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Rock News: Music's high and low notes

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International   |   April 12, 2002 at 5:28 AM
NOTORIOUS B.I.G.

The widow and the mother of the late rapper Notorious B.I.G. have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard Parks, two former L.A.P.D. chiefs, and the city of Los Angeles, among others.

Allstar News reports the lawsuit -- filed by singer Faith Evans, the rapper's widow, and his mother, Voletta Wallace in federal court -- claims the police didn't do enough to prevent the murder of B.I.G. -- real name Christopher Wallace -- who was gunned down in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles in 1997.

According to court documents, Evans and Wallace claim Parks stopped the investigation into the rapper's murder once it became apparent that one of his officers was involved. That officer, David Mack, who is currently serving a 14-year prison sentence for armed robbery, reportedly was the lead suspect in the case, which remains unsolved.

It's been speculated that Wallace was killed in retaliation for the 1996 murder of Tupac Shakur, which also remains unsolved.

No comment from the L.A.P.D.


BILLY PRESTON

Songwriter/singer Billy Preston has been scheduled to receive a kidney transplant.

Preston -- often called "The Fifth Beatle" because of his contributions to the work of the Fab Four -- had been touring with Eric Clapton when he began having severe pains in one leg. Ironically, the leg pain was caused by another problem but the trip to the doctor prompted tests that showed that the 55-year-old Preston was in renal failure.

Assist News Service says that Preston claims that someone must have been looking out for him and reports that his faith remains strong. The prognosis is good and the surgery will likely take place in the next few weeks.

(Thanks to UPI's Dennis Daily)


WILLIE NELSON & FRIENDS

An all-star line-up will join Willie Nelson on stage this Sunday at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium for the special concert event "Willie Nelson & Friends: Stars & Guitars." They'll perform some of Nelson's favorite songs in the two-hour show that'll be taped for airing May 27 on the USA Network.

Actor Vince Vaughn will host the event, which coincides with the release of Nelson's new album, "The Great Divide" (Lost Highway Records). Artists taking part include Ryan Adams, Jon Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora, Sheryl Crow, The Dixie Chicks, Vince Gill, Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris, John Hiatt, Norah Jones, Mark Knopfler Band, matchbox twenty, Dave Matthews, Brian McKnight, Aaron Neville, Ray Price, Hank Williams III and Lee Ann Womack.

(Web site: usanetwork.com)


BILLBOARD LATIN MUSIC AWARDS

Celine Dion and Marc Anthony are among the artists who'll perform at this year's Billboard Latin Music Awards.

The awards show, now in its 13th year, will be held May 9 in Miami Beach, Fla., MTV News reports. The ceremony will follow the Billboard Latin Music Conference, which takes place May 7-9, and air on the Telemundo network May 12.

Lupillo Rivera leads the pack with six nominations -- two each in the categories Regional Mexican Album of the Year/Male and the Regional Mexican Album of the Year/New Artist. Juan Gabriel received four nominations. His single "Abrazame Muy Fuerte" tops the list for receiving most airplay, and he's a finalist in the Songwriter of the Year category. Finalists with three nods each are Marco Antonio Solis, Gilberto Santa Rosa and Jaci Velasquez.


EAGLES

The Eagles are taking to the road this summer, beginning May 31 in Reno, Nev., and ending July 20.

Billboard.com reports that while the dates and venues are still being nailed down, the trek will hit about 30 cities -- including St. Paul, Minn.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Little Rock, Ark., Louisville, Ky., Milwaukee (Summerfest), Omaha, Neb.; Birmingham, Ala.; Portland, Ore.; Tupelo, Miss.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Biloxi, Miss.; and Oklahoma City.

The Eagles made a 20-city European tour last summer but have not toured the United States since the "Hell Freezes Over" reunion jaunt in the mid-1990s. They last played live in late February as part of the Recording Artists Coalition benefits in the Los Angeles area.

The band is currently working on its first studio album of all new material since 1979's "The Long Run."


'SPIRIT'

When "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" screens at the Cannes Film Festival on May 18, the audience reportedly will get something out of the ordinary -- a live performance of the film's music by composer Hans Zimmer and rocker Bryan Adams, who wrote and performed several original songs for the animated feature.

"Spirit" combines traditional and 3-D animation in a story about a wild stallion in the Old West.

Adams and Zimmer have already accompanied clips of the movie with live performances of their soundtrack music at least twice -- at the movie industry's ShoWest convention in Las Vegas and at a DreamWorks party in Los Angeles last month.

"Spirit" opens in U.S. theaters on May 24.

(Thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)


AALIYAH

"Ali" actress Nona Gaye will take over for the late Aaliyah in the upcoming sequels to "The Matrix."

At the time of her death in a plane crash last August, the R&B singer-turned-actress had already filmed some scenes for "The Matrix Reloaded." She portrayed a character named Zee, who also was to appear in the third film in the franchise, "The Matrix Revolutions."

NME.com reports Gaye, the daughter of the late Marvin Gaye, will step into the role.


SARAH MCLAUGHLAN

It's a girl for singer/songwriter Sarah McLaughlan and her drummer husband, Ashwin Sood.

McLaughlan's publicist said the couple's first child was born last Saturday in Vancouver. She's been named India Ann Sushil Sood.

McLaughlan, 34, has been largely out of commission since closing down her feminist Lilith Fair music fest three years ago. Her last studio album was 1997's "Surfacing," although her publicist said a new album from McLaughlan is in the works for this year.

© 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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