Sunrise Boulevard: The Comebacks of 1994
Hollywood has the power to resurrect dead careers
It’s not over till it’s over. Right? Well, sometimes, it isn’t over then, either. The resurgent talent of 1994 practiced many variations on the art of the comeback, from the quick turnaround to the lucky rediscovery to the more common, ”Heck, world, where have you been? I’ve been here all along.”
Balding Eagles Following their early-’80s breakup, laid-back ’70s country-rock giants the Eagles expressed disgust for one another with Don Henley’s cliché-cum-sound bite that they’d reunite ”when hell freezes over.” By 1994, their solo careers were frozen. So, keying on 1993’s multiplatinum Common Thread tribute album, they cashed in, charging up to $110 per ticket for their U.S. tour (interrupted for Glenn Frey’s gastrointestinal surgery) and recording an MTV special and album (When Hell Freezes Over), which debuted at No. 1 on the pop chart.
Un for the Whole Family Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin linchpins Robert Plant and Jimmy Page classic-rocked back into America’s consciousness — Dylan with an epic Woodstock ’94 set that led to an Unplugged taping (and proved he could still sing and make sense), and the Zepsters with their Unledded show, which became Unplugged‘s highest-rated episode. Showing once again: You’re only as old as MTV thinks you are.
Stamp of Approval Swinging single Terence Stamp disappeared from London’s radar screen when he went off to find himself in the ’70s. But the British James Dean got his close-up this year by showing some leg; his transsexual den mother in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert busted him out of Hollywood’s third-tier-villain circuit. Now Mickey Rourke wants him to costar in his upcoming White Horse.
My, How They’ve Grown In their last pairing, 1989’s Look Who’s Talking, macho men John Travolta and Bruce Willis showed why the inner child should stay inside. Sure, Talking made lots of money, but this year’s cred factory, Pulp Fiction, landed both palookas cachet among the black-turtleneck set for their respective turns as a junk-shooting hit man and double-crossing boxer. Ah, family values.
Death Becomes Him A funeral brought British poet W.H. Auden, who died in 1973, back to life: After John Hannah read Auden’s 1936 song ”Funeral Blues” aloud during Four Weddings and a Funeral, Vintage Books rushed out a 10-poem Auden pamphlet, Tell Me the Truth About Love. The slim volume went on to become a best-seller.
Courteney Love Courteney Cox has gotten mixed results with her girlfriend-to-the-dork roles. She earned good marks playing opposite Michael J. Fox in TV’s Family Ties, then bottomed out in Bronson Pinchot’s failed 1993 sitcom, The Trouble With Larry. But her on-screen relationship with king goofball Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective struck gold, and the perennial paramour rebounded sans beau this year in NBC’s hit ensemble comedy Friends. Who says playing the singles circuit sucks?