The newest American Idol, Carrie Underwood," debuts at Number One on Billboard's Hot 100 chart the week ending July 2, with her first single "Inside Your Heaven." She becomes the third American Idol winner to debut at the top of that chart. The show's second season runner-up, Clay Aiken, entered the list at Number One with "This Is the Night" in 2003, and last year's winner, Fantasia, came in at the top with her first single "I Believe." During FOX-TV's talent competition, Carrie Underwood drew a huge fan base with her country-flavored sound. Her version of "Inside Your Heaven" enters the Country Singles list at Number 59. Fred Bronson, who writes the Chart Beat column for Billboard magazine, feels Carrie will lose her spot at Number One next week. He reports that she'll likely be displaced by "American Idol" runner-up Bo Bice and his version of "Inside Your Heaven." Bronson writes, "If that happens, it will be the first time since the Hot 100 was introduced in August 1958 that one version of a song has replaced another version of the same song at Number One." Underwood, Bice and eight more of this year's finalists will begin their "American Idol Live" tour on July 12 in Fort Myers, Florida.
Rock legend Neil Young has scheduled his first round of concerts since suffering a brain aneurysm in March. He's booked to perform a five-night engagement at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium August 15-19. The concerts will be taped for a future DVD release.
On June 28, Curb Records will release "Salute! The World War II Tribute Album." The compilation features popular songs from the World War II era performed by Kenny Rogers, LeAnn Rimes, Kimberley Locke, the Judds, and others. A portion of the proceeds will go to the American Experience Foundation, which benefits America's veterans.
On July 2, "Live 8" concerts will take place in London, Philadelphia, Berlin, Rome, Paris, Tokyo, Johannesburg and Barrie, Ontario. Bob Geldof and co-organizer Midge Ure are staging the shows to bring awareness to the world's poorest nations. The shows will precede the G8 Summit in Perthshire, Scotland, which will be held July 6-8. A ninth "Live 8" concert is planned for July 6 in Edinburgh, Scotland. More than one thousand musicians have signed on to perform at the events. They include such superstars as Madonna, Paul McCartney, U2, Stevie Wonder, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Sting, Elton John and Bon Jovi. Eight hours of the July 2 "Live 8" concerts will air on the MTV and VH1 networks. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Geldof's "Live Aid" multi-venue concert event, which took place on July 13, 1985. "Live Aid" raised money for famine relief in Ethiopia.
78-year-old bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley will undergo coronary bypass surgery on June 27. His doctors report that he has not suffered a heart attack, but a regular physical showed the need for the multiple bypass procedure. Rebel Records released Stanley's new album of spiritual songs, "Shine On," on June 7.
On June 29, Toby Keith's "I Love This Bar & Grill" restaurant and nightclub will open at Harrah's Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas. His Oklahoma City location opened June 21. Both locations offer a southern home-style menu. Toby says, "The whole concept reflects my passion for Oklahoma and where everyone will feel comfortable."
On June 28, J Records will release "I'm A Hustla" by Philadelphia rapper Cassidy. Meanwhile, Cassidy is in a Philadelphia jail cell awaiting a preliminary hearing for allegedly murdering a 22-year-old man. Philadelphia police say that on April 15, the rapper and two other men repeatedly fired their weapons into a car that was parked in a driveway. In addition to the victim who died, two people were seriously injured in the attack. Cassidy surrendered to police on June 17, and the following day, was charged with murder, attempted murder, reckless endangerment, aggravated assault, conspiracy and weapons possession. His bail was denied, so he'll stay in prison until his hearing, which is scheduled for July 19.
The 2005 Essence Music Festival will take place in New Orleans, Louisiana July 1-3. This year's lineup includes Aretha Franklin, Kanye West, Destiny's Child, Alicia Keys, Fantasia, Lionel Richie, and others.