January 9: Jay-Z raps about Blue Ivy Through a rap verse, Jay-Z confirmed the birth of "the most beautiful" girl in the world -- his newborn daughter Blue Ivy Carter. The song "Glory" made its debut on his social website, Life and Times, two days after his wife Beyoncé gave birth to the couple's first child. This was later followed shortly thereafter by an official statement from the couple announcing the birth.
January 20: Etta James dies at 73 Etta James, whose assertive, earthy voice lit up such hits as "The Wallflower," "Something's Got a Hold on Me" and the wedding favorite "At Last," died from complications from leukemia with her husband, Artis Mills, and her sons by her side.
February 5: Madonna headlines Super Bowl halftime After weeks of hype and anticipation, Madonna finally performed in front a packed stadium during the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show in Indianapolis as millions of Americans watched. The superstar kept her promise, singing three of her classics -- "Vogue," "Like A Prayer" and "Music" -- as well as a new single with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A., "Give Me All Your Luvin'."
February 11: Whitney Houston dies at age 48 Whitney Houston, who from the 1980s to the late 1990s was one of the world's best-selling artists, was found dead in her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, face down in 13 inches of water in the bathtub. An autopsy later showed the troubled "I Will Always Love You" singer died of accidental drowning, though cocaine use and heart disease were also contributing factors.
February 12: Adele wins big at Grammys In a ceremony that became part-tribute to Whitney Houston, who had died just one day before, Adele was the top winner at the 54th annual Grammy Awards. The British singer won all six of her nominations, including Best Album of the Year for "21," tying Beyoncé's record for most wins by a female artist in one night. Foo Fighters and Kanye West followed with five and four awards, respectively. It was the start of a big year for Adele, who would also become engaged and welcome a baby boy with her boyfriend Simon Konecki and record the theme to the new James Bond film "Skyfall."
February 26: "The Artist" wins Best Picture "The Artist" became the first silent film since 1927's "Wings" to capture to top award at the Academy Awards, taking home the Oscar for Best Picture. The movie also won four more Oscars for Best Directing, Best Costume Design, Best Original Music Score and Best Actor for Jean Dujardin. Martin Scorsese's 3-D film "Hugo" also won five Oscars to tie for the most awards.
February 29: Monkee Davy Jones dies at age 66 Davy Jones, an actor-turned-singer who helped propel the TV rock band The Monkees to the top of the pop charts and into rock 'n' roll history, died of a massive heart attack in Indiantown, Fla.
April 6: Amanda Bynes arrested for DUI The 26-year-old actress' legal troubles in 2012 started just three days after her birthday, when she was arrested for driving under the influence after sideswiping a stopped police car in West Hollywood at 3 a.m. But it didn't end there. Bynes was charged with hit-and-run related to leaving the scene of two separate accidents, one on April 10 and another on Aug. 4, had her license suspended on Sept. 6, and then her car impounded on Sept. 16 after driving with a suspended license. On Sept. 27, Bynes pleaded not guilty to two charges of hit-and-run.
April 13: "Brangelina" get engaged After seven years as a couple, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt announced their engagement. "Yes, it's confirmed. It is a promise for the future and their kids are very happy. There's no date set at this time," said Pitt's spokeswoman Cynthia Pett-Dante.
April 18: "America's Oldest Teenager" dies As the host of the popular "American Bandstand," Clark shaped American tastes in music trends, and with a fresh-scrubbed, boy-next-door persona, he introduced the world to likes of Buddy Holly and James Brown. Clark, who died of a heart attack at the age of 82 while at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif., for an outpatient procedure, also owned New Year's Eve for four decades, hosting his annual telecast from Times Square.
June 6: Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth announce engagement After three years together, Miley Cyrus and "Hunger Games" star Liam Hemsworth announced their engagement. Hemsworth proposed on May 31 with a 3.5-carat diamond ring. "I'm so happy to be engaged and look forward to a life of happiness with Liam," Miley told People magazine.
May 4: Beastie Boy MCA dies Adam Yauch, the gravelly-voiced Beastie Boys rapper and the most conscientious member of the seminal hip-hop group, died at the age of 47. The rapper, also known as MCA, died in New York after a nearly three-year battle with cancer.
