band? When Creative Teams Lose the Spark

Mike Brown has written a thoughtful essay about creative teams who burn through their creative energy. He cites a couple of opposing examples:

  • The Beatles, who broke up when it was obvious that the magic was gone,
  • The Rolling Stones (and a couple other bands) who keep on rolling. Yeah, they make money and fill stadiums, but most critics agree that their later works are not nearly as good as their early hits.

Brown says it’s best to “break up the band” when the spark is gone.

Sometimes creative energy gets used up, never to be replenished. That’s part of what was magical about The Beatles. We didn’t have to live through (much of) their crappy output. We have their best work to remember them by without years of subpar filler.

Take this lesson to heart in your own creative life. You may be a part of a magical creative team, but chances are it will run its course – which is completely normal. When it happens, enjoy your memories, and let your former creative partnership be.

I have to wonder if there’s perhaps another way: Doing the hard work of rekindling the spark. How one would have done that with a pair of personalities like Lennon and McCartney, I haven’t a clue. But I tend to be an optimist who loves happy endings—especially against-all-odds happy endings.

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