- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Company man

It’s official. Rapper Jay-Z has been named president and CEO of Def Jam Recordings, home of such acts as Grammy front-runner Kanye West and rap veteran LL Cool J.

He will report to Antonio “L.A.” Reid, chairman of the Island Def Jam Music Group, which is part of Universal Music Group. Jay-Z will take his new post in IDJ’s New York offices Jan. 3, according to Reuters News Agency.

Jay-Z will continue to run his own record company, Roc-a-Fella.

“I can think of no one more relevant and credible in the hip-hop community to build upon Def Jam’s fantastic legacy and move the company into its next groundbreaking era,” Mr. Reid said.

Still ticking

Ageless icon Dick Clark was hospitalized this week after suffering a mild stroke. But he’s confident he’ll be back on his feet in time to watch the ball drop New Year’s Eve.

“The doctors tell me I should be back in the swing of things before too long, so I’m hopeful to be able to make it to Times Square to help lead the country in ringing in the new year once again,” Mr. Clark said.

Mr. Clark, who turned 75 Nov. 30, suffered the stroke this week, publicist Paul Shefrin said yesterday. He said Mr. Clark had been hospitalized in the Los Angeles area but declined to give further details.

AP reports that the entertainer is scheduled to host ABC’s “Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve 2005” and “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve 2005” on Dec. 31. It would be his 33rd year welcoming the new year.

Life after prison

Post-incarceration plans are set for lifestyle guru Martha Stewart.

Her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, said yesterday that Stewart will star in a new syndicated television show to air next fall. Mark Burnett, producer of reality shows such as “Survivor” and “The Apprentice,” will executive produce.

The live show will feature celebrity guests and will also allow a studio audience to “participate and interact with Martha,” the company promised.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Stewart is in trouble with tax authorities in Connecticut for missing a property-tax payment. “I hope someone gets word to her to pay her taxes and get her off the headlines,” said Westport, Conn., tax collector George Underhill.

‘Lennon’ gets Lennon

John Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, loaned three of the late Beatle’s rarest songs for the upcoming Broadway musical “Lennon.”

She had already greenlighted classics including “Instant Karma” and “Whatever Gets You Through the Night.”

A pair of the new songs — “India, India” and “I Don’t Want to Lose You” — have never been published and exist only on private recordings, according to E! Online. A version of the third, “Cookin’ (In the Kitchen of Love),” was released by Ringo Starr in 1976.

“Lennon,” described by producer Don Scardino as “the story of Lennon as lightning rod and how he defined the times and how the times defined him,” will debut in a warm-up engagement at San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre in April.

Breaking point

Marianne Faithfull’s European tour, which was due to end in London later this month, has ground to a halt.

According to her publicist, the singer collapsed with a seizure before taking the stage in Milan, Italy, last Wednesday, and doctors have diagnosed chronic exhaustion.

Doctors advised the ‘60s icon to take at least three months’ rest. “I’m sorry to have let my fans down, but I will be back,” Miss Faithfull said.

Backstreet choirboy

One of the Backstreet Boys now wants it God’s way.

Brian Littrell signed a recording contract with Tennessee-based Christian label Reunion Records, E! Online reports.

Mr. Littrell will become the second Backstreeter to go solo. Nick Carter tried and failed to cut his own figure with the 2002 dud “Now or Never.” Mr. Littrell’s Christian album is expected out in fall 2005.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from staff and wire reports.

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