Jay-Z Regrets 'Retirement'; Plus Beanie Sigel, Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, Naomi Watts, Paris Hilton & More, In For The Record

Prosecutors withdraw charges against Sigel; Love executive-producing Cobain biopic; Watts is one for the 'Birds' flick.

If you thought Jay-Z was a little premature in announcing his "retirement" four years ago, you're not alone. The hip-hop mogul admits in a new interview with XXL that he "pulled the retirement ripcord too many times." He added, "I want to never say that again. ... People looking at me like, 'Please shut up.' I was looking at [my retirement movie] 'Fade to Black' the other day. I was embarrassed. I couldn't watch. I'm not playing with you. I had to turn it off. I was cringing." On November 6, Jay-Z will issue American Gangster LP — the second album he has put out since making the "retirement" announcement in 2003. ...

Prosecutors in Philadelphia have withdrawn charges against Beanie Sigel after the rapper resolved a dispute over a rental car he had kept long past its return date, The Associated Press reports. Sigel (born Dwight Grant) had rented a 2007 Nissan Altima from Payless Car Rental in July but didn't return the vehicle by its August 13 due date. He also failed to contact the rental company. The car was reported stolen September 6 and was later returned October 5, just as detectives headed to Sigel's home to inquire about the car. Sigel has accumulated $5,000 in late fees, but he has since paid them, which caused prosecutors to withdraw the charges. ...

A Kurt Cobain biopic based on "Heavier Than Heaven," the widely praised 2001 biography of the late Nirvana singer written by Seattle journalist Charles Cross, will be executive produced by Cobain's widow, Courtney Love, according to Variety. The script for the yet-untitled film is slated to be written by "Kite Runner" screenwriter David Benioff, and Universal Pictures is funding the film. The producers have not addressed whether they have the rights to Nirvana's music for the film or which parts of Cobain's life it will cover. ...

Naomi Watts has officially pecked her way into the "Birds" remake, Variety reports. The actress is the first castmember to be announced for the new take on the Alfred Hitchcock classic, while "Casino Royale" director Martin Campbell is reportedly in talks to helm the flick, which will be produced by Michael Bay and is eyeing a 2009 theatrical release. Watts will play Melanie Daniels, a role originally taken on by Tippi Hedren, who recently sounded off to MTV about her distaste for the controversial project. ... What would Fashion Week in Southern California be like without Paris Hilton? The heiress helped close out Petro Zillia's closing show, dubbed "So L.A.," Thursday night in Culver City — although she apparently missed her sister Nicky's spring Chick collection earlier in the week. ...

Bruce Springsteen, Joss Stone, KT Tunstall, Bob Dylan and others are featured on Serve2, a recently released Hard Rock International compilation disc that benefits the Artists Against Hunger & Poverty arm of the World Hunger Year project. Unreleased tracks by those artists — plus Mat Kearney, O.A.R., the Hold Steady and more — will be featured on the set, which is available at Hard Rock Cafes. ... In addition to reuniting for some upcoming shows in November, it appears the Verve have been busy cooking up some new tunes, with the possibility of a new album in 2008. Bassist Simon Jones wrote in his blog that among the band's first new tracks in a decade are the songs "Sit and Wonder," "Judas," "Appalachian Springs," "Mona Lisa" and "Rather Be." ... U.K. shoegazers Swervedriver are also re-forming, bringing their 10-year hiatus to a close. The group is planning a worldwide tour for early next year. ... American Music Club will deliver The Golden Age — their second post-reunion effort, in fact — February 5. The track list hasn't been revealed yet. ...

Hellyeah have set November 13 as the release date for "Below the Belt," their new live DVD. The set will feature footage from the day the hard-rockers got together for the first time, along with performance footage from the making of their album, their first studio sessions and live clips from their world tour. The DVD will also boast personal interviews, as well as a few surprises. ... Irate Aerosmith fans are filing a lawsuit against the band for nixing its September 26 concert on the Hawaiian island of Maui last month, according to The Honolulu Advertiser. The class-action suit claims the band bailed from the sold-out show so it could play a bigger one in Chicago instead; that the late cancellation was unnecessary; and that it caused many fans to lose money they spent — somewhere between $500,000 and $3 million in total — on plane tickets, car rentals and hotels. The suit was filed on behalf of all ticket holders, and, under state law, plaintiffs could be eligible for triple their losses in damages and up to $5,000 if age 62 or over. ...

