In any review of 2016 it is going to be a challenge to avoid mention of the mounting number of musicians who decided to shuffle off this mortal coil and, as Shakespeare or someone of that ilk put it, took a Stairway to Heaven, or indeed a Highway to Hell. At times the year rather resembled The Hunger Games as more and more great figures of the music world strummed their final chord.
But 2016 also had some pretty great moments. Great albums, great live shows, quite the filthiest, muddiest Glastonbury you could ever wish for and lots more besides. So whilst we tip the hat to those we have lost, let’s also remember what they left behind, whether it is all-too-brief moments like Viola Beach’s “Boys That Sing” or the vast catalogue of Beatles songs that George Martin produced, or the incredible bodies of work from Bowie and Prince.
Here’s how 2016 went down:
We started the year with an incredible new David Bowie album, which may not have made up for the sad loss of Motorhead’s Lenny Kilminster over the Christmas period, but was a great start to putting the disappointments of 2015 behind us.
There was much to look forward to. Things were looking up. Europe had applauded refugees from Syria seeking er, refuge and had given them a home. The U.K. had remained together after Scotland’s vote to remain part of the union. Even One Direction went on hiatus. And if the best person to lead the US was Donald Trump, then at least we’d all have a good laugh along the way before his embarrassing and dismal failure.
Then, on the 10th January, David Bowie died.
His last words, before being taken back to his home planet by a fleet of Gemini Spaceships, were:
“My work is done. You have shown compassion to outsiders. I think I can now trust you humans to run the planet in a mature and adult fashion.”
So that went well, then.
The Brit Awards honour David Bowie with a heartfelt tribute. Although organisers are rumoured to be planning a medley featuring B*Witched, Abz from 5ive and Little Mix playing that Bowie classic “Dancing In The Street”, thankfully wiser heads prevail, and Lorde sings “Life on Mars” whilst everyone else breathes a huge sigh of relief that we didn’t mess it up.
After scoring three number one singles, Canada’s latest pretender to The King of Canadian Pop* Justin Bieber begins his world tour in Seattle. There are injuries as a result of a sudden surge in the audience as crowds rush towards the exits at the back of the arena.
American Idol broadcasts its final show, showering the winner with money and success.
“I couldn’t be happier” said the winner of American Idol, a Mr Simon Fuller of Hastings, Sussex.
Radiohead return, sending fans a postcard saying “We know where you live”, which given they have mailed the postcards through the post to addresses on their fanclub database is self evident. The Royal Mail equivalent of being told by your waiter “I know where you eat”.
Receiving a threatening postcard in heavy quality paper stock from one of rock’s most malnourished bands turns out to be about as frightening as a particularly gentle episode of “Lark Rise To Candleford”.
Rick Astley decides to never give up on pop stardom with a number one album called “50”, which is an Adele-style reference to his age rather than the amount, in pounds, of cash he had left in his bank account, and which makes everyone who remembers him feel old. Surely it was only yesterday he was a little kid prancing around in his Next suit? Media speculation suggest this “naming an album after your age” thing will catch on, as reporters wait for the announcement that Mick Jagger’s next solo album will be called “95”.
There is speculation Cameroon football legend Roger Milla has had to withdraw his latest release of EDM bangers as he never knew his real age.
Axl Rose surprises everyone by turning up on time to all his dates touring as AC/DC’s stand-in singer during the band’s US tour. It later transpires Axl is simply a huge fan of the James Corden show, and just wants to get home in time for Car Pool Karaoke.
Canadian singer Michael Bublé launches a women’s fragrance, controversially called Bublé, by playing a one-off gig. Featuring notes of plain vanilla, rose petals and quiet despair, Michael’s music is available to stream on Facebook.
Grime artist Skepta’s Konnichiwa edges out David Bowie’s Blackstar in the Mercury Music prize for the year’s best album. Skepta’s stories of life on the Meridian estate in Tottenham impressed the judges.
“I’d heard rumours about how hideous Tottenham was before, but now thanks to Skepta I will never have to travel there and find out for myself. It sounds ghastly” said music executive and Mercury judge Rupert Thistlethwaite-Smythe, 47 from his Mayfair club. “Apparently, one of the songs, “Shutdown” is about what happens when something called a “7-11″ closes” he went on.
King of Canadian Pop Justin Bieber walks offstage at his show in Manchester after fans were unable to stop screaming. The situation was brought under control after Bieber stopped singing, and allowed ear plugs to be handed out to the audience.
British pop showed itself to be in rude health as four homegrown giants each claimed the top spot in the album charts in consecutive weeks. The media hailed the new generation of stars, following in the footsteps of previous chart toppers such as Bowie, The Who, The Beatles and Amy Winehouse. Where would we all be now without the influence of the new breed of Brit legends: Olly Murs, James Arthur, Robbie Williams and Little Mix?
Mick Jagger became a father for the eighth time at the age of seventy three.
When asked how she would deal with the constant crying and whining, no sleep at night, tantrums and dribbling, the mother of Jagger’s baby replied “Oh, it’s fine – Mick has always been like that”.
*the King of Canadian Pop is a title still held by Geddy Lee of Rush
** No idea whether Milla craves pop stardom. I like to think so in my lighter moments. He could certainly dance around a corner flag like no one else.