YOKO ONO’S PEACE DANCE… In a world coming increasingly unmoored, pleas for peace may seem naÃ¯ve, but they’re also very necessary. Just as she did five years ago in the earliest phase of the Iraq War, Yoko Ono recently released remixes of the anti-war anthem that her former husband John Lennon wrote and popularized, ”Give Peace A Chance.” This time, however, the occasion is to commemorate the song’s 39th anniversary — and apparently to put things in motion for a huge 40th celebration next year. A few weeks ago, Ono took the single all the way to the top of the dance chart, Madonna bumping Madonna from her perch. Ono has now had four dance chart-toppers in just the past five years, including the environmentally conscious ”Walking on Thin Ice” and the pro-gay marriage ”Everyman/Everywoman.” All new remixes of ”Give Peace A Chance” are available from music download sites. D.C.’s own Rich Morel produced a jaunty mix, and those from Dave Aude, Mike Cruz and Johnny Vicious are, hmmm, dancefloor detonators. But Double B produces the remix with the surest-fire ability to get you to dance and think, adding mournful instrumentation and wild, chugging rhythms in reaction to Ono’s call to action….
ANNIE LENNOX BACKS PEACE… In addition to her re-released single and other activities, Ono is promoting the nonprofit Peace Alliance on her Web site, ImaginePeace.com. The Alliance is collecting signatures for its ”I Stand for Peace” petition, which calls on Congress to create a Department of Peace. The petition will be presented to Congress on Sept. 11. Meanwhile, September 21 has been designated Peace Day, and again this year a Peace Day Concert will take place in London. A second concert was also scheduled in New York, but was cancelled after Annie Lennox had to back out as headline performer.
According to an Aug. 18 notice, Lennox is recuperating after having had spinal surgery to release an impinged nerve. She is expected to make a speedy recovery, and at the moment is still scheduled to appear at the London Peace Day Concert alongside Bryan Adams and John Legend. But the first-ever retrospective of the Eurythmics singer’s solo work, originally set for release Sept. 16, has now been postponed until next Spring. The Annie Lennox Collection includes all her hits from her four solo albums, from Diva to last year’s brilliant Songs of Mass Destruction, including the hits ”Why,” ”Walking on Broken Glass,” ”No More ‘I Love You’s”’ and ”A Thousand Beautiful Things.” It will also include two new songs, Lennox’s interpretations of songs originally performed by the bands Keane and Ash. She explained to Billboard that she’s so busy as an international AIDS activist these days she hasn’t had time to write her own new songs. And given that she no longer has a recording contract, it’s not clear when, or even if, she’ll write new songs again. ”There’s all kinds of possibilities ahead of me,” she told Billboard. ”I have a real interest in how to communicate with people via the Internet as a more broadly multi-dimensional artist and communicator”….
THE CANCER GIRLS… Last year, Annie Lennox corralled 23 female pop singers to record ”Sing,” the song she created to raise funds for AIDS in Africa. With that as a model, a group of 15 female pop stars have now recorded a new song to benefit cancer research. Fergie and Melissa Etheridge will do the same this time as they did for Lennox, this time singing for organizing producer Antonio ”L.A.” Reid, who teamed up with his longtime production partner Kenneth ”Babyface” Edmonds for the project. Beyonce, Rihanna, Mary J. Blige, Miley Cyrus, Leona Lewis and Carrie Underwood are also on tap for ”Just Stand Up.” The single will be released Sept. 2, and then all 15 mega-stars will overfill the stage during the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Sept. 5 ”Stand Up to Cancer” television special set to air simultaneously on ABC, NBC and CBS. All sales of the star-studded single will benefit cancer research….
BRITNEY SAYS GIMME MORE… Britney Spears is not on tap for either the peace or the cancer causes, which isn’t a surprise, of course. But Spears is likely to make a surprise appearance at MTV’s VMA Awards Sunday, Sept. 7 — and that’s about as surprising as you can get. Last year’s MTV show was the scene of the crime, after all: It’s where Spears turned out her worst performance ever, a spectacle that helped fuel her overly publicized meltdown. Rumors are that she’s looking fit and fresh this time around, so lightning might not strike twice. Will she perform a teaser or even a song to come from her new album? Well, Billboard reports it won’t be ready until Spring at the earliest, so probably not. But Spears is hard at work on the set, which she’s said elsewhere is shaping up as ”my best work ever” and more urban than last year’s dance-oriented and underappreciated Blackout. But if you want more Spears, more Spears you can get: This Friday, Aug. 29, Town is hosting a video battle between Spears and her one-time fling, Justin Timberlake — and the audience votes on the winner. And then, two nights before the VMAs, Friday, Sept. 5, Apex will bring in local DJ Timothy Mykael, who is planning an ”OMG — It’s Britney Bitch! Party” that night. More, more, mo-mo-mo-more….