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Music News: Madonna to Appear on NBC's <i>Will and Grace</i>, Phil Spector Arrested


Legendary studio producer Phil Spector, 62, was arrested and booked on murder charges last week. In the early morning hours of February 3, Spector's Alhambra, California neighbors reported hearing shots fired on his estate. When police arrived, they found 40-year-old actress Lana Clarkson shot to death at his home. Later that same day, Spector was released from jail after posting a $1 million bond. Spector is famous for producing the Righteous Brothers' You've Lost That Loving Feeling, The Crystals' Da Doo Ron Ron, and the Beatles' final album Let It Be, among other classic recordings.

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have announced plans to re-release the Beatles' final album, Let It Be. This time, it will be issued the way they originally recorded it, stripped down, or as they say, "de-Spectorized." After the Beatles' disbanded, producer Phil Spector added orchestration to the tracks. The new version of Let It Be is due out later this year.

For the past 37 years, the Texas Livestock Show and Rodeo has been held at the Houston Astrodome. This year, the event will move to Houston's new Reliant Stadium. On March 3, 2002 the final show took place at the Astrodome, featuring one of Texas' most popular artists George Strait. More than 68,000 people were in attendance, including President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. On February 11, Strait's performance will be released on CD. The 16-song collection is titled For the Last Time Live from the Astrodome.

Madonna will make her television debut in May on an episode of NBC's sitcom Will & Grace. The network is being tightlipped about the story line. In other news, Madonna's next studio album is expected to be out in April. It's first single will be a track called American Life, which will be shipped to radio in April.

February 11, Sugar Hill Records will release Crazy: The Demo Sessions. The digitally remastered CD includes tracks that Willie Nelson recorded in Nashville in the 1960s as songwriting demos. Eight of the tracks have never been released, including one newly discovered song that Willie wrote.

'N Sync's JC Chasez is following in the footsteps of his bandmate Justin Timberlake. Chasez is working on a solo album, which Jive Records will release in July. He's been recording in Los Angeles with noted producers Dallas Austin, Rodney Jerkins, and others.

After countless delays, the Ramones tribute album will finally be released on February 11. The Pretenders, Metallica, U2, Kiss and Green Day are among the acts that covered the New York punk band's songs on the set. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the album will go to the New York chapter of the Lymphoma Research Foundation. Group member Joey Ramone died of the disease in 2001. Last year, bassist Dee Dee Ramone died of a morphine overdose.

February 13, legendary bluegrass musician Earl Scruggs will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He's being honored for "his more than 55 years of musical creations and performances on records, radio, television and films." Scruggs' best known works include The Ballad of Jed Clampett and Foggy Mountain Breakdown, which won its first Grammy Award in 1968, when it was featured in the film Bonnie And Clyde. It earned a second Grammy in 2001 for a reworked version that appeared on Scruggs' latest album Earl Scruggs and Friends.

NEW ALBUM RELEASES / FEB. 11:

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Australian Country star Keith Urban has canceled all performances for the next six weeks due to a vocal cord ailment. To avoid permanent damage to his voice, his doctors advised to him pull out of an upcoming Canadian concert tour with Carolyn Dawn Johnson and appearances at this month's Country Radio Seminar in Nashville and RodeoHouston on March 1. "There are no words to express my disappointment, but I know that I need to abide by my doctors' instructions so that I'm completely healthy in time to kick off the tour with Kenny Chesney in April," Urban said.

February 12, Carlos Santana will kick off a series of U.S. tour in Laredo, Texas. Santana is spending much of 2003 performing throughout the world in support of his latest album, Shaman. Shows are scheduled in March and April in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Later this year, Santana will perform 17 concerts in Europe. In other news, Carlos is working on a Spanish language album of duets with female performers. No word yet on a possible release date.

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