When you turn on classic rock radio stations, you’ll listen to the songs by the bands that left a mark on American popular culture and influenced some of the groups we hear today. But while many people want to see these musicians recreate the magic on stage, it’s possible they haven’t been together for a long time. For various reasons, they just don’t want to continue — but we can always hope. Here are five rock bands in demand by music fans to do a reunion tour.
1. Guns N’ Roses
As the late 80s and early 90s bad boys of hard rock, Guns N’ Roses tore up the charts with such singles as “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” “Welcome To The Jungle,” and “November Rain.” Lead singer Axl Rose, with his long hair, tattoos, and high-pitched raspy voice, was a symbol that captured the time when hair metal rained supreme. Lead guitarist Slash was also a figure of rock culture, hitting us with the catchy riffs that still stick in our minds today. Rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer Steven Adler rounded out the original lineup. Among their great albums was the debut Appetite for Destruction in 1987, which reached #1 on the Billboard charts and has sold an estimated 28 million copies worldwide.
But things took a bad turn in late 1993 when the members split. Even among rumors of a real reunion tour happening, Axl Rose has refused to get back together with his original band mates and continues to throw insults at Slash publicly. He also turned down a chance to attend their Rock and Roll Hall of fame induction in 2012. Nevertheless, Rose takes the Guns N’ Roses label with him when he tours with a brand new lineup of the band. But in our hearts, fans know it’s not the original group.
2. Pink Floyd
With origins of psychedelic rock in the late 1960’s, Pink Floyd was an ever-evolving band through the 70’s with the masterpiece Dark Side of the Moon (1973) and The Wall (1979). Staying on the billboard charts for 741 weeks from 1973 to 1988, ‘Dark Side’ is considered by many to be one of the greatest rock albums in history. Musician, singer, songwriter and composer Roger Waters was at the helm, and the band included Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Richard Wright, and David Gilmour. After Barrett left in 1969 due to mental illness, they continued to make classic albums and tour consistently for over a decade. As creative head, Waters wrote many of the songs.
But artistic and personal differences with the others grew strong in the early 80s and he went his own way. The remaining musicians continued as Pink Floyd, making albums and touring with David Gilmour as the main attraction. Although the original group had a reunion at the Live 8 concert for a few songs in 2005, there hasn’t been any tour in the works. Since that show, both Gilmour and Waters have said they have no plans to reunite with the surviving former members. Barrett died in 2006 and Wright passed away in 2008.
3. Led Zeppelin
Before there was metal, there was Led Zeppelin — the high-powered English rock quartet who took the world by storm in 1968. Singer Robert Plant, lead guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham put together a sound that countless bands have tried to copy. With songs like “Stairway To Heaven,” “Whole Lotta Love” and “Immigrant Song,” they’ve sold close 300 million units worldwide.
After the alcohol-related asphyxia death of Bonham in 1980, they disbanded and hadn’t performed together as a complete group until the 2007 show in London’s O2 arena with Jason Bonham sitting in for his late dad. A film of the concert was released in 2012. The show had 11,000 seats but drew 20 million applications for tickets. Since then, there have been rumors of a tour with band mates even saying that they’re willing to do it. But they just haven’t been able to coordinate their schedules to make it happen.
4. Talking Heads
Back in the beginning of MTV, the early 80s showcased the new wave sound as the premiere genre that displayed a combination of punk rock, art rock, funk and pop among others. The band Talking Heads was the face of the music and created many top radio hits like “Once In a Lifetime,” “Burning Down The House,” and “Psycho Killer.” Formed in 1975, lead singer and guitarist David Byrne added quirky, obscure lyrics to the their songs, making their uniqueness a valued asset to popular music. The other members were drummer Chris Frantz, bassist Tina Weymouth, and keyboardist/guitarist Jerry Harrison.
While the group’s albums didn’t break any sales records, many of them reached critical acclaim. In fact, four of them were listed on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. As the 80s went on, David Byrne took more creative control of the band — something that caused conflict with his fellow band mates. But by 1991, he decided to pursue a solo career and make Talking Heads’ break-up official. They did, however, reunite for the night of the hall of fame induction in 2002, but no tour ever followed. Rumors have surfaced about a comeback over the years, but there is still some bad blood and musical differences. So it’s not likely.
5. The Smiths
Formed in 1982 by vocalist Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr, the indie group was the epitome of 80’s UK guitar rock that ended synth-based new wave. The other two recruited members were bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce. With a poppy, melodic sound, they put out a number of catchy singles like “How Soon Is Now,” “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out,” and “Bigmouth Strikes Again.” Their most popular record was 1986’s The Queen Is Dead, which hit #2 on the UK charts and making the top 100 in the U.S. Morrissey’s self-absorbed, depressing lyrics with Marr’s traditional, elegant guitar playing created a unique sound that spawned a huge cult following among Indie Rock enthusiasts in the 80s and 90s.
But the polar opposite qualities that made them great were also the center of a conflict that caused their demise as a group. After bickering with Marr over musical direction and other issues in 1987, Morrissey announced he was leaving the band. Shortly after, he launched his successful solo career, which still continues to this day. As far as any kind of rumor of reunion is concerned, both musicians have shot it down repeatedly. So in not so many words, it doesn’t seem to be imminent.