All Right Boys, This Is It: Over The Hill

The Eagles reuniting means Hell has frozen over, but Led Zeppelin Musical Group reuniting proves Hell exists. Of course, looking at the current trend, it seems any successful band whose golden years have since passed is putting aside old daemons, boning up on the oldies, maybe cranking out some newies and hitting the road on tour. This summer we saw Genesis and The Police. In recent years Cream and Queen have made even more improbably tours. “Classic” artists have also been releasing loads of new records. All of these endeavours have had [be polite, John]… mixed results.

Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, and others like them have been able to churn out the best albums of their careers three decades removed from their commercial prominence. How wonderful! Musicians still have moving songs to write and important things to say. What a testament to popular music to see musicians going not for the quick cash-in, but working because music is their job. On the other hand, Journey, Styx, Def Leppard, The Eagles, and others like them have churned out albums attempting to recapture the magic of their heydays, met only with indifference by critics and fans.

What separates a Modern Times a The Rising or an A Bigger Bang from a new… bad record? Granted, the Stones and Dylan both were giants in their day, and though they had a string of… bad records, they’ve proven their past brilliance not a fluke. Some of the bands that haven’t seen the rave reviews of their contemporaries, Journey and Styx for example, might have big successes in their day, but have either lost key members of their groups, or simply didn’t have the timeless appeal of some of the other guys. (For the record, I love Journey and Styx, but their new records are just… not super good.)

And what separates a wildly successful tour from the feared nostalgia tour? To be sure—uh, wait. To paraphrase Seinfeld, sometimes, I’m watching a TV show and I notice it’s 8:55, but the show isn’t even close to wrapping up the story and sure enough, it ends with a “To Be Continued.” Well… to be continued.