Rock News Two: The week in pop music

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International   |   Feb. 23, 2002 at 4:45 AM   |   0 comments

OLYMPIC CLOSING CEREMONIES TO ROCK

Christina Aguilera, Bon Jovi, Charlotte Church, Harry Connick Jr., Gloria Estefan, Savion Glover, Earth, Wind & Fire, Moby, 'NSYNC and Dianne Reeves are on the bill for what organizers hope will be a mesmerizing closing ceremony Sunday at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

The broadcast on NBC also will feature appearances by past Olympic medalists Kurt Browning, Dorothy Hamill, Scott Hamilton, Katarina Witt and Kristi Yamaguchi.

Kenny Ortega, who is serving as a producer, director and choreographer for the show, said the closing ceremony will feature an "ice and tap challenge" for Glover, the Broadway dancer, and Ilia Kulik, an Olympic gold medallist -- with musical accompaniment by Connick and his swing band. Plans also call for a fireworks spectacular to begin at Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium and spread throughout Salt Lake City.

In addition to the all-star lineup, there's also a cast of 2,500 dancers, singers, acrobats and gymnasts, assisted by 1,250 volunteers, mostly from the Salt Lake City area.

The ceremony -- which also includes the traditional extinguishing of the Olympic Flame and the lowering of the Olympic Flag -- will air live in 160 countries around the world.

(Thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)


GRAMMY AWARDS

The latest additions to the talent lineup for next Wednesday's 44th annual Grammy Awards has led CBS to extend its planned three-hour live broadcast by half-an-hour.

Billboard.com reports among the newly planned performances is a reprise of the Grammy-nominated duet between Tony Bennett and Billy Joel on the latter's "New York State of Mind." The track -- from the "Playin' With My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues" album -- is among those up for this year's best pop collaboration with vocals award.

The gala at the Staples Center in Los Angeles will also feature R&B veteran Patti LaBelle joining Christina Aguilera, Pink, Lil' Kim, Mya and Missy Elliott for a rendition of LaBelle's 1975 No. 1 hit "Lady Marmalade." The remake of the track from the "Moulin Rouge" soundtrack topped The Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks last year and is also nominated for best pop collaboration with vocals.

In addition, best new artist nominee India.Arie will perform with Brian McKnight, Al Green and gospel singer Hezekiah Walker during an inspirational segment.

Earlier in the week, Bob Dylan, Outkast, Joshua Bell, and the "Lady Marmalade" ensemble were added to the performance schedule -- joining U2, Alan Jackson, Train, Alicia Keys, Alejandro Sanz with Destiny's Child, Dave Matthews Band, 'N Sync with Nelly, and a tribute to the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack.

Meanwhile, Trisha Yearwood and Don Henley have joined the ranks of presenters that also include Bonnie Raitt, Britney Spears, the Dixie Chicks, Gloria Estefan, Gwen Stefani, Janet Jackson, Ja Rule, Kid Rock, and Michael W. Smith.


THE BRIT AWARDS

Dido and Kylie picked up two awards at the Brit Awards, handed out this week in London. But NME.com reports Gorillaz, which had been up for a handful of the awards, went home empty-handed.

Sting was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award, and told the audience, "Music is its own award."

The winners:

Best British Female -- Dido.

Best British Newcomer -- Blue

Best International Artist -- Shaggy

Best International Group -- Destiny's Child

Best Pop Act -- WestLife

Best International Newcomer -- The Strokes

Best Single -- "Don't Stop Moving," S Club 7

Best International Female Artist -- Kylie

Best British Video -- "21 Seconds," So Solid Crew

Best British Male -- Robbie Williams

Best British Group -- Travis

Best International Album -- Kylie

Best British Album -- Dido

Lifetime Achievement -- Sting


JAMES BROWN

James Brown has been cleared of sexually harassing a former female employee, but he still must face the music for firing her.

On Tuesday, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury found the Godfather of Soul did not put the moves on Lisa Ross Agbalaya, a 36-year-old former model who served as the West Coast president of James Brown Enterprises, E! Online reports. However, jurors decided Agbalaya was wrongfully terminated. She had sued the legendary singer for $1 million in May 2000, accusing him of making unwanted sexual advances when she visited his home in Augusta, Ga., in 1999 and then firing her when she refused him.

