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Interview with "Jena 6" Parents/Reba McEntire

Aired September 24, 2007 - 21:00   ET


REBA MCENTIRE, SINGER: May seem wonderful.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Reba McEntire -- the queen of country.


MCENTIRE: And you feel that rain falling down.


KING: Singing with everyone from Justin Timberlake and Kelly Clarkson to Faith Hill and LeAnn Rimes on her new album.

Kelly Clarkson, the first "American Idol," joins her idol, Reba, tonight, along with some other surprise superstars.

But first, exclusive -- their teenaged son is the only member of the Jena 6 jailed in the alleged beating case that's caused a racial controversy.

Now, in their first live interview, Mychal Bell's parents speak out on their son being behind bars for nine months, even though is conviction was thrown out earlier this month.

All next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

Joining us in Washington, Marcus Jones and Melissa Bell. They're the parents of Mychal Bell. Mychal is the only one of the so-called Jena 6 to have been tried and convicted in the beating of a white student named Justin Barker.

Mychal's conviction was thrown out earlier this month, but he remains behind bars.

With them in Washington is Reverend Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist, former presidential candidate, who participated in last Thursday's rally in Jena.

Marcus, why is he still in jail?

MARCUS JONES, SON MYCHAL BELL STILL IN JAIL THOUGH CONVICTION THROWN OUT TWO WEEKS AGO: Well, we really don't know ourselves, Larry. The 3rd Circuit Court threw out his adult conviction and charge and we really don't understand why, you know, he's still sitting in adult jail at this time.

KING: Melissa, do you know?


KING: What do they tell you when you ask?

BELL: They don't tell us. They're just saying right now that some motions have to be filed and they're waiting on the D.A. to do whatever he's got to do. And that's all they tell us.

KING: Why are you in Washington, Marcus?

JONES: Well, we're coming to meet with the national Black Caucus today -- well, tomorrow.

KING: And you want them do what?

JONES: Well, basically, we just want them to just launch a fuller -- a full investigation on the D.A. and the D.A.'s office in LaSalle Parish for illegally trying my son, illegally putting adult charges on him while he was a juvenile. I mean just -- just launch a whole -- a whole out investigation on the D.A.'s office and on the D.A.

KING: You admit, Melissa, though that Mychal has had some problems, right?

BELL: Yes, he had a few, but like most teenagers.

KING: Do you think that's the thing being held against him?

BELL: That's what they're trying to say is what's being held against him, yes.

JONES: But see, the thing about that, Larry -- see, in Jena, Louisiana, if you're doing -- if you're benefiting the town in some kind of way where Mychal was, by him being a good football player, putting Jena High School on the map, creating the revenue for the Jena, giving Jena publicity, having different scouts come in for -- for to scout him and watch him and everything. He was doing a good work for the town. So all of this so-called other charges that he is supposed to have, they were all fine and dandy back then.

KING: All right. Off the face of it, it looks weird.


KING: We know he is convicted. They overturned the conviction. Normally that means you get a new trial or they don't try again.

But why is he still being kept? Why no bail?

SHARPTON: Well, that's why we are in Washington, I asked the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, to meet with us. And he'll be meeting with Martin Luther King III and the parents and their lawyers tomorrow to see if there can be any federal intervention.

This young man's civil rights is being violated. You can't hold someone that now the conviction is overturned, you have not put a bond on him or a bail based on that there's a juvenile charge.

And you must remember, Larry, this started because last September, black students sat under a tree in the schoolyard at Jena High School, and -- a tree that historically only white students sat under. The next day, there were three hangman's nooses reminding black kids of lynching hung there. They would not suspend the kids. When they had recommended that, the school board overturned it.

There was a series of fights. At one point, a young black student was beat up, the white kid given a $100 fine. At another point, a white kid pulled a shot gun...

KING: Did these...

SHARPTON: ...the black kids overpowered him.

KING: Yes.

SHARPTON: They arrested the black kids for stealing the shotgun.

I mean a litany of cases and the only ones charged is these six young men.

KING: Were they...

SHARPTON: That's why you saw thousands of us come out.

KING: But they -- I agree.

But they did beat up a white kid pretty badly, did they?

SHARPTON: And we're not justifying that. But what I'm saying is you can't have six or seven encounters, including a shotgun on black students, including hangman nooses, including beating up a black kid badly and all of those are dismissed, no charges -- in one a $100 fine. But when the black kids fight, they're charged as adults...

KING: So you're saying...

SHARPTON: ...and they're charged with attempted murder and the sneakers are the murder weapon. That's an inequity of justice.

KING: You're saying this definitely, in your opinion, a racial thing?

SHARPTON: I think that there's clearly a pattern here that warrants a federal intervention.


