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Kenny Rogers: Country music legend dies aged 81

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Kenny Rogers sold more than 100 million records

American country music legend Kenny Rogers has died aged 81.

A family representative said he “passed away peacefully at home from natural causes”.

Rogers topped pop and country charts during the 1970s and 1980s, and won three Grammy awards.

Known for his husky voice and ballads including The Gambler, Lucille and Coward Of The County, his career spanned more than six decades.

He once summed up his popularity by explaining that he believed his songs “say what every man wants to say and that every woman wants to hear”.

After growing up in poverty on a federal housing estate in Houston, Texas, Rogers began recording with a string of bands, including Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, before launching his solo career in 1976.

  • Kenny Rogers prepares to hang up his microphone

He was never a favourite of music critics, but became one of the most successful pop-country crossover acts of all time, and the 10th best-selling male artist in US history in terms of album sales.

He collaborated with other country music legends during his career, including Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson.

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Rogers and close friend Dolly Parton had a smash hit in 1983 with Islands in the Stream

In 2007 he unexpectedly found himself back in the limelight in the UK when The Gambler became the unofficial World Cup anthem of England’s Rugby Team.

The song became so popular that during his 2013 Glastonbury Festival legends slot Rogers played it twice.

That same year, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Country Music Association.

In their statement his family said he had “left an indelible mark on the history of American music”.

A keen businessman, Rogers led several ventures over the years, mainly in property and the restaurant sector.

He also acted in several movies and TV shows, including starring as a race car driver in the 1982 movie Six Pack.

During an interview with the BBC in 2013, he recalled his “obsession” with tennis, and said he became so good that he ranked higher than Bjorn Borg in the ATP’s doubles table.

He was married five times and had five children.



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Lady Gaga’s Chromatica is the fastest-selling album of 2020

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The star’s sixth album was originally due out in April, but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic

Lady Gaga’s new album, Chromatica, has entered the UK charts at number one, after outselling the rest of the top 10 combined.

The record, which sees Gaga return to the rocket-powered pop of her debut, sold 53,000 copies, the biggest opening week of the year so far.

It is also the star’s fastest-selling album since 2013’s Artpop.

The album follows Gaga’s performance in A Star Is Born, for which she won an Oscar for best song in 2019.

Critics have called the record a return to form, after the country-leaning acoustics of her fifth album Joanne and the misfiring experiments of her Artpop project.

“Song for song, it’s her best yet,” wrote Variety magazine, adding: “She sounds like she knows exactly who she is, what she wants to say and how she wants to say it.”

“Her pop renaissance couldn’t come at a better time,” agreed Rolling Stone, while The Independent praised the star’s “anthems of self-doubt, self-reflection, self-destruction and self-reclamation”.

Gaga, who has suffered with chronic illness and depression, said the record was intended to be an antidote to hard times.

“I’m making a dance record again and this dance floor… it’s mine, I earned it, and all that stuff that I went through,” she told Zane Lowe in a recent interview.

“The beginning of the album really symbolises, for me, what I would call the beginning of my journey to healing,” she added, “and what I would hope would be an inspiration for people that are in need of healing through happiness, through dance.”

Top 5 albums – 5 June 2020

According to the Official Charts Company, Chromatica was the week’s most popular album in every format – physical, streaming and downloads – as well as the year’s fastest-seller on vinyl, with 8,500 copies sold.

Three of the tracks also made it into the singles chart, led by the Ariana Grande duet Rain On Me at number two.

Sour Candy, a collaboration with K-pop band Blackpink, debuted at 17; while Alice, inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland, was at 29.

Gaga is also expected to top the US Billboard charts next week, with projected sales of 250,000.

Top 5 Singles – 5 June 2020

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Abbey Road Studios re-opens after 10 weeks of closure

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Abbey Road Studios, the recording venue made famous by The Beatles, has re-opened.

It was forced to close ten weeks ago due to the coronavirus pandemic, the first time it has closed in its 89 year history.

Special measures were taken, to allow for a recording of an album by jazz musician Melody Gardot.

The BBC’s arts editor Will Gompertz listened in.



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Alan Partridge to return with podcast from Norwich shed

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Each episode will be recorded in Alan Partridge’s shed, which he calls is Oasthouse

Alan Partridge is set to return with a podcast produced from his shed.

Steve Coogan will again take on the role of the Norwich-based DJ for an 18-part series titled From the Oasthouse: The Alan Partridge Podcast.

The podcast will unveil a “more reflective Alan” as he tries to attract a young and diverse audience.

“All national treasures have a podcast”, Partridge said. “If David Dimbleby has one, then of course I needed to make one.”

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Steve Coogan brought his cult character back to the BBC in 2019 for mock TV magazine show This Time with Alan Partridge

“With this series, I want to give my fans an intimate view of who I really am,” said Partridge.

“You may think you know me, but trust me, you have no idea what goes on behind closed doors at my podcast innovation studio.”

The Bafta award-winning character, born in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, made his debut appearance in 1991 as a sports presenter on BBC Radio 4’s On the Hour.

He moved on to to television with programmes including The Day Today, Knowing Me Knowing You and I’m Alan Partridge.

Partridge had his big screen break in 2013 with the film Alpha Papa before in 2019 returning to TV with This Time with Alan Partridge.

The full series will be on Audible from 3 September while a free episode will be available on Amazon Alexa between 6 and 12 June.



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