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Clarkson is Top 'Idol' Earner; CBS Plans Whitney Houston Grammy Special

Singer Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock arrive on the West Front of the Capitol in Washington, Jan. 21, 2013, for the President Barack Obama's ceremonial swearing-in ceremony.
Clarkson is Top Idol Earner

Kelly Clarkson is the Number One money-maker of all former American Idol contestants. Forbes list of the reality show’s top-earning alums shows her income at $8 million from May 2011 to May 2012. Rounding out the Top Five are Carrie Underwood and Chris Daughtry ($5 million), Scotty McCreery ($4 million), Jennifer Hudson ($3 million) and Jordin Sparks ($2 million).

CBS Plans Whitney Houston Special

Musician Whitney Houston arrives at the 17th Carousel of Hope Ball benefiting the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes in Beverly Hills, California Oct. 28, 2006.
Musician Whitney Houston arrives at the 17th Carousel of Hope Ball benefiting the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes in Beverly Hills, California Oct. 28, 2006.
On February 9, CBS will mark the one-year anniversary of Whitney Houston’s death with the special, The Grammys Will Go On: A Death in the Family. The one-hour show offers a behind-the-scenes look at how last year’s Grammy Awards ceremony was affected by the pop icon’s untimely death. Interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, and others will be featured in the special.

Tim McGraw's New Album Drops

Tim McGraw
Tim McGraw
On February 5, Tim McGraw’s first album for Big Machine Records will be released. Two Lanes of Freedom includes his recent Top 10 single “Truck Yeah” and his current Number 6 hit “One of Those Nights.” Guests on the album include Taylor Swift and Keith Urban, who appear on the track “Highway Don’t Care.” Tim will support Two Lanes of Freedom with a North American tour, which begins on May 2 in Alabama.

Allan Tops Billboard 200

Country singer Gary Allan tops the Billboard 200 chart for the first time in his career with his ninth album, Set You Free. The collection also debuts at Number One on this week’s Country Albums chart. In addition, the album’s lead single, “Every Storm (Runs Out Of Rain),” climbs to Number One on this week’s Country Airplay and Hot Country Songs lists. Gary reacted to earning his fifth Number One single by saying, “It has been a long while, but it feels really good.”

Superbowl Entertainment Features Beyonce, Hudson

Jennifer Hudson was added to the lineup of Super Bowl XLVII’s pre-game entertainment. She sang “America the Beautiful” with the Sandy Hook Elementary School chorus. The school, located in Newtown, Connecticut, was the scene of the tragic shooting on December 14 that took the lives of 20 children and six adults.

Recording artist Beyonce walks offstage after the halftime show press conference ahead of the NFL's Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans, Louisiana, Jan. 31, 2013.
Recording artist Beyonce walks offstage after the halftime show press conference ahead of the NFL's Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans, Louisiana, Jan. 31, 2013.
In other Super Bowl news, Beyonce recently held a press conference and admitted that she sang the national anthem at President’s Obama’s inauguration with a prerecorded track. But, Beyonce told reporters that she wouldn't be lip synching during her Super Bowl halftime show.

Festival Organizers Express Optimism About Upcoming Season

Music festival organizers are optimistic about the upcoming season. Tickets to two of this year’s popular festivals are already sold out. They include California’s Coachella festival, set for April 12-14 and April 19-21. This year’s two-weekend rock music event will feature The Stone Roses, Blue, Franz Ferdinand, and others. And, Wisconsin’s Country Thunder festival sold all of its tickets six months in advance. The annual festival will be held July 18-22 in Twin Lakes. Performers will include such Country superstars as Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Little Big Town, Keith Urban, and more.

