Taylor Swift's 'Red' turns 10, plus more pop culture anniversaries to look out for in 2022

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As the New Year approaches, Wonderwall.com is taking a look at all the pop culture anniversaries coming our way in 2022… starting with a milestone for Taylor Swift’s seminal album “Red,” which landed a decade earlier in 2012 and showed her first experimentation with straightforward pop — a departure from her country music origins. Working with hitmaker Max Martin for the first time, Taylor proved that her talents transcend genres. The chart-topping collection spent seven weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, making her the first female artist and the second act since The Beatles to have three consecutive albums spend at least six weeks at the top. “Red” appeared on several publications’ lists of the best albums of the 2010s and ranked at No. 99 in the 2020 revision of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list.

Keep reading to see more pop culture anniversaries on the horizon…

RELATED: Celebrities and pop culture events we’re thankful for in 2021

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Marvel’s “The Avengers” film franchise launched a decade ago in 2012. “The Avengers” was the sixth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the first featuring the entire crew of the beloved comic heroes banding together. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner quickly became one of film’s most profitable ensembles when the action flick stormed out of the gate at the box office. It grossed more than $1.5 billion worldwide, setting numerous box office records and becoming both the third highest grossing film of all time and the highest grossing film of 2012, as well as the first Marvel production to generate $1 billion in ticket sales.

RELATED: Marvel superheroes, sidekicks, antiheroes and Avengers ranked

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2022 marks 20 years since “American Idol” first hit the small screen in 2002. The show became an overnight TV sensation when the singing competition aired on FOX that summer. It made stars out of judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson as well as host Ryan Seacrest and became one of the most successful shows in the history of American television as it remained a ratings sensation for years and launched the careers of many bona fide stars. For an unprecedented eight consecutive years, either its performance show or result show was ranked No. 1 in U.S. television ratings. Season 1 crowned a then-unknown Kelly Clarkson as the winner and her first single, “A Moment Like This,” went on to break a 38-year-old record held by The Beatles for a song’s biggest leap to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Kelly has gone on to enjoy multiple platinum albums, a number of Top 10 hit singles, three Grammy Awards and now an Emmy-winning run as a daytime talk show host.

RELATED: Kelly Clarkson’s biggest career moments

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Twenty-five years ago, “Titanic” became a culture-dominating sensation, captivating the world with its epic romance told aboard the ill-fated ship’s maiden voyage and turning lead actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet into movie stars. There was major buzz about James Cameron’s incredible tale before its release as it was the most expensive film ever made at the time, with a production budget of $200 million. But the drama had no trouble recouping the cost with an initial worldwide gross of more than $1.84 billion, making it the first movie to reach the billion-dollar mark. It remained the highest grossing film of all time until James’s follow-up film “Avatar” surpassed it in 2010. It also achieved significant critical success and received numerous accolades including 11 Academy Awards. After nabbing the coveted best picture trophy, it tied “Ben-Hur” for the most Oscars won by a single film.

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In February 2012, music legend Whitney Houston was found unresponsive at the Beverly Hilton hotel, submerged in a bathtub. She was soon pronounced dead and the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office later reported that her death was caused by drowning and the effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use. The tragic news of her death made headlines the day before the Grammy Awards and sent shockwaves through the music industry. Jennifer Hudson performed a tribute to the singer at the Grammys while Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys performed at her funeral. The single “I Will Always Love You” returned to the Billboard Hot 100 after almost 20 years, peaking at No. 3 and becoming a posthumous Top 10 single for Whitney. She was one of the most awarded and bestselling recording artists of all time, having sold over 200 million records worldwide. The vocal powerhouse was certified as the bestselling female R&B artist of the 20th century by the RIAA and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020.