We have the LaSalle Parish Superintendent of Schools, Roy Breithaupt, Jr., provided LARRY KING LIVE with a statement about the handling of the August 2006 noose incident and the December 2006 beating.

And it concludes: "Following an extensive investigation into the incidents, United States Attorney Donald W. Washington verified there was absolutely, one, no connection between the August 2006 noose incident and the December 2006 attack. The incident that occurred in December of 2006 was no schoolyard fight. It was a pre-meditated ambush and an attack by six students against one student. The one student attacked was beat and kicked into a bloody state of unconsciousness. Is there a difference in these two situations? I believe there is."

But he doesn't address why there is no bail for your son, Melissa.

BELL: Well, of course, they're not going to address it, because they don't want nobody to know why there's not no bail for Mychal.

SHARPTON: And they don't address, Larry, why there was no equal treatment on the other case. One doesn't have to prove whether the December fight had anything to do with the nooses. One has to ask why the same D.A. that did not prosecute white students for behavior all of the way through would overcharge -- now the court has said he overcharged the black students.

We're talking about a pattern here. They're trying to play like we're dealing with some kind of "I-Spy" game of connection. We're talking about the pattern of prosecution and the lack of. That's why tens of thousands of people came out, because the imbalance and inequity in the justice system is happening all over America.

KING: Marcus, why do you think -- why do you think they haven't given him bail?

JONES: Well, I think that...

KING: I mean bail is a constitutional requirement.


KING: Everyone is entitled to bail except first degree murder...

JONES: I think that...

KING: Why no bail?

JONES: Well, something illegal is going on with the justice system there in LaSalle Parish. The D.A. know that he had dug himself in a hole that he probably can't get himself out of. I think, really, what he is really trying to do is hold Mychal in there for whatever other reason. But I don't understand why he just won't give my son bail.

BELL: I think by them denying Mychal bail is his one last hope for getting...

JONES: To get his act right.

BELL: ...of getting next to Mychal and holding him...

JONES: That's exactly right.

BELL: ...because he knows sooner or later he's going to have to set him free.

JONES: That's exactly right.

BELL: And this is one more battle for him, is to hold him in there as long as he can.

KING: So what, Melissa, is your next legal step?

BELL: It's to go with -- to the 3rd Circuit Court.

KING: To go to where?

BELL: The 3rd Circuit Court.

KING: In Louisiana?

BELL: Yes, sir. And to go with Reverend Al Sharpton to where we're going tomorrow, to talk to the lawyers tomorrow.

KING: Do you think federally they can do something, Al?

SHARPTON: Yes. I think should inquire -- they can certainly start a public hearing and make the D.A. explain his patterns in terms of prosecution. They could also deal with the fact that there's a Web site up that had listed the Jena 6's home address. They've all been getting threatening phone calls. They can protect them. And they can also raise the question of now Mychal is being harassed in jail.

I've visited Mychal three times in jail. Now he's been put in isolation since the march and been threatened. So the Feds, just as we are celebrating 50 years ago the federal government had to go into Little Rock, we are going to be asking tomorrow the federal government to look into Jena.


We'll follow that up tomorrow.

Marcus Jones and Melissa Bell and Reverend Al Sharpton.

By the way, LARRY KING LIVE invited Justin Barker, the alleged victim in the Jena 6 beating, or his relatives, to appear on the program this evening. The invitation was declined. The Barkers also declined to provide any statement on this case. Also declining our requests for comments were LaSalle Parish D.A. John Reed Walters and Judge J.P. Mauffrey, who has been presiding over Mychal Bell's case.

Meantime, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, Donald Washington, confirms the United States Justice Department and the FBI are aware of allegations about threats against the Jena 6 and their families.

Washington says that the department is taking these allegations seriously and that the FBI and Louisiana law enforcement authorities are investigating them.

Up next, a superstar singer and actress making little history these days. The one and only Reba McEntire fills us in when LARRY KING LIVE returns.


MCENTIRE: So I don't tell him I miss him...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't tell her I need her.

MCENTIRE AND UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's over me, that's where we are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like we might end (INAUDIBLE).


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every 15 minutes (ph).




KING: It's always a great pleasure to welcome Reba McEntire to LARRY KING LIVE.

Her newest album is a runaway hit already. It's "Reba Duets," in which she sings with LeAnn Rimes, Ronnie Dunn, Kelly Clarkson, Rascal Flatts, Trisha Yearwood, Carol King, Kenny Chesney, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Justin Timberlake and Don Henley.

It broke as number one -- it debuted number one on "Billboard's" 200 chart.

How does that make you feel?

MCENTIRE: Oh, well, awesome. That's the first time that's ever happened for me.

KING: The first time breaking out number one?

MCENTIRE: On the 200 chart, yes.

KING: And you've also been named "Billboard's" first woman of the year.

