News / Arts & Entertainment

Bruno Mars Rocks Super Bowl Halftime Show; Motley Crue Disbands

Bruno Mars performs during the halftime show of the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Feb. 2, 2014.
Bruno Mars performs during the halftime show of the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Feb. 2, 2014.
Mary Morningstar
Accompanied by a light show that featured 80,000 fans with illuminated hats, pop
star Bruno Mars rocked the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show on February 2, with a selection of his hits including "Treasure" and "Runaway Baby." Dressed in a glittery, 1950s-style jacket and narrow tie, the bouffant-topped Hawaiian-born singer danced across the stage as fire effects and fireworks lit up East Rutherford, New Jersey's MetLife Stadium. The Red Hot Chili Peppers joined him on stage.

The halftime show is the most-watched musical event of the year.  According to NFL.com, last year’s show, which featured Beyonce, drew more than 164 million viewers.  This year’s pre-game show featured performances by The Band Perry, Phillip Phillips and the cast of Broadway’s “Jersey Boys” and “Rock of Ages.”  Opera singer Renee Fleming sang the national anthem and Queen Latifah performed “America The Beautiful.”

Motley Crue Disbands

From left, Vince Neil,Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, and Mick Mars seen at Motley Crue Press Conference, Jan. 28, 2014, in Los Angeles.From left, Vince Neil,Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, and Mick Mars seen at Motley Crue Press Conference, Jan. 28, 2014, in Los Angeles.
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From left, Vince Neil,Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, and Mick Mars seen at Motley Crue Press Conference, Jan. 28, 2014, in Los Angeles.
From left, Vince Neil,Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, and Mick Mars seen at Motley Crue Press Conference, Jan. 28, 2014, in Los Angeles.
The four members of the hard rock band Motley Crue will go their separate ways following their upcoming world tour.  Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars and Tommy Lee held a press conference in Los Angeles to announce the tour, which begins July 2 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Motley Crue’s 67 North American dates wrap up on November 21 in Vancouver.  Alice Cooper will be the band’s special guest on the tour.  The four members signed a binding “cessation of touring” agreement to “prevent future unauthorized touring.”  Motley Crue will release its 10th studio album before kicking off the tour.

Bieber Skips Grammys

Justin Bieber, second right, and Chantel Jeffries, far left, walk with unidentified people on a beach in Punta Chame, Panama, Jan. 25, 2014.Justin Bieber, second right, and Chantel Jeffries, far left, walk with unidentified people on a beach in Punta Chame, Panama, Jan. 25, 2014.
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Justin Bieber, second right, and Chantel Jeffries, far left, walk with unidentified people on a beach in Punta Chame, Panama, Jan. 25, 2014.
Justin Bieber, second right, and Chantel Jeffries, far left, walk with unidentified people on a beach in Punta Chame, Panama, Jan. 25, 2014.
​Justin Bieber skipped the January 26 Grammy Awards to spend the weekend vacationing in Panama.  He left the U.S. after posting bail for his January 23 arrest in Miami.  The 19-year-old pop star was charged with driving under the influence, driving without a valid driver’s license and resisting arrest.  Bieber’s arraignment is set for February 14 in Dade County, Florida.  On January 29, Bieber released the video to his single “Confident,” from his latest album “Journals.”

Frozen Soundtrack Tops Billboard 200

The soundtrack to Disney’s animated film “Frozen” climbs back to Number One on this week’s Billboard 200 chart.  By spending three non-consecutive weeks in the top spot, “Frozen” becomes the longest chart-topping movie soundtrack since 2003’s “Bad Boys II.”  According to Nielsen SoundScan, “Frozen” has sold 769,000 copies since its November 25 release.

The various artist compilation “2014 Grammy Nominees” debuts at Number 2 on this week’s Billboard 200 chart.  The collection features tracks by Daft Punk, Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, Lorde, and more of today’s biggest stars.  Other Top 10 entries on the Billboard 200 chart include A Great Big World’s “Is There Anybody Out There?” at Number 4 and Young the Giant’s “Mind Over Matter” at Number 7.

