Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in Pop Culture: My New Year's Dream (Because Nobody Keeps A Resolution Beyond The Eleventh)

December 31, 2014

Well, here we are!  The final day of 2014!  And I suppose that if there is a song that could best describe my feelings towards the end of the old year, this 1969 single by steam would do it.

Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, GOODBYE!

I'm not going to beat around the bush here.  2014 was not my greatest year at all.  If there is anything positive that I can say about 2014, it is that it is not the worst year that I have ever had.  Frankly, there is nothing that could ever top 1997 in that regard.

1997 = Rock Bottom Year

But, since this is New Year's Eve, and New Year's Eve is often a time of simultaneously looking back and looking forward, I may as well offer my own personal thoughts of the year gone by, and how it has shaped me.

After all, this is part five of a seven day look back at 2014 - well, minus the Tuesday Timeline yesterday as it didn't really count that much, but for the sake of argument let us just go ahead with it.

Obviously, the major news in my own personal 2014 story was the fact that my mother got very sick that year.  Towards the end of 2014, my mother developed an illness that kept her hospitalized for some time.  Again, I don't really want to go into too much detail over what ailments she had, as I don't think it would be appropriate to share in a blog post, but I will say this.  She was very lucky.  She has improved one hundred per cent, but she still has to take it very easy.

I tell you, that was probably the time in which I felt the most afraid and the most vulnerable was during that time.  And I am going to be honest, these past few months were not a good time to try and keep everything perfectly balanced in my life.  I had a few periods of breakdown thinking about everything that was going on, and I sank into a bit of a depression in the last half of the year.  So, if anyone is looking forward to 2015, it is definitely me.

Other than that, 2014 was kind of a boring year for me.  Sure, I did get the chance to attend a wedding, I attended the local rib festival, and I did take part in the Relay for Life again this past year.  There were some good moments mixed in with the really bad ones, which helped a lot.

And, if anything, 2014 was the year that I finally decided that I wasn't going to allow any further toxic relationships in my life.  I purposely distanced myself from toxic people at my workplace (usually the ones who are 100% negativity and drama), and I probably unfriended a good 10% of the people on my social media contacts listings because they showed their true colours to me. 

By the way, thank you Jimmy Kimmel for inventing the "National Unfriend Day".  More unfriending of toxic people and feeling less guilt about it because you're technically observing a non-traditional holiday?  I can live with that.

Still, I kind of think that 2014 was meant to be a challenge year of sorts.  Nothing that I wanted to happen in 2014 really happened the way that I wanted it to happen.  And, to be honest, I did make a lot of excuses for why this was the case.  Let me tell you.  Making excuses doesn't work.  It just makes you feel more hopeless than you initially were before you made the damn excuses.  If that makes sense, that is.

I guess the lesson that I took away from 2014 is that in this world, you can only rely on yourself to create your own happiness.  And, sometimes you have to make choices that other people cannot or will not understand because it is absolutely necessary for survival.

I don't believe in New Year's resolutions, as every time I have tried to make one, I always end up breaking it by the eleventh or twelfth of January.  But what is another word for resolution?  Declaration?  Guarantee?  Closure?  See, none of those actually work.

How about New Year's Dream?  Yes, that sounds more realistic.  That way if everything goes according to plan, I can always say that my dream came true.  If not, well, I guess it wasn't in the stars. 

Yep.  New Year's Dream.  Let's go with that.

My New Year's Dream for 2015 is to be more selfish.

Um, wow...that sounded really horrible!  Let's strike that from the record shall we?

My New Year's Dream for 2015 is to be more selfish to show myself more love than I am used to, and to stop bullying myself.

Yes, that sounds MUCH better.  Because one thing that I have figured out is that I am my own worst critic.  When something goes wrong, I blame myself and tend to hide away from everyone because I feel ashamed and can't face people.  It could explain why I have a difficult time dealing with people in social settings.  And, if there is ANYTHING that I want more in this life, it is for me to look in the mirror and actually be proud of the person looking back at me.

I honestly have no f@#$ing clue how to do this, mind you.  But I owe it to myself to try.