What does that mean?

Do they give you a plaque?


MCENTIRE: Well, I'm going to go up to New York and I'm going to get a little plaque or something at a luncheon. And I -- it's a huge honor. I got on the cover of "Billboard" magazine. And it's a big, big thrill.

KING: You are a crossover person.

MCENTIRE: Whatever that means. I don't -- I guess we're crossing over with...

KING: Well, with (INAUDIBLE) and Broadway...

MCENTIRE: ...and doing different things, yes.

KING: People think Reba, they don't just think country anymore.

MCENTIRE: That's great. That's great.

KING: That's what you wanted, right?

MCENTIRE: Absolutely. I wanted to broaden the horizons of my music and do different things. And when I went to Broadway, I carried the banner of country music up there and then went and did television. The same thing. So my fans went with me. So we had a really wonderful time.

KING: Tell me about putting the album together.

MCENTIRE: Well, it was...

KING: How did it come about?

MCENTIRE: It was Norville Blackstock, my husband and manager's idea to do this. And he said why do just a regular album again? I had already had 30 out -- 30 albums. And so for this being the 31st album, we decided to do a duet album. And we went to work. I started to call, e-mailing, asking all my friends. And thank God they said yes.

KING: In every case was the artist with you?

MCENTIRE: Everybody but Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts. He had lost his voice and so we went ahead and laid the tracks down in the studio and then he came in later to put his voice down. But everybody else was there with the musicians and myself when we recorded.

KING: OK. What was it like to sing with other people?

MCENTIRE: Fun, because I was one of the three Singing McEntires growing up. I always liked to sing with people. I really don't like being solo. I'm a people person. And that's I like doing Broadway so much, because I was working and singing with other people, having a big time. And when I'm singing by myself, I get kind of lonely.

KING: We have an e-mail question from Melody in Latham, Ohio: "Is there any person you wanted to do a duet with who said no?"

MCENTIRE: Yes. I had asked Annie Lennox. And she was really busy and wrote me the nicest e-mail back saying that she was very flattered that I had asked but she can't do it right now. So, hopefully, if I ever get to do another one, she'll be able to do the next one.

KING: She's the one, though?

MCENTIRE: Well, and Steven Perry. I asked him. He said he was busy and couldn't do it. So two people I'd really love to work with.

KING: Does that mean you'll never speak to them again?

MCENTIRE: No. Not at all. I understand a hundred percent. They got right back to me and told me that they couldn't do it. And I understood. I was just very thrilled that they answered, you know, my call.

KING: How long to put the whole thing together from inception to completion?

MCENTIRE: Oh, over a year, because when we were playing the Las Vegas Hilton last June, we started calling. And then it's just been released the 18th of this month. So over a year.

KING: Where did you record?

MCENTIRE: Three of the songs -- Don Henley, Carole King and LeAnn Rimes -- here in Los Angeles. And the rest were done in our Starstruck Studios in Nashville.

KING: And did it take long?

Did the cuts take long to do?


MCENTIRE: No. No. The musicians are really, really good. Our pickers in Nashville, L.A. And they laid down the tracks while we were singing and they feed off me, I feed off of them. And if you have a problem with the tempo or the key is too high or too low, we can change it right then.

I like it better, to perform with the band.

KING: She's very special. She's a great talent. She's up, by the way, receiving dozens of awards already. She's up for the female vocalist of the year in the country music group.

MCENTIRE: Isn't that nice?

KING: Yes. There'll be another award, right?

How many awards do you figure?

You own them.


KING: When we come back, a special guest calls in, the first "American Idol," who calls Reba her idol, next on LARRY KING LIVE.


MCENTIRE AND KELLY CLARKSON: Because of you, I'll never stray too far from the sidewalk. Because of you I learned to play on the straight side so I don't get hurt. Because of you, I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me. Because of you, I am afraid. Because of you. Because of you.



KING: We're back.

And joining us on the phone is Kelly Clarkson, the Grammy winner. Her latest album is "My December." She's the winner of the first season of "American Idol". Pairs up with Reba on "Reba Duets".

By the way, their version of "Because Of You" hit number two on "Billboard's" Hot Country Songs chart.

Kelly is about to leave for Australia with Reba's husband.



KING: Right. I'm only -- I only speak the truth.

CLARKSON: That was -- that was bad taste.

MCENTIRE: That was bad. That was (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: Attention -- tabloids.



MCENTIRE: I think we need the press, yes.

KING: Explain that.

MCENTIRE: Well, Kelly is now managed by my husband and my manager, Norville Blackstock.


KING: And so he's being a good manager. Her album is out in Australia. He will tour with Australia.

MCENTIRE: They're going to go down there and do a lot of press.

Well, Kelly, you tell Larry.

