Billboard Bits: Eagles, Cockburn, Ludacris/Kaiser Chiefs

News on Eagles, Cockburn, Ludacris/Kaiser Chiefs

EaglesThe Eagles are the top-grossing touring act of the year so far, pulling in $76.7 million, based on numbers reported to Billboard Boxscore for the six months ending May 17. Billboard's mid-year touring report will be published in July.

U2's Vertigo tour was just getting started during the half-year time period and the band is now well on it's way to being the top-grossing act of 2005. For the mid-year time period, the juggernaut that is Vertigo had reported 24 sellouts that grossed $41.4 million and moved 429,036 tickets. The band is heading toward a $300 million year.

Third in the rankings are the final dates of Cher's three-year, 325-date, $200 million farewell tour, which were enough to rank her among the top acts of the half-year with close to $30 million in grosses. With $24.3 million in grosses, Rod Stewart is fourth, followed by fellow veteran Sting, with $23.8 million in grosses from 54 shows.

-- Ray Waddell, Nashville

BruceVeteran Canadian troubadour Bruce Cockburn is preparing to record an album of instrumentals. "Speechless (The Instrumental Bruce Cockburn)" is being co-produced by Cockburn and noted Canadian guitarist Colin Linden. The set, Cockburn's 28th in a four-decade career -- is due in September or October worldwide via Rounder and True North in Canada.

Among the selections that have been chosen for the album are such well-known Cockburn songs as "Sunwheel Dance," Fox Glove," "Mistress of Storms" and "Salt, Sun and Time."

-- Larry LeBlanc, Toronto

LudacrisRapper Ludacris and modern rock act Kaiser Chiefs are slated to take on all comers in upcoming Xbox Live "Game With Fame" sessions. Ludacris will conduct his June 10 battle on Microsoft Game Studios' "Forza Motorsport." Those interested in joining in can find him via his Xbox Live gamer tag "ludacrisgwf."

The Chiefs will host a June 13 battle on EA's "Burnout3: Takedown" that will be limited to 100 contestants chosen from signups at

Additionally, 10 people will be chosen to receive a copy of the band's Universal debut, "Employment," and one grand prize winner will receive an Xbox console, Xbox Live kit and a copy of the game. Another lucky gamer will be invited to meet the band and challenge them in a face-to-face "Burnout 3" battle at cable channel G4's Los Angeles "Attack of the Show!" studio. G4 will televise the session on June 17.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.