May 17: The Queen of Disco dies Donna Summer -- known for her 1970s disco anthems like "Last Dance" and "I Feel Love" -- died of lung cancer at the age of 63. In December 2012, she was announced as one of the 2013 inductees in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
May 19: Facebook founder weds a day after IPO Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg married his long-term girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, in a small ceremony at his home in Palo Alto, Calif. The day before, Facebook held its initial public offering, debuting as a tradable stock on the NASDAQ exchange with the stock symbol FB.
May 20: Robin Gibb dies at age 62 Robin Gibb, a founding member of the Bee Gees who helped propel the group to international stardom, died following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery. Gibb was one of three brothers whose soaring falsetto harmonies helped power such hits as "Stayin' Alive" and "Night Fever."
June 10: "Once" cleans up at Tony Awards The bittersweet musical "Once" captured the hearts of Tony Awards' voters, winning eight trophies and earning bragging rights as the top Broadway musical. Based on the low-budget 2006 film about an unlikely romance between a Czech flower seller and an Irish street musician in Dublin, the musical was nominated in 11 categories.
June 29: "TomKat" splits up Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes easily became the most notable celebrity split of the year when Holmes announced she was leaving the "Mission: Impossible" franchise star after less than six years of marriage. The parents of child diva Suri Cruise finalized their divorce quickly amid swirling rumors of what went wrong.
July 3: Andy Griffith dies at age 86 Andy Griffith, who made homespun Southern wisdom his trademark as the wise sheriff in "The Andy Griffith Show" and the rumpled defense lawyer in "Matlock," died of a heart attack at the age of 86. The North Carolina native was also known for his roles in movies and on the stage, as a producer and as a Grammy Award-winning gospel singer.
July 4: Frank Ocean comes out Hip-hop singer-songwriter Frank Ocean wrote an open letter, intended for the liner notes his debut album "Channel Orange," that would preemptively address "speculation about his same-sex attraction," but instead blogged it on Tumblr. In the letter, Ocean recounted unrequited feelings he had for another young man when he was 19 years old, citing it as his first true love. In the process, he became one of the first major African-American music artists to announce that he had fallen in love with someone of the same sex, notable because the industry is known for expressions of homophobia. Members of the hip-hop industry generally responded positively to the announcement and "Channel Orange" sold nearly 400,000 copies and earned six Grammy nominations.
June 23: "Call Me Maybe" hits No. 1 Released in Canada in the fall of 2011, Carly Rae Jepsen's song "Call Me Maybe" eventually took off and became a worldwide hit in 2012, reaching No. 1 in countries like Australia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Hungary, the UK and the United States thanks to some Twitter help from fellow Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber. In the United States, it reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart the week of June 23 and spent nine consecutive weeks at that spot.
July 12: The Rolling Stones turn 50 The Rolling Stones celebrated the 50th anniversary of their first gig by attending a retrospective photo exhibition at London's Somerset House. The show charted the band's career from their first official photo shoot in 1963 to their monster stadium tours in the 1980s and 1990s. The band also later in the year released a new compilation album featuring two new tracks and took to the stage for concerts in London, New York City and Newark, N.J.
July 13: Sylvester Stallone's son found dead Sage Stallone, the 36-year-old son of "Rocky" and "Rambo" star Sylvester Stallone, was found dead at a home on Mulholland Terrace in Studio City, Calif. Law enforcement stated that he could have been dead for at least three days up to a week. A coroner's report would later reveal that Sage, who appeared as Rocky Balboa's son in "Rocky V," had died from heart disease. "When a parent loses a child there is no greater pain," his father said in a statement. "This agonizing loss will be felt for the rest of our lives. ...Sage was our first child and the center of our universe and I am humbly begging for all to have my son's memory and soul left in peace."
July 20: Gunman goes on rampage at "Batman" screening A gunman opened fire at a suburban Denver movie theater on the opening night of the latest Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises," killing 12 people and injuring 58 others. The gunman, James Eagan Holmes, stood at the front of the theater dressed in tactical clothing, set off tear gas grenades and shot into the audience with multiple firearms before turning himself in.
July 25: K-Stew cheats on R-Pattz "Twilight" co-stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson had been a well-known item for several years, but never officially confirmed their relationship until Stewart did so after Us Weekly published photos of the actress having an affair with her "Snow White and the Huntsman" director Rupert Sanders. The day the photos were released, Stewart issued a public apology to Pattinson, stating, "This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob. I love him, I love him, I'm so sorry." Stewart and Pattinson briefly broke up, but less than three months later were seemingly back together as the press tour for "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" started up.