Because that, right there, is what is holding me back.  Now, I have given myself some "soul food" over the last few months.  I have cut out all toxic people from my life, and I am trying to look on the bright side of things.  But there is still a lot of negativity that I want to rid myself of, and I feel like it won't fully go away until I find a way to tell myself that I am worthy of so much more than what I have.

And, when I say this, I definitely don't mean material goods.  I absolutely don't care about material goods at all.  I have everything that I really need in life that can be bought with small bills.

What I really want the most for 2015 is to be happy...and not feel guilt about it.

Because in the end...isn't that what we all want?

I'll be back on the first day of January in the new year to talk about the Tube Talk Moments of 2014 that people couldn't stop talking about. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December 30, 1959

We're going to take a brief break from this week's look back on 2014 with the final Tuesday Timeline of the year.

And, as the sands in the 2014 hourglass dwindle down each passing second, it is time to also take a look back on the thirtieth of December to see what events took place on this date.  We will also take a look at celebrity birthdates as well.  And, here's a bit of a clue for's Tuesday Timeline spotlight also happens to be a birthday girl as well.

Of course, before we go ahead with that, we have some unfinished business to take care of.  Let us see what happened in the world on the eve before New Years Eve...

1813 - Buffalo, New York is completely destroyed in fires set by British soldiers during the War of 1812

1816 - The Treaty of St. Louis is proclaimed between the United States and the Ottawa, Ojibwa, and Potawatomi tribes - and nine years later...

1825 - The Treaty of St. Louis between the United States and the Shawnee Nation is proclaimed

1865 - "The Jungle Book" author Rudyard Kipling (d. 1936) is born in India

1869 - Author/political scientist Stephen Leacock (d. 1944) is born in England

1896 - Ernie McLea scores the first "hat trick" in a Stanley Cup game

1903 - 605 people lose their lives when fire breaks out at Chicago's Iroquois theatre

1920 - Actor Jack Lord (d. 1998) is born in Brooklyn, New York

1928 - American guitarist Bo Diddley (d. 2008) is born in McComb, Mississippi

1931 - Singer Skeeter Davis (d. 2004) is born in Dry Ridge, Kentucky

1934 - Singer Del Shannon (d. 1990) is born in Grand Rapids, Michigan

1936 - The United Auto Workers union stages its first sitdown strike

1945 - Actor/singer/Monkee Davy Jones (d. 2012) is born in England

1948 - "Kiss Me, Kate" opens at the New Century Theatre and subsequently becomes the first Broadway musical to win the Best Musical Tony Award

1977 - Serial killer Ted Bundy escapes from his Colorado jail cell for a second time

1981 - Hockey player Wayne Gretzky breaks a record previously held by Mike Bossy and Maurice Richard by scoring fifty goals in just thirty-nine games

1996 - Services are shut down all over Israel when a quarter of a million people go on strike to protest budget cuts proposed by Benjamin Netanyahu

1999 - Sarah Knauss (b. 1880) - who is considered to have been the second oldest fully documented person ever to have lived, dies in Allentown, Pennsylvania at age 119

2005 - In what was already a record breaking year for hurricanes, Tropical Storm Zeta forms in the open Atlantic Ocean, tying the record for latest tropical cyclone to form around North America

2006 - Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is executed

2009 - Nine people are killed after a suicide bomber attacks Forward Operating Base Chapman in Afghanistan

Now, let us wish the following famous faces a happy birthday - Joseph Bologna, Russ Tamblyn, Sandy Koufax, Jack Riley, James Burrows, Betty Aberlin, Michael Nesmith, Fred Ward, Concetta Tomei, Patti Smith, Jeff Lynne, Meredith Vieira, Suzy Bogguss, Patricia Kalember, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Matt Lauer, Glenn Robbins, Sean Hannity, Ben Johnson, Chandler Burr, Jay Kay, Jason Behr, Tiger Woods, Laila Ali, Tyrese Gibson, Eliza Dushku, Kristin Kreuk, Josh Sussman, Ellie Goulding, and Kirsty-Leigh Porter.

