Daft Punk hangs up the helmets after 28 years of music: 'End of an era'

The influential French electronic-music duo, who composed the score for film Tron: Legacy, said goodbye in an eight-minute YouTube video.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
2 min read

Goodbye, Daft Punk.

Video screenshot by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

Daft Punk, the French electronic music duo who wore elaborate helmets, disdained celebrity and assumed robot personas, has broken up. The group announced the news in a YouTube video titled Epilogue posted Monday. 

The video, which has been viewed more than 6 million times in eight hours, uses scenes from the group's 2006 science-fiction film Electroma. It shows the duo walking out into the desert, where one of them explodes and the other walks away, with "1993-2021" then appearing on the screen. A publicist for the duo confirmed the breakup to The New York Times.

French musicians Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter are the humans behind the helmets. The duo, who composed the score for the 2010 film Tron: Legacy, won six Grammy Awards and influenced numerous musicians with their music and mythology. Their 2013 single, Get Lucky, featuring vocals by Pharrell Williams, made it to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. They made No. 1 as part of The Weeknd's 2016 single, Starboy, which they performed on, co-wrote and co-produced.

Their recognizable look has been parodied on such shows as Family Guy, as well as in video games including World of Warcraft. The band's place in pop-culture history -- and those helmets -- spurred plenty of reaction on social media.

"I really wish Daft Punk had not told us they were splitting up," writer Caissie St. Onge tweeted. "Just give a new guy the helmet and let us think everything is fine. I also wish my parents had worn helmets and done this. Maybe this is more of a conversation to have with a therapist."

Wrote another Twitter user, "Daft Punk is simply breaking up because in France you can retire at 50."

And many noted the group's place in musical history. "Electronic music would've been a whole lot different without Daft Punk," one fan wrote. "Definitely going to miss them, but thank you guys for everything."