Welcome Back: 5 "Retired" Artists Who Have Returned

The unretired Eagles
The unretired Eagles
Photo by Marco Torres

Retirements in everyday life are often final, rewarding caps to distinguished careers so that the retirees can pursue lifelong hobbies and ambitions. Alternatively, they move to Florida and join a country club.

In music, however, retirements are often little more than an excuse to sell concert tickets for a "farewell" tour and to hold big press conferences, later to be followed by comeback tours, comeback albums, and more big press conferences. And who are these Brett Favres of the music world?

5. Nine Inch Nails

Welcome Back: 5 "Retired" Artists Who Have Returned
Photo by Mark C. Austin

Our most recent unretiree, NIN leader Trent Reznor, pulled the plug on his lifelong project with a round of "final" shows in 2009. Back then, Reznor said he might consider writing new Nine Inch Nails material at some point if the urge ever struck him, but that he would never play live again because he didn't want to "be Gene Simmons." Incidentally, Simmons didn't appreciate this.

Regardless of what Gene Simmons thinks, though, the urge has apparently stricken Reznor, who has now announced he's dedicating his full attention to a new Nine Inch Nails album. What's more, he's said that shows are again a possibility. So much for not becoming KISS.

4. The Eagles

Welcome Back: 5 "Retired" Artists Who Have Returned
Photo by Marco Torres

In the '80s, Eagles drummer Don Henley told the press that the Eagles would reunite "when Hell freezes over." Then they launched a comeback tour in the '90s followed by an appropriately titled live album, Hell Freezes Over.

Now it seems like Hell just can't catch a hot day. Even after "farewell" tours, the Eagles are still kicking and ruining ACL lineups. It's not that I hate the Eagles, but their "comeback album" The Long Road Out of Eden was pretty awful and they're hardly the kind of band you want to close out your festival experience. In fact, they're hardly the kind of band you'd really want to listen to at all anymore, unless Frank Ocean is singing over their music and thengetting threatened for it.

  3. Cher

Welcome Back: 5 "Retired" Artists Who Have Returned

In case you haven't heard, Cher is back. Again. At 66 years old and still managing to manipulate her face enough to look 46, Cher will be debuting a new album in 2013 as well as a potential tour in support of it.

She also hopes you will forget that she performed a farewell tour in 2003. And the one she did in 2004. Oh yeah, and the one she did in 2005, too. And the live album that was called Live! The Farewell Tour, pictured above. Do you believe in life after retirement?


A KISS farewell tour flyer... from the year 2000!
A KISS farewell tour flyer... from the year 2000!

There's a reason Reznor said he didn't want to become like Gene Simmons and KISS, and it wasn't just an insult to the good reputation of Mr. Simmons. Reznor was just stating facts.

This band has had so many farewell tours and "final" albums, people are practically begging KISS to just go away. The problem is that Simmons is a businessman and knows all the tricks. If he says a tour is their last ever, they'll be playing stadiums, not town fairs.

He also knows he can drag people out to see KISS no matter what, even if half the lineup is made up of fake Shemps and the band hasn't really stopped touring or recording since the first time they said they were going away forever.

  1. Ozzy Osbourne

Welcome Back: 5 "Retired" Artists Who Have Returned

Why does Ozzy grab the No. 1 spot here? He's no more or less guilty of false retirements than anyone else on this list. I'll tell you why. Nine Inch Nails has a hell of a lot of potential with this return; we all know KISS, Cher, and the Eagles are only in it for the money.

But Ozzy, God love him, made all those comebacks in earnest. He hasn't done it for the money, he's done it to please the fans. And unfortunately, we all would have been better off if he had just stayed in retirement 20 years ago.

His albums since may have had their radio hits, but not many defenders. Every single record he's done since No More Tears has grown progressively more and more pathetic and detestable. The music gets worse, his voice gets worse, and at this point he's been abandoned by every talented person he managed to rope into playing on his post-retirement records. He's laughable live and he's embarrassing in the studio. The Osbournes was more enjoyable than Black Rain, less shameful than Scream.

His only hope is this new Black Sabbath record and frankly, I don't even really have high hopes for that. Poor, poor Ozzy.

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