As the old saying goes, better late than never. Some musicians have taken this to heart. These are the artists who have waited years, even decades, to release a new album. Many simply gave up on hearing something new, until it finally happened. Of course, we are not always satisfied with what we hear when the time comes. For better or worse, here are the musicians who kept us waiting but finally delivered.
The Chicks have enjoyed a long career, as the country trio had three number one albums in a row, ending with “Taking the Long Way” in 2006. This was when they were still called The Dixie Chicks , of cours. Now they’ve tossed “Dixie” on the sidewalk and they’re back with “Gaslighter,” their first album in over 14 years. Will another number one album be in sight?
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Parliament, the legendary funk band, released “Trombipulation” in 1980. It seems like the perfect time for a funk band to hang up the instruments. George Clinton had other things to do, like cameos in “Good Burger.” Then Clinton responded with a roar and he brought Parliament with him. “Medicaid Fraud Dogg” brought the funk back in 2018.
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“Raw Power” saw the Stooges’ sound tweaked a bit, becoming a little more rocky, but the 1973 album is still considered a predecessor to the rise of punk. Then Iggy Pop embarked on his own journey as a solo artist and shirt protester. After decades apart, the Stooges reunited in 2007 for “The Weirdness.” Two years later, original guitarist Ron Asheton died, marking an end point for the Stooges.
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The Eagles released a few albums after “The Long Run” in 1979, but they were of the live album variety. In fact, their 1994 live album “Hell Freezes Over” is one of the best-selling releases of all time. The very premise of this album was that this was not a band that imagined getting back together. As such, there were quite a few surprises when “Long Road Out of Eden” was released in 2007.
On 1985’s “In My Head,” Henry Rollins was the vocalist for Black Flag. When the band returned in 2013 with “What The…”, there was no Rollins, but they brought back Ron Reyes as lead singer, who hadn’t been with the band since 1980. Then Reyes was fired in the middle of a show while Black Flag was on tour in support of the album. Talk about a real punk moment.
Chic was prolific for many years, as their 1992 album “Chic-ism” was their eighth. It also seemed to be their last. Then Nile Rodgers put the gang back together, or in truth pretty much just brought back the Chic name for its music, for the aptly titled “It’s About Time.” What else do you call an album 26 years in the making?
Waters has, of course, been famous since his time with Pink Floyd. After the band called him, he would continue to tour performing “The Wall”, a concept album of his conception during the Pink Floyd days. In 2017 Waters posted “Is This the Life We Really Want?” a sharp album with great themes. It was also his first album since 1992, not including an opera he worked on in the meantime that was not released as a Roger Waters album.
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Speaking of Pink Floyd, apparently taking long breaks runs in the family. Although Gilmour didn’t wait as long between releases as his former bandmate. The waters took off nearly 25 years ago. Gilmour’s hiatus was almost exactly 22 years. Literally, 22 years and a day passed between releases.
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We’d understand if you didn’t consider 2006’s “Endless Wire” a true Who album. After all, it didn’t feature either the long-dead Keith Moon or the also-deceased John Entwhistle. That being said, when you think of The Who, you probably think primarily of Pete Townsend and Roger Daltrey. They were both still there, as they had been in “It’s Hard” in 1982.
The Cars reunited with Ric Ocasek, but they lost bassist and vocalist Benjamin Orr in 2000 when he died. It was 13 years after the release of their last album “Door to Door”. Then, in 2011, Ocasek returned to the studio without Orr for “Move Like This.” Ocasek also passed away, ending the legendary rock band’s run for good.
It’s only fitting that a group called the Zombies took a while to come back from the dead. In 1968 they released “Odyssey and Oracle”, only their second album. It seemed like a short run, but in 1991 the zombies returned for “New World.” You can be forgiven for not realizing it.
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The Pixies had a massive influence on the indie rock and grunge scene, but eventually Frank Black and company shut it down. That was in 1991, when the bands they had influenced, like Nirvana, were taking off. Some fans were thrilled when they returned with “Indie Cindy” in 2014, but the absence of Kim Deal on bass meant the album didn’t feel the same.
