Who Is 2017’s Artist of the Year? UCR Fan Choice Awards
With all of the other categories in the Ultimate Classic Rock Fan Choice Awards revealed, it's time for the biggest of them all. You can now vote for 2017's Artist of the Year.
We've nominated seven rock legends -- Gregg Allman, Metallica, Tom Petty, U2, Roger Waters, Brian Wilson and Neil Young -- and you can read about what they did in 2017 to earn these nods. Two of the nominees died during the past year, but they left us with grand final moments. Allman's last album, which he recorded while battling the cancer that killed him, was released just months after he died; Petty had just wrapped up a lengthy 40th-anniversary tour with the Heartbreakers only one week before his death in October.
Voting for each of the 2017 Ultimate Classic Rock Fan Choice Awards categories ends on Jan. 2, 2018, at 11:59PM ET. As always, the winner will be decided solely by reader’s votes.
Gregg Allman's death on May 27 brought an end to one of rock's greatest lives. As an artist who, in his last few years, tried to stay on the road as much as possible despite his failing health, it's fitting that Southern Blood came out after he died. The album netted two Grammy nominations, one for Best Americana Album and another for Best Americana Roots Song, "My Only True Friend."
Metallica's long-awaited Hardwired ... to Self-Destruct arrived as 2016 was coming to a close, but they're nominated for our Artist of the Year because they ramped up their support of the album. Even an embarrassing microphone problem couldn't dim the energy of their "Moth Into Flame" duet with Lady Gaga at the Grammys. A few months later, they launched the WorldWired tour, which helped them place as the 10th highest-earning musical act of the year. They also put out a massive box set commemorating 1986's classic Master of Puppets.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' summer tour was supposed to be a victory lap for their 40 years together. Instead, it turned into their epitaph, albeit one that celebrated one of the strongest catalogs in all of rock. Perhaps there can be no greater symbol of Petty's impact than the sheer number of musicians -- from rock and punk to country and pop -- who covered his songs in the week following his death.
A year ago, U2 were planning to spend much of 2017 touring behind a new album. But following Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, they realized how the world had circled back to the conditions that resulted in The Joshua Tree. So they put the new record on hold and mounted a worldwide tour where they performed their 1987 blockbuster in its entirety, with a typically awe-inspiring production. Then, after the tour concluded, they completed work on Songs of Experience, which came out in December.
After touring behind The Wall for several years, Roger Waters put his Pink Floyd opus aside and gave us Is This the Life We Really Want?, his first album of all-new material since 1992's Amused to Death. He supported it with a tour that interspersed new songs with old favorites. He also kept up his support for Palestinian statehood, though that resulted in a German television network canceling plans to broadcast his concerts for fear of stoking growing anti-Semitic fires in Germany.
Brian Wilson had planned to permanently end his long-running Pet Sounds tour last year. But the response was so great that he decided to keep it going, with another 42 shows performed in North America and Europe. The Beach Boys also released Sunshine Tomorrow, an expanded edition of 1967's Wild Honey that added 54 rare tracks and outtakes from the Wild Honey and Smiley Smile sessions.
Neil Young continues to be incapable of slowing down. In his 72nd year, he released two albums: Hitchhiker, a collection of solo acoustic songs (including "Powderfinger," "Campaigner" and the title track) recorded in one day back in 1976, and The Visitor, another new collaboration with Promise of the Real. The day of The Visitor's release in early December, he finally made good on his plans to put his celebrated archives online.