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News Pages

Thursday
May242012

Whitney Houston's "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" Released

TriStar PicturesJust a day after, "Celebrate," the final recording from Whitney Houston was released, another song from the late singer has made its way to fans.  RCA Records on Wednesday released Whitney's stirring rendition of the gospel classic "His Eye Is on the Sparrow," which she performed in a scene from the upcoming movie Sparkle.

In the remake of the 1976 film, Houston plays the mother of three girls who form a singing group.  The movie centers around the group's struggles with family, fame and drug addiction.

Sparkle is set to hit theaters on August 17.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May242012

Ann Wilson Talks Heart's "Strange Euphoria" Box Set

Facebook.com/HeartOn June 5, Heart's Strange Euphoria compilation will be released exclusively via Amazon.com.  The five-disc collection is the first career-spanning box set from the Wilson sisters and their band.  The package includes hits, deep cuts, demos, outtakes and rare live recordings; a CD of Led Zeppelin covers; a DVD featuring a 1976 TV performance; and a booklet offering song-by-song commentary from Ann and Nancy Wilson.

In a new RollingStone.com interview, Ann Wilson discusses the box set, as well as some aspects of the band's songs and history.

Regarding the maturity of Heart's sound even at the start of their career, the singer explains, "We put in a lot of miles before we made a record.  Those early songs had been in our club set for a while and so we were seeing how people reacted to them."

As for using the term "gypsy" in her liner-note recollections of the period when Heart first arrived on the music scene, Wilson notes, "That's really what it felt like in those early days, to be out traveling the world in a group and bringing our music, living like a tribe and constantly moving on."

She also addresses the upheaval in the group during the 1980s, a time she calls "suffocating" even though Heart was experiencing its greatest commercial success.

"Music became less understandable in the wake of the new MTV era," she maintains, explaining that artists weren't expected "to be anything other than a pop star, to not go deeper than that."

Meanwhile, visit RollingStone.com to watch an exclusive video of Heart performing "Crazy on You" from the DVD included on Strange Euphoria.  The clip originates from a Northwest Public Television special titled The Second Ending -- Featuring Heart.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May242012

Metallica Explains Decision to Play “Black Album” Backwards During Summer Tour Dates

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Getty ImagesDuring their summer festival appearances and on select tour dates, Metallica has been playing its entire classic, self-titled 1991 album, better known as "The Black Album," in reverse order.  Drummer Lars Ulrich explains that he decided to change up the set list for the shows because he felt it would be better to end the "Black Album" performances on a high note with their biggest hits.

"It doesn't say anywhere that if you play an album in its entirety, you have to play it front to back," Ulrich tells Rolling Stone.  "This is all subject to change if it doesn't work.  But the idea of starting off with the lesser-known songs and buried down there and ending up with 'Sad but True' and 'Enter Sandman' seems like a winner."

While Metallica is currently on tour overseas, the band will be back in the U.S. to perform "The Black Album" in reverse, along with 1984's Ride the Lightning, in its entirety for their inaugural Orion Music + More festival.  That event will make its debut on June 23-24 at Bader Field in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May242012

Founding Member of 3 Doors Down Leaves the Band

3 Doors Down; Matt Roberts, far left/Universal Records3 Doors Down announced Wednesday that guitarist and founding member Matt Roberts is leaving the band, citing health issues.

A post on the band's website reads, "Over the past few years, Roberts has unfortunately, dealt with health and circulation problems and those issues have only been exacerbated by performing nearly 300 dates each year with the band."

Roberts says, “3 Doors Down will always have a special place in my heart and it saddens me to take this time off. But my health has to be my first priority.”

Roberts' departure will not affect 3 Doors Down's current touring schedule with ZZ Top.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May242012

Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen and Nelly Furtado to Perform at MuchMusic Video Awards

Facebook.com/JustinBieberJustin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen and Nelly Furtado have been added to the roster of performers for Canada's MuchMusic Video Awards, scheduled for June 17 in Toronto. They join the previously-announced Katy Perry and co-hosts LMFAO.

All of the aforementioned artists are nominated. The MuchMusic Video Awards will be simulcast live in the U.S. on Fuse.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May242012

Donna Summer Buried in Nashville

Facebook.com/DonnaSummer

Donna Summer was buried Wednesday in Nashville, in a private service attended by only family and close friends.  The 63-year-old music legend, who died May 17 of lung cancer in Naples, Florida, had lived in Nashville since 1995.

