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Aerosmith returns to the road with Global Warming tour

Will they make it through the dates without killing each other?

After Steven Tyler has wrapped up his season two “American Idol” judging duties, look for him to return to his day job: Aerosmith will start its first U.S. tour in two years on June 16 at Minneapolis’s Target Center.

There’s no word yet on if the new album, which the band has been working on for ages now, will be ready by then.  Aerosmith’s last studio album was 2004’s “Honkin’ On Bobo.”

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<p>Lionel Richie &quot;Tuskegee&quot;</p>

Lionel Richie "Tuskegee"

Album Review: Lionel Richie's 'Tuskegee' pairs him with country's finest

Does 'Dancing on the Ceiling' cut it as a country track?

By calling his new album, “Tuskegee,” after his hometown, instead of the much-more accurate, “Nashville,” Lionel Richie is determined to let fans  that he grew up listening to country music.

For those who think it’s a stretch for the popmeister to re-record some of his biggest hits with such country stars as Jason Aldean, Darius Rucker, Shania Twain, Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney, remember that Richie has a legacy at country radio: Conway Twitty recorded “Three Times A Lady,” Alabama performed “Deep River Woman” with him, and, of course, Kenny Rogers took “Lady” to the top of not only the country charts, but Billboard’s Hot 100 and Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks.  (Read my interview with Richie here).

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<p>&nbsp;One Direction</p>
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 One Direction

Credit: Charlies Sykes/AP

Music Power Rankings: One Direction tops The Hunger Games and Madonna

Veteran rockers also make the list

1) One Direction: The boy band becomes the first British group ever to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with its first album. We doubt Paul McCartney is losing any sleep over not getting that record.

2) "The Hunger Games" soundtrack:
The movie will likely break the $138 million mark this weekend, while the excellent T Bone Burnett-produced soundtrack will handily come in at No. 1 next week. Let’s home he doesn’t have to fight Adele to the death for the top spot.

3) Motley Crue and KISS: The two veteran rock groups announce a summer tour together. They promise to rock and roll all night or until the early bird special, whichever comes first.

4) Madonna: As she prepares to release “MDNA” on Monday, she holds a Facebook Q&A with Jimmy Fallon on Saturday. We’d loved to have seen a few TV performances, other than the Super Bowl. We’re just saying.

5) Dr. Dre: The hip-hop artist/producer will produce the forthcoming horror thriller, “Thaw.” Man, he’ll do anything to keep from finishing and releasing “Detox.” It’s his “Chinese Democracy.”

6) Adam Levine: His resurrection continues. After “The Voice’s” exposure helped give the Maroon 5 singer the band’s biggest hit yet, he is now delving into acting, and is in negotiations to appear on season two of “American Horror Story.” Taking bets now on how his character will die.

7) Skrillex: Skrillex, David Guetta, Diplo and 30 other electronic dance musicians sign exclusive residencies with the Wynn in Las Vegas. Folks can go to their sets right after seeing Garth Brooks.

8) The Black Keys: The duo apologizes to Nickelback for calling them the worst band in the world in an incredibly backhanded apology by adding they aren’t the only ones who don’t like the Canadian band.  Hey, at least they said Chad Kroeger has better hair than they do.

9) Lionel Richie: The icon sells more than 20,000 copies of new album, “Tuskegee,” on HSN. Susan Boyle, who sold 80,000 albums when she plugged it on QVC laughs. Her record-setting hour required no dancing on the ceiling.

10) Whitney Houston: The autopsy released this week reveals cause of death is drowning and hardening of arteries brought on by cocaine use. Nothing but sadness.


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<p>The cover of the &quot;Hunger Games&quot; soundtrack</p>
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The cover of the "Hunger Games" soundtrack

Will 'The Hunger Games' top the Billboard 200 as well as the box office?

Movie soundtrack has a wide margin going into the weekend

The revolving door at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 looks likely to continue next week as “The Hunger Games” soundtrack will be the fourth title to top the chart in as many weeks.

As of Friday, the soundtrack to the box office winner had a commanding lead over Adele’s “21,” which has hung out at No. 2 since being pushed out the top spot by Bruce Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball” a few weeks ago, according to Hits Daily Double. “The Hunger Games” is on track to sell up to 200,000 copies by Sunday’s chart close. “21” will likely see up to 135,000.

In addition to “The Hunger Games,” three other albums will likely debut in the top 10: The Shins’ “Port of Morrow” will come in at No. 3, while Odd Future’s “The Odd Future Tape Vol. 2,” will bow at No. 5. Grammy winner Melanie Fiona’s sophomore set, “The MF Life,” should hold off a charge from “Now That’s What I Call Music” to land at No. 8.

