Music

Most Popular 2020 Music Stories in the Houston Press

NCT 127 were one of the few groups able to perform at RodeoHouston before the coronavirus-inspired shutdown.
NCT 127 were one of the few groups able to perform at RodeoHouston before the coronavirus-inspired shutdown. Photo by Reggie Mathalone
The pandemic dealt a crucial blow to music in Houston and around the world in 2020. As a review of this year's most-read stories shows, readers were excited to read about and attend in-person performances right up until the time that COVID-19 shut everything down.

In the following months, readers contented themselves with books, documentaries, TV specials and live streamed concerts. Here's what they thought was most important during the past year, pre- and post-COVID.

L-R: Don Henley, Deacon Frey and Joe Walsh - PHOTO BY ROBYN TUAZON
L-R: Don Henley, Deacon Frey and Joe Walsh
Photo by Robyn Tuazon

Eagles in Houston

Surprisingly, or maybe not, the most popular Houston Press music story in 2020 was a review of the Eagles by Jesse Sendejas Jr. with photos by Robyn Tuazon that was published on March 6, about a week or so before who were in town for a two-night stand.
click to enlarge Gwen Stefani was in the line-up. - PHOTO BY HOUSTON LIVESTOCK SHOW AND RODEO
Gwen Stefani was in the line-up.
Photo by Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
Star Entertainer Lineup at RodeoHouston

It was all systems go when the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo announced its Star Entertainer Lineup in January. After just a few shows in March, however, the city of Houston threw in the towel and declared it wasn't safe after the first known area cases of the coronavirus popped up. The result: RodeoHouston shut down.


Ian Shultis as Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle in Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash. - SCREENSHOT/ CLEOPATRA ENTERTAINMENT
Ian Shultis as Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle in Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash.
Screenshot/ Cleopatra Entertainment
Watch Street Survivors The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash

A lot of people were intrigued by the movie done about one of the biggest rock tragedies — the plane crash that took the lives of several band members and crew.

Musicians Billy Preston, George Harrison, and Ravi Shankar (right) visit President Gerald Ford in the Oval Office on December 13, 1974. - PHOTO BY  DAVID HUME KENNERLY/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/PUBLIC DOMAIN
Musicians Billy Preston, George Harrison, and Ravi Shankar (right) visit President Gerald Ford in the Oval Office on December 13, 1974.
The Quiet Beatle Was Anything But Silent

A book featuring scores of interviews over the years by George Harrison of the Beatles captured the attention of a lot of our readers in a review by Bob Ruggiero.



Kenny Rogers performing in 2007. -  PHOTO BY SHEILA HERMAN/WIKICOMMONS
Kenny Rogers performing in 2007.
Kenny Rogers Dies at 81

Writer Bob Ruggiero wrote about the death and life of Kenny Rogers, including his deep ties to Houston, where he was born.
Blue October was going to headline Mardi Gras Galveston 2020 - PHOTO BY ABEL LONGORIA
Blue October was going to headline Mardi Gras Galveston 2020
Photo by Abel Longoria

Blue October and Bowling for Soup and Mardi Gras Galveston

Mardi Gras Galveston 2020 was all set. Headliners Blue October and Bowling For Soup were announced in January. About a month later, the annual festivities were canceled. Crowds of happily inebriated people vying for beads promised to be a super spreader event, masks or not.



Navigating Houston with a playlist designed for calm during the pandemic. - PHOTO BY GLADYS FUENTES
Navigating Houston with a playlist designed for calm during the pandemic.
Photo by Gladys Fuentes
Stay Calm and Listen to Good Music: A Coronavirus Playlist

In the beginning there was the coronavirus and a playlist curated by writer/photographer Gladys Fuentes to help everyone deal with their fears. Nine months later, it still comes in handy.

Red Dwarf, a coffee shop bar restaurant and music venue. - PHOTO BY VJ
Red Dwarf, a coffee shop bar restaurant and music venue.
Photo by VJ
A New Midtown Venue: Red Dwarf

When Red Dwarf opened in July, it had positioned itself not just as a bar with a lot of live music but as a bar and coffee shop that as a restaurant was able to better contend with the state regulations governing what businesses could open and what could not.


Talking Heads at the Esmerelda Theater, NYC, 1978: Jerry Harrison, Chris Frantz, David Byrne, and Tina Weymouth - PHOTO AND COPYRIGHT BY EBET ROBERTS/COURTESY OF ST. MARTIN'S PRESS
Talking Heads at the Esmerelda Theater, NYC, 1978: Jerry Harrison, Chris Frantz, David Byrne, and Tina Weymouth
Photo and copyright by Ebet Roberts/Courtesy of St. Martin's Press
Chris Frantz Remembers Talking Heads and Tina

An interview with Chris Frantz about his days with Talking Heads, the Tom Tom Club and his relationship with Tina Weymouth by Bob Ruggiero had a lot of people catching up with the classic rocker.


It was a happy moment for Willie Nelson at the tribute concert in his honor. - PHOTO BY JOSHUA TIMMERMANS/COURTESY OF A&E
It was a happy moment for Willie Nelson at the tribute concert in his honor.
Photo by Joshua Timmermans/Courtesy of A&E
Country Legends Willie and Kenny (and Their Friends) Shine on Pair of Specials

In lieu of in-person performances, our readers were interested in two televised specials in April: Willie Nelson and Kenny Rogers. The first was an all-star tribute concert to Nelson; the second a posthumous documentary that aired in the month after his death. 
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
The Houston Press is a nationally award-winning, 32-year-old publication ruled by endless curiosity, a certain amount of irreverence, the desire to get to the truth and to point out the absurd as well as the glorious.
Contact: Houston Press