Billie Eilish makes history with "No Time To Die" Bond theme song
On Feb. 13, Billie Eilish released her haunting new James Bond theme song, "No Time to Die." Within days, it set a modern-day record for the highest 007 single opening week sales of all time with 90,000, including 10.6 million streams. Billie, 18, also became the first woman to hit No. 1 in Britain with a Bond theme. (It's also Billie's first U.K. No. 1.) She, brother-producing partner FINNEAS, Hans Zimmer and Johnny Marr performed the track live in public for the first time at the 2020 Brit Awards in London on Feb. 18. The film "No Time to Die" starring Daniel Craig opens on April 10.
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Rihanna back in the studio?
Is Rihanna finally in the studio working on her much anticipated ninth album? On Feb. 14, the nine-time Grammy winner shared a post on her Instagram Story revealing that she was working with The Neptunes, also known as Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo. The Barbadian star captioned a photo of studio equipment with the succinct message, "gang. back in da STU." Fans have been clamoring for a new Rihanna album for years — her last one was 2016's "Anti" — and this might be the most concrete information we have regarding what's been dubbed R9.
Aerosmith reunites with drummer
After a contentions legal battle, Aerosmith's longtime drummer Joey Kramer has officially rejoined the band. Fans learned that he was back when he took the stage with the group for their Feb. 10 residency show in Las Vegas. In January, Joey filed a lawsuit against the band after they informed him he wasn't in good enough shape to play with them during Grammys weekend after he took time off to deal with an injury in 2019. A judge sided with Aerosmith, saying, "Given that Kramer has not played with the band in six months and the dearth of available rehearsal time before the upcoming performances, Kramer has not shown a realistic alternative course of action sufficient to protect the band's business interests."
Elton John and songwriting partner Bernie Taupin win an Oscar
Music icons Elton John and Bernie Taupin had a lot to celebrate this award season. The best friends and collaborators of 50 years won their first Golden Globe together in January. Then at the Academy Awards on Feb. 9, they took home an Oscar for the same song, "I'm Gonna Love Me Again" from the Elton biopic "Rocketman."
Shakira and Jennifer Lopez deliver during Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show
The San Francisco 49ers took on the Kansas City Chiefs during Super Bowl LIV at Miami's Hard Rock Stadium on Feb. 2, but more eyes were on the performances. Jennifer Lopez and Shakira's electrifying and critically praised halftime show drew 103 million viewers while the game drew 102 million. Weeks later on Feb. 26, the Federal Communications Commission announced that it had received more than 1,300 complaints about the halftime show from viewers who found it too sexy or risqué. Billboard, however, reported that it certainly inspired music fans: J.Lo and Shakira's song catalogs saw an 893% sales increase in download sales in the States after the show, and Shakira's 18-year-old song "Whenever, Wherever" hit No. 1 on iTunes. Demi Lovato also received praise for her strong performance of the national anthem before the game.
JAY-Z and Beyonce court controversy for staying seated during Super Bowl national anthem
During the Feb. 2 Super Bowl, JAY-Z and Beyonce made headlines when both remained seated during the national anthem. Although many believed they were making a statement, Jay — who in 2019 signed a deal with the NFL with his Roc Nation company to serve as the league's live music entertainment strategist — claimed that wasn't the case. While making an appearance at Columbia University on Feb. 4, a professor asked if the couple were trying to "convey a signal." Jay replied, "It actually wasn't. Sorry." The rapper said the reason he and Beyonce didn't stand was because they "immediately jumped into artist mode" during Demi Lovato's performance. Jay elaborated, saying there was no need for him to deliver a silent protest because they were "making the biggest, loudest protest of all" by choosing a diverse group of musical artists to perform on Super Bowl Sunday. (Jennifer Lopez and Shakira headlined the Halftime Show while Bad Bunny and J Balvin made guest appearances.)
A-ha's "Take On Me" passes 1 billion streams on YouTube
The video for the 1985 Norwegian electro-pop classic "Take On Me" by A-Ha has officially joined the 1 billion views on YouTube club. On Feb. 17, Billboard reported that it's now one of the few pre-'90s music videos that has that many views (Guns N' Roses' "November Rain" and Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" are some of the others). A-Ha is the first continental European act to accomplish this milestone as well as the first pop group to do so. The music video, which memorably incorporated the "rotoscoping" illustration technique, was a massive hit with the MTV generation and launched A-ha into the mainstream. The single went to No. 1 in 36 countries and images of its band members — keyboardist Magne Furuholmen, singer Morten Harket and guitarist Paul Waaktaar — became bedroom wall fodder.
Justin Bieber opens up about his struggles with drugs and alcohol
Justin Bieber got candid about his history of drug use this month. On the Feb. 3 episode of his YouTube documentary "Seasons," the singer admitted he started smoking marijuana at "12 or 13" and soon moved on to alcohol, lean (a mixture codeine cough syrup, soda and hard candy), MDMA, pills and psychedelic mushrooms. Justin recalled that during his darkest days, his team was constantly on alert. "My security and stuff would come into my room at night to check my pulse. People don't know how serious it got. It was legit crazy scary. I was waking up in the morning and the first thing I was doing was popping pills and smoking a blunt and starting my day. It just got scary," Justin admitted.
Judge rules that Kesha defamed Dr. Luke
In the latest beat in a six-year legal battle between Kesha and Dr. Luke, a New York City Supreme Court judge on Feb. 6 ruled that the singer defamed the producer — whom she's long accused of emotional abuse and assault, which he's denied — when she sent a text to Lady Gaga claiming Luke raped pop star Katy Perry. Kesha has also been ordered to pay $374,000 in interest on back royalty payments to Dr. Luke's company in breach of contract. Kesha's legal team plans to appeal.
Harry Styles robbed at knifepoint in London
British heartthrob Harry Styles was mugged by a man with a knife in London on Feb. 14. The Mirror cited a source who said the music star "actually played it pretty cool, quickly giving the assailant cash, keeping himself and the guy calm and getting the situation over with. Understandably though it left him very shaken up afterwards." When Harry performed on the Feb. 26 episode of the "Today" show, co-host Carson Daly inquired about how he was doing. "I'm OK, thanks, thank you. Thanks for asking," Harry said, confirming the report.
Music star deaths
Rising New York rapper Pop Smoke (real name: Bashar Jackson, pictured) was shot and killed in his Los Angeles home on Feb. 19. The coroner has ruled his death a homicide and police are investigating. He was 20… Producer Andrew Weatherall, a pioneering DJ in Britain's late-1980s and early-1990s acid house scene, passed away from a pulmonary embolism in a London hospital on Feb. 17 at 56… Paul English, Willie Nelson's longtime drummer, died on Feb. 11 at 87 from complications of pneumonia… South African musical legend Joseph Shabalala died on Feb. 11 of natural causes at 78… Andy Gill, a founding member of the influential post-punk band Gang of Four, died at 64 on Feb. 1 from pneumonia… David Roback, co-founder of the alt-rock group Mazzy Star as well as the bands Opal and Rain Parade, passed away on Feb. 24 at 61. His mother told The New York Times the cause was metastatic cancer.
Ozzy Osbourne cancels North American tour dates amid health crisis
Ozzy Osbourne announced on Feb. 18 that he's had to cancel his 2020 North American "No More Tours 2" tour so that he can continue to recover from a slew of health issues. After promoting his new album, "Ordinary Man," Ozzy is heading to Europe to undergo treatment for Parkinson's disease. He's also been battling pneumonia and struggling to recover from injuries he sustained in a 2019 fall. "I'm so thankful that everyone has been patient because I've had a s— year. Unfortunately, I won't be able to get to Switzerland for treatment until April and the treatment takes six-eight weeks," he said. "I don't want to start a tour and then cancel shows at the last minute, as it's just not fair to the fans." Ozzy's dates for the U.K. leg of his tour in the fall still stand.
Jerry Lee Lewis returns to music a year after suffering a stroke
Jerry Lee Lewis suffered a stroke that left him with serious mobility issues in February 2019. But The Killer, who's 84, has recovered to the point that he's been able to return to the studio with longtime producer T-Bone Burnett to begin work on a gospel album. Although he asked for no pianos in the room because he feared he couldn't play anymore, T-Bone brought one in anyway and to Jerry's surprise, he was able to play thanks to muscle memory. "I couldn't believe it. I never experienced anything like that. There I was playing piano with my right hand. I thought I would never play again," the "Great Balls of Fire" hitmaker told Rolling Stone in a story published on Feb. 19.