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Controversy Surrounds New Britney Release; Jackson's Doctor to Stand Trial for Involuntary Manslaughter

Conrad Murray (file photo)
Conrad Murray (file photo)
Mary Morningstar

Jackson Doctor to Stand Trial for Involuntary Manslaughter

Following a six-day preliminary hearing, a Los Angeles judge has ruled that Michael Jackson’s personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, will stand trial for involuntary manslaughter.  Authorities claim the 57-year-old doctor gave Jackson a lethal dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol.  Murray has pleaded not guilty.  If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison.

Controversy Surrounds Britney's New Release

Controversy Surrounds New Britney Release; Jackson's Doctor to Stand Trial for Involuntary Manslaughter
Controversy Surrounds New Britney Release; Jackson's Doctor to Stand Trial for Involuntary Manslaughter

There’s some controversy surrounding Britney Spears’ new single, “Hold It Against Me.”  In 1979, Country duo the Bellamy Brothers had a Number One hit with “If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body, Would You Hold It Against Me.”  David Bellamy said in a press release, “If you listen to the lyrics of Britney Spears’ new single, ‘Hold It Against Me,’ you’ll find some major similarities.  Howard and I have no personal beef with Britney.  She’s a talented gal.  But professionally, well, in all honesty, we feel completely ripped off.  Where’s the originality?”  Howard added, “Hey Brit…If I said you ripped off our song, would you hold it against me?  Thanks.”  The Bellamy Brothers’ Nashville publicist says they’ve decided to “weigh their legal options.”

Gregg Allman Releases New Solo Album

Gregg Allman
Gregg Allman

On January 18, Rounder Records will release rock and blues singer Gregg Allman’s first solo album in 14 years.  Low Country Blues was produced by T Bone Burnett and features Dr. John on piano.  The album contains blues covers, plus one original song.  Last year, Allman underwent liver transplant surgery brought on by a long battle with Hepatitis C.  His recovery was a success and Gregg is now able to promote his new album with U.S. concerts.  After wrapping up solo shows, he’ll join his Allman Brothers Band to perform 13 concerts from March 10 to 26 at New York’s Beacon Theatre.

Album Sales Plummet

Taylor Swift's 'Speak Now' CD
Taylor Swift's 'Speak Now' CD

It was a bad week for album sales in the U.S.  Taylor Swift remains at Number One on the Billboard 200 for the sixth non-consecutive week with Speak Now. But, she sold only 52,000 copies during the past week.  That’s the lowest sales number for a chart-topping album in SoundScan history.

American Idol Returns with 2 New Judges

Controversy Surrounds New Britney Release; Jackson's Doctor to Stand Trial for Involuntary Manslaughter
Controversy Surrounds New Britney Release; Jackson's Doctor to Stand Trial for Involuntary Manslaughter

On January 19, the season premiere of American Idol airs on FOX-TV.  Several changes have been made to the reality show’s 10th season.  New judges Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler join original judge Randy Jackson.  They replace former judges Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul.  This year’s mentors include respected producers Jimmy Iovine, Rodney Jerkins, Timbaland and Alex Da Kid.  Contestants will be given the choice to choose between performing cover songs and their self-penned tunes.  Finalists will also be permitted to release new music throughout the season. 

New Album Releases, January 18:

“Science & Faith” by The Script
“Some Kind of Trouble” by James Blunt
“The King Is Dead” by The Decemberists
“Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes” by Social Distortion
“Leaving Eden” by Brandon Heath
“All’s Well That Ends Well” by Steve Lukather
“Hook, Line & Sinker” by Roomful Of Blues

Musical Events/Festivals/Benefits:

Controversy Surrounds New Britney Release; Jackson's Doctor to Stand Trial for Involuntary Manslaughter
Controversy Surrounds New Britney Release; Jackson's Doctor to Stand Trial for Involuntary Manslaughter

The Smooth Jazz Cruise 2011 sets sail from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on January 16.  After returning from the Caribbean on January 23, the cruise ship will depart on a second week-long voyage.  Featured artists include Boney James, Brian McKnight, Rick Braun, Norman Brown, Joey DeFrancesco, George Duke, Candy Dulfer and Richard Elliot, among others.  David Sanborn and Marcus Miller will serve as the Music Hosts.

On January 20, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of America’s 35th president, John F. Kennedy.  “The Presidency of John F. Kennedy: A 50th Anniversary Celebration” will take place in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.  Performers and presenters include Julie Andrews, Yo-Yo Ma, Herbie Hancock and Paul Simon, among others.  The event is the first in a three-week series of performances to commemorate President Kennedy.  Less than one month before his death in November 1963, Kennedy said, “I look forward to an America which will reward achievement in the arts as we reward achievement in business or statecraft.  I look forward to an America which will steadily raise the standards of artistic accomplishment and which will steadily enlarge cultural opportunities for all of our citizens.  And I look forward to an America which commands respect throughout the world not only for its strength but for its civilization as well.”

Awards Presentations / Winners:

"Burlesque" Motion Picture soundtrack, featuring Christina Aguilera and Cher
"Burlesque" Motion Picture soundtrack, featuring Christina Aguilera and Cher

The 68th annual Golden Globe Awards were presented in Beverly Hills, California on January 16.  The Golden Globes are considered an indicator of which films will also compete for Academy Awards.  Best Original Song nominees included Samuel Dixon, Christina Aguilera and Sia Furler for “Bound To You” from “Burlesque;” Bob DiPiero, Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsey and Troy Verges for “Coming Home” from “Country Strong;” Alan Menken and Glenn Slater for “I See the Light” from “Tangled;” Hillary Lindsey, Carrie Underwood and David Hodges for “There’s a Place for Us” from “Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader;” and Diane Warren, who won the Golden Globe for “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” from “Burlesque.”  The Best Original Score category included Alexandre Desplot for “The King’s Speech,” Danny Elfman for “Alice in Wonderland,” A.R. Rahman for “127 Hours,” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who won the Golden Globe for “The Social Network” and Hans Zimmer for “Inception.”  (See complete list of motion picture and television nominations and winners at

Look Who's Going On Tour!

Linkin Park will begin a North American tour in Sunrise, Florida on January 20.  The band’s 2010 album, A Thousand Suns, debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200.  Linkin Park and its label, Warner Brothers Records, are offering fans a free download of the show they attend.  Bassist Dave Farrell said, “The energy we get from our fans is what makes a great show.  We wanted to show our appreciation by giving that experience back to them.”

On January 20, Country star Brad Paisley will kick off his “H2O Frozen Over” tour in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Special guests on the trek include Jerrod Niemann and Darius Rucker.  Brad played to nearly one million fans on his 2010 “H2O World Tour.”  His upcoming album, This Is Country Music, will be released on April 19.

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