News / Arts & Entertainment

Garth Brooks Tops Billboard 200; 'Christmas in Washington' Features Backstreet Boys

The cover of Garth Brooks' 8-disc box set,
The cover of Garth Brooks' 8-disc box set, "Blame It All On My Roots."
Mary Morningstar
Garth Brooks’ new 6-CD/2-DVD box set “Blame It All On My Roots: Five Decades of Influences” sold 146,000 copies its second week of release to push it to the top of this week’s Billboard 200 chart.  This marks Brooks’ ninth time at Number One.  He’s now tied with the Rolling Stones and Barbra Streisand in fourth place on the list of most Billboard 200 chart-topping artists.  The top three spots are held by the Beatles with 19, Jay Z with 13, and Elvis Presley and Bruce Springsteen with 10 apiece.

'Christmas in Washington' Features Backstreet Boys

The first family, from left; Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, President Barack Obama, and first lady Michelle Obama, join, fifth from left to rright; AJ McLean of the Backstreet Boys, country singer Sheryl Crow, and Janelle Monáe, Dec. 15, 2013.The first family, from left; Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, President Barack Obama, and first lady Michelle Obama, join, fifth from left to rright; AJ McLean of the Backstreet Boys, country singer Sheryl Crow, and Janelle Monáe, Dec. 15, 2013.
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The first family, from left; Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, President Barack Obama, and first lady Michelle Obama, join, fifth from left to rright; AJ McLean of the Backstreet Boys, country singer Sheryl Crow, and Janelle Monáe, Dec. 15, 2013.
The first family, from left; Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, President Barack Obama, and first lady Michelle Obama, join, fifth from left to rright; AJ McLean of the Backstreet Boys, country singer Sheryl Crow, and Janelle Monáe, Dec. 15, 2013.
The annual “Christmas In Washington” show was held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. on December 15. The event benefits the Children’s National Health System.  This year’s lineup of performers included the Backstreet Boys, Sheryl Crow, Anna Kendrick, Janelle Monae and Pat Monahan.  President and Mrs. Obama attended the event.  “Christmas In Washington” is scheduled to air December 20 on the TNT cable television network.

Beyonce Surprises Fans with New Album

Singer Beyonce performs on her Singer Beyonce performs on her "Mrs. Carter Show World Tour 2013", on June 29, 2013, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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Singer Beyonce performs on her
Singer Beyonce performs on her "Mrs. Carter Show World Tour 2013", on June 29, 2013, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Garth Brooks’ Number One reign could end next week with the release of Beyonce’s fifth studio album.  The R&B superstar surprised her fans with the self-titled iTunes exclusive on December 13.  The CD/DVD contains 14 songs with accompanying videos, plus bonus footage.  Guests include Drake, her husband Jay Z and daughter Blue Ivy, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche and Frank Ocean.  The set sold 80,000 copies its first three hours on iTunes.  Beyonce released a statement that said, “I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it.  I am bored with that.  I feel like I am able to speak directly to my fans.”

Macklemore Leads Billboard's Best of 2013

Ryan Lewis and Macklemore pose for photos at the Yahoo! On the Road Concert Series at Turner Hall, May, 12, 2013 in Milwaukee.Ryan Lewis and Macklemore pose for photos at the Yahoo! On the Road Concert Series at Turner Hall, May, 12, 2013 in Milwaukee.
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Ryan Lewis and Macklemore pose for photos at the Yahoo! On the Road Concert Series at Turner Hall, May, 12, 2013 in Milwaukee.
Ryan Lewis and Macklemore pose for photos at the Yahoo! On the Road Concert Series at Turner Hall, May, 12, 2013 in Milwaukee.
Billboard has released its Best of 2013 year-end edition.  The Hot 100 year-end chart is led by “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz.  The song spent six weeks at Number One.  Rounding out the Top 10 in descending order are “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell, “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons, “Harlem Shake” by Baauer, “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton, “Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake, “Just Give Me A Reason” by Pink featuring Nate Ruess, “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars, “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly and “Roar” by Katy Perry.

