News / Arts & Entertainment

Lady Gaga, Mom to Launch Born This Way Foundation; Adele Still Breaking Records

Lady Gaga at the Taoyuan International Airport, northern Taiwan, July 1, 2011.
Lady Gaga at the Taoyuan International Airport, northern Taiwan, July 1, 2011.
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Mary Morningstar

Lady Gaga, Mom to Launch Born This Way Foundation

On February 29, Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, will launch their new Born This Way Foundation with an event at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, and Harvard Law School Professor Charles Ogletree are scheduled to join them at the event.  The foundation’s goal is to create a kinder and braver world.

Adele's '21' Still Breaking Records

Lady Gaga, Mom to Launch Born This Way Foundation; Adele Still Breaking Records
Lady Gaga, Mom to Launch Born This Way Foundation; Adele Still Breaking Records

Adele’s 21 album continues to set sales records.  According to Nielsen SoundScan, the album had its biggest sales week ever by selling 730,000 copies during the past week.  In addition, 21 spends its 21st week at Number One on the Billboard 200 chart. Adele now leads all female artists for most weeks in the top spot.  Whitney Houston’s soundtrack to The Bodyguard held the previous record with 20 weeks at Number One.  Adele’s 21 album has sold more than 7.3-million copies in the United States.

Katy Perry's New Single Tops Billboard Hot 100

Katy Perry
Katy Perry

Pop singer Katy Perry debuts at Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 and Digital Songs charts with her new single, “Part of Me.”  The single was released the day after her performance of the song on the February 12 Grammy Awards show.  First-week digital downloads totaled 411,000 copies, which gave Perry her best career sales week.

Whitney Houston Dress, Earrings Up for Auction

Singer Whitney Houston blows a kiss to the audience at the BET Honors Awards in Washington, D.C. January 17, 2009.
Singer Whitney Houston blows a kiss to the audience at the BET Honors Awards in Washington, D.C. January 17, 2009.

Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills has announced that Whitney Houston’s black velvet dress and a pair of earrings she wore in the 1992 film “The Bodyguard” will soon be up for sale.  The items are part of Julien’s Hollywood Legends auction, set to take place on March 31 and April 1.

The Cranberries Drop New Album

Irish pop group The Cranberries released its new album Roses on February 28.  This is the band’s first studio album since 2001’s Wake Up and Smell the Coffee.  The Cranberries took a six-year hiatus before reuniting for a concert tour in 2009.  The group will support Roses with a world tour, which begins on March 15 in New Zealand.

New Album Releases / February 28:

“Voyage” by Celtic Thunder
“Release Me” by Lyle Lovett
“This Ole Boy“ by Craig Morgan
“All of Me” by Estelle
“Under Fire” by Green River Ordinance
“Lung of Love” by Amy Ray

Musical Events/Festivals/Benefits:

Elton John
Elton John

Elton John hosted his 20th annual AIDS Foundation Academy Awards gala on February 26 in Los Angeles.  Pop band Foster the People performed at the Oscar viewing party.  Since 1992, Elton’s AIDS Foundation has raised $225 million for patient care services and AIDS prevention education.

On February 26, the International Festival of Country Music took place at London’s Wembley Arena.  The all-day festival featured performances by Reba McEntire, Lonestar, Ricky Skaggs, Asleep at the Wheel, and others.  Additional festival dates are scheduled to take place in Belfast on February 29; Zurich, Switzerland on March 2; and Mannheim, Germany on March 4.

Star Birthdays:

This is a 1977 photo of country western musician Johnny Cash.
This is a 1977 photo of country western musician Johnny Cash.

