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When we feel like we're going nowhere at work, sometimes the best option is to resign. But even if you're happier off out of a job, handing in your notice can leave a lot of mess for everyone else to clean up.

It's no different if you're a world-famous pop star. Here, we look at 10 of music's most dramatic walk-outs: the tipping points when these artists decided they'd had enough, devastating fans and tearing bands asunder.

1. There's more than One Direction, says Zayn Malik, 2015

[LISTEN] Zayn interviewed by Clara about solo single, Pillowtalk

One Direction went from third-placed finalists on The X Factor to become the biggest boyband on the planet in just five years, with greater US chart success than The Beatles. Reaching such giddy stratospheres took its toll on Zayn Malik, though: he quit the band in March last year so he could be a "normal 22 year old".

But Zayn somewhat scuppered his dreams of pipe-and-slippers retirement by launching a solo career only months later, and subsequently claimed the real reason he'd left was because he was bored of 1D's artistic direction. "Would you listen to One Direction, sat at a party with your girl? I wouldn't," he told The Fader. On a quiet night, you can still hear the echoing sound of a million betrayed hearts being smashed into smithereens.

2. Paul McCartney makes The Beatles yesterday's band, 1970

[WATCH] Paul talks about how he felt after The Beatles split

The Fab Four were all miserable towards the end. George Harrison grew so tired of bickering Beatles he briefly walked out in 1968; the following year, John Lennon had had enough, but was persuaded to keep quiet lest he jeopardise the success of the soon-to-be-released Abbey Road.

It was Paul McCartney, though, who went public first in 1970. Irked by requests that he delay the release of his solo debut to avoid clashes with final album Let It Be (the prickly recording sessions for which had further frayed internal relationships), he responded by publishing a waspish statement that made it clear he wanted out, even if he didn't explicitly resign. "Paul quits The Beatles," shouted the Daily Mirror’s front page the day after, bringing their long and winding career to a close.

3. Geri Halliwell decides there's too much spice in her life, 1998

[LISTEN] Geri and Judy Craymer chat to Graham Norton

The group will not be the same without you
HRH Prince Charles

Friendship might never end, but Geri Halliwell's stint in the Spice Girls did: after months of speculation, she left just before they started their 1998 US tour - and, adding insult to injury, she told her bandmates on Mel B's birthday. Halliwell said "differences" between her and the other members were behind her decision, although the remaining Spices felt so spurned by her resignation that songs such as Tell Me Why ("We could have had it all / But you turned your back") were reportedly inspired by their erstwhile Ginger friend. Equally bereft was, surprisingly, Prince Charles, who sent a letter to the singer expressing his disappointment: "The group will not be the same without you."

The group will not be the same without you
HRH Prince Charles

4. Noel Gallagher ensures Oasis won't live forever, 2009

[LISTEN] Noel on Desert Island Discs

In the end, it was a plum that did it: after nearly 15 years of arguments that ranged from petty squabbles to explosive fistfights and everything in-between, Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher finally quit after his brother/singer Liam threw a piece of fruit at him. With Noel upset that they'd pulled their V Festival 2009 headline slot because Liam had a hangover (the official excuse given was laryngitis), the pair got into a backstage ruckus in France that culminated in Liam chucking food and wielding his brother's guitar like "an axe".

"People will write and say what they like, but I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer," said Noel in a statement released just hours after the ding-dong. He's since stipulated (in 2014) his conditions for a reunion: half-a-billion in either cash, condoms, tea bags or Pot Noodles.

5. Ice Cube: I'm straight outta N.W.A, 1989

[LISTEN] Ice Cube chats with Zane Lowe

Some musical resignations are over in a flash of fury; others rumble on for years. Just witness the aftermath of Ice Cube's decision to quit N.W.A in 1989, when he accused controversial manager Jerry Heller of trying to swindle him out of his fair share of royalties.

Both sides used their music to take potshots at one another after his departure: N.W.A compared him to Benedict Arnold, the infamous turncoat General who swapped allegiances in the American Revolutionary War, while Cube's brutal 1991 track No Vaseline found him urging them to "put a bullet" in Heller's temple. The rapper later reconciled with his old friends, but tentative plans for a reunion sadly never came to fruition: Eazy-E passed away in 1995, aged just 30.

