Keith Caulfield answers readers' questions about Anastacia, Kelly Osbourne and AC/DC.

EXPLAINING THE UNEXPLAINABLE

Hi Keith,

First and foremost, thanks for your column. Every Wednesday, I look forward to it, and in the years I've been reading your work, you've even been gracious enough to answer two of my questions (about Nirvana and Trisha Yearwood). Thanks!

I have another question for you. If you have an answer, I'd be very grateful.

I just bought Anastacia's new, self-titled CD from someone in Bulgaria, since it was never released in the United States. I've been listening to it, and I have to say I think it's her strongest album yet. I've heard "Left Outside Alone" played a lot, at least in the gay clubs, and it's a fantastic single. So my question is, why wasn't her CD released here? Were her sales that poor on her first two CDs?

If a record's already finished, does it really cost that much to release it? Obviously, I don't know a lot about the record business itself, but I would think it would be a no-brainer to release a CD for an artist that is featured in a national advertising campaign (for Dr. Pepper) and has been in the news recently because of her successful fight against cancer.

Sincerely,

Tommy Marx
Winston Salem, N.C.

Hi Tommy,

Thanks for the compliments. They are appreciated!

You have a reason to celebrate. It was just confirmed that "Anastacia" will see a U.S. release June 7 via Columbia Records. The news is so fresh, that this response to your letter was updated after it was originally posted here on Wednesday (Jan. 26).

The album had tentatively been scheduled for a summer 2004 release, but obviously, that came and went. "Anastacia" debuted at No. 1 in many countries throughout Europe last spring, and ended 2004 as the United Kingdom's fifth biggest selling album. It has sold more than a million units in the United Kingdom.

The set's first single, "Left Outside Alone," was sent to U.S. radio stations and dance clubs in the spring of 2004. The single peaked at No. 22 on Billboard's Hot Dance Radio Airplay chart and No. 5 on the Hot Dance Club Play tally.

On the other side of the Atlantic, "Left Outside Alone" was 2004's seventh best-selling single in the U.K. Anastacia also snared a Brit Award nomination (the U.K. equivalent of the Grammys) for best international female solo artist. She begins a European tour on Feb. 4 in Antwerp, and concludes the run April 5 in Munich.

In the U.S., Anastacia's first two albums, "Not That Kind" and "Freak of Nature," have sold 188,000 and 290,000 copies, respectively, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Both were released by Daylight/Epic.

As for your question about why a label couldn't release an album in the U.S. that is already recorded -- there are lots of answers to this. It costs a lot of money to promote an artist in America, and on top of that, the artist will be required to make many appearances. Really, it varies depending on the situation.



KELLY KELLY KELLY KELLY ... K-E-L-L-Y

Hey Keith,

I am such a fan of your site. I just wanted to know about Kelly Osbourne. I heard she's making a new album. Didn't her last CD sell close to nothing? I am very curious to know how many copies of the CD were shipped to U.S. stores? Can you help me out?

Thanks,

Dan

Hi Hello Dan,

Billboard.com recently reported that Kelly Osbourne will release her as-yet-untitled second album on June 7 via Sanctuary. The set was produced by Linda Perry, who has worked with Pink, Gwen Stefani and others.

Osbourne's first album, "Shut Up," was released on Epic in 2002 and sold 159,000 according to Nielsen SoundScan. The album was later repackaged and retitled "Changes" by Sanctuary and has sold 39,000 since its release in 2003.

The Osbourne family recently closed a deal with MTV for current final season of "The Osbournes," which will end March 21 after 10 episodes. Kelly Osbourne also has a supporting role in ABC's drama "life as we know it." However, the next airing of the show is yet to be scheduled.



STIFFED DOWN UNDER?

Hi Keith,

I hope you can answer my questions.

It's been five years since AC/DC's last album, "Stiff Upper Lip," was released. And as that one came five years after the Australian band's previous studio album, "Ballbreaker," I was wondering if any news about a new album have come to your attention?

I'd also like to know how well the two albums mentioned above have sold.

Finally, I'd love to know how well AC/DC's landmark 1980 album "Back in Black" has sold since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales data. Can you find out what "Back" has sold on both Epic and Elektra? It seems to be selling strongly as ever, coming in at No. 11 on Billboard's 2004 year-end Pop Catalog Chart!

Thanks in advance.

Let there be rock!

Thomas Christiansen
Copenhagen

Hi Thomas,

Funny enough, I've been wondering when AC/DC will get around to releasing a new album, too.

In 2003, the band changed record labels and went from Elektra/Atlantic to Epic. With that deal, nearly all of the band's albums were remastered and reissued on Epic that same year.

The deal that was struck indicates that the band will release two forthcoming discs on Epic, and one more on Elektra/Atlantic. The group has said they have been recording at least since early 2003, and had aimed to release an album in 2004.

At this point, no official word has come from Elektra/Atlantic or Epic regarding a forthcoming studio effort.

In the meantime, one can catch the band's frontman, Brian Johnson, performing with an all-star rock lineup at Universal Studios Orlando on Feb. 5. The gig is part of the 10th annual Mardi Gras celebration at the park.

To date, "Stiff Upper Lip" and "Ballbreaker" have sold 876,000 and 1.1 million units in the United States, respectively, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Elektra/Atlantic's now out-of-print edition of "Back in Black" has scanned 4 million units in the SoundScan era (1991-present), while the remastered Epic edition of the album has sold 757,000 since it was released in February 2003.