You know more about it than I do.

KING: What are you going to do there, Kelly?

CLARKSON: Oh, we're doing some (INAUDIBLE) stuff. We've got some gigs down there this time. We're going to tour there in March, so we're kind of doing some set up work, just because I haven't gotten to promo anywhere but the U.S. so far, so.

KING: Is it true that Reba is your idol?

CLARKSON: Yes, pretty much. It's just like -- because all of my friends laugh at me, because I look like such an idiot in the public eye. But, yes, no I totally had the posters on my wall and -- and she's great, though. I mean you're talking to her right now. She's the light at the end of the tunnel, so.

KING: How do you react when you hear something like that?

MCENTIRE: Oh, I'm very flattered. Kelly and I are good friends, good buddies. And I admire her. I love her work ethic. She's a hardworking woman. She knows what she wants and very, very talented. And we have great fun together on stage, off stage, whether we're out eating supper or walking the trails at Yosemite Park. Just -- we just have a great time together. She's a good girl.

KING: Did you watch her win on "American Idol?"


I watched her win and then she asked me to come to Vegas to sing with her at the -- what was it, one of the last shows there on the "American Idol" show, Kelly, the finals?

CLARKSON: Yes. It was like they found -- after -- right after I had won, they did like the top 30. And they surprised me, actually with -- they all knew that I was such a goober (ph) fan of hers. And they were like -- they didn't tell you this, that you were going to get to be able to sing with, you know, they were going to try and get whoever your idol was to come on the show and sing with you.

And I was like, you got Reba?

And then they all were like, yes. And I flipped out. So.

KING: I think that's nice.


KING: All right, well, how about the selection of the song on the Duets album, Kelly?

CLARKSON: Well, I mean actually, I don't know if she's said this yet, but we actually recorded a different song at first for the Duets album. When she asked me we went through songs. And then we did "Crossroads," the show on CMT, where we both kind of see each other's music with each other on stage.

And whenever we sing "Because of You," Norville, I think, is the one who was like oh, god. He was like you all have to cut that. And Reba has always liked that song, well she's told me every time we've run into each other.

So she asked me if we could redo it instead of the other song we picked "Because of You," and we did it on the album. And of course I'm like I song I wrote and have you singing it?

Sure. Yes.

So it was a really cool. But it is a really personal song, so it was -- it is kind of weird to re-do it. But it's perfect, because she has kind of a similar background in a different way with the song, so.

KING: Not like the old Tony Bennett "Because of You?"



CLARKSON: No. But I love that song.

KING (SINGING): You remember that, right -- because of you, there is a song in my heart.

MCENTIRE: That was -- this is totally different, yes.


MCENTIRE: I like that singing you've got there, Larry.

KING: Yes.



KING: Hang tough. Don't -- don't -- don't think.


KING: Don't -- all right, what was the recording like, Kelly?

What was it like to record with Reba?

CLARKSON: Honestly, the coolest thing I've ever seen in the studio happened whenever I first recorded with her in the studio. And it was -- I went to Nashville and they had, I mean, literally the entire band, everybody that played on the record was in the room with us. And I was like -- and at first I was like, are they?

And like I didn't say anything out loud because obviously I'm a rookie, I'm learning, you know?

And I didn't want to be like are they staying or -- I didn't -- I didn't know what they were doing there.


CLARKSON: And then they just started playing and we all did the track like in the same room. And that's normal for pop artists. I don't know if it is for country, but that's normal for pop artists.

So it was really cool. We got to play around with different keys and I got to actually meet all the musicians. So it was really cool.

KING: How old are you now, Kelly?


KING: Oh. I've got ties older than you.


KING: Anyways...


KING: We have an e-mail question, Kelly, the answer should interest you. It interests me. It's from Rebecca: "I read somewhere, Reba, that you believe that you were a man in a previous life. I've never heard you mention reincarnation before, did you say that?"

MCENTIRE: Yes, I did, because I -- I think it was meant for me to be kind of in a man's world. I grew up on a working cattle ranch. I worked just like my older brother. I came over into the music business. I was in the rodeo industry -- all three men's world. And I learned how the adjust to each -- each one of those.

KING: Do you have thoughts about where you were and what era or what...

MCENTIRE: The wild West. I'm so drawn to the West -- Westerns, cowboys, rodeo, everything like that.

KING: Jesse James could have been -- maybe you were a villain?

MCENTIRE: No, I think I was a good guy. (LAUGHTER)

KING: Kelly, what do you think you were?

CLARKSON: This is my first time so -- I'm a first timer.

MCENTIRE: She's a first timer.

CLARKSON: I'm not -- this is my first time here. I'm a rookie. So in my other lives, maybe I'll be a little smarter and wiser.

KING: If there's anything you're not now, it's a man.



