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U2 Postpones Final Leg of Tour; Blondie, Miles Davis Among Hall of Fame Inductees

On March 13, the 21st annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions will take place at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel. This year's five inductees are Black Sabbath, the late Miles Davis, Blondie, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Sex Pistols. The Sex Pistols have announced that they won't be attending the ceremony. A statement on the band's web site said, "Next to the Sex Pistols, rock and roll and that Hall of Fame is a p*** stain. If you voted for us, hope you noted your reasons. You're anonymous as judges, but you're still music industry people. We're not coming. You're not paying attention." In other, more important, news, the induction ceremony will feature a tribute to New Orleans with performances by Buckwheat Zydeco, Allen Toussaint and Elvis Costello. Also during the event, Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, who co-founded A&M Records in the early 1960s, will receive a lifetime achievement award in the non-performer category.

On March 12, the new Broadway musical Ring of Fire will open on Broadway. The show features songs made famous by the late Johnny Cash, but is not a biography of the Country legend. Tony Award-winning director Richard Maltby, Jr. says, "I refer to this as a story, but you won't find a plot or dramatized scenes on stage in this entertainment. The details are there for those who choose to find them, but along with them are glimpses of the world Cash lived in - of home and family and the land; of hard work and adversity; of faith and love and compassion for people who led hard lives or are down on their luck. Humor is what gets you through this life, as these songs so often show - and the simple hungers that draw one person to another are addressed with complete directness. These are songs full of love and feeling, wit and understanding, and like all Country songs, they tell it like it is."

On March 14, BNA Records will release the first solo album by John Rich, who now performs in the popular Country duo Big & Rich. Rich recorded "Underneath the Same Moon" in 1999, when he was signed to a solo contract following his departure from the band Lonestar. The album includes such guests as Delbert McClinton, the Fairfield Four, Sara Evans and Rich's current singing partner Big Kenny.

The fourth season of Nashville Star will begin on March 14. The USA Network series, which is the Country version of FOX-TV's pop talent contest American Idol, will be hosted Wynonna Judd and Country rapper Cowboy Troy. This year's judges are singer-songwriter Phil Vassar and music and movie executive Anastasia Brown, who will be joined each week by a celebrity judge. The winner of Nashville Star will win a recording deal with RCA Label Group.


The 2006 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival will be held March 15 -19 in Austin, Texas. Neil Young and director Jonathan Demme will provide the keynote address. Kris Kristofferson, Judy Collins, the Pretenders, Beastie Boys, k.d. lang, Ray Davies and Billy Bragg will also give speeches at this year's 20th anniversary conference. Some 1,300 artists from around the world will perform at 64 venues throughout Austin. In addition to the many concerts, SXSW will offer many music panel discussions and exhibitions.

On March 18, Country stars Carrie Underwood, Lorrie Morgan and Lee Ann Womack will perform at the "Women of Country" show. The concert is part of the Grand Ole Opry's Signature Shows Series. Loretta Lynn was scheduled to appear, but pulled out for unknown reasons. The artists will pay tribute to Country's female pioneers and sing some of their own hits. One hour of the show will air on the Great American Country (GAC) cable music channel.


Brad Paisley leads the nominees for the 41st annual Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards, which will be presented on May 23 in Las Vegas. The West Virginia native earned six mentions, including three for his duet with Dolly Parton, "When I Get Where I'm Going." Other major contenders include Sugarland and Brooks & Dunn with five nominations apiece and Rascal Flatts with four. This year's ACM Entertainer of the Year nominees are Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban.


U2 was scheduled to begin the final 10 dates of their 2006 "Vertigo" tour on March 17 in Auckland, New Zealand. The shows have been postponed, however, due to an illness in the family of one of the group's members. The tour's promoter said that further details will be announced as they are known.