Music Power Rankings: U2, Britney Spears and Sade shovel in the dough
1) U2 (not ranked): Not only does “Spider-Man,” with music from the band’s Bono and The Edge, finish spinning its long-gestating opening web (see No. 8), U2 leads Forbes list of the 25 highest-paid musicians. The Irish lads made around $195 million between May 2010 and May 2011--and that’s with having to take time off for Bono to recuperate from back surgery.
2) Britney Spears (not ranked): The Femme Fatale tour kicks off in Sacramento to strong reviews. If you want real singing with your live shows, proceed to No. 5.
3) L.A. Reid (not ranked): After leaving Island Def Jam, the “X Factor” judge follows his former boss, Doug Morris, to Sony Music Entertainment to try to revive Epic Records. The label will now include some acts now on Jive Records. But the big question is does this mean “X Factor” releases will go through Epic? TBD.
4) “Book of Mormon” (not ranked): The musical, masterminded by “South Park” and “Avenue Q” creators, not only sweeps the Tonys, but the original cast recording bounded to No. 3 (up a staggering 2,116 percent) on this week’s Billboard 200 following the wins and a 3-day Amazon stunt, which pushed the album for $1.99. It’s the highest charting original cast album since “Hair” in 1969. That's longer than Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber have been alive combined.
5) Sade (not ranked): The band fronted by the British-Nigerian singer of the same name plays first U.S. dates in more than a decade to over-the-top reviews. What a smooth operator.
6) Lucian Grange (not ranked): The Universal Music Group chairman and his second in command Barry Weiss really start to put their stamps on the record company as trims and combines facets of Motown Universal and Island Def Jam. We bet there’s more coming.
7) Kreayshawn (not ranked): White female rapper, whose “Gucci Gucci”has already received 3.1 million views on YouTube, signs with Columbia Records. No more Arby’s for her. Nicki Minaj checks her watch.
8) “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” (not ranked): In what became a survival mission, the little play about Spidey with songs by U2 and Bono finally manages to open on Broadway after 177 preview performances. Better yet, no one from the cast landing in the hospital opening night.
9) I.R.S. (not ranked): The dormant indie label that was home to the likes of R.E.M., Go-Gos, The Alarm and The Buzzcocks will be revived at EMI, which owns the name. Founder Miles Copeland won’t be involved. Really, were there no other names out there left? Sometimes, a label and its legendary history should be allowed to rest in peace.
10) Morrissey (not ranked): The former Smiths frontman and vegetarian, who walked off-stage at Coachella in 2009 because he could smell “burning flesh,” is insisting that venues he plays do not prepare or serve meat on the day of his performance. Not just to him or his crew...to anyone. So far, U.K. venues are complying. Let’s see him try that in Texas.
11) Clarence Clemons (not ranked): The E Street Band saxophonist suffers a stroke just as he’s getting introduced to a whole new audience through Lady Gaga’s The Edge of Glory.” Get better Big Man!!!