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Wonder blends hits at Montreux for Jones Sia grabs No. 1 spot on Billboard LOS ANGELES, July 17, (RTRS): Singer-songwriter Sia, the writing talent beh Sia grabs No. 1 spot on Billboard

LOS ANGELES, July 17, (RTRS): Singer-songwriter Sia, the writing talent behind several pop hits, on Wednesday grabbed her own No. 1 spot on the weekly US Billboard 200 chart for the first time with the album “1,000 Forms of Fear,” according to figures from Nielsen SoundScan. In its debut week, “1,000 Forms of Fear,” sold 52,000 copies, the lowest sales figure for a top-selling album in nearly two years, Billboard said. The unconventional artist, who has penned songs for Rihanna and Beyonce among others, has famously shunned the industry’s marketing machine and not shown her face during TV performances of the single “Chandelier.” Surging back into second place from fifth last week was the soundtrack from the animated Disney film “Frozen,” which sold 46,000 copies in its 30th consecutive week in the top five.

British singer-songwriter Sam Smith retained his No. 3 spot with “In the Lonely Hour” selling 42,000 copies, while last week’s No. 1 artist Trey Songz dropped to fourth place as “Trigga” sold 35,000 copies, around a third of the 105,000 sold in its debut week. Another British singer-songwriter, Ed Sheeran, came in at No. 5 with 35,000 copies of “x” sold in its third week after debuting at No. 1. The veteran rockers at Judas Priest scored their highest place on the charts with their 17th studio album “Redeemer of Souls” debuting at No. 6 with 33,000 copies sold, Billboard said. In the digital songs chart, “Rude,” from Canadian reggae fusion band Magic! rose to first place from second last week with 185,000 downloads. Total album sales for the week ended July 13 were 4.1 million, a 19 percent decline from the same week last year, Billboard said. Overall yearto- date album sales are 129.2 million, a 15 percent decrease from the same period last year.

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Motown legend Stevie Wonder gave a soulful two-hour concert at the Montreux Jazz Festival on Wednesday night, blending his hits with covers of the Beatles and Michael Jackson for an audience that included producer Quincy Jones. The African-American singer and songwriter, wearing lime green sunglasses and braids down to his waist, headlined the 48th edition of the prestigious Swiss festival, fulfilling a longtime wish of its late founder Claude “Funky” Nobs. “Tonight’s show is dedicated to a man who talked with me so long about doing this event. He is watching us from up in heaven — Mr Nobs,” Wonder told the sold-out crowd of some 4,000 fans. Addressing Jones, a former codirector of Montreux who was seated in the front row, Wonder said: “Not only a brother but a friend, I’m so grateful I’ve known him since I was 14 years old. He brought out Michael Jackson and so many young artists.” Wonder, a 22-time Grammy winner who has been blind from birth, displayed his versatility, playing piano, harmonica and percussion. He was backed by 10 musicians and four vocalists.

He alternated hit singles including “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)”, “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”, “I Just Called To Say I Love You” with the Beatles hit “Day Tripper”, Paul McCartney’s “Ebony and Ivory” and Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” from the best-selling “Thriller” album produced by Jones. During “Living for the City”, about a poor Mississippi boy encountering racism and New York drug pushers, he said: “How I wish I didn’t have to write a song like this. But I had to write it, because it’s true. There is prejudice in the world.” Wonder, 64, closed the show with “Superstition”, bringing fans in the front rows of seats — who paid 480 Swiss francs ($530) a ticket — to their feet. “It’s been a wonderful night. I was a bit late coming because I wasn’t feeling good at all. But we had such a good time,” he said, apologising for arriving more than an hour late. “Maybe we’ll come back next year,” he added. Some fans who spent 185 Swiss francs ($210) to stand were unable to even enter the packed Auditorium Stravinski, where several women collapsed from the heat and crowded conditions.

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