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Music World Loses Billy Preston; Aguilera Releases New Album on iTunes

Keyboardist Billy Preston died of kidney failure on June 6. The 59-year-old Grammy-winner had been in ill health since a 2002 liver transplant and slipped into a coma last November. Preston toured with Ray Charles and Little Richard while still in his teens. He performed with the Beatles on their 1970 album Let It Be and also worked with the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin and Bob Dylan, among others. Preston's hits included "Outta-Space," "Will It Go Round In Circles" and "Nothing From Nothing." Last year, he made an appearance on FOX-TV's American Idol show and also performed on Ringo Starr's 2005 album Choose Love.

American Idol season five winner Taylor Hicks and runner-up Katherine McPhee have both signed recording deals with RCA Records. 29-year-old Alabama native Taylor Hicks will have his first single released this week. It will include a cover of the Doobie Brothers' "Takin' It To The Streets" and "Do I Make You Proud," the song he performed on the recent American Idol finale. 22-year-old Katherine McPhee's single is due out on June 27. On it will be her version of the classic "Over The Rainbow" and "My Destiny," the song that was written for her to perform on the final show.

On June 13, Columbia Records will release Billy Joel's live album 12 Gardens Live. The double-CD set features performances from his sold out 12-night engagement at New York's Madison Square Gardens that took place earlier this year.

On June 15, the Songwriters Hall of Fame will induct five composers at its 2006 ceremony in New York. They include "Philly Soul" sound pioneer Thom Bell, Oscar-winning songwriter Will Jennings, television and film score composer Sylvia Moy, Mac Davis and Henry Cosby. In addition, singer-songwriter John Mayer will receive the Hal David Starlight Award and Kris Kristofferson will be given the Johnny Mercer Award.

"Ain't No Other Man," the first single from Christina Aguilera's upcoming album, Back to Basics, has been released as a paid download on iTunes. The album, which is due out on August 15, marks her first new release in nearly four years. Christina says, "The first half is based upon working with more beat-driven producers and will use samples and things like that, and then the second disc is all me and (producer) Linda Perry." Christina says the songs on the first disc are "kind of a throwback with elements of jazz, blues and soul music combined with a modern-day twist, like hard-hitting beats."


The 5th annual Bonnaroo Music Festival will be held June 16-18 in Manchester, Tennessee. This year's headliner is Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. Other's taking part in the three-day camping and music event include Bonnie Raitt, Dr. John, Elvis Costello, Ricky Skaggs, Nickel Creek, Beck, Blues Traveler and Radioheard.

The 2006 Playboy Jazz Festival will take place June 17 and 18 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California. The 28th annual event will be hosted by actor and comedian Bill Cosby and will include appearances by Branford Marsalis, McCoy Tyner, Elvis Costello and the Imposters, Grover Washington, Jr., and many others.


On June 12, Sheryl Crow begins a 20-date North American tour in Indianapolis, Indiana. The trek was originally scheduled to begin in March, but was postponed while she was being treated for breast cancer. Jack Ingram, who recently topped the Country chart with the title track to his latest album "Wherever You Are," will open concerts for Crow. The month-long tour will wrap up July 14 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Ringo Starr will kick off his ninth "All-Starr Band Tour" on June 14 in Ontario, Canada. Joining him on the outing are former Zombie's frontman Rod Argent, Sheila E., Richard Marx, Billy Squier, Edgar Winter and Mark Rivera. Concerts are scheduled through July 7. Ringo's latest album, Choose Love, features guest appearances by the Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde, Robert Randolph and the late Billy Preston.

On June 14, Country star Brad Paisley will begin the second leg of his "Time Well Wasted" tour in Virginia Beach, Virginia. His album of the same name recently won the Album of the Year honor at the Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards. Joining Brad on the tour is the ACM's Female Vocalist of the Year Sara Evans.