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-Hey, Dom, you all right?
Did you get a call about this Geri story, then?
MUSIC: Not Fade Away by The Rolling Stones
My name is Alan Edwards.
I've been working in music PR for the last 40 years.
..I guess one of the issues being that Geri doesn't know
anything about it.
Watching live music is part of my job.
When I started out,
the life cycle of many bands followed a pretty traditional path.
Making it, enjoying success, often followed by punch-ups and break-ups.
Or, as we say in the music business, creative tensions,
going solo, or that old chestnut - musical differences.
We are upset and saddened by Geri's departure,
but we are very supportive in whatever she wants to do.
But now we have the fourth stage - the inevitable reunion.
-The Spice Girls are back together again.
A lot of my time nowadays is spent bringing bands back.
Reunions are helping drive the music business.
I always dreaded the phone call about getting back together.
I'd read somewhere that The Rolling Stones had band therapy.
I don't know what that is, but I think we need some band therapy.
In this series, we've been looking at how the music business
finds talent and makes stars.
She's fabulous, Doug. She really is, yeah.
She's got long blonde hair and gorgeous eyes.
At how live performance built reputations and made fortunes.
And now, with reunions, relaunches and revivals so fashionable,
I'm going to look into why so many bands are getting back together.
Hey, Dennis, what's the first song? I've forgotten now!
-Hard As They Come.
-Hard As They Come, there you go.
What's different this time around?
I find it frustrating to have to do, you know, Hanging On The Telephone.
I'm not here to be a jukebox, you know?
And what it means for the business I work in.
We put the tickets on sale,
and it sold out in like 30 seconds or something.
I probably make more money now out of the band
than I did back in the day.
This programme contains strong language
# Come on, people, and hurry on back to love... #
The discovery there's big money in old music is not new.
In 1972, here at Wembley,
thousands of music fans came to experience
a first in British musical history.
Dressed in their finery, they flocked to a new type of concert.
But it wasn't to listen to the latest hits,
it was to hear and see golden oldies.
# Sweet little 16
# She's just gotta have
# About a half a million
# Framed autographs... #
The London Rock and Roll Show was a trip down memory lane.
Hits from the 1950s, performed by the original artists.
# Hail, hail, rock and roll
# Deliver me from the days of old... #
The stars that started the world rocking were still rolling.
# Won't you do your sister's will? #
It was a fantastic bill.
There was Bo Diddley, there was Bill Haley,
there was Little Richard,
there was Jerry Lee Lewis,
there was Chuck Berry...
Wilko Johnson was one of the 90,000 fans happily rewinding the clock
back to the birth of rock and roll.
There's a song that I've been carrying around in my back pocket.
I'm still happy, at 47 years old, I can still sing it.
I'd like to sing it for you tonight, all right?
# One, two, three o'clock, four o'clock rock
# Five, six, seven o'clock, eight o'clock rock... #
I always regarded Bill Haley as a bit of a joke.
He was no Elvis Presley, was he?
I mean, he just had this kind of hit, Rock Around The Clock, thing.
But, anyway, "I might as well go out and see him,"
so I walked out, and I'll tell you what,
they were absolutely great, man!
# When the clock strikes two, three and four
# If the band slows down We'll yell for more
# We're going to rock around the clock tonight... #
It was the original band, all of them.
They had the guy with the eye patch... They were great!
Rocked like a pig! They were...
And it was absolutely fan... They went down an absolute storm.
He was choked, you could see...
You know, cos I mean, like,
he'd been spending the last few years
playing in little clubs in New Mexico or something,
you know, and suddenly there he was in front of Wembley Stadium,
the whole place is going crazy!
The king, ladies and gentlemen, the king!
This revival concert showed how the music
we grew up with never leaves us.
And for the business I work in,
it opened our eyes to the potential of yesterday's hit-makers.
It showed there was an appetite for,
and money to be made from, bringing bands back.
MUSIC: Rockaway Beach by Ramones
40 years on, reunions are no longer a rare treat.
Now they happen all the time,
as bands and their fans grow up together.
Of all the musical forms many thought would never come back,
it was punk, but now it's leading the way.
For one weekend every summer,
Blackpool becomes home to all things punk rock.
It's the Rebellion Festival.
The music that revelled in no future
is alive and kicking.
I was there during the early days of punk.
You'd never go and sit down amongst a group of them back in 1977.
That might have been taking your life in your hands.
They were very different times - edgy and aggressive.
It's funny looking at all these T-shirts,
especially these Damned ones, that brings back a few memories.
I remember going to a Damned gig at the Nashville,
and I was The Stranglers' PR, so I was backstage, in the gig,
and I had a pocket full of Stranglers badges,
and I kept giving them out to people,
and the Damned manager,
he was a pretty feisty guy, called Jake Riviera,
he used to wear these great Hawaiian shirts,
he came over to me, rolled up his sleeves,
and he said, "What are you doing giving out Stranglers badges?
"Come outside, we're going to sort this out."
So, on the North End Road,
there was I, about to have a fight over a few Stranglers badges.
And now you look at the scale of this, and the memorabilia,
who would've imagined we'd have ended up like this?
Punk wasn't supposed to last.
It had a built-in self-destruct button.
Bands were meant to burn hot and briefly.
But this festival is full of punk acts, from contemporary bands to
some of the original trailblazers, enjoying a renaissance.
