For Rock Bands and Musicians, a career as part of the challenging music industry is often a rocky road, laced with an abundance of obstacles which compromise a song-writers musical ability. If MTV and my obsessive record collection has informed me of anything, it’s that nothing can makes or break a band more than a comeback album.
The comeback album is often a re-invention or return to roots which allows musicians to shake-up fans following a musical hiatus. Often, these comebacks can fall by the wayside and make just as much impact as a stone thrown into the pacific but in some cases the Rock Comeback is a momentous ritual which reaches out to rock fans, plucks them from their comfort bubble and smashes them with full-force into the back-end of nowhere.
It’s a bitter-sweet, musical surprise and although a good comeback is few and far between – when an incredible comeback album finally lands, it will leave you enlightened.
Read below for ‘8 of the Greatest Rock Comeback Albums’ which shocked rock fans and shut up critics. Feel free to comment below if you remember any Rock Comeback Albums which really made a statement…
Foo Fighters – Foo Fighters
When Kurt Cobain’s apparent suicide resulted in the end of Nirvana, nobody knew what would be in store the remaining members of the Seattle three-piece. However, a year after Cobain’s death; drummer, Dave Grohl released the debut, self-titled album ‘Foo Fighters’ with his new band.
Released two years after the final Nirvana studio album ‘In Utero’. ‘Foo Fighters’ would be the first release in a momentous rock comeback, which would firmly establish Dave Grohl as the God of Rock and the frontman in one of the most successful bands of all time.
AC/DC – Back in Black
When AC/DC frontman, Bon Scott tragically died at the height of the bands success in February of 1980, it left the iconic hard rock musicians devastated and questioning their future as a band. With a huge international following and a little persuasion from family and friends, the band decided to audition for a new front man.
Stunned by the performance of Geordie, Brian Johnson, they recruited him a few months later and began writing their most iconic (comeback) album. Less than half a year after they said their final farewell to Bon Scott, the band released Back in Black on the 25th July, 1980.
With concerns about the new line-up and a change in style, the band were pleasantly surprised when the album topped the album charts and became one of the most critically acclaimed and best-selling albums of all time. Almost 40 years later, Back in Black remains a timeless example of AC/DC at their best.
U2 – All That You Can’t Leave Behind
When Irish rockers, U2 released their 1997 album ‘Pop’, critics slammed it and questioned their ability to continue to write the anthems which had driven them to great heights. I mean ‘Pop’ featured songs entitled ‘Discotechque’ and ‘The Playboy Mansion’ – really guys?!
Then on the turn of the century, U2 made a notable comeback with an album which presented them in a way they had never been seen before. ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’ (2000) was a re-invention of these rockers and a bold clap-back at anyone who had criticised their song-writing abilities.
Singles like ‘It’s a Beautiful Day’ and ‘Elevation’ still take me back to the sunny summers of the millennium and put Bono, firmly back on his musical pedestal – for a while anyway.
Black Sabbath – 13
You cannot fault Black Sabbath and their stamina as one of the most hard-rocking bands of all time. When the band founded in 1968, nobody thought they’d still be rocking almost 50 years later.
After years of turbulent relationships, wild World tours, issues with drugs and alcoholism and plenty of line-up changes, the band were set for retirement. However, you can’t hold down the greatest metal band of all time and in 2013, the band reunited to release ‘13’ their first studio album with Ozzy since ‘Forbidden’ (1995).
The band chose to record with legendary hip-hop and rock producer Rick Rubin and were joined in the studio by Rage Against the Machine drummer, Brad Wilk. ‘13’ went on to reach number one in the album chart, just one week after its initial release and gained phenomenal commercial success as their first Number One album since their infamous album, ‘Paranoid’ released 43 years prior.
This momentous Black Sabbath album has now sold more than 1 million copies Worldwide, a success that Ozzy stated was just ‘another incredible milestone for Black Sabbath’.
American Idiot – Green Day
Albums like Kerplunk (1991), Dookie (1994) and Nimrod (1997) had Green Day pegged as one of the most influential bands in the Californian Punk scene. Their controversial lyrics and catchy melodies had them credited alongside bands like Rancid, Sublime and The Offspring who were all catalysts in the early-nineties, American punk movement.
By the time Green Day released their fifth studio album, Warning (2000), we thought we’d seen just about everything this band had to offer in terms of musical prowess. Four years later in 2004, Green Day shocked fans and slipped into the main-stream with their momentous rock comeback record ‘American Idiot’.
American Idiot was completely different to anything we’d ever heard by Green Day previously. Their new bout of angst fuelled some dark anthems which collectively, provided fans with a concept album surrounding a deeply entertaining narrative.
American Idiot garnered a mixed reception from many, but its commercial success could not be disputed and the album later inspired a (not so, punk-rock) broad-way musical of the same name.
Metallica – Death Magnetic
American heavy metal rock gods, Metallica have had an incredible career with International sell-out shows and best-selling albums, but when ‘St. Anger’ was released in 2003, many music critics felt that Metallica had begun to stray even further from their Metal heritage and they began to lose the loyalty of their dedicated fans.
Five years later in September of 2008, Metallica released their ninth studio album ‘Death Magnetic’. ‘Death Magnetic’ was in every way a statement about the ancestry of Metallica. The band chose to work with the previously mentioned Rap & Rock producer, Rick Rubin, a first since the release of their album, ‘Metallica’ in 1991.
This album is packed with heavy riffs and fearless solos which marked Metallica’s timely return to their heavy origins and thrashy roots.
Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Californication
The 1999 release of ‘Californication’ by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers was a comeback which illustrated both, the Chilli’s triumphant musical return and the return of iconic guitarist, John Frusciante.
It was no secret that the Chillies have had a rocky journey across their lengthy career and tired relationships and addiction had paid a significant part in their break-down, physically and musically. Californication is in every way, a cleansing of the band and their musical outfit. It explores notions of death, mental illness, addiction, lust and globalisation as well a spectrum of political themes.
Californication has maintained continued popularity as one of the Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s greatest albums and received a wealth of accolades – most notably, it was inducted eight years after its release into the ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’ as one of ‘The Definitive 200: Top 200 Albums of All-Time.’
Meat Loaf – Bat Out Of Hell II: Back into Hell
I think Meatloaf takes the biscuit in terms of time off on a ‘musical hiatus’. His sixth studio album was released in 1993, a whopping 16 years after his debut solo album ‘Bat out of Hell’. This comeback was an ‘against the odds’ collaboration between Meatloaf and Songwriter, Jim Steinman.
After a series of financial and legal battles which stunted the release of the long-awaited follow-up album, ‘Bat Out Of Hell II: Back into Hell’ was released in 1993 and gained instant commercial success.
The album’s opening track ‘I’d Do Anything for Love’ won Meatloaf a Grammy Award for Best Solo Rock Performance and made Jim Steinman an internationally acclaimed song-writer and producer.
Any comebacks that blew you away that we’ve missed? Drop a comment below and let us know!