The Death of Rock n Roll was the theme of 2014…
Perhaps it began with the crushing news that professional overdosers and part time rock band Motley Crüe had decided to split. This came as a shock to most people who thought that they had already split in the nineties. The Crüe did the whole “split” thing in style though. They signed irrevocable contracts that would prevent them re-forming ever again, in a contract that can never be broken – unless there is enough money available to break it, that is…
The Brit Awards took place in February, with the headlines grabbed by Artic Monkeys front man Alex Turner making a controversial * winners speech about how Rock n roll will never die. He then went on to say the pope was catholic and bears s*** in the woods.
This produced a paper shortage as the world was flooded with think-pieces about the death of rock n roll.
March saw a new single by Coldplay, called Magic. The backdrop to the single was the death of a relationship – or as a press release put it, the “conscious uncoupling” of lead singer Chris Martin and his wife Gwyneth Paltrow. In case the term is unfamiliar, other “conscious uncouplings” include Pakistan and India, Jay-Z and Solange and Kevin Pietersen and the English cricket team.
The rock n roll Hall of Fame brought back two bands from the other side. Nirvana died when lead singer Cobain committed suicide, whereas Kiss have been morally and creatively dead for many decades. Both were inducted in April. To celebrate, both bands celebrated their female side. Nirvana played songs with female-only lead vocalists including Lorde and St Vincent, whilst Gene Simmons bitched about how his former bandmates didn’t deserve to be there.
In May, the music world was shaken to learn that pillar of the community and torch carrier of rock n roll Gary Barlow was actually a tax-dodger. Other things that Barlow had dodged included humility, modesty and writing a decent song for twenty years. A judge ruled that a music industry investment scheme in which he and other members of Take That had invested heavily was set up for the purpose of avoiding tax. The judge also ruled that Take That were meaningless piffle and worse to listen to than seven cats being drowned in a sink. Even one of their remaining members agreed, with Jason Orange quitting the band to spend more time with his money.
Keeping up his business thesis that “Your turntable’s not dead”, June saw the release of Jack White’s new album, Lazaretto, in a vinyl edition containing hidden tracks and a side that played inside out. Thrillingly, for his next album, White is going to release a special vinyl edition that is made of metal, is four inches wide and needs a laser stylus. He will call it a “Compact Disc”…
Mick Jagger attracted headlines by being an Angel of Death for any football team he went to support. Observers noted he had supported half a dozen teams at World Cup finals in recent tournaments, all of whom have subsequently crashed out of the tournament, culminating in Brazil’s 7-1 thrashing at the hands of Germany. There was however no truth in the rumour that he had attended a Beady Eye gig earlier in the year, although he is reported to be puzzled at a flood of Take That and One Direction tickets that have been sent to him anonymously in the post by hopeful rock fans.
A new craze swept the world in the form of the ice bucket challenge. Liam Gallagher participated, nominating “Spongebob Squarepants, Ivor the Engine and while we’re on the subject of cartoon characters, Noel Gallagher” (see what he did there…). Liam then poured cold water over…..the idea that Beady Eye might ever produce a decent album, and split the band.
Royal Blood scored a number one album in the UK with their eponymous debut, which sold over 60,000 copies in the first week of release. A paper shortage restarted with a flood of think-pieces about the re-birth of rock n roll.
On TV, the year’s most compelling musical drama was “Cilla”, which plotted the rise of one of the music industry’s most important artists and the struggles that were overcome. It turns out that watching them play in the Cavern club was Cilla Black. The only criticism of the show was that Sheridan Smith’s (excellent) singing wasn’t painful enough to be truly realistic.
As with previous years, there were a few major re-births and comebacks. 2013 saw the return of Black Sabbath and David Bowie. This was topped in 2014 with the sensational live return of an artist about whom we all said “Wow, Unbelievable………” That’s right, you guessed it, we could hardly believe they were back – the mighty S Club 7. Hannah, Rachel, Jo, Phoebe, Chandler, Monica and Ross were all there on BBC’s Children In Need singing “Reach For The Stars”. Badly, as it turned out. But never mind. Plenty of time for Jo to kick the ciggies and get her voice back for the live shows in 2015.
Ed Sheeran announced three headline gigs at Wembley Stadium in 2015. That’s three nights. At Wembley. Ed Sheeran. The paper shortage began once more, with a new flood of think-pieces about the death of rock n roll…..
On a sadder note, we lost a few musicians this year, including Bobby Keys, Ian McLagan, Bobby Womack, Jack Bruce, Phil Everley, Tommy Ramone, Gerry Goffin, and Scott Asheton of The Stooges. Judging by the alleged frenzy on eBay, however, sadly none of these losses appeared to be as tragic as the death of the iPod Classic, which ceased production in 2014. As the last few models fetched several hundred pounds each, the world realised that never again will we have the opportunity to show someone at a party all 160gb of our music collection. Which is probably a good thing for all involved.
I’m half expecting the sad bit at the Grammys next year – when they show clips of all the people who have died – to show close ups of the still-alive putting on sad-faces, only to then completely lose it when they see a picture of the iPod Classic on screen and it seeps in that they can’t store their music collection as easily as they could before.
So that’s it for 2014. It’s been emotional. The year the music died. Or at least the iPod, anyway. Merry Christmas everyone…
* By “controversial”, I do of course mean “rambling and quite drunken”.