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Friday, February 21, 2020

Rod Stewart closed the 2020 Brit Awards at London's O2 Arena on Feb. 18 with a reunion with two of his former Faces bandmates -- guitarist Ronnie Wood and drummer Kenney Jones. Stewart first performed a solo rendition the Crazy Horse song "I Don't Want to Talk About It," which he dedicated to the mother of Brit Awards host Jack Whitehall, joking that she was "throwing herself" at him earlier in the night. Rod then said, "This show may be 40 years old, but the Faces are 50 years old," referring to the bluesy hard rock outfit that formed out of Small Faces decades ago in the U.K. "There used to be five of us, and now there's three," he said, before inviting out the fellow two surviving members -- Wood and Jones -- for a little reunion in the form of the Faces' scuzzy booze-blues classic "Stay With Me." The 74-year-old Stewart also contributed some dance moves that stole the finale. - Billboard, 2/18/20...... David BowieA rare David Bowie album called I'm Only Dancing (The Soul Tour 74) has been announced for release for Record Store Day (Apr. 18). The LP collects previously unreleased tapes from Bowie shows in Nashville and Detroit in 1974 and will be released on 2LP and 2CD format, and joins a previously announced Bowie album, ChangesNowBowie, which will also be released on Record Store Day. In a press release, Parlophone Records said I'm Only Dancing (The Soul Tour 74) "was recorded mostly during David's performance at the Michigan Palace, Detroit on 20th October, 1974, with the encores taken from the Municipal Auditorium, Nashville on 30th November, 1974." ChangesNowBowie, a 9-track album culled from a 1996 session with longtime Bowie bassist Gail Ann Dorsey, guitarist Reeves Gabrels and producer Mark Plati during rehearsals for a 50th birthday gig at Madison Square Garden, was previously announced for Record Store Day release in January. - Billboard, 2/20/20...... A remastered version of the classic live Elvis Presley film That's The Way It Is will be screened in select cinemas in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Australia and New Zealand for one night only on Apr. 22. Originally released in Nov. 1970, the Denis Sanders-directed documentary was filmed during a series of shows the King played in Las Vegas in 1970. Tickets will go on sale on Feb. 26. Meanwhile, a Baz Luhrmann-directed biopic of Presley is currently in the works, with Tom Hanks set to play the late singer's manager Colonel Tom Parker. - New Musical Express, 2/20/20...... Ozzy Osbourne attended an album release party for his new solo album Ordinary Man at L.A.'s Rainbow Bar and Grill on the Sunset Strip on Feb. 20. With wife Sharon Osbourne, daughter Kelly Osbourne, and others in his sizable entourage including Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith also in attendance, Ozzy held court in the back booth for two full hours as tracks from the new LP played at top volume, the walls of the venue papered with photos from all different phases of his career. Osbourne, who was walking with the help of a cane and holding onto the arm of a male friend as he entered and exited the venue, recently told the UK tabloid The Sun that he is in "unbelievable pain 24/7" after a fall at his home in Feb. 2019 aggravated an old neck injury. In January, he revealed he had been diagnosed with a type of Parkinson's disease known as PRKN 2, a milder form of the progressive nervous system disorder. His health issues caused him to announce on Feb. 20 that he's postponing planned U.S. and Canadian dates on his "No More Tours 2" while he seeks treatment overseas. "I cannot go out on the road, until I'm 100 percent confident that I can pull it off," Ozzy said in an interview with Radio.com. "If I go out now and I can't carry on, people are gonna think I've lost the plot, ya know. So I'm not gonna go out there until I can give them the show that I want to give them, because it's not fair to them. I mean I've waited this long. I'm intending on going back out on the road," he added. The 27-date tour, with Marilyn Manson supporting, had been slated to kick off in May. Ordinary Man is currently available for streaming on Spotify.com. - Billboard, 2/21/20...... Neil YoungAfter becoming an official American citizen in January, Neil Young is already exercising his First Amendment rights with a scathing open letter to US Pres. Donald Trump that begins with the phrase: "You are a disgrace to my country." Young posted the lengthy screed on his Neil Young Archives Times-Contrarian website on Feb. 18 with a featured cover image of an angry young boy riding a bike with the American flag waving behind. "Your mindless destruction of our shared natural resources, our environment and our relationships with friends around the world is unforgiveable," the singer/songwriter wrote. "Your policies, decisions and short term thinking continue to exacerbate the Climate Crisis.... The United States of America, my country, is not a green on one of your branded gold courses that you can ride around on and damage so that other players cannot shoot straight," he added. Young also slammed the president for using Young's Grammy-winning classic rock anthem "Rockin' in the Free World" after kicking off his 2016 Republican presidential candidate announcement with the track, a song Young says he wrote back in 1989 as a critique of former Pres. George H. W. Bush's administration and his lack of care toward the poor in America. "'Keep on Rockin' in the Free World' is not a song you can trot out at one of your rallies," Young wrote. "Perhaps you could have been a bass player and played in a rock and roll band. That way you could be on stage at a rally every night in front of your fans, if you were any good, and you might be... Every time 'Keep on Rockin' in the Free World' or one of my songs is played at your rallies, I hope you hear my voice. Remember it is the voice of a tax-paying US citizen who does not support you. Me." Before ascending to the presidency, Pres. Trump attended multiple Young concerts over the years and even sat next to Patti Smith in the first couple of rows at a 2006 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young reunion show at The Theater in Madison Square Garden in New York City. "He's got something very special," Trump said in the interview at the time of the concert. "I've listened to his music for years." - Billboard, 2/19/20...... As he grants new interviews to help publicize his latest album American Standard, James Taylor told the UK paper The Guardian that his good friend Joni Mitchell is "coming back" with new music soon as she recovers from a brain aneurysm she suffered in March of 2015 and was found unconscious at her home. Taylor revealed the two have recently reconnected and that he "recently sort of re-engaged with Joni, and that's been wonderful." "She came to a show of mine recently, at the Hollywood Bowl, which was an unusual thing for her to do," Taylor said. Going on to seemingly reveal a comeback for the iconic folk singer, he added: "She's recovering, she's coming back -- which is an amazing thing to be able to do -- and I wonder what she has to tell us about that╔ I think she's coming back musically╔ It's amazing to see her come back to the surface." Mitchell's most recent album, 2007's Shine, is set to be released on vinyl later in 2020. Taylor also told The Guardian that he fears he may have played a role in the demise of the Beatles by giving John Lennon hard drugs. Lennon's issues with heroin have long been rumoured to have contributed to the band deciding to break-up in 1969, a year after they met Taylor, who was at the time battling his own opioid addiction, and signed to their Apple Records label. Describing his drug use, he said: "You used to be able to buy something called Collis Browne's Chlorodyne, which was an old-fashioned medication. Essentially, it was a tincture of opium, so you'd drink a couple of bottles and you could take the edge off." But Taylor added he isn't absolutely sure it was he who introduced Lennon to hard drugs. "They were leaving as I was coming in. I often came in early and would sit in the control room and listen to them recording -- and hear playbacks of what they had just cut." Asked whether the band was "unravelling" at that stage, he adds: "Well, it was a slow unravelling, but it was also an extremely creative unravelling." Taylor subsequently left Apple Records, beat his addictions in rehab and moved to Los Angeles, where he recorded his breakthrough record Sweet Baby James featuring vocals from Carole King. - New Musical Express/WENN, 2/17/20...... Speaking of the Beatles, the Fab Four's Apple Corps and Subafilms, which owns the Yellow Submarine trademark, have been granted a $77 million default judgement over fake band merchandise. A Florida judge fined the 77 defendants in the case each $1 million in damages for trademark violations. London-based Apple Corps and Subafilms, which are owned by the former Beatles members, brought the federal lawsuit against the individuals in Nov. 2019 asking a judge to not only prohibit them from selling the counterfeit merchandise, but to also hold them accountable for any commercial sales made that infringed on the trademark. Apple Corps was also granted a permanent injunction against the defendants prohibiting them from "manufacturing, importing, advertising, or promoting, distributing, selling or offering to sell counterfeit and infringing goods using" the bands' trademarks. Defendants in the lawsuit were listed only through their domain names, seller IDs, URLs and email addresses. An attorney familiar with the case says the lawsuit was likely filed by Apple Corps "to send a message; protect its legitimate licensees; build its case against future infringers and hopefully, just hopefully, catch a few bad actors in the act, seize their assets and put them out of business." - Billboard, 2/18/20...... Ronnie James DioA charity founded in honor of late Black Sabbath and Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio, who died on May 16, 2010, will remember the musician with a 10th anniversary Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund concert and memorial awards gala at The Avalon in Hollywood on Feb. 20. Metal media maven Eddie Trunk will host the second annual gala, which will feature a performance by the current edition of the Dio band, which has been touring with a hologram of the late singer. Presenters will include Ahmet Zappa, Sebastian Bach, Motley Crue's Tommy Lee, Cinderella's Fred Coury, Quiet Riot's Frankie Banali, Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath) and Jeff Pilson (Foreigner, Dokken). Among the evening's honorees will be Rhino Entertainment/Warner Music Group (which will receive the Holy Diver Award), T.J. Martell Foundation CEO Laura Heatherly (the Killing the Dragon Award), and Dio hologram creator Jeff Pezzuti of Eyellusion (the Stand Up and Shout Award). Dio's widow Wendy Dio says she hopes to have a new Dio hologram out later this year with the Dio road band, which went on tour during 2019. "We're developing a new one because technology changes every day," she explains. "I was happy with the one we just did last year in the U.S., but now we can make it even better. It's something I think Ronnie would have wanted to do. He loved going to Disneyland and seeing the holograms there and always was very interested in developing one." Meanwhile, a new RJD documentary is on the way. BMG Music announced on Feb. 18 that the film will be the first documentary to be fully authorized by his estate and include never-before-seen archival footage and photos from his personal archives, as well as scenes with his closest peers, friends and family. The film will complete Dio's unfinished autobiography, which he was working on before his untimely death from stomach cancer in 2010. In conjunction with the film, BMG will release on Mar. 20 a remastered collection of Dio's acclaimed 1996 - 2004 studio albums Angry Machines, Magica, Killing The Dragon, and Master