Earlier this week, tickets to Kate Bush’s 22 performances sold out in a mere 15 minutes. Despite the ‘Wuthering Heights’ singer not touring since 1979, the rate at which seats in the 5000-capacity Hammersmith Apollo were snatched up (to the disappointment of hoards of heartbroken fans across social media), is astonishing. Since the last tour, the 55 year old from Bexley has released seven original studio albums, whilst also, allegedly, providing inspiration to a plethora of artists from KT Tunstall to Tupac Shakur. Although there’s always a slight uncertainty over long-awaited comebacks, the long career break has only added to the anticipation. Let’s take this opportunity to look back at some of the other great re-emergences of our time (great in terms of the hype/anticipation/publicity expenditure). Success isn’t always as sweet the second time round.
1) David Bowie
Ziggy Stardust’s alter ego (oh…wait) announced a new album on his 66th birthday after a 10 year hiatus and serious health scares. The Next Day, spearheaded by its lead single ‘Where Are We Now’ was unanimously well received, securing Bowie’s image as a renaissance man well into the 21st century. In February, he became the oldest ever recipient of a Brit award last year.
2) Vanilla Ice
A true travesty in many ways. Known almost exclusively for the leading single ‘Ice Ice Baby’off his debut album, much of the troubled rapper’s other output quickly faded into obscurity, and the decision in 2010 to record his newly massacred hit ‘Under Pressure (Ice Ice Baby)’ with Jedward didn’t help.
3) Guns n’ Roses
In 2008, my early days of using Facebook, Chinese Democracy hit the shelves — the band’s first studio album since 1993. It took the crazed status of one particular Facebook ‘friend’ (since unfriended, blocked and on the other side of the planet), for me to be persuaded to buy the album, because what people talked about on Facebook was cool without exception. It took only a brief listen to realise that I had bought the parched sound of rocking pensioners attempting to make a come back despite struggling to keep it together in general. Unexceptional and purely riding on some pseudo-philosophical oxymoron of an album title.
4) Johnny Cash
The sentiment about rocking pensioners fades to black. More specifically, the man in black. The legendary country singer kept recording during his twilight years, despite deteriorating health and decades of personal trouble, including spells in prison and prolific drug abuse. Whilst most of his later albums consisted of covers, Cash made them his own, arguably culminating in 2002’s American IV: The Man Comes Around — an explosive yet dignified lament of his troubled life, expressed through powerful lyrics. Recordings of the singer, posthumously discovered, are still being released.
5) Van Halen
An controversial one. The hard rock band’s album 1984 contains the quintessential stadium rock anthems, but 2012’s A Different Kind Of Truth proved to be nothing special at all. Those of you listening to Spotify or watching TV pre 6pm would have been bombarded by the promotion campaign — but still, the band’s activity subsided thereafter.
Although the band’s hiatus was only 3 years long, after 2006’s For Me, It’s You it looked as if the group’s star had faded. Cue 2009’s Save Me San Francisco, and the pop rock band received renewed interest, spawning hits like the cheese floor regular ‘Hey Soul Sister’, and a venture into the wine business. Seriously, different wines named after their various “hits”.
7) Britney Spears
Whilst there was no particular turning point in the troubled singer’s career, various problems appear to have taken their toll continuously since the timeless success of ‘Baby One More Time’. Latest album Britney Jean also failed to turn both critical and commercial heads, and charted low despite extensive promotion. Cue recent attempts at resurgence, from that disastrous MTV award show dance to becoming an X-Factor judge and taking up residency in Planet Hollywood Las Vegas — a move usually reserved for veteran entertainers on their way out of the business.
8) Nile Rodgers
The Funk music legend has recaptured and arguably topped the success in the 1970s with his band Chic by becoming a producer to huge names and more recently helping send Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories soaring with his unforgettable guitar riffs.
9) Cee Lo Green
After ‘Crazy’ went from classic to unbearably overplayed in 2006, Gnarls Barkley’s follow up The Odd Couple in 2008 didn’t make many waves, save some of its singles being played in the background of car adverts. Cue his 2010 solo effort The Lady Killer headed by the instant classic ‘F*** You’, and a resurgence of himself and his group The Goodie Mob. As well as the inevitable result of younger siblings everywhere learning their first profanity.
Right, this one’s a bit of a long shot, but those who still remember Cher taking Top of The Pops by storm in 1997 with ‘Do You Believe in Love’? After trailing towards the end of the 80s, you should at least be impressed by her arsenal of talents (she even won an Oscar for a film in which she starred opposite Nicholas Cage in the lead – yes, she was that good) and her accolades over the decades. Not to mention that role she played in the dazzlingly shit film Burlesque with Christina Aguilera. Plus, she’s been made an honorary member of the St Anne’s College JCR (her PR team have yet to formally acknowledge this particular honour), which clearly trumps everything else.