The Breakout Artist of the Year: Adele went through the stratosphere. Her tour, including a very soldout date at the Electric Factory in May, was SRO. ‘21’ is one of the best selling albums of 2011. Adele could do little wrong except cancel a bunch of soldout dates, including a show at the Borgata in October, due to voice problems.
Comeback of the Year: Perhaps there is hope for Lindsay Lohan after all. Former troubled postergirl Britney Spears roared back with arguably the finest album of her career, ‘Femme Fatale.’
Goodbyes: It’s a long list of departed stars. Amy Winehouse tops the list since she checked out at the clichéd age of 27. It would have been fascinating to hear what Wino would have delivered if she found a way to survive. Her performance four years ago at an Austin club during South By Southwest was spellbinding.
Clarence Clemons’ passing has left a big hole in the E Street Band. The ‘Big Man’ will be sorely missed. According to his son Nick Clemons, he uncovered some of his dad’s unreleased recordings.
Heavy D, Gerry Rafferty and Gil Scott-Heron also died in 2011.
Age Is Just A Number: A bunch of recording artists over 50 impressed with albums. Paul Simon’s ‘So Beautiful Or So What,’ Robbie Robertson’s ‘How To Become Clairvoyant’ and Gregg Allman’s stunning ‘Low Country Blues’ were among the finest offerings recorded by those on the side of 50. The old schoolers can certainly still bring it.
Time For R.E.M. To Go To Sleep: R.E.M. also deserves to be on the over 50 with an impressive album list courtesy of what is their final album, ‘Collapse Into Now.’ At SXSW in March the members of the group appeared in Austin to dissect the arty videos, which accompany the album. Vocalist Michael Stipe was in a great mood while breaking down the footage. There was no hint that ‘Collapse Into Now’ was the band’s swan song. However, the iconic band called it a day in September after surviving for 31 years. It was hardly surprising that R.E.M. passed on a goodbye tour since the act hadn’t hit the road in years. Good move.
It Was A Real Lulu Of An Idea: But the pairing of Metallica and Lou Reed didn’t work. Their disc, ‘Lulu.’ didn’t meet the hype but give them credit for trying.
Best Documentary: Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone’ is a must see for those, who like their rock served up with a side of funk. The greatest live band of all time never received their due. It’s a fascinating story of a band that deserved the attention that the Red Hot Chili Peppers have received. The Chili Peppers are about to get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame while Fishbone continues to toil in obscurity. Who said life was fair?
Never Say Never: Van Halen is recording its first album since 1998. The group ventured into the studio to record a disc with original singer David Lee Roth for the first time since 1984. A tour will follow in 2012. It wasn’t that long ago that such a reunion was deemed very unlikely. So is there a chance the Smiths will reunite? Absolutely not.
Hello, Cleveland: It should be a fascinating induction ceremony in April at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as Guns ‘N Roses, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Beastie Boys, will enter the hallowed hall courtesy of votes tallied in 2011. Will Guns N’ Roses original lineup jam? Something crazy is likely to happen and it’ll possibly be fodder for the 2012 ‘Year in Music Review.’