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Country Singer Aaron Tippin Travels to Afghanistan; Stars Head to Los Angeles for American Music Awards


First week sales of the NOW 23 compilation reached 337,000 copies, which led to a Number One debut on this week's Billboard 200 chart (week ending November 25). The 23rd release in the NOW That's What I Call Music series includes recent hits by Fergie, Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado, Christina Aguilera, Ne-Yo, Rihanna, Jessica Simpson, and many others.

On November 20, MTV2 premieres rock band 30 Seconds To Mars' "From Yesterday" video. Billboard.com reports that the video "is purportedly the first American rock video ever shot in its entirety in the People's Republic of China." The band hired 300 to appear as extras in the clip.

Former TLC member Rozanda "Chilli" Thomas is working on her solo debut album, which will be released next year on hip-hop singer Akon's label, Konvict Muzik. In addition to Akon, producers on the project include the Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am, Timbaland and Missy Elliott.

Country singer Aaron Tippin will entertain U.S. military troops in Afghanistan this week. He'll be in the Middle East from November 18-27 to perform hits and new material from his latest album Now & Then. Aaron says, "Those are the real working men and women, and if I can repay even an ounce of what they are doing for me, my family and my country by taking their mind off the day-to-day risks...well, I can't think of a better thing to do with my time. They have been fighting for the rights we take for granted every day, and I want to make sure they know we're thankful."

On November 21, NBC-TV will air the all-star Tony Bennett special, An American Classic. The show was taped at the Los Angeles Theater this past June and features duets with Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, and many others who appear on his latest album, Duets - An American Classic. Also appearing on the television special are actors Robert DeNiro, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Billy Crystal. Tony's son and manager Danny Bennett describes the special as a "documusical" that illustrates the musical journey through his father's life.

On November 21, Amaru/Interscope Records will release Pac's Life by the late rapper Tupac Shakur. The collection contains previously unreleased recordings and features several guests, including Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, T.I. and Ashanti. Shakur was murdered in a 1996 drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. His 2004 album, Loyal to the Game, has sold more than one million copies in the United States.

NEW ALBUM RELEASES

New albums scheduled for release on November 21 include: Siempre by Il Divo, One With Everything by Styx, U218 Singles by U2 (compilation includes a cover of "When the Saints Go Marching In" with Green Day), Perception (6CD/6DVD box set) by The Doors, Daughtry by ("American Idol" finalist) Chris Daughtry, Here and Now by Darryl Worley, Kingdom Come by Jay-Z, Tha Blue Carpet Treatment by Snoop Dogg, The Gospel According to Patti Labelle by Patti Labelle, Finding My Way Back Home by Lee Ann Womack, the original motion picture to Bobby (tracks by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Simon & Garfunkel, actress Demi Moore, who appears in the film, plus a new duet by Mary J. Blige and Aretha Franklin), Forever, For Always, For Luther, Vol. 2 by various artists (including Patti Austin, Gerald Albright, Jonathan Butler and Will Downing), Rock Star Supernova's self-titled album (features new lead singer Lucas Rossi) and My Favourite Carols by Robin Gibb.

MUSICAL EVENTS/FESTIVALS/BENEFITS

Country stars Craig Morgan, Charlie Daniels and Sawyer Brown will perform at the 10th annual Christmas For Kids Benefit. The event takes place November 20 at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. Proceeds will go to Christmas For Kids, a non-profit organization that was created by Country artists' tour bus drivers. Money raised helps underprivileged children throughout Middle Tennessee buy Christmas presents.

AWARDS PRESENTATIONS/WINNERS

The 34th annual American Music Awards will be presented on November 21 in Los Angeles. Mariah Carey, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Eyed Peas and Nickelback each received three nominations. Mary J. Blige, Kelly Clarkson, Jamie Foxx, Eminem, Rascal Flatts, Pussycat Dolls, T.I., Carrie Underwood and Kanye West each earned two mentions apiece. Nelly Furtado, the Pussycat Dolls, the Dixie Chicks, Mary J. Blige, Josh Groban, Carrie Underwood and Beyonce are among the artists scheduled to appear on the awards show, which will be broadcast live on ABC-TV.

The Rolling Stones' "Bigger Bang" tour won for Top Tour (highest-grossing) and Top Draw (most tickets sold) at the November 9 Billboard Touring Awards. The group drew nearly two million fans to their shows and brought in close to $230 million. Madonna's "Confessions" tour also won two awards, including Top Boxscore for her sold-out eight-night engagement at London's Wembley Arena. Madonna's managers Guy Oseary and Angela Becker took home the Top Manager award. Country star Kenny Chesney won in the Top Package category for his "Road and the Radio" tour, which also featured Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson, Little Big Town and Dierks Bentley. And, Nickelback was named Top Breakthrough Act.

TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION

On November 24, Country legend Kenny Rogers will begin a holiday tour in South Bend, Indiana. He'll sing Christmas standards and some of his biggest Country hits on the month-long "Christmas & Hits" outing, which marks his 25th holiday tour. Joining him is singer Linda Davis, as well as children and choirs from each local city. Dates are scheduled to wrap up on December 20 in Westbury, New York.

Country star Martina McBride will kick off her fourth "Joy of Christmas" tour on November 24 in Chicago, Illinois. The two-hour show features elaborate sets and special effects. Tour producer Bud Schaetzle says, "One minute you're in a quaint village under a Christmas tree [and] the next minute you're in Bethlehem crossing the desert, and the next you have a World War II, Bob Hope/Bing Crosby vibe." Martina will perform in 16 U.S. cities through December 22.

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