This week’s No. 1, One Direction’s “Up All Night,” will likely fall to No. 4, while Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball” drops to No. 6. Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Hits” remains in the top 10 six weeks after her death at No. 7.
Rounding out the top 10 is fun.’s “Some Nights,” which will likely remain at No. 10.

Billboard will announce the chart results Wednesday morning.

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<p>Lionel Richie</p>
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Lionel Richie

Credit: AP Photo

Interview: Lionel Richie talks country, a Las Vegas residency and much more

New album, 'Tuskegee,' pairs him with Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney and more

Lionel Richie now knows what it feels like to give birth. The superstar expected it to only take a few weeks to record “Tuskegee,” his new album out Monday  (March 26) that pairs him with a number of top country acts on new versions of his classic tunes. Instead, the process dragged on for nearly 10 months.

“We had a baby, and by the way it was the most painful baby I got in my whole life, but in the end, look at the baby,” he says, glowing with pride. And what a baby it is— with many, many parents. Among the acts recording both his solo and Commodores hits with Richie are Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles, Blake Shelton, Jimmy Buffett, Shania Twain and Willie Nelson. The album also reunites Richie with Kenny Rogers, who took Richie's "Lady" to the top of three Billboard charts in 1980: country, Hot 100 and adult contemporary. Rogers' version also reached No. 42 on the Top Black Singles chart.

Before the first volume has even been released, Richie is already hoping for a volume two and there’s plenty of hits left off “Tuskegee,” including “Still,” “Three Times A Lady,”  and “Sweet Love,”  to warrant one. “They’ll be a part two with more new songs,” Richie predicts.

Richie has been stumping for the new album harder then the Republican presidential candidates and his enthusiasm about the project is infectious. He recently held a party at his Beverly Hill mansion for select radio program directors and press. It’s as gorgeous and lovely a home as you would imagine (my whole apartment would fit into the drive way). He played each of the album’s 13 songs and gave amusing anecdotes about recording each one.

The acts picked their own songs, many made their selections based on memories a certain tune triggered for them. Richie encouraged them to make the tune their own. “They’d say, ‘But Mr. Richie that will overshadow you,’ and I’d say, ‘Exactly. What a wonderful thing’,” he said when I interviewed him at the end of the evening. “What I’ve found in artistry sometimes is there’s an ego that happens where I have to out sing you or outperform you. That’s if you’re purely a singer. I’m purely a writer.”

By approaching the project as the writer, his attitude was. “How can you make my kids shine?  We’re going to buff up my babies... Someone said to me tonight, which I thought was the best compliment ever, ‘Why am I thinking that this version of your songs is better than the old version?’ I said, ‘Because it’s the new version’.”

The boldest artist was Darius Rucker, who flatly told Richie that he was singing Richie’s part on “Stuck On You.” “By the way, he was dead serious,” Richie recalls with a laugh. “Can you imagine telling Frank Sinatra  ‘I’m singing your part and you have to find your part.’ Frank would be out of there. [I said], ‘You guys, I want you to make this songs yours and I’ll kind of scat in between. I’ll be around.”

Most of the album was recorded in Nashville, but Richie traveled to the Bahamas to record an island-flavored “Endless Love” with Shania Twain, who was recording for the first time after going through a debilitating vocal paralysis that left her unable to sing.

“I think the one that was the most rewarding was pulling Shania out of that thing she was in. I didn’t realize it, she was gone,” he recalls. “By the way, she’s still gone because I need to talk to her more to get her back, but the more she performs, the more she’s going to get it back. But she was scared to death. I think [Vegas] will help her.” Twain starts a residency at Caesars Palace in December.

Speaking of, is Richie the next artist, following in the footsteps of Elton John, Cher, Celine Dion, Garth Brooks and Twain, to start a concert residency in Las Vegas? He seems a natural fit given his raft of hits and his wide appeal.

“I would love to do that “ Richie says, and admits he’s been approached already. He thinks it will happen eventually, but it is likely a ways off.

"It would be a great thing after a while, probably a couple more years, where I’ll have a [residency] where I can stay here, hang out, go there... commute or even what’s happening right now with Garth Brooks: he flies in and out [after each weekend’s shows].  I’m still a songwriter. There’s something about flying around the world. By the time I get home, I know the next album, I know the next song.”

Richie will be hitting Vegas the weekend of March 31 for the Academy of Country Music Awards, which air live April 1. The following night, CBS will tape “Lionel Richie and Friends: A Lifetime of Hits.”  The special, which will air later this Spring, will feature many of the artists who appear on “Tuskegee,” as well as several others, including The Band Perry and Lady Antebellum.

