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Hear And Now

This week on the music beat

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Y2COMEBACK Sting’s performance of ”Brand New Day” at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve at Rockefeller Center was a lucky stroke indeed: It effectively made the tune the anthem of the new millennium for NBC’s 10.8 million viewers. But if Sting was a winner, faded stars like Edgar Winter, Bobby McFerrin, Vernon Reid, and Lou Gramm, who joined bigger names like Slash and Bono at the Lincoln Memorial, also enjoyed career-boosting Y2K publicity: 7.4 million CBS viewers watched the ”All Star” band rock ”In the Midnight Hour.” Quincy Jones and George Stevens Jr. organized the group; Stevens says ”there were many volunteers” for the gig. Duh. ”High-profile events like this can only be good for classic rockers,” says Tom Lipsky, head of CMC International, a label for mostly graying acts like Styx (who didn’t make the capital cut). For Reid, it was less about aiding his career than ”taking part in something so surreal. Also, my mom got a kick out of it.” — Tom Sinclair

AIR FARE What do Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Bono, and Ally McBeal have in common? They’re among the crash victims on ”Passenger List for Doomed Flight #1721,” a newly recorded tune from Brit pop anarchists Chumbawamba. ”It’s a list of the people we’d most like to see disappear from our lives,” says singer Boff. ”And there we are…waving a smug bye-bye.” The non-album track will be released internationally as a B-side to ”She’s Got All the Friends,” a single from WYSIWYG, the band’s Tubthumper follow-up. Will the sure-to-be-controversial song make it to these shores? ”We may release it as a limited-edition fan-club single,” says Republic Records senior VP Avery Lipman. Regardless of the tune’s content, Boff insists he wishes no one a fiery death: ”We’re not nasty people. Honestly.”