Rapper Jay-Z and his wife, singer Beyonce, attend the match between Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Rafael Nadal of Spain during the men's final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York (file photo)
Rapper Jay-Z and his wife, singer Beyonce, attend the match between Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Rafael Nadal of Spain during the men's final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York (file photo)

Beyonce, Jay-Z Welcome Baby Girl

Pop and R&B star Beyonce Knowles gave birth to a baby girl Sunday in New York. Blue Ivy Carter "is the most beautiful girl in the world," the baby's aunt, Solange Knowles told US Weekly magazine, Sunday.  A Houston, Texas newspaper reported that the star, 30, gave birth after undergoing a Cesarean section.

Hollywood Tribute Honors Michael Jackson

Aerosmith Postpones Concert Tour; Winehouse Died o
Michael Jackson (file photo)

On January 26, Michael Jackson?s children, Prince, Paris and Blanket, will attend a ceremony at Hollywood?s Grauman?s Chinese Theatre to honor their father?s legacy.  They?ll make hand and foot impressions in the cement with his sequined glove and shoes.  The following day (January 27), the Los Angeles debut of Cirque de Soleil?s ?Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour? will take place at the Staples Center.

Youssou N'Dour to run for President of Senegal

Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour
Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour

Senegalese artist Youssou N?Dour has announced that he?ll run in his country?s presidential election on February 26.  The Grammy-winner, 52, will face 85-year-old incumbent Abdoulaye Wade.  N?Dour told the Associated Press, ?For a very long time, many Senegalese of different backgrounds have called for my candidacy for the presidency next February.  I?ve listened, I?ve heard and I am responding favorably to their request.  I am a candidate.  It?s a supreme patriotic duty, the best I can give of myself.  I am the alternative to the current leadership in place in the country.?

Adele Tops Billboard 200 Again

MTV Plans Lady Gaga Documentary; McGraw Spars with
Beyonce, Jay-Z Welcome Baby Girl; Hollywood Tribute Honors Michael Jackson

British pop singer Adele returns to Number One on this week?s Billboard 200 chart with 21.  This marks her 14th non-consecutive week in the top spot.  According to Billboard, industry prognosticators predict the album will sell an additional 100,000 to 140,000 this week to keep its place at Number One for a 15th week.

Mariah Carey, Spike Lee among BET Honors Recipients

Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey

On January 14, the 2012 BET Honors will be presented at the Warner Theater in Washington, D.C.  This year?s recipients include singers Mariah Carey and Stevie Wonder, writer/poet Maya Angelou, filmmaker Spike Lee, America?s first black military pilots The Tuskegee Airmen, and inspirational coach Beverly Kearney.  Actress Gabrielle Union will host the event, which recognizes lifetime contributions and exceptional service to African-American culture.

'Billy Elliot' Musical Moves from Broadway to Washington D.C.

On January 8, ?Billy Elliot: The Musical? will close on Broadway.  The show opened in late 2008, but tickets sales have slipped in recent months.  The touring production will continue.  It runs at Washington, D.C.?s Kennedy Center through January 15.  In 2009, ?Billy Elliot: The Musical? won 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

Parton, Latifah Team Up for New Movie

Dolly Parton's Better Day CD
Dolly Parton's Better Day CD

Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah?s new film, Joyful Noise, opens in theaters nationwide on January 13.  The movie tells the story of two choir directors (Parton and Latifah) in a small Georgia town who lead their gospel group through the National Joyful Noise Competition despite overwhelming odds.  

New Album Releases January 10:

?Fallen Empires? by Snow Patrol,
?Live from the Kitchen? by Yo Gotti
?Come Sunday? by Charlie Haden & Hank Jones
?For the Good Times? by The Little Willies
Original Broadway Cast Recording to ?Silence!?

