The ITV reality series ‘The Big Reunion’ saw pop sensations from the 1990s get back together after ten years apart. Bands like Blue, Liberty X, 911, Atomic Kitten, 5IVE, B*Witched and the Honeyz were reunited amidst tears and tantrums.
But it isn’t only pop bands that are at it. The original line up of Black Sabbath reformed for a live tour in 2013 following months of rumour and whispers from various members of the metal giants. Ozzy Osbourne made a comeback as lead singer alongside Geezer Butler, Tony Lommi, and Bill Wards.
English rock band The Police famously staged the highest earning reunion tour in history bringing in more than $340 million. Sting and his three former bandmates raked in the cash as fans flocked to see them one more time.
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British bands often seem to reform just in time to take advantage of the UK festival season – think Blur, Oasis and Orbital. Irish punk rock band the Undertones originally formed in 1975 and split in 1983 citing creative and musical differences. In 1999 the band staged a reunion, minus original lead vocalist Feargal Sharkey, to play gigs in Derry. Singer Paul McLoone replaced Sharkey and the band extended their tour calendar with a noteworthy
performance at the Glastonbury Festival in 2005. Bands like Madness, Simple Minds and Texas have reformed in order to start writing new material and release brand new albums. The Stone Roses reformed for a reunion tour 2012 even after guitarist John Squire publicly stated that they never would.
Reforming bands are certainly plentiful and the motivations for doing so are varied. Where a band’s split was acrimonious, sometimes the act of reuniting is a public demonstration of water-under-the-bridge. Often the key driver is as straight forward as a need for new sources of income – after all, everyone needs to make a living.
Whether reuniting bands sink or swim seems largely down to the luck of the draw and good timing. When times are hard and during periods of austerity we tend to look to the past and draw comfort from nostalgia. The timing was certainly right for British pop band Take That, their Ultimate Tour reunion concerts were a sell-out success.
Other highly successful reunions include that of classic rock band Kiss in 1996-7 where all four original band members made a return to the stage. Their trademark painted faces helped mask the passage of time and full capacity crowds of fans welcomed them with open arms.
But a musical reunion is not for everyone, Morrissey apparently once said: “I would rather eat my own liver than reform the Smiths and that’s saying something for a vegetarian.”
Whilst The Jam front-man Paul Weller quipped: “Hopefully I’ll never be that skint” when asked if the threesome had reunion plans.