Here we stand on the precipice of another decade, ready to roll from the ’10s to the ’20s. And, despite predictions to the contrary, rock is very much alive and well.
The genre’s legendary acts continued rolling out exciting material during the past 10 years, with new music, massive tours and a seemingly endless array of reissued masterpieces.
The ‘10s gave music fans many highs and lows, including retirements, reunions and sad final farewells.
While it’s impossible to recount all the musical moments the past decade has delivered, UCR pored through the archives to assemble the below report cards recapping what dozens of rock’s biggest acts were up to in the ’10s.
Lineup Changes: Guitarist Malcolm Young went on a medically mandated hiatus in 2014, died in 2017 and was replaced by Stevie Young. Drummer Phil Rudd played on 2014’s Rock or Bust, but was legally unable to participate on the supporting tour and was replaced by Chris Slade. Singer Brian Johnson was forced to leave in the middle of the Rock or Bust Tour due to hearing damage in 2016. Axl Rose took his place for the remaining dates. At the tour’s conclusion, bassist Cliff Williams announced his retirement. Lead guitarist Angus Young was the only band member that started and ended the decade with AC/DC.
Albums Released: Live at River Plate (Live, 2010), Rock or Bust (2014)
Tours: Rock or Bust Tour (2015-16)
Summary: It was a tumultuous decade for AC/DC. In April 2014, it was announced that founding rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young was ill and would be unable to participate in the sessions for their next studio album. His nephew, Stevie Young, took his place, starting with the recording of Rock or Bust, which was released later that year.
Before the start of the band’s 2015-16 tour, drummer Phil Rudd was arrested for allegedly hiring hit men to kill two people after an angry incident related to the handling of the August 2014 launch of his first-ever solo album. He was legally unable to leave the country and was replaced for the tour by Chris Slade, who was previously a member of AC/DC from 1989 to 1994. Rudd was eventually sentenced to eight months’ home detention on charges of threatening to kill as well as possession of methamphetamine and cannabis.
In March 2016, hearing damage and the threat of permanent deafness forced singer Brian Johnson to leave the tour, and Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose filled in for the remaining dates. His 22 shows with the group concluded on Sept. 20, 2016. Just before the end of the tour, bassist Cliff Williams announced his retirement. “Losing Malcolm, the thing with Phil and now with Brian, it’s a changed animal,” he said at the time. “I feel in my gut it’s the right thing.”
In November 2017, Malcolm Young died after a battle with dementia, heart problems and several other health issues. Johnson, Rudd and Williams all attended the funeral alongside Angus and Stevie Young. In August 2018, the Youngs, Rudd and Johnson were photographed at the same recording studio where the band recorded its most recent studio albums. Williams was photographed at a nearby hotel. AC/DC haven’t made any statements about their future plans, but escalating rumors suggest the group was working on leftover material featuring Malcolm’s guitar work, with an eye toward releasing a new album and touring in 2020.
Lineup Changes: None
Tours: Cocked, Locked, Ready to Rock Tour (2010), Back on the Road Tour (2011), Global Warming Tour (2012–14), Let Rock Rule Tour (2014), Blue Army Tour (2015), Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble Tour (2016), Aero-Vederci Baby! Tour (2017–18), Deuces Are Wild Tour (2019)
Not only did Aerosmith continue their massively successful touring ways, but they brought some of rock’s biggest names with them on the road throughout the past decade. Sammy Hagar was on board for the Cocked, Locked, Ready to Rock Tour, while Cheap Trick and Whitesnake took part at various points of the Global Warming Tour. Aerosmith later enlisted Slash for their 2014 Let Rock Rule Tour. The Aero-Vederci Baby! Tour was rumored to be the band’s farewell, but soon after its conclusion Aerosmith launched their Deuces Are Wild residency in Las Vegas — a stint that continues into 2020.
Summary: While Aerosmith released their 15th studio album and found plenty of time to tour, the past decade was anything but smooth for the band. Rumors of tension within the group continuously popped up, along with reports that other singers had been approached to replace Tyler. Making matters worse, health issues affected several members. Perry had to be rushed to the hospital after collapsing on two different occasions, an undisclosed illness required Tyler to cancel performances in South America and Kramer had to miss several shows after suffering heart problems. And even though it’s flirted with retirement, the band has plenty of performances lined up for 2020. There’s also rumor of another studio album in the works.
Steven Tyler: When he wasn’t working with Aerosmith — or hamming it up as a judge on American Idol — Tyler was recording his first solo album. Released in 2016, We’re All Somebody From Somewhere was a foray into country music.
Joe Perry: Perry found plenty of musical outlets outside of Aerosmith in the past decade. The guitarist joined forces with Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp in the group Hollywood Vampires, releasing two albums — 2015’s eponymous debut and 2019’s Rise — and touring. Perry also released a solo LP, Sweetzerland Manifesto, in 2018 and even found time to write an autobiography, Rocks: My Life in and Out of Aerosmith.
Brad Whitford: In 2015, Whitford reconnected with Derek St. Holmes, best known for his work alongside Ted Nugent. Whitford and St. Holmes previously released an album together — aptly titled Whitford/St. Holmes — in 1981. The duo performed dates in 2015 and 2016 before releasing their second LP, Reunion.
Tom Hamilton: In 2016 and 2017, Hamilton enjoyed brief stints playing with a couple of other legendary rock groups. The bassist joined Thin Lizzy for a series of dates during their reunion tour and also jumped onstage for a surprise performance alongside Pearl Jam.
Joey Kramer: While Kramer’s musical endeavors remained focused on Aerosmith, the drummer branched out into the business world with Joey Kramer’s Rockin’ & Roastin’ Café and Restaurant. The coffee shop is located in North Andover, Mass.; its signature roasts can be purchased online.
Allman Brothers Band
Lineup Changes: None
Albums Released: Play All Night: Live at the Beacon Theatre 1992 (2014), The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings (2014), Live from A&R Studios (2016), The Fox Box (2017), Peach Picks: Cream of the Crop 2003 (2018), Fillmore West 1971 (2019)
Tours: 2010 Tour, 2011 Tour, 2012 Tour, 2013 Tour, 2014 Tour
Summary: On Oct. 28, 2014, the Allman Brothers Band, one of rock’s ultimate road warriors, retired following a typically epic show at New York’s Beacon Theatre, which had become a second home to them. The concert ended after midnight, the 43rd anniversary of Duane Allman‘s death. The decision to bring their time to an end came after guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks announced they were leaving the band to focus on their respective other gigs, Gov’t Mule and the Tedeschi Trucks Band. In January 2017, Butch Trucks died of a self-inflicted gunshot; Gregg Allman passed away that May of complications from liver cancer. His last solo album, Southern Blood, arrived in September 2017. Even though the band is no more, its familial spirit continues with the Allman Betts Band, featuring the sons of Gregg Allman, founding guitarist Dickey Betts and original bassist Berry Oakley coming together for 2019’s Down to the River. Releases consisted entirely of archival concerts, including a 2014 box set dedicated to the shows that produced At Fillmore East.
Gov’t Mule: Haynes’ main gig kept him plenty busy, both before and after the Allman Brothers broke up. Gov’t Mule continued their restless ways across numerous releases, including collaborations with artists ranging from Steve Winwood to Elvis Costello (Shout!), a live album of Pink Floyd songs (Dark Side of the Mule) and another one with jazz guitarist John Scofield (Sco-Mule).
Tedeschi Trucks Band: Derek Trucks and his wife, guitarist and singer Susan Tedeschi, officially formed their band in 2010, and they’ve maintained an active touring and recording schedule, including 2016’s Let Me Get By and 2019’s Signs.
Dickey Betts: Estranged from the Allmans since 2000, Betts slammed the final incarnation of the group as a “tribute band” within days of their last show. But he was nonetheless willing to get back together with Gregg Allman one last time, which never happened. Betts briefly went into retirement, coming out of it in 2018, though a mild stroke, followed by brain surgery, forced him off the road. One of the shows from his comeback was released in 2019 as Ramblin’ Man Live at the St. George Theatre.
Anderson Rabin Wakeman
(singer Jon Anderson, guitarist Trevor Rabin, keyboardist Rick Wakeman)
Albums Released: Live at the Apollo (Live, 2018) One under-the-radar concert LP may wind up as this Yes off-shoot’s sole recording.
Lineup Changes: None
Tours: An Evening of Yes Music and More Tour (2016-2017), Quintessential Yes: the 50th Anniversary Tour (2018). This Yes sister band — or alternate band, or real band, or, wait, what’s a “band” again? — embarked on two major tours, billed under the name Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman (ARW) and, later, Yes Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman. (Not confusing at all, guys!) The trio recently went on hiatus but then teased a possible farewell tour.
Summary: ARW probably wouldn’t exist if Yes hadn’t moved forward without Anderson in 2008, following the singer’s diagnosis of acute respiratory failure. The songwriter plunged forward with solo projects and collaborations, but in his most surprising and satisfying move, he linked up with the two other, most famous musicians who used to travel in the mothership band: Wakeman and Rabin. They initially announced plans for a studio album, but the material has yet to materialize. (However, in July 2018, Rabin leaked a grandiose, though possibly unfinished, ballad called “Fragile.” Nope, it has nothing to do with Yes’ 1971 album of the same name.) The future remains confusing — and adding to the drama (No, not that Drama), Anderson remains “very open” to a potential reunion with Yes — ya know, that other one.
Lineup Changes: None
Albums Released: Anthology Highlights (Compilation, 2010), Tomorrow Never Knows (Compilation, 2012), I Saw Her Standing There (Compilation, 2013), On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2 (Live, 2013), The Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963 (Compilation, 2013), Mono Masters (Compilation, 2014), Live at the Hollywood Bowl (Live, 2016), Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reissue, 2017), The Beatles (White Album) (Reissue, 2018), Abbey Road (Reissue, 2019)
Summary: Despite the fact that the Beatles haven’t been active in over four decades, the defunct band still managed to produce an array of material in the last ten years. Compilation albums, box sets and reissues ruled the era, with remastered versions of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the White Album and Abbey Road celebrating the 50th anniversaries of those respective LPs. Previously unreleased material was included in the reissues, giving Beatles fans more alternate takes and rough mixes to buzz about. In 2011, “Penny Lane” became the latest Beatles recording to be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Three years later, the Fab Four were honored with the Grammy ‘Lifetime Achievement Award,’ while a television special The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles celebrated the 50th anniversary of their famous Ed Sullivan appearance. Meanwhile, the 2016 documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years saw director Ron Howard give viewers an intimate look at life within the band during Beatlemania.
See Also: Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr
Lineup Changes: Tommy Clufetos replaced founding drummer Bill Ward, who had been announced as a participant, prior to the start of the band’s reunion tour in 2012. Brad Wilk, of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave fame, played drums on 13 and The End.
Summary: The decade started on a sad note for Black Sabbath, as the May 2010 death of Ronnie James Dio ended the short but promising run of Heaven & Hell, a band that reunited him with former Sabbath bandmates Butler and Iommi.
The following year, it was announced that Black Sabbath’s original lineup of Iommi, Butler, Osbourne and Ward would reunite for a tour and their first album together since 1978’s Never Say Die!. Almost immediately, contract disputes led to a nasty war of words and Ward’s departure from the project. Recruiting Clufetos from Osbourne’s solo band, the remaining trio launched the tour in May of 2012.
Taking breaks to support Iommi’s successful battle with cancer, Black Sabbath toured steadily for the next several years before announcing a farewell trek entitled The End, which concluded in February 2017. Afterwards, Osbourne promptly returned to his solo career (see below), Iommi pondered collaborations with both Rob Halford and Brian May, and Butler teamed up with Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens in Deadland Ritual.
(Jon Bon Jovi, Phil X, Hugh McDonald, Tico Torres, David Bryan)
Lineup Changes: After a 30-year tenure as the band’s guitarist, Richie Sambora departed Bon Jovi in 2013. He was replaced by touring guitarist Phil X, who became an official member of the group in 2016.
Albums Released: Greatest Hits (Compilation, 2010), Inside Out (Live, 2012) What About Now (2013), Burning Bridges (2015), This House is Not For Sale (2016), This House Is Not for Sale – Live From the London Palladium (Live, 2016)
With three studio albums, two live LPs and their Greatest Hits compilation, Bon Jovi continued churning out material this past decade. The band also celebrated its 30th anniversary by reissuing its seminal 1988 album New Jersey, complete with the original demos.