February 26 marks the birth date of legendary Country singer Johnny Cash (born 1932).  Cash signed his first deal with Sun Records in 1955 and recorded more than 150 chart hits during his long career.  Some of his most popular tunes included “A Boy Named Sue,” “I Walk The Line,” “Ring Of Fire” and “Daddy Sang Bass.”  In 1980, Cash was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  In 1993, he signed with American Recordings, which released his album of the same name.  Three years later, he recorded “Unchained,” which earned him a Grammy Award for Best Country Album.  In 1998, Cash was diagnosed with Shy-Drager Syndrome, a form of Parkinson’s disease.  Doctors later changed that diagnosis to autonomic neuropathy.  Cash won the 2001 Best Male Country Vocal Performance Grammy for “Solitary Man,” a track from his critically acclaimed album “American III - Solitary Man.”  “American IV: The Man Comes Around,” brought him several industry honors in 2003, including three Country Music Association Awards.  He died on September 12, 2003, less than four months after the death of his wife, June Carter Cash.  “Ain’t No Grave,” the sixth and final album in Johnny’s American Recordings series, was released in 2010.  Many tributes and celebrations will take place this year to honor what would have been his 80th birthday.  On February 26, his family will gather at his childhood home in Arkansas to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home project, which will restore the house and surrounding buildings on the property.  Also planned is the opening of the new Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville.  And, Legacy Recordings will release several Johnny Cash compilations.  The first is the 2-CD, 51-track spiritual collection “Bootleg Vol. IV: The Soul of Truth,” due out on April 3.

British singer-songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae will turn 33 on February 26.  In 2006, she made her recording debut with a self-titled collection that entered the U.K. chart at Number One.  The achievement made her only the fourth female British artist to enter at the top with a debut album.  It also brought her three Grammy nominations, including Best New Artist and Song of the Year and Record of the Year for Put Your Records On.  The album’s next three singles, “Trouble Sleeping,” “I’d Like To” and “Breathless,” were all minor hits.  In 2008, Corinne’s husband, Scottish musician Jason Rae, died of an accidental overdose of methadone and alcohol.  Last year, she released “The Love EP,” a five-song collection of some of Corinne’s favorite tunes.  She recorded the tracks as she toured the world to promote her 2010 album, “The Sea.”  Corinne’s cover of Bob Marley’s “Is This Love” brought her this year’s Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance.  

Josh Groban's "Illuminations" CD
Josh Groban's "Illuminations" CD

On February 26, pop singer Michael Bolton celebrates his 59th birthday.  Bolton’s many hits include “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” and his version of the Percy Sledge classic, “When A Man Loves A Woman.”  He left Columbia Records in 2001 and signed a new recording contract with Jive Records.  Bolton’s first album for the label, “Only A Woman Like You,” was released in 2002.  The following year, he recorded “Vintage,” a collection of standards from the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s.  Bolton included seven new studio tracks on his 2005 live album, “’Til The End of Forever.”  His 2006 release, “Bolton Swings Sinatra,” features his versions of 12 Frank Sinatra classics.  In 2009, he recorded “One World One Love.”  First released only in the United Kingdom, the album was issued in the U.S. in 2010.  

On February 26, singer and pianist Fats Domino will celebrate his 84th birthday.  He made his recording debut in 1950, one year after signing his first contract with Imperial Records.  Although he never recorded a Number One single, many of his songs, including “Blueberry Hill,” “Ain’t That A Shame” and “I’m Walkin’” became enormous hits.  In 1986, Domino was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  In 2005, his home, located in the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood of New Orleans, was flooded by Hurricane Katrina.  He didn’t evacuate and had to be rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter.  In 2009, Fats gave a surprise performance in New Orleans at The Domino Effect charity concert, which raised money to rebuild schools and playgrounds that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Lady Gaga, Mom to Launch Born This Way Foundation; Adele Still Breaking Records
Lady Gaga, Mom to Launch Born This Way Foundation; Adele Still Breaking Records

Classical/pop singer Josh Groban will turn 31 on February 27.  Groban’s 2002 self-titled debut album sold more than five million copies worldwide and featured the international hit “To Where You Are.”  The following year, Josh scored another hit with “You Raise Me Up” from his second collection, “Closer.”  His next album, “Awake,” was released in 2006.  Its hits included “You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up)” and “February Song.”  Josh’s 2007 holiday album, “Noel,” sold five million copies in the U.S.  It became the first Christmas album to spend four consecutive weeks at Number One on the Billboard 200 chart.  His latest album, “Illuminations,” was released in 2010.  Last year, Josh played the role of an attorney in the film “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” which also starred Emma Stone and Steve Carell.  

