From Lady Gaga's Oscar buzz for "A Star is Born" to Aretha Franklin's death, 2018 was a huge year for music news. As we wrap up 2018, Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at the biggest music moments from the year, starting with Lady Gaga's feature-film debut. In October, the much anticipated Bradley Cooper-directed remake premiered to rave reviews. Gaga's portrayal of Ally, a singer discovered by Bradley's Jackson Maine, is spectacular, and the music ain't too shabby either. Keep reading to see what other music industry moments had us buzzing this year…
Mac Miller dies
On Sept. 7, Mac Miller died at age of 26 from an accidental drug overdose involving fentanyl, cocaine and alcohol. The rapper was enjoying the success of his fifth, and final, studio album "Swimming" but had endured a rough year personally as he dealt with splitting from his girlfriend of two years, Ariana Grande, and ongoing addiction issues. Mac had previously voiced fears about overdosing, telling Fader in 2016, "I'd rather be the corny white rapper than the drugged-out mess who can't even get out of his house. Overdosing is just not cool. You don't go down history because you overdose. You just die."
Beyonce's Coachella performance
In April 2018, Beyonce slayed at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival — her first performance since having twins Sir and Rumi Carter. The gig, which she originally had planned to do in 2017 but postponed due to her pregnancy, was a smash success. As the first woman of color to headline Coachella, she captivated audiences at the festival grounds in Indio, California, and online, as a record number of people tuned in to watch the streaming performance, which included cameos from sister Solange, husband JAY-Z and former Destiny's Child members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams.
RELATED: Celebs at Coachella 2018
Cardi B reveals pregnancy and marriage
During a visit to "Saturday Night Live" in April, Cardi B confirmed rumors that she was pregnant with rapper Offset's baby. Then in June, she confirmed a report revealing that she and the Migos rapper had secretly married in September 2017. "I said I do, with no dress no make up and no ring," she explained. The chart-topping rapper then acknowledged Offset's post-wedding on-stage marriage proposal that happened in October 2017: "I appreciate and love my husband so much for still wanting for me [to] have that special moment that every girl dreams of when he got down on his knee and put a ring on my finger and he did that for me!!" In July, Cardi gave birth to their first child together (and Offset's fourth), a baby girl named Kulture. Sadly, the couple called it quits in December when news broke that Offset was allegedly caught trying to cheat. The Migos rapper has been working to get Cardi back ever since, even crashing her performance at Rolling Loud with a "Take Me Back Cardi" sign. It was a huge year for Cardi's career too: Not only did she repeatedly break multiple chart records, but she launched a clothing collection with Fashion Nova that sold out in minutes and joined the new Netflix music competition show "Rhythm + Flow" as a judge.
Kanye West visited President Trump at the White House
In October, Kanye West made a highly publicized trip to visit his "brother" President Donald Trump at the White House after months of wearing one of Trump's "Make America Great Again" hats. "I love Hillary. I love everyone," the rapper and fashion designer said during the headline-grabbing visit. "But the campaign 'I'm With Her' just didn't make me feel — as a guy that didn't get to see his dad all the time — like a guy who could play catch with his son. There was something about when I put this hat on that made me feel like Superman." The bizarre and bombastic conversation between the unlikely pals — which was actually more of a one-sided Kanye monologue as he sounded off on racism, victim mentality, his own mental health and his suggestion for a new design for Air Force One — made headlines around the world.
Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin's whirlwind romance
After a few years of occasional on-and-off dating, Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin rekindled their flame this year in the most intense way. In June, the two were spotted cozying up in Miami and then flaunted their love all over New York City, the Hamptons and the Bahamas, where they ended up getting engaged in July. Justin — who'd just parted ways with longtime on-off love Selena Gomez in the spring — confirmed reports on Instagram, writing, "You are the love of my life Hailey Baldwin and I wouldn't want to spend it with anybody else. You make me so much better and we compliment each other so well!! Can't wait for the best season of life yet!" In September, the twosome surprised everyone by getting married in a secret civil ceremony at a New York City courthouse. While that union made them legally wed, they reportedly plan to have a larger religious ceremony and party with friends in the future. In November, Hailey officially changed her Instagram handle to @haileybieber — and everyone knows it doesn't get any more official than that.
