Stop The Presses!

Sept. 30-Oct. 6: Janet’s Illin’ And The Judgment Of Paris

Stop The Presses!

It's been a tumultuous week in the music world.

More than a few people raised their eyebrows upon hearing of Janet Jackson and her recent health drama: Her planned show in Montreal Monday night was canceled after the singer/dancer/elaborate dresser became "suddenly ill" and was taken to the hospital and released two hours later. A spokesperson for Ms. Jackson would not elaborate on her unexpected ailment, only mentioning that she had been "ill" and was "recuperating" after her release. Shows set later in the week, including ones in Boston and Philadelphia, were also canceled--undoubtedly sending pre-med students in both cities scurrying to their textbooks to discover whether Extremis Minimus Ticketsalus is an actual disease.  All she needs now is to leave her record label after her most recent album flopped and strike out on her own! Oh no, wait--that happened last week.

While we're speaking of prestigious female recording artists: Paris Hilton, singer, actress, and perhaps the most important human of this century, has released a new single entitled "My BFF"--which will coincide with the debut of her new MTV reality show, intriguingly titled Paris Hilton's My New BFF. In it, 16 women and 2 gay men will compete for the privilege of actually becoming Paris's "best friend forever" who, word has it, "is hot, loyal and has the energy to keep up with Hilton's hectic lifestyle." Extremely large mirrors need not apply!

And in admittedly less relevant news--that whole "presidential election" thing--this week saw musicians of all shapes, sizes and ages queuing up to do their part, some more conspicuously than others.

In terms of raw numbers, presidential hopeful Barack Obama had an absolutely banner week: rocker Bruce Springsteen very visibly cast his lot with the man, playing at a rally in Michigan with further Obamagigs scheduled for Philadelphia, Columbus, and an intriguing Oct. 16th double bill in New York with piano man Billy Joel. Considering the players, one suspects a significant amount of testosterone-infused sincerity--not to mention sweat--will be noticeably dripping from that stage. Should be memorable, no? Likewise, longtime Obaman Jay-Z--who Obama has described as one of his favorite artists--will be making an appearance in Detroit this Saturday at a rally geared to increase voter registration, as Monday is Michigan's deadline to vote in the Nov. 4th election.

If the Republican candidates are feeling a little squeamish by this blatant show of support by two of pop music's biggest icons, they're probably even less comforted by the treatment they've been receiving by two bastions of the music press. Rolling Stone, perhaps predictably, has been bannered with cover headlines such as "The Lies Of Sarah Palin" and "Make Believe Maverick," featuring a less-than-flattering illustration of a ghoulishly grinning John McCain dive bombing in an antiquated one-man airplane. Similarly, hip-hop mag Vibe features Obama on the cover of its November issue as well as a letter from the man himself to the mag's readers, noting "I need you." The magazine has officially endorsed the candidate--the first such presidential endorsement in its history. Not to worry, though: While rapper Bow Wow just kicked off a 15-city tour during which he'll be urging fans to register to vote, reports say he's not promoting any specific candidates, which may count as a win in some quarters. If you get my drift.

Speaking of quarters, after two of them next February 1st, viewers of Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa will be able to witness an historic appearance by the aforementioned Mr. Springsteen and the E Street Band--who'll be following the tradition of the Rolling Stones, U2, Prince, Paul McCartney and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and surrealistically be appearing in front of thousands of people wearing funny clothes, buying beer, and heading for the bathrooms. Kudos to the E! Online writer who noted "fans can at least feel safe that no wardrobe malfunctions are likely to occur with this bunch. That is, unless Little Steven's head scarf gets blown off. Then things could get ugly."

And finally--as in life itself--it all comes down to Phish! The much-loved granddaddies of the famous "jam band" scene are back in the news upon reports that they'll be reuniting next March for their first live performances since August 2004. They'll be playing at Virginia's Hampton Coliseum, where they recorded their 6-CD Hampton Comes Alive set a decade ago, and according to their website, will soon be announcing additional dates to follow. Somebody somewhere must think this is the best news they've ever heard, and I'd certainly like to see what they're wearing as they think it! 

THIS WEEK'S TOP 10 STORIES:

1) Who's The Boss? -- Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel team up for Barack Obama.

2) Who's Also The Boss? -- Jay-Z returns for Obama voter drive.

3) Call Her Nurse Jackson, If You're Nasty -- Janet is feeling better, thank you.

4) Pheeling Phishy? -- Jam-band legends gear up reunion plans.

5) Vote, Dawgs! -- Bow Wow tour in full voter registration mode.

6) Did You Miss Me? -- Mindy McReady turns herself in to serve 60-day sentence.

7) Born To Run 50 Yards -- The Boss is Super Bowl-booked!

8) Here Come the Brides -- Melissa Etheridge reportedly to wed.

9) Won't You Be My BFF? -- Paris Hilton releases new single!

10) Around the World In A Daze? -- Britney announces possible tour plans.

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