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Music News: Thousands Honor Elvis at Graceland; Singer Branch Turns Actress - 2002-08-17

More than 7,000 people attended a candlelight vigil at Graceland to mark the 25th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death. Elvis died on August 16, 1977 at age 42. This year's attendance at the late singer's home in Memphis, Tennessee was reportedly the highest since the year he died. August 18, "Mobile Graceland" will leave Presley's estate. The touring exhibition features memorabilia from the late singer's home. It will travel to 31 U.S. cities through mid-December. In other Elvis news, Forbes magazine's web site issued its annual list of deceased top moneymakers. Presley sits at Number One with $37 million earned during the past year.

19-year-old singer-songwriter Michelle Branch has signed on to play Leslie Gore in Dick Clark's upcoming television drama American Dreams. She'll perform Gore's 1964 hit You Don't Own Me. Branch has another acting role in the works. Next year, she'll play a DJ in the Adam Sandler/Rob Schneider motion picture The Hot Chick.

There's more tragedy surrounding this year's Ozzfest 2002 tour. First, we heard the news that Sharon Osbourne, wife of the tour's founder Ozzy Osbourne, was diagnosed with colon cancer. Now, a member of a group taking part in the outing has been found dead in his tour bus. 30-year-old Dave Williams, lead singer of the Dallas-based, hard rock band Drowning Pool, died on August 14. The group was in Northern Virginia for a performance at Nissan Pavilion the following day. The cause of death has not been determined. Drowning Pool's 2001 debut album, Sinner, has sold more than one million copies in the United States.

Country/pop star Faith Hill debuts at Number 32 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart the week ending August 24, with Cry, the title track and first single from her upcoming CD. Due out on October 15, Cry is the follow-up to Hill's 1999 album Breathe. That collection has sold near six million copies in the U.S. and includes such hits as Let's Make Love, If My Heart Had Wings, The Way You Love Me, and the title track.



August 21, the first in a series of Amnesty International benefit concerts will take place in Los Angeles. Aimee Mann and Beth Orton will headline the event, which also features commentaries by human rights activists, artists and celebrities. Concerts are being planned for other major U.S. cities. The series of shows is expected to run through early next year.

Jamaica's 4th annual Sashi Experience festival will begin on August 21 in Ocho Rios. In addition to a fashion show, children's activities and theme parties, the event will feature a concert on August 25. Usher, Eve, Busta Rhymes, Donell Jones, Tweet and Sharissa are this year's headliners.


Alicia Keys continues her winning streak. She picked up four trophies at the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Awards, held on August 9 in Miami, Florida. Keys was named Top Female R&B/Hip-Hop Artist, Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Artist and Top New R&B/Hip-Hop Artist. She also received the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album award for Songs In A Minor. Other major winners included Usher, who won in three categories; Ginuwine and Timbaland, had two wins apiece.