Tours: The Circle Tour (2010), Bon Jovi Live Tour (2011), Because We Can: The Tour (2013), Bon Jovi Live! Tour (2015), This House Is Not for Sale Tour (2017–19)
The guys in Bon Jovi aren’t strapped for cash: Their Circle Tour was the top grossing run of 2010, while Bon Jovi Live was the second highest grossing tour of 2011. Combined, those treks pulled in just south of $400 million. Still, financial success doesn’t guarantee stability. Twenty shows into 2013’s Because We Can Tour, Sambora abruptly decided to leave the band. Guitarist Phil X filled in for the rest of the tour and was eventually enlisted as Sambora’s official replacement. As such, 2015’s Bon Jovi Live! Tour was the first trek in the band’s history without Sambora. Bon Jovi have continued touring all over the world since then, performing on every continent except Antarctica.
Summary: The biggest Bon Jovi news of the decade was Sambora’s departure. Though the guitarist says he remains on good terms with his former bandmates, a reunion doesn’t seem to be in the cards. The one exception was the group’s 2018 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, when Sambora rejoined the band (along with former bassist Alec John Such) for a performance at the ceremony. Still, the Bon Jovi machine looks poised to continue pushing forward in the next decade, regardless of whether their original guitarist is along for the ride. A new album titled Bon Jovi: 2020 will arrive in — you guessed it — 2020.
Albums Released: A Reality Tour (Live, 2010), The Next Day (2013), Nothing Has Changed (Compilation, 2014), Five Years (Compilation, 2015) Blackstar (2016), Who Can I Be Now? (Compilation, 2016), No Plan EP (2017), A New Career in a New Town (Compilation, 2017), Loving the Alien (Compilation, 2018), Conversation Piece (Compilation, 2019)
Summary: In the last years of David Bowie’s life, the iconic musician produced more material than most men create in a lifetime. With a live album, compilation release and two studio LPs, the rocker continued delivering groundbreaking work in his waning days. Whether with a surprise vocal cameo on Arcade Fire‘s 2013 song “Reflektor” or the creation of Lazarus, a musical based on The Man Who Fell to Earth, Bowie continued to find new outlets for his creative voice.
His 2016 LP Blackstar was hailed by fans and critics alike, but the album took on new meaning when it became his swan song. Bowie recorded the LP, with lyrics reflecting themes of mortality, while silently suffering the late stages of liver cancer, an ailment that was not shared with the public. The rocker died just two days after Blackstar’s release. While the world mourned the loss of an icon, people also celebrated Bowie’s amazing life. Tributes poured in from fellow artists and fans. Performances, a constellation, street names and even a baby penguin were just some of the things dedicated to the Thin White Duke. David Bowie Is, a museum exhibit created in 2013 chronicling the musician’s enthralling career, became even more popular following his death. Over its five-year run, the exhibit enjoyed stays at 12 museums around the world and attracted more than 2 million visitors.
Meanwhile, “No Control,” a deep cut from 1995’s Outside, was reworked for inclusion in the Spongebob Squarepants musical, which made its Broadway debut in 2017 (Bowie had given his blessing for its use before his death). Posthumous releases included No Plan, an EP, containing songs from the Lazurus musical and Blackstar recording sessions, and a series of box sets capturing various phases in the rocker’s legendary career.
Lineup Changes: Original drummer Bun E. Carlos left the band in 2010 and was replaced by Rick Nielsen’s son, Daxx. The change was a messy one and led to legal action.
Tours: According to Setlist’s numbers, Cheap Trick played between 70 and 90 dates every year during the past decade.
Summary: Cheap Trick began the ’10s in turmoil after splitting with their founding drummer. In 2013, Carlos sued, which led to a countersuit by the others. By 2015 it was settled, with Carlos technically still a member — with a say in business decisions — but Daxx would be their drummer onstage and on records. With the legal issues out of the way, the band was able to make its way back into the studio. On the eve of their 2016 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (where they performed again with Carlos), Cheap Trick put out their first album since 2009, Bang, Zoom, Crazy … Hello. Carlos responded a few months later with his solo debut, the guest-filled Greetings From Bunezuela!. A year later came We’re All Alright, with Christmas Christmas arriving in time for the 2017 holiday season.
Throughout the decade, Cheap Trick maintained a high profile on the road, averaging 82 shows every year of the ’10s, often on co-headlining tours or opening for friends like Peter Frampton, Heart and ZZ Top. “We play as much as we can,” Rick Nielsen said in 2014. “If we waited for a hit record to tour, we would never have toured. No record? We go on tour. New record? On tour. Hit record? Flop record? Always tour.”
Albums Released: Clapton (2010), Play the Blues: Live From Jazz at Lincoln Center (Live, 2011), Old Sock (2013), Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 (Live, 2013), The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale (2014), Slowhand at 70 – Live at the Royal Albert Hall (Live, 2015), Forever Man (Compilation, 2015), I Still Do (2016), Live in San Diego (Live, 2016), Happy Xmas (2018)
In the past 10 years, Clapton’s studio releases have largely been compiled of cover songs. The guitar icon seems to have found a comfort zone re-imagining other people’s classic tunes, while also inviting fellow legends like Paul McCartney, Chaka Khan and Steve Winwood to collaborate. Clapton used a similar formula on 2014’s The Breeze, recruiting Tom Petty, Willie Nelson, John Mayer, Mark Knopfler and more for an album celebrating the work of J.J. Cale.
Tours: Eric Clapton World Tour (2018), Eric Clapton World Tour (2019), A Celebration of 50 Years in Music Tour (2017), 70th Birthday Celebration Tour (2015), 2014 Tour (2014), 50th Anniversary Tour (2013), 2011 Tour (2011)
Clapton began the decade with a series of performances alongside fellow former Yardbird guitarist Jeff Beck. Further touring that year included stints with Winwood and Roger Daltrey. The coming years saw more worldwide treks, with Clapton celebrating both his 50th anniversary in music and 70th birthday at different points. Things slowed for the rocker in 2015, when he announced he had retire from touring. Initially, he claimed that the hassles of traveling were reason behind his decision, but it later came to light that Clapton had been suffering from peripheral neuropathy, a nerve condition that causes sharp pains in one’s extremities. Despite insisting that he’d stop — or at least slow down — his touring plans, Clapton again hit the road for a massive stretch of performances in 2018-19.
Summary: Though lingering health concerns slowed things to a certain degree for Clapton over the past decade, the guitar god still found ways to achieve new career milestones. As if 50 years in music and 70 years on Earth weren’t enough, the rocker also earned the distinction of having an asteroid named after him, officially called “Clapton 4305.” While the musician’s legendary Unplugged release received an expanded and remastered edition, Clapton also found time to record the first Christmas album of his career. A 2018 documentary gave fans unprecedented access to the man behind the music, adding further layers to Clapton’s continuing legacy. Though Slowhand’s touring may have slowed, his energy and unrivaled talent still remains. The iconic guitarist closed out the decade with a surprise appearance alongside space-rock pioneers Hawkwind during a December 2019 performance in the U.K.
Summary: Already one of the most active touring artists in rock ‘n’ roll, Alice Cooper doubled up on his studio output this past decade, alternating two solo albums and an EP with two records from a new supergroup, the Hollywood Vampires. He kicked off the decade with 2011’s Welcome 2 My Nightmare, a guest star-studded sequel to his popular 1975 album Welcome to My Nightmare. He continued to tour throughout the decade, most notably opening for Motley Crue on their 2014-15 farewell tour.
In 2015 Cooper teamed up with Joe Perry and Johnny Depp to form Hollywood Vampires, a band named after an informal and infamous celebrity club, of whom Cooper is one of a few living survivors. Their self-titled first album was largely devoted to covers of ’70s rock stars who died due to excessive lifestyles. In 2017 he returned to solo work with the well-received Paranormal, and the following year sang on national television as King Herod in NBC’s live Jesus Christ Superstar musical. The ’10s’ final year may have been Cooper’s busiest, as he returned to the Vampires for Rise, which switched up the formula by focusing largely on original material. He almost immediately followed that up with Breadcrumbs, an EP of covers by Detroit garage-rock bands.He described the record as a “taster” for his next studio album, which is expected in 2020.
Lineup Changes: Steve Brown of Trixter has filled in on guitar when both Collen and Campbell were unavailable due to personal reasons.
Tours: 2011 Tour, 2012 Tour, 2013 Tour, 2014 Tour, 2015 Tour, 2016 Tour, 2017 Tour, 2018 Tour, 2019 Tour
Summary: Def Leppard spent little time in the studio together in the ’10s, giving us only a self-titled album in 2015, re-recorded versions of “Rock of Ages” and “Pour Some Sugar on Me” for the Rock of Ages soundtrack and a few tracks for a compilation. Instead, they put out three live albums: 2011’s Mirror Ball – Live & More, a document of their 2012 Viva! Hysteria residency in Las Vegas and a 2016 performance from Detroit. Vegas became a particular favorite for the band, with a second residency arriving in 2014 and a third in 2019. In addition to those dates, they also toured every year except 2010, appearing on bills with acts like Kiss, Heart, Motley Crue, Poison, Styx and Tesla. Some of the tours didn’t go to plan, due mainly to health problems. In 2013, Campbell was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, with Brown filling in while he received treatment. The Trixter guitarist returned in 2018 to sub for Collen, who rushed home to California mid-tour when his wife experienced complications while giving birth to their son. In 2019, they Def Leppard were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with Queen‘s Brian May doing the honors at the ceremony. The band’s 2020 already looks busy; they’ll spend much of the year on the road with Motley Crue, Poison and Joan Jett.
Other Projects: Some members of Def Leppard also spent the decade working in side projects. Collen, who published an autobiography, Adrenalized, in 2015, formed a power trio called Manraze and explored blues and soul music with Delta Deep. Elliott created Down ‘n’ Outz to honor his favorite band, Mott the Hoople, and Campbell teamed up with his ex-Dio bandmates to honor Ronnie James Dio in Last in Line. In 2016, that group’s bassist, Jimmy Bain, died while they were aboard Def Leppard’s Hysteria on the High Seas cruise. Bain was replaced by Phil Soussan; the band’s second album was released in 2019. Campbell also reunited with his old group Riverdogs, who put out records in 2011 and 2017.
Albums Released: The Bootleg Series Vol. 9: The Witmark Demos: 1962–1964 (2010), In Concert – Brandeis University 1963 (2011), Tempest (2012), The Bootleg Series Vol. 10: Another Self Portrait (1969–1971) (2013), The Bootleg Series Vol. 11: The Basement Tapes Complete (2014), Shadows in the Night (2015), The Bootleg Series Vol. 12: The Cutting Edge 1965–1966 (2015), Fallen Angels (2016), The 1966 Live Recordings (2016), The Real Royal Albert Hall 1966 Concert (2016), Triplicate (2017), The Bootleg Series Vol. 13: Trouble No More 1979–1981 (2017), Live 1962–1966: Rare Performances from the Copyright Collections (2018), The Bootleg Series Vol. 14: More Blood, More Tracks (2018), The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings (2019), The Bootleg Series Vol. 15: Travelin’ Thru, 1967–1969 (2019)
Tours: Never Ending Tour (2010-19)
Summary: For someone whose career has been noted for being prolific — and had experienced a creative rebirth in the previous 15 years — Bob Dylan released only one album of new, original material this past decade, 2012’s Tempest. Instead, he channeled his studio focus on five discs of tracks from the Great American Songbook, with Shadows in the Night, Fallen Angels and the three-CD Triplicate coming between 2015 and 2017. He surrounded those with seven installments of his Bootleg Series, including in-depth looks at his 1965-66 period, the Blood on the Tracks sessions and his born-again period. His 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue was the subject of both a Martin Scorsese-directed documentary and a box set (which isn’t part of the Bootleg Series). Even though Dylan’s studio work declined, he remained an active performer, playing nearly 1,000 dates on his Never Ending tour. Outside of music, he branched out into a line of Heaven’s Door whiskey, with three varieties hitting liquor stores in 2018. Plus, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016.
Lineup Changes: Glenn Frey’s death in 2016 permanently changed Eagles. His son, Deacon, initially joined the group on a temporary basis in 2017. Though not an official member, he’s been touring with the band ever since. Country star Vince Gill has also become an unofficial member, helping fill the void left by Frey.
Tours: Long Road Out of Eden Tour (2008-11), History of the Eagles Tour (2013-15), An Evening With the Eagles (2017-19)
The decade began with Eagles finishing their highly successful Long Road Out of Eden Tour, a trek that founf them playing dates across the globe. In 2013 the band released the History of the Eagles documentary, chronicling the ups and downs of the group’s long and fascinating career. The tour launched in support of the release included nights opening the newly updated Forum in Los Angeles. Original guitarist Bernie Leadon also appeared on the tour, joining the band for the first time since 1975.
Summary: While Eagles continued to be one of the most popular, and profitable, classic rock acts during the past decade, the main story of the era was the death of Frey. The singer’s death hit the music world on Jan. 18, 2016. The remaining Eagles members, along with Jackson Browne, honored their fallen comrade with a performance at the Grammy Awards just a month later. Some questioned whether the band would continue to tour, but the additions of Deacon Frey and Vince Gill seems to have steadied the Eagles ship. The band has already announced plans for the new decade, with the Hotel California 2020 Tour on tap.
