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


(Image credit: Joby Sessions - Future)

Ghost are celebrating in January when their single Square Hammer tops Billboard’s Mainstream rock chart for two weeks, making them the first Swedish outfit to do so.

Black Sabbath bring the curtain down on their 49-year career with a pair of shows in their hometown of Birmingham on February 2 and 4. The End tour takes in 81 dates across the world and saw them visit North and South America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

• After being nominated 12 times, Megadeth finally clinch a Grammy Award in the Best Metal Performance category on February 12 for their Dystopia album. However, as the band go up to receive the award at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the house band play Metallica’s Master Of Puppets by mistake. However, vocalist and guitarist Dave Mustaine laughs it off, saying: “You can’t blame ‘em for not being able to play Megadeth.”

• Also at the ceremony, Metallica play Moth Into Flame with special guest Lady Gaga. Drummer Lars Ulrich calls the singer the “perfect fifth member of this band.”

• On March 5, Finnish favourites HIM break the news they are to split at the end of the year following a farewell tour. Frontman Ville Valo says: “After quarter of a century of love and metal intertwined, we sincerely feel HIM has run its unnatural course and adieus must be said in order to make way for sights, scents and sounds yet unexplored.”

• Rock’n’ roll pioneer Chuck Berry dies on March 18 at the age of 90.

Yes are inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in early April, an occasion which sees Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe, Alan White and Trevor Rabin reunite for Roundabout, with Rush bassist Geddy Lee taking the place of the late Chris Squire. However, the harmony isn’t to last, with Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman adding the word ‘Yes’ to their ARW title shortly after the ceremony.

• April 10 brings news that Tye Trujillo – the 12-year-old son of Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo – will tour with Korn across South America. Regular bassist Fieldy is unable to make the trip, with the youngster impressing as he plays gigs in Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru.

• Rising Michigan stars Greta Van Fleet make their first major mark on the music landscape when they launch their debut EP Black Smoke Rising on April 21.

• The world of rock is crushed on May 18 when it emerges that Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell has died at the age of 52. He’s found dead in his Detroit hotel room following a Soundgarden show, with his death later ruled a suicide.

• On June 14, Five Finger Death Punch say they will complete their European tour without frontman Ivan Moody. The news comes after a chaotic show in the Netherlands two days before which saw Moody miss the first two songs before in-fighting began with his bandmates. In 2015, Moody’s onstage antics led his colleagues to abandon him on stage. He later attended rehab.

• With the rock world still reeling following Chris Cornell's death, July 20 brings more devastating news when it’s announced that Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington has taken his own life at the age of 41.

• On August 1, supergroup Sons Of Apollo reveal that their debut album Psychotic Symphony will be released later in the year. The band features ex Dream Theater members Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian along with Mr Big and The Winery Dogs bassist Billy Sheehan, ex Journey frontman Jeff Scott Soto and former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal.

• In early August, Dillinger Escape Plan announce they’re planning an “extended hiatus” following the launch of their Dissociation album. 

• In September, all four members of Decapitated are arrested and accused of kidnapping and gang-raping a woman following their show in Spokane, Washington. Michal Lysejko, Waclaw Kietlyka, Rafal Piotrowski and Hubert Wiecek are formally charged the following month and plead not guilty. They are released from jail in December pending the start of the trial, with the charges dropped in early January 2018 - just days before the trial was due to begin.

• At his show in New York on September 30, Marilyn Manson is injured when two large pistol props collapse on top of him during his cover of Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This). His injury results in the cancellation of several tour dates.

• American singer/songwriter Tom Petty dies on October 2 at the age of 66. It’s later revealed that he died as the result of an accidental drug overdose as he had been taking painkillers and medication for various conditions, including emphysema, knee problems and a fractured hip.

• The Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie dies at the age of 53 on October 17 after being diagnosed with brain cancer the year before.

• On November 18, it’s announced that AC/DC legend Malcolm Young has died at the age of 64 after battling dementia for years.


(Image credit: Suzi Pratt/FilmMagic - Getty)

• In early January, it’s announced that Babymetal’s Kami Band member Mikio Fujioka has died at the age of 36 after falling from an observation deck while star gazing in late December. He dies on January 5 due to his injuries.

• The 10th of January brings more sadness for Motorhead fans when it’s announced that guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke has died in hospital at the age of 67 where he’d been receiving treated for pneumonia.

The Cranberries vocalist Delores O’Riordan dies in London on January 15. It’s later found that she died from drowning due to alcohol intoxication. She was 46. Later in the year, Tommy Vext and Bad Wolves will release their cover of the Cranberries classic Zombie, which O’Riordan had been due to sing on. The band donate proceeds from sales of the single to O’Riordan’s family.

• On January 22, Slayer drop the bombshell that they’ll head out on their final tour. No dates are announced, but the news that one of The Big Four are calling it a day sends shockwaves across the metal universe.

• February brings news that Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton has been battling Parkinson’s after being diagnosed with the early stages of the disease a decade before. The news means that Tipton will miss much of the band’s tour in support of Firepower, but he takes to the stage when he’s able to perform a selection of Priest classics. Producer Andy Sneap is brought into the live lineup.

Pat Torpey, drummer with Mr Big, dies at the age of 64 on February 7 due to complications of Parkinson’s disease. He revealed he was suffering from the disease in the summer of 2014.

• In February, original Smashing Pumpkins members Billy Corgan, Jimmy Chamberlin and James Iha reunite for a North American tour. However, there’s no space for bassist D’arcy Wretzky, who hits back at Corgan after a statement from the band claiming she had declined an offer to rejoin. The reunion would lead the Pumpkins to release the album Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 later in the year.

