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Music News: Grand Jury Indicts R. Kelly, Madonna - Pregnant Again? - 2002-06-08

June 13, Michael Jackson, Ashford & Simpson, Barry Manilow, Sting and Randy Newman will be honored as the newest members of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In addition, Garth Brooks will receive the Hitmaker Award, the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Stevie Wonder, and Carole King will accept the Johnny Mercer Award. The Songwriters Hall of Fame was founded in 1969 by songwriter Johnny Mercer and publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond. Previous inductees include Elton John, Billy Joel, Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Brian Wilson, Bob Dylan, Jim Croce and Burt Bacharach. This year's event will take place at the Sheraton New York Hotel.

49-year-old bassist Dee Dee Ramone of the punk rock group the Ramones was found dead in his home on June 5. The Coroner's Office is investigating his death as a possible accidental drug overdose. Drug paraphernalia was discovered near his body. Dee Dee is the second member of the group to die in a little more than a year. Joey Ramone lost his battle with cancer in May of 2001. This past March, the Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A Ramones tribute album, featuring tracks by Metallica, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, U2 and others, is due out later this year.

June 5, rhythm-and-blues star R. Kelly was indicted by a grand jury in Chicago of 21 counts of child pornography. "Even though I don't believe any of these charges are warranted, I'm grateful that I will have a chance to establish the truth about me in a court of law," says Kelly. He was released from police custody after posting the $750,000 bond. The judge ordered him not to have any contact with minors who aren't related to him. If convicted, Kelly could face up to 15 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Madonna's father reportedly told a British newspaper that his daughter is expecting another child with husband Guy Ritchie. "We are very excited that she is expecting again," said Tony Ciccone. " It is always exciting when your children have children. I don't know if Madonna's child is a boy or a girl yet, we just want it to be healthy." The reporter asked Tony when the baby was due. The paper says, at that point Tony realized he had given the game away and clammed up. He said, 'It's an area I can't really talk about, we just want it to be healthy. Look, this is stuff I can't go into. Of course it's an exciting time, we were delighted when we heard. But I can't talk about it.'" Stay tuned…

New Album Releases for June 11:


June 11, the TJ Martell Foundation will hold its Humanitarian of the Year gala at the New York Hilton Towers. This year's event, hosted by filmmaker Robert Townsend, will honor BET (Black Entertainment Television) founder Robert L. Johnson.

The 2002 International Country Music Fan Fair will take place June 13-16 in Nashville, Tennessee. Hundreds of Country artists will participate in this year's Fan Fair. In addition to meeting their fans, they'll provide more than 30 hours of concerts at downtown venues during the four-day weekend event. Nightly shows will take place at Adelphia Coliseum and daily concerts will be held at Riverfront Park. Fans can get autographs and photos taken with their favorite performers at the Nashville Convention Center. Half of the proceeds from Fan Fair 2002 will be donated to charities designated by the artists who attend.

B.B. King and Aretha Franklin will headline the 4th annual Indy Jazz Fest in Indianapolis, Indiana, which takes place June 14-16. Other performers scheduled to appear include Arturo Sandoval, Bela Fleck & the Flecktones and David Sanborn. This year's festival was scaled back from a week-long event to a weekend celebration of blues and jazz music.


The inaugural CMT (Country Music Television) Flameworthy Video Awards will be presented on June 12 in Nashville. Leading nominees are Alan Jackson and Toby Keith, who are up for four trophies each. Martina McBride follows close behind with three nominations. Hosted by actress Kathy Najimy, the Flameworthy Awards will feature performances by Kenny Chesney, Sara Evans, Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Alison Krauss & Union Station and Martina McBride. The two-hour awards show will air live on CMT.

Nominations for the 2nd annual Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Awards have been announced. Usher leads this year's contenders with eight nominations, including Top Artist, Top Single for U Got It Bad, and Top Album for 8701. Ja Rule picked up six nominations and Alicia Keys and the late Aaliyah follow with five nods apiece. The R&B Hip-Hop Awards will take place on August 9 in Miami Beach, Florida.


Tony Bennett will kick off a seven-month North American tour on June 10 in Boston, Massachusetts. He'll head to the U.K. in early July for a concert at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow and two shows at London's Royal Albert Hall. Bennett will resume U.S. dates in August. Concerts are currently scheduled through mid-January, 2003.

June 14 - Cher will begin her three-month "Living Proof-Farewell Tour" in Toronto, Ontario. She'll wrap up the outing on September 15 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Cher will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Children's Craniofacial Association. The tour is in support of her latest album, Living Proof. Cher's previous album, Believe, sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. Its title track went to Number One in 25 countries.

Jewel will kick off her North American summer tour on June 14 in Tampa, Florida. Pop duo M2M will open shows through mid-July. In April, Jewel broke her collar bone and a rib when she was thrown from a horse on her boyfriend's ranch in Texas. The 27-year-old handed guitar duties to a band member during last month's European trek. Jewel's tour is scheduled to end on September 19 in Santa Rosa, California.