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April 01, 2014

'Frozen' Soundtrack Tops Billboard 200; Rapper Benzino Shot, Wounded

by Mary Morningstar

As predicted, the soundtrack to the Academy Award-winning animated film “Frozen” spends its seventh non-consecutive week at number one on the Billboard 200 chart.  Sales for the week ending March 23 totaled 202,000 copies, and that was attributed to the film’s release on DVD and Blu-ray.  That’s the highest single sales week for the soundtrack.  Disney reports that first-day home video sales of “Frozen” reached 3.2 million units.

Rapper Benzino Shot, Wounded

​​Reality television star and rapper  Benzino was shot and wounded, allegedly by his nephew, during the funeral procession for his mother outside Boston, authorities said on Sunday. The star of the VH1 show "Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta,'' was driving in the procession on Route 3 on Saturday when he was shot by his nephew, Gai Scott, who had pulled alongside in another vehicle, the Plymouth County, Massachusetts District Attorney said.  Benzino told TMZ between seven and eight shots were fired and he was hit twice.

HBO to Air Springsteen Documentary

  ​​On April 4, Home Box Office (HBO) channel will air the new documentary, “Bruce Springsteen’s High Hopes.”  The 30-minute show gives fans a look at the making of his latest album “High Hopes.”  HBO will also film Springsteen and his E Street Band as they’re honored with the Award for Musical Excellence at the April 10 Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame inductions.  HBO plans to broadcast the Hall of Fame ceremony in May.




Showtime Documentary to Focus on New Recording of Unfinished Dylan Songs

  ​​Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons, Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith, Jim James of My Morning Jacket and Rhiannon Giddens of Carolina Chocolate Drops are teaming to record more than 20 unfinished Bob Dylan songs.  According to the Los Angeles Times, the project will be produced by T Bone Burnett and documented for a Showtime television special.  The songs that will be included on “Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes” were written in the late 1960s.  Burnett told the newspaper, “These are not B-level Dylan lyrics.  They’re lyrics he just never got around to finishing.”  The album and documentary will be out later this year.

Eminem's Latest Album Surpasses Two-Million Mark

  ​​Sales of Detroit rapper Eminem’s 2013 album “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” recently passed the two-million mark.  Each of his six previous albums have also sold at least two million units.  With total album sales at 44.91 million copies, Eminem is now the sixth biggest-selling artist in the 23-year-history of record tracking system SoundScan. 

The top five leaders, in ascending order, are Celine Dion (52.21 million), Mariah Carey (54.24 million), Metallica (54.26 million), The Beatles (65.55 million) and Garth Brooks (69.52 million)

New Releases Top Billboard 200

Six of the Top 10 titles on this week’s Billboard 200 chart are new entries.  They include “Krazy Life” by rapper YG (Number 2), “Supermodel” by rock band Foster The People (Number 3), “Recess” by electronic dance artist Skrillex (Number 4), “Going To Hell” by rock group The Pretty Reckless (Number 5), “Sex and Love” by Latin pop star Enrique Iglesias (Number 8) and “Happiness Is” by rock band Taking Back Sunday (Number 10).

New Merle Haggard Tribute Album Drops

  ​​On April 1, Nashville’s Broken Bow Records releases “Working Man’s Poet: A Tribute To Merle Haggard.”  Artists offering their renditions of Haggard’s many hits on the album include Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Toby Keith and Jason Aldean, among many others.  In other news, Haggard’s 50 years in Country music will be recognized at the upcoming 49th annual Academy of Country Music Awards.  He’ll receive the Crystal Milestone Awards at the April 6 ceremony, the same day he turns 77 years old.

Book Re-release Coincides with 20th Anniversary of Cobain's Death

  ​​April 5 marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain.  To commemorate the date, Carlton Books will re-issue “Eyewitness Nirvana: The Day by Day Chronicles,” written by award-winning journalist Carrie Borzillo in 2000.  The re-issue, due out on April 1, was retitled “Nirvana: In The Words of the People Who Were There.”  A portion of the proceeds from sales of the book will benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.



