From Arctic Monkeys to Zutons to Britney's divorce to the most overplayed song of the year (hint: it's not James Blunt's You're Beautiful), 2006 was unmatched in musical diversity. There were albums we didn't even realize came out and artists we didn't even realize were still around. There were reunions and breakups too. Here's a brief summary of 2006: The Year in Music...

The new year kicked off somewhat quietly; however, it was the debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, from the Arctic Monkeys, the band that U.S. critics bashed despite storming to the top of the charts in England.

January saw new albums from: The Strokes, We Are Scientists, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Richard Ashcroft, P.O.D., Yellowcard, Train, and Cat Power.

In February, Alice in Chains reunited, adding new singer William DuVall to replace the late Layne Staley, who died in 2002 of a drug overdose. It was the first time the surviving members planned a tour together since 1996. The band hit the road in September and played dates through November. The band also released a 2 CD greatest hits collection.

Also of note, The Rolling Stones played a free concert in Rio De Janeiro for a crowd of nearly two million people... Coldplay's Speed of Sound became the one-billionth song sold online by music juggernaut iTunes... U2 were the highlight of the 48th Annual Grammy Awards, winning for Album of the Year, Best Rock Album, Song of the Year, Rock Album, and Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal.

February's new albums included: In Flames, Belle And Sebastian, Dem Franchize Boyz, Ray Davies, Beth Orton, K.T. Tunstall, Matchbook Romance, Dilated Peoples, Jason Mraz, Bruce Springsteen, Hawthorne Heights, and Ne-Yo

The first hip-hop group to ever win an Academy Award came in March, when the group Three 6 Mafia won for their song It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp, from the film Hustle & Flow. The 78th Oscar ceremony also saw the band perform their hit song, making it also the first time a hip-hop group has performed at the awards show.

James Blunt's unforgettable (or forgettable, depending on how you look at it) You're Beautiful topped the charts... Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler had surgery to fix an undisclosed throat problem, rumored to be throat cancer... Bon Jovi's Who Says You Can't Go Home hits number one on the country charts for two weeks, the first time a rock band has hit #1 on country charts. The song is a duet that features Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles.

March new albums: David Gilmour, Corinne Bailey Rae, Neko Case, Donald Fagen, Matisyahu, Graham Coxon, Placebo, Joe Satriani, Sepultura, E-40, Prince, Chicago, Cannibal Corpse, From First To Last, My Chemical Romance, The Appleseed Cast, Ben Harper, Kutless, Morrissey, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Rob Zombie, Atreyu, Ghostface Killah, T.I., and Shakira...'s This Year In Music:
Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4