Year End: 2007 music news in review
Bouts of rehab and canceled tours riddled the headlines of 2007, most notably by one-time pop princess Britney Spears and British soul singer Amy Winehouse. But the last 12 months proved fruitful for many musicians, including the newly reunited. Both the Spice Girls and Van Halen extended their tours due to successful rounds of sold-out shows while others, like Blind Melon, replaced lost original members with talented newbies for another chance at stardom. A handful of artists–Audioslave’s Chris Cornell, Staind frontman Aaron Lewis, Lonestar’s Richie McDonald–took the plunge into solo status.
Here’s a month-by-month look at the major news stories of 2007.
Texas folk singer Patty Griffin launched a mini-tour of North America preceding her February release, “Children Running Through,” and a tackled a heartier spring tour schedule. The preliminary lineup for the eighth annual Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival revealed the reunion of Rage Against the Machine and Crowded House for the three-day event. British singer Lily Allen announced a short club outing sponsored by MTV, deemed the “Discover and Download” tour. The Who extended their first full-fledged concert tour since the 2002 death of founding bassist John Entwistle. Sparklehorse announced plans for a headlining tour in support of 2005’s “Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain,” the band’s first full US tour in five years. Legendary reclusive rocker Roky Erickson announced his first San Francisco concert appearance in 25 years at the city’s Noise Pop Festival.
Fall Out Boy teamed with MTV for the Infinity Flight 206 trek, a three-city, one-day tour supporting their new album, “Infinity on High.” Singer/songwriter Marc Cohn played his first Colorado shows since a 2005 carjacking incident during which he was shot in the head. Apple Inc. and The Beatles-owned Apple Corps Ltd finally settled their lengthy trademark dispute. Former Beach Boy Brian Wilson premiered a commissioned song-cycle piece consisting of four rounds interspersed with spoken word at London’s Southbank Centre. Veteran Australian rockers Hoodoo Gurus mapped out their first US tour since 1994 in honor of their reissued debut recording, 1984’s “Stoneage Romeos.” The Dixie Chicks took home several Grammys, including Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year for “Not Ready to Make Nice.” Frontman Chris Cornell formally quit Audioslave, opting to take on future projects alone, while Ian Astbury announced his departure from Riders on the Storm, the band he helped create with former Doors members. Pop princess Britney Spears checked herself into Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Centre in Antigua, and out the following day before returning to Malibu, shaving her head and entering Promises Malibu Treatment Center for a month of rehab. Tool postponed the start of their spring tour after drummer Danny Carey tore a bicep.
The Allman Brothers upheld their annual tradition established in 1989, playing a two-week, 13-show residency at New York’s Beacon Theatre. Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie Louvin kicked off a nationwide tour backing his self-titled release, his first new album in 10 years. R.E.M. announced that the group would return to the recording studio following their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame mid-month. Jam band Leftover Salmon revealed plans to take the stage at several summertime festivals, ending a two-year hiatus. Lonestar frontman Richie McDonald disclosed that he would split with the group at the end of 2007 to pursue a solo career. Paul McCartney and Starbucks Corp. teamed up, making the former Beatle the first performer to release an album on the coffee company’s Hear Music label. Justin Timberlake expanded his “FutureSex/Love Show” tour with an additional 15-date North American leg.
EMI agreed to sell selections from the label’s catalog DRM-free via Apple’s iTunes Music Store. Prince’s Las Vegas residency at the Rio Hotel & Casino’s 3121 nightclub came to an end so the singer could focus on touring. Sheryl Crow and global-warming activist Laurie David paired up for the “Stop Global Warming” college tour, preaching social change at more than 10 universities. Two of the three original members of the Meat Puppets reunited behind the new release “Rose to Your Knees” and toured together for the first time in more than a decade. The String Cheese Incident unveiled dates for the 14-year-old jam band’s final tour. The Drive-By Truckers maintained a busy tour schedule despite the departure of longtime guitarist/vocalist Jason Isbell. Carrie Underwood topped the list of CMT Music Award winners for the second straight year with two wins for the video to her hit song “Before He Cheats.” Country sweethearts Faith Hill and Tim McGraw expanded their “Soul2Soul” tour to comprise 44 dates with several two-night runs.
