2016 Music Year in Review • The Beat Goes On

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, National Music,   From Issue 837   By: Kristi Kates

15th December, 2016     0

2016’s music year could perhaps best be thought of as a teeter-totter: one minute you’re up in the air celebrating a fantastic album release or impressive live show, and the next you’re sitting on the ground with no dance in your step, wondering how you got so low. Let’s take a look at what the music scene looked like over the past year.



- The year had hardly begun before the first blow arrived: the passing of the legendary David Bowie on Jan. 10.

- Will Smith announces that he, as The Fresh Prince, and his cohort DJ Jazzy Jeff would be hitting the road for a reunion tour.

- Boyz II Men renew their musical residency at the Las Vegas Mirage Hotel and Casino.

- Moby publishes his memoir, Porcelain, a book that follows his life from his suburban beginnings to his days in the club scene of NYC.

- R.E.M. sign a licensing agreement with Concord Music to re-release their 1988-2011 albums.

- President Obama and Michelle Obama name their favorite singles of 2015: Kendrick Lamar’s “How Much a Dollar Cost” for the Prez, and for Mrs. Obama, Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.”

- Good thing we got a glimpse of Ed Sheeran at the 2016 Grammy Awards, because other than that he took the majority of the year off.

- Bombay Bicycle Club took a hiatus, as well, with singer Jack Steadman planning a solo album.

‘- Kanye West releases his latest album, The Life of Pablo, which includes appearances from Swizz Beatz and A$AP Rocky.

- Bruce Springsteen puts his Beverly Hills mansion up for sale for $60 million, while his old house in New Jersey is also up for sale at a much more affordable $299,000.

- Massive Attack release a new album, Ritual Spirit, nearly six years after their last effort.

- The Super Bowl halftime show features the impressive triple threat of Coldplay, Bruno Mars, and Beyoncé.

- Beatles producer and musical genius George Martin passes away on March 8 at the age of 90.

- The 2016 SXSW Festival takes place March 15-20 with performances from Crystal Castles, Tarmac, The Kickback, Phases, and more.

- Aloe Blacc and Zedd collaborate on a revamped version of Sammy Davis Jr.’s beloved tune “The Candy Man” for M&Ms candy’s 75th anniversary.



- Adele hits the road for a huge 56-date North American tour.

- The Lumineers head out on tour, too, to promote their brand new sophomore album Cleopatra

- ’60s pop group The Monkees are feted on a new album called Good Times! that features covers of the band’s songs by the likes of Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger, and Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard.

- Walk the Moon are another band going on tour this month, kicking off with a round of festival appearances and bringing along Misterwives as opening act.

- The Roots rock Philadelphia with their annual Roots Picnic on June 4, featuring sets from Usher, Future, DMX, Leon Bridges, and more.

- Arcade Fire’s Win Butler and Regine Chassagne open a restaurant in Montreal called Agrikol; one of their first dining guests was David Byrne, who gave the cafe a thumbs-up.

- The 2016 Movement Fest returns to Detroit’s Hart Plaza with an overload of EDM music, artists, performers, and DJs for all.

- In other electronica news, the first ever Electronic Music Awards and Foundation Show airs on FOX TV on April 23, becoming the only major awards show dedicated to EDM musicians.

- The I Love the ‘90s! Tour gets moving with Salt-N-Pepa, Coolio, Tone Loc, and Color Me Badd all on the tour bus.

- HBO kicks off the first (and only) season of their ‘70s-era record industry drama-soap show Vinyl.

- 89X celebrates their birthday with another big party at The Fillmore in Detroit on May 8 with performances from Foals, Say Anything, and Silversun Pickups.

- The 2016 Eurovision concludes their over-the-top competition for this year, with Ukrainian singer Jamala taking the number one spot with her politically-themed song “1944.”

- The MuchMusic Video Awards air on June 19, with the big winners including The Weeknd, Drake, and Shawn Mendes.

- Avicii pens a farewell letter to his fans, saying that he’s going to stop touring due to illness and some personal issues.

- Shirley Manson and her Garbage bandmates return with a sharp new album called Strange Little Birds that hits outlets on June 10th.



- A Capitol Fourth starts July with a bang as Smokey Robinson, Kenny Loggins, Cassadee Pope, Gavin DeGraw, and Alisan Porter (The Voice) take the stage on the West Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC.

- James Corden’s must-watch Carpool Karaoke segments continue with his latest car guests, Gwen Stefani, Michelle Obama, Selena Gomez, and a NSFW Red Hot Chili Peppers.

