Rock News Two: The week in pop music

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International   |   Dec. 1, 2001 at 5:45 AM
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Plans were still uncertain late Friday about a possible public funeral ceremony for George Harrison.

The former Beatle died of cancer Thursday at the Los Angeles home of a friend. He was 58 and the youngest of the Fab Four.

A private funeral was held Thursday.

Public displays of affection for Harrison and grief at his death are taking place in London, New York, Los Angeles and Harrison's hometown of Liverpool, England. Beatles fans are leaving candles, cards, flowers, CDs and other items on the Beatles' star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at Strawberry Fields in New York's Central Park, and at a statue of The Beatles outside the Cavern Club in Liverpool -- one of the places where the Beatles perfected their sound on the way to international superstardom. Flags in Liverpool were flying at half-staff.

Fans also showed up at London's Abbey Road Studios, where the Beatles recorded many of their hits under the guidance of producer George Martin.

Within the Beatles, Harrison was known as the quiet, mystical one -- the author of some of the best-loved Beatles songs, notably "Something" and "Here Comes the Sun," that were sometimes overshadowed by Lennon-McCartney tunes.

After the Beatles broke up in 1970, Harrison recorded several solo albums, including "All Things Must Pass." He was also a successful movie producer, having a hand in "Monty Python's Life of Brian," "The Long Good Friday," "Time Bandits" and "Mona Lisa," among others.

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr -- who visited their former bandmate earlier this month as Harrison underwent surgery for a brain tumor at Staten Island University Hospital in New York -- recalled him in loving terms.

McCartney described Harrison as "really just my baby brother."

Starr said, "We will miss George for his sense of love, his sense of music and his sense of laughter."

McCartney and Starr are now the only surviving members of the band that revolutionized pop music in the 1960s. John Lennon was shot and killed by a crazed fan in New York in 1980.

Harrison's most recent recording is thought to be "Horse to Water," a single he co-wrote with his 24-year-old son, Dhani, and recorded with Jools Holland, former keyboardist with the Squeeze. The song is scheduled to show up on Holland's upcoming album "Small World, Big Friends."


"My VH1 Music Awards '01" air 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).

Presenters include Jon Bon Jovi and his bandmate, Ritchie Sambora, rocker/actor Chris Isaak, rocker Tommy Lee and soul legend Isaac Hayes.

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


All three of last year's People's Choice Awards musical winners --- 'N Sync, Garth Brooks and Faith Hill -- are nominated again this year.

'N Sync is up for musical group, along with Backstreet Boys and Dixie Chicks. Brooks is up for male musical performer, along with Tim McGraw and George Strait. Hill is up for female musical performer, along with Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears.

Lopez has also been nominated for favorite actress, along with Sandra Bullock and Julia Roberts.

The People's Choice Awards will be presented on Jan. 13, 2002, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif., in ceremonies televised over CBS-TV. Kevin James, the star of the CBS comedy "The King of Queens," will emcee.


Producers of the 29th annual American Music Awards say Brooks & Dunn, Kid Rock, Toby Keith, Lenny Kravitz and Shaggy will perform on the awards telecast on Jan. 9, 2002.

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.

(Thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)


Paul McCartney, Destiny's Child, Natalie Imbruglia, Wyclef Jean and the pop group A-ha are among the artists who'll perform at the "The Nobel Peace Prize 100th Anniversary Concert," hosted by actors Meryl Streep and Liam Neeson.

The annual concert, which is broadcast globally to approximately 500 million households, is a musical tribute to the year's Nobel Peace Prize winner. The two-hour U.S. broadcast will premiere on TRIO on Dec. 16 (at 8 p.m. ET). An edited one-hour encore performance will air on TRIO's sister network, USA Network, on Dec. 21 (at 3 p.m. ET/PT).

The Nobel Peace Prize 100th Anniversary Concert honors this year's Nobel Peace Prize laureate, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the United Nations. Annan is scheduled to attend the concert, which will be filmed Dec. 11 at the Oslo Spektrum in Oslo, Norway.

(Web sites:,


NBC has announced that New York Yankees All-Star shortstop Derek Jeter, rock legend Mick Jagger and Ellen DeGeneres will appear on "Saturday Night Live" during December.

Jeter will host Saturday's show, joining Michael Jordan, Joe Montana, Wayne Gretzky and Chris Evert on the list of sports superstars who have hosted the long-running sketch-comedy series. Jeter will have two musical guests -- Latin music star Shakira and southern rapper Bubba Sparxxx.

Jagger shows up on the Dec. 8 show, which will also feature "X-Men" and "Swordfish" star Hugh Jackman. Jagger's appearance is part of an extensive promotional campaign in support of his new solo album, "Goddess in the Doorway."

DeGeneres will host the show on Dec. 15, with musical guest No Doubt. DeGeneres is still enjoying good buzz from her turn as host of the Emmy Awards telecast on Nov. 4, and No Doubt is currently opening for U2 on tour and promoting their new studio album, "Rock Steady."

(Thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)


October's "Concert For New York City" at Madison Square Garden is now in stores as a 2-CD collection (on Columbia Records).

Artists on the album include David Bowie, Bon Jovi, Goo Goo Dolls, Billy Joel, Destony's Child, Eric Clapton, Backstreet Boys, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, The Who, Melissa Etheridge, James Taylor, John Mellencamp, Five For Fighting, Elton John and Paul McCartney.

Proceeds from sales will benefit the Robin Hood Relief Fund, providing aid to New Yorkers victimized by the attack on Sept. 11.

"The Concert For New York City" set the record as Madison Square Garden's highest grossing event ever, and VH1 scored the highest ratings in the network's history when the benefit concert aired live from 7:00 p.m. to 12:45 a.m. (ET) on Oct. 20.

