<p>&nbsp;The album cover for Sade's 'Soldier of Love'</p>

 The album cover for Sade's 'Soldier of Love'

Credit: Epic Records

Sade registers first No. 1 debut as 'Soldier of Love' marches over competition

Lady Antebellum holds off Jaheim for No. 2 spot

Nearly 25 years after its first No. 1 album, Sade—the singer and the group—returns to the summit with “Soldier of Love.” Not only does the act score its first No. 1 since 1986’s “Promise,” Sade does it really convincingly with 502,000 copies sold, making it the top selling debut of the year.  It also marks the first time the group has debuted at No. 1

The album is Sade’s first set of new material since 2000’s “Lovers Rock,” which debuted No. 3 with sales of 370,000, according to Billboard. Just as Susan Boyle debuted with extremely high sales, Sade's numbers show that older demos are still more than willing to plunk down their money for full albums and don't just cherrypick a song or two off of iTunes.

Lady Antebellum slips to No. 2, but with extremely respectable sales of 208,000, for total sales of 897,000 in three weeks.

R&B singer Jaheim’s “Another Round” comes in at No. 3 with a tally of 112,000. Rounding out the top 10 in terms of debuts, country singer Josh Turner lands at No. 5 with “Haywire,” while contemporary Christian singer TobyMac enters the chart at No. 6.

Despite a critical drubbing, Lil Wayne’s “Rebirth” continues to hold steady at No. 4 with sales of 89,000. The usual suspects, Lady GaGa, Black Eyed Peas, Boyle and Taylor Swift round out the top 10.

<p>Black Eyed Peas in the new video for &quot;Imma Be Rocking Your Body&quot;</p>

Black Eyed Peas in the new video for "Imma Be Rocking Your Body"

Watch: Slammin' new Black Eyed Peas clip for 'Imma Be Rocking Your Body'

Look! It's the robots from 'Transformers'... kind of

Times are tough all over, so maybe the Black Eyed Peas are trying to economize by combining “Imma Be” and “Rock Your Body” into one mega-video called “Imma Be Rocking That Body.”

We kid...there’s nothing cheap about the 10-minute clip. It’s one of the priciest videos we’ve seen come down the pike in a while. This one definitely cost a pretty penny. At least you don't have to feed robots and some of those product placements, like Tuborg beer, clearly helped defray costs.

The clip starts with Will.I.Am arguing with his band-mates about technology and if machines can do everything that humans do. His new studio wizardry is going to take them into “3008.” Enough with the endless plugs, already…Next thing you know, they're in the future, we think...

Like most of the Peas’ songs, the combined tune is all about the beats and partying and the future. And they provide an excellent forum for a video that’s basically a more entertaining remake of “Transformers” complete with breakdancing robots. The ultimate take away? Even gun-toting robots dig the BEP and getting down to them.

And thumbs up to Fergie—all that time in the gyms is clearly paying off. You look awesome rocking that unitard and the space age suit. 

 

Jeff Bridges at the Oscar Luncheon

Jeff Bridges, Academy Award nominee for Best Actor, at the Oscar Luncheon yesterday.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Hanging out with Oscar nominees Jeff Bridges, T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham

'Crazy Heart' party brings out the stars including Elton John, Jon Hamm and Woody Harrelson

It’s good to be in Los Angeles during Oscar season because you get to attend events like the one Hitfix went to last night: a star-studded party held for “Crazy Heart” with performances by the movie’s Oscar nominees Jeff Bridges, T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham.

Did we mention yet that Sir Elton John joined them on stage, as did co-star/Oscar winner Robert Duvall and Harry Dean Stanton? And that fellow “Crazy Heart” nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal and her brother Jake were grooving to the performances as were Jon Hamm, Jennifer Westfeldt, Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson and Peter Fonda?

Held at Vibrato, a restaurant/jazz club off famed Mulholland Drive and owned by Herb Alpert, the party, thrown by New West Records, which released the movie’s fantastic soundtrack, had no red carpet or paparazzi outside. Inside there were no VIP or roped off areas. We chatted with Burnett about running the Oscar gauntlet. He joked that he’s ready for the March 7 award ceremony to get here. “I wish I could be like a bear and just hibernate for the next three weeks.”