And, as mentioned before, today's Tuesday Timeline subject also is celebrating a birthday.

And she was born on December 30, 1959.

But, who is it?  Hmmm?  Well, I can tell you this much.  If it weren't for this woman, we probably would not have discovered a slew of comedic talent.  If not for her, we may not have been introduced to a pop singer/choreographer/American Idol judge/jewelry maker.  And, I guarantee you that had it not been for her, we would never have been introduced to one of the most famous sitcom families to ever grace the small screen!

Maybe this song will provide a clue?

ARTIST:  Tracey Ullman
SONG:  They Don't Know
ALBUM:  You Broke My Heart in 17 Places
RELEASE DATE:  September 9, 1983

Ah,'s all coming back to me!  We're talking about Tracey Ullman!  The Tracey Ullman who was born fifty-five years ago today in England!  That Tracey Ullman!

(Or, should I say Trace Ullman?  After all, that is the name she was born with!) 

And Tracey's venture into showbiz started off with a tragic event - the death of her father when Tracey was just six.  Her mother sank into a bit of a depression after her husband's death, so Tracey and her sister would try to cheer her up by performing an impromptu variety show on their mother's bedroom windowsill.  Tracey would also try to mimic celebrity voices as well, which often helped her fit in with her classmates, as she herself admitted to having a posh accent.  She also won a full scholarship to the Italia Conti Academy - a school for performing arts.  But interestingly enough, when Tracey was in her teens, she was told by a clairvoyant that she would one day become a huge star, and that she would eventually grow to be well loved by both British and American audiences.  Little did Tracey know just how true a prophecy that would be.

Of course, Tracey took on everything that came her way.  She thought she would go into professional dancing and joined a dance troupe in London, but that dream ended when she forgot to wear panties during a performance.  Yeah, I need go no further on that one.  She also took a turn at performing in musicals, with Ullman taking on roles in "Grease" and "The Rocky Horror Picture Show".

But at some point, Tracey decided that she had become disenchanted with the entertainment industry, and resigned herself to working full-time at a paper products distribution company.  Unfortunately, it did not satisfy Tracey, and she ultimately entered a contest at London's Royal Court Theatre entitled "Four in a Million" - which was an improvised play about club acts.  So, basically, the contest was coming up with the best act, so to speak.  Well, Ullman's decision to pose as a born-again Christian singer named Beverly wowed the crowd, and ensured that she would be given a sitcom deal with the BBC.

That sitcom - "Three of a Kind" - ran from 1981-1983, and was the show that got Ullman noticed as an actress.  And it was right around that time that Tracey Ullman started her singing career as well, releasing two albums in 1983 and 1984 respectively.  Although the singing career didn't last, her acting career was just getting good.  And after starring in a couple of other projects in the mid-1980s, she decided to set her sights on America.  And it is here that we get to play the six degrees of separation game.

For you see, Tracey's move to America didn't just help herself helped establish several careers of other famous faces - both real and fictional.

See, Tracey had the idea to do a sketch comedy show on the newly created FOX network, and she teamed up with James L. Brooks to bring "The Tracey Ullman Show" to life.  The series did quite well, running from April 1987 until May 1990. 

Now, in order to have a successful sketch comedy show, you are probably going to have to have at least one (or all) of your cast members doing some sort of dancing.  And to make the dance moves flow as smoothly as possible, you are going to want to have a good choreographer.

Enter Paula Abdul!  Yes, before she made the world notice her for her pop music following the release of her 1988 album "Forever Your Girl", she was the official choreographer of "The Tracey Ullman Show".  So, I suppose you could say that Tracey was one of the people who helped Paula Abdul get noticed.  Good show!

And, of course, you couldn't have a good sketch comedy show without other actors.  And over the course of the four season run, there were five actors who contributed to the show, which included Anna Levine, Sam McMurray, and Joseph Malone.

But there were two other cast members who seemed to stand out more than the others.  One was Julie Kavner, whose previous experience on television was playing Brenda Morgenstern - sister of Rhoda - on the television series "Rhoda".  The other was a relative newcomer named Dan Castellaneta, who had been a member of Second City, and who was hired on the spot after Ullman caught his stand-up comedy act in Chicago.

