Rock band Linkin Park has teamed with the American Red Cross to create a charity to aid victims of the December 26 earthquake and tsunami's in southern Asia. The group donated $100,000 to launch the "Music For Relief" fund. Linkin Park guitarist Brad Delson says, "As a band, we were in a position to help, but this needs to be a lot broader effort both by our fans and by other musicians." Linkin Park performed in Bangkok, Thailand last June. Delson said, "We played what was the largest Thai concert in the past 10 years. It was an amazing show, and I carry with me the hospitality of the Thai people and the people of southern Asia…I really hope that through this effort we can help in some small way." The charity's website address is www.MusicForRelief.org.
To mark the 70th anniversary of Elvis Presley's birth on January 8, Sony/BMG plans to reissue 18 of his singles that hit Number One in the United Kingdom. They'll be released in chronological order, beginning with "All Shook Up" and "Jailhouse Rock," which both hit stores on January 3. The U.K.'s 1000th pop singles chart will soon be printed and some predict it will be Elvis who occupies the top spot in that issue.
Speaking of Elvis, a Presley fan has sold three tablespoons of water, allegedly taken from a cup used by Presley at a 1977 concert. It fetched more than $450 at an online EBay auction. 40-year-old North Carolinian Wade Jones attended Presley's 1977 concert in Charlotte and after the show went to the stage looking for a souvenir. Jones says a policeman gave him a plastic cup that Elvis drank from during the show. He kept the cup of water in his freezer until 1985, when he transferred the water to a vial and sealed it. Jones claims to have a photograph from the concert that proves its authenticity.
Latin pop singer Gloria Estefan joins a growing list of artists who are adding the title 'author' to their resumes. Her first children's book, reportedly inspired by her pet dog Noelle, will be published in November. The book will be available in English and Spanish versions and will be released with a CD single. The song, written and recorded by Estefan, is also based on Noelle's life experiences.
The Backstreet Boys' Brian Littrell has signed a solo deal with gospel label Reunion Records. 29-year-old Littrell says, "This has been a dream of mine ever since I was a little boy, singing in church in Kentucky." A release date for his first solo album hasn't been set. In other news, the Backstreet Boys have spent much of 2004 working on a new CD, which is expected to be out in March. Its debut single is planned for release in January. Littrell says he'll tour with the group to promote the new album, which is rumored to be the final Backstreet Boys release.
Motown Records will release Stevie Wonder's first album in 10 years next April. A Time 2 Love will feature several guests, including a Nigerian talking-drum player and a Los Angeles choir, which Wonder recorded at its church. Stevie also has three future projects planned. He says they include a gospel album, a musical and a jazz album.
On January 6, the Broadway musical Chicago will mark its 3,389th performance. That milestone will make it the 10th longest-running show in Broadway history. Rounding out the Top 10, in ascending order, are Rent, 42nd Street, Miss Saigon, Beauty and the Beast, Oh! Calcutta, A Chorus Line, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera and Cats, which remains Broadway's longest-running show with 7,485 performances.
NEW ALBUM RELEASES / JAN. 4:
One Voice by Gladys Knight and The Saints Unified Voices on Many Roads Records; Greatest Hits by Lynn Anderson on Collectors' Choice Records; Remixes 81-04 (double CD) by Depeche Mode on Reprise Records; That's Live by Julia Fordham on Vanguard Records; Back To Mine by Carl Cox on DMC Records; and the original soundtrack to The Chorus on Nonesuch Records.