Monday, October 01, 2012

In the 21st century all groups will reform

The latest rumour is that The Smiths will reform for Glastonbury next year. I don't know whether this is true. I doubt whether anyone does. But I wouldn't be surprised. All groups eventually reform because:
1. It's almost unknown for an individual to achieve as much outside a group as he did within a group.
2. And even if he did (as was probably the case with Sting) his name doesn't resound like theirs does.
3. Because the group has been off the market for years the price they can command is far greater than they could command as individuals.
4. There are always a couple of members who really need the money and no matter how bitter the relationships within the band you'd be very cold-hearted not to want to help them out.
5. Band reunions always come along when the solo career of the most bankable member has stalled or become routine.
6. Great excitement surrounds reunions and bands crave excitement.
7. All musicians reach a stage where they realise the best is behind them and they're just as keen to revisit those glory days as their fans.
8. In the last twenty years the life expectancy of pop brands has changed radically. It used to be that bands were at their most popular at the beginning of their careers. They're now far more popular at the end of their careers. Their fanbase is swelled by each new generation. There are far more people who want to see The Rolling Stones now than wanted to see them when they were in their pomp because in those days only people between the ages of 18 and 30 were interested.  Take That are far bigger now than they were in the early 90s. Leonard Cohen is still touring in front of crowds that dwarf the crowds he played in front of when he first recorded the songs he's delighting them with.

It will be the same with The Smiths. If they do reform they'll get their original fans plus the people who've decided that they're now Classic Rock plus the youngsters who are drawn to anything that looks like a legend. And all those tens of thousands of people who are drawn to whatever everybody else appears to be drawn to.


  1. Only Slade seem determined to break the rule. Messrs’ Holder & Lee (who wrote the songs) probably don't need the money as much as the other two.

  2. Not many of those other bands had quite such an acrimonious court case after their split as The Smiths, though.

    Don't we really just want to see Morrissey and Marr back together again, whoever the other two might be? They can call themselves the Smiths or whatever they like (or the court dictates?) – if only they could just share a stage again...

  3. I saw the Stones in 76. I thought they were at the end of their career then. I'm glad I saw them then, I wouldn't bother now.

  4. I have no interest in any band I liked in the past getting back together again (not even The Jam) because it just isn't the same is it?

    They're old, you're old, and neither of you is as good as you used to be.

  5. I'd pay good money to see a reformed Talking Heads. Can't think of anyone else though.

  6. I hear ya about The Jam londonlee. I'm 47 now and first saw them when I was 12 but I would not - could not - go to see them if they were playing at the bottom of my road. The cherished idea and experience of them will stay firmly in my past.