Well, it's the final That's Really Week installment of 2007, and we're going out with a whimper, not a bang. No, not much major stuff happened this week--Britney Spears laid surprisingly low, nobody got knocked up, no one went to rehab, no big bands reunited, no one shaved their head. But a few milestones still occurred during the down time between Christmas and New Year's, so we'll run through the biggest events and then let you get back to your leftovers-eating and present-returning and resolution-making.
First, superstitious tradition says that black-eyed peas bring good fortune for the new year, and that indeed seems to be the case for lucky Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie, who's just announced her engagement to her longtime actor boyfriend, Josh Duhamel. No wedding date has been set yet, but there's little doubt Fergie Ferg will be the most t-a-s-t-y bride of 2008. We wish the Dutchess and her Duke much happiness as they embark on their glamorous life together. The only thing is, since Fergie gets her moniker from her legal surname, Ferguson, does this mean she'll have to change her stage name to "Duhie"? Or "Duhamie"? That just doesn't have as nice a ring to it.
Anyway, the new year is also bringing changes for Jay-Z, who might have a lot more quality time to spend with his lady love, Beyonce, in 2008--because he's stepping down as president of Def Jam effective January 1. "Now it's time for me to take on new challenges," the on/off music-biz retiree said in a somewhat vague statement. "I am pleased to have had the opportunity to build upon the Def Jam legacy." So now Jay-Z (the year's top "Hip-Hop Cash King," according to Forbes magazine) is free to concentrate not only on his budding Beyonce romance but on his chain of 40/40 Club sports bars, his film production company, his own Roc-A-Fella imprint record label, and of course his rap career. Actually, it sounds like 2008 is still going to one busy year for Jigga.
Sadly, it's not all new beginnings for news-making musicians this week. There are some unhappy endings, too. See, just as James Brown passed away on Christmas Day 2006, it was a blue Christmas for two other dearly departed artists this season. First, legendary, Lifetime Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist Oscar Peterson--who during his seven-decade career played with Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, and Dizzy Gillespie--died of kidney failure on December 23 at age 82. Then 68-year-old Irish lounge-pop singer Joe Dolan collapsed at his family home in Dublin on Christmas night, and died the following day from a brain hemorrhage. They shall both be missed.
OK, we don't want our year-end column to conclude on such a bummer note, so we'll sign off with a big happy-holidays congratulations to two of the year's biggest earners: The Police, whose much-ballyhooed reunion outing was 2007's top-grossing North American tour ($132 million); and Josh Groban, who not only had the ninth most successful tour of '07 but the year's most successful album, Noel. Somewhat surprisingly, Josh's holiday disc topped the album charts for five consecutive weeks (that's the longest a Christmas album has held the top spot since Bing Crosby's Merry Christmas, back in the 1940s), and it's the first and so far only 2007 album to pass the 3 million mark during what's otherwise been a pathetically slow year for album sales in general. Looks like moneymakers Sting and Josh (and Jay-Z, come to think of it) will be rolling VIP on New Year's Eve, for sure.
All right, and thus concludes 365 days full of amusing, confusing, and downright excitement-oozing news. We thank you for reading all year long, and hope you'll come back in 2008 for your weekly music news fix. See ya next year!
THIS WEEK'S TOP 10 STORIES:
1) Bridealicious! - Josh Duhamel is going to make an honest woman out of Fergie.
2) Jay-Z Won't Jam On - He's stepping down as Def Jam's president.
3) Jazz Great Oscar Peterson Dies - The piano man was 82.
4) Brandy's Christmas Miracle - The R&B star gets what she wants from Santa: all charges dropped in her vehicular manslaughter case.
5) It's Goin' Down For Yung Joc - The rapper skips his court date and is now considered a fugitive.
6) Police On Most-Wanted List - The reunited trio has the top-grossing tour of 2007.
7) Winehouse Summoned To Courthouse - They're trying to make Amy go to Norway, and she might not be able to say no, no, no.
8) Josh Groban's Dreaming Of A Platinum Christmas - His holiday CD Noel is the biggest seller of '07.
9) Irish Singer Joe Dolan Dies - The much-loved, Vegas-style showman was 68.
10) Best Year Ever? - Yahoo! playlist blogger Robert of the Radish names his favorite 2007 albums. (Spoiler alert: Noel is not among them.)