Music Review Of 2006

By Ian Garland and Sarah Henshaw It's been another busy year in the music world. Songs have topped charts, albums have flown off shelves and musicians have kept up the grand old tradition of rock and roll by marrying, divorcing and getting arrested. Let us take you through a whirlwind tour of 2006... IN JANUARY Rap legends Wu-Tang Clan announced they were reuniting for a US tour - nine years after their last jaunt. British girl group All Saints also confirmed they were to reunite after a four year hiatus. Californian rock group Grandaddy split after 14 years of making music. There was better news for piano man Billy Joel, who entered the record books after selling out 11 consecutive nights at New York City's Madison Square Garden. A number of stars landed in trouble with the law: English R+B singer Ms Dynamite was arrested and charged with assaulting a female police officer outside a London nightclub. Hip hopper Beanie Sigel was sentenced to two years probation after being convicted of assaulting a man outside a Philadelphia, Pennyslvania restaurant in 2003. Rapper Cassidy was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault charges in the same city. Troubled English rocker Pete Doherty pleaded guilty to possession of heroin and cocaine in a London court. The Babyshambles frontman went on to be arrested three times this month. English glam rocker Gary Glitter was formally charged with committing obscene acts against two young girls in Vietnam. He was found guilty by a Vung Tau court in March and sentenced to three years imprisonment. There was better news for French rock legend Johnny Hallyday who breathed a sigh of relief after a Nice judge threw out a rape case against him. There was also cause for celebration for pop punk Pink, who married motocross driver Carey Hart on 6 January at the Four Seasons resort on the Papagayo peninsula in Costa Rica. Rapper Eminem also remarried his ex-wife Kimberly Scott in Rochester Hills, Michigan - four years after their bitter divorce. Little did they know they would split again in April after just 82 days of marriage. It was a traumatic month for rocker Pete Townshend who admitted he is losing his hearing, and soul legend Isaac Hayes, who was admitted to a Memphis, Tennessee hospital after being diagnosed with exhaustion. In January we lost forever Grammy-winning singer Lou Rawls who died after a battle with lung and brain cancer at the age of 72; soul singer Wilson Pickett who died in a Virginia hospital after suffering a heart attack at the age of 64; and House Of Freaks guitarist Bryan Harvey who was found murdered, along with his wife Kathyrn and their two children. FEBRUARY Sheryl Crow was glad to put February behind her after being struck by double tragedy. Not only did the singer call off her five month engagement to cycling champion Lance Armstrong, she was also diagnosed with early stage breast cancer and had to cancel her US tour. Other stars forced into hospital included Madonna , who had a hernia operation, and raunchy rapper Foxy Brown, who needed emergency surgery for sudden hearing loss. Guitar great Les Paul has a better experience under medical care - while recovering from pneumonia he learned from his hospital bed that he had won two Grammy awards. U2 were the big winners at the ceremony in Los Angeles, picking up five top prizes. Mariah Carey, John Legend and Kanye West picked up three each. Across the Atlantic it was Sheffield newcomers Kaiser Chiefs who were dominating prizegivings. The rockers snatched British Group, British Rock Act and British Live Act at the Brit Awards. However, the event was remembered for Coldplay frontman Chris Martin's ambiguous onstage comment, "You won't see us at one of these for many, many years. We mean it." Publicists for the band swiftly issued a statement denying speculation they were planning to split. The same couldn't be said for Billy Joel and his drummer Liberty DeVitto who parted ways after thirty years performing together. But the Smashing Pumpkins reunited after a six year hiatus, as did surviving Bee Gees members Barry and Robin Gibb in concert in Miami, Florida. Valentine's Day proved bittersweet for Bon Jovi rocker Richie Sambora after wife-of-11 years Heather Locklear filed for divorce. Luckily he had new love Denise Richards to comfort him. Lisa Marie Presley was less reluctant to give up on love - she married for the fourth time, to music producer Michael Lockwood, in Kyoto, Japan. February saw Britney Spears being branded a bad mum in the first of a string of parenting faux pas. She was investigated after being filmed driving with her baby son Sean Preston on her lap, unrestrained. Other stars shamed on video this month were Kid Rock and former Creed frontman Scott Stapp who both featured in a leaked sex tape. Troubled R+B star R Kelly also fell victim when his brother released a DVD claiming the singer has had sex with minors, beats his wife, molested his nieces and has had physical relations with men. Other legal wrangles featured George Michael, arrested on suspicion of possessing drugs after he was found slumped in his car in central London. He admitted he was in possession of cannabis. Scott Stapp's bad month continued when