July 31: Author Gore Vidal dies Gore Vidal, the eclectic author who faithfully chronicled the major shifts and upheavals in the United States in books, essays and plays, died from complications from pneumonia at the age of 86. Widely hailed as one of America's greatest men of letters, the aristocratic Vidal was a high-profile commentator on politics, including his bitter opposition to the war in Iraq and his belief that the United States had betrayed its humble roots to become an imperial power.
August 8: "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" If you didn't know who "Honey Boo Boo" was in 2011, by late 2012 you likely did whether you wanted to or not. Seven-year-old star Alana Thompson and her reality TV show, "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," has been a huge ratings winner since debuting in early August on TLC. The show features Thompson, first seen on TLC's "Toddlers & Tiaras," going to child beauty pageants, playing in the mud with her family and drinking what she calls "go-go-juice," a concoction of Red Bull and Mountain Dew.
August 12: Musical spectacular brings Olympics to close London brought down the curtain on the 2012 Olympic Games with a dazzling spectacular showcasing the best of British music from Elgar to Ed Sheeran. A celebration of a day in the life of the capital, the star-studded ceremony brought together many of the country's most famous artists, including a reunited Spice Girls, who performed on top of cars that sped around the elaborate stage.
August 19: Director Tony Scott kills himself Tony Scott, director of such Hollywood blockbusters as "Top Gun," "Days of Thunder" and "Beverly Hills Cop II," died after jumping from a Los Angeles County bridge. The brother of fellow film director Ridley Scott, the 68-year-old director wrote two notes before his death, including a message left in his Los Angeles office for family members, a coroner official said. A second note detailing contact information was found in his Toyota Prius parked nearby, but the notes did not provide a motive for why he took the suicidal plunge, authorities said.
August 20: Phyllis Diller dies at age 95 Phyllis Diller, the cackling template for Joan Rivers, Sarah Silverman and many other female comedians, died at age 95. Longtime manager Milton Suchin said she faced the end in her Los Angeles home "with a smile on her face." Diller's career as a stand-up comic, which she started at age 37, skyrocketed in the 1960s, partly because of her many appearances with Bob Hope on his television specials, USO tours and three movies. She became a pop culture icon for her disparaging jokes about her looks, her cooking and her fictitious husband "Fang." She wore a blonde fright wig, held a long cigarette holder as a prop and laughed with a loud cackle.
August 21: Prince Harry parties in Vegas Prince Harry learned the hard way that what happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas, especially if you allow photos to be taken while your partying in the nude. TMZ published photos of the nude prince posing with an equally nude female partygoer while on vacation in Sin City with his friends.
August 30: "Dirty Harry" versus the chair Clint Eastwood earned plenty of bad reviews for his Republican National Convention performance: a bizarre, rambling endorsement of Mitt Romney that involved the legendary actor carrying on a long-winded conversation with an imaginary President Barack Obama, or, basically, an empty chair. The largely improvised routine, broadcast in a prime time slot during the Tampa, Fla., convention, was viewed live by about 30 million Americans.
September 3: Michael Clarke Duncan dies at age 54 Michael Clarke Duncan, the hulking, prolific character actor whose dozens of films included an Oscar-nominated performance as a death row inmate in "The Green Mile" and such other box office hits as "Armageddon," "Planet of the Apes" and "Kung Fu Panda," died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He had been taken to the hospital on July 13 after suffering a heart attack.
September 13: Tabloid magazine publishes topless Kate Middleton photos Coming just weeks after the scandal over photos of a nude Prince Harry in Las Vegas, the French magazine Closer sparked fresh controversy by publishing grainy pictures of Prince William's wife, Kate Middleton, topless while vacationing with her husband at a private chateau in Provence, in southern France. Palace officials blasted what they called a "grotesque" invasion of privacy and took immediate legal action in France, getting an injunction against the magazine further publishing the pictures.
September 23: "Homeland" upsets "Mad Men" at Emmys "Homeland," which puts the battle against terrorism on American soil, was honored by the Emmys as best drama series while also earning trophies for stars Claire Danes and Damian Lewis. The Showtime drama stopped AMC's "Mad Men" in its tracks, denying the show a record-setting fifth trophy and kept Bryan Cranston from his fourth consecutive best drama award for "Breaking Bad" and made "Mad Men" star Jon Hamm an also-ran once more. "Modern Family" was named best comedy.
