Billie Eilish, 18, dominates at the Grammys, sets new records
The big winner at the 2020 Grammys was Billie Eilish — who turned 18 in December 2019 and took home five of the six awards for which she was nominated on Jan. 26, setting a few records in the process. She was already the youngest person to earn nods in all four big categories in the same year — album, record and song of the year plus best new artist — and then she won them all (plus an award in the pre-telecast, best pop vocal album). She's now the youngest person ever to take home a song of the year Grammy (for "Bad Guy"). Billie is the second youngest winner of the best new artist prize. After winning album of the year (for "When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?") — and making history as the youngest artist to ever receive that trophy (Taylor Swift used to hold the honor), Billie told the audience, "Can I just say that I think Ariana [Grande] deserves this?" Then, right after that, Billie won record of the year too! Her brother-producer-collaborator, FINNEAS, shared many of her honors.
CMT pledges gender parity for music video rotations
CMT announced on Jan. 22 that all of its music video programming blocks will now consist of 50% female artists. The network tweeted, "Effective immediately all music video hours on CMT and CMT Music channels will have complete parity between male and female artists. That means 50/50. #CMTEqualPlay." CMT has been ahead of the curve in the country community with its focus on female artists. The network's CMT Next Women of Country platform for breaking female artists includes a tour each year that typically pairs a veteran singer with newcomers on the road. Gender parity in the country world has long been a thorny issue, but the conversation was recently reignited after an editor at Variety revealed an unspoken rule in the country radio world: Stations will not play two female artists in a row. Artists including Grammy winner Brandi Carlile (center) praised CMT's play parity decision. "Annnnnnnd @CMT gets to go down in country music history as leading this charge," she tweeted. "c'mon country radio… cowgirl up!"
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Judge sides with Aerosmith in drummer's lawsuit
On Jan. 17, Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer filed a lawsuit against his bandmates alleging that they were freezing him out and not allowing him to perform with them during two big Grammys weekend performances on Jan. 24 and 26. A judge responded on Jan. 23 and sided with the band, ruling that Aerosmith did not need to include him at such a late date. "Given that Kramer has not played with the band in six months and the dearth of available rehearsal time before the upcoming performances, Kramer has not shown a realistic alternative course of action sufficient to protect the band's business interests," the judge wrote, per TMZ. In April 2019, Joey suffered an injury and took a leave of absence. Once his hand healed, he attempted to rejoin the band and was told he would need to audition. "This is not about money. I am being deprived of the opportunity to be recognized along with my peers for our collective, lifetime contributions to the music industry. Neither the MusiCares' Person of the Year Award nor the Grammys' Lifetime Achievement honors can ever be repeated," Joey said in statement. The band is upset that Joey felt legal action was necessary, saying, "Joey Kramer is our brother; his well-being is of paramount importance to us. However he has not been emotionally and physically able to perform with the band, by his own admission, for the last six months. We have missed him and have encouraged him to rejoin us to play many times but apparently he has not felt ready to do so. Given his decisions he is unfortunately unable to perform but of course we have invited him to be with us for both the Grammys and our MusiCares honor." Joey chose to attend MusiCares and took the stage with his bandmates to accept their honor, though he awkwardly left the stage before the group performed. Before singer Steven Tyler signed off for the night, he shouted-out his bandmates plus guest performers Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp. "Joe Kramer where are you? We love you, man," Steven said, as reported by USA Today.
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Eminem's lyrics on surprise album spark controversy
Leave it to Slim Shady to cause controversy! On Jan. 17, Eminem surprised fans when he dropped his 11th album and as you can probably tell by the title — "Music To Be Murdered By" — people got upset. Ariana Grande's fans were unhappy after hearing some of the rapper's lyrics they felt made light of the Manchester Arena terror bombing that took place after her concert there in 2017. On the track "Unaccommodating," Eminem raps, "But I'm contemplating yelling 'bombs away' on the game / Like I'm outside of an Ariana Grande concert waiting" while explosions go off in the background. "Maybe try and have a little respect, and don't use a terrorist attack to gain clout," one fan wrote on Twitter. Some of Eminem's fans defended him by pointing out that the rapper helped raise more than $2 million for bombing victims. "Say what you want about @Eminem and his Ariana Grande line referencing the Manchester attacks, but: 1) people forget he helped the fundraiser, 2) he sure got you talking about gun violence and attacks on civilians and any (lack of) measures," one of his fans tweeted.