Burnett and Bingham are up for best original song for the “Crazy Heart” theme, “The Weary Kind.” You could practically imagine every Oscar voter in the room rushing home to mark his or her ballot for Team Crazy Heart after Bingham gave a weather-beaten performance of the song. Then Bridges, who is nominated for best actor for his performance of dissolute singer/songwriter Bad Blake, and Burnett took the stage, joined by Duvall, who sang “Red River Valley,” backed by Stanton on harmonica. Bridges and Burnett played the movie’s “Fallin’ & Flying,” which is a country hit just waiting to happen. Elton John hopped on stage to pound the ivories on “I Don’t Know,” also from the movie. (Sir Elton's connection? Burnett is producing John's new album with John's musical hero Leon Russell).

Content to take in the music from the balcony, Hamm and Westfeldt raved about the performance and the hidden away venue. “We couldn’t believe this place was in a strip mall with a kid’s clothing store,” Hamm said.

Also watching from upstairs was Judy Cairo, one of “Crazy Heart’s” producers, who admits the whole ride has been like a dream. As is now part of the movie’s lore, “Crazy Heart” was shot in fall of 2008 and was originally supposed to come out on Vantage, Paramount’s indie division. When Vantage shuttered, the movie was temporarily homeless until Fox Searchlight picked it up. Cairo had nothing but praise for how Paramount treated the movie as the film sought to find a new distributor. And talk about a 180-degree turn in subject matter: Cairo’s next movie is “Hysteria,” a comedy about the invention of the vibrator during Victorian times starring Rupert Everett and Jonathan Pryce. We’d like to hear what kind of song Bad Blake would write about that.
 

<p>&nbsp;The famous Abbey Road zebra-crossing</p>

 The famous Abbey Road zebra-crossing

Credit: Akira Suemori/AP

Abbey Road Studio, made famous by the Beatles, is up for sale

We humbly suggest that Paul McCartney buy it

Abbey Road, the famous London studio where the Beatles recorded their classic albums, is up for sale.

As you may know, EMI, which has owned Abbey Road since 1929, is in a mess of financial trouble. EMI is one of the four major record companies (along with Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music). Therefore, in an effort to clear itself of some of its debt, it has put the legendary London studio up for sale, according to the Financial Times. EMI wouldn’t comment and the purchase price, in case you were interested in buying it, isn’t listed.

Abbey Road is best known as the Beatles’ studio—the fab four loved it so much that they named their classic 1969 album after it—and, of course, the cross walk in front of the studio where every tourist now feels compelled to replicate the “Abbey Road” album cover.

However, its history is far more vast than just the mop tops. As home of the London Symphony Orchestra, it is one of the few recording studios that can house an orchestra, musicians love it for its pristine sound. When British superstar Clift Richard began recording there in the ‘50s, it entered its rock phase. Among the artists who have recorded at Abbey Road include Pink Floyd, The Zombies, Kate Bush, Duran Duran, Radiohead, Oasis, Kanye West and U2. We've interviewed artists who recorded there and they state that it's magical. It's plainer than they expected, but the feeling of history practically seeps out of the walls.

The Financial Times says it is unclear if EMI will sell the Abbey Road brand name (apparently they own the rights to the name) along with the studio.

Studios like Abbey Road are pretty much seen as relics and I can’t imagine it’s possible to run it at a profit as a studio, but if someone is smart, they should buy it and turn it into a tourist attraction, like Sun Studios in Memphis. Yes, we’re talking to you Paul McCartney.
 

Jack White of The White Stripes
Credit: AP Photo

Watch: The White Stripes live video for 'Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground'

New clip comes from duo's 2007 10th anniversary show in Nova Scotia

Even though we don't  know if we’ll get new music from the pair, March is a big month for White Stripes fans. That’s when a box set will come out that covers all things White Stripes. Plus, a documentary capturing the band’s 2007 Canadian tour, “The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights,” also premieres at SXSW. The tour culminated in the band’s 10th anniversary show in Nova Scotia.

