1. Wendy Rene, Soul Singer Sampled by Wu-Tang Clan & Alicia Keys, Dies at 67

    December 18, 2014 4:12 PM EST Wendy Rene, the budding Stax Records singing and songwriting talent who quit music after the death of Otis Redding in 1967 and saw her music revived through samples decades later, died Tuesday in Memphis, Tenn., following a stroke. She was 67. Born Mary Frierson in Memphis, Rene was given…

  2. 'Maybe the Adrenaline Keeps Me Going': Landau Management's Barbara Carr on Working with Springsteen for 34 Years

    December 18, 2014 11:46 AM EST "Couldn't get along without you, Barb," Bruce Springsteen said of Barbara Carr when inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 15 years ago. Any Springsteen fan worth their salt knows his longtime manager and former producer, Jon Landau . Less visible (by choice) is Carr,…

  3. Lil Wayne vs. Cash Money: Can the Rapper Leave the Label He's Been With Since He Was 13?

    December 12, 2014 12:20 PM EST Album delays are ­nothing new for Lil Wayne . But the MC sent shockwaves through the hip-hop world on Dec. 4 when he publicly blamed his label for the ever-shifting release date of his new album, Tha Carter V . Calling himself a "prisoner," he tweeted, "I want off this label…

  4. Op-Ed: John Legend Demands Change After Eric Garner & Ferguson Decisions

    December 12, 2014 11:30 AM EST When Common and I wrote the song "Glory" for the stunning new film Selma , we drew inspiration from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his contemporaries who strived and sacrificed to achieve racial equality in the face of seemingly hopeless odds. As I watched the final version of…

  5. Less Could Mean More: Why Merlin's Deal With Pandora May Pay Off

    December 11, 2014 3:26 PM EST Merlin has come under attack in the last month for making a deal that, according to its critics, lowers its member labels' per-stream royalty rate with Pandora, and thus their revenues. Though in time they may ultimately be correct, those critics don't seem to understand that the…

  6. Christmas Music for People Who Hate Christmas Music

    December 11, 2014 12:00 PM EST Even if you don't like 'Jingle Bells' -- just like Sam Smith -- there's still seasonally appropriate music for you. The Christmas Spirit isn't inside everyone. In fact, there are plenty of people who would prefer to fall asleep now and wake up when December ends.…

  7. Revisionist History, Holiday Edition: Mariah Gets a 'Christmas' Gift, Wham! Gets the Boot

    December 10, 2014 12:01 PM EST For those who love the Billboard charts, this truly is -- as Andy Williams reminds us every December -- the most wonderful time of the year. The arrival of Billboard 's annual year-end rankings have made it a "Happy" holiday for another Williams -- Pharrell -- whose hit with…

  8. Idina Menzel & Michael Buble Top AC With 'Baby It's Cold Outside'

    December 09, 2014 7:05 AM EST Their duet becomes the format's latest holiday leader. Idina Menzel and Michael Buble's duet-slash-accurate weather report (depending on where you're reading this), "Baby It's Cold Outside," rises 2-1 on Billboard 's Adult Contemporary chart. The song…

  9. Kenny Rogers Brings The Merriment on Christmas and Hits Through The Years Tour

    December 08, 2014 7:57 PM EST In the fall of 1981, Kenny Rogers released his very first seasonal album, appropriately titled Christmas . Since then, the Country Music Hall of Fame member has released successful holiday follow-ups in 1984 ( Once Upon A Christmas , with Dolly Parton ), 1989 ( Christmas In America ) and…

  10. Chris Rock and Questlove Talk the Greatest MCs of All Time and Collaborating on New Movie 'Top Five'

    December 08, 2014 4:37 PM EST It's a cold November morning, and Chris Rock has come to meet Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson at his office, which is also his dressing room and his studio, on the sixth floor of 30 Rock, where Jimmy Fallon shoots The Tonight Show . Questlove, 43 -- the drummer for The Roots ,…