The estimated 400 Attendees at the service, held at Christ Presbyterian Church, included producers David Foster and Giorgio Moroder, the latter of whom produced Summer's earliest hits "I Feel Love" and "Love to Love You Baby," and singer Tony Orlando.

Other guests rumored to attend, according to Nashville ABC affiliate WKRN, included Lionel Richie, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Barbara Streisand.  Some were reportedly delayed arriving due to road construction in the area.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May242012

Josh Turner Previewing New Album, Punching Bag, During Concert on HSN Friday

CMAJosh Turner is giving fans a first listen to his new album, Punching Bag, Friday night on HSN.  The network will air Josh's special performance that night at 9 p.m. Eastern.  Fans will be able to pre-order the album during the concert and take part in a post-concert chat after the show.  Visit HSN's Facebook page for more details.

Punching Bag comes out June 12 featuring Josh's latest single, "Time Is Love."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May242012

Jennifer Nettles Debuts as a Mentor on ABC's "Duets" Thursday Night

Dana TynanJennifer Nettles of Sugarland makes her debut as one of four mentors on ABC's new music competition, Duets, premiering Thursday night. She's found two singers to compete on the show -- R&B influenced J Rome and her fellow Georgia native John Glossom. Jennifer tells ABC News Radio her biggest criteria for finding a duet partner on the show was vocal ability.

"I didn't want to teach somebody to sing," Jennifer says.  "I wanted people that could come in here and have articulate pitch.  They were able to hold their own on stage vocally."

Jennifer will actually perform with her contestants on the show, and she looks forward to working with them closely in the coming weeks.  Though she was a bit hesitant about doing the show at first, Jennifer says, "What sold me on this show was that it is about active mentoring.  That we jump in the trenches with our partners and we put it on the line onstage with them."

Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Robin Thicke are the other mentors on Duets, airing Thursday night at 8:00 Eastern on ABC.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May242012

"American Idol" Recap: Phillip Phillips Wins Season 11

Michael Becker/FOXPhillip Phillips was crowned the season 11 American Idol champion on Wednesday night's results show. More than 132 million votes came in after Tuesday's performance show -- a new Idol record. Jessica Sanchez is this season's runner up. Phillip was overcome with emotion performing his winner's song "Home" as the show ended.

Before the results were revealed, Jessica and Phillip sang the Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes duet "Up Where We Belong."

The top 12, minus Jessica and Phillip, opened the show with a group performance of Bruno Mars' "Runaway Baby." Phillip teamed up with John Fogerty to sing Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Have You Ever Seen the Rain," which he performed earlier in the season. They followed it up with the CCR staple "Bad Moon Rising."

Jessica later revisited Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You," the song she first made a big impact with earlier in the season. She returned for a real show-stopping performance of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from Dreamgirls with the woman who sang it originally on Broadway, Jennifer Holliday.

Joshua Ledet teamed up with Fantasia for a duet on the early Elton John song "Take Me to the Pilot." Joshua was called "Mantasia" for most of the season, so this duet was a big moment for Idol fans.

The ladies of the top 12 sang Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody" and "Through the Fire" before Chaka joined them on "I'm Every Woman." The guys of the top 12 sang Neil Diamond's "America," "Cracklin' Rosie" and "I'm a Believer" before Neil joined them for "Sweet Caroline."

The top 12 also poked fun at judge Randy Jackson's overused phrase about good singers being able to sing the phone book by actually singing the phone book in a funny skit.

In tribute to the late Robin Gibb, the top 12 guys sang a Bee Gees medley that included "Words," "How Deep Is Your Love," "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" and "To Love Somebody."

Rihanna emerged out of a box onto a smoke-filled stage to perform "Where Have You Been." It was a high production number with dancers and lasers accentuating Rihanna's latest hit.

Skylar Laine teamed up with country icon Reba for a collaboration on her #1 hit "Turn Up the Radio." Hollie Cavanagh was joined by Jordin Sparks for a duet on the show tune "You'll Never Walk Alone."

Judge Jennfier Lopez turned in a performance of "Goin' In" from the upcoming  movie Step Up Revolution and "Follow the Leader" featuring Wisin & Yandel. Of course, Jennifer was backed up by a big team of dancers.

Judge Steven Tyler performed with Aerosmith towards the end of the night too. They sang their new song "Legendary Child" before going into "Walk This Way."

