Billboard Bits: Rolling Stones, eMusic/Sun Records, Randall/Alexander

News on the Rolling Stones, eMusic/Sun Records, Randall/Alexander

After a drama-filled break that included brain surgery for Keith Richards and rehab for Ron Wood, the Rolling Stones are gearing up to relaunch what could be the top-grossing tour of all time. The Stones' A Bigger Bang tour is set to resume July 11 in Milan.

"We were not the top touring band in the world in May and June, I know that," tour producer Michael Cohl tells Billboard. "We were the top resting and recovering band." Rehearsals will get underway next week.

The band has already grossed in the $250-plus million range, and has 21 more stadium dates in Europe on the route up until Sept. 3 in Horsens, Denmark. Another 10 dates that were postponed due to Richards' injury could still be re-booked. With stadium dates averaging in the $5 million-per gross range, at the very least another $100 million could roll into the Stones coffers, which would take the tour to record heights.

-- Ray Waddell, Nashville

eMusic, the world's largest digital retailer of independent music, has uncovered 19 previously unknown and unreleased songs from Sun Records artists Charlie Rich, Rosco Gordon and Bill Justice.

The tracks, which are available exclusively on eMusic beginning today (June 30), will be part of a new 400-song collection of out of print and rare tracks from other Sun artists such as James Cotton, Ike Turner and Sonny Burgess.

The new material has been organized into album-length sets as well as several shorter collections. Detailed notes from eMusic Blues columnist John Morthland will accompany the music.

-- Jill Menze, N.Y.

Artists Jon Randall and Jessi Alexander have been cut from the Sony BMG Nashville roster. The artists, who are a couple, had been working on a duets album together. Prior to releasing an album on Epic last year, Randall recorded for RCA Label Group, Asylum and Eminent Records. Alexander released one album on Columbia last year.

They join four other artists who were recently cut following the merger of RCA Label Group and Sony Music Nashville: Jace Everett, Susan Haynes, Brice Long and Jamey Johnson.

-- Phyllis Stark, Nashville