The Year in Rock — U2, Lorde, Led Zeppelin and Other Newsmakers

Image Courtesy of Paolo PellegrinU2 took their partnership with tech giant Apple to the next level when they released their 2014 album, Songs of Innocence. The album was automatically downloaded for free into the iTunes account of every iTunes user in the world. While some U2 fans were more than happy to accept a new album for free, many others felt like the album's distribution method was an invasion of privacy. Bono apologized for the way Songs of Innocence was released, but he also said the album was "one of the proudest" moments in the band's career. The controversy didn't seem to bother Rolling Stone, however -- the publication named Songs of Innocence the best album of 2014.

Lorde followed up a huge 2013 with an ever bigger 2014. The New Zealand singer's hits "Royals" and "Team" continued to pick up steam throughout the year, resulting in Billboard naming her the Top Rock Artist of 2014. Lorde was also asked to curate the soundtrack for the new Hunger Games movie, Mockingjay: Part 1. The soundtrack gave Lorde another huge hit in "Yellow Flicker Beat."

Led Zeppelin continued to not reunite, but the legendary rock band did leave a mark on 2014 with their reissues of their first five albums. The reissues were remastered by Jimmy Page and featured demos and unreleased versions of the band's classic songs.

Beck released Morning Phase in 2014 -- his first album in six years. The album was characterized as a companion piece to the singer-songwriter's critically-acclaimed 2002 album, Sea Change. Morning Phase was similarly acclaimed, earning Grammy nominations for Album of the Year and Best Rock Album. Beck also received nominations for the album's single, "Blue Moon,"in the Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance categories.

Slipknot's 2014 was a comeback year for the band, having not released an album since 2008. The new album, .5: The Gray Chapter, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. It was also the first Slipknot album not to feature bassist Paul Gray and drummer Joey Jordinson. In support of the new album, Slipknot launched the Prepare to Hell Tour with special guests -- and fellow nu-metal pioneers -- Korn.

AC/DC had an up, down and strange year in 2014. The up: the classic hard rock band released their new album, Rock or Bust, which debuted at number three on the Billboard 200. The down: the album was the first not to feature Malcolm Young, as it was revealed that the guitarist is suffering from dementia. As for the strange, drummer Phil Rudd was charged with attempting to procure two murders, as well as possession of methamphetamine, possession of cannabis and threatening to kill. The murder-for-hire charge has been dropped, but Rudd still faces the other charges. Rudd has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

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