Don Henley: Henley released Cass County, his first solo album in 15 years, in 2015. The LP featured collaborations with an assortment of big-name artists, including Mick Jagger, Dolly Parton, Miranda Lambert and Trisha Yearwood.
Glen Frey: Frey’s final solo album was After Hours, released in 2012. A departure from his previous solo work, as well as his material with Eagles, the LP consisted of covers of pop standards.
Joe Walsh: Walsh delivered two different solo records. Released in 2012, Analog Man was the rocker’s first new solo album in 20 years. The LP was co-produced by Jeff Lynne, and featured appearances by Ringo Starr and Little Richard, as well as Walsh’s former James Gang bandmates, Jim Fox and Dale Peters. Walsh also delivered All Night Long: Live in Dallas in 2013, a live album comprised of material recorded during a 1981 performance in Texas.
Timothy B. Schmit: The Eagles bassist put out his sixth solo LP, Leap of Faith, in 2016. The Americana album was the first material released by an Eagles member following Frey’s death.
Lineup Changes: After a 16-year hiatus from the band, Christine McVie officially rejoined Fleetwood Mac in 2014, reforming their classic ’70s quintet. But it didn’t — and, given the Mac’s penchant for drama, probably couldn’t — last: Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham was fired (under controversial circumstances) in April 2018, before rock’s most beloved circus act could record another LP. Tom Petty‘s longtime guitarist (and frequent Nicks collaborator) Mike Campbell came on board, along with former Crowded House singer and guitarist Neil Finn.
Albums Released: Extended Play (EP, 2013), Rumours: 35th Anniversary Edition (2013), Tusk: Deluxe Edition (2015), Mirage: Deluxe Edition (2016), Tango in the Night: 30th Anniversary Edition (2017), Fleetwood Mac: Deluxe Edition (2018), 50 Years – Don’t Stop (Compilation, 2018), Before The Beginning 1968-1970 (Live, 2019).
Fleetwood Mac spent most of the decade reissuing their beloved back catalog with expanded anniversary sets. And the revamped sextet Mac haven’t recorded any new material, making the four-track, Christine McVie-free Extended Play their most recent (and possibly final) studio document. Granted, Buckingham and Christine McVie did join forces for a collaborative LP, aided by Fleetwood and John McVie on some tracks. But that record didn’t include Nicks and, despite its numerous highlights, sort of felt like a consolation prize for not getting the whole crew back together.
Tours: Fleetwood Mac Live (2013), On With the Show (2014-2015), An Evening With Fleetwood Mac (2018-2019).
Summary: Fleetwood Mac have endured many lineup shifts. (In fact, it’s been a key part of their survival strategy over the years.) But their latest remains a tough blow on a creative level. Even though Campbell and Finn have brought high-caliber musicianship (and classic material from their former bands, including Petty’s “Free Fallin'” and Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over”), a Buckingham-shaped hole remains on every stage they greet. It’s unclear where the sorta-Rumours band heads from here, though Buckingham suggested in 2018 that he’d be willing to let bygones be bygones and reunite for the sake of a proper send-off. “Look, it’s Fleetwood Mac,” he told Stereogum. “Anything’s possible. Maybe they’ll get it out of their system. If they ask me to come back, would I? Sure, because to me, I think the lack of a proper farewell tour, if that’s what we’re doing, that doesn’t undercut, like I say, the legacy that we have so carefully built as the five of us, which they’re not doing right now. I don’t know what they’re doing. It’s a cover band kind of deal, and Stevie may be enjoying that, and that’s fine. If she is happy doing that, there is no one outcome that I think is going to be okay.”
(Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Chris Shiflett, Nate Mendell, Pat Smear, Rami Jaffee)
Lineup Changes: Smear and Jaffee were made full-fledged Foos in 2010 and 2017, respectively. Both were previously t ouring members of the group.
Albums Released: Wasting Light (2011), Sonic Highways (2014), Saint Cecilia (EP, 2015), Concrete and Gold (2017)
Tours: Wasting Light Tour (2011-2012), Sonic Highways Tour (2014-2015), Concrete and Gold Tour (2017-2018)
Summary: One could easily argue that no band was more active in the past decade than the Foo Fighters. Three studio albums, an EP and multiple Record Store Day releases were just the tip of the iceberg. In 2011, the Back and Forth documentary chronicled the band’s career, beginning with Nirvana’s breakup following the death of Kurt Cobain, through the Foos’ ascent to one of the most popular rock groups of the past two decades. In 2013, it was Grohl’s turn to step behind the camera, when the head Foo directed the documentary Sound City, chronicling the history of the titular recording studio in Van Nuys, Calif. The legendary musician must have enjoyed his directing experience, because just a year later he helmed the HBO documentary series Sonic Highways. The program saw Grohl and company traveling to various cities across America, discussing the locale’s music history before recording new tunes with artists connected to their respective areas. In 2015, the Foo Fighters performed on the final broadcast of The Late Show With David Letterman, with the retiring host expressing his eternal gratitude and admiration for the group. Later that year, Grohl broke his leg during a concert, but finished the set despite his injury. After a series of canceled shows, the band returned to touring with its leader performing from a custom-made throne. Somehow, among all of this activity, the Foo Fighters found time to win six Grammys, tour the globe, honor 1,000 Italian fans who went viral performing “Learn to Fly” and troll the Westboro Baptist Church twice.
(Mick Jones, Kelly Hansen, Thom Gimbel, Michael Bluestein, Bruce Watson, Chris Frazier)
Lineup Changes: Frazier replaced Jason Sutter on drums in 2012. Watson filled in on guitar when Jones was ill in 2011 and has since become a full-time member.
Albums Released: Can’t Slow Down … When It’s Live! (2010), Feels Like the First Time (2011), Alive & Rockin’ (2012), The Best of 4 & More (2014), The Hits Unplugged and Live (2016), Foreigner With the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra & Chorus (2018), Live at the Rainbow ’78 (2019), Double Vision: Then and Now (2019)
Tours: Can’t Slow Down (2010-11), Eclipse (2011), Feels Like The First Time 35 Years (2012), 2013 Tour, The Soundtrack of Summer (2014), 2015 Tour, The Hits: Unplugged (2016), 40th Anniversary Tour (2017), Juke Box Heroes Tour (2019), Double Vision: Then & Now (2019),
Summary: Foreigner didn’t release any collection of new songs, but Jones kept his charges chugging along on the touring circuit, averaging almost 100 shows a year, often sharing stages with friends like Styx, Journey, Night Ranger and Whitesnake. Their live prowess was demonstrated on several albums. Can’t Slow Down … When It’s Live! was recorded at Nashville’s iconic Ryman Auditorium. Feels Like the First Time was a Walmart exclusive that consisted of one disc of new recordings of their biggest hits and a second of acoustic versions of hits and deep cuts. Alive & Rockin’ is a recording of their set at the Bang Your Head!!! festival in Germany in 2006. The Best of 4 & More featured live versions of most of 1981’s 4 and others. During the band’s 40th-anniversary tour in 2017, they reunited with founding members members Lou Gramm, Al Greenwood and Ian McDonald at a few stops, captured on Double Vision: Then and Now. Foreigner brought back the trio and ex-bassist Rick Willis for a few shows in October 2019, but Gramm had to pull out due to illness. A musical built around Foreigner’s catalog, Jukebox Hero, premiered in Toronto in early 2019. They have a 10-date residency at the Venetian in Las Vegas planned for 2020.
David Gilmour kicked off the decade with a new LP — just not the one most of his fans were probably hoping for. Metallic Spheres, a collaboration with electronic act the Orb, is almost entirely instrumental, with the former Pink Floyd guitarist conjuring prime Dark Side textures and leads over techno grooves and oceanic ambiance. But that album only whet fan appetites for a proper follow-up to 2006’s On an Island. It took five more years, but his fourth solo record, Rattle That Lock, was a late-career highlight, taking the sleek, hi-fi atmospheres of that earlier project to even more cinematic heights.
Tours: Rattle That Lock Tour (2015-16).
Gilmour promoted Rattle That Lock with his first tour in nine years, including a North American run highlighted by a David Crosby guest spot in Los Angeles. It’s unclear when the guitarist will embark on another trek, but he insists it won’t happen until he has fresh material in his holster. “I feel very uncomfortable heading off and doing another tour without having made new music,” he said in an EPK for his 2016 live LP and DVD Live in Pompeii. “There are several songs that are close to being complete which didn’t make it onto this album. I can’t see myself doing another tour without making another album first, and that takes me awhile. It took 10 years last time. And I’m really hoping, without making any promises, that it won’t take 10 years this time.”
Summary: Though Gilmour’s decade included only one proper solo album and a single legit tour, he still accomplished a lot — and generated a number of headlines – during that time. In July 2010, he reunited with former Pink Floyd bandmate Roger Waters for a four-song charity set — the first time they’d played together since the band’s classic lineup (including keyboardist Richard Wright and drummer Nick Mason) re-formed for the Live 8 benefit concert in 2005. (That turned out to be the quartet’s final show, a sad truth cemented after Wright’s death in 2008.) And Floyd’s three surviving members linked up again the following year during Waters’ May show at the O2 in London: Gilmour appeared on top of a massive wall during “Comfortably Numb,” trading off vocals and playing his iconic guitar solo; he also came out to play mandolin on the acoustic version of “Outside the Wall,” with Mason appearing on tambourine. Elsewhere in the decade, Gilmour covered the Beatles’ “Here, There and Everywhere” with his son Joe, sold his guitar collection, including his iconic black Fender Stratocaster, for more than $21 million in a charity auction and joined Richard Thompson for a cameo at the folk artist’s 70th birthday concert in London in 2019.
Lineup Changes: None
Albums Released: Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of the Grateful Dead (2015), Long Strange Trip (2017), dozens of archival concerts
Tours: Fare Thee Well (2015)
Summary: Six years after the four surviving members of the Grateful Dead had last performed together (as the Dead), Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart brought back their full name for Fare Thee Well, five shows in the summer of 2015 spread out between Santa Clara, Calif.’s Levi’s Stadium and Chicago’s Soldier Field. The quartet recruited Phish‘s Trey Anastasio to take the spot held by Jerry Garcia and keyboardists Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti. A box set containing the entirety of the three Chicago dates was released later that year. Weir, Hart and Kreutzmann then formed Dead & Company with John Mayer, Chimenti and former Allman Brothers bassist Oteil Burbridge, and they’ve toured regularly since the fall of 2015. Lesh, for his part, has remained an active performer with his Phil & Friends group. A four-hour documentary about the group’s history, Long Strange Trip, came out in 2017, with a companion box set that offered previously unreleased performances. In 2018, John Perry Barlow, who wrote the lyrics for songs like “Hell in a Bucket” and “Mexicali Blues,’ passed away. A year later, their other major lyrical collaborator, Robert Hunter, also died.
Lineup Changes: At the start of the decade, Axl Rose was the only classic-lineup member still remaining in the band. DJ Ashba and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal were manning the guitars, Tommy Stinson was on bass and multi-instrumentalist Chris Pitman rounded out the group. These members all excused themselves from the band (for various reasons) prior to the reunion with original members Slash and Duff McKagan in 2016.
Albums Released: Appetite for Destruction: Locked N’ Loaded (Box Set, 2018)
The band’s only release was a massive set, featuring 73 tracks, 49 of which had never been released. B-sides, acoustic versions and a previously unseen music video were among the bonus material. The set also included a photo book, lithographs, a wall poster, replica ticket stubs and temporary tattoos.
Tours: Chinese Democracy Tour (2001-2011) Up Close and Personal Tour (2012), Appetite for Democracy Tour (2012-2014), Not in This Lifetime … Tour (2016-?)
The Chinese Democracy Tour, much like the creation of the album it was named after, seemed to drag on forever. Some of its final dates, taking place in 2010 and 2011, are notable because they marked the first performances with McKagan since he departed GNR in 1997. A series of scaled-down, club shows dubbed the Up Close and Personal Tour highlighted 2012, along with the band’s first of two Las Vegas residencies. The big news came in 2016 when, after years of declaring that a reunion would never happen, Slash and McKagan rejoined Rose in Guns N’ Roses. The Not in This Lifetime … Tour got off to a dubious start when the singer broke his foot during a warm-up show at the Troubadour in Hollywood. Rose was able to go forward with performances (thanks in part to a custom throne loaned to him by Dave Grohl). Headlining sets at Coachella soon followed and kicked off further performances across the country. To the surprise of fans — as well as band members — the reunited group seemed to be getting along. The Not in This Lifetime … Tour continues adding dates and has become one of the highest-grossing treks of all time.
