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Unsung heroes: Nominate your favorite backup singers and musicians!

Duran Duran hit Madison Square Garden last week, and though they had special guests Mark Ronson and Scissor Sisters’ Ana Matronic join them onstage for “Girl Panic!” and “Safe (In the Heat of the Moment)”, respectively, I realized the person I was most excited to see outside the band was longtime backup singer Anna Ross (pictured, with Simon Le Bon).

I got oddly excited each time I caught her and I doing the same dance move at the same time. And dancing at a Duran Duran show is something you can count on — as sure as the audience chanting “Play the f—ing bass, John,” Nick Rhodes trying not to crack a smile, and my friend Sheila leaning over to tell me Simon’s choreography seconds before he does it (finger-licking during “Come Undone,” a spin during “The Reflex,” and jumps off a platform during “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Rio”).

Who are the backup singers and musicians you look forward to spying onstage when you go to see your favorite artists? Go!

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by Lanford Beard

Adele cancels all live dates and promotional appearances for rest of year

Is this the end for U2? And if it is, what would their legacy be?

Though they have been working on a new album of songs they supposedly love, recently came off the most successful rock tour in history, and are celebrating the twentieth anniversary of one of their boldest accomplishments, 1991′s Achtung Baby, U2 could be packing it in.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Bono spoke frankly about the band’s relevance and whether or not this seems like the end. “The band are like, ‘Will you shut up about being irrelevant?’” Bono told the magazine. “We’d be very pleased to end on No Line on the Horizon. We have so many [new] songs, some of our best. But I’m putting some time aside to just go and get lost in the music. I want to take my young boys and my wife and just disappear with my iPod Nano and some books and an acoustic guitar.”

Of course, Bono hedges a bit, adding “I doubt that” when asked about how realistic an instantaneous retirement would be. The Edge puts the odds at about 50/50 (“It’s quite likely you might hear from us next year, but it’s equally possible that you won’t,” he said), though as anybody who watched Davis Guggenheim’s documentary From the Sky Down knows, if U2 can survive the upheaval the led to Achtung Baby, then they probably have enough gas in the tank for another new album.

But for the sake of a reasonable argument on the Internet, let’s assume Bono wakes up tomorrow and decides to disappear to Thailand or something, taking the master tapes of whatever the band was working on and leaving no trace of music behind. READ FULL STORY

Axl Rose fell down in Mexico City, and it's all your fault

As is wont to happen whenever he steps out the door, Axl Rose’s current tour with Guns N’ Roses hasn’t been the smoothest journey.

There have been multiple complaints of Rose’s vocal weakness, an over-reliance on tracks from the sub-par Chinese Democracy, pacing issues (any show that pauses so that a dude named Bumblefoot can noodle on the theme from The Pink Panther is bound to seem sluggish), and side effects that may or may not include blindness. And on Wednesday night in Mexico City, Rose fell down and went boom in the middle of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.”

The good news is that Axl didn’t channel his 1992 self and storm off the stage in a huff and shut down the entire concert. But the bad news is that this happened at all. Not because it’s a bummer whenever an artist takes a tumble (even Beyoncé loses her footing sometimes), but because Axl is still doing this, and that people show up. READ FULL STORY

Rihanna falls in love, goes off the rails in her new 'We Found Love' video: Watch it here

Leaked pictures from the set of Rihanna’s “We Found Love” video last month made it seem like some the-wheat-fields-are-alive Sound of Music romp, but there is a distinct lack of raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens in the final product. Instead, it’s a Trainspotting-meets-Drugstore-Cowboy portrait of wasted youth and finding love in an apparently very pharmaceutical place.

Watch below: READ FULL STORY

Katy Perry sings ballad version of 'The One That Got Away' on 'X Factor': Your opinion is desired

Let’s debate: Katy Perry performed a slowed-down version of her new single “The One That Got Away” on the U.K X Factor last night… and sounded surprisingly good.

Rocking a new pink hairdo and wielding a guitar, the emotional, stripped-down performance was a success for Perry, who is obviously more known for her radio hits than her live-performance chops.

But give the lady some credit:  she sounds better here than she does on the recorded version of the tune. I could have done without the back-up wails, but otherwise, she should definitely add this version into her rotation.

Check out the performance below: READ FULL STORY

Toby Keith releases 'Red Solo Cup' video -- but are you still sipping what he's pouring?

