Sometimes, our favorite artists either fall apart, start releasing lackluster material, or vanish completely. However, these instances only open up new opportunities for them to come back better than ever! These incredible comebacks seem to be most prevalent in rock music, and there are plenty of examples of rock artists who've returned after long absences or failed experiments with some of the best material they've ever recorded.
With that in mind, here's a list of just six of these fantastic rock music comebacks, in no particular order.
1. My Bloody Valentine
When My Bloody Valentine
released their third album MBV
in 2013, 22 years after the release of their classic shoegaze record Loveless
, it sounded as if the band were continuing right where they left off. It was as if Kevin Shields woke up from a two-decade-long nap, and said, "Alright, now where was I?" MBV
is essentially the sequel to Loveless
, which is exactly what fans wanted from a long-awaited My Bloody Valentine return. Every track is gleaming with the same illustrious production, heavily distorted guitars, and wispy lead vocals that the band left us with in 1991.
2. New Order
Following a short, albeit remarkable, career that only saw the release of two studio albums, Joy Division disbanded after the tragic suicide of frontman Ian Curtis. However, the remaining members did not admit defeat and instead continued on as the equally influential, and aptly titled, New Order
. Former Joy Division guitarist Bernard Sumner assumed the role of lead singer, and the band consistently released one great album after another in the 80s. Out of a horrible tragedy, Sumner, Peter Hook, and Stephen Morris regrouped to create one of the most influential new wave bands ever
3. Foo Fighters
In a similar case of artistry born out of tragedy, Dave Grohl formed the Foo Fighters
after the death of Kurt Cobain. It was actually a solo project, at first, with Grohl recording almost the entirety of their first album by himself. Soon after, he recruited additional members like Nate Mendel and Nirvana's former touring guitarist Pat Smear. Flash forward a couple decades later, and the Foo Fighters are one of the most prominent and successful hard rock bands around right now.
4. Bob Dylan
For a while, Bob Dylan
was in a somewhat unpredictable state. All throughout the 80s, he seemed to be struggling to maintain and develop an interesting artistic identity. However, in the late eighties U2 frontman Bono recommended he work with Daniel Lanois, who co-produced their album The Unforgettable Fire
with Brian Eno and produced their wildly successful The Joshua Tree
. Dylan did, in fact, end up working with Lanois, and together they recorded 1989's Oh Mercy
, an album that was a pleasant surprise to critics after a long run of poorly-received music. Then, eight years later, the pair reunited for Time Out Of Mind.
To say that this album was acclaimed by critics would be a gross understatement. It went on to win album of the year at the Grammy's, and today it is regarded as one of Dylan's best albums, as well as the beginning of a new chapter in his career.
5. Johnny Cash
After Johnny Cash
's career took an unexpected turn when Columbia Records dropped him from his recording contract, he began a brief, unsuccessful relationship with Mercury Records. After this fell through, he recorded a forgettable Christmas album. It was enough to make fans of the Man in Black wonder if Cash was done for good. But then, an unexpectedly fruitful collaboration began with Rick Rubin, who was, at the time, more widely known for being a rap producer than a country producer. However, this collaboration resulted in the album American Recordings
, which critics heralded as a rebirth in Cash's career. The album, in its entirety, was recorded in Cash's living room with only his Dreadnaught guitar for accompaniment. Cash himself wanted to return to a minimalistic recording approach after learning that his voice sounded better without an overabundance of instrumentation and production behind it. Rick Rubin clearly understood that vision, and the album's success led to Cash's "American Series," which included a ton of memorable covers, most notably one of Cash's final releases: his rendition of the Nine Inch Nails classic "Hurt."
6. David Bowie
When David Bowie
went radio silent for ten years after Reality
came out in 2003, everyone pretty much accepted the fact that he'd retired. But, of course, this wasn't the case. Bowie returned better than ever in 2013 with The Next Day
, an album that was acclaimed by critics and fans alike. It's an album that is as innovative as some of his most widely-loved work, while also featuring great observational tracks like "Valentine's Day," a song about a school shooter, and introspective lyricism like that of "Where are We Now?"
Three years later, Bowie released Blackstar
, one of his most experimental releases ever, which was even more well-received than The Next Day
. The album was as much of a jazz record as it was an art rock record. It was also regarded as his "swan song," as it was, unfortunately, his final album. Bowie died of liver cancer just two days after the album's release. He didn't just go out on a high note: he went out having recorded a record for the ages.