News / Arts & Entertainment

Daft Punk Tops Billboard 200; Mariah, Minaj, Jackson Say Goodbye 'Idol'

Thomas Bangalter, left, and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, from the group Daft Punk pose for a portrait in Los Angeles, April 17, 2013.
Thomas Bangalter, left, and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, from the group Daft Punk pose for a portrait in Los Angeles, April 17, 2013.
Mary Morningstar
Electronic/dance duo Daft Punk leads this week’s Billboard 200 chart debuts, coming in at Number One with its fourth album, Random Access Memories. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the set sold 339,000 copies its first week of release, the best ever for the band.  Only Justin Timberlake had higher first-week sales in 2013 by moving 968,000 copies of The 20/20 Experience.  This week’s other Top 10 entries on the Billboard 200 chart include Darius Rucker’s True Believers at Number 2, The National’s Trouble Will Find Me at Number 3, French Montana’s Excuse My French at Number 4 and Thirty Seconds to Mars’ Love Lust Faith + Dreams at Number 6.

Minaj, Mariah, Jackson say Goodbye Idol

This photo provided by Fox, American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, center, poses with judges, from left, Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson, Sept. 16, 2012 in New York.This photo provided by Fox, American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, center, poses with judges, from left, Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson, Sept. 16, 2012 in New York.
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This photo provided by Fox, American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, center, poses with judges, from left, Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson, Sept. 16, 2012 in New York.
This photo provided by Fox, American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, center, poses with judges, from left, Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson, Sept. 16, 2012 in New York.
Three of this year’s four American Idol judges have announced their departure.  Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson will all be leaving the long-running reality show.  Country star Keith Urban’s return for a second season is still undetermined.  There’s a lot of speculation on who will sit in the judges seats for 2014’s American Idol  Season 13.  Among the names being mentioned are former contestants Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert and Kelly Clarkson, as well as the show’s former judges Paula Abdul and Jennifer Lopez.

The Voice Narrows Competition to 6

From left, Usher, Shakira, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton arrive at From left, Usher, Shakira, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton arrive at "The Voice" season 4 red carpet event at the House of Blues on May 8, 2013 in Los Angeles.
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From left, Usher, Shakira, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton arrive at
From left, Usher, Shakira, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton arrive at "The Voice" season 4 red carpet event at the House of Blues on May 8, 2013 in Los Angeles.
NBC-TV’s singing competition The Voice trimmed its final contestants to six on May 29.  Former Michael Jackson backup singer Judith Hill and soul singer Sarah Simmons collected the fewest viewer votes and were sent home.  The remaining finalists are Michelle Chamuel, Danielle Bradbery, Sasha Allen, The Swon Brothers, Amber Carrington and Holly Tucker.  In other news, after taking a break from the current season, Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera will return to judge Season 5 of The Voice.  Usher and Shakira, who are filling in for Cee Lo and Christina, will be back as judges for Season 6 in early 2014.

LeAnn Rimes' New Album Drops

Singer LeAnn Rimes arrives at the American Country Awards on Dec. 10, 2012, in Las Vegas.Singer LeAnn Rimes arrives at the American Country Awards on Dec. 10, 2012, in Las Vegas.
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Singer LeAnn Rimes arrives at the American Country Awards on Dec. 10, 2012, in Las Vegas.
Singer LeAnn Rimes arrives at the American Country Awards on Dec. 10, 2012, in Las Vegas.
On June 4, Curb Records will release LeAnn Rimes’ new album, Spitfire.  Her 11th studio collection is her final release on Curb and is available exclusively at Walmart stores.  Guests on Spitfire include Alison Krauss, Rob Thomas, Jeff Beck and Dan Tyminski.  “This album is a peek into my world; who I am, what I’ve gone through, what my emotions are," LeAnn said. "It’s an intimate conversation between me and whoever’s listening.  I hope I’m saying things that are hard for others to express.  It certainly took me a lot of work to get to this point.  And it’s still easier to sing these thoughts than it is to say them out loud.  The intimacy in my music is just beginning.”  LeAnn co-wrote nine of the album’s 14 tracks.

