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George Michael Becomes First Artist to Perform at New Wembley Stadium; The Police Release Greatest Hits Collection


MTV is bringing back its acoustic performance series "Unplugged." New shows will feature the Police, Kenny Chesney, Mary J. Blige, John Mayer and Bon Jovi, who will kick off this year's series on June 22. Two other cable music channels, VH1 and CMT, will air edited versions of the "Unplugged" concerts on the two nights following MTV's broadcast.

This week, British singer George Michael will be the first pop artist to perform at London's newly rebuilt Wembley Stadium. Construction on the 90,000-seat stadium began in 2003. Wembley is the second largest stadium in Europe and is home to England's national football team. Many concerts are also scheduled to take place in the stadium this year. George Michael's shows will be held on June 9 and 10 and Muse has booked two concerts on June 16 and 17. Other special musical events include the July 1 "Concert For Diana" and the July 7 "Live Earth" benefit.

The Police are celebrating the 30th anniversary of their recording debut with the June 5 release of a 2-CD greatest hits collection. The self-titled set's 28 tracks include the band's first single "Fall Out." Also featured are such hits as "Message In A Bottle," "Don't Stand So Close To Me," "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" and "Every Breath You Take."

On June 5 Verve Records will release the Ella Fitzgerald tribute album We All Love Ella: Celebrating the First Lady of Song. The 13-song compilation features Ella's songs performed by Michael Buble, Queen Latifah, Natalie Cole, Gladys Knight, Diana Krall, Linda Ronstadt, and others.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Monterey International Pop Festival. The world's first rock festival took place June 16-18, 1967 and attracted some 200,000 music fans. On June 7, Razor & Tie Records will release a 26-track, double CD with live performances by such legendary '60s stars as Big Brother & The Holding Company, the Byrds and Jefferson Airplane. Also included are previously unreleased tracks by Simon & Garfunkel and Buffalo Springfield.

On June 7, the 2007 Songwriters Hall of Fame inductions will take place in New York City. This year's inductees include singer-songwriter Jackson Browne, lyricist Don Black, songwriter and producer Michael Masser, Calypso composer Irving Burgie and the songwriting team of Bobby Weinstein and Teddy Randazzo. Country legend Dolly Parton will receive the Johnny Mercer Award, which is given to a songwriter who has previously been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

NEW ALBUM RELEASES

New albums scheduled for release on June 5 include: "Good Girl Gone Bad" by Rihanna, "Memory Almost Full" by Paul McCartney, "Anchored In Love: A Tribute to June Carter Cash" by various artists (including Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello, Brad Paisley, Loretta Lynn, and many others), "Live In Dublin" by Bruce Springsteen (recorded in November 2006 at The Point in Dublin, Ireland), "Epiphany" by T-Pain, "Between Raising Hell & Amazing Grace" by Big & Rich, "El Cartel: The Big Boss" by Daddy Yankee, "Eat Me, Drink Me" by Marilyn Manson, "Carry On" by Chris Cornell, "Black In The Saddle" by Cowboy Troy, "One Man Band" by Swizz Beatz and the original motion picture soundtrack to "Oceans Thirteen."

MUSICAL EVENTS/FESTIVALS/BENEFITS

The 2007 CMA Music Festival (formerly known as Fan Fair) will take place in Nashville June 7-10. Last year, the festival drew music fans from all 50 states and 27 overseas countries. More than 90 hours of live music will be performed by hundreds of artists during the four-day event. The CMA Music Festival also offers the opportunity for fans to meet their favorite artists and celebrities at the Fan Fair exhibit hall. Artists are not compensated for performances or the time spent signing autographs. Proceeds from the festival will go to the Country Music Association's "Keep the Music Playing" program, which supports music education in Nashville's public schools.

TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION

On June 5, Country superstars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill will kick off their 45-date "Soul2Soul" tour in Omaha, Nebraska. Tim's latest album, Let It Go, was recently certified platinum for shipment of one million copies. Faith has a new album coming out later this year. She's climbing the current Country chart with its first single, "Lost." North American shows on the couple's third annual "Soul2Soul" outing will wrap up on September 1 in Moncton, New Brunswick.

On June 8, the multi-artist "True Colors Tour" will begin in Las Vegas, Nevada. The tour will benefit the Human Rights Campaign. Headliners include Cyndi Lauper, Erasure and Blondie's Debbie Harry. 16 shows are planned through June 30. Talk show host Rosie O'Donnell, who recently made headlines by leaving The View three weeks before her contract expired, will appear at six of the concerts.

Keith Urban kicks off the North American leg of his "Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing Tour" on June 8 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Australian Country star spent the past month in his homeland, where he performed five concerts. The shows marked his first live performances there in two years. Keith also enjoyed some time with his wife, actress Nicole Kidman, who's working on Baz Luhrmann's upcoming film, Australia.

On June 8, Country duo Big & Rich will begin their North American summer tour in Pryor, Oklahoma. Their third album, Between Raising Hell & Amazing Grace, will be released three days earlier. Big & Rich also have a book coming out on June 5. "All Access" is packaged with a companion DVD, which, according to the duo's Big Kenny, "mostly tells stories about all the things that have happened since we came together, from how the records came about and all the crazy family that we have in the Musik Mafia and all the projects we've worked on and some of the philosophies of what we do." The book features more than 250 photographs.

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