It's the time of year when we look back and reminisce, and 2018 has been another great year for music, with many ups and downs, lots of new talent and, sadly, the loss of some legends.
As 2018 heads off into the sunset, here are some of the big chart stories of the year.
Those we lost
Among those leaving us in 2018 were soul legend Aretha Franklin, rapper Mac Miller, Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison, Overtones’ singer Timmy Matley, Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan, comedian and Number 1 artist Ken Dodd, DJ and producer Avicii, opera singer Montserrat Caballe, who had a Top 5 hit with Freddie Mercury thanks to Barcelona in 1987, French icon Charles Aznavour, Chas Hodges from Chas and Dave, Richard Swift of the Black Keys, The Fall’s Mark E Smith, rapper XXXTentacion, and Buzzcocks’ Pete Shelley.
The renaissance of Lady Gaga
After almost a decade in the public eye, you could be forgiven for thinking we’d seen every side of Lady Gaga. Electropop, piano ballads, even a flirtation with country, Gaga had done it all. 2018, however was the year we saw Gaga the movie star, thanks to a critically acclaimed turn in the latest remake of A Star is Born, with Bradley Cooper. Not only that, but with Shallow she scored her first chart-topping single since 2010, plus the cast recording of A Star is Born topped the albums’ chart for two weeks. A star is reborn!
They weren’t even photographed together in 2018, but it was all about ABBA. Here’s a sentence I never dreamed I’d type: Cher released an ABBA covers album and got to Number 2. Yes, inspired by her unforgettable cameo in hit movie sequel Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, Cher decided one ABBA song was not enough and recorded a full set on hit album Dancing Queen. Speaking of Mamma Mia 2, the motion picture cast recording was a Number 1 during the summer. But even more incredible: ABBA casually announced they were back together!
To celebrate their forthcoming ABBAtars tour – in which virtual reality versions of the band will perform their huge hits – Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny, and Frida reunited in the studio to record new material, the first time they’d been together in over 35 years. Two new songs are on the way, with one named I Still Have Faith in You, but a promised debut before the end of the year hit a hiccup. The finished tracks and tour have been delayed while issues with the computerised bandmates are ironed out, but apparently the real-live foursome are set to go back in the studio in 2019. Are we getting closer to an all-new ABBA album?
Orchestral makeovers in the chart
Pop music has been flirting with classical for years now, but 2018 saw an explosion of hits getting some serious strings attached. The increased popularity of streaming music means the concept of a greatest hits has changed, so what better way to revive interest in classics than giving them a very grand do-over backed by an orchestra? Buddy Holly, Cilla Black,Roy Orbison, Carpenters, Beach Boys, and a host of stars on 80s Symphonic were among the stars taking a classical turn in 2018. Take That also got involved, with a fresh spin on a greatest hits with Odyssey – their eighth Number 1 album, which contained reimagined versions of their hits, including some with an orchestra, or never before released mixes.
Take That with their Number 1 Album Awards for Odyssey
Best of the BRITs
Stormzy was the talk of the 2018 BRIT Awards, winning Best Male Solo Artists and the Album of the Year for Gang Signs and Prayer, which also scooped an Ivor Novello award. The London rapper hit headlines following his BRITs performance in which he brought Prime Minister Theresa May to task over her response to the Grenfell Tower fire, a cause he’s still campaigning for, teaming with Adele and survivors to call for dangerous cladding to be removed from all buildings.
Dua Lipa also scored two BRIT Awards at the glittering ceremony in February, for Breakthrough Artist and Best Solo female, and received two Grammy nods too! Ed Sheeran landed the much deserved Global Success Award thankt to Over on the Mercury Music Prize, Wolf Alice beat artists including Arctic Monkeys, Lily Allen, and Jorja Smith to win with second album Visions of a Life.
The new face of the Official Chart
He’s been sitting in for various previous presenters for years, but 2018 was the year Scott Mills finally got his hands on the very important job of announcing the Official Chart on Radio 1 every Friday. After three years at the helm, Greg James made way in June for Scott, who was thrilled. “I feel like it’s a show people know I’ve wanted to do for quite a while, and now it’s actually mine,” Scott told us in his first interview since the announcement.
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