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Music News: Mariah Carey Releases New Album; Backstreet Boys Sue Zomba Records - 2002-11-30

Mariah Carey's new CD, Charmbracelet, will be released on December 3. The 32-year-old pop diva says the album represents her "new lease on life" following a difficult year that included hospitalizations for extreme exhaustion and losing her recording contract with Virgin Records. Charmbracelet will be released on her own imprint, MonarC Music, which is distributed by Universal Music Group's Island/Def Jam division. She collaborated on songs with Jermaine Dupri, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and she also co-produced the album. Guests include Jay-Z, Cam'ron and 'N Sync's Justin Timberlake.

The Backstreet Boys have filed a $75 million lawsuit against Jive Records' parent organization Zomba Recording Corporation. The pop vocal group is charging the company with breach of contract, intentional interference with contract, trademark infringement and unfair competition. In 1999, the Backstreet Boys revised their contract with Zomba to include two more albums. They claim that Zomba's preoccupation with the release of group member Nick Carter's solo album made it impossible to fulfill their recording obligations. The Backstreet Boys also claim that Zomba is unlawfully using their trademark to promote Carter's album. A spokesperson for Zomba says the company will not respond to the allegations.

The A&E cable channel will air Rod Stewart's two-hour "A&E In Concert" special on December 6. He'll perform holiday tunes, many of his hits, plus songs from his new CD, It Had To Be You The Great American Songbook.

Country/pop star Shania Twain debuts at Number One on Billboard's Top 200 and Country Albums charts the week ending December 7 with Up, her first album in five years. The set sold more than 870,000 copies its first week in record stores. Twain's previous album, Come On Over, has sold more than 14 million copies, but never made it to Number One on the Top 200 chart (it peaked at Number 2).

December 7, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell will present the 2002 Kennedy Center honors at a State Department dinner. This year's honorees are conductor James Levine, singer-songwriter Paul Simon, actor James Earl Jones, dancer/actress Chita Rivera and actress Elizabeth Taylor. Former Beatle Paul McCartney was to receive an honor, but he could not be in Washington due to a wedding in his family. The Kennedy Center trustees chose Paul Simon to replace McCartney, who will receive his honor next year. On December 8, this year's honorees will attend a gala performance, which will be videotaped for broadcast later this month. President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush will attend the December 8 festivities.



New York's "Christmas In Rockefeller Center" will take place on December 4. Sheryl Crow, Barry Manilow and Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child will headline the event, which will also feature appearances by Michelle Branch, Kelly Clarkson, Josh Groban and Carly Simon. The show, which leads up to the lighting of New York City's Christmas tree, will air on NBC-TV.

December 5, the 2002 Christmas Pageant of Peace will take place at the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. Performers will include Country singers Steve Wariner and Lee Ann Womack, Mannheim Steamroller, the World Children's Choir, and the Air Force Concert Band, among others. Barbara Eden will serve as pageant hostess and Country legend Roy Clark will appear as Santa Claus. Following the event, President Bush will light the national Christmas tree.


The Supremes, the Dixie Cups, Dell-Vikings, KoKo Taylor, Johnny Nash, Clarence "Frog Man" Henry, George Clinton and Maceo Parker will receive the Rhythm & Blues Foundation's 2003 Pioneer Awards. In addition, Dionne Warwick will be presented with the foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award and Jackie Wilson will be honored with a legacy tribute award. The 2003 Pioneer Awards will take place on February 20 in New York.

The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences has chosen Etta James, Johnny Mathis, the late Glenn Miller, the late Tito Puente and Simon & Garfunkel as its 2003 Lifetime Achievement Award honorees. Trustees Awards will be given to the New York Philharmonic and late musicologist Alan Lomax. The awards will be presented at a banquet in New York on February 22. Highlights will be shown on the 45th annual Grammy Awards telecast on February 23.


On December 3, "A Royal Christmas" tour will kick off in Cincinnati, Ohio. The outing features teen soprano Charlotte Church, the London Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and the Westminister Bell Choir. Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer will serve as hosts on the tour, which wraps up on December 21 in Sunrise, Florida.

The Eagles have announced plans for a major concert tour for 2003. Concerts will kick off on May 8. The group will release a new studio album in the fall. It will mark the Eagles' first studio collection of all new material since 1979's The Long Run."