Billboard Bits: Sting, O-Town, Harold Arlen

News on Sting, O-Town, Harold Arlen

Groove ArmadaSting is rehearsing material for his next A&M/Interscope studio album at his studio in Tuscany, Italy. According to the artist's official Web site, a steady stream of unnamed guest artists have participated in the process. Recording for the as-yet-untitled set will get underway next month in Paris, with the album "on track for a likely release next autumn," the site says.

The artist's last studio album, "Brand New Day," peaked in September 2000 at No. 9 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 3.5 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. It was followed up by the concert release "... All This Time," recorded in Tuscany.

Sting's rendition of "Fragile" from the latter album was nominated yesterday (Jan. 7) for a best male pop vocal performance Grammy. One of the artist's competitors in the field is British R&B star Craig David; Sting guested on the track "Rise & Fall" from David's latest Wildstar/Atlantic album, "Slicker Than Your Average."

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Vocal group O-Town will headline the third annual Child Watch benefit concert, slated for Saturday (Jan. 11) at Hard Rock Live in Orlando, Fla. The event will also feature performances by D Black, Project Fate, and Jessy & Melissa Rae. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster and the Hard Rock box office. All proceeds from the event will benefit Child Watch of North America, a non-profit group that works with parents and children to prevent abductions. The organization also assists with the recovery of missing children through investigations and working with law enforcement. Released in November, O-Town's sophomore J album, "02," debuted at No. 28 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 205,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. First single "These Are the Days" peaked at No. 16 on Billboard's Top 40 Mainstream chart, No. 27 on the Top 40 Tracks tally, and No. 64 on the Hot 100.

Rufus Wainwright, Debbie Harry, David Johansen, Jimmy Scott, and Sandra Bernhard are among those paying tribute to the late composer Harold Arlen in a TV special airing Feb. 14 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on cable network Trio. The 90-minute program, "Stormy Weather: The Music of Harold Arlen," will include such Harlen songs as "Stormy Weather" (performed by Harry), "It's Only a Paper Moon" (Wainwright), "Over the Rainbow" (Scott), "Kickin' the Gong Around" (Johansen), and "Come Rain or Shine" (Bernhard). Arlen is best known for composing the music to the 1939 classic film "The Wizard of Oz." Other songs in his famed repertoire include "I've Got the World on a String" and "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive."