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Madonna Lands New Movie Role; <i>Billboard</i> to Honor Stevie Wonder

  • Mary Morningstar

Stevie Wonder will receive the 2004 Century Award, Billboard's highest honor for creative achievement. The magazine's late editor-in-chief, Timothy White, and former publisher Howard Lander created the award in 1992. Previous recipients include George Harrison (1992), Buddy Guy (1993), Billy Joel (1994), Joni Mitchell (1995), Carlos Santana (1996), Chet Atkins (1997), James Taylor (1998), Emmylou Harris (1999), Randy Newman (2000), John Mellencamp (2001), Annie Lennox (2002) and Sting (2003). Stevie Wonder presented Sting with his Century Award last year. Wonder says, "It's an honor to be included in the amazing group of artists who have received Billboard's Century Award. I'm overjoyed." He'll receive the award at the December 8 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas.

The week ending November 6, Rod Stewart makes his first ever Number One debut on the Billboard 200 chart with his third standards album, Stardust: The Great American Songbook, Volume III. The collection sold more than 240,000 copies its first week in U.S. record stores. The last time Stewart reached Number One on Billboard's Top 200 album chart was in 1979 with "Blondes Have More Fun." Stewart's previous two pop standards releases, "It Had To Be You: The Great American Songbook" and "As Time Goes By: The Great American Songbook, Volume II," each sold more than two million copies in the U.S. Combined worldwide sales total more than 10 million copies. Both received Grammy nominations. The current single from Stardust is Stewart's remake of the Louis Armstrong classic, "What A Wonderful World."

The Royal Swedish Academy of Music has announced the winners of its 2005 Polar Music Prize. They are Brazilian singer Gilberto Gil, cited for his "unflinching creative engagement in bringing to the world the heart and soul of the rich music of Brazil," and German singer Dietrich Fischer-Diskau, chose for "his unique artistry in every area of classical singing and for his unparalleled achievements as a penetrating and innovative interpreter of art songs in the German language." The two will each receive more than $137,000. Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf will present the honors on May 23rd, 2005.

November 1, EMI Records released legendary singer Tina Turner's new anthology, All The Best, in overseas markets. The North American release is tentatively set for February of 2005. In addition to many of Turner's hits, "All The Best" features three new tracks, "Something Special," "Complicated Disaster" and her remake of Journey's "Open Arms." Also included on the 33-track, double CD set is Turner's live version of the late Robert Palmer's 1986 Number One single, "Addicted To Love."

Madonna has been cast to voice the part of Princess Selenia in the upcoming animated motion picture Arthur. The $80 million film is based on Luc Besson's series of children's. Besson wrote the screenplay and will direct the film, which is expected to hit theaters in 2006.

Billboard reports that a new popularity chart will debut beginning with the magazine's November 6 edition. The "Hot Ringtones" chart will list the Top 20 polyphonic ringtone sales for each week as provided by the major ringtone distributors and wireless carriers. The chart will be included in Billboard magazine's new Digital Entertainment special section.

AWARDS PRESENTATIONS/WINNERS:

Rock group Linkin Park and hip-hop star Usher were the top winners at the October 25 Radio Music Awards in Las Vegas. Usher was named Hip-Hop Artist of the Year and he also took home the Hip-Hop Song of the Year award for "Yeah!" Linkin Park won the Rock Artist of the Year category and the Alternative Rock Song of the Year honor for "Numb." Other winners included Beyonce, named Top 40 Artist of the Year; Tim McGraw, Country Artist of the Year; and Train, Modern Adult Artist of the Year. During the ceremony, Janet Jackson was presented with the Legend Award. Nominees were based on the top played songs on radio. Votes by radio program and music directors selected the winners.

Usher, Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones and the artists who collaborated on the remake of Rose Royce's 1976 hit "Carwash" all received two nominations for the 31st annual People's Choice Awards. Up for Favorite Group are Evanescence, Maroon 5, No Doubt, OutKast and U2. In the Favorite Male Singer category are Eminem, Josh Groban, John Mayer, Prince and Usher. Favorite Female Singer nominees are Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Avril Lavigne and Sarah McLachlan. Nominated for Favorite Remake are Christina Aguilera, Missy Elliot and Lil' Kim for "Car Wash;" Sheryl Crow for "The First Cut Is The Deepest;" No Doubt for "It's My Life;" Antonio Banderas and Eddie Murphy for "Livin' La Vida Loca;" and Jessica Simpson for "Take My Breath Away." Mentioned in category of Favorite Combined Forces are Christina Aguilera, Missy Elliot and Lil' Kim for "Car Wash;" Black Eyed Peas and Justin Timberlake for "Where Is The Love;" Norah Jones and Dolly Parton for "The Grass Is Blue;" Lil' John and Usher for "Yeah!;" and Britney Spears and Madonna for "Me Against The Music." The annual People's Choice Awards also honor entertainers in television and film. They'll be handed out on January 9, 2005 in Los Angeles and broadcast on CBS-TV.

LOOK WHO'S GOING ON TOUR!

On November 5, Country music's most successful newcomers Gretchen Wilson and Big & Rich will begin a co-headlining tour in DeKalb, Illinois. Their "American Revolution" tour is currently scheduled to take them to 12 U.S. cities through December 10. Wilson's debut album, Here For The Party has sold more than two million copies. Big & Rich recently reached the one million mark with their first release, "Horse of a Different Color."

Diana Ross will kick off a series of U.S. shows on November 5 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The 11-date outing will wrap up on November 21 in Prior Lake, Minnesota. Her most recent studio album, Every Day Is A New Day, was released in 1999.

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