David Bowie released Blackstar, two days before his death.
The glam rocker recorded Blackstar while suffering from liver cancer, keeping his illness a largely guarded secret from his fans and the media. It was his first album to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 and was regarded as his ‘final farewell’.
Did you know? John Lennon was a co-writer on Bowie’s mega-hit, “Fame”.
The death of Glenn Frey.
Frey, one of the founding members of The Eagles, was responsible for writing some of the band’s best songs, like “Take It Easy”, “Heartache Tonight”, “Lyin’ Eyes” and “Already Gone”. The rocker was remembered at the Grammy’s by his band and Jackson Browne who sang “Take It Easy” in his honor.
Did you know? The Eagles had the top selling album of the 20th century with Their Greatest Hits, 1971-1975.
Beyonce’s Lemonade slayed.
Sure, Beyonce wasn’t the first person to release a visual album, but it’s going to be hard topping hers. Lemonade premiered one night on HBO as a surprise and the masses were obsessed by the next morning — with good reason! Sparing nothing when it came to basically everything, the songs created a media frenzy themselves as people openly wondered what inspired the revengeful tone. Was it Becky with the good hair?
Did you know? Lemonade was filmed in Louisiana
The death of Prince. It seemed as though the entire world was mourning the death of the iconic man who penned “Little Red Corvette” — while others looked for ways to capitalize off of his fame. “Purple Rain” began to fill movie channels and family members began to sue one another over who would inherit his estate. Luckily, the impact Prince has had on music will outlive even the greediest of his relatives.
Did you know? Prince played the synthesizers on Stevie Nick’s hit, “Stand Back”.
Guns N’ Roses (finally) reunited. GNR fans nearly exploded with happiness when it was announced that not only was the band reuniting, but that that they were going to go on tour after decades of shit-talking, whining and missed opportunities. (To put their separation into perspective, the last time Slash and Axl Rose had been on stage together was in 1993.) Axl, Slash and Duff McKagen came, saw and conquered, as the rave reviews immortalized it as one of those epic tours that you were either lucky enough to have seen in person — or profoundly unlucky to have missed.
Did you know? The title for the 2016 tour “Not In This Lifetime” was inspired by Axl’s response to TMZ when he was once asked about a possibility of GNR reuniting.
American Idol ended. When American Idol first aired, it was a wholesome television treasure that had viewers shedding tears for the underdogs. It also gave musicians hope that living out their dream WAS possible — but they had to have the guts to try to claim their prize for millions to watch. Episodes became brief water-cooler talk but many of the contestants from the 15 seasons haven’t faded away and remain household names, like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Jennifer Hudson. The show paved the way for many and proved that it didn’t matter what small town you hail from because really, anybody could be an American idol.
Did you know? Lady Antebellum once tried out for the star-studded show!
Musicians proclaimed their dislike for Donald Trump by requesting their music not be used during his campaign. While America was picking sides as to who should become the next President of the United States, many musicians were furious that Donald Trump was using their songs on his campaign playlist. Adele and The Rolling Stones stated that they never granted Trump permission to use their songs. REM bassist Mike Mills angrily tweeted “sad, attention-grabbing power-hungry little men … Do not use our music or my voice…” Even George Harrison’s estate got involved. Emotions must have been running high on both sides — there are few things that must be more embarrassing than Steven Tyler threatening to sue Trump over promoting Aerosmith songs. Ouch.
Did you know? Neil Young asked Trump not to use “Rockin’ In The Free World”… but allowed Bernie Sanders to play his songs at various campaign stops!
Kanye West released “Famous”. Yeezy had a WTF-kind-of-year, which included a head-scratching tirade on Ellen, many bizarre rants on Twitter — and at his concerts — and oh yeah, having a psychological breakdown. But let’s be honest, his music video for “Famous” was fascinating. The video pokes at our culture’s obsession with fame and highlights celebrities like Anna Wintour, Caitlyn Jenner, Kim Kardashian and her ass, among others, in bed with Kanye. The video as a whole is odd and unique — and succeeded in making Kanye’s vision seem somewhat intriguing.
Did you know? Kanye shelled out over $750,000 for the wax figurines.
The death of Christina Grimmie. Bubbly Christina started her career singing on YouTube and ended up winning hearts by starring on “The Voice”, where she ended up in third place. Her music career began to blossom until she was shot while signing autographs by a stranger while on tour in Orlando. Her untimely and tragic death touched the hearts of many and created conversations about gun-safety laws. Whether you were a fan or not, it was a somber example that senseless tragedies can happen anywhere, for no reason and without warning.
Did you know? Christina was born and raised in Marlton, New Jersey.
Bruce Springsteen was honored by President Obama. The Boss was among 21 notable recipients to receive the Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian award that a President can give. Springsteen was commended on the impact of his music and its contributions to our country, as Obama remarked, “There’s a place for everyone in Bruce Springsteen’s America.” Indeed.
Did you know? Bruce wrote “Hungry Heart” for The Ramones, but kept it for himself!