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Duran Duran to Open London Olympics

  • Mary Morningstar

Recording artists John Taylor, left, and Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran pose for a portrait March 30, 2011 in New York.

Recording artists John Taylor, left, and Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran pose for a portrait March 30, 2011 in New York.

Entertainment organizers for the London 2012 Summer Olympics have announced the headliners. Duran Duran will open the games with a July 27 concert at Hyde Park. Also on the bill are Snow Patrol, Stereophonics and Paolo Nutini.

Jermaine Paul Wins 'The Voice'

The Voice judges Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine and Cee Lo Green faced off in the May 7 finale. Their artists: Chris Mann (Christina Aguilera), Tony Lucca (Adam Levine), Jermaine Paul (Blake Shelton) and Juliet Simms (Cee Lo Green) competed for a record contract. The second season winner of NBC-TV’s popular singing competition was Jermaine Paul.

White Tops Billboard 200

This week, the solo debut album by rock singer Jack White enters the Billboard 200 chart at Number One. “Blunderbuss” is one of four albums that debut in the Top 10. Country singer Lee Brice comes in at Number 5 with his sophomore album, “Hard 2 Love.” Country newcomer Kip Moore arrives at Number 6 with his first collection, “Up All Night.” And, the Wanted’s self-titled U.S. debut lands on the list at Number 7.

NY Judge Dismisses Grammy Lawsuit

The Associated Press reports that New York State Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Oing dismissed a lawsuit brought against the Recording Academy by four of its Latin jazz members. They included percussionist Bobby Sanabria, who claimed the Recording Academy’s 2011 decision to cut the Grammy Awards categories from 109 to 78 was disrespectful and racist. He feels removing the categories will have a detrimental effect on musicians’ careers. Recording Academy President Neil Portnow said, “The decision makes it very clear in the eyes of our legal system that we, as we’ve said all along, have done all of the changes that we’ve made through our process based on our own rules, regulations and bylaws.”

New Brandy Single Features Chris Brown

The first official single from Brandy’s upcoming album Two Eleven will be digitally released on May 8. “Put It Down” features R&B star Chris Brown. Brandy’s new album is her first for RCA Records. She recently tweeted that Two Eleven will be released sometime in June.

Eagles to Receive Honorary Music Degree

On May 12, the Berklee College of Music will hold its 2012 commencement ceremony at Boston University. During the event, The Eagles, Alison Krauss and Ethiopian musician Mulatu Astatke will receive honorary degrees for their “achievements and influence in music and their contributions to American and international culture.” Past recipients include Quincy Jones, Aretha Franklin and Dizzy Gillespie, among others.

American Idol Axes Skylar Laine

18-year-old Skylar Laine was voted off American Idol on May 3. “There’s no pressure anymore. There’s no pressure about songs anymore. I went out on a good note,” the Mississippi native said while talking to reporters after the show. Following this summer’s American Idols Live! tour, Laine plans to pursue a career in Country music. The final four Season 11 contestants are Hollie Cavanagh, Phillip Phillips, Jessica Sanchez and Joshua Ledet.

New Album Releases May 8:

“Fortune” by Chris Brown
"Strangeland” by Keane
“After Hours” by Glenn Frey
“AM/FM” by Rita Wilson
“Dee Does Broadway” by Dee Snider
“Stop Us If You’ve Heard This Before” by Barenaked Ladies
“Original Hits” by Pitbull

Musical Events/Festivals/Benefits:

On May 8, Grammy and Academy Award-winning songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David will be honored with the 2012 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize. The invitation only all-star tribute will be held at the Coolidge Auditorium in Washington, D.C. The prize recognizes musicians whose lifetime contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with legendary songwriters George and Ira Gershwin. Paul Simon received the first Gershwin Prize in 2007. Stevie Wonder was honored in 2009 and Paul McCartney in 2010.

Star Birthdays

Rock singer-songwriter Bob Seger will celebrate his 67th birthday on May 6. Seger taught himself to play the guitar and keyboards during his high school years and later formed his first band, The Decibels. In 1968, he assembled the Bob Seger System, which eventually evolved into the Silver Bullet Band. Nine years later, the group recorded the million selling double album, “Live Bullet.” The band’s biggest hits include “Night Moves,” “Still the Same” and the Number One Adult Contemporary single, “Shame on the Moon.” In 2004, Seger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Seger released his latest album, “Face the Promise” in 2006. Its first single, “Wait For Me,” was a minor hit on the Country chart. Seger is working on a new album for release later this year.

On May 8, Latin pop star Enrique Iglesias will celebrate his 37th birthday. The son of singer Julio Iglesias, Enrique made his recording debut in 1996. His biggest hits include “Bailamos,” “Be With You” and “Hero.” Enrique holds the record for most Number One singles on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart. His 2007 English language album ”Insomniac” produced the Number One hit, “Do You Know (The Ping Pong Song).” Enrique’s Spanish language anthology, “95/08 Exitos,” includes 17 of his Number Ones songs, plus two new tracks. The album brought him six Billboard Latin Music Awards. His latest CD, “Euphoria,” includes both English and Spanish-language tracks. Enrique led the winners at last year’s Billboard Latin Music Awards. He took home nine trophies, including Latin Artist of the Year. Enrique will kick off a North American tour with Jennifer Lopez on July 14 in Montreal, Quebec.

