IN THIS PAST YEAR we have experienced creations, losses, tributes and memorials all related to our best in music, along with unforgettable moments in music history. From the deaths of recording legends to new releases and performances from our favourite young artists, 2018 was full of notable events.
Now that the mince pies have been eaten and the champagne drunk, we at Spectrum FM want to take this opportunity to highlight this past year, month by month.
IN JANUARY, the world dealt with the sudden loss of Irish Cranberries singer, Dolores O’Riordan at just 46 years old. Her current band mates in The Cranberries – Noel Hogan, Fergal Lawler, and Mike Hogan – paid tribute to the lead singer on social media. The message said, “She was an extraordinary talent and we feel very privileged to have been part of her life from 1989.”
On the 28th, the 60th annual Grammy Awards, hosted by James Corden, had performances by stars like Bruno Mars, Rihanna, and Sam Smith, alongside many powerful political moments. Top musicians and industry professionals gathered at Madison Square Garden to crown the winners of the best in music.
Singer Kesha gave a heart-wrenching performance of her ballad ‘Praying’ off her first album since 2012, Rainbow. The pop star accused her longtime producer, Dr. Luke, of years of abuse in a 2014 lawsuit. Her Grammy performance, singing in front of a chorus of women in white, led by Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, Julia Michaels, Andra Day and Bebe Rexha, stood as an emotional symbol of the #MeToo movement.
THIS FEBRUARY, music fans were treated to a new album from Justin Timberlake on the 2nd, plus new releases from The Wombats and Franz Ferdinand, both on the 9th.
On the 21st, Justin Timberlake, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, Stormzy and Dua Lipa were all confirmed to perform at this year’s BRIT Awards, with Justin Timberlake returning as a headliner 15 years after his and Kylie Minogue’s infamous ‘bum-groping’ performance.
Notable bad boy Liam Gallagher left viewers in tears with his poignant Live Forever tribute to the Manchester terror attack victims. Gallagher was pulled in last minute to cover American singer Ariana Grande, whose concert was targeted in the Manchester bombing, after she was forced to pull out due to ill health.
IN MARCH, the 90th Annual Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, were held Sunday the 5th at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
In a tear-jerking performance, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder took to the stage to honour those in the film industry who passed away in 2017. Vedder performed a cover of Tom Petty’s classic ‘Room at the Top’. Other notable celebrities who were lost included names like Chuck Berry, Jerry Lewis and former James Bond star Sir Roger Moore.
ON APRIL 20TH, fans around the world were heartbroken to learn that Swedish EDM star Tim Bergling, known by his stage name Avicii, was found dead in Muscat, Oman, at the age of 28. Following his passing memorials sprung up around the world, with a town in the Netherlands even playing some of his most popular songs with its bell tower in a tribute to the late Swedish artist.
At the end of April, actress and artist Janelle Monae released her first album in five years, Dirty Computer. The performer also starred in the critic favourite Welcome to Marwen which premiered in December 2018.
IN MAY, the 63rd edition of the global favourite Eurovision Song Contest held its finale. 2018’s competition marked the first time the event took place in Portugal, held at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, with forty three countries participating in the contest. The winner this year was Israel, giving credit to artist Netta Barzilai for her performance of a song entitled ‘Toy’.
The 2018 Billboard Music Awards were held on May 21st at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The nominees were announced in April, with rapper Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars, and Ed Sheeran leading the pack with an astounding 15 nods each, followed by Post Malone with 13, Imagine Dragons with 11, Drake with 9 nominations as well as Justin Bieber and fan favourite Cardi B each coming in with 8.
However, the real star of the BMA’s was Janet Jackson, Miss Jackson if you’re nasty, who was honoured with the coveted Icon Award after delivering her first TV performance in nine years.
JUNE was a slower month for music aside from bringing us a new album by singer Christina Aguilera, entitled Liberation. This marked her first album release in six years.
On the 18th, American rapper XXXTentacion, also known as Jahesh Dwayne Ricardo, was murdered in Florida. The death of the 20 year old artist sparked controversy around the world surrounding his involvement in various felony offences and how they should affect his young legacy.
IN JULY, singer and rapper Cardi B became the first female rapper to attain multiple number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100. The 26 year old artist dominated the charts this year with singles ‘I Like It’ featuring Latin artists Bad Bunny and J. Balvin and ‘Be Careful’, which peaked at number 11 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was certified platinum by the RIAA. Cardi also received praise in December when her single was included on President Obama’s annual tradition of revealing his favourite songs of 2018.
