Of all the legends of classic rock, Eric Clapton is among the most successful over the last two decades. Though his time with the Yardbirds, Derrick and the Dominoes and Cream made him an icon of the 1960s and 1970s, he has maintained a place in contemporary music while some of his peers may have faded from view.
Over the last decade, Slowhand has continued to tour and record new music, and he's planning on furthering the trend in 2013. Clapton recently announced an extensive U.S. tour that kicks off on March 14 before culminating at the much-anticipated Crossroads Guitar Festival on April 12 and 13 at Madison Square Garden.
Clapton's resurgence as a force in the industry began more than 20 years ago. He was years removed from songs like "Crossroads" and "White Room," but when he recorded his now-legendary Unplugged album, Clapton was once again atop the music world. The 1992 album perfectly showcases Clapton's technical skill and songwriting prowess, taking listeners through an acoustic take on classics like "Layla" and newer songs such as "Tears in Heaven," an emotional eulogy to his deceased son.
Clapton's unplugged album earned him six Grammy awards including Album of the Year and Song of the Year, and helped set the stage for what would prove to be an impressive decade. He released a number of popular tunes throughout the 90s that helped introduce him to a younger audience. Songs such as his cover of "Change the World" and 1998's "My Father's Eyes," made were hits among a diverse audience.
More recently, Clapton has not slowed down. He continues to perform with some of the most talented guitarists from across generations. Over the last several years he has played with the likes of Keith Richards, Jeff Beck (who was also a member of the Yarbirds) and Gary Clark, Jr., one of the most skilled emerging guitarists. His 2010 album, Clapton, was a critical and commercial success and peaked inside the top 10 on the Billboard 200 charts.
In 2013, Clapton's participation in the Crossroad Guitar Festival is especially important because it marks his 50th year in the music industry. Since it first launched in 2004, the festival has brought together some of best guitarists in history and 2013's is no different. The two-day event will feature the likes of Buddy Guy, John Mayer, BB King and Vince Gill.
Not many performers can measure up to Cher. For nearly 50 years, the singer-turned-actress has been among the best in the business, and she is one of the few people who can lay claim to an Oscar, a Grammy and an Emmy. Still, despite her popularity she has toured less and less over the years. That all changed recently, when she announced via Twitter she will hit the road in 2013.
Although Cher has been performing in Las Vegas the last several years, the announcement signals the beginning of her first concert tour in around six years. The tour is expected to kick off around Valentine's Day and she has already teased her legions of fans with some details on her Twitter account.
"Oh my God!! Just saw the sets 4 the show!!! I cant show u cause you’d never 4give me!" she tweeted recently. "There's so much magic I am breathless!"
The tour comes at a good time for the "If I Could Turn Back Time" singer. She is getting ready to release her first new album in more than 10 years this Christmas, and she has already let leak that one of the tunes is a duet with none other than Lady Gaga.
Cher's most recent album was 2001's Living Proof, which performed relatively well and cracked the top 10 on the Billboard 200 charts. Despite her long time away, it would be unwise to doubt Cher's ability to rise to prominence once again; she's done it time and time again throughout her career.
Most everyone remembers her most recent comeback, which was sparked by the release of her 1998 megahit Believe. Paced by the popular title track, the album went on to sell 20 million albums across the globe (her best selling album) and earned a Grammy for Best Dance Recording.
A comeback tour seems like the next logical step for Cher, who has become increasingly more visible in recent years. Most notably, she starred in the 2010 film “Burlesque” alongside Christina Aguilera, which was her first movie role since 2003.
At 66, Cher is one of the most well-known and experienced stars in the entertainment industry, and though she's quickly approaching 70, there's no telling how long she'll be performing.
For much of the last two decades, there have been no country music stars bigger than Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw. Separately, they have each sold tens of millions of records and racked up hit album after hit album. Now the two iconic singers have teamed up for the Brothers of the Sun Tour; crisscrossing the country and bringing one of the best shows in music to 19 different cities.
Whether you're more a fan of Chesney's Tennessee twang on songs such as "Keg in the Closet" and "Young," or prefer McGraw's more wistful, ballad-driven catalogue, it's hard to deny both of their places in the pantheon of country music performers. In fact, both Chesney and McGraw consider one another great friends, yet this marks just the first time in the last 10 years the two performers have hit the road together. Before the tour kicked off on June 2 in Tampa, Florida, it was clear both were excited to get going.
"Our friendship was forged on the road, so it's going to be a blast heading out with Kenny again," said McGraw in a statement. "We'll be having as much fun on stage as the fans will be having in the audience."
A quick look at each singer's resume reveals how instrumental they are to the country music industry. Since Chesney's 1994 debut In My Wildest Dreams, he has arguably been the most consistent musician not only in country, but in the whole industry. He has earned numerous Academy of Country Music Awards along with an astonishing 20 number one hits on the country charts. With timeless tunes including "Summertime" and "Don't Blink," he has continued to produce popular tracks well into the 2000s.
As for McGraw, his track record is just as impressive. He released his self-titled debut in 1993, but it was his sophomore album Not a Moment Too Soon that set him down the path to stardom. The record vaulted to the top of the Billboard 200 chart and was the best selling album of 1994. Since then he has gone on to sell approximately 40 million albums and has proven to be among the most versatile talents in the industry.
The Brothers of the Sun Tour may already be underway, but it has a number of future dates already set. McGraw and Chesney will be visiting the likes of Indianapolis, Cleveland and New Orleans before wrapping up the tour on August 25, 2012, in Foxboro, Massachusetts.