Odds & Ends: Smashing Pumpkins, Little Richard, Dixie Chicks And That Muppets Video

Little Richard exits hospital after hip surgery, Smashing Pumpkins settle lawsuits with record label, defamation suit against Dixie Chicks dismissed and there is more information on how the video depicting the Muppets singing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” came into our lives.

Pumpkins, Label Settle Lawsuits

A lawyer representing two original members of the Smashing Pumpkins says the band and Virgin Records have reached settlements regarding two lawsuits the band filed against the label last year over uses of the group’s music.

According to attorney Josh Glotzer, who represents James Iha and D’arcy Wretzky-Brown, the band and the label reached a confidential settlement.

Glotzer also said a separate case involving Billy Corgan that was filed against Virgin in federal court is also going the settlement route.

The lawsuits addressed the use of the band’s songs in promotions as well as royalty payments to Iha and Wretzky-Brown.

Defamation Lawsuit Against Dixie Chicks Tossed

A federal judge has dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed against the Dixie Chicks, saying the group’s accuser couldn’t prove singer Natalie Maines acted with “actual malice.”

Photo: AP Photo
During their "Good Morning America" performance in New York City’s Bryant Park.

The lawsuit had its roots in a murder case involving the deaths of three boys that took place 15 years ago in Arkansas. Three teenagers were eventually convicted of the murders, but in recent years Maines has spoken out against the convictions, claiming the teens were innocent.

The defamation suit was filed by Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of one of the victims and claimed Maines publicly accused him of being involved in the deaths. Hobbs cited a letter Maines posted on the group’s Web site and her remarks made during a 2007 rally in Little Rock.

This week U.S. District Judge decided Hobbs couldn’t prove Maines knowingly made false statements or that she made them with “reckless disregard” of the truth, and dismissed the case.

If you would like to read more about the murder case and the defamation lawsuit filed against the Dixie Chicks, please click here for Pollstar’s Dec. 5, 2008 posting, “Dixie Chicks Sued For Defamation.”

His Yelling Will Not Be Silenced

Little Richard is fresh out of the hospital following hip surgery and says he’ll “be shouting ‘Shut up’ and rocking like the old days.”

Photo: AP Photo
New Orleans Arena, La.

The rock ‘n’ roll pioneer told Associated Press he will work hard to recover from the surgery so he can “get back on the road as soon as possible.”

Richard, who is also a minister, said he felt the prayers of his fans and thanked them for their concern and “to take time to pray.”

Richard turns 77 this Saturday.

Muppet Mania

If you’ve been laughing at an online video depicting the Muppets singing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” you’re not the only one. The video has chalked up more than 8.6 million views on YouTube since it debuted just a few days before Thanksgiving.

But why did Muppets Studio, the Walt Disney Company subsidiary formed in 2004, go through all the time and expense to make the spoof? Turns out the video was created to help reboot the Muppet brand as well as quickly deliver new content to fans.

“When the Muppets came into real popularity was the ‘70s. What was popular in the ‘70s? Variety shows – that’s what ‘The Muppet Show’ was,” Muppets Studio general manager Lylle Breier said. “That’s why the Muppets fit so perfectly. Parody has always been at the heart of what the Muppets do.”

Breier also said the idea to create the spoof had been kicked around for a while, but his company created the video only recently.

And there’s more where that came from. Breier says a version of “Carol of the Bells” will be released before Christmas. The company will also release a small number of vids in 2010.

Click here for the Muppets Studio YouTube channel.