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Rock News: Music's high and low notes

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International

PAUL McCARTNEY

The New York Post reports the MGM Grand in Las Vegas has offered Paul McCartney $4 million to step into the squared circle vacated by the derailed April 6 Lewis-Tyson fight.

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Officials with the MGM Grand told London's Sunday Times they're in negotiations with the former Beatle. Although McCartney has played a number of special events -- including the Super Bowl earlier this month and the Concert For New York City last October -- he is not currently on tour, although the show could conceivably fall at the beginning of his planned spring tour, dates for which have not yet been announced.

The report said tickets for the McCartney concert could run as high as $375.

The Lewis-Tyson match was canceled after local boxing officials refused to grant Tyson a license to box in the state of Nevada.


OUR LADY PEACE

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Our Lady Peace is taking a page from Limp Bizkit's recent guitarist auditions and asking anyone who thinks they've got what it takes to have a go at joining the band.

JAM! Music quotes Sony Music Canada announcing Monday that all interested guitarists should submit a videotape of no more than four minutes -- two minutes displaying your "best guitar work" and the rest containing a brief interview and description of yourself.

Our Lady Peace parted company with founding guitarist Mike Turner last December. The band is currently in Vancouver mixing a new album, which is expected in stores before year's end.

Limp Bizkit recently launched a series of live auditions in search of a guitarist to replace Wes Borland. No live events were mentioned for the OLP audition.

(Submissions should be sent by March 31 to Our Lady Peace -- Guitar Search, 1121 Leslie St., Toronto, Ont. M3C 2J9)


CHER

Cher has created a video tribute of her new single "Song For The Lonely," which she dedicates to "the courageous people of New York."

"Song For The Lonely" was actually recorded long before the Sept. 11 tragedy, but the song took on profound and even more significant meaning in the aftermath. "People have told me that it helped them cope with the after- effects of the attack. There's no greater compliment than that," said Cher.

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The video is currently airing on VH1.

Cher's new CD, "Living Proof," hits stores Feb. 26. It's the follow-up to her 1998 album "Believe."

Upcoming Cher TV appearances include "The Late Show With David Letterman" on Feb. 27, following the Grammy Awards. "ABC Prime Time Thursday" will air a Cher profile on Feb. 28. The singer will also appear on NBC's "The Today Show" and "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" on March 1.


JAY-Z

Jay-Z says his next album will be called "The Gift and the Curse" and will be released in November.

NME-com reports the hip-hopster spoke briefly at a fashion show for his Roc-A-Wear clothing line. He also has an album with R. Kelly, titled "Best of Both Worlds," coming out next month.

The rapper also briefly addressed the problems facing R. Kelly, who's been accused of having sex with an underage girl. "He's cool," said Jay-Z. "It's the gift and the curse. We're entertainers, man. We accept the good with the bad. It is what it is."


WOODY GUTHRIE

Even if the late singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie had done nothing more during his career than to have written "This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land," he would be an American institution. But he was not a single-song man. During the turbulent times of the '30s, the war years of the '40s and even into the changing '60s Guthrie was the true American troubadour, baring the country's soul in his songs.

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Now the town that claims him as its favorite native son is honoring him with a museum.

City fathers in Pampa, Texas, confirm that the old Harris Drug Store is being converted into a kind of shrine to Guthrie's memory. It was at that drug store that he got his first guitar and, while behind its counters, wrote many of his early songs.

In addition to being an archive of Guthrie memorabilia, promoters are hoping that musicians will eventually find the spot and play there in Woody's memory.

Guthrie was only 55 when he died in New York City in the late 1960s.

By the way, Arlo -- Woody's folk-singing son -- is carrying on his dad's tradition. His latest gig is next week in Wisconsin in Sheboygan; he has his own Web site, arlo.net.


MORE WOODY GUTHRIE

It wasn't his ATM card that British pretty-boy rocker Robbie Williams swiped recently. A judge in London has ruled that Williams and his publisher have to fork over more than $70,000 because it was proven -- to the satisfaction of the court -- that Williams lifted a major portion of Woody Guthrie's "I Am the Way" for a song called "Jesus in a Camper Van." The song is from a recent Williams CD called "I've Been Expecting You."

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Court records show that no punitive damages were assessed.

If you examine the lyrics of the two songs the plagiarism becomes evident. Published reports indicate that the Guthrie song, written in the 1960s and recorded by Loudon Wainwright III, included the line: "Every Son of God get a little hard luck sometimes, especially when he goes 'round saying he is the way." Williams' ballad contained the line: "I suppose even the Son of God get it hard something, especially when he goes round saying I am the Way." The case was complicated by the fact that Williams' publisher did credit the Wainwright version but no mention was made of its true origin.

(The above two items thanks to UPI's Dennis Daily)

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