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This week on the music beat

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VALLI GIRL

R&B radio stations have started playing Fugees singer Lauryn Hill’s version of the Frankie Valli chestnut ”Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” and her label, Columbia Records, is anything but pleased. The problem: The song was never released commercially in any form, and can be heard only in the 1997 Mel Gibson-Julia Roberts flop Conspiracy Theory, where it plays over the closing credits. So how did it find its way to radio? According to Michelle Santosuosso, program director at Los Angeles’ KKBT, some enterprising soul(s) taped it from the satellite dish when the movie made its pay-per-view television premiere recently and got the bootleg into the hands of deejays, who jumped at the chance to play the phantom single. Meanwhile, Columbia execs are in a state of confusion about what to do next. ”Things are very up in the air right now,” according to one source. The label is also reportedly concerned about the song hurting airplay for ”That Thing,” the first single from Hill’s forthcoming solo debut, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. As for Hill, the brouhaha doesn’t appear to be killing her, softly or otherwise: ”It’s flattering that they’re playing [the song], but I don’t really know how it happened.”

SEPARATING THE MANSON FROM THE BOYS

It sounded like a match made in heaven (or is that hell?), but a rumored collaboration between Marilyn Manson and Hanson, both of whom were asked to team up for a track on the upcoming South Park soundtrack album, has been consigned to purgatory. According to album producer Rick Rubin, the Hanson lads were game to enter the studio with Manson, but the clown prince of darkness balked at tainting his artistic vision with the unbearable lightness of the teen idols’ fresh-faced pop. ”I would have liked it,” says a regretful Rubin of the supergroup that almost was. ”I think it would have been in everyone’s best interest.” Take heart, Rick: After all, how long can it be before some joker with a sampler and too much time on his hands throws together a fun-with-technology version of ”Antichrist MMMBop”?

(with reporting by Andrew Essex)

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