Of The Moon with rare and unreleased bonus tracks. - Billboard, 2/19/20...... The estate of late funk singer Rick James is being sued for $50 million by a woman who claims James raped her when she was only 15 years old. The unidentified plaintiff says James raped her while she was staying at a group home in Buffalo, New York, in 1979. The lawsuit was filed on Feb. 13 against the James Ambrose Johnson Jr. 1999 Trust, which is run by the singer's estate. The suit was filed under the Child Victims Act, which opened a one-year litigation window for victims who were once blocked by the statute of limitations. In the lawsuit, the woman said James was visiting one of the parents at the group hope. She said he came into her room after dinner and raped her. "He grabbed my hair and pushed my head into the pillow," she said in the suit. "I tried to fight him off, but he told me to 'shut up and quit moving or I'll cut you.'" The woman says she has suffered "physical, psychological and emotional injury" due to the alleged assault. James was convicted in 1993 of assaulting two women. The first case occurred in 1991, when prosecutors said James and his girlfriend tied a woman to a chair, burned her with a hot crack pipe and forced her to perform sex acts during a cocaine binge at his West Hollywood home. He was free on bail when the second assault occurred in 1992 in James' hotel room. He served more than two years in prison. He was found dead in his Los Angeles home on Aug. 6, 2004. - AP, 2/18/20...... Debbie Harry of Blondie, John Fogerty, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Sheryl Crow are among the headliners at the 2020 Jazz Plus concert series at the Hollywood Bowl which will begin on July 29 and run through Sept. 23. Corea and the Spanish Heart Band are set to open the series on July 29; Harry will participate in a Peggy Lee tribute on Aug. 5; Fogerty will headline on Aug. 19; Crow will perform on Sept. 16, and Hancock will close out the series on Sept. 23. Other headliners include Charlie Wilson (8/12) and Hiatus Kaiyote (9/9). - Billboard, 2/18/20...... Bob MarleyA new musical inspired by the life and music of late '70s reggae legend Bob Marley will debut at London's Lyric Theatre from Feb. 6, 2021, on what would have been the seminal musician's 76th birthday. "Get Up, Stand Up!" will chronicle Marley's rise to superstardom, with Kene tackling the role of Marley. "I feel absolutely honoured to be able to take on this role," Kene said in a statement. "It is not only an honour to be able to spread Bob Marley's message further, but to get to be him for a little while is a lifelong dream come true. I grew up on his music and his mantra and he has been one of my role models since I was a child. I feel as if he's in my DNA. He's the man, I love him." - New Musical Express, 2/16/20...... Elton John canceled the two remaining New Zealand shows on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour on Feb. 18 as he continued to suffer from a bout of pneumonia. The shows have been rescheduled for next year. Earlier in February, John was forced to cut short a performance in Auckland after he lost his voice and needed medical help on stage. In a statement, Elton said he was "incredibly disappointed" and sent his sincerest apologies to his fans. It was not immediately clear if his illness would affect other dates on his tour, which next moves to Australia. John had just returned to New Zealand after performing at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Feb. 9. He won an Oscar for best original song for his theme song for the movie Rocketman. - AP, 2/18/20...... The Who are set to join an all-star group of performers for the 2020 Teenage Cancer Trust benefit shows at London's Royal Albert Hall in March. The Who's Mar. 28 show will feature Who frontman Roger Daltrey and guitarist/singer Pete Townshend performing with a full orchestra as part of a week of gigs (Mar. 23-29) in support of the only UK charity dedicated to meeting the needs of young people (13-24) battling cancer. The TCT shows, conceived and curated by Daltrey, have traditionally featured all-star lineups, including the likes of Paul McCartney, Oasis and The Cure. The 2020 shows will feature such artists as Stereophonics (3/25), Groove Armada (3/27) and Nile Rodgers and Chic (3/29). This year's gigs will celebrate the 20th year of TCT shows at Royal Albert Hall and the organization's 30th anniversary. - Billboard, 2/18/20...... "American Utopia," the critically acclaimed theatrical concert from former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, is set to begin a return Broadway engagement at New York's Hudson Theatre for a 17-week run this fall, with beginning performances set for Sept. 18 and scheduled through Jan. 17, 2021, and an official reopening date to be set. The "American Utopia" production combines songs from Byrne's Talking Heads heyday with selections from across his eclectic solo output, and calls for his fellow humans to "rewire their brains and connect with our ailing planet." A filmed version of "American Utopia," directed by Spike Lee, has been shot, with a release date to be announced for later in 2020. Meanwhile, Byrne and his backing band will be the musical guests on the Feb. 29 edition of Saturday Night Live. - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/17/20...... A video of a KISS cover band musician has been posted on Twitter with the hair of Bobby Jensen, who portrays Gene Simmons in the cover band Hairball, accidentally catching fire as he keeps on rock 'n rolling. Jensen was performing in Sioux City, Iowa, dressed in full KISS make-up and costume, when his long hair accidentally caught fire from the onstage pyro spark. He kept it totally cool, not missing a chord, or even really reacting at all, as the fire spread up his head while two crew members raced over to put out the flames. The crowd burst into cheers once the scary moment was over and Jensen was alright. See it all go down below via a fan on Twitter, who fittingly titled the clip: "The most rock and roll thing you will ever see." - Billboard, 2/18/20...... Ja'net DuboisActress Ja'net Dubois, best known as Willona Woods on the classic 1970s sitcom Good Times, apparently passed away in her sleep in her home in Glendale, Calif., on Feb. 18. She was 74. In addition to famously portraying the exhuberant neighbor Woods on Good Times, Dubois also co-wrote and performed "Movin' On Up", the theme tune for another All in the Family-related spinoff, The Jeffersons. Prior to her Good Times fame, Dubois made TV history with her role as Loretta Allen on soap opera Love of Life in 1970, when she was cast as the first African-American female regular on a daytime serial, and she went on to win two Emmy awards for her voice work on animated series The PJs, which ran from 1999 to 2001. Her other screen credits included films like 1988's I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle in 2003, while on TV, she appeared in Shaft, Kojak, ER, Home Improvement, Moesha, The Steve Harvey Show, and A Different World. The actress was also known for her roles on Broadway, where she began her career in plays like "A Raisin In The Sun" and 1956's "Golden Boy", which also featured Sammy Davis Jr. and Louis Gossett Jr. She reunited with Good Times co-star Janet Jackson in 1987 to play the R&B icon's mother in the video for her single "Control." "I am so very saddened to hear my longtime friend Ja'net DuBois has passed away," Janet Jackson posted online as news of Dubois' death broke, alongside a slideshow of snapshots of the pair taken over the years. Good Times producer Norman Lear also posted a tribute to the late actress and singer, sharing on Twitter, "Ja'Net DuBois was all light and will be missed. I love that she wrote the theme song for her passing, 'Movin' on Up'," referencing the theme song to The Jeffersons, which DuBois wrote and performed." - WENN/Canoe.com, 2/19/20...... Actress Kellye Nakahara, who portrayed Lieutenant Nurse Kellye on the hit wartime sitcom M*A*S*H died on Feb. 16 in Pasadena, Calif., following a battle with cancer. She was 72. The Hawaii native, who moved to San Francisco before landing the role as Nurse Kellye on M*A*S*H, also appeared in the films Clue and Black Day Blue Night, and was an accomplished watercolour artist. "Kellye Nakahara was a beautiful person and a natural as an actor," M*A*S*H star Alan Alda told Fox News in a statement. "She began as a background performer and worked her way up to playing the lead in an episode I wrote for her. She was adorable and brilliant in the part. But, you couldn't beat what she was as a person, funnier and warmer and kinder than most people I've known. We all loved her on 'M*A*S*H,' and we're all heartbroken to know she's gone. Kelley was a treasure." Alda's M*A*S*H co-star Loretta Swit also offered her condolences, calling Nakahara a "jewel" [who] radiated sparkle and goodness and joy. The light that her presence brought will be deeply and forever missed." - WENN/Canoe.com, 2/18/20.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Paul McCartney was among the celebs tweeting happy Valentine's Day wishes on Feb. 14. "Let's all have a loving #ValentinesDay! Love Paul," the former Beatle posted on his Twitter page alongside a cheeky picture of himself posing with a heart-shaped bouquet of red roses. - Billboard, 2/14/20...... Adam LambertRoger TaylorBrian MayQueen + Adam Lambert performed the same setlist from their 1985 Live Aid concert for the first time since that legendary performance during a massive Australian bushfire benefit concert at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia on Feb. 16. Queen noted earlier in a social media post that it was the current incarnation of Queen's first time performing the original 22-minute set "for the first time in its history." At the Fire Fight Australia benefit, Queen even broadcast footage of late frontman Freddie Mercury to replicate how Mercury encouraged the 1985 Live Aid audience at Wembley in an energetic singalong, only to light-heartedly tell them "F--- you" afterwards. Queen guitarist Brian May had previously described Fire Fight Australia as a benefit concert "a bit like Live Aid" when he initially revealed that Queen had been approached to play the event. Other artists performing at FFA included Alice Cooper, k.d. Lang and Michael Buble along with native Aussies Olivia Newton-John, Daryl Braithwaite, Hilltop Hoods, Icehouse and Amy Shark, among others. - NME, 2/16/20...... Elton John was forced to end a Feb. 16 concert in Auckland, New Zealand earlier than normal after he began to lose his voice and was escorted from the stage, performing the show despite being diagnosed with walking pneumonia earlier in the day. Before the end of the gig at Mount Smart Stadium, Elton was seen visibly crying on stage and later told fans on Instagram that despite his illness "...I was determined to give you the best show humanly possible. I played and sang my heart out, until my voice could sing no more." John, 72, concluded his apology with "I'm disappointed, deeply upset and sorry. I gave it all I had. Thank-you so much for your extraordinary support and all the love you showed me during tonight's performance. I am eternally grateful. Love, Elton xx." Elton's "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour began in 2018 and is set to end in 2021. In other Elton news, John was awarded a Best Book award at the 2020 New Musical Express Awards on Feb. 12 for his 2019 autobiography, Me, triumphing over books written by or about such artists as Debbie Harry, Prince, Brett Anderson and Tegan & Sara. - New Musical Express, 2/16/20...... Authorities in Atlanta, Ga. have revealed they are evaluating new evidence and considering opening a formal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the 2006 of late Godfather of Soul James Brown. Paul Howard Jr. of the Fulton Co. D.A.'s office says on Feb. 12 prosecutors met with a woman named Jacque Hollander who said she had relevant evidence. Hollander reportedly told the DA that she believes Brown died