Billboard Bits: Puffy, Lee Ann Womack, Rick Derringer

News on Puffy, Lee Ann Womack tour, Rick Derringer song.

Sean CombsA lawyer for Sean "Puffy" Combs says she expects a judge to dismiss a traffic violation filed against the rapper in April. A pretrial hearing was postponed yesterday (June 14) on Combs' charge of making an improper lane change while he was riding a scooter along Ocean Drive, in Miami's popular South Beach area.

"I'm confident that once the judge sees the defense's evidence, the case will be dismissed," Combs' attorney, Jayne Weintraub, said. "There is no case." Weintraub said the hearing was continued because of the rap mogul's travel schedule. Circuit Judge Jeffrey Swartz has not set a trial date.

Police arrested Combs in April and charged him with driving with a suspended license after they pulled him over in Miami Beach. Weintraub said the charge was later dropped. She said a paperwork delay was the reason the rapper's driver's license showed up as suspended when police stopped him.

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Lee Ann Womack is planning a Christmas tour with the 15-piece Duke Ellington Orchestra. The tour, now in the final stages of being booked primarily in the Northeast and Midwest, will kick off after Thanksgiving and run through Dec. 22. Womack will be backed by her own band, 911, on her hits and by the orchestra on Christmas standards. In other news, with 42 weeks under her belt, Womack has the longest-running song currently on The Billboard Hot 100. "I Hope You Dance" (MCA), which falls 27-33, claims the honor even though its run is non-consecutive, having fallen off the chart and then re-entered.

Rick Derringer's most famous song -- "Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo," a hit single in 1973 -- was recognized this week by BMI, an association that collects royalties for songwriters, after being played on the radio more than 1 million times. "The test of time, that's what I guess it is," the 53-year-old Derringer said. "Some songs sell millions and are quickly forgotten; to have one like this, it really makes me proud." Derringer, who also wrote the No. 1 hit "Hang on Sloopy" for his band the McCoys in 1965, lives in Connecticut and continues to tour. He's working with a new band that will include former Vanilla Fudge drummer Carmine Appice and former Cactus bass player Tim Bogert.

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