HONORS Michael Jackson and Paul Simon‘s 1980s solo work has earned them a second invite into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year (both artists already won a spot for their work with The Jackson Five and Simon and Garfunkel, respectively). But the dominant theme of the March 19 ceremony at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel will be a little harder and hairier. Seventies metal pioneers Aerosmith and Queen and wahwah pedal aficionados Steely Dan are among the latest to be inducted into the Rock Hall. They’ll be joined by 1950s boy wonder Ritchie Valens, the King of Soul Solomon Burke, and doo woppers the Flamingos (VH1 will air the show March 21). Lou Reed, Patti Smith, AC/DC, and the New York Dolls were nominated, but failed to make the cut. Likewise, Black Sabbath was bumped for the umpteenth time. This probably has something to do with Ozzy‘s very vocal distaste for the honor. Or, maybe the judges worry that a bat eating fiend just isn’t a positive teen role model.
DUETS How’s this for pop packaging? Ricky Martin and Christina Aguilera are recording a duet version of ”Nobody Wants to Be Lonely,” a track from Martin’s new effort, ”Sound Loaded.” According to Launch, the duet will be the second single released in conjunction with ”Loaded.” Meanwhile, Aguilera may have rubbed a few of her fans the wrong way, when she ducked out of a recent online chat because of her commitment to the job. ”To all my fans around the world that have signed on for the chat, please forgive me for not being available this evening,” she wrote in an online message. ”An incredible music and career opportunity has come up for me to record a duet with Ricky Martin. Because our schedules are so crazy, this was the only opportunity that we both had to get together. I am very disappointed because I was really looking forward to talking with all of you, however I promise I will make it up to you in the very near future.” Oh well — at least each and every one of them got the privilege of reading her publicist’s well crafted apology…. In other duet news, The Daily Record in Scotland is reporting that Madonna may perform a duet with famed tenor Luciano Pavarotti at her Highlands nuptials on Dec. 22. The paper quoted an Aberdeen shopkeeper who rented a piano to Madonna to accompany ”a famous opera singer. We don’t know who.”
NIXED The John Goodman vehicle ”Normal, Ohio” is about to be axed. Fox has decided not to air the show beyond its original 13 episode commitment, Variety reports. The Wednesday night series will be replaced by a more ”Malcolm in the Middle” -esque comedy titled ”Grounded for Life.” Meanwhile, ABC has decided to nix its ”Trouble With Normal” replacement, ”Dot Comedy,” after airing only one episode. That’s a relief.
REEL DEAL ”The Rugrats” have earned their franchise stripes. A follow up to the latter day Little Rascals’ Parisian adventure is already in the works. Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies have announced their commitment to a third installment, according to the Hollywood Reporter. No wonder: The second flick cost only $30 million and has already grossed $60.5 million. And this doesn’t even include the cash windfall that is thousands of well timed stocking stuffer tie ins.
MUSIC NEWS Bruce Springsteen has the Christmas spirit. He’s planning two holiday gigs in New Jersey with proceeds going to charities. Tickets to Dec. 17 and 18 shows at Asbury Park gigs cost only $50 each, but would be concert goers better move fast. They’re scheduled to go on sale Wednesday…. It took Radiohead two years to get ”Kid A” into record stores, but we won’t have to wait as long for their next album. The Oxford townie quintet already has a name for their next album, according to the BBC. The new effort — slated for a spring release — is titled ”Amnesiac.” But it would be cool if they didn’t forget to bring their guitars to the studio this time.
RECOVERING Jack Lemmon was released from L.A.’s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center yesterday. The 75 year old actor was being treated for a colon condition, diverticulitis. He was hospitalized for several days.