What’s a more powerful force than money? Not wanting to be anywhere near your old bandmates who drove you crazy.
The news of a Led Zeppelin reunion tour is just now breaking…because it isn’t going to happen. Richard Brandon of Virgin offered the three surviving members of the classic rock supergroup $800 million to reunite for 35 concerts. (It was really a series of three residencies, with multiple shows in London, Berlin, and New Jersey.) Robert Planet, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones each would have each been paid $200 million for performance, and split $100 million in merchandising profits. But at a final meeting with concert promoters, Plant literally tore up the contract, deciding that he didn’t want to do the reunion after all.
In 2000, ABBA was hip again thanks to Mamma Mia!, a hit musical in London and New York built around the band’s 1970s disco-pop. One of the bestselling bands worldwide of all time (reportedly second only to the Beatles) a concert promoter offered the four members of the Swedish group $1 billion to reunite for 100 shows in 2000. At the one time ABBA’s two male members were married to the two female members…not not anymore, and the band had permanently split in 1982. “We have never made a comeback,” said member Bjorn Ulvaeus. “Almost everyone else has. I think there’s a message in that.”
The annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, held annually in California, has frequently featured a reunited classic band, such as Jane’s Addiction, the Stooges, Pixies, and Bauhaus. In 2005, organizers offered the Smiths $5 million to play a single set at that year’s concert. The Smiths were one of the most influential bands of the 1980s, at the forefront of alternative rock and “Britpop,” but broke up in 1987 (followed by the band members suing each other). Frontman Morrissey nixed the reunion, telling a reporter, “I’d rather eat my own testicles than reform the Smiths, and that’s saying something for a vegetarian.”
The Fab Four never reunited after their acrimonious split in 1970, and John Lennon and George Harrison have since passed away. In the mid-1970s, concert promoter Bill Sargent offered the Beatles $10 million to play a single concert, likely at Shea Stadium, that was also going to feature the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. It didn’t happen, even when he offered $50 million, and even when he offered $100 million.
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