Rolling Stones | Michael Jackson | Carly Simon | Eugene Record

Rolling Stones: Bargain Tix in 'B' Towns

The Rolling Stones obviously think the people of Detroit, Charlottesville, St. Paul, and Columbus can't afford the same prices as people in really big cities.

The Stones are charging $350-$400 for a top ticket in the "flyover" cities. But in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, the group is socking it to fans for a whopping $450 if they want to have good seats. On eBay.com, the ticket prices are double, or more, thanks to scalpers.

What the Stones don't realize is that the people in the big cities can't afford their tickets, either. Who knew we'd have to take care of all of Mick's children?

By contrast, Paul McCartney's top price across the country is an average $279. U2, an actual contemporary group, is only asking about $169 from its loyal armies.

Of course, U2 is selling albums at the same time they're performing. The Stones and McCartney, while still immensely popular live acts, are not exactly at the top of the charts.

This week, each act announced new albums. There's no word yet on the Stones' offering, called "NeoCon," but McCartney has some buzz from his first recording since "Driving Rain."

In reality, the Stones were never the big sellers that the Beatles were. And their last few albums have proven to be disappointing in contrast to their concert sales. "Bridges to Babylon," "Voodoo Lounge" and "Steel Wheels" were not huge successes.

It didn't help that the last time out, the single "Anybody Seen My Baby?" from "Bridges" inadvertently appropriated k.d. lang's "Constant Craving." (They never say "stolen" anymore. The euphemism is "interpolated").

Her name was subsequently added to the songwriting credits, and she wound up splitting the royalties with the Stones — a first, certainly, in the Stones' long career.

"Bridges to Babylon," the Stones' last studio album, hangs around No. 36,000 on Amazon.com.

But Stones fans in major cities might think about saving some money by driving to secondary markets. The prices are cheaper and the stadiums are smaller.

Michael Jackson, No-Show

No one showed up yesterday in New Orleans to defend or represent Michael Jackson in a lawsuit.

It doesn't really matter if you think the suit is without merit. It's in court. Someone was supposed to show up. He -- or she -- didn't.

The suit is brought by a man who now says Jackson molested him in a limousine some time ago. It's a recovered-memory case. Jackson had hired a law firm to represent him, but didn't pay them. They're also suing him for $50,000.

The fact is, Jackson's legal staff is much diminished from days of old.

Instead of using legal eagles Zia Modabber and Steve Cochran, Jackson is reduced to employing a Houston attorney and some guys from Torrance, Calif., including his old pal Brian Oxman.

Oxman was once suspended from practicing law in California and was fired from Jackson's defense team in his child molestation case by Tom Mesereau .

The reasons for the firing were twofold. Oxman had filed an answer in Marc Schaffel's lawsuit against Jackson that contradicted what Mesereau was trying to achieve in the criminal trial.

But Mesereau, according to sources, also held Oxman responsible for asking Janet Arvizo, mother of the accusing teen in the case, to take the Fifth Amendment rather than testify.

Oxman, I'm told, also started an independent investigation into Arvizo's possible welfare fraud while the criminal case was in court, against Mesereau's wishes.

But Oxman and friends are not licensed to practice in New York, where Michael Jackson is currently being sued for $48 million by Darien Dash, first cousin of hip-hop entrepreneur Damon Dash. And he can't practice in Louisiana, where Jackson faces possible contempt charges if no one shows up at the next hearing in that case on August 12.

Meantime, you can disregard reports that Jackson is in Berlin, or about to attend his father's birthday party there tonight.

My sources say Michael remains in Bahrain, where he's moonwalking for a Saudi prince who, he hopes, will come to his financial rescue.

At the same time, Randy Jackson — Michael's brother — continues attempts to re-secure his power position with the pop star. Word is he's returning to New York to continue negotiations with private hedge fund Fortress Investments to get Michael some more cash. The $3.3 million Fortress advanced Jackson back in April is thought to be gone by now.

Carly's Comeback Continues

Carly Simon — with a beautiful new album out this week called "Moonlight Serenade" — made a rare appearance last night at The Cutting Room. That's the always hot music club on West 24th street, owned by Steve Walter and Chris Noth (Mr. Big from "Sex and the City").

The occasion was a show called "Ben Taylor & Friends" which featured Simon's 27-year-old son by James Taylor, Ben, his older sister Sally, and a bunch of their singer-songwriter friends from the U.K.

Ben, who is very tall and lanky, showed great aplomb as he emceed a night that veered from his and Sally's polished numbers to more earthy fare from the young British women. (Lovely though they were, they were also students of the Laura Nyro-Carole King-Joni Mitchell school.)

Aside from the Taylor kids, one Brit named David Saw was a standout.

Of course, The Cutting Room was filled to capacity because of the promise that Carly would perform something. She obliged, singing with her children on a three-part harmony version of their father's "You Can Close Your Eyes."

That would have been the highlight of the night for the old folks, had Ben not performed his mother's first hit, "That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be." It was the first time he'd done it, the first time Carly had heard him do it, and Ben pulled it off with great poignancy.

What was interesting about all this is that Ben has turned into something of an entrepreneur. Don't forget that his grandfather, Richard Simon, started the Simon & Schuster book-publishing company.

He's put together his own record label, Iris Records, and is issuing his stuff and others' on it. Sister Sally also issues her own records. They each saw enough of the record business through their parents' eyes, and realized they could do it on their own.

Nevertheless, Ben has a version of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U" on his Web site that could make him as big as John Mayer. A new album is coming on Sept. 9. Watch for it.

As for Carly: I predict she'll bring her "Moonlight Serenade" to a club — maybe Joe's Pub — this fall with a full orchestra. In the meantime, we'll just have to settle for listening to her swell renditions of "Moonglow" and "How Long Has This Been Going On" on the new CD.

Eugene Record Dies

Eugene Record, founder of the legendary Chicago based vocal group The Chi Lites, died today after a long battle with cancer.

Record was the composer (with his ex wife, the late R&B star Barbara Acklin) of many hits, including the Chi Lites classic, "Have You Seen Her?" and Acklin's "Love Makes A Woman" and "Am I The Same Girl?", which is also known as the instrumental "Soulful Strut."

In 2003, his Chi Lites record, "Are You My Woman?" was the basis for Beyonce's hit, "Crazy in Love." Record, who started the Chi Lites with Marshall Thompson and Robert "Squirrel" Lester, also wrote their hits "Oh Girl" and "Toby," among others. The latter song was a favorite of Michael Jordan, who asked that it be played at every Chicago Bulls game.

Record and The Chi Lites most recently appeared in the documentary "Only the Strong Survive," directed by D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus and produced by yours truly. He was 64, and is survived by his wife Jackie.