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News & Notes: Music

The Bee Gees, Bon Jovi, and others made news this week

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STAYIN’ OBNOXIOUS
It may be too early to say for sure, but a front-runner for the Most Pretentious Album Title of the Year Award could be the Bee Gees, for their four-CD boxed set due for release next month: Tales From the Brothers Gibb, A History in Song 1967-1990.

GRAMMYS’ NEW YORK STATE OF MIND
After intense lobbying from the office of New York Mayor David Dinkins, the 1991 Grammys will return to the Apple for the first time in three years. On May 21 Dinkins and National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences President Michael Greene announced that the 33rd annual awards ceremony (to be telecast live on Feb. 21) will originate from Radio City Music Hall, the site of the last New York Grammys in 1988. Greene also unveiled two new award categories: Best Alternative Music Recording will honor artists along the lines of Depeche Mode, who often fall between the cracks of established Grammy categories, while Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group expands the rap category to two. The original Grammy hip-hop category, Best Rap Performance, will be restricted to solo artists.

BON VOYAGE, BON JOVI?
It’s no secret that Bon Jovi lead singer Jon Bon Jovi wrote a song for and has a cameo appearance in the forthcoming Western Young Guns II. Apparently he wasn’t content to cut merely one track. This summer the singer will release what amounts to his first-ever solo project — a soundtrack album with nine new Bon Jovi tunes ”from and inspired by” the movie, according to his label, PolyGram. Recorded in L.A. with producer Danny Kortchmar (known for his work with Don Henley) and featuring cameos by Elton John, Little Richard, Jeff Beck, and guitarist Waddy Wachtel, the album includes such tracks as ”Billy Get Your Gun,” ”Justice in the Barrel of a Loaded Gun,” and ”Blaze of Glory” (the movie’s theme song). Does this mean the end of Bon Jovi the band? No one is saying, but guitarist Richie Sambora is cutting his own solo record amid reports that he and Bon Jovi are no longer chummy.

BETWEEN RAP AND A HARD PLACE
With evident pride, rapper Kris Parker, aka KRS-One, calls the new album by his group, Boogie Down Productions, ”non-radio- playable.” Edutainment (for ”education through entertainment,” he says) aims at such targets as the Food and Drug Administration’s role as ”drug dealers” in allegedly pumping up cattle with drugs (”Beef”) and blacks who use colored contact lenses and hair straightener to homogenize their looks (”You’re Struggling”). ”It’s everything people don’t want to hear,” Parker says of the album, due July 17 on Jive/RCA. In September, the New York rapper also will release a pro-ecology single with R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe, ”State of the World.”

THEY’RE GONNA MAKE IT AFTER ALL
In the ’80s, three guitar-wielding, post-hardcore Minneapolis bands — Husker Dü, the Replacements, and Soul Asylum — ruled both college radio and national critics’ polls. By chance, two of those bands and a former member of the other will release new albums almost simultaneously in late August. Soul Asylum’s second album for A&M, tentatively titled Soul Asylum and the Horse They Rode In On, was produced by former Late Night With David Letterman drummer Steve Jordan and features such songs as ”Gullible’s Travels.” In New York, the Replacements are finishing their eighth album, produced by Scott Litt (R.E.M.’s Green and Document) for Sire. And ex-Dü singer-guitarist Bob Mould, now based in Hoboken, N.J., has wrapped up his second solo album for Virgin; it’s said to be raunchier and less contemplative than last year’s acclaimed Workbook.

WAXING NOSTALGIC
Who says compact disc production can’t be inventive? The CD of Frizzle Fry, the latest album by the frisky San Francisco power trio Primus, opens with the sound of a needle hitting vinyl, followed by a few pops and clicks.