The documentary is included in the limited edition box set as well as a double vinyl LP featuring 16 live songs from the 2007 Canadian tour, a hardcover photography book, a CD that covers the same songs as the vinyl, a 7-inch colored vinyl single, a silkscreened print and a lock of Jack White and Meg White’s hair (we’re kidding about the last part—who do you think they are, Lady GaGa?) This is all yours for $229.

If you can’t wait until March 16 or don’t have that kind of moolah, enjoy this little sneak peak from the documentary, courtesy of our friends at Spinner. It’s the duo performing “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” at the Nova Scotia show.
 

 

<p>&nbsp;Susan Boyle records her part of the charity single 'Everybody Hurts'</p>

 Susan Boyle records her part of the charity single 'Everybody Hurts'

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Anderson, SYCO Music, ho

'Everybody Hurts' remake helps Haiti as it comes in at No. 1 on U.K. chart

How will sales of new 'We are the World' compare?

It’s the battle of the charity singles and the winner will be Haitian earthquake relief organizations. The star-studded remake of R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts,” coordinated by Simon Cowell, debuted at No. 1 on the U.K. Singles chart on Monday. It debuted rather convincingly: with sales of 453,000, it is the fastest-selling charity single in the U.K. of the 2000s, according to Billboard.

Among the artists on the Syco/Sony single are Susan Boyle, Leona Lewis, Mika, Michael Buble, Jon Bon Jovi, Robbie Williams, Mariah Carey and Kylie Minogue.Read our review here.

We’ll see on Wednesday how “Everybody Hurts” is faring in the U.S., as well as what kind of a start “We Are the World 25 for Haiti” achieved in its first three days of sales. “We Are the World,” which also benefits Haitian relief efforts, debuted during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.

Although the remake of the song originally recorded in 1984 to aid African famine relief efforts has been widely panned (read our assessment here), there are surely enough people who want to download it to help the cause to propel it to No. 1 on the Billboard 100 on sales alone. The official video has been watched more than 5.7 million times on YouTube alone since its Friday release and also tops iTunes’ singles and video chart. “World” features Jennifer Hudson, Justin Bieber, Jennifer Nettles, Barbra Streisand, Kanye West, Josh Groban, Fergie, Pink and footage of Michael Jackson from the 1984 recording.

 

<p>&nbsp;Madonna</p>

 Madonna

Credit: Nelson Antoine/AP

Following Lady Antebellum and Sade, the pickings are slim for this week's new releases

Jason Falkner, Juliana Hatfield and Madonna remix single lead the release slate

Hopefully you have some Valentine's Day candy to last you through this week for your excitement because the album pickings are slim. After a few stellar weeks with new releases from Lady Antebellum, Lil Wayne and Sade, the slate slows to a stop this week. Valentine’s Day has become a major sales pivot (look for sales of Michael Buble and Susan Boyle to go up next week), but the week after is low key. Here are a few of the Feb. 16 releases worth cheering about, but none of them will make a dent on the upper reaches of the charts.

Jason Falkner, “I’m OK, You’re OK” (Cobraside): Fans of smart pop love Jason Falkner for a good reason: he writes melodies that embed themselves in your brain and don’t let go. But if you were a Jellyfish fan, Falkner’s brilliant earlier band, you already knew that.

Juliana Hatfield, “Peace & Love” (Ye Olde): Indie rocker’s releases her 11th studio album via her own label. The set is her most acoustic effort yet and is truly a DIY project: Hatfield wrote, performed, produced, engineered and mixed everything herself. In fact, she’s probably at the CD pressing plant right now putting the CDs in the jewel cases.

Madonna, “Revolver” (Warner Bros.): Madonna’s soon-to-be former label just keeps churning out material. This time it’s an 8-song remix project featuring six remixes of “Revolver,” her single with Lil Wayne that went nowhere, plus two versions of “Celebration,” a single that should have done better. Remixers include David Guetta and Paul van Dyk. We know it's a glorified single, but we wanted to throw in some well-known name here.

