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The Year in Music 2013 -- Cher & Celine Return to the Charts, Rod Returns to Writing

Image courtesy of Warner Bros/Alex Malka (c) Feeling Productions Inc./Penny Lancaster (via ABC News Radio)
Image courtesy of Warner Bros/Alex Malka (c) Feeling Productions Inc./Penny Lancaster (via ABC News Radio)

2013 marked a big return to the charts for two legendary divas -- Cher and Celine Dion -- and a return to songwriting for Rod Stewart , who released his first album of self-penned material in nearly two decades.

--Cher had owed fans an album of new material for a decade -- her last was 2001's Living Proo f.  In 2013, she finally delivered with Closer to the Truth, an album that mixed dance music and heartfelt ballads, and included two songs co-written by Pink .  The album, preceded by the #1 dance hit "Woman's World," entered the Billboard album chart at #3, becoming the highest-charting solo disc of her entire career.   The self-deprecating diva told ABC's Cynthia McFadden , "Truthfully, I’m not a huge Cher fan...but I think this is probably the best album I’ve ever done." 

Cher supported the album with non-stop TV appearances, including a stint as a mentor for Blake Shelton's team on The Voice , and an appearance as a guest judge on Dancing with the Stars .  In March of 2014, she'll hit the road for an extensive tour -- her first since 2005.  Why put herself through that?  As she told ABC News Radio, "If I don't do it now I'll never do it again. I know that about myself."

-- Celine Dion hadn't exactly been idle in the six years since her last English-language album -- she had twins, launched a world tour, started a new show in Las Vegas, and made a French-language album -- but her 2013 album, Loved Me Back to Life , was still hailed as a comeback.  In a TV blitz to support the project, Celine spoke about how she had finally loosened up, and wasn't afraid to let her cracks and imperfections show.  She also recorded songs written by some of pop music's top hitmakers, and duetted with pop star Ne-Yo . 

Loved Me Back to Life debuted at #2, becoming Celine's highest-charting disc since 2003's One Heart.   Celine also renewed her Las Vegas residency in a deal that will likely keep her performing in Sin City through at least 2019.  She decided to put her Florida mansion on sale, since she wouldn't be spending much time there in the future, and made headlines when word of the price tag got out: $72 million.  She also put a smaller Florida property on the market for "only" $10 million.

-- Rod Stewart was convinced that he'd lost his ability to write original songs, and the success he had with albums of cover songs, like the Great American Songbook series, didn't give him any impetus to do so.  But after he wrote his autobiography, Stewart was suddenly inspired to put pen to paper, and the result was Time , one of the rocker's most personal albums ever, featuring songs about his children, his father, his divorce, old romances and more.  Rod told ABC News Radio that it was an "absolute pleasure" to once again record songs that he'd written himself. 

Time debuted at #7 on the Billboard album chart, becoming Rod's highest-charting album of original material since 1979's Blondes Have More Fun.  In his native U.K., the disc was Rod's first number-one album in 24 years.  He supported it with a U.S. tour with his old buddy, Steve Winwood , while continuing to perform his Las Vegas residency to happy fans.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio