Death, drugs and rock'n'roll: The biggest news stories of the decade


Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and Robert Plant

Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and Robert Plant (Image credit: Jim Spellman/WireImage - Getty)

• Black Sabbath kick off the year by scooping a Grammy in the Best Metal Performance category on January 26 for their 13 track God Is Dead.

• Also in January, Motley Crue announce their farewell tour – and even go as far as signing a high profile contract meaning they will be sued if they ever hit the road again. 

• On February 14, Lacuna Coil reveal that guitarist Cristiano ‘Pizza’ Migliore and drummer Cristiano ‘Criz’ Mozzati have stepped away from the band ahead of the launch of their seventh studio album Broken Crown Halo. “They just decided they wanted to change their lives. It’s not like they didn’t like the band any more,” singer Cristina Scabbia tells Metal Hammer.

• March 17 sees Arch Enemy vocalist Angela Gossow leave the band. Before her departure, Gossow hand-picks Agonist frontwoman Alissa White-Gluz to be her replacement.

• On March 23, Gwar’s Dave Brockie, aka Oderus Urungus, dies at the age of 50 after a heroin overdose.

• As I Lay Dying’s Tim Lambesis is jailed for six years on May 16 for plotting to have his wife murdered. He’s sentenced at the San Diego Superior Court after changing his plea to guilty. 

• Also in May, it’s revealed that Led Zeppelin are to be sued over iconic track Stairway To Heaven due to its similarity to Spirit track Taurus, which was recorded three years before the Led Zeppelin classic. The case would centre on the descending chord sequence at the beginning of Stairway

• On June 8, it’s announced that Exodus have regrouped with former frontman Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza after splitting with Rob Dukes after nine years together. It’s Souza’s third stint with the thrash icons after he joined in 1986 and left in 1993. He then rejoined in 2002 and left again two years later. 

• In July, Bring Me The Horizon frontman Oli Sykes admits he spent years as drug addict before fighting back ahead of sessions for the band’s 2013 album Sempiternal. Speaking at the Alternative Press Music Awards in Cleveland, Sykes says: “I want to say something that I never thought I’d talk about – before we wrote Sempiternal I was a fucking drug addict. I was addicted to a drug called ketamine.”

• In September, a collaboration between Apple and U2 leaves people furious when the Irish band’s album Songs Of Innocence is automatically downloaded to users’ accounts. People are so upset, that the tech giant later launch an online tool allowing users to remove the album from their devices.

• The family of AC/DC’s Malcolm Young confirm at the end of September that the guitarist has retired from the band as a result of dementia. The news follows speculation that the 61-year-old rhythm guitarist’s health has forced him into 24-hour care in a nursing home.

• Slipknot release their fifth studio album .5: The Gray Chapter on October 19. It’s the band’s first to feature drummer Jay Weinberg and Alessandro Venturella.

Cream icon Jack Bruce dies on October 25 from liver disease. The bassist and vocalist was 71.

• On November 1, it’s revealed that Static-X frontman Wayne Static has died at the age of 48 – just three days before his 49th birthday

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd appears in a New Zealand court on November 6, charged with attempting to procure the murder of two men. He later pleads guilty to a charge of threatening to kill and enters the same plea over possession of cannabis and methamphetamine, after previously pleading not guilty to all charges. He’s sentenced to eight months of home detention.

• November 25 brings news that Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover have quit Megadeth. Guitarist Broderick says he’s left due to “artistic and musical differences” after seven years in Dave Mustaine’s outfit, while drummer Drover reports he wants to pursue other musical interests after a decade-long stint.


Motorhead icon Lemmy

Motorhead icon Lemmy (Image credit: Mick Hutson/Redferns - Getty)

• Rush fans are delighted in January when it’s revealed the Canadian trio will be heading out on the R40 tour later in the year across North America. Although it isn’t billed as a farewell tour, it’s to be the last time the band will hit the stage together.

