A NEW CHALLENGE FOR JOHN LENNON
There's no stopping ELVIS PRESLEY, even when he's dead. Twenty-five years after his demise, a song Elvis released in 1968 is set to hit No. 1 in the U.K. this week. A Little Less Conversation has been remixed by JXL, a Dutch DJ, who added a techno beat while leaving Presley's voice untouched. Though other performers have had posthumous hits, this one has particular significance, since it ends the long-running deadlock between Presley and the Beatles in the Guinness Book of World Records for most No. 1 hits in England. Now Presley moves ahead, 18-17. The Presley estate sanctioned the update, but betrayed some sensitivity about the King's fondness for prescription drugs. JXL is normally known as Junkie XL, but the estate asked that in this case he abbreviate the "Junkie."
JUST (ROYAL) FOLKS
If George W. Bush was able to convince the American public that he's an average guy with a simple background, then why can't SARAH FERGUSON? The Duchess of York will dispense with her title--and her full name--when she launches a syndicated talk show in the U.S. next year called simply Fergie. The ex-wife of Britain's Prince Andrew has served as a correspondent for the Today show and host of a poorly received talk program in England, and has starred in Weight Watchers TV ads. She says she's a natural for the gig because she loves talking to people, whether they're famous or not. "I'm not talent, I'm not a celebrity, I'm not an actress, I'm just me," says Ferguson ever so humbly. The president of Universal Television, which will produce the show, says Ferguson is "the person next door"--overlooking perhaps that Fergie resides in a stately British abode and has an ex-mother-in-law with a royal army at her disposal.
HEY, HE'S CANADIAN
Those who fondly remember when country singers were outlaws rather than pop stars will appreciate TOBY KEITH--if not for his songwriting, then for his rage. After Sept. 11, Keith wrote Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American), in which he warns terrorists, "You'll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A./Because we'll put a boot in your a_ /It's the American way." Probably not how Colin Powell would have phrased it, but the song became a hit. Now Keith has turned his ire on ABC anchorman PETER JENNINGS, contending that ABC News asked him to perform on a July 4 special but that Jennings nixed the idea after he heard the song. Keith told USA Today, "I find it interesting that [Jennings] is not from the U.S. I bet Dan Rather'd let me do it on his special." ABC said it held initial talks with Keith but, due to scheduling conflicts, decided against him; Jennings, it said, had no role. But he had better hope that Keith doesn't wear spurs.
THERE GOES A LADY