New Album Releases / Feb. 4

“Now That’s What I Call Music! Volume 49” by various artists
“Love Songs” by Tina Turner
“Love, Marriage & Divorce” by Toni Braxton and Kenny ‘Babyface’ Edmonds
“Unconditional Love” by Ruben Studdard
“Augustines” by Augustines
“Music Speaks” by Candice Glover
“Eric Paslay” by Eric Paslay,
“Four Foot Shack” by Les Claypool’s Duo de Twang
“July” by Marissa Nadler
“Along the Way” by Mark McGuire
“Vargar” by Tim Larson

Musical Events / Festivals / Benefits

The 2014 “Fest For Beatles Fans” will be held February 7, 8 and 9 in New York City.  British singer Donovan is the headlining act.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee accompanied the Beatles on their 1968 spiritual trip to India.  In addition to performing, Donovan will give a speech and join the Beatles cover band Liverpool on stage.  A New York City Beatles Walking Tour led by Beatles expert Susan Ryan will take fans to Central Park’s Strawberry Fields, the Dakota building where John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived and The Ed Sullivan Theater.  The Beatles made their first U.S. television appearance at that theater on February 9, 1964.  Beatles festivals are also planned later this year in Chicago, Illinois (August 15-17) and Los Angeles (October 10-12).

Star Birthdays

Colombian singer Shakira performs at the opening concert for the soccer World Cup at Orlando stadium in Soweto, South Africa, 10 jun 2010Colombian singer Shakira performs at the opening concert for the soccer World Cup at Orlando stadium in Soweto, South Africa, 10 jun 2010
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Colombian singer Shakira performs at the opening concert for the soccer World Cup at Orlando stadium in Soweto, South Africa, 10 jun 2010
Colombian singer Shakira performs at the opening concert for the soccer World Cup at Orlando stadium in Soweto, South Africa, 10 jun 2010
February 2 - Colombian pop singer Shakira celebrated her 37th birthday.  Shakira’s 2001 breakthrough album “Laundry Service” sold 13 million copies worldwide and produced the Number One hits “Whenever, Wherever” and “Underneath Your Clothes.”  In 2011, Shakira was named the Latin Recording Academy’s Person of the Year.  For the second time, she’ll substitute for Christina Aguilera as a coach on the upcoming season of “The Voice.”  Shakira recently released the new single “Can’t Remember To Forget You,” featuring Rihanna.  The track will be included on her upcoming studio album.  The self-titled set is due out on March 25.

February 4 - Country singer Clint Black turns 52.  Black’s 1989 debut album, “Killin’ Time,” produced four consecutive Number One singles.  Since then, he’s earned nine more chart-topping hits.  Last year, Black released the new album “When I Said I Do,” which is being sold exclusively at Cracker Barrel stores throughout the U.S.  The album combines 11 re-recorded love songs from his RCA Records catalog and three new tracks. On February 6, Black kicks off a U.S. concert tour, which runs through late April.

Pop singer Gavin DeGraw will celebrate his 37th birthday. DeGraw earned his big break in 2003 with the Number One Mainstream Pop single “I Don’t Want To Be,” which was used as the theme for the CW Network’s teen drama “One Tree Hill.”  His other hits include “Chariot,” “In Love With A Girl” and the Number One Adult Contemporary chart hit “Not Over You.”  Last year, DeGraw released his fifth album, “Make A Move.”

Sara EvansSara Evans
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Sara Evans
Sara Evans
February 5 - Country singer Sara Evans turns 43.  Sara left her home state of Missouri and moved to Nashville in 1991.  Her major label debut, “Three Chords and the Truth,” was released in 1997.  Since then, Evans has topped the Country charts with such hits as “No Place That Far,” “Born To Fly” and “A Little Bit Stronger,” which became her first million-selling single.  Her new album, “Slow Me Down,” will be released on March 11.

February 6 - Singer Natalie Cole celebrates her 64th birthday.  The daughter of the late pop crooner Nat King Cole made her professional debut at age 11.  In 1975, she won the Best New Artist Grammy.  Throughout Cole’s career she has recorded many styles of music, from pop and R&B to standards and jazz.  Her 2008 album, “Still Unforgettable,” brought her a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.  The collection includes a virtual duet with Nat King Cole on “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home.”  In 2009, Cole underwent a kidney transplant.  She returned to performing later that year.  Last year, Cole topped Billboard’s Latin Pop Albums and Top Latin Albums charts with her first Spanish-language release, “Natalie Cole en Espanol.”