he was arrested at Los Angeles airport for public intoxication - while trying to leave on his honeymoon. Meanwhile, The Beatles' producer George Martin demanded recognition for co-writing classic hit Yesterday; and Busta Rhymes infuriated police by refusing to cooperate in an investigation into the fatal shooting of his bodyguard Israel Ramirez. February deaths included producer J Dilla, who passed away aged just 32 from the immune disease lupus. Similarly tragic was English soul singer Lynden David Hall's demise aged 31, after a two year battle with cancer. MARCH March began with a high profile split as guitarist Wes Borland announced nu-metal group Limp Bizkit had disbanded, despite frontman Fred Durst claiming they were still together. Other shock break-ups came later in the month as both rap mogul Russell Simmons and enduring rocker Phil Collins left their wives. Meanwhile Michael Jackson had domestic troubles of a different kind when he was ordered to shut down his Neverland Valley Ranch in California after failing to pay his employees or renew their insurance policies. There were further legal troubles for Busta Rhymes who was sued for assault by one of his fans who claimed the rapper and his bodyguard attacked him when he asked for an autograph. Better news for Corey 'C-Murder' Miller though, who was released from jail and put under house arrest after the Louisiana Supreme Court overturned his murder conviction. In other court battles, Rod Stewart was ordered to pay $2.9 million (GBP1.5 million) to a Las Vegas casino after he pulled out of a New Year's Eve Millennium gig on 31 December 1999 and Avril Lavigne saw an alleged stalker sentenced to 30 days in jail after he pleaded guilty to harassing her. It was a bad month for country singers - Wynonna went public with food addiction problems on CNN talk show Larry King Live, admitting she spent 42 days in a Texas rehabilitation centre fighting her problems. Singer George Jones also had medical problems - he was admitted to hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, after contracting pneumonia. Troubled country star Mindy MCCready had reason to celebrate however, after giving birth to baby boy. As the awards season kicked in Blondie were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in New York. However, the event was marred by controversy when Deborah Harry and drummer Clem Burke accepted the honour - their former bandmates Nigel Harrison's and Frank Infante's attempts to join them on stage were rebuffed. Meanwhile, Welsh singer Tom Jones got royal recognition, collecting a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for services to music. In March we lost former Jackson Five drummer Johnny Jackson, who was stabbed to death at his home in Indiana; legendary African musician Ali Farka Toure; Buena Vista Social Club singer Pio Leyva; British hip-hop icon DJ Swing; country legend Buck Owens; Swell Maps frontman Nikki Sudden; and Spanish singer/actress Rocio Durcal. APRIL April fools this month included rap star Eminem who filed for his second divorce from Kimberly Mathers after just 82 days of marriage. Also left looking stupid was music mogul Marion 'Suge' Knight whose money mismanagement forced him file for bankruptcy to avoid relinquishing control of his Death Row Records label. The Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards was almost killed when he fell out of a tree on a beach in Fiji and landed awkwardly. He later underwent brain surgery to relieve a build-up of pressure on his brain. Those enjoying a happier April were Morrissey and duo Gnarls Barkley who made history by becoming the first artists to top the UK album and singles charts respectively through download sales. Keith Urban and American Idol star Carrie Underwood also tasted success as the big winners at the Country Music Television (CMT) Awards in Nashville. But it was a tragic month for a host of stars struck by bereavements or illness. Ashanti cancelled her performance at a scheduled concert in South Africa after her cousin was killed by a 17-year-old drunk driver; former Wonder Stuff drummer Martin Gilks died in London after a motorcycle accident at the age of 41; Garth Brooks' ex-wife was kidnapped at gunpoint on her Oklahoma farm; and Love frontman Arthur Lee announced he is secretly battling leukaemia. In relationships it was a turbulent time for Irish dance star Michael Flatley who split from his girlfriend Lisa Murphy. Soon after he started dating Niamh O'Brien, who became his second wife in October. R+B star Ciara and her rapper boyfriend Bow Wow also ended their one year relationship. It's not all bad news though - No Doubt guitarist Tom Dumont and his wife became parents to a baby son. George Michael's problems with the police were compounded in April when the former Wham! star crashed into three parked cars in north London. Luckily he escaped charges - as did Britney Spears who breathed a sigh of relief when officials at Los Angeles' Department Of Children And Family Services (DCFS) closed their investigation into the welfare of her son who hurt his head falling out of a faulty high chair. There was no reprieve for D-12 rapper Swift however, who was jailed for probation violation after skipping a