Now those two names may not mean anything to you initially.  But what if I showed you this clip?

Yeah, you see, "The Tracey Ullman Show" was the first place in which Matt Groening's "The Simpsons" made their debut.  They would often appear in the commercial bumpers (just before or just after a commercial break).  Of course, you know that Kavner plays Marge and Castellaneta plays Homer.  Well, the Simpsons sketches grew so popular that they were given their own spin-off show in December 1989 - which is still running as of December 2014!

So, there you have it.  Without Tracey Ullman, there would be no Simpsons.  Or, there would have still been the Simpsons...they just may not have gotten so popular without that initial exposure.

And, just to show just how successful of a comedienne that Tracey Ullman was?  On her sketch show alone, she is estimated to have played 108 different characters in just four years!  How's THAT for talent?

And, when "The Tracey Ullman Show" was taken off the air in 1990, was that the end for her?  Heck no!

In 1996, for example, Tracey started a show on HBO entitled "Tracey Takes On...", which featured Tracey taking on a different subject for each episode.  Because the show aired on HBO, it allowed Tracey more creative freedom, and allowed her to get away with things that FOX never would have allowed.  And that show too lasted four seasons.  She also hosted a fashion talk show on Oxygen, created another show "Tracey Ullman's State of the Union" in 2008 for Showtime, and most recently played Robin's mother on the television series "How I Met Your Mother".

That's not counting the dozens of stand-up comedy specials that aired in both the USA and the UK over the last thirty years.

In the end, it all paid off for her.  Believe it or not, her talent and wit has earned her seven Emmy Awards, and in 2009, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the BAFTA Awards Ceremony.  Now that is making a mark on the world.

And the funny thing is that just judging by her interviews on talk shows, as well as seeing her on television, she continues to be quite humble about everything, and she seems like the kind of gal you could talk to for hours about anything. 

Happy birthday, Tracey Ullman!  Good show! 

Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 In Pop Culture: Fads, Toys, & Games

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the third part of a seven part series in this blog for the last week of 2014.  It's a little something that I like to call "2014 IN POP CULTURE".

And, I will be completely up front with you.  I am purposely making this blog entry on the short side because my computer has decided that it hates me this week, and my Internet connection keeps kicking me off.  I hope that it stays on long enough for me to post this piece.  Fingers crossed.

Anyway, for today's posting, I have decided that I am going to talk about some of the trends, fads, games, and toys that seemed to dominate 2014.  In fact, I have selected ten in all that I think got the world's attention over the course of the year.  The list includes a certain type of challenge, a word that has a double meaning, and a hashtag that causes people to go back in time...quite literally.

Shall we begin?  We'll go in alphabetical order...


Okay, so we can thank Pharrell Williams in part for this latest trend, as his single "Come Get It Bae" introduced everyone to the term.

So, what do you think the word "bae" means?  Well, it's got a double meaning, and depending on who you ask, it can be a very sweet meaning, or a very disgusting meaning.

The sweet meaning is supposed to be a slang term for "baby".  Granted, I am not one who appreciates the shortening of legitimate English words into nonsensical gibberish.  Maybe I am a little bit old school here, but the only time I prefer shortening words is if I am using it as an abbreviation, or if I am going to use a contraction such as shouldn't, don't, or can't.  To me, using bae instead of baby just screams laziness.

Or, if you're Danish, you could consider it to be a show of disgust.  After all, in the Dutch language, "bae" is reportedly a slang term for feces.  What a touching sentiment.


Just when you thought that Candy Crush Saga wasn't addictive enough, they released "Candy Crush Soda" in 2014.  It plays out almost exactly the same way that the original game plays, but with a twist.  Whether it is making soda rise to save a small bear, breaking jelly blocks to find hidden gummi bears, or eating all the chocolate in a level, the game will allow you to visit hundreds of new levels, and is one of the most downloaded games on Google Play and iTunes. 

Or, at least in theory, it will allow you to visit hundreds of levels.  I have been stuck on level 55 for two weeks now...


