Rod Stewart's latest release, It Had To Be You?The Great American Songbook, sold three million copies worldwide and earned the singer a Grammy Award nomination this year for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. He recently announced plans to record another collection of popular standards, to be titled The Great American Songbook, Volume 2. It's expected to be out in October.

On February 7, ABC-TV will air a two-hour special about Michael Jackson. British journalist Martin Bashir spent eight months with Jackson conducting interviews about his life, including his excessive plastic surgery, and the child abuse allegations brought against him in the early 1990s. NBC-TV has an hour-long Dateline special scheduled to air on February 17. "Michael Jackson Unmasked" will reportedly "use the transformation of the singer's face to discuss the transformation of his career."

Jazz pianist Keith Jarrett will receive the 2003 Polar Music Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf will present the award on May 12 in Stockholm. Past recipients of the Polar Music Prize include Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Elton John, and Quincy Jones, among others.

February 4, UTV Records will release a 20-song anthology spanning Lionel Richie's career from 1978 to 2002. The Definitive Collection features 14 songs that Richie took to Number One on the pop, rhythm-and-blues and/or Adult Contemporary charts. It also contains one new track, To Love A Woman, which Richie wrote and recorded with Latin pop star Enrique Iglesias. The Definitive Collection will be packaged with a bonus disc of tracks personally chosen by Richie, including some songs from his forthcoming live album Encore and the 2-CD 20th anniversary Deluxe Edition of his 1983 Grammy-winning album, Can't Slow Down.

The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences has announced 21 additions to the Grammy Hall of Fame. They include Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven, Elton John's double album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Peter, Paul & Mary's recording of Blowin' In The Wind, the Eagles' Hotel California and Bruce Springsteen's 1975 album Born To Run. Inducted recordings must be at least 25 years old and have significantly impacted America's musical history.



On February 6, the Rolling Stones will perform a free concert to benefit the Natural Resources Defense Council, a nonpartisan environmental lobby group. Film producer and Democratic fundraiser Steve Bing will pick up the costs of the show, which will be held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The concert marks the Stones first free show since 1969. That performance at the Altamont Speedway in California erupted into violence.

The U.S. Congress recently proclaimed 2003 the Year of the Blues. Many blues events, concerts, multimedia projects and festivals will take place to celebrate the genre. This week, a diverse group of artists representing rock, jazz, rap, Country and blues music will appear at the "Salute To The Blues" benefit concert. The show will take place on February 7 at New York's Radio City Music Hall and will feature performances by B.B. King, Aerosmith, Macy Gray, Bonnie Raitt, Lyle Lovett, Chuck D, and others. Proceeds will go to the Blues Music Foundation, which supports music education, provides financial assistance to needy individuals who have made significant contributions to the blues field, and works to preserve blues history. The "Salute To The Blues" concert will be filmed for a movie, with director Martin Scorsese serving as the film's executive director.


Teen newcomer Avril Lavigne led the winners at the 2nd annual MTV Asia Awards, held on January 24 in Singapore. Lavigne received the Favorite Female Artist, Favorite Breakthrough Artist and The Style Award. Linkin Park picked up two trophies, winning for Favorite Rock Act and Favorite Video for Pts of Athrty. MTV Asia Awards were presented to nineteen artists and personalities. Malaysia's Siti Nurhaliza, Singapore's Stefanie Sun, Hong Kong's Sammi Cheng, and the Philippines' Regine Velasquez won their country's Favorite Artist Awards for the second year. The show was broadcast on five MTV networks and reached 150 million homes throughout Asia.


February 8, modern rock group Pearl Jam will kick of its first world tour in nearly three years. The trek, in support of the band's latest album Riot Act, begins in Brisbane, Australia. Pearl Jam will then head to Japan to perform several shows, before launching the first of two North American legs. U.S. dates will begin on April 1 in Denver, Colorado and are scheduled to wrap up on July 9 at New York's Madison Square Garden.