Michael Jackson has opted out of this week's Grammys. The announcement, made by a spokesman for the international media, seems strange in the wake of lawsuits and name calling in that tug of war between the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences -- the Grammy people -- and the American Music Awards -- Dick Clark's show -- over which venue the singer would choose.
Jackson, who has had a hard time jump-starting a flagging career and regaining his title of "The King of Pop," is apparently going to focus more of his energies on movie and video production. You may remember that Jackson displeased Clark by backing out of an appearance on January's American Music Awards, fearing that were he to appear there he would be denied an "invite" to the Grammys. That led to December's lawsuit filed by Clark against NARAS CEO Michael Greene.
(Thanks to UPI's Dennis Daily)
U2 leads the field with eight nominations for its best-selling album, "All That You Can't Leave Behind," going into Wednesday night's 44th Annual Grammy Awards.
The Irish rockers are up for album of the year, and for song and record of the year. They also bagged nominations for rock song of the year for both "Elevation" and "Walk On."
The other nominees for album of the year are Bob Dylan's "Love and Theft," rap-rock band Outkast's "Stankonia" and the bluegrass soundtrack album from the movie "O, Brother, Where Art Thou?"
Meanwhile, newcomer India.Arie has seven nominations, and Alicia Keys, six.
The gala at the Staples Center in Los Angeles will feature a reprise of the Grammy-nominated duet between Tony Bennett and Billy Joel on the latter's "New York State of Mind." The track -- from the "Playin' With My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues" album -- is among those up for this year's best pop collaboration with vocals award.
The ceremonies on CBS-TV -- expanded to 3 1/2 hours to accommodate all the performances -- will also feature R&B veteran Patti LaBelle joining Christina Aguilera, Pink, Lil' Kim, Mya and Missy Elliott for a rendition of LaBelle's 1975 No. 1 hit "Lady Marmalade." The remake of the track from the "Moulin Rouge" soundtrack topped The Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks last year and is also nominated for best pop collaboration with vocals.
Other artists scheduled to perform include Bob Dylan, Outkast, Joshua Bell, U2, Alan Jackson, Train, Alicia Keys, Alejandro Sanz with Destiny's Child, Dave Matthews Band, 'N Sync with Nelly, and a tribute to the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack. Presenters include Trisha Yearwood, Don Henley, Bonnie Raitt, Britney Spears, the Dixie Chicks, Gloria Estefan, Gwen Stefani, Janet Jackson, Ja Rule, Kid Rock, and Michael W. Smith.
The pop/rock/R&B/rap nominees:
Record of the Year: "Video," India.Arie; "Fallin,'" Alicia Keys; "Ms. Jackson," OutKast; "Drops of Jupiter," Train; "Walk On," U2.
Album of the Year: "Acoustic Soul," India.Arie; "Love and Theft," Bob Dylan; "Stankonia," OutKast; "All That You Can't Leave Behind," U2; "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," soundtrack, various artists.
Song of the Year: "Drops of Jupiter," Train (Charlie Colin, Rob Hotchkiss, Pat Monahan, Jimmy Stafford & Scott Underwood); "Fallin,'" Alicia Keys (Alicia Keys); "I'm Like a Bird," Nelly Furtado (Nelly Furtado); "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of," U2 (U2); "Video," India.Arie (India.Arie, Carlos "Six July" Broady & Shannon Sanders).
New Artist: India.Arie, Nelly Furtado, David Gray, Alicia Keys, Linkin Park.
Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: "Shape of My Heart," Backstreet Boys; "Superman (It's Not Easy)," Five for Fighting; "Gone," 'N Sync; "Imitation of Life," R.E.M.; "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of," U2.
Pop Collaboration with Vocals: "Lady Marmalade," Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya & Pink; "New York State of Mind," Tony Bennett & Billy Joel; "Nobody Wants To Be Lonely," Ricky Martin with Christina Aguilera; "My Kind of Girl," Brian McKnight & Justin Timberlake; "It Wasn't Me," Shaggy featuring Ricardo "RikRok" Ducent.
