Great music, returns, farewells, surprises, thrills, disappointments… A lot of things can happen in rock in 12 months. Here are some of the most important.
Neil Young slams Trump as “unfit to lead” after US president’s California wildfire comments; Slayer to sign off at Download, with Smashing Pumpkins, Dream Theater and Anthrax also on bill; Bruce Dickinson says he would refuse an invitation from the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame… Welcome back Zal Cleminson’s /Sin’Dogs/… say hello to The Wild Things, say goodbye to Tony Joe White, Hugh McDowell, Jimmy Farrar…
2018 was the year of two royal weddings, one big Brexit mess, the so-called “end of austerity”, an England penalty shoot-out in the football World Cup and even a chemical poisoning attack in Salisbury by Russian spooks. But what happened in the world of rock?
AC/DC return to the studio.
Just like everyone else, we were sceptical about rumours that Angus Young had begun piecing together the first new AC/DC album in four years – until we saw those photographs from Vancouver. And Brian Johnson and Phil Rudd back on board? Likewise we waved away the suggestion that a slew of old songs written with/by the late, great Malcolm Young were being recorded. However, we have it on good authority that the entire Back In Black line-up is together again, including Cliff Williams on bass, for what’s likely to be one final shot. Will there be gigs? We don’t know. But for now at least, an album is enough.
Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody film finally hits the silver screen. It had been 10 years coming, with cast and directorial changes along the way, but Queen’s biographical film about Freddie Mercury eventually became a boxoffice smash. Reviews were mixed, it must be said, but the power of fan support ensured the media’s gripes mattered little. So far the film has taken more than £100 million.
Richie Sambora and Alec John Such rejoin
Bon Jovi at the Hall Of Fame.
Although Judas Priest missed out, Bon Jovi, the Moody Blues, The Cars and Dire Straits were among those inducted to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
Bon Jovi were joined at the induction by former members guitarist Richie Sambora and bassist Alec John Such. Jon quipped: “It took a lot of people to get us here tonight – and not all of them were hairstylists.” Dire Straits didn’t seem so keen to acknowledge the honour, with Mark and David Knopfler and Pick Withers all deciding not to attend.
Kiss and more call it a day.
Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley announced a final Kiss world tour that will run for three years, visiting the UK in July 2019. Also set to wave goodbye are Lynyrd Skynyrd, UFO, Slayer, Elton John, Krokus, Bob Seger, The Pretty Things and Paul Simon. UFO leader Phil Mogg described his band’s decision as “bittersweet”, while Slayer’s Tom Araya commented: “After thirty-five years, it’s time to collect my pension. It gets harder and harder to go out on the road.”
Some of our favourite rock stars became worryingly ill.
Despite stepping down as a touring member of Judas Priest, after having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease a decade ago, guitarist Glenn Tipton vowed to make live appearances
This month The Dirt was compiled by Ian Fortnam, Polly Glass, Dave Ling with the band when health allowed. “I am not leaving the band, it’s simply that my role has changed,” he explained. Former Sabbat member Andy Sneap, co-producer of Priest’s current album
Firepower, was invited on board in his place. Tipton made a glorious return to the stage with Priest during the band’s headline slot at the Bloodstock Festival.
Elsewhere, Joe Perry, now 68, was hospitalised and forced to cancel a solo tour of the United States (see story on page 14).
Some of them died, too.
In 2018 we bade a sad farewell to the last of Motörhead’s Three Amigos, guitarist ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke. Other notable losses included Danny Kirwan, Jon Hiseman, Vinnie Paul, Aretha Franklin, Ed King, Chas Hodges, Marty Balin and Otis Rush. Thanks for the music to each and every one of them, and rest easy.
Def Leppard bring their Hysteria anniversary tour to the UK.
By the time you read this, Joe Elliott and company will have celebrated the 30th (and a bit) anniversary of their all-conquering Hysteria album with a series of in-its-entirety arena shows. “We’re going to do the album backwards and in a foreign language,” Elliott joked. They’re also co-headliners of next summer’s Download Festival.
Lindsey Buckingham is fired from Fleetwood Mac.
Lindsey couldn’t believe it, either. He had some time to promote a solo boxed set, but with plans for a world tour that hits the UK and Ireland next summer the band couldn’t wait. It terminated what he called “the beautiful forty-three-year-legacy we built together”. For live shows FM hired not one guitarist but two replacements: Mike Campbell of the Heartbreakers, and Crowed House leader Neil Finn. Buckingham launched a lawsuit, claiming $14 million in lost earnings. The response was terse and to the point: “Fleetwood Mac looks forward to their day in court.”
Steve Perry comes in from the wilderness.
After decades away, the former Journey frontman was presumed gone for good. However, the sudden activation of his social media pages sent the melodic rock community into meltdown, and 24 hours later news of Traces – Perry’s first new record since the Journey’s Trial By Fire in 1996 – became official. Classic Rock called Perry’s new record “sumptuous”, revealing a 69-year-old singer in classy, mature form. We understand that live dates are not out of the question. Incredible.
Greta Van Fleet lead the wave of exciting ‘new’ bands.
Hailed alternatively as a breath of fresh air or the natural successors to Led Zeppelin ‘impersonators’ Kingdom Come, the American quartet were the band on everybody’s lips when their full-length debut Anthem Of The Peaceful Army slammed into the US Top 5. Having weighed up and the good and bad, Classic Rock said the record was “shaping up to be the finest debut album of both 2018 and 1972”. In the UK, Greta Van Fleet’s sold-out gigs were attended by a mix of young and old. Love them or hate them, but ignore them at your peril.
And if you didn’t care for GVF? Well, a survey commissioned by streaming site Deezer revealed a form of so-called “musical paralysis” which affects us by the time we turn 30, causing us to lose our appetite for new music. It’ll never happen to Classic Rock, we promise. DL
“It took a lot of people to get us here tonight – and not all of them were hairstylists.”
Jon Bon Jovi at the Hall Of Fame
Clockwise from top left: Greta Van Fleet – the new Led Zep? Angus Young – a new AC/DC album in the works? Former Journey singer Steve Perry comes in from the cold with a “sumptuous” new album. Queen’s longawaited film Bohemian Rhapsody finally hits cinemas.