Entertainment behind the scenes
Robbie Williams looks set to maintain his impressive UK chart record this weekend, with his latest album “Reality Killed the Video Star” on course for the number one slot come Sunday which would make it eight chart-topping studio albums out of eight since he went solo after leaving Take That in the mid-1990s.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing for the 35-year-old, whose previous album “Rudebox” was poorly received and recorded sharply lower sales than his previous efforts. He failed to make it big in the key U.S. market and has said he suffered from chronic stage fright — a surprising admission from someone renowned for his cheeky grin and apparently indomitable character.
A statement from his spokesman says Williams is at number one in the midweek album charts in the UK, with over 85,000 copies sold in the country on the first day of release on Monday. It is also number one on the iTunes chart in 16 countries, including Germany, France, Austria and Belgium.
That, however, is not enough to stop the questions about his eventual reunion with Take That, a group which has enjoyed a remarkable comeback of its own in the last few years. Robbie has proved he has what it takes to go it alone, but everyone, it seems, wants to see him back with the band.
Robbie Williams did himself few favours when he sang his new single on the X Factor TV show, with the former Take That star clearly nervous, some would say positively wired.
But the 35-year-old put that setback behind him on Tuesday night with his first full concert in three years at the Roundhouse in London which scored well with the critics. Both the Guardian and Telegraph broadsheets gave Williams four stars out of five, quite an achievement for someone who says he suffers from stage fright.
My Sweet Lord, indeed. George Harrison is back on the pop charts with the first hits package covering his entire solo career.
“Let It Roll: Songs By George Harrison,” released last week, boasts tracks from 1970′s “All Things Must Pass” to his posthumous 2002 set “Brainwashed.” It also includes three Beatle-era tunes from 1971′s “Concert for Bangladesh” all-star live charity album.
Alice in Chains, the Seattle rock band silenced by the slow drug-fueled demise of late singer Layne Staley, will release its first studio album in 14 years on Sept. 29.
“Black Gives Way To Blue” marks the band’s first release with new singer/guitarist William DuVall (at right in picture) who shares vocal duties with guitarist Jerry Cantrell (second from left). It will also be the band’s first release for Virgin/EMI; all its previous albums were handled by Columbia Records.
During the 1990s when Seattle was at the epicenter of the “grunge rock” phase, Alice in Chains spearheaded the gloomy genre with a string of dark, druggy albums. Four of them hit the top 10 of the Billboard 200, including the chart-toppers “Jar of Flies” (1994) and its self-titled studio swan song the following year.
But Staley’s chronic heroin problems hampered the band’s progress, and it ended the decade on an enforced hiatus. Staley eventually died of an overdose in 2002.