US Postal Stamp Pays Homage to Johnny Cash

This is a 1977 photo of country western musician Johnny Cash.This is a 1977 photo of country western musician Johnny Cash.
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This is a 1977 photo of country western musician Johnny Cash.
This is a 1977 photo of country western musician Johnny Cash.
The United States Postal Service will issue a limited-edition Johnny Cash Forever stamp on June 5.  Family members John Carter Cash and Carlene Carter will attend the ceremony.  The event takes place at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and is free to the public.  Also scheduled to appear are The Oak Ridge Boys, Marty Stuart, Randy Travis, Jamey Johnson and Larry Gatlin, among others.  Johnny’s son John Carter Cash said, “It is an amazing blessing that my father Johnny Cash be honored with the issue of this stamp.  Dad was a hard-working man, a man of dignity.  As much as anything else, he was a proud American, always supporting his family, fans and country.  I can think of no better way to pay due respect to his legacy than through the release of this stamp.”

New Exhibit Features Items from Underwood's 'Blown Away' Tour

Carrie Underwood in Nashville, Tennessee, May 1, 2012.Carrie Underwood in Nashville, Tennessee, May 1, 2012.
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Carrie Underwood in Nashville, Tennessee, May 1, 2012.
Carrie Underwood in Nashville, Tennessee, May 1, 2012.
The new exhibition “Carrie Underwood: The Blown Away Tour” opens at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on June 5.  Fans will get a up-close look at the singer’s tour costumes, instruments, microphones, stage sets and much more.  Carrie wrapped up her “Blown Away Tour” on May 23.  Every show in 2013 sold out.  Since launching the trek last year, Carrie performed 112 shows on three continents.  One dollar from each ticket sold was donated to the Red Cross.

New Album Releases / June 4

“The Sun Comes Out Tonight” by Filter
“Grinning Streak” by Barenaked Ladies
“Talk A Good Game” by Kelly Rowland
“Super Collider” by Megadeth
“Where It All Began” by Matthew Morrison
“…Like Clockwork” by Queens of the Stone Age

Musical Events / Festivals / Benefits

Blake Shelton accepts the award for entertainer of the year at the 46th Annual Country Music Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 1, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn.Blake Shelton accepts the award for entertainer of the year at the 46th Annual Country Music Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 1, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn.
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Blake Shelton accepts the award for entertainer of the year at the 46th Annual Country Music Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 1, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn.
Blake Shelton accepts the award for entertainer of the year at the 46th Annual Country Music Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 1, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn.
An all-star lineup of performers traveled to Oklahoma City on May 29 to lend their time and talent to the “Healing In The Heartland” benefit concert.  Hosted by Country star and Oklahoma native Blake Shelton, the show featured performances by Blake’s wife Miranda Lambert, Usher, Darius Rucker, Luke Bryan, Vince Gill, Rascal Flatts, One Republic’s Ryan Tedder and Reba McEntire.  The sold-out concert was held at the 14,000-seat Chesapeake Arena.  Organizers announced that the benefit, which aired live on NBC-TV, raised more than $6 million from viewer pledges and ticket sales.  The money is going to the United Way of Central Oklahoma May Tornadoes Relief Fund.

Sara Evans to Kick Off CMA Music Festival

Sara EvansSara Evans
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Sara Evans
Sara Evans
The 2013 CMA Music Festival takes place in Nashville June 6-9. Some 300,000 Country fans from 50 states and 41 countries are expected to attend this year’s event.  Singer Sara Evans will kick off the festivities with a morning concert at the Riverfront Stage.  The famous Grand Ole Opry will move to the Ryman Auditorium for the four-day festival to hold a benefit auction, artist signings, an Opry performance and more.  Its Fifth Annual Guitars of the Stars Benefit Auction is set for June 6.  Proceeds go to the Opry Trust Fund, which assists member of the Country music community in need.  The CMA Music Festival will be filmed for an ABC Television Network special.  “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock” airs later this year.

Star Birthdays

The Rolling StonesThe Rolling Stones
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The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
On June 2, Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts will celebrate his 72nd birthday.  Also a big band enthusiast, he collaborated with some of England’s top jazz musicians on the 1986 album “Live At Fulham Town Hall.”  In 1992, his Charlie Watts Quintet recorded “A Tribute to Charlie Parker with Strings.”  Since then, the quintet has recorded two more albums, 1993’s “Warm & Tender” and “Long Ago & Far Away” in 1996.  From 2005 to 2007, Watts performed with the Rolling Stones on their “Bigger Bang” tour.  In 2007, the group released its four-DVD live box set, “The Biggest Bang.”  The 2010 re-release of the Rolling Stones’ 1972 album “Exile On Main Street” debuted at Number One on the U.K. chart to become the group’s highest-ranking album on that list since 1994.  The Rolling Stones are currently performing the North American leg of their “50 and Counting Tour.”

