Everyone loves a good comeback story … I can remember how cool it was when Tina Turner started heading up the charts in the eighties with Let’s Stay Together. What was great about that moment is that it introduced young people (like me at the time) to her legendary past music history.
You have to give RUN DMC a little credit for reviving Aerosmith’s career a bit in the eighties (although some would argue they never truly went away but again RUN DMC introduced them to a new younger audience.)
However my favorite comeback story happened in 1994 to the Man in Black. Although Johnny Cash never really went away (much like Aerosmith), during the 1980s, record sales and support from his longtime label, Columbia, were at all-time lows. After putting out a string of fine yet occasionally overproduced albums (Check out his cheesy cover of CCR’s “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” from 1985’s Rainbow album), Cash actually found himself without a label in the early ’90s. (which is kind of mind blowing!)
Enter Rick Rubin. The producer, known for his work with A-list hip-hop artists and heavy metal bands. He offered Cash a contract with his label, American Recordings, and got right to work, stripping the Man in Black’s sound down to the basics: voice and acoustic guitar. The album, considered his finest release since the late ’60s, transformed Cash from museum piece to the ultimate in cool. Everyone wanted to work with him (and many did!)
So enjoy this stripped down, ultra cool version of Nick Lowe’s The Beast in Me. (For a while there Nick Lowe was actually Johnny Cash’s son-in-law … so he was keeping it in the family covering this one!)
What’s your favorite comeback story?