11 Rock Reunion Dos and Don'ts

Ozzy and the boys are back. And no, it’s not for a spinoff of The Osbournes. On Tuesday, Black Sabbath dropped ’13,’ the band’s first album since 1995. If they follow our handy list of rock-reunion dos and don’ts, they’ll have a decent shot at staying reunited.

Don’t Rush the Comeback

Good things are worth waiting for, as evidenced by this Pink Floyd performance from the 2005 Live 8 concert. Despite it being the band’s first performance together in 24 years, they sounded as fantastic as ever.

DO Bury the Hatchet…

The Police, whose hit single “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” seemed once to be the members’ edict to each other, celebrated its 30th band-formation anniversary (and 20th band-splitting anniversary) by opening the 2007 Grammy awards with the hit single “Roxanne.”

…However Briefly

Dave Chapelle pulled off the impossible and wrangled the Fugees back together for his 2004 Block Party documentary. Though the contentious crew split again shortly after, the killer performance lives on in DVD form.

DO Round Up All of the Old Gang

The Spice Girls never were the same after Geri “Ginger” Halliwell defected, and the band dissolved shortly thereafter. But Ginger and her old mates patched up their differences, and their triumphant reunion in 2007 put them back on top with a sold-out world tour.

DON’T Replace Important Original Parts

When Guns N’ Roses reunited in 2008 for Chinese Democracy, a few important things were left behind—like guitarist Slash and most of Axl Rose’s original face. Still, the Hall of Fame rockers are going strong and wowed at the 2013 Governors Ball Music Festival in New York.

DO Give the People What They Want

The Pixies influenced a generation raised on alt rock like Nirvana (Kurt was a huge fan), but the band dissolved before many of its listeners were old enough to go to rock concerts. So instead of trying out new material during its reunion at 2005’s Lollapalooza, the band gave fans exactly what they wanted: a chance to finally hear songs like “Debaser” and “Gigantic” live.

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DO Turn Into Your Own Cover Band

When Journey was looking for a new lead singer in 2007, they went the unusual route of bringing in Arnel Pineda after seeing him sing covers of their songs on YouTube. Which, naturally, has done nothing to discourage people from uploading covers of dubious quality to YouTube.

DON’T Underestimate the Power of Nostalgia

Let’s be honest: the music of New Kids on the Block is never going to sit on the shelf next to Mozart and Beethoven. Or Peaches & Herb, for that matter. But 2008’s The Block, the onetime boy band's first studio album in 14 years, skyrocketed up the charts, fueled by the wistfulness of fans who probably still have NKOTB lunchboxes tucked away in their closets. Now the kids are back on the road, sharing their decades-old (er, honed) dance moves with adoring North American audiences.

DO Change Your Look

The ur-emo style rocked by Cure frontman Robert Smith was the height of sexy chic in 1989, but 20 years later, it left Smith looking like a scarier version of the clown from Stephen King’s It.

DON’T Grow Old

Some things, like wine and cheese, age well. Other things, like boy bands, unfortunately don’t. The Backstreet Boys went from selling out stadiums at the height of their success in the late ’90s and early aughts to barely cracking the Billboard 100 in their reunited form. We’d suggest a name change, but Backstreet Men sounds kind of dirty.

DO Embrace Irony

They had taken it to the limit, and Don Henley said the Eagles would only play together again “when hell freezes over.” So when the band reunited in 1994, it was only fitting that their comeback album was titled Hell Freezes Over. Good one, guys.

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