Rumours of a Steps reunion aside, 2017 looks set to be an excellent year for music, after we lost so many legends in this one.
We've rounded up some of the biggest and best events – from album releases to festivals, anniversaries to farewell tours – that are taking place in the UK in the first half of the new year.
Take a look and get these in your diary:
David Bowie’s 70th birthday concerts, 8 January
What a wonderful way to start the New Year.
Celebrations for what would have been David Bowie’s 70th birthday are being led by Gary Oldman and were inspired by the series of tributes which took place in the wake of his death.
In Brixton, south London (where Bowie was born) an event titled Celebrating David Bowie will take place at the O2 Academy.
It’s set to feature former Bowie band members including Mike Garson, Earl Slick, Sterling Campbell and Holly Palmer, with special guests still to be announced.
Proceeds from the London show will go to the Children & the Arts charity.
The xx release their third album, 13 January
The London trio return after five years with their third studio album I See You, released via Young Turk/XL.
A British tour kicks off in Nottingham on 4 March and features seven nights at the O2 Academy Brixton in London.
Drake live shows + new material, 25 January
Drake is performing at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow on 25 and 26 January ahead of a whopping five headline shows at the 20,000 capacity O2 Arena in London, followed by dates in Leeds and Manchester. Then back to the O2 Arena in London again for a further two nights on 14 and 15 February.
Mos Def ‘retirement’ gigs, 26 + 27 January
Mos Def announced his “retirement” from music at the beginning of 2016, and is set to play two final dates at the O2 Forum in Kentish Town.
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Elbow release their new album, 3 February
The beloved Mancunian band return with their seventh album, after a successful solo effort from frontman Guy Garvey. Little Fictions is out on Polydor and will be supported with a UK tour that kicks off on 1 March.
Bon Iver UK tour dates, 10-20 February
The Brit Awards, 22 February
Adele cleaned up last year at the annual backslap for artists-who-did-really-well-in-album-sales.
Hopefully 2017’s awards will be slightly less predictable, after a shake-up in the voting system prompted by the #BritsSoWhite backlash (propelled by criticism from Stormzy), which took aim at the awards’ obvious lack of diversity.
Grime artist Big Narstie observed at the time: “The only diversity in the Brits is with the Americans. I’ve been saying this for a while, for our country to do good, we need to embrace our country.”
Seven hundred new members were invited to vote for the 2017 awards, shifting the male and female ratio to 52 per cent male, 48 per cent female, and ensuring that 17 per cent of new members came from BAME backgrounds.
Ed Sheeran to release his third album, date TBC
After taking a much-deserved, year-long hiatus from social media/being in the spotlight in general, Ed Sheeran announced he was back (sort of) by tweeting a blue square.
His comeback to live shows is rumoured to be taking place at the Grammys in February, while equally-rife rumours suggest he may have a headline slot at Glastonbury Festival, and he was recently spotted in Suffolk on set for a new music video.
With his debut album + [Plus] released in 2011 with orange cover art, and follow-up x [Multiply] in 2014 with a green cover, Sheeran is due a blue-coloured album in 2017, presumably to be titled - [Subtract/Minus] or ÷ [Divide].
He recently registered several songs with his publisher, which included titles “21st Century Fox”, “Sure”and “Fall”, the latter of which was co-written with Amy Wadge, who assisted on “Thinking Out Loud”.
The Weeknd: Starboy Legend of the Fall tour [Phase One], 7-14 March
Following the release of his record-breaking album Starboy, The Weeknd embarks on the UK leg of his Starboy: Legend of the Fall tour.
U2’s The Joshua Tree was released 30 years ago, 9 March
Described by our album critic Andy Gill as “the Thriller of post-punk rock”, U2’s colossal album The Joshua Tree celebrates its 30th anniversary on 9 March.
The album was remastered from its original analogue tapes in 2007 for the 20th anniversary in a wide variety of formats, and is likely to be reissued again in 2017.
U2 are also working on a new album, which might just be released in time for a continuation of their massive post-Songs of Innocence world tour, which Bono suggested could take place in September or October.
New albums from Blondie, Katy Perry and Avril Lavigne, dates TBC
All three acts are confirmed to be working on new material which is set for release in 2017.
Charlie XCX, Sia and Johnny Marr are set to feature on Blondie’s new album, which has John Congleton on production. Katy Perry is very much due a new album in 2017 – she put her new record on pause in order to help Hillary Clinton in her campaign for presidency, but recently teased a few clips from the studio.
Stormzy is finally releasing his debut album, date TBC
It feels as though we’ve been waiting forever for Stormzy’s debut, which the grime MC says will show all of his sides as an artist, “in the same way you look at Illmatic and say that’s Nas or Boy In Da Corner and say that was Dizzee”.
Stormzy is coming from an interesting perspective for his debut – as an artist he is already celebrated and respected by the UK grime scene, and achieved huge success with his single “Shut Up”.
“I was meant to still be in the ends with this one,” he told DIY in an interview. “So my album is a treasure in itself because it’s coming from such an unusual position as a debut.”
Gorillaz, Lorde, Fleetwood Mac, Taylor Swift, Zayn Malik and Pharrell are all expected to release new material, dates TBC
While no dates have been officially announced from any of these artists (yet), all of them have either teased new material or are due a fresh release in 2017.
Damon Albarn said he was “loving” the new Gorillaz album and that it “should be ready fairly soon” in July – their currently-untitled fifth album which should (hopefully) include a supporting tour.
Lorde has been teasing new music for an age, and her album Pure Heroine came out an agonising four years ago, but is yet to reveal her second record’s release date or title.
Mick Fleetwood has blamed Stevie Nicks (again) for a delay on what would be the first Fleetwood Mac album since 2003’s Say You Will.
Zayn Malik, who released his successful solo album Mind of Mine on RCA Records after splitting from One Direction in 2016, has been working once again with producer Malay (Frank Ocean, Sam Smith) on a collaboration with renowned Indian composer AR Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire).
Chic will release their first album in 25 years, date TBC
Chic are set to release the aptly-titled It's About Time via Warner Brothers in 2017, which will also see the band celebrate their 40th anniversary.
Nile Rodgers told Rolling Stone: “[You can still celebrate] the fact that it’s 40 years later and we’re still going strong. Our gigs are fun and great. It still feels the same as when we first started, other than the fact that my guitar feels heavier.”
Neil Diamond celebrates his 50 year anniversary, UK dates TBC
Neil Diamond will embark on a massive 50 Year Anniversary World Tour in 2017, beginning with 39 gigs in venues around North America – UK dates are set to be confirmed at some point early in the New Year.
Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said in a statement: “Neil Diamond is more than just a music icon. His singular artistry and talent has left an indelible mark on American culture and has helped shape the sound of popular music for five decades.”
The Jesus and Mary Chain release their first album in 18 years, 24 March
The Scottish noise-pop band are putting out their first studio record, Damage and Joy, since Munki was released in 1998.
Produced by Youth (Martin Glover of Killing Joke), the album features contributions from touring drummer Brian Young and former Lush bassist Phil King.
Depeche Mode new album, May
Fans of the iconic electronic band freaked out when it was announced that they would release a new album and tour in 2017.
Spirit sees the band work with James Ford, who was heavily involved in Arctic Monkey’s AM and Anton Corbijn, the renowned Dutch director and photographer who will produce visuals for the album’s global tour.
John Cale celebrates the 50th anniversary of The Velvet Underground and Nico, 26 May
John Cale plays his only UK show of the year, an outdoor performance at Liverpool’s historic docklands, in a celebration of the album that changed music forever. People will go bananas.
Aphex Twin headlines Field Day, 3 June
In a London exclusive, Field Day 2017 (which takes place over one day instead of two this year) has Aphex Twin headlining in its brand new stage The Barn – his first UK gig in five years.
Aerosmith farewell tour meets Download Festival, 11 June
Aero-Vederci Baby! The legendary rockers play their final UK festival as part of their farewell tour.
The Stone Roses tour, 13-24 June
After considerable speculation and a lot of hype around a rumoured new album, the Stone Roses announced four big UK stadium dates for summer 2017, Belfast, Wembley, Leeds and Glasgow.
Glastonbury Festival, 21-25 June
Radiohead are headlining their first festival slot since 2011 at the final Glastonbury before its traditional fallow year. The festival is expected to move locations for the 2019 date.
Radiohead’s appearance also coincides with the 20th anniversary of their landmark album OK Computer.
Need more new music? Check out our list of new artists to watch in 2017
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