Star Birthdays:

Beyonce, Jay-Z Welcome Baby Girl; Hollywood Tribut
Beyonce, Jay-Z Welcome Baby Girl; Hollywood Tribute Honors Michael Jackson

On January 8, hip-hop singer, songwriter and producer R. Kelly celebrated his 45th birthday.  A native of Chicago, Illinois, he arrived on the music scene in the early 1990s with a string of hits that included ?She?s Got That Vibe,? ?Slow Dance (Hey Mr. DJ),? and ?Bump and Grind.?  Following that success, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Toni Braxton and other established artists hired him to write and produce tracks for them.  R. Kelly?s self-titled third collection was released in 1995 and became his first Number One album.  Two years later, he recorded the smash hit ?I Believe I Can Fly? for the ?Space Jam? film soundtrack.  The single won three Grammy Awards.  R. Kelly?s next solo album, ?TP-2.com,? was released in 2000.  His 2003 album, ?Chocolate Factory,? produced the Number 2 hit, ?Ignition.?  In 2004, Kelly earned a Grammy nomination for the title track to ?Happy People/U Saved Me.?  That same year, he collaborated with Jay-Z on the album ?Unfinished Business.?  Kelly?s 2007 album, ?Double Up,? became his fifth to debut at Number One on the Billboard 200 chart.  It included the track ?Rise Up,? his tribute to the victims of the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings.  Kelly was arrested in 2002 on child pornography charges.  He was found not guilty at his trial, which took place in 2008.  Kelly?s 2009 ?Untitled? album topped Billboard?s R&B/Hip-Hop chart.  In 2010, he released ?Love Letter,? an album that was inspired by his soul music influences of the 1960s, ?70s and ?80s.  Last year, Billboard named R. Kelly the Number One R&B artist of the past 25 years.  In 2012, he plans to release his new album ?Black Panties? and his memoir, ?Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me.?  

January 8 marks the birth date of Elvis Presley (born 1935).  ?The King of Rock and Roll? landed his first Number One hit in 1956.  He went on to become the biggest-selling recording artist in history.  Presley?s career accomplishments also included acting in more than 30 films, winning a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1971, and his posthumous induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.  Presley died in 1977 at his Graceland home in Memphis, Tennessee.  He was 42.  The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) issued an Elvis Presley commemorative postage stamp in 1993.  It was the first in the USPS?s Legends of American Music Series.  In October 1994, an early celebration was held in Memphis to mark the 60th anniversary of Presley?s birth.  Performances from the concert were released on the album, ?It?s Now Or Never: The Tribute To Elvis.?  In 2003, RCA released ?Elvis 2nd To None,? which included two bonus tracks - a remixed version of ?Rubberneckin and a previously unreleased song Elvis recorded in 1964, ?I?m A Roustabout.?  In 2004, Sirius Satellite Radio launched a 24/7 all-Elvis channel.  Broadcasts air from a specially designed studio at Graceland.  In 2006, Sony/BMG Strategic Marketing celebrated the 50th anniversary of Presley?s first RCA recording sessions with the release of the box set, ?Elvis #1 Singles.?  The label also reissued his Number One single ?Heartbreak Hotel.?  According to Forbes magazine, Presley was the top-earning deceased celebrity of 2008.  He slipped to Number 4 on Forbes list in 2009, but advanced to Number 2 in 2010.  He remained in second place in 2011.  Last year, RCA Records/Legacy Recordings issued the 30-CD box set, ?The Complete Elvis Presley Masters.?  Included are all of his 711 original master recordings, plus more than 100 additional rare tracks.  On January 3, Sony Music/Legacy released a deluxe double-CD package that pairs Presley?s 1971 albums ?Elvis Country? and ?Love Letters From Elvis.?  The collection is the first of several coming out this year to mark the 35th anniversary of his death.  

British rock singer David Bowie will celebrate his 65th birthday on January 8.  Bowie began performing with various groups in the 1960s before establishing his solo recording career the following decade.  In 1975, he recorded the Number One single ?Fame,? which featured backing vocals by John Lennon.  Bowie topped the charts again in 1983 with ?Let?s Dance,? a track from his ?Changes? album.  In 1988, he formed Tin Machine, a rock group that recorded two albums.  In 1993, ?Black Tie White Noise? marked Bowie?s first solo collection in six years.  Bowie?s 26th and latest studio album, ?Reality,? was released in 2003.  In 2006, he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.  Last year, Legacy Recordings issued a double-CD from Bowie?s 2003 ?Reality Tour.?  

