Several years ago the Rolling Stones conducted a record-breaking tour, both when it came to attendance and to box office receipts. Now there's a lot of rejoicing going on in a lot of cities because the group has just released plans for its upcoming, newest tour. According to the Los Angeles Times, this latest tour will not only see the band performing at major venues, but some smaller cities will also be visited by the venerable rockers. People going to concerts there will also be given a break on ticket prices. Although the average price for tickets -- when the entire tour is checked -- is about $85, at lesser-known sites the price will be only $50. One reason for the extent of the tour and its varied list of cities is that the Stones say they want to celebrate the 40th anniversary of tour No. 1 in a big way. For more information on the tour check out iorr.org/tour/02 on the Internet.
SIR ELTON RECORDS AT THE PALACE
When a sitting monarch tells a performer to come and play at the palace, it's called a "command performance." Well, Sir Elton John has played at Buckingham Palace, but not for the queen. As a matter of fact, according to the BBC's online service, the event was a recording session, not a concert. In recording the audio-video presentation, John became the first pop star to perform inside the palace when the queen was not in attendance. The reason for the session was so that the mega-star could record a presentation that will become part of ceremonies for the Queen's Golden Jubilee concert early next month. John has a conflict and will not be able to be there in person. But, among those who will be there are Sir Paul McCartney, Aretha Franklin and Eric Clapton. Thoughts of the Queen Mum will likely permeate the hall during the ceremonies.
MARIAH CAREY TRYING TO RESTART HER CAREER
Since Mariah Carey learned that all that "Glitters" is not gold, she's been trying to revive her flagging career. In the wake of her acrimonious departure from EMI Virgin Records -- mainly because of the mega-flop of her last movie and CD project -- she's been searching for a new record label. Now, according to her publicist, at least three companies are trying to get her to sign on the dotted line -- Def Jam, Elektra and J Records. Additionally, there are unconfirmed reports that Warner Bros. may be also courting her attentions. Carey's personal problems and unfortunate participation in "Glitter" put an end to what can only be described as a "meteoric rise" in the entertainment business. Before her career hit the skids, she had racked up more No. 1 songs in this country than anyone else, except for Elvis and the Beatles.
TRIBUTES CONTINUES FOR THE LATE OTIS BLACKWELL
Were it not for songwriter Otis Blackwell, Elvis might not have had some of the early fame he enjoyed. Blackwell penned "Don't Be Cruel," one of The King's earliest hits. Now comes word that Blackwell has died this week in Nashville. The Tennessean says that during his career he wrote dozens of songs that went to the top of the charts, songs that not only made him famous and wealthy but also became the signature songs for many artists. Among them: "Great Balls of Fire" and "Breathless," both mega-hits for Jerry Lee Lewis. James Taylor rode "Handyman" to the top. The late Peggy Lee's "Fever" was a Blackwell creation. And, there's more! "Return to Sender" and "All Shook Up," two more Elvis hits, were his inventions, as well as "Daddy was a Rolling Stone," recorded by The Who. All told, Blackwell's songs sold more than 185 million copies. Otis Blackwell was only 70.
MESSINA BECOMING FAVORITE OF RACING FANS
Popular country artist Jo Dee Messina has been tapped to perform her immensely popular song "Dare to Dream" before the running of the Tropicana 400 on July 14. CMT reports that the event will be held at the Chicagoland Speedway. The song is featured on a new CD to be released soon by NASCAR. The project is called "Inside Traxx." Others on the compilation include Dwight Yoakam, Travis Tritt, Tim McGraw, Sawyer Brown and Neal McCoy. "Dare to Dream" is the second of Messina's songs to have a racing theme or a connection with racing. You may remember that her song "Burn" was featured in a recent Sylvester Stalone racing movie "Driven," released last year.
MIDWEST SYMPHONY GETS NEW CONDUCTOR
For more than a dozen years British-born conductor Raymond Leppard directed the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Now the aggregation tells United Press International that Leppard has stepped down and 53-year-old Mario Venzago will take over the baton. Venzago, a world-class concert pianist -- among other things -- has been a visitor to the States many times in recent years, cementing good relations with American orchestras. Venzago was the unanimous choice of the orchestra's 14-member board. Additionally, this will be the third summer that he will be the artistic director of the Baltimore Symphony's SummerFest season. Venzago is a native of Switzerland and has for many years been conductor of the Basel Symphony Orchestra.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 329
Yesterday I noted a survey that found that more people like classical music than actually admit it. So, today's question: "What are your feelings about classical music? Do you ever attend concerts, have a CD or record collection or listen to a classical station?" Put CLASSICAL in the subject line and send to email@example.com via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 324 (PRESIDENT)
Last week we asked what you think the role of former presidents should be. I was pleased that a ton of responded had to do with former Pres. Jimmy Carter. A lot of you think that Carter has done a better job after retiring from the White House than anyone in recent memory. Many, including loubabe, feel that with the experience that former chief executives have, they should be allowed to speak out on national issues, but should not "steal the thunder" of the incumbent. Romayne agrees because of the "wealth of knowledge" that they have. On the other hand, Nigel says "there are too many former politicians speaking out. Why didn't they do that when they were in power?" he asks. IMTU says he feels that there should be seats provided in the Senate so former presidents can sit in, but not vote. Additionally, since so many of my readers are totally anti-Clinton, I got a lot of mail saying that Bill should crawl under a rock and shut up. Thanks for your responses. As I mentioned, I try to keep this column non-controversial, but sometimes it's necessary to get to the cusp of controversy. TOMORROW: The oldest thing in your wallet or purse. GBA.