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Boy George Charged with Cocaine Possession; Gwen Stefani Kicks Off First Solo Tour

Billboard has announced that Tom Petty will receive its 2005 Century Award. The award is the music trade publication's highest honor for creative achievement. Petty will be presented with the Century Award during the December 6 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada. Previous Century Award recipients include Chet Atkins, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Randy Newman, Emmylou Harris, Carlos Santana, Joni Mitchell, Billy Joel, Buddy Guy, James Taylor, Annie Lennox and George Harrison.

On October 18, Motown Records released Stevie Wonder's first new studio album in 10 years. A Time 2 Love features a number of guests, including Paul McCartney, India.Arie, Bonnie Raitt, Prince and Stevie's daughter Aisha. Wonder has made the track "Shelter From the Rain" available as a digital download, with proceeds going to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Former Culture Club leader Boy George (real name George O'Dowd) has been charged with cocaine possession. The 44-year-old British singer had called the police to report a burglary at his New York apartment. When they arrived, they reportedly found 13 plastic bags containing cocaine. Maggie Gandasegui of the Special Narcotics Prosecutors office was quoted as saying, "That is a sizeable amount of drugs." His lawyer, Lou Freeman, says, "He does not know where it came from. He's a very social person. He's had a lot of people in his home." Boy George flew to London after being arraigned and is scheduled to be back in New York to appear at a court hearing on December 19.

Rod Stewart's latest release in his series of pop standard collections hit records stores on October 18. Thanks For the Memory: The Great American Songbook, Volume IV includes duets with Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, Elton John, plus solo performances of such classics as Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies," Jerome Kern's "Long Ago & Far Away" and Rodgers & Hart's "My Funny Valentine." Rod says, "The key to it all is trying to put my own stamp on these songs, because they have been done so many times. Since this album will be the last one for now, I wanted to make it really special." Sales of Stewart's three previous standards releases total more than 13 million copies worldwide. On November 8, J Records plans to release all four of Stewart's "Great American Songbook" volumes as a box set. In other news, Rod received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 11.


On October 18, performing rights organization BMI presented Country legend Charlie Daniels with its Icon Award. BMI says Daniels was chosen for his "enduring influence on generations of music makers." Previous BMI Icon Award recipients include Bill Anderson, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Bo Diddley, Al Green, Isaac Hayes, Little Richard, Loretta Lynn, Van Morrison, Dolly Parton, Carlos Santana, Paul Simon and Brian Wilson.


On October 16, Gwen Stefani kicked off her first solo tour in Phoenix, Arizona. The Black Eyed Peas will open shows on the 40-date North American outing. Concerts are currently scheduled to wrap up on December 21 in Fort Myers, Florida. Gwen's solo debut album, Love, Angel, Music, Baby, has sold more than two million copies in the U.S. since its release in November of last year.

This week, Sheryl Crow will begin a brief tour in support of her latest album Wildflower. She's scheduled to play nine shows in eight cities, starting in Seattle, Washington on October 16. She'll wrap up U.S. dates on October 31, then head to London to perform shows on November 3 and 4.

On October 17, pop/rock newcomer Josh Kelley kicked off a U.S. theater tour with Welsh singer Jem in Seattle, Washington. The Georgia native will be promoting his new album Almost Honest, which includes his recent hit single "Only You." Almost Honest debuted at Number On Billboard's New Artist chart.