Story of the Year, “The Constant” (Epitaph): St. Louis band, and former Vans Warped tour headliner, releases its second album for Epitaph. Hear the rock band’s new album for free before you buy it:
 

Leona Lewis live in Germany

Leona Lewis isn't sitting on the floor in this photo for an inexplicable reason like in her new video.

Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Leona Lewis’s new video for ‘I Got You’

On latest single from 'Echo,' Lewis lends a helping hand

Things haven’t gone quite as planned for Leona Lewis with “Echo,” her follow up to her platinum plus debut “Spirit.” The album has only sold 175,000 in its first three months of release. Additionally, “I See You,” her end-title song from “Avatar,” is about the only thing from the movie that didn’t score an Oscar nod.

But despite her own personal setbacks, she’s got your back. That’s the message in “I Got You,” her brand new video for her current melodramatic, sweet single. Although it would appear she’s here for you from a distance.

As various beautiful people go through various states of breakdown—from what, we’re not sure-- Lewis assures us from the safety of her gorgeous penthouse suite, that she’s “got you… a place to crash, no need to ask, I got you.”

No one here has a standard breakdown on their standard issue sofa; they’re either in the middle of the desert or in a pool, in their bathroom, a stairwell or on the side of the road. But don’t worry, Lewis is coming.
 

 

Doug Fieger, lead singer of the Knack, dies of cancer

Doug Fieger, lead singer of the Knack, dies of cancer

The group's biggest hit, 'My Sharona,' topped the charts for six weeks

Doug Fieger, lead singer of the Knack, died today following a long battle with cancer. He was 57. The Detroit News, Fieger’s hometown paper, has all the details here.

The Knack were great purveyors of power pop. They never rose to the heights of a Cheap Trick or the Raspberries, but for a short time they knew how to combine the perfect pop melody and beat with just the right amount of bite. Think about “My Sharona” or “Good Girls Don’t,” the band’s two biggest hits. “My Sharona” was No. 1 for six weeks in 1979. It’s impossible not to hear that great drum beat, classic guitar riff and stuttering "My-my-my-my Sharona" in your head the minute you hear the song title, isn’t it? it meets right at that sweet intersection of pop and new wave. The album that featured “My Sharona,” “Get the Knack,” was No. 1 on the album chart for six weeks.

I wonder if the Knack could get away with some of their lyrics these days… or at least not have radio ask for some kind of edit. For example, “My Sharona” has the classic lyric about “I always get it up for the touch of the younger kind.” I’m not so sure that wouldn’t be seen as some kind statement from a pedophile, whereas at the time, it just seemed leering and lascivious as opposed to criminal.

Similarly, on the sweaty, sticky “Good Girls Don’t,” which peaked at No. 11, the protagonist, who is presumably the same age as the teenage girl he’s lusting after, is consumed with getting his girl. And, in fact, he knows he won’t be able to escape this madness “‘til she’s sitting on your face.”

I don’t know if there was a stir when either one of these songs came out about the lyrics being too much or too racy or inappropriate. I just know a few years ago I was on the treadmill to “Good Girls Don’t” and literally stopped and thought, “Did he just sing what I think he did.” And he did. I had never really paid attention to the lyrics before.

Rock and roll shouldn’t be safe and the Knack’s lyrics were just bad enough to make you not want to hear the song with your parents in the room, but not terrible enough to be offensive. Their reign may have been short, but it left a great legacy.

Here's a link to the official video for "My Sharona."

 

Courtney Love on the Jonathan Ross show.
Credit: BBC

Watch: Courtney Love performs new song 'Samantha'

Love and her band Hole remain upright on Jonathan Ross's show

Courtney Love and her reconfigured band, Hole performed ne single, “Samantha,” on Jonathon Ross’s show in England on Thursday night.

The good news, depending upon your perspective, is that Love got through the song without embarrassing herself. No trainwreck here, move along. Although the performance was pre-taped, so we have no idea if there was some cleaning up done.

The bad news is the song, written by Linda Perry and Billy Corgan, pretty much blows and must set some kind of record for usage of the word “sucks” in a song. It feels weird to say this, but it would be better if Love brought a little more of the crazy during the choruses. We are digging the red eye make-up and bad, Stevie Nicks-type wig.

See "Samantha" below.