under suspicious circumstances and was possibly murdered. She also was said to have handed over a bin containing some items relevant to the case that she had collected in the years since Brown's passing to the DA's office. "We told her that we would take the information, take the items, and we would review it," said DA spokesperson Chris Hopper. Hopper added that the DA said his office would also attempt to interview some individuals whose names Hollander provided them to determine whether there are facts to back up her assertions regarding Brown's death. The DA plans to make an evaluation in the next six months whether or not to move forward with any kind of official death investigation, according to Hopper. Brown's cause of death in 2006 at age 73 was listed on his death certificate as a heart attack and fluid in his lungs. - Billboard, 2/13/20...... Lindsey BuckinghamTwo years after being fired from Fleetwood Mac and a year after suffering a vocal cord injury which required emergency open heart surgery, Lindsey Buckingham announced on Feb. 11 that he's ready to hit the road again in 2020. Buckingham's trek will kick off at Reynolds Hall in Las Vegas on Apr. 25, also visiting Boulder, Co. (4/28), Kansas City, Mo. (4/30), St. Louis (5/1), Memphis (5/3), Atlanta (5/5), Knoxville, Tn. (5/6), Huntsville, Ala. (5/7), Wichita, Ks. (5/9), Oklahoma City, Ok. (5/10) and Tuscon, Ariz. (5/12) before wrapping at the Magnolia Performing Arts Center in El Cajon, Calif. on May 13. Buckingham, who had been forced to postpone some planned 2019 dates due to his medical issues, was kicked out of Fleetwood Mac in 2018 after more than four decades with the band after some differences with his former bandmate and girlfriend Stevie Nicks. He later settled a civil lawsuit against the band after he was cut from a run of concerts in North America which he said cost him millions in lost earnings. - Billboard, 2/12/20...... Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2019 inductees Def Leppard have announced a slate of 16 fall dates for their "20/20 Vision" tour that will immediately follow their summer stadium tour with Motley Crue, which has already sold more than 1.1 million tickets. With openers ZZ Top, the fall leg is set to launch on Sept. 21 at Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y., and run through Tennessee, Virginia, Alabama, Louisiana, Nebraska, Michigan and more before wrapping on Oct. 18 in Spokane, Wash. "What a year this is going to be!," Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott said in a release. "First, sold out stadiums, then we get to go on tour with the mighty ZZ Top! Having been an admirer of the band for a lifetime it's gonna be a real pleasure to finally do some shows together...maybe some of us will get to go for a spin with [ZZ Top front man] Billy [Gibbons] in one of those fancy cars..." Gibbons responded in his own statement: "We're excited about hitting the road with Def Leppard this fall; we've been fans of theirs since forever... Joe Elliott is always welcome to ride 'shotgun' with us and we won't even ask him to pay for the gas." - Billboard, 2/13/20...... Neil Young, Willie Nelson and Stephen Stills will be the headliners at the sixth annual Light Up The Blues benefit concert in Los Angeles, set for May 30 at the Greek Theatre. "With this year's stellar lineup -- and a meaningful venue in the Greek Theatre, our hometown favorite -- I am itching to get on stage with this crew and support the efforts of Autism Speaks. It's going to be another exciting and marvelous show!" said Stephen Stills in a release. Also on the bill for the show will be Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Lucius, Fantastic Negrito, Chris Stills and Oliver Stills. Actor/comedian Jack Black will serve as the concert's emcee, with additional special guests expected to appear. - Billboard, 2/12/20...... Carl PalmerGreg LakeKeith Emerson"Karn Evil 9," the almost 30-minute centerpiece of prog-rock trio Emerson, Lake & Palmer's 1973 album Brain Salad Surgery, is being turned into a science-fiction movie. The track, which takes up part of side 1 and all of side 2 of the album, is divided into four "impressions" and basically tells the story of a battle between humans and computers. The film will be executive produced by Radar Pictures, the group behind the hit Jumanji series, and written by Robopocalypse author Daniel H. Wilson, who'll adapt a screenplay based on the concept laid out by the ELP song. The movie will reportedly focus on "a society that has drained all its blood with a dependence on technology" and "explore the world controlled by a pervasive and dictatorial technocracy." The song's famous refrain -- "Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends / We're so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside" -- will most likely be represented by a carnival of exhibits that feature 20th-century "oddities," ranging from blades of grass to Dixieland music, that have been wiped out by technology, according to Radar's Ted Field."Our team at Radar looks forward to bringing this vision of where things may be headed to the big screen and beyond," Field said. While "Karn Evil 9"'s epic length prevented it from being released as a single, the second movement's rousing introduction and radio-ready melody made it a popular album track on FM radio for decades. The song's lyrics even inspired the title of Emerson, Lake & Palmer's Top 5 1974 live album, Welcome Back, My Friends, to the Show That Never Ends. No cast or release date has been announced so far. Drummer Carl Palmer is the only surviving member of the band; keyboardiest Keith Emerson died in March 2016, and vocalist/guitarist Greg Lake died in December of the same year. - Deadline.com, 2/13/20..... In an interview published in the March edition of Esquire magazine, former child star Macauly Culkin says that he never saw any abuse of children by his late friend and King of Pop Michael Jackson. "Look, I'm gonna begin with the line -- it's not a line, it's the truth: He never did anything to me," Culkin told the magazine. "I never saw him do anything. And especially at this flash point in time, I'd have no reason to hold anything back. The guy has passed on. If anything -- I'm not gonna say it would be stylish or anything like that, but right now is a good time to speak up. And if I had something to speak up about, I would totally do it. But no, I never saw anything; he never did anything." Culkin and Jackson spent a fair amount of time together in Culkin's youth, and Culkin also famously testified in defense of Jackson in 2005 when the singer was charged with molesting a 13-year-old boy who had cancer. Jackson was eventually acquitted. Culkin says the last time the two talked was in that courthouse during a recess and he was in the restroom when Jackson happened to enter. "We better not talk. I don't want to influence your testimony," Jackson said, according to Culkin, who added they then laughed at the moment. Culkin, 40, is the godfather of Jackson's daughter, Paris Jackson. The two talk often, he said, and have matching tattoos. - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/11/20...... Aerosmith reunited with their estranged drummer Joey Kramer on Feb. 10 during a show at the group's "Deuces Are Wild" residency at Park Theater Las Vegas at the MGM Grand. Kramer, 69, sat in with the group after getting iced out of rehearsals and a performance by Aerosmith at the Grammy Awards show on in Los Angeles on Jan. 26. Kramer had been sidelined by the group amid an ongoing lawsuit he filed against them for breach of contract after he suffered an ankle injury in 2019 which caused him to miss most of Aerosmith's recent Vegas residency. It was Kramer's first gig with the band since a shoulder injury caused him to quit performing in April 2019, at which point he was replaced by his drum tech. Aerosmith has yet to post any comments on social media about the reunion, and Kramer's future with the band. - Billboard, 2/11/20...... Bill WymanA 1962 vintage amplifier that helped former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman clinch his audition for the iconic British rock band is among more than 1,000 items being auctioned by the musician from his more than 50-year career. "Collecting and archiving has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life and will undoubtedly be one of my legacies," the 83-year-old Wyman, who quit the band in 1993, said in a statement. "It feels like the right time to share my archive with the world. I hope people will get as much joy from my collections as I have," he added. One of the most interesting items in the May 29-31 auction conducted by Julian's in Beverly Hills, which also includes stage clothes and other Stones memorabilia, is the 1962 Vox AC30 amplifier that then 26-year-old Wyman brought to his audition for the Stones at a London pub in 1962. According to Wyman, band members Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were impressed with the amp. "They had horrible amps so they were very happy about that. I bought a round of drinks for everyone and offered cigarettes and of course they jumped immediately because they all smoked but couldn't afford them," Wyman recalled in a 2008 interview. The amp carries a pre-sale estimate of $80,000 - $100,000. Wyman, who now fronts his own band Rhythm Kings, is also selling off several of his other bass guitars, including a 1969 Fender Mustang bass that he played at concerts and on Stones recordings in 1969 and 1970 that is expected to sell for up to $500,000. A portion of the auction proceeds will go to the Macmillan Cancer Support, the British-based youth charity Prince's Trust and the Central Caribbean Marine Institute. Some of the items will go on public display at the Museum of Style Icons in Ireland from March 10-April 20, and in Beverly Hills immediately before the May auction. - Reuters, 2/13/20...... Newly released footage has emerged of Rod Stewart appearing to give a Nazi salute and assaulting a security guard in a New Year's Eve incident at Palm Beach's The Breakers hotel. The scuffle took place as Stewart, 74, was vacationing in Florida with his family and he and his entourage were said to be denied access to a private party outside of the resort's children's area. Sean Stewart -- Rod's son whom he shares with first wife Alana Hamilton -- was accused of shoving the guard after being told to back up, according to a police report. This was allegedly followed by Rod stepping toward the guard and throwing a punch, striking the guard "in his left ribcage area." Footage from the night has now emerged, which shows what appears to be Stewart striking the security guard and performing a Nazi salute. Stewart is set to launch a North American summer tour with openers Cheap Trick on July 1 in Cuyahoga Falls, Oh. - New Musical Express, 2/16/20...... Don FelderFormer Eagles guitarist Don Felder has proposed to his girlfriend Diane McInerny, who anchors the syndicated TV celebrity show Inside Edition. Felder, 72, proposed to McInerny, 48, during a sunset stroll in Malibu in January, according to People magazine. It was the same spot where Felder says he wrote music for the Eagles' iconic 1976 album, Hotel California. "Diane is beyond excited to be engaged to the love of her life," a source close to the couple told People. "Their friends and family are thrilled for their happiness." McInerney showed off her engagement ring in an Instagram post on Feb. 10 -- a custom design featuring a five-carat round brilliant cut diamond -- and following the proposal Felder reportedly whisked his bride to be away for a luxury vacation in Mexico. The marriage is a second one for both. Felder has four children with ex-wife Susan Pickersgill, from whom he split in 2000 after three decades of marriage. McInerny was previously married to criminal defense lawyer, Edward Palermo, with whom she has two daughters. The New York-born journalist has been at Inside Edition since 2003. - DailyMail.co.uk, 2/11/20...... Paul English, the longtime drummer for Willie Nelson's band Willie Nelson & Family, died on Feb. 11 in Dallas following a recent battle with pneumonia. He was 87. Mr. English had been a beloved member of Nelson's fand since the 1960s, first playing with the Grammy-winning country star in 1955 before becoming his full-time drummer in 1966. He was a member of Nelson's band until his death. The Vernon, Tex. native served as part of the inspiration behind Nelson's famous 1971 road song "Me & Paul." The nearly four-minute track includes Nelson lamenting of their troubled travels in Nashville, being "almost busted in Laredo, but for reasons that I'd rather not disclose," and a Milwaukee airport not allowing them on the plane. "They said we looked suspicious/ But I believe they like to pick on me and Paul," Nelson sings on the song. In addition to his role as a drummer, Mr. English sometimes served as Nelson's bodyguard, and also credited Nelson for saving his own life. "If I hadn't gone with Willie, I would be in the penitentiary or dead," Mr. English told Rolling Stone in 2014. "I was running girls and playing music at the same time." Mr. English was reportedly surrounded by friends and family at a hospital near his home as he died. - Billboard, 2/12/20.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

