Britney Spears posted another message on her web site after learning that the webmaster of her largest fan site, www.worldofbritney.com is closing it down. Ruben Garay, who founded the site in 2000 says, "As Britney keeps losing her identity and credibility within fans and industry people, so is WoB. We're moving on to greater, bigger things. I would therefore like to announce the permanent shut down of World of Britney.com beginning January 31, 2007." More than 37 million fans have visited World of Britney.com. Britney said in her latest message to fans, "The last couple of years have been quite a ride for me. The media has criticized my every move and printed a skewed perception of who I really am as a human being. Behind every decision I have made in my public life there always seems to be an apparent contradiction. I have come to terms with that which is why I usually don't pay much attention to it. The last couple of years have been very enlightening for me and now that I've had the time to be 'me,' I've been able to sit down and think about where I want to go with myself as an entertainer with absolutely no strings attached. I am now more mature and feel like I am finally 'free.' I've been working so hard on this new album and I can't wait for you all to hear it and to go on tour again! I would like to exclusively tell you that I am working hard to release the new album sometime later this year, but the date is of course not certain yet. I look forward to coming back this year bigger and better than ever, and to also reaching out to my fans on a more personal level. I noticed today that one of my biggest fan sites is shutting down soon and I want you all to know that I do understand all the reasons that went behind making that decision, and I am sad to see it closing. If I were you I'd be unhappy too if I had to read what I've been reading every day. But trust me, I get it. I know I've been far from perfect and the media has had a lot of fun exaggerating my every move, but I want you all to know that I love my fans so much, and I appreciate everything you have done for me."
The murder trial of legendary music producer Phil Spector was to begin January 16, but it's been delayed again. A judge granted a defense request to postpone the trial while they await the results of forensic tests. The trial's new start date is March 5. Spector allegedly murdered actress Lana Clarkson in his home on February 3, 2003. At the conclusion of his murder trial, Spector will face a wrongful death civil lawsuit filed by Lana's mother.
Phil Spector's former wife, Ronnie Spector, will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year. The Ronettes, which Ronnie formed with her sister Estelle Bennett and cousin Nedra Talley, are among the Hall's Class of 2007, which also includes Van Halen, R.E.M, Patti Smith and Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five. Not making the final cut this year were the Stooges, the Dave Clark Five, Chic and Joe Tex. The induction ceremony will take place in New York on March 12.
44 more singles and albums have been added to the Recording Academy's Hall of Fame. They include Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl," "Are You Lonesome Tonight" by Elvis Presley, the original motion picture soundtrack to "Star Wars" (music composed by John Williams) and "He Stopped Loving Her Today" by George Jones. The list now includes 728 titles. (Complete list of 2007 inductees can be found at www.grammy.com/PressReleases/357_366_HallofFame49.pdf.
Motown legend Diana Ross has recorded her first new studio album in seven years. I Love You was released on January 16. Ross included her remakes of songs by Harry Nilsson, the Beatles, Bill Withers and Marvin Gaye, among others. The title track, written by Ross' background vocalist, Fred White, is the only new song on the album.
On January 20, 61-year-old Eric Clapton will perform in Shanghai, China for the first time in his long career. The Black Eyed Peas, the late James Brown and the Rolling Stones are among the other Western artists who played in Shanghai during the past year. Jay-Z tried to perform there in October of 2006, but Chinese officials canceled permission, citing a need to protect local hip-hop fans from inappropriate lyrics.
Former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham and her husband, soccer star David Beckham, are moving from Europe to California later this year. David accepted a five-year deal, reportedly worth $250 million, to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team. 31-year-old Beckham, who will finish his contract with Spain's Real Madrid team later this year, released a statement that said, "This week, Real Madrid asked me to make a decision regarding my future and the offer to extend my contract by a further two seasons. After discussing several options with my family and advisers to either stay here at Madrid or join other major British and European clubs, I have decided to join the Los Angeles Galaxy and play in the MLS (Major League Soccer) from August this year."
NEW ALBUM RELEASES
New albums scheduled for release on January 16 include: "Here & Now" by America, "Farewell to the World" by Crowded House, "A Collection of Roxette Hits: Their 20 Greatest Songs" by Roxette, "Come Back to Me" by Vanessa Hudgens and "Music for Lovers" by Nancy Wilson.
Country stars Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts were both double winners at the 33rd annual People's Choice Awards. Carrie took home the Favorite Female Singer trophy and also won the Favorite Country Song award for her latest single "Before He Cheats." Rascal Flatts' recent hit "Life Is A Highway," earned the trio wins in the categories of Favorite Song from a Movie and Favorite Song Remake. Other winners in the music categories included Kenny Chesney, who was named Favorite Male Singer; Justin Timberlake, who won the Favorite R&B Song honor for "SexyBack;" Shakira, Favorite Pop Song for "Hips Don't Lie;" Bon Jovi, Favorite Rock Song for "Who Says You Can't Go Home;" Eminem, Favorite Hip-Hop Song for "Shake That;" and Nickelback, which took home this year's People's Choice Award for Favorite Group.
The NAACP has announced its nominees for the 38th annual Image Awards, which will take place on March 2 in Los Angeles. Mary J. Blige and Beyonce Knowles lead this year's contenders with four nominations apiece. Both are nominated in the Outstanding Female Artist and Outstanding Song categories. Following close behind with three nods each are John Legend, Corinne Bailey Rae and India.Arie. The awards honor "projects and individuals that promote diversity in the arts in television, recording, literature and motion pictures." (Complete list of nominees at www.naacpimageawards.net )
TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION
Country duo Montgomery Gentry will kick off its 2007 tour on January 19. Concerts begin in Salt Lake City, Utah. They'll be promoting their latest album Some People Change. Shows are currently scheduled through late August.