Top 20 Music Moments of 2012: Whitney, PSY, Pussy Riot & More
Top 20 Music Moments of 2012: Whitney, PSY, Pussy Riot & More

20 TOP MUSIC MOMENTS OF 2012

 

It was the best of times - Taylor Swift, One Direction and PSY had their best year ever. It was the worst of times - the world lost Whitney Houston, Beastie Boy Adam Yauch, and Jenni Rivera. But 2012 was anything but a slow news year. These are the 20 biggest music moments in a 12 month span that was crammed with milestones.

 

Best of 2012: Billboard's Year-End Charts & More

 

 

20 Tupac Turns Into a Hologram

TUPAC HOLOGRAM It's crazy that the one artist that took everyone by surprise at this year's Coachella festival wasn't actually on the bill. Or alive. The late Tupac Shakur made an appearance during Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg's set on Sunday, April 15 as a "hologram." Tupac appeared on stage through the West Coast rapper's set and performed "Hail Mary" and "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted" before disappearing into thin air. Whether it made people nostalgic for the '90s or simply creeped them out, the Tupac appearance caused a frenzy that spread far beyond the hip-hop world. Rumors of tours with holograms of late singers spread, including one with TLC's Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes and its remaining members. Digital Domain Media Group, which created the hologram with the blessing of the late rapper's family, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and sold its business in September. READ FULL STORY
 
19 Randy's Naked Arrest

RANDY TRAVIS MUGSHOT Randy Travis was a mess in 2012. The country star was arrested in February, charged with public intoxication after he was found in his car at a Baptist church in Texas. He was then arrested again in August, looking angry and bloody with a black eye in his mugshot, having allegedly threatened a police officer after crashing his car while under the influence of alcohol. But the worst part: Travis was reportedly found naked at the scene in North Texas. On top of his two arrests, Travis was also involved in an altercation with a woman he was possibly dating and her estranged husband. The disturbance occurred outside a Texas church at the end of August, three weeks after his second arrest. READ FULL STORY
 
18 Lana Del Rey's SNL Fail

After the video for "Video Games" made Lana Del Rey a rising, controversial online star, her first big step into the real world was a disaster. Her wobbly "Saturday Night Live" performance was roundly criticized by tweeters from actress Juliette Lewis to NBC's "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams, with even the comedy show's Kristen Wiig lampooning the singer the following week ( watch below). She made a stronger trip to TV with a "Late Show" performance weeks later, but the damage was done: her "SNL" debut became a meme that lasted all the way through October, when she wound up spinning endlessly in a presidential debate .gif image that went viral. READ FULL STORY

 
17 EDM Goes Pop

If 2011 was the year that EDM started to breach the mainstream, 2012 further erased the line between traditional pop vocalists and bass drop engineers. At the Grammy Awards, Skrillex took home multiple pieces of hardware while deadmau5 got to perform with Lil Wayne and Chris Brown. Avicii was joined onstage by Madonna at Ultra Music Festival, and then opened for the superstar on her "MDNA" tour; one month after Ultra, Calvin Harris brought out his "We Found Love" collaborator Rihanna at Coachella. Meanwhile, pop mainstays like Usher and Nicki Minaj worked with producers like Diplo and David Guetta, as EDM stars Swedish House Mafia brought massive audiences to their farewell shows. This year, the Dance Dance Revolution was indeed in full effect. READ FULL STORY

 
16 Jenni Rivera's Tragic Death

Although Jenni Rivera was already a mega-star, and by far the top-selling regional Mexican female star in the market, media and her fans were as unprepared for the singer's unexpected death as for the explosive reaction to it. Rivera was officially declared dead 48 hours after the private plane she was traveling in crashed in Mexico. But the media frenzy was unleashed from the onset, with the singer/reality show star/talk show host/entrepreneur fast becoming a Twitter trending topic and the subject of stories around the globe as her music sales skyrocketed. Most telling to the world, reaction highlighted the presence of a big and avid U.S. Latin fan base that is still untapped by the mainstream. READ FULL STORY