Birth date of late reggae singer Bob Marley (born 1945).  Nicknamed the “King of Jamaican Reggae,” Marley formed his group The Wailers in 1965.  The band helped popularize reggae music worldwide.  Marley’s songwriting credits include “I Shot the Sheriff,” a Number One hit for Eric Clapton in 1974.  Marley died of cancer at age 36 in 1981.

The cover of Garth Brooks' 8-disc box set, The cover of Garth Brooks' 8-disc box set, "Blame It All On My Roots."
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The cover of Garth Brooks' 8-disc box set,
The cover of Garth Brooks' 8-disc box set, "Blame It All On My Roots."
February 7 - Garth Brooks turns 51 years old.  The Country superstar began his rise to fame in 1987, when he moved from Oklahoma to Nashville.  His 1989 self-titled debut album produced four Number One Country hits.  Brooks’ 1990 sophomore release, “No Fences,” sold 17 million copies in the U.S., making it the biggest-selling Country album of all time.  In 2012, Garth was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  This year, Brooks wrapped up a four-year solo acoustic engagement at The Wynn in Las Vegas and announced his return to touring.  He recently held a press conference in Dublin, Ireland, where he’ll kick off his world tour in July.  Brooks’ three upcoming concerts at Croke Park on July 25, 26 and 27 sold out in 90 minutes.  He’s also working on a new album, his first full album of new songs since 2003.

February 8 - Birth date of late Country-pop singer Dan Seals (born 1948).  At age four, Seals began performing with his brother Jim.  In 1976, he helped form England Dan & John Ford Coley.  Seals left the pop duo four years later to pursue a solo career in Country music.  His many hits include “Bop,” “I Will Be There,” “One Friend” and “Big Wheels in the Moonlight.”  In 2007, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  Seals succumbed to the disease in 2009 at age 61.

Conductor, composer and arranger John Williams will celebrate his 82nd birthday.  In 1980, Williams replaced Arthur Fiedler as conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra.  He held the post until 1993.  Williams has received more Oscar nominations than any other living person.  Throughout his career, he’s won five Academy Awards and 21 Grammy Awards.  Williams also composed the themes for four Olympic Games.  In 2004, he received a Kennedy Center Honor and was given the National Medal of Arts in 2009.

Awards Presentations / Winners

Tim McGraw and Miranda Lambert are the leading nominees for the 49th annual Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards.  Each received seven nominations.  Lambert earned her eighth ACM Female Vocalist of the Year nod and her third consecutive Entertainer of the Year nomination.  She’s up against her husband Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, George Strait and Taylor Swift in the Entertainer category.  Keith Urban follows close behind with six mentions.  Lee Brice, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift and Kacey Musgraves received five apiece.  The ACM Awards, hosted by Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan, will be presented on April 6 in Las Vegas.

Look Who's Going On Tour!

American performer Bruce Springsteen, left, performs during a soundcheck with band member Steven Van Zandt, right, before performing in Cape Town, South Africa, Jan. 26, 2014.American performer Bruce Springsteen, left, performs during a soundcheck with band member Steven Van Zandt, right, before performing in Cape Town, South Africa, Jan. 26, 2014.
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American performer Bruce Springsteen, left, performs during a soundcheck with band member Steven Van Zandt, right, before performing in Cape Town, South Africa, Jan. 26, 2014.
American performer Bruce Springsteen, left, performs during a soundcheck with band member Steven Van Zandt, right, before performing in Cape Town, South Africa, Jan. 26, 2014.
On February 5, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will kick off the first of 13 concerts in Australia and New Zealand.  Shows begin in Perth, Australia, Springsteen first-ever visit to that city.  The band will wrap up the tour with two concerts in Auckland, New Zealand on March 1 and 2.  It’s been more than 10 years since Springsteen and his band performed in New Zealand.

Kings of Leon begin a North American arena tour on February 5 in Atlanta, Georgia.  The band is supporting its latest album “Mechanical Bull.”  Its lead single, “Supersoaker,” reached the Top 10 on Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart.  Twenty-nine shows are scheduled through April 11.  Gary Clark Jr. is the special guest on the first leg of the tour.

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Border Crossings: Nnekai
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Nigerian singer, songwriter Nneka sits down with Border Crossings host Larry London to perform songs from her latest CD, "My Fairy Tales" and to talk about her inspirations and influences.

Nigerian singer, songwriter Nneka sits down with Border Crossings host Larry London to perform songs from her latest CD, "My Fairy Tales" and to talk about her inspirations and influences.