News / Arts & Entertainment

Beyonce Pulls Out of Eastwood Movie; Opera Star to Visit Space

Beyonce accepts the award for best female R& B at the BET Awards on July 1, 2012, in Los Angeles.
Beyonce accepts the award for best female R& B at the BET Awards on July 1, 2012, in Los Angeles.
Mary Morningstar
R&B star Beyonce has announced that scheduling conflicts forced her to pull out of Clint Eastwood’s upcoming remake of “A Star Is Born.”  She told E! News, “For months we tried to coordinate our schedules to bring this remake to life but it was just not possible.  Hopefully in the future we will get a chance to work together.”  According to Variety, jazz bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding is being considered for the female lead role.

Opera Star to Visit Space

British soprano singer Sarah Brightman listens journalists during news conference in Moscow, Russia, Oct. 10, 2012 to announce that she will become the first-ever global recording artist to take a spaceflight, teaming up with Space Adventures for a journe
British soprano singer Sarah Brightman listens journalists during news conference in Moscow, Russia, Oct. 10, 2012 to announce that she will become the first-ever global recording artist to take a spaceflight, teaming up with Space Adventures for a journe
British opera singer Sarah Brightman plans to spend 10 days in space visiting the International Space Station.  “Throughout most of my life I’ve felt an incredible desire to take the journey to space that I have now begun," she explained during a press conference in Moscow.  "A journey into space is the greatest adventure I can imagine.”  Before making the space flight in a Russian rocket, Brightman will perform a year-long world tour to support her new album, Dreamchaser.  That will be followed by six months of cosmonaut training in Star City, Russia.  Only seven other private citizens have paid their way into space.  The last was Canadian Cirque du Soleil creator Guy Laliberte, who reportedly paid $35 million.

New Artists Dominate Billboard 200

Seven of the top 10 spots on this week’s Billboard 200 chart are new entries.  Debuting at Number 2 is “The 2nd Law” by Muse.  “Kaleidoscope Dream” by Miguel comes in at Number 3.  Landing on the list at Number 5 is “Transit of Venus” by Three Days Grace.  The others include “Glad Rag Doll” by Diana Krall at Number 6, “Songs From the Silver Screen” by Jackie Evancho at Number 7, “Sticks & Stones” by Cher Lloyd at Number 9 and “Born To Sing: No Plan B” by Van Morrison at Number 10.

One Direction Sets Billboard Record

Members of British-Irish band One Direction pose after performing on NBC's Members of British-Irish band One Direction pose after performing on NBC's "Today" show in New York March 12, 2012.
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Members of British-Irish band One Direction pose after performing on NBC's
Members of British-Irish band One Direction pose after performing on NBC's "Today" show in New York March 12, 2012.
British boy band One Direction sets a new record on this week’s Hot 100 chart.  The group’s new single, “Live While We’re Young,” debuts at Number 3, which is the highest entry by a U.K. band in the chart’s 54-year history.  According to Billboard, only 13 songs by a U.K. act have made Top 10 entries on the Hot 100 chart.  One of the 13 is Adele, who debuts this week at Number 8 with the theme to the upcoming James Bond film, “Skyfall.”  That marks her highest entry ever on the Hot 100 chart.


Sugarland, 38 Special Among Georgia Music Hall of Fame Inductees

Since their 2002 debut release, Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles have seen their four albums top the country charts and their fan base grow into the millions.Since their 2002 debut release, Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles have seen their four albums top the country charts and their fan base grow into the millions.
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Since their 2002 debut release, Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles have seen their four albums top the country charts and their fan base grow into the millions.
Since their 2002 debut release, Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles have seen their four albums top the country charts and their fan base grow into the millions.
The 34th annual Georgia Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on October 14 in Atlanta.  The 2012 inductees are Country duo Sugarland, southern rock group 38 Special, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Gary Rossington, singer-songwriter Riley Biederer and concert promoter Alex Hodges.  Being recognized posthumously are late blues guitarist Jonny Jenkins, WSB personality Bog Van Camp and local DJ Bobby Harper.
On October 16, Darius Rucker will officially become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry.  During his October 2 performance at the Opry’s 87th birthday show, the announcer asked Darius if he would take questions from the audience.  After answering questions from a couple of his female fans, a man in a white cowboy hat stood up and took the microphone.  It was Country star Brad Paisley, who said, “I have two questions.  One, are you still the worst poker player the world?  And two, would you like to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry?”  Darius broke down in tears and replied, “Yes I would!  You guys are here for one of the most special nights of my life.  Thank you for sharing it with me.”

