Billboard Bits: R.E.M., Robbie Williams, Johnny Cash

News on R.E.M., Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Bill Berry, Mike Mills, Robbie Williams, Johnny Cash

R.E.M. has chosen "Imitation Of Life" as the first single from its upcoming album "Reveal," due May 15 on Warner Bros. Band members Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, and Mike Mills will be in Los Angeles over the next two weeks to shoot a video for the track, directed by Garth Jennings (Supergrass, Fatboy Slim, Blur) of the Hammer And Tongs collective.

According to the band's official Web site, "Peter, Mike, and Michael are scheduled to appear in the video, [but] beyond that the concept remains shrouded in mystery."

As for the album itself, last year band manager Bertis Downs described it as "lush, atmospheric, and melodic." It will be the follow-up to 1998's "Up," which was R.E.M.'s first album without original drummer Bill Berry, who exited the group in 1997.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.




Robbie Williams suffered bruises but was otherwise uninjured after a man pushed the pop star from the stage during a concert last night (Feb. 21) in Stuttgart, Germany. The former Take That star fell just over five feet into the pit below the stage, after a young man who police said was psychologically disturbed got onto the stage and pushed him from behind.

Williams picked himself up and returned to the stage, an EMI spokesperson said. After a few jokes, he continued the concert. The tour will continue as planned tomorrow in Paris.

It was unclear how the young man, whose name was withheld, got onto the stage, police said.




Johnny Cash was released yesterday (Feb. 21) from the Nashville hospital where he was treated for pneumonia, a Baptist Hospital spokesperson said. The country music legend thanked fans for all "their prayers and thoughts," and said they helped his recovery. The 68-year-old entertainer, who had been hospitalized since Feb. 11, won the best male country vocal performance Grammy for the song "Solitary Man." He said he planned to watch the awards from home.

Cash suffers from autonomic neuropathy, a disease of the nervous system that makes him more susceptible to pneumonia. He was also treated for pneumonia in October 1999.

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