On February 28, Train’s lead singer Pat Monahan will celebrate his 43rd birthday.  The band’s hits include “Meet Virginia,” “Drops of Jupiter” and “Calling All Angels.”  In 2008, Pat released his first solo album, “Last of Seven.”  Its single, “Her Eyes,” reached the Top 10 on the Adult Top 40 chart.  Train’s latest album, “Save Me, San Francisco,” produced the Adult Top 40 Number One single, “Hey, Soul Sister.”  The live version of the song won last year’s Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.  Trains sixth studio album, titled “California 37,” will be released on April 17.  

Jon Bon Jovi (file photo)
Jon Bon Jovi (file photo)

Pop star Justin Bieber turns 18 years old on March 1.  Born in Ontario, Canada, Justin was discovered at age 13 by former record company marketing executive Scooter Braun.  Braun saw a video of Justin on YouTube and convinced his mother to take him to Atlanta to make some demos.  He was immediately signed to Raymond Braun Media Group, which Scooter created with R&B star Usher.  Justin’s debut album, “My World,” was released in 2009.  That was followed in 2010 by “My World 2.0.”  Justin’s hits include “Baby,” “Somebody To Love” and “Never Say Never.”  His sophomore album, “Believe,” will be released later this year.  

On March 1, British singer Roger Daltrey will celebrate his 68th birthday.  Daltrey formed his first band with John Entwistle and Pete Townshend in the early 1960s.  Known as The Detours, they later added drummer Keith Moon (died 9/7/78) and changed their name to the High Numbers, and finally, the Who.  Throughout the late 1970s and ‘80s, the group took long breaks from recording and performing due to several tragic events, including the death of Keith Moon and the deaths of eleven fans, trampled at a 1979 concert in Cincinnati.  In 1990, the Who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Daltrey celebrated the group’s 30th anniversary in 1994 by organizing “Daltrey Sings Townshend,” an all-star rock concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall.  Performances from the event were released on “A Celebration: The Music of Pete Townshend and the Who.”  In 2002, the Who’s bassist John Entwistle died in his Las Vegas hotel room one day before the group was to kick off a North American concert tour.  Daltrey and Pete Townshend went on with the tour as a tribute to Entwistle.  In 2006, the Who recorded “Endless Wire,” its first album of all new material since 1982.  The album debuted at Number 7 on the Billboard 200 chart.  In 2008, Daltrey and Townshend both received Kennedy Center Honors.  The Who performed the half-time show at the 2010 Super Bowl XLIV (44).  On March 28, Daltrey will kick off the week-long Teenage Cancer Trust shows at Royal Albert Hall.

Singer Harry Belafonte will turn 85 on March 1.  During the 1940s, Belafonte made a career change from acting to singing after a nightclub owner heard him perform and signed him to a 20-week engagement.  That led to a recording contract with Jubilee Records.  In 1956, he recorded “Calypso,” which topped Billboard’s pop albums chart for 31 weeks and became the first album ever to sell one million copies.  The album’s most popular single, “Banana Boat Song (Day-O),” climbed to Number 5 on the charts.  In 1985, Belafonte spearheaded the “USA For Africa” benefit, which brought together 45 well-known artists to record “We Are The World.”  Two years later, he was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.  Belafonte performed his last concert in 2003.  His many awards include a Kennedy Center Honor, National Medal of Arts and Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award.  Belafonte’s life and career is chronicled in the new documentary “Harry Belafonte: Sing Your Song.”  The biopic was co-produced by his youngest child, Gina Belafonte.

