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U2 Distance Themselves From Blair,

U2 have distanced themselves from Tony Blair after he came on stage to one of their hits at Labour's spring conference.

The Prime Minister entered to the strains of "Beautiful Day" at the gathering in Gateshead. But the band were at pains to stress it was no indication of their own political leanings.

Lead singer Bono has appeared alongside Mr. Blair and chancellor Gordon Brown to help their push for greater help to developing countries.

And in a speech to Labour's annual conference in September he hailed them as the "Lennon and McCartney" of the developmental campaign.

However, a spokeswoman for the band said: "We are flattered they like our tune but this is not an official endorsement of the Labour Party.

"We reserve the right to fall in and out with any political party and their policies. Mind you, every piece of airplay helps."
© ITV, 2005.

Take Me Out !
( -- Franz Ferdinand are set for European dates with U2 on 'Vertigo

The Scottish art rockers, whose self-titled debut album won huge acclaim and are confirmed to play support to U2 at shows in San Sebastian (August 9th) and Madrid

We also hear that Snow Patrol have added more dates when they will be on the road with U2 - now supporting on EIGHT shows this summer.

They will be performing in Brussels (June 10th), Manchester (June 14th), Dublin (June 24th), Berlin (July 7th), Paris (July 9th and July 10th) and Amsterdam (July 15th and 16th).

U2 to take over GM Place for month
( -- Bono on the seawall? The Edge doing the Grouse Grind? Larry Mullen Jr. trying to decide which Starbucks to go to?

The Province has learned that U2 -- the biggest band in the world -- will take over GM Place for a month of rehearsals before the first date of its Vertigo tour, March 28 in San Diego.

The North American tour -- by far the hottest ticket in music today -- takes in 13 cities, including GM Place, April 28 to 29.

All the dates sold out in advance. Vancouver was typical: A first show sold out in eight minutes. The second was added and went clean almost as quickly.

Tour promoter ClearChannel Entertainment and its vice-president, Shane Bourbonnais, would not confirm the Vancouver rehearsal. However, a formal announcement is expected to be made in the next few days and trucks started rolling into the lots outside the stadium yesterday.

Vancouver has hosted tour pre-production before. Sarah McLachlan, Cher and Janet Jackson have all prepped tours at GM Place.

A source close to U2 said: "This is a great city, geography-wise. It's close to where the tour launches. And Vancouver's a cool city."

Meanwhile, the city's excited about the lads being here for more than three weeks before they head to southern California.

At the Irish Heather in Gastown, proprietor Sean Heather loved the thought that he could see the Dublin quartet quaff a pint or two in his pub -- particularly with St. Patrick's Day coming March 17.

"Oh yeah, that would be interesting," exclaimed Heather, who's had experience with the big bands.

When REM was recording here in 2003, Heather often served them, sometimes sending chips to the Georgia legends at Bryan Adams' Warehouse Recording studio. He also hosted a brief drop-in by U2 two tours ago.

U2 might show up at the Gastown venue again, "because of its proximity and because we pour the best pint of Guinness," said Heather. "I would be thrilled, as an Irishman, to get them through the door."

These are good times for U2 -- which has had more than 40 hit songs in its 26-year career. The latest album, How to Dismantle an Atom Bomb, has sold millions worldwide and its lead single "Vertigo" -- from which the tour gets its name -- scored three Grammys earlier this month.

On March 14, Bruce Springsteen will induct U2 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

While here, the band might also take in some of the Celtic Fest.

St. Pat's will be commemorated with a concert at the Commodore by Victoria's Ecclestons with Irish Dancers, and on March 18 to 19 by Spirit of the West.

"That would be amazing if they did show up," said Jeff Herrera of House of Blues, which is producing the Commodore shows. "That would make a good story, for sure."

But at the moment, nobody can say for sure. Not ClearChannel. Not Universal, the distributor of U2's records. The local Universal representative knows nothing, except that at 600,000-plus sales in Canada, the new record is U2's biggest yet.

Grant McDonagh of Zulu Records had REM come by his store to play an acoustic set. No such plans for U2 are in the works yet, but he remembers seeing them in the U.K. in 1979.

U2 Working On How To Dismantle A Ticket-Scalping Bomb
( -- After watching the Grammys, there were several moments that stuck with you. Kanye West's onstage death and resurrection, Green Day's pyro-fueled punk rock, and Alicia Keys and Jamie Foxx's tender tribute to Ray Charles all spring to mind, but it was Larry Mullen wishes the band could make all their fans happy Larry Mullen wishes the band could make all their fans happy one of the show's quietest moments that left some people talking loudest.

