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- In general, the Two Decades Behind rule of coolness applies:
- The 1950s revival between the late 1960s through the 1980s and even further with Sha Na Na, Grease and Stand by Me are remembered for sparking renewed interest in rock-and-roll.
- The 1980s also revived 1960s guitar-based rock and jangly pop into college rock and Alternative Rock.
- The 1990s and early 2000s revived 1970s-style hard rock (ex. The Black Crowes were called "a band out of time") and metal into grunge and post-grunge. Hip-hop and R&B songs sampled every '70s funk and disco track they could get their hands on. British Invasion-era music became popular for much of the 90s with Friends and the "Cool Britannia" phenomenon.
- The 2000s and 2010s reinvigorated the 1980s' emphasis on synthesizers, vocal reverb, high production values, and relatively minimalist, almost un-syncopated beats.
- The 2010s have begun to show a revival of the grunge/alternative rock culture of the 1990s among the indie circles.
- Disco music was a huge world-wide phenomenon for a few years in the 1970s before it had a sudden, violent death in the early 1980s. Disco songs still appeared throughout the '80s, however the genre was, well, Deader Than Disco. For years disco was mocked and reviled, but sometime between the early 2000s and early 2010s Nostalgia Filter hit. Disco is the defining genre of the 1970s, disco dancing is popular in all its campy glory, and disco songs are in general well-liked, so the anti-disco backlash may be dead itself.
- The 1950s revival between the late 1960s through the 1980s and even further with Sha Na Na, Grease and Stand by Me are remembered for sparking renewed interest in rock-and-roll.
- The market for contemporary dance-pop music has seen great periods of popularity and decline, starting with the mid-to-late 1980s led by Michael Jackson's Thriller and Madonna's early period, then falling to Grunge and hip-hop in The '90s. It returned with the rise of the Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, Hanson, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears in 1998-1999, then gained a new audience when Disney Channel and Nickelodeon stars like The Jonas Brothers, Hilary Duff and Miley Cyrus branched out into teen pop careers in the mid-to late 2000s. Justin Bieber, Cody Simpson, One Direction, Carly Rae Jepsen, Big Time Rush, Ariana Grande and Austin Mahone seem to be flying the flag for the 2010s.
- Teen Pop tends to regularly go in and out of style. The genre first reached mainstream prominence in the early-1960's and remained popular throughout both The '60s and The '70s with such groups as The Osmonds and The Jackson 5. The genre fell out of fashion once disco backlash set in but regained strength in the late-1980's with such singers as Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. This brief resurgence in the popularity of the genre was, of course, halted by the rise of grunge in the early-90's and remained dormant until the late 90's, when The Spice Girls and Britney Spears broke through. While the genre saw possibly more success than ever before at this time, a massive backlash came about, with many accusing the era's pop stars of being plastic and corporate-made. Meanwhile, many up-and-coming singers like P!nk and Avril Lavigne rebelled against the teen pop craze by creating a harsher and more rock-oriented style of pop music. The resurgence of genres like post-grunge also took a significant bite out of the genre's popularity. By around 2007 (thanks in no small part to Britney's highly publicized Creator Breakdown), teen pop was good as dead. Only to come back during The New '10s with such singers as Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber. Also, some teenage singers have managed to hold appeal to adults and males due to their more mature Darker and Edgier premises, namely Lorde and Birdy.
- By proxy, the Boy Band craze. From approximately 1998 to 2001, boy bands such as the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC dominated the pop music scene, with multi-platinum albums and incessant airplay and TV spots. At one point, the Backstreet Boys even had Burger King kids' meal toys!! Inevitably, the over-saturation led to a huge backlash and by 2002, it was like they never existed. The boy band stigma has largely prevented most former boy band members from having much of a solo career afterwards (except Justin Timberlake, who beat the stigma by downplaying his association with *NSYNC, and is now as well-known as an actor as he is a singer). Another reason for the downfall of boy bands was the increasing popularity of pop-punk bands like Simple Plan, Good Charlotte, and Fall Out Boy, who soon became the next big thing among the younger demographic, and since they actually played instruments and wrote their own songs, they had much less of a stigma attached to them than boy bands did. In 2012, though, boy bands made a comeback, with Nickelodeon-produced Big Time Rush and British exports The Wanted and One Direction. A lot of the boy bands from the '80s and '90s (New Kids on the Block, the Backstreet Boys, etc.) also started reunion concerts, which attracted a sizable number of twenty- and thirty-something females. One Direction in particular has reached a phenomenon on the level of - or possibly even exceeding - their predecessors. In March, they became the first ever UK group to debut Billboard's top 200 album chart at #1 with the American release of their first album. Their second album sold half a million copies when it was released in November and was able to knock Taylor Swift off the top of the charts. When their third album debuted at #1 in 2013, they became the first group in the nearly 60-year history of the Billboard 200 to debut their first three - and then four - albums at #1.
- During the 2000s, it was a truism in the music industry that physical formats were dying out, soon to be rendered obsolete by the rise of [MP3s] and later streaming. However, in the mid-'10s many artists, weary of the low royalties paid by the likes of Spotify and Pandora, jumped ship to premium subscription services like Tidal (created by Jay-Z specifically as a creator-owned distribution platform) and Apple Music as their only means of digital distribution. Since then, physical sales have taken a rebound, not only for CDs but also for vinyl records and cassettes. And on that note...