On March 2, Jon Bon Jovi, lead vocalist of the rock quartet Bon Jovi, will celebrate his 50th birthday.    During the 1980s, the group scored several Number One hits, including “You Give Love A Bad Name,” “Livin’ On A Prayer,” “Bad Medicine” and “I’ll Be There For You.”  In 1990, Jon recorded his debut solo project, the soundtrack to the motion picture “Young Guns II.”  It produced the hit singles “Miracles” and “Blaze of Glory.”  Jon’s second solo collection, “Destination Anywhere,” was released in 1997.  In 2003, Jon became co-owner of the Philadelphia Soul, an expansion Arena Football League franchise.  The following year, Bon Jovi compiled its first box set, “100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong.”  The 4-CD collection includes 38 previously unreleased tracks.  Bon Jovi’s 2005 album, “Have A Nice Day,” features the group’s Number One, Grammy-winning Country duet with Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.”  Bon Jovi recorded their 2007 album, “Lost Highway,” in Nashville.  The band’s 2007-2008 “Lost Highway Tour” earned 252-million-dollars.  Academy Award-winning director Barbara Kopple and a film crew shot video of the tour to make a documentary about Bon Jovi’s 25 years in music.  In 2009, Bon Jovi was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.  Also in 2009, Jon Bon Jovi and Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora entered the Songwriters Hall of Fame.  Bon Jovi had the Number One tour of 2010.  The trek supported the band’s latest album, “The Circle.”  Bon Jovi’s 2011 “The Circle Tour” earned $190 million to become the Number 2 tour of the year.  According to the group’s website, they plan to take 2012 off from the road to work on a new album.

Singer Eddie Money will celebrate his 62nd birthday on March 2.  The former New York City police officer began recording in the late 1970s after being discovered by rock promoter Bill Graham.  His best-known songs include “Baby Hold On,” “Two Tickets To Paradise” and the 1986 Top 5 single, “Take Me Home Tonight.”  Those hits are among the tracks on his 1989 anthology, “Sound of Money.”  Eddie’s albums in the 1990s included “Right Here,” “Unplug It In - Acoustic EP,” “Love And Money,” “Shakin’ With The Money Man” and “Ready Eddie,” which was released in early 1999.  Eddie’s 2007 album, “Wanna Go Back,” features his versions of such 1960s classics as Jackie Wilson’s “Higher & Higher,” Sam & Dave’s “Hold On I’m Comin’,” and The Foundations’ “Baby Now That I Found You.”  His daughter Jessica joined him on a new version of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”  

Awards Presentations/Winners:

Pop star Adele and 21-year-old newcomer Ed Sheeran were both double winners at the 2012 Brit Awards.  Adele took home the Best British Female Solo Artist trophy and the Album of the Year honor for 21.  Sheeran was named Best British Male Solo Artist and Best British Breakthrough Act.  Boy band One Direction won the Best British Single award for “What Makes You Beautiful,” Rihanna was named Best International Female Artist for the second year-in-a-row, Bruno Mars earned the Best International Male Artist trophy, Coldplay received its third Brit Award for Best Group, and Lana Del Rey won for Best International Breakthrough Act.

Gospel singer Jason Crabb leads the contenders for the 2012 Dove Awards.  His eight nominations include Artist of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and Southern Gospel Album of the Year for “The Song Lives On.”  Other multiple nominees include Laura Story with six mentions and Kirk Franklin, Jamie Grace, Natalie Grant and Chris Tomlin with four apiece.  The Gospel Music Association’s 43rd annual Dove Awards will be presented in Atlanta, Georgia on April 19.  (See full list of nominees at www.doveawards.com.)

Look Who's Going On Tour!


Country legend Merle Haggard kicks off a U.S. tour on February 28 to support his latest album, “Working in Tennessee.”  Some of the concerts are make-up dates for shows that were postponed last month.  Haggard was hospitalized with pneumonia, but he says, “I’m feeling good and ready to get back on the bus.  Thanks to all for the powerful prayers that led to my speedy recovery.”

On March 3, Country singer Hank Williams, Jr. will begin a U.S. concert tour in St. Augustine, Florida.  His 16-date “Taking Back the Country Tour” features special guests Jamey Johnson, Chris Young, Josh Thompson, George Thorogood and 38 Special on select dates.

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