May 8 marks the birth date of the late actor and singer Rick Nelson (born 1940). Before pursuing a successful singing career, he acted in his parents’ popular television series, “Ozzie & Harriet.” Nelson became a teen idol in the late 1950s after singing his Top 5 single “I’m Walking” on one of the episodes. Other major hits followed, including two Number One songs, “Poor Little Fool” and “Travelin’ Man.” On December 31, 1985, Nelson was killed when his plane crashed while en route to a New Year’s Eve performance near DeKalb, Texas.

On May 9, singer-songwriter Billy Joel will celebrate his 63rd birthday. During the 1960s, Joel performed with various local New York bands. He signed a solo recording deal in 1973, and the following year, scored his first chart single with “Piano Man.” In 1987, Joel performed a concert tour of Russia, which spawned the live double album “Kohuept” (“Concert”). In 1990, he received a Grammy Legend Award for “ongoing contributions and influence in the recording field.” His other industry honors include Billboard magazine’s 1995 Century Award and induction into the Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame (1992) and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1999). In 2000, Joel’s 1985 anthology “Greatest Hits, Volume I and Volume II” passed the 20-million mark in sales to become the fourth-highest-certified album in history. His latest studio project was 2001’s “Billy Joel - Fantasies & Delusions.” Joel composed its classical pieces, which were performed on the album by Richard Joo. In 2004, Billy married entertainment reporter Katie Lee. The following year, he kicked off his first major concert tour in eight years. The outing included a 12-night, sold-out engagement at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Performances from those shows were released on the 2-CD set “12 Gardens Live.” In 2007, Joel released the single “All My Life.” It marked his first newly written pop song since 1993’s “River of Dreams.” In 2009, Joel signed a $2.25-million deal with Harper Collins to publish his autobiography “The Book of Joel.” He later canceled its release. Joel said, “It took working on writing a book to make me realize that I’m not all that interested in talking about the past, and that the best expression of my life and its ups and downs has been and remains my music.”

U2’s lead vocalist Bono (real name Paul Hewson) will turn 52 on May 10. U2 gained international popularity following the 1987 release of “The Joshua Tree.” It featured the Number One singles “With or Without You” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” “The Joshua Tree” also brought the band two Grammy Awards. Several more successful albums followed, including “Rattle and Hum,” “Achtung Baby,” “Zooropa” and “Pop.” U2’s 2000 album, “All That You Can’t Leave Behind,” earned four Grammy Awards. In 2005, U2 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2007, Bono was awarded an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in recognition of his services to the music industry and for his humanitarian work. U2’s 2009 album, “No Line on the Horizon,” was the group’s first studio project since 2004’s “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.” The band has sold more than 150 million albums worldwide. Last year, U2’s “360 Degrees Tour” was named the highest-grossing tour ever. Performances from the tour will be released later this year on the live album, “U22.”

On May 12, Country performer Kix Brooks will celebrate his 57th birthday. The Louisiana native made two solo appearances on the Country chart in the 1980s before teaming with Ronnie Dunn in 1991 to form the popular duo Brooks & Dunn. The duo was named the Country Music Association’s Vocal Duo of the Year 14 times since 1992. In 2006, Kix took over as host of the syndicated radio show “American Country Countdown.” In 2010, Brooks & Dunn split up after performing together for 20 years. This week, Kix climbs two spaces to Number 35 with his debut solo single, “New To This Town.” The track features Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh.

British rock singer Steve Winwood will celebrate his 64th birthday on May 12. Winwood was the lead singer of the Spencer Davis Group, Blind Faith and Traffic. In the 1980s, he launched his solo career and later recorded the Number One songs “Higher Love” and “Roll With It.” In 2003, Winwood released “About Time” on his own record label, Wincraft Music. In 2004, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Traffic. Steve played keyboards on a track on Christina Aguilera’s 2006 “Back To Basics” album. The song, “Makes Me Wanna Pray,” also features a sample of the Traffic classic, “Glad.” In 2008, Winwood released his latest album, “Nine Lives.” It debuted at Number 12 on the Billboard 200 to give him his highest entry ever on that chart. In 2010, Winwood’s five-decade career was showcased on the four-CD set, “Revolutions - The Very Best of Steve Winwood. This week (May 11), he’ll begin a three-week U.S. tour in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Awards Presentations/Winners:

Performing rights organization SESAC will holds its 2012 Pop Music Awards on May 10 in New York City. SESAC’s top songwriters and publishers will be honored during the ceremony. In addition, Bryan-Michael Cox is receiving the Inspiration Award for his artistic, philanthropic and entrepreneurial contributions. The event will feature a performance by Grammy Award-winning singer Melanie Fiona.

On May 10, The National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) will present legendary pop singer-songwriter Lionel Richie with its Chairman’s Award. Richie will receive the prestigious honor at NARM’s Music Biz 2012 Awards Dinner Party in Los Angeles. NARM President Jim Donio said, “Lionel Richie has been a force in the music business for more than four decades and is still going strong today, a remarkable feat that grows increasingly rare each year. Like the music industry itself, he has shown remarkable resilience in the face of countless challenges, and has maintained his artistic integrity and relevance through it all. We are thrilled to present him with the Music Biz 2012 Chairman’s Award.”

Look Who's Going On Tour!

On May 7, Canadian artist Drake will kick off a 27-city U.S. tour in Concord, California. He’ll be supporting his 2011 album, Take Care. The album has sold more than 1.6 million copies in the U.S. and has produced four million-selling singles, including the title track, which features Rihanna.