The Year In Rock 2014: Lorde Reigns
2014 was the year of our Lorde.
The singer/songwriter (real name: Ella Yelich-O’Connor) finishes at No. 1 on the 2014 year-end Top Rock Artists recap, and her Pure Heroine album leads the Alternative Albums and Rock Albums tallies. She’s the first woman to lead the latter list since it was established in 2006.
In 2013, Lorde arrived with her smash hit single “Royals,” which helped the artist finish as that year’s No. 3 Rock Artist.
Pure Heroine has sold 1.5 million copies in the U.S. since its release in October 2013, according to Nielsen Music, and debuted at No. 3 on the weekly Billboard 200 albums chart, and No. 1 on Top Rock Albums and Alternative Albums. The title ranked at No. 14 on last year’s year-end Rock Albums chart.
Lorde also places more titles on the 2014 year-end Hot Rock Songs (eight) than any other act, led by “Team” (No. 2) and “Royals” (No. 3). “Royals,” which ruled the weekly Hot Rock Songs chart for 19 weeks in 2013 and 2014, also crowns the year-end Rock Streaming Songs chart.
Following Lorde on the Rock Artists recap at No. 2 is Imagine Dragons, who finished 2013 as the top Rock Artist. They also trail Lorde on the Rock Albums recap at No. 2 with Night Visions.
Coldplay’s sixth studio album, Ghost Stories -- which scored the highest opening-week sales for a rock album of 2014: 383,000 -- ranks at No. 3 on the Top Rock Albums recap. The band finishes as the No. 4 Top Rock Artist.
Also on Top Rock Albums, vinyl fanatic Jack White closes out the year at No. 8 with Lazaretto. The tricked-out, three-speed LP (which even has a hologram etched into its vinyl) earned the single biggest sales week for a vinyl album (40,000 in its debut week) in Nielsen Music’s 23-year history.
Lazaretto also marked White’s second leader on the weekly all-genre Billboard 200 chart, and unsurprisingly, finished 2014 as the No. 1 Vinyl Album.
On Hot Rock Songs, Bastille’s “Pompeii” ranks at No. 1 after leading the weekly chart for 12 consecutive weeks during the spring. The band also ranks as the Top New Rock Artist and the No. 3 Top Rock Artist.
Passenger’s journey to No. 1 on Hot Rock Songs (Jan. 25) with breakout hit “Let Her Go” (first released internationally in 2012) lasted a record 43 weeks. The title lands at No. 4 on the year-end tally and No. 2 on Rock Digital Songs.
Arctic Monkeys lead the year-end Rock Airplay and Alternative Songs lists with “Do I Wanna Know?” The track had the slowest ascent to No. 1 (23 weeks) in 2014 on Rock Airplay, where it held the pole position for 10 weeks. It was also the group’s first No. 1 on the weekly Alternative Songs chart (10 weeks), and first chart entry since their breakout hit in 2006: “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor.”
On Adult Alternative Songs, The Black Keys leads the year-end list with “Fever,” the lead track from the rock act’s Turn Blue album.
The Pretty Reckless’ “Heaven Knows” busted up the Mainstream Rock Songs chart’s boys club as it finishes as the genre's No. 1 song of the year. The hard rock band -- led by singer/actress Taylor Momsen -- became just the second female-fronted act to reach No. 1 since 1990, as well as the only female-fronted band to top the chart with its first two hits.