Rock News: Music's high and low notes

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International  |  Dec. 13, 2001 at 4:45 AM
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Rapper/recording mogul Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and actress Jenny McCarthy have been named to host the 29th annual "American Music Awards," which will air live on ABC on Jan. 9 from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

The Grammy-winning Combs has produced multi-platinum records for such recording artists as Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, R. Kelly, LL Cool J, Smashing Pumpkins and Sting.

McCarthy parlayed her appearance as a Playboy Playmate into a gig hosting "Singled Out" on MTV, and went on to star in "Jenny," a half-hour comedy that ran on NBC in 1997-98. She has also appeared in several movies, including "Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead" and "Scream 3."


Spinal Tap -- the mythical big hair, heavy metal band concocted by Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer and director Rob Reiner for the 1984 mock-umentary "This Is Spinal Tap" -- will make an appearance Dec. 20 at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, to raise funds for the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation.

The boys will share the stage with Tenacious D -- the band that features "Shallow Hall" star Jack Black -- and Weezer.

Mitochondrial diseases result from failures of the mitochondria, specialized compartments present in every cell of the body except red blood cells. Mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90 percent of the energy the body needs to sustain life and support growth. When they fail, the consequences can be life-threatening.


Britney Spears -- who got blasted by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for performing with a tiger in a cage at the last MTV Awards -- reportedly has agreed to pose in the altogether for an upcoming PETA campaign.

The New York Post reports Spears will appear in a poster that is expected to be available for Christmas.

"It's very exciting news," PETA spokesman Dan Mathews told the newspaper. "We are really thrilled to have Britney join our new crop of fur-fighters."

Mathews said PETA wrote to Spears after the MTV show, asking her to consider what the show business experience had done to the tiger -- trapped in a cage under hot lights, with the audience providing "frightening levels of noise." He said PETA received a letter a few weeks later saying Spears has "abandoned using animals" on tour.

"She took our message to heart," he said. "There's so many different animal issues, and you can't expect that everyone is born Gandhi. We think Britney has set a great example of someone who listened to what we had to say and made a change."

The Post said Spears has also agreed to model faux-leather apparel on PETA's Web site (, which features fetish wear and non-leather shoes and accessories.

(The above three items thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)


Now in stores: the two-CD "Diana Ross & The Supremes: Anthology" (Motown/Universal Music Enterprises). The 50-song collection boasts not only all 12 of their No.1 pop singles but 10 classic covers and several rare tracks --- including half-a-dozen previously unreleased mixes from the vault.

Disc One spans the group's beginnings as The Supremes, 1961-1967. It includes the trio's five consecutive chart-topping singles as well as the first pressing of 1961's "Buttered Popcorn" (later withdrawn and previously unavailable on album); a previously unreleased extended mix of the Top 10 "Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart"; the previously unreleased stereo mix of "He," a hard-to-find gospel recording; and the Phil Spector written-and-produced "Things Are Changing," a 1966 promotion-only single for the Equal Employment Opportunities Campaign.

Disc Two renames the group Diana Ross & The Supremes and covers 1967-1969 on 14 selections, highlighted by the No.1 hits "Love Child" and "Someday We'll Be Together" (in a previously unreleased alternate mix), as well as 10 additional tracks featuring classic covers from The Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night" and Sam Cooke's "(Ain't That) Good News" to Rodgers and Hart's "Bewitched Bothered And Bewildered" and "If A Girl Isn't Pretty" (from "Funny Girl").

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