The 10 Most Painful Band Reunions

Zeppelin at Live Aid, the Beach Boys at the Grammys and more.

Performing in front of thousands of screaming fans is one powerful drug. So it’s not surprising that bands that should have long ago retired gracefully have continued to get up on stage. In honor of the Beach Boys’ 50th Anniversary Tour, which stops at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden on Saturday, here are some reunions that should have never come to fruition.

Led Zeppelin at Live Aid

One of the worst rock-and-roll reunions of all time happened right here in Philadelphia at JFK Stadium on the occasion of Live Aid, when Robert Plant and Jimmy Page got together to play a few tunes five years after maniacal drummer John Bonham choked to death on his own vomit. I’d like to be able to blame all of the awfulness on anemic Phil Collins, who sat in on drums, and Page himself later fingered the Genesis drummer for screwing up the set. But Collins was just the beginning of the bad. Go ahead. Watch and remember. It really was that terrible.

The Beach Boys at the Grammys

Yes, Pet Sounds was a great album. And what happened at this year’s Grammy Awards was a vile attempt at reviving that moment of creative genius. There’s a reason why the “official” version of their performance at the most recent Grammy Awards is not readily available.

The Jacksons Unity Tour

Michael Jackson probably told his brothers “over my dead body” when they proposed that the family get back together. Well, Michael is gone, and guess who has reunited? Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and … what’s the other one’s name? Oh, right. Jackie Jackson. In this interview with Piers Morgan, Jackie explains that they couldn’t get a hologram Michael Jackson together for the tour. Even crazy La Toya had the sense to sit this one out.

Yes, Since 1980

In 1980, management for these prog rock prodigies announced that the band was finis. It should have stayed that way. Instead, they got back together to release bad pop tunes. And then they sort of broke up and got back together again in various formats for many years to come before replacing lead singer Jon Anderson with some guy from Canada in 2008. And as if that weren’t bad enough, as of this year, they’ve now replaced the guy from Canada with a guy from Chattanooga who sang in a Yes cover band and also performed with a prog rock band that wrote an entire album about a character from Lord of the Rings. Anyway, he should have stuck with the Yes cover band, seen here, because they actually sound better than the real Yes these days.

Black Sabbath Download Festival

With the death of Ronnie James Dio and the reality TV-ization of Ozzy Osbourne, the chances of a proper Black Sabbath reunion seemed unlikely. But then, just last weekend, a 63-year-old, man-boobed Ozzy and the rest of the decaying heavy metal has-beens decided to head to England’s Downloads Festival, where this travesty transpired. They promise a new album. Not even a million bitten-off bat heads and a boycott from the American Family Association could save it from the bargain bin.


If there’s anything worse than a boy band, it’s two boy bands. And if there’s anything worse than two boy bands, it’s two boy bands nearly 20 years after they were boys. Still, in 2010, the New Kids On the Block and the Backstreet Boys merged into one acronym for a world tour.

Motley Crue on Larry King

If you’re a hard rock band, you know you’ve really screwed up your career when Larry King does a live segment with you moments before you do your big reunion show.

Stone Roses

I’m pretty sure that this English troupe, best known for its 1989 semi-hit Fools Gold, realized that the new reunion tour may have been a bad idea when their drummer walked off stage and went home in the middle of this show a few days ago. Then this happened.

Bruce Springsteen and E Street


The Monkees 45th Anniversary

For years, Davy Jones resisted calls for a Monkees reunion. Then he finally agreed, leading to a 2011 tour. And then he died. The only good thing to come of his sad passing is that we won’t have to endure a 50th.