# Babylon's burning
# You're burning in the street
# You're burning in your houses
# With anxiety... #
The Ruts DC, formed in 1977 as The Ruts -
they enjoyed early success with hits like Babylon's Burning.
# With anxiety
# Babylon's burning Babylon's burning! #
They split in 1983, after the death of their lead singer,
and reformed 24 years later.
Everybody is a lot friendlier now, basically,
cos everybody's still alive.
We thought we'd be dead by the time we were 35 or 40 anyway.
Cos you do when you're young, and it's because you're in your band.
It's part of that kind of...
It's part of the kind of legacy that you think is going to happen.
"Well, why would I worry about 40?
"You're not going to get there anyway."
I'm fairly old, but I've got to be match fit.
Me drumming bits are great, you know?
Fantastic, you know. New hip and all that,
but all going well, you know.
But if we weren't good, I wouldn't really want to do it.
The public's never going to go away.
I think there is something
really beautiful about the older guys
who are still coming out and playing.
I mean, it's taken them 40 years to become legendary,
but it's almost like their duty too,
to keep playing, to keep performing, to give back.
# We're the future Your future
# God save the Queen
# We mean it, man
# They made you a moron
# A potential H-bomb... #
As I started out in punk,
it made sense that the first reunion I was involved in
would be a punk band.
The most famous of them all.
# No future, no future for you! #
In 1996, the Sex Pistols came out of retirement to unleash some
filth and fury all over again.
The Sex Pistols.
Their comeback announcement was made at the 100 Club in London,
and I helped to plot how this, their second coming,
would play out in the media.
Well, part of the PR strategy was to seem like there wasn't
a PR strategy. You had the press conference -
superficially a very chaotic affair, but actually, giving the media
exactly what they wanted, all sort of edge-of-the-seat stuff,
but really it was end-of-the-pier stuff.
Pardon, can I have that in English?
-This is sad, innit?
It's sad that an arsehole like you
doesn't appreciate the effort we've gone to.
I was just a bit bemused, really.
I mean, to be honest, none of us were 100% sure
if it was the right thing to be doing,
but we was going to do it anyway.
And that press conference
was the first thing that we actually did.
You know, we hadn't done any gigs by then,
I don't think we'd even really started rehearsing at that stage.
There was some hostility in certain areas of the press,
saying that punk bands should never come back
and they were just of the moment.
I think we was all quite full of ourselves with the Pistols -
we made our own rules, and we was going to do what we wanted to do.
We invented punk. We write the rules,
you follow - not the other way around!
The only egg that would be in our face if nobody turned up,
but they turned up in droves, so we was right and they were wrong.
Let's start a war!
# There's no point in asking You'll get no reply
# Just remember I don't decide
# I've got no reason It's all too much
# You'll always find us
# Out to lunch! #
Just having the opportunity
to finally see the band
that I had worshipped.
I'd never been to a gig
of theirs before, and I absolutely loved it.
And John Lydon is a fantastic lead singer.
I used to want to marry him!
Called the Filthy Lucre Tour by the band, they played 78 dates,
were on the road for six months and grossed over £15 million.
I did more gigs on that Filthy Lucre Tour
than the first time round we'd done put together.
John Lydon later wrote that by the time they got into rehearsals,
they'd realised they didn't like each other all over again,
which meant special arrangements had to be made
to keep the band on the road.
What had Steve Jones suggested regarding the tour buses?
Well, he suggested that, possibly, that we have two...
Basically, the people who played things was in one
and the people who didn't play things was in the other one.
So you good guys can work it out at home.
ALAN LAUGHS OK.
-And did you have different hotels as well?
-Oh, of course.
-OK. Different roadies?
-Different sides of town.
But that helped the atmosphere, did it, in the end?
We used to get different flights.
I said to Steve, "This is costing a fortune."
He said, "It might be costing a lot, but..."
He said, "We'll finish the tour and we'll get paid."
And he was right, you know.
I used to think reunions a bit embarrassing,
not very rock and roll.
But if the Pistols could do it, the arch subversives themselves,
well, this was a turning point.
And sure enough, a year later came the revival of a band
I first met in the 1970s.
That band were Blondie, and I was their PR man.
# We sat in the night
# With my hands cuffed at my side... #
Back in 1976, they were a breath of fresh air - new and exciting.
And for five years they reigned, before imploding
in a haze of drugs, debts and debilitating illness.
# I had to know, so I asked... #
Then, 16 years later, they surprised and delighted
music fans all over the world by getting back together.
# Walking the line, you were a marksman... #
I know a lot of friends would always say,
"You know what, it's going to happen,
-"you guys are going to get back together."
-And I'm like...
What drove that? Was it fans...?
Love and money, I'd say.
Chris asked if I, you know, wanted to do it, I said no.
-No, computer says no.
So... He had to...he had to convince me.
Presumably, you were feeling the love from the fans, weren't you?
-You were getting letters and...
There was always a hard-core fan base,
I kept hearing more referencing of the band from other musicians
and...just the cultural references.
But Blondie didn't just want to play the old hits.
They wanted to go back into the recording studio.
It was originally kind of pitched to us that we would just reissue
a greatest hits with one or two new songs, and I remember I piped up
instantly and said that's not what I was interested in doing at all.
It wasn't to reform and just kind of go on, you know, whatever,
the retro circuit, you know, be a heritage band or all those
words that really mean like an oldies band, right?