New Album Releases February 5:

“All That Echoes” by Josh Groban
“Electric” by Richard Thompson
“Vida” by Robi Draco Rosa
“Now That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 45” by various artists

Musical Events / Festivals / Benefits:

Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones
The Recording Academy will hold its 6th annual “An Evening of Jazz” on February 6 in Los Angeles. This year’s honorees are 27-time Grammy winner Quincy Jones and 18-time Grammy-winning producer Al Schmitt. They’ll be recognized for their “commitment to excellence and ongoing support for the art and craft of recorded music.” The Recording Academy’s President/CEO Neil Portnow said, “This year, it is with great honor that we pay tribute to two industry pioneers who also continue to raise awareness in the field of recording and who have set precedents of excellence within the music community. The contributions of both Quincy Jones and Al Schmitt are innumerable as are their incomparable bodies of work and we look forward to an unforgettable evening with these two icons.”

Two days later (February 8), the 23rd annual MusiCares Person of the Year event will take place as part of the Grammy week festivities. Bruce Springsteen is being honored as the 2013 MusiCares Person of the Year. The award is given in recognition of extraordinary creative accomplishments and charitable work. Neil Portnow said in a statement, “Bruce Springsteen is a truly gifted and Renaissance artist of our time, a national treasure, and an exemplary humanitarian. His career is a testament to the power of creative excellence, and his contributions as a philanthropist speak to the tenacity of the human spirit. We are privileged and honored to pay tribute to Bruce this year as MusiCares Person of the Year.” Performers at the tribute will include Elton John, Neil Young, Mumford & Sons, Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill and Sting.

Star Birthdays:

Grammy Award winner Clint Black talks with reporters prior to the start of the Daytona 500 at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Feb. 20, 2005.
Grammy Award winner Clint Black talks with reporters prior to the start of the Daytona 500 at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Feb. 20, 2005.
On February 4, Country singer-songwriter Clint Black will celebrate his 51st birthday. Born in New Jersey and raised in Texas, Clint debuted on the charts in 1989 with “Better Man.” The song reached Number One and was followed by three other chart-topping singles. In 1996, RCA Records issued a retrospective with 16 of Clint’s biggest hits. One year later, his “Nothin’ But the Taillights” CD was released. “D’Electrified” followed in 1999. That album produced the Number One duet “When I Said I Do,” which Clint recorded with his wife Lisa Hartman Black. The couple scored another hit duet in 2002 with “Easy For Me To Say.” In 2003, Clint formed Equity Records with music industry executive Mike Kraski. His albums for the label include 2004’s “Spend My Time,” 2005’s “Drinkin’ Songs and Other Logic” and “The Love Songs.” “The Love Songs” includes re-recorded versions of some of his previously released ballads, plus a few he left in their original versions. In 2008, Clint released two singles that were to appear on an upcoming album. By year’s end, however, Equity Records closed its doors due to financial problems. In 2009, Clint appeared on Celebrity Apprentice 2 to raise money for the International Rett Syndrome Foundation.

Gavin DeGraw will turn 36 on February 4. The New York native began performing in Manhattan clubs. In 2003, his breakthrough single, “I Don’t Want To Be,” was used as the theme for the CW Network’s teen drama “One Tree Hill.” The Top 10 song was included on Gavin’s debut album, “Chariot,” which J Records released in 2004. His next two singles, “Chariot” and “We Belong Together” both climbed into the Top 30. Gavin’s self-titled second album was released in 2008. In 2009, he recorded the album “FREE” at his producer’s Brooklyn studio in less than two weeks. Although the album debuted at Number 19 on the Billboard 200, its lead single, “Stay,” failed to chart. In 2011, Gavin was hospitalized after being attacked by several people in New York City. His latest album, “Sweeter,” produced the Number One Adult Contemporary chart hit, “Not Over You.” Gavin is currently working on a new album and he recently announced that he’ll join Train and The Script on their 2013 tour. The outing begins on July 17.