Summary: The biggest news of the decade was the return of the classic Guns N’ Roses lineup. Seeds for the reunion seemed to be planted after the band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. Though Rose decided not to attend the event, Slash, McKagan and Dizzy Reed performed at the ceremony, alongside other former members, including Steven Adler and Matt Sorum. A few years later, what seemed impossible became reality, as Rose, Slash and McKagan reunited in GNR. Adler has joined the group on several occasions, though Sorum and Izzy Stradlin remain estranged from the band. Slash has continued with solo work, as has McKagan, but all current GNR members appear to be committed to keeping the good times rolling. With possible new music on the horizon, fans have reasons to be cautiously optimistic as we head into the next decade.
Albums Released: Chickenfoot III (2011), Chickenfoot LV (Live, 2012), Sammy Hagar & Friends (2013), Lite Roast (2014), At Your Service (Live, 2015), When the Party Started (Compilation, 2016), Space Between (2019)
The Red Rocker began the decade working alongside Michael Anthony, Joe Satriani and Chad Smith in the band Chickenfoot. The supergroup released its second LP and first live album before going on hiatus as its members focused on other projects. Hagar would bring an assortment of his famous contemporaries — including Anthony, Smith, Satriani, Kid Rock, Toby Keith, Nancy Wilson and Mickey Hart — for 2013’s Sammy Hagar & Friends. A year later the Red Rocker returned with his first acoustic album, Lite Roast. The decade closed with two releases from the Circle, Hagar’s latest supergroup, which features Anthony, drummer Jason Bonham and guitarist Vic Johnson.
Tours: Cocked, Locked and Ready to Rock Tour (2010), North American Road Test Tour (2011), Europe Road Test Tour (2012), Different Devil Tour (2012), Four Decades of Rock Tour (2013), A Journey Through the History of Rock Tour (2014), Space Between Tour (2019)
The decade began with Hagar and his backing band, the Wabos, opening for Aerosmith on a series of dates for their Cocked, Locked and Ready to Rock Tour. The Red Rocker then turned his attention to Chickenfoot, performing across the globe with the supergroup in 2011-12. Hagar then celebrated the 40th anniversary of his career in music with the Four Decades of Rock Tour, featuring set lists comprised of material from his various endeavors. More recently the legendary singer has been touring with the Circle, engaging on several successful treks from 2015-19.
Summary: Even as his age has pushed into the 70s, Hagar has showed no signs of slowing. Solo material, guest appearances and multiple supergroups kept the Red Rocker busy over the past decade. While he sold his last piece of ownership in Cabo Wabo tequila, the Red Rocker moved on to a different type of spirit, launching Sammy’s Beach Rum in 2011. That same year, Hagar turned heads with the release of his autobiography. The book hit No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list, but also led to an accusation of defamation against the singer. When he wasn’t touring or working on new material, Hagar was popping up on TV screens. He appeared on The Simpsons, reality series The Voice and even launched his own successful show, Rock and Roll Road Trip With Sammy Hagar. Somehow among all of these projects, the prolific rocker even found time to launch a radio show and release a cookbook.
Lineup Changes: None
Albums Released: Red Velvet Car (2010), Fanatic (2012), Strange Euphoria (Compilation, 2012), Icon (Compilation, 2103), Fanatic Live From Caesar’s Colosseum (Live, 2014), Heart & Friends – Home for the Holidays (Live, 2014), Beautiful Broken (2016), Live at the Royal Albert Hall With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Live, 2016), Live in Atlantic City (Live, 2019)
Heart’s various releases throughout the decade included new studio efforts, live recordings, compilations and even a Christmas album. Red Velvet Car, from 2010, scored the group its first Top 10 album in 20 years, while 2016’s Beautiful Broken saw the band re-imagining some of its previous material. Metallica’s James Hetfield made a guest appearance on the latter LP, while members of Guns N’ Roses, Alice in Chains and Jane’s Addiction appeared on Live in Atlantic City.
Tours: Red Velvet Car Tour (2010-2011), Mirror Ball Tour (2011), Fanatic Tour (2012-2014), Heartbreaker Tour (2013), Heart Tour (2015), Queens of Sheba Tour (2016), Rock Hall Three for All Tour (2016), Love Alive Tour (2019)
Heart remained one of the busiest bands in rock with extensive touring throughout the decade. A regular partner for these road warriors was Joan Jett, who joined Heart for several treks during the period including Rock Hall Three for All, which also featured Cheap Trick. Another powerhouse combo was the Mirror Ball Tour, which saw Heart co-headlining with Def Leppard. Still, the most anticipated trek was arguably 2019’s Love Alive Tour, which saw the Wilson sisters reunite after a three-year hiatus due to drama within the group.
Summary: The past 10 years were both productive and tumultuous for Heart. On the positive side, the Wilson sisters continued touring and churning out material at a high rate, while also earning their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The era may be most remembered for strife within the group. On Aug. 27, 2016, Ann’s husband, Dean Wetter, was arrested for assaulting Nancy’s 16-year-old twin sons during an altercation backstage during one of the band’s performances. Though Heart continued with the tour and played the remaining previously scheduled dates, the incident drove a wedge between the Wilson sisters (Wetter pled guilty and accepted a probationary sentence). Once the tour concluded, Heart went on hiatus, with Ann and Nancy rarely speaking to one another as they pursued solo endeavors. After close to three years apart, the sisters reunited, announcing the Love Alive Tour in 2019.
Lineup Changes: None
Summary: Ever restless, Iron Maiden spent the decade moving from project to project, beginning with 2010’s The Final Frontier, whose very title scared people into thinking that it might be their last record. It was followed by a long world tour, whose stop in Chile resulted in En Vivo! The fans’ fears were unfounded, and by Christmas 2014, the band was teasing plans for a new album and tour in the coming year. However, as they were doing that, singer Dickinson was diagnosed with tongue cancer. He underwent chemotherapy in February 2015 and was declared cancer-free by May. But his recovery put Iron Maiden’s plans on hold, and it wasn’t until September 2015 that The Book of Souls, their first-ever double studio album, was released, and they hit the road for another lengthy jaunt beginning in February 2016. Two years later, the band launched the Legacy of the Beast tour, their first that wasn’t in support of a new record; they have dates going into 2020. Offstage, they’ve extended their brand to headphones, smartphone app games, pinball machines, models of their Ed Force One plane and Funko Pop! figurines, but the most successful has been their foray into beer. In 2013, the band teamed up with U.K. brewer Robinsons to launch Trooper ale. The partnership has worked so well that they’ve regularly launched new varieties.
Albums Released: Unvarnished (2013), Recorded & Booked (Live, 2014), The First Sessions (Compilation, 2015), Bad Reputation (Music From the Original Motion Picture) (Soundtrack, 2018)
Tours: 2010 Tour (including dates with Aerosmith), 2011 Tour, 2012 Tour, 2013 Tour, 2014 Tour, 2015 Tour (including dates with the Who and Heart), 2016 (including Rock Hall Three For All Tour with Heart and Cheap Trick, 2017 Tour (including Boston’s Hyper Space tour), 2018 Tour (including dates with Styx and Tesla), 2019 Tour (including Love Alive with Heart and Sheryl Crow)
Summary: Joan Jett & the Blackhearts put out only one album of new material this past decade, 2013’s Unvarnished. However, she had Record Store Day exclusives over the next two years: Recorded & Booked combined a 7″ single of live hits and an unreleased version of “Bad Reputation” with a book of photos, and The First Sessions compiled demos she made in 1979. But that doesn’t mean Jett wasn’t busy. In 2010 she was an executive producer on The Runaways, a feature film about her first band. And she remained a popular live draw, particularly when on tour with acts like the Who, Heart, Cheap Trick, Boston and Styx. In 2014, she played “Smells Like Teen Spirit” with the surviving members of Nirvana when the grunge pioneers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She later credited that performance with paving the way for her own induction a year later, which included a collaboration alongside Miley Cyrus and Dave Grohl. A documentary about Jett’s life, Bad Reputation, arrived in 2018; the soundtrack contained a new song, “Fresh Start.” As the decade came to an end, she found herself joining Carrie Underwood for a new recording of NFL’s Sunday Night Football‘s theme song, which was based around her own “I Hate Myself for Loving You.” She was also revealed as a participant on Motley Crue‘s 2020 stadium tour, along with Def Leppard and Poison.
Albums Released: She’s Always a Woman: Love Songs (Compilation, 2010), Piano Man (Reissue, 2011), Billy Joel: The Complete Albums Collection (Compilation, 2011), Live at Shea Stadium: The Concert (Live, 2011), Opus Collection (Compilation, 2012), She’s Got a Way: Love Songs (Compilation, 2013), A Matter of Trust: The Bridge to Russia (Live, 2014) Live at Carnegie Hall (Live, 2019)
Tours: Face to Face (2009-10), Billy Joel in Concert (2013-?)
The start of the decade saw Billy Joel share the stage with Elton John, as the music icons continued their Face to Face Tour which had started in 2009. After a short break from the road, Joel returned in 2012 with his own solo tour, a trek that is still ongoing. The singer is also officially a franchise of Madison Square Garden, indefinitely performing a monthly concert at the New York hub as part of an agreement announced in 2013.
Summary: Aside from the occasional guest appearance — like on the Art of McCartney tribute album and a duet with Barbara Streisand — Joel didn’t record new material in the ’00s. Still, that doesn’t mean the Piano Man has been living the quiet life. Instead, the acclaimed singer has focused his attention on touring, continually performing across the country. Though no new material was released, he did put out a multiple live albums, an expanded reissue of Piano Man and several compilation efforts over the past decade. The singer was also recognized with the Kennedy Center Honors, celebrating his influence on American culture through the arts. Additionally, Joel had some highlights in his personal life, marrying fourth wife Alexis Roderick and welcoming daughters Della Rose and Remy Anne.
Albums Released: The Union (2010), Gnomeo & Juliet Soundtrack (2011), The Diving Board (2013), Wonderful Crazy Night (2016), Diamonds (Compilation, 2017), The Lion King Soundtrack (2019), Rocketman Soundtrack (2019)
Elton John began the ‘10s by joining forces with Leon Russell on 2010’s The Union, a second collaborative effort following 1993’s Duets. John would go on to deliver two solo studio records — 2013’s The Diving Board and 2016’s Wonderful Crazy Night. He also contributed to the soundtracks to three feature films, including his 2019 biopic, Rocketman. Despite all this, John claims his days of releasing albums are over.
Tours: Face to Face (2010), European Tour (2010), The Union Tour (2010), Greatest Hits Tour (2011-12), 40th Anniversary of the Rocket Man (2012-13), The Diving Board Tour (2013-14), All the Hits Tour (2015), The Final Curtain Tour (2015), Wonderful Crazy Night Tour (2016-18), Farewell Yellow Brick Road (2018-?)
John has certainly racked up frequent-flyer miles over the past 10 years. The rocker has maintained a constant touring schedule, performing all over the world. Still, all great things must come to an end, and John insisted he’s retiring from touring once his current trek is complete. Farewell Yellow Brick road is the Rocket Man’s swan song, as he delivers hit songs from throughout his long career. The highly successful tour will continue into 2020.
Summary: A lot of musicians pulled off impressive feats over the past decade, but you’d be hard pressed to find a more eclectic resume than John’s. He collaborated with a wide swathe of artists — the aforementioned Russell, Jack White and Queens of the Stone Age among them. He performed for one world leader, while discussing LGBT rights with another. And he continued branching into film, making a memorable cameo in Kingsmen: The Golden Circle, while contributing new music to the live-action remake of The Lion King. Speaking of movies, John’s biopic, Rocketman, received strong reviews and a successful box-office return. The film was nominated for three Golden Globes, with Oscar buzz not far behind. Throw in his marriage to longtime companion David Furnish and it’s easy to see that the decade was a momentous one for John. Still, it wasn’t perfect. The music icon suffered from several health scares over the years, resulting in multiple hospital stays.
Lineup Changes: Drummer Deen Castronovo was fired in 2015 and replaced by former member Steve Smith.
With Eclipse, their lone studio LP of the decade, Journey combined their usual arena balladry with the heavier, slightly proggier style of their early days. It was a refreshingly ballsy move for a band with a catalog full of pop hits, but the public greeted the record with dismissive reviews and mediocre sales. Their only follow-up was a live release, which documented a Japanese show featuring full performances of 1981’s Escape and 1983’s Frontiers. Former singer Steve Perry, meanwhile, followed a 24-year drought with his third solo album, Traces.
