Wednesday, March 12, 2003

New from the Beatles

New York -- In 1994, remaining Beatles Paul McCartney, the late George Harrison and Ringo Starr reunited for a laid-back recording session. Footage of the trio performing the five songs -- "Baby What You Want Me to Do," "Raunchy," "Thinking of Linking," "Blue Moon of Kentucky" and "Ain't She Sweet" -- made its world premiere Tuesday at the New York Library for the Performing Arts at a news conference to announce plans for the release of The Beatles' "Anthology" DVD box set. On "Baby What You Want Me to Do," McCartney and Harrison are playing ukuleles, while Starr hits his legs to provide the percussion, as they all sit on a lawn. They play the rest of the tracks in a studio.

The footage from the session will be included in the box set, which hits stores on April 1.

'Sopranos' countersuit filed

Los Angeles -- The wise guys at HBO want revenge against TV mob boss Tony Soprano, to the tune of a $100 million lawsuit.

Network bosses feel they've been dissed by James Gandolfini, leading man of "The Sopranos." The actor sued them last week for breach of contract in an attempt to get a raise, and has said he will not show up for work March 24 when filming begins for the show's fifth season.

HBO chairman Chris Albrecht said the lawsuit was like "someone declaring war."

"We are more than certain that James Gandolfini has a binding contract for the fifth and sixth season of 'The Sopranos,"' he said. "We will have to act as if we are being attacked by hostile parties."

Sources close to Gandolfini, 42, said he wanted $1 million an episode. HBO sources said HBO had offered him $800,000 per show, double what he makes now.

'Washington' song explained

Indianapolis -- John Mellencamp's new song, "To Washington," is an overview of recent American history -- not a protest or anti-war anthem, the singer says.

"He wants to fight with many, and he says it's not for oil," Mellencamp sings. President Bush is never identified more specifically than "a new man in the White House with a familiar name."

The lyrics begin at the end of the Clinton administration, in which the Monica Lewinsky scandal is weighed against "eight years of peace and prosperity." In subsequent verses, Mellencamp addresses Florida's 2000 voting controversy and active duty for members of the National Guard and Reserves.

"To Washington" can be downloaded at

More troubles on the road

Greenwich, Conn. -- Diana Ross has been cited by Greenwich police for driving an unregistered car.

Ross was stopped Sunday afternoon when a police officer noticed the registration sticker on the black Ford Taurus' license plate had expired, the Greenwich Time reported Tuesday.

Ross, who has a home in Greenwich, said she rarely drives the car because it's owned by her Los Angeles booking agency, police said.

The 58-year-old singer was issued an infraction that carries a $78 fine.

Ross was arrested for investigation of drunken driving Dec. 30 in Tucson, Ariz. She has pleaded innocent to the charge.