So, you know, we took our time and we made new music.
That was my criteria for it.
I had no interest in just being...doing an oldies act.
I even find it frustrating to have to do, you know,
Hanging On The Telephone and...
I mean, I would just rather move on.
# Maria, you've gotta see her
# Go insane and out of your mind... #
Their comeback single Maria, Blondie's first new music
in over 16 years, was a worldwide hit.
It was as if time had stood still.
# Maria, you've gotta see her... #
You know, it's an interesting song because it's...
I'm not sure what a classic Blondie song is, but that certainly was one.
When we put the band back together for the first time
and everybody started playing,
I sort of teared up because, "Oh - there really IS that sound."
You know, that really does exist, we do have an identity.
And, you know, I think that that's...
..that's probably, you know, the real key to, you know,
having a successful band, is to have unique...
..a uniqueness to it and a sound, you know, that is entirely its own.
# One way or another I'm gonna lose ya
# I'm gonna give you the slip, hey! #
The band have now been back together for over 20 years,
twice as long as the first time round.
# One way or another I'm gonna lose ya... #
Incredible to see them still doing it 40 years later.
I knew they were going to be big when I saw them at Dingwalls -
I never knew it would last that long.
Thank you, thank you very much!
-Oh, hi, Alan.
-Love the white gear.
-How are you?
-I'm just happy that we're doing this now.
I mean, it's very rewarding and we've all made our lives better.
-Nice one, nice show, Debbie.
-I'm glad we did it.
I'm glad we got back together, and I feel very happy about the present,
and I would like to do some...
..something maybe a little further out.
You know, I think it's time for us to...
..take a few risks, as it were.
I was gratified to see somebody in the front row
holding their ears, so that meant...
-You're still punk.
-Yeah, that was...
The industry is a lot more streamlined now.
The technical aspects are a lot smoother.
It's a good balance for our advancing age.
I think if I was 60 years old in 1970, it would be really rough.
But, you know, we're in a different era of professionalism
and the guys in the band are a lot more...
-You know, above board.
is probably the word I'm looking for.
And not fucked up, so...
Making new music is the ultimate test of any band reunion,
and if the new tunes can be blended seamlessly with the old classics,
as Blondie have done, then that's the Holy Grail.
Because fans can be demanding.
OK, I'd like to...
I'd like to try a new song now.
What are you doing?!
This song's called The Highwayman.
# The Highwayman came calling... #
-What is this?!
-# Came calling at my door... #
Fans don't always want to hear new songs,
they want the old songs played, just as they remember them.
But even that can be tricky for some acts on the comeback trail.
DRUM FILL, STING LAUGHS
That's going to be the fucking cover of Modern Drummer Magazine.
-It's going to be fucking devoted to that drum fill, you
Well, it's amazing that you could play that drum fill in nine beats.
-Right, uh-huh, yeah.
Just cos it's a little confusing
for the fucking bass-playing element...
-It was going so well, too.
When The Police, one of the biggest trios in rock,
got back together in 2007 after a 20-year break,
it was one of the most successful band reunions of all time.
# Every move that you make... #
Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland got along well,
so long as nobody mentioned music.
# Every smile you fake Every claim you stake... #
I was always very nostalgic about The Police, I just couldn't
see it ever happening, so
we resolved to give it a try.
And we went into rehearsals,
and they were hell.
No, I mean small right there.
-Go really small there.
What?! Did the bass player just tell me what to play?
Every day, I'd get in front of the mirror and I'd say,
"Today, I'm going to give Sting everything he wants,
"any whim he has.
"I am the mighty one, I can do that.
"You think I can't do that? Course I can do that!
"Yes, sir. Yeah, whatever you want."
-20 minutes into rehearsal...
-This is the coda?
OK, so you don't want it to continue any more?
-Now you want something different?
It was just hell, and we're wondering,
"Why are we doing this?"
And one day,
the tickets went on sale,
stadiums all around the world -
gone in 20 minutes.
And then the first shows, in Vancouver,
when we came out on stage
and we saw the effect that these songs were having on those people...
That's what we're here for, guys.
Look at this. Feel this.
"ROXANNE" INTRO PLAYS
This tour wasn't about new music. There wasn't a new tune in sight.
# Roxanne... #
It was all about the classics,
served up as the audience remembered them.
# Those days are over
# You don't have to sell your body to the night
# Roxanne... #
Songs get baggaged.
The power of the song increases with every decade,
with life experience, so Roxanne is not just a song,
it's where I was when I first heard that song,
it's the girl that I fell in love with to that song.
And so the songs have a power that a new song just doesn't have.
This greatest hits reunion started out as a six-month tour
of duty, but ended up lasting two years.
It showed what a powerful drug nostalgia is for bands with
a back catalogue bursting with hits.
One of the highest grossing tours of all time,
they played 151 concerts and made nearly £300 million.
During the course of the tour, everybody is ecstatic.
The promoter - "Wow, look at all this money we're making!"
Everybody was having the best tour of their lives, except for two guys.
Stingo and I, we were miserable.
And finally, I'd read somewhere that The Rolling Stones had band therapy.
I don't know what that is, but I think we need some band therapy.
So they found a shrink somewhere,
and I heard things from Stingo that just blew my mind.
That's what you've been thinking for 30 years?!
Cos he's impassive.
You know, you'd throw punches, anything to cause pain.
