News / Arts & Entertainment

Star-Studded Tribute Honors Michael Jackson; Grand Ole Opry Celebrates 86th Birthday

U.S. popstar Michael Jackson performing during a concert in Vienna (file photo)
U.S. popstar Michael Jackson performing during a concert in Vienna (file photo)
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Mary Morningstar

Star-Studded Tribute Concert Honors Michael Jackson

October 8, the late Michael Jackson will be honored at “Michael Forever: The Tribute Concert.”  The show will take place in Cardiff, Wales.  Academy Award-winning actor and singer Jamie Foxx will host the event.  Performers include Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Leona Lewis, Smokey Robinson, British boy band JLS, Craig David and Alien Ant Farm.

While most of the Jackson family supports the concert, two of Michael’s brothers, Jermaine and Randy, issued a statement that said, “We want to make clear that this does not reflect the position of the entire family.  While we wholeheartedly support the spirit of a tribute that honors our brother, we find it impossible to support an event that is due to take place during the criminal trial surrounding Michael’s death.”

Grand Ole Opry Kicks Off Month-Long Birthday Bash

Randy Travis' "I Told You So" CD
Randy Travis' "I Told You So" CD

Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry kicks off its month-long 86th birthday events on October 4.  The show will honor Randy Travis as he celebrates his 25th anniversary in Country music.  Performers include Carrie Underwood, Connie Smith, Josh Turner and John Anderson, among others.  Other special shows planned throughout the month include the Opry’s Official 86th Birthday Bash Weekend October 7 and 8.  Rascal Flatts, Ronnie Dunn, Charley Pride and Mel Tillis are scheduled to perform.  On October 8, Rascal Flatts will be inducted into the Opry.

Bennett Tops Billboard 200

Tony Bennett's "Duets II" CD
Tony Bennett's "Duets II" CD

This week, Tony Bennett becomes the oldest living artist to top the Billboard 200 chart.  The 85-year-old’s new collaborative album, Duets II, sold 179,000 copies its first week of release.  This is Bennett’s first Number One album on the Billboard 200 chart.  Other Top 10 debuts this week include Unbroken by Demi Lovato (Number 4), The Reckoning by Needtobreathe (Number 6), Sweeter by Gavin DeGraw (Number 8) and the Pearl Jam Twenty soundtrack (Number 10).

Guns N' Roses, Heart, Chaka Khan Among New Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

Guns N' Roses' "Appetite for Destruction" CD
Guns N' Roses' "Appetite for Destruction" CD

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation has announced its Class of 2012 nominees.  First-time nominees include Guns N’ Roses, the Cure, Heart, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Eric B. & Rakim, the Spinners, the Faces, the late Freddy King, and Rufus with Chaka Khan.  Returning to the ballot are Beastie Boys, the late Laura Nyro, War, Donovan, Donna Summer and Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Acts are eligible for induction 25 years after their first commercial record is released.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s voters will select five of the fifteen nominees for induction.  The 2012 ceremony will take place in Cleveland, Ohio on April 14.

Courtney Love to Publish Memoir

Courtney Love (file photo)
Courtney Love (file photo)

Courtney Love joins a growing list of musicians who are writing memoirs.  Love’s book will reportedly “set the record straight” about her marriage to the late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, her drug problems and Hollywood career.  It’s expected to be published in late 2012.  Gregg Allman, Carole King, Pete Townshend and Neil Young also signed book deals this year.

New Album Releases / October 4:

“Take A Back Road” by Rodney Atkins
“Beauty Queen Sister” by Indigo Girls
“Clear As Day” by Scotty McCreery
“Rebels on the Run” by Montgomery Gentry
“Working In Tennessee” by Merle Haggard
“Radiosurgery” by New Found Glory
“Tomorrow’s World” by Erasure
“People & Things” by Jack’s Mannequin
“Paul McCartney’s Ocean’s Kingdom” by Paul McCartney
“When Ronan Met Burt” by Ronan Keating
“Everything Changes” by Julian Lennon
“The Awakening” by James Morrison
“Miss Little Havana” by Gloria Estefan
“Chicago XXXIII: O Christmas Three” by Chicago

Awards Presentations/Winners:

The Boxcars CD
The Boxcars CD

The Boxcars led the winners of the 22nd annual International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Awards, which were presented in Nashville on September 29.  The five-man band was named Instrumental Group of the Year and Emerging Artist of the Year.  Boxcar member Ron Stewart earned an additional trophy for Banjo Player of the Year and the band’s Adam Steffey won his eighth Mandolin Player of the Year award.  Other winners included The Gibson Brothers, Russell Moore, Dale Ann Bradley, J.D. Crowe, Doyle Lawson & Paul Williams, Bryan Sutton, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Balsam Range, Kristin Scott Benson, Marshall Wilborn and Rob Ickes.  Actor and musician Steve Martin and his band The Steep Canyon Rangers took home the night’s top honor, Entertainer of the Year.

On October 1, the 6th Annual BET (Black Entertainment Television) Hip-Hop Awards were presented in Atlanta, Georgia.  Rapper Lil Wayne was this year’s top contender with a record-breaking 18 nominations.  They included Best Live Performer, Lyricist of the Year and MVP of the Year.  He shared the MVP category with Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa.  See the list of winners here. The ceremony will air on October 11.

Look Who's Going On Tour!

Bruno Mars during a performance in New York City (file photo)
Bruno Mars during a performance in New York City (file photo)

On October 3, Bruno Mars kicks off a European tour in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Joining him on the 17-city trek is pop newcomer Skylar Grey, who will support her upcoming album, “Invinsible.”  Bruno Mars’ debut album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, has sold more than three million copies worldwide.  Its hits include “Just the Way You Are,” “Grenade” and “The Lazy Song.”

Country singer Darius Rucker begins his first U.S. headlining solo tour on October 6 in Glens Falls, New York.  Darius says, “I haven’t headlined a tour since Hootie [& the Blowfish], so to say I’m excited is an understatement.”  Rodney Atkins, Frankie Ballard, Thompson Square and Justin Moore will appear on select dates throughout the tour.  This week, Darius climbs into the Top 20 on Billboard’s Country chart with his latest hit, “I Got Nothin’.”

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