September 27: J.K. Rowling goes adult British bookshops opened their doors early for the U.K. launch of "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling's long-anticipated first book for adults, "The Casual Vacancy." The launch was missing fans in wizard costumes, but the book was published to some of the same fanfare that greeted each Potter tome, with stores wheeling out crates of the books precisely at 8 a.m.
October 5: 007 turns 50 2012 didn't only mean a return of British superspy James Bond to the silver screen in "Skyfall," it also marked the film franchise's 50th anniversary. The first James Bond film, starring Sean Connery, premiered on Oct. 5, 1962, setting off a run of 23 films so far. Connery and current Bond star Daniel Craig topped an unscientific poll of Emmy-nominated actors asked to choose their favorite James Bonds.
October 18: The Boss hits the campaign trail Less than three weeks before the presidential election, President Barack Obama scored a major celebrity backer -- Bruce Springsteen. Springsteen supported Obama in 2008, but had planned to sit out this election, echoing the disenchantment of some voters who backed the president four years ago. But the blue-collar rocker agreed to appear with former President Bill Clinton at an Obama campaign rally in northeastern Ohio and then kept going, appearing at rallies with Obama in Iowa, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
October 19: Timberlake and Biel marry in secret They chose one of the most romantic venues for their wedding, southern Italy by the Adriatic sea. Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel got married in Borgo Egnazia, a sea resort located in a village by the Adriatic sea called Savelletri. Media were kept away from the event of the year for such small sea resort, while preparations were ongoing for what looked like a luxurious wedding.
October 22: Taylor Swift launches "Red" Less than 24 hours after Taylor Swift celebrated her new album "Red" with a launch party in New York City, the album was already No. 1 on the iTunes album chart. Four promotional singles were released in the month leading up to the album release, three of which debuted inside the top 10 of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. "Red" sold 1.2 million copies in its first week in the U.S, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, the second highest debut for a female artist, behind only "Oops!... I Did It Again" by Britney Spears, and has sold more than 3.3 million copies worldwide.
October 30: Disney buys Lucasfilm for $4 billion A decade since George Lucas said "Star Wars" was finished on the big screen, a new trilogy under new ownership is destined for theaters. That news came as The Walt Disney Co. announced that it would buy Lucasfilm Ltd. from Lucas for $4.05 billion. The seventh movie, with a working title of "Episode 7," is set for release in 2015. Episodes 8 and 9 will follow.
November 10: Biebs and Selena Gomez break up... briefly Word spread of the breakup of pop star Justin Bieber and Disney actress and singer Selena Gomez in early November, seemingly ending a two-year relationship that made them one of Hollywood's most high-profile young couples. However, while Bieber's young fans celebrated the 18-year-old newfound eligibility, it was short lived. Less than two weeks after the break-up, it was reported that the couple had gotten back together after Bieber begged Gomez for forgiveness.
November 20: Elmo puppeteer resigns amid scandal Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash resigned from "Sesame Street" amid allegations he sexually abused underage boys, bringing an end to a 28-year career in which he turned the furry red monster into one of the most beloved -- and lucrative -- characters on TV and in toy stores. "Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work 'Sesame Street' is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer", the 52-year-old performer said in a statement. "I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately."
November 23: Larry Hagman dies at 81 Larry Hagman, who played scheming oil baron J.R. Ewing on TV's long-running soap opera "Dallas" died due to complications from his battle with cancer. "Larry was back in his beloved hometown of Dallas, re-enacting the iconic role he loved the most", his family said in a statement. "Larry's family and closest friends had joined him in Dallas for the Thanksgiving holiday." Hagman, who also starred in the sitcom "I Dream of Jeannie," was diagnosed in 1992 with cirrhosis of the liver and acknowledged that he had drank heavily for years.
November 24: "Gangnam Style" bests Bieber Korean rapper PSY was already a pop sensation back home, but he found more than his 15 minutes of fame worldwide with the viral music video hit for his song "Gangnam Style." The video, which debuted in early August, quickly caught fire thanks to its funky choreography and whimsical style. In a few short months not only was PSY a worldwide pop star, he had also found a permanent place in pop culture history, with the video surpassing Justin Bieber's "Baby" as the most viewed video in YouTube history with nearly 1 billion views.