Where's a knife, where's a...? Argh, argh!
And he would show no sign, you know?
You mean, every shot hit?
And, you know...
And then, you know,
the things that I would say about what drove me
just blew his mind and, you know,
that epiphany that we had, with this hippie music going on,
that's where we really figured it out
and understood what we had brought into each other's lives and
the upside of our relationship, and that's persisted to this day.
-# Come on Eileen
-Well, I swear
-# Well, it means
-At this moment... #
For some on the comeback trail,
it's not just about coming to terms with former band members.
It's also about the relationship to the hits themselves.
# ..Come on, Eileen... #
We're grateful for that song. We understand,
if we play a festival, we're going to play that.
We won't play it the same way as we did,
we'll... Not because we're trying to be different, or bolshie.
Because we've got to play it how we feel it.
It's up to you whether you like it or not,
but I'm not here to be a jukebox, you know.
That's not... I can't do that. I can't do that.
You know, I've heard other people - people used to come up to me,
"Don't you miss the old days
"with the band and all that, and performing live?"
Well, no, because what's the point of performing live if you've
got nothing to say?
I didn't want to go and just say all the old stuff
because you can't be as you were, it's absolutely impossible.
Here's my wall of fame. David, my old friend Naomi, Prince.
When I started out in the music business,
one musical star would come along and replace another.
What was fashionable one minute was obsolete the next.
Now I'm not so sure that's the case.
In the '70s, things moved very fast.
There was always a new fashion that made the last one obsolete.
And I remember having to hide my Pink Floyd albums,
and get rid of them, and burn the flares quickly
and get some drainpipes and a leather jacket.
And then punk suddenly was out of date and we all had to have long,
flowing, colourful, you know, New Romantic style.
And so it went on.
And then, strangely, it all came to a shattering halt.
And I remember sitting around with friends in the music papers
thinking, "Well, the next big thing is coming, the next movement
"must be just around the corner."
And here we are, decades later, and there was no next movement,
that was it.
And so now everything is in and everything is out,
and kind of, I suppose, that's pretty cool in its own way.
This is where Paul hides, in his studio.
Andy McCluskey is one half of OMD,
a band I worked briefly with in the '80s
who are benefiting from this new, anything-goes musical landscape.
If he'll let me in. Ta-da!
Paul Humphreys is OMD's other half.
Good to see you again.
I'm standing where there should be a telephone box,
that was just removed last week.
That was the telephone box
where I got the call to say that Messages was our first
top 20 hit, and we were going to be doing
-Top Of The Pops for the second time.
-It was actually our office as well
cos people... We didn't have house phones then,
so we used to have to wait for calls to come in sometimes, didn't we?
Standing outside the office, waiting for the phone to ring.
"Somebody said they'd phone at one o'clock to tell us
"what the chart position was."
-You remember the number? BOTH:
We wrote a song about it, it was our second single.
# Red frame, white light
# Telephone box
# Red on grey
# Red frame, white light... #
We may have to put that in the set this year now.
-We probably should, shouldn't we?
-We'll be getting requests.
We probably should, just to kind of mourn the end of its... You know.
Just to make me have to learn how to play the bass part again.
I've got no idea!
This is the thing when you reform and you want to play a song
you haven't played for 30 years,
you have to listen to your own CD to find out what you played.
We are going to need several of these backing vocalists
cos they're so heavily processed,
there's no way we're going to be able to recreate...
These synth-pop pioneers
and Krautrock fanatics wrote some of the '80s' most memorable songs.
They were ahead of their time.
MUSIC: Enola Gay by OMD
But as the decade drew to a close, their star was waning.
# Enola Gay
# You should've stayed at home yesterday... #
I think in the '90s,
electronic music seemed sort of out of fashion.
I mean, it was quite strange that, you know,
we were trying to be the future in the sort of '70s and '80s,
and then the future became sort of music from the '60s and '70s.
The band split in 1989,
and Paul and Andy went their separate ways,
but it was a bitter divorce.
The band stopped.
And then about six months later...
..I get a phone call from Paul saying...
"Our accountant says there's value in the brand name of the band,
"and there's three of us and one of you, so we would like to continue."
This is the painful truth now. This is the honest...
This is the bit that we never talked about.
And I was like,
"They're going to do it without me?! Can...?"
And so I went to the record company and said...
"They want to be OMD without me, that hurts, can they do it?"
And the record company said,
"Well, we own the right to the name to release records,
"so if they want to be OMD, they'll have to give us the album
"and we'll decide if we're going to release it."
But the record company said to me,
"You've been the lead singer, you're the face of the band,
"so if you make a record and
"we prefer it to Paul and Malcolm and Martin's,
"why don't you keep the name of the band?"
So, the whole thing completely went 180.
# Sailing on the seven seas...
# Sister Ray is on TV... #
Andy's first release as OMD without Paul was called
Sailing On The Seven Seas.
When you went on tour, someone sent me a picture,
because someone put up a giant banner that said,
"What have you done with Paul?"
It was hard, and it was difficult,
and I was terrified, and he was upset.
The classic line-up was reunited in 2006.
Now approaching the 40th anniversary of the band,
OMD have a critically acclaimed new album,
battling contemporary acts for the UK's number one spot.
# The ultimate discovery... #
And alongside us fans that grew up with them
are a new younger audience.
All the ingredients of a good comeback.
