10 Biggest Reunions in Rock History
From Led Zep’s one-off performance to Priest’s patch-up, here are some of the biggest reunions that have gone down in rock n’ roll history
While the reunion of American rock legends Guns N’ Roses at Coachella 2016 is certainly going to be the biggest patch-up of 2016, rock history has witnessed several cases where warring members of a split band ultimately gave in to come together once again — whether to honor requests for reunion by loyal fans or at the prospect of an enticing paycheck. Here are some of the biggest reunions that have gone down in the past.
Following the seminal 1992 release Fear of The Dark, which was the last studio album to feature vocalist Bruce Dickinson, the Blaze Bayley era was not kind to Iron Maiden with The X Factor  and Virtual XI Â  and it wasn’t long before Steve Harris and co. were reconciling with Dickinson and guitarist Adrian Smith. The resulting 1999 Ed Hunter tour saw Maiden [along with guitarist Janick Gers, who had been filling in for Smith during his hiatus] play 28 cities, followed by the success of their Huxley-inspired, comeback album Brave New World.
SabbathÂ saw a good deal of squabbles and lineup changesÂ beforeÂ the original Never Say Die! lineup [minus drummer Bill Ward]Â finally reunitedÂ for 2013’s 13, before theyÂ announced their second comeback LP and before frontman Ozzy Osbourne calledÂ it off, choosing to focus on their farewell tour “The End.” Although Ozzy was fired from the band in April 1979, Sabbath did a number of one-off reunions between 1985 to 1992, from which two of their 1997 performances at Birmingham NEC made it onto the 1998 live album Reunion. The two-disc, 18-track release was officially the only live album to feature the originalÂ lineup.
With the exception of their drummer, Judas Priest have been one of the relatively more stable bands through the years. Following frontman Rob Halford’s departure in 1992, the heavy metal legends powered through with Tim “Ripper” Owens on 1997’sÂ JugulatorÂ and 2001’sÂ Demolition, but it was the Metal God’s return in 2003””just in time for the band’s 30th anniversary””that made for a legendary reunion. Priest went on to tour Europe in 2004 and went on to release 2005’s Angel of Retribution, 2008’s concept album Nostradamus and 2014’s Redeemer of Souls.Â
The original Led Zep lineup””comprising guitarist Jimmy Page, vocalist Robert Plant, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones and drummer John Bonham””stuck it out for over 12 years and eight studio albums, but finally parted ways after Bonham’s death in 1980. It was only in 2007 that Page, Plant and Jones, along with Bonham’s son Jason, also a drummer, came together for a one-off mega-show in London’s 02 Arena. Although rumors of a full-blown tour ran thick at the time, they were dismissed later in 2009, and fans had to settle for the O2 Arena concert film Celebration Day that later released in 2012.
2012’s Live 8 performance marked another iconic one-off, as the surviving members of rock legends Pink Floyd reunited on stage to play the benefit concertÂ at London’s O2 Arena. The surreal performance that included classics like “Comfortably Numb” and “Outside the Wall” marked the second time that Nick Mason, David Gilmour and Roger Waters had played together in the last 30 years, and the third time the former bandmates reunited since Waters left the band after the original Wall tour in 1981.
Following the public meltdown between vocalists/guitarists Don Felder and Glenn Frey which almost went physical, the Eagles went off the radar, with frontman Don Henley claiming that the band would reunite when “hell freezes over.” But all it took was a collaboration with country superstar Travis Tritt for the former Eagles to come together once more on “Take It Easy.” What followed was the Eagles’ aptly-titled ”˜Hell Freezes Over’ 1994 reunion tour that continued over the next two years, an 11-track eponymous live album and four singles.
Following failed efforts in 1986 to release a studio album [that guitarist Andy Summers felt was “an empty exercise” and was “doomed from the outset”], English rockers The Police effectively disbanded and focused on their solo careers. It was only 20 years later that reunion rumors once more, which ultimately materialized in The Police Reunion Tour across 2007 and 2008; which also marked the 30th anniversary of the band’s hit single “Roxanne.” And although it did not produce any new material, The Police Reunion Tour spanned an astounding 151 concerts and grossed $362 million.
After guitarists Joe Perry and Brad Whitford briefly left Aerosmith in the lurch during 1979 to 1984, things didn’t seem too bright for the legendary hard rockers with Rock in A Hard Place failing to match up to their previous track record. However, not long after each of the band members cleaned up their act and sobered up, Aerosmith kicked off their largely successful 1984 Back in the Saddle reunion tour, which led to the live release Classics Live II and eight more studio releases till date.
In the face of vocalist/guitarist Peter Townshend’s plaguing self-doubt and the band drawing flak for Kenney Jones’ drumming style differing from Keith Moon’s original eccentricity, The Who signed off with their 1982 farewell tour, but later came together for a number of one-offs, that included 1985’s Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium and later in 1996, a revival of their rock opera Quadrophenia with surviving members Pete Townshend, guitarist Roger Daltrey and bassist John Entwistle joined by a number of guest musicians at Hyde Park.
A few years before KISS were inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame, had a film partially based on them, and even inspired [a less than commercially successful wrestler] The Demon, the American hard rockers were battling internal tensions and lineup changes, but finally reunited to play the 38th Annual Grammy Awards in 1996. “You know how the Grammys used to be, all straight-looking folks with suits,” said rapper Tupac Shakur, introducing the band, who made their comeback in signature Love Gun-era attire. “Everybody looking tired. No surprises. We tired of that. We need something different, something new, we need to shock the people… so let’s shock the people!”
And shock they all did.