During the week-long trial, the 68-year-old Brown testified he never laid a hand on the married Agbalaya and that he only let her go after money troubles forced him to close his West Coast office.

The wrongful-termination ruling means Brown will still be liable for damages, although his lawyer vows to appear that verdict. The jury is now deliberating the amount of damages.

Just months after Agbalaya sued, former Brown backup singer Lisa Rushton filed her own sexual harassment suit against the singer. Rushton claims she was fired after refusing Brown's advances. That case is pending.


KID ROCK

Kid Rock showed his country leanings and his admiration for Hank Williams Jr. when the two appeared together on "CMT Crossroads" last Sunday night. The show pairs country stars with kindred artists from other musical genres. The hour-long episode featuring Williams and Kid Rock was the second installment in the monthly series, country.com reports.

"I hope to be able to sing as good as this guy one day and play as good as him," Kid Rock told host Greg Martin, patting Williams' shoulder. "I'm trying. I got the best teacher out there. The (country) influence will always be in my music, but am I going to go country? I think I was born country."

Williams called Kid Rock by his real name, Bobby, and he spoke of him as his "rebel son."

The show included nine full or partial musical performances with the stars collaborating on Kid Rocks' "Cowboy," Hank Ballard's classic R&B hit "Finger Poppin' Time" and several songs from Williams' repertoire. The country legend's longtime backup group, The Bama Band, provided musical support.


PAUL McCARTNEY

The New York Post reported this week that the MGM Grand in Las Vegas has offered Paul McCartney $4 million to step into the squared circle vacated by the derailed April 6 Lewis-Tyson fight.

Officials with the MGM Grand told London's Sunday Times they're in negotiations with the former Beatle. Although McCartney has played a number of special events -- including the Super Bowl earlier this month and the Concert For New York City last October -- he is not currently on tour, although the show could conceivably fall at the beginning of his planned spring tour, dates for which have not yet been announced.

The report said tickets for the McCartney concert could run as high as $375.

The Lewis-Tyson match was canceled after local boxing officials refused to grant Tyson a license to box in the state of Nevada.


RAINFOREST CONCERT

Sting, Elton John, James Taylor and Ravi Shankar are confirmed as performers for the 10th annual Carnegie Hall benefit for the Rainforest Foundation. The event is set for April 13 in New York City, RollingStone.com reports.

The concert is part of the weeklong Rainforest Awareness Week, which also includes Central Park Run for the Rainforest and a benefit at a SoHo art gallery.

The Rainforest Foundation was founded by Sting, his wife Trudi Styler and Menkragnoti Kayaop Chief Ranoi in 1989 in an effort to protect the world's rainforests.


INCUBUS

Incubus will drive Honda's 2002 Civic Tour. The road trip kicks off April 11 in Portland, Oregon, and will travel to 50 cities across the United States and Canada. Fans will have a chance to win a Honda Civic Si designed and autographed by the members of Incubus.

Dates for the "Civic Tour Presents Incubus Morning View":

April 11 -- Portland, OR Memorial Coliseum

April 12 -- Seattle, WA Key Arena

April 14 -- San Jose, CA Event Center

April 15 -- Sacramento, CA Arco Arena

April 16 -- San Francisco, CA Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

