Love them or hate them, sequels have long been commonplace in the cinematic world. Some movies deserve and arguably need them (take Lord of the Rings and the Bourne films for example), while some are so honestly unwarranted that it makes you scratch your heads and question why you paid to see it theaters. Yes, I'm talking to you, Arthur 2: On the Rocks. As Iron Man 2 approaches, and I'm pretty confident it'll line up with the former than the Dudley Moore-stenched latter, it's made me question why another medium doesn't go the sequel route. Film and arguably television do it, but why doesn't the music industry? If they do, it's too far and few between. What am I getting at? It's simple -- I want sequels to hit songs.
On Metallica's long-awaited last album, they gave us a second sequel to their iconic hit "The Unforgiven." While it paled in comparison to the Part II, the song was engaging and kind of, sort of continued the story. Why don't other artists follow suit and record sequels? Sure, some make sequels to their albums (Neil Diamond's Hot August Nights 2!) but why should they shy away from follow-ups to their biggest songs? Why make a copycat version of "Bleeding Love," Leona Lewis, when you can simply just record "Still Bleeding Love"? It'd be essentially the same song, but different. Think Mariah Carey "Fantasy" and "Honey!"
Lionel Richie is one artist who would benefit greatly from this notion. His songs always leave you hanging. For starters, I'd be curious as to what happened on the morning after he went "Running with the Night." I'd imagine playing in the shadows can tire a guy out. Why not sing about it? It'd be so long awaited -- some two-plus decades later -- that a new version of the same song would actually get significant airplay. In addition, Richie could add a little bit more meat to a sequel to "Dancing on a the Ceiling." How does it really feel to do that? I mean aren't you the least bit curious? In the original song, Richie is basically bragged about this amazing ability he had, but didn't fully explain where it came from or why he was chosen to hold such supernatural powers. The sequel could have another pop star -- perhaps Billy Ocean -- who is so jealous of Richie's power that he takes on the former Commodore to a duel in effort to gain full control of ceiling dancing?
Lastly, Richie's legacy would be further enriched with a follow-up song to "Hello," which frankly seems incomplete without "Goodbye." If the video is any indication, one would wonder what ever happened when Richie got with that blind girl? Richie doesn't have to wonder where she is anymore, because he's with her -- but perhaps she has a mysterious past or maybe she suddenly regained her sight and was a little turned off by Richie's face. Sure, she made a bust of him in art class, but Richie essentially -- at least back then -- looked like the Cowardly Lion with a mustache. Furthermore, the lady he sang about might be a little distracted by those power shoulder pads he wore back in the day.
Richie is just one example. Sequels are an easy way for studios to make money and milk everything they have in characters and people who are already invested in. It's time to do that with songs. Someone call John Cougar Mellencamp and ask him to tell us what ever happened to Jack and Diane when they grew up... someone call Billy Joel and ask him to tell us more about Brenda and Eddie and if you're listening Steve Perry, three words: "Oh Sherry, Again." Make it happen. Should've been gone? No, never.