Thank you very much.


KING: Because no one would look at you.

CLARKSON: I need one, Larry. But I don't -- I'm not one.

KING: (INAUDIBLE) if that's a man.


KING: Kelly, the best of luck on the trip.

CLARKSON: No. Thank you very much. Thank you for having me.

KING: Go get them!

CLARKSON: Have fun, Reba.


KING: They're watching us in Australia now.

CLARKSON: Oh, right on. We'll I'll see you on in, well, a day. So.

KING: You'll be there.


MCENTIRE: Have a good trip. Bye-bye. See you when you get back.

CLARKSON: All right.

Bye, you all.

KING: Reba remains with .

Are you ready for some last down -- laughs, rather?

Download our newest pod cast at or on iTunes. It's the Emmy winner -- that's right -- Emmy winner Kathy Griffin. She's in unusual form, taking on the Emmys, Britney, even Jesus. It's the LARRY KING/Kathy Griffin pod cast, available at or iTunes.

Coming up next, one of Reba's superstars Duet partners has called in.

Any chance of any others?


Don't go away.



MCENTIRE: I will not make the same mistake...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) she's Reba. So I would have gone back to do anything. I would have sang "Mary Had A Little Lamb" on her record.


MCENTIRE: Only time will mend these broken hearts again.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what Reba has, you know, when you turn on the radio, that familiarity of her voice. It's unique and she's her own.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You put amazing players in a room and together and amazing things happen. And she sounds beautiful.



MCENTIRE: Only time will mend these broken hearts again.


KING: We have a surprise guest for Reba McEntire and come in surprise guest and sign in, please. I feel like I'm doing ...

FAITH HILL, COUNTRY SINGER (on phone): Hi, Reba. It is Faith.

MCENTIRE: I knew it was. I had a feeling.

HILL: You had a feeling, huh? How are you?

MCENTIRE: How are you? Happy birthday, belated.

HILL: I'm doing good. Congratulations on all of this for you with the record, and I'm just so honored to have been asked to be a part of it, and you know how much I love you, but it is just an honor to have been asked to be a part of the record.

Hi, Larry, how you doing?

KING: Hi, Faith. How is Tim?

HILL: Well, he is good. We have the kiddies in bed, and he is watching "Monday Night Football," so he is very happy.

KING: Give him my best, of course.

HILL: I will.

KING: But what song did you do and how did you pick it for the "Duets"?

HILL: Well, we did a song "Sleeping with the Telephone" and it was a song that we chose together after listening to many, many songs and Reba called and asked me to be a part of this album, and it was not even a breath, yes. I think all of us were in agreement to say yes to sing with Reba McEntire, but a couple of months of listening to songs, and you know, it was interesting, because I thought how cool it would be to do something really different with Reba, but then this song came along and she sent it to me called "Sleeping with the Telephone" and it just sounded a classic Reba McEntire song.

And I thought right away it would be the right one for us to do together. I am not sure that, I think that she probably feels the same way, but you would have to ask. How do you feel, Reba?

MCENTIRE: I am so glad you said yes to that one, because I loved it. It really ...

KING: It relates to service people?

MCENTIRE: Well, Faith's husband, her character in the song is married to a serviceman and I'm married to a policeman and so we are both watching our men go off and take care of our people, here in this country, and we are sleeping with the telephone hoping that we don't get bad news.

KING: Faith, because two people are stars doesn't necessarily mean they sing well together, right?

HILL: Yeah.

KING: How did it work with you and Reba?

HILL: Well, because I have sung just about every Reba McEntire song that exists known to man. And I have tried to sing exactly like her at times. I don't know. I just -- I definitely know her inflections and I could imitate her word-for-word on any song, but, but I just think that -- she probably had an idea of what she wanted on this album and knew that the artists she wanted to include and probably - Reba, she is a smart woman as you can tell sitting in front of her, Larry.

KING: Right.

HILL: And she knows what will work for her, and I just think that it was a honor, beyond honors the be asked to be part of this album.

KING: So you accepted right away?

HILL: Yes, right away. I couldn't believe it. And unusual, too, to be able to sing together in a studio. Normally, duets or at least the ones I have been a part of which has only been my husband actually, we have sung separately and never sung together at the same time. So it was ...


HILL: Yeah, it takes a lit built of the romance out of the song for the fans out there, but it is true.

MCENTIRE: We had a great time in the studio together.

HILL: We had an awesome time.

MCENTIRE: It was so funny. We would go out there and sing and then come back to the control room and we'd listen to what we said and all of the musicians out there going back out and we would be back there talking about our kids and what they are doing and how they are growing and how they are growing and what they are doing this summer and all of that stuff and do you want to go back to sing? And well, no, we want to visit just a little bit longer.

HILL: This was Nashville or ...

