Even though his influence on Middle America was apparent at the start of the decade, no one knew just how popular Eminem had become until the "Marshall Mathers LP" was released in the Spring of 2000. The controversial set moved an unprecedented 1.76 million copies its first week, making it the fastest-selling album by a solo artist in history. To date, the album has sold over 19 million copies worldwide, much to the dismay of conservatives everywhere.
Plug Pulled on Napster
Though only in operation for two years, Natpster -- the copyright-infringing file-sharing service created by college whiz-kid Shawn Fanning in June 1999 -- kicked a hole in the music industry from which it would never fully recover. In addition to a pissed-off RIAA, musicians as big as Metallica and Dr. Dre got into the fight and filed lawsuits again the service for offering their music, though the media attention only increased interest in Napster, whose popularity peaked in February 2001. Napster was finally forced to shut down in May 2002 (re-emerging as a legal pay service in 2003), but the war against record labels and file-sharing fans would rage on throughout the decade.
CBGBs Shuts Its Doors
(October 15, 2006)
A beacon for the punk movement in the late '70s and early '80s, downtown New York punk club CBGB's (Country, Blue Grass and Blues) held its last concert on Oct. 15, 2006, after founder Hilly Kristal lost a hard-fought rent dispute with the Bowery Residents Committee. Patti Smith, Bad Brains, the Bouncing Souls and Blondie, who all shared a long history with the venue, were among those who helped bid farewell to another chapter in New York rock history. Occupying the space where CBGB's used to be now? A boutique for menswear designer John Varvatos, and the art gallery Morrison Hotel.
"Left-Eye" Dies In Car Crash
(April 25, 2002)
Hip-hop wild-child Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes made headlines for her characteristic rhymes, her unique fashions, and for burning down her boyfriend's mansion during TLC's heyday. But Lopes made the biggest news when she was killed in a car accident while vacationing in Honduras in 2002, putting an end to the biggest-selling girl group of all time. Her autopsy photos would later leak, sparking additional controversy and conversation around her untimely death.
The Police Rock the Grammys
(February 11, 2001)
Not everything the Grammys do is magic, but reuniting the Police for its first performance in 25 years certainly qualifies. Sting and company performed their reggae-rock classic "Roxanne," leaving just about everyone hungry for more. Luckily, the band delivered. The Police went on to tour the world for nearly two straight years, logging numerous stadiums, arenas and dollar signs along the way -- and proving that "dinosaur" tours can still pack a punch.
Whitney Houston Tells 20/20 "Crack Is Wack"
(December 4, 2002)
When she sat down for her infamous "20/20" interview in 2002, Whitney Houston had plenty of rumors to disprove. Diane Sawyer asked her about everything from her rail-thin frame to her tumultuous marriage to Bobby Brown, but Houston's most memorable response was to the rumor that she was addicted to drugs: "I make too much money to smoke crack," she replied. "Crack is wack." Years later, Houston went to rehab. When the singer triumphantly returned in 2009 with "I Look to You," fans were as relieved as they were thrilled.
Great White Fire Kills 100
(February 20, 2003)
They'd rather be remembered more for their string of '80s glam-rock hits, but the members of Great White are forever linked to the tragic concert fire that claimed 100 lives. On Feb. 20, 2003, the band played Station Night Club in East Warwick, R.I., where pyrotechnics suddenly ignited the venue's soundproofing foam and engulfed it in flames. Among those killed were Great White's guitarist of three years, Ty Longley, and nearly 200 more concertgoers were injured. In 2008, the band agreed to pay $1 million to families of victims and survivors.
Fans Buy, Buy, Buy N' Sync CDs
(March 21, 2000)
When it comes to album sales in the '00s, it didn't get any bigger than N' Sync's "No Strings Attached." The boy band that produced Justin Timberlake obliterated all chart records with its sophomore album, released in March 2000. "No Strings" sold 2.4 million copies in its first week of release and went on to sell a now-unfathomable 11.1 million in total. It also produced "Bye Bye Bye," which had teen girls and aspiring boy-band members everywhere fiercely fist-pumping in unison. Love it or hate it, you couldn't ignore it.
George Harrison Fans Gently Weep
(November 29, 2001)
And then there were two. After a long battle with cancer, George Harrison, a.k.a. "the quiet Beatle," passed away on Nov. 29, 2001 at 58, leaving just Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr as the biggest band of all time's only surviving members. Fans gently weeped around the world, and Harrison's peers -- including Eric Claption, McCartney, Starr, Tom Petty and Billy Preston -- organized a moving tribute concert in his memory. Harrison lives on, of course, not just through Beatles Rock Band, but with his vast catalog of solo work, including the 1970 classic triple album, "All Things Must Pass."
Three 6 Mafia Wins An Oscar
(March 5, 2006)
While the Academy members who decide the Oscar winners ore notoriously blinded by the white, Memphis, Tenn. hip-hop group Three 6 Mafia overcame the the odds and became the first rap group to win for best song, 2005's "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" from the "Hustle & Flow" soundtrack. Not since Isaac Hayes took home the statue for "Shaft" had an African-American musician won the Oscar for music and moreover, the group affirmed hip-hop place in modern American film.