Rolling Stones Cancel Anniversary Tour; Springsteen Album Debuts at No. 1

Rolling Stones band members (L-R) Charles Watts, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards (file photo)
Rolling Stones band members (L-R) Charles Watts, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards (file photo)
Mary Morningstar

Rolling Stones Cancel Anniversary Tour

The Rolling Stones have announced they will not perform a 50th anniversary tour in 2012.  Guitarist Keith Richards told, “Basically, we’re just not ready.”  He added that a tour in 2013 is “more realistic.”  The legendary rock band is, however, looking at the possibility of playing multi-night engagements in a few cities this year.

New Springsteen Album Debuts at No. 1

Bruce Springsteen's "Wrecking Ball" CD
Bruce Springsteen's "Wrecking Ball" CD
Bruce Springsteen debuts at Number One on this week’s Billboard 200 chart with his 17th studio album, Wrecking Ball.  The set sold 196,000 copies its first week of release to become the 10th chart-topping album of Springsteen’s career.  According to Billboard, Springsteen now ties Elvis Presley for having the third-most Number One albums.  At Number 2 is Jay-Z with 12 and the Beatles lead the tally with 19.

Idol Contestant Eliminated Over Past Arrests, Warrants

The March 15 American Idol elimination show revealed the Top 10 finalists, who will take part in this summer’s “Idols Live Tour.”  Two contestants left the singing competition. Jermaine Jones,25, nicknamed the “gentle giant” by host Ryan Seacrest, was disqualified after producers discovered he had two past arrests and several outstanding warrants in his home state of New Jersey.  The second to leave the show was Shannon Magrane, 16, who gathered the least viewer votes after performing the Mariah Carey/Boyz II Men duet, “One Sweet Day.”  The Top 10 finalists are Elise Testone, Erika Van Pelt, Joshua Ledet, DeAndre Brackensick, Jessica Sanchez, Colton Dixon, HeeJun Han, Hollie Cavanagh, Phillip Phillips and Skylar Laine.

Lisa Marie Presley to Release New Album

Elvis Presley’s daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, will soon release her first album in five years.  Storm and Grace, produced by T Bone Burnett, is due out on May 15.   “Nothing was planned or contrived in any way and out of it came a very organic record that was always inside of me and that I am incredibly proud of," Lisa said. "It was a dream come true and such an honor when T Bone liked the songs and produced and played on the record.”  Burnett added, “I was curious.  I wondered what the daughter of an American revolutionary music artist had to say.  What I heard was honest, raw, unaffected and soulful.  I thought her father would be proud of her. …Lisa Marie Presley is a Southern American Folk music artist of great value.”

New Album Releases/ March 20:

“The MF Life” by Melanie Fiona
“Casey James” by Casey James
“Port of Morrow” by The Shins
“Radio Music Society” by Esperanza Spalding

Musical Events/Festivals/Benefits:

The 14th Ultra Music Festival takes place in Miami, Florida March 23-25.  The three-day festival, which is billed as “world’s biggest and most famous dance music event,” sold out weeks in advance.  This year’s lineup includes David Guetta, Skrillex, Kraftwerk, New Order, and many others.  More than 150,000 music fans from 71 countries attended last year’s Ultra Music Festival.

Star Birthdays

Singer and actress Vanessa Williams will celebrate her 49th birthday on March 18.  The former Miss America burst onto the music scene in 1989 with her debut album, “The Right Stuff.”  Williams’ 1991 follow-up, “The Comfort Zone,” brought her three Grammy Award nominations.  Williams’ acting projects include roles in Broadway’s “Kiss of the Spiderwoman,” the network television revival of “Bye Bye Birdie” and the 2002 Broadway musical “Into The Woods.”  Vanessa earned a Tony Award nomination for “Into the Woods,” which closed in December 2002.  She played magazine editor-in-chief Wilhelmina Slater in the television comedy series “Ugly Betty,” which ended its five-year run in April 2010.  In 2009, Universal Music Group released her latest album, “The Real Thing.”  Its title track reached the Top 10 on Billboard’s Dance chart.  Since 2010, Vanessa has starred in the ABC television series, “Desperate Housewives.”  She’s now working on a new album, which is expected to be out later this year.

