For The Record: Quick News On Eminem, Taylor Hicks, John Legend, Underoath, Switchfoot, Arcade Fire & More

Eminem counts down favorite songs for New Year's Eve; Taylor Hicks launches U.S. tour in February.

Eminem will host a New Year's Eve countdown Sunday via his Shade 45 channel on Sirius Satellite Radio. The show, which runs from 8-10 p.m. with several replays on Monday, will feature the rapper "stating the facts and playing the tracks," including 25 of his favorite hip-hop songs. "This is not THE definitive top-25 list, because that's just too damn hard! But, these 25 songs are definitely up there as my favorites," Em said in a statement posted on the Shade 45 site. ...

The Soul Patrol is taking it to the streets. "American Idol" victor Taylor Hicks will hit the road in late February for a run of U.S. gigs in support of his self-titled debut. The trek gets underway February 21 in Jacksonville, Florida. And while Hicks told MTV News earlier this month that the tour would "hopefully last 10 years," so far dates have been scheduled through an April 27 show in Kansas City, Missouri. ...

John Legend will celebrate his 28th birthday Thursday night (December 28) at Stereo in New York. Kanye West, Amerie and Fonzworth Bentley are expected to turn out for the party. ... The lineup for this year's Cornerstone Festival is starting to take shape. The Christian-music-centered fest is scheduled for June 25-30 in Bushnell, Illinois, and will feature Underoath, Switchfoot, Emery, Flyleaf, Anberlin, the Almost, Disciple and Spitfire.

Arcade Fire fans who had planned to download the band's charity single "Intervention" from the iTunes store early Thursday morning ended up with a surprise — two days early — when the track "Black Wave/ Bad Vibrations" was uploaded instead by mistake. "I guess it is sort of charming that we can send the wrong song to the whole world with the click of a mouse," frontman Win Butler said in a post on the band's Web site. Proceeds from this week's sales of "Intervention" (and "Black Wave/ Bad Vibrations") will benefit Partners in Health (PIH.org), an organization supporting community-based initiatives to fight poverty and disease. "Our little bump in the road hasn't changed that," Butler said. ...

Clearly a lot of people got iTunes gift cards and new iPods for Christmas, because so many of them tried to use the iTunes store over the holiday that there were widespread reports of error messages and download times approaching 20 minutes for a single track. According to an Associated Press report, stressed-out users began posting urgent help messages on Monday and Tuesday on Apple's tech forum for iTunes complaining that they either couldn't log in to the site or were told the system couldn't process their requests for song and video downloads. Apple Computer would not comment on the slowdown, and it was unclear how many people were affected. Online market researcher Hitwise reported that the slowdown could be attributed to the fact that more than four times as many people visited iTunes on Christmas than at the same time last year. ...

Flogging Molly can't wait to get the party started: The Irish folk punks are kicking off their St. Patrick's Day-themed Green 17 Tour on February 22 in Los Angeles. The 18-date outing comes to a close March 17 in Phoenix. ... Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Spocket note has also lined up his first '07 tour. He'll set out to do the solo-acoustic thing February 7 in Santa Barbara, California, and stay on the road through March 4 in Annapolis, Maryland. ...

2007 will be a banner year for "The Simpsons," with a long-awaited big-screen adventure finally hitting theaters, so the animated Springfield residents are starting the year on the right foot with a slew of New Year's resolutions. Realist Homer vows to lose 10 pounds — and gain it back by Valentine's Day. Marge wants to improve her cooking ("I resolve to finally learn how to make pancakes that don't stick to the pan") thanks to some prodding from Bart. And Krusty and Comic Book Guy aim a bit higher, with the clown promising to come up with jokes that are fresher than his 40-year-old standbys and the nerd resolving to date a woman. Good luck, guys.

12.27.2006

Three days after his death at age 73, soul legend James Brown's body will return to the place where the singer made his stage debut, New York's Apollo Theater. According to The Associated Press, the public will be allowed to view Brown's body on Thursday at the legendary Harlem venue, followed by a private burial Friday in Brown's hometown of Augusta, Georgia. Another public ceremony will follow a day later at Augusta's James Brown Arena. Variety reports that Spike Lee has signed on to direct a biopic about Brown that is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2008. Brown played an active role in the project's development and gave producers access to his music rights. ...

