Greatest Comeback

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

What with Zeppelin, MBV, Take That etc. all making a comeback; what's the greatest career resurrection ever?

Surely someone must have died on stage - got revived - then carried on...

Kiff, Sunday, 13 January 2008 21:22 (twelve years ago) link

Aerosmith went on to sell more records (new ones, with new songs) after their comeback than prior to it, didn't they?

Also, Roxy Music, if their 1979-82 period counts as a comeback.

Geir Hongro, Sunday, 13 January 2008 21:42 (twelve years ago) link

But anyway, I guess Frank Sinatra is the true owner of this thread. He was all but forgotten when he was resurrected by Capitol/Nelson Riddle and ended up having a 50s so commercially and artistically successful that he became a legend.

Geir Hongro, Sunday, 13 January 2008 21:43 (twelve years ago) link

"if you were my wife, madam, i'd drink it" ... oh, hang on, i see what you mean. carry on.

grimly fiendish, Sunday, 13 January 2008 22:10 (twelve years ago) link

I'll make the obvious nom for Elvis '68.

Joseph McCombs, Monday, 14 January 2008 01:15 (twelve years ago) link

Interesting question. Have to balance commercial/critical aspect of it. Aerosmith became an even bigger band but no critic would rate Pump over Rocks.

Mark Rich@rdson, Monday, 14 January 2008 01:31 (twelve years ago) link

OnOffOn and Obliterati are probably better than anything that came before, though.

Oilyrags, Monday, 14 January 2008 01:32 (twelve years ago) link

Roy Orbison
INXS

Autumn Almanac, Monday, 14 January 2008 01:48 (twelve years ago) link

Yeah, I thought of Mission of Burma, but it's not like those records brought them a much bigger audience or anything -- did they?

Mark Rich@rdson, Monday, 14 January 2008 01:49 (twelve years ago) link

Ozzy

henry s, Monday, 14 January 2008 03:05 (twelve years ago) link

Rod Stewart!

Whiney G. Weingarten, Monday, 14 January 2008 03:11 (twelve years ago) link

Tom Jones

Autumn Almanac, Monday, 14 January 2008 04:28 (twelve years ago) link

William Shatner

Autumn Almanac, Monday, 14 January 2008 04:28 (twelve years ago) link

Six comebacks come to mind (aside from those already mentioned): Paul Simon (Graceland), Johnny Cash (American Recordings), Bob Dylan (Time Out Of Mind), Tina Turner (Private Dancer), Green Day (American Idiot) and Morrissey (You Are The Quarry).

Daniel, Esq., Monday, 14 January 2008 04:32 (twelve years ago) link

Morrissey??

stephen, Monday, 14 January 2008 04:44 (twelve years ago) link

"Time Out of Mind? More like Head Out of Ass!" Def. one of Mark Prindle's better lines.

Mark Rich@rdson, Monday, 14 January 2008 04:46 (twelve years ago) link

Yeah, I thought so. Morrissey had been out of the limelight for, what, 10 years? Then came Quarry, which was -- for the most part -- really well receieved. Maybe my memory is faulty.

As to Time Out Of Mind, I didn't like it much, but I think it was the disc that kick-started Dylan's late-career comeback, wasn't it?

Daniel, Esq., Monday, 14 January 2008 04:50 (twelve years ago) link

Dylan's late-career comeback commenced in 1990 with Under the Red Sky, imo.
i'll take the Go-Betweens and Wire as being great comebacks

outdoor_miner, Monday, 14 January 2008 06:31 (twelve years ago) link

Modern Talking must be the commercially most succesful comeback since Tina Turner.

Siegbran, Monday, 14 January 2008 07:15 (twelve years ago) link

Duke Ellington, Newport '56. A year earlier his band was operating at a loss and they were reduced to playing for ice shows. With one concert (or one song, "Diminuendo & Crescendo In Blue") (or one solo, by Paul Gonsalves) his career turned around completely.

Sara Sara Sara, Monday, 14 January 2008 14:52 (twelve years ago) link

Jane Dark sez Marianne Faithfull and Linda Perry.

dr. phil, Monday, 14 January 2008 14:58 (twelve years ago) link

There's no new material or anything that I know of, but I've got a soft spot for the Rok. Warmed my heart when I heard he was playing again. Maybe not the greatest comeback, but my personal favorite. For a while I really thought he was done.

RabiesAngentleman, Monday, 14 January 2008 15:15 (twelve years ago) link

Surely someone must have died on stage - got revived - then carried on...

Dave Gahan?

