2006 included a number of impressive pop music comebacks. These are 10 of the top comebacks.
Barry Manilow had a huge comeback year in 2006. He ranks as one of the top 100 pop music artists of all time, but his only #1 album before 2006 occurred with his Live album from 1977. Early in the year the album The Greatest Songs of the Fifties hit #1 while his followup The Greatest Songs of the Sixties debuted at #2 in the fall. Add an Emmy and a well-respected appearance on American Idol and you have a great year for Barry Manilow.
Nelly Furtado became a pop star in 2000 with her first album Whoa Nelly! and the top 10 pop hit singles "I'm Like a Bird" and "Turn Off the Light." Her second album Folklore appeared in 2003 to a muted response. However, this year, with her third album Loose she turned in her biggest success yet topping album and pop singles charts on both sides of the Atlantic. The song "Promiscuous" reached #1 in the US while "Maneater" did the same in the UK.
Timbaland's status as one of the top pop and hip hop producers in the business was dealt a significant blow by the death in 2001 of Aaliyah, the singer of many of his signature productions. In 2006 he returned to prominence producing Nelly Furtado's comeback album Loose and following up on his production of Justin Timberlake's hit single "Cry Me a River" by producing nearly all of Timberlake's 2006 smash album FutureSex / LoveSounds.
4. Weird Al Yankovic
Weird Al Yankovic has been the top pop music parodist in the business for over 20 years, but before this year he had not reached the pop top 40 since 1992's "Amish Paradise." With "White & Nerdy," a spoof of Chamillionaire's hit "Ridin'," Al came roaring back into the top 20 of the pop singles chart. The hit even helped pull the album Straight Outta Lynwood up the chart to become Yankovic's first top 10 album ever.
Fallen, the first album from Arkansas-based band Evanescence, became a multi-platinum smash, but due to a number of personnel changes and personal problems for band members, it looked like a second album may never appear. Fortunately, Amy Lee and company pulled things together and The Open Door opened at the top of the pop albums chart and made it look like the band had barely been gone.
Following 2003's The Black Album, rap legend Jay-Z announced his retirement from recording and took on the position of president of seminal hip hop label Def Jam Records. By late 2005 Jay-Z had begun to come out of retirement by performing in concert. When his Kingdom Come album hits record stores November 21, 2006, Jay-Z's comeback will be complete.
7. Bob Seger
Although he was one of the top pop and rock artists of the 1980's, Bob Seger had not released a studio album since 1995 and he had not reached the top 10 of the pop albums chart since 1991, until this year. The album Face the Promise roared on to the charts at #4 introducing Bob Seger to an entirely new generation of pop and rock fans.
Lionel Richie released a string of albums after fading from his career peak as one of the top pop artists of the mid-1980's. However, 6 consecutive albums failed to climb higher than #19 on the pop album chart. Enter hot pop producers StarGate. They put together the single "I Call It Love" for the album Coming Home. The single hit the top 20 on the r&b and adult contemporary charts pulling the album into a top 10 debut, Lionel Richie's first appearance in the top 10 in 20 years.
Although he continued in a high profile role as hip hop mogul, Diddy's own fortunes as an artist had dimmed somewhat after the album The Saga Continues failed to top the album chart in 2001. This year Diddy proved he still has some tricks up his sleeve when the album Press Play debuted at #1 and the single "Come to Me," a duet with Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, began to climb the pop singles chart.
10. Meat Loaf
Meat Loaf became a pop/rock superstar with the 1977 album Bat Out of Hell. He followed it up with less successful efforts until Bat Out of Hell II brought him to #1 on the pop album chart in 1993. Again, Meat Loaf tried albums outside of the Bat Out of Hell canon and failed to have similar impact. This year Meat Loaf returned to his signature music with Bat Out of Hell III which brought him back to the pop top 10 once again.