The Biggest Music Headlines of 2011

Looking back at the past year on our music blog, Heard Mentality, here's what stood out:

Rebecca Black, a 14-year-old from Anaheim, turns a mega-bad song into a mega-hit. Even bit players in the “Friday” video became famous. Benni Cinkle, we salute you!

• Long Beach-born and -raised musician Nate Dogg, born Nathaniel Dwayne Hale, passes away on March 15 due to stroke complications. As one of the architects of the West Coast rap sound, Hale, 41, was famous for collaborating with Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Dr. Dre and other members of Tha Dogg Pound. Hale's funeral, held at the Queen Mary dome, is attended by the above, plus Xzibit, DJ Quik and The Game.

Justin Timberlake buys MySpace with an Irvine-based company. Still no JT sightings in Costa Mesa, unfortunately.

• Metal band Sederra hold a benefit for the family of beaten-to-death-by-Fullerton-cops homeless man Kelly Thomas; unfortunately, they are accused of being publicity hounds. Not true!

Reel Big Fish's Aaron Barrett has a near-death experience on tour after a ruptured appendix.

Playground Festival, held at Hidden Valley Park in Irvine, infuriates Labor Day weekend attendees when various rap and hip-hop acts are no-shows, bands are placed on makeshift stages, and promises of VIP treatment and laser tag go unfulfilled. The event is subsequently dubbed the “Playground FAILstival.”

Monster Massive, an annual Halloween mega-rave, is purported to be happening at Oak Canyon Ranch in Silverado, with top DJ acts such as Armin van Buuren, Erick Morillo and Moby slated to perform. It's canceled two weeks before its Halloween date—this, after marketing and selling tickets for the 70,000-person rave.

Young the Giant, formerly of Irvine and Newport, is lauded by Morrissey, lands an MTV spot and plays the Hollywood Bowl, opening for Incubus. Talk about a success story.

Frances Bean Cobain, the 19-year-old daughter of the late, great, Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain, is possibly engaged to OC pop-rock band Rambles' front man, Isaiah Silva. At least, that's what Facebook says.

• Former Detroit Bar co-owner Jon Reiser buys the Galaxy Concert Theatre after failed attempts to revive the legendary Golden Bear in Huntington Beach. He renames the venue The Observatory.

Dustin Kensrue of Thrice announces that after 13 years of playing together, the Irvine-based experimental post-hardcore outfit have decided to take an indefinite hiatus. It doesn't appear to be the result of any malice between band members, but rather an issue of timing.

Sublime With Rome drummer Floyd “Bud” Gaugh quits the band. He explains that he's about to become a father and wants to spend more time with his family. You can't hate a guy for that, right?

• Oh, and a note to No Doubt, who teased us with song bits from their new album all year. We're waaaaaaaaaaaiting!

This column appeared in print as “The Biggest News of 2011.”

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