2009 was the year of the intended return of one of the greatest pop stars of all time. In the end, although he will be sadly missed, he did make a glorious return on the pop charts and on the movie screen.
One of the defining events of pop music in 2009 was the untimely death of Michael Jackson. It occurred in the midst of rehearsals for what could have been one of the biggest pop music comebacks of all time. Despite his death, Michael Jackson did return in music sales in glorious fashion. His greatest hits collection Number Ones was the top selling album in the US for six weeks and has sold nearly three million copies this year. It won the award for Favorite Pop/Rock album at this year's American Music Awards. This Is It, the soundtrack for Jackson's concert rehearsal film, topped the US album chart in early November.
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Following his 2005 greatest hits collection Curtain Call, many believed Eminem would be finished with solo recording for good. Following a period of personal turmoil including the end of his remarriage to Kim and a battle with addiction to prescription drugs, Eminem returned with the album Relapse. It debuted at #1 and sold over 600,000 copies in the first week of release in the US. The single "Crack a Bottle" went all the way to the top of the charts, only the second of Eminem's career.
Watch "We Made You"
After the relative commercial disappointment of Kelly Clarkson's album My December, many began writing her pop obituary. However, she came roaring back to the pop center stage this year with the #1 album All I Ever Wanted. It included "My Life Would Suck Without You," her first #1 pop single since her debut "A Moment Like This." By late fall the album had produced three top 20 pop singles.
Watch "Already Gone"
Barbra Streisand had not really gone away, but when the album Love Is the Answer topped the charts it marked Streisand's first trip to the top of the album chart in twelve years. She became the only artist to hit #1 on the album chart in each of the last five decades. This is her ninth #1 album overall.
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The return of Whitney Houston to recording was announced by Clive Davis as far back as March 2007. When she finally released the album I Look To You in August of 2009 it went straight to the top of the charts with her career best first week sales of over 300,000 copies. The single "Million Dollar Bill" became her first top 10 hit in the UK in nine years.
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The heavy rock band Creed announced their breakup back in 2004. In late 2008 Rolling Stone stated that a public statement about a Creed reunion was "imminent." The official announcement came in April. Full Circle, the band's first studio effort in eight years, hit stores in October this year. It rolled into #2 on the album chart the first week of release and included the top 10 rock single "Overcome."
R&B singer Maxwell topped the album chart for the first time in 2001 with his collection titled Now. Then he took nearly eight years off before release of this year's BLACKsummers' Night. It was almost as if Maxwell had never left when he rolled back to the top of the album chart and topped the R&B and adult contemporary singles charts with the hit "Pretty Wings."
Watch "Pretty Wings"
Alt rock band Third Eye Blind were pop radio favorites in the late 90s with such hits as "Semi-Charmed Life" and "How's It Going to Be." However, they never really met with the same success on the album chart. This year the group came roaring back with Ursa Major, their first studio album in six years. It landed on the charts as Third Eye Blind's first top 10 ever with a peak of #3.
Watch "Don't Believe a Word"
9. No Doubt
As 2009 began, the return of No Doubt looked like one of the big pop music stories of the year. They were planning to tour and also spoke of work on a new album. The tour has been a success, but new recorded music still seems far away. Fans still wait the follow up to the band's last studio effort, the 2001 smash Rock Steady.
10. Sugar Ray
Sugar were ever-present on pop radio in the late 90s with hits like "Fly" and "Every Morning." However, success seemed to just fade away with the disappointing commercial fortunes of 2003's In the Pursuit of Leisure. Six years later the band is back with the album Music for Cougars and the same sunny disposition that has all endeared them to pop fans.
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