News / Arts & Entertainment

Jubilee Concert Features Elton John, Paul McCartney; Houston's Final Single Released

Britain's Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth II are joined on stage with the rest of the Royal family as well as performers at the Queen's Jubilee Concert in front of Buckingham Palace, London, June 4, 2012.
Britain's Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth II are joined on stage with the rest of the Royal family as well as performers at the Queen's Jubilee Concert in front of Buckingham Palace, London, June 4, 2012.
Mary Morningstar
 Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee concert was held in front of Buckingham Palace on June 4,.  Performers included Paul McCartney, Elton John, Annie Lennox, Stevie Wonder, Jesse J, Kylie Minogue, Cliff Richard and Tom Jones, among others.  Andrew Lloyd Weber and Gary Barlow composed the Queens’ Jubilee song, titled “Sing.”  A lottery was held to give 10,000 members of the public free tickets to the event.  ABC plans to televise concert highlights on June 5.

Houston's Final Recording Goes on Sale

Whitney Houston’s final recording will be released on June 5.  “Celebrate” is a duet with Jordan Sparks.  The song will be included on the soundtrack to her upcoming film Sparkle.  The movie hits theaters on August 17.

Robin Gibb to Be Buried June 8

Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees (2010 file photo)Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees (2010 file photo)
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Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees (2010 file photo)
Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees (2010 file photo)
The family of Bee Gees member Robin Gibb will hold a funeral for the singer on June 8.  They released a statement that said, “The funeral will be a private service for close family and friends.”  Gibb’s family is planning a public memorial service for later this year.  Following Robin’s May 20 death, sales of the Bee Gees’ albums and singles increased by 339%.  According to Nielsen SoundScan, the biggest sellers were “Number Ones,” “Saturday Night Fever” and “Ultimate Bee Gees.”

Winehouse's London Home for Sale

The Associated Press reports that the family of Amy Winehouse is selling the late singer’s London home.  The three-bedroom house in Camden is on the market for $4.2 million.  Winehouse died in July 2011 from alcohol poisoning.

Mayer's New Album Tops Billboard 200

Musician John MayerMusician John Mayer
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Musician John Mayer
Musician John Mayer
Singer-songwriter John Mayer debuts at Number One on this week’s Billboard 200 chart with Born and Raised.  It’s his third chart-topping album.  Mayer is suffering from nodules on his vocal cords.  He wrote to his fans on Tumblr, “incredible on all your parts because there has been very little I’ve been able to do to promote it.”  Mayer was diagnosed with granuloma in his throat in October 2011.  He had surgery, but it returned this past March.

Idol Phillips' Debut Single Performing Well

2012 American Idol winner Phillip Phillips sold 278,000 digital copies of his debut single “Home” its first week of release.  The track enters at Number 2 on the Digital Songs chart.  According to Billboard, it’s the second-highest digital sales week ever by an American Idol contestant.  Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You” sold 280,000 digital downloads its opening week in 2009.

New Album Releases / June 5:

 “Thirty Miles West” by Alan Jackson
 “Our Version of Events” by Emeli Sande
 “Travelling” (digital release only) by Roxette
 “Americana” by Neil Young & Crazy Horse
 “Analog Man” by Joe Walsh
 “BANGA” by Patti Smith
 “Bear Creek” by Brandi Carlile
 “That’s Why God Made The Radio” by The Beach Boys
 “Rock of Ages,”  the original motion picture soundtrack
 “All Fall Down” by Shawn Colvin
 “Legacy” by David Garrett
 “The Masterpiece” by Bobby Brown
 “Graceland - 25th Anniversary” (CD/DVD commemorative edition) by Paul Simon
 “Strange Euphoria” (career retrospective 3-CD/1-DVD box set) by Heart
 “Higher” by Regina Belle
  “The One” by Eric Benet
 “Across the Imaginary Divide” by Bela Fleck & The Marcus Roberts Trio

Musical Events/Festivals/Benefits:

On June 4, New York’s Apollo Theater held its seventh annual Spring Gala.  The Gala Benefit Concert featured Chaka Khan's tribute to Whitney Houston, Valerie Simpson’s tribute to her late husband Nick Ashford, and Eddie Levert's tribute to late “Soul Train” legend Don Cornelius.  During the event, Lionel Richie and the late Etta James were inducted into the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame.

The 2012 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival will take place June 7-10 in Manchester, Tennessee.  This year’s headliners include the Beach Boys, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Phish.  The festival is partnering with SustainU to hold a “One For All” clothing drive at the four-day event.  SustainU produces clothing made from 100% recycled materials.  For each bag of clothes donated, attendees receive vouchers that can be redeemed for prizes at the Clean Vibes Trading Post.  The program at Bonnaroo also provides incentives to patrons who collect recycling from the festival grounds.

Star Birthdays

On June 5, saxophonist Kenny G (last name Gorelick) will turn 56.  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.”  His latest studio project, “Heart and Soul,” was nominated for a Grammy Award.  Kenny’s upcoming collaboration with Indian musician Rahul Sharma, “Namaste India,” will be released on June 26.

British singer Tom Jones will celebrate his 72nd 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 spent much of 2009 touring in support of his album “24 Hours.”  He signed with Lost Highway Records for the release of his 2010 album of gospel covers, “Praise and Blame.”  Jones’ new CD, “Spirit in the Room,” includes covers of songs by Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, and others.

On June 7, Prince will celebrate his 54th 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-dollars, 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.”  On July 3, he’ll make his first ever U.K. festival appearance at the Hop Farm Festival in Kent, England.

On June 8, rapper Kanye West turns 35.  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-thousand 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 latest album, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200 chart by selling 496-thousand copies its first week of release in November 2010.  Since then, it has sold more than one million copies.  Last year, Kanye released the Number One collaborative album with Jay-Z, “Watch the Throne.”  Kanye’s upcoming solo album, “Cruel Summer,” will be released on his own GOOD Music label.  He premiered his short film, also titled “Cruel Summer,” at the Cannes Film Festival.  The album’s first single is the Top 5 R&B chart hit, “Mercy.”  

Singer Bonnie Tyler will turn 59 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 recently recorded a new album in Nashville that will feature a duet with one of her favorite Country stars, Vince Gill.  It will be released later this year.

Awards Presentations/Winners:

The 2012 CMT (Country Music Television) Music Awards will be presented on June 6, in Nashville.  Carrie Underwood leads the contenders with five nominations, including Video of the Year and Female Video of the Year for her current Top 5 hit, “Good Girl.”  Miranda Lambert follows with four nods, two for her solo work and two as part of her new trio Pistol Annies.  Triple nominees include Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift and Thompson Square.  (Full list of nominees are available at www.cmt.com.)

Look Who's Going on Tour!

Garth Brooks has announced the addition of eight shows to his residency at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas.  The new concert dates are September 21 and 22, October 5, 6, 26 and 27, and November 16 and 17.  Garth began the five-year engagement at Wynn in December 2009.  In other news, Garth will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame later this year.

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Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”