• On February 19, Iron Maiden confirm that frontman Bruce Dickinson has battling cancer and has just completed a seven-week course of treatment after a tumour was discovered on his tongue. The 56-year-old will go on to make a complete recovery.

• On March 20, Twisted Sister drummer AJ Pero dies at the age of 55 after suffering a heart attack while on tour with Adrenaline Mob. Just weeks later, the band announce they will head out on the road for the last-ever tour with drummer Mike Portnoy behind the kit..

• March 29 brings news that Lamb of God's Chris Adler will be the drummer on the new Megadeth album Dystopia. Adler also joins Dave Mustaine and co on their tour in support of the record. The following month, it’s revealed that guitarist Kiko Loureiro has joined Megadeth as a permanent member.

• Dave Grohl breaks his leg during a Foo Fighters show at Gothenburg’s Ullevi Stadium on June 12. He falls from the stage during Monkey Wrench but still manages to return to the stage to play three more songs while sitting down. Grohl will later design an ‘iron throne’ to use for the band’s tour while he recovers.

Disturbed surprise everyone on June 23 when they announce the end of their four-year hiatus with news of the release of their sixth studio album Immortalized. The band also drop a video for The Vengeful One, telling fans that’ve had been writing and recording in secret for a year.

Yes founder and bassist Chris Squire dies at the age of 67 on June 27. The hugely influential musician passes away less than a month after revealing he had been battling cancer.

• In July, former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore confirms his return to rock for a handful on 2016 concerts – his first such shows since splitting Rainbow in 1997 to focus on Blackmore’s Night. It’s later revealed he’ll be joined by Lords Of Black singer Ronnie Romero, Stratovarius keyboardist Jens Johansson, Blackmore’s Night drummer David Keith and bassist Bob Nouveau.

• David Gilmour releases his fourth solo album Rattle That Lock on September 18. It’s the Pink Floyd vocalist and guitarist’s first solo outing since 2006’s On An Island.

• On October 30, a fire kills 51 people attending a Goodbye To Gravity show at the Collectiv Club in Romania. The band’s bassist Alex Pascu, drummer Bodgan Enache and guitarists Vlad Telea and Michael Alexandru are among the dead after indoor pyros ignite the club’s foam insulation. The blaze also leaves 180 people injured.

• It’s confirmed on November 12 that former Motorhead drummer Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor had died at the age of 61 after a long illness.

• On the evening of November 13, during an Eagles Of Death Metal show at the Bataclan in Paris, armed terrorists burst into the venue and massacre 90 people and leave hundreds more wounded. The Bataclan horror is just one of several co-ordinated attacks in Paris that night.

• On November 19, The Ghost Inside are involved in a horror crash when their tour bus collides with another vehicle in El Paso, Texas. Both drivers die, while 10 others are injured, including vocalist Jonathan Vigil, guitarist Zach Johnson and drummer Andrew Tkaczyk. Tkaczyk has the lower part of his right leg amputated due to the severity of his injuries.

• On December 3, former Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver frontman Scott Weiland is found dead on his Wildabouts tour bus in Minnesota at the age of 48. It’s later discovered that he died from an accidental drug overdose.

• The rock and metal world is left numb when Hawkwind and Motorhead icon Lemmy Kilmister dies at the age of 70 on December 28. The vocalist and bassist passes away just days after he’s told he is suffering from an extremely aggressive cancer. A statement from the band urges fans to “play Motorhead loud, play Hawkwind loud, play Lemmy’s music loud. Have a drink or a few. Share stories. Celebrate the life this lovely, wonderful man celebrated so vibrantly himself. He would want exactly that.”

• On New Year’s Eve, Motley Crue bring the curtain down on their live career with an emotional show in Los Angeles. The concert grinds to a temporary halt when drummer Tommy Lee’s rollercoaster drum rail stops working, leaving him hanging in the air until roadies come to his rescue.