"Meant to Be" spends 50 weeks at No. 1
For almost every single week this year — and many at the end of 2017 — Florida Georgia Line and Bebe Rexha's "Meant to Be" was the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. This feat is unprecedented — the nearest competition came from Sam Hunt's 2017 single "Body Like a Back Road," which spent 43 weeks on the chart. In late November after an incredible 50-week run, "Meant to Be" was finally unseated by Kane Brown's hit "Lose It."
Taylor Swift returns to the award show stage
After almost three years away, Taylor Swift returned to the award show stage on Oct. 9 at the AMAs in Los Angeles. "I'm opening up the American Music Awards with a performance of 'I Did Something Bad,'" she announced on Instagram a week earlier. The fiery performance — her first since the 2016 Grammys — was well-received, earning her a standing ovation from musicians like Jennifer Lopez and Shawn Mendes. Taylor also made headlines when she broke her own record for the highest grossing U.S. tour by a woman thanks to the success of her "Reputation" stadium trek. Surprisingly, her tour earnings didn't transfer over to Grammys success. The blonde beauty only scored one 2019 Grammy nomination, an unexpected snub by the Recording Academy.
Bon Jovi inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
In April, Bon Jovi was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "I thank my lucky stars for the time I got to spend with each of you. Alec, Richie, Hugh, Tico, David. To you, to us, to you all," Jon Bon Jovi said in a celebratory speech in Cleveland, Ohio. "Tonight, the band that agreed to do me a favor stands before you. So I can say thank you all for making this dream a reality." Other 2018 inductees included The Cars, Dire Straits, The Moody Blues and Nina Simone.
Nicki Minaj debuts new album, stokes controversy
In August, Nicki Minaj released her first album since 2014's "The Pinkprint," a new work called "Queen." It debuted at No. 2, right behind Travis Scott's "Astroworld," which left Nicki livid. "I've had a No. 2 album, and I never cared. It's just when you have a No. 2 album to someone who's selling shirts and merch and selling passes for a tour that's not even announced yet, it feels like you're being tricked," she said on an episode of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," one of many outbursts attacking Travis for beating her, she believes, unfairly. "It feels like someone is playing a game and beating you at a game as opposed to just selling music. I wanna sell music."
The Carters debut first album
In June, Beyonce and JAY-Z teamed up for an album, releasing under the name The Carters. "Everything is Love" was another surprise album for Beyonce, who'd previously dropped an unexpected self-titled visual album in 2013. The couple's previous projects (her "Lemonade" and his "4:44") discussed their relationship struggles in depth, and their 2018 effort seemed to mark a turning point for them. "We were using our art almost like a therapy session," Jay told The New York Times in 2017. "And we started making music together." The couple also hit the road together in 2018 for the wildly successful "On the Run II" tour.
Ed Sheeran got engaged and, maybe, married
In January, Ed Sheeran announced he had gotten engaged to girlfriend Cherry Seaborn at the end of 2017. The private singer was asked about wedding plans in August during an interview with Access Online and answered by showing his wedding ring. "I never really do anything too public," he said, when asked how he got away with the sneaky plans, though he stopped short of officially confirming they'd wed, leaving fans to keep guessing.
John Legend earns EGOT status
At the Creative Arts Emmys in September, John Legend reached EGOT status upon winning an Emmy — for producing TV's "Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert" — to add to his collection that already includes multiple Grammys, an Oscar and a Tony. The honor was even more significant because John is the first African-American man to join the prestigious EGOT club. "Before tonight, only 12 people had won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony in competitive categories. Sirs Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice and I joined that group when we won an Emmy for our production of their legendary show 'Jesus Christ Superstar,'" John wrote on Instagram. "So happy to be part of this team. So honored they trusted me to play Jesus Christ. So amazed to be in such rarefied air."
Paul McCartney scores his first No. 1 solo album debut
In September, Paul McCartney debuted his latest album, "Egypt Station." It entered the top spot on the Billboard 200, the first time in 36 years that the former Beatles and Wings musician has had a No. 1 album. This, his 17th solo effort, was also his first solo album ever to debut at No. 1.
