Michael Jackson's second child molestation trial riveted the globe with its salacious allegations and embarrassing revelations. Jackson's decisions to wear pajamas to court and dance on car roofs for his fans didn't help his public image any. His June 2005 acquittal cleared his legal record, but the allegations remained a part of his legacy for the rest of his life and forced him into hiding for many years following the trial. Jackson was planning his first return to the stage since the entire ordeal when he died suddenly in 2009.
America Rocks Out on Guitar Hero
(November 8, 2005)
Air guitar masters, move over: video game developers recognized the inner rock star in everyone and helped unleash a $2 billion monster that may one day rival kareoke. "Guitar Hero" allows even the most musically challenged to perform top hits from the last 30 years, and eventually became an entirely new way for musicians to sell their tracks -- as downloadable content. Other games like "Rock Band" and "DJ Hero" have since arrived, making music role-playing one of the most popular pastimes in the world.
MySpace Makes Stars of Arctic Monkeys
(January 23, 2006)
In the 1980s, video killed the radio star; in the 1990's MySpace pushed aside MTV as the medium most likely to break new bands. No one knows that better than Arctic Monkeys, the teenage band from Sheffield, England who early demos were uploaded to MySpace by fans in 2003. Word of the band spread like wildfire around the U.K., and the band's concerts began selling out although they had no single in the stores. The band surfed ans the wave of fan frenzy all the way to the history books when its first full-length became the fastest-selling debut album in British music history in 2006.
Jam Master Jay Gunned Down
(October 30, 2002)
Following the shooting deaths of Biggie and Tupac in the mid-90s, no death has shocked the hip-hop community more than the the Halloween eve murder of Jam Master Jay (real name Jason Mizell), the "king of the crossfader" who help put the genre on the world stage as part of the pioneering group Run-DMC. Even after achieving international celebrity, Mizell remained true to his neighborhood of Hollis, Queens, where he opened a studio to record aspiring rappers, including a fledgling 50 Cent. Sadly, it was in this same studio where Jay met his tragic end.
Ashlee's SNL Sync Hole
(October 23, 2004)
Ashlee was poised to pick up where Jessica left off and proudly usher the Simspon family name into the second half of the decade. Her career started on a high note, but things went horribly wrong when it became apparent Ashlee was singing no notes at all during her 2004 Saturday Night Live appearance. When the vocals for the wrong song began coming through the nation's TV sets, Ashlee responded by doing an akward jig and blaming the mishap on her band. Not since Milli Vanilli has an artist been so reviled for using a backing track.
Live 8 Helps Hunger, Reunites Rockers
(July 2, 2005)
Timed to precede the G8 Conference in Scotland and to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Live Aid, Bob Geldof organized a string of 10 simultaneous concerts across the globe in an effort to pressure the world's top leaders to deliver more financial aid to the globe's poorest countries. More than 1,000 artists participated in the Live 8 concerts, including a reunited Pink Floyd, who performed with founding member Roger Waters for the first time in 24 years. Not only did the concert inspire the G8 to meet Live 8's request, the web broadcast of the concerts set a Guinness record for the most-watched online event in history.
R.Kelly's Day in Court
(July 5, 2002)
Sex tapes have almost become passé at this point, but there was a time when they landed celebrities in a host of hot water. Take R&B bad boy R.Kelly, whose career almost came to an end when a video surfaced of him allegedly doing the nasty (and we mean, really nasty) with a 14-year-old girl. Though he was eventually found not-guilty, Kelly made stars think twice before filming their sexual antics.
R.I.P. James Brown
(December 25, 2006)
You really have to earn a nickname like "Godfather of Soul," but if anyone in history was worthy of such a lofty title, it was James Brown. From his earliest recordings in the late-'50s, the "hardest working man in show business" blended blues, gospel, R&B and funk in revolutionary ways that changed the entire landscape of urban music. His death on Christmas Day 2006 marked the end of the era that gave us greats like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, but his legacy lives on through his legions of soulful disciples.
iTunes: A Billion Served
(February 22, 2006)
It's no coincidence that the Apple iTunes store (launched in January 2001) flourished as brick-and-mortar retailers folded throughout the decade. The service's 99-cents-per-song pricing plan breathed new life into the single format, and its easy interface made purchasing music a task that took mere seconds. In February 2006, the iTunes announced its one billionth download. The song that reached the milestone? Coldplay's appropriately titled "The Speed of Sound."
Dixie Chick Diss GWB
(March 10, 2003)
Throughout the decade, it was almsot fashionable to bash President George w. Bush -- unless you made country music, that is. The Dixie Chicks made headlines (and more than a few enemies) when lead singer Natalie Maines casually told a London audience that she was "ashamed that the President of the United States was from Texas." The comment got the Chicks banned from many country radio stations, prompted a string of death threats and set off a furious debate about treason and freedom of speech. On the plus side, the controversy also won the band a host of left-leaning fans who'd never picked up a country music CD before.