2010: A Rockumental Year

(For a complete list of 53rd GRAMMY Awards nominees, click here.)

When a new decade is broached, anniversaries come to light. Last year marked significant birthdays for landmark albums in rock music. Forty years ago Led Zeppelin III, the Stooges' Funhouse and Black Sabbath's self-titled debut changed rock music — and music — forever. Thirty years ago Iron Maiden, Judas Priest's British Steel, Ted Nugent's Scream Dream, Devo's Freedom Of Choice, Joy Division's Closer, and Motörhead's Ace Of Spades took things even farther. Twenty years ago, Depeche Mode's Violator, Megadeth's Rust In Peace, Jane's Addiction's Ritual De Lo Habitual, Alice In Chains' Facelift, Pantera's Cowboys From Hell, and the Black Crowes' Shake Your Money Maker diversified the rock genre. And 10 years ago, Radiohead's Kid A, Deftones' White Pony, Queens Of The Stone Age's Rated R, and A Perfect Circle's Mer De Noms started off the new millennium right. While rock music has grown and changed throughout the decades, both the albums that celebrated their 40th anniversaries and those that were just born provide that spirit of rebellion that was the essence of rock music then, and continues to be now and forever.

Looking at album sales, one wouldn't think that 2010 was the best year for rock (or any genre). But there were many other ways that rock music prevailed. The Who — a classic rock giant — performed at halftime during Super Bowl XLIV, one the most-watched television broadcasts. On April 17 Record Store Day marked the largest number of vinyl purchases since 1991, and the genre that has been known to embrace the resurgence of vinyl most is rock and metal. In summer 2010 the "big four" of thrash metal — Anthrax, Megadeth, Metallica, and Slayer — performed together at a series of festivals in Europe for the first time. One performance was broadcast to theaters for metalheads all over the world to see.

The non-fiction bestsellers' lists were decorated with rock memoirs all year as I Am Ozzy, Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir and Keith Richards' Life educated readers about what being a real rock star is like. And in looking back at concerts in 2010, the most successful tours were all rock bands: Bon Jovi, U2 and AC/DC. Rock also infiltrated Broadway with the continued success of the '80s-themed "Rock Of Ages" and Green Day's "American Idiot." The U2-scored "Spider-Man" production also hit the stage. There were also landmark tours in terms of production in rock concerts this year as Roger Waters built and destroyed The Wall for the first time in 30 years, and Rammstein lit Madison Square Garden on fire in their first U.S. show in 10 years.

However, as 2010 brought anniversaries, landmarks and reunions, many significant figures in rock, punk, industrial, and metal music left us. To Ronnie James Dio, Malcolm McLaren, Jay Reatard, Paul Gray, Alex Chilton, Peter Steele, Derf Scratch, Peter Christopherson, and Captain Beefheart: Your work will continue to live in our hearts, minds and ears, inspiring a new generation of rockers to come.

As we begin 2011, let's embrace that rebellious spirit of rock music again and see where it takes us.

Who will take home the GRAMMY gold in the Rock Field? Tune in to the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. For updates and breaking news, please visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Twitter and Facebook.
 

Email Newsletter