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TAMPA, Fla. — Lionel Richie is still rocking and rolling strong at 62, but he happily embraces the word “grandfather” – or as his grandchildren by daughter Nicole Richie call him, “Pop Pop.”

“They always figure out their own name,” Lionel told Access Hollywood’s Shaun Robinson of little ones Harlow & Sparrow. “I thought G-Pa might have been really the right thing but, no, no ‘Pop Pop,’ is &, by the way, they melt me when they walk in the door.”

When Shaun asked Lionel if he spoils the little ones, he said his daughter gets in the way.

“She puts these rules down & then she gets Harlow and Sparrow to tell on me, ‘Did Pop Pop do this?’” he recounted, imitating his famous daughter’s words.

“[Do] you give them treats?” Shaun asked at the HSN event to promote the network’s live concert series & global launch of Lionel’s “Tuskegee” duets album on March 16.

“I’ll try to go, ‘Here’s some candy, my brother.’ C’mon, I mean, the candy is the best way to go. ‘No, Pop Pop,’ & then [Harlow] goes back & tells Nicole, ‘Pop Pop tried to give us candy!’” Lionel said.

Nicole may be a tough momma bear now, but she had tough times in her younger years, something Lionel addressed when Shaun asked him about the passing of his friend, Whitney Houston.

“There was one side of me that was absolutely shocked [by Whitney’s death] & then the other side of me was more disappointed,” Lionel said of losing the superstar singer, who he also co-starred in “The Preacher’s Wife” with. “I went through this with Nicole, you know, where there’s a point in time, when you go through the rehab program & your little girl walks down the hall this way & you walk down the hall that way & I kept saying, ‘Why are we here?’ & they said, ‘The parents & the loved ones are here, we are here to save your life, from them,’ because you’ll otherwise be an enabler forever.

“So you have to know that, & it’s up to them to save their own lives. You have to want that for yourself & what she had around her was… the desire not to want it, No. 1, & No. 2, she had enablers around her that allowed her to go that route,” Lionel continued, seemingly turning his talk to Whitney. “So, you know, we can sit here all day long & point the finger, but actually at the end of the day it’s a tragedy because somewhere along the line, she lost her footing & just couldn’t get back.”

Lionel said Whitney’s death brought back memories of another of his friends – the late Michael Jackson.

“I watched it happen with my dear friend, Michael, & Michael & I [had] talked about this forever in our career – ‘[This will] never that happen to us…’” Lionel told Shaun.

The singer told Shaun that he & Michael actually spoke about not going down the troubled road when they were breaking out as big solo stars in the 1980s.

“We saw so many other artists go through it, & we just made a promise to ourselves back in the early ‘80s, we would never let that happen to us, & then it just takes one little thing — in his case — it was just the burning of the scalp, just a little bit [during the Pepsi commercial] that changed what we now know was the big slippery slope,” Lionel said.

When Shaun asked Lionel if he feels like the “lucky one” to have seen his own daughter turn around & thrive, now a hip designer and a mentor on “Fashion Star,” he said it he is thankful for how things turned out.

“It could have gone it could have gone either way. This is not a guarantee, this is not — a life is, unfortunately, it’s not rehearsed, so you just don’t know what that happy ending is going to be or whether it’s going to be a silver lining,” he said. “You just don’t know, but when it does turn, ‘Hallelujah.’”

And the crooner is getting a real kick out of watching his daughter on NBC’s “Fashion Star.”

“She has a sense of timing that you can’t teach anybody, she just has that wit that I’m in love with,” Lionel said. “You don’t know what she’s gonna say next. I would love for her to kinda give me a clue give me a secret.”

“Well, she was giving it back to some of those contestants who thought that she didn’t know what she was talking about,” Shaun pointed out.

