July’s Biggest Classic Rock Stories: 2017 in Review
During July 2017, the recurring themes in classic rock were reunions and farewells. One major band soldiered on without a co-founding member, another performed with members of its original lineup for the first time in years, and a pair of multi-platinum artists got back together on stage to perform their hit duet. Meanwhile, another favorite song found humorous new life — and fans were forced to say goodbye to a talented frontman far too soon.
Eagles Perform Without Glenn Frey at Classic West
The shocking passing of co-founder Glenn Frey seemed to put an end to the Eagles, but the band didn't stay sidelined for long. After announcing plans to debut a rejiggered lineup at the star-studded Classic West and Classic East festivals in 2017, they added Frey's son Deacon — and he was later joined by another new addition, veteran country artist Vince Gill.
Classic West marked the new Eagles' debut on July 15 — the same night that served up a set from the feuding Journey, offered one of the few performances by Fleetwood Mac in 2017, and found Steely Dan performing without co-founder Walter Becker — an absence that would be felt more keenly later in the year, with the news of Becker's cancer-related death.
Linkin Park Frontman Chester Bennington Dead at 41
Classic rock fans have been hit hard by a number of painful — and often surprising — deaths among their favorite artists, but longtime veterans weren't the only ones to say goodbye in 2017. Shortly after the stunning passing of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, his friend Chester Bennington — who performed at Cornell's funeral — took his own life on what would have been Cornell's 53rd birthday. The Linkin Park singer's death left fans reeling and shook his friends in the community, some of whom — including Alice Cooper and Elton John — took the opportunity to publicly address the difficulty of dealing with depression, and the value of seeking support.
Foreigner Reunite with Lou Gramm, Al Greenwood and Ian McDonald for the First Time Since 1980
The Foreigner of today looks very different from the lineup that skyrocketed to fame in the late '70s, but fans who turned out for the band's 40th anniversary tour last summer received a special treat in the form of a handful of brief reunions — former frontman Lou Gramm joined the group for some songs, and on July 21, most of the original lineup came together for a three-song encore during Foreigner's stop in Wantagh, N.Y. The reunion continued in the fall, when the complete surviving original lineup got together on stage for a pair of dates due to be commemorated with a later live release — and Gramm later hinted that further activity might possibly be on the horizon, too.
"Bohemian Rhapsody" Is a Siri Favorite with a Former White House Connection
It's climbed the charts on two separate occasions, becoming a part of the pop culture lexicon along the way — and as proof of the exalted status "Bohemian Rhapsody" has earned in the Queen catalog, the song's title is even being used for the upcoming biopic devoted to the band. Perhaps it's no great surprise, then, that Apple's virtual assistant Siri is just waiting to perform the song, as was discovered when a device owner recited a line to their iPhone and heard the rest of the lyrics in return. And Apple wasn't the only tech giant making "Rhapsody"-related news in July 2017, either: The brief tenure of White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci sparked a surge in Google searches for the definition of "scaramouch."
Stevie Nicks Reunites Onstage with Tom Petty
Cutting a duet with Tom Petty helped make Stevie Nicks' solo debut a blockbuster success, and although each artist has no shortage of hit singles to their own credit, "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" has long remained a fan favorite for both — making it a treat for the London audience who got to see the duo reunite onstage for a performance of the song in July 2017. Petty, on his 40th anniversary tour with the Heartbreakers, brought Nicks into town as their support act for the show, and she came out to join the band for the night's rendition of the song — marking the second time they'd played it together in a matter of months, following Nicks' appearance at the MusiCares Person of the Year event honoring Petty in February. Petty's unexpected passing in October prompted a bittersweet reflection on their long friendship from Nicks, who recalled, "He gave me a lot of advice about stuff. He was the kind of person who said, 'Here's my advice. If you take it, great. If you don't, that's fine too.'"