Boiled down to its chaotic standout moments, 2011 feels simultaneously like it was both a but few weeks and a whole lifetime ago.
Earthquakes wrought havoc in New Zealand and Japan, with a magnitude 6.3 event killing 185 and injuring thousands more in Christchurch. Then, just over two weeks later, a magnitude 9 strike dwarfed it and launched a 30ft tsunami towards the Japanese mainland, reportedly killing over 22,000 and causing an explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant – the second worst nuclear accident in history.
Osama Bin Laden – the al Qaeda founder and suspected mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks a decade earlier – was killed by special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2, ending one of the biggest manhunts in world history. Elsewhere, the withdrawal of U.S. troops in December ended the Iraq war after eight long, bloody years.
London was burning again, too, with riots breaking out across England following the shooting of Mark Duggan by police in Tottenham, with the violent clashes leading to a further five deaths and £200 million of property damage.
In pop culture, legendary Hollywood hellraiser Charlie Sheen was fired from CBS sitcom Two And A Half Men for “dangerously self-destructive conduct” before carrying out some of the most memorable TV interviews ever, claiming to be a "warlock" with "tiger blood" and "Adonis DNA".
The Harry Potter cinematic saga came to a close as well, after shifting 450 million books and taking over $6 billion at the international box office, with Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows finally reaching cinemas in July. Meanwhile, catering for those movies’ maturing audience, HBO premiered its new fantasy show Game Of Thrones in April.
Rock and metal seemed to be in something of a transitional phase, too, with acts that would dominate the next decade hitting their stride as legends got experimental and newcomers aggressively broke through. So let’s look back over 20 of the most memorable releases celebrating their 10th birthday this year.