Billboard Bits: Diffie, 112, 'Sisters In The Spirit'

Stories on Joe Diffie, 112 and the 'Sisters In The Spirit' tour.

Joe DiffieJoe Diffie's 1994 hit "Pickup Man" gets new life in commercials for Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar. A rewritten, re-recorded version of the song is being used to advertise the Overland Park, Kan.-based restaurant chain's Carside-To-Go curbside food pickup service.

Released during Diffie's 10-year tenure on Epic Nashville, the original Howard Perdew/Kerry Kurt Phillips-written version of "Pickup Man" appeared on the album "Third Rock From the Sun" and spent four weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. The artist currently records for Broken Bow Records, which released his latest set, "Tougher Than Nails," in June.

Diffie says its been fun to hear his song being used in the TV spots, developed by ad agency Foote Cone & Belding's Chicago office. "Pickup Man" will be heard in national television and radio spots throughout 2005.

-- Deborah Evans Price, Nashville

112R&B act 112 will portray legendary Motown vocal group the Four Tops, performing "Reach Out I'll Be There" on NBC's "American Dreams." The episode, scheduled to air Jan. 2, will also feature a guest appearance by "American Idol" judge Randy Jackson as the Four Tops' manager.

112 is planning to release a new album early in the New Year via Def Jam. The as-yet-untitled set will be the follow-up to 2003's "Hot & Wet" (Bad Boy/Def Soul), which debuted at No. 4 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and No. 22 on The Billboard 200.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Yolanda AdamsYolanda Adams and Kelly Price are among the acts that will team up for the third annual Sisters in the Spirit tour. The five-week inspirational outing will kick off Feb. 1 in Columbus, Ohio.

Sheila E will serve as the musical director for the tour, which will also boast performances by gospel artists Martha Munizzi and RiZen. Inspirational speaker Juanita Bynum and fitness expert Donna Richardson will also be featured during each stop on the run, which is sponsored by Southwest Airlines.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.