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Now we can concentrate on whether the Sony BMG, WMG-EMI and Universal-BMG Music Publishing hook-ups will be approved, along with whether EMI will roll out their MP3 initiative and if anybody can come up with an album that sells.
HAPPY MONDAY: IS THE AWARDS SEASON OVER YET?
Norah’s Still Tops, Ghost Rider Reigns, Carrey’s 23 Skidoo, Rage Meets Wu and More
Now that the Grammys and Oscars are over, a tired nation turns its eyes to Florida and Arizona, as exhibition baseball begins this week and, naturally, hope springs eternal, while the East Coast shovels out of a massive snowstorm. Meanwhile, we can concentrate on whether the Sony BMG, WMG-EMI and Universal-BMG Music Publishing hook-ups will be approved, along with whether EMI will roll out their MP3 initiative and if anybody can come up with an album that sells. In the interim, savor a glorious Arcade Fire performance on Saturday Night Live here (before NBC pulls it down, that is) and ponder whether Jennifer Hudson can duplicate her screen success on record. Now, for the news.

Look for Blue Note diva Norah Jones to maintain her #1 spot on the HITS' album chart, beating back a challenge from RCA/RMG's Daughtry with a total that will be around 85-90k. Razor & Tie’s Kidz Bop 11 appears to be the top debut, with a total of around 75k that should place it somewhere in the Top Three.

Nicolas Cage’s Sony Pictures film Ghost Rider, based on the Marvel Comic character, was the top box office grosser for the second consecutive week, with $19.7 million after debuting last weekend with $52 million over the four-day President’s Day weekend, the biggest opening ever for that holiday. Premiering at # 2 with $15.1 million was the New Line Cinema psychological thriller The Number 23, starring Jim Carrey. The other new movies included the 20th Century Fox police spoof Reno 911!: Miami, which opened at # 4 with $10.4 million and The Astronaut Farmer, which debuted at #9 with $4.5 million. Disney's Bridge to Terabithia slipped to #3 with $13.6 million, lifting its total to $46.2 million. Dreamworks' Eddie Murphy comedy Norbit rounded out the top five with $9.7 million. The top 12 movies grossed $101.8 million, up 1.5% from the same weekend last year. However, movie attendance to date this year is down 2.2%. The rest of the Top 10 included #6 Music & Lyrics ($8 million), #7 Breach ($6.2 million), #8 Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls ($5.3 million) and #10 Amazing Grace ($4.3 million).

Rage Against the Machine is set to join the Wu-Tang Clan for three shows as part of the acclaimed hip-hop festival Rock the Bells, which kicks off in N.Y. on July 28 and hits the National Orange Show Events Center in San Bernardino, CA, on Aug. 11, with a third show in San Francisco Aug. 18. Sites of the N.Y. and S.F. shows as well as ticket sales info will be announced today. Rage is the closing-night headliner of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 29 in Indio, a SoCal festival that sold out 80 days in advance due to the pent-up fan demand for the L.A. band. Rage played their last show in 2000.

Ben Ratliff talks to the Ig about the return of the Stooges here.

Kelefa Sannah reviews My Chemical Romance at Nassau Coliseum here.

Bernard Holland on an opera based on David Lynch’s Lost Highway here.

L.A. TimesAnn Powers on the maturation of Norah Jones here.

L.A. Times’ Powers on the Leonard Cohen tribute at UCLA here.

L.A. TimesPatrick Goldstein on the legacy of The Departed here.

ON THIS DATE:
In 1965: Guitarist Jimmy Page released his first solo single, “She Just Satisfies.”  The noted session musician and future Led Zeppelin picker went on to join the Yardbirds after the single failed to chart.

In 1966: The Rolling Stones released "19th Nervous Breakdown." It became their ninth hit single, reaching #2 on the U.S. charts.

In 1970: According to a New York newspaper, John Lennon slammed the Toronto Peace Festival and claimed the profits weren’t being used toward peace initiatives.

In 1985: Tina Turner’s comeback single “What’s Love Got to Do With It” won Record and Song of the Year at the Grammys. Best New Artist was awarded to Cyndi Lauper.

In 1997: Eric Clapton won Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for “Change the World.” The Beatles won Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group, Best Music Video Short and Best Music Video Long for “Free as a Bird.” Meanwhile, Bruce Springsteen’s The Ghost of Tom Joad won Best Contemporary Folk Album.

In 2001: At the Brit Awards, Madonna was named Best International Female Artist, Eminem won Best International Male Artist, U2 won Best International Group, Robbie Williams won Best Male Solo Artist and Coldplay were Best British Group.

In 2001: Rapper DMX turned himself over to police in Alden, N.Y., to answer driving and drug charges.

In 2001: A woman repeatedly accused of stalking Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose was charged with violating her probation after visiting Rose's home in Malibu, California.

In 2002: Alanis Morissette released the album Under Rug Swept.

In 2002: Record producer Lydia Harris sued rap mogul Suge Knight, claiming he deprived her of profits from the Death Row label and called her a "rat" in interviews.

In 2002: The night before the Grammys, four concerts featuring Don Henley, the Dixie Chicks, No Doubt and Beck were held around L.A. to benefit the Recording Artists Coalition, an organization formed to lobby for artists’ rights.

In 2003: R. Kelly unseated 50 Cent's CD Get Rich or Die Trying from the top of the album chart with Chocolate Factory.

In 2004: Usher remained atop the U.S. singles chart with "Yeah!"

In 2005: Kentucky post-rock legends Slint played their first gig together in a decade at a holiday camp in the U.K.

In 2006: George Michael was arrested at London's Hyde Park on drugs charges after being found slumped over in his car.

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