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This week on the music beat

This week on the music beat — Willie Nelson and Tom Cruise made news in the week of August 6, 1999

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Fox’s animated TV series King of the Hill has gotten plenty of laughs at the expense of Chuck Mangione and Willie Nelson. So it’s not surprising that both are slated to appear on King‘s soundtrack album, set for an October release. Nelson will be joined by Sugar Ray on his ”Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground.” Mangione’s role is less clear. ”Whether Chuck will contribute a song or some comedic dialogue is undetermined, but he will be a presence,” says producer John Kirkpatrick. Also on tap are tracks by Sheryl Crow; the Mavericks; Brooks & Dunn with Joe Walsh; and Luanne. Barenaked Ladies recently recorded an as-yet-untitled original. ”It’s about a guy who’s paranoid that his bowling league is out to get him,” says Ladies’ man Steven Page. As Hank Hill might say, ”Leave it to them Canucks to go and get all creative on ya.”

Tom Cruise, who is both starring in and co-producing Mission Impossible 2, now in production in Australia, was recently spotted at Festival Records in Sydney, where he was reportedly listening to submissions for the Mission soundtrack album. ”Tom’s been very hands-on with picking music for the film,” says the label’s chairman, Roger Grierson, adding that the toothsome actor ”is making a real commitment to include Australian acts to give [the soundtrack] an Australian flavor.” Cruise is said to be especially keen on Melbourne-based producer-musician Josh Abrahams’ version of the Mission theme. Americans needn’t worry, though; such homegrown artists as Moby and Metallica have also submitted tracks. The album is to be distributed in the States on Hollywood Records and in Australia on Festival in May 2000 — when the film, whose production troubles have already caused it to miss its targeted Christmas ’99 opening date, is now set for release. — With reporting by Katherine Tulich in Australia