Dingbod Kesterson, Monday, 14 January 2008 15:21 (twelve years ago) link

Joe Strummer had a great comeback from total obscurity. And he was just getting warmed up with the Mescaleros. Global-a-go-go is a really strong record.

Neil Young had a great comeback after a lackluster decade with Freedom.

Mekons OOOH is another comeback record of note.

Worst comeback: Big Star, In Space

kornrulez6969, Monday, 14 January 2008 15:29 (twelve years ago) link

johnny cash is a pretty big one. gained a whole new generation of fans with the american recordings.

burt bacharach made a big comeback in the late 90's with all those soundtracks featuring him (austin powers, my best friend's wedding, etc).

you could argue that iggy pop made a comeback with "the idiot."

Emily Bjurnhjam, Monday, 14 January 2008 15:59 (twelve years ago) link

I think Johnny Cash is the winner here.

Mark G, Monday, 14 January 2008 16:02 (twelve years ago) link

Deffo Sinatra.

Jeb, Monday, 14 January 2008 16:19 (twelve years ago) link

i wouldn't rate this with either sinatra or cash, but one more that hasn't been mentioned: u2.

oh, and bruce springsteen has had a nice little revival too, for better or worse.

fact checking cuz, Monday, 14 January 2008 16:25 (twelve years ago) link

oh, and bruce springsteen has had a nice little revival too, for better or worse.

For better and worse, but yeah.

Daniel, Esq., Monday, 14 January 2008 16:37 (twelve years ago) link

Marc Bolan!

Dandy in the Underworld is soooooooooo damned good.

novaheat, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 00:06 (twelve years ago) link

Lou Reed's "New York" in 1989. Didn't last too long in the limelight though.

Geir Hongro, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 00:10 (twelve years ago) link

What was U2's comeback? And was Joe Strummer really ever obscure?

Mark Rich@rdson, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 00:28 (twelve years ago) link

Lou Reed's "New York" in 1989

I never did understand what was supposedly so go about that album (or, for that matter, his previous "comeback," The Blue Mask). Sure, there's a few pretty decent songs on there, but overall, it's not an album I come back to very much.

Maybe it seemed better in 1989?

novaheat, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 00:39 (twelve years ago) link

(x-post)
i'd say u2 were a basically classic-rock dinosaurs before all that you can't leave behind came out, and that that one completely turned them back into current pop stars, with critical heft and pop-culture heft to boot.

and joe strummer was certainly more obscure than, say, bob dylan or johnny cash or frank sinatra.

fact checking cuz, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 00:41 (twelve years ago) link

YES c. 1983

Capitaine Jay Vee, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 00:52 (twelve years ago) link

New York definitely sounded better in 1989.

Mark Rich@rdson, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 01:51 (twelve years ago) link

brian wilson?

kamerad, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 02:03 (twelve years ago) link

Yeah, he is right up there for sure.

Mark Rich@rdson, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 02:51 (twelve years ago) link

i'd say u2 were a basically classic-rock dinosaurs before all that you can't leave behind came out, and that that one completely turned them back into current pop stars, with critical heft and pop-culture heft to boot.

prior to atyclb, u2 went through the commercial embarrassment of pop, where their big abc-tv special was the lowest-rated show in the history of network television, most dates on the tour were half-sold, and the record sold far below expectations. still, "below expectations" for u2 meant about 2 million copies instead of 10 million copies. but in 2000 they weren't thought of so much as classic rock dinosaurs; they were a once-"important" band who had floundered the last time out and weren't being paid much attention to.

Lawrence the Looter, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 03:21 (twelve years ago) link

I wish Howard Tate could have been an answer to this thread. I was really rooting for Rediscovered to gain some traction a few years ago.

Joseph McCombs, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 06:29 (twelve years ago) link

i picked up New York in a secondhand shop the other day. there are some cracking songs on there but it does tail off a bit in the 2nd half. and some of the subject matter sounds a bit dated now since the Giuliani purge of NYC.

sam500, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 07:13 (twelve years ago) link

Santana?

Myonga Vön Bontee, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 07:47 (twelve years ago) link

Justin Timberlake is definitely up there.

Stevie D, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 08:01 (twelve years ago) link

Beyonce too, but she sort of segue'd rather than "came back"

Stevie D, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 08:01 (twelve years ago) link

ummm

J0rdan S., Tuesday, 15 January 2008 08:03 (twelve years ago) link

the 3 singles off the last n sync album all charted in the top 20 which directly led into the 3 monster singles off jt's first album

J0rdan S., Tuesday, 15 January 2008 08:03 (twelve years ago) link

he would be a great candidate for 'greatest reinvention' but he didn't have to come back from anywhere...

