Billboard Bits: Robert Plant, Vandross Tribute, 'Smile'

News on Robert Plant, Vandross Tribute, 'Smile'

RobertFormer Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant will deliver the keynote address on March 17 at the 2005 South by Southwest Music and Media Conference in Austin, Texas. The artist will also perform at the event, marking his first shows in the United States since his opening slot on the Who's summer 2002 tour. Next year will also bring reissues of Plant's solo catalog via Rhino/Atlantic.

Plant can be heard guesting on the Big Town Playboys' new album, "Roll the Dice," along with fellow veteran British artist Jeff Beck, and will be on hand for a Nov. 7 concert at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland to celebrate the legacy of legendary bluesman Lead Belly.

As previously reported, his 1994 "MTV Unplugged" performance with Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page will be issued on CD and DVD Tuesday (Oct. 27) via Rhino.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

PattiPatti LaBelle, Dave Koz, Brian Culbertson and a host of smooth jazz artists will pay tribute to Luther Vandross Wednesday (Oct. 27) in New York at a concert to raise funds for the American Diabetes Association. Set for the Madison Square Garden Theatre, a Concert for Love is tied to the
tribute album "Forever, for Always, for Luther," released in July via GRP.

Presented by WWCD (CD 101.9) and Seagrams Ginger Ale, the show will also feature performances by Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum, Layla Hathaway, Mindi Abair, Paul Jackson Jr., Richard Elliot, Will Downing and Maysa. Tickets priced at $99.50 and $59.50 are on sale via Ticketmaster.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

BrianPreviously unreleased instrumental versions of four songs will appear on the two-disc vinyl release of Brian Wilson's "SmiLE," due Nov. 23 via Nonesuch/Rhino. Pressed on high quality 180-gram vinyl, the 21-track set will boast instrumentals of "Heroes And Villains," "Cabin Essence," "On a Holiday" and "Wind Chimes" not included on the CD release.

The CD version of Wilson's
complete re-recording of the long abandoned Beach Boys project was released earlier this month. It debuted at No. 13 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 130,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Wilson's U.S. tour in support of the set visits Houston tomorrow (Oct. 23) and will close Nov. 4 in San Francisco. A six-date Australian tour kicks off Nov. 20 in Sydney.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.


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