- Vinyl records. They were already starting to become old-hat in The '70s with the introduction of compact cassettes, but they seemingly went out of fashion for good in The '80s as the cassette and especially the compact disc took over the market, and they saw themselves pushed back to the indie rock genre and niche applications (particularly DJ-ing). However, beginning around the late 2000s or so, they've come back to the forefront, thanks to a combination of factors: the audio distortion caused by the Loudness War having a nasty effect on CD audio quality (an effect that killed cassettes, and was not heard on vinyl, since such loudness can't be achieved on that medium), a growing preference for the sound of vinyl records (possibly for the reason discussed), the obsolescence of CDs themselves at the hands of MP3s and streaming, and the surging popularity of indie rock and dance music, the two genres that made the most use of vinyl records since The '80s. By the mid-2010s, many companies began to mass-produce turntables again, and Sony announced it would manufacture a record player at CES 2016. The vinyl revival has also led to the revival of the double album, something that had previously been viewed as the act of ultimate artistic self-indulgence. It's more common for albums that would normally fit on one LP to be spread across multiple discs for improved sound quality—fewer tracks per side means more space for the grooves. These double albums also often play at 45 rpm instead of the standard 33 rpm on LPs, as this also allows for higher sound quality.
- Cassettes are also beginning to make a silent resurgence in popularity in The New '10s. In 2014 alone, over 10,000,000 cassette tapes were sold while sales went up by 20% in 2015, and seem to have risen alongside vinyl amongst the same crowd. Reasons for this sudden re-popularity can be traced to their similar immunity to (or necessary removal of) the Loudness War, their relative cheapness compared to CDs, decent players providing surprisingly good quality, and the artists of genres that did make use of cassettes during their dormancy getting greater exposure. Additionally, the internet has allowed greater exposure for Type II and Type IV cassettes, which respectively use chromium oxide and pure metal particles rather than the ferric oxide of the much more common Type I cassettes and thus provide noticeably better sound quality; Type IV tapes have even been described as being comparable to a well-mastered LP. The fact that labels such as Sony and Universal have readopted cassette tapes, with their use of them making up 70% of sales in 2014, speaks volumes.
- Rock music, of all things, was practically dead in the early '60s, when most of the big stars were put out of commission — Elvis Presley got drafted and then turned to acting, the Day the Music Died took the life of Buddy Holly, Little Richard became born-again and started recording exclusively gospel songs, Jerry Lee Lewis derailed his career by marrying his 14-year-old cousin, Chuck Berry did the same with his own run-ins with the law, and the remaining artists were mostly recording forgettable novelty songs. It was felt that, soon, Rock & Roll would be swept in the dustbin of history where the Moral Guardians felt it belonged... and then came The British Invasion, providing a new jolt of creativity and mainstream appeal to the genre by blending it with other styles (most notably blues) and sporting a rebellious streak in tune with the 60s, turning what had previously been a teenage craze into the biggest game-changer in music history. In spite of no longer having the all-dominant position it had between 1965 and 1974, rock and its subgenres have consistently been at the forefront of popular music.
- Since the 1960s, rock has shifted from elaborate to stripped-down and back and everything in-between: The experimentation of the "British Invasion" bands was replaced by 1967-68 with "hippie rock" and folk rock. This was itself succeeded in the early 1970s by more "artsy" styles such as prog rock and glam rock, while jazz-rock and country-rock would also be popular, even if the critics rarely liked any of them. By the second half of the decade, punk rock and heavy metal surged as a reaction against the magnamity of prog (critics warmed up to them because of that), but the 50s-tinged "rock revivalism" became the most popular subgenre of the late 70s. The 1980s were dominated by the synth-heavy sounds of new wave and later on hair metal and arena rock, but by the next decade alternative rock, college rock and grunge surged as a backlash against them. After a brief period in the mid-late 1990s dominated in quick succession by pop-rock, the 60s-inspired Britpop and rap rock, the late 90s and 2000s were marked by "rawer" styles such as post grunge, indie-folk, rockabilly/"roots" rock, funk rock, new prog and especially pop punk. The 2010s have been noted for the dominance of the Brit indie/festival rock subgenre, particularly polarizing given its closeness to EDM, as well as for imposing an archetype considered to be antithetical of what rock-and-roll is supposed to be.
- While there were still bands playing more traditionally rooted styles of metal in the late '90s and early '00s that received a fair amount of attention from fan of their particular styles, bands playing modern styles of metal, such as Groove Metal and modern Technical Death Metal, grew to be more popular with the average metal fan. However, by the mid 2000s, several thrash metal bands began to receive a lot more attention than you would expect for a band playing that style in that period, and these bands kicked off the Thrash Metal revival, which remained fairly popular for a couple of years. In the meantime, interest in older forms of metal other than thrash was also increasing thanks to Darkthrone who adopted a more straightforward, punkier sound and inspired an entire "metalpunk" movement. This was followed by an old school Death Metal revival, the rise of a "retro" doom/70s occult rock scene and "new wave" of traditional heavy metal. Many older bands had also reformed during this time. Though the bands playing more modern forms of metal were still as popular as ever, the interest in older forms of metal among people who would normally have ignored it had grown. With the subsequent interest in the music of the 1990s as of The New '10s, metal has seen a major rise in stoner and sludge metal; additionally, while melodic metalcore as people knew it from the 2000s is essentially dead (having largely been integrated into post-hardcore and/or modern rock), there has been a large uptick in traditional metalcore as people started rediscovering the founders of the genre, while a new form that mixes that style with Swedish death metal, crust punk, and powerviolence has also been making waves.
- Heavy Metal in the mainstream suffered a deep slump in the early '90s, with grunge bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana taking over the rock charts and MTV. The genre, which had ruled the rock music scene in The '80s, was driven back underground; the few bands that did find success in The '90s, like Alice in Chains, Pantera, and Metallica, were those with a Darker and Edgier sound that fit in with the anti-Hair Metal sensibilities of the decade. However, as grunge burned out and transitioned into Post-Grunge, metal made a comeback in the late '90s as an antidote to the boy bands and idol singers of the era. MTV even celebrated this trend in 1999 with a TV special entitled The Return of the Rock, featuring Kid Rock and various other extreme musicians. While this breed of metal, known as Nu Metal, eventually suffered a backlash itself, metal as a whole survived its fall better than it did the collapse of hair metal in the early '90s, with numerous subgenres emerging from its ashes.
- Swing music started off as a fringe genre of jazz, but through the '30s and '40s grew to be wildly popular. Then, in the aftermath of World War II, it suddenly fell out of favor. Teens and dancers abandoned swing for rock-n-roll or crooners like Frank Sinatra, while dedicated jazz fans abandoned swing for the more complex bebop. Up-and-coming jazz musicians preferred playing bebop, because it gave them more soloing time, and jazz clubs preferred booking bebop combos because they were smaller and thus less expensive than swing bands.
- Duke Ellington and his orchestra—who had originally been famous in the swing era—managed to make their comeback in 1956, when their performance at that year's Newport Jazz Festival drove the crowd to pandemonium. In the aftermath Duke was more renowned than he was back when swing was in, and this surge in popularity lasted until his death in 1974.
- Swing in general did not make a comeback with Duke. It did, however, make a brief revival in the '90s, largely thanks to musicians like Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Brian Setzer.
- The up-and-coming Electro Swing genre in the 2010s caused a revitalization in swing by going for retraux nostalgia.
- Rap music tends to sporadically go in and out of style. It enjoyed its first peak of mainstream success during the late '80s and early '90s, with artists like MC Hammer, RunD.M.C. and Vanilla Ice bringing it out of the South Bronx and onto MTV and mainstream pop radio. However, the rise of Gangsta Rap and Hardcore Hip Hop in the mid '90s, while now remembered as something of a golden age for rap music, earned the ire of the era's Moral Guardians due to its hard-edged lyrical content, causing rap to be driven off of mainstream radio playlists. The rise of grunge and Alternative Rock around the same time didn't help matters either. Rap came back in the late '90s through the mid '00s when Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Lil Jon and other artists made Glam Rap a fixture of nightclubs and parties all across America, while Eminem put a white face on gangsta rap to become one of the biggest (and most controversial) stars of the era. As of the 2010's, though, "traditional" rap has largely been driven underground, particularly now that synthpop and other forms of Electronic Music are back in vogue and competing with rap for attention at the aforementioned clubs and parties. Most mainstream rap during these times have focused on integrating with EDM and other popular genres, commonly as featured artists on pop songs, with other "pure" rap songs going Lighter and Softer instead.
- Electronic Music (Synth-Pop, New Wave Music, early House Music and Ambient specifically) dominated pop music in America during the '80s, hitting a peak during the "Second Summer of Love" in 1988-89. In the '90s and '00s, though, it was supplanted by R&B, idol singers, and alternative rock, and was viewed as overly-synthesized and artificial. It also was not helped by the fact that a tidal wave of bad publicity surrounding electronic music's association with drugs and deaths related to overdoses led to panicked Think of the Children!-type laws that targeted raves and electronic parties specifically. As a result, the scene ended up being a largely underground (or overseas) affair. In the late '00s, artists like Lady Gaga, Kesha, La Roux and Owl City used elements of synth-pop to their music, bringing it back into the mainstream and helping to pave the way for a full electronic dance music craze to take over in the states.
- One Electronic Music genre that has benefited from the polynomial is Trance. The genre (one known for its more emotional and melodic compositions compared to other electronic genres) began in the early 90s, and grew to popularity within the European club and party scene through the decade, eventually splintering off to several different subgenres. Trance continued to maintain a very dedicated fandom that gradually grew more and more through the '00s all over the world, and while it did grow a fanbase stateside, it was harshly written off by house, Drum and Bass and techno fans as being cheesy and sappy, with numerous think-piece articles proclaiming trance had become a Dead Horse Genre. Not helping matters was the massive Broken Base and countless arguments between fans over what was "true" trance. Then The New '10s came in and an EDM explosion took over America, and although trance wasn't quite as popular as Electro House, Trap Music, or dubstep, it still did benefit greatly from the boom, with several DJs experiencing a major surge of new fans. The immediate selling-out of tickets for Insomniac's Dreamstate festival (which primarily featured smaller-name producers in its lineup) became the topic of discussion as the genre making a major comeback.
- The history of Country Music in America for the past few decades has essentially been a tug-of-war between those who performed a slicker sound inspired by pop and rock music (with frequent crossover forays on those charts) and those who preferred a more traditional country sound. From the late '50s through the '60s, the "Nashville sound" (also known as countrypolitan) dominated the country charts and had a significant presence on the pop charts, but it witnessed a backlash in the '60s from the rival "Bakersfield sound" and in the '70s from outlaw country artists, which both rejected the Nashville sound's pop styling and, in the latter's case, took on a Darker and Edgier attitude to boot. The film Urban Cowboy in 1980 spawned a return of pop-country inspired by that film's soundtrack, which eventually produced a backlash in the late '80s in the form of the neotraditional movement, which drew its main influences from '40s and '50s country.
The "Class of 1989", a group of young artists led by Garth Brooks and Clint Black, was a turning point in country music, marking its transition into a mainstream force throughout the American music world. The booming, Arkansas-based retail chain Walmart, using discount records as a loss leader to pull customers into the store, helped to popularize country outside of its rural base and bring it into suburban America. Furthermore, as explained in this article, the collapse of Hair Metal and Arena Rock in the early '90s and the rise of Three Chords and the Truth in mainstream rock music caused a lot of talented session musicians to pack up for Nashville, where that kind of guitar work was still in demand. This pulled into country music a lot of fans of "classic" rock styles who were turned off by Grunge and Alternative Rock, with Shania Twain's 1997 smash hit Come On Over serving as the Trope Codifier for this sound.
Today, the "arena rock with a steel guitar" style remains the dominant trend within country music, albeit mixed with the "bro"-style rap-skewing country (e.g. Florida Georgia Line); time will tell how long it lasts. The 2010s have seen a backlash brewing, however, chiefly (and rather appropriately, given the aforementioned relationship with '80s hard rock) for the same reasons as the anti-hair metal backlash in The '90s — a perception that the genre has been overtaken by hedonistic party music and has lost touch with its roots, mirroring the criticism of Glam Rap from old-school hip-hop fans. (The fact that crossovers between country and hip-hop have been among the chief targets of this only heightens the comparisons.) It's been said that mainstream country music operates on a twenty year cycle, with the popular styles of country being reminiscent of what was popular in rock music twenty years prior; see, for example, the emergence of guitar-driven "arena country" in the mid-late '90s corresponding to the rise of arena rock in the mid-late '70s. If this is the case, then country may be facing a shift akin to the rise of grunge. This became even more evident halfway through the 2010s, as even with bro-country and more electronica-driven country like Sam Hunt dominating, a new crop of more traditionally-minded artists such as Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, and Midland rose up with more "traditional" country stylings and strong album sales to match (although except for Midland, none has really lit up radio).
- Nu Metal. During the '90s, it brought metal back into the mainstream for the first time in nearly a decade and introduced the genre to a whole new generation of metal heads. It was built on the premise of defying and mixing genres, with influences such a grunge, funk, and hip-hop. Bands like KoRn, Slipknot, and Limp Bizkit were some of the biggest acts in the industry, which were later joined by Linkin Park, Papa Roach, Staind, and Evanescence. However, it eventually died out as the audiences tastes shifted towards Emo and Metalcore. Meanwhile, it built such a massive hatedom from metalheads, who gave it derogatory nicknames like "mallcore", "whinecore", "poser metal", "MTV metal", and "sports rock". A stereotype of nu metal fans grew that they were either white trash or wangsty teens. Bands like Linkin Park and Papa Roach only stayed relevant by changing their sound into something more socially acceptable, and Deftones got a pass due to being one of the few bands in the genre who were acclaimed by critics. It eventually became a taboo to admit being a nu metal fan, while rock radio stations practically blacklisted all songs that fell into the genre.
However, by the turn of The New '10s, the vitriol towards nu metal significantly declined. The aforementioned emo and metalcore genres that were instrumental in killing nu metal off have died out themselves. Bands that kept to their style were met with commercial success (which includes KoRn, Limp Bizkit, and Evanescence), while bands that abandoned the genre have re-integrated it into their sound with their latest albums (which includes Slipknot, Linkin Park, Papa Roach, and Staind). Moreover, the revivalist bands like Issues, King 810, and Butcher Babies have all met commercial success. Other bands like In This Moment and Of Mice and Men weren't formerly nu metal switched to it, and got significantly bigger afterwards. The rock radio stations that blacklisted them for so long have started putting nu metal songs back into circulation and metal heads are much freer to talk about nu metal bands they like with much-less fear of persecution. This is possibly the result of an unspoken truce declared, with "traditional" rock viewed to be in a state of limbo thanks to even more blurring of genres than nu metal had ever done, they were more willing to accept people who like nu metal on the basis that they still like a relatively traditional form of rock/metal. It's unlikely that it'll be anywhere near as big as it was in its peak, but it is, is, becoming a genre that is once again socially acceptable to like.
- Instrumental music had been constantly popular for most of the 20th century, and between the 1950s and early 1970s numerous bandleaders like Percy Faith, Mantovani, Paul Mauriat, Bert Kaempfert, 101 Strings, Ray Conniff and others (including Jackie Gleason) made it big with their "beautiful music" albumsnote , while the 1970s and 1980s had "smooth jazz" artists such as Lee Ritenour, Bob James, David Sanborn and Chuck Mangione having several successes in mainstream radio (including several pop crossovers), although Kenny G would end up having the widest appeal among them, with the 80s also proving a "golden age" for "New Age" music. However, tastes quickly shifted towards more "energetic" music during the early 1990s and onwards, such as grunge/alt-rock/heavy metal, rap/hip-hop and later on EDM. Instrumental music became the butt of jokes about being a cure for insomnia to the point radio ended relegating this kind of music to the late night hours. By the 2000s, instrumental music mostly catered to fans of "lounge" and "Space Age" music or "smooth jazz radio", but their collapse by 2010 drove it into near-obsolescence. The 2010s however, saw a minor, but sustained resurgence of instrumental music, first with the popularity of a number of instrumental EDM tracks (particularly 2013's "Harlem Shake"), and then the rise of music streaming, with the most successful examples being those featuring instrumental jazz, becoming the music of choice for those wanting to study or relax. Classical and various forms of electronic music are also popular for this purpose.
- By the second half of The '40s, Frank Sinatra had been replaced by Perry Como as the idol of the bobby-soxers and by the early 1950s, he was affected by a slew of personal scandals surrounding his stormy marriage to Ava Gardner, was reduced to do forgettable novelty tunes before his contract with Columbia expired in 1952 and his TV show failed after two seasons. The following year however, his role in From Here to Eternity (allegedly with help from the mob) marked his return to popularity, helped by his new contract with Capitol Records allowing him to pursue a new direction with the help of arranger-conductor Nelson Riddle, introducing the concept of the album-oriented artist to pop music.
- Elvis Presley went through this twice:
- His popularity began to decline gradually after enlisting in the Army in 1958, and after 1961 he became essentially an actor starring on musical films, and by 1965 even his acting career began to wane because of The Beatles. In 1968 however, his "Comeback Special" re-started his musical career, finally shaping his image as "The King"...
- Nevertheless, after his successful Hawaii concert in 1973, Elvis' career began to tank again because of his marriage with Priscilla crumbling, which led to a sharp weight increase compounded by his rampant drug use. Upon his death in 1977 however, Elvis Presley's legend status was cemented.
- The Beatles not only were the ultimate icons of The '60s but also changed the music industry like no other act before or after. But their later sound (as well as their relationship with the Maharishi and John Lennon's many controversial campaigns and remarks) ended up alienating a large part of their audiencenote and by the time they split in 1970, other acts had long overshadowed them. During the 70s, their solo careers were very successful, but they never really reached headliner status (the only probable exception being Paul McCartney's popular, yet critically-bashed Wings). Only with John Lennon's assassination in 1980, the "Fab Four" became popular once again.
- While never getting the same amount of backlash other '80s-era artists got, and still having some hits during this period, by the mid-'90s Madonna was better known for her turbulent relationships and her ridiculously sexualized image than her music. The 1998 album Ray of Light (and the fact her private life became more stable after marrying Guy Ritchie at the same time) provided a Career Resurrection, while the '80s nostalgia craze beginning in the '00s led to a further surge in her popularity. By the 2010s, she became the role model for practically every female pop star of the first half of the decade (except for Lady Gaga's post-pop personanote and Adele) thanks to the explosion of pop-EDM, and while her newer material is often polarizing and has been overshadowed by the singers she influenced, her position as a pop music icon on account of her '80s and '90s output is virtually unchallenged.
- Queen had been one of the definitive bands of The '70s, only to seriously derail in 1982 with their album Hot Space, which was heavily influenced by disco at a time when it was undergoing massive backlash in North America and Britain (this was averted outside English-speaking countries, where neither the group or disco music saw a backlash). Their follow-up, 1984's The Works, almost restored their popularity with the worldwide success of "Radio Ga Ga", but while the controversial music video for "I Want to Break Free" was a hit in the UK (it helped that it was a parody of Coronation Street), it ended the band's credibility in the rest of the English-speaking world (it was banned for years in North America and Oceania for indecency). However, with Freddie Mercury's death in 1991, Queen's American popularity finally recovered, and they are now regarded as classic rock icons.
- Even worse hit by the disco backlash were the Bee Gees, the top act of the late 70s (and also producers of many hits of the era): Their 1981 album Living Eyes went unnoticed except for a few singles and the fact it was the first album released in the Compact Disc format. It did not help that the Gibbs were often at odds with each other and were entangled in a lawsuit against their label RSO. By 1987, the brothers reunited after a six-year break (not counting the soundtrack for Stayin' Alive) with the album E.S.P., which also reunited them with producer Arif Mardin. While the album was a success, the group would have to wait until 1997 to have their North American popularity fully restored with their penultimate album, Still Waters, coupled with their inclusion in the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame.
- Elton John began as a critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter celebrated for classic albums like Elton John, Tumbleweed Connection, Madman Across The Water, and Honky Chateau. His public popularity grew in 1973 with the albums Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player and the double album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. which spawned some of the biggest hits of The '70s. His popularity increased through the first half of the decade, and his outrageous image, employing crazy costumes and glasses, made him a phenomenon and Teen Idol, even though the reviews were less enthusiastic (even though he was quite respected by "glam" standards). An infamous Rolling Stone magazine interview in 1976, where he declared himself bisexual (later he'd claimed homosexuality), cost him much of his Middle American fanbase, and his own wish to stop touring saw his fame taper off. Although he had a successful free concert in Central Park in 1980, sales and airplay were nowhere near what they were in the 1970s. He returned in the mid-1980s with albums like Too Low For Zero and Breaking Hearts, and enjoyed more success in The '90s after going sober (especially after co-writing songs for The Lion King), and he still has occasional comebacks to this day.
- Pink Floyd, most specifically The Dark Side of the Moon, has been described in a book as this:As such Dark Side has outlasted almost all vagaries of fashion. Punk pilloried it, but the CD age rescued it; the hardcore late 1980s spat upon it, but the chemical generation spaced out to it; Britpop made it obsolete, but Radiohead made it more relevant than ever. And not for one second did it ever stop selling.
- Between 2004 and 2008, people felt that Britney Spears' career and reputation were beyond repair, and that she'd literally kill herself through her out-of-control lifestyle and craziness. Some people were already writing her obituary. The release of her albums Circus and Femme Fatale, however, put her music back on top of the charts, restoring her to a level of popularity not seen since her Teen Idol days, while her being placed in the conservatorship of her father took her name out of the tabloids.
- When The Monkees debuted in the mid-'60s, they had a string of Top 40 hits and a television program. However, desperate to break out of the mold, they produced the movie Head, which was such a colossal Mind Screw that it killed whatever popularity they had left. But when MTV reran their TV show to celebrate their 20th anniversary, their career got a second wind, and a single off their greatest hits album (That Was Then, This Is Now) re-entered the Top 40 after over twenty years (a record at the time).
- Weezer's music video for "Buddy Holly" is the ultimate illustration of the 20-year cycle: a video made in The '90s about a TV show from The '70s that was itself nostalgic for The '50s.
- Deftones were generally seen as being in somewhat of a downward slump after their apex, White Pony, which was followed by two albums generally regarded as mediocre, Deftones (self-titled) and Saturday Night Wrist. However, Chi Cheng's accident and the subsequent emotions it inspired in the band seemed to have spurred them into a new renaissance, abandoning the record they were working on at the time, Eros, and instead producing Diamond Eyes and Koi No Yokan, two of their most popular and highly regarded albums yet.
- While few have ever denied the social and cultural impact of Al Jolson's work, from about the 1970s onwards it was generally considered not cool to give him anything more than the most cursory acknowledgement, partly due to the nature of his act, which had him on a blackface makeup. It wasn't until the 2000s — and ironically, mostly through the efforts of modern-day black performers — that Jolson started to become a widespread cultural icon again, with the turning point widely being seen as when the city of New York agreed to name a section of Broadway after Jolson.
- Kiss suffered a career meltdown in the late '70s, partly due to Hype Backlash (they were everywhere) and partly because the two ascendant hard-rock styles of the era, punk and British metal, made Kiss's style sound pretty outdated. Their 1980 "concept" album, Music from "The Elder", was a commercial disaster. They had a mini-comeback starting in 1983 when they removed their trademark white-and-black makeup and relaunched as a Bon Jovi-style glam-metal band, but they never again enjoyed the level of popularity in which they had basked from 1975 to 1978...until 1996, when drummer Peter Criss and lead guitarist Ace Frehley (temporarily) rejoined the band, the makeup was slathered back on, and Seventies nostalgia hit America in a huge way.
- Much like Kiss in the '80s, Marilyn Manson experienced a massive decline in the 2000s as his style of showmanship, fashion, and composition became the rock and metal mainstream. Furthermore, a string of personal disasters and albums whose content was now controversial for not being offensive and over-the-top enough, but more personal and heartfelt (especially the album Eat Me, Drink Me, a guitar driven, straight-up rock album), caused the Antichrist Superstar to become a joke. Then he quit Interscope, came out with his "comeback album" Born Villain, and then decided to be on all the shows. The Walking Dead's talk show? On it. Once Upon a Time? On it. Californication? As himself. Additionally, Tumblr exposed the tall, androgynous rock star to teen girls, with the expected results. Thanks to him being friends with approximately all of Hollywood, along with finally having a stable life, he is now seen as the flip side of The New '10s '90s love, inspiring many of the new acts on the scene, like Motionless In White and In This Moment. Even the usually critical metal media gushed about "Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge", and he got a Grammy nomination for "No Reflection" in 2012.
- The Beach Boys were one of the few groups in the early-to-mid-1960s to rival The Beatles in popularity and influence, first through "fun and sun" hits like "Surfin' U.S.A." and "Little Deuce Coupe", then via their more sophisticated sound of 1965-67. Pet Sounds was misunderstood and sold poorly when it was released, but has since gone on to be seen and one of the best albums ever made in the rock era and is regularly re-released. Failure to appear at 1967's Monterey Pop Festival, personal crises and the abandonment of their Smile project derailed the band's momentum and brought them negative press, they were seen to be terminally unhip, and Brian Wilson's descent into drug-aggravated mental illness and the release of inconsistent (or equally misunderstood) albums decreased the band's popularity, but touring and performing their golden oldies kept the money flowing, at a time when they needed the funds when their publishing was sold for a pittance by the Wilsons' father Murry. A Greatest Hits album, Endless Summer, came out in 1974 and went to number one, and the return of Brian as writer/producer/performer led to a career comeback. Inconsistent or weird album squandered this opportunity, Dennis Wilson died in a tragic drowning incident in 1983, and the group entered a slow period that lasted until 1988, when "Kokomo" from that year's Cocktail movie topped the charts. With Brian separated from the band by his svengali therapist Dr. Eugene Landy (who Brian hired in 1975 and finally fired in 1993), the group could not sustain the success of "Kokomo" via Mike Love's leadership, the "golden oldies" formula was wearing thin as boomer nostalgia faded as the 90s rolled on, and Carl Wilson succumbed to cancer in 1996. However a renewed interest in the band occurred with 1992's boxed set Good Vibrations, and Brian took to touring and recording playing Smile and "Pet Sounds" on the road to massive success and critical acclaim. They later scored their first Top Ten album in many years with Brian as full-time member with the 50th anniversary "reunion album", That's Why God Made The Radio in 2012, though Brian, David Marks and Al Jardine left the band a year later.
- Metallica. When they first appeared on the scene in 1982 with their demo No Life Til Leather and, a year later, their debut album Kill 'Em All, they became hugely popular with metalheads and served as one of the Trope Codifiers for the then-new genre of Thrash Metal. With each new album the band released, the band became ever more popular, even with the tragic loss of their Ensemble Dark Horse Lead Bassist Cliff Burton, and their Power Ballad "One" even had a Music Video Released on MTV. In 1991, the band released Metallica, aka "The Black Album," which featured a Genre Shift from their complex thrash material to a more conventional and commercial Heavy Metal sound. Metal fans everywhere cried foul, but the album went on to sell 20 million copies and make the band one of the biggest in the world.
However, the album proved to be a Franchise Original Sin for Metallica, as the process of their sound moving away from metal and the Hype Backlash from disgruntled thrash fans would just keep going further and further. Over the course of The '90s, the band gradually shed even more of their metal elements, cutting their hair and changing to a Blues Rock/Southern Rock/Alternative Rock sound for the decidedly So Okay, It's Average Load and Reload albums. While both albums were successful and spawned quite a few radio staplesnote , they ultimately failed to match the popularity of The Black Album. They partially regained credibility among metal fans with the 1998 all covers album Garage, Inc. and a live collaboration with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra one year later. However, in 2000, they became embroiled in the controversy over Napster, which was the first major blow to their mainstream credibility. After that, things went haywire for the band. Frontman James Hetfield went to rehab for alcoholism, bassist Jason Newsted left the band for good, and then the double whammy of St. Anger and the Documentary Some Kind of Monster hit in 2003/2004. St. Anger proved to be a disastrous trainwreck that sounded like a Korn album Gone Horribly Wrong (although it did sell reasonably well), and Some Kind of Monster made the band (especially drummer Lars Ulrich) come across as pretentious prima donnas who were well past their prime. After that, the band's name was permanently sullied, and became a punchline in both the mainstream and amongst metalheads. Fortunately, the band had a Win Back the Crowd period in 2008-2009 with the Death Magnetic LP (which, despite its problems with clipping and accusations of the songs being too long, was widely considered to be a welcome return to form for the band), Guitar Hero Metallica, and their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. However, they fell from grace yet again with their controversial 2011 collaboration with Lou Reed, Lulu, which was slammed by critics and reviled by fans. Then, their 2016 album Hardwired...To Self-Destruct, which was seen as a crucial make-or-break moment for the band's credibility and popularity, became a critical and commercial success.
- Justin Bieber was one of the first "internet celebrities" to become a legitimate, mainstream pop star, having started out posting YouTube videos of himself singing covers of R&B songs in the late '00s. He soon became a pop music sensation among teenage girls,with his "squad" quickly becoming known as "Beliebers", and while he also got massive opposition (mostly revolving around his high-pitched singing voice, his "pretty boy" appearance, and of course his fans themselves), it did little to slow his popularity.
Things started to change in 2012, however. His fanbase's biggest weakness, being dependent on a Fleeting Demographic, began to manifest itself when the British/Irish Boy Band One Direction underwent a meteoric rise in popularity in the US, which gutted Bieber's popularity; his sophomore album Believe sold an underwhelming 374,000 copies in its opening week and took nearly half a year to be certified platinum (in turn, One Direction's Take Me Home opened with 540,000 copies sold and went platinum in just five weeks), while One Direction started winning all of the awards that Bieber would've claimed just the prior year. That and his increasing jerkass demeanor battered his already-negative public image and turned many of his remaining fans against him (which benefited One Direction even more). He attempted to remain in the music world with a second concert film, Justin Bieber's Believe, and with the album Journals, both released in late 2013, but Believe was a Box Office Bomb (especially compared to his first concert film made just two years prior), and Journals flopped so badly that his label withheld the album's sales figures to prevent further embarrassment. By the start of 2014, he had become better known for his tabloid antics, his on-and-off relationship with Selena Gomez, and as the victim of arguably the most infamous musical equivalent of the MySpace vs. Facebook battle than for his music, many former "Beliebers" held him in very poor regard, and it was clear he had become all but a has-been.
It wasn't until spring 2015 that audiences decided to give Bieber another chance when he collaborated with Skrillex and Diplo for their side project Jack U, producing "Where Are U Now", which became Bieber's first top 10 hit since 2013 (the song's success couñd be attributed to Skrillex and Diplo's popularity and curiosity from fans wondering how a collaboration between them would work). In late summer 2015, he released "What Do You Mean?", a single that gained respect even from many non-fans and debuted at #1 in over a dozen countries. His next two singles, "Sorry" and "Love Yourself", also topped the Hot 100; the corresponding album Purpose went straight to #1 as well. He also got his first taste of widespread critical acclaim in his entire career, with SPIN naming "What Do You Mean?" the best song of 2015, and other publications rating the song highly in their own year-end lists. All this ultimately solidified that Bieber was back and bigger than ever (One Direction, meanwhile, underwent a series of problems following the departure of Zayn Malik from the group, which eventually dissolved). He continued this success into 2016 when he appeared on Major Lazer's "Cold Water" (making it their biggest hit) and DJ Snake's "Let Me Love You". His proudest moment came at the end of 2016, when Billboard declared "Love Yourself" and "Sorry" the biggest hits of the year. This made him the third artist in history to have the two biggest hits of the year (after The Beatles in 1964 and Usher in 2004). In addition, the criticism he garnered from non-fans began to cool off. Only time will tell if he manages to stick around for very long.
- This has not only happened personally with Jethro Tull, notably with their Career Resurrection in the late 1980s, but the trope is explored with its share of satire in their 1976 Concept Album, Too Old To Rock 'n Roll—Too Young To Die!, which chronicle an over-the-hill rocker named Ray Lomas, who, well, is "living in the past". Fearing his unfashionability and growing old, he winds up, in a near-fatal motorcycle accident, has reconstructive surgery that makes him look twenty years younger, and emerges having seen a career comeback as his image and style of music come back into vogue.
- ABBA were massively popular in their time, especially in Australia and Europe, and became one of the best-selling music groups of the world within a considerably short time - by 1978, at the height of their popularity, they had already sold over 120 million records — but the group fell into obscurity after their (initially temporary) break-up in 1982, in spite of some efforts, such as the subsequent release of Greatest Hits compilations worldwide. By the late 1980s, when none of the former members intended to reunite anymore, ABBA were so unfashionable to the point that not even new compilations were released.
All that changed in the following decade with the 1970s nostalgia wave, which revived public interest in ABBA's songs. A particularly important landmark for the group was the release, in 1992, of ABBA Gold, which was a huge commercial success and got many younger people to listen to their music for the first time and eventually become fans. In the following years, the group managed to increase more and more its popularity, with the re-release of the original studio albums in CD, as well as the release of new compilation albums, some of which even included previously unreleased songs, such as I Am The City, featured in More ABBA Gold (1993). In 1995, the band's listing in the landmark SPIN Alternative Record Guide, complete with a glowing write-up, was the first indication of a major, positive re-evaluation of the band's discography by music critics. Films such as Muriel's Wedding and tributes by other bands, such as Erasure and A-Teens, also helped increasing the group's popularity. Another great leap was the debut, in 1999, of Mamma Mia! (the musical), which expanded to multiple locations worldwide, became one of the longest-running musicals in the history of Broadway and spawned a theatrical movie in 2008, starring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and a then little-known actress named Amanda Seyfried. Nowadays, over 40 years after their debut - and over 20 years after their revival - ABBA remains highly popular, selling millions of records each year and occasionally appearing in the media, in spite of never having reunited (officially).
- In 2014, EDM duo the Chainsmokers released the song "Selfie", which became an unexpected viral hit. Due to its memetic and Ear Worm-ish nature, the band was quickly written off as a One-Hit Wonder novelty act. In 2016, however, the duo reinvented themselves and shook that image off, scoring smash hits with "Roses", "Don't Let Me Down", and "Closer" (the latter becoming their first #1 hit).
- Michael Bolton, after starting out as a hard rock singer, reached the peak of his success in the late '80s and early '90s as an adult contemporary crooner, only for his popularity to collapse after he was caught having plagiarized the Isley Brothers for one of his hits. Backlash set in quick, and for much of the late '90s and '00s he was the go-to punchline for jokes about bad soft rock, with the tipping point being when Office Space featured a character who shared his name and hated that fact, an association that Bolton was never able to fully shake. So, in the '10s, he decided to embrace it, collaborating with The Lonely Island on multiple songs, appearing on Honest Trailers and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and even doing a parody of Office Space for Funny or Die. In the process, he gained a brand new audience of young people who loved the sound of his voice and didn't know or care about the controversy, helping to turn him into an unlikely geek icon.
- Ariana Grande was always a very successful singer since she first broke out onto the scene in 2013, but for quite a while, she was largely a very unpopular figure in the general public, after she was caught licking donuts and bragging about hating Americans in a donut shop, which affected her popularity to some degree. Unexpectedly, a horrible tragedy hit in 2017, when her Manchester concert was bombed by an ISIS terrorist, killing several of her fans and injuring many more. The attack (and her handling of the tragedy) reversed her reputation overnight, with Grande being now seen by the public as a figure of bravery.
- Tom Jones was very popular in the 1960s and early 1970s, but by the end of the decade his popularity had diminished and he spent much of the 1980s recording country music which failed to crack the top 40 in either the UK or the USA. But in 1988 he saw a resurgence after he covered the Prince song "Kiss" which broke him into the top 40 for the first time since 1976. He saw another resurgence after his signature song "It's Not Unusual" was featured on both The Simpsons and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and again when it and especially "What's New Pussycat" were featured prominently in John Mulaney's popular comedy routine, "The Salt and Pepper Diner". Then he became a coach in The Voice in 2012, eventually gaining a large fanbase of Millennials and Gen Z'ers.
- Take That hae had a phenomenal comeback after they reformed in 2006 after a decade apart - their three studio albums since their reformation vastly outselling their three before their breakup and their 2011 tour becoming the 22nd highest grossing in history.
- While consistently popular, Guns N' Roses was hit very hard by the acrimonious break-up between Axl Rose and Slash, with fans lamenting that a reunion was as probable as the event of Hell freezing. In 2015, both parties announced their reconciliation and a forthcoming tour, which immediately sparked a wave of "Rose-mania", with tickets selling out in record times and "November Rain" becoming the first pre-2010 song to reach one billion views on YouTube.