When U2 took the stage to accept their third Grammy of the evening — for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals (see "Kanye Steals The Show, But Ray Dominates Grammy Winners' Circle") — Bono seemed genuinely shocked. And in a rare inarticulate moment, he had nothing to say. So drummer Larry Mullen stepped to the mic and delivered a hushed, humbled and heartfelt apology to the band's fans.

"Due to circumstances beyond our control, a lot of our long-suffering fans ... didn't get tickets [to our tour]," he said. "And I'd like to take this opportunity on behalf of the band to apologize for that."

It was the second time in a week that Mullen had taken it upon himself to address what some U2 fans are seeing as the biggest screw-up in the band's almost 30-year history. On February 6, he posted a letter on, writing in part that "there was a mess-up in the way tickets were distributed through ... Some of it was beyond our control, but some of it wasn't."

The ticket snafu began with the January 25 Internet presale for the band's upcoming Vertigo Tour (see "U2 Finally Announce Tour Dates"). U2's most dedicated fans — members of their fan club, who pay a $40 subscription fee — were supposed to get first crack, but things didn't end up working that way.

Those running the Internet presale didn't rank fan club members according to length of membership when they issued presale access codes. Instead, they randomly issued codes, which opened the door for scalpers who signed up for the fan club just to get in on the presale action. For them, $40 was a small price to pay, especially when tickets to U2's first tour in four years could go for four to five times that on eBay. Needless to say, the scalpers gobbled up tickets, and many longtime fans were left empty-handed.

Mullen was quick to apologize, pledging to hunt down scalpers and offering members a full $40 refund of their subscription fees. But obviously he was still bothered by the way things went down, and when he spoke to MTV News backstage at the Grammys, he took the apology to a whole new level.

"Our audience is very important to us; they've supported us through peaks and troughs and we haven't always made it easy for them. So when something like tickets go astray, and people wait online for hours, and they don't get the seats they want, or they don't get seats at all, it's hard for us," he said. "It's personal, because when you walk down the street, people say 'I tried to go to your concert, but I couldn't go.' So it's not like it's in the background, it's right in your face."

Mullen promised that the band is working hard at fixing the problems that dogged the presale for the spring. He hopes fans will be able to log on with confidence when the presale for the fall North American tour begins, but he can't promise everything will be perfect.

"Next time, we're going to make some changes in the way tickets are distributed. But you know what? We'll never get it right. There's always going to be scalpers, there's always going to be screw-ups," he said. "But we'll certainly not allow what happened this time to happen again. But we can't keep everybody happy all the time. We'd like to, but it's not possible."

— James Montgomery, with reporting by John Norris


Usher on Showtime this Saturday LIVE!
Usher's only televised concert of 2005 this weekend on SHOWTIME! See Usher perform LIVE* from Puerto Rico - Saturday, March 5th at 9pm ET/PT during the Big Fat Free Preview Weekend!

Usher Wins 4 Soul Train Awards
Usher got the big award for best male R&B-soul single for "Confessions Part II," as well as the prize for best R&B-soul album by a male artist for "Confessions." Usher shared the prize with Alicia Keys for best R&B-soul single by a group or duo and best R&B-soul or rap music video for his work with rappers Ludacris & Lil Jon in the song "Yeah!"

Usher Wins 3 Grammys
The awards of Usher came in the categories of R&B performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals for "My Boo" with Alicia Keys, Contemporary R&B Album for "Confessions" and Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Yeah" with Ludacris and Lil Jon.

Usher's "Rhythm City: Vol. 1 - Caught Up"
Concerts on Big Screen presents Usher's "Rhythm City: Vol. 1 - Caught Up" hosted LIVE by Usher with an exclusive Q & A! Don't miss seeing the mini movie, behind the scenes of the "Making of" the mini movie, and Usher LIVE on the Big Screen as he hosts this One Night Only(tm) event. Only at select Regal, United Artists and Edwards Theatres on Monday, February 21st at 9pm ET / 6pm PT.

Vote for Usher at the TRL Awards
Usher for Best Performance and Best Male Artist for the TRL Awards. Usher will make an appearance on the program which airs February 21 at 5:00 PM EST on MTV.

Usher Scored Five Nods For Soul Train Awards
Los Angeles / Usher, whose album Confessions sold more than eight million copies to become last year's best seller, has earned a leading give nominations for the 19th Annual Soul Train Music Awards.
The nominations, announced earlier this week, included those for best male R&B soul album for Confessions Part 2 and his duet with Alicia Keys ( My Boo, which earned Keys a nomination as well). For his work with the rappers Ludacris an Lil Jon, Usher
received nods for best R&D soul or rap music video and best R&B soul or rap dance cut for the song Yeah!
The awards are given Feb.28.