Dance Recording: "One More Time," Daft Punk & Romanthony; "I Feel Loved," Depeche Mode; "Out of Nowhere," Gloria Estefan; "All for You," Janet Jackson; "Angel," Lionel Richie.
Pop Vocal Album: "Whoa, Nelly!," Nelly Furtado; "All for You," Janet Jackson; "Songs from the West Coast," Elton John; "Celebrity," 'N Sync; "Lovers Rock," Sade.
Female Rock Vocal Performance: "Strange Little Girl," Tori Amos; "I Want to Be in Love," Melissa Etheridge; "This Is Love," PJ Harvey; "Planets of the Universe," Stevie Nicks; "Get Right with God," Lucinda Williams.
Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: "Jaded," Aerosmith; "Yellow," Coldplay; "The Space Between," Dave Matthews Band; "Drops of Jupiter," Train; "Elevation," U2.
Hard Rock Performance: "Smooth Criminal," Alien Ant Farm; "Crawling," Linkin Park; "Alive," P.O.D.; "Renegades of Funk," Rage Against the Machine; "Your Disease," Saliva.
Metal Performance: "The Wizard," Black Sabbath; "Disciple," Slayer; "Left Behind," Slipknot; "Chop Suey!," System of a Down; "Schism," Tool.
Rock Song: "Drops of Jupiter," Charlie Colin, Rob Hotchkiss, Pat Monahan, Jimmy Stafford & Scott Underwood, songwriters (Train); "Elevation," U2, songwriter (U2); "Jaded," Marti Frederiksen & Steven Tyler, songwriters (Aerosmith); "Walk On," U2, songwriter (U2); "Yellow," Guy Berryman, Jon Buckland, Will Champion & Chris Martin, songwriters (Coldplay).
Rock Album: "Gold," Ryan Adams; "Just Push Play," Aerosmith; "Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea," PJ Harvey; "Hybrid Theory," Linkin Park; "All That You Can't Leave Behind," U2.
Alternative Music Album: "Strange Little Girls," Tori Amos; "Vespertine," Björk; "Parachutes," Coldplay; "Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars," Fatboy Slim; "Amnesiac," Radiohead.
Female R&B Vocal Performance: "Rock the Boat," Aaliyah; "Video," India.Arie; "Family Affair," Mary J. Blige; "Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!)," Blu Cantrell; "Fallin'," Alicia Keys; "A Long Walk," Jill Scott.
Male R&B Vocal Performance: "Missing You," Case; "Lifetime," Maxwell; "Love of My Life," Brian McKnight; "Love," Musiq Soulchild; "U Remind Me," Usher.
R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: "What Would You Do," City High; "Survivor," Destiny's Child; "Can't Believe," Faith Evans featuring Carl Thomas; "Contagious," Isley Brothers; "Peaches & Cream," 112.
R&B Song: "Didn't Cha Know," Erykah Badu, songwriter (Erykah Badu); "Fallin'," Alicia Keys, songwriter (Alicia Keys); "Get Ur Freak On," M. Elliott & T. Mosley, songwriters (Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott); "Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!)," Dallas Austin, songwriter (Blu Cantrell); "Love of My Life," Brian McKnight, songwriter (Brian McKnight); "Video," India.Arie, Carlos "Six July" Broady & Shannon Sanders, songwriters (India.Arie).
R&B Album: "Aaliyah," Aaliyah; "Acoustic Soul," India.Arie; "No More Drama," Mary J. Blige; "Survivor," Destiny's Child; "Songs In A Minor," Alicia Keys.
Traditional R&B Vocal Album: "This Is Regina," Regina Belle; "An American Original," Lamont Dozier; "Three Wishes," Miki Howard; "At Last," Gladys Knight; "For the Love...," The O'Jays.
Rap Solo Performance: "Because I Got High," Afroman; "Who We Be," DMX; "Get Ur Freak On," Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott; "Izzo (H.O.V.A)," Jay-Z; "Ride Wit Me," Nelly.
Rap Performance by a Duo or Group: "Clint Eastwood," Gorillaz; "Put It On Me," Ja Rule featuring Vita; "Change the Game," Jay-Z featuring Beanie Sigel & Memphis Bleek; "Ms. Jackson," OutKast; "Bad Boy for Life," P. Diddy, Black Rob & Mark Curry.
Rap/Sung Collaboration: "Let Me Blow Ya Mind," Eve featuring Gwen Stefani; "Livin' It Up," Ja Rule featuring Case; "Where the Party At," Jagged Edge featuring Nelly; "Area Codes," Ludacris featuring Nate Dogg; "W," Mystic & Planet Asia.
Rap Album: "Scorpion," Eve; "Pain Is Love," Ja Rule; "The Blueprint," Jay-Z; "Back for the First Time," Ludacris; "Stankonia," OutKast.
THEY HOPE TO AMUSE THE QUEEN
Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Brian Wilson, and Phil Collins are among the artists confirmed for a June 3 concert to mark Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee, marking her 50th anniversary as Britain's monarch. The event -- which will include a classical music concert June 1 -- will be the first public concerts to be held in the Buckingham Palace gardens, Billboard.com reports. Beatles producer George Martin will serve as creative director.
Meanwhile, McCartney's "Drivin' USA" tour is slated to kick off April 1 at the Oakland (Calif.) Coliseum. It'll include 27 shows, including stops in Dallas, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. The full schedule will be announced soon.
Jackson Browne and fellow songwriters Jack Tempchin and J.D. Souther are suing Warner-Chappell Music Inc. for more than $10 million, claiming they were underpaid for their contributions to one of the Eagles' most popular albums.
The Jam! Showbiz Web site quotes court documents saying the songwriters were supposed to receive a fluctuating royalty rate that's currently 7.5 cents per song for their contributions to "Eagles -- Their Greatest Hits, 1971-1974." Instead, they've gotten only about 2.5 cents per song. The lawsuit was filed Monday in Los Angeles.
The album, meanwhile, has sold 26 million copies, according to the lawsuit, which seeks $10 million in back royalties plus punitive damages. Eagles members Don Henley and Glen Frey co-wrote the songs but are not included in the legal action.
SPEAKING OF JACKSON BROWNE...
Jackson Browne will perform Wednesday night at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City, Calif., to benefit the Center for Steinbeck Studies, the Mercury News reports. Browne is the latest recipient of the Center's John Steinbeck Award, which has previously gone to playwright Arthur Miller, novelist and filmmaker John Sayles and singer/songwriter Bruce Springsteen.
Wednesday marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Steinberk author of such works as "Grapes of Wrath."
RAMONES TRIBUTE ALBUM
Billy Corgan, Marilyn Manson, Static-X and Motorhead have joined the list of artists who'll contribute songs to "We're A Happy Family," the upcoming Ramones tribute album. They join previously confirmed participants including the Offspring, Green Day, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Eddie Vedder, according to RollingStone.com.
The album is due out this summer.
"We were working to get it out on the one-year anniversary of Joey's death," said Rob Zombie, who will record "Blitzkrieg Bop" for the set and is directing the project with Johnny Ramone. "But at the same time, we don't want to rush out a bad record just to meet a deadline. We want it to be a great record, not just a timely one. So now we're trying to wrap the whole thing up in June."
Zombie said he and Johnny Ramone are still waiting on artists like U2, Bruce Springsteen and Joe Strummer, who all expressed interest in the project but have yet to commit to recording a track.
New York-based Riverhead Books has acquired the rights to publish a book based on the personal journals of the late Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain. The yet-untitled work will be published in hardcover later this year, Julie Grau, co-editorial director of the imprint announced Tuesday.
Cobain began keeping his journals -- which consist of 23 notebooks with some 800 pages of writings, lyrics and drawings -- prior to the Seattle-based band's formation until 1994, the year of his death.
"The journals are an intimate, unadulterated portrait of an artist of great influence," Grau said. "They reveal Cobain's vision and design, they document his creative and personal struggles. They are insightful, provocative, moving, funny, and show him to be very smart and very aware."
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]