Justin Timberlake holds the Number One spot on the Billboard 200 year-end chart with The 20/20 Experience.  Taylor Swift had the second best-selling album of 2013 with Red.  The rest of the Top 10 includes One Direction’s Take Me Home (Number 3), Bruno Mars’ Unorthodox Jukebox (Number 4), Mumford & Sons’ Babel (Number 5), Imagine Dragons’ Night Visions (Number 6), Florida Georgia Line’s Here’s To The Good Times (Number 7), Pink’s The Truth About Love (Number 8), Luke Bryan’s Crash My Party (Number 9) and Rihanna’s Unapologetic (Number 10).

Spears' Britney Jean Album is Billboard's Hot Shot Debut

Britney Spears arrives to her announcement for her new show at Planet Hollywood Vegas, Sept. 17, 2013 in Las Vegas.Britney Spears arrives to her announcement for her new show at Planet Hollywood Vegas, Sept. 17, 2013 in Las Vegas.
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Britney Spears arrives to her announcement for her new show at Planet Hollywood Vegas, Sept. 17, 2013 in Las Vegas.
Britney Spears arrives to her announcement for her new show at Planet Hollywood Vegas, Sept. 17, 2013 in Las Vegas.
Britney Spears has the HOT SHOT DEBUT on this week’s Billboard 200 chart.  She lands on the list at Number 4 with her eighth studio album, Britney Jean.  The album sold only 107,000 copies its opening week, making it the lowest-selling debut week of her career.  Its lead single, “Work B***ch,” peaked at Number 12 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.  The second single, “Perfume,” re-enters this week’s list at Number 79.

NBC's The Voice to Choose Season 5 Winner

From left, Carson Daly, Adam Levine, CeeLo Green, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton attend From left, Carson Daly, Adam Levine, CeeLo Green, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton attend "The Voice" Season 5 Top 12 red carpet event at Universal Studios, Nov. 7, 2013 in Universal City, Calif.
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From left, Carson Daly, Adam Levine, CeeLo Green, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton attend
From left, Carson Daly, Adam Levine, CeeLo Green, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton attend "The Voice" Season 5 Top 12 red carpet event at Universal Studios, Nov. 7, 2013 in Universal City, Calif.
On December 17, the winner of The Voice Season 5 will be announced.  The final three contestants include Tessanne Chin and Will Champlin (Team Adam Levine) and Jacquie Lee (Team Christina Aguilera).  All three will sing for the final time on the popular NBC-TV reality show on December 16.  Among the artists performing on the two-night finale are OneRepublic, Celine Dion, Ne-Yo and Lady Gaga, as well as judges Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine.


New Album Releases / Dec. 17

“Underground Luxury” by B.o.B.
“Live From Space” by Mac Miller

Musical Events / Festivals / Benefits

Stevie Wonder and the Rickey Minor Band perform “Master Blaster”, “My Cherie Amour” and “Sir Duke” as a tribute to Dick Clark at at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles.Stevie Wonder and the Rickey Minor Band perform “Master Blaster”, “My Cherie Amour” and “Sir Duke” as a tribute to Dick Clark at at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles.
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Stevie Wonder and the Rickey Minor Band perform “Master Blaster”, “My Cherie Amour” and “Sir Duke” as a tribute to Dick Clark at at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles.
Stevie Wonder and the Rickey Minor Band perform “Master Blaster”, “My Cherie Amour” and “Sir Duke” as a tribute to Dick Clark at at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards on Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles.
Legendary singer Stevie Wonder will host his 18th annual House Full of Toys Benefit Concert on December 21.  He’ll perform his 1976 “Songs in the Key of Life” Grammy-winning album in its entirety at the show, which takes place at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.  Wonder said, “This has been a fantasy of mine for a while.  I wanted to do something that would thank everyone for supporting my career and also thank God for me being able to do the music I do.  And listening to this album again, it is amazing to me how relevant it is today.”  Those who attend the House Full of Toys Benefit concert donate toys to be distributed to children in need.

Star Birthdays

December 17 - Birthdate of the late Eddie Kendricks (born 1949).  Kendricks was an original member of The Temptations.  The Motown group recorded such hits as “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” “I Can’t Get Next To You” and “My Girl.”  In 1971, Kendricks left the group to pursue a solo career.  Two years later, he recorded the Number One single “Keep On Truckin’.”  Kendricks died of lung cancer on October 5, 1992 at age 52.

