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The Week in Music: Ice Cream Tattoos, Grateful Dead Videos Games and More

Plus: 'Spider-Man' delayed again and Taylor Swift hits Number One in grim week for record sales

January 14, 2011 7:00 PM ET
Gucci Mane
Gucci Mane
Photographs courtesy of Jason Murray via yfrog.com

The second week of 2011 will not be remembered as a momentous time in the history of popular music, but some cool things definitely went down. After all, it's not every week that a major rap star gets an ice cream cone tattooed on his face.

It was a big week for new singles. Kanye West took time out from recording new music with Lil Wayne to deliver the first taste from his upcoming album with Jay-Z. Missy Elliott, Stevie Nicks and Britney Spears also debuted new tunes from their respective comeback albums. Rolling Stone's Rob Sheffield loved the Spears track in particular, giving it a four-star review and declaring it "prime Britney."

Nevertheless, it was a fairly grim week for the music industry as a whole. Taylor Swift had the dubious honor of scoring the Number One album in the worst week for record sales since Nielsen SoundScan began monitoring sales in 1991. It may be a sign of things to come, as a Nielsen music study showed that internet users are three times as likely to listen to music for free on YouTube or download records illegally than purchase digital music legally.

Also:

The Grateful Dead are getting their own video game (!) featuring music culled from their extensive vault of recordings.

Steven Tyler insists that Aerosmith still exists and revealed 25 of his secrets, including one involving koala bears.

Dr. Conrad Murray will stand trial for involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson.

The Spider-Man musical has been delayed again, but is the top grossing production on Broadway.

50 Cent hyped up stock for a company he partially owns on Twitter, which may or may not have been unethical (and illegal).

Trent Reznor announced that he's scoring David Fincher's adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Plus:

We gave you full album streams of new releases by the Decemberists and Gregg Allman and an exclusive video from the latest song by Gang of Four.

Anyway, enjoy the long weekend! We'll be taking Martin Luther King Jr. Day off, but if you need to kill time until Tuesday, we suggest watching every movie in Rolling Stone's Top 15 Best Rock Docs on Netflix Instant.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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