Tours: Eclipse Tour (2011-2017), Def Leppard & Journey Tour (2018), Fall Tour
Summary: Journey’s 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction was a legitimate love-fest, with the band’s alumni — including Perry, appearing alongside the band for the first since 2005 — lavishly praising each other’s musical skill and commitment to chasing a shared dream. But fans came back to Earth when both Perry and keyboardist Jonathan Cain dismissed the inevitable reunion chatter. (“You can still love someone, but not want to work with them,” Perry said the next year. “And if they only love you because they want to work with you, that doesn’t feel good to me.”) The Journey machine will continue to churn onstage in 2020 with singer Arnel Pineda, including a joint run with the Pretenders. But don’t expect another album any time soon. “We’re not convinced the market will bear another CD from us, and it’s so much work to make one,” Cain told Billboard, adding that any future project would probably veer “back to the center” — a reaction to the dismal response they received with Eclipse.
Lineup Changes: Faulkner replaced guitarist and band co-founder K.K. Downing in 2011. Andy Sneap filled in for Glenn Tipton in 2018, though Tipton remains a member.
Tours: Epitaph (2011-12), Redeemer of Souls (2014-15), Firepower (2018-19)
Summary: Judas Priest began the decade by parting ways with founding guitarist K.K. Downing. They replaced him with Richie Faulkner and announced that the two-year Epitaph world tour would likely be their last. As it turned out, the new guitarist’s presence breathed some new life into the band, and his contributions were felt on 2014’s Redeemer of Souls. Another lengthy global trek followed, with their 2015 set at Germany’s Wacken Festival resulting in the live DVD and CD Battle Cry. In 2018, Judas Priest announced a follow-up album, Firepower, but delivered it with some bad news. Guitarist Glenn Tipton had been living with Parkinson’s disease since 2008 and, even though he played on Firepower, it had progressed to the point where he could no longer perform the more challenging guitar parts from the band’s catalog onstage. Sneap, who produced the album, filled in for the tour, t hough Tipton remained a member and sat in during the encore at a few shows. The band has since created a foundation in Tipton’s name to help fund a new treatment for those with Parkinson’s. In 2018, Halford said he’d finally decided to write a memoir after years of rejecting the idea. He surprised fans yet again a year later with Celestial, his second holiday-themed LP after 2009’s Halford III: Winter Songs.
Lineup Changes: None
Albums Released: Monster (2012), Kiss Rocks Vegas (Live, 2016).
Three months before the start of the decade, Kiss ended a long studio drought with their first album in 11 years, Sonic Boom. They followed with the similarly back-to-basics Monster in 2012, then focused solo on touring the rest of the decade. They commemorated their first and only Las Vegas residency with a live album three years later. Paul Stanley, who produced the band’s last two studio records, said he doesn’t expect the band to release another before retiring: “Really, what’s the point? I think everything we’ve done so far speaks volumes, and it’s enough of a legacy.”
Tours: Sonic Boom Over Europe (2010), The Hottest Show on Earth (2010-11), The Tour (with Motley Crue, 2012-13), Monster World Tour (2012-13), 40th Anniversary World tour (2014-2015), Freedom to Rock Tour (2016), Kissworld Tour (2017-2018), End of the Road World Tour (2019-2021).
Kiss toured nearly constantly these past 10 years, but that won’t be the case next decade. The band is already a year into a two-and-a-half-year farewell tour, which is set to conclude July 17, 2021.
Summary: Despite their previously stated disregard for the organization, Kiss were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. Controversy surrounded the event on two fronts: Only the four original members of the group were cited, despite contributions made by longtime members such as Eric Carr and Bruce Kulick. Simmons and Stanley also ignored public pressure from founding members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, who wanted the original lineup to perform at the event. Five years later, Frehley again publicly campaigned to return to the band for the farewell tour, but was soundly denied. “Ace has been in and out of the band three different times,” Simmons declared. “That’s enough.”
Gene Simmons: In 2017, Simmons released Gene Simmons Vault, a massive 10-disc box set of previously unreleased material sold directly to fans in a variety of bundles that cost between $2,000 and $50,000. He also played his first-ever solo concerts.
Paul Stanley: In 2015, Stanley debuted a new project, a 10-piece R&B band named the Soul Station that covered Motown and Philadelphia soul classics such as “Just My Imagination” and “I Want You Back.” He’s been working on the side group’s debut album between Kiss tours. He also published two memoirs, 2014’s Face the Music: A Life Exposed and 2019’s Backstage Pass.
Ace Frehley: Kiss’ former lead guitarist enjoyed his most active decade since the ’70s, releasing three studio albums — 2014’s Space Invader, 2016’s covers-focused Origins, Vol. 1 and 2018’s Spaceman — and touring steadily. He’s also completed a second covers LP, Origins Vol. 2, which is due for release in early 2020.
Peter Criss: Out of Kiss since 2004, Criss kept a low profile this past decade. Three years after the Rock Hall induction, he announced his retirement from live performances with a brief series of farewell shows.
Albums Released: Celebration Day (Live, 2012), Led Zeppelin (Reissue, 2014), Led Zeppelin II (Reissue, 2014), Led Zeppelin III (Reissue, 2014), Led Zeppelin IV (Reissue, 2014), Houses of the Holy (Reissue, 2014), Physical Graffiti (Reissue, 2015), Presence (Reissue, 2015), In Through the Out Door (Reissue, 2015), Coda (Reissue, 2015), The Complete BBC Sessions (Reissue, 2016), How the West Was Won (Live, Reissue, 2018), The Song Remains the Same (Live, Reissue, 2018)
Reissues were the name of the game, with Led Zeppelin’s entire catalog getting remastered and re-released throughout the course of the decade. Each album — available in CD and vinyl — included various bonus material, rare photographs, memorabilia and more. Among the highlights was “Sunshine Woman,” a previously unreleased track included on The Complete BBC Sessions. In 2012, Page released Lucifer Rising and Other Sound Tracks, an album of material he created for the 1980 film Lucifer Rising that ultimately went unused. Meanwhile, Jones contributed to two LPs by blues musician Seasick Steve — 2011’s You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks and 2013’s Hubcap Music. The bassist also released an album as part of Minibus Pimps, an experimental collaboration alongside Norwegian producer Helge Sten. Plant was the most prolific Led Zeppelin member over the past decade, releasing three solo LPs and a live album.
Tours: None. Despite hope that the remaining members of Led Zeppelin would tour together following their successful 2007 performance, a reunion never came to fruition.
Summary: While it seems more evident than ever that the remaining members of Led Zeppelin will never perform together again, the band’s legacy continues to shine brightly. Beyond the extensive reissues, the group also appeared on the silver screen — 2012’s Celebration Day was shown in theaters before receiving its home release, while a 2015 one-night-only event saw classic Led Zeppelin performances merged into a concert film. There was also the announcement of a career-spanning documentary, but that film has yet to see the light of day. As the band celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018, the remaining members released Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin, a book featuring previously unpublished pictures and artwork chronicling the band’s storied career. The group also happily put behind them a plagiarism lawsuit regarding the classic track “Stairway to Heaven.”
(Gary Rossington, Rickey Medlocke, Johnny Van Zant, Michael Cartellone, Mark Matejka, Peter Keys, Keith Christopher)
Lineup Changes: Robert Kearns became Lynyrd Skynyrd’s bassist following the death of Ean Evans in 2009. Kearns stayed in that post until 2012, when he was replaced by Johnny Colt. Colt remained with the band for five years before current bassist Keith Christopher stepped into the role.
Albums Released: Live From Freedom Hall (Live, 2010), Last of a Dyin’ Breed (2012), One More for the Fans (Live, 2015), Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd & Second Helping – Live from Jacksonville at the Florida Theatre (Live, 2015), Live in Atlantic City (2018), Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour – Lyve! (Live, 2019).
Southern rock’s flagship band recorded only one studio album in the ’10s, Last of a Dyin’ Breed, focusing instead on a streak of live LPs that documented a sizable chunk of their annual North American tours.
Tours: Gods and Guns Tour (2010), North American Tour (2011), Rebels and Bandoleros Tour (With ZZ Top, 2011), North American Tour (2012), North American Tour (2013), North American Tour (2014), North American Tour (2015), North American Tour (2016), North American Tour (2017), The Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour (2018-2019).
Summary: Lynyrd Skynyrd finally started winding things down during the past decade, culminating with the announcement of their Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour. It’s a long goodbye for the band, with dates stretching well into 2020. Part of the reason the group is slowing down can be attributed to the health of guitarist, and only remaining founding member, Gary Rossington. The rocker faced numerous scares over the past few years, including multiple heart attacks that eventually required surgery. A concert film capturing the excitement of the farewell tour screened in theaters in 2019, while a biopic depicting the band’s rise in fame and tragic plane crash went into production, only to be halted by lawsuits. Though the band is transitioning to pseudo-retirement, they still plan to record new material, with frontman Johnny Van Zant even going so far as saying that a new LP is “in the can.” On a more somber note, the band said goodbye to its founding bassist, Larry Junstrom, in 2019. The rocker, who was also a member of 38 Special, died at the age of 70.
Albums Released: Ocean’s Kingdom (2011), Kisses on the Bottom (2012), New (2013), Pure McCartney (Compilation, 2016), Wings 1971–73 (Box Set, 2018), Egypt Station (2018)
In 2011, Paul McCartney was commissioned by the New York City Ballet to create a score for the ballet Ocean Kingdom. A soundtrack was released in October that year, marking the former Beatle’s fifth classical LP. Kisses on the Bottom, from 2012, was made up almost entirely of covers and featured guest appearances by Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton and Diana Krall. McCartney returned to original material for his next two studio albums, New and Egypt Station. The latter LP earned the rocker his first No. 1 in 36 years. It was also the first solo album of his career to debut at No. 1.
Tours: Up and Coming Tour (2010–11), On the Run Tour (2011–12), Out There Tour (2013–15), One on One Tour (2016–17), Freshen Up Tour (2018–20)
Summary: It was another prolific decade for McCartney, complete with worldwide tours, new material and extensive collaborations. The former Beatle seemed to pop up everywhere, and while some of his appearances were par for the course, others were real head-scratchers. The rocker dabbled in acting, appearing on the TV shows 30 Rock and BoJack Horseman before donning a wig and makeup for the film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Music collaborations with Clapton, Billy Joel, Ringo Starr and the remaining members of Nirvana gave rock fans plenty to get excited about, while McCartney’s work alongside Kanye West can best be described as “different.” Adding more incredible achievements to his long career, McCartney performed at Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Summer Olympics, both in 2012. Two years later he returned to Candlestick Park in San Francisco, the site where the Beatles played their last concert in 1966, to deliver the final performances before the venue’s demolition. Somehow, amid all of his ongoing activities, McCartney even found time to get into the world of video games, recording the original song “Hope for the Future” for the game Destiny.
Lineup Changes: None
Albums Released: Beyond Magnetic (EP, 2011), Lulu (2011), Metallica: Through the Never (Soundtrack, 2013), Hardwired … To Self-Destruct (2016), Kill ‘Em All (Reissue, 2016), Ride the Lightning (Reissue, 2016), Master of Puppets (Reissue, 2017), Live at Webster Hall (Live, 2017), … And Justice for All (reissue, 2018)
Tours: Vacation Tour (2011), European Black Album Tour (2012), The Full Arsenal Tour (2012), Summer Tour 2013 (2013), By Request Tour (2014), Lords of Summer Tour (2015), WorldWired Tour (2016-2019)
The decade opened with Metallica playing a series of “Big Four” shows in 2010 and 2011 alongside Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax. Also in 2011, the band celebrated its 30th anniversary with a series of shows at the Fillmore in San Francisco. Various guests joined the band during these performances, including Ozzy Osbourne, Dave Mustaine, Glenn Danzig, Jerry Cantrell and former bassist Jason Newsted. Metallica also headlined a bevy of festivals in the past decade, including Rock in Rio, Sonisphere, Glastonbury and Outside Lands. The band even tried to curate its own music event, the Orion festival, but the results didn’t go as expected. After putting on the fest in 2012 and 2013, the band pulled the plug on Orion, reportedly due to massive financial losses. On a more positive touring note, Metallica made history in 2013 when they played a concert in Antarctica. The set, which was delivered without amplification in an effort to protect the local environment, was performed to a crowd of roughly 120 people. The occasion made Metallica the only act to perform on every continent on Earth, a distinction that earned the group entry into the Guinness Book of World Records. More traditional touring would follow in the years to come, including the massive WorldWide Tour which began in 2016 and will continue into 2020.
Summary: In a whirlwind decade, the biggest moment for Metallica may have happened behind closed doors. In a major business move, the band behind “Master of Puppets” became master of their masters. Metallica purchased their entire catalog from former label home Elektra in 2012, then founded their own label, Blackened Recordings. As such, the band now has complete control over all of its releases, regardless of whether its new material or reissued classics. In 2013, the band was on the big screen with Metallica: Through the Never. Part concert film, part fiction, the release was hailed by critics as an immersive experience for fans.