MCENTIRE: Nashville.

HILL: We are good visitors.


HILL: We're good visitors.

KING: I want to get it right. Over the summer, Faith Hill told off an overly aggressive fan who groped her husband, country singer Tim McGraw during a concert in Louisiana, what happened?

HILL: Well, you just kind of said what happened. I -- that was just about it, what happened. Yes, it happened, and I responded I guess like any red-blooded woman would. I don't really appreciate someone grabbing my husband's private parts. Would you, Reba?

MCENTIRE: No. Absolutely not.

HILL: But - yes ...

KING: So you would have done what she did?

MCENTIRE: Oh, I don't know what I would have done in that situation. I just really don't know. You don't know what you would do in any situation, and I am sure it shocked you at the beginning like -- what? And you know, you don't know what you would do. So way to go, Faith.

HILL: Well, it is not normally something that I would choose to do, you know, but it just happened, and it was a moment. It had already really been taken care of by my husband, but it just, I guess you had to have been there in my shoes. I don't know. I have no regrets.

MCENTIRE: Good girl. Good girl.

KING: And now it's on YouTube, right.

MCENTIRE: Yes. That is what I hear from a lot of people, it was. Yes.

KING: Faith and Time are celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary on October 6.

MCENTIRE: Congratulations.

KING: They are a great couple. Best wishes on the album, it is called "The Hits," right.

HILL: Oh, mine, yes. Yes, it is. And Reba's is called "The Duets."

KING: And we can praise you, too.

MCENTIRE: Absolutely. Congratulations. Good luck on yours, too.

HILL: You, too, Reba, and we will talk more and enjoy your conversation and congratulations again. It was a huge honor and I just love you so much and you know that, and I just love seeing you out there.

MCENTIRE: Thanks, Faith. I love you, too, and tell Tim and the girls hi for me.

HILL: Thank you. I will. We will talk soon. Bye, Larry.

KING: Bye, dear.

HILL: Bye-bye.

KING: Next, more surprises in store for Reba? We won't know till we come back. I am the last to know, right after this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, POP SINGER: We don't have similar music recorded, so, but I am from Tennessee and I grew up on country music.

TRISHA YEARWOOD, COUNTRY SINGER: I talked about Reba a lot in my career not only what a great, you know, long before I knew her as a person, but just the inspiration to female artists.

KENNY CHESNEY, COUNTRY SINGER: She is a legend in our business and a person who has meant a lot to me.



KING: Our guest is Reba McEntire and the new album is "Reba Duets" and it is already number one and out a very short time and amazing hit for an amazing performer, and we have another surprise for Reba, a special taped message. Let's take a look.


LEANN RIMES, COUNTRY SINGER: Hey, Larry and Reba, this is LeAnn Rimes calling in from Dallas, Texas, and I'm performing at the Myerson Symphony Hall but I just wanted to take a moment to tell you, Reba, how much I adore you and wanted to thank you so much for being a part of your "Duets" record. When you called, I jumped apt the chance, because it has been a dream of mine for so long since I was little girl so thank you for making a dream of mine come true.

I have learned a watch from watching you over the years and still learning from you and it has been so wonderful to to know you as a friend, and I just adore you, so thank you so much for letting me be a part of the record, and hopefully, I will see you soon. Love you, bye.


KING: That is LeAnn Rimes and what was it like to sing with her?

MCENTIRE: Wonderful. Wonderful. I had to have her on the album, because I have watched her grow up. I remember first time meeting her as a young, young lady when she came to our Starstruck offices there over at Fairgrounds Court in Nashville, and her mom and dad and little bitty girl and she has blossomed into the beautiful woman and she has handled the business. She went through rough times, but she has come around and she is very savvy, very smart and I love to hang out with her.

KING: What did she come to your office for?

MCENTIRE: They were looking for management. And we had, Norville (ph) had a management team, and she was talking to him about it, but Norville thought she should take her time and get her education and grow up and then come back to pursue the career later, and she didn't want any part of that. She wanted to go then, and that is what she did.

KING: What does a good manager do?

MCENTIRE: A good manager takes care of his artists, he gets involved with their career and helps them in all facets of the career.

KING: Selecting music to whether they should do this engagement to ...

MCENTIRE: Protecting them.

KING: P.R. All encompassing.

MCENTIRE: And how much P.R. you should do and what P.R. to do and not to overload you, because sometimes when you talk too much, you say too much our say the wrong things and you get tired and you get a little bit careless and say things that will hurt you later or you could -- and you know, he has got the make sure that you are fresh, and you are not tired and you're not burned out.

Norville, when we first started to work together, he realized that I was working constantly. I had never had a break. I never took vacations. And so when he and I got together, and got married, we took vacations. Took the families on vacations, and that helps to recharge to a batteries and while we are on vacation and at the end of the vacation, we start to think of great things for the career.