As part of the show, Ford presented new Escapes to Phillip's musical mentor, his brother-in-law Ben Neil  and Jessica's mentor Robert Talon. Phillip and Jessica also got new 2013 Ford Fusions too.

Several stars were spotted in the crowd, including former Idol champ Carrie Underwood and Jane Lynch of Glee. Lauren Alaina and Taylor Hicks were there too.

Idol alums and real-life couple Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo actually got engaged on the show. Ace dropped to one knee and presented her the ring, and Diana nodded yes before they shared a big kiss. Ryan held the ring's box as Ace slipped it on Diana's finger.

Preparations for American Idol's 12th season are already underway. Auditions for next season start in Los Angeles at Dodgers Stadium on June 7.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May242012

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockJustin Moore headlines the Coca-Cola stage at the 18th Annual Food Lion Speed Street Festival in Charlotte, NC this weekend.

Ronnie Dunn will appear on CBS This Morning Thursday and perform on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Thursday night.

Rascal Flatts' latest album, Changed, has been certified gold.

Lauren Alaina brought Scotty McCreery onstage during her show at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles Tuesday to sing a duet version of Keith Whitley's "When You Say Nothing at All."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May242012

Kanye West, Kim Kardashian Attend "Cruel Summer" Premiere

PRNewsFotoLovebirds Kanye West and Kim Kardashian hit the red carpet together in Cannes, France, on Wednesday, for the premiere of 'Ye's short film Cruel Summer

Kanye, who's been in Europe for the Watch the Throne tour, was photographed with Kim in Cannes earlier this week, checking out some events tied to the annual film festival there.  At 'Ye's Wednesday night film screening, he and Kim appeared to have coordinated their outfits, with Kanye in a cream-colored blazer, and Kim in a short cream and gold dress. 

According to TheBoombox, Kanye introduced his film, which he produced, wrote and directed.  The website reports that G.O.O.D. music's Kid Cudi stars in the short, along with Kanye's pal Aziz Ansari, who made a cameo in The Throne's "Otis" video.

Cudi, Big Sean and Pusha T were on hand for the seven-screen Cruel Summer premiere.  The short film will be available for viewing by the public through Friday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May242012

Squeeze's Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook Say New Album Is Coming from the Band

SqueezeOfficial.comSqueeze hasn't released an album of new original material since 1998's Domino, but the band's resident singer/songwriters Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook say that likely will change in the not-too-distant future.  In a recent interview with ABC News Radio, Difford revealed that the veteran U.K. pop-rock group's 2012 tour scheduled will be "interspersed" with "bits of recording."

Tilbrook adds that before Squeeze hits the studio, he's not planning to show any of his new tunes to his band mates.

"That way, what we can do as a band is to work out an arrangement for the thing," he explains.  "That's what we used to do for the first few albums, and [I'd] very much like to do that again."

As for when Squeeze fans might be able to get their hands on the new record, Difford says, "The record will be done when it's ready.  You know, it's not like in the old days when you had a record label and you had to have a record done for next March, let's say."

Difford does suggest, however, that it wouldn't be a bad idea to have the album ready next year to coincide with the group's 40th anniversary or the release of a planned BBC documentary.

Meanwhile, Squeeze recently released a limited-edition, two-LP vinyl album titled Live at the Fillmore.  The collection, which also is available as a digital download, captures an August 2010 concert at the famed San Francisco venue.

Tilbrook tells ABC News Radio that he was extremely pleased with the group's performance that evening.

"The band were very, very well-rehearsed and drilled at that point and it was very exciting," he offered.  "Just everything about that show went great, and I felt very lucky that we'd recorded it."

Difford says he believes a major reason why Squeeze played so well at the gig was that he and Tilbrook didn't tell the other members that the show was being recorded.

"It was kind of a clever way of not putting too much stress on the emphasis of recording," he maintains.  "Sometimes when you're on stage you got a lot to think about, and if you're thinking about recording a live record too, it can add to the stress.  So, there was none of that."

Squeeze will return to the U.S. for a summer tour that will kick off June 26 in Saratoga, California.  The trek, which will be co-headlined by The B-52s, is scheduled to run through a July 19 show in Vienna, Virginia.  Visit SqueezeOfficial.com to check out all the dates.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May242012

Robin Thicke Says Duets Would Have Been "Hard to Turn Down"

(L-R: Robin Thicke, Jennifer Nettles, Kelly Clarkson, John Legend)ABC/CRAIG SJODINWhen the team behind ABC's Duets first asked Robin Thicke to bring his expertise to the show, the singer wasn't sure what his answer would be.  "I was like, 'I don't know there are so many of those [music shows] out there," Robin tells ABC News Radio.  

