Backstreet Boys and Van Morrison fail to show at George W Bush's inaugural celebrations...

RICKY MARTIN was the only high-profile artist to appear at the first of US President-elect GEORGE W. BUSH’s inauguration parties in WASHINGTON D.C., despite pleas from his aides for VAN MORRISON and the BACKSTREET BOYS, amongst others, to appear.

Martin appeared at the Lincoln Memorial last night (January 18), on the first of four days of parties in the US capital to celebrate Republican Bush’s controversial victory over Democrat Al Gore.

Earlier this week Van Morrison made it clear he would not top the bill at the show. His label Virgin released a brief statement declaring the claims that he would be “performing or attending the inauguration ceremonies of President-elect George W. Bush” as “absolutely false” and insisting Morrison was never scheduled to appear “and has no intention of doing so”.

And in a further dig at the Texan governor, a posting on Morrison’s respected fan website – [url=]www.harbour.sfu.ca/~hayward/van/van.html – declared that it was probably for the best, as Bushshould have been concerned in case Morrison decided to play hits ‘Village Idiot’ and ‘Madame George’.

It has also been reported that teen idols Backstreet Boys turned down overtures from Bush. Of the five band members two are known Republicans, while the remaining three are Democrats.

Meanwhile, ZZ Top have confirmed they will play for Bush tonight (January 19). The trio will take the stage at ‘The Best Little Ball in D.C.’ at the Mariott Wardham Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. It is not the first time they have worked in association with Bill Clinton’s successor. In 1998, Bush as Governor of Texas, declared May 15 ‘ZZ Top Day’ in the state capital Austin.

It is a far cry from the inauguration of Bill Clinton eight years ago. During the ceremony and subsequent two terms of office Clinton could count on the support of stars such as Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Tom Petty and Barbra Streisand, as well as a host of Hollywood A-list names.