KING: Does the agent report to the manager?


KING: We have a phone call from Louisville, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Reba, how are you?

MCENTIRE: I'm doing fine. How are you doing?

CALLER: Excellent. Excellent. I am sitting up waiting and wanted to see you before having to get up early in the morning for work.

MCENTIRE: Oh, thanks.

CALLER: But I have a question for you.


CALLER: That is a hard one, but hopefully you can answer it.

MCENTIRE: Alrighty.

CALLER: I have listened to the album for the last two or three weeks and we got it early at the "Oprah" show and all of the songs are my favorite so what is your favorite single.

MCENTIRE: Oh, that is a hard one. That is a hard one. I can't answer that. They were all my babies when we found them, and to get to listen to them over and over and to live with them.

KING: Has any one jumped off of the album as a single?

MCENTIRE: Well, all of them.

KING: They are all being played?

MCENTIRE: Well, right now, just Kelly Clarkson's "Because of You" has been the first is single and we don't know the second single yet. I did ask a lot of busy people to come sing with me, so consequently they have got songs out on the charts themselves.

KING: So they are competing with themselves.

MCENTIRE: Yeah. So that is a hard thing and we have to find somebody with the right timing is the right timing on the project and it could run for a I don't know how long, because it is great songs and great talent singing on it.

KING: Anderson Cooper, the host of AC 360 is standing by in New York and he will top off the top of the hour with a full two stories and reports. What is up, Anderson?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Larry, tonight on 360, the big story. He's been compared to Hitler, he says he wants Israel wiped off of the map. Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a controversial stop at Columbia University today. Columbia's president let him have it calling him a petty and cruel dictator, and that's not all.

We are going to talk to Columbia's president tonight. We're also going to pick apart Ahmadinejad's remarks. His statements on nuclear weapons, women's rights, homosexuality, which he -- denied that there were any gays in Iran and the Holocaust. We counter the propaganda with the facts and keeping them honest.

And potential breaking news on a story we've been closely following. Right now a jury is deliberating the case of polygamist leader Warren Jeffs and we could have a verdict soon. We're going to be live in Utah for that. We have all that, "Raw Politics" and more at the top of the hour, Larry.

KING: Thanks, Anderson. Has that jury been out a while?

COOPER: They have been out. Well, since Friday, yeah.

KING: Anderson Cooper 10:00 Eastern and 7:00 Pacific and don't miss it. AC 360 and back with Reba after this.


RIMES: This is my dream. It is.

MCENTIRE: Thanks for doing this.

RIMES: I am so excited. I love it.




KING: So which Reba duet are you most excited about. Head to and vote. We have got them all listed so check it out and vote. Reba is our guest. The album "Reba Duets" is a major, major hit.

And is it true that when you started you sounded like Dolly Parton or Loretta Lynn and you had to find your own sound?

MCENTIRE: Right. I did. And I could sound like Dolly, I could sound like Loretta. It depends on whose song I was singing.

KING: That was not good, right.

MCENTIRE: Right. Mama told me, Reba, you've got to find your own voice.

And so it really was not until I was recording with Jerry Kennedy at Polygram Mercury Records that they presented a song to me and there was not a demo for me to listen to, and Peg Robbins (ph) our piano player on the session played it for me and that is when the real Reba sound came out.

KING: This album, doing a duet album and were you inspired by other artists who have done duets like George Strait and the like and Willie Nelson who has have done duets and did that affect your doing a duet?

MCENTIRE: Did it want to make me do that? Well, because I sang with Pank (ph) and Suzy (ph) when I was growing up, that made me want to do duets, and I loved listening to Merle Haggard and Bonnie Owens and George and Tammy, and Dolly and Kenny, so to get to do duets is really, it is not so much about the business and singing with people, but you just get to hang out with the friends.

KING: And country people do it more than other artists, right?

MCENTIRE: I guess. I think so, yeah.

KING: And Springfield, Illinois, hello.

CALLER: Hi Larry, hi Reba.

KING: Hey.

MCENTIRE: Hi, there.

CALLER: Hey, there. Listen, I just want to tell you that your music means so much to me and helped me through a rough time.

My brother passed away about eight, nine years ago and that song "Walk On" helps me out every time I felt bad for him and I want to thank you for the bottom of the heart for that and also what songs, what helps you through the rough times.

MCENTIRE: Thank you for saying that. And I agree that music is very, very healing and it helps a lot. "Walk On" is one of those that makes me feel really good and it is one they like to sing when I am on stage. It helps me a lot, and I'm glad it helped you, too, and I'm so sorry to hear about the brother.

KING: Does it move to know that you touch people like that.

