Billboard Bits: Harrison, Ramones, Gaye, Arnold

News on George Harrison, Ramones, Marvin Gaye, Eddy Arnold

George HarrisonThe U.K. city of Liverpool is planning a tribute concert this month for Beatles great George Harrison, who died of cancer on Nov. 29 at age 58. Organizers, who include Liverpool City Council and the British Broadcasting Corp., did not announce the performers but promised "a host of big names." Money raised from the Feb. 24 show at the Liverpool Empire will be donated to cancer charities.

The concert date is the day Harrison celebrated as his birthday, though official records list his birth date as Feb. 25. Mike Storey, leader of Liverpool City Council said today (Feb. 4) that the former Beatle was "a true Scouser" -- the slang term for a Liverpudlian -- "who never forgot his roots." "He was a great ambassador for the city and popular culture," Storey said.

Neil Aspinall, head of the Beatles' management company, Apple, said Harrison's wife Olivia and son Dhani were "touched with the idea."


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JoeyDetails continue to trickle in regarding the forthcoming DV8/Columbia Ramones tribute album. Due out in the spring, the set will feature Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder covering "I Believe in Miracles," the Red Hot Chili Peppers' take on "Havana Affair," and, as previously reported, Rob Zombie interpreting "Blitzkreig Bop."

Also included will be a contingent of latter day Southern California punk acts that were directly influenced by the Ramones career. The Offspring will contribute a run through the classic "I Wanna Be Sedated," while Green Day tackles "Outsider" and Rancid serves up "Sheena is a Punk Rocker." Confirmation of further acts, as well as a release date for the as-yet-untitled set, is expected in the near future.

As previously reported, the debut solo album from the Ramones' late lead singer, Joey Ramone, will be released Feb. 19 through Sanctuary. Among those making guest appearances on "Don't Worry About Me" are Marky Ramone, the Damned's Captain Sensible, and Dictators bassist Andy Shernoff. Ramone died last April 15 in New York of cancer.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.






MarvinThe life of Marvin Gaye is explored on a new DVD "Behind the Legend: Marvin Gaye," due Feb. 12 from Eagle Vision. Produced with the full cooperation and support of his family, the artist's tragic story is told through interviews with family, friends, and fellow musicians, as well as archival footage of Gaye at work recording the 1973 album "Let's Get It On."

"Behind the Legend" features live footage of Gaye performing that set's title track, as well as a medley of the classics "What's Goin' On" and "Save the Children." Other Gaye cuts included on the DVD are "Funky Space Reincarnation," "Distant Lover," "Inner City Blues," and "Sexual Healing."

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.






EddyAt 84 years old, country music veteran Eddy Arnold has a substantial career to review, and that's exactly what he has done on "Looking Back," a new 16-track collection due tomorrow (Feb. 5) through RCA. And although he had more than 75 albums worth of material to consider, Arnold concentrated on music he recorded in the '60s, and included tracks where his mellow vocal style was backed by full string sections -- such as the 1967 hits "Here Comes Heaven" and "Here Comes the Rain, Baby" -- giving the set a uniform sound.

"There are other good things that were hits for other people that I've recorded," Arnold says. "That figured into my song selection, because once a song is a hit, it can be again. Not only that, but people remember these songs." Among those selections are "Little Green Apples" and "What a Wonderful World," the latter of which Arnold describes as simply, "a wonderful song."

The set includes a dozen tracks produced by late guitar legend Chet Atkins, three by Jim Fogelsong, and one by Lee Hazelwood. "Some of these dad-gum things could make it again," Atkins says. "I still love this stuff. I think it holds up pretty well."

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.





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