AND NOW HERE'S THE NEWS: What was Simple Minds doing in L.A. recently? Among other things, putting the finishing touches on an upcoming live two-album set, which is due out from A&M Records this summer, perhaps with a new song attached. . . . If you're headed for England this week, stop by the Secret Policeman's Third Ball, the latest music and comedy extravaganza organized (and benefiting) Amnesty International. The concert package is slated to include performances by Peter Gabriel, Duran Duran, Mark Knopfler, Joan Armatrading, Nik Kershaw, Lou Reed, Jackson Browne and many others. . . . Ben E. King was at the London Palladium earlier this month, riding the success of his "Stand By Me" single, which has been at the top of the U.K. charts. When King returned for an encore, he was joined on stage by Ron Wood, Foreigner's Mick Jones, Simply Red's Mick Hucknall, ex-Zeppeliner John Paul Jones (Robert Plant stayed in the audience), Bad Company's Simon Kirke and Willy DeVille. . . . Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens has signed a solo deal with Warner Bros. Records. . . . And speaking of guitarists: The legendary Duane Eddy has been at work on a new album (for Capitol) that will include a cameo appearance by Paul McCartney on an old Wings tune, "So Glad to See You Here." Eddy has also performed on one of the tracks for the upcoming album by another guitar great--George Harrison, whose Jeff Lynne-produced album is due out later this year.