MCENTIRE: Yes, and also the songwriters are tons with who I hope are hearing that and hearing that lady say, that because they are the ones who write the song and I'm just kind of the messenger.

KING: You good at picking hits?

MCENTIRE: Not to sound egotistical yes, and I will tell you why I don't mean that sound egotistical, because it comes from my heart. When I hear a song that really touches me and makes the hair on my arms stand up and touches my heart I know that when I sing it, I can touch your heart. It is just a gift that God gave me.

KING: You either have that or you do not.

MCENTIRE: Yeah, that is a gift.

KING: So you pick a lot of your tunes?

MCENTIRE: I pick the tunes. Everybody can say that is a good song a good song. And I can say, yeah, it is for me because I don't feel it in my heart and if I don't feel it in my heart, I don't need to be singing it.

KING: We will be back with the remaining moments with Reba McEntire and we will introduce another duets album.



KING: Our guest is Reba McEntire and the Reba McEntire's "Duets" album is already a major hit. I have been singing with people for years. I know you don't know this.

MCENTIRE: No I didn't.

KING: No you don't. No you don't.

I have my own duets album, breaking it tonight, and there is the cover.

MCENTIRE: Who are you singing with?

KING: Ah, we have a video for you.

MCENTIRE: All right.

KING: A little self-promotion here. Watch.


MCENTIRE: That is great.

KING: And there is more, too.

MCENTIRE: That is great.

KING: Now I am going to sing with you.

MCENTIRE: OK. What do you want to sing?

KING: Let's do my "I Left My Heart in San Francisco."

MCENTIRE: I left my heart ...

KING: In San Francisco high on a hill it calls for me to be where little cable cars climb halfway to the stars the mornings a fog and they chill the air, I don't care.

MCENTIRE: Will that make the next one?

KING: You will make the next one. You will make the next video. What is next, Reba?

MCENTIRE: Well, what is next? We will just keep promoting this and tour next year and sing these songs out on the road. And keep working.

KING: Do you like touring?

MCENTIRE: I love touring, I love to get out there.

KING: How many cities do you do?

MCENTIRE: Depends on which year. When I was doing the TV show I did the TV show from August to March and toured in the summer, but some years in the past I have done up to 80 shows a year.

KING: Why is that show off? It was fun.

MCENTIRE: They canceled us.

Thanks. I thought we were fun and funny and people told us that they loved to sit down with the whole family and watch our show, and that was the greatest compliment in the world.

KING: How long did you do it?

MCENTIRE: Six years, six seasons.

KING: Six years. Do you miss it?

MCENTIRE: I miss it terribly.

KING: Because of the show or the people?

MCENTIRE: Both, both. Great bunch of people to work with and great stories and great messages to tell on television, and I just absolutely loved it. I loved the schedule, everything.

KING: How big a tour are you going to do?

MCENTIRE: Well, it is just getting started right now and we have January the 15th through February 15th booked, and then we will see how those go and continue to book the rest of the year.

KING: You air travel or bus travel?

MCENTIRE: They bus, I fly.

KING: Good thinking.


KING: Ever forget the city you are in.

MCENTIRE: Oh, yeah, and the state. Everybody in Georgia put your hands together. We were in Florida. Cricket. There wasn't anybody clapping.

KING: That has to be ...

MCENTIRE: I quit doing that, yeah.

KING: Now this is a hit. When do you record again? You should space it.

MCENTIRE: It will be a while. It will be a long time before I record again. I have to start looking for songs and I will start soon looking for songs.

KING: Now wouldn't it be obvious in a copycat business that someone would say to you, let's do another "Duets" album?

MCENTIRE: Well, they already have.

KING: It seems logical.

MCENTIRE: It seems logical, but I will wait a while. It takes a long time to find great songs and everybody is looking and you have got to find the perfect songs and especially for duets, because that is harder.

KING: You ever pick a song that you thought couldn't miss and missed?

MCENTIRE: Oh, yeah. But I have picked songs, too ...

KING: That you didn't think would do much ...

MCENTIRE: That we had in the album that we selected other songs and those are still sitting in those albums never released as singles and I think they would have been monsters and that means a great hit.

KING: Well, it ain't a science.


KING: If it were a science, this would be a different business.


KING: And nobody is beating the game better than you.

MCENTIRE: Well, thank you, sir. Appreciate it.

KING: Thank you, doll.

Reba McEntire. The album is "Reba Duets" and by the way, mine is not for sale. No pressure there.

I will put it on your iTunes. Check out our Web site and you can download the current podcast, comedienne Kathy Griffin and we also have upcoming guest lists and you can send them an e-mail or submit a video e-mail and be sure to participate in our Reba duet quick vote.

It's all at and now without further adieu with a big show coming, we go to New York. AC 360. Here's Anderson Cooper.