A.J. McLean of the Backstreet Boys will turn 34 on January 9.  The pop group debuted on the charts in 1997 with their self-titled album, which produced the hits ?As Long As You Love Me,? ?Quit Playing Games (With My Heart),? ?All I Have To Give? and ?I?ll Never Break Your Heart.?  Their 1999 sophomore album, ?Millennium,? sold more than 13 million copies and was followed by the 2000 release of ?Black & Blue.?  In mid-2001, the Backstreet Boys postponed their ?Black & Blue Tour? for several months while A.J. got treatment for alcohol abuse, depression and anxiety.  The group spent much of 2004 working on the album ?Never Gone.?  A.J. sang lead vocals on the CD?s first single ?Incomplete,? which peaked at Number Six on the Hot 100 chart and at Number Four on the Adult Contemporary list.  The Backstreet Boys? 2007 album, ?Unbreakable,? featured the singles ?Inconsolable? and ?Helpless When She Smiles.?  The group performed a world tour in 2010 to support its latest album, ?This Is Us.?  That was followed by a co-headlining North American tour in 2011 with New Kids on the Block.  Their ?NKOTBSB? tour continues this year in Europe.  Also in 2012, the Backstreet Boys plan to record a new album.  Last month, A.J. married model Rochelle DeAnna Karidis.  

Dave Matthews Band's 'Everyday' CD
Dave Matthews Band's 'Everyday' CD

On January 9, Dave Matthews celebrates his 45th birthday.  The leader of the Dave Matthews Band was born in Johannesburg, South Africa.  In 1986, he moved to Charlottesville, Virginia where he immersed himself in the local music scene.  He formed the Dave Matthews Band in 1991.  The group?s hits include ?Stay,? ?The Space Between? and ?Crush.?  Since 2000, Matthews has been on the Farm Aid board of directors with Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp.  In 2009, Pollstar named the Dave Matthews Band the Top Touring Act of the Decade.  The band had the third highest-grossing trek of 2010.  After 20 years of constant touring, they took most of 2011 off to spend time with their families.

January 10 marks the birth date of the late singer-songwriter Jim Croce (born 1943).  During his brief career, Croce recorded several hits, including ?You Don?t Mess Around With Jim,? ?I Got A Name? and the Number One singles ?Bad, Bad Leroy Brown? and ?Time In A Bottle.?  In 1973, Croce died in a plane crash while traveling to a concert in Sherman, Texas.  He was 30 years old.  

On January 10, singer Pat Benatar will celebrate her 59th birthday.  One of rock music?s most popular female singers of the 1980s, Benatar is best known for the Top 10 songs, ?Hit Me With Your Best Shot,? ?Love Is A Battlefield? and ?We Belong.?  After taking two years off from music to devote time to her family, she returned in 1991 with the blues-flavored album, ?True Love.?  In 1993, Benatar recorded the rock collection, ?Gravity?s Rainbow,? which was followed by her 1997 album, ?Innamorata.?  In 1999, Capitol Records issued Benatar?s three-CD retrospective, ?Synchronistic Wanderings: Recorded Anthology 1979-1999.?  Her latest studio album, ?Go,? was released in 2003.  That same year, she and her husband, guitarist Neil Giraldo, moved to Maui.  Neil runs an all-natural nutritional supplement company called ?On the Rocks Nutrition.?  In 2010, Harper Collins published Benatar?s biography, ?Between a Heart and a Rock Place.?

Rod Stewart's "Great American Songbook Volume V' C
Rod Stewart's "Great American Songbook Volume V' CD

