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January 06, 2014

Justin Bieber Documentary Flops; Beyonce Still Tops Billboard 200

by Mary Morningstar

Box office numbers for Justin Bieber’s new documentary “Believe” are in.  The film opened on December 25 and earned only $3.1-million its first three days.  Billboard reports that “Believe” had the worst opening of all recent concert documentaries by young pop stars.  Bieber’s “Never Say Never” documentary is the most successful concert film ever released in the U.S. with $73 million earned since opening in February 2011.  “Believe” is expected to have a total gross of only $10 million.

Beyonce Still Tops Billboard 200

​​Beyonce’s self-titled new album holds onto the top spot on the Billboard 200 chart for the third week-in-a-row.  According to Nielsen SoundScan, the album’s 17-day sales total 1.3-million copies.  “Beyonce” sold at least 300,000 copies each of its first three weeks of release.  Beyonce is the first female artist to achieve that feat since 2009.  The last collection to sell at least 300,000 units for three consecutive weeks was “I Dreamed A Dream” by Scottish singer Susan Boyle.

Jepsen to Make Broadway Debut

​​Next month, Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen will make her Broadway debut in “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.”  She’ll take over the role of Cinderella for a 12-week run beginning February 4.  Jepsen appeared in several high school musicals.  She launched her music career after placing third on the 2007 season of “Canadian Idol.”  Her 2012 smash hit “Call Me Maybe” made Jepsen an international superstar.  The single has sold more than 13 million copies worldwide and was the top-selling digital song of 2012.

Atlanta to Host Allman Tribute Concert

​​A Gregg Allman tribute concert is set for January 10 in Atlanta, Georgia.  Joining The Allman Brothers Band to celebrate the 65-year-old’s career are Trace Adkins, Jackson Brown, Natalie Cole, Taj Mahal, Vince Gill and Dr. John, among many others.  Don Was, the show’s Musical Director, said in a statement, “Gregg Allman and his songs have been a deep and unmistakable influence on artists across southern rock, blues, soul, gospel, and country music.”  Producer Keith Wortman added, “This incredible initial lineup of artists coming together to celebrate the man and his music is a genuine reflection of that.  I am honored and humbled to produce a multi-media event of this magnitude.”  “All My Friends: Celebrating the Songs & Voice of Gregg Allman” will air May 14th on the entertainment television channel AXS.

Mellencamp to Release New Album

​​John Mellencamp plans to release a new album in 2014.  The Midwest rocker told Rolling Stone magazine that he’ll enter the recording studio this month with producer T-Bone Burnett to begin work on the set.  This will mark Mellencamp’s first collection since 2010’s “No Better Than This.”  For that album, he switched musical direction to an Americana/folk sound.  Mellencamp will support his upcoming release with a North American tour.

New Album Releases Jan. 7:

“And I’ll Scratch Yours” by Peter Gabriel
“Join the Dots” by TOY

Star Birthdays

January 6 - Birth date of banjo legend Earl Scruggs (born 1924).  Scruggs popularized the three-fingered banjo-picking style.  He’s best remembered for his long collaboration with Lester Flatt in The Foggy Mountain Boys.  The duo’s hit song, “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” was featured in the motion picture “Bonnie & Clyde.”  They also performed the theme song of the 1960’s television series “The Beverly Hillbillies.”  Scruggs received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.  He died of natural causes on March 28, 2012.

January 7 - Pop singer Kenny Loggins celebrates his 66th birthday.  In 1972, he began performing with Jim Messina in Loggins & Messina.  That same year, they had a Top 5 hit with “Your Mama Don’t Dance.”  The pair split up in 1976 and Loggins went on to have a successful solo career.  His biggest hits include “I’m Alright,” “Whenever I Call You Friend” and “Danger Zone.”  In 2005, Loggins reunited with Messina to perform a concert tour, their first in nearly 30 years.  Loggins currently performs with Nashville songwriters Gary Burr and Georgia Middleman in the Blue Sky Riders.  The group recently released the holiday EP, “Finally Home For Christmas.”

​​January 8 - Hip-hop singer, songwriter and producer R. Kelly (real name Robert Sylvester Kelly) turns 47.  The Illinois native arrived on the music scene in the early 1990s with a string of hits that included “She’s Got That Vibe,” “Slow Dance (Hey Mr. DJ)” and “Bump and Grind.”  That led to becoming a much in-demand producer for artists such as Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Toni Braxton, and others.  In 1997, Kelly recorded the multi-Grammy-winning smash hit “I Believe I Can Fly” for the “Space Jam” film soundtrack.  Last month, he released his 12th studio album, “Black Panties.”  Kelly plans to release a sequel to that collection in June and a Country music album in 2015.

