Becoming a successful artist is difficult. Remaining on top forever is downright impossible.

Careers naturally ebb and flow, as acts do everything possible to make the highs last as long as possible. The most common evolution sees a star's popularity slowly decline, eventually landing somewhere between the “legacy act” to “whatever happened to” range. There are, however, those artists who have enjoyed success, then gone through creative and/or commercial valleys, only to return once more to the top.

Below, we’ve assembled a list of the 20 biggest comeback albums in rock history. Reunion albums like Deep Purple's Perfect Strangers and Blondie's No Exit are far different things, so were not factored into the equation. Instead, we focused only on acts who continually churned out music, faced a lull in popularity, then returned with a vengeance.

In cases like Iron Maiden's Brave New World and Black Sabbath's Heaven and Hell, a lineup change jumpstarted the group's output. In others, a new perspective helped acts deliver again. For instance, Aerosmith rebounded after years of dysfunction and substance abuse to deliver Permanent Vacation.

Among the featured artists are Grammy winners, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame members and some of the biggest acts in music history – including two Beatles. While the music styles are widely varied, one thing unites them all: Against all odds, they managed to mount a major resurgence on the back of some phenomenal material.

20 Greatest Comeback Albums

Becoming a successful artist is difficult. Remaining on top forever is downright impossible.

See Aerosmith Among Rock’s Most Expensive Out-of-Print LPs

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