As 2019 is coming to a close, here’s a look back on 18 of the biggest music stories in the classic rock world. Enjoy!
The Freddie Mercury/Queen biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was a massive box office success and a critical success receiving multiple Golden Globes and Academy Awards. The film won the Golden Globe for “Best Motion Picture - Drama,” while Rami Malek took home the “Best Actor - Motion Picture - Drama” Golden Globe for his portrayal of Mercury. Malek would also win the Oscar for Best Actor, while the film also picked up Oscar wins for Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Film Editing.
What an interesting, rumor-filled 2019 AC/DC had! Not only was singer Brian Johnson rumored to have returned, but drummer Phil Rudd and bassist Cliff Williams was supposedly back, and they were recording a new album. Plus, they were rumored to announce a massive world tour. Of course, literally NOTHING was said by AC/DC themselves. Hopefully, we’ll all find out what exactly they’ve been doing this year in 2020.
Poor Ozzy! This was a tough year for the Prince of Darkness who dealt with a number of health issues, from a nasty bout of pneumonia to a fall in his home that aggravated old injuries he sustained from his 2003 ATV accident that nearly ended his life. It led to him having to postpone his entire 2019 tour schedule.
Heart was on hold after a 2016 incident in which Ann Wilson's husband, Dean Wetter, was arrested and convicted on charges of assault against Nancy Wilson's then 16-year-old twin sons backstage at a Heart show in suburban Seattle. However, the sisters finally made up and announced the “Love Alive” tour which featured some incredible supporting acts including Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Sherly Crow, Brandi Carlile, Elle King and Lucie Silvas.
Peter Frampton became the latest musician to announce a farewell tour in 2019, and his reason was due to being diagnosed with Inclusion-Body Myositis (IBM), a rare, incurable condition that causes muscles to weaken slowly over time. “I’m a perfectionist and I do not want to go out there and feel like, ‘Oh I can’t, this isn’t good,’" said Frampton on ‘CBS This Morning.’ "That would be a nightmare for me. It’s my passion, I’ve been playing guitar for 60 years. Started when I was eight and now I’m 68. So, I’ve had a very good run.”
The Rolling Stones rarely postpone tour dates, but 2019 saw them put the launch of the North American leg of their “No Filter” tour on hold due to Mick Jagger undergoing heart valve replacement surgery. The surgery was a success, and the Stones returned to the road and did what they do best: Wow their fans with outstanding shows.
Woodstock 50 had the best of intentions, but it was just an absolute mess. From funding issues to not being able to really secure an actual venue, it was an effort that seemed doomed from the start.
iTunes, Apple's primary software for consuming music and other media for nearly two decades that helped create the digital era of music that exists today, was discontinued and replaced by three different apps for Mac products that each specialized in music, TV and podcasting content.
In a story that is still ongoing, a feature in The New York Times Magazine revealed that the master recordings of nearly 500,000 songs in a Universal Music Group archive from artists spanning the 20th and 21st century were destroyed in a massive fire from 2008. UMG has denied the extent of the masters lost in the fire and said in a statement, “Music preservation is of the highest priority for us and we are proud of our track record. While there are constraints preventing us from publicly addressing some of the details of the fire that occurred at NBCUniversal Studios facility more than a decade ago, the incident – while deeply unfortunate – never affected the availability of the commercially released music nor impacted artists’ compensation.”
The Boss had a big 2019 that was highlighted by the release of ‘Western Stars,’ his first new solo album in five years. Instead of touring in support of the film, he released a well-received performance film of the album. A tour with the E Street Band is heavily rumored for 2020.
Before Money’s passing at age 70, he was dealing with a number of health issues, including battling stage 4 esophageal cancer. His cause of death, however, was from complications from his recent heart valve replacement surgery.
Just days after the death of Eddie Money, the music world was stunned by the death of Cars frontman Ric Ocasek, who died at the age of 70 from natural causes related to heart disease.
Metallica took fans by surprise this year with the postponement of their tour of Australia and New Zealand due to James Hetfield entering rehab. In a statement to fans, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Rob Trujillo said, “As most of you probably know, our brother James has been struggling with addiction on and off for many years. He has now, unfortunately, had to re-enter a treatment program to work on his recovery again. We fully intend to make our way to your part of the world as soon as health and schedule permit. We’ll let you know as soon as we can. Once again, we are devastated that we have inconvenienced so many of you, especially our most loyal fans who travel great distances to experience our shows. We appreciate your understanding and support for James and, as always, thank you for being a part of our Metallica family."
Van Halen, like AC/DC, had a wild 2019 filled with rumors of a massive tour, but allegedly issues around the health of Eddie Van Halen was the reason none of those plans came to be...or at least that’s what David Lee Roth said. On ‘Talkin’ Rock with Meltdown,’ Roth said of the rumored Van Halen tour, “Well, that's been canceled a number of times, and I think Van Halen's finished, and I think this is the next phase. I've been hearing in the band 'de facto,' whatever that means. I think it means, 'You've inherited it. Carry this proudly.' Van Halen isn't going to be coming back in the fashion that you know, and that being said, Eddie [Van Halen's] got his own story to tell. [It's] not mine to tell it.”
Legendary Cream/Blind Faith drummer Ginger Baker died at the age of 80 after battling a number of health issues for years. In 2013, he went public with his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) diagnosis, the result of years of smoking. Baker also said he had degenerative osteoarthritis that resulted in chronic back pain. In 2016, Baker had open-heart surgery.
Despite having to postpone all of his 2019 tour dates, Ozzy did manage to announce a new studio album and release two singles, “Under the Graveyard” and “Straight to Hell,” his first new pieces of music in nine years.
The Black Crowes, after much speculation and tour leaks, made it official with the announcement of their 2020 tour where reunited brothers Chris and Rich Robinson will perform their debut album, 'Shake Your Money Maker,' in its entirety.
After quite literally blowing up their "Cessation of Touring Agreement" from their 2014-15 "Final Tour," Motley Crue announced they reunited and confirmed a massive stadium tour with Def Leppard, Poison and Joan Jett and The Blackhearts.