Old Times' $ake

Reunited and it pays so good.

It was Cyndi Lauper who first sang "Money Changes Everything," but Rob Halford, Sammy Hagar, and Frank Black will all be joining her on the chorus this summer at an amphitheater near you. This is the year of improbable rock reunions, where bitter ex-bandmates bury their beefs, each of them realizing that 1) it just isn't the same without the others and 2) they sure did stiff big-time when they went solo.

Members of the revamped Van Halen, the Pixies, and Judas Priest still don't seem to like each other all that much, but they're all willing to graciously set aside their differences for the sake of a modest payoff -- er . . . for the fans who love them so. And you can expect many more bands to book passage on the gravy train soon. Following are the top reunion candidates, with their odds of getting back together. Place your bets today.

Pantera -- Pantera's breakup, made official last year, was as mean-spirited as the band's eye-gouging metal. Frontman Phil Anselmo dedicated himself to side projects, and fed-up founders Vinnie Paul and Dimebag Darrell launched a new band of their own: the nouveau-thrash troupe Damageplan. Of course, the split went down with enough shit-talking to make these dudes honorary cast members of The O.C. "It would have been real easy for Phil to call me on the phone and say, 'Look, I've got these other bands that I want to do, and I've gone as far as I can with Pantera,' Paul told Music Mania Magazine. "But we were stabbed in the back, left out in the cold, and so were the Pantera fans."

But in recent weeks, Anselmo's been making amends. He's said he'd perform with his former band again and even apologized to Vinnie and Dime on the MetalRefuge.com website. It's likely that this is attributable to slow sales of the latest album from his latest band, Superjoint Ritual (it debuted with 20,269 copies sold, less than half of the 44,676 that Damageplan's debut moved in its first week). With Damageplan left off Ozzfest and its album sales cooling off well short of Pantera numbers, this reunion's as inevitable as the members' impending cirrhosis. Reunion odds: 2:1

Led Zeppelin -- Like the bulge in Robert Plant's trousers, talk of a Zeppelin reunion never seems to go away. It grew to fever pitch last spring, when many predicted a tour in support of the excellent How the West Was Won live CD and DVD set. There was speculation over who'd be behind the drum kit -- Jason Bonham? Dave Grohl? (Cue retching sounds . . .) Phil Collins? But Jimmy Page silenced it quickly: "If ever there was going to be a situation that I would personally ridicule, it would be a band that was doing something from 30 years ago, putting it out, and 30 years later going out to promote it with live shows," he told MTV News last May. But in that same interview, Page refused to completely shut the door. And since a stadium trek would basically give the band a license to print money for months on end, we'll refuse as well. Reunion odds: 7:1

Black Flag -- Perhaps the biggest obstacle to a Black Flag reunion is finding a stage large enough to hold everyone. Having gone through four singers, four bassists, and six drummers, the hardcore forebears boast more members than a porn shoot. Some of them got back together last September for a Cat Rescue benefit featuring founding guitarist Greg Ginn (who owns more than 50 tabbies). Notably absent was the band's most famous frontman, Henry Rollins. Don't count on a full-fledged reunion, though: The notoriously stubborn Rollins and Ginn still give each other no quarter. "If there's a reunion-type thing, I wouldn't go," Rollins told the music website Top-40charts.com a while back. "It wouldn't be very good. So why go backwards, unless it's for the money? And if you need money, go get a real job." Reunion odds: 40:1

The Police -- The former members of the Police who aren't named Sting couldn't get arrested these days. Since 1984, he's sold more than 20 million records in the States. The other two, drummer Stewart Copeland and guitarist Andy Summers, have knocked around with Trey Anastasio and the reunited Doors -- the musical equivalent of cameos in Police Academy 3. With Sting raking in the bread, there's little need for him to rejoin the others. "Of course it would be great, but no one is going to ask him, and I don't think he has any interest," Summers told Australia's Undercover News a few years back. "I think he has gone to another place." Namely, the bank. Reunion odds: 100:1

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