We take a look at the best ever reunions in music.
We all want our favourite groups to stay together forever, but often there comes a time when artists have to go their own separate ways. Whatever the reason for the breakup, in music it seems bridges are (almost) never truly burnt. These music reunions prove it’s never too late to get the band back together.
A reunion doesn’t have to mean the reassembly of the specific original members of one precise group. Boyzlife proves that there can be far more to the reunion concept than just that. Bringing back together Boyzone’s Keith Duffy and Westlife’s Brian McFadden, the Boyzlife show breathes new life into the definition of ‘reunion’.
These singers may not have been in the same band before, but as former members of Ireland’s biggest boy bands, their careers are undeniably intertwined. Boyzlife’s performances prove this. As well as performing many of their greatest hits, Duffy and McFadden use their live shows to share untold stories about life in the music business. This makes Boyzlife a can’t-miss event for fans of either group.
Eric B & Rakim redefined hip-hop with their 1987 album Paid in Full. The duo continued to make hip-hop history well into the early 90s before going their separate ways. With such an important influence on the hip-hop scene, fans trembled with anticipation as 2017—Paid in Full’s 30th anniversary year—drew nearer.
The duo did not disappoint. Eric B & Rakim performed on stage together for the first time in 20 years this summer to celebrate their debut album’s legacy. The historic concert took place at the Harlem Apollo, and saw the rap icons joined by T La Rock, Maino, Roxanne Shante, Ice-T, Ma$e, Flavor Flav, Main Source and EPMD, all of whom paid tribute to the duo’s work and the legendary album.
The reunion of Will Smith & DJ Jazzy Jeff may well be one of the most-anticipated of all time. After helping turn hip-hop into an integral part of popular culture in the 80s and 90s, the duo—then known as DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince—wound down their musical partnership. But they remained on good terms. DJ Jazzy Jeff contributed to several Will Smith solo singles, and occasional reunions (such as at a DJ Jazzy Jeff New Year’s Eve show in Dubai, or on the Graham Norton Show with Jaden Smith and Alfonso Ribeiro) proved that the public was still clamouring for the duo to reunite.
Fast forward to 2017 and Will Smith & DJ Jazzy Jeff are back together. They began their comeback with two much-hyped festival shows over the summer in Croatia and in the UK. And though Smith always has a busy schedule in Hollywood, and Jeff is one of the most in-demand DJs on the planet, there’s no doubt this reunion is only getting started.
4. LCD Soundsystem
It sounds strange, but the reunion of LCD Soundsystem was announced with an apology. Frontman James Murphy had spent so much of 2011 proclaiming the end of his critically-acclaimed indie-electronic outfit that he was worried fans would feel cheated. Especially as thousands of them paid through the nose to catch the band’s now redundant ‘final shows’.
Thankfully for Murphy and fans alike, LCD Soundsystem’s brand new album American Dream, and their reunion Coachella set were rapturously received. It’s doubtful anyone will believe the band if they announce another breakup, but if that makes it easier for them to come back again, it’s no bad thing.
5. A Tribe Called Quest
A Tribe Called Quest’s reunion was bittersweet. After going on hiatus in the early 2000s while members pursued other projects, the Tribe had secretly been recording swathes of new material at rapper-producer Q-Tip’s New Jersey home studio. Then, the worst. Rapper Phife Dawg tragically passed away at the all-too-young age of 45.
The group’s final album now stood as a testament to Phife’s talent, with the emotional ‘Lost Somebody’ and other songs added at the last moment in tribute to the late, great MC. We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service is an appropriately stellar effort, with input from Tribe associates (and close friends of Phife Dawg) like Busta Rhymes adding to the tribute’s potency. The tour which followed the album could not feature Phife in presence, but in spirit he was present at every performance.