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For Immediate Release:

MELISSA ETHERIDGE, SHERYL CROW AND ROD STEWART TEAM UP FOR A CHARITY AUCTION AT HARD ROCK CAFE LOS ANGELES

Designer Gibson Guitar Auction to Benefit The Expedition Inspiration Fund for Breast Cancer Research


Orlando, Fla., February 16, 2005 — Music and entertainment superstars including Sheryl Crow, Rod Stewart, Ellen DeGeneres, Melissa Etheridge, David Carradine, Mick Fleetwood, Joe Perry of Aerosmith and Brian Johnson of AC/DC are joining forces in an effort to raise money and awareness to help in the fight against breast cancer. On May 3, 2005 Hard Rock Cafe Los Angeles will host the first ever "Designer Gibson Guitar Auction" to benefit the Expedition Inspiration Fund for Breast Cancer Research.

Expedition Inspiration, the national nonprofit organization that raises awareness and funds for breast cancer research, and Hard Rock Cafe will auction 50 Gibson Les Paul SG Special guitars decorated by music and entertainment superstars live at the Cafe and online at juliensauctions.com. Musical giant Gibson Guitar has donated the guitars that will feature the original artwork of the celebrity who designed it. Money raised will go to promote promising new research at the USC/Norris and UCLA/Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Centers, both leaders in cancer prevention and research.

"Breast cancer is the leading cause of death for women 35 to 54, and Expedition Inspiration has been instrumental in calling attention to the breast cancer epidemic and desperate need for a cure," said Téa Leoni, actress and auction chair for Expedition Inspiration. "We are proud to partner with Hard Rock Cafe and Gibson Guitar to bring this unique auction that will widely appeal to music and entertainment fans and hopefully raise a lot of money."

Owners of the world's greatest collection of rock 'n' roll memorabilia and supporters of various philanthropic causes since it was founded in London in 1971, Hard Rock Cafe is a natural venue for this event that allows celebrities to showcase their creativity and decorate guitars for charity.

Brian Siemienas, Director of Marketing, Hard Rock International commented, "Hard Rock's business and abiding passion is to make the earth a safer, healthier and better place to live, and we are grateful that the participating celebrities share our vision."

The live Expedition Inspiration auction at Hard Rock Cafe Los Angeles begins at 8:30 p.m. on May 3, 2005, and is by invitation only. However, online bidding for the specially designed Gibson guitars will open to the general public prior to the event on April 24, 2005 at www.juliensauctions.com.

"Gibson Guitar is proud to be part of such an exciting and worthwhile event," said Henry Juszkiewicz, Chairman and CEO, Gibson Guitar. "The musicians who are designing these guitars continue to be leaders in the music industry and much like Gibson Guitar work to contribute to worthy causes such as this. We join in this effort to help find the cure."

About Expedition Inspiration

Expedition Inspiration is a national nonprofit organization that raises awareness and funds to benefit breast cancer research through research project funding, public education, and patient support. Additionally, through organized and sponsored outdoor endeavors, Expedition Inspiration promotes the physical and mental well being of breast cancer survivors. Since its inception in 1993, Expedition Inspiration has been instrumental in calling attention to the breast cancer epidemic and the urgent need to find a cure. For more information, please visit expeditioninspiration.org.

About Gibson Guitar

Gibson is known worldwide for producing classic models in every major style of fretted instrument. Founded in 1894 in Kalamazoo, MI, and headquartered in Nashville since 1984, Gibson Guitar Corporation's family of brands includes Epiphone, Dobro, Kramer, Steinberger, Tobias, Slingerland and Maestro. Baldwin, founded in 1862 in Cincinnati, is one of the oldest and most respected American piano makers, and the Baldwin Company, which also includes Wurlitzer, joined the Gibson family in 2001. Gibson's new digital guitar represents the biggest technological advance for the electric guitar since the instrument was invented 70 years ago. Visit Gibson's website at gibson.com or gibson.com/press/.

About Hard Rock Cafe

Hard Rock Cafe International, one of the most globally-recognized music, entertainment and dining brands, has a network of 122 signature Hard Rock Cafes in 41 countries and owns the world's greatest collection of music memorabilia. Known for its collectible and fashion merchandise, live concerts, Hard Rock Live performance venues, hardrock.com and Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos, Hard Rock Cafe International, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of London-based The Rank Group Plc (NASDAQ: RANKY). For more information on Hard Rock, visit hardrock.com.

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