Music news from the week of May 18, 1990. Brief updates from the music world

By Mark Harris
Updated May 18, 1990 at 04:00 AM EDT

Truly Trashy Music
Homelessness, drugs, the plight of the rain forests — what’s left for a concerned pop star to address? Recycling, naturally. Paula Abdul, Alice Cooper, Quincy Jones, Kenny Loggins, and Randy Newman, among others, will appear in Yakety Yak, Take It Back!, a music video and public-service ad set to the melody of the Coasters’ 1958 hit ”Yakety Yak.” Due to be taped June 9-10 in Los Angeles, the project was the idea of Jones’ daughter Jolie, head of the Take It Back Foundation. A spokesman says the project will teach people to ”recycle in a fun format.”

Cybill Defense
Jazz pianist Phineas Newborn Jr. died of cancer in May 1989 after a career hampered by illness. Now, in his memory, Gold Castle has reissued Vanilla, a 1979 album by his friend Cybill Shepherd, featuring Newborn accompanying the actress on such standards as ”’S Wonderful,” ”I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby,” and ”Ain’t Misbehavin’.”

Born to Record
Bruce Springsteen is busy recording in Los Angeles with ”Little Steven” Van Zandt, E Street Band pianist Roy Bittan, and local studio musicians. As usual with Springsteen, the project is shrouded in secrecy: There’s no word on when a new album may appear (year’s end is a possibility) or whether any of the current work will be on it, since Springsteen is known for recording and discarding at will. Meanwhile, Patti Scialfa, Springsteen’s companion, is hard at work on her first album, with Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell producing.

Tommy Was Never Like This
What was once known as Verdi’s Aida is now Hitachi Presents Verdi’s Aida — The Opera Spectacular, coming to New Jersey’s Giants Stadium, the Los Angeles Coliseum, and San Francisco’s Candlestick Park starting in early June. The $7 million production boasts 1,200 cast members, video screens, three dozen animals (including a 150-pound python), and a 45-foot-high replica of the Great Sphinx. It’s ”rock & roll meets opera,” a spokesman says.