For The Record: Quick News On Mary J. Blige, Chris Brown, Carrie Underwood, T.I., Bono, Diddy, Michael Jackson & More

Blige, Brown and Underwood top 2006 charts; Bono receives honorary knighthood; Diddy pulls dog-fur jackets.

As 2006 draws to a close, the R&B charts have crowned their queen. Mary J. Blige‘s The Breakthrough was #1 on Billboard magazine’s year-end R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and she’s at the top of 2006′s R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart thanks to her single, “Be Without You.” Blige was followed on the R&B albums chart by Jamie Foxx‘s Unpredictable, while newcomer Chris Brown also made some noise, landing at #5 on the R&B albums chart and topping the pop lists for Top Artists, Top Male Artists and Top New Artists. In the latter category, he was followed by Ne-Yo, the Fray, James Blunt and Carrie Underwood. Ne-Yo also fared well on the R&B albums chart, where In My Own Words, landed at #4. T.I.‘s King finished at #1 on the Top Rap Albums count, and Underwood makes history by becoming the first “American Idol” winner to have the #1 entry on the year-end Billboard albums chart. Her country album, Some Hearts, has never left the Billboard 200 since its debut, holding off the year’s surprise smash seller, the #2-selling soundtrack to “High School Musical.” …

You won’t have to call him “Sir Bono,” but U2′s frontman was awarded an honorary British Knighthood over the Christmas weekend for his work in music and humanitarian efforts, according to a posting on the band’s Web site. A statement on the site said the 46-year-old singer was, in his typically straightforward manner, “very flattered to be honored, particularly if the honor … opens doors for his long standing campaigning work against extreme poverty in Africa.” Because the Irish rocker is a not a British national, the honorary award does not entitle him to use the title of “Sir.” …

Turns out the faux-fur detail on two jackets from Diddy‘s Sean John line isn’t so faux after all. The Associated Press reports that an investigation by the Humane Society of the United States found that nine out of 10 jackets tested were made from a species of undomesticated dog known as “raccoon dog.” The garments were removed from Macy’s stores, with a company spokesperson noting that the retailer has a policy against selling dog or cat fur. “I was completely unaware of the nature of this material,” Diddy said in a statement. “I have instructed our outerwear licensee to cease the production of any garments using this material immediately.” …

More bands have being added to the lineup for this year’s Bamboozle festival, which will be held May 5 and 6 at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey, with My Chemical Romance closing out the fest’s first night, and Linkin Park tapped to wrap up the second. The newest additions to the bill include Muse; Thrice; Whole Wheat Bread featuring Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock; Saves the Day; the Early November; Hot Rod Circuit; Men, Women & Children; Haste the Day; Lordi, It Dies Today and the Devil Wears Prada. …

Michael Jackson has filed a lawsuit against his former accountants, charging they made unauthorized business deals for which they later charged the pop star millions. According to the Associated Press, Jackson claims that Bernstein, Fox, Whitman, Goldman & Sloan withdrew $2.5 million a year from his bank accounts and failed to keep him apprised of his financial affairs. The suit, which alleges negligence and breach of fiduciary duty, also claims the firm failed to pay his bills properly. Jackson is seeking unspecified damages and a full accounting of all money the firm received for services. The singer hired the Los Angeles-based accounting firm in 2003 for bookkeeping, opening bank accounts and filing personal, corporate and real estate taxes. …

The dates for Killswitch Engage‘s upcoming tour with Dragonforce, Chimaira and He Is Legend have been revealed. The 35-city jaunt kicks off in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on February 21. Stops in Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Houston, Denver, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Seattle and Detroit follow, with the tour winding down April 8 in Chicago. … Senses Fail and Alexisonfire will be hitting the road together next month, on a 21-stop tour that will launch January 10 in Hartford, Connecticut. Dates are booked through February 3 in Cordova, Tennessee. … The Number Twelve Looks Like You, From a Second Story Window, Cancer Bats, Speakerfire and Send the Dawn will be teaming up next month for a brief, 12-gig road trip that gets underway January 24 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and runs through February 6 in Seattle. …

Carl Blaze, a DJ for New York hip-hop station Power 105, died Saturday of gunshot wounds sustained earlier this month, The New York Times reports. He was 30. The DJ, born Carlos Rivera, was shot 13 times outside an apartment building in Upper Manhattan on December 7 and had been in critical condition at Harlem Hospital Center since he was wounded. No arrests have been made in connection with the shooting.

12.22.2006

Mariah Carey will spend the holidays in Aspen, Colorado. She told local publication Aspen Peak that while she won’t be skiing much, she does have some festive plans for the cold powder. “I’m not a great skier at all,” she said in the magazine’s winter issue. “I take one run and ski in an outfit that’s cute.” So why Aspen? “I love having a white Christmas. I love the vibe of Aspen. … I have a sense of feeling at home there.” When in the snowy, mile-high town, Carey plans to do as the Aspenites do — or at least as she’s been told they do. “I like to get out of the hot tub and roll in the snow. Someone told me that was a tradition in Aspen, but maybe they were lying to me. It’s a tradition for us to have Santa Claus-looking bikinis, jump in the hot tub and roll in the fresh snow.” …

Kid Rock, on the other hand, won’t be seeing much snow at all in the coming days. He’s spending his Christmas visiting U.S troops in Kuwait and Iraq. “I wanted to make sure somebody was thanking our troops for their service, no matter what our views are on the current situation in Iraq,” Rock said in a statement. …

He’s silver, all right. An image of the titular hero from “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” has been released. Click here to check him out.Ne-Yo and Chris Brown, stars of “Stomp the Yard,” are among the acts featured on the flick’s soundtrack, which is due January 9. New material from Al Kapone and Bone Crusher is also included. The movie opens January 12. …

Black Eyed Peas have recorded a dozen songs for their next album, due at the end of 2007. Will.I.Am said to expect fun but thoughtful songs on the upcoming disc. … The self-titled debut LP from the Good, the Bad and the Queen — the band featuring Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn, Clash bassist Paul Simonon, former Verve guitarist Simon Tong and Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen — has been set for release January 23. The outing will feature 12 cuts, including “History Song,” “Kingdom of Doom” and “A Soldier’s Tale.” …

The release date for Lifetime‘s forthcoming self-titled reunion record has been pushed up from February 27 to February 6 — the same day Fall Out Boy‘s Infinity on High is scheduled to hit stores. Lifetime are signed to FOB bassist Pete Wentz‘s Decaydance Records. … Gym Class Heroes — who are also on Wentz’s Decaydance imprint — will start their seven-week Daryl Hall for President Tour ’07 on February 17 in Boston. Seemingly inspired by one-half of Hall & Oates, the tour will take them through April 6 in New Orleans. Rx Bandits, P.O.S. and K-os are slated to support. …

According to a report in the Des Moines Register, an event dubbed the Nightmare Before Christmas Party, which was organized by a the Sound Proof Coalition, a DJ collective that includes Slipknot‘s Sid Wilson, has been canceled. Originally set for Friday night (December 22) into Saturday morning, the bash was reportedly nixed after local police contacted the owners of the party’s site. A police spokesperson denied having any knowledge of any call being made to the venue. Earlier this month, the Des Moines City Council approved an ordinance that imposes tighter restrictions on after-hours nightclubs when alcohol is involved. While no alcohol was going to be served at the event, partygoers would have been permitted to bring their own, and those under the age of 21 would have been denied admittance. …

The reunited Sebadoh will hit the road in February on a 33-date North American trek. The band’s original lineup — Lou Barlow, Eric Gaffney and Jason Loewenstein — are all confirmed for the jaunt. The tour kicks off in San Diego on February 26, and dates run through April 16 in Tucson, Arizona. … Fill-in Journey singer Jeff Scott Soto is here to stay. Steve Augeri, who had been with the band for eight years, left its tour with Def Leppard due to illness, and Soto replaced him shortly thereafter. Journey are currently assembling a new jaunt for 2007. … Anti-piracy software is costing Sony BMG another $4.5 million. The Associated Press reports that the company agreed to pay that sum to a consortium of 39 states to resolve the investigation into digital-rights-management software that allegedly damaged some users’ computers. The agreement follows Tuesday’s $1.5 million settlement with California and Texas.