Billboard Bits: 'Johnny English,' matchbox, Earle
News on 'Johnny English,' matchbox, EarleU.K. pop star Robbie Williams has contributed the new song "A Man for All Seasons" to Decca's "Johnny English" soundtrack. Due July 15, the set also features several tracks by female string quartet Bond, one by Moloko, an ABBA song, and score composed by Edward Shearmur ("Charlie's Angels," "Miss Congeniality").
The Williams song was written with noted soundtrack composer Hans Zimmer, and is not to be confused with similarly titled songs by the Bee Gees, Al Stewart, Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, or Jorma Kaukonen. U.K. dance duo Moloko donates "The Only Ones," from its international release "Statues," while ABBA is represented by "Does Your Mother Know."
Bond adds "Kismet," from its 2001 debut, "Born," as well as a salsa version of Shearmur's "Theme From Johnny English." The group's inclusion on the set is apt, as the film is a send-up of James Bond films. Starring Rowan Atkinson as his Mr. Bean character, the film opens July 18 in U.S. theaters. The film and soundtrack were released in April in the U.K.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.
Even though the National Basketball Association (NBA) Eastern Conference Semifinal contest between the New Jersey Nets and the Boston Celtics ended last night (May 12) in the Nets' favor, the series has forced modern rock act matchbox twenty to reschedule more shows.
Tomorrow's concert at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J., has been bumped to Friday. In turn, Friday's scheduled concert at Washington, D.C.'s MCI Center has been moved to May 21, and a Rochester, N.Y., gig previously slated for that night will be rescheduled (date TBD). As previously reported, the band had previously moved a Boston show due to the series.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.
Steve Earle will perform at the 10th Annual Fast & Vigil To Abolish The Death Penalty June 30 in Washington, D.C. Earle, currently touring in support of his latest Artemis album, "Jerusalem," has written several songs regarding the issue, including "Ellis Unit One" and "Over Yonder."
In other news, Earle will deliver the keynote speech at the ninth annual North By Northeast Music and Film Festival and Conference, set for June 5-7 in Toronto June 5-7. The June 7 speech will be followed by the world premiere of "Just an American Boy," a documentary directed by Amos Poe dealing with Earle's life and the controversy surrounding the recent song "John Walker Blues." The "Jerusalem" album track, written from the viewpoint of captured American Taliban John Walker Lindh, was banned from some radio station playlists.
Filmed from October 2002 until mid-February 2003, "Just an American Boy" includes live performances of 15 tracks, such as "Guitar Town," "Copperhead Road," and "Jerusalem." Also featured are interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and scenes from "The Wire," the HBO drama in which Earle appeared.
-- Jason MacNeil, Toronto