Welcome to Polls Apart, the sliding scale of musical conflicts; the Clash barometer of diverging trends.
It’s Easter, and while the history books tell us to be mindful of the bearded bloke who escaped from a cave two thousand years ago, our attention has strayed to other comebacks attempted by more musical messiahs, and have charted the results of those who succeeded, and those whose career trajectory is forever in the decline…
Whilst the commoditisation of sex is nothing new…/blockquote>
10. Gary Glitter
Currently doing bird in a Vietnamese jail for heinous abuse of minors, there is little chance of there ever being a point where him singing ‘Do You Wanna Touch Me?’ doesn’t invoke the spectre of a dirty old man callously robbing innocence for his own sexual pleasure.
9. Lil’ Kim
Whilst the commoditisation of sex is nothing new within the music industry, Lil’ Kim decided to pursue it in a fashion that increasingly looked like an issue of Nuts authored by a frantically deranged mind.
8. Sly And The Family Stone
Stumbling onstage in London during a 2007 festival appearance then mumbling his way through a single song, Sly Stone didn’t so much dash your respect for his past but rather launched a gang hunt on every pleasing memory you’d ever seconded for the band, before raping them with a knife.
Revisionism is a wonderful thing. In life Tupac Shakur was a misogynistic cunt who regarded sexual assault and casual violence an acceptable way to spend his evenings. In death he’s been canonised through urban folklore as a troubled soul who was slain by petty rivalries and thereby silenced in his prime.
6. Norwegian Satanists
Possibly the most shocking aspect of the case is that Mayhem continued to release music for a while after the incident. That is until another member of the band was stabbed to death by Varg Vikernes of the aforementioned Burzum – thereby consigning any further notions of resurrection to the unwashed black T-shirt in the sky. Confused? It’s like reading fucking Tolkien after a drinking pint of Listerine.
To come back at all is one thing, but to do it with the ‘Cosmic Thing’ LP and its centrifugal hit single is resurrection on a strikingly human scale.
“the greatest night in show business history”
4. Judy Garland
Yet in true showbiz style Garland was unwilling to let the curtain fall, with a 1961 show at New York’s Carnegie Hall cementing her place in our poll. Commonly referred to as “the greatest night in show business history”, the concert recording went on to win five Grammy Awards and has never since been out of print. Fly my pretties, fly!
3. Brian Wilson
With the aborted 1967 Beach Boys LP ‘SMiLE’ finally completed in 2004, Wilson found himself back on tour and swamped in critical acclaim. Yes he looked a bit like a Thunderbird, but the fact he was on stage and emitting such a beautiful noise was a stunning u-turn for a true musical visionary long presumed missing in action.
2. Vashti Bunyan
Genuinely bemused by her newfound popularity, Bunyan recorded her second album for Fat Cat Records a whopping 37 years after her debut. Yet it is the rediscovery and subsequent impact of ‘Just Another Diamond Day’ that truly represents her resurrection.
1. Johnny Cash
In an era obsessed with transient youth and flippant nostalgia, Cash did it on his own terms – something which should never be underestimated. He walked the line and for that we salute him.
So, a varied selection, any you’d like to add? Any closet Gary Glitter fans we’ve upset? Let loose in the comments below…