Billboard Bits: Ringo Starr, Tyrese, Patsy Cline
News on Ringo Starr, Tyrese, Patsy ClineFormer Beatle Ringo Starr is hard at work on a new solo studio album, due in 2003 via Koch Records. The as-yet-untitled set is being produced by Mark Hudson (Aerosmith), who produced Starr's 1998 Mercury set "Vertical Man" and co-produced and performed on 1999's "I Am Santa Claus" (Polygram).
In 2001 Koch released "Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band: The Anthology ... So Far," a three-disc set surveying the various incarnations of Starr's occasional touring group with a constantly shifting lineup. Last year's seventh edition of Starr's band featured a touring lineup of Sheila E., Mott The Hoople's Ian Hunter, Greg Lake from Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Supertramp's Roger Hodgson, and Howard Jones.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.
R&B singer Tyrese (full name: Tyrese Gibson) is in negotiations to star opposite Paul Walker in Universal Pictures' sequel to "The Fast and the Furious." Furthering its commitment to Tyrese as an actor, the studio has picked up a thriller pitch from the artist titled "Extortion," based on a treatment he wrote that he will star in and executive produce.
Sources said John Singleton is the front-runner to direct the sequel, which would reteam the helmer with Tyrese -- the singer made his feature acting debut in Singleton's "Baby Boy," released last year by Columbia Pictures. The casting of Tyrese comes on the heels of actor Vin Diesel deciding not to reprise his role of Dominic Toretto, prompting original "Fast" director Rob Cohen to also decline involvement.
In turn, screenwriters have had to fashion a new antagonist to Walker's cop character, Brian O'Connor, and Tyrese will take on that role. The artist was injured in a motorcycle accident in mid-April but is expected to be fully recovered in time for the upcoming movie.
-- Zorianna Kit, The Hollywood Reporter
MCA Nashville is in the midst of assembling an all-star tribute to the late Patsy Cline. Due out later this year, the planned 12-track set "Remembering Patsy" will feature the likes of Natalie Cole, Diana Krall, Lee Ann Womack, Michelle Branch, and k.d. lang. Other artists who are taking part will be announced in the coming months.
"When we first began the discussions of just who we should approach to be a part of this tribute album, we didn't have to look far," MCA Nashville chairman Bruce Hinton said in a statement. "Once word got out, our phones began ringing. This is a true testament to Patsy's worldwide influence -- her music knows no boundaries, or genre limitations.
On the album, for which an exact release date is still pending, Cole takes on one of the tracks Cline made a classic, "I Fall to Pieces," while Womack performs "She's Got You." Relative newcomer Branch sings "Strange," while k.d. lang offers a rendition of "Leavin' on Your Mind," and Krall tackles the immortal "Crazy."
"When I heard Diana Krall's take of 'Crazy,' I literally got chill bumps," Hinton added. "She did it the Diana Krall way -- putting her own special spin and touches to the song. Each of the artists has done this -- taken a Patsy song, and recorded it in their own inimitable style."
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.