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Gwen Stefani Makes Digital Download History; Ricky Martin Releases New Album


Gwen Stefani has become the first artist to sell one million digital downloads of a single with "Hollaback Girl." Jimmy Iovine, Chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M, says: "Gwen is one of the most forward-thinking and innovative artists in music today. That she would make history with digital downloads just emphasizes her role as a leader in so many ways for a new generation and for music. The music industry is changing and this is a major sign that digital downloading has reached the mass market and become a very significant business." "Hollaback Girl" appears on Stefani's solo debut album Love, Angel, Music, Baby.

On October 10, Elton John received this year's Ella Award from the Society of Singers. The non-profit organization will present the award at a ceremony in Los Angeles. The Ella Award recognizes an artist whose achievements in the music world are matched by dedication to community and humanitarian causes. Past recipients include Rosemary Clooney, Lena Horne, Barry Manilow, Celine Dion and Frank Sinatra.

On October 11, Columbia Records releases Ricky Martin's new album. Life is the first English-language album by the Latin pop star since 2000's Sound Loaded, which has sold close to two million copies in the U.S. Martin will kick off a world tour in support of Life in Mexico City in mid-November. He's announced that a portion of the tour's proceeds will go to his Ricky Martin Foundation to fund such programs as Life for the Katrina Children Relief Fund, People for Children, RMF Tsunami Relief Fund, and various other ongoing efforts in Puerto Rico and throughout Latin America.

This week, singer-songwriter Jackson Browne will release his first live album since 1977's Running On Empty. Solo Acoustic - Volume 1 includes some of his well-known songs, like "Take It Easy" and "The Pretender," plus the first ever official release of "The Birds of St. Marks," a song he's been playing live for more than 30 years. Solo Acoustic will be released on Browne's own label, Inside Recordings. In other news, he plans to release a new studio album in 2006. His last studio album was 2002's The Naked Ride Home.

Country legend Dolly Parton revisits the past on her new CD Those Were The Days. The Sugar Hill Records release features Parton's duet versions of classic 1960s and '70s folk and pop songs, including "Me and Bobby McGee," "Crimson and Clover," "Twelfth of Never," "Imagine" and "Blowin' In The Wind." Guests include Tommy James, Cat Stevens, Norah Jones, Lee Ann Womack and Judy Collins, among others.

MUSICAL EVENTS/FESTIVALS/BENEFITS

On October 11, the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville hosts the first of three special performances in honor of its 80th anniversary. That night will feature Trace Adkins, Terri Clark, bluegrass great Del McCoury, Joe Diffie, John Conlee, Porter Wagoner and Little Jimmie Dickens. Taking the stage on October 14 will be John Michael Montgomery, Alison Krauss, Bill Anderson, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Lee Greenwood, and others. On the final night, October 15, audiences will be treated to a rare performance by Garth Brooks, plus Diamond Rio, Ralph Stanley, Josh Turner, Travis Tritt, Steve Wariner, and more.

TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION

On October 11, hip-hop star Kanye West begins a 49-date North American tour in support of his latest album Late Registration. Shows begin in Miami, Florida and wrap up on December 11 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Opening acts include 2005's American Idol Fantasia, R&B singer Keyshia Cole and rapper Common. Kanye West has ruled the top of Billboard's Hot 100 chart for five weeks with Gold Digger.

Country trio Rascal Flatts will begin the final leg of its 2005 "Here's To You" tour on October 13 in Buffalo, New York. Concerts are currently scheduled through December 3. Alternating the opening slot will be Keith Anderson, Blake Shelton and newcomer Blaine Larsen. The tour has played in 52 cities since January. With ticket sales at 550,000 to date, the outing is poised to be one of the top selling Country tours of 2005. It's currently ranked at Number 9 in all genres.

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