Billboard Bits: Rolling Stones, Billy Bragg, Kim Richey

News on Rolling Stones, Billy Bragg, Kim Richey

StonesIn addition to a probable 40th anniversary tour this year, look for the Rolling Stones to return to the studio to record a number of new tracks, potentially for release on a retrospective or an album of new material. According to sources, the band is gathering in Paris this summer to record at least four new songs. A representative for the band, which is signed to Virgin worldwide, says there is no definitive word on any new recording.

"We're trying to cook something up," Stones frontman Mick Jagger told Billboard last fall. "I don't want to talk about it too much yet, but the 40th anniversary is a good party to give." Guitarist Ron Wood also told the U.K. magazine Uncut late last year that the band was sorting through its archives to compile a box set, featuring rarities, outtakes, and unreleased live tracks.

It goes without saying that the worldwide touring industry will be happy to see the Stones tour this year. The group contributed $750 million to gross touring revenues in the 1990s, selling out 307 of 333 mostly stadium shows. On its last outing, in 1997-99, the band grossed $337.2 million and played to 5.6 million people.

-- Melinda Newman, L.A.

English singer/songwriter Billy Bragg, who made his name with his working class, anti-establishment songs, is taking an anti-royalist stand against the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations. On May 20, he'll release "Tear Down the Union Jack" as a U.K. single from his Cooking Vinyl album "England, Half-English," a song billed as the British record industry's only dissenting voice to the royal anniversary. "Am I the only person in the country who is dreading the festival of fawning and flag waving that will accompany the Golden Jubilee celebrations this summer?" asks Bragg, who hopes, possibly with tongue-in-cheek, that "if each of you is prepared to spend a small amount to purchase all three formats of the CD single, then together we can make our mark in history." Recalling to some the week of the Silver Jubilee in 1977 when the Sex Pistols' single "God Save the Queen" came close to upsetting the mood by almost reaching No. 1, Bragg's song includes such lyrics as: "The dear old Queen of England handing out those MBEs/ Member of the British Empire, that doesn't sound too good to me." As previously reported , "God Save the Queen" will be re-released May 27 in the U.K. "England, Half English" was released in March in the U.S. via Elektra.

Singer/songwriter Kim Richey will hit the road next month for a brief tour, during which she plans to premiere new material. The trek will kick off May 2 in Pittsburgh, and is currently scheduled through a May 16 stop in Louisville, Ky. Richey is in the midst of finishing the follow-up to 1999's Mercury set "Glimmer," due out sometime this fall via Lost Highway. The album is being produced by Bill Bottrell (Sheryl Crow, Shelby Lynne). For more info, visit her official Web site .

May 2: Pittsburgh (Club Cafe) May 3: Philadelphia (Tin Angel) May 4: Annapolis, Md. (Rams Head Tavern) May 5: Arlington, Va. (Iota Club & Cafe) May 7: New York (Fez) May 8: Northampton, Mass. (Iron Horse Music Hall) May 9-10: Cambridge, Mass. (Kendall Cafe) May 11: Albany, N.Y. (the Larkin) May 14: Cleveland (Beachland Ballroom) May 15: Lexington, Ky. (Lynagh's Music Club) May 16: Louisville, Ky. (Phoenix Hill Tavern)