Regis takes over New Year

Regis Philbin will fill in as host of ABC’s “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve 2005” for Dick Clark, who suffered a mild stroke last week, the network announced Monday.

Philbin, co-host of the syndicated Regis & Kelly, has made subbing for ailing entertainers something of a specialty, coming to David Letterman’s aid when Letterman underwent heart bypass surgery in 2000 and recovered from an eye infection in 2003.

Clark remains hospitalized after his stroke, spokesman Paul Shefrin said, but is “getting better every day.”

In a statement, Clark said his doctors advised against the New Year’s Eve duties, saying it was too soon.

The 75-year-old Clark has been host of a New Year’s Eve special for 32 years.

Philbin will be joined by singer Ashlee Simpson, who’s hosting the West Coast part of the show. Besides Simpson, performers include Big & Rich, Ciara, Earth, Wind & Fire, Good Charlotte and Billy Idol.

“It’s the greatest “temp job’ in the world,” Philbin said.

U2, O’Jays get Rock honor

Irish rockers U2, R&B singers The O’Jays and soul balladeer Percy Sledge are among five musical legends to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during the foundation’s 20th annual induction ceremony next year, the organization announced Monday.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation will hold its induction ceremony March 14 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan.

U2, which became one of the planet’s most popular bands in the 1980s with the megahit “The Joshua Tree,” is still making the charts: The November release, “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb,” is the No. 2 album on the Billboard charts.

The O’Jays had eight No. 1 R&B hits during the 1970s and ‘80s, including “Love Train” and “Use Ta Be My Girl.” Sledge will forever be associated with “When a Man Loves a Woman,” one of the songs that made him a figure in deep Southern Soul in the late 1960s.

The Pretenders and blues guitarist Buddy Guy will also join the organization’s Class of 2005.

The artists beat out an impressive list of nominees, including the J. Geils Band, and the late country singer Conway Twitty.

Also, Frank Barsalona and Seymour Stein will be inducted in the nonperformer category.

Barsalona is credited with creating the first legitimate rock-‘n’-roll booking agency. His roster included Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and The Who.

Stein, who is chairman and co-founder of Sire Records, is noted as one of the most successful executives in the recording industry. He is known for signing Madonna, The Ramones and The Talking Heads.

Musicians, industry professionals and journalists vote on the nominations, which were announced in September. Artists are eligible to be inducted into the Rock Hall after at least 25 years have passed since their first record was released.

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