* Ushered Out .... Both of You !
t looks like someone needs to let it burn and move on ...... Someone needs to tell Naomi Campbell she's single. The supermodel was telling pals that she and Usher are still together. And she thinks she'll be in Los Angeles later this month to pose with him at a cover shoot for Italy's L'Uomo Vogue.
But, says a source, Usher personally nixed her involvement. "Usher is scheduled to do the cover," his rep confirmed. "They offered it to him as a solo cover." Trouble hit the couple just before New Year's. On Dec. 28, Gatecrasher scored an exclusive interview with Karrine Steffans, the video vixen who said that she and "Mr. Entertainment" were "seeing each other personally." Usher's rep says now: "The nasty rumors are simply not true. She's a young girl who volunteered to be an extra in Usher's video and is clearly bitter about not getting a larger role."

* Usher scores eight Grammy Award Nominatins !
Following close behind Kanye West who had 10 nominations  were Alicia Keys and Usher, who each scored eight nominations ? both were nominated for Album of the Year, and their duet, "My Boo," received nods for Record of the Year and Best R&B Performance by a Duo. The late, great Ray Charles landed seven nominations, including Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for Genius Loves Company.Revitalized punkers Green Day grabbed six nominations, while Norah Jones, Prince and Loretta Lynn scored five each.
The nominations were announced on a packed stage at the Henry Fonda Music Box Theater in Hollywood by presenters that included West, Joss Stone, the Black Eyed Peas and Hoobastank. The 47th Grammy Awards will air live from Los Angeles on February 13

Usher, Eminem, Kanye Nominated for Brit Awards !
The 25th Anniversary Brit Awards will be held at London's Earls Court on February 9th, just before the U.S.' Grammy Awards.  Franz Ferdinand led the nominations  at Monday's announcement of the Brit Awards contenders with five nods, including Best British Group, British Album, British Breakthrough, Rock Act and Live Act. The rockers were followed by multiple nominees Keane, Snow Patrol, the Streets, Kasabian and New York disco rockers Scissor Sisters. Among the nominees for the International Male, Female and Group awards are Eminem, Kanye West, Usher, Avril Lavigne, Gwen Stefani, Green Day, Maroon 5 and Outkast.

Pulling a J. Lo...... Usher's not having it !

Fox News reports....   R&B star Usher is none too happy about Jennifer Lopez's new record "Get Right" That's because Usher already recorded "Get Right" as a single called "Ride" that wasn't included on his most recent album, "Confessions".
Rich Harrison produced both "Ride" and "Get Right," putting the same horn track on each record as well as crafting the same vocal guidelines. Usher is furious, according to my sources. When someone asked him about the issue last week, he responded by saying, "I hate it. And I'd better get some of the publishing rights]." Usher co-wrote "Ride," but didn't put it on the multi-platinum "Confessions" because, he told friends, "I couldn't get it right.""Ride" is a popular download though."Get Right" does not mark the first time Lopez has used, heck even stolen other people's material for her own use.
When she remade "I'm Real" with rapper Ja Rule, it was due to an inside tip from Tommy Mottola that Mariah Carey had done something similar with the same music sample. The "steal" upended Carey's plans for her ill-fated "Glitter" soundtrack.


Usher scores multiple NAACP Award Nominations !

Usher's awards-show hot streak continues... Ush has nabbed the most music-category nominations for the 36th NAACP Image Awards. Mr. Entertainment received five nods, including Outstanding Male Artist, Outstanding Song (for and Outstanding Album for Confessions. He was nominated twice in the category of Outstanding Music Video: for "My Boo" (with Alicia Keys) and "Yeah!" (with Ludacris and Lil Jon). The Image Awards were founded to celebrate outstanding achievements and performances of individuals of all races and ethnicities who have helped promote African-Americans in
the media. Nominees in the categories of music, movies, television and literature are chosen by a committee of 300 industry professionals and NAACP leaders from across the country. This year's awards show will take place March 19 and will be televised on March 26.

Usher to Perform at France's NRJ Music Awards
Along with his performance, Usher is also up for two awards at the ceremony to be held in Cannes on January 22.
Click here for a complete list of nominees...

