Who Will Make An Encore?
(The following is excerpted from the latest issue of GRAMMY, which explores what the future of the music industry may look like. Check out the full issue online.)
Whether the rationale is reconvening with a lost ex-bandmate, the love of music, collecting a big payday, or simply pleasing the fans, reunions have been a constant in the music industry dating back to…well, the clamoring for a Beatles reunion in the '70s.
Top-grossing tours by the likes of the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and Kiss in the '90s cemented the emotional appeal and financial viability of reunion tours, as have more recent jaunts by the Go-Go's, New Kids On The Block, No Doubt, the Police, Simple Minds, Spandau Ballet, the Time, and Van Halen with original vocalist David Lee Roth, among others.
While the landscape of popular music continues to evolve, and as the years creep up on artists and fans alike, the powerful allure of nostalgia remains. And though the reconciliation of feuding band members necessary for reunions is always a wildcard, with potential big dollars at stake and a reprising of past musical glory ripe for the taking, even the most estranged of musicians can come to an understanding, as long as there are separate dressing rooms backstage.
Of course, what the exact future holds for music reunions is difficult to predict. But, if hell could freeze over for the Eagles, anything is possible. With that, we look into our crystal ball and present our list of potential, if improbable, reunions in the year 2020.
Current status: Active. The current Commodores — consisting of William King, J.D. Nicholas and Walter "Clyde" Orange — are currently finishing a tour of the United States.
The reunion: Over lattes at the Commodores' birthplace, Tuskegee University in Alabama, King, Nicholas and Orange plant the seeds for a reunion of the classic Commodores lineup on cruise ships covering both sides of the Atlantic. Following extensive contract negotiations, old pal Lionel Richie comes onboard after his wish to include daughter Nicole on backing vocals is granted.
Must play: "Brick House"
Current status: Inactive. Destiny's Child disbanded following the Destiny Fulfilled...And Lovin' It tour in 2005.
The reunion: In the midst of a restful five-year break from her solo career, Beyoncé decides destiny is calling once again. After a meeting with Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, the girls strike a three-year deal for a reunion show residency in Las Vegas. The spectacular, titled Destiny Refulfilled, runs four nights per week and features choreographed dancing, pyrotechnics and, of course, hits from the DC songbook.
Must play: "Bootylicious"
Fine Young Cannibals
Current status: Inactive. Three Fine Young Cannibals compilation albums have been released since 2004.
The reunion: FYC reconvene on New Year's Eve 2019 to throw a 30th anniversary party celebrating their three GRAMMY nominations in 1989. The trio unanimously agrees the time is right to hit the road but lead vocalist Roland Gift, now a vegetarian, is adamant the band change their name to Rough Old Vegans.
Must play: "She Drives Me Crazy"
Guns N' Roses
Current status: Active. The latest incarnation of Guns N' Roses — featuring lead singer Axl Rose and a revamped lineup — is scheduled to play the Rock in Rio festival in Rio de Janeiro on Oct. 2.
The reunion: With the anticipated follow-up to Chinese Democracy, Japanese Oligarchy, shelved in 2013, Rose pulled the plug on GNR. Seven years later, he puts aside past differences and reunites with the original Guns — Steven Adler, Duff McKagan, Slash, and Izzy Stradlin — for a stadium run. But will a 55-year-old Slash have enough "Patience" to put up with a 58-year-old Rose?
Must play: "Paradise City"
Current status: Active. Hole released their first album in 12 years, Nobody's Daughter, in 2010.
The reunion: Following a retirement announcement six months prior, a musically reinvigorated Courtney Love has a change of heart and reforms the classic lineup of Hole, recruiting former members Eric Erlandson (guitar), Melissa Auf der Maur (bass) and Patty Schemel (drums). Love's daughter, the 28-year-old Frances Bean Cobain, joins the reunion tour to play maracas.
Must play: "Malibu"
Nine Inch Nails
Current status: Inactive. Trent Reznor announced that Nine Inch Nails would "disappear for a while" in 2009.
The reunion: Now an acclaimed award-winning film composer, Reznor feels the primal urge to rock again. Wary of a full-scale tour, Reznor's revamped NIN play a beta-test reunion gig in his garage. The concert is broadcast via the band's cloud-based site for free as a nod to one of the pricing options for their 2008 album Ghosts I–IV.
Must play: "Closer"
Current status: Inactive. 'N Sync's final televised performance took place at the 45th Annual GRAMMY Awards in 2003.
The reunion: With their digital catalog album sales on the rise and legions of teenage females now in their 30s and clamoring for boy-band nostalgia, Justin Timberlake signs on for a reunion tour with an also newly reunited 98 Degrees. Joey Fatone is a late holdout, and Nick Lachey waits in the wings as a possible last-minute addition to the reunited 'N Syncers.
Must play: "Bye Bye Bye"
Current status: Inactive. Oasis disbanded in 2009.
The reunion: Through the lens of a reality TV show, "Brotherly Love," Liam and Noel Gallagher reconcile their much-publicized past differences with the help of Dr. Drew. As a result, the brothers reform Oasis for a string of UK dates during which they perform (What's The Story) Morning Glory? in its entirety to celebrate the album's 25th anniversary. The brothers have an altercation backstage after the second night of the tour, leaving the rest of the dates in jeopardy.
Must play: "Don't Look Back In Anger"
Current status: Inactive. The Spice Girls completed their first reunion tour in early 2008.
The reunion: With one prior reunion under their collective belts, Baby, Ginger, Posh, Scary, and Sporty Spice — all now in their 40s — gear up for the Zigazig Ah Again! world tour. Following the trek, the girls announce the creation of "What Spice Are You?" — a Web-based talent show designed to find five replacement Spice Girls who will carry on their spicy legacy for a new generation.
Must play: "Say You'll Be There"
Current status: Inactive. Wham! disbanded in 1986. George Michael is currently on a 2011 European tour during which he will be accompanied by a live symphony orchestra.
The reunion: With "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" passing 2 billion views on YouTube, Michael and Andrew Ridgeley ask fans via Twitter: "R U Ready To Get Whammed?!" The pair team for Make It Big Again, a free digital reunion EP containing new songs and an electronic remake of "Everything She Wants" featuring Lady Gaga. The ensuing tour of the UK features Michael and Ridgeley exclusively wearing their famous white "Choose Life" T-shirts.
Must play: "Careless Whisper"