Best of 2014: The year in music (Part 2)

From up-and-coming artists to returning legends, and everything in between. We continue our look back at the biggest music moments of the past 12 months.

Additional content: Liv Moss and Justin Myers

Take That: Four become three

After the huge success of 2011’s Progress, which saw Take That welcome back prodigal son Robbie Williams, it was pretty much a given that the group would return to being a foursome for their next album. What nobody expected, however, was that the Take That wardrobe would be short of one sharp suit in particular. After 23 years, snake-hipped Jason Orange decided That was quite enough to Take and told Mark, Gary and Howard he was moving on. Citing a reluctance to tour another album, Jase stepped aside and gave his blessing for his old mates to carry on as a trio. But could the three amigos carry it off? You betcha. Orange enthusiasts still missed Jason, of course, but brand-new track These Days and album III both rocketed to Number 1, leaving fans in no doubt at the power of three.

U2 deliver new album Songs Of Innocence... straight to your iTunes library

As U2 delivered their “most personal work to date” into the iTunes libraries of Apple customers in over 119 countries worldwide, the response was… mixed:

Following the backlash, Apple built a tool so customers could delete the album from their iTunes libraries and U2 frontman Bono apologised, telling fans “I had this beautiful idea and we kind of got carried away with ourselves. Artists are prone to that kind of thing. Drop of megalomania, touch of generosity, dash of self-promotion and deep fear that these songs that we poured our life into over the last few years mightn’t be heard. There’s a lot of noise out there. I guess we got a little noisy ourselves to get through it.”

Upon its official release the album entered the Top 10, peaking at Number 6 and giving U2 their 20th Official Albums Chart Top 40.

Young Fathers win 2014 Mercury Award Album Of The Year

Back in October, lesser-known nominees Young Fathers beat the likes of Official Chart record holders Royal Blood, and bookies' favourites FKA Twigs and Kate Tempest, to claim this year’s Mercury Prize Album Of The Year Award. After their win, sales of the Scottish hip-hop trio’s studio album Dead saw a whopping 4460% sales increase, scoring the group their first ever Top 40 chart position, landing at 35 on the Official Albums Chart. And it wasn’t just Young Fathers who saw the ‘Mercury Effect’ in full swing, from the initial nominations to the winner being announced, Manchester jazz/electronica three-piece GoGo Penguin’s v2.0 saw a total sales increase of 177%, while South London poet Kate Tempest’s Everybody Down gained 158% and FKA Twigs was up 100%.

S Club 7 Bring It All Back

After more than decade of leaving us without anything resembling an S Club party, Hannah, Paul, Rachel, Jo, Tina, Jon and Bradley announced they were bringin’ it all back. The group made their official return on BBC’s Children In Need, performing a medley of all the S Club classics complete with original cheesy (Read: AMAZING) choreography (we were only slightly distracted by the computer cursor that someone left on the screen behind them - c’mon, you had ONE job!).

The group will be embarking on a 12 date UK arena tour next year, adding a second date at London’s O2 Arena after tickets sold out in just 15 minutes!

The return of Band Aid

30 years after Band Aid stormed to Number 1 with Do They Know It’s Christmas?, Sir Bob Geldof confirmed in November that he would be releasing the campaigning song for a fourth time with an all-star cast of modern and vintage stars that included One Direction, Rita Ora, Chris Martin, Bono and Emeli Sande.

As per the tradition, the song was recorded in one day at London’s Abbey Road studios and released 24 hours later, with its grand unveiling this time on The X Factor. The track charged to Number 1 and became the fastest-selling single of the year, but it wasn’t without its controversies. Released in aid of the Ebola crisis in West Africa, the song’s lyrics and fundraising capabilities were called into question… not that Bob seemed to care!

Frozen Fever

Remember a time before Frozen? No, neither do we. The Disney mega-hit has taken the UK by storm this year, breaking what seems like a gabillion (technical term) Official Chart records in the process. Racking up more than 899,000 sales in its opening week, the film has since gone on to become the first video release to pass 3 million sales in 2014, joining Skyfall and Avatar to become one of only three releases to have passed the 3m mark this decade.

And don't forget Let It Go. Ah, sweet Let It Go - the song that broke parents nationwide. The Idina Menzel hit has racked up a massive combined charts sales figure of 832,000 to date.

Ben Haenow wins The X Factor

29-year-old white van man Ben Haenow (Baenow to us) romped to victory in this year’s X Factor final, beating Uptown Funk enthusiast Fleur East and Pug lover Andrea Faustini to the crown. With impressive performances of Michael Jackson’s Man In The Mirror, Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine and John Lennon’s Jealous Guy, as well as an all-important Louis Walsh “You’re the one to beat” in the bag, Ben led the votes all the way from Week 4, eventually winning with a tally of 57.2%.

His winner’s single, a cover of OneRepublic’s Something I Need, went on to become the 2014 Official Christmas Number 1. Not only that, shifting more than 214,000 copies, the track is also the second-fastest selling single of the year, behind Band Aid 30’s Do They Know It’s Christmas?

Ben’s also hinted that a cover of Crowded House’s Don’t Dream It Over (“Hey now, heeeey now”) could be on the cards for 2015, watch this space…

Click here to check out Best of 2014: The year in music (Part 1)