When we got into the new millennium, there was
this realisation that there was no longer a linear progression,
you know, this did not replace that.
Now it was this kind of atomised,
scattered landscape, where if you had
a catalogue that was considered acceptable
and if you could still do it, then you were allowed to still do it.
The timeframe between the '90s and '00s,
and now in 2017, the value of some of those older artists...
We've lost quite a few - we've lost David Bowie,
we've lost George Michael, we've lost Prince.
..so the value of the ones that are still active and still
performing, or still writing, or still working, has increased.
And I think there's much more awareness and a knowledge
of how great that talent was.
40 years ago, it was a big deal if a band got back together.
Now it's a big deal if they don't!
And at the heart of all this is fans' loyalty,
so crucial to the success of a good reunion.
Everywhere you look, bands are reforming,
enjoying enormous success.
Guns N' Roses, Pixies, Kraftwerk...
Yet, most of those bands don't have all the original line-up,
so how many original members does it take to make a successful reunion?
Simon's words was, "Alls I need is you...
"..and I really don't give a fuck who else is involved."
Simon Moran was the canny promoter who reassembled Happy Mondays,
one of the most influential acts to come out of Manchester
in the late '80s.
A reunion welcomed by the fans - but for Shaun Ryder,
fans weren't the only motivation.
There's a lot of times in the media, and TV shows,
where they won't let you say, "I'm only here for the fucking money."
They won't let you say, you know, why you're really there.
"I'm on my fucking arse, what do you want me to do,
-work at Tescos or go and fucking sell drugs or rob some
To announce their return, a new single was planned,
but as Shaun later reflected, the band were pretty cabbage
and he had writer's block, so that wasn't going to happen.
We had to release a single that was going to announce us back.
So at the time, we all thought,
"Oh, Phil Lynott, The Boys Are Back In Town."
# The boys are back The boys are back in town
# The boys are back
# The boys are back The boys are back... #
I mean, the idea was great, but we didn't sort of do what we did
with Step On, the John Kongos song,
which was add to it and, you know, really make it work.
With The Boys Are Back In Town,
it was... We did a pretty shit job on that.
One big change I've noticed for bands on the comeback trail
is when dealing with the money question.
There seems to be far less embarrassment nowadays around
expecting to be paid for your music.
"You sold out" - I mean, it's like, sold out from what, really?
Come on. Answer me.
Sold out from what?
It's like when we started,
"Oh, can we use your song to advertise washing powder?"
"Course you fucking can!
"Give me 70k, you can advertise what the fuck you want!"
Since their reunion, the band have had various line-ups.
They're currently enjoying a successful greatest hits tour with
most of the original members now back in the madhouse.
While a reformed band can enjoy success without the full line-up,
nothing beats the excitement or sheer bankability of a band reunion
when all the original members sign on the dotted line.
CAMERA SHUTTERS CLICK
-The Spice Girls, back together again.
They posed for the cameras in London Thursday,
as they announced they're reuniting for an upcoming tour.
I was at the break-up, but it was more fun to be there at the make-up.
The power of these five to generate headlines around the world
It made my job as their PR easier, that's for sure.
I always dreaded the phone call about getting back together.
I always knew the day would come,
and Geri called me...
It was the Ginger one,
ironically, the one that bloody left!
She gave me a call, and the other girls had been talking,
and they were talking about a reunion,
and I was really, really reluctant to do it.
But after spending a bit of time with them
and getting forced into it - not really, I'm only kidding -
it just...it kind of felt like something, you know,
that I felt more comfortable with doing.
# La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la La, la, la... #
I'm so glad I did it.
I went into it quite fearful, and I just had a blast
and really enjoyed it so much more than the first time round,
because I think the first time round you're so caught up in it
you don't fully appreciate it.
And the second time round, we're older, wiser, you know,
a lot easier on each other, and we just had a really great time.
-# Slam it to the left
-If you're having a good time
-# Shake it to the right
-If you know that you feel fine... #
This reunion tour was a huge success,
certainly the biggest I've been involved with.
Fans flocked to the O2 in London,
where the band performed 17 sell-out shows to 20,000 people a night
and made £16 million in the process.
-# Colours of the world
-Spice up your life! #
Overall, the world tour generated nearly £200 million in ticket
and merchandise sales.
Being completely open, honest and candid, you make money doing it.
You know? It's like, I can continue being a solo artist
for the rest of my life, which is what I hope to do,
but I will never, ever be able to do any of the things
I did with the Spice Girls, so, you know,
if you have that opportunity, then that is also very appealing.
Alongside the enormous amounts of money to be made from a reunion,
I know, from speaking to many artists, that just
as important is the sheer thrill of playing live again.
One day, I got a phone call
from Blur's...their manager,
saying Damon and Graham had bumped into each other in the street
and eaten an Eccles cake
and wanted to get back together and do some gigs,
and I was like, "Yeah, great.
"Where are we going to play?" And...
..he suggested Hyde Park, which was, like,
a way bigger gig than we'd ever done when we were together,
so I was like, "Wow, do you think we can fill it?"
And he said, "Well, I'm not sure, but we'll take a chance."
We put the tickets on sale at like, nine o'clock the following week,
and it sold out in like 30 seconds or something,
and I remember breaking down in tears in the kitchen.
# It really, really, really could happen
# Yes, it really, really... #
Two nights at Hyde Park, playing to over 100,000 people.
