Billboard Bits: Newman, Ezra, EBTG, Nobel Concert

News on Randy Newman, Better Than Ezra, EBTG, Nobel Concert

NewmanRandy Newman has written two new songs for the soundtrack to the upcoming film "Meet the Fockers." In addition to composing the score for the set, due Jan. 11 via Varese Sarabande, the 2000 Billboard Century Award winner penned the cuts "Crazy About My Baby" and "We're Gonna Get Married." The album also includes selections from Canned Heat and Tim Hardin, among others.

Newman scored film's 2001 prequel, "Meet the Parents" and won the best original song Oscar in 2002 for "If I Didn't Have You," from "Monsters Inc." His next project is the animated film "Cars," due to hit U.S. theaters in late 2005.

"Meet the Fockers" finds Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro reprising their starring roles from the first film and also features Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand as Stiller's character's parents. The film arrives Dec. 22 in U.S. theaters.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

EzraBetter Than Ezra will release a new, as-yet-untitled album in the spring as its first under a new deal with Artemis Records. It will be the fourth studio album from the New Orleans-based trio, which is best known for its 1995 modern rock hit "Good."

The group -- vocalist/guitarist Kevin Griffin, bassist Tom Drummond and drummer Travis McNabb -- will close out the year with a brief tour that kicks off Dec. 2 in Hartford, Conn., and closes with a Dec. 17-18 home stand at the House of Blues in the Big Easy. Among the band's 2005 dates is a four-night March residency at the Steamboat Resort in Steamboat Springs, Col., as part of the annual Rock Slope event with Sister Hazel and Edwin McCain.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

GirlOn Feb. 15, Sire/Atlantic/Blanco y Negro/Rhino will issue British duo Everything But The Girl's "Adapt or Die -- 10 Years of Remixes," a new collection that includes many new and previously unreleased restructurings.

Highlights include rare re-rubs by Jazzy Jeff ("Mirrorball"), Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez ("Downhill Racer"), Jay "Sinister" Sealee ("Lullaby of Clubland") and King Britt ("Rollercoaster"). Also noteworthy are remixes by C.L. McSpadden ("Missing"), Brad Wood ("Single") and Kevin Yost ("Five Fathoms").

EBTG has not released a new studio album since 1999's "Temperamental." According to the group's
official Web site, there are no plans on the books to record or tour in the near future.

-- Michael Paoletta, N.Y.

TonyPerformances from the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Concert will be broadcast Dec. 23 in the United States as a two-hour special on cable network E! Featuring Tony Bennett, Andrea Bocelli, Chris Botti, Diana Krall, Patti Labelle, Cyndi Lauper, Sondre Lerche, Baaba Maal, Polyphonic Spree, Joss Stone and Martin Yates, the Dec. 11 concert in Oslo, Norway, will be hosted by actor Tom Cruise and talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

The event is the second part of a two-day celebration honoring 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Wangari Maathai of Kenya. The first woman from Africa to receive the award, Maathai was selected by the Nobel Committee for her "contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace."

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.