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Rock world loses pioneer Carl Wilson; Elvis to hit silver screen - in concert

The music world lost yet another pioneer in rock 'n' roll this past week. Beach Boys guitarist/ harmony vocalist Carl Wilson succumbed to lung cancer. He was 51.

"My role has been to lay back and keep a balance, a harmony, and a focus," Wilson told the Boston Globe in the '80s.Those words ring with truth and insight these days - especially when you compare Wilson to his older bandmate brothers, the late Dennis Wilson and the troubled Brian Wilson.

Carl Wilson stepped back when Dennis' wit and authentic surf attitude came into play (until his drowning in 1983). Carl also stood in the wings while big brother Brian fought a long, grueling - and somewhat public - battle with his own psychological and drug-induced demons.

While Carl was not much in view apart from the band, he did break away for a spell and record an album of his own. But when that flopped commercially, he returned to the surf-pop fold.

Carl Wilson was first and foremost a musician who cut his teeth on roots-rock. Throughout the Beach Boys classics "Surfin' U.S.A.," "Little Duece Coupe" and "Good Vibrations," his guitar brought in lighter shades of Dick Dale and the energy of Chuck Berry.

THE RETURN OF THE KING: "Elvis - The Concert," which premiered at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis last August, will hit New York City's Radio City Music Hall very soon.

The concert is a ground-breaking concept that unites musicians and backup singers with video images of Presley from his concert films in the '70s.

The process isn't new. In the past we've seen video duets reuniting singer Natalie Cole with her deceased father Nat King Cole, and Hank Williams Jr. with his late father Hank Williams.

Excerpts from the movies "Elvis: That's the Way It Is" (1970), "Elvis On Tour" (1972) and the 1973 satellite broadcast "Elvis - Aloha From Hawaii" were used to link the music and images together.

Presley's vocals were digitally isolated from the original recordings and all the other music was faded out so that the live musicians are actually playing on stage while the video image of the King rolls.

The next thing you know, 2pac, the Notorious B.I.G., Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and maybe even Nirvana will tour again.

If this sounds artificial - watching a concert on a huge video screen - you might as well not venture out to the Rolling Stones' "Bridges of Babylon" show. Then there was the U2 "Pop Mart" tour, which also used oversize screens to give people in the nosebleed seats an idea of what was happening on the stage that seemed a mile away.

TONI, TONI, TONI: Grammy-award winning singer Toni Braxton has filed for bankruptcy protection in Los Angeles. Her companies - Madame Ashlee Inc., Princess Ashlee Inc. and Lady Ashlee Inc. - also filed for Chapter 7 under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

The move happened eight weeks after Braxton filed a lawsuit against La Face Records and its parent company, Arista Records, seeking to terminate her recording contract.

While sales of Braxton's music have garnered about $188 million during the past six years, the singer's representatives say she is broke due to a substandard La Face recording contract that pays her less than 35 cents per album sold.

But you do the math. Her latest album, "Secrets," has sold more than 5 million copies. Multiply that by 30 cents and you get $1.5 million. Then reflect back on her debut album which sold more than 10 million copies during its run and you have $3 million. Okay, now add the two together and you $4.5 million. That's $900,000 per year since 1993.

Most of us pay our bills on an average of $50,000 a year (or less) before taxes . . . and she can't live off of $900,000 a year?

TEEN IDLE II: A couple of weeks back I mentioned the "Leif Garrett Collection" album on Right Stuff record label.

Well, get ready for the Teen Idol Tour. That's right: "The Teen Idol Tour."

Garrett will be absent from this venture, as will the Bay City Rollers. But Peter Noone, Bobby Sherman and Monkee Davy Jones will hit the road in May, playing fairs, casinos and small arenas, reported Billboard Magazine.

While Jones and Noone have been talking about this for a few years, Sherman has been working as a paramedic in California.

The life-saving training will come in handy, joked Jones. "(Bobby's) on the tour to revive us, since we're old now."

Are you listening, Mick and Keith?