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Britney Spears Gets Engaged; Madonna Signs New Record Deal

Singer Britney Spears, right, and Jason Trawick (file photo)

Britney Gets Engaged

Access Hollywood reports that Britney Spears is engaged to her former agent, Jason Trawick. Jason confirmed the news to Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush on December 16. He proposed to Britney the night before as they celebrated his 40th birthday. This will be Jason’s first marriage and Britney’s third.

Madonna Signs Record Deal


Madonna has signed a new recording deal with Interscope Records. Billboard reports that the three-album deal is worth $40 million. The deal is in partnership with Live Nation. Madonna signed a 10-year multi-rights contract with Live Nation in 2007. Her first album for Interscope will be released in March 2012. Its lead single, “Gimme All Your Luvin,” is scheduled to drop in late January.

Buble Tops Billboard Album Chart

Michael Buble's "Christmas" CD
Michael Buble's "Christmas" CD

Michael Buble stays at Number One on the Billboard 200 chart for a third week with his new holiday album, Christmas. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the set sold 479,000 copies during the past week. Sales of Christmas now total more than 1.5 million copies in the U.S.

Four new albums make Top 10 entries on this week’s Billboard 200. The Black Keys’ El Camino debuts at Number 2, Amy Winehouse’s Lioness: Hidden Treasures comes in at Number 5, Glee: the Music, Season 3: Volume 7 lands on the list at Number 9 and Korn’s The Path of Totality enters at Number 10.

'Sleigh Ride' Most popular Holiday Song, ASCAP Says

Performing rights organization ASCAP reports that “Sleigh Ride” is the most-played holiday song for the second year in a row. Mediaguide compiled the Top 10 list after tracking songs played on 2,500 U.S. radio stations. Rounding out the Top 10, in descending order, are “Winter Wonderland,” “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire),” “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Do You Hear What I Hear?,” “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

Lady Gaga Tops Forbes Biggest Earners List

Britney Spears Gets Engaged; Madonna Signs New Record Deal
Britney Spears Gets Engaged; Madonna Signs New Record Deal

Lady Gaga leads Forbes magazine’s 2011 Top-Earning Women in Music list. Her album sales, concerts and endorsements brought in $90 million. Taylor Swift is in second place with $45-million, followed by Katy Perry, who earned $44 million. Rounding out the Top Five are Beyonce with $35 million and Rihanna with $29 million.

Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder to Receive BET Honors Awards

Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey

Black Entertainment Television (BET) has announced its 2012 BET Honors recipients. They include singers Mariah Carey and Stevie Wonder, writer/poet Maya Angelou, filmmaker Spike Lee, America’s first black military pilots group The Tuskegee Airmen, and inspirational coach Beverly Kearney. The 2012 BET Honors will be presented on January 14 at the Warner Theater in Washington, D.C.

New Album Releases / December 20:

“Dreamer the Believer” by Common
“TM 103 Hustlerz Ambition” by Young Jeezy
“The Juice” by Roscoe Dash
“The Rum Diary” the original motion picture soundtrack

Star Birthdays:

Christina Aguilera before singing the National Anthem at Superbowl XLV, February 6, 2011
Christina Aguilera before singing the National Anthem at Superbowl XLV, February 6, 2011

Pop star Christina Aguilera celebrated her 31st birthday on December 18. In 1999, she recorded her self-titled debut album. It featured such hits as “Genie In A Bottle,” “I Turn To You” and “What A Girl Wants,” and also earned her a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. One year later, Christina’s recorded her first Spanish language album, “Mi Reflejo.” In 2001, she collaborated with Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink on a remake of Patti Labelle’s classic “Lady Marmalade.” The song was included in the film, “Moulin Rouge.” Christina supported her 2003 album, “Stripped,” on a co-headlining tour with pop star Justin Timberlake. In 2004, she recorded a remake of the Rose Royce classic “Car Wash” as a duet with Missy Elliott. It was featured on the motion picture soundtrack to “Shark Tale.” Also in 2004, Christina collaborated with hip-hop star Nelly on “Tilt Ya Head Back,” which appears on his CD, “Sweat.” In 2005, she married music executive Jordan Bratman, who worked for Christina’s management company. The couple welcomed their son Max in 2008, but separated the following year. Christina’s 2006 album, “Back To Basics,” reached Number One in 13 countries. She describes the collection as “a throwback to the 20s, 30s and 40s-style jazz, blues and feel-good soul music, but with a modern twist.” In 2008, Christina signed an exclusive deal with Target for the release of her anthology, “Keeps Gettin’ Better: A Decade of Hits.” Her fourth album, “Bionic,” was released last year. The set sold very poorly, but generated two Number One hits on Billboard’s Hot Dance chart. Also in 2010, Christina starred with Cher in “Burlesque.” Christina contributed eight songs to the film’s soundtrack. This year, she was hired as a judge and mentor on the NBC reality show “The Voice.” Christina will return for the second season, which begins on February 5.

Keith Richards
Keith Richards

Keith Richards turned 68 on December 18. In 1963, he co-founded The Rolling Stones. Richards has also recorded two solo albums, Talk Is Cheap and Main Offender. In 1994, he joined the other members of the Rolling Stones for their “Voodoo Lounge” world tour, which was the highest-grossing tour of that year. Their 2002 40-track anthology, “Forty Licks” includes many hits that span the group’s five-decade career and also four new songs. The Stones spent two years touring throughout the world to support their 2005 album, A Bigger Bang. The trek was named the top-selling tour ever after grossing more than $558 million. Last year, Richards wrote his autobiography, “Life.” Rolling Stone magazine called it “one of the best rock memoirs ever.” The Rolling Stones will celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2012. Richards told The Associated Press, “I’m hoping to do something about it. Right now, I don't want to go too much into it. I'm pulling the boys together and (will) see what happens. It’s a work in progress. I’m not Nostradamus on this, but we all want to do something for the big 5-0.”

December 21 marks the birth date of the late rock singer and composer Frank Zappa (b. 1940). Zappa formed the Mothers Of Invention in the mid-1960s and began his solo recording career the following decade. He was regarded as rock music’s leading satirist with compositions such as “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow” and the Top 40 hit “Valley Girl.” In 1990, Zappa was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He lost his battle with the disease on December 4, 1993. Zappa spent the last two years of his life composing orchestral music and participated in some European concerts that featured his works. In 1995 and 1996, Rykodisc Records reissued CD versions of several albums in his catalog. In celebration of his 70th birthday, the Zappa Family Trust is issuing the 3-CD set, “Frank Zappa at the Hammersmith Odeon.” The collection features performances from his band’s 1978 three-night engagement in London.

December 21 also marks the birth date of the late guitarist Carl Wilson (b. 1946). At age 14, he began performing with the Beach Boys. The California band scored several Number One hits in the 1960s, including “Good Vibrations,” “Help Me, Rhonda” and “I Get Around.” In 1988, the Beach Boys returned to the top of the charts with “Kokomo,” a song that was featured in the film “Cocktail.” That same year, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Wilson died of cancer on February 6th, 1998.

Jordin Sparks
Jordin Sparks

Singer Jordin Sparks turned 22 on December 22. Jordin was the season six winner of “American Idol,” which led to a record deal with Jive Records. Her self-titled debut album was released in 2007. Its hits included “Tattoo,” “No Air” and “One Step At A Time.” “No Air,” featuring Chris Brown, earned a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. The title track of Jordin’s latest album, “Battlefield,” was written and produced by One Republic’s Ryan Tedder. It reached Number 10 on the Hot 100 chart. Last year, Jordin acted on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning musical, “In The Heights.” She’s now working on her third album, which is due out in 2012. Next August, Jordin will make her big screen debut in a remake of the 1976 film, “Sparkle.”

Robin Gibb, formerly of the Bee Gees, celebrated his 62nd birthday on December 22. The Bee Gees 1970s hits include “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart,” “Stayin’ Alive” and “Night Fever.” After several minor hits in the early 1980s, the Bee Gees reappeared in the Top 10 in 1989 with “One.” In 1994, Robin was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. Three years later, the Bee Gees earned a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The group’s 1997 album, “Still Waters,” was followed in 1998 by its live collection, “One Night Only.” The CD featured performances from the Bee Gees’ pay-per-view 1997 New Year’s Eve special. Robin’s twin brother Maurice died in 2003 after undergoing surgery to correct an intestinal block. The Bee Gees’ 2005 compilation, “Number Ones,” includes the track “Man in the Middle,” which Robin and his older brother Barry wrote as a tribute to Maurice. In 2006, Koch Entertainment released Robin’s holiday album, “My Favourite Carols.” Each of the Gibb brothers is showcased on the new 4-CD box set “Mythology.” The collection includes two previously unreleased Maurice Gibb songs and one previously unreleased Andy Gibb track. This past October, Robin revealed that he is undergoing treatment for liver cancer. In November, he posted a message on his website that said, “I wish to thank my family, friends and fans and the many thousands of people who do not know me but have enjoyed Bee Gees music and have wished me well. I have been very unwell and am now on the road to recovery, and your prayers and wishes are a great tonic to me.” (“How Deep Is Your Love”

Latin pop star Ricky Martin turned 40 on December 24. Born in Puerto Rico, Ricky first gained popularity in America for his Broadway role in “Les Miserables.” In 1999, his self-titled debut album was released. It produced Ricky’s Number One hit “Livin’ La Vida Loca.” Many other hits followed, including “She Bangs,” “Shake Your Bon Bon,” “The Cup of Life” (the official song of the World Cup France ’98, which topped charts in more than 30 countries) and “She’s All I Ever Had.” His second English language CD, “Sound Loaded,” was released in 2000. In 2003, Sony issued “Almas Del Silencio,” Ricky’s first Spanish language collection since 1998. His latest studio album, 2005’s “Life,” spawned the dance hit “I Don’t Care,” featuring Fat Joe and Amerie. Ricky was named the 2006 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year for his accomplishments as an entertainer and humanitarian. He launched his People for Children Foundation in 2004. The organization works toward the elimination of human trafficking, especially trafficking of children. He has also served as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. In 2008, Ricky became the father of twin boys that were born to a surrogate mother. He named them Valentino and Matteo. Ricky’s memoir, “Me,” was published last year. Last month, he wrapped up a world tour in support of his latest album, “Music+Soul+Sex.” In early 2012, Ricky will star on Broadway in a new production of “Evita.”

Awards Presentations/Winners:

Nominations for the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards have been announced. Here are the nominees in the two music-related categories. Up for Best Original Score are Ludovic Bource for “The Artist,” Abel Korzeniowski for “W.E.,” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” Howard Shore for “Hugo” and John Williams for “War Horse.” Best Original Song nominees are Elton John and Bernie Taupin for “Hello Hello” from “Gnomeo & Juliet,” Chris Cornell for “The Keeper” from “Machine Gun Preacher,” Brian Byrne and Glenn Close for “Lay Your Head Down” from “Albert Nobbs,” Mary J. Blige, Thomas Newman, Harvey Mason, Jr. and Damon Thomas for “The Living Proof” from “The Help,” and Madonna, Julie Frost and Jimmy Harry for “Masterpiece” from “W.E.” The Golden Globe Awards will be handed out on January 15 in Los Angeles.