  11. Exclusive: Ryan Bingham Premieres 'Snow Falls in June'

    December 08, 2014 11:06 AM EST Acclaimed Americana singer Ryan Bingham (he's also an Academy Award winner thanks to his work with T Bone Burnett on Crazy Heart ) is set to release his next album, Fear and Saturday Night , on Jan. 20. In advance of his latest project, Billboard is excited to exclusively premiere…

  12. Common Talks 'Glory,' His 'Selma' Duet With John Legend: 'It's for Dr. King'

    December 05, 2014 7:11 PM EST The rapper also addresses the song's Oscar chances: 'The bigger the platform, the more people the message can reach.' The trailer for the civil rights drama Selma was scored with a hip-hop song by Public Enemy , as a sort of promise to audiences that this wouldn't be a…

  13. Brian May Warns of Asteroid Strikes, Joins Danger Mouse and Others in Call to Action

    December 05, 2014 10:43 AM EST Noted astrophysicist and rock guitarist Brian May has joined a group of astronomers, scientists and other artists to raise awareness about the threat of asteroids on our planet, warning at a news conference this week that Earth is headed for destruction if global action isn't taken. …

  14. Australian Retailer Pulls 'Grand Theft Auto V' After Complaints About Sexual Violence

    December 04, 2014 2:48 AM EST Target Australia is removing Grand Theft Auto V  from store shelves after more than 40,000 people who say the video game encourages players to murder women for entertainment signed an online petition asking the retailer to stop selling it. The decision is the latest in a long line of…

  15. Jana Kramer Is Engaged to Football Player Michael Caussin

    December 03, 2014 7:54 PM EST Country singer Jana Kramer celebrated her 31st birthday in Nashville Tuesday with a pretty great gift: A marriage proposal from her football player boyfriend, Michael Caussin.  Jana Kramer Talks 'Love,' Songwriting and a New Album This Summer "It was a beautiful surprise,…

  16. Too Funny for Twitter: James Blunt's Record Label Tells Him to Stop Tweeting

    December 03, 2014 10:08 AM EST James Blunt may have apologized for his most famous hit, but his never back down attitude on Twitter made his record label nervous enough to ask him to stop tweeting. This is embarrassing on so many levels. RT @JimJimhawker : Have agreed to go and see james blunt with my mum.... — James…

  17. Chart Highlights: Kelly Clarkson, Seth MacFarlane, Meghan Trainor Debut Holiday Songs on AC

    December 01, 2014 3:10 PM EST 'Tis the season for the Adult Contemporary chart to welcome a sleighful of yuletide tunes. Chart Highlights offers a sneak peek at a select group of Billboard charts every Monday. Find out the top songs, Greatest Gainers and debuts on the surveys listed below. All our charts are…

  18. Watch the Muppets Perform Naughty By Nature's 'Hip Hop Hooray'

    December 01, 2014 12:20 PM EST Mylo The Cat’s YouTube account has found the Muppets putting their spin on hit songs like Beastie Boys’ “So What’cha Want” and Daft Punk and  Pharrell Williams’ “Get Lucky.” For the latest parody, old Muppets material has been culled into a Jim Henson take on Naughty By Nature’s classic …

  19. John Densmore and Shepard Fairey Talk Record Store Day Black Friday Collab, Ferguson Riots & More

    November 28, 2014 3:16 PM EST “It feels a little weird. Here we are doing this interview, and our streets are filled with protesters in regards to Ferguson,” Doors drummer John Densmore says. The Doors' John Densmore to Recall 'Meetings With Remarkable Musicians' in New Book Densmore and “Obey” artist…

  20. Billboard 200 Chart Moves: Lorde’s ‘Hunger Games’ Soundtrack Debuts

    November 28, 2014 1:05 PM EST Plus: "Downton Abbey" Christmas and Kristin Chenoweth debut. On the latest Billboard 200 albums chart, One Direction made history, as the group’s Four debuted atop the list . The act is the first group to see its first four studio albums enter at No. 1. Four was released on Nov.…

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