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JD Fortune Hired as INXS' New Lead Singer; Toni Braxton Releases <i>Libra</i>

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has released its list of 15 artists who will be considered for induction this year. They include John Mellencamp, Blondie, Cat Stevens, the Patti Smith Group, the Sex Pistols, the Stooges, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Black Sabbath, the Dave Clark Five, the J. Geils Band, Chic, Joe Tex, the Sir Douglas Quintet, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five and the late Miles Davis. Artists are eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. A panel consisting of musicians, music industry professionals and journalists will choose the Hall of Fame inductees later this year and the induction ceremony will take place in early 2006.

On September 27, Blackground Records released Toni Braxton's new album Libra. The collection marks her first release in three years. Braxton plans to tour in support of Libra, which features her current single, "Trippin'." Between 1993 and 2002, the Grammy-winning singer recorded five albums for Arista Records. They produced such hits as "Breathe Again," "Unbreak My Heart" and "He Wasn't Man Enough."

Australian rock band INXS has hired J.D. Fortune as the band's new lead singer. He beat out 14 other finalists, who auditioned on the nationally televised reality series Rock Star: INXS. Fortune replaces the band's late singer Michael Hutchence, who died of an apparent suicide in 1997. INXS guitarist Tim Farris says, "J.D. has a slightly dangerous edge and will bring a sense of spontaneity to our live show. In addition, he has both the star quality we were looking for and is an inspired lyricist. We're a complete band again." INXS is now working on Switch, its first album with Fortune. Epic Records plans to release the collection on November 29. In January, the group will launch its first world tour in eight years.

The second album by Grammy-winning Country newcomer Gretchen Wilson was released on September 27. All Jacked Up features seven songs written by Wilson and a guest appearance by legendary singer Merle Haggard. Wilson's 2004 debut album, Here For The Party, has sold more than four million copies to make her the best-selling new artist in Country music.

On September 27, the Britney Spears/Kevin Federline reality show, Chaotic, was released on DVD. In addition to the five episodes of the series, it includes 30 minutes of previously unseen footage and videos to Britney's songs "Do Somethin'" and "Someday (I Will Understand)."


On September 27, Nashville's Grand Ole Opry hosted Country Reaches Out: An Opry Benefit for the American Red Cross. The show featured an all-star lineup of performers, including Alan Jackson, Keith Urban, Alison Krauss, Craig Morgan, LeAnn Rimes, Terri Clark and many others. Cable music channel Great American Country (GAC) aired the event live from the Grand Ole Opry House.

Country Music Television (CMT) reports that it postponed its "One Country" benefit concert because of the intensifying threat of Hurricane Rita to Houston and surrounding areas. The show was set to take place on October 1 at Houston's Reliant Stadium, with appearances by George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Willie Nelson, Martina McBride and ZZ Top. Proceeds of the televised show were to be used for victims of Hurricane Katrina. A substitute date has not yet been set.

On October 1, the University of Mississippi will host "Mississippi Rising," an event to benefit the Mississippi Hurricane Recovery Fund. Country superstar Faith Hill will join other Mississippi natives at the fundraiser, including author John Grisham and actor Morgan Freeman. Additional performers include Country singers Steve Azar and Gary Morris, 'N Sync member Lance Bass and R&B star Brian McKnight.


Nominations for the 2005 American Music Awards (AMA's) have been announced. Mariah Carey tops this year's contenders with four mentions, including Favorite Female Pop/Rock Singer and Favorite Female Soul/R&B Singer, as well as Favorite Pop/Rock Album and Favorite Soul/R&B Album for The Emancipation of Mimi. Other multiple nominees include Kelly Clarkson, Green Day, 50 Cent, the Black Eyed Peas, Destiny's Child, Eminem, Fantasia, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw and Gretchen Wilson. The 33rd annual AMA's will be handed out on November 22 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and broadcast live on ABC-TV.


On September 29, Country singer Trisha Yearwood began a U.S. concert tour in Mesa, Arizona. She's promoting her new CD, Jasper County, which debuts at Number One on Billboard's Country Albums chart for the week ending October 1. Its success is bittersweet for Trisha, who lost her 72-year-old father September 20. Jack Yearwood died suddenly of a heart attack in the family's hometown of Monticello, Georgia. Trisha celebrated her 41st birthday one day earlier, September 19. Her tour is currently scheduled to wrap up on November 19 in Robinsonville, Mississippi.