Okay, so technically, Fitbit has been around for a couple of years now, but 2014 seems to be the year that it has exploded in popularity.  And Fitbit bracelets seem to do almost everything.  It measures your heart rate, measures how many steps you take, measures how many floors you climb, and even monitors how many times you wake up during the night!  Now if it can tell you when you are losing weight as you move, that would be absolutely perfect!


It was inevitable that when "Frozen" was released in November 2013, that 2014 would be a year in which none of us would be able to "let it go" no matter how hard we tried.  Not only did we have the original movie released on DVD and Blu-Ray, but we also had the Sing-Along edition.  Not to mention the CD soundtracks (and karaoke albums), karaoke machines, dolls, stuffed animals, Christmas cards, inflatable decorations, gift bags, sweatshirts, T-shirts, underwear, socks, cookies, etc...


This past summer, thousands of people all over the world took part in this charity challenge to raise money for ALS.  It was really simple to do too.  All you had to do was grab a plastic bucket filled with water and ice cubes, and douse yourself with it.  The reason why the water was ice cold was so we could understand somewhat what ALS felt like (ALS being a disease that affects mobility).  And for what it is worth, not only did people douse themselves with frigid water, but the campaign raised millions of dollars.

For what it was worth, most of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenges were fun to watch.  But some were just painful like the one below.

And some were just beyond this one posted below.  I sure hope this was a spoof...because if not, lord help her.


Did you ever think that in a world in which you can take photos with a cell phone and print them off at a photo kiosk or in the comfort of home that the hottest gadget of 2014 would be a pastel coloured camera that takes Polaroid style pictures?  Well, believe it!  This camera made by Fujifilm was so popular at my workplace this holiday season that we could not keep it, or the replacement film in stock!

There's just one catch.  The photos are about the same size as the ones you might get at a shopping mall photo booth, and the film costs exactly one quarter the cost of the whole camera.  But, who can understand fads, right?


The September release of the latest iPhone model certainly caused a lot of mixed reaction.  It still caused a lot of people to line up at Apple stores to pick one up, and apparently one poor soul in Australia dropped their phone immediately after getting it.  But the con is that the phone is larger than the previous iPhone 5, 5C, or 5S, and reportedly some people found that the phone is a lot more...flexible than previous models.  It is hard to say whether the iPhone 6 will remain popular, but enough people seemed to go for it in 2014 that it deserves a mention.


Okay, so granted, Minecraft is not a new thing.  This block based video game has been around for at least three or four years now.  But when the game was expanded to include console releases for PlayStation and XBOX, its popularity grew, and millions of people all over the world have played the game at least a few minutes a day.  It is absolutely amazing how creative people have gotten with Minecraft, and I can only imagine that its popularity will grow over 2015 as well.  I often wonder if Nintendo will jump in and join the Minecraft bandwagon.


2014 was a rather weak year in the video game industry.  No new consoles were released this year at all.  But the latest edition of Skylanders came out this year which allowed gamers to trap enemies, rehabilitate them, and convince them to fight on their side.  Or, at least, that's what the seven year olds who have bought Skylanders action figures from me at work tell me, anyway.  Skylanders have always been a popular game for younger gamers, so it isn't too surprising that the latest version would also be popular.


Have you ever seen those old photos of your Facebook friends or Twitter followers that have the hashtag #TBT attached to them?  TBT stands for "Throwback Thursday", and it seems to have taken off this past year.  I see a lot of people posting old photos on Thursdays in an effort to generate discussion.  And, well, technically today isn't Thursday, but here's an old photo of me with the Easter bunny circa 1987 in the spirit of it all.

Coming up tomorrow...the final Tuesday Timeline of the year.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 In Pop Culture - Music

This is the continuation of a seven part series that will be ongoing for the rest of the week.  It is going to be a continuation of a feature I like to call "2014 IN POP CULTURE".

All this week, I will be going over picks and pans for the year gone by, and I will be covering a different subject each day until the second of January.

Yesterday, we took a look at the best and worst of movies and film over the past year.  We looked at what films topped the box office, what films won awards, and what films missed the mark.  If you missed that entry, you can always click HERE, or scroll down to the December 27, 2014 entry to read it.

Today's subject for discussion?  We're going to be talking about music!

Yes, 2014 was definitely a year of headline making news in the music industry.  We had a girl switch genres of music to bring in even more fans, we had an entertainer release his first album in thirteen years, and we had a well established rock group release their final album.

And there's quite a lot more to discuss as well, so let us get started.

We will begin with the songs that hit the #1 spot on the Billboard Charts this year.  There was a total of ten singles altogether that became a #1 single in 2014, and each one certainly made an impression on people.  Just looking at the list of songs that topped the charts this year, I can definitely say that I have at least four of them downloaded onto my iPod.  Want to try and guess which ones they are?  Send me a message!

Here are the ten songs that topped the charts in 2014.

The Monster - EMINEM featuring RIHANNA
Timber - PITBULL featuring KESHA
Dark Horse - KATY PERRY featuring JUICY J
Fancy - IGGY AZALEA featuring CHARLI XCX
Rude - MAGIC!
All About That Bass - MEGHAN TRAINOR
Blank Space - TAYLOR SWIFT

I won't talk about all of these songs, but I will make minor footnotes about a few of them...just because I find the info interesting.

Certainly, 2014 was a banner year for Taylor Swift, as was 1989.  After all, 1989 was the year that Swift was born, and it also happens to be the title of her newest album.  It also marks a huge departure for Swift in a way, as this was her first album recorded entirely in the pop genre.  Sure, some country fans cried teardrops on their guitars when Taylor decided to go pop, but other people really liked the singer's new material.  In some ways, it was almost like a rebirth for the singer, whose love life prior to "1989" seemed to be focused on more than her music.  It is unknown whether Taylor will return to her country roots at this time, but given how successful "1989" has been, I can see her sticking with pop for the foreseeable future.

Another singer who has taken the world by storm has been Meghan Trainor.  She may only be 21 years of age, but already, she has had a huge hit with "All About That Bass", a song that encourages full figured women to be proud of their curves and booty.  I will be the first to admit that the song is catchy, upbeat, and certainly provides a better message than a certain song by Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea.

Yeah, the less said about that one, the better.

Of the #1 hits listed up above, I have to say that the song "Rude" by MAGIC! is easily my favourite of the bunch.  I always have been a fan of slow jams with a bit of a reggae beat, and this band from Toronto certainly delivered the goods.  Their debut single made the Top 10 in at least ten different countries, and you can still hear this single being played on radio quite often.  Here's hoping that the group shines even brighter in 2015.  They are definitely a group to watch.

And, of course, we cannot ignore Pharrell Williams.  2014 was a great year for him.  Not only did he do collaborations with Daft Punk (Get Lucky) and Kylie Minogue (I Was Gonna Cancel), but his song "Happy" was the longest charting #1 song of 2014, staying on top for ten weeks total.  The song was originally released as part of the "Despicable Me 2" soundtrack in 2013, but found staying power in 2014.  And, while I will readily admit that the song is quite overplayed, at least I can say with great certainty that I like "Happy" a heck of a lot better than his follow-up single "Come Get It Bae".

(Yeah, I will have more to say about THAT in tomorrow's entry...)

Okay, so now that we have talked about #1 hits from 2014, let us see who won the most coveted awards in music in 2014, shall we?

The 56th Annual Grammy Awards were held in late January 2014, and celebrated the best in music over the 2013 calendar year (you will have to wait until February 8 for the 57th Annual Grammy Awards).  While it would take too long to type out all of the award winners, I will post a few down below.  Did your favourites make the list?

ALBUM OF THE YEAR:  Random Access Memories - DAFT PUNK

Just a couple of notes to list before we go on...

Daft Punk were clearly the big winners of the night.  They took home a whopping FOUR Grammy Awards for their album and the song "Get Lucky".  And to think that my very first experience with them was back in high school when radio stations would play "Around The World" all the time.  Funny how time flies, huh?

I suppose one might consider this to be an upset, but newcomer Kacey Musgraves won "Best Country Album", and "Best Country Song" for "Merry Go 'Round".  People she beat out for the award?  Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, and Tim McGraw!  Congratulations, Kacey!