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Long before BTS began breaking records, K-pop received its first major introduction to a global audience thanks to South Korean singer Psy and his inescapable track “Gangnam Style,” which was released 10 years ago in 2012. The title is a reference to a lifestyle associated with the Gangnam District of Seoul. The song quickly went viral with its catchy beat and over-the-top music video featuring a highly mimicked dance routine. It peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped music charts in more than 30 countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and the United Kingdom. It was recognized by the Guinness World Records as the most liked video on YouTube at the time and became the first clip on the platform to reach 1 billion views.

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HBO mob drama “The Sopranos” changed the face of television forever when it premiered in 1999, becoming one of the small screen’s most celebrated series to date. Over the course of six seasons, it garnered 21 Primetime Emmy Awards and five Golden Globe Awards and both TV Guide and Rolling Stone declared it the best TV series of all time. Fifteen years ago, Tony Soprano’s journey came to an end with the 2007 series finale. The final season received great ratings and a glowing critical response, but the final episode stirred up an onslaught of controversy. The last scene famously sees the Sopranos family sitting at the table of a local diner, and just as daughter Meadow enters to meet her relatives with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” blaring from the speakers, the entire thing abruptly cuts to black before the credits start rolling. The choice became a major water cooler moment, with many fans angry that they didn’t get more closure. Show creator David Chase has insisted that it was not his intention to stir controversy, but the ambiguity over the ending and question of whether Tony was murdered has continued for years following the finale’s original broadcast.

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“The Twilight Saga” was a box office behemoth in the late ’00s and early ’10s, breaking numerous records with its five films. The vampire romance based on the bestselling book series came to a close with the release of 2012’s “Breaking Dawn – Part 2” ten years ago. The franchise made household names out of stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson and grossed a massive $3.3 billion worldwide. The final film sees protagonist Bella Swan as a vampire embarking on a mission to save her daughter and the family of her immortal love, Edward, from the dangerous Volturi. Like its predecessors, the film didn’t win over many critics, but it was a box office success, earning nearly $830 million worldwide and becoming the sixth highest grossing film of 2012 and the highest grossing film of the entire franchise.

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It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since Harry Potter first hit bookshelves with the U.K. release of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” J.K. Rowling’s novel introduced young readers across the world to the teen wizard and his friends Ron and Hermione and transported millions of readers to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It won numerous awards on both sides of the Atlantic and eventually reached the top of The New York Times list of bestselling fiction, staying there for most of 1999 and 2000. It has been translated into at least 73 other languages and sold in excess of 120 million copies, making it the second bestselling novel of all time. It spawned six hit sequels — all of which have been adapted into blockbuster feature films — which together have sold more than 500 million copies worldwide, making it the bestselling book series in history.

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Paris Hilton had become a tabloid fixture by the mid-’00s, but 15 years ago, her trip to jail became one of the year’s biggest news stories. In 2006, the socialite was arrested by the LAPD for driving under the influence of alcohol. She pleaded no contest to a reckless driving change and got probation and had her license suspended. But in 2007, she was busted for driving with a suspended license twice, and prosecutors pounced. She was sentenced to 45 days in jail and served a few weeks of it in a Los Angeles jail that summer. When she was released on June 26, 2007, crowds of media and fans were waiting outside (pictured).

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2022 marks 25 years since Britain’s beloved Princess Diana died in a car crash in a Paris tunnel while her driver was fleeing paparazzi. The ensuing funeral was watched by a British television audience that peaked at 32.10 million — one of the United Kingdom’s highest viewing figures ever. Millions more watched the event around the world and people left flowers, candles, cards and personal messages outside London’s Kensington Palace for many months after her passing.

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One of television’s most acclaimed shows of all time launched 15 years ago when “Mad Man” premiered on AMC in 2007. The ’60s-set drama follows charismatic advertising executive Don Draper and his co-workers at the newly created firm of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. It ran for seven seasons and made household names out of stars Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, January Jones, John Slattery and Christina Hendricks. “Mad Men” received widespread critical acclaim for its writing, acting, directing, visual style and historical authenticity. It ended up nabbing 16 Primetime Emmy Awards and five Golden Globe Awards. The show was also the first basic cable series to receive the Emmy for outstanding drama series, nabbing the trophy each year of its first four seasons. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest series of all time and as the peak of the early 21st century Golden Age of Television.

