The end-of-the-year charts are here for best selling CD's, as compiled by Billboard and Soundscan.
The best-selling album of 2001? After all the hype, the news items, and the publicity, the winners are none other than the Beatles. The all time best rock and roll group, pop group, and composers of the classic music of three generations finished at number one with 1, the compilation of their 27 number one singles.
And at number 22, far down the list and much lower than you might have thought considering all the exposure she's had – literally and figuratively? Jennifer Lopez. Her JLO album wasn't that big a phenomenon once it was stacked up against the rest of the year's hits.
Missing completely from the Top 100 albums of 2001? Michael Jackson's Invincible. Released at the end of October, the $30 million flop didn't even register among the year's most popular recordings.
Of course this isn't much of a surprise. Not only didn't Invincible turn up, but its one and only single release, "You Rock My World," is absent from the singles charts as well.
You might wonder anyway how the Billboard/Soundscan chart is tallied up considering that Nsync's hugely promoted Celebrity album—at number 9—took a back seat to Backstreet. Those boys, their bitter rivals, finished at number 3 with Black and Blue, an album with a lackluster rep from the day of its release. Goes to show you.
(And don't forget, even SoundScan can't be perfect on the count of exact records gone from stores. On Monday I watched a clerk at an FYE record store demagnetize an album's theft protector and hand it to female pal — who then waltzed out with said CD, free of charge.)
The biggest surprise on the end of the year chart? That Warner Music Group, considered moribund by all reason, has albums by Linkin Park, Staind, and Enya at numbers 6, 7, and 8.
The best showing by a new artist? Alicia Keys, whose Songs in A Minor, is at number 13. Songs is a shoo-in for a bunch of Grammy awards in February, including best album, best record, best song (for "Fallin'"), and Keys for Best New Artist.
The saddest news? That Arista Records, once mighty, is represented by a scattershot of mediocre showings including Usher's 8701 album at number 60 and a couple of releases on Bad Boy, Sean "P Diddy" Combs's now all but buried label. You can only hold your breath and cover your eyes thinking about what will happen to the Arista regime after the turn of the year.
Maybe I'm a bit biased, but Sam Moore's shows at BB King's in Manhattan on Saturday night were extraordinary. It makes you wonder where he's been all this time.
Yes, this is the same Sam who was one half of Sam & Dave in the 1960s. His voice is heard on the radio constantly—"Soul Man," "Hold On I'm Coming," "Soothe Me," "Can't Stand Up For Falling Down," "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby" are just some of his many Isaac Hayes/David Porter-penned hits.
Dave Prater, Sam's singing partner, died in 1988.
Sam's special guests on Saturday included the legendary writer Kurt Vonnegut and his wife photographer Jill Krementz (her "Writers Desk 2002 Calendar" is in stores right now), One Life to Live stars Robert S.Woods and Nathan Purdee, and the great singer Phoebe Snow. Phoebe dueted with Sam on "Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer" and blew the roof right off BB King's.
Sam is getting ready for a couple of big releases in 2002. First comes his long lost solo album, recorded in 1971 but held in legal limbo all this time. It hits UK record shops in late January and should have an American home shortly thereafter. And also in mid-January he stars in the documentary Only the Strong Survive at the Sundance Film Festival.
This is the same documentary about soul music which Fox411 readers with long memories will remember from mentions in the early days of this column. The project, started in 1999 before the Fox411 was a glimmer in anyone's eye, was directed by Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker (War Room, Startup.com, Down from the Mountain) and produced by yours truly with Frazer Pennebaker. This labor of love — believe me, the money involved wouldn't pay for a wheel on one of Jay Leno's collectible cars — also features the late Rufus Thomas, his daughter Carla, Wilson Pickett, the Chi Lites, Jerry Butler, Isaac Hayes, and Ann Peebles. I am hopeful it will bring the much deserved recognition (and money, fame, CD sales) to these legendary pioneers of rhythm and blues that lesser artists have had for years.
Seeing the holiday grosses from The Majestic can't make Jim Carrey too keen about the new year ahead.
His many tries at a successful non-comic straight acting career have fizzled one after another, from The Truman Show to Man on the Moon, to The Majestic.
Let's not even talk about The Cable Guy.
So what's the problem here? It's not like Carrey isn't talented. And he can act, too.
But his choice of material is just abominable. Outside of Truman, these movies have been underdeveloped, and poorly thought out. How could anyone in their right mind think that the horrific Hollywood blacklist—which destroyed lives and undermined the fabric of the judicial and congressional branches of the government — might be integrated into a Capra-esque fantasy?
This shows as much insight as the other big little scandal of the moment, the whitewashing of Nobel mathematician John Forbes Nash's life in A Beautiful Mind. Critics are correct when they cry foul over Nash's homosexuality, arrest record, and bizarre marriage history being re-written for Hollywood correctness. The real story would have been just fine, and maybe even more interesting. A Beautiful Mind is forever tarnished by this scuffle. It's a good movie, but you can't believe it.
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