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Grand Ole Opry Honors Keith Urban; Nicki Minaj Tops Billboard 200

  • Mary Morningstar

Nicki Minaj's "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded" CD

Nicki Minaj's "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded" CD

Nicki Minaj Tops Billboard 200

Nicki Minaj debuts at Number One on this week’s Billboard 200 chart with her new album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. First-week sales reached 253,000 copies. Its first single, “Starships,” holds at Number 6 on this week’s Hot 100 list. Other Top 10 entries on the Billboard 200 include Changed by Rascal Flatts at Number 3, My Head Is An Animal by Of Monsters and Men at Number 6 and I Win by Marvin Sapp at Number 9.

Grand Ole Opry to Induct Keith Urban

Keith Urban's "Get Closer" CD

Keith Urban's "Get Closer" CD

On April 21, Keith Urban will be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. He was given the news at his April 10 “All For The Hall” benefit concert in Nashville. Urban hosts the annual charity show to raise funds for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Near the end of the event, Vince Gill brought Rascal Flatts on stage to present Urban with a black duffel bag that contained the Opry’s signature microphone stand. After Gill invited Keith to become the Opry’s newest member, Urban said, “I don’t know what to say - but first, YES! Thank you very much to everybody at the Grand Ole Opry who made this possible. I’m shocked. How beautiful for this to happen tonight of all nights. I will always remember the first time I played the Opry. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Idol Judges 'Save' Sanchez

On April 12, American Idol judges Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez used their one ‘save’ of Season 11 to keep Jessica Sanchez in the competition. The 16-year-old from San Diego, who’s been a frontrunner the entire season, was eliminated after receiving the lowest number of viewer votes. The judges ‘save’ overruled America’s decision, allowing Sanchez to return to compete again this week (April 18). In addition to Jessica Sanchez, the remaining finalists are Hollie Cavanaugh, Colton Dixon, Joshua Ledet, Elise Testone, Skylar Laine and Phillip Phillips.

Chesney-McGraw Single Gains Ground Among Country Fans

Kenny Chesney & Tim McGraw's "Feel Like A Rock Star" CD

Kenny Chesney & Tim McGraw's "Feel Like A Rock Star" CD

Country stars Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw debut at Number 13 on this week’s Country chart with their new duet, “Feel Like A Rock Star.” That’s the second-highest start on the Top Country Songs list since Nielsen BDS monitoring began in 1990. Garth Brooks holds the record for the highest entry. In 2007, he entered at Number One with “More Than A Memory.” “Feel Like A Rock Star” is from Kenny’s upcoming album, Welcome to the Fishbowl.

Lion King Breaks Sets Broadway Record

The stage musical The Lion King recently became the highest-grossing Broadway show ever. Box office tallies report a cumulative gross of $853,846,062. That knocks the former leader, Phantom of the Opera, to Number 2 with a cumulative total of $853,122,847. Phantom is the longest-running show in Broadway history. It opened in January 1988. The Lion King began its run in November 1997.

New Album Releases / April 17:

“Love Is A Four Letter Word” by Jason Mraz
“California 37” by Train
“In The Time Of Gods” by Dar Williams

Musical Events/Festivals/Benefits:

On April 20, a concert will be held in Austin, Texas to honor the late Country legend Johnny Cash. Performers at “We Walk The Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash” include Kenny Chesney, Ronnie Dunn, Amy Lee, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, and many others. “Our family is honored to know that this amazing line-up of artists will gather together on one stage to pay tribute to the music and history of my father," Cash’s son, John Carter Cash said. "There is no doubt in my mind that, although he is no longer with us in body, his spirit will shine true on this night thanks to these inspired artists.”

Star Birthdays

On April 15, British singer, songwriter and guitarist Dave Edmunds will turn 68. In 1970, Edmunds debuted on the pop charts with the Top 5 single, “I Hear You Knocking.” Six years later, he and Nick Lowe formed the rock quartet Rockpile. In 2000, Edmunds underwent triple bypass and heart valve replacement surgery, but has since made a full recovery.

