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May 29, 2013

Global Charity Concert Features Beyonce, Lopez; Rowland, Rubio Join X Factor

by Mary Morningstar

Sound of Change Live Concert Features Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez

On June 1, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Ellie Goulding, John Legend, Florence + the Machine and others will take part in the global concert “Sound of Change Live” at London’s Twickenham Stadium.  All proceeds will go to women’s empowerment projects in more than 70 countries.  The four-hour concert is scheduled to air worldwide on June 2.  Viewers can offer their support by donating online and through a mobile text-to-give campaign.

Kelly Rowland, Paulina Rubio Join 'The X Factor'

​​“The X Factor” has its judging panel in place for the upcoming third season.  Taking over for Britney Spears and L.A. Reid are Destiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland and Latin pop star Paulina Rubio.  They’ll join returning judges Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato.  “Paulina and Kelly both have great taste and massive experience in the music industry and together with Demi, this is going to be a fun panel.  It just feels like the time to do something different,” Cowell said in a statement.

Vampire Weekend Scores Billboard Hit

​​This week, New York-based alternative rock band Vampire Weekend scores its second Number One album on the Billboard 200 with Modern Vampires of the City. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the album moved 134,000 copies its first week of release.  As expected, Country legend George Strait lands on the list at Number 2 with his latest set, Love Is Everything.  Strait debuts at Number One on the Country Albums chart for the 25th time in his career. Pop singer Demi Lovato has the third Top 10 entry on the Billboard 200 chart, coming in at Number 3 with Demi.

Sold-Out Album Release Party Promotes New Fogerty Album

​​On May 28, Vanguard Records released John Fogerty’s new album, Wrote A Song For Everyone.  That same day, he performed a sold-out album release and birthday bash concert in Los Angeles.  The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member turned 68 on May 28.  Wrote A Song For Everyone features newly-recorded versions of some of Fogerty’s classic hits, as well as new tracks.  Guests include Foo Fighters, Dawes, Bob Seger, the Zac Brown Band, Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, Kid Rock, Keith Urban, My Morning Jacket, Alan Jackson and Jennifer Hudson.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Exhibit Features Rolling Stones

​​The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has opened a new Rolling Stones exhibit.  “Rolling Stones: 50 Years of Satisfaction” offers a look at the band’s history through film, interactive technology, documents, stage costumes, instruments and other memorabilia.  The exhibit, which fills three floors of the museum in Cleveland, Ohio, runs through March 2014.

New Album Releases / May 28:

 “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here” by Alice In Chains
“The Art of the Songwriter: Anyone Who Had A Heart - The Best of Burt Bacharach” by Burt Bacharach
“Ultraviolet” by Kylesa
“Weapon” by Skinny Puppy
”Giants” by The Stranglers
“IV Play” by The-Dream and “False Idols” by Tricky

Musical Events / Festivals / Benefits

​​Several Country music stars are organizing fundraisers to aid the victims of the recent Oklahoma tornadoes.  Blake Shelton and NBC-TV are planning a benefit concert that will be held soon in Oklahoma City.  Toby Keith, who was born in Moore, Oklahoma where at least 24 people were killed by the storm, is also putting together a benefit concert.  Toby’s sister and mother still live in Moore.  His sister’s house was struck by the deadly EF-5 tornado.  Throughout Carrie Underwood’s 2012-2013 “Blown Away” tour, she donated one dollar from every ticket sold to the American Red Cross for disaster relief.  Carrie has announced an additional donation of one million dollars for the tornado victims in Oklahoma.

Star Birthdays

On May 26, Hank Williams, Jr. celebrated his 64th birthday.  The son of legendary Country star Hank Williams, Hank Jr. made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry at age 11.  In 1964, he recorded his first hit single, “Long Gone Lonesome Blues.”  Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, he continued to dominate the Country charts with songs such as “Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound,” “All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down)” and “Born To Boogie.”  His numerous industry honors include the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award in 1987 and 1988.  In 2002, Hank Jr. made his first Top 10 debut in ten years with the album, “Almeria Club.”  Included is a duet with Kid Rock on Hank’s post-September 11th patriotic song, “America Will Survive.”  Hank’s 2006 anthology, “That’s How They Do It In Dixie: The Essential Collection,” features guests appearances by Country stars Gretchen Wilson, Big & Rich and Van Zant.  In 2009, he made a Top 10 debut on the Country Albums chart with “127 Rose Avenue.”  The album was his final release on Curb Records.  Last year, Hank released his latest collection, “Old School New Rules,” on his own Bocephus Records label. 

