- The Washington Times - Monday, November 15, 2004

Who knew?

Tipping fans on his official Web site, Who songwriter Pete Townshend revealed that he and singer Roger Daltrey are planning to get together for the first Who studio album in more than 20 years.

“Roger and I [will] meet in mid-December to play what we have written,” Mr. Townshend said. “If we move ahead from there, we may have a CD ready to release in the spring. My working-title for the project — ‘Who2’ — is only partly tongue-in-cheek.”

The prospective album, he said, would not be concept album or rock opera like “Tommy” or “Quadrophenia.” A concept-less album “is, in itself, a concept for me,” he said

Mr. Townshend, 59, is also working on an autobiography, which he said “offers me a chance to lay down my life story and place recent events in proper context.”

HOPE on the way

Feeling burned by that Ashlee Simpson CD buy?

To paraphrase what erstwhile veep candidate John Edwards was fond of saying, HOPE, or Horrified Observers of Pedestrian Entertainment, is on the way.

The group is giving music-buyers who purchased Miss Simpson’s album the chance to turn it in for what they call “one of a higher entertainment quality.”

Fans who bring the disc to New York’s Knitting Factory can trade it in for one by a number of artists

including Elvis Costello, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and Brian Wilson.

Non-New Yorkers can take advantage of the deal through the Web site www.hopeinamerica.com.

Heart of Darkness

U2 frontman Bono has emerged victorious in a rivalry with a young upstart over who would sing the most famous line in the remake of the Christmas charity hit “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”

Bono sang the line (“And tonight thank God it’s them instead of you”) in the original version 20 years ago, when the song was conceived to raise funds for famine victims in Ethiopia. And he fully planned on singing it again.

However, according to Agence France-Presse, Justin Hawkins of neo-hair-metalists the Darkness sang the words at a weekend recording session in north London, boasting afterward that his was a superior version.

He told the Daily Mirror: “We both recorded the same line. I did it better than him but his management kicked up a stink and he is going to do it again. It means politically I’m not allowed to sing it.”

Sure enough, Bono flew to London late Sunday night to re-record the line himself — and organizers of the Band Aid 20 project said yesterday that his is the one that will be used.

Thumbs up

The new biopic about the life and work of controversial sex researcher Alfred Kinsey got a nod of approval from one of Mr. Kinsey’s colleagues.

Paul Gebhard, an 87-year-old who was a member of the late scientist’s research team and who is portrayed by Timothy Hutton in “Kinsey,” which opens Friday in area theaters, said he’s A-OK with the film.

“For artistic reasons, they took some liberties with facts, but basically, it’s an excellent film,” Mr. Gebhard, who saw the film at a recent screening at the Kinsey Institute in Bloomington, Ind., told Associated Press.

Code’ breaker

Tom Hanks is expected to step into the scholarly shoes of Robert Langdon, the professor who unravels the mystery of the Holy Grail, for the film version of Dan Brown’s phenomenally successful novel “The Da Vinci Code.”

Of late, Mr. Hanks has been struggling at the box office. The three movies in which he’s starred this year — “The Ladykillers,” “The Terminal” and, most recently, “The Polar Express” — have done less-than-expected business.

Yet the two-time Oscar-winner is apparently the top choice of director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer for the lead role in the film, which Columbia Pictures hopes to begin shooting next year.

“Tom is an exciting actor to watch thinking,” Mr. Howard said in the current issue of Newsweek. “We probably don’t need his status from a box office standpoint, but he gives Langdon instant legitimacy.”

Compiled by Scott Galupo from Web and wire reports.

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