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Damageplan Guitarist Shot; Jay-Z to Lead Def Jam Records


Heavy metal guitarist Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott, 38, was shot and killed during a December 8 performance with his band Damageplan. The group had just taken the stage at the Alrosa Villa nightclub in Columbus, Ohio, when the gunman, identified as 25-year-old Nathan Gale, jumped on stage and shot Dimebag several times at close range. Three other people were fatally shot before a policeman arrived on the scene and killed Gale. They included a fan, a nightclub employee and a band bodyguard. Abbott and his brother, drummer Vinnie Paul, left their Grammy-nominated heavy metal group Pantera in 2003 and formed Damageplan. Damageplan released its debut album, New Found Power, in February of this year.

On December 6, former American Bandstand host Dick Clark suffered a mild stroke at his home in Malibu, California. He's recuperating at a hospital in Burbank, California. Clark issued a statement that said, "The doctors tell me I should be back in the swing of things before too long, so I'm hopeful to be able to make it to Times Square to help lead the country in ringing in the new year once again." Clark has welcomed in New Year's Day for the past 33 years.

Chynna Phillips, an actress and member of the pop trio Wilson Phillips, gave birth to her third child December 6. Daughter Brooke Michelle was born in New York, where Chynna and her husband, actor William Baldwin, make their home. Brooke joins older sister Jameson and brother Vance.

Hip-Hop star Jay-Z (Shawn Carter) as a new day job. He's been named president and CEO of Def Jam Records. Jay-Z will continue to run his label, Roc-A-Fella Records. Def Jam already owned half of that company and bought the remaining 50 percent for a reported $10 million. Roc-A-Fella's other business ventures include a line of Reebok shoes, Roca Wear clothing and a nightclub. Jay-Z's new boss, Antonio "L.A." Reid, said in a statement, "After 10 years of running Roc-A-Fella, Shawn has proven himself to be an astute businessman, in addition to the brilliant artistic talent that the world sees and hears. I can think of no one more relevant and credible in the hip-hop community to build upon Def Jam's fantastic legacy and move the company into its next groundbreaking era."


This year's "Christmas In Washington" concert aired on cable channel TNT on December 15. The show was recently taped at the National Building Museum with President Bush and First Lady Bush in attendance. Hosted by Dr. Phil McGraw and his wife Robin, the program included performances by JoJo, LeAnn Rimes, Ruben Studdard and Vanessa Williams. Proceeds from the event were donated to the National Children's Medical Center.


Usher led the winners of the 2004 Billboard Music Awards, handed out in Las Vegas on December 8. The R&B star took home 11 awards, including Artist of the Year and R&B/Hip-Hop Album of the Year for "Confessions." Other major winners included Alicia Keys, who took home seven trophies; hip-hop duo OutKast, which earned five awards; and R&B newcomer Kanye West, who walked away with four. During the live telecast, Destiny's Child received the Artist Achievement Award and Stevie Wonder was presented with the 2004 Century Award, Billboard's highest honor for creative achievement. (Go to for the list of all winners.)

Nominations for the 47th annual Grammy Awards were announced on December 7. This year's top contenders include Kanye West, who leads with 10 nominations, followed by Alicia Keys and Usher with eight apiece. In addition, the late Ray Charles received seven mentions for his final release, Genius Loves Company, which features duets with such artists as Elton John, Norah Jones, Willie Nelson and James Taylor, among others. 69-year-old Country legend Loretta Lynn earned five nominations to lead the contenders in the Country categories. Her latest album, Van Lear Rose, was among the most critically acclaimed releases of 2004. A total list of the 107 Grammy Award categories is available at The Grammy ceremony will take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 13.


The Brian Setzer Orchestra (BSO) took its big band sound to five U.S. cities starting December 16 in Pala, California. The holiday trek will support the re-release of the group's 2003 Boogie Woogie Christmas CD. The new version of the album contains two additional tracks, including BSO's remake of Chuck Berry's "Run Rudolph Run."

The four original members of the rock band Motley Crue have announced they'll reunite for a 2005 concert tour. Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee and Mick Mars will kick off their "Red, White & Crue…Better Live Than Dead" outing on February 17 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In addition to U.S. dates, the band will perform throughout Latin America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan before wrapping up shows in December 2005. Motley Crue's double CD anthology, also titled Red, White & Crue, will be released on February 1. The collection will include three new songs.