Biggest News Stories of 2013
The biggest news stories of 2013 were mostly about the people behind the music. The music figures into some of it -- like the successful comebacks staged by two of the '70s' greatest artists -- but the heartbreak of death, disease and drug addiction dominated our news feeds this past year. Some of these stories have happy endings; some of them don't. But almost every single one of them reminded us of the human elements behind the music we care so much about.
Even though it wasn't a complete reunion of Black Sabbath's original lineup -- drummer Bill Ward wasn't on board -- '13' marked the legendary band's first record with Ozzy Osbourne since 1978. They toured Europe. They toured the U.S. They released a live DVD. And they scored the first No. 1 album of their career. They'll be on the road well into 2014, so see them while you have the chance. Who knows when they'll get around to doing this again?
In November, an obscure indie-rock band based in Brooklyn made up of Iranian musicians made news all over the country: Two of the Yellow Dogs' members, as well as a musician friend, were shot and killed by another musician (an acquaintance of the band), who then killed himself. As breaking news tends to do these days, misinformation about the tragedy spread quickly online, before the sad facts finally emerged.
The Rolling Stones kicked off their 50 and Counting tour late last year, but they hit the U.S. in 2013, playing several dates with former guitarist Mick Taylor in tow. And at almost every stop, big guest stars joined them onstage, including John Fogerty, Dave Grohl and Taylor Swift. They even recreated their famous Hyde Park show from 1969 in London and got a new live album out of it. And they're not done yet: There's a whole bunch of shows scheduled for 2014 on their schedule.
In June, former Journey singer Steve Perry wrote on his website that he had just underwent two operations to treat skin cancer. But fortunately everything worked out OK: His doctors said that Perry wouldn't need any more operations to remove cancerous cells. Even though it's been 15 years since Perry has been a member of Journey, guitarist Neal Schon reached out to the singer in June, saying, "Let's talk soon."
In late August, Linda Ronstadt revealed that she has Parkinson's disease and would be ending her long singing career. She said she was diagnosed last winter. Even though Ronstadt hasn't released an album in seven years, she remains one of the '70s' most beloved singers, scoring 20 Top 40 hits. Ronstadt also published a memoir, 'Simple Dreams,' in 2013, but it makes no mention of the disease since the book was completed before she was diagnosed.
Right around the time Black Sabbath were staging their big 2013 comeback, Ozzy Osbourne aired some of his dirty laundry on Facebook, admitting that he relapsed into his booze-and-drug-consuming ways for a year and a half. Things got so bad that rumors began surfacing that he and wife Sharon were separating. That turned out be untrue, but she said she was thinking about it. And even though Ozzy remained sober throughout 2013, that didn't stop the Prince of Darkness from almost burning down his house while making a sandwich.
It's been one hell of a year for Motorhead's main man Lemmy Kilmister. First there was the news of a defibrillator for a heart problem. Then there was a hematoma. And canceled concerts. And short concerts. By the end of the year, the band decided to just let their previously believed immortal leader rest. Yet, somehow Motorhead managed to release their best album in years in the middle of all this turmoil.
David Bowie kicked off his 2013 comeback on Jan. 8, his 66th birthday, by surprising everyone with a new song ahead of a new album, which nobody knew was coming and turned out to be quite excellent and his highest-charting album ever in the U.S. While he made good on his promise not to tour, Bowie kept busy with videos, collaborations and what has to be the world's fastest reissue.
It was bound to happen. After 30 years together, Bon Jovi's two main members would eventually get around to feuding like an old married couple. Back in April, guitarist Richie Sambora left the band's tour, citing "personal issues." Rumors began to swell of drug use, while frontman Jon Bon Jovi remained vague but hopeful on the matter. After a few months of he-said-she-said back and forth, Sambora said he just wanted to spend some time with his family.
We lost several influential and important artists this past year, including Lou Reed (who died of liver failure in October) and Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek (who passed away from cancer in May). Members of Great White, Elton John's band and Blue Oyster Cult also died in 2013. Some of the names you may recognize; some you may not. But all made a contribution, in one way or another, to rock 'n' roll during their lifetimes.