6. You're toast, Paul Weller tells The Jam, 1982

[LISTEN] The Jam - a portrait

Nobody was more shocked by Paul Weller's decision to disband The Jam than the rest of The Jam themselves. Their hard slogging had paid off with a string of chart-topping singles in the early-80s followed by their first UK No. 1 album, The Gift, released in 1982. Then Weller surprised everyone by announcing that he would depart at the end of that same year. The singer was keen to explore a more soul-based sound, inspiring him to form his new group The Style Council, but not everyone was so keen to be unemployed - according to rumour, bassist Bruce Foxton refused to speak to Weller for 25 years after the split, although they've since made amends.

7. Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes holds back on the TLC, 1999

Rather than officially resign from TLC, Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes chose to throw down a public gauntlet. Long unhappy with how her creativity was stifled by the outfit, she sent a letter to US publication Entertainment Weekly issuing a challenge to her bandmates: they'd each record a solo album as part of a 3-CD set with their regular producer Dallas Austin, and the fans would decide who was the most talented, with the winner pocketing a $1.5 million prize from their record label. Tionne 'T-Boz' Wilkins and Rozonda 'Chilli' Thomas declined the offer. Lopes was eventually persuaded to return to the fold, but she was tragically killed in a car crash in 2002. TLC's final album, 3D, featuring posthumous contributions from Lopes, was released in the same year.

8. Smiths light goes out as Johnny Marr quits, 1987

[LISTEN] Johnny recollects how he created the iconic riff to How Soon Is Now?

I didn't form a group to perform Cilla Black songs
Johnny Marr

Johnny Marr essentially quit The Smiths because of a misunderstanding: the guitarist was already on hiatus but decided to leave permanently after he read an NME article, which he suspected had been planted by Morrissey, about the band's fractured relationship. In truth, the singer wasn’t responsible, but Marr had already soured on The Smiths due to a combination of factors ranging from exhaustion to exasperation with Morrissey's fondness for novelty pop covers. "That was the last straw, really," said Marr in 1992. "I didn't form a group to perform Cilla Black songs."

Morrissey refused to accept the end was nigh - "Whoever says The Smiths have split shall be severely spanked by me with a wet plimsoll," he said - but his optimism was unfounded; the band were over before their final album, Strangeways, Here We Come, had even been released.

I didn't form a group to perform Cilla Black songs
Johnny Marr

9. Take that, says Robbie Williams on departing the group, 1995

[LISTEN] Robbie discusses leaving Take That

Having succumbed to the siren voices in the media suggesting he was "the indie one" in Take That, Robbie ditched the band (provoking floods of tears from teenage Britain), bleached his hair and spent a happy weekend at Glastonbury 1995 swanning around with Liam Gallagher, only to be dismissed as "that fat dancer from Take That" by Noel. Legal battles meant he'd have to wait a year before he could release a solo single and prove Noel wrong, taking his cover of George Michael's Freedom to No. 2. By 1997, his lighters-aloft anthem Angels had turned him into one of the country's biggest-ever pop stars.

10. Vince Clarke gets enough of Depeche Mode, 1981

[LISTEN] Vince Clarke on the 80s

Leaving a band when they're stuck in the doldrums is one thing, but walking away when you're on the cusp of making it big is quite another. Vince Clarke quit synthpop legends Depeche Mode just one month after they'd released their Top 10 debut album, Speak & Spell. Clarke, who was the band's chief songwriter at the time, claimed he was uncomfortable with the media attention and tired of touring, although guitarist/keyboardist Martin Gore dismissed his reasons as "b*******”, adding: "I think Vince suddenly lost interest in it - and he started getting letters from fans asking what kind of socks he wore." Clarke subsequently formed Yazoo and later Erasure, while Gore took over as Depeche Mode's driving creative force, taking them in a darker and increasingly successful direction. The pair subsequently buried the hatched and formed a new band, VCMG, in 2011.

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