In only three days, rapper Eminem sold 711,000 copies of his new CD Encore to debut at Number One on this week's Billboard 200 chart Five other new releases debut in this week's Top 10 albums list. They include Greatest Hits by Shania Twain (enters at Number 2), Greatest Hits 2 by Toby Keith (#3), Britney Spears Greatest Hits: My Prerogative (#4), Real Talk by Fabolous (#6) and R.U.L.E. by Ja Rule (#7).
On November 23, Geffen Records released the three-CD, one-DVD Nirvana box set When the Lights Went Out. 68 of the 81 songs are previously unreleased tracks. They include home demos made by the group's late singer Kurt Cobain, live recordings and studio outtakes. The DVD features the band playing at a 1987 house party, plus footage of studio and rehearsal sessions.
A new House of Blues concert venue opened in Cleveland, Ohio on November 22. Two days later, the venue opened an exhibit highlighting the legacy of the late Ray Charles. The display includes items from his Braille library, a Braille typewriter and instruments from his studio. And, on November 26, the original members of Cleveland-based group the Raspberries will perform at the new House of Blues. The show will mark Eric Carmen, Wally Bryson, Dave Smalley and Jim Bonfanti's first appearance together in more than 30 years.
Rolling Stone magazine has compiled a list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time." At Number 10 is "What'd I Say" by Ray Charles; Number 9, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana; Number 8, "Hey Jude" by The Beatles; Number 7, "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry; Number 6, the Beach Boys' recording of "Good Vibrations;" Number 5, "Respect" by Aretha Franklin; Number 4, the late Marvin Gaye classic "What's Going On;" Number 3, "Imagine" by the late John Lennon; Number 2, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones; and topping the list is Bob Dylan's recording of "Like A Rolling Stone."
Michael Jackson's legal troubles continue this week. A former producer has sued the self-proclaimed "King of Pop" for $3 million. J. Marc Schaffel claims in his breach-of-contract suit that Jackson neglected to pay back loans and payments he made on Michael's behalf. Schaffel also alleges that he wasn't fully compensated for producing two of Jackson's television specials. Schaffel says he loaned Michael money for several $100,000 shopping sprees and a $600,000 piece of jewelry he gave to his longtime friend Elizabeth Taylor. He also loaned Jackson $1 million, which was used to pay Marlo Brando for appearances he made in one of Michael's music videos and in a Jackson concert.
Country superstar Shania Twain recently received a Double Diamond plaque in honor of selling 20 million copies of her 1997 album "Come On Over." It's the first time a Country album has reached that sales mark.
Latoya London is the latest American Idol contestant to sign a recording deal. The Oakland, California native placed fourth in the show's third season competition. In January, she'll begin recording her first album for the independent label Peak Records. Billboard magazine reports that it will contain a mix of original material and cover songs. In other American Idol news, the fourth season is scheduled to begin January 18 and 19. The programs will show clips from recent auditions that took place in Cleveland, Orlando, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Anchorage, San Francisco, St. Louis and Washington, D.C. And November 24, American Idol 3 winner Fantasia Burrino, first season winner Kelly Clarkson and season two winner Ruben Studdard will appear in the American Idol holiday special "Home For Christmas." The show will air on FOX-TV.
And, speaking of television specials, Country singer Tim McGraw will starred in his second NBC music special on November 24. "Tim McGraw: Here and Now" was filmed in Green Bay, Wisconsin last month. It includes appearances by Tim's wife, singer Faith Hill, and R&B star Nelly, who's currently on the charts with his duet with McGraw, "Over & Over."
On November 23, Jimmy Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band performed a benefit concert in Orlando, Florida to raise relief funds for hurricane victims in Florida, Alabama and the Caribbean. Buffett was raised in Alabama and moved to Key West, Florida in the early 1970s. He now resides in Palm Beach, Florida.
Country singer Charlie Daniels hosted his 8th annual "Christmas For Kids Benefit" on November 21 at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. Lonestar, Tracy Byrd, "Nashville Star" first season winner Buddy Jewel and Tracy Lawrence also performed at the event. All proceeds will go to the children's Christmas Shopping/Bus Excursion. On December 13, more than 50 Country music stars will loan their luxury tour busses to the Tour Bus Show. For a two dollar donation, folks can get an up-close look at how celebrities live while they're out on tour. The following day, the tour busses will pick up more than 300 children and take them on a day-long shopping excursion. They'll each be given $150 to use for Christmas present shopping at the WalMart store in Hendersonville, Tennessee.
Usher was the top winner at this year's American Music Awards (AMAs), presented on November 14 in Los Angeles. He was named Favorite Male Soul/R&B Artist and Best Pop/Rock Artist, and also earned two awards for his multi-million-selling album Confessions. Hip-hop duo OutKast received the AMAs for Favorite Pop/Rock Band, Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Group and Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album for Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Country star Toby Keith was a double winner, taking home trophies for Favorite Country Male Artist and Favorite Country Album for Shock 'N Ya'll. Other winners included Gretchen Wilson, who beat out Kanye West and Maroon 5 for the Favorite Breakthrough New Artist honor; Reba McEntire, named Favorite Country Female Artist; and Sheryl Crow, named Favorite Female Pop/Rock Artist and Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist. During the live telecast, Bon Jovi was presented with this year's Award of Merit. The award recognizes "outstanding contributions to the musical entertainment of the American public."
TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION:
On November 20, multi-million-selling Country group Lonestar began its "Pickin' On The Porch" tour. The holiday-themed tour will feature the group singing many of its hits, as well as seasonal favorites from the 2000 album This Christmas Time. In other news, this week, Lonestar tops Billboard's Country Singles chart for the second week in a row with its latest hit "Mr. Mom."
Kenny Rogers will launch his annual "Celebrate The Season" holiday trek on November 25 in Atlanta, Georgia. Noted local choirs and children will join him on stage in each city. Also on the bill are Country singers Rebecca Lynn Howard and Billy Dean. The 21-city tour ends in Westbury, New York on December 23.
On November 26, saxophonist Dave Koz will kick off his 8th annual "Smooth Jazz Christmas Tour" in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Singer Brenda Russell, keyboardist Brian Culbertson and guitarist Norman Brown will join Koz on the 22-date outing, which wraps up in Long Beach, California on December 22.