New Album Releases / April 1:

“Head or Heart” by Christina Perri
“Ramblin’ Man” by Hank Williams III
“Education, Education, Education & War” by Kaiser Chiefs
“Life Journey” by Leon Russell
“Salad Days” by Mac DeMarco
“Turn It Up” by Josh Thompson
“Where It All Began” by Dan + Shay
“Man on the Rocks” by Mike Oldfield
“A Dotted Line” by Nickel Creek
“Imaginary Enemy” by The Used
“She’s So Unusual: A 30th Anniversary Celebration” by Cyndi Lauper
 “The CDB - Off the Grid - Doin’ It Dylan” by the Charlie Daniels Band

Musical Events / Festivals / Benefits

  ​​The NCAA March Madness Music Festival takes place April 4-6 in Dallas, Texas.  Performing at the free three-day event are Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Jason Aldean, The Killers, Tim McGraw, fun., and many others.  The festival is being held at Reunion Park.  The site holds some 40,000 people who will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Outnumber Hunger LIVE, the official Academy of Country Music Party For a Cause Concert, will be held April 4 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The second annual benefit features some of the most popular acts in Country music, including Rascal Flatts, Florida Georgia Line and Justin Moore.  Proceeds go to Outnumber Hunger, a partnership between General Mills, Feeding America and Big Machine Label Group.  Feeding America is a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States.

Star Birthdays
  ​​March 30 - Country singer Justin Moore - 30; singer Norah Jones (real name Geetali Norah Jones Shankar) - 35; Canadian pop singer Celine Dion - 46; singer Tracy Chapman - 50; British singer and guitarist Eric Clapton - 69.

March 31 - Rapper J Rock - 28; singer Ryan Bingham - 33; composer and trumpeter Herb Alpert - 79.

April 1 - Rapper Kid Ink - 28; Hillary Scott, lead singer of the Country trio Lady Antebellum - 28; Country singer Kip Moore - 34; reggae legend Jimmy Cliff - 66.

April 2 - Season 9 “American Idol” winner Lee DeWyze - 28; rapper Yung Joc - 31; Country singer Billy Dean - 52; singer Emmylou Harris - 67.
  ​​April 3 - Late pop icon Michael Jackson’s daughter Paris Jackson - 16; British pop singer Leona Lewis - 29; R&B singer Kelly Price - 41; singer Tony Orlando - 70; singer Wayne Newton, nicknamed “Mr. Las Vegas” - 72.

April 4 - Pop singer Austin Mahone - 18; Country singer Jamie Lynn Spears, younger sister of pop star Britney Spears - 23; Grammy-winning singer Jill Scott - 42.

April 5 - Rapper Juicy J - 39; rapper and producer Pharrell Williams - 41; singer Paula Cole - 46; Swedish singer Agnetha Faltskog of ABBA - 64.

Awards Presentations/Winners

  ​​On April 2, the 2014 Grammys on the Hill Awards will be presented at the Hamilton Live in Washington, D.C. The Recording Academy will honor Country trio Lady Antebellum with its Recording Artists’ Coalition Award.  Congressman Kevin McCarthy and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi will be recognized for their support of music.  In addition, Westfield Academy music teacher Kent Knappenberger has been chosen to receive the inaugural Music Educator Award.  Proceeds from the event will benefit the Grammy Foundation’s Signature Schools programs.

Look Who's Going on Tour!

On April 3, pop singer-songwriter Joan Osborne kicks off a U.S. tour to support her upcoming album “Love and Hate.”  The 25-date outing begins in Bay Shore, New York and wraps up June 5 in San Francisco, California.  Osborne wrote or co-wrote all 12 songs on “Love and Hate.”  The Kentucky native said, “I’m getting better at what I do.  I have an audience that I’ve built up over time, and I feel like they’re with me.  And because of that, I don’t feel any pressure to fit myself into anyone else’s idea of what I should be doing.  So I feel like I can write my own rules at this point.  That can be scary, but it’s also liberating, and it’s an exciting place to be.”