Birth date of “The King of Rock and Roll” Elvis Presley (born 1935).  Presley is the biggest-selling solo artist in history.  His first of 33 Number One hits came in 1956 with “I Forgot To Remember To Forget.”  Presley also acted in more than 30 films.  In 1986, he was posthumously inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.  In 2008, Presley topped Forbes magazine’s list of top-earning deceased celebrities.  Since then, he’s remained in the Top 5 on the annual list.  Presley’s Graceland estate will host its annual birthday celebration January 8-10.  The event will feature the Elvis Presley Day Ceremony, which includes free birthday cake for attendees and an official proclamation.  Sixteen-year-old Canadian YouTube sensation David Thibault, who recently attracted more than seven million views of his performance of Presley’s “Blue Christmas,” will lead fans in singing “Happy Birthday.”  Thibault will also perform at the Elvis Insiders Event on January 9.  In addition to various tours and other special events, Graceland will kick off a year-long celebration of the “60 Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”  Presley recorded “That’s All Right” at the famous Sun Studios in Memphis on July 5, 1954.

January 9 - A.J. McLean of the Backstreet Boys turns 36.  The group’s eight albums have sold more than 130 million copies worldwide.  Hits include “As Long As You Love Me,” “I Want It That Way,” “Shape of My Heart” and “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely.”  The Backstreet Boys celebrated their 20th anniversary last year with the new album, “In A World Like This.”  Next month, the Backstreet Boys will begin a European tour that runs through early April.

​​Dave Matthews celebrates his 47th birthday.  The leader of the Dave Matthews Band was born in Johannesburg, South Africa.  He moved to Charlottesville, Virginia in 1986 and formed his band in 1991.  The group’s hits include “Stay,” “The Space Between” and “Crush.”  In 2009, Pollstar named the Dave Matthews Band the Top Touring Act of the Decade.  In 2012, the band released its sixth consecutive Number One studio album, “Away from the World.”

January 10 - Birth date of the late singer-songwriter Jim Croce (born 1943).  During his brief career, Croce recorded several hits.  They included “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim,” “I Got A Name” and the Number One songs “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” and “Time In A Bottle.”  In 1973, Croce died in a plane crash while traveling to a concert in Sherman, Texas.  He was 30 years old.

Grammy-winning rock singer Pat Benatar turns 61.  Benatar was one of rock music’s most popular vocalists throughout the 1980s.  She’s best known for such hits as “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “Love Is A Battlefield” and “We Belong.”  Benatar married her guitarist Neil Giraldo in 1982.  The couple lives on Maui where Neil runs the all-natural nutritional supplement company On the Rocks Nutrition.  In 2010, Harper Collins published Benatar’s biography, “Between a Heart and a Rock Place.”

British rock singer Rod Stewart will celebrate his 69th birthday.  Stewart was discovered by blues legend Long John Baldry, who invited him to join his band.  Stewart later performed with the Jeff Beck Group and Small Faces (renamed The Faces), which he left in 1975 to focus on his already-established solo career.  His biggest hits include “Maggie May,” “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright),” “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” and “Rhythm of My Heart.”  In 1994, Stewart was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Since signing with J Records in 2002, he has recorded five albums of pop standards.  In 2012, Stewart earned his second induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this time with The Faces.  Last year, Stewart released “Time,” his first rock album in 20 years.

January 11 - R&B singer Mary J. Blige turns 43.  The nine-time Grammy winner signed her first recording deal in 1989.  Since then, she has sold 50 million albums worldwide.  Her many hits include “Real Love,” “Not Gon’ Cry,” “Family Affair,” “Be Without You” and “I Am.”  In 2013, Blige recorded “A Mary Christmas,” her first release on Verve Records.  The set includes collaborations with Barbra Streisand, Marc Anthony, The Clark Sisters and Jessie J.

Awards Presentations / Winners

​​The 40th annual People’s Choice Awards will be presented on January 8 in Los Angeles.  Katy Perry leads the contenders in the music categories with five nominations, including Favorite Female Artist, Favorite Pop Artist, Favorite Song and Favorite Video for “Roar,” and Favorite Music Fan Following.  Demi Lovato and Justin Timberlake follow close behind with four nods apiece.  The People’s Choice Awards also recognize the most popular stars in film and television.  (See a complete list of nominees at www.peopleschoice.com.)

Look Who's Going On Tour!

​​On January 9, Country legend George Strait kicks off the final leg of his “Cowboy Rides Away” tour.  He’ll begin the six-month trek in Bossier City, Louisiana.  Last year, Strait announced his retirement from touring.  The last concert takes place at the AT&T Stadium on June 7.  More than 100,000 fans will attend the show.  Special guests at the final show will include Jason Aldean, Martina McBride, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Sheryl Crow, Ronnie Dunn, Faith Hill, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert and Lee Ann Womack.

Country star Brad Paisley will begin his “Beat This Winter Tour” on January 9 in Greenville, South Carolina.  The West Virginia native is supporting his 2013 album “Wheelhouse,” which features such hits as “Southern Comfort Zone,” “Beat This Summer” and his new single, “The Mona Lisa.”  Opening acts on the tour include Danielle Bradbery and Chris Young.