Toby Keith, what happened to you?

You used to be the biggest superstar in country music, selling millions of records and raising just as many eyebrows, but these days, rather than making music for the masses, it seems like you’re more willing to scrape the bottom of the buffoon barrel and simply pander to your “Trailerhood” audience.

Don’t get me wrong, I admire your audacity—you say what you think and you don’t care who you offend—but must you sacrifice your musicality in the process? I mean, your latest single is an ode to the “Red Solo Cup” and you claim that men “do not have testicles if [they] prefer drinking from glass.” Is that really single-worthy?

It’s tough for me to write this because I really liked your music growing up. “Should’ve Been A Cowboy”? Classic. “How Do You Like Me Now”? Delightful. “My List”? Touching. But I became a super-fan when you released your honest and honestly angry 9/11 response “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.” READ FULL STORY

Kelly Clarkson debuts new song 'What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)': Listen here!

Kelly Clarkson dropped a new single on her official website today, a straightforward pop anthem called “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger).”

The tune, which may or may not be the title track of Clarkson’s upcoming October 24 album—iTunes simply calls the song “Stronger,” but her website uses the longer title—falls right into the American Idol‘s belty pop/rock wheelhouse, and it should please fans who love that sound.

Personally, I’m more partial to the understated, sassy-but-soulful vibes on current lead single “Mr. Know It All,” but there’s chatter around the EW Music Dept. that Clarkson might have been better off releasing “What Doesn’t Kill You” as the first track from Stronger.

Take a listen below and decide for yourself. READ FULL STORY

The Who's Roger Daltrey says there are no great lead singers anymore. Do you agree?

Roger Daltrey of the Who certainly belongs alongside Robert Plant, Mick Jagger, Ozzy Osbourne, and the like on the Rock Frontmen Mt. Rushmore. So when he comes out and says there aren’t any real lead singers out there any more, we have to at least consider the idea.

In a conversation with the Associated Press, Daltrey dismissed the lot of current singers, especially those who show up on network television. “A lot of the new people they choose on shows like American Idol and things like that — I don’t ever hear lead singers,” Daltrey said. “They always seem to choose to pick people that are great singers, fabulous singers, but they’ve never got the voice that makes a great lead singer.”

Daltrey noted that these younger acts lack the distinction possessed by some of his great peers. “You hear 10 seconds of Rod Stewart, you know it’s Rod Stewart,” he explained. “Ten seconds of Mick Jagger, that’s Mick Jagger. Ten seconds of Eddie Vedder, you know that’s Eddie.” He also allowed that Adele is “the real deal.”

There’s a lot to unpack there, so why don’t we take some time out to watch seven minutes of Daltrey screaming in between David Caruso saying pithy things on CSI: Miami. READ FULL STORY

U2, Rihanna, Amy Winehouse, Foo Fighters fill out VH1's '100 Greatest Songs of the '00s': An EW Exclusive!

While nobody seems to know exactly what to call the first decade of the 21st century (we refuse to say “the aughts” out of an unwillingness to sound like Grandpa Simpson), but it’s certainly safe to start collecting and collating 10 years’ worth of culture.

That’s exactly what VH1 is up to with their 100 Greatest Songs of the ’00s special, which counts down the finest tunes the post-Y2K era had to offer.

Last week, we pulled the curtain back on the first 11 songs on the list, and now we can exclusively reveal the full 100 (headed up by Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love,” which is basically inarguable). Follow the jump for the complete list. READ FULL STORY

Lana Del Rey's 'Video Games' lands a prime spot on CW's 'Ringer' — Is she officially mainstream now?

Lana-Del-Rey

You probably already have an opinion about singer Lana Del Rey, and if you haven’t already heard of her, you’re about to.

The 24-year-old singer, who’s gained a serious following — both fans and detractors — has been on the cusp of a breakout since her single ‘Video Games’ debuted on YouTube in August (when EW recommended her as both “gorgeously habit-forming” and a “languid, swaying femme fatale”).

Now, thanks to some spot-on song placement during a pivotal scene in last night’s episode of the Sarah Michelle Gellar CW series Ringer, she may have finally gotten her mainstream welcome.

Whether that welcome is embraced by the music community that first discovered her remains to be seen, but before we get into that, let’s take a look back to see how she went from posting songs on YouTube to becoming the talk of the blog world and getting played on a major network show in under six weeks. READ FULL STORY

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