New Album Releases / October 16:

“Night Train” by Jason Aldean, “Pines” by A Fine Frenzy, “Two Eleven” by Brandy, “Living For A Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran” by Jamey Johnson, “Sunken Condos” by Donald Fagen, “By My Side” by Ben Harper, “Songs” by Placido Domingo, “Wood” by Widespread Panic, “Very Merry Perri Christmas” by Christina Perri, “A Very Special Christmas: Bringing Peace On Earth” by various artists, “A Very Special Christmas: 25 Years” by various artists, “Christmas with Scotty McCreery” by Scotty McCreery and “Heavenly Christmas” by Jackie Evancho.


Musical Events/Festivals/Benefits:

On October 14, Country star Dierks Bentley will host his 13th Miles & Music for Kids motorcycle ride in Nashville.  Over the years, the charity event has raised more than two-million-dollars for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.  After the ride, Bentley will appear in concert at Nashville’s Riverfront Park.  He’ll be joined by Sheryl Crow, Chris Young, Brantley Gilbert, Craig Campbell and the Cadillac Black.

The Zac Brown Band’s second annual “Southern Ground Music & Food Festival” takes place October 20 and 21 in Charleston, South Carolina.  The festival will feature nightly concerts by the Zac Brown Band, the Avett Brothers, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, the Wailers, the Charlie Daniels Band, and many others.  Fans can also check out various craft vendors and a mobile kitchen offering some of Zac Brown’s favorite recipes and food from local Charleston restaurants.  

Star Birthdays

Natalie Maines, lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, will turn 38 on October 14.  The Dixie Chicks arrived on the Country music scene in 1998 with their debut album, “Wide Open Spaces.”  With sales exceeding 12 million copies in the U.S. alone, the collection became the biggest-selling album by a Country duo or group.  The Dixie Chicks’ next CD, “Fly,” released in 1999, sold 10 million copies and produced eight chart hits.  In 2002, the Dixie Chicks released the album “Home” on their own Sony Records imprint, Open Wide Records.  The following year, Natalie criticized President Bush’s decision to go to war with Iraq, but later apologized for the disrespectful comments she made about him to a London audience.  Many U.S. radio stations responded to her remarks by pulling the Dixie Chicks’ songs from their playlists.  During a 2003 interview in Germany, they said they “don’t feel part of the Country scene any longer.  We now consider ourselves part of the big rock and roll family.”  In 2004, Natalie gave birth to her second son, Beckett Finn Pasdar.  His older brother, Jackson Slade Pasdar, is now 11 years old.  In 2006, the Dixie Chicks recorded “Taking the Long Way,” which brought them five Grammy Awards.  Their wins included Album of the Year and Country Album of the Year, and Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for the album’s hit single, “Not Ready To Make Nice.”  A few months ago, Natalie announced on her Twitter page that she’s working on a solo album that she hopes to release next spring.

On October 14, British pop/rock singer Cliff Richard will celebrate his 72nd birthday.  Richard’s biggest hits on the American pop charts were “Devil Woman” and “We Don’t Talk Anymore.”  Those tunes and many others are included on his 1994 anthology, “Cliff Richard Collection (1976-1994).”  In 1998, Richard marked his 40th year in music with the release of the studio album, “Real As I Wanna Be.”  To celebrate his 60th birthday in 2000, EMI Records released the compilation album, “Cliff Richard - The Whole Story: His Greatest Hits.”  Richard’s 2001 studio album, “Wanted,” was issued only in the U.K., New Zealand and Australia.  His next U.K. releases were “Something’s Goin’ On” (2004), “Two’s Company” (2006) and “Love…The Album” (2007).  He celebrated his 50th anniversary in music in 2008 with two compilations, “And They Said It Wouldn’t Last (My 50 Years In Music)” and “The 50th Anniversary Album.”  Richard splits his time between homes in Portugal and Barbados.  His latest album, “Soulicious,” features duets with Billy Paul, Brenda Holloway, Candi Staton, Dennis Edwards and The Temptations Review, Freda Payne, Percy Sledge, Roberta Flack and Valerie Simpson.