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A shock rocker became TV’s favorite family man when “The Osbournes” debuted on MTV two decades ago in 2002. The series, which arrived at the peak of the ’00s reality television bubble, documented the domestic life of heavy metal singer Ozzy Osbourne and his family: wife Sharon, daughter Kelly and son Jack. In its first season, the show was cited as the most viewed series ever on MTV and it won a 2002 Primetime Emmy Award for outstanding reality program. Without it, we likely never would have seen the explosion of family-based reality TV that followed. “The Osbournes,” which made celebrities out of the entire clan, ran for four hit seasons until the family grew tired of having cameras following them around every day and called it quits.

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When “South Park” premiered 25 years ago, Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman and Kenny McCormick immediately became four of 1997’s biggest stars. Their exploits in and around the titular Colorado town served as the sort of controversial adult content that all kids wanted to view behind their parents backs and they show became infamous for its profanity and dark, surreal humor that satirizes a wide range of topics aimed at a mature audience. It consistently earned the highest ratings of any basic cable program upon its launch on Comedy Central and while subsequent ratings have varied, it remains one of the network’s most successful programs. More than 300 episodes have aired in the years since, as has a theatrical film, and it’s nabbed five Primetime Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award during its run. TV Guide ranked “South Park” the 10th greatest TV cartoon of all time.

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Based on the beloved book series of the same name, “Gossip Girl” was the show that put The CW on the map when it launched in 2007. The teen drama set on Manhattan’s Upper East Side delivered big ratings, major buzz and an incredible amount of social media traction before the show ended in 2012 after six seasons.

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Comic book adaptations reached new heights with 2002’s “Spider-Man,” which kicked off the wave of superhero blockbusters that has dominated the box office in the two decades since. Starring Tobey Maguire as the titular web-slinger, the film received positive reviews from both audiences and critics. It was the first movie to reach $100 million in a single weekend as well as the most successful film based on a comic book at the time. With a box office gross of more than $821.7 million worldwide, it was the third highest grossing film of 2002, the highest grossing superhero film and the sixth highest grossing film overall at the time of its release. Two more sequels followed, as did two more starring Andrew Garfield, and now another three featuring Tom Holland as your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

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Anna Nicole Smith was one of the biggest tabloid superstars of the mid-’00s, making headlines as a former Playboy and Guess model who married a much older billionaire and put her odd behavior on full display in front of reality television cameras. In 2006, she gave birth to daughter Dannielynn and lost her 20-year-old son, Daniel, to an accidental drug overdose. The tragic news, plus a major paternity and custody battle over her new baby, took a toll on the blonde bombshell, who died 15 years ago in February 2007 after being found unresponsive in a Hollywood, Florida, hotel room — a result of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. She was laid to rest the next month in the Bahamas, where she’d been living before her death. She was 39.

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In the late ’90s and early ’00s, *NSYNC dominated the pop music genre, becoming one of the bestselling boy bands of all time. But 20 years ago in 2002, member Justin Timberlake decided to break out on his own with release of his debut solo album, “Justified.” He made his first appearance without the guys at the MTV Video Music Awards that year and made a splash with his R&B-leaning tunes, a major contrast from the boy band’s pop-oriented hits. The collection debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart and sold more than three million copies in the U.S. and more than 10 million copies worldwide. Songs like “Like I Love You,” “Cry Me A River” and “Rock Your Body” proved the singer would be just fine on his own and received positive reviews from critics who complimented his mature progression. The album earned him four Grammy Award nominations, including album of the year, and won the trophy for best pop vocal album.