court hearing to attend the funeral of bandmate Proof. Bouncer Mario Etheridge was charged over the shooting incident which killed him but, in September, a jury found he acted in lawful self-defence and sentenced him to just six months in prison. In April, the music world was rocked by the death of American singer Gene Pitney. He died of natural causes in a hotel room in Cardiff, Wales. June Pointer, the youngest of the Pointer Sisters, and jazz saxophonist Jackie MCLean were also mourned this month. MAY May's music headlines were dominated by the break-up of Sir Paul MCCartney's marriage to Heather Mills after nearly four years. The following months saw the former Beatle accused of domestic abuse in an alleged court paper leak, while the British press unearthed a pornographic book Mills featured in as an unknown model. There was more heartache for MCCartney when he and his surviving Beatles bandmembers lost their bitter court battle with computer giant Apple over the firm's use of the famous apple logo. More splits followed in May when Arctic Monkeys bassist Andy Nicholson quit, guitarist Dave 'Brownsound' Baksh left Canadian rock band Sum 41, Panic! At The Disco bassist Brent Wilson sensationally announced his departure from the band and troubled rocker Pete Doherty was ditched by his record label for being "too difficult to deal with". Pop act Backstreet Boys tried to redress the balance though by confirming a return to music, while Sheryl Crow made her live comeback in New York after undergoing breast cancer surgery. Michael Jackson also staged a return when he collected an honorary Legend Award at MTV's Japan Music Video Awards in Tokyo. It was his first professional appearance since his acquittal on child molestation charges. There were more memorable concerts this month when pop superstar Madonna kicked off her latest world tour by staging a crucifixion for shocked fans - causing outrage among religious groups. At the Eurovision Song Contest in Athens, Greece, there was a surprise win for Finnish shock rockers Lordi who stole the show with their outlandish costumes and unusually dark material. London's Heathrow Airport was an unlikely venue dominating this month's music news - Snoop Dogg was cautioned following his arrest there for affray and violent disorder in April, while DMX was arrested there after an alleged air-rage incident on his flight to the UK. The hip-hop star reportedly threw a tantrum when cabin crew urged him to fasten his seatbelt when the plane was about to land. In other news U2 frontman and human rights activist Bono guest-edited British newspaper The Independent in conjunction with his anti-AIDS campaign Red; The Game was arrested after California police pulled over his car and found him in possession of a dangerous weapon; Mariah Carey insured her legs for $1 billion (GBP555 million) after agreeing to front shaving giant Gillette's Legs Of A Goddess campaign; Kaiser Chiefs star Ricky Wilson credited his stage acrobatics with saving his life after being hit by a car; and US rappers Gravy and Beanie Sigel were both shot, in the buttocks and arm respectively. Britney Spears hit the headlines again in May after she was photographed driving with her son in a dangerous seating position. Later in the month she made the papers after nearly dropping him on his head! She also confirmed she was pregnant with her second child. Other stars with babies on their mind were former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, British soul star Mica Paris, White Stripes rocker Jack White and wife Karen Elson, and Gwen Stefani, who all welcomed new arrivals this month. In May we lost forever Colombian singer/songwriter Soraya; Freddie And The Dreamers frontman Freddie Garrity; reggae legend Desmond Dekker; and cult Aussie rocker Grant MCLennan. In addition, country singer Billy Walker, his wife and two bandmembers were killed in car crash in Montgomery, Alabama. JUNE June was a month of comebacks and finales. Barbra Streisand announced her first US tour in over a decade, putting her famous stage fright to the test again; Kylie Minogue made her first live performance since being diagnosed with breast cancer last year supporting her sister Dannii as a surprise guest in London; and Foxy Brown rapped on stage alongside Shawn 'Jay-Z' Carter, just four months after undergoing surgery to rectify sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Those bowing out of the music industry however, included Outkast singer Andre 3000 who retired from live performances; pop hunk Kevin Richardson who officially quit The Backstreet Boys; and the BBC announced the end of British chart show Top Of The Pops after 42 years. There were also temporary hiatuses for a string of other artists forced to postpone or axe shows due to health problems. Snow Patrol scrapped their entire US tour when frontman Gary Lightbody suffered a severe throat infection and rockers Korn called off their European tour when singer Jonathan Davis was diagnosed with blood disorder immune thrombocytopenia purpura. Ailing opera legend Luciano Pavarotti also postponed shows this month after ongoing health troubles and The Rolling Stones' European tour was put in jeopardy once again when Ronnie Wood