Singer and actress Queen Latifah turns 42 on March 18.  Born Dana Elaine Owens, she arrived on the music scene in 1989 with her debut album “All Hail the Queen.”  “Nature of A Sista” followed in 1991, and in 1993, she recorded her most successful collection, “Black Reign.”  It featured the Grammy-winning single “U.N.I.T.Y.”  Her acting career includes roles in the films “Set It Off,” “House Party 2,” “My Life,” “Jungle Fever,” “Living Out Loud” and “Brown Sugar,” and the television sitcom “Living Single.”  In 2007, Queen Latifah appeared in the film version of the Broadway musical “Hairspray.”  Since then, she’s been cast in many other motion pictures, including this year’s “Joyful Noise.”  Her 2007 album, “Trav’lin’ Light”, was nominated for a Grammy Award.  It includes guest appearances by Jill Scott, Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Joe Sample, George Duke and Christian McBride.  Queen Latifah’s latest album, “Persona,” was released in 2009.  She recently announced that she’s recording a new album for release in 2012.  Also this year, Queen Latifah will produce the CW Network’s new reality show, “The Star Next Door.”  The singing competition will feature celebrity mentors Gloria Estefan and Country singer John Rich.  

Linkin Park lead vocalist Chester Bennington will turn 36 on March 20.  Before joining Linkin Park, Bennington performed in the rock band Grey Daze.  Linkin Park’s hits include “Numb,” “In the End,” “Crawling” and “Breaking the Habit.”  The band’s 2007 album, “Minutes To Midnight,” topped the chart in 13 countries and sold two million copies in the U.S.  Four singles from the album reached the Top 5 on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart.  Linkin Park worked with producer Rick Rubin on its latest album, “A Thousand Suns.”  The band is also working with Rubin on its upcoming fifth album.  Linkin Park has upcoming concerts scheduled in The Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Austria and Russia.  

On March 22, pop and jazz singer-guitarist George Benson will celebrate his 69th birthday.  Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Benson was only eight years old when he first sang in a local nightclub.  His biggest hits include “This Masquerade,” “On Broadway” and “Give Me The Night.”  In 1996, he signed with GRP Records, which released “That’s Right.”  A remastered version of his 1976 breakthrough album “Breezin’” was issued with three bonus tracks in 2001.  Benson teamed with Al Jarreau on his 2006 album, “Givin’ It Up.”  The collection also features appearances by Jill Scott, Patti Austin and Paul McCartney.  At the 2007 Grammy Awards, Benson, Jarreau and Jill Scott shared a win in the category of Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for “God Bless the Child.”  George and Al earned a second Grammy in the Best Pop Instrumental Performance category for “Mornin’.”  Benson’s 2009 album, “Songs and Stories,” includes tracks composed by Bill Withers, James Taylor, Christopher Cross, Lamont Dozier, Smokey Robinson, and some of his other favorite writers.  His latest album, “Guitar Man,” won this year’s NAACP Award for Best Jazz Album.  

Chaka Khan will turn 59 years old on March 23.  In the early 1970s, she performed as lead singer with the R&B group Rufus.  In 1978, Chaka launched a solo career.  Her biggest hit came in 1984 with the Top 5 single, “I Feel For You.”  Khan’s other hits include “Through The Fire” and “I’m Every Woman.”  Her 1998 CD, “Come 2 My House,” was released on Prince’s NPG Records.  In 2003, Chaka received the Legend Award at the World Music Awards in Monaco.  The following year, she recorded a collection of pop standards with the London Symphony Orchestra, titled “ClassiKhan.”  For many years, she’s been an outspoken supporter of arts education.  In 2007, Khan recorded “Funk This,” a collection of cover songs and original tracks.  At the 2008 Grammy Awards, Chaka won the Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals category for her duet with Mary J. Blige, “Disrespectful.”  The song was a Number One dance hit in the U.S.  Last year, Chaka received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  She was a 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee, but was passed over for induction.  

Awards Presentations/Winners:

The 20th annual ASCAP Latin Music Awards will take place March 20 in Los Angeles.  The event recognizes songwriters and publishers of ASCAP’s most-performed Latin music songs of 2011.  Receiving ASCAP’s highest honor, the Founders Award, is Latin pop singer-songwriter Marc Anthony.  Past recipients include Garth Brooks, Billy Joel, Paul McCartney and James Taylor, among others.

Look Who's Going On Tour!

On March 18, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will kick of their 2012 “Wrecking Ball” world tour in Atlanta, Georgia.  The first U.S. leg wraps up on May 2.  European dates begin on May 13 in Seville, Spain.  Two saxophonists will take the place of Clarence Clemons, who died in June 2011.  They are Springsteen’s longtime collaborator Eddie Manion and Clarence’s nephew, Jake Clemons.

Daughtry begins its North American “Break The Spell” tour on March 20 in Buffalo, New York.  The rock group will donate $1.00 from every ticket to Malaria No More.  The organization is working to end malaria deaths in Africa by 2015.  Daughtry is led by “American Idol” Season 5 finalist Chris Daughtry.  “Break The Spell” is the band’s third album.

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