All Aretha Franklin wants is a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
The 59-year-old queen of soul music is suing the Star tabloid and its publisher, American Media Inc., for $50 million for printing a story last year accusing her of being an out-of-control drunk.
The lawsuit -- filed in federal court in Detroit Wednesday -- charges the Star defamed the singer's character and exposed her to ridicule in a story last December headlined "Aretha Franklin Drinking Herself Into The Grave." The story said alcohol abuse had caused Franklin to cancel concerts and was jeopardizing her career and health.
Franklin's lawyer told the Detroit Free Press that the singer gave up drinking alcohol in the 1970s.
American Media publishes the Star as well as the National Enquirer, the Globe, National Examiner and Weekly World News. It closed its Boca Raton, Fla., headquarters building in October after a photo editor died of inhalation anthrax.
Franklin was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Her hits include "RESPECT," "Natural Woman," "Chain of Fools," "Dr. Feelgood," "Baby I Love You," "Since You Been Gone" and "Think."
MY VH1 MUSIC AWARDS
Jon Bon Jovi and his bandmate, Ritchie Sambora, have joined the list of presenters who'll appear on "My VH1 Music Awards '01," which airs live Sunday (at 9 p.m. ET/PT) from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
"Will & Grace" star Eric McCormack is hosting the show, which will feature performances by Mick Jagger, Creed, Sting, Nelly Furtado, Lenny Kravitz, No Doubt, Jewel and Mary J. Blige (who'll also perform a duet with Sting).
U2 and Dave Matthews Bands are tied for the lead with six nominations each, followed by Gwen Stefani with five. Staind and Alicia Keys have four nominations, and Bon Jovi, Moby, Train, and the Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya & Pink collaboration for "Lady Marmelade" received three nominations each.
Categories include "My Favorite Group," "Best Actor in a Video" and "Must Have Album," as well as "Damn I Wish I Wrote That (Song of the Year)," "Navel Academy ," "Is It Hot in Here, Or Is It Just My Video?" and "Big in Japan (International Award)," among others.
Fans suggested the categories, picked the finalists and are now voting online for the winners (at VH1.com).
AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS
The line-up of performers will also include Cher, performing the TV debut of her new single "Song For The Lonely," and gospel star Yolanda Adams.
Mariah Carey seems to have regained control of her life, following this summer's nervous breakdown.
Gossip columnist Liz Smith reports that Carey -- currently in Europe promoting her latest CD -- asked if she could stop in Kosovo on Dec. 4 to entertain U.S. troops. Smith said Carey also wanted to go to an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf but couldn't get satisfactory security arrangements.
Carey's greatest hits CD is due in stores before Christmas, and she stars in a CBS-TV special -- "Home for the Holidays with Mariah Carey" -- on Dec. 21. The show features appearances by Destiny's Child, Enrique Iglesias and Mandy Moore.
(The above two items thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)
STEVE VAN ZANDT
Steve Van Zandt, a.k.a. Little Steven -- from HBO's "The Soprano's" and Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band --- will be in Philadelphia Friday. He'll be appearing at the 102.9 WMGK Rock Art Show and silent auction, which benefits the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
Van Zandt is one of the more than 225 contributors to the art show and auction. Others include Jerry Garcia, Ron Wood (Rolling Stones), John Lennon, John Entwistle (The Who), Phil Collins, Tom Petty, Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane), Santana, Tony Bennett, Graham Nash, R.E.M. and Art Garfunkel. Petty and Stevie Nicks are the honorary co-chairpersons for the event.
(Web site: wmgk.com)