Conrad Murray Trial For Manslaughter Of Michael Jackson Begins
The doctor, Michael Jackson‘s personal physician, stands accused of administering a fatal dose of propofol to the singer. Prosecutor David Walgren opened his case by showing the jury a postmortem image of Jackson‘s body on a hospital gurney, which The Smoking Gun already has. The proceeds are being televised and webcast, so expect a lot more rubber-necking coverage like this on gossip sites, especially when Murray’s attorney calls Jackson’s eldest son, 14-year-old Prince, to the stand.
Lil Wayne’s VMAs Stretch-Denim Inspires An AP Trendpiece
The attention-grabbing headline Latest Trend in Hip-Hop: Women’s Clothes disguises a lengthy meditation on the performance of masculinity by none other than celebrity stylist June Ambrose, who’s got a show premiering this winter on VH1. And yes, the piece may refer to Kanye West as “hip-hop’s ultimate metrosexual,” but at least it didn’t misidentify Lil Wayne’s bottoms as “jeggings.” [AP]
Each Friday here on the VH1 Blog, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer?s Spotlight with us. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 Countdown tomorrow morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.
Inspired by Das Racist?s latest single, here are my three favorite songs that mention the late-great King of Pop in its title:
Das Racist, ?Michael Jackson?
When Michael Jackson was the world?s biggest pop star, he was an easy target for cheap shots. When he passed away a couple years ago, all mockery was replaced by reverence. In their lead single/music video off their first commercially released album, Relax, I can?t tell if Das Racist is doing the former, the latter, or a little bit of both. Either way I can?t get the hook out of my head.
Janet Jackson has finally weighed in on the controversial tribute concert planned for her late brother in October, potentially putting the already imperiled Michael Jackson tribute in further jeopardy. In a one-sentence statement to the Associated Press, she wrote, simply, “Because of the trial, the timing of this tribute to our brother would be too difficult for me.”
The criminal trial to which she refers is that of Dr. Conrad Murray, charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson. Her statement echoes that of siblings Randy and Jermaine Jackson, who issued a statement the day the concert was announced explaining that they would not support a tribute concert scheduled to take place during Murray’s trial.
Janet’s lack of support is the latest in a series of setbacks faced by Michael Forever: The Tribute Concert, scheduled for October 8 in Cardiff, Wales, since it was first announced, at a press conference in July, by Jackson’s mother Katherine and siblings Marlon, Jackie, Tito and La Toya. The tribute has booked a lineup including Ne-Yo, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Smokey Robinson, Leona Lewis, Alien Ant Farm, Craig David, and, via satellite, Beyoncé; will be broadcast to 30 countries (in 3D where available); and will raise money for the AIDS Project and other charities. Nevertheless the tribute has not received the support of Michael Jackson’s estate, and had furthermore come under fire from both the estate and MJ fans for initially including Kiss on the lineup in the face of negative comments Gene Simmons has made about Jackson.
Janet Jackson Not Attending Michael Jackson Tribute Concert [AP]
[Image: Getty Images]
Today would have been the 53rd birthday of Michael Jackson, one of the greatest entertainers this world has ever known. Sadly, though, his life was cut short back in 2009 after he overdosed on Propofol (a case that has yet to see a full resolution). Still, his legacy lives on and, in many ways, has taken on an even greater significance since his passing.
In order to celebrate his remarkable life and his achievements, we took a cue from one of our favorite Tumblr sites, Awesome People Hanging Out Together. We crawled through almost 40 years worth of archive photographs to find these pictures of Michael Jackson hanging out with people from every profession and walk of life: his fellow musicians, actors, directors, politicians, diplomats, and even an inanimate object or two! So as you fire up your favorite MJ tracks today, take a look through our gallery and relive some of his most famous (and most random) celebrity encounters.
If you were anywhere on the Eastern seaboard in the last hour or so, you no doubt felt the effect of an earthquake that registered 5.9 on the Richter Scale. Here in Times Square at VH1 HQ, we felt the building sway and bounce uncomfortably for a good five or six seconds. Everyone seems to be okay, if a bit freaked out.
In order to help you (and us!) calm down on this hectic afternoon, we just created the following playlist of earthquake-themed songs for all you Spotify users out there:
Quakin’ – Songs To Help You Cope With The 2011 New York City Earthquake
(If you’re not on Spotify, this room on Turntable.fm also just cropped up: Earthquake 2K11.)
Full playlist for you after the jump:
During a recent interview, writer Heath Daniels asked Grammy-nominated veteran songwriter Linda Perry what she thought about changes in the music industry over the last twenty years. The 4 Non Blondes frontwoman and writer/producer for big-name artists like Christina Aguilera and Alicia Keys had some biting words for pop star Katy Perry. “Who wants a f*cking Katy Perry record?” asked Linda, doubtful that fans of the other Perry actually purchase her full-length albums when they can just consume her singles piecemeal.
“Not saying that Katy is bad; she’s great for what she does, but she’s not reinventing the wheel, she’s not giving substance, she’s just giving microwave popcorn for you to feast on right at this moment.”
These comments could not have been made at a more interesting time. Earlier this week, Katy Perry tied Michael Jackson’s billboard chart record for having five #1?singles from one album. Katy Perry is only two (mainstream) albums into her career, and she’s certainly churning out fun-loving hit singles like wildfire.?But does her music have a shot at holding up like The King of Pop’s, whose albums, as full bodies of work, are often considered classics? Linda Perry thinks not. While she did concede that it’s fine Katy’s “not looking to change the world musically,” the interview concluded with her saying that music focused on the quick buck is?”part of the reason why the music business is in turmoil.” Touch?.
Linda Perry: ‘Katy Perry is why the music industry is in turmoil’ [NME]
Two Tracks From Black and White America Leak
The Lenny Kravitz tracks “Boongie Drop” and “Sunflower” likely hit the web early because they feature Jay-Z and Drake, respectively. Black and White America will be released August 30. [Billboard]
Will Smith Comeback Album May Be In The Works
Producer La Mar “Mars” Edwards tells XXL that he’s working not only on a Will Smith album, but also with T.I. and with Ashanti. [XXL]
We should have known better: never underestimate the chart prowess of Katy Perry. Back in May, we predicted that Perry’s single “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” would continue the chart run of singles from the album, and sure enough, Thursday will mark the 66th straight week in which a Teenage Dream single was in the top ten of Billboard‘s Hot 100. Two weeks ago, though, we cast doubt on the prospect of “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” hitting #1?and in so doing, tying what once seemed like an untoppable Michael Jackson record: five #1 singles from the same album, set with “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Bad,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Man in the Mirror,” and “Dirty Diana,” all from Bad, in 1987 and 1988.
That was before the Missy Elliott remix. On this we’ll defer to the Village Voice, where, in April, Maura Johnston pointed to the late-release remix as a growing chart-goosing tactic and noting its particular success for Perry with “E.T.” (#42 before its Kanye “remix”; #1 soon after). Then on Friday, Chris Molanphy explained in his chart column “100 & Single” exactly how Perry was juking the stats: releasing a Missy Elliott remix of “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.),” last Monday, as the song was peaking on the Airplay chart but falling on the Digital Sales chart (the two figures combine to determine the Hot 100), and furthermore discounting all versions of the track to just 69¢ at iTunes and Amazon’s mp3 store.
It worked. “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” nearly matched LMFAO‘s “Party Rock Anthem” in Digital Sales this week (with the remix accounting for 25% of the downloads) and remained atop the Airplay chart. Despite huge gains in airplay and especially sales for Maroon 5‘s “Moves Like Jagger,” featuring Christina Aguilera, the single could not (yet?) match up to Perry’s single (nor could either of the other songs we predicted might compete; Bad Meets Evil‘s “Lighters” has stalled at #5, and The Throne‘s “Otis” is already out of the top 10). So it came down to LMFAO, who simply could not extend their reign atop the Hot 100 to a seventh week. This news may leave Michael Jackson fans thinking the electro duo should have named their album Sorry For Not Party Rocking Enough.
Back in June, the world mourned as the two-year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death hit the calendar. If he was still alive today, he, like Madonna, would be celebrating his 53rd birthday in just two weeks. It’s a universal truth that MJ was one of the top entertainers to ever grace us with his talents, if not the best, so whether you’re a superfan or just casually appreciate his impact on the culture-at-large, it’s always a bit off-putting to hear people compare him to other artists (or, to be fair, compare other artists to him).
On Sunday afternoon, before partying the night away at Liv in Miami, Jay-Z called into Southern Florida’s urban radio station 99 Jamz to discuss new album Watch The Throne, and did just that. He didn’t have the audacity to compare himself or other half of The Throne to the King of Pop though; instead, he graciously compared MJ to his otherother half, wife and international superstar, Beyonc?. Making the disclaimer that the comparison could be construed as blasphemous “because Mike was such an innovator,” Hova took the time to carefully explain that what he’s learned from her is similar to what he’s learned from MJ, and that it’s his wife’s work ethic that makes him feel like she’s “the second coming” of the deceased entertainer. “You know, the hard work and dedication that she puts into her shows. It just makes you want to work harder at your own craft. She’s like a machine,” said Jay in the interview.
Like the King of Pop, Beyonc?’s career began as the lead singer of a group, Destiny’s Child. Now a solo artist for about eight years, the experienced and stunning star has achieved many successes, including 16 Grammys (13 solo, 3 with Destiny’s Child), the RIAA’s top certified artist nod for the decade between 2000 and 2010, and ranked #52 on our list of VH1′s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Those achievements noted, it’s no secret that Queen B is catching a tough break with the singles and sales for her latest album release, 4, so it’s absurdly sweet of her “Crazy In Love” hubby to speak about her so enthusiastically while she battles to reclaim the domination she’s seen on past projects. But Jay’s also been around the block too many times and rocked too many rhymes to not be aware of the power in his proclamation, and minimally, should know that his words would be press fodder during her week of intimate New York shows. Because of that reality, perspective is important to maintain here, so like Jay says on WTT track “Welcome To The Jungle,” rest in peace to the leader of The Jackson 5.
Jay-Z Calls Beyonc? ‘Second Coming’ Of Michael Jackson[RapFix]
Back in May, when Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” was announced as the artist’s fifth single from Teenage Dream, we predicted that her chart record as the longest occupant of the Billboard Hot 100 top ten would continue, and sure enough, that single leapt to #4 last month, and has not fallen below that mark since. Our sophisticated Song Of The Summer tracking system (a spreadsheet is sophisticated, right?) could have told you that: Perry just racked up her fourth week on top. But now Perry seems within reach of a much more rarefied record: five #1 singles from the same record, tying the record set by Michael Jackson with Bad (and never repeated). Billboard announced yesterday afternoon that Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” had, in its ninth chart week, completed its climb to #1 on the Pop Songs chart, which measures radio airplay. Radio tends to lag behind sales chronologically, but oftentimes an airplay gain like this can be the much-needed push for a single to hit #1. As it turned out, it wasn’t enough this week; an almost comically appropriate cast of characters has, it seems, protected Jackson’s record for now (and possibly going forward). The motley crew: