Every great band who has bowed down or broken up has provided the next 'great band' with an opportunity to become the best in their genre, subjectively.
For instance, there are the great bands who started a genre and gave those smaller bands, already working in that music field, a chance to shine. Red Hot Chili Peppers and REM were really the first two bands to bring the alternative rock genre onto the scene. How many bands would not have had their chance if they had not gotten the general public interested in this genre? Grunge, a sub-genre of alternative rock, would not have had a chance to come out of Seattle, and Kurt Cobain might not be famous (and I might not have been slightly scarred by having to read his diary for class). Certainly, Pearl Jam, stemming from Nirvana's original (pre-fame) drummer, would not have been able to ride the coattails of Nirvana's fame and turn grunge into a movement. Had alternative rock not been introduced to the music world, all the indie bands we have loved (The Hush Sound, Bright Eyes, The Decemberists, The Script, Fleet Foxes, and so many, many more) may never have had a chance.
In much the same way, The Beatles opened up the floodgates for every, so-called, 'British Invasion,' and where would we be without Ed Sheeran, Queen, The Wombats, or Arctic Monkeys? The Beatles also posed the chance for an American retaliation, giving us The Monkees (if you've seen "Shrek," you'll know at least one of their songs, but listen to "Daydream Believer" or "Last Train to Clarksville") and, a competing style (in proper American fashion), The Beach Boys. If The Beatles are even partially responsible for giving Brian Wilson the chance to write and compose music, they deserve much more praise than they already receive.
Robert Johnson's incredible guitar skills far and beyond exceeded any comments on his race, at a time where racial hatred ruled. And how many doors did Aretha Franklin open when she preached "Respect" in a primarily male business, dominated by, more specifically, white males?
Moving on from genres, and preaching about the late greats (just listen to "God Only Knows," there's a reason it is so well known, and the composition on "Good Vibrations" was so far ahead of its time...) individual bands have largely, and most likely unknowingly, played a large part in their successor's popularity.
After 3OH!3's initial success with Want and Streets of Gold, they didn't seem to drum up too much further excitement, although I'll be the first to admit I did spend an awful lot of time playing "Set You Free" from Omens, though that album just did not bring the same type of hype and excitement their previous albums had. This may be because fans of the pop duo had found a new, more adorably awkward, twosome over the summer who advocated the right to "shake that"; LMFAO has taken over as the kings of party pop, previously held by 3OH!3. A few years ago, "Don't Trust Me" was the best you could hope for but now, "Party Rock Anthem" offers a much less misogynistic, with a much better dance beat, option, and it doesn't seem like they'll be giving up their spot (LMFAO that is) anytime soon.
On the other end of the spectrum, The Hush Sound was fantastic and, though they tried their hands at starting new bands after their break up, Stamps and Gold Motel could just never reach the same level as The Hush Sound. They did leave a void in the male/female indie band demographic though, leaving just enough space for Of Monsters And Men to make their way into the top 40. They are a truly fantastic band, with great lyrics and music, and may not have been able to come to fruition, at least at this level of success, if they were being overshadowed by a previously top contender. And the same goes for The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons, not that Mumford & Sons bowed out or broke up, they're amazing and I can hardly wait four more days for their new album, but their sound, and certainly their popularity, showed people that this type of music could dominate the charts and got some interested in the folk music they may have never considered before (a lot of people shy away from anything that seems close to country. Never prevent yourself from hearing a genre of music, they are all great...except maybe metal, I just can't wrap my head around enjoying that sound...), opening the door for a band like The Lumineers to show people what they could do. Their lyrics are horribly endearing (you're broken if you don't want to tear up for a second when he says, well, anything, in "Stubborn Love". Honestly there are so many lines; "She'll tear a hole in you, the one you can't repair, But I still love her, I don't really care" or "the opposite of love's indifference"- perfection). This is the era of the alternative and indie bands (finally), and hopefully all the greats that tumble in after these guys will have lyrics just as sweet, crooning about their "sweetheart".
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes gave us all a taste of the more unique end of the alternative/indie line, and have given young bands like Youngblood Hawke and Albama Shakes the chance to showcase their talent.
Every band has lent their hand in helping the next band share their music and, as music often saves us from ourselves, helps us to discover who we are and, in doing so, gives us an identity, the impact of each separate band, no matter how small, should not be undervalued. Every great band who has ever bared their souls in a recording studio, or a street corner for that matter, has given us something to cherish, so here's to all the bands who have bowed down and moved on to allow a new band to move in and prosper. Your efforts are all appreciated, thousands of dollars of appreciation if my iTunes account is correct (it was money well spent, mostly). Cherish your favorite band today, they might be the ones to lead the way for your favorite band tomorrow.
MY favorite band, though you don't care...listen to them anyways. They're truly great.