13 out of 25
Mission of Burma released exactly one studio album during its original run, but that was the seminal “Vs”. This release alone made them an iconic post-punk band. Then, out of the blue, they returned in 2004 for a second album. They actually released a few more albums, but called it quits in 2012.
14 out of 25
My dear love
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Speaking of influential bands that were apparently created after a short period of time, My Bloody Valentine is a prime example. They released “Loveless” in 1991, perhaps the quintessential shoegaze album, and then disbanded. There were rumors of a reunion, and then in 2013, they finally pulled it off with “MBV,” which many fans loved.
Devo’s rock art made them stand out when they debuted, even though most people only know the song “Whip It”. Most people had stopped listening to them by the time they released “Smooth Noodle Maps” in 1990. There was probably some intrigue to “Something For Everybody”, if only because it was a swerve of 20 years between albums. However, during this interval and since, Devo member Mark Mothersbaugh has become one of the most successful film score composers.
L7 was big in the grunge era, but by 1999 the whole grunge thing was gone and more. Considering that, it would have been a reasonable time for the band to go to bed. And they did…until 2019. The ladies of L7 came back with “Scatter the Rats,” and it was pretty well received. Maybe it’s time for a little grunge nostalgia?
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The Monkees released the hiatus ending album not once but twice. First they didn’t release an album between 1970 and 1987. Then they went from 1996 to 2016 with no new album. Of course, the fact that the band started out as a TV show in the ’60s means any album released after 1970 is pretty impressive.
18 out of 25
The Jesus and Mary Channel
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The Jesus and Mary Chain were prominent in the post-punk and new wave scene of the 80s, then they kind of died out in 1998. It would have been right for the Scottish rock band to stop, but instead, they returned with “Damage and Joy” in 2017.
19 out of 25
A tribe called Quest
A Tribe Called Quest were a critically adored rap group, but tensions led to a split after 1998’s concept album “The Love Movement.” It really felt like Q-Tip, Phife Dawg and the crew wouldn’t reunite. Then the tribe did return for their first album in 18 years. Unfortunately, he came with a heavy heart. Phife Dawg died in March 2016 and the album won’t be released until November, making it a posthumous affair.
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The Go-Gos were a punk band before becoming a massive 80s pop rock band, but they continued to party like the punks they were. Maybe that’s why they broke down after only releasing three albums, the last of which was released in 1984. Many years passed, some members of the band cleaned up their lives a bit, and then the band returned for “God Bless the Go-Go’s” in 2001. They haven’t released an album since, which means we could be in for another long hiatus if they ever return to the studio.
21 out of 25
In 1999, American Football released a self-titled album, which became an emo reference. Then they broke up. Would they be a wonder of an album? No! In 2016, the band returned with their second album. What did they call him? “American Football”, of course.
At the Drive-In caused a stir at the turn of the millennium with its driving, guitar-heavy sound. However, the band broke up, splitting into two more successful bands. Half the band formed Sparta, the other half formed The Mars Volta. After nearly 17 years apart, the band reunited in 2017 for a new release under the name At the Drive-In.
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Dr. Dre was never prolific, at least when it came to his own music. While he helped shape West Coast rap, he only released two solo albums in the ’90s, 1992’s iconic “The Chronic” and 1999’s “2001.” another album, but it wasn’t happening. We all pretty much gave up. Then, finally, in 2015, Dr. Dre gave birth to “Compton.”
Unfortunately for D’Angelo, his very good album “Voodoo” was overshadowed by the music video for his song “Untitled (How Does It Feel)”. You know, the one where he’s basically naked. This may have played a role in his disappearance after 2000. Unless he released a real surprise album in 2014 with “Black Messiah”. Although it was released in December, many publications revised their album of the year lists for D’Angelo.
We have to end with perhaps the long-delayed iconic album. We speak of “Chinese democracy”, of course. Axl Rose has been promising the album for years. Even as former bandmates like Slash left Guns N’ Roses and brought in guys like Buckethead, Axl Rose said “Chinese Democracy” was coming. No one believed him. It has become a piece of musical tradition and a running joke. Then, in 2013 exactly 15 years after Guns N’ Roses’ last album, “Chinese Democracy” was finally released, ruining the joke for good.