Shortly after concluding the Heartbreakers’ 40th anniversary tour, Americana icon Tom Petty died aged 66 after suffering cardiac arrest. With his band The Heartbreakers he penned such hits as ‘Runnin’ Down A Dream’, ‘Free Fallin’ and ‘Learning To Fly’, which helped him become arguably the quintessential Americana artist and inspire generations of songwriters. He also played a vital role as part of The Travelling Wilburys, quite possibly the greatest “supergroup” ever assembled. His work is so deeply ingrained in American culture that it’s difficult to say just how far-reaching his influence was. This much-loved bastion of heartland rock will be sorely missed.
Southern rock trailblazer Gregg Allman has sadly passed away aged 69 due to complications arising from liver cancer. Gregg was the singer, keyboardist and primary songwriter of The Allman Brothers Band, alongside his brother Duane who sadly died of a motorcycle crash in 1971. With such tracks as ‘Whipping Post’, ‘Midnight Rider’ and ‘Jessica’ (better known as the Top Gear theme), Gregg was a key figure in popularising the southern rock sound in the late 60s and early 70s, and remained active in the scene until his death. The Allman Brothers are perhaps best known for their album At Fillmore East, often described as being amongst the greatest live albums ever recorded. He was a deeply influential figure in rock music and will be sorely missed.
One of the most iconic frontmen of the 90s, Chris Cornell of Soundgarden has passed away. Early reports suggest the singer tragically committed suicide. One of the most influential rock singers of his generation, he was one of the key figures in the grunge movement that defined an era. As well as releasing such acclaimed albums as Badmotorfinger and Superunknown with Soundgarden, he also fronted two short-lived yet enduring supergroups; Temple of the Dog with members of Pearl Jam, and Audioslave alongside members of Rage Against The Machine. His solo career saw him perform ‘You Know My Name’, the theme for the 2006 Bond film Casino Royale. His work inspired a whole new generation of rock bands and he will be sorely missed.
There are many artists who can deservedly be called legends, but if we were to look back through modern music history and pick out the most important and influential figure of all time, surely there is only one answer. Chuck Berry pioneered rock and roll; he took the old school rhythm and blues, injected it with a rebellious energy that was unique for the time, and changed music forever. With tracks such as ‘Johnny B Goode’ and ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, and his wild stage antics, he influenced everyone from Elvis and The Beach Boys, to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. The sheer volume of music that can trace its lineage directly back to him is simply unfathomable. This revolutionary music icon passed away aged 90, but so long as people exist and make music his legacy will carry on.
In a move that has surprised literally no one, Ed Sheeran has been revealed as this year’s third and final Glastonbury headliner. Given the year that he’s had thus far I’d say being top of the bill at the Pyramid stage is more than justified. His third album Divide has been breaking numerous records, becoming one of the fastest selling albums ever and completely taking over the UK charts with all 16 tracks in the top 20, in an unprecedented event that has called for changes in the role of streaming services’ contributions to the charts. Sheeran will close the festival on the Sunday, following fellow headliners Radiohead and Foo Fighters.
Yes, the rumours are true, Foo Fighters are returning to Worthy Farm. The band announced the news at a secret intimate gig in Frome in Somerset, which they broadcast globally via a livestream. This follows after they had to pull out of their 2015 headline slot due to Dave Grohl’s broken leg, with Florence + the Machine filling the slot. The Foo Fighters will be joining fellow headliners Radiohead on the Pyramid Stage this summer, with the third and final headline act still yet to be announced.
Continuing the trend set by this year’s Grammys, the Brits also managed (for the most part) to make the most of a bad hand. David Bowie received posthumous awards for best album and best male for his stunning final album Blackstar. Belwood favourite Rag’n’Bone Man started the year in style by becoming the first act to ever win both the critics choice award and best breakthrough act in the same year. Emeli Sande won best British female solo artist and The 1975 beat Radiohead and Biffy Clyro to take best band. There were few surprises in the international categories with Beyoncé and Drake winning best female and best male respectively.
Despite being one of the worst batches of nominations in recent memory, this year’s Grammy Awards went better than expected… for the most part. David Bowie picked up posthumous awards for best rock song, rock performance and alternative album. Cage The Elephant won the pitiful pool of nominations for best rock album for their latest release Tell Me I’m Pretty. What was expected to be an endless stream of awards for Beyoncé ended up being clean sweep for Adele, picking up album of the year, song of the year and record of the year, as well as pop album and pop performance. She dedicated her award to Beyonce (and broke it, ‘Mean Girls’ style) in a moving speech. Performance wise the night was marred by technical issues, most notably when James Hetfield’s microphone wasn’t working during Metallica’s performance of ‘Moth Into Flame’ with Lady Gaga. By far the best performance of the night was surprisingly Bruno Mars’ tribute to the dearly departed Prince.
The legendary metal pioneers have played the final stop of their farewell “The End” tour in what could likely be the band’s final ever performance. Fans from all corners of the globe gathered at Birmingham’s Genting Arena for one final hit-packed set after nearly 50 years in the business. Closing the show with an encore of ‘Paranoid’, the title track from their most celebrated album, it was a fitting farewell for the rock icons and has hailed in the end of an era.
It has been announced today that Kasabian will be headlining the twin festivals of Reading and Leeds this year. The Leicester lads, who last topped the bill in 2012, will be joining fellow headliners Muse, with the third and final act yet to be announced. Other bands announced today include Two Door Cinema Club, Circa Waves and Rat Boy. The line-up has one again received heavy criticism for not containing enough women.