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Sambora Faces Possible Divorce; Artists Gear Up for Grammy Awards


Pre-game festivities for the National Football League's February 5 championship game in Detroit, Michigan included performances by Stevie Wonder, John Legend and Joss Stone. Detroit's own Aretha Franklin and New Orleans native Aaron Neville sang the national anthem before the game with a 150-person choir. Entertaining viewers at halftime was the Rolling Stones.

During an interview with VOA's "Border Crossings" host Larry London on February 2, Bon Jovi's guitarist Richie Sambora said things were great in his 11-year marriage to actress Heather Locklear. Hours later, news broke that Locklear has filed for divorce, citing "irreconcilable differences." The couple has one child, 8-year-old daughter Ava Elizabeth. This marks the second divorce for Locklear, who was married to Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee from 1985 to 1993.

The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS) held its annual MusiCares Person of the Year charity event on February 6 in Los Angeles. This year's honoree was pop legend James Taylor, who, according to NARAS president Neil Portnow, was recognized "as an extraordinary human being, musician and humanitarian who has made a global impact on music and culture." The gala included performances by Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Paul Simon, the Dixie Chicks, India.Arie, Jackson Browne, David Crosby, Bonnie Raitt, Carole King, Alison Krauss, Dr. John, Taj Mahal and Randy Newman, as well as a silent auction.

Guitar legend Les Paul celebrated his 90th birthday on June 9, 2005 and celebrations continue this week. On February 7, the "Les Paul & Friends: 90th Birthday Salute" will take place at the Gibson Amphitheater in Los Angeles. Sharing the stage with Les will be a who's who of guitarists, including Aerosmith's Joe Perry, Journey's Neal Schon, Joe Satriani and Toto's Steve Lukather. Proceeds will go to A Place Called Home, which provides assistance to at-risk youth.

On February 7, the latest albums by newly married Country stars Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks will be re-released. The couple recorded a new duet called Love Will Always Win, which will be added to Trisha's 2005 album Jasper County. The song, plus five other tracks, will also be added to the re-release of Garth's album The Lost Sessions, which was originally included in his 2005 3-CD box set The Limited Series. The box set and the individual re-release of The Lost Sessions are available only at Walmart stores. The week ending February 4, Love Will Always Win debuted on Billboard's Country Singles chart at Number 36.

The 3rd annual Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame inductions took place on February 5 in Toronto. This year's inductees were Leonard Cohen and Gilles Vigneault. During the ceremony, Anne Murray and Lucille Dumont received Legacy Awards for their contributions to Canadian songwriting. Willie Nelson, k.d. lang and Rufus Wainwright performed at the event.

AWARDS PRESENTATIONS/WINNERS

The 48th annual Grammy Awards will be presented on February 8 in Los Angeles. Mariah Carey, John Legend and Kanye West lead this year's nominees with eight nominations each. Following close behind with six mentions are 50 Cent, Stevie Wonder, the Black Eyed Peas' Will.i.am and Beyonce Knowles, who is nominated for her work as a solo artist and with Destiny's Child. Nominated in five categories apiece are Alicia Keys, Bruce Springsteen, Gwen Stefani, Missy Elliott and U2. Lifetime Achievement awards will be awarded to Merle Haggard, David Bowie, Cream, the late blues legend Robert Johnson, opera singer Jessye Norman, the Weavers and the late comedian Richard Pryor. Grammy Awards will be presented in 108 categories. Madonna will open the live telecast. She'll team with the virtual band Gorillaz, which will appear in 3D color animation. Other scheduled performers include Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera with Herbie Hancock, Jamie Foxx with Kanye West, Faith Hill with Keith Urban and U2 with Mary J. Blige, among many others. (Complete list of nominees at www.grammy.com <http://www.grammy.com>.)

John Williams leads the music nominees for the 78th annual Academy Awards. He appears twice in the Best Music Score category for Memoirs of a Geisha and Munich. Williams will compete against Gustavo Santaolalla for Brokeback Mountain, Alberto Iglesias for The Constant Gardener and Dario Marianelli for Pride & Prejudice. Best Original Song nominees are Kathleen Bird York and Michael Becker for In The Deep from Crash, Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman and Paul Beauregard for "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from Hustle & Flow and Dolly Parton for "Travelin' Thru" from Transamerica. This year's Academy Award ceremony will take place at Hollywood's Kodak Theater on March 5.

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