(Web sites:,


Fans of No Doubt have one less week to wait for the band's new album, "Rock Steady" (on Interscope Records).

The CD --- No Doubt's fifth album, recorded in Los Angeles, Jamaica and London -- is now scheduled to arrive in stores Dec. 11, seven days earlier than first planned. The release date was pushed up in response to the overwhelming response that's greeted the new single "Hey Baby."

No Doubt -- Gwen Stefani, Tom Dumont, Tony Kanal, Adrian Young -- have been touring the United States with U2, which has given the band the opportunity to perform music from "Rock Steady" live for the first time. "It's been a great chance to try out some of our new songs. The U2 crowds have been really great to us every night," said Kanal.

No Doubt will be the musical guest on "Saturday Night Live" on Dec. 15. The band will also perform at the My VH1 Music Awards in Los Angeles Sunday and at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas next Tuesday.


Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl is a major part of the Queens of the Stone Age's upcoming album, "Songs For The Deaf," due in stores next spring (on Interscope Records).

The former drummer for Nirvana --- whose current band toured with Queens Of The Stone Age last year -- is a long-time fan of Queens duo Josh Homme (vocals/guitar) and Nick Oliveri (vocals/bass). Initially, the Queens only planned to have Grohl join for no more than three songs on the new album. However, things went so well that Grohl ended up staying and playing on the majority of tracks. Recording took place in studios in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

"It was f--king amazing," said Grohl. "(Josh and Nick) let me go off on this album like never before. It rocks ten times harder than anything they've ever done."

"Songs For The Deaf" is the band's third full-length album.


When artists sign with a record label, traditionally they sign for a certain number of years or a designated number of recording sessions. But, according to published reports, George Michael has signed an unprecedented deal with Universal that will allow him to record only one record and leave -- if he so opts. Normally. record companies will ink short-term contracts if they are not sure how good the artist is. This would appear to be the other way around, with Michael not sure how well the company can promote his wares.

The album -- a collection of dance music -- was financed by the millionaire Michael. It's due out sometime late next spring.

(Thanks to UPI Feature Reporter Dennis Daily)


The Goo Goo Dolls' Johnny Rzeznik's 1967 Pontiac GTO, dinner with MC Hammer, and a harmonica from Mick Jagger are among the items being put on the block for the VH1 Save The Music Holiday Auction at and eBay.

The auction kicks off Sunday and will conclude Dec. 17. All proceeds will benefit the VH1 Save The Music Foundation.

Items from the "My VH1 Music Awards" include a limited-edition poster autographed by the show's performers, a limited edition drum head again autographed by the performers, an actual "My VH1 Music Awards" award, Sting's Fender bass guitar, and a limited edition hand-painted Fender Custom Shop American Flag Stratocaster signed by all performers.

Other items include a Lenny Kravitz Coffee Table Book to be personalized for the winning bidder; guitars autographed by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, The Who, Aerosmith and Sugar Ray; an Everclear logo and autographed snow board; Kid Rock's platinum album; Shania Twain's dress from her CBS-TV special; an Entertainment Weekly magazine cover featuring Christina Aguilera, mounted, framed and autographed; and a Metallica autographed Remo drum head.


Autographed bobblehead figures of 'N Sync have raised $4,100 for charity through auctions held on eBay.

A total of 19 auctions were held -- four complete sets and three individual bobbleheads of each of the five 'N Sync band members. The highest winning bid for the complete collection was $610, while a signed Joey Fatone, Jr. bobblehead went for $200.

The figures of JC, Lance, Joey, Justin and Chris are from the exclusive 'N Sync bobblehead series available at Best Buy stores this holiday shopping season. The consumer-electronics retailer has pledged to donate $1 million in bobblehead store-sale proceeds to benefit New York City relief efforts. The eBay sales will be added to that donation.

'N Sync fans who were not aware of the eBay auctions or who were out-bid will have another chance to get these rare collectibles -- Best Buy has added 24 more autographed 'N Sync bobblehead auctions to eBay. The current auctions close next Monday.


An Atlanta radio station (WNNX) gave away 25 pairs of tickets to Friday's sold-out U2 concert during Monday's morning broadcast from a local Best Buy store.

The promotion came in support of the "Toys for Tots" gift drive. The tickets were given to fans who were creative in the gifts they choose to donate.

"Toys for Tots" is a national non-profit organization that collects toys, sorts them by age and gender, and then delivers them to needy children during the holiday season.


Rapper Coolio and musician-turned-actor Ice Cube are among the celebrities who'll take part in Sunday's benefit basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Ticket sales will benefit the Union Rescue Mission, located on LA's Skid Row. The Celebrity Game (at 3:30 p.m. PST) will precede the Clippers vs. Indiana Pacers game.


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.

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."


The Godfather of Soul will be spending New Year's Eve in Honolulu. James Brown --- the hardest-working man in show business --- will ring in 2002 in concert at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa's Coral Ballroom.

Tickets go on sale Dec. 10 (and range in price from $85-150.)


The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, was inducted into the Gospel Music Association's Gospel Music Hall of Fame in a ceremony Tuesday. The ceremony -- hosted by the Oak Ridge Boys -- was held at the First Baptist Church in Franklin, Tenn.

The honor makes Presley the only artist to be a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Meanwhile, RECORDMECCA, a premier Web site for high-end collectible records and music memorabilia, is offering for sale Elvis Presley's first-ever agency contract, priced at $40,000.

The previously unknown contract is dated Jan. 31, 1956 -- the day after he recorded "Blue Suede Shoes" and three days after his first national television appearance. In it, the William Morris Agency agrees to rep Elvis as an actor. It was so early in Presley's career that the agency's typist misspelled his first name, which had to be corrected.

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