2020 in rock music

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List of years in rock music

This article summarizes the events related to rock music for the year of 2020.






  • Breaking Benjamin's single "Far Away", featuring Scooter Ward of the band Cold, tops the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. It is the band's seventh song to top the chart, and Ward's first. It stays there for three consecutive weeks.[35]
  • Dance Gavin Dance releases their ninth studio album, Afterburner. The album debuts at number 14 on the Billboard 200, selling over 23,000 copies. The achievement is rare, as the Coronavirus pandemic led to the band releasing no physical copies of the album, and rock music often relying more on physical sales than digital and streaming in comparison to other genre. It is just short of being the band's best-selling debut as well.[36]
  • The Killers single "Caution", which features a guitar solo from Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac), tops the Billboard Rock Airplay and Alternative Songs charts. It is their first song to top the Rock Airplay chart, and their first in 13 years to top the Alternative Songs chart, a record, when their single "When You Were Young" topped the chart.[37]
  • The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues the trend of musicians livestreaming performances, especially of cover songs:
  • After being forced to cancel their farewell tour by the COVID-19 pandemic, Swiss band Krokus announce plans to reschedule the dates for 2021.[42]
  • The organizers of the French rock festival Hellfest, previously scheduled for June, tell fans that their insurance company, Albingia, has reneged on their contract and is refusing to pay for the cancellation of the 2020 festival,[43] because, Albingia claimed, "respiratory diseases were excluded from the contract".[44]
  • Two weeks after its cancelled cinema release, Chunky Shrapnel, a concert film by Australian band King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, is digitally premièred on Vimeo on-demand.[45]




  • Bring Me the Horizon's single "Parasite Eve" tops the UK Rock & Metal singles chart for a week.[56] It additionally tops the Billboard Hot Hard Rock chart in its first full week of tracking.[57]
  • South African recording artist Shaun Morgan, of the band Seether, tops the Billboard Hard Rock Songwriters chart, due to the success of the band's single "Dangerous" and promotional song "Bruised and Broken" charting well concurrently.[58]
  • Static X releases their seventh studio album Project Regeneration. The album is the first to be released posthumously after the death of frontman and band founder Wayne Static in 2014. The album uses vocal tracks of Static recorded prior to his death, during the Shadow Zone and Start a War recording sessions. A fair amount of controversy arose leading up to its release, including the recording of an album without Wayne Static's consent, using an anonymous singer in touring that was dressed like a deceased Wayne Static, and accusations from ex-guitarist Tripp Eisen that he had not been allowed to participate despite being a major contributor during the Shadow Zone and Start a War sessions the material originated from, feeling that they were "violating the memory" with changes being made to the content written during the time.[59][60][61]
  • Mongolian band The Hu top the UK Rock & Metal Albums Chart with the deluxe edition re-release of their 2019 debut album The Gereg,[62] newly released with guest vocals by Jacoby Shaddix, From Ashes to New, and Lzzy Hale.[63]


  • Shinedown tops the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart for a week with their song "Atlas Falls". It is their sixteenth song to top the chart, making them the band with the most number ones on the chart in its almost 40 years of existence.[64]
  • American rapper Machine Gun Kelly, in his efforts to move into a more rock-oriented pop punk direction, releases the single "My Ex's Best Friend". The song is a rare rock song to cross over into the all-format Billboard Hot 100, debuting at number 82 on the chart.[65][66] It later peaked at number 68 after a nationally televised performance of the song on the MTV Video Music Awards.[67]
  • Weezer's single "Hero" concurrently tops the Billboard Rock Airplay and Alternative Airplay charts. With the latter chart, it make the band, along with Green Day, the only bands to top the chart in three separate decades.[68]
  • The Killers release their sixth studio album, Imploding the Mirage. It tops the UK and Australian all-format album charts, moving 50,000 copies on the former chart.[69][70] In the US, it fares worse, reaching number 8, and moving 37,000 album equivalent units.[71]
  • Biffy Clyro tops the UK all-format album's chart chart with their ninth studio album, A Celebration of Endings. It is the band's third consecutive album to top the chart.[72]
  • Linkin Park announced a 20th anniversary release of their debut studio album Hybrid Theory, and release the previously unreleased song from the 1999 recording sessions for it, "She Couldn't".[73]
  • Metallica releases S&M2, a live album recorded with the San Francisco Symphony. It tops the Billboard Top Rock Albums chart, Hard Rock Albums chart, and Classical Albums chart, and reaches number 4 on the all-format Billboard 200 chart, moving 56,000 units. The album's lead single, a rendition of "All Within My Hands", tops the Billboard Mainstream Rock songs chart for four consecutive weeks. This make the band the first to have four different songs top the chart in four different decades.[74]