​​Singer Stevie Nicks turned 65 on May 26.  Born in Arizona, Stevie moved to San Francisco in 1966.  There, she met Lindsay Buckingham and the two performed in a psychedelic band called Fritz.  Stevie and Lindsay were added to the British band Fleetwood Mac in 1975.  From 1975 to 1990, Fleetwood Mac recorded fifteen Top 40 hits, including “Rhiannon,” “Sara” and “Gypsy.”  During that time, Stevie also found success as a solo artist.  Her 1981 solo debut, “Bella Donna,” went to Number One and sold more than four million copies.  Her biggest solo hits include “Edge of Seventeen,” “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (a duet with Tom Petty), and “Leather and Lace” (a duet with Don Henley).  Fleetwood Mac’s 2003 release, “Say You Will,” marked the band’s first album to feature the classic lineup of Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Lindsay Buckingham and John McVie since 1987’s “Tango In The Night.”  The group’s fifth member, Christine McVie, didn’t take part in the project.  Last year, Stevie recorded “In Your Dreams,” her first solo album since 2001.  Fleetwood Mac is performing a North American tour through July 6.  European dates begin in late September.

On May 28, Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue celebrated her 44th birthday.  During her teenage years, she appeared in an Australian soap opera.  In 1988, Kylie launched her music career with a Top 5 remake of Little Eva’s 1962 hit “The Loco-Motion.”  Kylie reached the top of the charts in 40 countries with her 2002 hit “Can’t Get You Out of My Head.”  The single sold nearly six million copies worldwide and became her first Top 10 song in the U.S.  Two years later, she earned the Best Dance Recording Grammy Award for “Come Into My World.”  Kylie was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005.  Treatments were successful and she returned to touring.  In 2009, Kylie performed her first ever North American tour.  Her latest album of pop and dance tunes, called “Aphrodite,” was released in 2010.  All four of its singles, “All the Lovers,” “Get Outta My Way” and “Better Than Today,” reached Number One on the U.S. dance chart.

​​​​Rhythm-and-blues singer Gladys Knight turned 69 on May 28.  In 1952, she formed Gladys Knight & The Pips, a group that recorded a string of hits throughout the 1960s and 1970s.  They included “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye)” and “Midnight Train To Georgia.”  Knight has also recorded several solo albums.  Her 1994 solo collection, “Just For You,” brought her a Grammy Award for Best R&B Album.  It was followed by the 1999 gospel CD “Many Different Roads.”  She earned another Grammy for her 2001 album, “At Last.”  Knight’s latest album, “Before Me,” was released in 2006.  It features her versions of songs made famous by Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, and other legends that inspired her musically.  In 2011, Knight received a Soul Train Legend Award.

On May 29, rock singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge will celebrate her 52nd birthday.  Born in Leavenworth, Kansas, she began playing guitar when she was only 8 years old.  At 10, Melissa wrote her first song.  During her high school years, she began performing in local nightclubs.  In 1980, she moved to Los Angeles, California.  Six years later, Melissa was signed to Island Records and her first album for the label was released in 1989.  She achieved international fame with her 1993 album, “Yes I Am.”  The CD produced three Top 10 singles and earned her a Grammy Award.  Melissa’s next albums were 1995’s “Your Little Secret,” 1999’s “Breakdown” and 2001’s “Skin.”  Following the release of her 2004 CD, “Lucky,” Melissa was diagnosed with breast cancer.  After completing treatment, she made her first public appearance at the 2005 Grammy Awards.  She performed a duet version of Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” with British singer Joss Stone.  Melissa’s greatest hits album, “The Road Less Traveled,” was released in 2005.  Its track “I Run For Life” was used as the official song at the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Race for the Cure walk and run events.  In 2006, Melissa’s partner at the time, Tammy Lynn Michaels, gave birth to twins, daughter Johnnie Rose and son Miller Steven.  Since 2010, Melissa has recorded two albums, “Fearless Love” and “4th Street Feeling.”  She’s been announced as a recipient of the New York Chapter Recording Academy Honors 2013.  The award celebrates “outstanding individuals whose work embodies excellence and integrity and who have improved the environment for the creative community.”  The Honors will be presented at a gala on June 25.

