Billboard Bits: Oasis, UNCF, 'Peter Pan,' Cheech & Chong

Stories on Oasis, the United Negro College Fund's "An Evening of Stars" fundraiser, the 'Return to Neverland' soundtrack, and Cheech & Chong.

OasisOasis has slated "The Hindu Times" as the first single from its upcoming, as-yet-untitled fifth Epic studio album, due in July. The single, due April 15 in the U.K., is the chart-topping English rock outfit's first single since "Sunday Morning Call," which debuted at No. 4 on the U.K. singles chart in July 2000. "The Hindu Times," described as an upbeat rocker, has been played in recent weeks at charity gigs in the U.K. as well as at the band's 10th anniversary concerts last year.

A world tour in support of the new album is in the works. Beforehand, the group will make a previously announced April 28 headlining appearance at the second day of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Destiny's ChildThis year's United Negro College Fund (UNCF) fundraising telethon "An Evening of Stars: A Celebration of Educational Excellence," raised a record 14.1 million in cash, pledges, and other contributions. The annual gala, which aired on 72 U.S. television stations over the Jan. 5 weekend, featured performances by Destiny's Child, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Boyz II Men, Tyrese, Chante Moore, Donnie McClurkin, Boney James, and Yolanda Adams.

"It was touching to see Americans open their hearts, even in these difficult times, to help talented, bright, and deserving young people gain a college education," said UNCF president/CEO William H. Gray, III. "For every dollar UNCF collects in donations, more than 85 cents goes directly to supporting the college ambitions of needy young people."

Along with the various U.S. television stations that broadcast "An Evening of Stars" -- which was collectively hosted by Lou Rawls, Debbie Allen, Yolanda Adams, and Bishop T.D. Jakes -- the show aired on BET as a prime time Saturday night special.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Jonatha BrookeThe soundtrack to "Return to Neverland," the Buena Vista sequel to the classic Disney animated feature "Peter Pan," features a few songs that music fans -- not just children -- will want to seek out. Singer/songwriter Jonatha Brooke shows up twice on the set, performing "Second Star to the Right," which is reprised from the original feature, as well as her own "I'll Try." Also, U.K. boy band BBMak makes an appearance among the score (composed and conducted by Joel McNeely), performing a cover of the Lovin' Spoonful's "Do You Believe in Magic?"

Modern rock duo They Might Be Giants is present as well, but as songwriters, not artists. The group's John Linnell and John Flansburgh wrote the song "So To Be One of Us," which is sung by the character Jane (voiced in the film by Harriet Owen) and the Lost Boys.

"Return to Neverland" opened last Friday in U.S. theaters, and was the No. 3 grossing film in North America for the four-day Presidents' Day weekend. The soundtrack was released Feb. 5 on Walt Disney Records.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Cheech & ChongRichard "Cheech" Marin and Tommy Chong, the now defunct comedy duo that epitomized 1970s-era stoner humor, are celebrated on Rhino's forthcoming compilation "Where There's Smoke There's Cheech & Chong." Due March 19, the 36-track set features selections from the pair's Ode, Warner Bros., and MCA albums, as well as several previously unreleased tracks.

Alongside such classics as "Dave," "Sister Mary Elephant," "Let's Make A Dope Deal," "Basketball Jones," "Earache My Eye," and "Blind Melon Chitlin'," are a pair of commercials for the 1978 Cheech & Chong film "Up In Smoke," as well as "Old Man in the Park," a sketch that the team used to close their shows, yet never before included on an album. This particular version was recorded live at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in 1972,

All eight of Cheech & Chong's albums were listed on The Billboard 200, with 1972's "Big Bambu" and '73's "Los Cochinos" (which earned the pair a Grammy) reaching No. 2, and 1974's "Cheech & Chong's Wedding Album" peaking at No. 5. The pair's last release, 1985's "Get Out of My Room" made it to No. 71 on the chart.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.


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