This is the sort of adulation an artist doesn't want to let go of.
# Just let them go
# Yes, it really, really, really could happen. #
I was like, "Wow, this is..."
You know, I'd completely forgotten how brilliant it was.
It is like going on a fairground ride or something,
you know, you're on it and you're like...
And then you get off and you're like,
"Wow, I want to go back on that again."
# Just let them go... #
The chance to hear songs played live we thought we'd never get to hear
again has profoundly changed the music industry.
We have free hugs. Woo!
One of the developments I've witnessed over
the last ten years is the rise of the retro festival.
Recycling the past to sell to the present is now big business.
Indeed, whatever musical decade you find yourself humming
tunes from, there's a festival somewhere just for you.
Village People. Sugarhill Gang.
And set amongst the bucolic Temple Island Meadows in Henley
is one of the UK's most popular -
Rewind, where every year 40,000 music fans step
back in time to party like it's the 1980s.
Oh, and don't forget to dress appropriately.
The revival's actually gone on a lot longer than the decade.
Back in the '80s, we were all trying to create three minutes of perfect
pop for that moment in time, and that's all it was.
And I think as a result of that, lots of us
created really great, iconic tunes that just live and live and live.
I probably make more money now out of the band
than I did back in the day.
Bringing their three-minute classic hit to the Rewind stage this year
are the pop sensation of 1982, Musical Youth.
The voice is always there. You always get...
And I'm going to forget what keys I put our songs in now.
Hey, Dennis, what's our first song? I've forgotten now.
-Hard As They Come.
-Hard As They Come, there you go.
The famous five are now two -
lead singer Dennis Seaton and keyboardist Michael Grant.
The band were best known for their number one single Pass The Dutchie.
It sold five million copies and made them household names.
Very pleased to see this get to number one.
Here's Musical Youth.
# It was a cool and lonely breezy afternoon
# How does it feel when you got no food? #
Musical Youth were a group of schoolkids
from Birmingham. With a string of hit singles
and a Grammy award nomination, the early '80s were good for them.
But their success soon unravelled and they split in 1985.
They reformed 16 years later,
and are now regulars on the '80s retro circuit.
People say to me, "Do you like singing Pass The Dutchie?"
Of course I do!
You know, because I like...
I love seeing the response of people when they hear Pass The Dutchie.
# Pass the Dutchie 'on the left-hand side... #
Their rebirth started out low key.
Dennis called me and said,
"Listen, there's a tour going in..." I think it was Guernsey.
-Tour? It was two shows! Talking about a tour?!
-It was two shows, two shows!
-OK, then, a weekend away, then,
-whatever you want to say.
-A weekend away is better.
I said to Michael, "This guy wants us to do a gig as Musical Youth, do
"you want to come and do the gig, you know, down in Guernsey?"
And he kind of um'd and ah'd,
and then he said, "You know what, let's do it."
Back on the road after a break of nearly 20 years.
Times have changed.
-That's what happens when you give
someone who is not professional a shirt to iron.
They ain't got a clue.
There are no longer managers, business advisors, lawyers,
accountants or hangers-on in tow.
The nice thing is, is that now there is not this massive 55 entourage,
that, you know, makes life so much, so much easier.
You had an entourage?
There's less egos, less hassle.
And right from the very first reunion gig, there was
one big difference.
So I've given Michael £800, he just looked at me, "What's this?"
I said, "That's your fee for the two gigs." And he went, "What?!"
"What are you telling me?"
I said, "Well, I've divvied it all up, and that's what you've got."
And he couldn't get his hat on because all the times
-we was on tour as Musical Youth, with the success...
-..we never got paid for tours!
-We never got paid!
-We lost money on tours.
We don't know how we lost money on tours.
We were playing stadiums, STADIUMS!
But this musical reunion is no Filthy Lucre endeavour.
-He only comes on the road now to get to sleep.
-Yeah, that's right.
-Oh, gosh, yeah.
-Where before, he used to come and talk to me...
-He'd come there...
-HE IMITATES SNORING
-Cos of the kids.
I've got three kids under three. It's just tough.
And I'm glad I've now experienced being a father,
but in hindsight, maybe I should have done it slightly younger.
What I need now is an 18-month world tour.
Anybody listening? 18-month world tour!
It's not just music fans wearing Day-Glo
in a field in Henley who want to revisit the past.
This yearning to enjoy music from our youth is universal.
I've grown out of the books that I liked when I was a teenager.
I've grown out of the places that I liked,
the people that I liked, you know.
I'm sort of over almost everything I was into as a teenager
apart from cheese and The Smiths
and New Order... And the music I liked then,
I will take to the grave. And I think it's the same for everybody.
It's not just music from our own past that's readily accessible
today, it's music from right across rock and pop's back pages.
And it's meant some bands who missed out first time around
now have a second chance.
# The warmth of your love is like the warmth from the sun
# And this will be our year Took a long time to come... #
In 1967, The Zombies recorded their second album, Odyssey And Oracle,
now regarded as a masterpiece.
But in 1968, when it was released amidst huge expectations,
the band had already split
and the album sank without a trace.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of
Odyssey And Oracle,
please give a warm welcome for the return of The Zombies.
# Good morning to you
# I hope you're feeling better, baby. #
But a 50-year rediscovery of the album has meant The Zombies,
led by Rod Argent on piano and vocalist Colin Blunstone,
are enjoying a new dawn.