And, while the jury is mixed on whether Macklemore & Ryan Lewis should have won the award for Best Rap Album, one thing you cannot deny is that they had one of the best performances at the Grammy Awards themselves.  Their performance of "Same Love" was done in front of a group of couples of all shapes, sizes, and orientations exchanging wedding vows at the same time.  It was wonderful, touching, and even had a cameo appearance by Madonna!  While the Grammy Awards are still considered to be a pale shadow of what they used to be like, I will say that they are getting better.

I just wonder who will be the big winners for this year's ceremony?  Nominees include Iggy Azalea, Sia, Sam Smith, Taylor Swift, Meghan Trainor, Ed Sheeran, Pharrell Williams, Ryan Adams, Beck, U2, Beyonce, Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, and Eric Church among others.  Good luck to all nominees!

Now for some other miscellaneous pieces of information regarding music in general for 2014.

If you had told me five years ago that Tony Bennett would release an album with Lady Gaga, I would never have believed you.  But on September 23, their collaboration "Cheek To Cheek" was released.  And you know what?  It worked beautifully!  The two make a fantastic team, and it definitely shows in their music!  Have a listen up above!  Isn't it great?

Prior to November 11, 2014, Garth Brooks was rather silent on the music front.  His latest album prior to November 11, 2014 was an album called "Scarecrow" - released in November 2001!  So, what did Garth Brooks do in that thirteen year hiatus?  Well, he got divorced from his first wife in December 2001, married country singer Trisha Yearwood in 2005, and did quite a lot of charity work in between.  It is hard to say when the music bug bit him again - maybe it had to do with the performances that he did in Las Vegas as the 2010s began, or maybe it had to do with the televised concert performance that he did to coincide with a gift box set of all of his albums that was released in 2013.  Whatever the case, his first album in thirteen years, "Man Against Machine" was released on November 11, 2014, and he has another album slated for release in 2015.  Love him or not, Brooks is back.

But while Garth Brooks returned to the spotlight, British rock group "Pink Floyd" announced that their fifteenth studio album - "The Endless River" - would be their last.  Released on November 10, 2014, the album became a huge seller right from the starting gate.  Amazon UK reported that the album became their most pre-ordered album of all time!  I can definitely vouch that the store I work at has a really hard time keeping it in stock!

I remember once upon a time when U2 was as popular as Pink Floyd.  "Achtung Baby" remains the first album that I ever bought with my own money, and I have almost the whole "The Joshua Tree" album downloaded onto my iPod.  But in the case of "The Joshua Tree", I paid for the album myself.  Their latest album "Songs of Innocence" was already downloaded onto my iTunes account for free one day.  In fact, the whole album was downloaded onto EVERYONE'S iTunes accounts!  Of course, this move caused people to react with anger more than happiness (though for the record, I did download a couple of the new songs and liked them), and some questioned whether iTunes was really secure if a band from Ireland could leave a whole album in everyone's iTunes account without anyone consenting.  In the end, Bono, the lead singer of U2 admitted that they made a mistake.  It'll be interesting to see if anyone actually bought any physical copies of "Songs of Innocence" though.

For fans of Fleetwood Mac, they were given a great gift.  Longtime member of the band Christine McVie rejoined Fleetwood Mac in March 2014 after departing the group in 1998.  Since then, the band has continued touring.  Good on them!

In May 2014, nearly five years after Michael Jackson's death at age 50, a new album of songs was released under the title "Xscape".  The kick off track, "Love Never Felt So Good" featured Justin Timberlake, and became a Top 10 hit in mid-2014!

And congratulations to Nirvana, Kiss, Peter Gabriel, Linda Ronstadt, and Cat Stevens (or is it Yusuf Islam?) for being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for 2014.  

And continued well wishes go out to Ronstadt, who is currently battling Parkinson's Disease which has left her unable to sing.  Stay strong, Linda! 

And that wraps up 2014 in music.  Stay tuned for next time when we review the fads, games, and toys that people got into during this past year!