Billboard Bits: Beyonce Knowles, R.E.M., Soraya

News on Beyonce Knowles, R.E.M., Soraya

BeyonceIn an effort to thwart Internet piracy and capitalize on the success of its lead single, Columbia has pushed the release date for Beyonce Knowles' solo debut "Dangerously in Love" up from July 8 to June 24. As previously reported, the album features guest appearances by the likes of Jay-Z, Luther Vandross, Missy Elliott, Sean Paul, and Outkast's Big Boi.

The album's first single, "Crazy in Love" featuring Jay-Z, is racing up the Hot 100. As the chart's fastest-growing cut at radio for the second-straight week, it moved 27-13 this week, and is also up 15-10 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.

A number of the album's songs will be previewed on Beyonce's pay-per-view TV special, "Ford Presents Beyonce Knowles, Friends & Family, Live From Ford's 100th Anniversary Celebration in Dearborn, Michigan," set to air June 14. Knowles will be joined by her Destiny's Child bandmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, her sister Solange Knowles, and other musical guests.

-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.

REMThough R.E.M.'s new studio album is almost completed, the band's next release will be an old chestnut. The group has pegged a newly recorded version of "Bad Day" as the first single for the forthcoming "Best Of" collection, due Oct. 28 from Warner Bros. The trio is shooting a video for the song in Vancouver with director Tim Hope (1 Giant Leap, Coldplay), according to a post on its
official Web site.

The origins of "Bad Day" reach back to 1985, when it was recorded during the sessions for the group's fourth album, "Lifes Rich Pageant" (IRS). Circulated bootlegs from that era showcase the song as a stylistic predecessor of the band's 1987 hit "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)."

As previously reported, R.E.M. is in the throes of rehearsals for its upcoming world tour, and according to a separate post on the Web site by band lawyer Bertis Downs, the group is planning to vary its setlists widely this time around. "Don't be surprised: a lot of material is being readied, including some I haven't heard in a long, long time," Downs said, adding that R.E.M. is rehearsing songs from each of its 13 studio albums.

-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.

SorayaColombian-American singer/songwriter Soraya has contributed her song "No One Else" to pharmaceutical company Aventis' online breast cancer support group Living With It. For a limited time, each download of the song through the Web site will result in a one dollar donation to U.S. Latina and Hispanic breast cancer educational programs.

Soraya is the Latin spokesperson for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the spokesperson for, as well as a breast cancer survivor. A song about hope and her successful fight against the disease, "No One Else" is exclusively available through the site.

Released earlier this month, Soraya's self-titled EMI album is her first since recovering.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.