Weekended: Blue Ivy Carter born, Campbell gigs NY, Iommi has cancer
Pop music royalty arrives: Beyoncé Knowles and Sean Carter, aka Jay-Z, welcomed their first child, Blue Ivy Carter, into the world on Saturday. Their daughter was born at New York City's Lenox Hill Hospital, and within moments Twitter was alight with congratulations and speculation.
The Village Voice's Maura Johnston has collected the four most ridiculous rumors about the origin of Blue Ivy Carter's name (so far) and, of course the best one involves the Illuminati. But we're more wondering what the world's best rapper is going to rhyme "Blue Ivy" with. "Ivy" is certainly a tricky word to match: "chivy," "jivy," "HMS Tantivy"?
U2, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga are tops on Ultimate Top 10: U2 was the most financially successful act of the year, according to the Times' annual Ultimate Top 10, a ranking that combines concert revenue with sales of recorded music. Second was Taylor Swift, and Lady Gaga was ranked third, reports Randy Lewis.
The Lineman takes New York: Glen Campbell took his farewell tour to New York City's Town Hall on Saturday night. The singer, who announced last year that he was living with Alzheimer's, is in the middle of a final tour before retiring from performance.
The singer was rocky but inspiring at Club Nokia last year, but the New York Times' Jon Caramanica was less impressed with Campbell's gig in New York. "Once a purveyor of highly successful country crossover hits that shone with slickness and confidence, he’s in deteriorating form now, ragged even at his best," he wrote. "There were fragments of his old smooth croon at points during this show — 'The Moon’s a Harsh Mistress,' 'Where’s the Playground Susie,' the affectionate Hank Williams impression on 'Lovesick Blues' — though the antiseptic room with inadequate sound did him few favors."
The Village Voice was more excited. Wrote reviewer Peter Gerstenzang: "Whether leaning in and pulling out the depth of 'Wichita Lineman,' matching Ray Charles note-for-note on 'I Can't Stop Loving You,' or encouraging the assembled urban buckaroos to sing the chorus to 'Rhinestone Cowboy,' Campbell's instincts, playing and pacing were just about flawless.'
Meshell Ndegeocello takes the El Rey: Ernest Hardy hit the El Rey on Friday night to see the return of singer-songwriter-bassist Meshell Ndegeocello. "It wasn't just the range of styles and influences showcased that was impressive, however," he wrote. "[C]ross-genre cut and paste is now a standard exercise for would-be renaissance artists. It was the artfulness with which all of it was integrated."
Twitter silence: Kanye West's Twitter feed was relatively quiet over the weekend -- news in and of itself considering the avalanche of tweets he unleashed during one manic six-hour stretch last week. He offered only one simple missive, one that perfectly captured what he was trying to convey in the previous dozens about his new design company, Donda: "The world is our office."
Iommi has lymphoma: Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has announced that he's battling the early stages of lymphoma. The legendary metal axman has been gearing up for the Black Sabbath reunion tour featuring all four original members, as well as the recording of a new studio album -- its first in this incarnation since 1978's "Never Say Die" -- with producer Rick Rubin.
No word on the status of the tour, but Tony Iommi's website says the following: "With the news that Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi has been diagnosed with the early stages of lymphoma, his bandmates would like everyone to send positive vibes to the guitarist at this time. Iommi is currently working with his doctors to establish the best treatment plan--the 'IRON MAN' of Rock & Roll remains upbeat and determined to make a full and successful recovery."
Mariachi el Bronx get historical: Times reviewer Mikael Wood attended the Natural History Museum's first show of the season, which featured Mariachi el Bronx, the L.A. mariachi band of punk group the Bronx. The side project is doing better these days than the original, writes Wood, and "2011 might well be remembered as the point when the Bronx, which continues to perform, was outpaced by its own alter ego."
The long, fascinating life of Sub Pop: Seattle's indie label Sub Pop, best known for releasing classic music from Love Battery and Tad (just kidding -- Nirvana and the Shins), is thriving by once again upending expectations. Writer Gavin Edwards profiled the label for the Times on Sunday.
The Music Box is still closed, and more bad news: The excellent pub Blue Palms, which sublet from the now-evicted owners of the Music Box, was a casualty of the closing. Todd Martens spoke to Blue Palms owner Brian Lenzo: "I'm trying to stay positive. The support of the beer community has been unbelievable."
-- Randall Roberts
Photos, from left: Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter in December and Beyoncé in November. Credits: Charles Sykes / Associated Press; Jemal Countess / Getty Images