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Wednesday Jukebox: Songs After Hiatus

July 24, 2013

Jukebox Screen Saver

Wednesday Jukebox is a weekly series where we pick a theme then share some of our favorite songs from it, then it becomes an ‘open thread’ and you drop a quarter in the machine by posting your favorites and telling your stories as well. 

LL Cool J was very explicit in telling us to not call it a comeback, and it wasn’t really, I mean Walking With A Panther had come out just the year before, but LL meant more the comeback of his ‘hard’ self. Also, comebacks are hard. When a musical artist goes off on hiatus and leaves fans hanging, there’s a chance they won’t be around when they return, plus there’s extra scrutiny from critics and fans to see if they’ve ‘still got it’. So, to inspire us as we get back into the saddle, this week is songs from bands and musicians who went away for awhile, then came back.

First up is the illustrious Tina Turner. When she was signed to Capitol in 1983, many folks at the major label had their doubts, but then the album Private Dancer came out and Turner made a seamless transition into the decade, blowing up MTV and Top 40 radio with several hit singles. I almost posted the David Bowie-written deep cut 1984, but I just couldn’t resist this classic video. More cowbell!

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After 1993’s The Red Shoes, Kate Bush stepped away from the spotlight, grieving the loss of both her guitarist and her mother, then she got pregnant in 1998 and focused on being a mum for awhile. Rumors of an album seemed to circulate every other year with nothing materialized, when suddenly it was 2005 and she released Aeriel. It was hard not to have expectations, but generally critics praised it and fans I know had at least a few songs on it they really liked. My personal favorite is “How To Be Invisible”.

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I was a small child when Steely Dan‘s “Hey Nineteen” was on the radio, so they stayed buried in my subconscious until high school when the Citizen Steely Dan box set came out and my brother played it a lot and to be honest, I didn’t really get it. It wasn’t until I started my vinyl habit 10 years later that I started picking up copies of Aja in the dollar bin and getting more into their music, right around their time Donald Fagen and Walter Becker put out their first album of original material in 20+ years, Two Against Nature. You may remember this album as the one that beat out Eminem and Radiohead at the Grammys – I can still see the look on everyone’s face when they walked on stage to collect their statues. In hindsight Kid A would probably have been the better choice (Marshall Mathers LOL), but I’m not mad Steely Dan got the awards either. I’m also a fan of the title track.

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Sade is the queen of letting her albums cook for a few years – or a decade. A couple years ago p0plife reviewed her album Soldier of Love for us (including an original illustration of the chanteuse). It can be hard to wait so long between new material, but to be honest, I could listen to many of her songs all day every day….and some days I do. The Sade station on Pandora gets the most play in my house. My favorite track of her most recent album is hard to choose, but I’m gonna have to go with “Be That Easy” today.

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And for a bonus cut, we have Blondie, who waited 17 years before releasing another album and then got #1 hit with “Maria”, 20 years after “Heart of Glass”.

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What are your favorite songs by bands or musicians who went away for awhile?

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. July 24, 2013 11:02 am

    My favorite comeback kid was Steve Forbert (probably best known as the suitor at the door at the end of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”).

    His hiatus lasted 7 years while his record company refused to either let him record or release him from his contract. Here’s a cut from his 1988 return, “Streets of This Town”:

  2. July 24, 2013 11:07 am

    Always a fave of mine. I went bonks over their 2005 effort and poof they were gone…for seven years!!!

  3. July 24, 2013 12:35 pm

    I can’t believe I forgot to mention Daft Punk in this post, they also like to wait several years between albums. People seem to either be underwhelmed by their latest or poo-pooed by disco snobs who like to brag that they’ve been into the genre all along (well duh, disco is fun!). But I can’t stop spinning Random Access Memories these past few months. Also, there’s this:

  4. July 24, 2013 12:57 pm

    @redlami: I forgot about Steve Forbert, I remember playing him on a radio show in college. I didn’t even realize he was in Cyndi Lauper’s video!

    @snarkysmachine: ah, Saint Etienne. electronic based groups seem to love to disappear for awhile…I always imagine them record shopping for weeks on end, looking for new samples. but maybe that’s just my wistful fantasy!

  5. July 24, 2013 3:19 pm

    I’m digging Bowie’s new release. Still got it after a ten year break.

  6. July 24, 2013 4:09 pm

    @eieioj – love that Bowie CD so much. Took me a while to get into it but it was worth it.

    @redlami – 10,000 Maniacs! Their latest is so good 🙂

    @raymondj – Daft Punk tends to be the gold standard b/c they take what seems like forever between releases. And yes RAM was totally worth the wait.

    While I don’t super love this release, it does seen weird it’s been seven years since FutureSex/LoveSounds.

  7. July 24, 2013 11:18 pm

    I remember watching this AMA show in 1991 (and probably taping it on VHS), where Gloria Estefan came back after her tour bus accident.

  8. July 25, 2013 9:27 am

    @snarkysmachine how could I forget 10,000 Maniacs? Fourteen years since their last studio release!

  9. July 25, 2013 10:37 am

    @coovee: I remember watching that same AMA! It was a pretty amazing comeback performance and I’ve always wanted to sing “Coming Out Of the Dark” at karaoke because of it, but the backing track doesn’t have a choir, so it loses some of the power. 😦

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