Christina Aguilera arrives at the American Music Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles.Christina Aguilera arrives at the American Music Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles.
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Christina Aguilera arrives at the American Music Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles.
Christina Aguilera arrives at the American Music Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles.
December 18 - Pop star Christina Aguilera turns 33.  In 1999, she burst onto the music scene with her self-titled debut album.  The set produced such hits as “Genie In A Bottle,” “I Turn To You” and “What A Girl Wants.”  She also won that year’s Grammy Award for Best New Artist.  Since then, Aguilera has recorded five more albums that have collectively sold more than 50 million copies worldwide.  In 2010, she starred in “Burlesque” and contributed eight songs to the film’s soundtrack.  Aguilera is a judge and mentor on the NBC-TV reality show “The Voice,” which is now in its fifth season.  She took a break from the show’s fourth season to perform a world tour in support of her latest album “Lotus.”

Singer and guitarist Keith Richards celebrates his 70th birthday.  In 1962, Richards co-founded The Rolling Stones.  The legendary British rock band has sold an estimated 250 million albums worldwide.  The Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.  Last year, the band celebrated its 50th anniversary with the compilation album “GRRR!” and its “Crossfire Hurricane” documentary.  In 2011, Keith Richards wrote his autobiography, “Life.”  Rolling Stone magazine called it “one of the best rock memoirs ever.”

December 21 - Birthdate of the late rock singer and composer Frank Zappa (born 1940).  Zappa formed the Mothers Of Invention in the mid-1960s and began his solo career in the 1970s.  He was regarded as rock music’s leading satirist with such novelty songs as “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow” and the Top 40 hit “Valley Girl.”  In 1990, Zappa was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  He lost his battle with the disease on December 4, 1993.  Zappa spent the last two years of his life composing orchestral music.  He participated in some European concerts that featured his works.

Birthdate of the late guitarist Carl Wilson (born 1946).  At age 14, Wilson began performing with the Beach Boys.  The California band scored several Number One hits in the 1960s, including “Good Vibrations,” “Help Me, Rhonda” and “I Get Around.”  In 1988, the Beach Boys returned to the top of the chart with “Kokomo,” a song that was featured in the film “Cocktail.”  That same year, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Wilson died of cancer on February 6, 1998.

Awards Presentations / Winners

Jay-Z attends Jay-Z attends "The Great Gatsby" world premiere at Avery Fisher Hall in New York, May 1, 2013.
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Jay-Z attends
Jay-Z attends "The Great Gatsby" world premiere at Avery Fisher Hall in New York, May 1, 2013.
Jay Z received nine nominations to lead the contenders for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.  Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams are each nominated seven times.  Neil Portnow, President of The Recording Academy, said, “This year’s nominations reflect the talented community of music makers who represent some of the highest levels of excellence and artistry of the year in their respective fields.”  Eighty-two awards in 30 fields will be handed out.  The Grammy Awards ceremony takes place January 26, 2014 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The Recording Academy announced its Special Merit Awards recipients.  This year’s Lifetime Achievement Awards will go to the Beatles, Armando Manzanero, Clifton Chenier, the Isley Brothers, Kraftwerk, Kris Kristofferson and Maud Powell.  Trustees Award honorees include Rick Hall, Jim Marshall and Ennio Morricone.  Technical Grammy Awards will be presented to Emile Berliner and Lexicon.  They’ll receive their Special Merit Awards on January 26 at a special invitation-only ceremony and will also be acknowledged during the Grammy Awards telecast.

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
According to Billboard Boxscore, Bon Jovi had the highest-grossing tour of 2013.  The New Jersey rock band earned more than $205 million from 90 sold-out shows.  Tours are ranked by total gross and compiled from Billboard Boxscores reported from November 14, 2012 through November 12, 2013.  Rounding out the Top 10 highest-grossing tours were Michael Jackson’ The Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil ($157.2 million), Pink ($147.9 million), Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band ($147.6 million), Rihanna ($137.9 million), The Rolling Stones ($126.1 million), Taylor Swift ($115.3 million), Beyonce ($104.3 million), Depeche Mode ($99.9-million) and Kenny Chesney ($90.9 million).

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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.