Musician John MayerMusician John Mayer
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Musician John Mayer
Musician John Mayer
Pop-rock singer-songwriter John Mayer turns 35 on October 16.  Mayer grew up in Fairfield, Connecticut and moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1998.  There, he quickly made a name for himself by playing in local coffeehouses and nightclubs.  His debut album, “Room For Squares,” was released in 2001.  The following year, he scored a smash hit with its Grammy-winning track “Your Body Is A Wonderland.”  Mayer won a second Grammy Award in 2005 for “Daughters” from his album “Heavier Things.”  The biggest hit from Mayer’s 2006 solo album, “Continuum,” was the Top 20 single “Waiting on the World to Change.”  His 2008 concert album, “Where the Light Is: Live In Los Angeles,” was recorded at the Nokia Theater in December 2007.  Its track “Gravity” won a Grammy Award for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance.  Mayer’s 2009 album, “Battle Studies,” debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200.  He was forced to delay the release of his latest album “Born and Raised” after being diagnosed with a throat condition called granuloma.  The album was finally released this past May, but the granuloma returned, which led him to cancel his tour plans.

On October 17, Detroit rapper Eminem will celebrate his 38th birthday.  Born Marshall Mathers, he began performing in his early teens.  In 1999, Eminem made his recording debut with the multi-million-selling album, “The Slim Shady LP.”  His 2000 collection, “The Marshall Mathers Album,” sold five million copies in the U.S. its first month of release.  Two years later, he recorded “The Eminem Show and also starred in the motion picture “8 Mile.”  Its soundtrack produced the Academy Award-winning song “Lose Yourself.”  In 2004, he recorded the album “D-12 World” with his side group D-12.  Eminem’s 2004 album, “Encore,” produced the hits “Just Lose It” and his rap version of James Taylor and Carly Simon’s “Mockingbird.”  The video to “Just Lose It” was banned from cable channel BET (Black Entertainment Television).  In it, Eminem spoofs Michael Jackson, which led the late self-proclaimed “King of Pop” to ask for a total ban of the video.  Michael called it “outrageous and disrespectful.”  In 2005, Eminem cancelled a European tour and checked himself into a hospital to undergo treatment for a dependency to sleep medication.  Eminem’s book, “The Way I Am,” was published in 2008.  In 2009, Interscope Records issued “Relapse,” Eminem’s first studio album since 2004.  His latest release, “Recovery,” became Eminem’s sixth consecutive Number One album and also produced two Number One hits, “Not Afraid” and his duet with Rihanna, “Love the Way You Lie.”  Last year, “The Eminem Show” and “The Marshall Mathers LP” were each certified Diamond for shipments of 10 million copies.  Eminem is currently working on his eighth studio album.

