Billboard Bits: McCartney, Michael Jackson, U2 & More

News about McCartney, Michael Jackson, U2 & More

PaulPaul McCartney told New York radio station WPLJ-FM today (Sept. 21) that he plans to play a benefit concert in the city next month, with proceeds benefiting city firefighters who have perished in the terrorist attacks. McCartney's father was a volunteer firefighter in his hometown of Liverpool, England, which was subjected to nearly 70 air raids by enemy forces during World War II.

McCartney said he was onboard a plane in New York waiting to take off for London when two jetliners crashed into the World Trade Center last Tuesday. "I've been here in New York ever since and, in a way, I was pleased to be here to witness all the heroism," he said. The artist is currently weighing venues for the planned benefit, and has also put off plans for an October benefit in Moscow's Red Square in light of the recent tragedies.

As reported yesterday, the former Beatle's latest solo album, "Driving Rain," is scheduled for a Nov. 13 release in North America by Capitol.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

JackoMichael Jackson has posted "Cry," another track from his forthcoming Epic album, "Invincible," on his official Web site. According to the label, programmers who heard the song asked Epic make it available for authorized airplay, which it has also done starting today.

The new set's first single, "You Rock My World," has enjoyed quick success on the airwaves, and is No. 14 on The Billboard Hot 100 in its fourth week. "Invincible" is due Oct. 30 in North America; as previously reported, Jackson is also planning to record a star-studded new single, "What More Can I Give," and donate the proceeds to assist relief efforts in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks in the U.S.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

U2Adding to yesterday's (Sept. 20) report of on sale dates for the third leg of U2's Elevation tour, tickets for the band's Oct. 24 show at New York's Madison Square Garden will go on sale to the general public Oct. 1 at 9 a.m. ET via Ticketmaster. A special 11-hour, password-protected Internet pre-sale for fans registered at the band's official Web site will take place Sept. 27 beginning at 10 a.m.

Although only one Garden show has been announced, U2 has options to play two more nights at the venue, Oct. 25 and Oct. 27. Garbage will support on the New York bill, with the Stereophonics due to join the tour beginning with the Oct. 28 show at the Continental Airlines Arena in nearby East Rutherford, N.J. No Doubt will take over opening band chores Nov. 5 in Austin, Texas, through the close of the tour two weeks later in Las Vegas.

The Garden was the penultimate stop on the first leg of the Elevation tour, where U2 performed two shows in June before moving a few miles west to the Continental Airlines Arena for the run's two closing shows.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Verve PipeModern rock act the Verve Pipe will play a benefit concert Tuesday (Sept. 25) at Schuba's in Chicago. All proceeds will benefit the American Red Cross. "It's a modest effort, but along with those who lined up for hours to donate blood, it is the least thing we can do," the band said in a statement.

On the same day as the benefit, the Verve Pipe will release its third RCA album, "Underneath." The set, produced by Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne, Ivy), features first single "Never Let You Down," which is No. 22 on Billboard's Adult Top 40 Tracks chart this week.

The group has a handful of U.S. tour dates booked through early November; check its official Web site for more information. Meanwhile, frontman Brian Vander Ark can be seen making his acting debut in the new film "Rock Star."

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.