 
15 Rolling Stones: Grrr-eat at 50

THE ROLLING STONES To mark 50 years as the "World's Greatest Rock n' Roll Band," the Rolling Stones lined up a busy 2012 that included a greatest hits album, two new songs, two films and a book. But something was missing, and after months of speculation and unconfirmed reports the band announced in October a series of live dates, dubbed the "50 and Counting" tour. Paris, London, Brooklyn and New Jersey were all treated to star-studded (guests at various dates included Lady Gaga, Mary J. Blige, Bruce Springsteen) sets of all of Mick, Keith, Charlie and Ron's greatest gems. "Hope to see you again soon," Jagger said at their final date. Ditto. Other icons of the 1960s to hit the road included The Who, for another go at "Quadrophenia," and a reformed Beach Boys, complete with long-absent Brian Wilson and Al Jardine. The latter tour ended in awkwardness, however, when Mike Love returned to the state fair circuit with his other lineup of the Boys that does not include other original members.
 
14 Adam Yauch, 1964-2012

ADAM YAUCH MCA OF THE BEASTIE BOYS The hip-hop world and indeed the whole music community was thrown into a state of mourning when word that Adam Yauch, the Beastie Boys' MCA, had died on May 4 at age 47 after a three-year battle with cancer. The veteran, gruff-voiced rapper, musician and video auteur had co-founded the groundbreaking Beastie Boys in 1983 -- whose nine albums released in the SoundScan era sold 10.2 million copies, according to Nielsen Soundscan, up to the time of Yauch's death -- and he counted the creation of the Tibetan Freedom Concerts and directing three full length films (including the Beasties' "Awesome I Fuckin' Shot That" concert film) among his many accomplishments. Just three weeks before his passing, Yauch was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with fellow Beasties Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz and Michael "Mike D'" Diamond. An outpouring of admiration for Yauch's life and work followed news of his death. "I'm glad to know that all the love that Yauch has put out into the world is coming right back at him," Horovitz said in a web message at the time. READ FULL STORY
 
13 Pussy Riot's 'Prayer'

When three members of feminist punk band Pussy Riot were arrested for performing an anti-Vladimir Putin "punk prayer" in a Moscow church, the band became the center of a hurricane of free speech and human rights debates. The group drew support from Madonna, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bjork and more Western artists, as well as Amnesty International -- but after a five-month trial, the trio of women were nevertheless found guilty of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred." Yekaterina Samutsevich was freed on probation after appealing the sentence, but fellow members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova remain imprisoned, set to serve out their respective two-year sentences at prison camps in Siberia and Mordovia. READ FULL STORY

 
12 Jay-Z and Beyoncé Reign

JAY-Z AND BEYONCE Jay-Z and Beyoncé buzzed in our ears throughout 2012, and that's without officially releasing music aside from Jay's "Glory," an ode to a new girl in his life. The pair's year started off with the birth of Blue Ivy Carter on Jan. 7. Jay-Z stepped away from the studio to not only take care of his wife and child, but to organize and perform at the first "Budweiser Made in America" festival, then followed up with an eight-day stint to open Brooklyn's Barclays Center, where he'll play again later this month with Coldplay. As for Bey', she stayed busy behind the scenes with motherhood and working on her fifth studio album -- she's been collaborating with notable singer-songwriters such as The-Dream, Ne-Yo, Miguel and Ryan Tedder. The Carters were also vocal supporters of Obama's re-election; they they raised millions at an NYC fundraiser and Jay performed at a rally in Ohio (Bruce Springsteen was his opening act).
 
11 Lionel Richie's Country Comeback

Reinvention is often a young pop star's game, but leave it to Lionel Richie to make one of the year's most successful shifts. With studio set "Tuskegee," he turned to country superstars from Shania Twain to Willie Nelson to transform past hits such as "Hello" and "Dancing on the Ceiling" into Nashville anthems. The move to country worked wonders: "Tuskegee" bowed at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, his best outing since 1986, and has sold 1,057,000 copies this year, according to Nielsen SoundScan. READ FULL STORY

 

text by Marc Schneider, Jason Lipshutz, Sarah Maloy, Jessica Letkemann, Erika Ramirez, Leila Cobo, Gail Mitchell

 

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