Wham! frontman and pop legend George Michael sadly died of heart failure on Christmas day. Rising to prominence with Wham! and the perennial Christmas favourite ‘Last Christmas’, then later with his solo career which featured such hits as ‘Careless Whisper’ and ‘Faith’, and with his unforgettable performance at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert, he was one of the most iconic and best selling artists of the 80s. He was one of the most important voices of a generation and, despite being surrounded by controversy in the media in recent years, there is no denying the impact he made on popular music. He will be sorely missed.
You can now follow us on Spotify where we’ll be bringing you regular playlists of the best featured music on the site, some highlights from our favourite artists and spotlight stars, as well as the perfect soundtrack for whatever mood takes you. First off lets get things started with Belwood’s playlist of some of the best songs of the year!
The Rock and Roll Hall of fame has officially announced the acts that will be inducted into the institution next year. The acts include Journey, Pearl Jam, ELO, Yes and Joan Baez. They will be inducted in a ceremony due to be held 7th April. It has also been announced that Chic’s Nile Rodgers will be presented with the award for musical excellence. Pearl Jam have been inducted on their first year of being eligible and many fans are pleased with Yes receiving recognition as the Hall of Fame have been criticized for many years for their bias against progressive rock acts. The biggest talking point however is whether or not Journey will reunite with their former frontman Steve Perry for the induction ceremony.
I think 2016 will always be remembered as the year the music died, and the latest, and hopefully last, music legend to be taken from us is prog pioneer Greg Lake. This follows just a few months after the death of his dear friend and bandmate Keith Emerson. First gaining notoriety as part of the original line-up of King Crimson he was a key player on their landmark debut In The Court of the Crimson King, which is widely considered the first ever progressive rock album and influenced everyone from Pete Townsend to Kanye West. He later formed the prog rock supergroup Emerson, Lake & Palmer and went on to release such other successful albums as Tarkus and Brain Salad Surgery. His work had a powerful impact on the course of music and he will be sorely missed.
Rising to prominence as Bob Dylan’s backing band and key collaborators, The Band soon became a hugely influential act in their own right. With their string of hugely acclaimed albums in the late 60s and early 70s, as well a performance at the legendary Woodstock festival, they inspired such contemporary acts as Eric Clapton, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Elton John. On November 25th 1976 The Band performed their farewell concert at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco which featured such special guests as Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris and Van Morrison. The concert was immortalised as ‘The Last Waltz’ by famed director Martin Scorsese and is often hailed as one of the greatest concert films ever made.
Scottish festival T in the Park has announced that it will be taking a fallow year in 2017, marking the first year that the event has failed to take place since it’s inception in 1994. A statement from the festival organisers cited problems “logistically and financially” with moving sites and with the new site affecting a nesting pair of rare Ospreys. This seems the latest installment of bad publicity for the event, as recent years have included high crime rates and antisocial behaviour, several deaths, major traffic delays and poor organisation. Hopefully with an extra year with which to plan, some of these issues will be resolved before the 2018 festival.
The Bataclan concert hall in Paris has reopened it’s doors on the eve of the first anniversary of the terror attack that claimed 90 innocent lives. Sting performed a charity set in remembrance of those that died, with the night’s proceeds going towards charities that benefit the victims and their families. There have been reports that Jesse Hughes, frontman of Eagles of Death Metal who performed at the venue on the night of the attack, was denied entry. This is due to the controversial claims he made about the security staff being involved in co-ordinating the attack.
As if we haven’t lost enough amazing people this year it seems that 2016 has at least one more soul to take. Folk legend Leonard Cohen has passed away aged 82. Widely regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, known for his dark tones, unique humour and haunting lyrics. He has left behind an immortal body of work including such songs as ‘Suzanne’, ‘Bird on the Wire’, ‘Everybody Knows’ and most notably ‘Hallelujah’ which reached a wider audience due to Jeff Buckley’s famous cover version. His death follows just weeks after the release of his 14th studio album You Want It Darker, which received universal critical acclaim and will be remembered as his final swansong. An unparalleled artist whose influence is too expansive and densely knit to ever fully unravel, his loss comes as a keen blow to many music lovers across the globe.
Download Festival has announced all three of it’s headliners for next summer’s festival. System of a Down will play their third headline appearance on the Friday, Biffy Clyro will headline the festival for the first time on the Saturday in support of their new album Ellipsis and Aerosmith will make their only UK appearance of 2017 as they bring proceedings to a close on the Sunday. The festival will take place on the 9th-11th June at Donington Park, with the remainder of the line-up still yet to be revealed.
It has been confirmed that Radiohead are the first headliners of Glastonbury Festival 2017. The official announcement arrived after rumours surrounding an odd crop circle that appeared on the site of the famous Pyramid stage on the festival’s live webcam, which later turned out to be the band’s “bear face” logo. This will mark the third time the band have headlined the festival following performances in 1997 and 2003. Radiohead will be performing on Friday 23rd June with the other headliners yet to be announced, although those rumoured to be appearing include Daft Punk and The Stone Roses.