ON AUGUST 16TH, Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, died at 76 years old, due to advanced pancreatic cancer, in her home in Detroit. Franklin was the first woman admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, had 88 Billboard chart hits, and at the peak of her career she had more than two dozen Top 40 hits.
On the 20th, The 35th Annual 2018 MTV Video Music Awards were held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The award show aired live from Radio City for the 12th time, the most of any previous venue in its history. Artist Cardi B led the list of nominations with twelve mentions and opened the show. Amongst many talented artists who took home awards that night, the true star was the one and only Jennifer Lopez. The 49 year old singer, actress, and mother of two was this year’s recipient of the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, the first Latin artist to ever do so. Past winners of the Vanguard Award include Rihanna, Beyoncé, U2, Janet Jackson, and Kanye West, who famously declared his intention to run for president during his 2015 acceptance speech.
ON SEPTEMBER 7TH, American singer and rapper Mac Miller passed away in his home at the age of 26. The official cause of death was a drug overdose. Only a few weeks later, Chas Hodges, of the musical duo Chas & Dave, sadly died at the age of 74. The beloved guitarist will be best remembered as one half of Chas & Dave, the ‘rockney’ heroes whose hits include ‘Rabbit’, ‘Gertcha’ and ‘Ain’t No Pleasing You’. Hodges and bandmate Dave Peacock formed a musical partnership that lasted more than 40 years, bringing joy to generation after generation.
On lighter notes, artists Lenny Kravitz and Lil Wayne released their first albums in four years, titled Raise Vibration and Tha Carter V, respectively.
IN OCTOBER, the 2018 American Music Awards were held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California. Hosted by the beautiful Tracee Ellis Ross, daughter of legendary singer Diana Ross, the night brought show stopping performances from the year’s top artists.
Taylor Swift kicked off the show with her single ‘I Did Something Bad’, marking Swift’s first live awards show performance in three years. Swift, who just wrapped the North American leg of her Reputation tour, also made history by snagging the Artist of the Year award, making her the most awarded artist in AMA history.
Legendary singer Gladys Knight closed the show with a gospel tribute honouring her friend and legend Aretha Franklin. Franklin had sadly lost her battle with pancreatic cancer in August, a loss that reverberated around the world. Knight began with a stirring rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’. The tribute then transitioned into more rollicking performances by other gospel artists, with selections that harkened back to Franklin’s influential gospel roots. A fitting tribute to the Queen of Soul.
In late October, The Black Eyed Peas released their first album in eight years, Masters of the Sun Vol. 1. This is their first album without Fergie since her departure from the band in early 2018, and their first album as a trio since their 2000 album Bridging the Gap.
NOVEMBER was a sad month for music, theatre, and film fans alike. On the 11th, the world said goodbye to actor Douglas Rain, born March 13, 1928 in Winnipeg, Canada. Rain was a revered actor and narrator, though primarily a stage actor. He famously provided the voice of the HAL 9000 computer for the 1968 classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, and its 1984 sequel, 2010.
The next day, November the 12th, comic book creator and legend Stan Lee, sadly passed away. In collaboration with several artists, including Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, he co-created fictional characters including Spider-Man, the Hulk, Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Black Panther, the X-Men, and, with the addition of co-writer Larry Lieber, the characters Ant-Man, Iron Man and Thor. Lee had suffered several illnesses over the last year prior, including a bout of pneumonia and vision issues. Lee was survived by his daughter, J.C. His beloved wife of 69 years, Joan Lee, died in 2017.
ON DECEMBER 3RD, Hootie & the Blowfish appeared on the Today Show, after a ten year hiatus, to announce that the band is back together, and will come out with a new album and tour in 2019. Similarly singer John Mellencamp released his first album in four years, Other Peoples Stuff, Ice Cube released his first album in eight years, Everythang’s Corrupt, and Bruce Springsteen released his first commercial live album in eleven years titled Springsteen On Broadway.
December 3rd, the BBC released a list of its top music to look forward to in 2019. With albums to be expected by Rihanna, Lana Del Ray, and Dua Lipa, confirmed releases from the likes of Mark Ronson and Madonna, along with our most anticipated event, The Spice Girls Reunion tour, we all have much to look forward to this coming year.
As we wrap 2018 up, we at Spectrum FM want to say thank you to our loyal readers and listeners as we promise to fill your 2019 with all the music, news, and fun you could hope for. Watch this space and visit your favourite Spectrum FM Facebook page to see all thats going on as we kick off a new year.
Happy New Year, Feliz Año Nuevo, and cheers from Spectrum FM!