Levi Stubbs, who helped define the "Motown Sound" as lead singer of The Four Tops, died October 17 at his home in Detroit, Michigan. He was 72. He had complications from a stroke and died in his sleep. The Four Tops originated in 1953, when Stubbs (born Levi Stubbles) formed a vocal group called The Four Aims with high school friends Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Lawrence Payton. After signing with Chess Records in 1956, the group changed its name to The Four Tops to avoid confusion with the pop vocal group, The Ames Brothers. Among the group's big hits were: "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)"; "Baby I Need Your Loving"; "Reach Out I'll Be There"; and "Bernadette." The Four Tops were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Levi Stubbs was diagnosed with cancer in 1995, but he continued to sing with the group until a stroke forced him to retire five years later.
Judge Dismisses Charges Against Britney Spears
A Los Angeles judge dismissed charges against Britney Spears October 21, of driving without a valid license after the 12-person jury hearing the case could not agree on a verdict. The matter stemmed from an August 2007 incident when Spears his a parked car.
New Jury Named in Retrial of Music Producer Phil Spector
In Los Angeles, a jury of seven men and five women has been sworn in for the retrial of noted music producer Phil Spector on charges of second-degree murder for the 2003 death of actress Lana Clarkson in Spector's California mansion. The 40-year-old Clarkson was found dead of a shotgun wound to the mouth in the foyer of Spector's home. Attorneys for the producer presented a defense claiming that the death was a suicide. The jury in Spector's 2007 trial deadlocked. The retrial will begin once the six alternate jurors are selected.
Toni Braxton Eliminated on 'Dancing With The Stars'
Singer Toni Braxton and her professional dancer partner Alec Mazo were eliminated from the U.S. television competition, "Dancing With The Stars" following the October 20 episode. Celebrities remaining in the competition include TV personality Brooke Burke; singer Lance Bass; former NFL star Warren Sapp; Olympic gold medalist Maurice Greene; actor Cody Linley; and actresses Cloris Leachman and Susan Lucci.
Eminem Releases Autobiography
Rapper Eminem (real name: Marshall Mathers) released his autobiography, "The Way I Am", on October 21. The one-time Detroit factory floor sweeper and short-order cook discusses his troubled childhood and adolescence, and takes readers inside the studio and beyond as he enters the rap game and becomes a worldwide hip-hop sensation. The 200-plus-page book includes behind-the-scenes photographs and reproductions of Eminem's original lyric sheets - hotel stationery and other scraps of paper he used to scratch out partial verses of his songs.
50 Cent Settles Legal Dispute with Girlfriend
Rapper 50 Cent (real name: Curtis Jackson) and his ex-girlfriend have reached a settlement ending their dispute over visitation rights of the couple's 11-year-old son. Jackson will get one weekend per month with his son Marquise, as well as one month in the summer and half of each his winter and spring breaks. The boy and his mother, Shaniqua Tompkins, had been living in New York suburb of Long Island when a fire destroyed the mansion last May. An arson investigation is ongoing.
Elton John's 'Red Piano' Available in Best Buy Stores
Best Buy stores and BestBuy.com began selling Elton John's "The Red Piano" collection on October 28. It is available as a 2-DVD/2-CD set, a Blu-ray disc/2CD set, and a 3-LP vinyl package. "The Red Piano" is Elton's Las Vegas show, which he performs at Caesars Palace. The DVD and Blu-ray discs come with a documentary on the making of the show.
Berg, Shapiro, Hiatt Among New Nashville Hall of Fame Inductees
On October 26, Matraca Berg, Tom Shapiro and John Hiatt were inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (NSHOF). They'll be welcomed during the 39th Annual Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony at Nashville's Renaissance Hotel. Roger Murrah, Chairman of the NSHOF Foundation says, "Like their predecessors, Matraca, Tom and John have made meaningful and lasting contributions to the music world and deserve to take their places in the Hall of Fame. We're delighted to recognize them for their accomplishments." The NSHOF was established in 1970. Previous inductees include Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Vince Gill, Roger Miller, Roy Orbison and Dolly Parton, among others.
Grammy Nominations to be Announced During 1 Hour CBS Special
The Recording Academy plans to announce this year's Grammy nominations during a one-hour primetime CBS television special. "The Grammy Nominations Concert Live! Countdown to Music's Biggest Night" will air on December 3. Nominees in at least six major categories will be announced. The special will also feature performances by past Grammy Award winners. The 51st annual Grammy Awards will be presented on February 3, 2009 in Los Angeles.
New Album Releases / October 28
"That Don't Make Me A Bad Guy" - Toby Keith
"Funhouse" - Pink
"Greatest Hits, Volume 1" - Rascal Flatts
"A Hundred Million Suns" - Snow Patrol
"4:13 Dream" - The Cure,
"Evolver" - John Legend
"My Love - Ultimate Essential Collection" - Celine Dion
"Cardinology" - Ryan Adams
"Speak Low" - Boz Scaggs
"Picture Of Me" - Lee Brice
"A New Hallelujah" - Michael W. Smith
Look Who's Going on Tour!
On October 26, legendary singer Joan Baez began a U.S. tour in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Last month, Joan released her latest album "Day After Tomorrow," which was produced by Steve Earle. It features tracks written by Earle, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, T-Bone Burnett, Patty Griffin, and others.
AC/DC kicked off a North American tour on October 28 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The rock group will be supporting its first album in eight years, "Black Ice," which was released last week (October 21). The album is only being sold at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores and on the band's website. After wrapping up U.S. and Canadian shows on January 31, 2009, AC/DC will take a couple weeks off before beginning European concerts on February 18 in Norway.
On October 27, the "Get Out and Vote Tour" began in Charlotte, North Carolina. Headlined by the Beastie Boys, various shows will also feature appearances by Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones, Jack Johnson and Ben Harper. Other stops include Richmond, Virginia on October 28; Youngstown, Ohio on October 29; Dayton, Ohio on October 30; St. Paul, Minnesota on November 1; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin on November 2.