The Year In Music 2017: 16 Highlights

It's easy to measure the year in terms of album releases, and in 2017, there were more than plenty. But it's individual moments that made the year memorable -- from Pink's awe-inspiring MTV Video Music Awards acceptance speech to the time Katy Perry launched a weird, wild 96-hour livestream promoting Witness

Below, reminisce on 16 thrilling, funny and iconic moments that helped make 2017 a landmark year for music, including a few you might have forgotten.


Jan. 21 Madonna gave an F-bomb-laden speech about “blowing up the White House” at the post-inauguration day Women’s March on Washington.

Feb. 5 With 117.5 million viewers, Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl LI gig -- where she descended into the stadium on a wire -- became the second-most-watched halftime show in history.

Feb. 12 Adele won the Grammy for album of the year with 25 -- then argued in her acceptance speech that BeyoncĂ©’s Lemonade deserved the honor.

Feb. 24 Frank Ocean surprised fans in February by launching a Beats 1 show, blonded RADIO, where he premiered four new songs and two features.

June 6 After mysterious “4:44” banners popped up across New York’s subway system, fans suspected the numbers would title JAY-Z’s next album. (They were right.)

June 8 Forty-nine million people watched Katy Perry sleep, do yoga and host a dinner party during a 96-hour livestream promoting her album Witness.

June 9 After years of delays, SZA finally released her debut LP, Ctrl, which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and earned her a best new artist Grammy nomination.

July 26 Charli XCX assembled Joe Jonas, Wiz Khalifa and 58 other male stars to eat pancakes and play with puppies in her “Boys” music video.

Aug. 15 An eight-year hot streak: Drake dropped off the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time since 2009, setting a record of 431 consecutive weeks on the chart.

Aug. 20 After a five-year hiatus due to a legal battle with producer Dr. Luke, Kesha scored a No. 1 album, and her first Grammy noms, with Rainbow.

Aug. 27 Pink praised androgynous style during her empowering Video Vanguard acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Oct. 2 After going off the air in 2008, Total Request Live returned to MTV with a live performance from Ed Sheeran in New York’s Times Square.

Oct. 17 Gucci Mane and Keyshia Ka’oir threw a $1.7 million wedding in Miami on Oct. 17 with a 10-foot-tall cake, documenting the elegant bash on BET reality show The Mane Event.

Nov. 5 Kanye West joined Kid Cudi to perform in Chicago, his first onstage appearance since canceling his Saint Pablo Tour in November 2016.

Nov. 12 Sam Smith ended a three-year hiatus with The Thrill of It All, his first No. 1 album, led by the Hot 100 top five hit “Too Good at Goodbyes.”

Nov. 20 Taylor Swift became the only artist in history with four albums to cross 1 million in the first sales week as Reputation debuted with 1.2 million sales.

Billboard Year in Music 2017

A version of this article originally appeared in the Dec. 30 issue of Billboard.