February 2020 Recap: Doomed Tour Announcements
Music headlines in February 2020 were dominated by bands announcing their touring plans for the year - treks that ultimately would not proceed as planned.
Even though the coronavirus pandemic had begun to invade the U.S., its dramatic impact on live music (and society as a whole) was not yet known. As such, bands pressed forward with touring announcements, assuming their plans wouldn't be affected. Treks from the Rolling Stones and Guns N’ Roses were among those announced in February.
Meanwhile, Ozzy Osbourne had to cancel his previously planned performance dates as he continued to seek treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Although the legendary singer would not take the stage, he still delivered the month’s biggest album - and one of the most celebrated old-school rock releases of the year - with Ordinary Man.
Elsewhere, Queen and Alice Cooper lent their musical muscle to a worthy cause, Elton John struck Oscar gold and classic rock invaded the Super Bowl. You can read more about the biggest stories from February 2020 below.
So Many Tour Announcements (Which Sadly Never Happened)
With 2020 still fresh and full of potential, many artists joyously announced their touring plans for the year. The Rolling Stones charted a North American run, while Guns N’ Roses planned a string of stadium shows. Foo Fighters geared up for their 25th anniversary by scheduling the Van tour, a trek to every city the band originally hit on its maiden voyage across the country. Meanwhile, Rage Against the Machine announced a highly anticipated reunion tour, which would have launched at the Coachella festival. Of course, these plans and many like them were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic that brought the live music industry to a halt. Still, a few notable bands did take the stage in February prior to the shutdown, including the Kiss and David Lee Roth twin bill and Eagles’ Hotel California shows.
Elton John and Bernie Taupin Win an Oscar
The legendary songwriting duo of Elton John and Bernie Taupin won an Academy Award in February for Best Original Song. Their Oscar-winning track, “(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again," came from John’s 2018 biopic Rocketman. Calling the victory “a dream,” John used much of his speech to honor his collaborator. "Thank you to Bernie, who has been the constant thing in my life. When I was screwed up, when I was normal, he was there for me," he noted. The Oscar win marked the second Academy Award of John’s career; he previously won a Best Original Song statue for "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from The Lion King in 1995. That tune was penned alongside Tim Rice, not Taupin - John’s collaborator for the majority of his recording career. As such, this marked the first Oscar win for Taupin.
Ozzy Osbourne Cancels Tour to Focus on Treatment, Still Releases New LP
After initially announcing his Parkinson’s diagnosis in January, Ozzy Osbourne officially canceled his 2020 tour plans in February so he could focus on treatment. The result meant that No More Tours 2, a trek the Prince of Darkness originally started in 2018, only to be repeatedly postponed, would once again be shelved. One plan that wouldn’t be altered: the release of Osbourne’s 12th solo album, Ordinary Man. Produced by Andrew Watt and featuring contributions by Elton John, Duff McKagan, Chad Smith and Post Malone, the LP was greeted with positive reviews and strong sales. It became the eighth album of Ozzy’s solo career to reach the Top 10, peaking at No. 3.
Queen and Alice Cooper Headline Australian Fire Benefit
With all the tragic headlines that flooded the news cycle in 2020, it's somewhat easy to forget the year began with the nation of Australia engulfed in wildfires. The disaster destroyed thousands of homes and scorched more than 46 million acres of land. In an effort to raise funds for relief, Queen and Alice Cooper headlined the Fire Fight Australia benefit concert. Notably, for the first time, Queen (with singer Adam Lambert) recreated the band’s iconic 1985 Live Aid performance. The performance included “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Radio Ga Ga,” “Hammer to Fall,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions,” along with late frontman Freddie Mercury’s classic audience call-and-repeat.
Classic Rock at the Super Bowl
Football’s biggest game and classic rock have historically gone hand-in-hand, and 2020 was no exception. Viewers watching the Feb. 2 game - which pit the San Francisco 49ers against the Kansas City Chiefs - were treated to a bevy of classic-rock sounds during the commercial breaks. Guns N’ Roses’ “Patience” was used in an ad for Saint Archer beer, while a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It, Black” helped shill Pepsi Zero Sugar. Meanwhile, Twisted Sister added the soundtrack to Facebook’s Super Bowl commercial and Warrant highlighted the big game spot from Walmart. Even though the game’s halftime show was headlined by pop stars Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, rock still showed up there. Snippets of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" and Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." were featured during the Latin stars’ performance.