Follow Melinda Newman on Twitter @HitfixMelinda

"Tuskegee" Tracklisting

“You Are” with Blake Shelton
“Say You, Say Me” with Jason Aldean
“Stuck On You” with Darius Rucker
“Deep River Woman” with Little Big Town
“My Love” with Kenny Chesney
“Dancing On The Ceiling” with Rascal Flatts
“Hello” with Jennifer Nettles
“Sail On” with Tim McGraw
“Endless Love” with Shania Twain
“Just For You” with Billy Currington
“Lady” with Kenny Rogers
“Easy” with Willie Nelson
“All Night Long” with Jimmy Buffett


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Listen: Four new songs from Adam Lambert's 'Trespassing' emerge
Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Four new songs from Adam Lambert's 'Trespassing' emerge

What's the new release date for the 'American Idol's' set?

Adam Lambert's "Trespassing" will now come out May 15. The "American Idol's" sophomore post-show set had originally been slated to come out this week, on March 20, but the album was pushed back.

Lambert calls "Trespassing" "an exciting journey through the past two years of my life.  It's been a transformative period and I really wanted to make music from what I've experienced.  All these songs honestly explore the ups and downs of my reality."

[More after the jump...]

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Album Review: Madonna finds beauty in the beat on 'MDNA'
Credit: Interscope Records

Album Review: Madonna finds beauty in the beat on 'MDNA'

Can the Material Girl still shock and surprise?

For all her success, there’s always seemed to be something remote about Madonna, as if she’s behind glass. So it comes as a bit of a shock at first that tucked within “MDNA’s” often sterile beats, she shows the most emotion that we’ve heard from her. Talk about confessions on a dancefloor...

Madonna’s 12th studio album, out March 26,  touches on two of her favorite go-tos: religion and dance, but she’s added scorned spouse to the mix.  “MDNA” is triptych into her psyche and there’s a lot going on in that platinum head of hers, most of it set to throbbing beats per minute.

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<p>John Legend</p>

John Legend

Credit: AP Photo

John Legend returns to studio for work on first album since 2010's 'Wake Up!'

New set will be out in September, says singer

John Legend is in London working on his new album, his first since 2010's 'Wake Up!," his collection with The Roots. His last solo album of new material was 2008's "Evolver." 

Wednesday the soulful singer tweeted that he was headed to London. “Working on the album. Should be done in the next couple of months and out in Sept.”

He wasted no time getting to work. Thursday afternoon, producer Paul Epworth, best known for his work with Adele, tweeted, “Back in the studio with Mr. @johnlegend making weird and tripped out psychedelic soul music.”

In response to a fan’s question about the album, Legend replied “the vocals on this album will be my best yet.”

While fans wait for new music from Legend, they can enjoy his song, “Tonight (Best You Ever Had)” featuring Ludacris,  which is featured in the movie, “Think Like A Man.” The film opens April 20.


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Credit: AP Photo

Pitbull pens 'Back in Time' theme song for 'Men In Black 3'

Tune goes to radio on Monday

Pitbull will travel “Back In Time” for the theme song to “Men In Black 3.”

The adventure comedy, which features a reunited Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, takes Agent J (Smith) back in time to discover secrets that Jones’ Agent K never told him. Josh Brolin plays the young Agent K.

Pitbull wrote the tune, which goes to radio on Monday, March 26, with Marc Kinchen, Adrian Trejo and Urales Vargas. The song features a sample from Mickey & Sylvia’s 1950s hit “Love is Strange.”

“Wanting to keep the music fun, yet modern, we used the slogan of the movie and flipped it back into the song that in order to understand the future, you have to go back in time,” Pitbull said in a statement.

Director Barry Sonnenfeld was turned on to Pitbull by his 19-year old daughter, who is a fan of the Latin rapper.

“Men In Black 3” comes out in 3D on May 25.  Watch the trailer here.


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<p>One Direction (Liam Payne center)</p>

One Direction (Liam Payne center)

Credit: AP Photo

Interview: One Direction's Liam Payne talks setting records and ardent fans

What's with the rumored Nickelodeon show? Plus: boy band sets U.S. tour dates

One Direction goes only one way: straight to the top. On Wednesday, the British boy band accomplished what no other act from the U.K. has. Not the Beatles, not Coldplay, not Pink Floyd, not the Spice Girls. This week, the quintet became the first group from the U.K. to debut their first album at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. “Up All Night” knocked Bruce Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball” out of the top spot, selling 176,000 copies.

The group’s Liam Payne, whose voice is the first you hear on the band’s rising single “What Makes You Beautiful,”  says he can’t get his head around coming in at No. 1. “We never expected anything like this to happen. We thought we might have a record in the U.K., maybe, but never come out to America and have a No. 1 album. It [is] beyond all of our wildest dreams,” says Payne.

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