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Chuck Berry Wins Nobel-Like Music Award

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According to The Guardian, rock pioneer Chuck Berry, whose contributions to music set the scene for an entire generation of the art form, was made a laureate of the Polar Music Prize, the Swedish award founded in 1989 by the late Stig Anderson, who managed ABBA.

Up until now, I had never heard of this award, but I really like the idea. Like the Nobel, it is awarded for overall contributions, but this one fills a gap in recognition that other music organizations don't consider. For example, the big music academies tend to award for specific songs, albums, or artist/band achievement. There are also several lifetime achievement awards out there. Then there's the Germany-based Ernst von Siemens Music Prize, which is similar in nature but seems to focus more on orchestral and symphonic music and not modern popular music, though composers and conductors of these forms have been among Polar Music Award recipients.

Berry was joined this year by opera director Peter Sellars. Past recipients include Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, B.B. King, Yo-Yo Ma, and Elton John.

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Usher Reveals First 8 U.S. Cities to UR Experience Tour

Concert news

On Sunday's VMAs, Usher performed his latest single, "She Came to Give It To You" alongside Nicki Minaj and now, he's announced an upcoming album and tour. Yesterday, the singer tweeted the first round of cities for The UR Experience Tour (or #URXTour, if you're on Twitter). Usher is scheduled to visit Seattle, WA; Los Angeles, CA; Dallas, TX; Chicago, IL; New Orleans, LA; New York, NY; Atlantic City, NJ; and Orlando, FL.

Update: 8/27/14 9:30 a.m. The second round of U.S. cities has been announced: San Jose, CA; Memphis, TN; Detroit, MI; Uncasville, CT; Philadelphia, PA; Washington, D.C.; Miami, FL.

He also released a 30-second teaser trailer, which you can see below. The remainder of his tour, plus concrete dates, have yet to be announced. But Usher did drop a second single, "Believe Me," as well as his own ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video.

See below to watch the trailer for The UR Experience Tour and be sure to check back on the Usher page for more information on tickets!

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Re-Watch Beyonce's 16-Minute Medley from the 2014 VMAs

Part of me feels like I'm getting too old to watch the VMAs. I had to Google a good portion of the artists/celebrities mentioned during the red carpet event prior to the show and found myself thinking more than once, "So this is what the kids like these days, huh?" But I persevered through the entire show... for Beyonce.

Last night, Beyonce was awarded the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award — aka the Lifetime Achievement Award — which is awarded to artists who have greatly impacted music culture. Last year, this award was supplemented by a 15-minute performance by its recipient, Justin Timberlake.

And this year, Beyonce won, and gave us a 16-minute, flawfree medley of the each song from her most recent album (sans "Heaven"). Here's the full performance, including some sweet moments featuring Jay Z and Blue Ivy, too. Enjoy!


Happy Labor Day

In case you've been out of the Broadway loop lately, here's what you may have missed:

Cinderella's New Stars

Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella will make history this fall when it casts the first black Cinderella on Broadway. Actress, singer, and talk show host Keke Palmer will replace the show's current lead, Paige Faure. Palmer has started in films such as "Akeelah and the Bee" and "CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story." Palmer will be joined by Sherri Shepherd; both assume their roles on Sept. 9.

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Garth Brooks, 5 Seconds of Summer Among Onsales This Week

Onsales This Week

Events onsale this week
Day(s)Event  
Fri Garth Brooks Buy tickets
Sat 5 Seconds of Summer Buy tickets
Fri Ray LaMontagne Buy tickets
Fri The Fresh Beat Band Buy tickets
Fri Chicago - The Band Buy tickets
Sun Phantom of the Opera Buy tickets
Mon Aladdin Buy tickets
Tue Ringling Bros. Circus Buy tickets
Tue Cleveland Browns Buy tickets

There are several big onsales this coming week, including some major concert tours as well some theater shows.

First up, Garth Brooks has his Atlanta, GA, show going on sale Friday. This will be one to keep a keen eye on as Brooks might release more dates in the city throughout the day as he did for Chicago. We'll also be keeping watch, and if any more go on sale, we'll get them up as quickly as possible.

Then, on Saturday, Aussie pop punk band 5 Seconds of Summer has its first major tour on sale. Following its guest spot with One Direction, the freshman band will begin its tour with a few dates in November. It will then pick things back up in May in Europe and Australia, before heading back stateside next July.

Other acts with tickets up for grabs in the coming days include Ray LaMontagne, Chicago, and The Fresh Beat Band.

In theater, Phantom of the Opera has 16 shows onsale for Atlanta, GA, on Sunday. Following it on Monday are eight more shows for the NYC production of Aladdin and on Tuesday eight shows for the Ringling Bros. circus in Pittsburgh, PA.

Finally, in sports, the Cleveland Browns have 10 games on sale this coming Tuesday.

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