Josh Wolk
December 22, 2006 AT 05:00 AM EST

Anna Nicole: Joy and Pain
Anna Nicole Smith gives birth to daughter Dannielynn in the Bahamas. Tragically, her 20-year-old son, Daniel, dies three days later of a suspected drug overdose. Weeks of scandal follow, as Smith exchanges vows with her longtime lawyer Howard K. Stern before the funeral. Stern claims to be Dannielynn’s father, though ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead files a paternity suit claiming the child is his. And the whole thing is just plain sad by every definition of the word.

New Orleans Rocks Again
U2 and Green Day perform together before a Saints — Falcons game at the grand reopening of New Orleans’ Superdome, pairing up to play their Katrina benefit single, ”The Saints Are Coming.” U2 consider proving their dedication by hitting the field to help the New Orleans offensive line, but reconsider because, frankly, the Edge’s pass protection sucks big-time.

Justifying Her Love: A controversial adoption was one of Madonna’s many moments
Madonna is no virgin when it comes to courting controversy, but 2006 brought Madge her most personal battle yet: Adoptiongate. Prior to taking in an African child, though, the Material Girl made headlines all year. On Feb. 8, the diva opened the 2006 Grammys, performing with the hip-hop group Gorillaz. Both were animated — Gorillaz literally so — but Madge showed her age a day later when she underwent surgery for a hernia. Next it was a water bottle — thrown by a raucous audience member — that marred her otherwise well-received April 30 performance at the Coachella festival. Once again Madonna soldiered on, kicking off her Confessions Tour on May 21. It was one of her most talked-about live shows in years, thanks in part to her Church-rankling decision to sing ”Live to Tell” while hanging on a giant crucifix. Afraid of an uproar, NBC aired an edited version of the concert on Nov. 22 without the Jesus-inspired footage.

None of these minor bumps compare, however, to the storm Madonna encountered when she adopted a Malawian child named David on Oct. 12. Many labeled it a publicity stunt and argued the star received special treatment. Soon after, the boy’s father claimed to have been misled during the adoption process. This PR nightmare drove Madonna to plead her case in front of America’s favorite arbiter: Oprah. Despite the spin control, on Nov. 29 a local judge ordered a group of Malawian civil rights and child-protection organizations to help determine whether Madonna and husband Guy Ritchie are suitable parents for David. It’s certainly the first time in a long while that the yoga buff’s fitness has been called into question.

CBGB Closes Its Doors
With a concert by Patti Smith, New York City’s famed punk rock club CBGB — launching pad for Talking Heads, Television, and Blondie, among others — closes its doors for good, leaving behind a powerful musical legacy…as well as enough calcified bodily fluids stuck to the floor to clone Debbie Harry, Johnny Thunders, and the Ramones twice over.

Flavor Flav Clocks Viewers
The second season of VH1’s reality dating series Flavor of Love, which began with a bachelorette accidentally defecating on Flavor Flav’s staircase, ends with a record 7.5 million viewers. The omnipresent clocks hanging around Flav’s neck prove extra helpful for fans wanting to keep track of exactly what time they lost their dignity by watching.

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