British rock singer Rod Stewart will turn 67 on January 10.  Stewart made his way into music by singing and playing harmonica while traveling throughout Europe.  During that time, he was discovered by blues legend Long John Baldry, who invited him to join his band.  Stewart later performed with the Jeff Beck Group and Small Faces (later renamed Faces), which he left in 1975 to concentrate on his already-established solo career.  Stewart?s biggest solo hits include ?Maggie May,? ?Tonight?s The Night (Gonna Be Alright),? ?Da Ya Think I?m Sexy? and ?Rhythm Of My Heart.?  His 1993 collection, ?Unplugged...and Seated,? contains acoustic versions of many of those hits.  1998 marked the release of ?When We Were the Boys,? his final album for Warner Brothers Records.  He was briefly signed to Atlantic Records, which issued his 2001 album, ?Human.?  In 2002, Clive Davis signed Stewart to his J Records label.  Rod?s debut album for J was the standards collection, ?It Had To Be You?The Great American Songbook.?  Since then, he has recorded the sequels ?As Time Goes By?The Great American Songbook, Vol. 2, ?Stardust?The Great American Songbook, Vol. 3,? ?Thanks For The Memory?The Great American Songbook, Vol. 4? and  ?Still the Same?Great Rock Classics of Our Time.?  Rod?s latest album, ?Soulbook,? is a collection of 13 soul classics.  Last year, J Records issued ?The Best of?the Great American Songbook,? a compilation of tracks from the five-album series.  Also in 2011, Rod?s wife, Penny Lancaster, gave birth to their second child together.  Rod is a 2012 inductee into the Rock and Hall of Fame with The Faces.  He entered the Hall for the first time in 1994 as a solo artist.

On January 11, R&B singer Mary J. Blige celebrates her 41st birthday.  The nine-time Grammy winner signed her first recording deal in 1989.  Her many hits include ?Real Love,? ?Not Gon? Cry,? ?Family Affair,? ?Be Without You,? ?Just Fine? and ?I Am.?  In 2007, Geffen Records released ?Growing Pains,? which climbed to Number One on the Billboard 200 and won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Album.  In 2010, Blige released ?Stronger With Each Tear? on her own label, Matriarch Records.  She collaborated with Swiss Beatz, Ne-Yo, Jay-Z and others on her new collection, ?My Life II?The Journey Continues.?  

Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters will celebrate his 43rd birthday on January 14.  Grohl was born in Ohio and grew up in Springfield, Virginia, where he performed in various local bands during the 1980s.  From 1990 to 1994, Grohl was the drummer of the Seattle-based grunge band Nirvana.  In 1995, he formed the Foo Fighters, which signed with Capitol Records for the release of their self-titled debut album.  The group?s second album, ?The Colour and the Shape,? was released in 1997.  In 2006, the Foo Fighters? first live album was released.  ?Skin and Bones? contains performances from the band?s 2006 acoustic tour.  That was followed by the 2007 studio set, ?Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace.?  In 2008, Grohl announced to BBC Radio One that the Foo Fighters were going on hiatus.  He said, ?We?ve never really taken a long break, I think it?s time.  After doing Wembley we shouldn't come back for ten years because we?ve played to everybody.?  The band included two new songs and several previously unreleased tracks on its 2009 ?Greatest Hits? compilation.  Last year, the Foo Fighters released the album ?Wasting Light,? which was recorded in Dave Grohl?s garage.  The set debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200 chart.  

Awards Presentations/Winners:

The 2012 People?s Choice Awards, honoring fan favorites in film, television and music, will be presented on January 11 in Los Angeles.  Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Katy Perry lead the contenders in the music categories with five nominations each.  Following close behind are Adele with four nods and Taylor Swift with three.  The event will air live on CBS-TV.  (Complete list of nominees available at www.peopleschoice.com.)

Look Who's Going on Tour!

Brad Paisley's American Saturday Night album
Brad Paisley's American Saturday Night album

Brad Paisley will kick off his ?Virtual Realty World Tour 2012? on January 12 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Opening the shows are American Idol winner Scotty McCreery and the Country Music Association?s reigning New Artist of the Year, The Band Perry.  The first leg of the trek will take them to 20 U.S. cities before wrapping up on March 3 in Lexington, Kentucky.

On January 12, Country trio Rascal Flatts, special guest Sara Evans and opening act Hunter Hayes will begin their ?Thaw Out 2012? tour in Charleston, West Virginia.  Dates run through February 18.  Rascal Flatts? eighth album is scheduled to drop on April 3.

Kelly Clarkson kicks off her 32-city North American ?Stronger Tour 2012? on January 13.  Her itinerary begins in Mashantucket, Connecticut and wraps up on April 10 in San Diego, California.  The outing will also feature special guest Matt Nathanson.  In other news, it?s just been announced that Kelly will be a mentor on the upcoming second season of ?The Voice,? which premieres on February 5.  She?ll join Miranda Lambert on Blake Shelton?s ?Team Blake.?