Stop The Presses!

August 18-25: Land Of Confusion

Lyndsey Parker
Stop The Presses!

Phil Collins once sang a Genesis song called "Throwing It All Away." Man, was there ever a song title so prophetic? He should have recorded a tune called "Signing An Airtight Prenup" instead. See, this week he made music-news headlines when his third divorce resulted in a reported $46.68 million settlement. That's about $1.3 million more than Heather Mills received from Paul McCartney, which means that 57-year-old Phil's split from wife number three, 35-year-old Orianne Cevey, is officially the costliest celebrity divorce in British legal history. And this comes after Phil shelled out about $34 million to his second wife, Jill Tavelman, in 1994!

We don't know if Orianne deserves $46 mil, but considering that Phil dumped Jill by fax, we think $34 million was pretty fair. (Not cool, Phil!) Anyway, we suggest Phil take his old hit "Separate Lives" to heart and make this his last marriage, lest he eventually end up as destitute as the street urchins he once crooned about in "Another Day In Paradise."

We also suggest Phil and Paul McCartney room together, Odd Couple-style, to cut back on expenses now that they're forking out so much alimony. That's got the makings of a great reality show, right there!

By the way, Donnie Wahlberg announced this week that he too is getting divorced--just in time to be single again when he hits the road with the reunited New Kids On The Block starting September 18, when his fawning old-school fans will be willing and waiting in every city. Convenient, eh? Like Phil and Orianne, Donnie and his wife, Kim Fey Wahlberg, were married for eight years. We just hope that Donnie didn't pull a Phil and dump Kim via fax, or he's going to be writing some mighty big alimony checks in the near future. Guess that's where all his reunion-tour earnings will go.

Meanwhile, a couple of Phil and Donnie's 1980s peers made news this week, albeit for less fortune-draining reasons. However, Bono (who, incidentally, has been happily married to Ali Hewson for 26 years) might lose some royalties after a little incident this week. It seems he was blasting some new, unreleased U2 songs at his vacation home in the south of France, and a passing "fan" overheard the goings-on, recorded four tunes on his cellphone, and posted the songs on YouTube. The quality of the recordings (which have since been pulled down) weren't great, with background noise of waves and squawking seagulls--but hey, maybe those unintentional sound effects gave the songs a nice, new-agey vibe. Either way, we suggest Bono close his windows and/or use headphones in the future.

And speaking of unreleased music, leaked songs, and '80s bands...nine supposedly "mastered, finished" tracks from Guns N' Roses' 14-years-in-the-making, rumored-to-be-nonexistent Chinese Democracy were leaked two months ago, sparking renewed hope that the album might finally see the light of day sometime this decade. Now inside sources are claiming that Chinese Democracy will soon come out as an exclusive release at either Wal-Mart or Best Buy. Axl, you've sold out!

Too bad Axl Rose's old bandmate Steven Adler won't be sharing in any of those hefty Wal-Mart profits, if and when Chinese Democracy comes out. The ousted original GNR member sure could use the cash right now, so he could check in to some posh, spa-like rehab center like Crossroads.

This week, Steven pleaded not guilty to drug charges stemming from a bust last month at his Hollywood home, and now he's been ordered by a judge to remain in a drug treatment facility for at least another month until his preliminary hearing. Steven--who clearly has a real appetite for self-destruction, given his long history of substance abuse which eventually resulted in several speech-impeding strokes--is currently facing one felony charge of opiate possession and a misdemeanor count of being under the influence. No word yet from VH1 producers on how Steven's poorly timed relapse will be handled when he appears on season two of Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew, airing this October.

Steven Adler is not the only celebrity grappling with legal hassles this week. Avril Lavigne just got in trouble with the Malaysian government regarding her month-long Asian tour (slated to launch in Kuala Lumpur on August 29), when the youth wing of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party sent a protest letter to Malaysia's Culture Arts & Heritage Ministry arguing that Lavigne's concert would promote "wrong values" right around the time of Malaysia's August 31 Independence Day. "Too sexy for us," complained a party official. "We want clean artists, artists that are good role models." Malaysia's Culture Art & Heritage Ministry yielded to the pressure and denied a permit for Avril's concert. This is surprising, since Av's image has never really been about overt sexiness (unlike other pop starlets like, say, Britney Spears or the Pussycat Dolls--the latter of whom recently played Malaysia, chose to flash their usual amount of skin despite protests, and simply paid an indecency fine). Guess when it comes to Avril's Asian tour, there's no happy ending for her.

And finally, speaking of unhappy endings, this blog wraps up very sadly, with two tragic deaths. Dave Matthews Band saxophonist and founding member LeRoi Moore died this week at age 46, of complications stemming from an ATV accident that happened in June.

And music industry legend Jerry Wexler, a major figure in early R&B who nurtured the careers of soul greats like Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Dusty Springfield, and Solomon Burke--and in fact coined the term "rhythm & blues"--passed away at age 91. They shall both be missed.

Actually, wait--we take that back. We're NOT going to end on a sad note. Because in a lovely cycle-of-life sort of way, there was some good birth-related news this week to offset the death news. First, Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale welcomed their second son into the world, puzzlingly naming the poor boy Zuma Nesta Rock. (Oh, these celebrities with their wacky baby names. Whatever happened to John and Mike, huh?)

And then Melanie "Sporty Spice" Chisholm, the lone Spice Girl yet to pop out a Spice Baby, excitedly announced that she is expecting her first child. Congrats to them all.

OK, and on those upper and downer notes, thus concludes another week in music. Come back next week for more headlines, and until then, goodnight and good music.

THIS WEEK'S TOP 15 STORIES:

1) A Not-So-Groovy Kind Of Love - Phil Collins' third marriage ends in one of the biggest divorce payouts in British history.

2) A Music Legend Dies - Pioneering, R&B-championing exec Jerry Wexler passes away at 91.

3) Hey Baby! - Gwen Stefani gives birth to her second son.

4) She's Too Sexy For Her Shirt - Avril Lavigne is deemed too racy to perform in Malaysia.

5) Welcome To The Wal-Mart Jungle - Guns N' Roses' long-delayed album may be exclusively sold at a giant retail chain.

6) Mysterious Ways - Unreleased U2 songs leak online in a very unusual manner.

7) John Lennon's Assassin Says He's "Ashamed" - And he should be!

8) Burnin' Up The Charts - The Jonas Brothers have the highest first-week album sales for a teenage artist since Britney's heyday.

9) Livin' La Vida Papa - Ricky Martin is now a father of twins.

10) LeRoi Moore Dies - The Dave Matthews Band saxophonist was only 46.

11) Jared Leto's 30 Seconds Are Up - Virgin Records finally sues him over his delayed 30 Seconds To Mars album.

12) Appetite For Self-Destruction - Former Guns N' Roses drummer Steven Adler is back in trouble, once again due to drugs.

13) David Vs. David - Archuleta tops Cook on the pop charts.

14) Spice Mum - Melanie "Sporty Spice" Chisholm is the final Spice Girl to become a mother.

15) Donnie Wahlberg Is Back On The Block - The New Kid is newly single.

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