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Chris Brown Avoids Trial; Barry Manilow, Aretha Franklin to Perform in July 4 Concert

Michael Jackson Dies

Pop legend Michael Jackson, 50, died on June 25 after being found unresponsive at his Los Angeles home. He suffered cardiac arrest, but, according to his brother Jermaine, "the cause of his death is unknown until results of the autopsy are known." Doctors at Ronald Reagan UCLA Hospital worked for more than an hour to revive him. Throughout his lifelong career with the Jackson 5 and as a solo artist, Michael sold over 250 million records worldwide and won 17 Grammy Awards. His 1982 album, Thriller, won eight Grammys, which broke the late Roger Miller's 1965 record for most Grammy wins in a single year. Thriller sold 109 million copies worldwide and produced seven Top 10 hits, including two that reached Number One. Later, his music career was overshadowed by eccentric behavior and personal and financial problems. Michael was expected to make a successful comeback with a new album and 50 sold-out shows that were scheduled to take place at London's O2 Arena from July 13 through March 2010. Jackson leaves behind three children. His second wife gave birth to twelve-year-old Michael and 11-year-old Paris, and seven-year-old Michael II, known as Blanket, was born to a surrogate mother whose identity has never been revealed.

Chris Brown will avoid a trial and any jail time for assaulting Rihanna back in February. Before a preliminary hearing on June 22, Brown reached a plea agreement with prosecutors. The 20-year-old singer will serve 180 days of community service, undergo domestic violence counseling and be under supervised probation for five years. Judge Patricia Schnegg also imposed a stay-away order between Brown and Rihanna until he's formally sentenced on August 5. Brown's lawyer, Mark Geragos said, "This is a kid who's never been in trouble before. He embraces this as a chance to get the message out that domestic violence will not be tolerated. He wants to get his life back on track."

Rob Thomas Releases New Solo Album

The second solo album by Rob Thomas will be released on June 30. Cradlesong follows his 2005 solo debut, …Something To Be, which has sold more than 1.5 million copies in the U.S. Rob will support his new album with a U.S. tour, which is scheduled to begin in September.

Jonas Brothers Score Another No. 1 Hit

The Jonas Brothers earn their second consecutive Number One on the Billboard 200 for the week ending July 4, with Lines, Vines and Trying Times. The album sold 247,000 copies its first week of release. Its first single is "Paranoid," a track they wrote with their producer John Fields and British singer-songwriter Cathy Dennis.

On June 30, two of Rod Stewart's albums from the mid-1970s will be re-released as collector's editions. Atlantic Crossing and A Night On the Town will each include remastered versions of the original album, plus a second disc of alternative studio takes and other previously unreleased tracks.

'A Capitol Fourth' Concert to Feature Barry Manilow, Aretha Franklin

This year's "A Capitol Fourth" celebration will feature performances by Barry Manilow, Aretha Franklin, Natasha Bedingfield, the cast of Broadway's "Jersey Boys," Michael Feinstein, classical pianist Andrew von Oeyen and the National Symphony Orchestra. PBS will broadcast the event live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

"Now That's What I Call Music 31" - various artists
"Now That's What I Call The '80s, Volume 2" - various artists
"American Saturday Night" - Brad Paisley
"Born Into It" - The Parks
"Loso's Way" - Fabolous
"Wait For Me" - Moby
"Polyrically Uncorrect" - Cledus T. Judd
"Swan Feathers" - Leslie Mendelson
"Reggae Gold 2009" - various artists
"Electric Dirt" by Levon Helm

Musical Events/Festivals/Benefits

The 30th Montreal International Jazz Festival will be held June 30-July 12. Headliners include Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett, Wynton Marsalis and Chris Botti. The event will feature more than 650 concerts performed by 3,000 artists from 30 countries.

The 39th annual Roskilde Festival will take place July 2-5 outside of Copenhagen, Denmark. This year's lineup includes Coldplay, Kanye West, Lily Allen, the Pet Shop Boys, and many others. Entry to the festival grounds will begin on June 28 to allow campers time to set up their tents and settle in.

Bob Dylan, The Dead, Willie Nelson and the Black Crowes are among the dozens of artists appearing at this year's Rothbury Festival in Rothbury, Michigan. The four-day event begins on July 2. Last year, Rothbury ranked in the Top 10 on Billboard's list of top-grossing festivals. More than 120,000 music fans were in attendance.

The 2009 Essence Music Festival takes place July 3-5 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Beyonce, John Legend, Lionel Richie, Maxwell, Anita Baker, Al Green and Ne-Yo are among the headliners. In addition to more than 30 concerts, the festival will offer seminars with speakers that include comedian Bill Cosby, actor Hill Harper and radio host Tom Joyner.

Look Who's Going On Tour!

On June 30, U2 will kick off its "360 Degrees" stadium tour in Barcelona, Spain. The outing will support the band's new album, "No Line on the Horizon." U2 will play 24 European shows through August 22. The North American leg begins on September 12 in Chicago.

Beginning July 2, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp will join Bob Dylan on "The Bob Dylan Show" tour of minor league baseball parks. Their first stop is Sauget, Illinois. The 30-city tour wraps up on August 15 in Stockton, California.
On July 3, Jay-Z and Ciara will be in Las Vegas, Nevada to perform the first of five concerts together. A second show is scheduled in Las Vegas on July 4. The pair then heads to Chicago, Illinois on July 7; Uncasville, Connecticut on July 10; and Atlanta, Georgia on July 12.

On July 4, Madonna begins the final leg of her "Sticky & Sweet Tour" at London's O2 Arena. Thirty shows are planned through September 2. She wraps up the trek in Tel Aviv, Israel. According to Forbes magazine, Madonna made $110 million during the past year to become the world's top earning musician.