The twin sister of Eminem's ex-wife, Kim Mathers, is in police custody after allegedly attempting to kidnap her son, AP reports. Kim Mathers, who is the legal guardian of her sister's 7-year-old, filed a parental-kidnapping complaint on Tuesday. Mathers' sister — whose name was not released by police — was arrested after she fled a local gas station. The boy has been returned to Mathers' custody. ... A former Sprint Nextel employee has filed a lawsuit claiming that she was fired unjustly for hiring Ludacris to perform at a company event — even though her boss was aware of her activities. According to the Kansas City Star, Elizabeth Henry said she was given permission to secure talent for a Las Vegas party. Henry said her boss green-lit two entertainers, Luda and LL Cool J. After booking 'Cris, however, Henry alleges that she was interrogated for five hours, despite assuring management that Luda would perform according to "PG-13 standards," and was fired later that same day. "Her boss approved it and didn't think anything of it until somebody said, 'Hey, have you ever listened to their music?' " Henry's lawyer, Brendan J. Donelon, told the newspaper. Sprint officials had not released a comment as of publish time. ...

Willie Nelson and Jessica Simpson are re-forming an onscreen family bond for "Blonde Ambition," according to The Hollywood Reporter. Nelson, who co-starred as Uncle Jesse to Simpson's Daisy Duke in 2005's "The Dukes of Hazzard," will play her grandfather in the "Working Girl" update. ... Look out, Cameron DiazJoJo's got an eye on your man. In the spring issue of Seventeen Prom, the singer encourages girls to get out there and ask someone to the prom ("This is 2006, babe ... I'm all for being the one to initiate") and admits her own dream date. "Well, I knew it was unattainable, but I always thought Justin Timberlake was so cute, especially when he was in 'NSYNC and had that blond Afro. He gets finer with age!" ...

Jessica Alba and Johnny Depp top a poll of fantasy New Year's Eve dates, with Scarlett Johansson and George Clooney also ranking high in the Blockbuster Inc. survey. And while they want beautiful stars holding their arm when 2007 arrives, respondents said they were more interested in hanging out than hooking up. Seventy percent of those polled said their pick was someone who would be fun to spend time with, and only 15 percent admitted to choosing someone they'd want to kiss at midnight. ...

Before heading on a two-week trek through Australia in late March, Dave Matthews Band will headline a two-night stand at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas on March 23 and 24. The Fray will open the Vegas shows. ... TV on the Radio have mapped out a 28-city tour that will kick off March 1 in Providence, Rhode Island. Opening acts have not been confirmed, but are expected to be named in the coming weeks. The tour will run through an April 21 stop in Poughkeepsie, New York. ... Brand New will hit the road this spring for a U.S. headlining run that launches March 15 in Buffalo, New York, and wraps up April 25 with a show in Philadelphia. ...

Two new untitled demo tracks from Evanescence drummer William "Rocky" Gray's Soul Embraced side project have been posted to the band's MySpace page. Gray plays guitar for the Little Rock, Arkansas, outfit, which is fronted by his brother-in-law Chad Moore and features Living Sacrifice's Lance Garvin on drums. The band — which released its The Fleshless EP in 1999, followed by the LPs For The Incomplete (2000), This Is My Blood (2002) and Immune (2003) — is compiling material for its next studio effort. ...

An album cover signed by all four members of the Beatles — as a gift for George Harrison's sister Louise — sold Friday at an auction in New York for more than $115,000, AP reports. The winning bidder was not identified, but the sale set a record for a signed Beatles album purchased at a public sale. On the cover of the copy of Meet the Beatles, the Fab Four's first U.S. release, Harrison had written above his signature, "To Lou with love from 'Brother'!!" while John Lennon wrote, "To Lou many love from John Lennon X." ...

Want to pre-order Norah Jones' forthcoming Not Too Late? Well, you've got many options. iTunes is sweetening the deal with five tracks from her iTunes Live Session; Amazon if offering an exclusive live video performance of "Rosie's Lullaby," one of the tracks featured on the artist's third release; and getting the set through Walmart.com will grant you instant access to the first single, "Thinking About You." ... Winger fans unite! The founding members of the hair-metal band will take flight for their first tour in more than 10 years on Sunday in Pittsburgh. Winger, which recently issued Winger IV, will end the six-week U.S. jaunt on March 9 in Houston.