​​Country singer Wynonna Judd will turn 49 on May 30.  After spending eight years in the mother and daughter duo The Judds, the five-time Grammy winner launched her solo career in 1992.  Her first two multi-million-selling albums produced numerous Country hits, including the Number One singles “She Is His Only Need,” “I Saw the Light” and “No One Else On Earth.” Wynonna’s 1996 album, “Revelations,” produced another chart-topping hit, “To Be Loved By You.”  Those songs and many others were included on her 1997 anthology, “Collection.”  Also released in 1997 was Wynonna’s CD “The Other Side.”  In 1999, Wynonna and her mother Naomi announced their reunion as The Judds.  They signed a recording deal with Mercury Records and performed a New Year’s Eve concert in Phoenix, Arizona.  Wynonna’s 2000 solo release, “New Day Dawning,” included four new tracks by the duo.  Her next album, “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” was released in 2003.  Wynonna’s autobiography, “Coming Home To Myself,” was published in 2005.  In 2007, Wynonna filed for divorce from her husband of three years, D.R. Roach.  Roach was arrested days earlier in Abilene, Texas and charged with three counts of aggravated sexual battery against a minor.  In 2009, Wynonna released her first album in six years, “Sing: Chapter 1.”  She said the album’s ten cover songs “are a real cross-section of all the different genres I grew up with.  It’s all me, it’s all part of the tapestry of who I am.”  Also in 2009, Wynonna reunited with her mother to perform as The Judds at Nashville’s CMA Music Festival.  In 2010, the duo recorded two new songs for their anthology “I Will Stand By You: The Essential Collection.”  Wynonna’s latest solo album, “Love Heals,” is a collection of her hits, plus three previously unreleased songs.  The album is available only at Cracker Barrel Country Stores.  A portion of the proceeds benefit the Wounded Warriors Project.  In 2011, Wynonna and Naomi appeared in their own reality series “The Judds,” which aired on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network.  Last year, Wynonna formed the new band Wynonna & the Big Noise.  She recently released the new single “Something You Can’t Live Without,” which she co-wrote with her husband and drummer Cactus Moser.

On June 1, Ronnie Dunn of the Country duo Brooks & Dunn celebrates his 60th birthday.  The duo recorded its debut album, “Brand New Man,” in 1991.  Since then, Brooks & Dunn have put out ten more collections.  The duo’s 2003 CD, “Red Dirt Road,” produced several hits, including the title track, “You Can’t Take the Honky Tonk Out of the Girl” and “That’s What She Gets For Loving Me.”  In 2005, they recorded “Hillbilly Deluxe, which spawned such hits as “Play Something Country,” “Believe” and “Building Bridges.”  Since 1991, Brooks & Dunn have won 14 Country Music Association Vocal Duo of the Year awards and 18 Academy of Country Music Vocal Duo honors.  In August of 2009, Brooks & Dunn announced they were splitting up after performing their 2010 “Last Rodeo” tour.  Ronnie’s self-titled debut solo album was released in 2011.  Hits include “Cost of Livin’,” “Let the Cowboy Rock” and the Top 10 single “Bleed Red.”

​​​​Canadian singer Alanis Morissette will turn 39 on June 1.  Her 1995 breakthrough album, “Jagged Little Pill,” featured the hits “You Oughta Know,” “Hand In My Pocket,” “Ironic,” “You Learn” and “Head Over Feet.”  It also earned Morissette four Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year.  Sales of the CD reached 33 million copies worldwide.  In 1998, she acted in the motion picture “Dogma,” which featured “Good Will Hunting” stars Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.  Morissette played the role of God.  Her much-anticipated follow-up to “Jagged Little Pill” was released in 1998.  “Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie” sold three million copies in the U.S.  Morissette’s 2002 release, “Under Rug Swept,” included the hit single “Hands Clean.”  She celebrated the 10th anniversary of “Jagged Little Pill” in 2005 by releasing a new, mostly acoustic version of the collection.  Also released in 2005 was her greatest hits album, “The Collection.”  Morissette’s 2008 album, “Flavors of Entanglement,” won a Canadian Juno Award for Album of the Year.  In 2010, she married rapper Mario “MC Souleye” Treadway.  They welcomed their first child, Ever Imre Morissette-Treadway in December of that year.  Morissette’s latest album, “Havoc and Bright Lights,” failed to produce any hits on the U.S. charts.

Awards Presentations / Winners

​​Taylor Swift led the winners at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards.  The seven-time Grammy-winner took home eight trophies, including Top Artist, Top Country Artist, Top Female Artist, and Top Billboard 200 Album and Top Country Album for Red.  Justin Bieber, One Direction, Rihanna, Gotye, Nicki Minaj, Madonna, Jenni Rivera, Baauer and TobyMac also picked up multiple honors at the May 19 awards show in Las Vegas.  Three special awards were presented during the ceremony.  Madonna received the Top Touring Artist Award, Justin Bieber triumphed over Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift for the fan-voted Milestone Award and Prince was presented with the prestigious Billboard Icon Award.

Look who's Going On Tour!

On May 30, Toto will kick off a 28-city European tour in Brussels, Belgium.  The 1970s pop band is celebrating its 35th anniversary.  North American dates begin on July 26 in Ontario, Canada.  Toto’s classic hits include “Hold the Line,” “Rosanna” and “Africa.”

Country trio Rascal Flatts begins its “Live & Loud” tour on May 31 in Jones Beach, New York.  The 34-city outing features special guests The Band Perry and 2012’s “The Voice” winner Cassadee Pope.  Rascal Flatts will perform many early hits, as well as new songs from their latest album “Changed.”  “Changed” became the trio’s seventh collection to debut at Number One on Billboard’s Country Albums chart.  Since its release in April 2012, the album has produced three big hits, including the Number One single “Banjo.”