ABBA made their glorious return with the first two songs from, Voyage, the first new music from the Swedish icons in four decades.
They dropped ‘I Still Have Faith in You’ and ‘Don’t Shut Me Down’ on September 3rd to wild worldwide fanfare. It brought to an end an absence of 40 years, the group disbanding in 1982 after releasing their last album, The Visitors, the year before.
That long wait got us thinking: what other artists have waited so long to release new music? Check out our list below with some of the other longest gaps between music releases, including some very famous bands.
The Sonics (48 years)
This 60’s garage group from Washington State might have been a major influence on subsequent punk and garage bands but they certainly took their time between albums. After a run of three albums culminating in 1967’s Introducing the Sonics, the band split up, with some members heading to university or other bands. After getting back together, they released This Is the Sonics in 2015 and even toured the album.
Strawberry Alarm Clock (43 years)
Strawberry Alarm Clock had one of the defining (and catchiest) hits of the 60’s with ‘Incense and Peppermints’ but after releasing the album Good Morning Starshine in 1969, they waited four decades for its follow-up. Given that they had released four albums in just three years at the end of the 60’s, they were probably exhausted. In 2012, they finally released their fifth record, Wake Up Where You Are.
Danny Elfman (36 years)
You might not know who Elfman is but you’ve definitely heard his work: he made the film scores for Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Alice in Wonderland, and Good Will Hunting amongst many others. He just loves making music, even performing in the wonderfully-named 80’s new wave group Oingo Boingo. Elfman also released two solo albums, So-Lo in 1984 and then Big Mess in 2021. That lengthy gap is excusable – it’s probably quite taxing working with Tum Burton so much.
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Vashti Bunyan (34 years)
The absolutely enchanting singer-songwriter Vashti Bunyan was almost lost to music history. Her masterful 1970 debut album, Just Another Diamond Day, sold poorly, causing Bunyan to abandon her music dreams. It was thankfully rediscovered in the 21st century and was re-released, with Bunyan becoming a major influence on the burgeoning freak folk movement of the time (Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom). Riding the crest of her newfound popularity, she released her second studio album Lookaftering in 2005 to wide acclaim.
Gene Simmons (25 years)
We all know Simmons as the bassist of KISS but he also found time to release two solo albums. Well, not much time. His self-titled debut from 1978 was followed much later by another self-titled record, 2004’s Asshole. The album name of the latter, incidentally, doesn’t appear on the album’s front cover.
My Bloody Valentine (21 years)
The greatest shoegaze group of all time are really thrifty with their music. After releasing two undisputed masterpieces, 1988’s Isn’t Anything and 1991’s Loveless, they remained mostly inactive for the next couple of decades. When they did eventually return, though, they returned in style: 2013’s m b v was another classic, their intricate brand of rock still breathtaking to behold.