On June 5, saxophonist Kenny G (last name Gorelick) turns 57.  In 1989, he recorded his self-titled debut album.  Kenny’s 1992 release, “Breathless,” sold more than 12 million copies and appeared on Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart for more than 200 weeks.  It held the Number One position on that chart for 100 weeks.  Kenny’s next album, “The Moment,” was released in 1996 and was followed by his “Greatest Hits” in 1997.  Two years later, he recorded the albums, “Classics In The Key Of G” and the multi-million-selling Christmas collection, “Faith - A Holiday Album.”  Kenny’s 2004 release, “At Last…The Duets Album,” includes collaborations with Barbra Streisand, Brian McKnight, Richard Marx, Yolanda Adams, Gladys Knight, and others.  “I’m In The Mood For Love: The Most Romantic Melodies Of All Time” from 2006 features his remakes of ballads by James Blunt, Alicia Keys and Josh Groban, as well as pop standards from the 20th century American Songbook.  In 2008, Concord Records released Kenny’s Latin music album, “Rhythm & Romance,” which was followed by his 2010 Grammy-nominated set, “Heart and Soul.”  Last year, Kenny collaborated with Indian musician Rahul Sharma on his latest album, “Namaste India.”

Tom Jones arrives at the NARM Music Biz 2013 Dinner Party at the Hyatt Regency Century City Plaza Hotel on May 9, 2013 in Century City, Calif.Tom Jones arrives at the NARM Music Biz 2013 Dinner Party at the Hyatt Regency Century City Plaza Hotel on May 9, 2013 in Century City, Calif.
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Tom Jones arrives at the NARM Music Biz 2013 Dinner Party at the Hyatt Regency Century City Plaza Hotel on May 9, 2013 in Century City, Calif.
Tom Jones arrives at the NARM Music Biz 2013 Dinner Party at the Hyatt Regency Century City Plaza Hotel on May 9, 2013 in Century City, Calif.
British singer Tom Jones will celebrate his 73rd birthday on June 7.  Born in South Wales, he won the Best New Artist Grammy award in 1965.  Between 1969 and 1971, Jones recorded three million-selling singles.  His biggest hit was the Number 2 pop single “She’s A Lady.”  In the late 1980s, Jones made a comeback with his version of Prince’s “Kiss,” which he recorded with the British techno-pop group Art of Noise.  In 2002, he collaborated with the Fugees’ Wyclef Jean on the album, “Mr. Jones.”  In 2003, Jones was honored with a special Brit Award for his outstanding contributions to music.  He received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 2006.  Jones signed with Lost Highway Records for the release of his 2010 album of gospel covers, “Praise and Blame.”  His latest CD, “Spirit in the Room,” includes covers of songs by Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, and others.  Jones is a judge on “The Voice U.K.”  He says the show has brought him to the attention of younger fans.  Now touring in support of “Spirit in the Room,” Jones says he hopes to attract that new generation of fans to his concerts.

On June 7, Prince celebrates his 55th birthday.  One of his most successful albums was the 1984 soundtrack to “Purple Rain.”  The collection produced four Top 10 singles, including the Number One hits “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy.”  In 1993, Prince changed his name to a symbol and announced his retirement from recording to pursue other entertainment projects.  He returned the following year with two albums, “Come” and “The Black Album.”  In 1995, he recorded “The Gold Experience,” then completed his obligations to Warner Brothers Records with the 1996 album, “Chaos and Disorder.”  In 1996, he released the collection “Emancipation” on his own NPG label.  Two years later, he compiled the four-CD box set “Crystal Ball” and also recorded the studio album, “New Power Soul.”  In 1999, Arista Records issued his album “Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic.”  He changed his named back to Prince in 2001 and released his long-awaited jazz-flavored album, “The Rainbow Children.”  Prince’s 2002 acoustic CD, “One Night Alone,” was made exclusively for members of his New Power Generation Music Club.  According to Pollstar, Prince’s 2004 “Musicology” tour grossed more than $87 million, making it the Number One tour of that year.  “Musicology” earned him two Grammy Awards and an NAACP Image Award.  For the first time in his career, Prince debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200 chart with his 2006 album “3121.”  In late 2006, he opened an L.A. nightclub, also named 3121.  Prince’s 2009 release was sold exclusively at Target stores.  “Lotusflow3r” is packaged with a second Prince album, called “MPLSoUND,” and “Elixir,” the debut album by his protégé Bria Valente.  In 2010, Prince was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.  That same year, he released his latest album, “20Ten.”  Last month, Prince received the prestigious Icon Award at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards.