I think we were all very tired.
We'd been playing nonstop for three years.
We were very young and
I just think we were a bit battered, actually.
Right now, I'd like you to meet some people.
What is your name, please?
-Rodney Terence Argent.
-Hugh Birch Grundy.
Paul Ashley Warren Atkinson.
Christopher Taylor White.
Colin Edward Michael Blunstone.
You probably know them better as The Zombies.
# Well, no-one told me about her... #
The Zombies rose to fame off the back of their hit single
She's Not There.
Regarded as the next big thing, it made the failure of
Odyssey And Oracle even more intriguing.
# But it's too late to say you're sorry
# How would I know? Why should I care? #
I remember us going and doing
an interview with Kenny Everett,
who was a huge fan of The Zombies, and he loved the album.
Album of the century, Odyssey And Oracle,
available in your local shops.
# Good morning to you I hope you're feeling... #
Hang on, I'll turn your microphone on. There you go, say it again.
-That's better. I hear you've all split up, then.
How long has the Odyssey been out?
No, it's out on the 19th, in actual fact.
And then Kenny Everett said,
"How can you break up and the album's only just coming out?
"It's not even out yet and you're breaking up already!"
Well, wouldn't it be better to wait
until the LP is maybe a huge success and then decide whether to go?
Well, if the LP is a huge success, then maybe we'll come back again.
Come back in again, OK.
Oh, well. Here's the single, folks.
Buy, buy, buy. Keep them in.
We can't afford to lose lovely groups, you know.
The album remained an undiscovered gem
until word-of-mouth started to generate interest in the record.
It's a bit of a phenomenon, I mean, no-one was promoting it,
no-one was marketing it, so it can only be through word-of-mouth.
People like Paul Weller named it at that time,
when The Jam were right at the top of the charts.
It completely floored us,
him saying, "This is my favourite album of all time."
And it started to appear in the top 100 albums of all time
in Rolling Stone,
it started to make charts in the UK as well.
And it sells more every year now than it did in those days.
# To take you in the sun To promised lands... #
Interest in Odyssey And Oracle reached such a level that
The Zombies eventually reformed, and now the band have been touring
the album in its entirety to packed-out crowds.
-# Has he taken any time
-Has he taken any time... #
None of us were expecting this.
We weren't expecting to be touring at this time in our lives.
And we weren't expecting to be playing the kind of venues that
we're playing, so, it feels great. It feels great.
And it kind of, to some extent, sort of
solidifies what we were doing in the '60s, because I would say it
did, in the '60s, it did end on a disappointing note, on a sad note.
-Oh, of course.
-And so, in a way, it didn't end.
There are many ways to stage a comeback,
but what happens if NO members of a band want a reunion?
They might be on a break, unwilling, too old...
..or too dead?
A small inconvenience.
We can't let these sort of things stand in the way
of a musical revival.
When I was a punky young kid in this area, I'd have never come
to a musical. It would have been an absolute anathema to me.
It's the sort of thing my parents did, or teachers did, or something.
it would have been probably very damaging for my street cred.
If anyone had seen me nipping into a place like this, I mean,
I'd have had to have gone in disguise.
Bat Out Of Hell was written by Jim Steinman, and performed
by Meat Loaf on his 1977 rock album.
It sold 43 million copies.
Hello, my name's Alan Edwards,
I wonder if you have a ticket for collection for me.
And with Meat Loaf currently unavailable for a tour of duty,
what better and more lucrative way is there to celebrate
the album's 40th anniversary than a rock opera?
Sometimes the storylines can be a little bit suspect,
but let's face it, we're not really here for the story.
It's the tunes we're after.
# I remember everything!
# Like a bat out of hell I'll be gone when the morning comes
# And when the night is over
# Like a bat out of hell I'll be gone, gone, gone... #
The idea of pop music popping up in the West End is not new,
but what HAS changed is the amount of pop music popping up.
ABBA'S Mamma Mia! broke the bar.
Its success spawned a whole host of musical offspring.
The Kinks, Spice Girls, Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, Boney M,
the Small Faces, UB40,
and there are rumours of a Spandau Ballet show.
It could be said pop music is driving the West End,
and there's not a band in sight.
80% of all shows at the moment are musicals.
I mean, that's testament to the success of it.
And it's the familiarity of great tunes,
great songs, presented in a new way...
Brings them to life, actually, gives them a new lease of life.
It means the artist can stay at home if
they don't want to tour, they're not well, or whatever reason,
and the royalties will just come flowing in.
But if a West End musical is your idea of hell,
why not head over to museum land?
MUSIC: Golden Years by David Bowie
As with so many things that pointed to music's future,
it was my old mentor, David Bowie, who led the way.
When a retrospective of David's career opened
at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2013,
it offered a new lease of life to acts no longer able to tour,
and showed the way for acts that refused to tour.
When we went to see the Bowie exhibition, we were kind of...
You know, that was our inspiration to sort of do The Jam one.
MUSIC: Going Underground by The Jam
About The Young Idea at Somerset House in London
featured a band that will never get back together.
It showed that by turning rock and pop into a museum piece,
you could stage a comeback.
Without coming back.
This is my brother's iconic Whaam! guitar, Rickenbacker,
which was custom painted for him.
He never plays it any more, it just sits in a box, but I thought it was
quite nice that it was on exhibit for a couple of years.
It's pretty smart, actually, isn't it?
A lot of people would want to hold this.
I remember saying to my brother, you know,
"I'm going to do this Jam exhibition,"
and he was like, "Who the hell wants to come to a Jam exhibition?"
You know. And then it sort of proved it that when we did it,
it was a massive success.
You know, you're not going to see this band ever playing on a stage
together again, but this is as close as you're going to get it, really.
MUSIC: That's Entertainment by The Jam
No more worries about the band fighting or not turning up -
you just stick this lot in a shipping container, something
you could have never done with the acts,
and send it off around the world.
And the Bowie exhibition? Well, it's still on tour -
four golden years, 12 cities
and nearly two million visitors later.
The music business nowadays is constantly finding
new ways for us to enjoy our favourite artists.
I've just taken on a new client, one of the greatest singers of all
time, and he's about to make the ultimate comeback.
It's a bit strange, though, because he died 30 years ago.
But now, here he is, as a hologram.
And I'm talking about the Big O, Roy Orbison.
Considered by Elvis to be the greatest vocalist of all time.
And a wearer of a very cool pair of shades.
It's a traditional world tour, but what is different is he'll
be a hologram, but backed by a live band.
Roy will soon be joining
Tupac Shakur and Michael Jackson,
who've had a similar revival.
There's even talk of ABBA reforming and heading out on tour
as their virtual selves.
So maybe in the future, bands will never be break up or retire,
they'll just keep on regenerating.
Well, I think I'll go to a gig, maybe January 1966,
I'm going to go down to Andy Warhol's Factory
on West 47th Street
and see the first ever Velvet Underground rehearsal
with Nico on vocals.
Or maybe I'll go to The Nashville Rooms
in West Kensington,
see the Sex Pistols and have a little look around,
see if I can see myself in the audience anywhere.
MUSIC: Love Letters by Metronomy
And who would our musicians like to see get back together again?
Who wouldn't want to see Frankie Goes to Hollywood
doing a major arena tour?
I mean, that'd just be fucking mega!
Jimi Hendrix Experience.
-The original Spiders From Mars.
I'd love to see Peter Hook play with New Order again.
There's a lot of dead people I'd like to see working again.
-And I know exactly who he's going to say.
-Would've been Bob Marley.
-The original four members of Kraftwerk.
You know what the biggie is, don't you?
Part three of this entertaining, behind-the-scenes series about how the music business works, explores the phenomenon of band reunions.
With unique revelations, rare archive and backstage access to an impressive line-up of old favourites strutting their stuff once more, music PR legend Alan Edwards tells the story of why so many bands are getting back together, what happens when they do - and how it's changing the music business.
Alan Edwards, who has looked after everyone from Prince to The Rolling Stones, from David Bowie to The Spice Girls, is our musical guide. He's been in the business long enough to see countless acts enjoy pop stardom, split up, fall out, only to re-emerge triumphant decades later, to the joy of their fans.
Alan starts by telling the story of the UK's first revival concert which took place over 40 years ago at Wembley Stadium. Featuring some of the biggest acts from the birth of rock 'n' roll - Bill Haley and the Comets, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis - the concert opened the eyes of promoters to the power of yesterday's hitmakers to reach an audience and make serious money.
From there, Alan takes us on a musical journey through some of the biggest reunions of the last thirty years. Highlights include Glen Matlock, ex-bassist in The Sex Pistols who talks candidly about their 1996 reunion. Called the Filthy Lucre tour, Glen reveals how one section of the band had to travel on a separate tour bus just to keep the fragile band reunion on track so they could finish the tour.
Alan also meets the three remaining members of Blondie, who tell him how they've navigated their reunion. Debbie Harry reveals how she didn't want to get back together with the band at first, had to be persuaded to do it, but then teared up when they first played together - 'when we put the band back together for the first time and everybody started playing I sort of teared up because, oh there really is that sound, that really does exist, we do have an identity and that is probably the really successful band is to have a successful uniqueness to it.'
Stewart Copeland, the drummer in The Police, tells us about their reunion tour, one the most successful of all time. In rare archive of the band's rehearsals, Stewart tells us these 'were hell'. Copeland also reveals how the band had therapy during their comeback tour, 'we started to say things that I, we'd never said. I heard things from him (Sting) that just blew my mind, that's what you've been thinking for thirty years.'
Melanie C talks about The Spice Girls' reunion and reveals which of the girls called to ask her to give it another go. Alex James from Blur gives us the inside track on how Blur's revival happened and Shaun Ryder, with typical bluntness, tells us why he decided to take The Happy Mondays back on the road. We also hear from OMD, who for the first time reveal what really happened during their bitter break-up.
Eighties musical phenomenon Musical Youth take us behind the scenes of their rebirth and tell us why they still do it, and one of the biggest bands of the 60s, The Zombies, tell the remarkable story of how good old-fashioned 'word of mouth' played a big part in their rebirth.
The programme also looks at how to stage a reunion when no members of the band want to get involved. Alan Edwards explores how pop music is increasingly popping up in West End musicals and at how bands are staging their own exhibitions as a way to come back without actually having to stage a reunion.
And finally, Alan ponders the ultimate comeback - from beyond the grave - and asks whether technology and the arrival of hologram performances mean that in the future bands will never really break up, they'll just keep on regenerating.