While 2018 has just barely begun, it has already marked the beginning of the end for some of music’s most iconic names. Punk icons, rapper activists and knighted pop stars alike have all announced the end of decades-long careers within the last year.
And with those announcements come years-long tours, one-stop shows and worldwide farewells. We’ve rounded up all of the most recent and relevant goodbye announcements from the last few months, with details on how they each plan on going out.
Elton John is going out in the exact kind of grandiose way you’d expect. The iconic singer, songwriter and pianist will embark on the three-year, 300-city Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, starting in September 2018.
And the singer promises that once the three years are up, he will truly be finished: “I’m not Cher, even though I like wearing her clothes — this is the end.”
As for glamorous retirement plans? “Mostly I’ll be taking my kid to soccer academy — which is the most important thing,” he said.
In a confusing twist, Ozzy Osbourne’s farewell tour does not mean an end to his music career. The Prince of Darkness clarified, saying his final North American tour simply means he won’t be doing any more wide-scale performances, but it didn’t mark the last time he would be making records.
“I’m not retiring from the music business; I’m just not doing world tours anymore,” he said, adding that it doesn’t mean he won’t be doing small gigs, which could include “anything but Coachella,” according to his wife Sharon.
The “farewell” tour will kick off in Pennsylvania in August and will have Ozzy on the road until 2020.
After the death of lifelong friend and lead guitarist Vincent N’guini in December, 76-year-old Paul Simon announced that he will be gracefully bowing out of music, after years of contemplation.
In an emotional letter posted to Twitter, the Hall of Famer said, “It feels a little unsettling, a touch exhilarating and something of a relief. I love making music, my voice is still strong, and my band is a tight, extraordinary group of gifted musicians. I think about music constantly.”
— Paul Simon (@PaulSimonMusic) February 5, 2018
After declaring herself “a retired beach bum” in January, she backtracked and unofficially announced a farewell tour for this spring. While there are no dates or details for the tour just yet, she is slated to play the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival this spring.
sO Much 2 CELEBRATE with you #2018. 60th Bday in 25 days–… Farewell –Concert –Series, beginning in March… We’ll paint pictures together 2 last a Lifetime… “Let’s Party!” #OneLastTime–abxo? damn… “Where does the time go?! pic.twitter.com/dMQpRgmTLY
— Anita Baker (@IAMANITABAKER) January 1, 2018
Legendary ’80s synth-pop duo Soft Cell will close their career with one last show in London on Sept. 30. Marc Almond and Dave Ball will perform at the massive 02 arena — which just held the 2018 Brit Awards — as a final goodbye to their fans. The concert comes somewhere right around the 37th anniversary of their debut album Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, which came out in November 1981.
While this is the first time in 15 years that the two will get back onstage together, Almond said it felt like the right way to go out. “With Soft Cell I always felt something was unfinished. This last ever final show will be the best ever ending. It will be a real statement and send off, and thank you to every fan.”
Forty years after their hilariously (and helpfully) titled debut album Pronounced ‘L?h-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd, Lynyrd Skynyrd will close as a group for good after a multi-year tour starting in May, which will span Europe and the U.S.
As the only remaining living member of the original band, Gary Rossington says fans shouldn’t be too upset at the idea of a farewell tour, as it’s more of a gradual “winding down.” He said, “I know we’re going to take some time off after this farewell tour that’s all planned, and then who knows…I don’t know if it’s really ever gonna end, but his is a plant to start to.”
Rossington’s ailing health was cited as one of the reasons why the band felt it was important to begin the farewell tour, specifically a heart condition that has led to recent cancellations of the group’s other shows.
Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def)
After a series of what were announced as final shows, it seems like rapper and avid activist Yassiin Bey may have played his final concert in September. The former Black Star member performed for over an hour at the ONE Musicfest in Atlanta.
His plans to retire were originally announced via longtime friend Kanye West in 2016. Bey, who was being detained in South Africa after trying to leave using a non-existent “world passport,” asked the rapper to share his message: “I’m retiring from the music recording industry as it is currently assembled today, and also from Hollywood, effective immediately. I’m releasing my final album this year. And that’s that.”
After the show in September, Bey clarified that “I’m always going to be creating. … I’m not going to disappear if I stop rap or doing it in a certain type of way.”