entered alcohol rehabilitation clinic The Priory for the second time in just over a year. The month's radio play was dominated by Colombian pop sensation Shakira who made history thanks to her Hips Don't Lie collaboration with Wyclef Jean - the tune became the most played pop song in US radio history. Less successful in the charts was R+B beauty Christina Milian who was subsequently dropped from her record label Island Def Jam, only a month after releasing her third album So Amazin'. June saw all the usual suspects back in court or police custody: DMX was cited for more traffic violations and later jailed for failing to attend a court hearing; Liza Minnelli's estranged husband David Gest was accused of sexually harassing his male assistant; Gary Glitter's appeal against child molestation charges was rejected in a Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, court; and Michael Jackson faced further court scrutiny after a former associate sued for nearly $4 million (GBP2.2 million) in unrepaid loans and expenses. Meat Loaf also launched a lawsuit against his longtime songwriting partner Jim Steinman and manager David Sonenberg for more than $50 million (GBP27.8 million) claiming Steinman wrongfully registered the phrase 'Bat Out Of Hell' as his trademark. Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose was also in trouble. The rocker was arrested in Stockholm after reportedly biting a security guard on the leg. He was released from jail after agreeing to pay a fine and damages to the security guard. He later claimed he only admitted to the "violent conduct" because he was physically mistreated by police as well as threatened with up to three weeks behind bars if he didn't. Romance struck with confirmation British pop star James Blunt was officially dating Czech model Petra Nemcova. In June the music industry mourned former Grateful Dead star Vince Welnick. He was the band's fourth keyboardist to pass away. JULY July was the month for coming out. Former 'N Sync singer Lance Bass revealed he is gay and was in a "very stable" relationship with Amazing Race reality TV star Reichen Lehmkuhl. Former Savage Garden frontman Darren Hayes 'married' his British boyfriend Richard Cullen in London after a two year relationship. Most fans didn't realise the 34-year-old was gay. There was more surprise from Justin Timberlake, who confessed to taking drugs in private. Industry news was occupied by the announcement Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell was confirmed to sing the theme for the new James Bond film; Culture Club recruited a singer to replace Boy George for their upcoming world tour; and R+B superstar Usher signed up to make his Broadway, New York City, debut in the hit musical Chicago. Meanwhile, surviving Beatles Sir Paul MCCartney and Ringo Starr reunited in Las Vegas, Nevada for the launch of a musical dedicated to the band. Another old rock band, The Who, announced they will tour the world for the first time in more than two decades and release their first studio album since 1982. Offstage Sir Paul MCCartney officially filed for divorce from Heather Mills, citing her "unreasonable behaviour" for the end of their four year marriage. Pop star Prince's second wife, Manuela Testolini Nelson also filed for divorce, and Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson made their's official. Dave Navarro and his wife Carmen Electra separated. Elsewhere, love was in the air for Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie who married his long-term love Katy England, The Strokes guitarist Nick Valensi who married his girlfriend Amanda De Cadenet, and Avril Lavigne who married Deryck Whibley. Former Destiny's Child Kelly Rowland announced she was two month's pregnant with her first child. Also in the new news, rapper Lil' Kim was released from jail after spending 10 months behind bars for perjury. It was a bad July for opera star Luciano Pavarotti who underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer. Country music singer LeAnn Rimes was also operated on for a serious infection she suffered after tearing the tissue in one of her legs. In July we lost former Pink Floyd frontman Syd Barrett who died from complications relating to diabetes at the age of 60. The former singer had lived a reclusive life since suffering a LSD-induced breakdown at the height of the band's fame in the 1960s. AUGUST Pop superstar Madonna was lambasted by religious leaders in Rome and Moscow after staging a mock-crucifixion stunt on the Italian and Russian legs of her Confessions tour. Elsewhere Keane cancelled a string of gigs across Europe because frontman Tom Chaplin was suffering from exhaustion. He later confessed addictions to alcohol and cocaine were the real reasons for pulling the shows, and entered rehab. Brian May announced plans to begin work on the first Queen album since late frontman Freddie Mercury died in 1991. Former Blink-182 members Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus formed a new band, +44, named after the international dialling code to the UK. The Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins checked himself into London rehab clinic The Priory. Gnarls Barkley's Crazy and James Blunt's You're