- The John Hughes film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off celebrates its 30th anniversary by releasing an authorized soundtrack including tunes like Wayne Newton’s “Danke Schoen,” Dream Academy’s “The Edge of Forever,” and of course Yello’s “Oh Yeah.”

- In other film news, Miss Sharon Jones!, the documentary about soul singer Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, opens in limited release on July 29.

- Lollapalooza takes over Chicago’s Grant Park for their 25th anniversary, extending the fest to four days July 28-31 with performances from

- The 2016 Pitchfork Music Festival runs July 15-17 in the Windy City’s Union Park with headliners Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys), Sufjan Stevens, Miguel, Neon Indian, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Beach House.

- A new Chipotle ad features a duet of the old Backstreet Boys song “I Want It That Way” by Alabama Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James.

- Rapper Pitbull is honored by the Los Angeles community with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; Cyndi Lauper, Adam Levine, and Bruno Mars were also awarded stars this year.

- The Made in America Festival returns to Philly for its fifth season on Labor Day weekend, curated by Jay Z with live sets from Edward Sharpe, Grimes, DJ Mustard, Chance the Rapper, Rihanna, and Jamie xx.

- The 2016 MTV Video Music Awards hand out the moonmen to Coldplay, Twenty One Pilots, Calvin Harris, and Beyoncé.

- The late Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed’s music is tributed at a show in NYC featuring Yo La Tengo, Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo, Lucinda Williams, and Reed’s wife Laurie Anderson.

- Bruce Springsteen is the subject of two releases in September, an autobiographical book called Born to Run, and a companion soundtrack to the book called Chapter and Verse.

- Royal Oak’s Arts Beats and Eats Festival hits the Motor City suburb on September 2 with performances from Our Lady Peace, The Voice’s Laith Al-Saadi, Broken Day Machine, Cole Swindell, and more.

- The Global Citizen concert returns to NYC’s Central Park in September with sets from Kendrick Lamar, Major Lazer, and Rihanna.



- The official song for the 2016 Rio Olympics is released: “Alma e Coracao” (“Soul and Heart”) as performed by rapper Projota and samba artist Thisquinho.

- The Fray and American Authors team up for a six week tour starting in October that keeps them busy until Thanksgiving week.

- The Monsters of Rock cruise hits the high seas toward Mexico with Kix, The Winery Dogs, Loudness, and Mr. Big on board.

- Moby curates a brand new music event in Los Angeles called The Circle V Festival, which is 100% vegan and includes sets from Cold Cave, Blaqk Audio, and Moby himself.

- ‘80s pop outfit The Go-Go’s also hit the stage in Los Angeles to perform the final show of what they’ve called their farewell tour.

- Lady Gaga’s new album, Joanne, hits outlets on October 21st; she’s also confirmed as the halftime performer for next year’s 2017 Super Bowl.

- Gwen Stefani debuts a music-themed TV show for Nickelodeon called Kuu Kuu Harajuku, in which the main character, a Gwen lookalike named G, heads up a crime-fighting female pop band called HJ5.

- Stevie Nicks launches a solo North American tour called the 24 Karat Gold Tour, and she brings along Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders as her opening band.

- As President Obama prepares to exit the White House, he oversees one last big musical fling called SXSL (South by South Lawn) that included performances from The Lumineers, Gallant, and the Dap-Kings (minus Sharon Jones, who was out ill.)

- Only a few months after the rockumentary about her music hit theaters, Miss Sharon Jones herself is gone at the age of 60 after a long battle with cancer.

- Returning full circle to our loss at the beginning of the year, a new collection of David Bowie’s biggest singles called Legacy is released on November 11.

- The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announces their 2017 nominees, which include ELO (Electric Light Orchestra), Bad Brains, Janet Jackson, The Zombies, and Kraftwerk.

- The songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash Broadway musical Hamilton are feted on a new album featuring covers of songs from the show by the likes of The Roots, Ashanti, Sia, Miguel, Regina Spektor, Kelly Clarkson, Busta Rhymes, and fun. frontman Nate Ruess.

- As Season 11 of The Voice wraps up, NBC announces that the next round of the show (Season 12) will kick off in February 2017 with coaches this time around being Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani, and Alicia Keys.

- And the 2016 Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve special returns to ABC-TV with host Ryan Seacrest  in New York City and performances from Emeli Sandé, Shawn Mendes, Lukas Graham, and Niall Horan.




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