The Year in Music: January 2010

Most magazines and websites single out the most significant events of the year in a single article or feature. The world of popular music is so big that it begs for a closer look, however. So, let’s single out the biggest events that happened in the world of music one month at a time, starting with January 2010.

Ke$ha’s Animal begins a six-week streak at the top of the Billboard Albums chart, powered by the No.1 single in the country, “Tik Tok”.

Vampire Weekend’s Contra also debuts on the albums chart at No.1, selling 124,000 copies in its first week.

R&B singer/songwriter Teddy Pendergrass dies at the age of 59. The former lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes (“If You Don’t Know Me By Now”) was also known for solo hits like “Close the Door” and “Turn Off the Lights”.

The TV special Hope For Haiti Now: A Global Benefit For Earthquake Relief airs just three days after the tragedy struck. Featuring performances by Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Mary J. Blige, Coldplay, Sting, Madonna, Shakira, Keith Urban, and more, it raises over $61 million for seven different charities. The resulting album,Hope For Haiti Now, becomes both the biggest one-day album pre-order in iTunes history and the first digital-only album to top the Billboard 200 chart.

Ringo Starr releases Y Not, his most successful solo album in over 30 years. It features collaborations with many other artists, including Joss Stone, Ben Harper, Joe Walsh, and in the duet “Walk With You”, former bandmate Paul McCartney.

In his book, Me, The Mob, and the Music, Tommy James of the ’60s group Tommy James & The Shondells alleges that his record producer had deep ties to organized crime, signing him to a record label that was a front organization. Director Martin Scorsese (The Departed, Goodfellas) expresses plans to turn the book into a movie.

Whitney Houston’s self-titled debut album is re-released as a CD/DVD set in honor of the 25th anniversary of its first release.

Lady Antebellum releases Need You Now, their double-platinum sophomore album, bolstered by the title single, which was one of 2009’s biggest hits.

The 52nd Annual Grammy awards take place. Described as “ladies night”, the ceremony features performances by Beyonce, Pink, Stevie Nicks with Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and others. Beyonce wins six trophies, breaking a female artist record, while Swift becomes the youngest artist to ever win Album of the Year, and country act Zac Brown Band is named Best New Artist.