• Early April brings with it the shock news that Lindsey Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac have parted ways - with Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell and Crowded House leader Neil Finn brought into the lineup ahead of the band’s world tour. The acrimonious split leads to a lawsuit which is resolved later in the year

• While the world waited for news about a new Tool album, Maynard James Keenan had been busy with Billy Howerdel’s A Perfect Circle and they release their new album Eat The Elephant on April 20. 

• On May 1, Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx slams online rumours that the band were back together for album sessions and a world tour. He calls the article, which was reported on a US radio station, “bullshit.”

• In late May, Weezer finally release their cover of Toto’s Africa after a Twitter account urges them to do so. However, Rivers Cuomo and co troll fans first… by covering Rosanna. Toto would later return the favour by releasing their take on Weezer’s Hash Pipe.

• On May 15, the first trailer for the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody is released. The film, starring Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy and Joe Mazzello, has been in development hell for years, with Sacha Baron Cohen originally set to play Freddie Mercury.

• Ghost release their hit album Prequelle on June 1. Thanks to tracks including Rats, Dance Macabre and Faith, the record stays at the top of the charts for weeks and wins a Grammy for Best Rock Album.

• On June 22 comes the awful news that Pantera and Hellyeah drummer Vinnie Paul has died at the age of 54 from coronary artery disease.

• In mid-August, it’s announced that Huntress vocalist Jill Janus has died by suicide at the age of 43.

Steve Perry announced his return to music with the single No Erasin’ in August. The track will feature on the former Journey frontman’s comeback album Traces – his first solo outing since 1994’s For The Love Of Strange Medicine.

• On August 25, We Came As Romans frontman Kyle Pavone dies at the age of 28 of an accidental drug overdose.

• In September, Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil checks in on Twitter to tell fans that the band are back in the studio working on four new Crue tracks, which bassist Nikki Sixx later confirms are for The Dirt soundtrack.

• In September, Kiss reveal they’ll head out on the road one last time on the End Of The Road tour. They make the announcement during their appearance the season finale of America’s Got Talent, where they perform their classic track Detroit Rock City.

• On September 28, Rob Flynn announces that Phil Demmel and Dave McClain have left Machine Head, leaving the future of the band in the balance. A later statement confirmed that Flynn would carry on with bassist Jared MacEachern.

All That Remains guitarist Oli Herbert dies on October 16, with the 44 year old’s body discovered next to a pond. Police are still investigating his death.

• On October 19, rising Michigan stars Greta Van Fleet release their debut album Anthem Of The Peaceful Army. Shrugging off almost constant comparisons to Led Zeppelin, the album catches the public’s attention and helps propel them into the top three in the Billboard 200. Greta Van Fleet are also nominated for  four Grammys, and clinched two.

• Queen and Freddie Mercury film Bohemian Rhapsody has its world premiere at London’s SSE Arena on October 23. It’s met with critical acclaim and will go on to scoop a host of awards, including Oscars, Goldens Globes and BAFTAs.

• In late October, the trio of Tony Campos, Koichi Fukuda and Ken Jay reunite Static-X  for a new album titled Project Regeneration which will feature vocals by late frontman Wayne Static.


Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne (Image credit: MARCEE RONDAN/MITCH SCHNEIDER)

Motley Crue release their first new song in four years on February 22 in the shape of The Dirt (Est. 1981). The track will be followed by Ride With The Devil, Crash And Burn and a cover of Madonna’s Like A Virgin. All four songs will feature on the soundtrack to their biopic The Dirt, which hits Netflix in March.

• March brings the news that Chris Fehn has officially left Slipknot. The news follows earlier reports that Fehn was suing the band for issues surrounding pay and compensation.

• Former Gillan, Atomic Rooster and Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Bernie Tormé dies on March 17 at the age of 66. Tormé had been on life support for a month before his death at a London hospital following post-flu complications. 

• At the end of March, the Rolling Stones are forced to postpone their North American tour dates as Mick Jagger needs medical treatment. It emerges that Jagger needs to undergo surgery to have a valve replaced in his heart.

UFO vow to carry on with their Last Orders tour despite the death of Paul Raymond. The guitarist and keyboardist died at the age of 73 in April after suffering a heart attack – just days before the band wrap up the UK leg on the tour.

Rammstein release their untitled seventh studio album on May 17. It’s their first since 2009’s Liebe ist für alle da.

• On June 17,  Megadeth leader Dave Mustaine reports he’s begun treatment for throat cancer. He later checks in to thank fans for their support.

• In July, Tool reveal that their long-awaited new studio album Fear Inoculum will finally be released in August. It would be their first album since 2006’s 10,000 Days.

• On July 19, it’s confirmed that Lamb Of God co-founder and drummer Chris Adler has left the band. He later issues a statement to say it wasn’t his decision. 

• The majority of Ozzy Osbourne's 2019 revolves around health issues. He’s forced to postpone all of his 2019 touring plans after he was hospitalised with pneumonia and, just as he’s recovering, he suffers a nasty fall at home, injuring his back, neck and shoulders – dislodging the metal rods he had inserted following his 2003 ATV accident. The end of the year is more positive for The Prince Of Darkness. He collaborates with Post Malone and records his new solo album Ordinary Man in just four weeks.

• On October 6, news comes through that Cream legend Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. The drummer had been admitted to hospital in a critical condition the previous month, with the music world gathering to play tribute to Baker in the hours after the news breaks.

• November 11 brings the news that The Black Crowes have reunited and are planning a 2020 tour. Brother Chris and Rich Robinson mark the announcement by playing a show in New York – their first together since 2013.

• On November 18, Motley Crue end weeks of speculation that they could play live together again by destroying their famous cessation of touring contract that they signed prior to their 2015 farewell tour. The news leads to the announcement of a summer tour with Def LeppardPoison and Joan Jett.

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.