Summers are all about reunions — high school reunions, old friends gathering at the cottage, and, best of all, there’s always a crop of bands that get back together.
Last week, Robbie Williams announced that he was rejoining Take That, the hugely popular British boy band he left in 1995, Soundgarden is joining forces at Lollapalooza for their first official show since 1997, and Randy Bachman and Fred Turner, the men responsible for Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s biggest hits, have a new album out in August — their first in decades.
The news of a reunion often induces a serious case of eye-rolling (New Kids on the Block), but there’s no denying that a tour rakes in the cash.
Three years ago The Police — who broke up in 1984 — hit the road and had the highest grossing tour of 2007, generating $131 million over 54 gigs. A year later, the Spice Girls took in $70 million during their tour. And I bet the Stone Temple Pilots are making more money together than they did apart.
At one time people felt uncomfortable about their favourite band reforming simply for the money, but now no one cares. So long as they get to hear Spoonman one more time, it makes no difference why they’re playing together.
But bands have to do the reunion thing right if they don’t want to tar their legacy. Here’s a good rule: Tours are good, new albums are not.
Some post-reunion discs do sell well — The New Kids’ 2008 disc peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 — but it’s rare that they’re any good. The NKOTB album is terrible; Kiss’ discs haven’t been as strong as their ’70s albums, Bachman Cummings put out an OK covers album two years ago and the list goes on.
It’s simple — people listen to music in a certain time and place. They go see shows for nostalgic reasons, but they don’t want to relive their youth as they commute to work.
So, to all the bands rejoining this summer and in the months ahead — stick to the hits, make a ton of cash and leave it at that.
Bryan Borzykowski is a business and entertainment writer. Follow Metro Music on Twitter @TheMetroMusic