  • American rapper Machine Gun Kelly, in a large style change, releases his first pop punk album, Tickets to My Downfall.[75] The album, his fifth overall, topped the US Billboard 200 all-format albums chart in its opening week, moving 126,000 album equivalent units.[76] This makes it the best debut of his career to date, tripling the opening numbers for his prior album, Hotel Diablo in 2019, and made it the first rock album to top the chart in just over a year, since Tool's album Fear Inoculum in September 2019.[76][77]
  • A number of Machine Gun Kelly's songs cross-over to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 all-format chart on album release week too, including "My Ex's Best Friend" at number 28, "Forget Me Too" at number 44, "Bloody Valentine" at number 50, and "Drunk Face" at number 91.[78]
  • Deftones release their ninth studio album, Ohms.[79] It debuts at number five at on the Billboard 200, moving 49,000 album equivalent units.[80] All ten songs from the album charted on Billboard's Hot Hard Rock chart upon release as well.[81] The album was recorded in 2019, but not ready for release in the same year. Frontman Chino Moreno has stated that Stephen Carpenter's guitar riffs are more in the forefront of the album, and called it an experimental album similar to White Pony.[82]
  • UK rock band Doves reform and release their first album in over a decade, their fifth studio album The Universal Want. The album tops the UK all-format albums chart upon release week.[83]


  • Foo Fighters and Rise Against are among acts scheduled to participate in the online streaming performance for "Save Our Stages Fest," an effort to raise money for all those hurt by COVID-19's halting of the live music industry.[84]
  • Machine Gun Kelly's Tickets to My Downfall, in a rare feat for rock albums, remains in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 chart for multiple weeks after its debut, charting at number 6 in its second week, and rising to number 5 in its third week.[85][86]
  • British singer Cliff Richard, an early rock star, celebrates his 80th birthday by releasing a new album, as well as publishing a photograph of him as a child in India, where he was born.[87]
  • Forty-two years after its initial release, Fleetwood Mac's album Rumours returns to the top ten of the Billboard 200 chart, largely due to the song Dreams being used in a viral TikTok video.[86]
  • Bruce Springsteen releases his 20th studio album, Letter to You, which is his first album in six years. It debuts at number 2 on the Billboard 200, making Springsteen the first artist to have a top five album across six separate decades.[88]
  • Bring Me the Horizon becomes the first band to have three songs top the Billboard Hot Hard Rock songs chart, with "Parasite Eve", "Obey", and "Teardrops" all topping the chart on separate weeks.[89]
  • Jack White performs live on the U.S. nationally televised show Saturday Night Live, paying tribute to Eddie Van Halen by using one of Van Halen's signature guitars for the song "Lazaretto".[90]


  • Foo Fighters perform live on US National televised show Saturday Night Live on November 7, where they debut their new single, "Shame Shame".[91][92]
  • System of a Down surprise releases its first new music in over 15 years - two songs "Protect the Land" and "Genocidal Humanoidz". The songs are released to bring awareness of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war. Despite the song's release, the band retains its stance that another studio album is unlikely due to the band's internal strife and disagreements on how to proceed on it. The songs debut at number 1 and 2 respectively on the Billboard Hot Hard Rock songs chart.[93][94]
  • Wolfgang Van Halen, son of Eddie Van Halen, releases his debut song, "Distance", under the monniker "Mammoth WVH". The song is an ode to his father, and features Wolfgang playing all instruments and vocals.[95] It debut upon the top of the Billboard Hot Hard Rock chart.[96]
  • AC/DC releases their seventeenth studio album, Power Up. It debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 all-format albums chart and at the top of the US and UK album sales chart. Similar to Machine Gun Kelly, the band released the album in hopes of inspiring a younger generation to get into guitar-based rock music, though unlike Kelly, they stuck with their established rock sound for the album.[97][98][99]
  • Smashing Pumpkins release Cyr, a double album, on November 27, 2020.[100] Frontman Billy Corgan considers it the first real album to be released since the reformation of 3/4 of the band's original lineup in 2018, discounting the eight song Shiny and Oh So Bright album.[101] The album is the bands worst performing album to date, debuting at number 86 on the Billboard 200 chart, lower than Shiny, the previous low, at number 54.[102]




Band breakups[edit]


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