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Quick Takes: Steve Jobs' bio tops sales charts

November 05, 2011

Walter Isaacson's biography of Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs leaped to the top of bestseller lists in its first week in book stores, flying off shelves to the tune of 379,000 copies, according to Nielsen's BookScan.

"Steve Jobs," which came out on Oct. 24 from publisher Simon & Schuster, sold three times more copies than the next-bestselling book, John Grisham's "The Litigators."

In its first week alone the book became one of the year's 20 bestsellers.

It has been a year since any book has sold more copies in its first week. Both former President George W. Bush's autobiography, "Decision Points," and Jeff Kinney's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth," sold more than 400,000 copies in their first week last November.

—reuters

Urban to have throat surgery

Keith Urban will undergo throat surgery this month to remove a polyp on his vocal chord, a spokesman for the country singer said.

Publicist Paul Freundlich said the surgery is a minor outpatient procedure. It will require complete vocal rest followed by an indefinite period of recuperation.

Urban has postponed his Jan. 18 "All For the Hall" concert to benefit the Country Music Hall of Fame and is substantially scaling back appearances that require him to sing multiple songs. They will be rescheduled in 2012.

—Associated Press

Painting with Nazi ties seized

U.S. authorities on Friday seized a nearly 500-year-old Italian painting that has been on display at a Florida museum, saying it was stolen by the Nazis from a Jewish family during World War II and should be returned to the family's heirs.

U.S. Atty. Pamela Marsh announced Friday that the federal government will hold on to the painting until a federal judge can determine the rightful owners.

The painting, "Christ Carrying the Cross Dragged by a Rogue" by Girolamo Romano, was one of 50 lent to the Mary Brogan Museum of Art & Science in Tallahassee by a Milan museum for an exhibit that closed earlier this year.

—Associated Press

Met conductor is sidelined

James Levine has canceled conducting the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Wagner's "Goetterdaemmerung" and is in danger of missing an entire season at the company for the first time since he made his debut in 1971.

The Met said Friday that new principal conductor Fabio Luisi will replace Levine in the final installment of Robert Lepage's staging of the Ring Cycle, which opens Jan. 27. Luisi also will replace Levine in an orchestra concert at Carnegie Hall on Jan. 15.

The 67-year-old Levine, who made his Met debut in June 1971, has led the most performances of any conductor in the company's history (2,442) but has not appeared since May 14, the final day of last season.

He canceled his participation in a tour of Japan that had been scheduled

to mark his 40th anniversary with the Met, and he

had operations to address spinal stenosis on May 31 and July 20.

He had another surgery on Sept. 1 after falling and damaging a vertebrae.

"He's feeling good. He's in rehab, and he continues to make improvements. He agrees and feels strongly that he wouldn't want to return until he's fully recovered," Met general manager Peter Gelb said in an interview. "I know that his doctors are optimistic that he will be able to eventually return, but there is no specific timetable."

—Associated Press

Lip syncing on 'X Factor'

Is "The X Factor" really about finding the next great Milli Vanilli? Simon Cowell's flashy singing competition series is catching some heat for lip syncing.

The scrutiny came after Thursday's episode when contestant Leroy Bell was heard singing before the microphone reached his mouth during an opening group medley.

An "X Factor" spokesperson said that such a practice is a common occurrence with ensemble performances.

"All survival songs are performed live, with just a backing track," the spokesperson said. "For the group ensemble performance, the vocals are prerecorded to allow acts to concentrate on preparing for their own live competitive performances on Wednesdays."

"American Idol" has also copped to using recorded vocals for group numbers.

—Yvonne Villarreal

N.Y. event raises money for AIDS

The annual Black Ball benefit concert in New York raised more than $3 million for children and families in Africa and India who are affected by HIV/AIDS.

The eighth Keep a Child Alive event included performances by Black Ball co-founder Alicia Keys and guests Usher, Norah Jones, will.i.am and others singing songs by former Beatle George Harrison, who was saluted on the 40th anniversary of the Concert for Bangladesh, the first rock music superstar benefit concert.

—Randy Lewis

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