The singer's hesitance vanished though when he was told that Duets requires all the judges to perform with one or both of their contestants each week, and each other as well.  "I love to sing, I love to make music. So the opportunity to just perform every week in front of millions of people was hard to turn down," Robin says.

Duets, which debuts Thursday night, features Robin, John Legend, Kelly Clarkson and country star Jennifer Nettles of the group Sugarland searching for undiscovered talent across the U.S., and then performing with that talent every week in front of a live studio audience.  The winner receives a recording contract with Hollywood Records.

John was invited to the show after Lionel Richie pulled out due to scheduling conflicts.  So what's it like having such big shoes to fill?  "Lionel is one of the most important singer-songwriters of the last 50 years of pop music and you don't try to replace that person," John says, laughing.  "You just go in there and try to be the best you can be."

And John wants to help his duet partners to be the best they can be, too.  "I love the idea of going out in America and finding great new talent and performing with them, mentoring them and helping them become as successful as they deserve to be," he says.

John and Robin both have some hit collaborations under their belts, and Robin shared his idea of what makes a winning duet.  When it comes to art, its all about how it makes people feel, Robin says.  The beauty of the whole thing, he explains, is that "you could put two people that were supposed to have a great duet together and sometimes it just doesn't work out that way."

Instead, Robin explains that, "there's that unknown magic that just happens every once in a while with the arts that you just, you strive for and you hope you can hit the ball outta the park."

Robin's two duet partners are Olivia Chisholm of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Alexis Foster of Knoxville, Tennessee.  John's two duet partners are Johnny Gray of Fort Worth, Texas, and Virginia native Bridget Carrington.  The show premieres Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May242012

Jon Bon Jovi Makes AARP's List of "21 Sexiest Men over 50"

Facebook.com/BonJoviBack in the '80s, when Jon Bon Jovi was rocking out on MTV in ripped jeans and poodle hair, he probably never thought he'd see the day when he'd become a sex symbol for retirees.  But the AARP -- the American Association of Retired Persons -- has just named Jon to their list of the "21 Sexiest Men over 50." 

Jon, who turned 50 in March, still has his good looks, no doubt, but the AARP's magazine also praises him for his smarts.  Jennifer Nettles of the country group Sugarland, his duet partner on the song "Who Says You Can't Go Home," tells the magazine, "It's actually Jon's brain that makes him sexy."  Jon also gets props for being appointed by President Obama to the White House Council for Community Solutions.

Jon is in good company on AARP's list, which also includes George Clooney, Denzel Washington, Antonio Banderas, Liam Neeson, Samuel L. Jackson, James Brolin and Colin Firth.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May242012

Metallica Explains Decision to Play “Black Album” Backwards During Summer Tour Dates

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Getty ImagesDuring their summer festival appearances and on select tour dates, Metallica has been playing its entire classic, self-titled 1991 album, better known as "The Black Album," in reverse order.  Drummer Lars Ulrich explains that he decided to change up the set list for the shows because he felt it would be better to end the “Black Album” performances on a high note with their biggest hits.

“It doesn’t say anywhere that if you play an album in its entirety, you have to play it front to back,” Ulrich tells Rolling Stone.  “This is all subject to change if it doesn’t work.  But the idea of starting off with the lesser-known songs and buried down there and ending up with ‘Sad but True’ and ‘Enter Sandman’ seems like a winner.”

While Metallica is currently on tour overseas, the band will be back in the U.S. to perform "The Black Album" in reverse, along with 1984’s Ride the Lightning, in its entirety for their inaugural Orion Music + More festival.  That event will make its debut on June 23-24 at Bader Field in Atlantic City, NJ.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May232012

Zac Brown Band Reveals Details of New Album, "Uncaged"

Southern Ground/AtlanticZac Brown Band's new album, Uncaged, lands in stores July 10.  The group has posted a live performance of the title track on YouTube captured at their recent New Orleans Jazz Fest show.

"We're always trying to push the barrier of our musicianship," front man Zac Brown says of Uncaged, "and I'm proud to say that there is a little bit of something for everyone."

The new project was recorded in studios in Atlanta, Ashville, NC and Nashville as well as Key West, FL.

The group's multi-instrumentalist Clay Cook says, "This is first record that we've made from start to finish in one thought.  The previous albums have been a collection of songs... this is an album."

