April 2021 offered plenty of drama.
One band was finally able to end a legal battle with former members, bringing an ugly lineup change to a close. Elsewhere, a decorated songwriter and producer died, leaving behind a legacy of chart-topping hits. There was, of course, COVID-related news. This month one of the pandemic’s biggest skeptics found himself inflicted with the virus.
Meanwhile, one of the world’s biggest stars had the curtain pulled back just a bit, revealing how much he waffled before agreeing to a television appearance. Those stories, plus rockers reacting to a landmark legal decision, can be found in the April 2021 Recap below.
Journey Settle With Former Members
The ugly divorce between Journey and former members Ross Valory and Steve Smith reached a conclusion in April, more than a year after the two musicians were abruptly dismissed from the group. According to Journey’s Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain, the discourse stemmed from Valory and Smith’s attempt at an “ill-conceived corporate coup d’etat” to gain control the band’s name and logo. Both sides sued each other, with the dismissed duo alleging breach of contract and seeking “past and future compensatory damages.” All parties eventually reached an “amicable settlement agreement.” “Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain acknowledge the valuable contributions that both Ross Valory and Steve Smith have made to the music and the legacy of Journey,” read a statement from Journey’s management. “Ross Valory and Steve Smith wish their former bandmates well and much success in the future. Journey looks forward to continuing to tour and make new music for their dedicated fans around the world.”
Paul McCartney Tried to Back Out of ‘Carpool Karaoke’
One of the biggest stories from April 2021 linked back to an event three years earlier. During an interview with Paley Center for Media, Late Late Show host James Cordon revealed just how difficult it was to get Paul McCartney to agree to his now famous Carpool Karaoke appearance. “He said, ‘I’m in, I’ll do it, I can’t wait,’” Corden recalled of the initial response. “About a month later the message came through to us that he’d canceled, he didn’t want to do it; he’d got cold feet for some reason. Then he was back in again two weeks later.” This back-and-forth would continue, right up until shooting for the segment was scheduled to take place in Liverpool. Ultimately, Cordon took the unusual step of calling out McCartney’s “unacceptable” behavior. “I guarantee you, I promise you, that it will be great. And the reason it will be great is that you are Paul McCartney,” the host declared. The former Beatle finally agreed, and the segment went on to be a massive success.
Jim Steinman Dies
Celebrated songwriter and producer Jim Steinman died April 19 at the age of 73. Though his career included successful collaborations with artists such as Bonnie Tyler, Celine Dion and Air Supply, he was best known for his work alongside Meat Loaf. Steinman penned the entirety of the rocker’s first album, 1977’s Bat Out of Hell, and contributed largely to many of Meat Loaf’s other LPs. Notably, it was Steinman who wrote and produced the 1993 chart-topping hit “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).” “Jim will always live in my heart and my soul. I will miss you,” Meat Loaf announced following Steinman’s death.
Ted Nugent Catches COVID
On April 19, outspoken rocker Ted Nugent revealed that he had contracted the COVID-19 virus. “I have had flu symptoms for the last 10 days,” he explained in a video posted to social media. “And I just I thought I was dying. Just a clusterfuck.” At his doctor’s suggestion, Nugent was tested for coronavirus. “I was officially tested positive for COVID-19 today,” he announced, later referring to the virus as “Chinese virus attack ‘21” and “the Chinese shit” at various points in his video. Though Nugent was far from the only celebrity to come down with COVID, his diagnosis was notable given his history. Nugent vocally questioned the severity of COVID-19, at one point declaring that it was “not a real pandemic.” He also publicly challenged safety measures such as masking laws and vaccination requirements. Although he’d later admit he didn’t think he’d survive the ordeal, Nugent made a full recovery from his bout with the disease.
George Floyd Verdict
In one of the most talked about trials of the year, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty in the murder of George Floyd. The case stemmed from an altercation in 2020 in which Chauvin cuffed Floyd and then knelt on the suspect’s for nine minutes and 29 seconds. Floyd, who died at the scene, would quickly become emblematic of the racial strains felt across the U.S., especially between people of color and the police. To many, Chauvin’s conviction represented justice served, and many rockers took to social media to share their thoughts. “Your life (and tragic murder) has become a turning point in history,” wrote Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell, while Sebastian Bach declared, “”There’s only one side of history. It ain’t no mystery.”
Top 40 Rock Albums of 2021
In spite of the ongoing pandemic, music soldiered on.