Celine Dion has been forced to scrap more of her shows at Las Vegas' Caesars Palace because of a virus causing an inflammation of her vocal cords.
The French-Canadian songbird has been ordered to rest her voice for six to eight weeks. She was initially thought to be well enough to take the stage again Saturday, but she won't be able to resume performances until June 9, she announced on her website Tuesday.
"I tried to sing at my sound check last week, and I had no control of my voice whatsoever," Dion said in a statement. "We thought that after a few days' rest I would improve, but it wasn't getting any better."
It was previously announced that Dion would shutter shows through March 3. The singer was diagnosed with a viral illness and weakness in her right vocal cord during an examination at UCLA Medical Center on Monday.
What's the formula for success in the rapidly shifting music business? Roll the dice, then stay put.
That combination put Celine Dion atop the ultimate edition of Calendar's annual Ultimate Top 10 list, a ranking that combines artists' album sales revenue with their take at the box office.
Dion earned the title of Ultimate Top 10 champ for the decade that recently ended, thanks in large part to the money she piled up from her five-year engagement at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, where audiences are used to paying big bucks for big stars.
Her gamble to perform in one place for an extended period paid off big for the Canadian pop diva.
The Ultimate Top 10 isn't meant to be the final word on artists' finances. With merchandising, product endorsements, song placements in movies and TV shows, ring tones, website subscriptions and myriad other income sources, musicians today have seemingly limitless ways to bring in money. But by combining two of the biggest revenue sources, the Ultimate Top 10 is a good indicator of which artists fans are spending the most money on.
The overall decade results suggest there's still considerable long-term value in allowing artists time to build extensive catalogs and encouraging them to support those recordings by touring regularly.
The Ultimate Top 10 of the Decade:
In writing the article about the death of Brill Building songwriter Ellie Greenwich this week, I immediately flashed back to an interview I’d done last year with Brian Wilson.
The first thing he did after slipping behind the wheel of his Mercedes coupe was to punch up KRTH-FM (101.1) on the radio as we headed out for a cruise through the winding hills of Benedict Canyon.
“I always check to see if they might play ‘Be My Baby,’” he told me, “but they don’t play it very much.”
“Be My Baby” was one of the dozens of sterling songs Greenwich wrote in the early ‘60s, most of them with her husband Jeff Barry and many in collaboration with Wall of Sound producer Phil Spector, whose recordings were a powerful influence on what Wilson created in the studio with the Beach Boys.
Jeffrey Foskett, the leader of the band that has backed Wilson on tour and in the recording studio for the last decade, said that when they played a show in New York a few years ago, Greenwich was in the audience, so Wilson dedicated their version of “Be My Baby” to her. “She invited us back to her house for chicken soup,” Foskett said. “I’m sorry that we didn’t go.”
Wilson took another of Greenwich and Barry’s songs, “I Can Hear Music,” which had made it only as high as No. 100 when the Ronettes put it out in 1966 but became a Top 30 hit three years later with the Beach Boys. He said he rarely puts on music in his house because there’s always music playing in his head, which made me realize, beyond just its melodic beauty, what appealed to him about “I Can Hear Music,” with its lyric in the bridge, “I hear the music all the time.”
Wilson made no bones about naming the Ronettes' hit version of “Be My Baby” as his favorite record of all time, and when I reached out to him this week for a comment about his thoughts on Greenwich’s contributions to music, he also confirmed a story that had assumed the level of urban myth.
“Dawg! When you hit that high note -- 'That’s the the way that love’s sup-POSE-ed to be' -- THAT was the Faith we’ve come to know and love throughout this competition. That was hot -- you ARE the next American Idol!!”
Oh, that’s right -- Faith Hill got the jump on "American Idol" long ago. Yet it was tough Friday not to keep watching from the wings during the opening of her two-night stand at the Hollywood Bowl expecting Randy Jackson or Paula Abdul to pop out and give her a standing ovation.
She’s everything “AI” contestants strive to be: outwardly humble, vocally unrestrained, temperamentally not too hot, not too cold. Hill’s the diva for people who don’t like divas, so even-keeled there’s never a hint of the kind of distracting quirk that can come with a Whitney, Celine, Madonna or even a Kelly.
On Friday, that meant despite the added forces of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra behind her six-piece band and three backup singers, there was a striking shortage of musical electricity during the 65 minutes she was onstage.
Not a shortage of volume or sonic density given close to 100 musicians were there with her. But Hill’s music studiously avoids any sort of dynamic tension or thematic ambiguity that might give listeners a second thought. Or at times even a first one.
Think about it: As a nation we’re going to have to pony up several hundred-billion dollars and hope it might halt the ever-deepening economic meltdown.
Feel-good factor for that outlay? Zilch.
But for a measly C-note or three, hundreds of thousands of fans are filling arena after arena to hear Dion deliver emotional climax after emotional climax, goosebump-inducing vocal thrill after thrill, sweeping chorus after chorus filled with spirit-lifting affirmations and enough technical razzle-dazzle to dwarf the Super Bowl halftime show.
And that was just her opening number.
The reason she’s such a hit with the masses was plain during her two-hour show Tuesday night at Staples Center, only the second performance after resuming the tour that had been interrupted by a bout of throat problems that forced her to cancel several shows here and in Australia.
After five years of nightly honing of her act in Las Vegas, she and her tour director have created a production that’s all peaks, no valleys — at least in terms of pushing all the right buttons. Her songs celebrate romantic love at its most dramatic. Her 1993 No. 1 hit “The Power of Love” indeed lionizes the potency of the heart, but by way of the muscle in that delicate looking French Canadian throat. Melodies are structured for maximum impact, starting in the middle of her comfort range, dipping low for the “of” before taking a skyrocket leap up to “love” that’s the equivalent of a gymnast’s 10.0 dismount from the uneven parallel bars at the Olympics.
Indeed, much like a champion athlete, Dion frequently punctuated her prize-worthy phrase-and-song endings with a clenched fist pumped in the air or pulled down from the sky.
But if her vocal workouts are all about perfection — and without a hint Auto-Tuning in sight — she succeeds at letting her human side come through in the spaces between songs.