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Music News: British Rocker Strummer Dies; <i>Billboard</i> Publishes List of Top Rock Era Songs - 2003-01-02

British rocker Joe Strummer died of a heart attack on December 23. He was 50. Born John Graham Mellor in Ankara, Turkey, he performed with The Clash from 1976 until the group split up in 1982. The band was known for writing songs with a political edge. Its 1979 recording of London Calling became a punk rock classic. The Clash will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 10, 2003 at a ceremony in New York.

For the 31st year, Dick Clark hosted his annual New Year's Eve special from New York's Times Square. B2K, O-Town, Rod Stewart, Third Eye Blind, Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott, Nelly, and others helped ring in 2003. Clark's three ABC television specials of the evening also included an hour-long "Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve" program from 10:00-11:00 p.m. and "New Year's Rockin' Eve Part 2," which aired at 1:00 a.m. New Year's Day.

Billboard magazine's "Chart Beat" columnist Fred Bronson has compiled a list of the top 5,000 songs of the rock era in his new book, "Billboard's Hottest Hot 100 Hits." The rankings are based on a point system developed by Bronson, which combines the number of weeks spent at the top of the Hot 100 chart, weeks spent in the Top 10, and other factors. According to Bronson's book, the Top 10 songs of the rock era, in ascending order, are Too Close by Next, End of the Road by Boyz II Men, How Do I Live by LeAnn Rimes, Candle In The Wind 1997/Something About the Way You Look Tonight by Elton John, I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston, I'll Make Love To You by Boyz II Men, One Sweet Day by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men, Macarena"(Bayside Boys Mix) by Los del Rio, Unbreak My Heart by Toni Braxton, and Smooth by Santana and Rob Thomas.

Pete Townshend has begun writing songs for a new Who album. The collection will mark the group's first new studio album since 1982. However, Townshend added, "I don't know how long it will take. Expect some new music to arrive in about a year, maybe later."

January 4, Country singers Hank Williams Jr. and his son, Hank Williams III, will perform together for the very first time. The show will take place at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Country legend Hank Williams' death. Williams died on New Year's Day, 1953 at age 29. During his short career, he recorded eleven Number One singles, such as Cold, Cold Heart, Lovesick Blues, Kaw-liga and Your Cheatin' Heart. Hank Sr. made his Grand Ole Opry debut in 1949.


Legendary Country group Alabama will kick off its "American Farewell Tour" with a New Year's Eve show in Las Vegas. The Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) Country Group of the Century is scheduled to take the tour to 45 other U.S. cities, with more dates to be added. Alabama announced its retirement from the road at this year's Academy of Country Music Awards. During its 25-year career, the group has recorded 42 Number One singles and won countless industry honors, including two Grammys and three Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year awards. Alabama's next album, In The Mood: The Love Songs, will be released on February 4, 2003. The 23 track anthology will contain two new songs.