Beautiful were the big winners at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York, claiming two prizes each. It was a busy month in showbiz court; Boy George donned overalls and gloves in New York as he began his community service for wasting police time; rapper Lil' Wayne was arrested on drug charges in Atlanta, Georgia; Busta Rhymes was charged with assaulting a fan and illegal possession of a weapon; and rapper Foxy Brown pleaded guilty to assaulting two nail salon workers in 2004, before trying to change her plea to not guilty moments later. There was love for British rocker Samuel Preston who married his reality TV lover Chantelle Houghton after a whirlwind romance in London. Former Blink-182 frontman Tom DeLonge celebrated after his wife Jennifer gave birth to their second child, baby boy Jonas Rocket DeLonge. Meanwhile his former bandmate Travis Barker filed for divorce from his wife, former Miss USA Shanna Moakler. Rapper Eve dumped her African heir boyfriend Teodorin Obiang after discovering allegations his dictator father practises cannibalism. We said goodbye to Love star Arthur Lee, who died in a Memphis, Tennessee hospital following a battle with leukaemia. He was 61. SEPTEMBER It was a great month for British chart-toppers the Arctic Monkeys who lifted the 2006 Mercury Music Prize for their 2005 debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not. Meanwhile, Sir Elton John announced he is going hip-hop on his next album because record label boss, Jimmy Iovine, wants the Rocket Man to work with Dr Dre and Eminem. There was another rock/rap collaboration for Chris Martin who joined pal Shawn 'Jay-Z' Carter onstage in London. There were rap problems for Sean 'Diddy' Combs who was forced to give up the 'Diddy' part of his name after being sued by a UK music producer also called Diddy. R+B star Bobby Brown stunned fans by choosing to announce his pending reunion with former boy band New Edition on the same day his estranged wife Whitney Houston filed for legal separation. Britney Spears fired longtime publicist Leslie Sloane-Zelnick and took charge of her own public relations for a while. Eminem rubbished retirement rumours with the news he is working on a new D-12 album and George Michael made his stage comeback in Barcelona, Spain - touring for the first time in more than a decade. Paris Hilton's debut pop effort was sabotaged in the UK by a guerrilla graffiti artist Banksy, who planted mock copies of her single in record shops. Rapper/actor Mos Def was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after he put on an unauthorised show outside New York City's Radio City Music Hall following the MTV Video Music Awards. Other musicians in trouble with the law were country star Willie Nelson, who was cited for possession of marijuana and narcotic mushrooms after a Louisiana cop smelled trouble during a traffic stop; rocker Tom Morello was arrested in Los Angeles during a protest march to raise awareness for immigrant hotel workers' rights; and soul singer Ronald Isley was sentenced to three years in prison for tax evasion. In other news, Janet Jackson confessed she was once tricked into taking liquid cocaine; Avril Lavigne landed in trouble when she spat at photographers at her 22nd birthday in Los Angeles; Gwen Stefani launched her own line of dolls; and Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt married for the third time at a secret ceremony in Gibraltar on Friday. Britney Spears gave birth to her second son Jayden James, and Kiss frontman Paul Stanley and his wife Erin Sutton welcomed a baby boy into the world. There was also good news for Sean 'Diddy' Combs and Kim Porter, and Elvis Costello and Diana Krall. Both couples announced they were expecting twins. Liza Minnelli and David Gest's divorce battle turned nasty when Minnelli accused her estranged husband of trying to poison her and Gest claimed Minnelli hid the fact she had a sexually transmitted disease. Elsewhere in news, opera star Russell Watson underwent a five hour emergency operation to remove a brain tumour. There was some bad news for music veterans - Marianne Faithfull postponed her world tour after being diagnosed with breast cancer; Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler revealed he has secretly been battling hepatitis C; and guitar legend Eric Clapton announced he has developed the hearing problem tinnitus after spending years playing in front of blaring speaker stacks. There was tragedy for hip-hop legend Joseph 'Run' Simmons and his wife Justine - their baby daughter died shortly after being born on 23rd September. OCTOBER October kicked off with one of the big showbiz news stories of the year - Madonna and Guy Ritchie's adoption of Malawian baby David Banda. There was also baby news for former Spice Girl Mel B, who announced she was pregnant with Eddie Murphy's baby. Elswhere Heather Mills claimed estranged husband Sir Paul MCCartney beat her during their marriage and Nicole Kidman's new husband Keith Urban checked into a US rehab clinic suffering drug addiction. The Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins quit the British rockers after successfully undergoing rehab for drink and drug problems. Veteran rocker Patti Smith played an emotional last gig at New York punk mecca CBGB, insisting the venue in which she was discovered will always be in her heart. Progressive rock band Wolfmother picked up three top awards for their self-titled debut album at the Australian Recording Industry Association Music Awards. Meanwhile, Oasis, U2 and Arctic Monkeys all emerged triumphant at the 2006 Q Music Awards in London, taking home two awards each. The was trouble for Jimmy Buffett who was detained by French airport authorities who found 100 "ecstasy" tablets in his luggage. Buffett insisted the pills were only vitamins. George Michael was arrested after being found asleep at the wheel of his car in London in the early hours of the morning. Raunchy rapper Foxy Brown was sentenced to three years' probation for assaulting two manicurists in a New York City court. Rapper Snoop Dogg was arrested on suspicion of illegal drug and gun possession at a California airport - the third time he had been apprehended by police at a flight terminal in six months. Rapper Cassidy was left in critical condition after being involved in a serious traffic accident in New Jersey - he later recovered. It was a better month for the oldest Hanson brother Isaac, who wed his longtime love Nicole Dufresne in Tulsa, Oklahoma. But in October we lost singer Freddy Fender who died at home with his family in Texas after battling a string of illnesses including lung cancer. He was 69. NOVEMBER Following months of intense media speculation, Britney Spears filed for divorce from her husband of two years Kevin Federline. The Toxic singer became inseparable from Paris Hilton and the friends were spotted partying in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, where Spears was photographed without any knickers on. Wannabe rapper Federline's hip-hop career flopped at first hurdle when his much hyped album Playing With Fire sold only a few thousand copies during its first week on release. Rod Stewart was finally divorced from his second wife Rachel Hunter and immediately began making arrangements for his upcoming nuptials with fiancee Penny Lancaster. The Black Crowes star Chris Robinson's split from Kate Hudson became permanent when he filed for divorce. R+B singer Akon has no such worries - he admitted to being a polygamist with three wives. But there was heartbreak for Good Charlotte rocker Joel Madden and Hilary Duff, who split. Seal became a second-time father when his supermodel wife Heidi Klum gave birth to baby boy Johan. Sir Mick Jagger flew back from The Rolling Stones' US tour to attend his father Joe's funeral, where he was supported by his ex wives and current girlfriend L'Wren Scott. Estranged couple Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown failed to keep up with their mortgage payments and their mansion in Atlanta, Georgia was seized. Rappers The Game and Snoop Dogg both fell foul of the law too. The Game was arrested for impersonating a cop while Snoop was arrested twice for possessing weapons. Babyshambles wildman Pete Doherty was arrested for drug possession again. Kylie Minogue resumed her Showgirl world tour after beating breast cancer, and 1960s icon Marianne Faithful announced she too had beaten the deadly disease. Michael Jackson's much anticipated return to the stage left fans bitterly disappointed when he sang just a few lines of We Are The World at the World Music Awards in London. The Thriller star consoled himself by watching pal David Gest on British reality show I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!. Justin Timberlake and Gnarls Barkley were the big winners at the MTV Europe Music Awards, while Kanye West was left fuming after missing out on Best Video. Nelly Furtado turned down $500,000 to pose nude in Playboy magazine, while British R+B star Jamelia was rushed to hospital after suffering severe stomach pains during an appearance on Spanish TV. Pete Doherty flew out to Portugal to spend time at a rehab facility while Ms Dynamite was left shaken after crashing at high speed during filming for UK reality show The Race. In November we mourned jazz singer Anita O'Day, R+B star Gerald Levert and Grammy winner Ruth Brown, who all passed away. DECEMBER Paul MCCartney continued to dominate the headlines in December with news his estranged wife Heather Mills had received death threats after the breakdown of their marriage. He celebrated better news a few days later however, with the arrival of a new grandchild when daughter Stella gave birth. There were other new babies for Sean 'Diddy' Combs who became a dad again to twin girls; singers Elvis Costello and Diana Krall welcomed twin boys; there were twins for Sean 'Diddy' Combs too; and former Spandau Ballet frontman Tony Hadley became a father for the fourth time. Poor Melanie Brown though had her baby bliss cut short when boyfriend and Hollywood superstar Eddie Murphy demanded a DNA test to prove he is the father of her unborn child after dumping her. In contrast, Mary J Blige couldn't wipe the smile from her face this month. As well as picking up eight Grammy nominations, the R+B star dominated the 2006 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, scooping n


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