Kevin Mazur/LFI
Josh Wolk
December 29, 1999 AT 05:00 AM EST

TOP ACT No matter how fast and precise they dance, today’s teen groups can’t grab the title of “The Greatest Rock ‘n Roll Band in the World”: That still belongs to the Rolling Stones, who were the top-grossing concert attraction of 1999, according to Pollstar. Thanks to charging Streisand-esque prices (an average of $110), the Stones pulled in $64.7 million from 34 shows. Another tour veteran, Bruce Springsteen, came in second with $61.4 million (averaging a slightly more working-class $60 per ticket), and ‘N Sync took third with $51.5 million, with only a $29 average price. Sure, that seems cheap by comparison, but just think of how many Pokemon cards the band’s fans had to give up buying to pay for it.

PUBLIC PLEA Sean “Puffy” Combs held a press conference yesterday to once again stress his innocence of all gun charges and to say he “had nothing to do with” Monday morning’s shooting of three people at Club New York. “I feel terrible that people were hurt that night,” he told reporters. “I do not own a gun, nor did I possess a gun that night.” A loaded, unlicensed 9 mm was found on the floor of his car when police pulled him over after the shooting, and a witness reportedly saw him pull out a gun at the bar. “Let me say this once,” said his lawyer, Harvey Slovis. “It is very frustrating that every time some person decides to make an accusation against Mr. Combs, the press reports it as if it’s true.” Meanwhile, MTV has said that Combs will still appear on its live “2 Large New Year Eve’s Party” Friday night.

NOT TRUE The press (including EW Online) was duped by a false claim that David Coverdale would replace Gary Cherone as the lead singer of Van Halen. An interview was posted on the net claiming to be a transcript of a radio chat with Coverdale, in which he claimed he had already recorded 23 songs with the band. The credited radio station denies the interview ever happened, and a Coverdale rep says that the ex-Whitesnake singer has been busy working on a solo record. Well, looks like it’s time to go back to believing the false rumors that David Lee Roth is coming back.

BANNED “Anna and the King” may claim to give a history lesson about Thailand, but Thailand doesn’t want anything to do with it, having just banned the film in its country, according to Reuters. A 19-member censorship board found the film broke a 1930 law that forbids filmmakers from portraying the Thai royalty in a disrespectful way; “Anna” had such impudent scenes as having King Mongkut put his crown and portrait on the ground, and making him “look like a cowboy who rides on the back of an elephant as if he is in a cowboy movie,” said one board member. The 1956 musical “The King and I,” also based on Anna Leonowens’ story (although she is widely perceived by historians to have exaggerated her relationship with the King), has always been banned by Thailand; Fox thought this new account was more historically accurate, but crown pushing is crown pushing.

OFF THE HOOK The drug possession charges filed against Noreaga Sunday are likely to be dropped, according to MTV News. The rapper was arrested with four other men in Queens at around 6 p.m. by cops who allegedly caught them with marijuana, but his lawyer says that his case has been adjourned contemplating dismissal, which means that no more court dates have been set for Noreaga, and if he doesn’t get in any more trouble for the next year, the charges should go away.

OBITUARY Another show-biz cowboy has gone to that great corral in the sky: Clayton Moore, who played the Lone Ranger on the TV series from 1949-51 and 1954-57, died of a heart attack on Tuesday at the age of 85. Moore continued to make appearances as the Lone Ranger long after the show’s end, but the company that owned the rights to the cowboy demanded he stop in the late 1970’s, since they were planning a Ranger revival and thought he would confuse fans. Moore fought the company in court for years, until finally winning the right to don the mask again.

ODD GUEST Tipper Gore played drums and sang back-up in the recently-released New Year’s Eve tune, “When the Ball Drops,” performed by Diva Zappa. This is Gore’s second appearance on a Zappa album; Diva’s father Frank sampled her voice far more unkindly on his 1986 album “Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention” in a song called “Porn Wars,” a musical diatribe against Gore’s campaign to put warning labels on albums. But since Daddy Zappa’s death his family has become much more chummy with the Gores: His widow Gail is a major donor to the VP’s presidential campaign.

PLANS CANCELED If you’re one of the high-adrenaline party animals planning to kick it New Year’s Eve with the Pax TV 24-hour live broadcast, you’ll have to find another TV bash. According to Variety, sources say the producers couldn’t raise enough money to pull off their ambitious show, which was to have satellite footage from 77 countries, including live performances by ‘N Sync, Aerosmith, and Phil Collins. Now, instead of the already-heavily-promoted extravaganza, Pax will air old movies. Woo-hoo!

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