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Author: Simon Vozick-Levinson (1-10 of 822)

Pete Seeger dies at 94


Pete Seeger, the iconic folk singer who dedicated his decades-long career to using music to fight for peace and justice for all, died Jan. 27 at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He was 94.

Beginning in the 1940s, Seeger played an instrumental role in the rise of folk music as a popular form. On his own and as a member of the Weavers, the banjo-playing New Yorker followed in the footsteps of legends like Woody Guthrie, bringing traditional songs sung by common Americans to a wider audience as well as composing soon-to-be-classic original tunes like “If I Had a Hammer.” Seeger became a nationwide star in 1950 when the Weavers’ cover of Leadbelly’s “Goodnight, Irene” became a No. 1 smash.

Yet Seeger’s blossoming career was nearly cut short forever in 1955 when he refused to testify before Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s notorious House Un-American Activities Committee about his associations with the leftist movement. Seeger’s subsequent blacklisting severely limited his ability to make a living through music. Seeger didn’t give up in the face of such crude intimidation, though — not then, not ever. Instead, he redoubled his musical activism, working hard to rally fellow citizens in support of labor unions and civil rights. READ FULL STORY

Esperanza Spalding: Who is the surprise Best New Artist?

Esperanza-SpaldingImage Credit: Sandrine LeeFor Esperanza Spalding, the jazz bassist-singer named Best New Artist at Sunday’s Grammys (much to the shock of Justin Bieber fans, some of whom attacked Spalding’s Wikipedia page in protest), just being in the category was an honor. “I certainly did not expect to even be considered for that type of nomination, me being a little old jazz musician and everything,” she told EW in December after the nominees were announced. “Everybody and their mother-law started texting me and saying, ‘Oh my God!'” READ FULL STORY

'Billboard' launches Uncharted chart for little-known artists

The charts published by Billboard each week have traditionally been meant to measure albums’ and singles’ success in terms of sales and airplay. But what about newer artists who are building careers in other ways? Billboard‘s new Uncharted chart, introduced for the first time this week, is designed to highlight those under-served up-and-comers.

According to Billboard, the Uncharted chart is based on “a formula of online exposure incorporating streamed plays, page views and fans according to MySpace Music as well as sources tracked by online aggregator Next Big Sound, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter,, ReverbNation, SoundCloud, iLike and Wikipedia among others.” The chart ranks artists, not their releases; anyone who has appeared on a major Billboard chart like the Hot 100 or Billboard 200 is disqualified. READ FULL STORY

Lil Wayne announces 'I Am Music II' tour

Lil-WayneImage Credit: Christopher Polk/Getty ImagesLil Wayne has announced his first major tour since leaving prison last November. His “I Am Music II” tour will hit arenas in 25 North American cities between March 18 and April 29.

Weezy’s opening acts will include his Young Money protégée Nicki Minaj, Miami star Rick Ross, Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, and Beastie Boys DJ Mixmaster Mike.

A press release announcing the tour confirms that Wayne’s Tha Carter IV is expected to drop some time this spring.

Check out Lil Wayne’s full tour itinerary after the jump. Will you be buying tickets to any of these dates? READ FULL STORY

Kanye West on Twitter: 'Watch the Throne' coming in March, plus another new album this summer

kanye-westImage Credit: Ben Hider/Getty ImagesKanye West has big plans for 2011. This weekend, he took to Twitter to announce a timeframe for three upcoming projects.

“I’ll be back this SUMMER!!!!!!!!!!!” West promised on Sunday, shortly before clarifying this Terminator-esque declaration. Watch the Throne, his collaborative album with Jay-Z, is apparently “COMING IN 2 MONTHS!!!!!!!!!!” Before that happens, his music video for “All of the Lights” will arrive “IN 1 WEEK!!!!!!” Best of all, West touted “MY NEW ALBUM COMING THIS SUMMER.”

This is the first anyone has heard of a new solo album from West. As if Watch the Throne weren’t enough for fans to anticipate, now we have a whole other LP to look forward to. READ FULL STORY

Jennifer Hudson reveals sophomore album plans

Jennifer-HudsonImage Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage.comJennifer Hudson is almost ready to release her sophomore album. The American Idol alum announced today via press release that I Remember Me, the follow-up to her self-titled 2008 debut, will arrive on March 22 via Arista Records.

Next Monday, Jan. 24, Hudson will release the first single from the album to radio. It’s called “Where You At,” and it was written and produced by R. Kelly. A short snippet of the song is available now on Hudson’s official site. READ FULL STORY

Robyn opening for Katy Perry on summer tour

robyn-katy-perryImage Credit: Rankin; Emma SummertonRobyn will open for Katy Perry on a North American tour this summer. A Perry rep confirms that (as first reported in Billboard) the Swedish pop singer will join the California gurl on select dates during her June-August run across the continent. Welsh artist Marina & the Diamonds will also open some dates; it remains unclear exactly which acts will appear at which shows. READ FULL STORY

Lady Gaga debuts new remix: Listen here

lady-gagaImage Credit: Faustine/Dalle/startraksphoto.comLady Gaga fans got a hint of what her highly anticipated album Born This Way might sound like today, when the pop superstar debuted a remix of a new track at

The song, whose title has yet to be revealed, begins with Gaga repeating foreign phrases over a thumping club beat. About halfway through comes a tantalizing snippet of a hook: “I’ll take you out tonight, say whatever you like.” Click through to the jump to watch a fashion video featuring the clip. READ FULL STORY

Bob Dylan reportedly signs six-book deal

bob-dylanImage Credit: Douglas R. Gilbert/Redferns/Getty ImagesBob Dylan is putting pen to paper again. Crain’s New York Business reports that the great singer-songwriter has signed a six-book deal with Simon & Schuster. The deal would reportedly cover two more volumes of Dylan’s Chronicles memoir series, another book based on his Sirius XM satellite radio show, and three more unspecified books. READ FULL STORY

Kanye West, Cee Lo Green top 2010 Pazz and Jop critics' poll

kanye-cee-loImage Credit: Chris Hatcher/PR Photos; Landmark/PR PhotosRemember 2010? It seems so long ago now, but the year in music is never completely over until the Village Voice releases its annual Pazz & Jop critics’ poll. The venerable alt-weekly revealed the 2010 results last night, and you will be absolutely shocked to learn that after polling 708 music writers, the runaway winner in the albums category was Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Top honors in the singles category went to Cee Lo Green’s “F— You.” READ FULL STORY

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