On February 5, Country singer Sara Evans will celebrate her 42nd birthday. Sara was born and raised in Missouri. She moved to Nashville in 1991, where she recorded one independent album. In 1997, Sara’s major label debut, “Three Chords and the Truth,” was released on RCA Records. Her Number One singles include “No Place That Far,” “Born To Fly,” “Suds In The Bucket,” “A Real Fine Place To Start” and “A Little Bit Stronger.” In 2007, Sara divorced her husband of 14 years. Reports of her personal problems broke in late 2006 while she was competing on the ABC reality show “Dancing with the Stars.” In 2008, Sara married Jay Barker, who hosts a radio show in Alabama. She has co-authored two books, “The Sweet By and By” and “Softly and Tenderly.” Sara’s first album in six years, “Stronger,” was released in 2011. Its Number One hit, “A Little Bit Stronger,” became Sara’s first million-selling single. Her 2013 plans include working on a new album and performing a U.S. concert tour.

Natalie Cole arrives at the 13th Annual Latin Grammy Awards at Mandalay Bay on Nov. 15, 2012, in Las Vegas.
Natalie Cole arrives at the 13th Annual Latin Grammy Awards at Mandalay Bay on Nov. 15, 2012, in Las Vegas.
Singer Natalie Cole turns 63 on February 6. The daughter of the late Nat King Cole made her professional debut at age 11. In 1975, Natalie won the Best New Artist Grammy award. Early in her career, she recorded pop and rhythm-and-blues material, but in 1991, she decided to return to her musical roots and recorded an album of her father’s pop standards. The Grammy-winning collection included a studio-made duet version of “Unforgettable” with Nat King Cole. Her next two albums, “Take A Look” and “Stardust,” contained similar material. In 2002, Natalie recorded “Ask A Woman Who Knows,” her first album on jazz label Verve Records. The set earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album. For her 2006 release “Leavin’,” Natalie covered songs made popular by Shelby Lynne, Sting, Fiona Apple, Kate Bush, and others. Her latest album, “Still Unforgettable,” contains a virtual duet with her late father on “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home.” The collection brought her a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. In May 2009, Natalie underwent a kidney transplant. She returned to performing later that year. On March 1, Natalie and her twin sisters will host the Nat King Cole Generation Hope event in Boca Raton, Florida. Proceeds from the concert help purchase musical instruments and music lessons for school children in Palm Beach County.

February 6 marks the birth date of the late “King of Jamaican Reggae,” Bob Marley (born 1945). In 1965, Marley formed The Wailers, a group that was responsible for popularizing reggae music worldwide. His songwriting credits include “I Shot the Sheriff,” a Number One hit for Eric Clapton in 1974. Marley died of cancer at age 36 on May 11, 1981.

Garth Brooks speaks at the Country Music Hall of Fame Inductions on Oct. 21, 2012 in Nashville, Tenn.
Garth Brooks speaks at the Country Music Hall of Fame Inductions on Oct. 21, 2012 in Nashville, Tenn.
Country superstar Garth Brooks will turn 50 on February 7. Garth’s rise to fame began in 1987, when he moved from Oklahoma to Nashville. The following year, executives at Capitol Records saw him perform and signed him to the label. In 1989, his self-titled debut album was released, which produced four Number One Country singles, including “If Tomorrow Never Comes” and “The Dance.” Garth’s “No Fences” album stands among the biggest-selling Country albums of all time with 17 million copies sold in the U.S. Sales of his 1994 anthology, “The Hits,” reached 10 million, making it the best-selling greatest hits release in Country music history. The Recording Industry Association of America lists him as the second best-selling male solo artist of all time. Elvis Presley leads with 130.5 million albums sold. To-date, Garth’s total sales stand at 128 million. Garth announced his retirement from touring in 2001. Garth married Country singer Trisha Yearwood in 2005. Their 2006 duet, “Love Will Always Win,” peaked at Number 23 on the Country chart. “More Than A Memory,” from Garth’s 2007 “Ultimate Hits” anthology, became the first single ever to debut at Number One on the Country chart. In November 2012, he wrapped up his three-year solo engagement at Wynn Las Vegas. Also in 2012, Garth was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. (“Friends In Low Places” CDP-10634)
February 8 marks the birth date of late Country-pop singer Dan Seals (born 1948). The Texas native began performing at age four with his brother Jim. In 1976, Dan helped form England Dan & John Ford Coley. He left the pop duo four years later to pursue a solo career in Country music. Throughout the 1980s, Dan recorded a string of Number One Country hits, including “Bop,” “I Will Be There,” “One Friend” and “Big Wheels in the Moonlight.” His final album releases included the acoustic greatest hits collections “In A Quiet Room” and “In A Quiet Room II,” and 2002’s “Make It Home.” In 2007, Dan was diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The following year, he underwent radiation treatments and received a stem cell transplant. Dan succumbed to the disease on March 29th, 2009 at age 61.

