Our 4th Annual Ultimate Classic Rock Awards for 2014's Artist of the Year includes some of music's most reliable performers. They all released albums this year, and many of them toured, too. But which one had the biggest impact on the world of rock and roll as a whole? That's up to you -- so vote now for Artist of the Year:
Even though they had a few setbacks -- including guitarist Malcolm Young's deteriorating health and drummer Phil Rudd's arrest -- AC/DC returned after a six-year absence with 'Rock or Bust,' a typically potent blast of power-fueled rock 'n' roll.
Foo Fighters got super-ambitious in 2014 with 'Sonic Highways,' recording the album in various cities with special guests. The idea was to chart the history of American music. They also filmed the making-of process for an HBO documentary.
It had been five years since Ace Frehley released an album, and way longer than that since he put out a record as solid as 'Space Invader.' Credit supersonic originals and a spirited cover of the Steve Miller Band's 'The Joker.'
One of metal's pioneering bands roared back with one of their best records in years with 'Redeemer of Souls,' even after losing longtime guitarist K.K. Downing. But Judas Priest were built for this, and to prove it, they hit the road for a thundering round of shows.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released their toughest and most focused album, 'Hypnotic Eye,' in a long time last year. Then they went on the road and promoted it along with their expanding, durable catalog, which gets better with each passing year.
After 20 years, Pink Floyd revisited leftover material from their last album, 'The Division Bell,' and constructed a new work around it. But 'The Endless River' is more ambient than rock. Still, they said this is it, and it's a fitting finale.
It's been eight years since Bob Seger released an album, and he's mellowed a bit since then. But 'Ride Out' is a sturdy, confident work by an artist who's following his own path. He also hit the road and influenced some country stars.
'World on Fire,' the latest album from Slash (along with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators) is an hour-plus journey into straight-up rock 'n' roll. No fuss, no pretension and no concern for what year it is. Timeless music with a hard-rock edge.
Even though Bruce Springsteen assembled his 2014 album 'High Hopes' from recent outtakes and fragments, it holds together surprisingly well. As always, he hit the road with an expanded E Street Band for more marathon shows.
Simply put, Jack White is one of modern music's busiest, weirdest and wildest artists. His second solo album, 'Lazaretto,' takes his blues-rock crunch into deeper sonic terrain, cutting through the past century with wide-eyed wonder.