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Jim Cooper, Associated Press
One of the coolest concerts this year featured the band Fall Out Boy at the E Center.

As 2007 winds down, it's time to think about the funky and funny things that happened in the music business this year.

From Britney Spears' ongoing substance abuse and custody battle, to the Eagles releasing an album some 25 years after the band's last studio album, to Led Zeppelin's reunion for the Ahmet Ertegun tribute, there was a lot of music talk.

Some was bad (Spears' dismal performance on the MTV Music Awards). Some was sad — the passing of Dan Fogelberg and Hawthorne Heights' Casey Calvert, and the cocaine overdose of Quiet Riot vocalist Kevin DuBrow.

Some was boring (the overkill on Britney Spears).

But some things were fun, such as the aforementioned Eagles album, "Long Road to Eden," outselling Britney Spears' album, "Blackout" by 500,000 the first week of release. As of two weeks ago, "Long Road Out of Eden" had sold more than 3 million copies, becoming the fifth best-selling album of 2007.

Here are some of the best, the worst and the unexplainable things that happened in the 2007 music scene.

Best concert in large venue: ZZ Top, The Pretenders and the Stray Cats at the USANA Amphitheatre — The Stray Cats show why Rockabilly can be loved by punk rockers, classic rockers and emo fans. The Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde is still cool to the point of belligerence. And while ZZ Top is the same three guys with the same three notes, they still can rock.

Best metal concert in medium-sized venue: Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie and In This Moment at the E Center — The elder statesman of metal can still "Bark at the Moon" and Zombie's theatrics only enhanced the show. In This Moment's lead singer, Maria Brink, is gearing up to be the next Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy.

Best angst-ridden small concert in a medium-sized venue: Tori Amos at the E Center — Amos brought to life the personas Pip and Tori of her album "American Doll Posse," and enchanted, bewitched and serenaded the less than 900 people in attendance.

Best concert in a smaller-than-medium-sized venue: Loreena McKennitt at Kingsbury Hall. Her ethereal voice and exotic compositions led the sold-out audience from the cosy seats of the hall to the "Gates of Istanbul."

Coolest collaboration of instruments: Bela Fleck's banjo and Chick Corea's piano at Red Butte Garden — The music did the talking and, surprisingly, the audience was uncharacteristically quiet.

Loudest concert: Tool at the E Center — That pretty much sums it up.

Loudest concert audience: The sold-out crowd at the Hannah Montana concerts at the EnergySolutions Arena was enough to cause the ears of at least a few parents to feel as if they were bleeding.

Why Billy Joel's concert at the EnergySolutions Arena didn't sell out: All the parents were paying scaplers and eBay enormous sums of money so their kids could attend one or both of the Hannah Montana shows.

Coolest concert to attend with 11-year-old daughter: Fall Out Boy, +44, Cobra Starship and The Academy Is at the E Center — It was my baby's first punk-rock show, what else can I say?

Best concert to see with a 14-year-old daughter: Trans-Siberian Orchestra at the EnergySolutions Arena — Who says teenagers can't cry?

Bad vocal mix award: The aforementioned Tool show — No one could hear lead singer Maynard James Keenan's voice.

Best engineered and mixed concert: Mannheim Steamroller at the E Center — Even the toy train display had a church-choir recording.

Worst role model: Britney Spears

Best role model: Lamb of God vocalist Randy Blythe. He missed last year's Grammys because his two sons have myotonic muscular dystrophy. He plans to auction off his award to raise money to help find a cure.

Nice new trend: Influx of Japanese bands — L'Arc-en-Ciel, Dir en Grey, Oreskaband, Polysics, Peelander Z, etc.

Best trend with cautionary twist for cash: Rock star autobiographies — Nikki Sixx's "Heroin Diaries," Eric Clapton's "Clapton," Ron Wood's "Ronnie: the Autobiography," Slash and bandmate Scott Weiland's respective "Slash" and yet untitled work.

Best comeback: Alicia Keys

Cool reunions: The Police, Genesis, The Stooges, David Lee Roth and the Van Halen boys

Best comeback album for the money: Eagles' "The Long Road Out of Eden" cost less than $20 — The two-disc release is available physically only at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club. But fans can order it from Amazon.com and fye.com.

Worst comeback attempt: Britney Spears, isn't it obvious by now?

Best looking couple: Jessica Simpson and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo

Previously best looking couple: Jessica Simpson and John Mayer

Music biz power couple: Jay-Z and Beyonce

Most dysfunctional couple: Amy Winehouse and Blake Fielder-Civil (Winehouse's song "Rehab" was so prophetic)

Rest in peace: Dan Fogelberg, Rock pioneer Ike Turner, vocalist Kevin DuBrow, Hawthorne Heights' Casey Calvert, bassist Emil Brenkus, bluesman Jerry Ricks, trumpeter Jose Luis Aquino, rapper Chad "Pimp C" Butler, Latin jazzman Carlos Valdes, country singer James Nesbitt, Cecil Payne, jazzman Ernest "Doc" Paulin, country singer Chickie Williams, country singer Hank Thompson, patriarch of the Osmond clan George Osmond, Robert Goulet, country singer Porter Wagoner, reggae artist Lucky Dube, Joey Bishop, Teresa Brewer, the Moody Blues' Nicky James, rapper Big Moe, Evelyn Knight, TV-cartoon-theme singer Randy Van Horne, Emerson Drive's Patrick Bourque, funk singer Bobby Byrd, jazz keyboardist Joe Zawinul, the Outlaws' Hughie Thomasson, Luciano Pavarotti, Boston singer Brad Delp, Rockabilly pioneer Janis Martin, CBGB's nightclub owner Hilly Kristal, drummer Max Roach, band manager (and Sharon Osbourne's father) Don Arden, Bumbershoot Festival founder Jack Fearey, the Drifters' Bill Pinkney, "Yakety Sax" Boots Randolph, opera singer Beverly Sills, Marshall Tucker Band guitarist George McCorkle, the Platters' Zola Taylor, former "Tonight Show" saxophonist Tommy Newsom, cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, Bobby "Boris" Pickett, country-music producer Glenn Sutton, Don Ho, guitarist Mark St. John, Buena Vista Social Club singer Faustino Oramas, "Skip a Rope" singer Henson Cargill, Boys Choir of Harlem founder Walter Turnbull, Luther Ingram, Betty Hutton, musician/singer Billy Thorpe, band leader/drummer Bobby Rosengarden, King Crimson's Ian Wallace, Fender guitar pioneer Bill Carson, "Name that Tune" co-creator Roberta Semple Salter, hip-hop producer David "Disco D" Shayman, The Mamas & the Papas' Denny Doherty, Social Distortion's Brent Liles, Duran Duran producer Colin Thurston, jazz saxman Michael Brecker, jazz trombonist Jimmy Cheatham, country singer Del Reeves, jazz pianist Oscar Peterson and choreographer Michael Kidd to name just a few.

Here's hoping 2008 will keep the music alive.

E-mail: scott@desnews.com