A special first for Elton John and songwriting partner Bernie Taupin
2020 marked a first for the iconic music partnership of Elton John and Bernie Taupin. While the two have been collaborators for the better part of 50 years, they never won an award together until the Golden Globes on Jan. 5. The duo took home the prize for best original song for "I'm Gonna Love Me Again" from the Elton biopic "Rocketman." Elton, who we're sure must have a whole room dedicated to his many awards, seemed genuinely touched by this honor. "We never won a Grammy [together], we never did anything together except for this, and I'm so happy," he told the audience in his acceptance speech.
Billie Eilish to perform title song for new James Bond film
Billie Eilish just keeps doing great things. It was announced on Jan. 14 that the 18-year-old music phenom will be performing the title track for the 25th installment in the James Bond film series, "No Time to Die," which hits theaters on April 2. The singer released a statement saying, "It feels crazy to be a part of this in every way. To be able to score the theme song to a film that is part of such a legendary series is a huge honor. James Bond is the coolest film franchise ever to exist. I'm still in shock." This makes Billie the youngest person in history to sing the Bond theme. Past artists who've scored the honor include Adele, Sam Smith, Madonna, Tina Turner and Duran Duran, among others. Fun fact: The last two artists to sing the title track — Adele and Sam — both took home Oscars for their productions.
Ozzy Osbourne opens up about Parkinson's disease diagnosis
Rock legend Ozzy Osbourne has revealed that he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. On the Jan. 22 episode of "Good Morning America," the rocker and wife Sharon Osbourne spoke about the revelation. "It's Parkin II, which is a form of Parkinson's. There's so many different type of Parkinson's. It's not a death sentence by any stretch of the imagination, but it does affect certain nerves in your body," Sharon explained. Ozzy said he found out last year and now feels relief at having shared it publicly after dealing with it and other health issues in private for so long. "I'm not good at secrets, I cannot walk around with it anymore. I feel better now of owning up to the fact that I have a case of Parkinson's," he said.
Justin Bieber reveals he's being treated for Lyme disease and chronic mono
Justin Bieber has been battling Lyme disease and chronic mono, he revealed on Jan. 8. "While a lot of people kept saying justin Bieber looks like s—, on meth etc. they failed to realize I've been recently diagnosed with Lyme disease," he wrote on Instagram, adding that he also "had a serious case of chronic mono which affected my skin, brain function, energy, and overall health." He further explained, "It's been a rough couple years but getting the right treatment that will help treat this so far incurable disease and I will be back and better than ever."
Taylor Swift reveals deeply personal news in new documentary
Taylor Swift opens up like never before in her new Netflix documentary, "Miss Americana," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 23 and hits the streaming service on Jan. 31. She explained that she developed an eating disorder years ago that was triggered by unflattering paparazzi pictures and fueled by her desire to please others. "A picture of me where I feel like I looked like my tummy was too big, or … someone said that I looked pregnant … and that'll just trigger me to just starve a little bit — just stop eating," she said. Her relationship with food, she explained, was "unhealthy," though she feels she's finally moved past it. Taylor also shared tough news about her mother: While Andrea was battling a cancer recurrence, doctors discovered she also has a brain tumor. "The symptoms of what a person goes through when they have a brain tumor is nothing like what we've ever been through with her cancer before," the singer told Variety. "So it's just been a really hard time for us as a family."
Pearl Jam, Bon Jovi announce new albums and tours
Pearl Jam has announced that they're working on their first studio album in seven years! The legendary grunge rockers fronted by Eddie Vedder also shared plans for a North American tour. Jon Bon Jovi will also will be hitting the road again with his band, Bon Jovi, who announced plans to release their 15th studio album as well as launch a summer North American tour, both to be called "Bon Jovi 2020." Another huge '80s act — Bryan Adams — will be joining the New Jersey band on tour.
Rascal Flatts announce 2020 farewell tour
After 20 years together, country music superstars Rascal Flatts announced on Jan. 7 that they will be saying goodbye on the "Rascal Flatts Farewell: Life Is a Highway" tour. When asked on "CBS This Morning" if this is the end of the band, they said, "We make music and that's what we do. We may do it again someday collectively. We're not going to sign some pact that says we're never going to tour again … we all still do love each other, but we do make music and we will probably make some music individually, collectively." Don't get too upset though, country fans, as the band has confirmed that they will be releasing new music this year. The "Farewell" tour kicks off in June.
Demi Lovato will sing the national anthem at Super Bowl LIV
It was confirmed on Jan. 15 that Demi Lovato will be singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl on Feb. 2. The singer tweeted, "Singing the National Anthem at #SBLIV 🏈 🏈 🏈 See you in Miami 🌴 @NFL." Demi joins Halftime Show performers Jennifer Lopez and Shakira at the annual sporting event. Demi also delivered a huge performance at the Grammy Awards on Jan. 26 — her first since she suffered a near-fatal overdose in 2018.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame reveals class of 2020
The 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees were announced on Jan. 15 and this year's crop are all legends. The 35th annual induction ceremony will take place on May 2 (and for the first time will air live on television — on HBO). Whitney Houston, The Doobie Brothers, Nine Inch Nails, the Notorious B.I.G., T. Rex and Depeche Mode will all be welcomed to the Hall's ranks. In addition, Bruce Springsteen's manager, Jon Landau, and The Eagle's longtime manager, Irving Azoff, will be receiving the Ahmet Ertegun Award on the big night.
Michelle Obama shares her workout playlist
Michelle Obama continues to inspire us in our health resolutions even though she is no longer First Lady. Mobama shared her workout playlist via Twitter on Jan. 19 saying, "It's about that time when New Year's resolutions get a bit harder to stick to. To offer a little inspiration, I want to share my go-to #WorkoutPlaylist with you. These songs always seem to give me that extra boost to get through my toughest workouts." The playlist features some of the biggest artists like Ed Sheeran, Lizzo, Bruno Mars and more. The Obama's recommendations for their music, movies and books have become an event with artists hoping to be featured on their lists!
GLAAD Media Awards to honor Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift is being honored for her allyship! GLAAD, the largest LGBTQ media advocacy group in the world, announced on Jan. 7 that the pop star will be receiving the Vanguard Award — which honors allies in the straight community who have made a difference in promoting acceptance of the LGBTQ community — at the 31st GLAAD Media Awards on April 16. The organization released a statement saying, "From boldly standing up against anti-LGBTQ elected officials to shining attention on the urgent need to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination through the Equality Act, Taylor Swift proudly uses her unique ability to influence pop culture to promote LGBTQ acceptance. In a time of political and cultural division, Taylor creates music that unites and calls on her massive fan following to speak up and call for change." Taylor joins previous award recipients Beyonce and JAY-Z, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Janet Jackson, Cher and Elizabeth Taylor. In June 2019, Taylor wrote a letter to Tennessee senator Lamar Alexander asking him to support the Equality Act, which would protect LGBTQ Americans from discrimination in employment, housing and other public accommodations and then followed that up with the release of her "You Need To Calm Down" video, which presented a strong anti-hate message.
Ousted Recording Academy president & CEO makes troubling claims about Grammys voting, predecessor and office culture
Just five days before the Grammys, Deborah Dugan — a former record label executive and CEO of Bono's (Red) charity who was also the first woman ever to serve as the Recording Academy's president and CEO exec — went public with deeply troubling claims against the Recording Academy, alleging unlawful gender discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation and unequal pay and more. She spoke up after she was ousted days earlier amid claims from the Recording Academy that she created "a toxic and intolerable" work environment and engaged in "abusive and bullying conduct," which she's strongly denied. Dugan has also said she has proof of Grammy voting irregularities and conflicts of interest concerning a rigged nominations process (a Recording Academy officer branded those claim "false, misleading and wrong"). Dugan, who's filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, also alleged that her predecessor, Neil Portnow, was accused of rape by a foreign recording artist — and that the board that pushed her to approve a $750,000 consulting fee for him, which she declined to do, knew about it. (Portnow has called allegations against him "inaccurate, false and outrageous and terribly hurtful.") Dugan's lawyers said their client stands by her complaint "100%."