Britney Spears took to the stage for the first time in nearly three years in a brief, surprise performance at San Diego’s House of Blues. Alt-rockers My Chemical Romance called off a handful of dates when several band and crew members became violently ill from food poisoning. Las Vegas’ Colosseum at Ceasars Palace announced that Bette Midler will replace Celine Dion as the club’s resident performer. Classic rock outfit Ten Years After announced a 40th anniversary world tour scheduled to touch down in several North American cities. The reformed Smashing Pumpkins unveiled a portion of their world tour behind “Zeitgeist” which included two residencies comprising nine shows in Asheville, NC, and eight in San Francisco. Kenny Chesney took home his third consecutive Entertainer of the Year trophy at the Academy of Country Music Awards. Music legend Bo Diddley survived a stroke he suffered following a concert at Harrah’s Casino in Council Bluffs, IA. The Police celebrated the launch of their reunion tour with the debut of their first double-disc “best of” set. The Black Crowes shelved plans for a new album and subsequent world tour, opting instead to continue on with their already-scheduled North American dates. Justin Timberlake joined forces with Interscope Records to chair his own label, Tennman Records.
Christian punk/metal outfit MewithoutYou announced headlining concert dates coupled with engaging potluck dinners preceding the each show. Bad Brains released a handful of dates in support of “Build a Nation,” the band’s first studio release since 2002. Wilco ruffled some fans’ feathers by licensing the use of songs from “Sky Blue Sky” in various Volkswagen commercials. Liza Minnelli embarked on a world tour that kicked off in Brazil before hitting Europe and scattered cities throughout the US. Staind frontman Aaron Lewis packed intimate venues across the nation during his solo acoustic jaunt dubbed the “Have Guitar, Will Travel” tour. Arlo Gutherie revealed plans for a yearlong solo tour scheduled to hit more than 60 cities in the US and Canada. Several Internet radio broadcasters went dark for 24 hours in protest of an approved increase in the amount of royalties they would soon be required to pay artists and record labels. Alt-rockers The Used dropped off the Vans Warped Tour so that frontman Bert McCracken could undergo an operation on his vocal cords. After six years of separation, The Spice Girls announced a world tour to coincide with a greatest hits album.
A series of worldwide concerts, known as Live Earth, brought more than 150 artists together in one 24-hour period to call attention to climate change. They Might Be Giants released their 12th album and launched a subsequent national marathon tour. Punk-pop outfit Superdrag revealed plans for the reunion of the original lineup for a short run of fall shows. Slayer joined forces with Marilyn Manson for a summer tour. Dave Matthews used his celebrity status to petition Congress to ensure traumatized US troops get medical and psychiatric help. Icelandic singer Bjork added a North American leg to her trek in support of “Volta,” including a set at the Austin City Limits Festival. The White Stripes completed their mission of playing every province and territory in Canada with a final, one-note show in Newfoundland. Jennifer Lopez and husband Marc Anthony announced a fall co-headlining tour that marked the duo’s first professional appearance together since they wed in 2004. R&B crooner Etta James recovered from complications stemming from her mid-June abdominal surgery. KISS frontman/guitarist Paul Stanley missed the group’s San Jacinto, CA performance due to a “cardiac event” from which he recovered. Ozzy Osbourne underwent minor surgery to remove a blood clot following an Ozzfest performance at Coors Amphitheater in Englewood, CO.
Stevie Wonder unveiled plans for his first major tour in a dozen years. Baltimore’s two-day Virgin Festival attracted heavy-hitters like The Police, Panic! at the Disco, Beastie Boys, TV on the Radio, Smashing Pumpkins. Fats Domino, whose New Orleans’ home was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina, received 20 reproduced sales awards for his chart-topping hits in the ’50s and ’60s. Wilco postponed two gigs to allow guitarist Nels Cline to recuperate from a bout of chicken pox. Alt-rockers The Jesus and Mary Chain, in the midst of a comeback tour, confirmed reports of a new album on the horizon. Veteran rockers Genesis, fresh off a European jaunt, announced “Turn It On Again,” the group’s first North American tour in 15 years. The Cure pushed back a previously announced September/October tour to April and May of 2008 so the group could focus on finishing up their double album. Amy Winehouse, who had reportedly been in and out of rehab, postponed her North American tour alongside Paulo Nutini, who opted to continue on without her.
Kelly Clarkson, who canceled her summer arena tour due to poor ticket sales, announced a keyed-down fall trek, scheduled to hit more intimate venues. Blind Melon revealed a tour schedule behind an in-the-works album with singer Travis Warren filling the spot left by Shannon Hoon, who died of a drug overdose in 1995. Britney Spears attempted a career comeback when she opened the MTV Video Music Awards with a lackluster performance of her latest single, “Gimme More.” The Pixies’ Frank Black launched a brief tour as Black Francis, backing his 13th studio release, “Bluefinger.” Singer/songwriter Colbie Caillat, who propelled to fame thanks to MySpace, launched a club and theater tour in support of her debut album, “CoCo.” Austin City Limits Festival continued despite a slew of major cancellations including The White Stripes, Rodrigo y Gabriela and Amy Winehouse. Disney made the executive decision to take their popular TV show, “High School Musical,” to the live stage. The album-sales rivalry between Kanye West’s “Graduation” and 50 Cent’s “Curtis” came to a head when West outsold 50 Cent by nearly a third during the albums’ first week in stores. Veteran rockers Van Halen took the stage for the first time in 22 years with original frontman David Lee Roth.
The Wallflowers reemerged after a two-year hiatus to play a handful of intimate shows on the East Coast. Coheed and Cambria hit the road behind “No World for Tomorrow,” the final chapter in a five-part CD saga. Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim program launched a pair of campus concert tours, a hip-hop version featuring Ghostface Killah and a rock version headlined by … And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. Radiohead released their latest studio album, “In Rainbows,” allowing fans to pick their own price when ordering the digital-download version. The Spice Girls sold out their London O2 arena show in 38 seconds, prompting the British quintet to schedule three more London shows. Isaac Hanson, the oldest brother of the pop group Hanson, checked into a Dallas hospital for chest pains, the result of a pulmonary embolism. Madonna signs a deal with concert promotions giant Live Nation encompassing recorded music, merchandise, ticketing, fan websites, broadcast/digital media rights, sponsorship and marketing. The American Music Awards opened voting up to the public for the first time in the show’s 35-year history. Country crooner George Strait released another hits album, “22 More Hits,” ahead of his massive US arena tour. Miley Cyrus announced that her hot-selling “Best of Both Worlds” tour, which also featured her Disney Channel character Hannah Montana, would be captured on film and screened at 3D movie theaters in early 2008. MySpace launched the first ever MySpace Music Tour, headlined by Say Anything and Hellogoodbye. A rash of wildfires forced several acts to cancel scheduled gigs in Southern California. Sum 41 canceled several tour dates due to frontman Deryck Whibley’s issue with a herniated disc.
“Long Road Out of Eden”–the first album of new material from the Eagles in 28 years, debuts at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 chart–despite being sold exclusively at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. The Decemberists canceled their fall US tour after just two fulfilled dates due to a member’s undisclosed illness. Rosanne Cash announced all remaining 2007 tour dates would be canceled so she could undergo brain surgery for a benign condition. Celine Dion revealed plans for a world tour once her five-year Las Vegas residency at Ceasars Palace ends. Soul singer Robin Thicke postponed his stateside tour because of a vocal ailment. John Mayer released information about Mayercraft Carrier, a three-day concert cruise planned for February. Van Halen mentioned extending their successful road trip well into next year. Quiet Riot frontman Kevin DuBrow was found dead in his Las Vegas home from an accidental drug overdose. Josh Groban’s Christmas-themed “Noel” returned to No. 1 on The Billboard 200 chart after his surprise appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Trent Reznor launched his own website to allow for fan-posted remixes after his former label turned down the idea.
Garth Brooks set a venue sales record with his five-show stand at LA’s Staples Center. Journey named their third lead singer in less than two years, with Arnel Pineda replacing Jeff Scott Soto as the rock group’s frontman. Led Zeppelin rocked London’s O2 arena in their first full-length concert in nearly three decades. Paul Potts, the soft-spoken winner of “Britain’s Got Talent,” announced plans for his first trek across the US scheduled for spring 2008. Dolly Parton unveiled the first set of dates for her 2008 world tour behind her forthcoming album, “Backwoods Barbie,” her first studio effort since 2005. Music icons Madonna, Leonard Cohen, John Mellencamp, The Ventures and The Dave Clark Five led the new class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, to be honored in March. Art Garfunkel confirmed dates for a US tour that will mix solo and symphony dates in support of his 12th solo album, “Some Enchanted Evening.” Josh Groban’s “Noel” spent its 5th straight week at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 album chart, a record for a holiday album. Radiohead announced it will perform its latest album, “In Rainbows,” in its entirety during a one-hour New Year’s Eve simulcast over cable television and the web.
Notable deaths in the music world throughout 2007 included Michael Brecker, Joe Hunter (The Funk Brothers,) Brad Delp (Boston,) Don Ho, Lee Hazlewood, Max Roach, Luciano Pavarotti, Casey Calvert (Hawthorne Heights,) Kevin DuBrow (Quiet Riot,) Ike Turner, Chad “Pimp C” Butler (UGK), Dan Fogelberg Joe Dolan and Oscar Peterson.
Year End: 2007 music news in review