(Image credit: Lisa Lake - Getty)

• In early January it’s confirmed that the much-rumoured Guns N’ Roses reunion is actually happening. Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan reveal they will play shows at Coachella 2016. This leads to their mammoth, globe-spanning Not In This Lifetime tour which will continue in 2020.

David Bowie dies on January 10 after an 18-month battle with cancer. He had celebrated his 69 birthday on January 8 by releasing his Blackstar album, with the news sending shockwaves across the music world.

• On January 23 comes the news that Rainbow and Dio bassist Jimmy Bain has died at the age of 68. He passes away while taking part in Def Leppard’s cruising festival with his band Last In Line.

• On February 20, Suicidal Tendencies confirm that former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo will join them for their North American tour.

• On February 21, Piotr Grudzinski – the guitarist with Polish prog outfit Riverside – dies at the age of 40 after suffering a heart attack. The band later thank fans for their support and decide to continue as a trio.

• Iron Maiden kick off their mammoth Book Of Souls tour at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, on February 24. Frontman Bruce Dickinson flies the band and crew around the world onboard Ed Force One, with the tour culminating with two nights at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on July 21 and 22, 2017.

• It’s revealed in early March that AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson has been ordered by doctors to stop touring immediately or face “full hearing loss.” The move results in the band famously bringing in Guns N' Roses vocalist Axl Rose to complete the Rock Or Bust world tour. Johnson will go on to work with hearing specialists and has performed live with other artists over the last few years.

• March 11 brings the tragic news that ELP’s Keith Emerson has died at the age of 71 in Santa Monica, California. His death was later ruled a suicide. In December, ELP fans are left in shock again when Emerson’s bandmate Greg Lake dies in London aged 69 from cancer.

• In early April, Axl Rose breaks his foot before Guns N' Roses two shows in Las Vegas. While it looks as if the performances might be jeopardy, Axl famously borrows Dave Grohl’s ‘iron throne’ so the shows and the Not In This Lifetime tour can continue. 

• Former Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison unveils his new supergroup Sinsaenum in May, with the lineup completed by Mayhem and Sunn O)))’s Attila Csihar, Daath and former Chimaira keyboardist Sean Zatorsky, Dragonforce bassist Frederic Leclercq on guitar and Seth’s Heimoth on bass.

• Former Megadeth drummer Nick Menza dies from heart failure on May 21 while performing onstage with his band Ohm in Los Angeles. He was 51.

• It’s revealed in May that The Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie has terminal brain cancer. The Canadian icons embark on a final tour, which ends with a show in their hometown of Kingston, Ontario. It’s broadcast across Canada, with an estimated 11.3 million people – a third of the country’s population – tuning in to watch.

• May 31 sees the newly formed Prophets Of Rage play their first-ever show at the Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles. The band featuring Rage Against The Machine men Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk, along with Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Cypress Hill’s B-Real promise to “make America rage again.”

• On June 14, the Stairway To Heaven legal case goes to court, with the trial based around the Led Zeppelin track’s descending chord sequence being similar to Spirit song Taurus, which was recorded three years previously. Both Robert Plant and Jimmy Page take to the witness stand during the case, with the jury ultimately deciding on June 23 that Led Zep did not plagiarise Taurus.

Architects guitarist Tom Searle dies at the age of 28 on August 21 after a three-year cancer battle. The news is confirmed by Tom’s twin brother Dan. The band later make the decision to carry on with guitarist Adam Christianson and go on to release their Holy Hell album in 2018.

• November 18 sees thrash giants Metallica release their highly anticipated new album Hardwired… To Self Destruct. It’s an immediate success, shifting close to 300,000 sales in its first week and helps spawn the massive WorldWired tour. 

• As I Lay Dying frontman Tim Lambesis is released from prison on December 17 after being jailed for six years in 2014 over the plot to have his wife killed. 

• On Christmas Eve, it’s announced that Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt has died at the age of 68. He had been admitted to hospital in Marbella, Spain, due to complications from a shoulder injury he sustained after a fall and dies as a result of a severe infection.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.