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From Mika to Leon It Has Been a Thrilling Year


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Small mention of Mika in a look back on music in 2007




From Mika to Leon – it has been a thrilling year

In the Chinese lunar calendar, 2007 was the year of the boar. People born during this period are said to thrive as entertainers, so it's perhaps fitting that the past 12 months have been, musically at least, some of the most thrilling in recent memory.


All the way back in January, we had Mika topping the charts with his debut single Grace Kelly. Love or loathe the flamboyant star, it's difficult to deny it's an excellent song. The fact he allegedly wrote it after being turned down in an audition by Simon Cowell only makes Mika's success even sweeter.


March saw the release of two fine albums - Yours Truly Angry Mob by Kaiser Chiefs and Arcade Fire's modern classic Neon Bible. April was equally memorable with albums from both Arctic Monkeys and Kings Of Leon, while May was the first time we saw Rihanna's Umbrella, although it would stay at the top of the charts for a phenomenal 10 weeks. During which time, it didn't stop raining with some of the worst weather the country has ever seen.


There were floods all over the place, with areas in Yorkshire and Gloucestershire worst hit, while on a less serious note, festivals and sporting events were ruined thanks to the falling cats and dogs.


Notoriously reclusive megastar Prince announced his plans for a 21-night residency in London's O2 Arena - that's the Millennium Dome for anyone who doesn't know. He marked the occasion with a secret gig in the city's Koko, delighting the 1,500 fans in attendance. More of the purple one later...


Glastonbury in June was particularly messy, not to mention disappointing. Many of the bands let the dismal weather dampen their spirits and a handful of technical problems on the main stage darkened the mood even further. Perhaps more crucially, it seems the once spiritual gathering down in Somerset has now replaced Henley Regatta or Badminton horse trials as the place for Britain's hoi polloi and young socialites to hang out, ruining the true meaning of the event when it should be the bands that are most important. Glasto founder Michael Eavis knows this, though, and the festival will no doubt return better than ever. Let's just hope it doesn't rain.


Also in June, The White Stripes released Icky Thump, which went on to become the biggest-selling single in almost 20 years. Their album of the same name, released a few weeks later, didn't fare badly either and has since appeared in virtually every end-of-year Best Album poll.


That same month, the Spice Girls reformed and announced their plans for a global tour and a Greatest Hits album.


The world once again went Spice-mad, with girls of a certain age lucky enough to get tickets for one of the concerts in a mad dash to dust down their Union Jack mini-dresses and platform trainers.


Now the gigs have commenced, it's fair to say the hype was much more impressive than the actual event, with one of the so-called highlights of the show involving Posh Spice walking along a catwalk while Madonna's Like A Virgin plays in the background, before disappearing down a hole in the stage.


Hopefully, the hole leads to oblivion, which is where Posh, the rest of the Spice Girls and their hollow, dated music belongs, if you ask me. Girl Power? Pull the other one.


The Spice Girls weren't the only group to get back together. Amid the kerfuffle of their reunion, rock giants Led Zeppelin too announced they would play a one-off show in honour of the man who signed them to Atlantic records in the late 60s, Ahmet Ertegun.


A foundation was set up in honour of the Turkish music mogul, with all proceeds from the gig going to it. Critics universally praised the show, which took place on December 10, while their millions of fans cried out for a full reunion tour. That plea so far goes unanswered, but who knows what 2008 may bring?


August saw Kate Nash's arrival with Foundations and had it not been for that pesky Rihanna she would have had a No 1 single on her hands. As it was, No 2 was the best the flame-haired Londoner could manage, but it didn't stop a nation of young girls saying "bittah" and "fittah" at any given opportunity. Annoying, innit?


Prince began his 21-night stint in London, playing to more than 400,000 people throughout August and September. He also caused quite a stir attending film premieres and London Fashion Week accompanied by an army of security guards and a bevy of beauties.


September saw Girls Aloud release Sexy! No No No..., their 16th consecutive Top 10 hit, making them the most successful British female group in chart history.


October was dominated by Radiohead and their seventh album, In Rainbows. After a small announcement on their website, the Oxford quintet made the album available online with a unique pay-what-you-want strategy. Apparently, more than half of people didn't pay anything, making a bit of a mockery of the honesty box' policy, but sales of the £40 boxset of the album and forthcoming physical release will soften the blow somewhat, so don't go feeling sorry for Thom Yorke and co just yet. Plus, if they ended up penniless, it'd just give them something more to moan about, possibly resulting in their best music yet.


Leona Lewis, the third winner of X Factor, came of age toward the end of this year. Her single Bleeding Love sold about a billion copies, while her album Spirit became the fastest-selling debut album of all time, shifting more than 140,000 copies in a week and over a million to date.


Kylie made a comeback after her battle with cancer. Her first single, 2 Hearts, was a kind of glam, Goldfrapp-esque stomp, and while neither it or her album, X, set the world on fire, it's good to have the little sexpot back safe and sound.


Amy Winehouse has had a mixed year. Nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, but eventually losing out to underdogs Klaxons, Winehouse has managed to dominate the tabloids while simultaneously releasing amazing music. At least she's got one up on Pete Doherty, there.


2007 began with an X-Factor winner at No 1, and Leon scooped the contest title in December - no matter what all those Rhydian fans say, Leon won it fair and square!


So it looks like the year will end in exactly the same fashion. Maybe things don't change quite as much as we think.


9:11am Friday 4th January 2008

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