April 18 -- Los Angeles, CA Forum

April 19 -- TBA

April 20 -- San Diego, CA Cox Arena

April 21 -- Las Vegas, NV Mandalay Bay

April 23 -- Albuquerque, NM Tingley Coliseum

April 24 -- Wichita, KS Kansas Coliseum

April 25 -- Lincoln, NE Pershing Auditorium

April 27 -- Cedar Rapids, IA U.S. Cellular Center

April 28 -- Peoria, IL Civic Center Arena

April 29 -- Ft. Wayne, IN Memorial Coliseum

May 1 -- Birmingham, AL Boutwell Auditorium

May 3 -- TBA

May 4 -- TBA

May 5 -- TBA

May 7 -- Lexington, KY Rupp Arena

May 9 -- Roanoke, VA Civic Center Arena

May 10 -- Washington, DC Patriot Center

May 11 -- Philadelphia, PA Spectrum

May 13 -- Worcester, MA Centrum

May 14 -- TBA

May 15 -- Wilkes-Barre 1st Union Center

May 24 -- Minneapolis, MN TBD

May 25 -- Milwaukee, WI TBD

May 26 -- Detroit, MI TBD

May 27 -- Indianapolis, IN TBD

May 29 -- Chicago, IL Rosemont Allstate

May 31 -- Grand Rapids, MN Van Andel Arena

June 1 -- Toronto, Canada Copps Coliseum

June 3 -- Rochester, NY Blue Cross Arena

June 4 -- Cleveland, OH Convocation Center

June 5 -- Columbus, OH Nationwide Arena

June 11 -- Portland, ME Cumberland County Civic

June 12 -- TBA

June 13 -- TBA

June 15 -- TBA

June 21 -- New York, NY Madison Square Garden

June 23 -- Richmond, VA Coliseum

June 24 -- Raleigh, NC Entertainment & Sports

June 25 -- Charlotte, NC Cricket Arena

June 27 -- Jacksonville, FL Coliseum

June 28 -- Orlando, FL TD Waterhouse

June 29 -- Pensacola, FL Civic Center

July 1 -- New Orleans, LA UNO

July 2 -- Austin, TX Frank Erwin Center

July 3 -- San Antonio, TX Freeman Coliseum


USHER

After an injury forced him off the road last November, R&B singer Usher will make good with a North American tour this spring. Billboard.com reports that his Evolution tour kicks off April 25 in Denver following a series of European dates and closes July 7 in New Orleans.

The singer dislocated his shoulder while rehearsing for the original tour -- which was planned in support of his latest album "8701" -- and required surgery and three months of recuperation.

Tour dates:

Feb. 21: Amsterdam (Heineken Music Hall)

Feb. 22: Paris (Le Zenith)

Feb. 24: Dusseldorf, Germany (Philipshalle)

Feb. 25: Frankfurt (Jahrhunderthalle Hoechst)

Feb. 27: Boblingen, Germany (Sporthalle)

Feb. 28: Winterthur, Switzerland (Eulachhalle Winterthur)

March 1: Munich (Colosseum)

March 3: Berlin (Arena)

March 4: Hamburg (Congress Centrum)

March 5: Bremen, Germany (Stadthalle Bremen)

March 7: Stockholm (Annex)

March 8: Copenhagen (Falkoner Theatre)

March 9: Cologne (Cologne Arena)

March 11: London (Wembley Arena)

March 12: Birmingham, England (NEC Arena)

March 13: Manchester, England (Manchester Evening News Arena)

April 25: Denver (Pepsi Center)

April 26: Albuquerque, N.M. (Journal Pavilion)

April 27: Phoenix (Cricket Pavilion)

April 28: Las Vegas (Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino)

May 2: Chula Vista, Calif. (Coors Amphitheatre)

May 3: Irvine, Calif. (Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre)

May 4: Marysville, Calif. (Sacramento Valley Amphitheatre)

May 5: Concord, Calif. (Chronicle Pavilion @ Concord)

May 8: Calgary, Alberta (Pengrowth Saddledome)

May 10: Vancouver (General Motors Place)

May 11: Seattle (KeyArena at Seattle Center)

May 12: Portland, Ore. (Rose Garden Arena)

May 16: Minneapolis (Target Center)

May 17: Tinley Park, Ill. (Tweeter Center)

May 18: St. Louis, Mo. (Riverport Amphitheater)

May 19: Bonner Springs, Kan. (Sandstone Amphitheatre)

May 23: Columbus, Ohio (Polaris Amphitheater)

May 24: Cincinnati (Riverbend Music Center)

May 25: Detroit (Pine Knob Music Center)

May 26: Cleveland (Gund Arena)

May 30: Antioch, Tenn. (AmSouth Amphitheatre)

May 31: Charlotte, N.C. (Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Charlotte)

June 1: Raleigh, N.C. (Alltel Pavilion @ Walnut Creek)

June 2: Virginia Beach, Va. (Verizon Wireless Virginia Beach Amphitheatre)

June 6: Miami (American Airlines Arena)

June 7: Atlanta (Chastain Park Amphitheatre)

June 8: Tampa, Fla. (Ice Palace)

June 9: Orlando, Fla. (TD Waterhouse Centre)

June 13: Holmdel, N.J. (P.N.C. Bank Arts Center)

June 14: Wantagh, N.Y. (Jones Beach Amphitheatre)

June 15: Mansfield, Mass. (Tweeter Center)

June 16: Camden, N.J. (Tweeter Center at the Waterfront)

June 20: Toronto (Air Canada Centre)

June 21: Albany, N.Y. (Pepsi Arena)

June 22: Hartford, Conn. (Meadows Amphitheater)

June 23: Buffalo, N.Y. (HSBC Arena)

June 27: Indianapolis (Verizon Wireles Amphitheater)

June 28: Hershey, Pa. (Hershey Stadium)

June 29: Washington, D.C. (Nissan Pavilion)

June 30: Pittsburgh (Post Gazette Pavilion)

July 4: San Antonio, Texas (Verizon Wireless Amphitheater)

July 5: Dallas (Smirnoff Music Center)

July 6: Houston (Compaq Center)

July 7: New Orleans (Louisiana Superdome)

"8701" debuted at No. 4 on The Billboard 200 last August and was certified triple-platinum last month. The single "U Remind Me" has earned Usher a Grammy nomination for best male R&B vocal performance.


O'JAYS

The O'Jays are planning a. concert tour in support of their new album "For The Love." The road trip kicks off in Boston March 14, with the first leg wrapping up a month later in St. Louis.

3/14 -- Boston, Massachusetts Orpheum

3/15 -- Washington, District of Columbia Constitution Hall

3/16 -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania TBD

3/17 -- Richmond, Virginia Landmark Theater

3/22 -- Houston, Texas Houston Arena

3/23 -- Dallas, Texas Bronco Bowl

3/24 -- New Orleans, Louisiana TBD

3/27 -- Birmingham, Alabama Boutwell Auditorium

3/28 -- Atlanta, Georgia Civic Center

3/29 -- Cincinnati, Ohio Cincinnati Music Hall

3/30 -- Cleveland, Ohio Cleveland Music Hall

4/3 -- San Diego, California TBD

4/4 -- San Diego, California Open Air

4/5 -- Universal City, California Universal Amphitheater

4/6 -- Las Vegas, Nevada Mandalay Bay

4/7 -- Oakland, California Paramount

4/10 -- New York, New York Radio City Music Hall

4/12 -- Chicago, Illinois Arie Crown Theater

4/13 -- Minneapolis, Minnesota Xcel Energy Center

4/14 -- St. Louis, Missouri Fox Theater

On March 20, the O'Jays will make a detour in Los Angeles to pick up the 2002 Quincy Jones Award for Outstanding Career Achievement at this years 16th Annual Soul Train Music Awards.


CHER

Cher has created a video tribute of her new single "Song For The Lonely," which she dedicates to "the courageous people of New York."

"Song For The Lonely" was actually recorded long before the Sept. 11 tragedy, but the song took on profound and even more significant meaning in the aftermath. "People have told me that it helped them cope with the after- effects of the attack. There's no greater compliment than that," said Cher.

The video is currently airing on VH1.

Cher's new CD, "Living Proof," hits stores Feb. 26. It's the follow-up to her 1998 album "Believe."

Upcoming Cher TV appearances include "The Late Show With David Letterman" on Wednesday, following the Grammy Awards. "ABC Prime Time Thursday" will air a Cher profile and the singer will also appear on NBC's "The Today Show" and "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" on Friday.


MORE ALBUM NEWS

-- The Goo Goo Dolls have a new CD coming out April 9. "Gutterflower" is the band's first album in more than four years. It was written by guitarist John Rzeznik and bassist Robby Takac, and produced by the band and longtime collaborator Rob Cavallo. The first single off the new album will be "Here Is Gone." It's being released to radio the first week of March.

-- Eleven years after the release of Naughty by Nature's self-titled debut, which spawned the monster hit single "O.P.P.," the rap outfit has a new album due out. "Iicons" will hit stores April 23, RollingStone.com reports. It features vocals by Pink, Queen Latifah, Method Man, Redman, Carl Thomas -- and even a Peter Gabriel sample. Naughty's last CD was 1999's "19 Naughty Nine: Nature's Fury."

