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Last Updated: Friday, 26 January 2007, 08:25 GMT
Reunion fever sweeps rock world
By Ian Youngs
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

A glut of veteran rock and pop bands have just announced that they will reform in 2007 - but why do they do it, and who could be next?

Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine will headline the Coachella festival
In the past few days, the reunion news has come thick and fast.

Antipodean favourites Crowded House, US rockers Rage Against the Machine and Van Halen and UK indie heroes James and the Jesus and Mary Chain are all planning live comebacks.

Genesis - with Phil Collins but without Peter Gabriel - have already announced summer dates, while Sting is widely expected to bring back The Police.

Other bands who have buried their various hatchets to return in 2007 include The Smashing Pumpkins, the Sugarcubes, Dinosaur Jr and My Bloody Valentine.

According to Mark Sutherland, London bureau chief of Billboard magazine, there is one big reason why many bands get back together.

"It's called money," he says. "Essentially that's what a reunion boils down to.

Genesis
Phil Collins said he "missed the camaraderie" of being in a band
"In most cases, these people can make more money in their old band than they can doing whatever they're doing now."

If The Police do make a comeback, it will be "the biggest tour of the summer", Mr Sutherland says.

"They will play massive venues to huge amounts of people and Genesis have already sold out stadium dates all around the world."

When Genesis announced their plans last year, Collins denied being motivated by money.

"We're all loaded enough not to worry about where the next million or two is coming from," he said.

"If money was the issue, we'd be playing more than 20 shows. I just felt now was the right time to have a go at it," he said, adding that he "missed the camaraderie".

John Lydon of the Sex Pistols in 1996
The Sex Pistols' 1996 comeback was named The Filthy Lucre Tour
Crowded House's Neil Finn has explained their decision by saying it felt "right to us that the band should re-emerge" and they looked forward to "reconnecting with the audience".

James bassist Jim Glennie said band members started jamming together again and "things just clicked".

"I've never been as excited by a period in James' musical history as now," he said.

But when The Sex Pistols reformed for a world tour in 1996, John Lydon - formerly Johnny Rotten - made it clear that his band had buried their differences in filthy lucre.

"We have found a common cause, and it's your money," he sneered.

Fresh start

The Sex Pistols earned their pensions, but for some bands a comeback can mean a whole new lease of life.

British boy band Take That, who scored eight UK number one singles from 1993-96, have achieved one of the most impressive comebacks.

When they planned a tour for 2006, singer Mark Owen said they were "worried about how it would sell initially".

Take That
Take That scored one of the most spectacular comebacks
They went on to play more than 30 sold-out shows to half a million people, with Gary Barlow describing the response as "fascinating".

"Our tour was bigger than any of the tours we've done," he said. "We've been amazed by that. And if there's a bit of nostalgia in there, then great."

The tour was followed by new material, which gave them the UK's second biggest-selling album of 2006. They now have the chance to break America after signing a record deal there.

But that kind of reception is reserved for a select few bands with the largest, most loyal fanbases.

In contrast, fellow 1990s pop stars All Saints have seen their new album flop, while East 17's attempted comeback was met largely with indifference.

There are still a few more legendary line-ups, though, who could command huge attention - and fees - if they decided to give it one more shot.

Pink Floyd at Live 8
Pink Floyd buried the hatched for Live 8 - but not a full tour
Pink Floyd, including David Gilmour and Roger Waters, shared a stage at Live 8 in 2005 - but have resisted all offers for a full comeback.

"The biggest deal in terms of touring around the world would definitely be Pink Floyd," Mr Sutherland says.

"But those guys are billionaires or something - do they really need another castle?"

Abba reportedly turned down a $1bn (690m) offer in 2000, with Benny Andersson telling a Swedish newspaper: "It is a hell of a lot of money to say no to, but we decided it wasn't for us."

The return of The Smiths, The Stone Roses or The Jam would cause a frenzy in the UK, Mr Sutherland adds.

Frosty relations

"That's the holy trinity right there if you could get those three bands to reform.

"But they're probably three of the most unlikely reformations out there because there does seem to be a genuine degree of antipathy between the members."

Their frontmen - Morrissey, Ian Brown and Paul Weller - have also enjoyed successful solo careers and so are less likely to need the windfall.

The chances of a reunion go up as the fortunes of the band's members go down and their egos and wallets long once more for the glory days.

But rock history proves that time is a great healer - and money can be a very useful medicine.


VOTE RESULTS
Which group do you most want to reform?
Abba
 17.96% 
The Jam
 12.16% 
Pink Floyd
 34.47% 
The Smiths
 13.99% 
The Spice Girls
 7.32% 
The Stone Roses
 14.11% 
25432 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

SEE ALSO
Crowded House 'plan world tour'
23 Jan 07 |  Entertainment
Rock band Mary Chain to reunite
24 Jan 07 |  Entertainment
Indie band James reform for tour
24 Jan 07 |  Entertainment
Take That return to centre stage
01 Dec 06 |  Entertainment
Genesis reunion 'not about money'
07 Nov 06 |  Entertainment
Singer Bjork to rejoin Sugarcubes
20 Sep 06 |  Entertainment

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