1. German-Language Pop Legend Udo Juergens Dies at 80

    December 21, 2014 10:06 PM EST Udo Juergens , an Austrian-born star who dominated pop music in the German-speaking world and sold more than 100 million records in a career spanning five decades, died on Sunday. He was 80 years old. Juergens collapsed unconscious during a walk in Gottlieben, a town on Lake Constance north…

  2. Op-Ed: Steve Wariner on Why Dottie West Should Be a Country Music Hall of Fame Member

    December 21, 2014 12:30 PM EST Over the past year, The 615 has offered opinions concerning who the next members of the Country Music Hall of Fame should be. In July, we made our case for Don Rich, the longtime sideman for Buck Owens , in the Instrumentalist category. Just a few weeks ago, we told of the great…

  3. Wynonna Picks Her 5 Essential Christmas Songs

    December 19, 2014 9:24 PM EST Wynonna says that her A Simpler Christmas Tour has been quite an emotional roller coaster. "It's basically a tragic comedy," she tells Billboard . "I get to talk about very some intensely personal deep and sentimental family stuff from growing up in Appalachia. We didn&…

  4. Here's What the 2014 Holiday Music Sales Spike Looks Like

    December 19, 2014 5:28 PM EST Every holiday season, the debate begins in earnest: When is it okay to start listening to seasonal music? Some say Christmas music isn't kosher until after Thanksgiving weekend, while others wait until the very last moment. Some overzealous fans, on the other hand, start listening to…

  5. Best Song Bracket Battle 2014: See Who Wins our Year-End Pop Showdown!

    December 19, 2014 2:00 PM EST Which 2014 smash is the critics' pick for pop song of the year? We made 64 hits battle it out, March Madness-style, to determine a winner! Welcome to BEST SONG BRACKET BATTLE 2014, Billboard.com's weeklong bracket-style tournament in which 64 of the year's biggest songs…

  6. Pioneering Rap Producer Larry Smith Has Died

    December 19, 2014 1:47 PM EST Sad news in the world of hip-hip -- one of rap music's pioneering producers, Larry Smith, has passed away  at the age of 63. Smith co-produced Run-D.M.C. 's incalculably influential first two albums ( Run-D.M.C. and King of Rock ) alongside Russell Simmons. Additionally, he…

  7. Shawn Mendes, Gwen Stefani and Meghan Trainor at the Z100 Jingle Ball: Real-Time Twitter Chart Rewind Ep. 29

    December 19, 2014 1:00 PM EST Welcome back to Billboard's weekly video show "Real-Time Rewind," which recaps the past week's hottest action on the new Billboard Real-Time Twitter Charts -- Trending 140 and Emerging Artists -- and the news that's driving the action. Joe Levy stops by Z100’s…

  8. Must-Hear Music Podcast: Best Albums of the Year Edition

    December 19, 2014 12:10 PM EST is almost over, and that means one thing for the Billboard staff -- it's time to obsess over our favorite albums of the year. This week, the original Must-Hear Music podcast team -- Jason Lipshutz , Joe Lynch  and Erika Ramirez -- sit down to share and argue over their favorite…

  9. Justin Timberlake Tops Hot Tours List as 20/20 Trek Nears End

    December 18, 2014 6:19 PM EST Justin Timberlake scores the top slot on the weekly ranking of Hot Tours (see list, below) based on ticket sales reported from his 20/20 Experience tour’s final sweep through North America. The pop star kicked off the tour's last leg on Nov. 20 in Portland, Ore., the first stop on a…

  10. George Harrison, Bee Gees & More to Receive Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards

    December 18, 2014 5:09 PM EST Beloved Beatles legend George Harrison will receive yet another honor in 2015 when the Recording Academy posthumously gives him the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award . Stevie Wonder to Receive All-Star Tribute From Grammys The Bee Gees  and  Buddy Guy  will also be honored with the Grammy…

  11. The Country Music Industry in 2014: Garth's Return, Taylor's Exit

    December 18, 2014 2:49 PM EST With country music at a peak in popularity, the comings and goings in the format seemed more crucial than ever. And there were plenty -- Garth Brooks came back, George Strait decided it was time to go, two guys from a different era came out, and a few stars chose to go out. On the road. In…

  12. Watch Stephen Colbert Sell Michael Stipe at a NYC Yard Sale

    December 18, 2014 12:00 PM EST After nine years on TV, Stephen Colbert is retiring his blustering conservative alter ego Stephen Colbert on Thursday night. So with just hours to go before the end, Colbert rounded up all the junk he's collected over the years on his show and pawned it off at a New York City yard sale…

  13. Music Supervisors for 'Glee,' 'Book of Life,' 'Begin Again' Lead Guild Nominations

    December 18, 2014 9:00 AM EST The Guild of Music Supervisors will hand out its fifth annual awards Jan. 21 at Mack Sennett Studios in Hollywood, honoring music supervisors for their work in motion pictures, television, games, trailers and advertising. Glee supervisor PJ Bloom received three nominations while recently…

  14. Firefly Producers Announce New Big Barrel Country Fest, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Loretta Lynn to Play

    December 18, 2014 7:55 AM EST Red Frog Events, the producers of the Firefly Festival, announce today the launch of the Big Barrel Country Music Festival on June 26-28, the weekend after Firefly, at the Woodlands at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Del., site of Firefly. Headliners include  Blake Shelton , Miranda…

  15. Taylor Swift Leads Billboard Hot 100, Ed Sheeran Soars to Top 10

    December 17, 2014 2:20 PM EST Swift scores her longest career reign as 'Blank Space' rules for a fifth week, while Sheeran posts his best rank as 'Thinking Out Loud' leaps 24-6. Taylor Swift 's "Blank Space" tops the Billboard Hot 100 for a fifth week, granting the superstar her…

  16. Elvis Presley's 'Blue Christmas' Backup Singer Millie Kirkham Dies at 91

    December 17, 2014 11:43 AM EST Millie Kirkham -- a backup singer for Elvis Presley who featured on numerous vintage rock and country songs from the '50s to the '80s -- has passed away at age 91 . Kirkham died on Sunday in Nashville after complications from a stroke she suffered last week. Kirkham lent her high…

  17. Madonna Dismisses New Album Leak As 'Unfinished Demos Stolen Long Ago'

    December 17, 2014 10:29 AM EST Internet, you've screwed up a record release again. Before Madonna had even announced the official title and release date of her upcoming 2015 album, leaked Madonna tracks allegedly comprising the entire album have hit the Internet. Shortly after Twitter exploded with the news, Madge…

  18. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Needs to Venture Outside of Mainstream to Stay Relevant

    December 16, 2014 2:35 PM EST It's fitting that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame revealed its Class of 2015 at midnight last night, because the list of new inductees is very sleepy. Next year, Green Day , Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble , Bill Withers , the Paul Butterfield Blues Band , Joan Jett and the…

  19. Colt Ford Ready to 'Crank It Up!' With First Live DVD

    December 16, 2014 12:00 PM EST Colt Ford has enjoyed a very successful run in the industry since bursting on the scene in the late 2000s. He co-wrote the Jason Aldean blockbuster "Dirt Road Anthem" with Brantley Gilbert , and has shared the stage with many of the biggest stars in the format. His last four discs…

  20. See AC/DC's Albums Ranked From Highest to Lowest Charting

    December 16, 2014 11:30 AM EST Forty-one years after AC/DC formed in Australia, the band's fifteenth studio album -- Rock Or Bust -- has debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 in the United States. As one of the longest-running (not to mention most influential) hard rock bands to form in the '70s, AC/DC managed…

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