You’re nobody if you haven’t made a comeback: Blur and Spandau Ballet did it last year and last week, Suede made a pretty convincing case for theirs at the Royal Albert Hall. Plus, with Easter closing in on us this weekend, what better time is there to round up our ultimate music comebacks? Because let’s face it, Jesus is the ultimate comeback kid – if only he’d managed to churn out some rock’n’roll in between rolling rocks and rising again then he too would be included on this list. But he didn’t, so he’s not. Rather, here we’re going to round up our favourite five comebacks of recent years…
First off though, what makes a great comeback? The key ingredient is that all the original members of the group have to be present – the only band to disprove this theory are Take That, although by the time they split they were only four. The other key ingredient is that the band like each other – not always a given (we’re looking at you All Saints); and lastly, that they at least try to make some new music to show that they’re not living on borrowed time. Here’s our top five…
5. Spice Girls
They split in 2001 after five years at the top had made global superstars of them all. By the time they eventually limped from public view, Geri had already bolted and solo careers beckoned for the five ladies, with varying degrees of success. However they shocked the watching world by announcing their comeback in 2007, releasing woeful single Headlines (Friendship Never Ends) and hosting a world tour. The shows themselves were panned, the girls could barely sing a note and when each member sung a solo, Posh declined, opting to strut down the stage instead. However, it was the Spice Girls who had the last laugh, ending 2008 as the highest-grossing concert act of the year.
4. The Police
One of the biggest acts of the 80s who conquered not only the UK but the world, The Police reunited for a one-off world tour that lasted a year in 2007-2008. In their first life they managed to shift an impressive 8million copies of their final album Synchronicity in the US and have sold more than six times this overall worldwide. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of iconic song Roxanne, the band reformed and played across the world, selling nearly 4million gig tickets and scooping a cash bonanza in the process. Despite not releasing new material, The Police stroll into our Top Five on the back of their iconic status, their stand-up tunes and because Sting has all those muscles purely through doing yoga. How does he do that?
3. The Eagles
One of the most successful US acts of the 70s, The Eagles – spearheaded by Don Henley and Glenn Frey – were responsible for some of the most singalong anthems of modern times, including karaoke favourite Hotel California, along with the likes Tequila Sunrise, Best Of My Love, Lyin’ Eyes and Take It To The Limit. Their success lasted six years until 1980 when the group imploded with threats to beat each other up and a swarm of lawyers handling their final dealings. When asked if they’d ever reform, Henley replied: “When hell freezes over.” So it was that the live album from their comeback tour 14 years later was named Hell Freezes Over. “We never broke up, we just took a 14-year vacation,” Henley said. The group have continued to play together – with the odd lawsuit thrown in – until the present day, releasing their first new album since 1979 in 2007, Long Road Out Of Eden.
2. Take That
A modern-day fairytale, nobody could have foreseen the fever that gripped the nation when Take That made an innocuous documentary detailing their career and eventual break-up. Seizing the moment, the now-foursome came back with a storming album Beautiful World, dazzling live shows and the UK went Take That crazy. Now a more democratic unit who share songwriting, singing and seemingly their growing childcare duties, Gary, Mark, Howard and Jason are still riding the crest of the comeback wave five years on, with second post-2005 album The Circus selling a squillion. Confessions from Mark Owen to adulterous affairs may have tarnished their clean-cut image but with Robbie due to reunite with the fab four, we can only see their popularity growing.
1. Tina Turner
Annie Mae Bullock first hit the big time with her husband as part of The Ike & Tina Turner Revue. They were huge in the 60s & 70s with hits like River, Deep Mountain High, but Tina left Ike after years of abuse in the late 70s. Turner decided to go it alone, but failed with her first two albums, the R&B-themed Rough and the disco-infused Love Explosion. Considered unmarketable in her native US, she didn’t give up, eventually releasing What’s Love Got To Do With It? in 1984 – and at 44 she became the oldest woman to have a No.1 single. Album Private Dancer followed shortly, sold by the million and Tina never looked back. She’s known as the Queen of Rock’n’Roll with 200million record sales worldwide, and toured in 2009 to celebrate 50 years in the business they call show.