Metallica graced the Grammy stage on two occasions in the past decade. In 2014 the band collaborated with classical pianist Lang Lang on the award show for a distinctive rendition of “One.” An appearance in 2017 didn’t go as smoothly: Microphone issues plagued the band while performing alongside Lady Gaga. Elsewhere, the band continued its relationships with Bay Area sports teams. The San Francisco Giants and San Jose Sharks honored the group with respective Metallica Nights, while the Golden State Warriors invited members to perform the national anthem before Game 5 of the NBA Finals in 2015. Four years later, Metallica christened the Warriors’ new home, Chase Center, with two performances alongside the San Francisco Symphony celebrating the 20th anniversary of the band’s famous S&M release. The concerts, dubbed S&M2, were filmed and later screened in theaters around the world.
Though the decade ended on a somber note, as frontman James Hetfield returned to rehab with continuing substance-abuse issues, Metallica gave plenty of reasons for fans to be excited for the future. The band will perform multiple headlining sets at five U.S. festivals in 2020, along with continuing international dates on the WorldWired tour.
Lineup Changes: None
Albums Released: The End: Live in Los Angeles (Live, 2016), The Dirt Soundtrack (2019)
The Dirt Soundtrack featured four new recordings by the band, including “The Dirt (Est. 1981)” (featuring Machine Gun Kelly), “Ride With the Devil,” “Crash and Burn” and a cover of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.”
Tours: Ozzfest Tour (2010), Glam-A-Geddon Tour (2011), European Tour (2012), The Tour (2012-13), North American Tour (2013), The Final Tour (2014-15)
Motley Crue began the decade with a brief Ozzfest trek alongside Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Halford. The following year they headlined the Glam-A-Geddon Tour with Poison and the New York Dolls in support. Further treks throughout the decade included co-headlining dates with Def Leppard and an extended stint with Kiss. In 2014, Motley Crue announced their Final Tour, signing a “cessation of touring agreement” that was to come into effect following their last performance. After saying goodbye for nearly two years over the course of various worldwide performances, the band gave its final bow on Dec. 31, 2015, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The New Year’s Eve show was later released as a live album and concert film. The Crue’s retirement lasted approximately four years, when, in 2019, they blew up the “cessation of touring agreement” and announced their return, with extensive dates alongside Def Leppard, Poison and Joan Jett scheduled for 2020.
Summary: There aren’t many bands that can say goodbye, enjoy a massive resurgence and reunite all within the same decade. Then again, there aren’t many bands like Motley Crue. Sure, it may sound silly to admit we believed they were done when the Final Tour came to a close, but the band’s farewell seemed like a genuine send-off for one of rock’s most notorious bands. Still, the massive success of the Crue’s biopic The Dirt proved that fans were just as insatiable as ever, while streaming statistics showed that a new generation of listeners were discovering the group’s music. The time off allowed the Crue members to explore other endeavors, while also healing friendships within the band. With its return, the band looks poised to continue rocking into the decade ahead.
Albums Released: The World is Yours (2010), You’ll Get Yours: The Best of Motörhead (Compilation, 2010), The World Is Ours – Vol. 1: Everywhere Further Than Everyplace Else (Live, 2011), The World Is Ours – Vol. 2: Anyplace Crazy as Anywhere Else (Live, 2012), Aftershock (2013), Bad Magic (2015), Clean Your Clock (Live, 2016), Under Cover (2017)
Tours: Motorizer Tour (2010), Aftershock Tour (2014-15), Bad Magic Tour (2015)
Summary: There’s no way to sugarcoat it: The past decade sucked for Motorhead fans. Former guitarists Michael Burston, Larry Wallis and Eddie Clarke all died during the time frame, as did former drummer Phil Taylor. Still, the kicker was the death of Motorhead frontman and metal icon Lemmy Kilmister. Even though the legendary rocker had battled health woes in the years preceding his death, his passing came as a shock. An outpouring of tributes celebrated Lemmy’s place in music history, while rockers including Rob Halford, Dave Grohl, Slash and members of Metallica fittingly remembered Motorhead’s leading man with humor and profanity during his memorial service. Though reissues and retrospectives will continue to come out, the remaining members insist that Motorhead are done — bringing to close a wild ride that lasted more than 40 years. Perhaps the band will receive its induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020 now that it’s been nominated.
Albums Released: In Your Dreams (2011), 24 Karat Gold: Songs From the Vault (2014)
Tours: In Your Dreams Tour (2011), Heart & Soul Tour (2012), 24 Karat Gold Tour (2016-17)
Summary: With time split between Fleetwood Mac and her solo career, Stevie Nicks gave us only two albums during the past decade, The first, 2011’s In Your Dreams, consisted of recent material and came with a documentary but the second, 24 Karat Gold: Songs From the Vault, contained new recordings of tracks she made demos of between 1969 and 1995 but never officially recorded. Nicks has discussed plans for a second volume, but they have yet to materialize. Fleetwood Mac’s touring commitments also meant she wasn’t on the road under her own name too often. She toured with Rod Stewart in 2011, which went so well that they reprised it the next year. Her 2016 journey with the Pretenders was extended into 2017. Solo Nicks also made history in 2019 when she became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice.
Albums Released (solo): Scream (2010)
Summary: After beginning the decade with his 11th solo album, Osbourne dedicated much of the decade to touring and recording with Black Sabbath. Upon the completion of what was marketed as the band’s last-ever tour in 2017, Osbourne announced a solo farewell tour, cheekily naming it No More Tours 2 to acknowledge that this was not the first time he’s done this. Six months after the first show, a series of diverse health issues, including an infection in his hand, a battle with the flu and a fall that dislodged metal rods in his back from a previous ATV accident, forced the singer to repeatedly postpone his return to the road, which is now scheduled for May 2020.
In late 2019, Osbourne’s recovery was aided by an invitation to collaborate with rapper Post Malone on the song “Take What You Want.” He discovered an instant chemistry with producer Andrew Watt, so the duo hit the studio with Chad Smith and Duff McKagan, and a month later completed a new record, which Osbourne called “the greatest album I’ve done.” Ordinary Man is due for release in January 2020.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Final Lineup: Tom Petty, Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench, Ron Blair, Scott Thurston, Steve Ferrone
Lineup Changes: None
Reuniting with formative band Mudcrutch helped reinvigorate Tom Petty. The band’s self-titled debut LP arrived in 2008, 33 years after they initially broke up and six years after the Heartbreakers’ divisive album The Last DJ. Petty built on that momentum by returning to his blues roots on Mojo, the Heartbreakers’ scrappiest set in decades. In retrospect, it was a stepping stone for Hypnotic Eye, a more varied and anthemic collection that turned out to be their swan song.
Tours: Mojo Tour (2010), 2012 Summer Tour, 2013 Summer Tour, 2014 Tour, Mudcrutch Reunion Tour (2016: Petty, Campbell and Tench only), 40th Anniversary Tour (2017)
Summary: On Sept. 25, 2017, Petty played the last show of his 40th-anniversary tour at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. The songwriter — who’d been using the pain drug fentanyl to manage a hip injury — died one week later at age 66, after accidentally overdosing on a variety of medications. It was a tragic, unexpected exit: The Heartbreakers had issued a late-career highlight, Hypnotic Eye, just three years earlier, and Petty even reunited again with Mudcrutch for a second LP in 2016. But his legacy lives on: Campbell has played the songwriter’s signature hit “Free Fallin'” onstage with Fleetwood Mac; Reprise Records compiled dozens of rarities and unheard tracks for the 2018 box set An American Treasure; and Petty, in one his final interviews, made a posthumous appearance in the music documentary Echo in the Canyon that same year.
Final Lineup: David Gilmour, Nick Mason
David Gilmour managed to end the Pink Floyd story on a graceful note: The band’s largely ambient final LP, 2014’s The Endless River, includes reworked material (including unused Richard Wright keyboard recordings) from the sessions for 1994’s The Division Bell.
Summary: Though The Endless River sparked hope for another Pink Floyd reunion show or tour, Gilmour has maintained that Wright’s 2008 death marked the band’s official end. “To do it without Rick would just be wrong,” he told Classic Rock in 2015. “I absolutely don’t want to go back. I don’t want to go and play stadiums … under the [Pink Floyd] banner. I’m free to do exactly what I want to do and how I want to do it. Obviously I accept there are people who want to go and see and hear this legend that was Pink Floyd, but I’m afraid that’s not my responsibility.”
Robert Plant opened the decade by reviving an important, symbolic moniker: The singer used the name Band of Joy for his pre-Zeppelin band in the late ’60s, then again in the late ’70s — and his 2010 solo record of that name embodied the same free-flowing spirit, stirring blues, folk and psychedelia into one bewitching gumbo. But where Band of Joy focused traditional tunes and covers, Plant’s two other records, Lullaby and … the Ceaseless Roar and Carry Fire, featured shape-shifting originals from his new backing band, the Sensational Space Shifters.
Tours: Sensational Space Shifters Tour (2013), Sensational Space Shifters Tour (2014), South American/U.S./European/North American Tour (2015), North American/European Tour (2016), Lampedusa Concerts for Refugees Tour (2016), Britain and Ireland Tour (2017), North American/Australian/European Tour (2018) North American Tour/Various Dates (2019)
Summary: The Sensational Space Shifters aren’t exactly a “new” band: Almost all of the players, including multi-instrumentalists Justin Adams and John Baggott, previously played with Plant in his Strange Sensation lineup of the early and mid-’00s. But returning to that group’s raw power and edgy experimentation felt like Plant turning a page in his career. As the decade wraps up, the Shifters already have plans for a third LP: Plant recently told Classic Rock they’ve pooled roughly “40 different instrumental ideas” for a new album, with plans to start working in Nashville.
Lineup Changes: Following a performance with Adam Lambert on American Idol in 2009, Brian May and Roger Taylor officially welcomed the singer into their ranks in 2011. What began as just a handful of shows eventually evolved into multiple worldwide tours. Lambert has since performed more than 200 concerts with the band, supplanting Paul Rodgers as the second-longest tenured singer in Queen’s history behind Freddie Mercury. Though the band has not released any new material with Lambert on vocals, it’s something it has toyed with.
Albums Released: The Singles Collection Volume 3 (2010), The Singles Collection Volume 4 (2010), Deep Cuts Volume 1 (2011), Deep Cuts Volume 2 (2011), Deep Cuts Volume 3 (2011), Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest (Live, 2012), Live at the Rainbow ’74 (Live, 2014), Queen Forever (2014), A Night at the Odeon – Hammersmith 1975 (Live, 2015), On Air (2016), Bohemian Rhapsody: The Original Soundtrack (2018).
Live efforts from classic performances, compilation albums and rarities dug out of the Queen vault were among the material released by the group in the past decade. Queen Forever, from 2014, featured three previously unreleased tracks with Mercury on vocals; the surviving members revisited old recordings with their fallen frontman to assemble the new songs. One, “There Must Be More to Life Than This,” was a duet with Mercury and Michael Jackson.
Tours: Queen + Adam Lambert Tour (2012–15), Queen + Adam Lambert Summer Festival Tour (2016), Queen + Adam Lambert Tour (2017–18), The Rhapsody Tour (2019–20)
Summary: The alliance with Lambert would have been the biggest news in the world of Queen were it not for a movie called Bohemian Rhapsody. Released in 2018, the biopic garnered mixed reviews from critics; the general public, however, could not get enough of it. The film went on to far exceed expectations, shattering box office records and sparking increased sales of the band’s music. The flick would score four Oscars, including Best Actor for its star, Rami Malek. Queen + Adam Lambert opened the Academy Awards ceremony in February 2019, delivering renditions of “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions.” It wasn’t the biggest stage the band performed on during the decade, as May and Taylor were part of the festivities for the 2012 Olympics in London. Other highlights from the decade included a lifetime achievement Grammy, Queen branded vodka and an asteroid named in Mercury’s honor.
Lineup Changes: None
Albums Released: Exile on Main St. (Reissue, 2010), Singles 1971–2006 (2011), Some Girls (Reissue, 2011), GRRR! (2012), Sticky Fingers (Reissue, 2015) Totally Stripped (2016), Blue & Lonesome (2016), The Rolling Stones in Mono (2016), On Air (2017), The Rolling Stones Studio Albums Vinyl Collection 1971–2016 (2018), Honk (2019)
Reissues and compilations ruled the decade for the Stones. Updated releases of Exile on Main St., Sticky Fingers and Some Girls featured new material, while Totally Stripped offered a revamped version of their 1995 live LP, Stripped. Meanwhile, On Air assembled the band’s television and radio performances from the ’60s. The only “new” material released in the past decade was Blue & Lonesome, which saw the Stones covering some of their favorite blues classics. The LP won Best Traditional Blues Album at the 2018 Grammy Awards.