“I can tell you right now, I never thought, in my life, I would ever be intimidated by two 7-year-olds — Paris [Hilton] & Nicole & her little band… & I’m dressed to go to whatever awards show & they were sitting there going, ‘You’re not going out looking like that, are you dad?’” Lionel laughed. “Now just imagine two 7-year-olds [turning] me around to go back upstairs to change my clothes. She’ll do just fine on ‘Fashion Star.’”

Lionel Richie, Whitney Houston, & Michael Jackson all play daily on your free 80s internet radio station: BlackLight Radio!

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George Michael (“Careless Whisper,” “Faith,” “One More Try”) has re-scheduled his concert tour from last year. The BlackLight Radio favorite had to cancel a number of tour dates when he was hospitalized in Vienna with pneumonia at the end of last year.

In appreciation for the town that nursed him back to health, he has added a Vienna show and donated 1,000 tickets as a special thank you to the medical staff who cared for him so well while he was in hospital.

On his webpage, George Michael says, “I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you first to the doctors & nurses who saved my life & took such great care of me & to all my fans, family & friends for their love & support. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone.”

George will be the first pop artist ever to perform a special gala charity concert at the Palais Garnier Opera House in Paris when his tour arrives there September 9th.

It has been confirmed that all original tickets will be valid for the rescheduled dates. Any ticket holders requiring a refund should contact their point of purchase as soon as possible; all refund requests must be received by Monday, April 30, 2012. Any returned tickets will be available to purchase from the venue box offices.

Here’s the new schedule for George Michael’s Symphonica tour:

September 04th: Vienna, Austria
September 06th: Vienna, Austria
September 09th: Paris, France
September 14th: Amsterdam, Netherlands
September 16th: Birmingham, UK
September 17th: Birmingham, UK
September 21st: Manchester, UK
September 23rd: Glasgow, UK
September 24th: Glasgow, UK
September 29th: London, UK

October 01st: Sheffield, UK
October 03rd: Newcastle, UK
October 05th: Cardiff, UK
October 06th: Cardiff, UK
October 09th: Manchester, UK
October 10th: Liverpool, UK
October 13th: London, UK
October 14th: London, UK
October 17th: London, UK

George Michael (& his previous band, “Wham!”) play daily on your free 80s internet radio station: BlackLight Radio!

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When you tune to BlackLight Radio for 80s internet radio, you know you’re going to hear plenty of Elton John (“Little Jeanie,” “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues,” “I Don’t Wanna Go On With You Like That”). Well, Elton has just completed recording a NEW album called “The Diving Board.” The album will be released this Autumn, 2012.

Although initially not excited about going back in to the studio so soon after his last album (“The Union”), he ended up writing six songs a day for two days, laid down the twelve tracks in just four days, & then picked 10 tracks to make the final cut for the album. “It just came flooding out,” Elton told Rolling Stone Magazine. “Quickest record I’ve ever made.”

T Bone Burnett (“Truth Decay,” “”I Wish You Could Have Seen Her Dance”,” “When the Night Falls”) is the producer of Elton John’s new album, and it was T Bone’s suggestion that Elton record the tracks as a three-piece combo consisting of Elton on piano, Raphael Saadiq (who played alongside Prince on his “Parade” tour) on bass, & Jay Bellerose on drums. On two of the songs, the trio is augmented by guitarist Doyle Bramhall (who has toured with Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters & was second guitarist in Eric Clapton’s band in the 2000s).

Drummer Bellerose played on Elton’s last album “The Union” & has worked with John Mellencamp, Ray LaMontagne, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss.

John calls it “the most exciting solo record I’ve done in a long, long time.”

In addition to the new album, John is working on a book of reminiscences from the Aids epidemic. Plans are also advancing for a proposed biopic, which could star Justin Timberlake. “We’re searching for a director,” John’s partner, David Furnish, recently told E! “There’s no race to make this. We’re just going to take the time to make it right.”

When “The Diving Board” is released, BlackLight Radio will plan a special weekend to mix Elton John’s new tracks in with the 80s internet radio you’ve grown to expect from us; keep checking back for details!

Information for this post was gathered in part from this Rolling Stone article.

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