Musicians lose homes to California wildfires
Miley Cyrus, Neil Young, Robin Thicke and other music stars lost their Malibu-area homes to the Woolsey Fire in mid-November. The wildfire, which forced thousands in Southern California to evacuate, burned over 96,000 acres. "Completely devastated by the fires affecting my community," Miley wrote on Twitter on Nov. 11. "I am one of the lucky ones. My animals and LOVE OF MY LIFE [Liam Hemsworth] made it out safely & that's all that matters right now. My house no longer stands but the memories shared with family & friends stand strong."
Kendrick Lamar wins Pulitzer Prize
In April, Kendrick Lamar was honored with a Pulitzer Prize for his album "DAMN." (which did not win album of the year at the Grammys three months earlier). The rapper is the first artist to take home the prestigious award since it was expanded to include music, and the first non-classical or jazz musician to do so. "The time was right," Dana Canedy, the administrator of the prizes, said after the announcement. "We are very proud of this selection. It means that the jury and the board judging system worked as it's supposed to — the best work was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. … It shines a light on hip hop in a completely different way. This is a big moment for hip-hop music and a big moment for the Pulitzers."
Demi Lovato survives drug overdose, heads to rehab
In late July, Demi Lovato suffered a near-fatal drug overdose — it's believed she'd freebased oxycodone laced with fentanyl — and was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital. The pop star — who until this spring had been sober for six years — had just weeks earlier opened up about falling off the wagon in the lyrics of her song "Sober," which came out in June. "Mama, I'm so sorry, I'm not sober anymore," she sang. "And daddy, please forgive me for the drinks spilled on the floor." Demi headed to rehab following a nearly two-week hospital stay. In October, her mother confirmed that Demi was 90 days sober and in November, the singer left treatment and returned to Los Angeles.
Aretha Franklin dies
On Aug. 16, Aretha Franklin passed away at age 76. The Queen of Soul had been struggling with pancreatic cancer and it ultimately claimed her life. "I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it," the "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" singer, who was the first African-American woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, said in February 2017. She went on to do select future performances, even with her failing health, and even planned to release an album in November 2018.
Jennifer Lopez receives MTV's Video Vanguard Award, wraps Vegas residency
At the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards, Jennifer Lopez was honored with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. To celebrate, she performed a show-stopping medley of her greatest hits on stage at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. When she accepted the award, she told the audience, "I grew up on MTV. This is really like, a tremendous honor for me. It has been an incredible journey of dreaming my wildest dreams, and then kind of watching them come true." A month later, after nearly three years of slaying the Las Vegas stage in her "Jennifer Lopez: All I Have" residency, J.Lo delivered her finale performance of the hit show.
Dolores O'Riordan dies
On Jan. 15, the Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan tragically passed away in a London hotel room. She was 46. In September, her cause of death was revealed: drowning due to alcohol intoxication. She had been drinking — five miniature bottles of alcohol and a bottle of champagne were found in her room — before taking a bath. Her death was ruled accidental.
Miranda Lambert honored by CMT after headline-making romance ends
In October, CMT made network history with its all-female Artists of the Year special celebrating country music's past, present and future with Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Kelsea Ballerini, Maren Morris, Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman, as well as Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott. "In this monumental year for women, dedicating one of the biggest nights in the genre to applaud female country artists not only solidifies our commitment, but we hope will spark a much-needed change in the industry," CMT and its Senior Vice President of Music & Talent, Leslie Fram, shared. The professional high came a few months after Miranda declared herself single again following a six-month romance with married Turnpike Troubadours frontman Evan Felker, Miranda's opening act early in the year who reports claim started seeing her before ending his marriage.
Drake's "In My Feelings" challenge dominates social media
Over the summer, Internet comedian Shiggy inadvertently launched the latest musical sensation — the "In My Feelings" challenge, with #InMyFeelingsChallenge taking over Instagram with everyone doing the same dance moves to Drake's No. 1 song. Drake's song was heard by everyone as fans watched celebrities like Will Smith and Sterling K. Brown show off their moves.
Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande's unexpected romance
In May, pop star Ariana Grande and "Saturday Night Live" comedian Pete Davidson began a whirlwind romance, shocking the world by getting matching tattoos as they got super-serious super-fast. By the end of the month, they'd made their relationship Instagram official with a Harry Potter-themed photo. In June, the two got engaged and moved into Ariana's rented $16 million New York City apartment. The two continued to flaunt their relationship at the MTV VMAs and on the streets of Manhattan. However, when Ariana's ex Mac Miller unexpectedly died in September, things started to change for the couple as Ariana mourned. By mid-October, it was all over, with the two calling off their engagement and quickly covering up tattoos inspired by the other. Despite their heartbreak, Ariana turned the drama into career fire: In November, she scored her first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with her inspirational post-breakup track "Thank U, Next." Days earlier, she earned another honor: She was named Billboard's 2018 Woman of the Year.
Cher's big year
2018 was Cher's year. For starters, the diva appeared in her first movie in 10 years with "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again." Then in September, she released her 26th studio album, "Dancing Queen," which features covers of ABBA songs. "When I get out there, I still have a good time. I also realize that there will eventually come a time when I can't do it, so I want to enjoy it as long as I can," Cher — who's been on the road — told Harper's Bazaar in May. "Also, I can still sing. I'm gonna be like Tony Bennett." Her only blip on the best-year-ever train? House guest Donovan Ruiz, the son of her longtime assistant, was arrested in late September on Cher's Malibu estate for his alleged role in another person's narcotics overdose and death.
Taylor Swift inspires voters
After years of staying quiet when it comes to politics, Taylor Swift finally used her platform to share her views. "In the past I've been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love," she wrote in an Oct. 7 Instagram post in which she also endorsed a few Tennessee Democrats in the midterm elections. "So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do." According to Vote.org, there was a significant spike in voter registration after the music star's post, both nationally and in her home state. (One of the candidates she endorsed won, the other lost.)
Nicki Minaj and Cardi B feud explodes
During New York Fashion Week in September, Cardi B added fuel to her long-simmering feud with Nicki Minaj when she threw a red high-heeled shoe at the fellow rapper during a party, claiming that Nicki had unjustly been criticizing her parenting. Nicki was unharmed and Cardi left with a knot on her head but the drama continued for weeks with Nicki giving her side on her Apple Beats 1 "Queen Radio" show and Cardi weighing in via interviews and in expletive-laden posts on Instagram in which she even challenged Nicki to a physical fight. Both women finally agreed to a truce over social media on Oct. 29.
The Eagles again have the best selling album of all time
In August, the Eagles' first compilation album, "Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975," surpassed Michael Jackson's "Thriller" as the best selling album of all time. The Recording Industry Association of America certified the album, which includes songs like "Take It Easy" and "Lyin' Eyes," 38-times platinum, meaning it's sold 38 million copies worldwide. The rock band had held this honor before for this album, but after the King of Pop's death, demand for his classic album skyrocketed and temporarily knocked the Eagles out of the No. 1 spot.
Carrie Underwood's Facegate, pregnancy joy
Carrie Underwood, who this summer confirmed that she was pregnant with her second child following multiple miscarriages and in November revealed that she's having another boy, made headlines for another body transformation earlier this year. In January, the country star revealed that she'd had 40-50 stitches in her face and surgery on her wrist after suffering a gruesome fall in November 2017. "I was taking the dogs out… and I just tripped," she said on iHeartRadio's "The Bobby Bones Show" in April. "I went to catch myself and I just missed a step." She had first announced the extent of her injuries in a post to her fan club. "I'm still healing and not quite looking the same. I honestly don't know how things are going to end up but I do know the: I am grateful. I am grateful that it wasn't much, much worse." Before she made her official reveal singing "Cry Pretty" live at the ACM Awards in April, there were conspiracy theories about what had really happened — was she covering for elective plastic surgery, or did she overstate the severity to spark interest in her new album? Carrie– who the masses agreed didn't look any different — shot everything down, insisting she never meant to fuel hype and was simply lucky to have healed much better than expected.
