Billboard Bits: Faith Hill, Anka, Westlife, Audioslave

News on Faith Hill, Anka, Westlife, Audioslave

FaithCountry superstar Faith Hill's new single "Mississippi Girl," will be available as a free, timed-out download beginning Tuesday (May 10) via radio station Web sites across the country. The track will hit paid digital download sites on May 24. It is drawn from Hill's sixth studio album, "Fireflies," due this summer via Warner Bros.

"Music is, and always should be, about evoking an emotion or expressing a passion or feeling, and this song does just that for me," Hill says. "It's easier for me to express what's in my heart by telling people to listen to what I sing, rather than to what I say."

"Fireflies" is Hill's first album since 2002's "Cry," which debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 2.6 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

PaulVeteran singer/songwriter Paul Anka tackles the music of a younger generation on his new album, "Rock Swings." Due June 7 via Verve, the 14-track set features Anka's orchestra-backed interpretations of everything from Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" and Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" to Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel" and Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger."

Released earlier this year internationally (even reaching No. 1 on the German album chart), the set also includes covers of Oasis' "Wonderwall," Van Halen's "Jump," the Pet Shop Boys' "It's a Sin," the Cure's "Lovecats," Billy Idol's "Eyes Without a Face," Lionel Ritchie's "Hello," Spandau Ballet's "True" and Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven."

Anka will be on tour in North America throughout the rest of the year, with a new round of dates set to begin May 29 at Harrah's in St. Louis.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

WestlifeIrish boyband Westlife today (May 4) lost its five-year legal battle against the cigarette manufacturer that challenged the use of their name as a trademark.

German cigarette company West had filed a suit arguing there was a risk of confusion between its name and the Westlife brand. The dispute reached the European Union's Court of First Instance in Luxembourg, which today confirmed that Westlife had wrongly been allowed to register as a trademark.

The judges in Luxembourg said the similarity between the names was enough to confuse the "average German consumer" and ruled that the band cannot protect its name as an exclusive trademark. However, the band can continue to use its name and apply it to merchandise.

West trademark registrant Reemark Gesellschaft fur Marken Kooperation Mbh had argued that the risk of confusion between names was potentially heightened with Westlife's planned launch of a range of clothing and other products.

-- Leo Cendrowicz, Brussels

AudioLater this week, Audioslave will become the first U.S. rock act to perform a free outdoor concert in Cuba. Friday's (May 6) show will be held at La Tribuna in Havana, which can accommodate as many as 1 million spectators.

"Kids are the same all over the world, and we are extremely proud and excited to bring rock'n'roll to the youth of Cuba," the band says in a statement. "It's all about the music and free expression of music crosses all barriers. This is a rare opportunity, and we are grateful and honored to have the support of both countries."

Authorized by the U.S. Treasury Department and Cuba's Instituto Cubano de la Musica, Audioslave's appearance in Havana comes amidst the band's ongoing North American tour in support of its second album, "Out of Exile," due May 24 via Interscope.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.