Country singer Alan Jackson turns 54 on October 17.  The Georgia native debuted on the Country charts in 1990 with his Top 5 album “Here In the Real World.”  Alan’s early Number One hits include “Don’t Rock the Jukebox,” “She’s Got the Rhythm (and I Got the Blues),” Chattahoochee” and “Gone Country.”  In 1995, Arista Records released Jackson’s multi-million-selling “Greatest Hits Collection.”  His 1996 album, “Everything I Love,” produced six chart hits.  Jackson’s next two releases were 1998’s “High Mileage” and his 1999 collection of cover tunes “Under the Influence.”  Those were followed by his 2000 album “When Somebody Loves You” and 2002’s “Drive.”  “Drive” included Jackson’s poignant response to the September 11th attacks, “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning.”  Also in 2002, Alan recorded his first holiday collection, “Let It Be Christmas.”  His 2003 anthology, “Greatest Hits Volume II and Some Other Stuff” produced the long-running Number One duet with Jimmy Buffett “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.”  Alan’s next CD, “What I Do,” included the hits “Too Much of a Good Thing,” “Monday Morning Church,” “The Talkin’ Song Repair Blues” and “USA Today.”  In 2006, he recorded two albums.  The first was “Precious Memories,” a gospel collection recorded as a gift to his mother.  It won the Country Music Association Award for Album of the Year.  Later that same year, “Like Red On A Rose” was released.  2008’s “Good Time” became Alan’s ninth Number One album.  His 2010 release, “Freight Train” was his first since 1999 to not debut at Number One.  Alan received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010.  This past May, he performed a free concert for the residents of Mineral, Virginia.  The town was at the epicenter of the August 23, 2011 earthquake that was felt along the entire East Coast.  Alan is currently performing a U.S. tour to support his new album, “Thirty Miles West.”

On October 18, legendary singer and guitarist Chuck Berry will celebrate his 86th birthday.  Berry's first single, “Maybellene,” was released in 1955 and quickly made its way to Number 5 on the pop charts.  Other hits followed, including “School Day,” “Sweet Little Sixteen” and his signature song, “Johnny B. Goode.”  In 1972, he scored a Number One hit with his novelty tune, “My Ding-A-Ling.”  Berry won the Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 1984, and two years later, he was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.  Berry still performs live shows.  On October 27, he’ll be honored at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s 2012 American Music Masters tribute concert.  The show will wrap up the Hall of Fame’s week-long celebration, “Roll Over Beethoven: The Life and Music of Chuck Berry.”

October 19 marks the birth date of the late reggae singer Peter Tosh (b. 1944).  Tosh was an original member of Bob Marley’s Wailers, as well as a successful solo artist.  In 1987, robbers killed Tosh at his home in Kingston, Jamaica.

Rock singer/guitarist Tom Petty will turn 59 on October 20.  In 1975, he founded Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.  The group recorded such hits as “Don’t Do Me Like That” and the 1981 Top 5 duet with Stevie Nicks, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.”  Petty also recorded two albums with the Traveling Wilburys.  The group also included George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Bob Dylan.  Petty’s 1994 album, “Wildflowers,” featured the singles “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” “A Higher Place” and “It’s Good To Be King.”  Five years passed before the release of his next studio collection, “Echo.”  Petty’s 2006 album, “Highway Companion,” entered the Billboard 200 chart at Number 4 to become his highest debut ever.  Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.  Three years later, Petty received a Century Award, Billboard’s highest award for creative achievement.  Reprise Records released Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ latest album, “Mojo,” in 2010. 

Awards Presentations /Winners:

Nicki Minaj's Nicki Minaj's "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded" CD
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Nicki Minaj's
Nicki Minaj's "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded" CD
Nicki Minaj and Rihanna lead the contenders for the 40th annual American Music Awards.  They each received four nominations, including Favorite Female Pop/Rock Artist.  Rihanna is mentioned in the Artist of the Year category with Justin Bieber, Drake, Maroon 5 and Katy Perry.  The New Artist of the Year nominees are J. Cole, fun., Gotye, Carly Rae Jepsen and One Direction.  Triple nominees include Justin Bieber, One Direction, Maroon 5, Drake and Usher.  The 2012 American Music Awards will be presented on November 18 in Los Angeles.  (Complete list of nominees available at www.abc.go.com/shows/american-music-awards.

Luke Bryan is the top nominee for this year’s American Country Awards.  His seven nods include Artist of the Year, Album of the Year for “Tailgates & Tanlines” and Single of the Year for “I Don’t Want This Night To End.”  Following close behind with six nominations apiece are the Zac Brown Band and Lady Antebellum.  Eric Church and Taylor Swift collected five mentions each.  The third annual American Country Awards will be handed out on December 10 during a live ceremony from Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.  (See complete list of nominees at www.theacas.com )

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Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”