J0rdan S., Tuesday, 15 January 2008 08:04 (twelve years ago) link

Yes, but was jt's first album any decent? I mean, it wasn't like a *BOOM* comeback but, to me, anyone going from N*Sync to FutureSex/LoveSounds deserves a nod.

Stevie D, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 08:06 (twelve years ago) link

xp fair enough compromise. I was interpreting "comeback" to encompass not only reunions of positively-"done" bands but someone who successfully made it from - to +

Stevie D, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 08:08 (twelve years ago) link

Moving right along here and back to topic: Charlie Rich.

Dingbod Kesterson, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 10:44 (twelve years ago) link

I actually think Geir hit this on the head with ol' Frankie Boy.

The Reverend, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 10:47 (twelve years ago) link

elvis 68, sinatra and cash are all strong.

paul mccartney with flaming pie? i know it wasn't huge, but...

darraghmac, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 10:50 (twelve years ago) link

McCartney has had "comeback" at various times. "Flaming Pie" was as definite US comeback for him, in Europe, it was with "Flowers In The Dirt" already. And, as he had struggled to sell for a while after "Flaming Pie" (even the excellent "Chaos & Creation In The Backyard" didn't achive the popularity it would have deserved), last year's effort could almost be considered kind of a comeback too.

Geir Hongro, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 12:26 (twelve years ago) link

How about Turboneger. Given the state the band members were in around the late 90s, it is kind of surprising that they would go on and become bigger than ever (in popularity at least) in the oughties?

Geir Hongro, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 12:30 (twelve years ago) link

the best comeback is yet to come, obviously it is mark hollis with his second solo album. anytime soon.

ConnieXX, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 16:47 (twelve years ago) link

It certainly isn't on par with a Sinatra or a Cash, but Robert Wyatt's nice rise in public profile after last year's album was a pleasant comeback.

jon /via/ chi 2.0, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 17:14 (twelve years ago) link

Unsane. Came back with their best album then made an even better one in 2007.

Herman G. Neuname, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 17:17 (twelve years ago) link

Surprised Chxck didn't come here to mention Rick Springfield and Billy Ocean.

Joseph McCombs, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 17:30 (twelve years ago) link

Mission of Burma

Alex in NYC, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 18:23 (twelve years ago) link

tony bennett

and yes 90125 otm

mookieproof, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 18:41 (twelve years ago) link

Sinatra and Johnny Cash are, as everyone says, going to be hard to beat... some open questions are in play...

What's the distinction between a proper comeback, and just having a sort of weak album and then stepping back up to heights sort of near where you were at before? How long do you have to be a nobody for the comeback to count? Madonna seems like a question mark on both of these...

How long does it have to last to be a comeback rather than a drop-in? I'm thinking of George Harrison on that last one.

U2 probably counts though. Even if they weren't exactly an irrelevant flop act in the late 90s, it's clear that between Achtung and ATYCLB they were a bit out to sea.

Doctor Casino, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 20:12 (twelve years ago) link

Scott Walker too? Never done much commercial success as a soloist, but has received huge critical success from the mid 90s onwards.

Geir Hongro, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 23:22 (twelve years ago) link

And Dion.

Geir Hongro, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 23:24 (twelve years ago) link

Marianne Faithful would get my vote (although Walker would also be a good choice.)

Alex in SF, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 23:34 (twelve years ago) link

Didn't see a mention for Tina Turner. Private Dancer in '84 was a huge comeback after a hellish time in 70s / early 80s.

that's not my post, Wednesday, 16 January 2008 05:22 (twelve years ago) link

edit, Daniel, Esq. mentioned it above. Worth calling out again 'cos it was a great personal triumph for her making the sales comeback all the sweeter.

that's not my post, Wednesday, 16 January 2008 05:24 (twelve years ago) link

The Bee Gees

moley, Wednesday, 16 January 2008 05:49 (twelve years ago) link

DISCO

Stevie D, Wednesday, 16 January 2008 07:12 (twelve years ago) link

lock thread

Stevie D, Wednesday, 16 January 2008 07:12 (twelve years ago) link

seven years pass...

Revive.