December 3: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge expecting St. James's Palace announced that Prince William and his wife Catherine are expecting their first child. The royal revelation, which followed months of tabloid speculation, came as the Duchess of Cambridge -- formerly known as Kate Middleton -- was admitted to a central London hospital with acute morning sickness. The Palace would not say how far along the duchess was, only that she had not yet reached the 12-week mark at the time of the announcement. The Duchess' stay at the King Edward VII Hospital was overshadowed by the apparent suicide of Jacintha Saldanha, a nurse who took a prank phone call from Australian DJs on Dec. 4. The pair made the hoax call to the hospital, pretending to be Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles in an effort to find out details of Catherine's condition.
December 5: Jazz legend Dave Brubeck dies Jazz composer and pianist Dave Brubeck, whose pioneering style in pieces such as "Take Five" caught listeners' ears with exotic, challenging rhythms, died of heart failure after being stricken while on his way to a cardiology appointment with his son Darius, said his manager Russell Gloyd. He was 91. Brubeck had a career that spanned almost all American jazz since World War II. He formed The Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1951 and was the first modern jazz musician to be pictured on the cover of Time magazine -- on Nov. 8, 1954 -- and he helped define the swinging, smoky rhythms of 1950s and '60s club jazz.
December 11: Rush headlines Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Rush, Public Enemy, Randy Newman, Quincy Jones, Heart, disco queen Donna Summer, bluesman Albert King and producer Lou Adler make up Class of 2013 inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The public was allowed to vote for the first time in the history of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year. Votes were taken online, and the result was a "fan's ballot" that was counted along with roughly 600 other ballots. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held on April 18, 2013, in Los Angeles and broadcast on HBO in May.
December 11: Ravi Shankar dies at age 92 Ravi Shankar, the sitar virtuoso who became a hippie musical icon of the 1960s and introduced traditional Indian ragas to Western audiences over a 10-decade career, died at the age of 92. A statement on the musician's website said he died in San Diego, near his Southern California home. The musician's foundation issued a statement saying that he had suffered upper respiratory and heart problems and had recently undergone heart-valve replacement surgery. In the 1960s, Shankar took Eastern music mainstream in the West. He lent ethereal, spiritual sounds to the Beatles through his friendship with George Harrison, who recorded them on the "Sgt. Pepper's" album in the song "Within You Without You." Virtuoso performances at Monterey in 1967 and Woodstock in 1969 helped cement Shankar's place in Western musical history as an ambassador of Eastern wisdom to a generation looking for new values.
December 12: Lindsay Lohan's continued legal problems After legal problems stalled her career, 2012 was supposed to be a comeback year for Lindsay Lohan. She posed for Playboy, hosted "Saturday Night Live" and starred in the Lifetime movie "Liz & Dick." But the negative reviews she received for both the SNL gig and her Elizabeth Taylor portrayal were the least of her wories. By the end of the year, she had her probation from a highly-publicized 2011 jewelry theft case revoked due to to her alleged involvement in a car crash with a dump truck that left her Porsche totaled in June. A Jan. 15 hearing will determine whether the 26-year-old actress goes to jail. The year also saw her arrested in September for allegedly fleeing after hitting a man with her car in New York City, although the charge was later dropped, and again in late November for assault after allegedly punching a women in the face at a New York nightclub.
December 12: Sandy concert rocks NYC New Jersey's own Bruce Springsteen kicked off a star-studded Madison Square Garden concert that raised money for those enduring misery after Superstorm Sandy. The concert included performances by Paul McCartney (with a reunited Nirvana), The Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, The Who, Eric Clapton and Bon Jovi. The performers set a serious tone, wearing mostly black and gray onstage as they encouraged people to call and donate money to those affected by the devastating storm that took place in late October, killing about 140 people and damaging millions of homes and properties in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and other areas. Alicia Keys, who grew up in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen, closed the night with her New York anthem "Empire State of Mind" as doctors, nurses, firefighters, police officers and others joined the piano-playing singer onstage.
It seems that residents of Louisiana are some of the happiest people in the country, and New Yorkers remain some of the unhappiest, according to a new report. Take a look at the happiest - and unhappiest - U.S. cities.