Pop singer Bobby Vinton will celebrate his 77th birthday on April 16. Born Stanley Robert Vinton in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, Bobby debuted on the charts in 1962 with the Number One single “Roses Are Red (My Love).” His other chart-topping hits include “Blue Velvet,” “There! I’ve Said It Again,” “Mr. Lonely,” and “My Melody Of Love.” From 1975 to 1978, Vinton hosted his own musical variety television series. In 2002, he sold his Blue Velvet Theater in Branson, Missouri, but Vinton still performs concerts throughout the U.S.

Victoria Beckham (file photo)

Victoria Beckham (file photo)

Victoria Beckham (a.k.a. Posh Spice of the Spice Girls) will turn 38 on April 17. The Spice Girls’ debut album “Spice” was released in 1997. The collection sold more than seven million copies in the U.S. and produced such hits as “Wannabe,” “Say You’ll Be There” and “2 Become 1.” In late 1997, Virgin Records released the Spice Girls’ second CD, “Spiceworld.” Sales of that album reached four million copies. Their final collection, “Forever,” was released in late 2000. Victoria married professional soccer player David Beckham in 1999. They have three sons, 13-year-old Brooklyn, nine-year-old Romeo and seven-year-old Cruz, and a daughter, nine-month-old Harper. In 2007, the couple moved to California, where David plays soccer for the Los Angeles Galaxy. That same year, the Spice Girls reunited for an arena tour. Victoria has a line of accessories and clothing that includes denim jeans, dresses, sunglasses and her own fragrance. During the past few years, she’s been a guest judge on “Project Runway,” Germany’s Next Top Model” and American Idol auditions.

Jazz-rock keyboardist Jan Hammer will celebrate his 64th birthday on April 17. Born in Prague, Hammer performed on tour with Sarah Vaughan and was a member of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. In 1985, he recorded the theme from the hit television series, “Miami Vice.” The song reached Number One on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. Since then, he has recorded several jazz collections, including “Melodies,” “Beyond the Mind’s Eye” and “Drive.” In 2002, One Way Records released Jan Hammer’s double CD, “Miami Vice: The Complete Collection.” The following year, Sony Music Group issued a remastered version of Hammer’s 1975 American debut album, “The First Seven Days.”

April 20 marks the birth date of rhythm-and-blues singer Luther Vandross (born 1951). Vandross got his start in the music business by singing commercial jingles and working as a session vocalist. His numerous hits include “Here And Now,” “Never Too Much” and “Power of Love.” In 1994, Vandross received three Grammy Award nominations and won the American Music Award for Best Male R&B artist. That same year, he recorded a duet version of the Diana Ross and Lionel Richie hit “Endless Love” with Mariah Carey that was included on his album of cover tunes, “Songs.” In 1998, Luther switched to Virgin Records, which released “I Know.” In 2001, he signed with Clive Davis’ former label, J Records. Vandross recorded his final album, “Dance With My Father,” just prior to suffering a massive stroke in April of 2003. The album debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200 chart. It earned him 11 industry awards, including four Grammys. Luther died of complications from the stroke on July 1, 2005.

Look Who's Going On Tour!

Coldplay performs at the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday June 1, 2008, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Coldplay performs at the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday June 1, 2008, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

On April 17, Coldplay will kick off its 2012 tour in Edmonton, Alberta. The 59-date trek supports the rock band’s latest album, Mylo Xyloto. Released in October 2011, the album became Coldplay’s third Number One collection. Its hits include “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall,” “Paradise” and “Princess of China.” North American dates run from April 17 to May 5 and from June 22 to August 11. The group will also perform shows throughout Europe from May 18 to June 10 and from August 30 to September 22.

98 Degrees member Nick Lachey recently took to his Twitter page to let fans know that rumors circulating about an upcoming reunion tour are not true. He wrote, “So psyched to see all the excitement for a 98 degree tour, but the only tour I’ll be doing this summer is at baby’s ‘r us!” Nick and his wife, Vanessa Minnillo, are expecting their first child later this year.