You look for hits at a boxing match, but you don't expect them to have musical underpinning. That will change Saturday when the WBC Continental America's lightweight championship fight between Darryl Tyson and Freddie Roach shares the ring at the Washington Convention Center with the Temptations, currently on the charts with their "Touch Me" album.
"The major thing is to expand the boxing audience," says promoter Van Alexander. "Boxing has been very popular in Washington, but for a while it kind of degenerated from the standpoint of promotions. It's in the process of making a comeback. We're trying to get world-class boxing and to support that caliber of boxing, we have to broaden the audience."
This isn't the first sports-music tie-in, of course. Washington's pro soccer team, the appropriately named Dips, managed a full house at RFK Stadium by having the Beach Boys for overtime. And the Washington Bullets have had several promotions at the Capital Centre, including one in December with these same Temptations that drew close to 13,000 people. A Four Tops show the previous season drew more than 16,000.
"My hope, my risk," says Alexander, "is that the Temptations, being an institution, will appeal to young and old fight fans. They have both their history and their current hit album, so that may bring people who wouldn't normally come to boxing, and they may be converted to loyal fans." South African Musicians' Protest
In an unprecedented move, more than 50 of South Africa's most popular and commercially successful groups and singers -- black and white -- recently took out a full-page ad in that country's most widely read newspaper, the Sunday Times, under the heading "SA Musicians Against Apartheid." The ad calls for a musical boycott of Johannesburg's centennial celebration and calls attention to "the deteriorating circumstances in our country." The musicians ask for the release of all political prisoners, cessation of all bans on people and organizations, withdrawal of troops from townships and an end to the state of emergency. This marks the first time that well-established South African musicians have risked official wrath, which includes being banned from radio air play.
In a related development: Little Steven Van Zandt and Kurtis Blow have embarked on a campaign to have their "Sun City" video and Dave Marsh's book on that all-star antiapartheid project put into school libraries and incorporated into social studies programs. That would be one method of circumventing commercial radio's apathy and conservatism, as well as of getting kids involved with the issue. Sound Impressions
Grammynote: The American Music Awards, held last month, took the wind out of any Grammy plans to stage an all-star "We Are the World" live, but if producer Pierre Cossette had been a little more adventurous last night, he could have hired a one-man chorus, Andre-Phillipe Cagnon. Cagnon, a French-Canadian shoe salesman turned comedian, can flawlessly imitate all 18 solo voices, from Cyndi Lauper and Dionne Warwick to Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson. Since Cagnon has a repertoire of 350 voices (he started imitating cartoon characters at age 6), that's probably not too hard, but he might think about retitling the song "I Am the World." Veterans' Benefit
While plans for the huge antidrug rock marathon April 26 continue to jell, another focused rock marathon is coming together to benefit the Paralyzed Veterans of America's scholarship fund for the children of POW/MIAs, disabled and killed-in-action Vietnam vets. This one will take place the following day at the 62,000-seat University of Kansas Memorial Stadium. Organizers, Kansas undergrads operating under the name Students for Vietnam Veterans, hope to raise more than $1 million from ticket sales and corporate donors. (In a separate event, an all-star "Welcome Home" benefit concert for Vietnam vets was held at the Forum in the Los Angeles area Monday night.)
The list of performers for the Kansas event is still being finalized, but there's a good chance some of the big names who have expressed concern for the Vietnam vet in song -- including Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and Charlie Daniels -- will back up their sentiments with their presence. Once the roster is complete, television rights will be sold. The concert has already been endorsed by Kansas Gov. John Carlin, Nebraska Gov. Robert Kerrey (a Vietnam vet and Medal of Honor winner) and Kansas Sens. Robert Dole and Nancy Kassebaum. Unlike the antidrug marathon, which is primarily a consciousness raiser, the Kansas event is structured mainly as a benefit. Concerts and Contests
Of course Washington is participating in the general process of fundraising for a worthy cause. There was last night's Peter, Paul and Mary tribute, which raised money for TransAfrica, and a week from Saturday, Jackson Browne and Holly Near will host a concert at Constitution Hall as a fundraiser for the D.C. Metropolitan Sanctuary Committee and Americans for Peace in the Americas.
And local colleges have been helping raise money to combat multiple sclerosis through MTV-sponsored "Rock Alike" contests, which is "Puttin' on the Hits" in the service of something more than television exposure.
Students Against Multiple Sclerosis (SAMS) have been holding mimicking and lip-syncing contests at 140 campuses around the country. Georgetown has its finals at the Hall of Nations tomorrow night; American University at the AU Pub on Saturday; and the University of Maryland at the Student Center next Friday. Eight regional winners will compete for a chance for a videotaped appearance on MTV next summer, and MTV will award a rock concert to the campus that raises the most money.