Billboard Bits: Sugababes, Haggard, Presley

Founding Sugababes member is replaced, Merle Haggard reissues die and 1956 celebration planned at Elvis Presley's Graceland estate.

The Sugababes have added Amelle Berrabah to their lineup to replace the amicably exiting Mutya Buena. "Like millions of girls my age, I've grown up with Sugababes' music as a soundtrack to my life and I've been a fan of theirs for years," 21 year-old Berrabah says. "I still can't believe my luck!"

Buena is the second member to leave the U.K.-based pop trio since its inception in 1998, leaving Keisha Buchanan as the sole founding member. Former Atomic Kitten member Heidi Range replaced Siobhan Donaghy in late 2001.

"I signed up for being in Sugababes at the age of 13 and have spent my entire life devoted to making and performing music," Buena says. "I think there comes a time when everyone wants to re-evaluate their life and what they want out of it. For me that time has now come."

"Ugly," the latest single from the Sugababes' fourth album, "Taller in More Ways" (Universal Island), debuted two weeks ago at No. 3 on the U.K. singles chart, where it is No. 12 this week. Released in October, "Taller" bowed at No. 1 on the U.K. album chart and ranks No. 14 in its 11th chart week.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Ten of the nearly 30 albums Merle Haggard recorded for Capitol will be reissued Feb. 21 on five discs via Capitol Nashville/EMI Music Catalog Marketing. The sets, four previously unreleased on CD, will be paired chronologically and will feature a total of 21 bonus tracks among them.

The 1965 releases "Strangers" and "Swinging Doors and the Bottle Let Me Down" are teamed and add such songs as the previously unreleased "Jimmie the Kid" and "When No Flowers Grow," respectively.

Also due are 1967's "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive" and "Branded Man"; 1968's "Sing Me Back Home" and "The Legend Of Bonnie & Clyde"; 1968's "Mama Tried" and 1969's "Pride In What I Am"; and 1971's "Hag" and "Someday We'll Look Back." All feature new liner notes will be available through major digital music stores.

Holiday, spiritual and songwriter-themed packages are also being planned, as is the September 2006 release of "Hag: As Country as It Gets - Greatest Hits."

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Beginning with the annual festivities celebrating the birthday of Elvis Presley at his Graceland estate in Memphis, the landmark will spend the year marking the 50th anniversary of late artist's achievements in 1956, the year he grew from a rock'n'roll curiosity to a superstar.

The birthday celebration (Jan. 6-8), Elvis Week (August) and Christmas at Graceland events will all commemorate the year that included Presley's first RCA single ("Heartbreak Hotel"), his first album ("Elvis Presley"), his first appearances on such television shows as "The Milton Berle Show" and "The Ed Sullivan Show" and his first movie, "Love Me Tender."

Other special events are also being planned leading up to the 30th anniversary of Presley's death on Aug. 16, 1977. More information can be found at

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.