Billboard Bits: Simpson/Lachey, Rush, Harrison
News on Simpson/Lachey, Rush, HarrisonPop stars Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey of boy band 98 Degrees are engaged. No other details have yet been revealed about the nuptials, which come as somewhat of a surprise considering the pair's break-up last spring. Simpson, 21, and Lachey, 28, began dating since 1999, and Lachey helped write two songs on Simpson's last Columbia album, "Irresistible."
"Nick never ceases to amaze me," Simpson told Billboard in 2001. "He called me and said he had an idea and started singing to me over the phone, and I just loved it. He's among the most talented people I know. I predict that 10 years from now, his name will still be huge."
While Lachey may be destined for bigger things, the future of 98 Degrees appears to be in doubt. A note on the group's official Web site says its "future [is] unclear at this point" and that there are "no immediate plans to record or tour."
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
Look for Rush to kick off a North American tour in June in support of its upcoming new Anthem/Atlantic album. As previously reported, the as-yet-untitled set was self-produced by the veteran Canadian rock trio and is due out sometime this spring. It's the follow-up to 1996's "Test for Echo," which hit No. 5 on The Billboard 200.
The group has not hit the road since the tour in support of that album. In 1998, Rush released "Different Stages," a three-CD live collection spanning shows from 1978, 1994, and 1997.
-- Ray Waddell, Nashville
The former brother-in-law of George Harrison's widow has been barred from selling memorabilia allegedly stolen from the late Beatle. In a lawsuit, Olivia Harrison accused Carl Roles of taking 10 boxes of clothing, records, photographs, and other items from Harrison's Bel-Air home in the 1970s. Roles was once married to her Olivia Harrison's sister, Linda Arias.
California Superior Court Judge Dzintra I. Janavs on Friday granted a preliminary injunction preventing Roles from selling the items while the court battle is under way. The judge exempted personal letters that the Harrisons wrote to Roles and an autographed souvenir program.
Harrison died of cancer Nov. 29 at the age of 58. His widow claims Roles tried to sell stolen memorabilia the next day. Roles has said he received permission to remove the items from the house and denies he tried to sell them.
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