One Night, One Star..... Usher Live !
Usher is planning a March 5 concert  at San Juan's Coliseo de Puerto Rico that will be broadcast live on premium television channel Showtime. "One Night One Star Usher Live" . Fans who are not regular subscribers to Showtime will be able to see the concert which will also be broadcast in HDTV -- via a free preview weekend March 4-7. Be sure to stay clicked to as more information comes in.

Usher to Present at Golden Globes
The 62nd annual Golden Globes will air at 7 p.m. ET this Sunday, January 16 on NBC.
Click here for more ...

Usher Wins 2 People's Choice Awards
Usher received the award for Favorite Male Singer as well as the one for Favorite Combined Forces for "Yeah" with Lil Jon and Ludacris.
Click here to

Showtime to Broadcast Usher Performance
Usher's "One Night One Star Usher Live," which will be recorded March 5 at San Juan's Coliseo de Puerto Rico, will be broadcast live on pay-television channel Showtime.
Click here for more information...

Usher Nabs 11 Billboard Music Awards
Usher named overall artist of the year in Billboard 200, Hot 100 and R&B/hip-hop categories.
Click here for more...

Usher Receives 8 Grammy Nominations
The nominations were announced today at the Music Box Theatre in Hollywood.
Click here for more...

Usher "Big" in '04
Usher was presented with the Big Musical Artist award at the VH1 Big In '04 Awards.
Click here for more ...

Usher, Alicia Battle for "Billboard"
Usher leads the pack with a field-best 13 nods, including R&B/Hip-Hop Album of the Year and Artist of the Year.
Click here for more info...

Usher And Alicia's 'Boo' Still Strong At No. 1
Usher begins 28th week at No. 1
Click here for more ...

Usher Wins 2 MTV Europe Music Awards
Usher added to his ever-growing collection of award hardware with victories in the Best Male Artist and Best Album categories.
Click here for all the details ...

Usher to Rock Billboard Awards
Usher is among the first acts set to perform at the Billboard Music Awards.
Click here for more info ...

Usher Sweeps American Music Awards
Usher added to his seemingly never-ending stream of awards last night when he won all 4 categories in which he was nominated, includeing favorite male artist and favorite album in both the pop/rock and soul/R&B categories.

Usher also has a leading five nominations at the Vibe Awards, which take place in Los Angeles Tuesday, and four nominations at the MTV Europe Awards in Rome Thursday. He is considered a leading contender for February's Grammy Awards, nominations for which will be announced next month.

Visit the AMA website for more details and photos.

Usher Wins 2 Radio Music Awards
Usher won Hip-Hop Artist of the Year and Hip-Hop Song of the Year at the Radio Music Awards Monday night.
Click here for more...

Usher Voted the Top Male Artist at the First Nordic Music Awards
Results were sent by text message by fans in Norway, Denmark and Sweden.
Click here for more...

'Boo!': Usher, Keys Scare Up No. 1 Single
With the help of Alicia Keys, Usher grabbed his fourth No. 1 of the year on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart Thursday.
Click here for more ...

Usher Wins 2 Source Awards
Usher added to his list of accolades last evening by winning both categories that he was nominated in -- Artist of the Year and R&B/Rap Collabo of the Year.
Click here for more info ...

Usher Receives 4 MTV Europe Award Nominations
Nominations include Best Male, Best R&B, Best Album for Confessions, and Best Song for "Yeah!"
Click here for more details...

Usher Leads Vibe Award Nominations
NEW YORK (AP) -- The honors keep coming for Usher: the R&B singer has been nominated for a leading five Vibe awards, with Alicia Keys right behind with four, it was announced Monday.

Usher, who has the year's best-selling album with the five-million selling "Confessions," was nominated for artist of the year, R&B voice of the year, as well as best R&B song of the year for "Confessions, Pt. II." He was also nominated in quirkier categories: "club-banger of the year" and "coolest collabo" for his No. 1 smash "Yeah!" featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris.

Among the four awards Keys was up for included artist of the year. Other multiple nominees were Jay-Z, Kanye West and Twista, according to a statement released by UPN.

The show will tape in Santa Monica, Calif., on Nov. 15 and air on UPN the next day. Queen Latifah is its executive producer, and is expected to make an appearance.

Vibe magazine focuses on urban culture and entertainment. The awards will be voted on by music journalists and "regional tastemakers."

Source: Associated Press

Beginning Friday, October 1st at 9am only at Virgin Megastore Union Square (52 E. 14th Street), pre-purchase your copy of the Limited Edition Confessions Album and receive an exclusive pass to meet Usher in person Monday at Midnight, October 4th!