Next theme for record club is 'phoenix from the flames'.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Thursday, 29 October 2015 11:49 (four years ago) link

good theme!

niels, Thursday, 29 October 2015 12:20 (four years ago) link

Wire's Noughties revival for sheer quality if not unlikelihood

twunty fifteen (imago), Thursday, 29 October 2015 12:26 (four years ago) link

That mbv record was pretty stunning for a band that hadn't released anything for 20 years

Spooky H (Treeship), Thursday, 29 October 2015 12:29 (four years ago) link

also true

it was pretty stunning on any metric imo

twunty fifteen (imago), Thursday, 29 October 2015 12:47 (four years ago) link

Dinosaur Jr made some excellent records in the last few years.

kornrulez6969, Thursday, 29 October 2015 13:13 (four years ago) link

Swans must be a contender. They were pretty much finished in 1997, playing to half-empty houses all over Europe on their "farewell" tour. Since they came back in 2010, Gira's been getting the best reviews of his career and the band are playing to larger audiences than ever.

schlep and back trio (anagram), Thursday, 29 October 2015 13:14 (four years ago) link

yeah that's a really good one

twunty fifteen (imago), Thursday, 29 October 2015 13:18 (four years ago) link

really want like chapterhouse or w/e to come back with a work of raging brilliance, any examples of a mediocre band doing this

twunty fifteen (imago), Thursday, 29 October 2015 13:19 (four years ago) link

Leonard Cohen too. Not that he ever went away exactly, but he didn't tour for 15 years between 1993 and 2008. That comeback tour was the biggest of his career and saw him playing arenas for the first time.

schlep and back trio (anagram), Thursday, 29 October 2015 13:25 (four years ago) link

Suspect strongly that Tom will play The Chills.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Thursday, 29 October 2015 14:02 (four years ago) link

Aerosmith have to be up there. My Mom said they played at her prom!

frogbs, Thursday, 29 October 2015 14:16 (four years ago) link

Sleater-Kinney

Marty8501 (Marty Innerlogic), Thursday, 29 October 2015 15:23 (four years ago) link

^yeah, can't argue that.

Failure's comeback record this year was absolutely incredible too. I didn't even like their 90s stuff that much to begin with, but then they re-formed as middle-aged men and absolutely knock one out of the park.

how's life, Thursday, 29 October 2015 15:36 (four years ago) link

er, can't argue with that.

how's life, Thursday, 29 October 2015 15:36 (four years ago) link

I can't believe no one's mentioned it here or on the Facebook post I made - Kate Bush! Aerial!

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Friday, 30 October 2015 09:36 (four years ago) link

Best Comeback of all time was James Brown on the T.A.M.I. Show. Dude was done. Down for the count! Nothing left to give. Cape was on, show was over. And he just kept coming back! That's some straight up Lazarus shit.

henry s, Saturday, 31 October 2015 19:13 (four years ago) link

Did he also hop off a stretcher as he was being taken off stage or was that another show?

brimstead, Saturday, 31 October 2015 19:36 (four years ago) link

I don't remember a stretcher at the T.A.M.I. Show, but it seems logical that it would be worked into the act at some point!

henry s, Saturday, 31 October 2015 19:45 (four years ago) link

"and your mother too!"

how's life, Saturday, 31 October 2015 21:45 (four years ago) link

this year the greatest comeback was definitely the apartments "no song, no spell, no madrigal". after 18 years!

it's the distortion, stupid! (alex in mainhattan), Saturday, 31 October 2015 22:23 (four years ago) link

Carcass

Hammer Smashed Bagels, Saturday, 31 October 2015 23:39 (four years ago) link

Van Der Graaf Generator circa Godbluff

Paul, Sunday, 1 November 2015 00:05 (four years ago) link

It's not New Order, that's for sure.

Turrican, Sunday, 1 November 2015 01:07 (four years ago) link

two years pass...

cibo matto
avalanches
slowdive
(mind if there is a general best comeback albums thread that would be cool)

Ross, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 16:45 (one year ago) link

Tindersticks The Something Rain comes to mind.

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 17:04 (one year ago) link

dino jr, tho they weren't gone for that long

voodoo chili, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 17:32 (one year ago) link

Jerry Lee Lewis went on to become a big country star in the late '60s after the Myra Gale marriage scandal got him blacklisted 10 years earlier.

Jazzbo, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 17:39 (one year ago) link

A Tribe Called Quest

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 17:53 (one year ago) link

Avalanches is a good one, not only in that it was a "true" comeback but it also managed to live up to expectations and perhaps even surpass them

Magma dropping perhaps their two best studio albums in 2004 and 2009 feels like it counts here even if those albums are primarily made up of 30+ year old material

frogbs, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 18:05 (one year ago) link


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.