Tours: 50 & Counting Tour (2012-13), 14 On Fire Tour (2014), Zip Code Tour (2015) América Latina Olé Tour (2016), Fall US Tour (2016), No Filter Tour (2017-19)
Even as all of the band’s members entered their septuagenarian years, the Rolling Stones showed no signs of slowing. Tours took them all over the globe, including stops in North America, Europe, South America, Asia and Australia. The only major speed bump occurred in 2019, when the band was forced to postpone its No Filter Tour while Jagger underwent heart surgery. The singer enjoyed a full recovery, with the band playing rescheduled dates several months later.
Summary: Even without an album of new music — something that has been rumored for years — the Rolling Stones provided massive amounts of material to satiate their fans over the past decade. Aside from touring and compilation releases, documentaries were the format du jour. Films highlighting the band’s 50th anniversary, historic performance in Cuba and the life of guitarist Ronnie Wood were released, while a biopic chronicling the group’s creation of Exile on Main St. was reportedly in the works. Elsewhere, the 1969 hit “Honky Tonk Woman” became the group’s latest song to be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. On the personal side of things, Wood married his third wife, Sally Humphreys, in 2012. The couple welcomed twin girls into the world four years later. Jagger also saw his family grow, announcing the birth of his eighth child in 2016.
Albums Released: Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland (Live, 2011), Clockwork Angels (2012), Clockwork Angels Tour (Live, 2013), R40 Live (Live, 2015), 2112: 40th Anniversary (Reissue, 2016), A Farewell to Kings: 40th Anniversary (Reissue, 2017), Hemispheres: 40th Anniversary (Reissue, 2018)
Rush focused on archival work in the past decade, including deluxe box sets for three of their most iconic albums. They also hit the studio one final time to record their 19th LP, Clockwork Angels, which flirted with the grandeur of their late-’70s peak.
Lineup Changes: None
Tours: Time Machine Tour (2010-11), Clockwork Angels Tour (2012-13), R40 Live Tour (2015).
Canada’s prog-rock heroes bid farewell to the stage during the R40 Live Tour, a celebration of Neil Peart’s four decades in the lineup. The trio played its final show on Aug. 1, 2015, at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif.
Summary: After its curtain call, the trio has consistently swatted away the inevitable reunion questions, maintaining it has zero plans to record or perform live again under the Rush name. Their recent actions seem to confirm that hard-no stance: Peart, battling numerous physical ailments (including chronic tendinitis), likely retired from drumming altogether; Lee devoted years to his Big Beautiful Book of Bass; and Lifeson has bounced around with random musical projects, including a guest spot with stoner-rock band Fu Manchu and a collaborative album with drummer Marco Minnemann.
The silver lining: While we may never hear another Rush album, it’s very likely we’ll get a sequel to Lee’s lone 2000 solo LP, My Favourite Headache. “I have faith in my interests, and I have faith in my ideas, and I know that sooner or later I’ll find myself doing something that intrigues me,” the bassist told UCR in 2019. “But I won’t do music just for the sake of doing music. I have to feel that I have something to say. And that’s really important to me. I don’t want to just repeat and live off the fumes of my past.”
Albums Released: Ultimate Hits: Rock and Roll Never Forgets (2011), Ride Out (2014), I Knew You When (2017), Heavy Music: The Complete Cameo Recordings 1966-1967 (2018)
Tours: Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band Tour (2011-12), Rock and Roll Never Forgets (2013), Ride Out (2014-15), Runaway Train (2017), Roll Me Away: The Final Tour (2018-19)
Summary: In the ’10s, Bob Seger put out two records of all-new material, Ride Out in 2014 and I Knew You When followed three years later. The latter was dedicated to his old friend Glenn Frey, who died in 2016. However, during his Runaway Train Tour in support of the album, Seger was forced to postpone the remaining 18 dates due to a pinched vertebrae in his neck that required immediate surgery. It caused him to question whether he would be able to perform again, but he recovered and the rescheduled dates were worked into the start of the Roll Me Away: The Final Tour, which began in November 2018. A year later, the tour concluded in Philadelphia. Even though there was no official word it was his last-ever show, he told the crowd, “This is kind of strange. I didn’t want to think about this. I love my band. I love my crew. I’m the luckiest man in the world.” Much of Seger’s pre-Night Moves catalog remains out of print, but he finally joined the digital era by putting 12 of his albums on streaming and download services in 2017. He also released songs he cut in his early days when fronting the Last Heard as Heavy Music: The Complete Cameo Recordings 1966-1967.
Paul Simon, one of America’s most revered singer-songwriters, continued to trickle out albums at his own leisurely pace during the ’10s, and his patience was worth it: All three of his LPs this decade (including In the Blue Light, featuring re-imagined versions of obscure solo songs) rank among his most colorful and creative works, melding electronics, chamber orchestrations, world-beat grooves, unusual instrumentation and folk-rock melody. Few artists in their 70s are willing to experiment; even fewer do so convincingly.
Tours: So Beautiful or So What Tour (2011), Graceland 2012 Tour, 2013 Tour, On Stage Together Tour (2014-15, with Sting), 2016 Tour, 2017 Tour, Homeward Bound — The Farewell Tour (2018), Select Performances in 2019
This will be remembered as the decade Simon said goodbye to the stage. In addition to his multiple tours, he took part in one of rock’s great clichés: the “farewell tour.” His goodbye jaunt kicked off in May 2018 and wrapped with a final show in his hometown of Queens, N.Y. — a fitting curtain call from the road. He’s played a handful of gigs in 2019 (including a charitable slot at San Francisco’s Outside Lands festival) but maintains his full-fledged touring days are behind him.
Summary: Even before you factor in his headline tours and studio work, Simon had a productive decade: He honored 9/11 victims by performing the Simon & Garfunkel classic “The Sound of Silence” at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum; reissued his most acclaimed LP, Graceland, as part of a 25th-anniversary box set; toured with his longtime friend Sting; wrote and performed the theme song to Louis CK’s shortly lived web series, Horace and Pete; and played “Bridge Over Troubled Water” at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. But that flurry of activity has likely come to a halt: He recently noted that, in addition to the tour retirement, he’s “finished” writing music.
Albums Released: The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story (2010), Wrecking Ball (2012), High Hopes (2014), American Beauty (EP) (2014), The Ties That Bind: The River Collection (2015), Springsteen on Broadway (2018), Western Stars (2019), Western Stars — Songs From the Film (2019)
Tours: Wrecking Ball (2012-13), High Hopes (2014), The River 2016 (2016-17), Springsteen on Broadway (2017-18)
Books: Born to Run (2016)
Summary: Bruce Springsteen began the ’10s with a box set dedicated to 1978’s Darkness on the Edge of Town, complete with two CDs of unreleased tracks from those sessions. He was soon dealt a major blow when E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons died six days after suffering a stroke in 2011. A year later, Springsteen resurfaced with Wrecking Ball, whose lyrical themes focused largely on the effect the recession had on the lives of Americans. The resulting world tour saw the E Street Band expanded to include a percussionist, background vocalists and a five-piece horn section, including Clemons’ nephew Jake on saxophone.
Springsteen followed Wrecking Ball with High Hopes, a collection of tracks left over from projects dating as far back as 2002. An EP with four more songs, American Beauty, arrived during the U.S. leg of the tour, which also coincided with the E Street Band being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Another retrospective box set, this time for 1980’s The River, was released in late 2015, and Springsteen returned to the road in January 2016, performing the double album in its entirety in the U.S. during the winter and selections from it that summer in Europe. As he returned for more U.S. shows in late August, Springsteen announced he would publish his autobiography, Born to Run.
He began 2017 with a month-long tour of Australia and New Zealand, and August brought the news of a one-man show, based on the autobiography, coming to Broadway’s 975-seat Walter Kerr Theatre that October. What was first announced as an eight-week run was twice extended, ending in December 2018 after 236 sold-out performances, with a special Tony Award eventually bestowed. Upon the conclusion of the final show, Springsteen on Broadway was released on Netflix and as a double album. The last year of the decade saw the release of Western Stars, an orchestral album based on the Southern California pop of the late ’60s. Since Springsteen wasn’t going to tour behind it, he filmed a performance of the record in his barn, screened it in theaters and put out a soundtrack CD. Springsteen also allowed 12 of his songs, including the unreleased “I’ll Stand by You,” to be used in Blinded By the Light, a 2019 film about a British teenager of Pakistani descent whose discovery of Springsteen’s music helps him make sense of his life.
Albums Released: Y Not (2010), Ringo 2012 (2012), Postcards From Paradise (2015), Give More Love (2017), What’s My Name (2019)
Tours: 11th All Starr Band (2011-12), 12th All Starr Band (2012-17), 13th All Starr Band (2018), 14th All Starr Band (2019)
Starr continued touring his All Starr Band all over the world throughout this decade, enjoying the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th incarnations of the group. Joe Walsh, Steve Lukather, Colin Hay, Steven Van Zandt, Jeff Lynne and Todd Rundgren are just some of the many famous musicians to take part in the group during this time.
Summary: It was a busy 10-year span for Ringo Starr. The drummer released five solo studio albums during the time period, on top of the ongoing Beatles releases. The decade began with a bang, as the rocker received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (located outside of Capitol Records, next to his Beatles bandmates). Months later, Starr celebrated his 70th birthday with a star-studded concert in New York that included appearances by Yoko Ono and Paul McCartney, among others. In 2015, Starr enjoyed another career milestone when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist, the last Beatle to receive the honor. Three years later, he was knighted, officially becoming Sir Richard Starkey. He also found time to embrace other creative outlets over the years, writing the children’s book Octopus’s Garden in 2014 and releasing two picture books, 2014’s Photograph and 2019’s Another Day in the Life.
Albums Released: Fly Me to the Moon … The Great American Songbook Volume V (2010), Merry Christmas, Baby (2012), Time (2013), Rarities (Compilation, 2013), Another Country (2015), Blood Red Roses (2018), You’re in My Heart: Rod Stewart With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (2019), The Studio Albums 1975-2001 (Box Set, 2019)
Tours: Soulbook Tour (2010), Heart & Soul Tour (2011–12), Live the Life Tour (2013), The Voice, The Guitar, The Songs Tour (2014), The Hits (2014-16), From Gasoline Alley to Another Country: Hits 2016 (2016), Summer Tour with Cyndi Lauper (2017-18), Red Blood Roses Tour (2019)
Books: Rod: The Autobiography (2012)
Summary: The ’10s began for Rod Stewart with the fifth and final installment of his popular collection of tunes from the Great American Songbook. The next year, he began a residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, which is still running. Stewart received his second induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, when Faces finally got the nod, but an illness prevented him from making the ceremony and reuniting with his old mates. Later that year, Stewart put out a Christmas album and his autobiography. In 2013, he returned to recording his own songs with Time, his first collection of self-penned material since 1991’s Vagabond Heart, and also put out some non-album singles, B-sides and radio performances as Rarities. He followed up Time in 2015 with Another Country, and Blood Red Roses dropped in 2018. He returned to his back catalog with You’re In My Heart, a re-recording of some of his biggest hits with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition to his Vegas commitments, Stewart has hit the road every year this decade, including tours with Stevie Nicks, Santana and Cyndi Lauper (twice). He was knighted in 2016 for both his music and philanthropic efforts.
Arguably the most surprising of Sting’s projects from the past decade is the rocker’s release with pop- reggae artist Shaggy. Their 2018 album 44/876 proved to be a minor success and eventually won a Grammy award for Best Reggae Album. More recently, Sting released My Songs in 2019, a collection of reworked classics from his solo career, as well as the Police.
Tours: Symphonicity Tour (2010-11), On Stage Together Tour (2014-15), Rock Paper Scissors Tour (2016), 57th & 9th Tour (2017), 44/876 Tour (2018-19), The Last Ship Tour (2019)
Sting was a true road warrior the past decade, touring almost every year during the time period. At various points, the singer shared the stage with fellow rock icons; his On Stage Together tour featured Paul Simon, while the Rock Paper Scissors trek was a co-headlining tour with Peter Gabriel. Sting also toured alongside reggae singer Shaggy in support of their collaborative album.
Summary: Sting’s decade was as varied as you’d expect from one of music’s most eclectic artists. Rock albums, a reggae release and a stage musical were just some of his endeavors during the last ten years. A pet project of the era was The Last Ship, Sting’s stage musical inspired by his childhood experiences in and around the British shipbuilding industry. The play debuted in 2014 and made its way to Broadway, while Sting’s accompanying studio album, also titled The Last Ship, featured songs from and inspired by the stage production.
(Tommy Shaw, James “J.Y.” Young, Todd Sucherman, Lawrence Gowan, Ricky Phillips, Chuck Panozzo)
Lineup Changes: None
Under the direction of guitarists Tommy Shaw and James Young, the Chicago AOR kings released one studio album this decade: the gloriously campy The Mission, which recalled the dizzying synth runs, hard-rock riffs and fantasy lyrics of their ’70s work. The record, their first studio project since the 2005 covers LP, Big Bang Theory, followed a pair of live releases documenting their annual U.S. tours.
Tours: Can’t Stop Rockin’ Tour (With .38 Special, REO Speedwagon) (2010), United in Rock Tour (With Kansas, Foreigner) (2010), The Grand Illusion and Pieces of Eight Tour (2010-12), Progress US Tour (With Yes) (2011),Midwest Rock n’ Roll Express Tour (With Ted Nugent, REO Speedwagon) (2012-13), Soundtrack of Summer Tour (With Foreigner, Don Felder) (2014), North American Tour (With Def Leppard, Tesla) (2015-16), United We Rock Tour (With REO Speedwagon, Don Felder (2017-18), North American Tour (With Joan Jett, Telsa (2018) Laugh. Rock. Seriously. Tour (With Larry the Cable Guy (2019)
Summary: Styx‘s exhaustive — and probably exhausting — tour schedule hasn’t slowed down a bit over the past 10 years. In a testament to their durability and malleability, they’ve been willing to share stages with Yes and Larry the Cable Guy, and somehow both of those billings make sense. It’s been business as usual for Styx, but they did throw out one surprise in their recent hits-filled shows: a rendition of the divisive synth-pop tune “Mr. Roboto.” Former singer and keyboardist Dennis DeYoung, who wrote the 1983 song, said concert promoters pressured the band to include it — a claim the group refuted. Despite their willingness to reexamine “Roboto,” Young insisted they’re not interested in reuniting with DeYoung. “I’m not mad at [him] anymore,” he told Billboard. “I’ve forgiven him, and I wish the man well and happiness. I just have no desire to work with him. It doesn’t open that door up for me in the least.”
Lineup Changes: None
Van Halen released one studio album the past 10 years — which, to be fair, is one more than they released the previous decade. Longtime fans mostly loved A Different Kind of Truth, which was partially comprised of unused songs from the band’s ’70s heyday. But it failed to click with mainstream audiences. They also released their first-ever live album with Roth on vocals, a warts-and-all performance, with no overdubs, from Japan.
Tours: A Different Kind of Truth Tour (2012-13), North American Tour (2015).
Since re-forming with original singer David Lee Roth and replacing original bass player Michael Anthony with Eddie Van Halen’s song Wolfgang in 2007, Van Halen have maintained a sporadic schedule, mounting only two major North American tours.
Summary: It’s hard not to call this semi-retirement. Van Halen spent much of the decade hibernating from public view, and kept a low profile even while touring. They did few interviews and mostly ignored social media. In fact, neither of the records released this decade even features a photo of the band in the artwork. Roth gave several interviews hinting that the band would be touring in the summer of 2019, which did not happen. Instead, he announced his return to solo live performances, declaring along the way that he thinks “Van Halen is finished,” and alluding to growing health rumors about Eddie Van Halen, by noting that the guitarist was “probably not gonna answer the bell this time.” Van Halen did not responded to any of the comments.
See Also: Sammy Hagar
It took Roger Waters 25 years to follow up 1992’s Amused to Death, but he made sure the wait was worth it: Working with resident Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, he crafted Is This the Life We Really Want? as a tight, trippy concept album that flirted with the grand atmospheres of vintage Pink Floyd. For his follow-up, he went down a slightly more puzzling path, narrating an English adaptation of Igor Stravinsky’s 1918 theatrical piece, The Soldier’s Tale.
Tours: The Wall Live (2010-13), Us + Them Tour (2017-18).
Waters staged two tours, but both were massive in length and creative scope. The first was a three-year run featuring a full, theatrical-styled performance of Pink Floyd’s 1979 double LP, The Wall; the second was a career-spanning journey, from Floyd classics to material from Is This the Life We Really Want?, aided by intricate visuals — including some anti-Trump props. He made sure to document both treks for posterity, issuing a concert film and documentary for the Wall jaunt, and a theatrical concert feature for Us + Them.
Summary: Waters divided his decade among music, social justice and stirring up controversy — his normal balance. When not recording or touring, he aided financially in the rescue of two kidnapped children, referred to President Trump as the Scottish slang for “scrotum,” played with My Morning Jacket at the Newport Folk Festival, joined former bandmate Nick Mason for a live cameo with the drummer’s Floyd-centric band Saucerful of Secrets and, perhaps most notably, reunited with former Floyd guitarist David Gilmour on two occasions.
Albums Released: Live at Hull 1970 (Live, 2012), Quadrophenia Live in London (Live, 2014), Live in Hyde Park (Live, 2015), Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 2004 (Live, 2017), Tommy Live at the Royal Albert Hall (Live, 2017), Live at the Fillmore East 1968 (Live, 2018) Woodstock 1969 – Live & Remastered (Live, 2019), Who (2019)
In the past decade, die-hard Who fans were pelted with live LPs — some archival, some newly recorded. But it all felt a bit like marking time until Townshend and Daltrey could finish their next studio album, the resilient and colorful Who, which arrived 13 years after 2006’s Endless Wire.
Tours: Various Shows (2010-11), Quadrophenia and More (2012-13), The Who Hits 50! (2014-16), Back to the Who Tour 51! (2016), Tommy & More (2017), 2017 North and South American Tour (2017), Moving On! Tour (2019)
Townshend and Daltrey have seemingly been in “final tour” mode for most of the decade. Singer Daltrey referred to their lengthy Who Hits 50! run as a “long goodbye,” but they wound up back at it over the next few years, including full-album performances of their 1969 landmark Tommy. Their latest trek, dubbed Moving On!, is a more regal fare, with the live band accompanied by local orchestras.
Summary: There would be a fitting sense of finality if the Who called it a day in the ’10s: Who might be their best album since the late ’70s, and the orchestral Moving On! Tour feels like a classy way to wrap up their stage work. But the Who, and literally the Who only, know what the future holds. “I’m just being realistic about going through the 75th year of my life,” Daltrey told Rolling Stone in 2019, discussing their farewell odds. “I have to be realistic that this is the age I am and voices start to go after a while. I don’t want to be not as good as I was two years ago.”
(Jon Davison, Steve Howe, Billy Sherwood, Geoff Downes, Alan White)
Lineup Changes: In the past decade, Geoff Downes replaced Oliver Wakeman on keyboards (2011), Jon Davison replaced Benoît David on vocals (2012), Billy Sherwood replaced Chris Squire on bass and vocals (2015). Yes currently feature two “classic era” members: Howe and White; the rest is a mixture of old and new faces. Downes, a former member from their 1980 album, Drama, joined for 2011’s Fly From Here, replacing Wakeman (Rick’s son) on keyboards. Journeyman Sherwood, who previously recorded and toured with the band in the ’90s and early ’00s, signed on after the death of co-founding bassist Squire in 2015. And Davison, former singer of prog act Glass Hammer, replaced briefly tenured frontman David.
Albums Released: Fly From Here (2011), Union Live (Live, 2011), Like It Is: In the Present: Live From Lyon (Live, 2011), Heaven & Earth (2014), Songs From Tsongas (Live, 2014), Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome (Live, 2014), Progeny: Seven Shows From Seventy-Two (Live, 2015), Like It Is: Yes at the Mesa Arts Center (Live, 2015), Topographic Drama – Live Across America (Live, 2017), Yes 50 Live (Live, 2019)
Yes managed to record one final album with Squire before his death, 2014’s Heaven & Earth. Unfortunately, it only occasionally glimpsed the quality of their early LPs. They’ve continued to churn out products, including a daunting spree of live albums, and a revised version of Fly From Here with Horn replacing David’s vocals.
Tours: In the Present Tour (2010), Rite of Spring Tour (2011), Fly From Here Tour (2011-12), Three Album Tour (2013-14), Heaven & Earth Tour (2014-15), North American Summer/Fall Tours (2015), Two Album Tour (2016-17), 50th Anniversary Tour (2018-19), Royal Affair Tour (With Asia, the Moody Blues‘ John Lodge, Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy) (2019).
Summary: Every Yes decade is turbulent. Bickering, creative tension and lineup changes are part of the band’s DNA. But the past 10 years have been especially weird, mostly because it’s hard to know at any given point who the “real” Yes is. In 2010, three prominent former members — co-founder and singer Jon Anderson, keyboardist Rick Wakeman and ’80s-era guitarist Trevor Rabin — announced plans to form their own project, and they officially started touring around the band’s catalog in 2016. A legal battle ensued, as the two groups fought over the rights to their coveted name. The upside? There was certainly no shortage of their vaunted prog-rock on tour this past decade.
Albums Released: Le Noise (2010), A Treasure (2011), Americana (2012), Psychedelic Pill (2012), Live at the Cellar Door (Live, 2013), A Letter Home (2014), Storytone (2014), The Monsanto Years (2015), Bluenote Cafe (Live, 2015), Earth (Live, 2016), Peace Trail (2016), Hitchhiker (2017), The Visitor (2017), Paradox (Soundtrack, 2018), Roxy: Tonight’s the Night Live (Live, 2018), Songs for Judy (Live, 2018), Tuscaloosa (Live, 2019) Colorado (2019)
Tours: Twisted Road (2010-11), Alchemy (2012-13), Solo acoustic and with Crazy Horse (2014), Rebel Content (2015-16), Solo Theater Tour (2018-19)
Summary: The ever-restless Neil Young continued his prolific ways in the ’10s. He began with a solo tour called Twisted Road, whose 2010 dates concluded with the release of Le Noise, a solo electric record made with producer Daniel Lanois. More Twisted Road shows followed in 2011, and he returned to Crazy Horse for his next two projects, both of which came out in 2012. Americana was their take on 10 traditional American folk songs, ending with a rendition of the U.K. national anthem “God Save the Queen.” A few months later came Psychedelic Pill, a typically sprawling two-disc set whose opening track was 27 minutes long and featured two other numbers that lasted more than 16 minutes each. In between, Young released his autobiography, Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream. Young and Crazy Horse promoted their albums on the Alchemy tour, which continued into 2013. Young came back with two more efforts in 2014. A Letter Home was a covers album that was recorded direct to vinyl in a booth at Jack White‘s Third Man Recording, with White contributing to two songs. Storytone went in the opposite direction, with arrangements featuring either a 92-piece orchestra or a 60-piece big band.
Ever the environmentalist, Young’s next project, 2015’s The Monsanto Years, was a lengthy rant about the agricultural biotechnology company that also marked the start of his collaboration with Promise of the Real, a band led by Willie Nelson‘s son Lukas. Their Rebel Content tour resulted in the next year’s live album Earth, which contained selections from his entire career that dealt with the environment, with animal sounds mixed in. As 2016 came to a close, he delivered Peace Trail before returning the next year with Promise of the Real and The Visitor. He then teamed up with his new wife, Daryl Hannah, to make Paradox, which she wrote and directed. Young starred in the film with Promise of the Real, with whom he recorded the soundtrack. Young closed out the decade by bringing back Crazy Horse for Colorado, which arrived with Mountaintop, a documentary about its making. Throughout the decade, he continued his practice of releasing live albums from his past, a project that picked up steam in 2017 with the launch of the online Neil Young Archives.
Lineup Changes: None
Albums Released: La Futura (2012), Live at Montreux 2013 (Live, 2014), The Very Baddest (2014), Tonite at Midnight: Live Greatest Hits from Around the World (Live, 2016), Goin’ 50 (2019)
After a nine-year gap between albums, ZZ Top returned with a vengeance in 2012 with La Futura. The LP was produced by Rick Rubin and featured the band’s trademark, blues-rock sound that fans have enjoyed for generations. One of the album’s tracks, “Flyin’ High,” actually made its debut in 2011 when an astronaut and a friend of the band, Michael Fossum, was given the single to play on his trip to the International Space Station. Elsewhere, ZZ Top released two live records and two compilation albums, the most recent being Goin’ 50, in honor of the band’s 50th anniversary.
Tours: Gang of Outlaws Tour (2012), La Futura Tour (2012-14), Beards N’ Beck Tour (2014), 2015 Tour (2015), Grooves & Gravy Tour (2015), Hell Raisers Tour (2016), Fall Tour (2016), Tonnage Tour (2017), North American Tour (2018), Viva Las Vegas residency (2018, 2019), 50th Anniversary Tour (2019)
ZZ Top remained one of rock’s hardest working bands, with constant touring throughout the past decade. Stints alongside Guns N’ Roses, Jeff Beck and John Fogerty were among the group’s performance highlights.
Summary: With a studio LP, perpetual touring and the celebration of the group’s golden anniversary, the past 10 years have provided a little bit of everything from ZZ Top. A 2019 documentary, That Little Ol’ Band From Texas, captured the group’s five-decade run. The film enjoyed a Hollywood premiere in August 2019 before hitting theatrical screenings across the country. Frontman Gibbons also voyaged outside the group for a handful of projects during the past 10 years, including guest appearances with Alice Cooper and William Shatner, solo records and a new business venture, creating his own brand of sauces.