Any music fan will tell you that one of the most exciting words any of their favourite bands could ever utter is “reunion”.
While Australian fans are eagerly awaiting news of (unlikely) reunions from the likes of Silverchair, Powderfinger, Grinderman, TISM, and more, other groups around the world have managed to defy expectations and treat their fans to the news they never expected.
Why, the Eagles once named their reunion tour and live album Hell Freezes Over after comments made by Don Henley about the possibility of the band performing again. Even Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Not In This Lifetime Tour’ was named after similar comments made by Axl Rose.
However, back in the early ’00s, one TV show decided to take a more proactive role in these reunions, removing the notion of leaving it up to the members of the bands and instead inserting themselves into the situation.
Check out Frankie Goes To Hollywood on Bands Reunited:
Dubbed Bands Reunited, the show was broadcast on VH1 and featured a rather simple premise that basically boiled down to “watch as we attempt to reunite groups from the ’80s”.
On paper, the show was rather simple, with host Aamer Haleem simply approaching members of these bands and attempting to convince them to take part in a one-off concert.
Typical episodes also featured interviews with the members of the bands as they described the reasons for their breakup, and other interesting information that may arise.
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The show was something of a success at times, with members of A Flock Of Seagulls, Berlin, and The Motels all agreeing to these reunion concerts. Others, including Squeeze, New Kids On The Block, and Extreme famously refused to participate in such a reunion.
Some of these attempts have even had results whose effects continue to be felt, with the likes of Dramrama recording a new album following their appearance on the show, and performing occasionally to this day.
Check out Dramarama on Bands Reunited:
Of course, you might be thinking that this is a rather invasive – if not somewhat mediocre – attempt at interfering with the legacy of famous bands, and you’d probably be right, with Kurt Harland of the Information Society hitting back at the show following his experiences.
While Harland did not take part in the reunion that came about due to the show, he later took to his website to criticise the tactics that producers employed during their approach of former band members, and how they edited interviews to ensure more drama was present than actually existed.
“What irritated me throughout this process, but especially when they intruded into my company’s building, was that they seemed to be walking in this cloud of unreality about the true nature of what was going on,” Harland explained.
“Somehow they just seemed to think that once everyone realized that ‘it’s for TV! it’s for TV!’, that suddenly no one would really mind the disruption and lack of respect for real people doing real work to create real content.”
Although Information Society have since reformed with Harland as a full-time member, it appears as though he does not look back on his experience with Bands Reunited with fond memories.
Check out Kurt Harland on Bands Reunited:
However, the most infamous moment in the history of Bands Reunited would have to be that of The Smiths.
For a bit of backstory for the uninitiated, The Smiths first formed back in 1982, and consisted of the core quartet of Morrissey, Johnny Marr, Andy Rourke, and Mike Joyce. Following their 1987 breakup, fans have eagerly called for a reunion, only to be shut down at just about every turn.
In addition to having turned down “50 million dollars for three… possibly five shows“, Morrissey once famously explained that he “would rather eat my own testicles than reform the Smiths, and that’s saying something for a vegetarian.”
With this in mind, any attempt to reunite The Smiths would be something akin to – as producers of Bands Reunited dubbed it – a “holy grail” for music fans.
In 2004, the show did indeed to try and get The Smiths back together, with their efforts being abandoned after a hilariously-failed attempt at tracking down Morrissey.
With the iconic vocalist performing a five-date residency at New York City’s Apollo Theatre in May of 2004, the show’s producers hit upon the idea of simply staking out the venue in hopes of catching Morrissey before he turns up to soundcheck.
While this is a relatively solid idea on paper, its realisation soon heads south, with a six hour stake-out resulting in little more than Morrissey jumping out of his limo, heading into the venue, avoiding the crew, and leaving them without any hopes of a future reunion.
For many fans, the image of Aamer Haleem sobbing against a van is ingrained within their memory, as others wonder why they maybe didn’t try another approach.
Whatever the case, Bands Reunited wrapped up production with its last episode back in 2006. No further episodes have been aired to date, leaving many to wonder if there’s hopes for a Bands Reunited reunion in the future.
Who knows, maybe the show could take another crack at groups like The Smiths, or even take on more recent cases like Oasis, R.E.M., The White Stripes, or Fugazi (though we doubt any of them would be as successful).