They say making a comeback with dignity is one of the most difficulty things to do in the entertainment business. Of course, instigating a public feud with another celebrity or having an “accidental” waldrobe malfunction on the red carpet will get you plenty of coverage on TMZ, but unfortunately, those tactics usually don’t help sell records or concert tickets. It’s probably best to copy the way these 5 stars returned to the limelight by, you know, actually making great music.

Best Comebacks

Bobby Womack

album: The Bravest Man In The Universe

The last time Bobby Womack released a new studio album Bill Clinton was still president. The R&B great dipped his toe back in the water in 2010 as an unexpected guest on the Gorillaz’s “Stylo“, but dived in head first this year with his 27th album. Forty-four years after his debut, music critics are declaring that The Bravest Man proves the 68-year-old Hall of Famer is “at the apex of his game.”

Fiona Apple

album: The Idler Wheel…

The enduring image of Fiona Apple as a brilliant, yet pompous star was created by her diatribe against the entertainment business during her acceptance speech at the 1997 VMA’s. She subsequently took a six year break from the biz after her second album, returned in 2005, took another hiatus, and now the prodigal daughter is back with what is already being considered one of the year’s triumphant LP’s.

Garbage

album: Not Your Kind of People

Technically, Garbage never officially disbanded, but after illnesses, conflicts, and publicly stated interest in other pursuits, fans were always concerned about when the Scottish-American band would call it quits for good. The end seemed certain when after dropping 2005’s Bleed Like Me, the Wisconsin-based alt-rockers cancelled the final European leg of their world tour. After seven years in limbo, Shirley, Duke, Steve, and Butch reunited to independently release their long-awaited album of new material in May to general praise.

John Mayer

album: Born and Raised

The outspoken playboy’s controversial comments back in 2010 alienated many fans and the press. After several mea culpas, Mayer decided to take a sabbitical from public life. Throat surgery delayed his planned return last year, but the blues guitarist managed to push over 200,000 copies of his 2012 album in it’s first week of release before a relapse of granuloma inflammation put him back on the shelf.

Lionel Richie

album: Tuskegee

Many fans of 80’s classics like “All Night Long” & “Hello” are probably unaware that Nicole’s dad released 4 albums from 2000-2009. So far the new decade has been much kinder. 2012’s Tuskegee, a collection of revamped Ritchie hits with assists from the biggest names in country music, is the second most successful album of the year. Nearly 800,000 units have been sold to date, 8 times the total sales of 2009’s Just Go.

Previous: Best Music of 2012 (So Far) Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3

Next: Best Music of 2012 (So Far) Part 5

Agree? Disagree? Share your favorite music comebacks of the first half of 2012 in the comment section.

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