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The Best Things You'll Read This Year: 14 from '14

The Editors of Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Prog and The Blues Magazine choose the 14 stories from 2014 they're most proud of publishing this year.

14 of our favourite feature stories and interviews from 2014. From the streets of Flint, Michigan, to the hospital bed of Walter Trout, via drinks with Lemmy in the Gulf of Mexico. 14 fantastic tales of sex, drugs and full blast f*ckery to discover thanks to TeamRock+, the new way to read Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog magazines for less than £1 a week. (Registered members can read 3 stories from our magazines every 30 days or you sign up for a free 30 day trial.). Happy new year!

From the archive

1. Mastodon: Unstuck, Unhinged & Unleashed In Atlanta

Metal Hammer Deputy Editor Merlin Alderslade Says: ”Mastodon are always great value, but when we sent Paul Brannigan all the way into Atlanta to step directly into their habitat, we had no idea what we would find. What Paul returned with was a fascinating insight into life inside one of metal's most brilliant bands and a feature that ranks alongside the finest we've been fortunate enough to be involved in.” We also sent a video crew – the videos are now embedded in the piece, along with Travis Shinn’s amazing hotshot for the kind of multi-media story that TeamRock was built for. 

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From the archive

2. Johnny Winter – the definitive tribute

The Blues Magazine isn't available yet on TeamRock+ (give us a few months) but in the meantime you can enjoy three stories from their back pages, including this quick and masterful response to Johnny Winter's death. 

Says Editor Ed Mitchell: "Winter’s passing on July 16 this year took us all by surprise, not least Joe Bonamassa who was bumped from the cover of issue 15 of The Blues magazine in favour of the recently-departed Texan. Mary Lou Sullivan wrote the tribute from the perspective of Winter’s biographer – she’s the author of Raisin' Cain: The Wild and Raucous Story of Johnny Winter – and his friend and confidante. The mix of historical fact (the good, the bad and the unbecoming) and her personal recollections made it the most well rounded and honest tribute to Johnny Winter written this year."   

From the archive

3. When Johnny Winter Met Joe Perry

…And months before his death, Classic Rock 198 brought together two guitar playing legends in the same room for the first time. Johnny death gave this piece added poignancy. Perry later paid his respects by writing the obituary for Classic Rock.

From the archive

4. Jimmy Page – The Classic Rock Interview

Classic Rock Deputy Editor Dave Everley says: "Paul Elliott's sit-down with the Led Zeppelin driving force was as definitive an interview as you'll read with the man in 2014."

From the archive

5. King 810: Welcome To Hell, USA

One of 2014's most controversial bands, Metal Hammer's Dom Lawson went to Flint, Michigan, to understand the world of King 810. "Underneath the hype there's a real story of Flint Michigan misfits," says Hammer Editor In Chief Alexander Milas, "and between Dom Lawson's words and Travis Shinn's ability to find the fascinating in the mundane, this was eye-opening stuff." TeamRock's video department also went along for the ride and their two-part documentary is included in this TeamRock+ piece.

From the archive

6. Walter Trout by Henry Yates

An exclusive interview with a man whose life was hanging in the balance. "Henry had just completed Trout’s biography – Rescued From Reality – when he wrote the cover feature for The Blues Magazine," says Editor Ed Mitchell. "It was an emotionally draining experience for both of them but Henry balanced the tragedy of Trout’s predicament with some laugh out loud, occasionally jaw-dropping anecdotes."

From the archive

7. King Crimson: The Return of the The King

Prog Editor Jerry Ewing: "The return of King Crimson to the live stage was something most prog fans never thought they'd see again. Sid Smith got inside access to the band's final dress rehearsal and, even though it hadn't been on the agenda, secured an interview with the recluisive Robert Fripp  giving an insight as to why he's resurrected the band. Some great candid off the wall shots of the band relaxing at rehearsal too."

From the archive

8. Homophobia In Metal 

Dayal Patterson's feature from Metal Hammer issue 262 was chosen by Hammer Editor In Chief Alexander Milas: "A brave, well-researched illumination of metal's strange relationship with homosexuality, and a massive helping of food for thought."

From the archive

9. Tom Scholz: Boston's Reluctant Boffin

Paul Elliott's profile of Boston's Tom Sholz take you inside the weird world of rock's ultimate nerd as he spills opens up about Brad Delp, his legendary perfectionism and more.  Even an eavesdropping manager couldn't stop it.

From the archive

10. Michael Chapman by Charles Shaar Murray

Another selection from The Blues Magazine's Ed Mitchell: "The story of how Brit folk troubadour Chapman unknowingly cut a great live blues record – the tapes surfaced this year - when he played a solo gig at a club called The Folk Cottage near Newquay in Cornwall on Good Friday, March 24, 1967. Charlie Murray is always worth a read of course but he really sank his teeth into this one, bringing the era to life, and getting a great story from his friend Michael Chapman."

From the archive

11. Motorhead: The Old Man And The Sea

Says TeamRock Editor in Chief Alexander Milas: "A very entertaining take on the newest, weirdest format for gigs that's sweeping the world of rock and metal. 'Think Hard Rock Hell with hot tubs, on the high seas, with a hard-on?' I'd rather not, but this piece killed it just the same."

From the archive

12. Pink Floyd - The Making of The Endless River 

 A fitting send off for the biggest-selling prog rock band ever. "Not only did Daryl deliver the inside story of the album," says Prog Editor Jerry Ewing, "but also placed it in a sonic and historical context with the band's recorded past. And there was a fitting tribute to Richard Wright as well."

From the archive

13. The Confessions Of Billy Idol

There's more to Classic Rock than tales of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. But sometimes that'll do nicely.

From the archive

14. Robert Plant: The Maverick Returns

Nick Hasted's revealing portrait of Robert Plant would have a cover story in a normal issue. In Classic Rock's end-of-year spectacular, it's just another feature about a man who's tasted fame but wants to do more than just repeat himself. Grounded, charming and full of integrity: meet the rock star you'd love to have a New Year pint with...

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