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Allen retains top spot in UK chart ‘Nashville’ soundtrack slick and solid

LONDON, Dec 16, (Agencies): English singer Lily Allen retained the number one spot in Britain’s single charts for a second week running on Sunday, putting her in a strong position to dominate the charts at Christmas. Allen’s version of “Somewhere only we know” — a song originally released in 2004 by British band Keane — features in a major pre-Christmas advertising campaign for the John Lewis department store. It had previously seized the top spot in November only to lose it a week later before reclaiming it last week. Accompanied by an animated film about a bear and a hare, Allen’s track fought off a late challenge from Leona Lewis whose song “One More Sleep” shot from 34th to number three, the Official Charts Company said. “Hey Brother”, a track by Swedish DJ Avicii, was also a strong climber, going from eighth to number two.

In the albums chart, British singer Robbie Williams pushed One Direction’s “Midnight Memories” out of the top slot into second place with his latest album “Swings Both Ways”. Released four weeks ago, Williams’ album initially shot to number one only to be knocked off the top slot a week later. It has since sold over 400,000 copies and is on track to be one of this year’s biggest sellers. American singer Beyonce pulled off the biggest surprise of the week, releasing a self-titled digital-only entry without any prior notice on Friday morning.

“The Music of Nashville: Original Soundtrack Season 2, Volume 1” (Big Machine Records)
Like the rare, maybe mythical man who only reads Playboy for the articles, some must surely claim to watch “Nashville” solely for the music. That’s no crime — those who aren’t much for sudsy nighttime soaps would do well to check out the ABC show’s songs on “The Music of Nashville: Original Soundtrack Season 2, Volume 1.” While the storylines strain credulity, these sonic underpinnings hold the show together — as should be the case with a series set and filmed in Music City. The actors sing their own parts, and the leads, Hayden Panettiere and Connie Britton, do fine jobs at the mic. Yet the true revelations are found in the musical chops of others, such as Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio.

With earnings of $125 million, pop singer Madonna is the highest-paid woman in music, easily surpassing Lady Gaga and country-pop singer Taylor Swift, Forbes has said. Her income for the 12-month period used by the magazine also made her the highest-earning celebrity overall, it said. Much of Madonna’s earnings from June 2012 to June 2013 were from her worldwide MDNA Tour, which pulled in $305 million. But the 55-year-old singer, who jumped from ninth place in 2012, also made money with merchandising sales, her fragrance and from her Material Girl clothing line. She is “music’s top earner of any genre or gender and the highest-paid celebrity of any stripe,” according to Forbes. Lady Gaga, with $80 million, jumped from No. 4 to No. 2 this year, despite her Born This Way Ball tour being cut short due to an injury. Gaga, 27, released her album “ARTPOP” after the cut off date for Forbes’ annual earnings calculations.

The Rolling Stones came to Adam Cooper’s house to celebrate one of his early birthdays, and gave him two signed guitars. Two days later, Keith Richards came knocking, and sheepishly asked to borrow the acoustic one to record a song: “Ruby Tuesday.” “Of course I still have this instrument!” Cooper laughs, four decades later. “It’s very well protected, because I think it’s worth a fortune!” Cooper, now 49, had a childhood millions of Stones fans could only dream of: He was part of the band’s extended family for a decade as the son of British photographer Michael Cooper, who captured 3,500 images of their intimate daily life. Some 100 of these photographs are on display in “Stones 50,” an exhibition that opened Friday and runs through February at the Centro Cultural Borges in Buenos Aires before moving to Chile and other stops in Latin America.

Virtually every entertainer has a misfire. But it’s news when an album by one of the best-selling recording artists in history quickly tumbles down the charts. Celine Dion’s first all-new English-language album in six years, “Loved Me Back to Life,” entered the Billboard 200 at No. 2. But just five weeks later, it’s plummeted to No. 35. “Of course, the record company wants to be the No. 1,” said Dion. “They want to sell records. They want to make money. And don’t get me wrong, I want to. But I’m proud about what I have done with this record.” According to the Metacritic website, the majority of the album’s reviews have been positive. And even some of the negative critiques have paused to praise Dion’s emerging vocal maturity.

The Newport Jazz Festival is kicking off its 60th anniversary with a 17-city US tour. The concerts in February and March will feature an ensemble of jazz artists picked by festival creator George Wein (ween). They include clarinetist-saxophonist Anat Cohen, vocalist-pianist Karrin Allyson, bassists Larry Grenadier and Ben Allison, among others. Wein says the group features artists from around the world who represent different eras and styles of jazz. Called “Newport Jazz Festival: Now 60,” the tour kicks off Feb 8 in Atlanta and includes dates in Boston, New York, Chicago, Kansas City, Mo, and Los Angeles. Other concerts are expected later in the summer, including some dates in Europe. This year’s festival is scheduled for Aug 1-3 in Newport.

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