The Limited Edition album, hitting stores on October 5th, includes 4 new tracks including "My Boo," with Alicia Keys as well as all new photos, a special fold-out poster and a special new cover! Don't miss your chance to meet Usher! SPACE IS LIMITED!

Win a Chance to be a guest at Usher's Private Birthday Bash In New York City including air and hotel for you & guest!
Click here to enter...

New York, NY - LaFace/Zomba artist Usher is already on the fast track to being named Top Artist of 2004 with CONFESSIONS - the 5-times platinum #1 Pop/ #1 R&B album containing the three consecutive #1 Pop/ #1 R&B hit singles "Yeah!" (featuring Lil' Jon & Ludacris), "Burn" and "Confessions Part II." Now Usher will add another level of success to an astonishing year with the October 5th release of CONFESSIONS (Special Edition), a repackaged, redesigned version of the album with four bonus tracks - "My Boo," "Red Light," "Seduction," and a special remix of "Confessions Part II." To date, the original version of the album (released in March) has sold over 9 million copies worldwide.

Topping the list of bonus tracks on CONFESSIONS (Special Edition)) is the brand new single "My Boo," Usher's electrifying duet with J Records artist Alicia Keys. This week, the song jumps to #12-bullet (from #19/Greatest Gainer - Airplay) on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart; and to #18-bullet (from #29/ Greatest Gainer - Airplay) on the Hot 100.

In its first week out last week, "My Boo" was #1 most-added at Top 40, R&B, and Rhythm Cross-over radio formats. A record-setting 84 first-week adds even sur-passed "Yeah!"'s 77 adds upon its release (back in January). The track was produced by Jermaine Dupri for So So Def Productions, and co-produced by Manuel Seal. The promotional video for "My Boo," starring Usher and Alicia Keys, was directed on location in New York City by Chris Robinson. The clip will premiere September 14th on BET's "Access Granted" (9:00 p.m. EST); and will make its MTV debut on the September 16th edition of "TRL."

Two bonus tracks on CONFESSIONS (Special Edition) will be released here for the first time: "Red Light" produced by Lil' Jon with vocals produced by Sean Garrett; "Seduction" produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis for Flyte Tyme Productions, and co-produced by Bobby Ross Avila, IZ, and James "Big Jim" Wright. The final bonus track is a special remix of "Confessions Remix" featuring Shyne, Kanye West and Twista, produced by Jermaine Dupri for So So Def Productions, and co-Produced by Bryan Michael Cox.

Consumers will find that all-new, strikingly different deluxe packaging has been specially created for CONFESSIONS (Special Edition). Immed-i-ately noticeable will be the 3-D lenticular cover inside the jewel box, which will now also contain a 2x2 panel fold-out poster. The poster will be backed with a personal letter that Usher has written to fans, along with merchandising information. The CD booklet has also been redesigned and expanded to include the new songs, as well as numerous photographs that were not used on the original package.

Usher made Billboard "Chart Beat" history this year when he replaced his own #1 Hot 100 hit "Yeah!" (after 12 weeks) with "Burn" - thus becoming only the 8th act in the rock era (since 1955) to occupy the #1/ #2 spots in any one week, an elite crew that comprises Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Boyz II Men, P. Diddy, Ja Rule, Nelly, OutKast - and Usher. With the arrival of "Confessions Part II," Usher became the first artist in R&B/Hip-Hop BDS and Soundscan chart history to have three hits in the top 10 simultaneously as a lead (not featured) artist.

Having sold over five million copies of "Confessions," Usher earned three 2004 World Music Awards in the catagories of Best Male Artist, Best Male Pop Artist and Best R&B Artist.

The two hour show honouring the world's best-selling recording artists was broadcast live on ABC throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada from Las Vegas after previously being held in Monaco. An additional hour filled with awards and performances by international artists was taped for a later worldwide broadcast to more than 150 countries.

Visit for more details from the show.

Usher's four AMA nominations leads all other artists, while tourmate Kanye West picks up three nods. The categories that Usher is up for awards in include Favorite Male Artist and Album in the Pop/Rock category and Favorite Artist and Album in the Soul/R&B category.

The American Music Awards will be presented on ABC-TV during a three-hour broadcast hosted by Jimmy Kimmel on November 14. For all the latest AMA news, check out the links below:

American Music Awards
Rolling Stone

Usher's "Yeah" Wins Big at VMAs
Usher grabbed 2 awards at the MTV Video Music Awards tonight for his "Yeah" video, including Best Male Video and Best Dance Video. Click here for a complete list of Usher's awards ...

Introducing the Usher Debit MasterCard Card!
Click here for more details...


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