The Top 20 Music Moments of 2011

 

February 13 // Arcade Fire, Esperanza Spalding Score Major Grammy Upsets

It was supposed to be a big night for Eminem and Justin Bieber: the rapper's critically acclaimed comeback record, "Recovery," was heavily favored to win the Grammy for Album of the Year, while the teen pop star was the popular pick for Best New Artist. Instead, Esperanza Spalding, a little-known jazz bassist, beat out the Biebs, and Canadian indie rockers Arcade Fire later stormed the stage to collect the Album of the Year trophy for "The Suburbs." Starting with presenter Barbra Streisand's confused reading of the winning act, the Internet followed suit with the "Who Is Arcade Fire?" meme. Arcade Fire have since headlined Coachella and Bonnaroo, while Spalding's next album is due in early 2012.

February 16 // Gaga Has Billboard's 1000th No. 1

Perhaps it's only fitting that Lady Gaga, one of the biggest pop stars ever, scored the 1,000th Hot 100 No. 1 in the list's 52-year history. "It is a tremendous honor," Gaga told Billboard back in February. "I would be silly not to say this is the greatest honor of my career." And for an artist that's already broken so many milestones and will certainly continue to shatter more, that certainly means a lot here. The video for "Born This Way" hit airwaves a little more than a week later and his since racked up a staggering 85 million views on YouTube.

February 22 // Adele Kicks Off the Year of Adele

Approximately one month after Adele released her sophomore set in her native UK, "21" landed stateside on Feb. 22. One week later, Adele had her first No. 1 in America, fueled by the slow burn of lead single "Rolling in the Deep." Despite this strong start, virtually no one could have expected the unstoppable chart -- and cultural -- reign of Ms. Atkins throughout 2011, which continues into 2012. The big-voiced songstress would go on to top the Billboard 200 chart for 13 weeks with her stunning tale of heartbreak, while second single "Someone Like You" topped the Hot 100 for five weeks. More than her incredible chart feats and the 13 million copies of "21" sold worldwide this year, Adele became a part of our cultural consciousness in 2011, showing that pop stars don't always have to wear next-to-nothing and present choreographed routines. It was of those very rare moments in the music world where an album is as commercially successful as it is critically praised, not to mention beloved by fans across all demographics.

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