Everyone loves a Vegas residency
There was a lot of shuffling on the Las Vegas strip this year when it came to residencies. In September, Celine Dion announced she was ending her long-running show at Caesars Palace in June 2019. In September, Jennifer Lopez ended her nearly three-year residency at Planet Hollywood in front of fans like boyfriend Alex Rodriguez and ex Diddy. In October, Donnie and Marie Osmond announced that they're ending their 11-year residency at the Flamingo in late 2019. In July, the Backstreet Boys confirmed they're wrapping up their successful Planet Hollywood residency in April 2019. But Britney Spears, who in late 2017 finished off a four-year residency, inked a new deal to return to the Strip in 2019. In June, Gwen Stefani kicked off her "Just a Girl" Sin City residency. Lady Gaga launches a dual-show residency in late December 2018. Pop-punkers blink-182 started a residency at The Palms this summer though had to postpone shows due to drummer Travis Barker's health issues. In addition in 2019, country music fans will get the "Lady Antebellum: Our Kind of Vegas" residency while rock fans can enjoy "Aerosmith: Deuces Are Wild" starting in April.
Drake's secret baby
The latest in the Pusha T and Drake feud came in May when Pusha's diss track "The Story of Adidon" claimed Drake was hiding a secret child, a long-running rumor. "Sophie knows better, ask your baby mother, cleaned her up for IG but the stench is on her," he rapped. "Love that baby, respect that girl, forget she's a porn star, let her be your world." In October, Pusha said Drake's longtime producer Noah "40" Shebib was the one who told him about Drake's son, Adonis, who was born in late 2017 following a brief January 2017 fling with French artist and former adult film actress Sophie Brussaux — not Kanye West, as Drake alleged. "It may make sense in Drake's mind — 'Oh, Ye told Push about my son and my situation when we was in Wyoming [making music last spring]' — it's wrong," Pusha said on "The Joe Budden Podcast" in October. "Didn't happen like that. The information came from 40. It didn't come from Kanye. At all."
In June, SoundCloud rapper XXXTentacion was shot in Miami while shopping for motorcycles. Multiple shots were fired and a Louis Vuitton bag containing $50,000 was taken from his car. The 20-year-old rapper was facing a series of legal issues at the time of his death (he was awaiting trial for committing domestic violence against his pregnant girlfriend and had been accused of witness tampering). He had been on house arrest prior but was released so he could tour. Four men have been charged in his murder.
Kanye West calls slavery "a choice"
Kanye West faced intense backlash after he appeared on TMZ Live on May 1 and said that slavery was "a choice." TMZ producer Van Lathan fired back after Kanye made the inflammatory comments and the exchange went viral. (Kanye also shared during the interview that he had undergone liposuction to avoid being called fat and then got hooked on opioid painkillers before his 2016 mental breakdown.) Though the rapper tried to explain himself and sort of walked back some of his comments, he upset fans again five months later when he said he wanted to "abolish the 13th Amendment" — which outlawed slavery. He tried to walk that one back too, later claiming he meant to say "amend" not "abolish."
Bruno Mars dominates the 2018 Grammy Awards
Bruno Mars was the big winner at the 2018 Grammy Awards! Thanks to the success of his album "24K Magic," the music star took home album of the year as well as record and song of the year honors, plus best R&B performance, best R&B album, best R&B song and best engineered album in the non-classical division. While accepting the night's top award, Bruno said, "First off, to the other nominees in this category — Lorde, Kung Fu Kenny [Kendrick Lamar], JAY-Z, [Childish] Gambino — you guys are the reason why I'm in the studio pulling my hair out, because I know you guys are gonna only come with the top-shelf artistry and music. Thank you guys for blessing the world with your music, I mean that."
Camila Cabello wins big during award season
Another singer who had a big year is Camila Cabello. The Cuban-American pop star has been nominated at every major show this year and won big at the American Music Awards, MTV's Video Music Awards and the Teen Choice Awards. In 2017, the "Havana" singer opened for Bruno Mars, but in 2018, she joined Taylor Swift on her massive "Reputation" tour.
Fleetwood Mac and Lindsey Buckingham duke it out in court
It was a dramatic year for Fleetwood Mac! Lindsey Buckingham — the band's longtime lead guitarist and co-vocalist — was dropped from their lineup in early 2018 before the band launched a massive 50-city tour. His bandmates replaced him with Tom Petty guitarist Mike Campbell. That didn't sit well with Lindsey, who has sued the band for breach of contract and lost wages for not being able to participate in the band's tour.