February’s Biggest Classic Rock Stories: 2017 in Review
As we take a look back at the year, we find politics and band squabbles again taking center stage, along with some technical glitches, and technical wonders, as well as one venerable act's final days. Check our list below of five of the biggest classic rock stories from February 2017.
Grammy Snafu With Metallica and Lady Gaga
It would be nice to think that Metallica's pyrotechnics-fueled performance with Lady Gaga at the 2017 Grammy Awards was so hot it shorted the equipment. But while it received positive reviews, the unlikely duet of "Moth to Flame" from the band's Hardwired ... to Self-Destruct was marred thanks to an onstage extra who accidentally unplugged frontman James Hetfield's microphone just before they hit the stage. Ken Ehrlich, who produced the show, called the incident "awful" and apologized to Hetfield for the mishap, though Hetfiled soldiered on and saved the performance by sharing Gaga's mic.
Spinal Tap Taps Studio for Unpaid Royalties
In early February, the rest of Spinal Tap joined Harry Shearer, one of the stars of This Is Spinal Tap, in a lawsuit against Vivendi and StudioCanal for allegedly denying them profits from the 1984 movie — for which they have received only $179 since the film's release.
Actors Christopher Guest and Michael McKean, as well as director Rob Reiner, had signed onto a previous suit with Shearer alleging fraud and breach of contract against the companies for $1.25 million. But the amended suit, which included the additional plaintiffs, raised damages to $400 million.
'The End' for Black Sabbath
On Feb. 4, the legendary metal band wrapped up its goodbye tour, capping a 39-year career. Three of the band's original members — Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler — played a 15-song final show in their hometown of Birmingham, England. Original drummer Bill Ward, who's been on the outs with his old bandmates lately, did not participate.
Using the latest technology, the late Ronnie James Dio continues to please crowds along with several of his former collaborators. The Dio Disciples launched a world tour in the fall featuring Dio's hologram, but back on Feb. 2, the hologram made its U.S. debut with a performance on the Pollstar Awards. Created by technology company EyeIllusion, the hologram-led show highlights various eras of the legendary metal singer’s career. But the process was not without its snags along the way, including criticism directed at Dio's widow for okaying the hologram in the first place.
Ted Nugent for Senate
Some were surprised when rumors began circulating early in the year that Kid Rock might seek a Senate bid in his home state of Michigan. But the surprises kept coming when, in mid-February, fellow conservative rocker Ted Nugent announced he, too, was considering a run for the same seat — with their eyes on defeating Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabeow.
Asked for confirmation of his intention at the time, Nugent replied, "I’m always very interested in making my country and the great state of Michigan great again, and there is nothing I wouldn’t do to help in any way I possibly can." He even said he'd use a twist on President Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan -- like "Make Michigan Michigan again."