Kanye WestKanye West
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Kanye West
Kanye West
On June 8, rapper Kanye West will turn 36.  Kanye attended the Academy of American Art in Chicago, then was briefly enrolled in Chicago’s Columbia College before launching his music career.  His first success was producing hits for many R&B and hip-hop superstars, including Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, Ludacris and John Legend.  In 2004, Kanye recorded his Grammy-winning debut album “College Dropout.”  One year later, his second collection, “Late Registration,” was released.  Kanye’s 2007 album, “Graduation,” sold 957,000 copies its first week of release.  That was followed in 2008 by “808s & Heartbreak.”  Its hits included “Love Lockdown” and “Heartless.”  Kanye’s mother, Donda West, died of complications from cosmetic surgery in November of 2007.  His 2010 album, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200 chart after selling 496,000 copies its first week of release.  It went on to sell more than one million copies.  In 2011, Kanye released the Number One collaborative album with Jay-Z, “Watch the Throne.”  Kanye’s 2012 album, “Cruel Summer,” features collaborations with artists signed to his own GOOD Music label.  He recently announced that his upcoming studio project, “Yeezus,” will be out on June 18.  Kanye and his girlfriend, reality television star Kim Kardashian, are expecting their first child, a baby girl, this month.

Singer Bonnie Tyler will celebrate her 60th birthday on June 8.  She’s best known for the 1978 Top 5 single “It’s A Heartache” and her 1983 Number One song, “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”  Her distinctive raspy vocals were caused by an operation she underwent in 1976 to remove nodules from her throat.  Atlantic Records released Tyler’s studio album, “Free Spirit,” in 1996.  Two years later, Columbia Records issued ten of her best-known recordings on “Super Hits.”  In 2002, she recorded “Heart Strings” with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.  It features her renditions of classic songs originally recorded by the Beatles, Phil Collins, U2, Roy Orbison, and others.  Tyler’s next album, “Wings,” included newly recorded versions of “It’s A Heartache” and “Turn Around.”  In 2006, she marked her 30th anniversary in music with the U.K. release, “Celebrate.”  Tyler’s brand new album, “Rocks and Honey,” was recorded in Nashville and features a duet with one of her favorite Country stars, Vince Gill.  She represented the United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest 2013, performing the album’s lead single, “Believe In Me.”

Awards Presentations / Winners

Miranda Lambert poses with her awards for female vocalist of the year, song of the year, and single record of the year backstage at the 48th ACM Awards in Las Vegas, April 7, 2013.Miranda Lambert poses with her awards for female vocalist of the year, song of the year, and single record of the year backstage at the 48th ACM Awards in Las Vegas, April 7, 2013.
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Miranda Lambert poses with her awards for female vocalist of the year, song of the year, and single record of the year backstage at the 48th ACM Awards in Las Vegas, April 7, 2013.
Miranda Lambert poses with her awards for female vocalist of the year, song of the year, and single record of the year backstage at the 48th ACM Awards in Las Vegas, April 7, 2013.
On June 5, the 2013 CMT Music Awards will be presented in Nashville.  The awards recognize the most popular videos in Country music.  Luke Bryan, Eric Church and Miranda Lambert lead this year’s contenders with four nominations apiece, including Video of the Year.  Kenny Chesney, Florida Georgia Line, Rascal Flatts and Jason Aldean follow with three nods each.  Aldean is co-hosting the awards show with actress Kristen Bell.

Look Who's Going On Tour!

From left Tico Torres, Jon Bon Jovi, David Bryan, and Richie Sambora from US rock band Bon Jovi share a laugh backstage in Munich, June 12, 2011From left Tico Torres, Jon Bon Jovi, David Bryan, and Richie Sambora from US rock band Bon Jovi share a laugh backstage in Munich, June 12, 2011
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From left Tico Torres, Jon Bon Jovi, David Bryan, and Richie Sambora from US rock band Bon Jovi share a laugh backstage in Munich, June 12, 2011
From left Tico Torres, Jon Bon Jovi, David Bryan, and Richie Sambora from US rock band Bon Jovi share a laugh backstage in Munich, June 12, 2011
Bon Jovi lowered the price of tickets for its June 27 concert in Madrid, Spain.  The legendary rock band waived its appearance fee.  “When we started planning our tour for our album What About Now, we did a study and found that, due to the economic situation, Spain wouldn’t be on the roadmap," lead singer Jon Bon Jovi told El Mundo. "However, we didn’t want to ditch the fans of a country I love and has treated me so well for 30 years.”  Tickets to the sold-out show at Vicente Calderon Stadium ranged from $23 to $50.  That money will go to renting the venue, operating costs and show staff.

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