Uncaged is the follow up to Zac Brown Band's platinum albums The Foundation and You Get What You Give.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Wednesday
May232012

Adam Lambert: First Openly-Gay Male Artist to Score #1 U.S. Album?

RCA RecordsAdam Lambert's new album Trespassing apparently isn't just historic because it marks the first time one American Idol alum has replaced another at #1 on the album chart.  According to the website AfterElton.com, Adam is now the first openly-gay male artist ever to score a number-one album in the U.S.

As AfterElton.com reports, other gay male performers have had number-one albums, like Elton John and George Michael, but those number-ones arrived before they came out of the closet, and the artists haven't managed the feat since.

Though Elton John admitted in 1976 that he was bisexual, he didn't come out as gay until 1988.  Since then, AfterElton is correct: he hasn't had a #1 album in the U.S.  Although all six albums Elton released from 1972 to 1975 topped the U.S. album chart, 1976's Blue Moves -- the first one released after he admitted his bisexuality -- rose no higher than #3.  As for George Michael, his only #1 album in the U.S. was Faith, and that was long before he came out of the closet. 

Clay Aiken also seems to have followed this pattern.  His debut album hit #1 in 2003; he came out in 2008. No number-one albums since then, but to be fair, his album sales in general had already been in decline for some time.  Other openly-gay male artists who failed to return to #1 after coming out include Ricky Martin, Lance Bass of 'N SYNC and Michael Stipe of R.E.M.

The Village Voice was the first publication to point out Adam's achievement, and Adam's record label tells ABC News Radio that they believe The Voice's claim to be correct.  Adam tweeted, "Thank you to the Glamily for helping me make HISTORY!" but it's unclear if he was referring to this particular claim.

It's worth noting that, while Queen did top the chart in 1980 with the album The Game, and their frontman Freddie Mercury told an interviewer in 1974 that he was gay, The Village Voice doesn't count them.  Why? The paper argues that at the time Mercury made that comment, Queen were unknown in the U.S., so it had little impact on the U.S. record-buying public. 

Then, in the years that followed, The Voice claims that Mercury couldn't be considered "openly gay" because he never directly addressed his sexuality again in an interview, asked journalists not to mention his boyfriends, and denied he was HIV positive until just days before he died of AIDS in 1991.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May232012

Bruno Mars Serenades Diners at NYC Restaurant

BrunoMars.comBruno Mars sure likes to sing for his supper.  The New York Post reports that over the weekend, he and friends were dining at the hot New York City restaurant the Darby, when he decided to jump onstage and join the in-house band.  After chowing down on seafood and red wine, Bruno treated the crowd to a rendition of his song "Grenade." 

Also in the house was Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers, who followed Bruno onstage by performing Stevie Wonder's "Superstition."  Of course, both artists received standing ovations from their fellow diners.

According to a YouTube posting of Bruno's performance by the restaurant, this was actually the third time that he's joined the eatery's band for an after-dinner serenade; a video exists of one previous time two months ago.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May232012

Miranda Lambert Wants a Beer Sponsorship for On Fire Tour

Randee St. NicholasMiranda Lambert is packing arenas on her On Fire tour, but she's having trouble getting a beer company to sponsor the trek. Major beer brands regularly sponsor outings by country's top male acts like Tim McGraw and Zac Brown Band.

"It's tough for a girl to be a headliner," Miranda tells W magazine.  "I love alcohol!  You would think a beer company would sponsor me.  I'm my own damn sponsor."

Miranda adds that she has to put on her own eyeliner too.  She says, "A woman's work is never done."

Miranda is looking quite glamorous in a '60s-inspired spread in the latest issue of W.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May232012

Guns N’ Roses Keyboardist Dizzy Reed Explains Why He Didn’t Attend Hall of Fame Induction

Gregg DeGuire/WireImageGuns N’ Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed was noticeably absent -- along with frontman Axl Rose and former guitarist Izzy Stradlin -- at the recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which took place in Cleveland on April 14. Now, Reed has explained why he decided not to attend the event.

“Well, you know, Axl decided not to go because he felt that it wasn't right, and I stand by him,” Reed tells EspyRock.com. “The reasons he gave made sense to me and I agreed with him, so I chose not to go as well.”

Reed added that while it was an honor for him to be inducted into the Hall of Fame with original GN’R members Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan, Stradlin and Steven Adler, he feels it’s “time for people to move on.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio