News / Arts & Entertainment

Duran Duran to Open London Olympics; Lopez, Tyler Quit 'Idol'

Recording artists John Taylor, left, and Nick Rhodes of the band Duran Duran pose for a portrait, Wednesday, March 30, 2011 in New York.
Recording artists John Taylor, left, and Nick Rhodes of the band Duran Duran pose for a portrait, Wednesday, March 30, 2011 in New York.
Mary Morningstar
Duran Duran to Open Summer Olympics

On July 27, Duran Duran will open the 2012 Summer Olympics with a concert at Hyde Park.  Lead singer Simon Le Bon said the performances will be “one of the highlights of the last decade for us.”  Duran Duran will represent England.  The United Kingdom’s three other countries will be represented by Snow Patrol (Northern Ireland), Stereophonics (Wales) and Paolo Nutini (Scotland).

Buble Added as Advisor on 'The Voice'

The NBC network recently added pop crooner Michael Buble to its hit reality show The Voice. Buble will serve as an advisor to Blake Shelton’s team of contestants on the singing competition.  The third season of The Voice premieres in September.  In addition to Shelton, returning coaches include Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine.  Their advisors have not yet been announced.

Lopez, Tyler Out as American Idol Judges

Jennifer LopezJennifer Lopez
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Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez
In other reality show news, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler have announced that they won’t be returning to judge the upcoming season of American Idol. Both sat alongside original judge Randy Jackson for the past two years.  Lopez made her decision public on American Idol host Ryan Seacrest’s radio show. “You know, I have the movies, my music and my this and my that, and it all kind of worked together for a while, but it just gets more complicated," she said. "You know, and as the kids get bigger, it just started feeling like it was a lot and something had to give.  Something has to give.  And that's where I am right now.”  Tyler released a statement that said, “After some long, hard thoughts, I’ve decided it’s time for me to let go of my mistress American Idol before she boils my rabbit.  I strayed from my first love, Aerosmith, and I’m back - but instead of begging on my hands and knees, I got two fists in the air and I’m kicking the door open with my band.”

Knight Confirmed as 'Apollo Live' Judge

R&B legend Gladys Knight has been confirmed as a judge on BET’s (Black Entertainment Television) upcoming singing competition Apollo Live.  The new reality show, which takes place at New York’s famous Apollo Theater, makes its premiere later this year.  Doug E. Fresh and Michael Bivins round out the judging panel.

Swift Tops Forbes Highest Earning Celebrities Under 30 List

Taylor SwiftTaylor Swift
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Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift
Forbes has released its latest list of the highest-earning celebrities under the age of 30.  Country star Taylor Swift, 22, tops the list with $57 million.  Following close behind is Justin Bieber with $55 million.  Rihanna - $53 million, Lady Gaga - $52 million and Katy Perry - $45 million round out the Top 5 spots.

New Album Releases / July 24:

“Gossamer” by Passion Pit
 “Handwritten” by The Gaslight Anthem
 “Love and Theft” by Love and Theft
 “My Way” by Wayne Wonder

Musical Events/Festivals/Benefits:

The 2012 Newport Folk Festival takes place July 27-29 at Fort Adams State Park in Rhode Island.  A diverse lineup of performers will appear at the event, including Wilco, My Morning Jacket, Jackson Browne, Sara Watkins and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, among dozens of others.  The Newport Folk Festival was founded by George Wein in 1959.  In addition to the many concerts, the event offers food, crafts and various exhibits.

Star Birthdays:

Don Henley celebrated his 65th birthday on July 22.  In the 1960s, he began his music career as the drummer in Linda Ronstadt’s band.  In 1971, Henley helped form the Eagles.  The group’s Number One songs include “Best Of My Love,” “Hotel California” and “Heartache Tonight.”  The Eagles’ 1976 album, “Hotel California,” sold 16 million copies in the U.S.  Henley pursued a solo career in 1982.  He won seven Grammy Awards as a solo artist and recorded such hits as “Dirty Laundry,” “The Boys of Summer” and “The End of the Innocence.”  In 1995, Henley performed a reunion tour with the Eagles, which was one of the highest-grossing concert tours of that year.  The Eagles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.  In 2000, Warner Brothers Records released Henley’s latest solo album, “Inside Job.”  It marked his first collection of new songs since 1989 and features collaborations with Stevie Wonder, Randy Newman, Glenn Frey, and others.  In 2007, the Eagles recorded “Long Road Out Of Eden,” their first album of all new songs since 1979.  The album debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200 and also topped charts in the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Norway.  

On July 23, Country and bluegrass singer and fiddler Alison Krauss turns 41.  The multi-Grammy-winning performer began playing the fiddle at age 5.  At 14, she was signed to Rounder Records, which released her debut album in 1987.  By incorporating contemporary melodies into her music, Alison expanded the boundaries of bluegrass and also achieved crossover success in the Country field.  In 1993, she became the first bluegrass artist to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in nearly three decades.  Four years later, she and her band Union Station recorded their fifth album, “So Long So Wrong.”  Alison’s 1999 album, “Forget About It,” was followed by her 2001 Rounder Records release, “New Favorite.”  “New Favorite” won the Best Bluegrass Album award at the 2002 Grammy ceremony.  Its hit single, “The Lucky One,” earned two additional Grammys.  In 2004, Alison’s duet with Country star Brad Paisley, “Whiskey Lullaby,” reached the Top 5 on Billboard’s Country Singles chart and brought them several industry awards.  That same year, Alison Krauss & Union Station recorded the Grammy-winning album, “Lonely Runs Both Ways.”  She produced Country star Alan Jackson’s 2006 album, “Like Red On A Rose.”  Alison’s 2007 release, “A Hundred Miles or More,” is a collection of her solo material, including several songs that were featured on film soundtracks and tribute albums.  She also added five previously-unreleased tracks.  Also in 2007, Alison teamed with Led Zeppelin’s lead singer Robert Plant to record the critically-acclaimed album, “Raising Sand.”  Its single “Gone Gone Gone” won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.  Alison Krauss & Union Station’s latest CD, “Paper Airplane,” earned this year’s Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album.  

Pop singer and actress Jennifer Lopez will celebrate her 42nd birthday on July 24.  The New York native began dancing and singing in musical theater during her childhood years.  She made her professional breakthrough on the television show “In Living Color” and as a dancer in a Janet Jackson video.  Lopez attracted worldwide attention when she starred in the 1997 biographical film about slain Latin singer Selena.  In 1999, she recorded her debut album “On The 6,” which produced the Number One single, “If You Had My Love.”  Other hits included “Waiting For Tonight,” “Feelin’ So Good” and “Let’s Get Loud.”  Jennifer’s second album, “J. Lo,” featured the hits “Love Don’t Cost A Thing,” “Play,” and her controversial duet with rapper Ja Rule, “I’m Real.”  She has also starred in many films, including “The Cell,” “Angel Eyes,” “The Wedding Planner,” “Maid In Manhattan,” “Jersey Girl,” the box office bomb “Gigli,” “Shall We Dance” and the 2005 romantic comedy “Monster-In-Law.”  In 2004, Jennifer married Latin pop star Mark Anthony.  The following year, she recorded the album “Rebirth.” Jennifer’s first full Spanish-language album, “Como Ama una Mujer,” was released in 2007.  That same year, Marc and Jennifer appeared together in “El Canante.”  The film told the life story of salsa star Hector Lavoe.  Her 2007 English-language album, “Brave,” failed to generate much commercial success.  In 2008, Jennifer gave birth to twins, daughter Emme and son Max.  She left Sony Music Group in 2010 and signed with Def Jam Records.  The label released her latest album, “Love?,” last year.  Also in 2011, Jennifer and her husband separated after seven years of marriage.  Lopez was a judge on the past two seasons of “American Idol.”  She won’t be returning for the show’s upcoming season.  

On July 26, the Rolling Stones’ lead vocalist Mick Jagger will celebrate his 69th birthday.  Jagger helped form the Rolling Stones in 1963.  The group’s many hits include “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “Honky Tonk Women” and “Miss You.”  Jagger has also recorded several solo albums.  In 1985, he and David Bowie reached the Top 10 with “Dancing In The Street,” a song they performed at London’s “Live Aid” benefit concert.  The Rolling Stones’ 1994-95 “Voodoo Lounge” tour, in support of their album of the same name, grossed over 250-million-dollars and was seen by more than six-and-a-half million people worldwide.  Performances from the tour appear on the group’s 1995 release, “Stripped.”  In 1997, the band recorded the album “Bridges To Babylon.”  The Stones’ next CD was 1998’s “No Security.”  In 2002, their “Forty Licks” anthology was released.  From 2005 to 2007, the Rolling Stones performed worldwide in support of their latest album, “A Bigger Bang.”  Seven hours of performances from the outing were released on the 2008 4-DVD set, “The Biggest Bang.”  Performances from their 2006 tour were documented in director Martin Scorcese’s 2008 film, “Shine A Light.”  Last year, Jagger collaborated with Joss Stone, The Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, Damian Marley and A.R. Rahman in the new supergroup, “SuperHeavy.”  Their self-titled debut album was released last September.  The Rolling Stones are currently celebrating their 50th anniversary.  

Singer Maureen McGovern will turn 63 on July 27.  In 1973, McGovern recorded the million-selling single, “The Morning After.”  Her recording of “We May Never Love Like This Again,” from the 1974 motion picture “Towering Inferno,” earned McGovern an Academy Award.  In addition to her recording career, McGovern has appeared in motion pictures and on Broadway.  In 2003, McGovern recorded the album “Works of Heart.”  She donated all artist royalties from the collection to the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).  Founded in 1998, AMTA works to advance public awareness of the benefits of music therapy.  McGovern’s latest album, “A Long and Winding Road,” features songs by legendary singer-songwriters, including Joni Mitchell, Jimmy Webb, Paul Simon, Carole King, James Taylor, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Laura Nyro.  Last year, McGovern opened the show, “Dangling Conversations,” in New York City.  It featured her versions of classic songs by legendary singer-songwriters, including Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen, J.D. Souther, Joni Mitchell, Jonatha Brooke, Burt Bacharach, Don McLean and Pete Seeger.  The traveling show will come to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on October 12.

Awards Presentations / Winners:

Justin BieberJustin Bieber
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Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber
On July 22, the 2012 Teen Choice Awards were handed out in Universal City, California.  The annual show honors teen icons in television, music, film, sports, fashion, comedy and the Internet.  This year’s leading contender in music was 18-year-old pop superstar Justin Bieber, who received five nominations.  A complete list of winners is available at www.teenchoiceawards.com.

Look Who's Going On Tour!

On July 26, hip-hop star Pitbull will kick off a U.S. tour in Chicago, Illinois in support of his upcoming seventh album, Global Warming. The 15-date tour wraps up with two shows in San Francisco, California on August 11 and 12.  Pitbull will head to Japan for shows in Osaka on August 18 and Tokyo on August 19 before taking the tour to Australia on August 23.  Concerts are scheduled in Perth, Hindmarsh, Melbourne, Boondall and Syndey through September 1.

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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.