Monday, September 24, 2012

Let's join the reunion binge ...

For the last two years I've made new year resolutions to reactivate the 
BadCatRecords blog.  Needless to say, it didn't happen.  So here's the third 

Slow day and after hearing a particularly bad Eagles song I started thinking 
about band reunions.  Reunions have become so commonplace with most of them 
proving to be major disappointments.  Anyhow, I began wondering what band 
reunions would I like to see ?  The catch being the list had to be feasible - 
the band members were still living.  Obviously that eliminates a large chunk of 
the universe ...   I also expanded the definition to include a couple of solo 
acts that I'd like to see reactivate their careers.   So sue me if you think 
I've stretched the parameters too far ...   Anyhow here are my initial 
selections.  I didn't put these selections in any order.

Creedence Clearwater Revival   
Chance of a reunion: zilch
Okay, this one gets on the list due to a technicality.  Tom Fogerty is gone, but 
John Fogerty, Stu Cook, and Doug Clifford are still with us.  As fans will 
remember, Tom quit the band in the early 1970s, leaving the other three to 
record a couple of decent, late-inning studio sets before calling it quits in 
angry flood of recriminations.   Some thirty years later the three still haven't 
patched things up with Fogerty achieving mega stardom as a solo act, while Cook 
and Clifford have tried to keep the CCR nameplate alive under the Creedence 
Clearwater Revisited nameplate.  

Dire Straits
Chance of a reunion: 50%
I guess this is kind of an interesting choice.  I saw Dire Straits live twice 
and have to tell you that in a concert setting they were amazingly dull.  I 
mean, I loved the music, but they sure didn't have a great deal of charisma.  
Regardless, some new Straits tunes would always be welcome.  On the technical 
level all of the original members are still with us.  Frontman Mark Knopfler's 
gone on to record a string of solo projects; some good and some frankly dull.

Chance of a reunion: 10%
I'm sure lots of folk will think I've lost my mind with this choice.  I beg to 
differ.  While you may not like it, the fact of the matter is that during their 
mid-1970s to early-1980s heyday Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny 
Andersson and Agnetha Fältskog made some of the best pop music ever released.  
Yea, it was light weight, throwaway pop, but Ulvaeus and Andersson had an 
amazing knack for crafting insidiously catchy hooks.  C'mon, who of you couldn't 
hum 'Mamma Mia'. or 'Dancing Queen' ?  Like most of the other groups on the 
list, the ABBA breakup wasn't particularly pretty.  Personal issues including 
broken marriages didn't exactly help the situation.   Anyhow, they remain 
amazingly popular - witness the popularity of ABBA-tribute bands and any 
ABBA-related product so the market is certain there.   The fact the four 
reportedly turned down a billion dollar offer to reunite seems to indicate this 
reunion's unlike to happen.  Shame they wouldn't consider doing it for a 
charity.  You could do a lot of good things with a billion dollars.

Emmitt Rhodes
Chance of a reunion: 30%
Another one that makes it on the list under the auspices of a technicality.  So 
Rhodes is on the list even though he's a solo act.  But what an act.  After 
recording a lost classic slide of '60s Anglophile-pop as a member of The 
Merry-Go-Round, Rhodes recorded a series of three fantastic early-1970s solo 
albums (see the BadCatRecords site for detailed reviews of those LPs).  Blessed 
with good looks, a nice personality, and a knack for crafting catchy tunes, 
Rhodes was easily the most talented of the Beatles / Paul McCartney influenced 
bands that enjoyed a wave of mid-1970s successes.  And then the wheels fell off 
his life.  Starting in the mid-1970s he tried turning his attention to 
production and basically disappeared off the face of the earth.  Rhodes has 
reportedly recorded a ton of solo material in the ensuing years and from 
time-to-time some happening band rediscovers him, but he's one of those acts 
that have never gotten another shot at the spotlight.

Black Sabbath
Chance of a reunion: 95%
So here's another one that gets in on a technicality - if only because they've 
already had a couple of reunions, including a 1992 "retirement tour", a 1997 
tour that saw the release of a double live set "Reunion" and isolated dates in 
support of Osbourne's Ozzfest.  This past November (2011) the four got together 
to announce they'd recorded a new album and would be touring in 2012.  Of 
course, given their volatile history, things could still go astray.  Anyhow, say 
what you will, but vocalist Ozzy Osbourne and the original Sabbath line up of 
bassist Geezer Butler, guitarist Tony Iommi, and drummer Bill Ward are musical 
groundbreakers and an opportunity to hear some new material from these guys 
(especially given all they've been thorough in their personal lives - 
addictions, marriages, divorces, heart attacks, etc., would be wonderful.

Young Rascals:
Chance of a reunion 35%
So here's another group that's technically already reunited; albeit based on 
circumstance that did nothing to undo the decades on animosity that had sprung 
up among the members.  The first Eddie Brigati, Felix Cavaliere, Gene Cornish 
and Dino Danelli took place in May 1997 when The Young Rascals were 
inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Along with pseudo-member David 
Brigati, the original line up played a couple of numbers during the post awards 
ceremony jam session.  Three years later four reunited to perform a couple of 
songs at the Kristen Ann Carr liposarcoma fund benefit.  Time seems to have 
largely forgotten The Young Rascals which is a crying shame since they're 
responsible for penning a sizable part of the soundtrack for the 1960s.  Maybe 
because I grew up listening to the band (they're songs are among my first 
musical memories), I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for these guys.  I 
would love to hear a reunion.

Bill Withers:
Chance of a reunion: 50%
So technically this wouldn't be a reunion, rather would be a comeback ...  
Withers wrote some of the best soul tunes to come out of the '70s.  An ex-Navy 
guy, he seemed totally classy, never falling into the rock and roll trap that 
swallowed so many of his contemporaries.  He basically seemed to know when his 
15 minutes of fame was up and graciously vacated the stage for others, focusing 
his time and energies on hit family - he's been married to the same woman 
(Marcia Johnson) since the mid-1970s.   The thing is he could have kept on 
going.  The man was that talented.  With an instantly identifiable voice and a 
knack for crafting instantly memorable melodies, a Withers return to music would 
be a major gift to listeners.

Raspberries, The
Chance of a reunion: 40%
As you can tell from the list, I'm a soft touch for classic top-40 pop and who 
better than Cleveland's The Raspberries to represent the mid-1970s genre ?  Yes, 
all four original members are still around - Eric Carmen, Jim Bonfanti, Wally 
Bryson and Dave Smalley (okay, okay I know that Smalley replaced original 
bassist John Aleksic).  I'm talking about the classic Raspberries line up here 
...  Their four mid-1970s albums are all classic and yes there's been a brief 
reunion - in the form of a 2005 mini-tour.  Time for a more focused reunion, 
including original product.

Chance of a reunion 10%
I know, every decade or so financial issues see Fleetwood Mac reunite and that 
brings Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks back together.  In this instance I'd 
like to see the pair of them reunite for a second collaborative album.  1973's 
"Buckingham Nicks" has long been a personal favorite; out-Fleetwood Mac-ing 
Fleetwood Mac.  In fact if you've ever wondered how a ponderous English blues 
band managed to reinvent themselves as the world's biggest selling pop band, 
then all you need to do is listen to the Buckingham Nicks LP.  Mick Fleetwood 
clearly knew the pair had the sound that would pave the way to a happy 
retirement.  With three years of life experience behind them, a Buckingham Nicks 
musical reunion would be mesmerizing.   

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