Stone Roses mastermind Ian Brown is giving his music a classical makeover by enlisting an orchestra to rework his hits. The singer's fifth solo release, The World Is Yours, was released last month, and Brown plans to play a set of classical concerts to put an interesting twist on his famous works. More details will be revealed in the coming weeks. ... Eels are putting out a 10th anniversary best-of set and a collection of rarities, both of which will feature a DVD and land in stores January 15. The sets will be called Meet the Eels: Essential Eels Vol. 1, 1996-2006 and Eels Useless Trinkets: B-Sides, Soundtracks, Rarities and Unreleased 1996-2006. ...

South African reggae star Lucky Dube was shot and killed in an apparent carjacking attempt on Thursday in Johannesburg, South Africa. AP reports that Dube, 43, died when he tried to drive away during the incident and crashed into a tree after being shot twice by two unknown male assailants. Dube's son had reportedly gotten out of the car shortly before the singer was shot.

10.18.07

Jessica Simpson gets physical in the new issue of InStyle, breaking out her trainer's plan to "get your best body now!" But she turns inward as well, telling the magazine for its November issue — which hits racks Friday (check out the full cover here) — that, "I was the princess in the fairy tale — then reality came crashing in, and I learned that isn't always how life works." She insisted that "I am in complete control of my life" after going through her divorce with Nick Lachey and, while she didn't call out ex-boyfriend John Mayer by name, she did reveal, "I've had my heart broken since my divorce. That's OK. I believe you fall in love more than once and get your heart broken more than once. Trust me, I have cried myself to sleep." ...

Kanye West isn't exactly the kind of guy who needs an ego boost, but Jennifer Lopez and Pharrell puffed him up a bit anyway in recent interviews with MTV Europe. J. Lo says she finds West "to be a very smart businessman" and that his album faceoff with 50 Cent was "clever." "I think it's fun for publicity. ... It was really about a healthy competition between two amazing artists," said the singer — whose new album, Brave, unfortunately hasn't been faring too well in record stores. Pharrell is cheering West's Graduation — when asked if he's happy for West's success, the super-producer replied, "Absolutely. That album is a classic: flawless production; lyrically, he absolutely, absolutely took himself to another level. ... He is in the clouds with that album." ...

While he was at it, Pharrell also championed an entirely different musical act — Swedish garage-rockers the Hives, who he teamed with for their November 13 release, The Black and White Album. "Those are my guys," he said. "[They're] fun, they're smart, they have a great image, they love music." Pharrell, who knows a thing or two about turning the knobs, said he actually picked up a few tips from Hives frontman Pelle Almqvist. "Forget about it. He knows everything. I'm in the studio learning things from him." ...

While 50 may still be stinging from the aforementioned chart battle, he's reportedly moving on to something else — a new G-Unit project. The group has pegged December 18 as the release date for their sophomore effort, Shoot to Kill, and Funkmaster Flex will premiere the first single, "Wanna Lick" (featuring Lil' Kim), Friday on Hot 97, according to XXL magazine. "Cancel Christmas, it's over," 50 told the mag in regards to the much-anticipated release. ...

Sorry, Mariah fans — looks like her new album isn't coming out this year after all. While her record label confirmed that her yet-untitled follow-up to The Emancipation of Mimi would be dropping December 4, a label representative now says Carey is still recording and the date has not been solidified. ... Wyclef Jean performed a handful of tunes at a charity-poker event on Tuesday in New York. He played some hits and gave renditions of two traditional songs as well: "La Bamba" (Mexico) and "Guantanamera" (Cuba). Thrice, Joey Fatone, Boyz II Men and others attended the Vail Hold'Em Poker Event for Your Cause, which involved celebrities competing to win money for their charities of choice. More than $250,000 was raised. ...

