Music U.S.A.

updated 05/28/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/28/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Any other summer a Bruce Springsteen tour would be the headline grabber, at least a 7.6 on rock's Richter scale. This year, despite the fact that the Boss is scheduled to hit the road right about when the solar odometer kicks over into July, Bruce has been strictly 5.2-city. What's shakin', of course, is the Jacksons. The frantic anticipation of the oft-rumored-but-ne'er-scheduled Jackson tour may be unprecedented. Ditto its organizational chaos. Promoters who hope the Monster will come to their towns have been tentatively booking arenas. Springsteen would have no trouble filling any venue, any time, but so far no dates have been confirmed. It is likely, though, that he will move out after his album, Born in the U.S.A., is released on June 4.

Meanwhile, the Jacksons' problem has been too many rather than too few dates, with every two-bit radio station and pop-music columnist in the country featuring weekly "exclusives," all contradicting one another. The best guess: Who knows? But the official rumor still has the six Jack-sons rolling into lucky Lexington, Ky. about June 15. Or June 22. Or June 23. Or maybe it will be Detroit.

Whenever they hit the road, the Jacksons and Springsteen will be the summer. "Everything else pales by comparison," says David Geffen, president of Geffen Records. "It's Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen, and that's it."

This, of course, comes as discouraging news to Rod Stewart, Elton John and Linda Ronstadt, three superstars who will try to grab off whatever's left after Michael and Bruce get up from the table.

Stewart will take his razor-blade gargle and soon-to-be-released LP, Camouflage, into Reno on July 3. Some 71 cities, 77 concerts and four months later, Rod expects to climb onto a stage in San Diego and do it for one last time.

Ronstadt is one of the few pop singers in America not releasing an album this summer, and her tour—beginning at the New Orleans World's Fair Amphitheatre on June 29 and ending in Universal City, Calif. only 13 cities, 27 concerts and eight weeks later—will be of exceedingly modest proportions, as these things go. Perhaps the ease of travel—La Ronstadt will spend a full week at the Sands' Copa Room in Atlantic City from July 18 to July 24—is in deference to the well-traveled gents in the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, with whom she will be sharing the stage.

Elton John, traveling through the Colonies for the first time since 1982, will kick off his latest comeback jaunt late in August—dates and locations still to be announced—coincidentally with the release of his latest LP, Breaking Hearts.

Other biggies making the rounds this summer include the Go-Go's, from June through September; the Cars, no dates yet, and the Pretenders, Part II, beginning in July.

Already out there trying to pick up a few stray millions, before the Jacksons ransack discretionary spending money throughout the land, are Van Halen (until July 16), Christine McVie (until early July), Lionel Richie (until July 15), Joe Jackson (through July) and the Pointer Sisters (through the end of August). As Ken Kragen, Richie's manager and a realist, so succinctly put it: "Lionel's tour is hot, but we're getting out and back before the Jacksons start."

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