The Year in Music: December 2010

December 2010, the subject of our latest look at the year’s biggest events in music, was full of honorees and year-end lists.

The list of nominees for the 53rd annual Grammy Awards was released. Eminem, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, and Lady Antebellum were among the most nominated artists. Details on the biggest categories, like Best New Artist and Album Of The Year, were announced on a live TV concert special.


Billboard magazine declares Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Eminem, Lady Antebellum, and Ke$ha as the top artists of what they described as “the year that went Pop”.


The first “American Country Awards” air on the FOX network, which also created the event. Among the winners chosen by internet voters were Carrie Underwood, Lady Antebellum, Easton Corbin, Blake Shelton, and Trace Adkins, who were presented with custom Fender guitars as their trophies.


iTunes released their list of the most-downloaded MP3s of 2010. The top five:

1. “Hey Soul Sister” by Train

2. “California Gurls” by Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg

3. “Love The Way You Lie” by Eminem featuring Rihanna

4. “Airplanes” by B.O.B. featuring Hayley Williams

5. “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz


Meanwhile,’s five best-selling CD albums were: Speak Now by Taylor Swift, Need You Now by Lady Antebellum, The Suburbs by Arcade Fire, The Gift by Susan Boyle, and Recovery by Eminem. Their best selling MP3s were “California Gurls” by Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg, “Love The Way You Lie” by Eminem featuring Rihanna, “Just The Way You Are” by Bruno Mars, “Just a Dream” by Nelly, and “I Like It” by Enrique Iglesias.


Critics from Billboard, Rolling Stone, Spin, Entertainment Weekly, Time and PopMatters all feature Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs and Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in their lists of the best albums of 2010, though they differ on which is better than the other.


Those who stayed home on New Year’s Eve had a variety of different concert performances to watch. Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest featured Ke$ha, Taio Cruz, Jennifer Hudson, NKOTBSB, Willow Smith, and more, NBC’s New Year’s Eve With Carson Daly had Greyson Chance, My Chemical Romance, Nicki Minjai, and more, FOX’s New Year’s Eve Live! showed pre-taped performances from Reba McIntyre, Travie McCoy, David Archuletta, and more, a syndicated Live From Daryl’s House New Years Eve Special featured singer Daryl Hall dueting with guests ranging from Rob Thomas to Jose Feliciano, while some PBS stations aired a marathon of Great Performances specials.


Rock band Paramore confirms via their official website that Josh and Zac Farro have left the band, stating, “None of us were really shocked. For the last year it hasn’t seemed as if they wanted to be around anymore.” Josh Farro would later blog that Paramore was “a manufactured project of a major label”, pointing out that only lead singer Hayley Williams was signed on to the record label. Josh would later form the band Novel American, with Zac forming the band Half Noise.


Among the new albums that hit store shelves in December were Daft Punk’s Tron: Legacy soundtrack, Natasha Bedingfield’s Strip Me, Crystal Bowersox’s Farmer’s Daughter, deadmau5’s 4X4=12, Lil’ Wayne’s Tha Carter IV, Hinder’s The All American Nightmare, Jesse McCartney’s Have It All, T.I.’s No Mercy, Ryan Adams & The Cardinals’ III/IV, Keri Hilson’s No Boys Allowed, Duffy’s Endlessly, Ciara’s Basic Instinct, the Plain White T’s The Wonders Of The Younger, Diddy-Dirty Money’s Last Train To Paris, Motorhead’s The World Is Yours, Keyshia Cole’s Calling All Hearts, R. Kelly’s Love Letter, Robin Trower’s The Playful Heart, Jamie Foxx’s Best Night of My Life, and Michael Jackson’s posthumous Michael album.


Some of the important people in music who left us this month included R&B songstress Teena Marie, rocker Captain Beefheart, “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free” composer Billy Taylor, rockabilly singer/guitarist Gene Kelton, Trapp family member Agathe Von Trapp, jazz keyboardist Trudy Pitts, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes’ Bernard Wilson, producer/DownBeat editor Jack Tracy, Julliard String Quartet founder Raphael Hillyer, rapper Magnolia Shorty, the Sweet Inspirations’ Myrna Smith, opera singer Marcia Lewis, Inner City Unit’s Trev Thoms, producer Peter Andry, Barclay James Harvest’s Wooly Wolstenholme, “Moody’s Mood For Love”’s James Moody, jazz guitarist Mondine Garcia, Broadway star Frances Ginsberg, conductor John Alldis, and opera singer Helen Boatwright.