Alicia Keys, KT Tunstall, Earth, Wind & Fire, Annie Lennox, Juanes, Junoon and Melissa Etheridge will perform at the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Concert slated for December 11 in Norway. Al Gore picked Etheridge for the event, which will serve as a salute to him and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for their efforts to raise awareness about climate change. Gore and the panel won the Nobel Peace Prize last week. ... Speaking of Lennox, she got an unusual scare at her Tuesday concert in Boulder, Colorado, when a man wearing a gas mask and a cape turned up in the crowd toward the end of her show, according to "Access Hollywood." The singer reportedly dropped the mic and booked it backstage without addressing the crowd, though she returned to the stage after the man was removed. "That was really freakish and disturbing, whatever the hell it was. He owes me and my band a f---ing apology," Lennox lashed out on her blog. The man's name hasn't been released, since he has not been charged with a crime, and it's unclear if he will be, as he didn't actually get onstage. ...

Are Rihanna and Josh Hartnett an item? One would be led to think so after seeing the "30 Days of Night" actor's Thursday appearance on "The Morning Show With Mike and Juliet." When the hosts asked him to address rumors that he's dating Rih Rih, he started smiling and stuttering heavily. "No, no, come on, you guys," he said. "We weren't supposed to talk about these sort of things, were we? I thought we were going to come out here and talk about the movie. ... I can't really respond to things like that, because if I start responding to them, then everybody wants a response on everything." ... Francis Ford Coppola unleashed: The director is ripping into two of his "Godfather" actors, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, as well as Jack Nicholson, telling GQ that the Oscar-winners have become too apathetic. "They all live off the fat of the land," the esteemed director said, adding that he doesn't know "what any of them want anymore." The interview is featured in GQ's November issue, which hits newsstands Tuesday. ...

Radiohead will be chasing Rainbows — well, technically, their new album, In Rainbows — with an international tour next year, Billboard.com reports. The band is reportedly planning to hit the tarmac in May and continue playing sizeable venues through the end of the year. The trek would be unusual given that frontman Thom Yorke has voiced his distaste for international touring in the past, and the band played only select shows in the U.S. and Europe in summer 2006. ... Bruce Springsteen continued to speak out about his political beliefs at his Thursday night show at New York's Madison Square Garden, sounding off about wiretapping and infringements on the Bill of Rights. He also made an elliptical reference before performing the title track to his new Magic LP, saying the song was "not about magic but about tricks." Bono, Jon Stewart, James Gandolfini and R.E.M.'s Mike Mills were in attendance, RollingStone.com reports. ...

Josh Homme says Queens of the Stone Age could "blow through a whole record quick" with their new roster, according to Billboard.com. "Queens sounds better than it ever has live, but we're trying to figure out how to tour and how to [write and record], 'cause I think for everyone right now, the idea of creating something is even more enticing than going on the road," he told the site. In addition to Homme, the QOTSA lineup includes multi-instrumentalist Troy Van Leeuwen and drummer Joey Castillo, who joined the entourage in 2002, and two musicians who hooked up with the band earlier this year — keyboardist Dean Fertita, who has also toured with the Raconteurs, and Wires on Fire bassist Michael Shuman. ...

Johnny Marr, former guitarist for the Smiths and current axeman for Modest Mouse, has a new handle: professor of music. Manchester, England's University of Salford has given Marr the honorary title and tapped him to host workshops on music composition and performance, according to U.K. newspaper The Guardian. ... If you thought the Led Zeppelin roller coaster being constructed for the Hard Rock Park was out there, wait till you hear what else is in store: a mock Mount Rushmore sculpture called "Mount Rockmore" and featuring the likenesses of Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Bob Marley and Elvis Presley. The 50-acre park — located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina — is set to open in the spring. ...

John Goodman left the Promises Malibu Alcohol and Drug Rehab Treatment Facility in Southern California — the rehab center where Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan also stayed — after being treated there for an undisclosed reason and undisclosed period of time, The Associated Press reports. The actor "took the necessary steps to remain sober the rest of his life," according to a statement issued by his publicist, Stan Rosenfield. Goodman earned an Emmy Award this year for his part in "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." ...

Joey Bishop, a comedian who was a member of Frank Sinatra's famed Rat Pack, died Wednesday night in Newport Beach, California, of multiple causes, AP reports. The actor, who appeared in the original "Ocean's Eleven" movie, was 89. ... AP also reports that Deborah Kerr, an actress who appeared in "The King and I" and "From Here to Eternity," died Tuesday in England after battling Parkinson's disease. She was 86.