Conductor, composer and arranger John Williams will turn 81 on February 8. In 1980, he replaced Arthur Fiedler as conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra. Williams held the post until 1993. Williams also composes theme music for films and has received more Oscar nominations than any other living person. In 1999, Sony Records released his film music anthology, “Greatest Hits (1969-1999).” He composed themes for four Olympic Games - the 1984, 1988 and 1996 Summer Olympics and the 2002 Winter Olympics. Williams was the recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor in 2004. He composed the music for two new films, “The Adventures of TinTin: Secret of the Unicorn” and “War Horse.” Both are among this year’s Academy Award nominees for Best Original Score. Throughout his long career, Williams has won five Academy Awards and 21 Grammy Awards. He’s nominated for this year’s Best Original Score Academy Award for “Lincoln.”

arole King attends the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, in New York, Nov. 20, 2011.
arole King attends the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, in New York, Nov. 20, 2011.
Singer and influential songwriter Carole King celebrates her 71st birthday on February 9. One of the “Brill Building” songwriters in the late 1950s, she collaborated with former husband Gerry Goffin on hits such as “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “Take Good Care of My Baby,” and the dance sensation “The Loco-Motion.” Her 1971 solo collection “Tapestry” spent 302 weeks on Billboard’s Top 200 chart, 15 of those at Number One. Sales reached 25 million copies worldwide. Known as one of the most successful female songwriters of the rock era, Carole King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (along with Gerry Goffin) in 1990. Numerous performers, including Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, All-4-One and Amy Grant recorded new versions of songs from “Tapestry” for the 1995 tribute album, “Tapestry Revisited: A Tribute To Carole King.” King’s latest studio album, “Love Makes the World,” was released on her own Rockingale Records in 2001. The title track was a hit on the Adult Contemporary chart. In 2003, King’s 1971 Number One single, “It’s Too Late,” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. “Tapestry” was added to the Hall in 1998. King and Goffin received the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences’ Trustees Award in 2004 for their “outstanding contributions to the industry outside of performance.” In 2005, Concord Records released King’s double-CD live set “The Living Room Tour,” which was recorded during her 2004 tour of the same name. King was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2007. A new version of “Tapestry” was released in 2008. The first disc features the original album, plus one bonus track. The second disc contains live versions of the songs that King recorded in 1973 and 1976. In 2010, Carole teamed with James Taylor for a concert tour. The “Troubadour Reunion Tour” was attended by more than 700-thousand fans and grossed over 59-million dollars. Last year, King released her memoir, “A Natural Woman.” On February 9, she’ll receive a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award. King has also been named the 2013 recipient of the prestigious Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, making her the first woman to be given that honor.

Awards Presentations / Winners:

On February 9, The Recording Academy will hand out its 2013 Lifetime Achievement Grammy Awards. This year’s recipients include the late Glenn Gould, Charlie Haden, the late Lightnin’ Hopkins, Carole King, the late Patti Page, the Temptations and the late Ravi Shankar. In addition, Trustees Awards will be given to Marilyn and Alan Bergman, Phil Chess and his late brother Leonard Chess, and the late Alan Livingston.

Look Who's Going On Tour!

On February 9, Country legend Charley Pride will begin a North American tour in Effingham, Illinois. The 74-year-old got his 2013 performances underway here in Washington, D.C. at the January 19 Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball. He then headed to Arizona for his annual spring training workout with the Texas Rangers baseball team. In the 1950’s, Charley was a pitcher and outfielder for the Birmingham Black Barons and the Memphis Red Sox.