-- Jay-Z says his next album will be called "The Gift and the Curse" and will be released in November. NME.com reports the hip-hopster spoke briefly at a fashion show for his Roc-A-Wear clothing line. He also has an album with R. Kelly, titled "Best of Both Worlds," coming out next month.

-- Tom Waits is releasing two CDs on the same day in May. "Alice" and "Blood Money" were both written and produced by Waits and his wife and long-time collaborator Kathleen Brennan. Waits won a Grammy Award for his last album, "Mule Variations."

-- Before they became Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Supremes released an album of show tunes. "The Supremes Sing Rodgers & Hart" came out in 1967 and was re-released on CD 20 years later. Now it's been remastered and expanded to include 12 more tracks recorded during the sessions. "The Supremes Sing Rodgers & Hart -- The Complete Recordings" (Motown/UME) is due out March 26. It's part of the new series "Motown Classic Albums -- Remastered & Revisited" and also marks one of the last appearances of Florence "Flo" Ballard with Ross and Mary Wilson.


OUR LADY PEACE

Our Lady Peace is taking a page from Limp Bizkit's recent guitarist auditions and asking anyone who thinks they've got what it takes to have a go at joining the band.

JAM! Music quotes Sony Music Canada announcing Monday that all interested guitarists should submit a videotape of no more than four minutes -- two minutes displaying your "best guitar work" and the rest containing a brief interview and description of yourself.

Our Lady Peace parted company with founding guitarist Mike Turner last December. The band is currently in Vancouver mixing a new album, which is expected in stores before year's end.

Limp Bizkit recently launched a series of live auditions in search of a guitarist to replace Wes Borland. No live events were mentioned for the OLP audition.

(Submissions should be sent by March 31 to Our Lady Peace -- Guitar Search, 1121 Leslie St., Toronto, Ont. M3C 2J9)


BRANDY

Brandy and her husband, producer/songwriter Robert Smith, are expecting a child, her label, Atlantic Records, confirmed Thursday. The baby is expected in a few months, MTV News reports. The 23-year-old singer and actress wed Smith last summer but kept news of the marriage a secret until recently. Brandy's third album, "Full Moon," hits stores March 5.


WOODY GUTHRIE

Even if the late singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie had done nothing more during his career than to have written "This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land," he would be an American institution. But he was not a single-song man. During the turbulent times of the '30s, the war years of the '40s and even into the changing '60s Guthrie was the true American troubadour, baring the country's soul in his songs.

Now the town that claims him as its favorite native son is honoring him with a museum.

City fathers in Pampa, Texas, confirm that the old Harris Drug Store is being converted into a kind of shrine to Guthrie's memory. It was at that drug store that he got his first guitar and, while behind its counters, wrote many of his early songs.

In addition to being an archive of Guthrie memorabilia, promoters are hoping that musicians will eventually find the spot and play there in Woody's memory.

Guthrie was only 55 when he died in New York City in the late 1960s.

(Thanks to UPI's Dennis Daily)


'N SYNC'S LANCE BASS

Lance Bass of 'N Sync wants to go 'N Space. But will Russia let him?

A spokesman for MirCorp -- which brokered last year's flight of the first space tourist, millionaire Dennis Tito -- said they're negotiating with Bass's people to send him where no pop star has gone before. If Bass passes all medical tests and is deemed flight-worthy, the launch would be targeted for November.

Right now, the only way for non-professional astronauts to get into orbit is via the Russian Space Agency, which flies two missions a year to the International Space Station. Two cosmonauts pilot the Soyuz capsule and a third seat is available for researchers or paying customers. Tito paid about $20 million for his ride; a second space vacationer, Mark Shuttleworth -- who's scheduled to blast off in April -- has said his flight is costing about $5 million more because he wants to conduct some experiments while aboard the station.

However, a spokesman for Russia's space agency, Rosaviakosmos, told E! Online Thursday that they haven't been in touch with the Netherlands-based MirCorp about sending Bass into orbit. Sergei Gorbunov said they're not in the business of "selling flights." Besides, he said, the front-runner for the third seat on November's mission is a Polish businessman -- not the American pop star.

Stay tuned.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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