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Another boy band sent teen girls into overdrive 25 years ago when Hanson landed on the scene with their breakthrough bop “MMMBop.” The three Oklahoma brothers — Isaac, Taylor and Zac — were overnight sensations with their catchy tunes, fantastic melodies and infamous blonde locks. Hanson, who were known for writing their own songs and playing their own instruments, provided the perfect sunny counter-programming to the darker, grunge-heavy music that was popular at the time. “MMMBop” was a major success worldwide, reaching No. 1 in at least 12 countries including Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The song also received two Grammy Award nominations, including for record of the year. The teen sensations then released their first studio album in 1997, “Middle of Nowhere,” which went on to sell more than 10 million copies worldwide.

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In 1997, Mike Myers became one of Hollywood’s leading comedy stars thanks to the spy spoof “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.” The “Saturday Night Live” alum both wrote and starred in the picture as the titular out-of-touch British secret agent. While it wasn’t an immediate hit at the box office, it quickly developed a massive cult following that turned the two sequels, 1999’s “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” and 2002’s “Austin Powers in Goldmember,” into out-of-the-gate blockbusters. The character became an entire brand outside of the films, with countless endorsement deals featuring the ridiculous persona as well as all kinds of merchandise imaginable. The franchise earned an Academy Award nomination, a Golden Globe Award nomination, a Grammy Award and four MTV Movie Award wins, and Austin Powers became a defining image of the late ’90s.

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Disney hit a new peak 30 years ago when animated hit “Aladdin” opened in theaters in 1992. The 31st Disney animated feature film, which is based on the Arabic folk tale of the same name, was a critical and commercial success that became the highest grossing film of 1992 with $504 million in worldwide box office revenue. It was the first animated feature to reach the half-billion-dollar mark and was the highest grossing animated film of all time until it was surpassed by “The Lion King” a few years later. “Aladdin” garnered two Academy Awards for its soundtrack, which featured the first and only song from a Disney film to earn a Grammy Award for song of the year thanks to the beloved “A Whole New World.” The film’s VHS release also set a sales record and grossed about $500 million in the United States. It went on to spawn two direct-to-video sequels, an animated series, a Broadway adaptation and a 2019 live-action remake.

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After pop queens like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera dominated the charts with their Barbie-esque looks, big beats and choreographed dance routines, a Canadian singer-songwriter took pop music by storm in 2002 by giving it a loud, brash serving of pop punk: Avril Lavigne. The then-17 year old’s debut single, “Complicated” became a chart-topping smash and one of the biggest songs of the year two decades ago. Her two follow-up tracks, “Sk8er Boi” and “I’m With You,” were also Top 10 hits, and her debut album, “Let Go,” was certified four-times platinum by the RIAA, becoming the top-selling debut of the year and making Avril the bestselling female artist of 2002. Avril’s massive unveiling earned her eight Grammy Award nominations and a 20-year career packed with hits.

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MTV helped introduce reality television when “The Real World” premiered 30 years ago in 1992. The premise was simple: Seven to eight young adults are picked to temporarily live in a new city together in one residence while being filmed non-stop. Audiences couldn’t get enough of the cast members’ candid conversations, drunken hijinks and considerable drama. The series has been hailed for honestly depicting issues relevant to its young audience such as sex, prejudice, religion, abortion, illness, sexuality, AIDS, death, politics and substance abuse, though it eventually garnered a reputation for showcasing its stars’ immaturity and reckless behavior.

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Canadian singer-songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen created one of the catchiest pop tunes of all time and released it decade ago — “Call Me Maybe.” While it was initially released in 2011, it didn’t properly take off until the following year, becoming 2012’s defining song of the summer. It eventually topped the charts in Canada, Australia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Poland, the Republic of Ireland, Slovakia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. “Call Me Maybe” was nominated for two Grammy Awards — song of the year and best pop solo performance — and was named song of the year for 2012 by MTV. It was the bestselling single worldwide in 2012 and, with worldwide sales of 18.5 million copies, is now the bestselling single of the century by a female artist. Billboard also ranked it at No. 47 on its list of the greatest songs of all time.


























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