Billboard Bits: Charlie Daniels, Ashanti, B.B. King
News on Charlie Daniels, Ashanti, B.B. KingCountry singer Charlie Daniels dropped out of an Independence Day television special, saying producers thought a song he'd planned to sing about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. was inappropriate. Daniels wrote a letter this week to Walter Miller, producer of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) show "A Capitol Fourth," saying he was pulling out of the program because of objections to the song he wanted to perform, "The Last Fallen Hero." Among the lyrics: "Now the winds of war are blowing and there's no way of knowing where the bloody path we're traveling will lead."
"The song in question is not an angry song," Daniels said in the letter. "It is my feeling that our country is engaged in a battle for our very survival and that we should be constantly reminded that our enemy will do the most inhuman and dastardly things imaginable if we are to have future Independence Days to celebrate."
Daniels did not elaborate on what the objections were. Miller did not return a phone call seeking comment. Last week, singer Toby Keith announced he'd been removed from an ABC television July Fourth special because of the lyrics to his song, "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)." ABC officials said Keith wanted to open the show with the song, which would set the wrong tone. Hank Williams Jr. was hired to open the ABC show instead.
R&B singer Ashanti's first book of poetry and reflections on love and relationships will be published in November by Hyperion. Titled "Foolish/Unfoolish," the volume also will include stories on what inspired each piece. "I'm excited to have the opportunity to share my poetry and thoughts about love with my fans," the singer said in a statement.
Ashanti's self-titled Murder Inc./Def Jam debut album has sold 1.8 million copies to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Released in April, the set debuted on top of The Billboard 200 and Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
It's OK to have the blues on your anniversary when B.B. King is involved. King was on hand last night (June 20) to celebrate the second anniversary of the nightclub that bears his name in New York's Times Square, B.B. King's Blues Club & Grill. "It sure feels good to see my name in red -- I hope they don't take it down," he joked.
David Letterman's bandleader, Paul Shaffer, also was there -- and King joked that his presence would inspire a great performance. "He might put us on the David Letterman show," King joked.
The 76-year-old musician plucked on his guitar, Lucille, as he performed several songs, including his classic, "The Thrill Is Gone." He also jammed with Bo Diddley and jazz singer Phoebe Snow, who remarked during her performance with the pair: "I can die now."
The club's owners, who include King's manager, gave the music legend a gold and diamond lapel pin and brought out a cake. When Shaffer handed him a glass of champagne for a toast, King said he didn't drink. But then, noting the occasion, he told the crowd: "In honor of you, I'm going to do something I haven't done in many years," and he took a sip.
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