As was hinted by the band on Instagram a week earlier, the Rolling Stones announced on Feb. 6 that they'll return to North America for a 15-city stadium tour starting May 8 in San Diego. The fourth leg of the band's No Filter Tour will also hit Vancouver, B.C. (5/12), Minneapolis (5/16), Nashville (5/20), Austin, Tex. (5/24), Dallas (5/29), Buffalo, N.Y. (6/6), Detroit (6/10), Louisville (6/14), Cleveland, Oh. (6/19), Pittsburgh (6/23), St. Louis (6/27), Charlotte (7/1) and Tampa, Fla. (7/5) before wrapping on July 9 in Atlanta. Meanwhile, in a new interview with New York radio station Q104.3, Stones guitarist Keith Richards revealed that he has finally given up his longtime smoking habit. Richards told host Jim Kerr that he has not touched a ciggie since October 2019. "Done that, been there," Richards replied when asked about his decision to quit smoking, which he first announced in 2019. "Quitting heroin is like hell, but it's a short hell. Cigarettes are just always there, and you've always done it. I just pick 'em up and light 'em up without thinking about it," Keef told Mojo magazine at the time. "Lately, in fact -- spread the news -- I've managed to cut it down by a substantial amount every day," he added. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 2/6/20...... Elton JohnElton John became the second-oldest winner in the history of Oscar's best original song category when he and songwriting partner Bernie Taupin picked up the award during the 92nd Annual Academy Awards on Feb. 9 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. John and Taupin's rousing, life-affirming "(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again" from the Elton biopic Rocketman was Elton's second Oscar win in that category, and Taupin's first. "Thank you to Bernie who has been a constant in my life, when I was screwed up, when I was normal, he's always been there for me," John said, after Taupin remarked, "Being here with this guy, I don't have words for it. This is justification for 53 years of just hammering it out and doing what we do." The win enabled John to set a new record as the songwriter with the longest span of wins in the best original song category -- 26 years. He took the 1994 award for "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from the original The Lion King. The old record for the longest span of best song winners was held by James Van Heusen, whose wins spanned 20 years--from "Swinging on a Star" (1944) through "Call Me Irresponsible" (1963). The 72-year-old superstar also becomes the second-oldest winner in the history of the category. The oldest is Gulzar, who was 74 when he won for writing the lyrics to "Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire (2008). Taupin, 69, becomes the third-oldest winner in the history of the category. Guests, including Heidi Klum, Diane Lane and Eric McCormack, were welcomed to the party with cocktails, followed by a gala dinner and viewing of the broadcast of the ceremony, after Elton took to the stage to share a few words. "What a night. It is so special to celebrate our Foundation's 28th annual Oscar Party with the Fab Five (cast members of Queer Eye) and Sam Fender and to top it off, another Oscar win!," Elton said. "But most importantly, tonight we have come together to raise urgently needed funds and awareness for the LGBT community at risk or living with HIV in the U.S. and around the world." - Billboard, 2/9/20...... In other Oscars news, Randy Newman performed his Toy Story 4 composition "I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away" during the ceremony, which was a best original song nominee. Performing at a Steinway piano in a black suit, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer offered a spirited version of the jaunty Toy Story contribution --- with puffs of cloud-like smoke occasionally getting in the way. It was the 13th Newman-written song to be nominated for an Academy Award -- including songs from all four Toy Story movies, with "We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3 winning in 2010. Newman was also nominated for best original score for his work on the drama Marriage Story, while Toy Story 4 reigned victorious earlier in the evening for best animated feature. - Billboard, 2/9/20...... Ozzy OsbourneHeavy metal star and tattoo afficianado Ozzy Osbourne is asking fans to celebrate the Feb. 21 release of his highly anticipated new solo album Ordinary Man by sponsoring tattoo sales and Ordinary Man listening events at more than 50 cities globally on Feb. 20. Attendees can choose from a collection of Ozzy-inspired ink designs while they listen to Ordinary Man before anyone else. Participating cities include NYC, Paris, Athens, Las Vegas, London, Honolulu, Istanbul, Rome, Sydney and Toronto, among many other cities. On the actual day of release (Feb. 21), Ozzy will be hosting his first in-store appearance in a decade, which will take place at Amoeba Records in Hollywood, Calif. at 5 p.m. PST. In order to attend, fans must purchase Ordinary Man in-store at Amoeba on the day of release. There is a two-copy purchase limit per person. - Billboard, 2/6/20...... '70s artists and outspoken Pres. Donald Trump foils Cher and Bette Midler were among the celebs to criticize the recent acquittal of Pres. Trump on abuse of power and obstruction impeachment charges by the U.S. Senate on Feb. 4. "Run, #Mitt, RUN!!," Bette Midler posted on Twitter after Sen. Mitt Romney was the sole GOP senator to vote to convict the president on the abuse of power charge. She also praised House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for tearing up the Pres. Trump's speech following his State of the Union address on the evening of Feb. 4. "Last night? Too bad Nancy didn't tear that speech into little, teeny, tiny pieces and throw that blizzard of lies right back in his face!," the Divine Miss M posted. Cher went more directly at the president, saying that he is "the most vengeful illiterate, limp, imitation of a man ever." Star Wars movie actor Mark Hamill also weighed in, claiming that the outcome of the trial would have been different if the vote was secret, and praised Sen. Romney for putting "country over party." - DailyMailUK.com, 2/5/20...... Rod StewartRod Stewart has been confirmed to close out the 2020 BRIT Awards show, which is set for Feb. 18 at the O2 Arena in London. "Happy to be asked to close out The BRITs on their 40th show celebrations," Sir Rod, 75, said in a statement. It will be the second time Stewart has performed at The BRITs, having first performed at the 1993 show where he also picked up an honorary award for outstanding contribution to music. It is not known if Stewart will receive an honorary award this year. It will be the 40th edition of the annual pop music awards sponsored by the British Phonographic Industry, with hot rising artists Billie Eilish and Lizzo also set to perform. The BRIT Awards 2020 will air live on Feb. 18 at 8:00 p.m. GMT, 3:00 p.m. ET, 12:00 p.m. PT. Viewers in the UK can watch on ITV and STV. International fans can watch via YouTube.com/BRITs. - Billboard, 2/20/20...... Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne is set to make his first Saturday Night Live appearance in 31 years on Feb. 29. Byrne's appearance on SNL will come just two weeks after his acclaimed "American Utopia" show ends its five-month long residency on Broadway. Byrne last appeared on the venerable comedy show in 1989, performing two songs from his debut solo album Rei Mono. - New Musical Express, 2/8/20...... Collectors of newly released vinyl LPs are said to be in for a probable "vinylgeddon" after a plant in California -- one of only two in the world that manufactures the lacquers used for making vinyl master discs -- suffered massive damage during a fire on Feb. 7. "To all of [our] wonderful customers. It is with great sadness we report the Apollo Masters manufacturing and storage facility had a devastating fire and suffered catastrophic damage," a statement by company on its official website read the following day. "The best news is all of our employees are safe. We are uncertain of our future at this point and are evaluating options as we try to work through this difficult time. Thank you for all of the support over the years and the notes of encouragement and support we have received from you all." Luckily, no employees were injured in the fire, although several were present in the building when the fire broke out. The fire comes as a difficult blow to the booming vinyl record industry, as Billboard reported in January that 26% of all physical albums sold in the U.S. in 2019 were vinyl. - Billboard, 2/7/20...... Mickey HartBob WeirDead & Company have announced dates for a 17-date summer 2020 North American tour that will launch with two datesat Folsom Field in Boulder, Col. on July 10 and 11. The tour will also hit three other major league fields -- two-show stops at Chicago's Wrigley Field on July 24 and 25, and a tour closer at Boston's Fenway Park on Aug. 7 and 8. Other stops include Maryland Heights, Mo. (7/13), Noblesville, Ind. (7/15), Atlanta (7/18), Cincinatti (7/20), Clarkston, Mich. (7/22), Cuyahoga Falls, Oh. (7/27), E. Rutherford, N.J. (8/1), Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (8/3) and Bristow, Va. (8/5). The Grateful Dead spinoff band is currently led by original GD members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kruetzmann, along with Jeff Chimenti, Otiel Burbridge and John Mayer. - Billboard, 2/6/20...... Lyle Mays, a jazz keyboardist whose work, chiefly with the Pat Metheny Group, won nearly a dozen Grammy Awards, died pm Feb. 10 in Los Angeles. He was 66. Mays had a "long battle with a recurring illness," according to Pat Metheny's website. Mays joined the guitarist group Metheny in the 1970s, where he was a performer, composer and arranger. The group's endlessly innovative fusion style incorporated everything from rock and contemporary jazz to world music. Mays, who also was a sideman for such artists as Joni Mitchell, Rickie Lee Jones and Earth, Wind & Fire, also helped compose movie soundtrack music for several movies, including 1985's The Falcon and The Snowman. Pat Metheny praised Mays as "one of the greatest musicians I have ever known" and added "every moment we shared in music was special." - AP, 2/11/20...... Steven Cagan, a composer and conductor who worked with the likes of Bette Midler, Melissa Manchester and Olivia Newton-John, died Feb. 1 in Los Angeles at age 77. Cagan scored numerous TV series and specials, including those starring Spinal Tap, Robert Klein, Michael Keaton and Rob Reiner. He also worked with such theatrical giants as Michael Bennett, Lester Wilson, Michael Peters, Bob Avian and Joe Layton. His original songs included "I Will Touch You," recorded by Olivia Newton-John in 1972; "Dinah! I've Got a Song," recorded by Dinah Shore for a 1979 Sesame Street album, and "Such A Morning" recorded by his sister-in-law Melissa Manchester for her 1978 album, Don't Cry Out Loud. - Billboard, 2/11/20...... Orson Bean, the witty actor and comedian, died on Feb. 7 in Los Angeles after being hit and killed by a car in a traffic accident, according to the L.A. County coroner's office. He was 91. According to a police report, Mr. Bean was walking in the Venice neighborhood when he was clipped by a vehicle and fell, with a second vehicle then striking him which was fatal. Mr. Bean enlivened such TV game shows as To Tell the Truth, appeared in the title role of "Mr. Bevis" in an episode of The Twilight Zone,, and played a crotchety merchant on Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. He also appeared in a number of films, notably, Anatomy of a Murder and Being John Malkovich, and starred in several top Broadway productions, receiving a Tony nod for the 1962 Comden-Green musical "Subways Are for Sleeping." He continued working into his 80s, with guest roles on TV series such as Hot in Cleveland and Modern Family. Survivors include his third wife, actress Alley Mills, who played the mother on the TV series The Wonder Years. - AP, 2/8/20...... Robert ConradActor Robert Conrad, the star of such TV series as Hawiian Eye, The Wild Wild West and Baa Baa Black Sheep, has passed away in Malibu, Calif., a member of his family confirmed to People magazine on Feb. 8. He was 84. The rough and tumble actor had toplined at least one TV series in the 1950s, '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s, a rare feat of longevity for a TV star. Born Konrad Robert Falkowski in Chicago on Mar. 1, 1935, Mr. Conrad made his big screen debut in 1958, playing a pilot in Thundering Jets, and would go on to make credited appearances in some 15 additional films, notably the 1975 heist pic Murf the Surf and as John Dillinger in 1979's The Lady in Red. However he made a far bigger presence on the small screen after signing with Warner Bros. in 1959 to star in the Honolulu-set detective show Hawaiian Eye, which ran for four season. Mr. Conrad played the half-Hawaiian P.I. Tom Lopaka and guested as that character on three episodes of 77 Sunset Strip. He was perhaps best known as charming Secret Service agent James T. West in the 1965-69 series The Wild Wild West. An innovative bland of Western and sci-fi stories, the series also starred Ross Martin as West's partner Artemus Gordon as the pair rode a gadget-ridden personal train around the Old West, fighting supervillains in 19th century James Bond style. After the show, which wasd known for its well-choreographed fight sequences in which Conrad's West almost always outlasted a large number of foes, was canceled in 1969 for being too violent, Mr. Conrad starred in the telepic D.A.: Murder One, which led to a follow-up film and a brief 1971-72 series called The D.A. The actor played a spy in another short-lived series, ABC's Assignment Vienna, during the 1972-73 season. He had more success with NBC's Baa Baa Black Sheep (later known as Black Sheep Squadron), which fictionalized the experiences of Second World War ace Major Gregory "Pappy" Boyington (whom Conrad played) and the fighter squadron he led in the South Pacific. The series ran for two season from 1976-78 but has aired repeatedly in syndication and on outlets such as the History Channel. During the 1970s he was arguably most well known famous for a series of commercials for Eveready Batteries in which he dared viewers to "knock this battery off" his shoulder. In 2003, Mr. Conrad was convicted of DUI after a car accident that left him partially paralyzed and seriously injured the other driver. He was sentenced to six months of house arrest in a plea agreement. In later years he began hosting a show on CRN Digital Talk Radio in 2007. Mr. Conrad, who was married and divorced twice, the second time to actress LaVelda Fann, is survived by 8 children and at least 19 grandchildren. - Variety, 2/8/20.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Patti Smith has been tapped to receive the PEN America Literary Service Award during the organization's Literary Gala on May 19 at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC. "In all of Patti Smith's thrilling incarnations -- rock goddess, poet, eloquent witness to the bohemian New York of her youth -- she has testified to the transformative power of literature in her own life, and used her stardom to encourage reading and writing in the legions who revere her," PEN President Jennifer Egan said in a press release. "A polestar of my own teenage years, she set an example of badass female artistry, coupled with deeply principled humanity, that I'm still trying to live up to." The annual gala celebrates "freedom of expression through writing and its power to shape humane values." Meanwhile in other Patti Smith news, one of the punk poetess's former guitarist/producers has died at age 72. Ivan Kárl, a Czech musician who joined Smith's Patti Smith Group in the '70s as a bassist and guitarist and who co-wrote Smith's iconic 1979 track "Dancing Barefoot," passed away after a bout with cancer on Feb. 3 in his Michigan home. Kárl also worked with the likes of Blondie, Iggy Pop, John Waite and Shaun Cassidy after his short-lived band Luger broke up in 1973. His latest solo album, Smile, has been scheduled for release on Feb. 28. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 2/5/20...... The Rolling StonesOn Feb. 5 the Rolling Stones teased they could be hitting the road Stateside in 2020 with a post on Instagram featuring a cartoon of their iconic "lips logo" being projected into the night sky, alongside the caption: "Feeling restless." While the vague post prompted plenty of speculation among fans, a variety of U.S. media outlets are reporting that a North American tour will be announced soon sometime in February, with ABC News pointing out, "their lips logo has been spotted on sidewalks in downtown Tampa, Florida, as well as Buffalo, Cleveland, Charlotte and other major US cities." Other cities rumoured to be on the list of American tour dates includes San Diego, St. Louis, Louisville, Nashville, Atlanta and Pittsburgh. The Stones previously toured the U.S. in 2019, but were forced to reschedule a string of dates after frontman Mick Jagger underwent heart surgery. Jagger underwent successful surgery in March 2019 to replace a faulty heart valve, before resuming the tour at Chicago's Soldier Field in June. Meanwhile, actress Rae Dawn, best known for her roles in Commando and The Color Purple, is alleging that she once slept with Mick Jagger when she was only 15. In a new interview with the U.K. paper The Daily Mail Dawn, now 58, claims she and Jagger spent the night together one time in New York in 1977, and that Jagger was unaware of her age but didn't ask. "He never asked me how old I was and I never told him. It never came up. I remember thinking he was really cute. He had tousled hair. I thought, 'Oh man, he is beautiful'," she said. The pair reportedly spent a subsequent day together in the recording studio, before heading to a Fleetwood Mac concert at Madison Square Garden. But Rae, who later appeared in the video for Jagger's 1985 track "Just Another Night," says the rendevous took place in "a different era" and stressed that Jagger should not be vilified. "It was the 1970s, a different era. I wasn't a victim," she said. "I don't want him to get into trouble about this. It wasn't traumatising. I knew what I was doing. I wasn't an innocent schoolgirl. I always acted a lot older than I was. I was a grown-up at 15." While the age of consent was 17 at the time, Jagger cannot face criminal charges as the statute of limitations for reporting second-degree rape lasts 20 years. She added: "He did nothing wrong. He didn't make me do anything I didn't want to do. Jagger was married to Nicaraguan model Bianca Jagger from 1971-78. - New Musical Express, 2/5/20...... Country stars Willie Nelson and Hank Williams Jr. will headline the inaugural Born & Raised Music Festival, set for the Pryor Creek Music Festival Grounds in Pryor, Okla., on June 6 and 7. Also performing at the music and camping experience, which will celebrate "Outlaw, Texas and Red Dirt country music" according to a press release, will be Shooter Jennings, Jamey Johnson, Whiskey Myers, Blackberry Smoke and Margo Price, among others. - Billboard, 2/5/20...... The family of late '70s reggae legend Bob Marley commemorated what would have been Marley's 75th birthday on Jan. 31 at the newly opened 1 Hotel in West Hollywood. A group of family, friends and industry dignitaries gathered for one in a series of Marley 75th birthday events in 2020, including 23-year-old Skip Marley, currently signed to Island Records, and free agent football player Nico Marley. "This family celebrates individuality," explained Mystic Marley of the family's legacy at the panel. "I feel like that comes from learning about freedom. We are all so different. If we all make a song, it will sound completely different (person to person). If we (want to) say something, it would never sound the same." On Feb. 5, Marley's daughter Cedella Marley dropped a revamped 40th anniversary video for Bob's trademark "Redemption Song." "I think it came out amazing," says Cedella of the song, which was originally released on Marley's twelfth album Uprising and written after he was diagnosed with the cancer. "When I watch it, it still gives me goosebumps." Marley died in 1981 of cancer at age 36. - Billboard, 2/5/20...... Brian WilsonFounding Beach Boys members Brian Wilson and Al Jardine are calling for a boycott of a Beach Boys concert fronted by Mike Love and featuring Bruce Johnston set for Feb. 5 at the Safari Club International Convention in Reno, Nev., due to the organization's support of trophy hunting, which Brian Wilson says he and Jardine are opposed to. According to a petition calling for a boycott of the show posted on Change.org, which has amassed more than 64,000 signatures, the convention "glorifies the killing of bears, lions, bald eagles, chimpanzees, parrots and turtles as 'trophies' for hunters." It also urges Beach Boys fans to "pledge to stop buying or downloading all Beach Boys music, going to Beach Boys concerts, and purchasing any Beach Boys merchandise until the Beach Boys withdraw from the SCI Convention and publicly state their opposition to this sick 'sport' of killing animals for 'fun'." The Beach Boys currently tour with two longtime members, Mike Love and Bruce Johnston. Brian Wilson and Al Jardine have endorsed the petition. "This organization supports trophy hunting, which Both Al and I are emphatically opposed to," Wilson tweeted on Feb. 3. "There's nothing we can do personally to stop the show, so please join us in signing the petition." - Billboard, 2/3/20...... A niece of Aretha Franklin says she's quitting as representative of the late singer's estate, citing a rift in the family since handwritten wills were discovered last year. "Given my aunt's love of family and desire for privacy, this is not what she would have wanted for us, nor is it what I want," Sabrina Owens stated in a letter filed on Jan. 30 in a suburban Detroit court. Franklin died without a known will in Aug. 2018, and Owens, an administrator at the University of Michigan, says she became manager of the estate at the request of Franklin's four sons. Nine months later, Owens reported that three handwritten wills had been discovered in Franklin's home, including one under cushions in the living room. One document seems to indicate that Franklin wanted a son, Kecalf Franklin, to serve as executor or representative. After a judge agreed to let a handwriting expert examine the documents last August, another son, Theodore White II, asked the judge to make him co-representative of the estate with Owens. Meanwhile, court filings show a mediator has been privately working with the parties. "I hope that my departure will allow the business of the estate to continue, calm the rift in my family and allow me to return to my personal life," Owens said. "I love my cousins, hold no animosity towards them, and wish them the best." Franklin's estate reported assets of $17 million at the end of August, including master recordings and publishing rights worth an estimated $10.5 million. The Internal Revenue Service in October filed tax claims against the estate of more than $6 million. - AP, 2/3/20...... Don Powell, a drummer in the UK hard rock group Slade, revealed on Feb. 6 that he's been fired from the band after over 50 years. "It is with great sadness and regret that Don needs to inform his fans that he now is no longer a member of Dave Hill's Slade," a post on his website reads. "Dave has sent Don a cold email to inform him that his services are no longer required, after working together and being friends since 1963." The message goes on to reveal that Powell is set to return to playing Slade songs with his new band, the suitably named Don Powell's Slade, which he has formed with ex-Slade bassist Craig Fenney. The post also says Powell is recording a debut solo album, and has completed a new record with his other band, Don Powell's Occasional Flames. "Don hopes that all his loyal fans will support his new ventures which he is very excited about," the message concludes. Hill responded to Powell's post on his Facebook page, wishing Powell "every success in his future" and adding that his announcement of how he was fired "is not accurate." Powell's departure means that Slade have effectively now split up, with Hill the only remaining member. Slade formed in 1963 with founding members Noddy Holder, Jime Lea, Hill and Powell. - New Musical Express, 2/6/20...... ABBAABBA member Benny Andersson has said in a new clip shared by the ABBA fan site Talk that the Swedish quartet is "aiming" to release new music this September. "They're coming. They're coming this year. I'm guessing after the summer. But I can only guess, because I'm not really sure. But I would think so," Andersson said of their first new songs in 35 years that ABBA first announced in 2018 they were planning on recording. Asked if they will be out in 2020, he added: "One shouldn't promise anything but if I were to decide myself, it would be September. I can't make that decision alone. But that's what we're aiming for." In 2018, Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Faltskog and Frida Lyndstad announced they had recorded two new songs, "I Still Have Faith in You" and "Don't Shut Me Down" to tie in with a proposed ABBA avatar tour. They said in a statement at the time: "The decision to go ahead with the exciting ABBA avatar tour project had an unexpected consequence. We all four felt that, after some 35 years, it could be fun to join forces again and go into the recording studio." However, the tracks have yet to materialise and Bjorn later explained the plans had been delayed until at least 2020 due to the complex technical nature of the show they are creating. ABBA split in 1982 and performed together for the first time in decades in 2016 at a private event, which marked the 50th anniversary of the first meeting between songwriters Bjorn and Benny. - Music-News.com, 2/4/20...... John Lennon's eldest son Julian Lennon was recently rushed to hospital for an emergency cancer operation after a suspicious-looking mole was discovered during a routine appointment with is dermatologist. Julian, 56, told the U.K. paper The Sun that the mole was discovered during a routine appointment with skin expert Dr. Tess Mauricio. "The trouble is... you think you have time...," Julian noted. "A few days ago, I went to visit my dermatologist, here in LA, when she noticed a little bump on my head that was actually a mole that had been there, along with a birthmark, for the last 57 years. But this time, it looked & felt a little different," he explained. After a biopsy he had several days ago revealed that it was "malignant/cancerous" and needed to be removed immediately, Julian underwent the operation. "Hopefully we managed to remove all that was cancerous, but the mole is being sent off again, for a further/deeper analysis, and I'll have those results next week," he said. "I cannot tell you how I felt, from one moment of joy, to the fear of feeling that I may be gone, at any given moment. I'm still shaking inside... but my faith is strong." In a post on his Facebook page on Feb. 2, Julian urged his fans to also get checked out and "do every health check possible." "Life is too short & Don't make it shorter by being ignorant about your own health," he posted. Julian's latest album, Everything Changes, was released in 2011. Since then, he has released a handful of standalone singles, including 2016's "Saltwater 25." - Music-News.com, 2/4/20...... David ByrneDirector Spike Lee is set to direct a movie adaptation of former Talking Heads member David Byrne's "American Utopia" tour. The Do The Right Thing director will helm the feature-length adaptation of Byrne's well received tour, which features songs that are described as "forthright pleas and musings on a country that might one day build a better home for everyone in it." A Broadway adaptation of Byrne's "American Utopia" tour was also staged, and Byrne also released a live EP of the tour. Speaking about the film in a statement, Byrne said: "Pinch me. This couldn't have worked out better for this project. Spike Lee directing and Participant producing two socially engaged teams, well, three if you count us in the band, coming together in what I feel will be something moving, important, and unlike anything anyone has seen before." - NME, 2/2/20...... Blues rock artist Mike Zito has announced a spring 2020 U.K. tour behind his latest album, Rock 'n Roll: A Tribute to Chuck Berry. The tour will kick off in Kinross on Apr. 2, followed by shows in Hartlepool (4/3), Devizes (4/4), Sutton (4/5), Chislehust (4/7), London (4/8), Pershore (4/9) and Sheffield (4/11). The new album consists of 20 Chuck Berry classics performed by Zito and an impressive array of 21 guest guitarists, among them Joe Bonamassa, Walter Trout, Eric Gales, Robben Ford, Sonny Landreth, Luther Dickinson, Albert Castiglia, Anders Osborne and, significantly, Chuck Berry's grandson, Charles Berry III. "This was a very special project for me," Zito says. "I lived in Chuck's hometown of St. Louis for 32 years... Chuck Berry was a tremendous influence on my career, and, of course, on many other musicians' as well." - Noble PR, 2/3/20...... Andy Gill, guitarist and founding member of legendary U.K. punk band Gang of Four, has died following a short respiratory illness. He was 64. Gill played guitar for Gang of Four since the Leeds band's inception in 1976, alongside original members Jon King, Dave Allen and Hugo Burnham. Though the band's line up changed several times over the years, Gill remained the sole original member of Gang of Four throughout -- a career ranging from 1978 debut single "Damaged Goods" to 2019's Happy Now, their most recent studio album. Gill was also a highly respected producer, not only on much of Gang of Four's work, but several high-profile bands including Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Stranglers, Michael Hutchence, Killing Joke, Therapy?, The Jesus Lizard and The Futureheads. The news was announced in a post on the Gang of Four's Twitter account on Feb. 1. "This is so hard for us to write, but our great friend and Supreme Leader has died today," the statement begins. "Andy's final tour in November was the only way he was ever really going to bow out; with a Stratocaster around his neck, screaming with feedback and deafening the front row... to us, he was our friend -- and we'll remember him for his kindness and generosity, his fearsome intelligence, bad jokes, mad stories and endless cups of Darjeeling tea. He just so happened to be a bit of a genius too." - NME, 2/2/20...... Veteran director/producer Gene Reynolds, a six-time Emmy winner best known for directing and producing for the lauded socially conscious 1970s TV shows M*A*S*H and Lou Grant, died on Feb. 3 in Burbank, Calif. He was 96. Born in Cleveland, Oh. as Eugene Reynolds Blumenthal, Mr. Reynolds began as a child actor, making his big screen debut in a 1934 Our Gang short. His first significant non-acting work came in 1957 for the TV series Tales of Wells Fargo, which he created with James L. Brooks and Frank Gruber. Over the series' multiseason run, Reynolds wrote and directed several episodes. He had a solid run as a director on My Three Sons and stints on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Leave It to Beaver, The Andy Griffith Show, The Donna Reed Show, Gidget, The Munsters and F Troop. Over the course of his career, Mr. Reynolds drew 24 Primetime Emmy nominations, winning six times, including for outstanding series for M*A*S*H and, twice, for Lou Grant. He won his first Primetime Emmy in 1970 as a producer for Room 222. M*A*S*H remained in the top 10 for its entire run, and its final episode was at the time the most-watched program in history, with more than 50 million families tuning in. Mr. Reynolds described his later career as "freelance directing," and helmed several TV movies and episodes of such TV series as Life Goes On, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and Touched by an Angel. His last directing effort was the 1999 telepic How to Get There. Starting in 1993, Mr. Reynolds served four years as president of the Directors Guild of America, which confirmed his death. He also won a Humanitas Prize for Lou Grant and DGA awards for direction of a comedy series for M*A*S*H twice and for direction of a drama series for Lou Grant once. In 1993, Mr. Reynolds received the DGA's Robert B. Aldrich Achievement Award for extraordinary service to the guild. - Reuters, 2/4/20...... Kirk DouglasLegendary Hollywood actor and producer Kirk Douglas, one of the first box office stars of the silver screen, died at his home on Feb. 5, according to his son, actor Michael Douglas. He was 103. "It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103," Michael Douglas told People magazine. "To the world, he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to." With over 92 acting credits, including some 75 movies, seven of which co-starred his friend Burt Lancaster, Mr. Douglas became a superstar even before the term was coined. Born Issur Danielovitch Demsky, the poor son of an illiterate Russian-Jewish immigrant, in Amsterdam, N.Y., on Dec. 9, 1916, Mr. Douglas was known as Izzy as a child and had some 40 jobs growing up including newsboy, before acting in high school plays sent him on the course that would eventually make him a household name. He studied at Manhattan's American Academy of Dramatic Arts alongside classmate Lauren Bacall, who later helped get him a screen test that led to his first movie role, opposite Barbara Stanwyck, in 1946's The Strange Love of Martha Ivers. He received his first Academy Award nomination in 1950 for Champion, and was nominated again in 1953 for the Hollywood expose The Bad and the Beautiful, and once more in 1957 for his performance as Vincent Van Gogh in the biopic Lust for Life. A man of heartfelt conviction, Mr. Douglas hired blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo -- and giving him full-screen credit -- to write the 1960 epic Spartacus, in which Mr. Douglas starred and served as executive producer. In 1996, he was awarded an honorary Oscar for 50 years as a creative and moral force in the motion picture community, and in 2018, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The legendary actor had been in good health since suffering a stroke in 1996, and spent the last years of his life surrounded by his loved ones including Michael's son Cameron, who was released from prison in 2016 after being convicted on drug charges. He celebrated his 103rd birthday on Dec. 9 with his family -- and several tributes from his relatives including Michael and his wife, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones. He survived by his wife of 65 years, Anne, and his sons Michael, Joel, and Peter. - People.com/TheBlast.com, 2/6/20.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

After former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters announced on Jan. 23 he'll launch a summer North American tour in July, the Jewish advocacy organization B'nai B'rith International is pushing back on one of the tour's ticket presale sponsors, Major League Baseball. In a letter to MLB commisioner Rob Manfred, B'nai B'rith charged that Waters "is an avowed anti-Semite whose views on Jews and Israel far exceed the boundaries of civil discourse" and they were "saddened and outraged that baseball ... would use its online resources to publicize an individual with an alarming history of anti-Semitic hatred. We call on MLB to cease providing Roger Waters a platform." MLB said in a statement the promotion was part of an ad buy by AEG/Concerts West for multiple concert tours and that the league "will respond to B'nai B'rith privately." Waters' tour is slated to begin July 8 in Pittsburgh and wrap on Oct. 3 in Dallas. - AP, 1/31/20...... The BeatlesFootage from an upcoming Beatles documentary from director Peter Jackson about the fractious Let It Be recording sessions was previewed at a Universal Music showcase on Jan. 28, and indications are it could change the way the Fab Four are viewed forever. Jackson (The Lord of the Rings) has been has been working on the film for a year, remastering hours of unused footage from Michael Lindsay-Hogg's 1970 documentary film Let It Be and editing previously unreleased footage into a film that appears to bust the myth that the sessions were fraught with tension between band members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. One clip reportedly showed the quartet in Let It Be recording sessions "joking around, making fun of each other, singing in silly accents and generally indulging in vintage Moptop hijinks," according to Variety. The footage was presented by Apple Records president Jeff Jones, who said: "We have created a brand-new film that will attempt to bust the myth that the Let It Be sessions were the final nail in the Beatles' coffin." With rehearsals of songs that would appear on the 1970 Let It Be album and early demos for songs that would crop up on solo records, Variety says that Beatles fans "will lose their minds over this film." Both the original Let It Be film and LP of the same name were released in May 1970, a month after the band officially announced their split. However, they had released Abbey Road, recorded during the band's final ever studio sessions together as a four-piece unit, in 1969. It was recorded after the notorious Let It Be sessions. The new Let It Be film is being prepped to coincide with its 50th anniversary this May, and will reportedly be followed by a remastered rerelease of the original film. - Yahoo Movies UK, 1/29/20...... In an interview with the UK music publication Kerrang, Ozzy Osbourne says he doesn't think he'll be around for "too much longer" after he was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and that he thinks about when his time will come, but "I don't worry about it." "It's gonna happen to us all," Osbourne says. "Am I happy now? No. I haven't got my health. That thing knocked the shit out of me, man, but I'm still here." Ozzy's battle with PRKN 2, a form of Parkinson's, comes after he fell in the middle of the night while going to the toilet in Feb. 2019, which impacted metal rods that were implanted after a motorbike accident in 2003. He added that he "feels better now" after owning up to his fans about having Parkinson. "To hide something is hard -- you never feel proper. You feel guilty. I'm no good with secrets. I cannot walk around with it anymore. It's like I'm running out of excuses," he said. Ozzy says he's now on the mend though and will release Ordinary Man, which features a title track collaboration with Elton John, on Feb. 21 and launch a UK tour of rescheduled arena shows behind the new album in October. Meanwhile in other Ozzy news, the shock rocker is featured in a new cat anti-declawing video by the animal rights group PETA. In the video, Osbourne shows the bloody stumps of his fingers to decry declawing cats. The musician nearly lost some of his own fingers in late 2018 as a result of an infection, and said in a statement that "amputating a cat's toes is twisted and wrong." "If your couch is more important to you than your cat's health and happiness, you don't deserve to have an animal! Get cats a scratching post -- don't mutilate them for life," he added. Veteranarians say declawing cats is like cutting off the end of human fingers, and the animals have to relearn how to walk because of the impaired balance, and are more likely to bite as a means of self-protection since they've lost their first defense mechanism. New Musical Express/Billboard, 1/30/20...... Sammy HagarSammy Hagar and his backing band the Circle have announced they'll kick off a 30-city U.S. summer tour with openers Whitesnake and Night Ranger on July 9 in West Palm Beach, Fla. "I love some friendly competition on stage and that's exactly what this is going to be," said Hagar in a release. "David [Coverdale] and I have nothing but the highest respect for one another, but we would also like to blow the other guy off the stage! Add in Night Ranger and the fans will have one hell of a night of music," he added. Hagar's band the Circle also includes former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, drummer Jason Bonham, and guitarist Vic Johnson. The tour is set to run through Georgia, Virginia, New York, Michigan, Texas, and more before wrapping on Sept. 20 in Chula Vista, Calif. Hagar says his setlist will include career-spanning hits from his former bands Van Halen and Montrose, along with several solo career tracks. - Billboard, 1/27/20...... Boston-based groups Aerosmith and New Kids on the Block have announced they'll headline two shows at Boston's Fenway Park, the home of baseball's Red Sox, on Sept. 18 and 19, respectively. Aerosmith's gig is being billed as a "50th anniversary celebration" and will feature support from Extreme. Aerosmith were recently honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year during Grammy week before taking the stage at the Jan. 26 Grammys show to perform "Walk This Way" with Run-D.M.C.. - Billboard, 1/27/20...... Elton John was forced to abandon a concert in Australia on Jan. 31 after a downpour occurred during the show. As John was in the middle of playing his 1973 single "Funeral For a Friend," a torrential rain and hailstone storm began to flood the stage and instruments were damaged. Three assistants ushered Sir Elton off the stage in Victoria more than 95 minutes into his concert at Rochford Wines in Yarra Valley. He was unable to return to the stage because the bad weather continued. At the beginning of the concert, John remarked how "f---ing hot" it was in Australia. "Thank you for buying a ticket to the show. We love doing it, even though it's hot," he said, to widespread applause. The concert was the first of two shows John played in Victoria. - New Musical Express, 1/31/20...... Queen + Adam Lambert have added two final dates to their upcoming U.K. "Rhapsody Tour." The two new shows in Birmingham on June 14 and 15 come after six shows at The O2 in London between June 2 and 9, and before four additional shows at London's O2 between June 17 and 21. The band will kick off the European leg of the tour in Bologna, Italy on May 24. Meanwhile, it has been reported that Queen guitarist Brian May's company Brian May Guitars has begun selling sports bras. - NME, 1/29/20...... Tom Jones and Lionel Richie will be among the headliners of the UK's Edinburgh Summer Sessions 2020 festival, which runs from Aug. 8-20 at Princes Street Gardens. The two-week event kicks off with Jones performing on Aug. 8 and Richie headlining the following evening's show, with additional headliners on other nights including such acts as The 1975, McFly, Simple Minds and Travis. ionel Richie, who will be making his Edinburgh Summer Sessions debut, said in a statement: "I'm really looking forward to heading back to Scotland next summer, the crowds are some of the best in the world and I can't wait to get back over there to see you all." - NME, 1/29/20...... Fleetwood MacIn a new interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Fleetwood Mac founder Mick Fleetwood says his band will never reunite with former member Lindsey Buckingham, who was fired from the band in 2018. "No," Fleetwood said when asked about the prospect of Buckingham rejoining the group. "Fleetwood Mac is a strange creature. We're very, very committed to [new members] Neil [Finn] and Mike [Campbell], and that passed away a time ago, when Lindsey left. And it's not a point of conversation, so I have to say no." Fleetwood continued: "It's a full drama of Fleetwood Mac, no doubt. [Buckingham's] legacy is alive and well, and as it should be. A major, major part that will never be taken away, and never be down-spoken by any of us. Neil and Mike have tremendous respect for Lindsey. The situation was no secret. We were not happy. It was not working, and we parted company. And that really is the all of it." Band frontwoman Stevie Nicks has cited Buckingham wanting too much time off to concentrate on his solo work as the reason for his being kicked out of the band. Buckingham has denied that was the case, and says he was given a list of things that "Stevie took issue with" in a phone call with the band's manager Irving Azoff, including how he had "smirked" during her thank you speech at a MusiCares concert and that he had had an outburst over the band's intro music, "Rhiannon." - NME, 1/28/20...... Film and TV character actor Robert Sampson, veteran of such shows as The Twilight Zone, That Girl, Green Acres, Bridget Loves Bernie and Star Trek, died peacefully of natural causes on Jan. 18 in Santa Barbara, Calif., it was reported on Jan. 31. Mr. Sampson enjoyed a 50-plus-year acting career spanning over 150 movie and television productions, including Re-Animator, The Dark Side of the Moon, Robot Jox, and many theatre and commercial productions. Mr. Sampson worked steadily from the 1960s to the 1990s and held regular roles in five short-lived television series, acted in about thirty-five movies, and guest-starred in about eighty television series, primarily in the 1960s and 1970s. He starred alongside David Birney in the 1970s series Bridget Loves Bernie, playing Bridget's older brother, a priest. In the original Star Trek series, he portrayed Sar 6 in the first season episode "A Taste of Armageddon." He is survived by a partner, Richard Witt, and a daughter, Rebecca. - TheLifeandTimesofHollywood.com, 1/31/20...... Fred SilvermanFred Silverman, a legendary network TV programmer who greenlit such influential projects as All in the Family, Roots and Hill Street Blues during tenures at CBS, ABC and NBC, died on Jan. 30 at his home in Pacific Palisades, Calif. He was 82. Known as "The Man With the Golden Gut," Mr. Silverman gave David Letterman his first TV show; orchestrated such popular spinoffs as The Jeffersons, Rhoda, Laverne & Shirley, The Bionic Woman and The Facts of Life; and brought "Jiggle TV" series like Charlie's Angels and Three's Company to the airwaves (and suggested Suzanne Somers play Chrissy on the latter). Known as a genius of counterprogramming, Mr. Silverman honed his skills working on kids shows (he came up with the idea for Scooby-Doo), game shows (he resurrected The Price Is Right and launched Family Feud) and daytime TV (under his watch, All My Children and General Hospital aimed for younger viewers). At CBS, Mr. Silverman jettisoned rural comedies like The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction in favor of smarter shows like All in the Family and M*A*S*H, then took the beleaguered ABC network to No. 1 in primetime. He shifted to NBC in 1978 with oversight of the entire company, reporting only to the chairman of RCA. Born on Sept. 13, 1937, in New York City and raised in Queens, Mr. Silverman's father was a TV and radio repairman for Sears and his mom a housewife. He made a hobby of collecting radio scripts, getting them from the porters who worked at the radio networks; he said that at one point that he had about 5,000 of them. He earned his master's degree at Ohio State, where he recalled an adviser suggested he get into programming instead of his first choice of directing because programming "requires a real knowledge of the business, and it is kind of creative, because you're picking the shows." His first job was editing commercials at Tribune's WGN-TV in Chicago in 1961, where he oversaw Bozo's Circus, a live program that was a hit at noon, then found unlikely success with a repackaged, recut and heavily promoted block of Bomba, the Jungle Boy films. In 1970, Mr. Silverman was put in charge of everything on the air at CBS. "We had an old schedule that was directed at old people in rural areas," he once said. "Our company-owned stations in cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles were dying with this schedule. Something had to be done." He convinced CBS president Bob Wood to put All in the Family on the air, after ABC twice passed on it. Soon, the network was thriving, helped by Maude, The Jeffersons, Good Times and One Day at a Time -- all from producer Norman Lear. In 1978, Mr. Silverman jumped to NBC as president and CEO, where he guided David Letterman's talk shows and came up with the idea for Hill Street Blues, but exited the network in 1981 after it finished with its worst season in history. Mr. Silverman was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 1999. He married his secretary at CBS, Catherine Ann Kihn, in 1971, and they had two children, Melissa and Billy. They survive him, as does his daughter-in-law, Anna. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/30/20.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Elton John has reportedly snapped up a batch of actress Gwyneth Paltrow's sensational new scented candles, irreverently titled "This Smells Like My Vagina" candles. Perfumer Douglas Little, who came up with the wax wonder with the Shakespeare In Love Oscar winner, says Sir Elton is "a fan" and has bought a "ton of them." Paltrow and Little unveiled the cheeky candle earlier in January, revealing the idea started out as a joke. "We were kind of messing around and I smelled this beautiful thing and I was like, 'This smells like my vagina'," Paltrow said in a recent interview. "I was kidding, obviously. It was really funny to us." Paltrow's "This Smells Like My Vagina" candle retails for $75, and is available via the Oscar-winning actress' online Goop wellness store. - WENN/Canoe.com, 1/24/20...... '70s singer/songwriter legend John Prine was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Grammy during the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards at L.A.'s Staples Center on Jan. 26. Bonnie Raitt paid tribute to Prine with an abbreviated acoustic version of Prine's classic "Angel From Montgomery," after which she pointed to Prine in the audience and said he "wrote 'Angel From Montgomery' and so many other songs that changed my life... I love you John." Prine released his highest-charting album ever in 2018, The Tree of Forgiveness, which peaked at No. 5. - Billboard,...... AerosmithIn other Grammys news, Aerosmith re-teamed with rap act Run-D.M.C. for a rendition of their 1986 remake of "Walk This Way." Rev. Run of Run-D.M.C. busted through a fake brick wall to join Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry on the first true rap-rock hit, trading verses with Tyler as Perry ripped off solos on a white custom electic guitar. As the performance wound down a member of Run-DMC's crew held up a No. 24 Los Angeles Lakers jersey in honor of late hometown basketball legend Kobe Bryant, who was among eight people killed in a tragic helicopter accident earlier in the day. The night before, Aerosmith was honored at a MusiCares Person of the Year gala, which raised over $6 million for musicians and other industry professionals in medical, emotional and financial need. Aerosmith was honored with performances from a range of artists including Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, Foo Fighters, John Mayer and John Legend. Earlier in Grammy Week, co-founding Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer said he was "disappointed" after a Massachusetts Superior Court judge dismissed his legal bid to rejoin the group for their Grammy Awards performance. Kramer, who suffered an ankle injury in 2019 which caused him to miss most of Aerosmith's recent Las Vegas residency, sued the band and argued breach of contract. The 69-year-old says the band told he he was required to re-audition for his place, and apparently failed to prove he could perform "at an appropriate level." Celebrity gossip website TMZ.com captured footage of Kramer being turned away from Aerosmith's rehearsals for the show by security guards. "I'm sorry, we're just asking you not to come into the property right now," one security guard told him. "We've been hired by the other four members of the band to ask that you don't come in today." When he was asked if that was alright, Kramer responded: "Well, you're just doing your job," then thanked the guards and walked away. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine after the judge's decision, Kramer said: "The truth speaks for itself. Ever since I injured my foot last August and went through many hours of physical therapy to heal, not once did the band in its entirety offer to rehearse with me. That is a fact." - Billboard/New Musical Express, 1/26/20...... In more Grammy news, Willie Nelson was paid a pre-Grammy salute on Jan. 25 at The Troubadour in Los Angeles by the Americana Music Association's 7th annual pre-Grammy concert. Although Nelson, 86, was not present for the tribute at the Troubadour, his songs were showcased by several artists he has influenced, including John Prine, Shooter Jennings, Joe Henry, Amos Lee and others. On Grammy night, Nelson was named winner of a Best Country Solo Performance Grammy for his 2019 single, "Ride Me Back Home," beating out the likes of Blake Shelton and Tanya Tucker. - Billboard, 1/26/20...... What would have been the 75th birthday of late '70s reggae legend Bob Marley was celebrated during a pre-Grammys brunch on Jan. 24 in Los Angeles, about two weeks before his Feb. 6 birthdate. The event was attended by his children, including Cedella Marley, Julian Marley and Rohan Marley, and several of his grandchildren. Cedella Marley, a three-time Grammy winner, said her father, who died in 1981, taught his children important lessons about perseverance. "Daddy was a fitness guru... and there were times when we would do these relay races and a lot of parents just want their children to win, win, win. No, we had to really win," she said. "And he was not the one that was just going to let you win just because, and I think that's an important lesson. Nothing is handed to you, you have to go out there (and work hard)." - AP, 1/25/20...... Roger WatersFormer founding Pink Floyd member Roger Waters announced on Jan. 23 that he'll kick off a "This Is Not a Drill" North American tour this summer, playing in the round for the first time ever. Waters is promising the tour, which launches on July 8 in Pittsburgh, will be an entirely new show that pulls from his 50 years of experience in rock music. Other cities on the 31-date jaunt include Detroit, Philadelphia, Toronto, Boston, New York, Miami, Denver, Las Vegas, Vancouver and more, before wrapping on Oct. 3 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The tour marks Waters' return to the U.S. following his extraordinary performances at the 2016 Desert Trip music festival and his worldwide "Us + Them Tour" in 2017 and 2018. Waters announced the tour on his Facebook page on Jan. 23, posting a video of his previous shows and footage of him in the rehearsal studio with his band. "As the clock ticks faster and faster and faster down to extinction, it seemed like a good thing to make a fuss about it, so that's why I'm going on the road," he says in the clip. - Billboard/NME, 1/23/20...... Jeff Lynne's ELO announced on Jan. 24 they'll launch a 15-date tour of the UK and Europe this fall. Supporting their 2019 release From Out of Nowhere, the tour is set to kick off Sept. 19 in Oslo, Norway, also visiting Stockholm (9/21), Herning, Denmark (9/23), Hamburg (9/26), Berlin (9/27), Cologne (9/29) and Munich (9/30). October shows include Amsterdam (10/2), London (10/5, 6), Birmingham (10/11), Manchester (10/16), Belfast (10/18), Dublin (10/19) and Glasgow (10/21). "The audiences in the UK and Europe were so good," frontman Jeff Lynne said in a statement. "We're looking forward to bringing a new show and some musical surprises this fall. I can't wait." - New Musical Express, 1/24/20...... Neil Young was granted official U.S. citizenship on Jan. 23 at Tom Bradley Hall at the L.A. Convention Center. Young, 74, previously announced he had decided to apply for dual U.S./Canadian citizenship so he can vote in the 2020 presidential election, presumably for the opponent of the target of his many criticisms, U.S. Pres. Donald Trump. Young was cheered and congratulated by fans as he walked by alongside his wife Daryl Hannah and waved his paperwork and a small American flag. In an update on his NeilYoung.com website, Young posted "I'm Happy to Report I'm In!!" as he saluted next to a voter registration table that reads, "Democrats register to vote here." - Billboard, 1/23/20...... Brian Eno and his brother Roger Eno have announced they will release a joint album together entitled Mixing Colours. It will be the ambient music pioneer's first studio effort since 2017's Reflection. Eno says the latest album with his brother, who has also developed a career in the same genre, has been in the works since 2005. The album is due March 20 via Deutsche Grammophon, and the first single, "Celeste," has already been shared. In December, Eno released a satirical new track, "Everything's on the Up With the Tories," in the U.K. prior to the general election which was won by the Conservative party. All proceeds made from the two-minute, sing-song track went towards aiding the homeless, according to Eno. - New Musical Express, 1/26/20...... James TaylorJames Taylor announced on Jan. 23 that he'll release his first new album in five years, American Standard, on Feb. 28 via Fantasy Records. Taylor's 19th studio LP, American Standard features reimagined versions of such timeless 20th century songs as "The Surrey With the Fringe on Top" from the musical "Oklahoma!," Bing Crosby's "Pennies From Heaven," Audrey Hepburn's "Moon River," and many more. "I've always had songs I grew up with that I remember really well, that were part of the family record collection -- and I had a sense of how to approach, so it was a natural to put American Standard together," Taylor said in a press release. "I know most of these songs from the original cast recordings of the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, including My Fair Lady, Oklahoma, Carousel, Showboat and others.... we were interested in doing something new, and in bringing something new to it, we've reinterpreted the songs, that's what makes it worth doing." Taylor also announced he'll mount a 28-city tour with opener Jackson Browne behind the new album beginning on May 15 in New Orleans, also hitting such markets as Houston (5/16), Portland (5/25), San Francisco (5/27), Anaheim (5/28), San Diego (5/29), Chicago (6/10), Detroit (6/13), Boston (6/21), Louisville (6/26), Atlanta (6/29), Nashville (6/3) and Holmdel, N.J. (7/7) before wrapping on July 10 in Camden, N.J. - Billboard, 1/23/20...... Multiple songs by Rush have dominated Billboard's Hot Rock Songs chart for the week ending Jan. 25 following the death of Rush drummer Neil Peart on Jan. 7 after a battle with glioblastoma. Rush's 1981 track "Tom Sawyer" leads the list at No. 3 with 4,000 digital downloads, followed by "Limelight" at No. 10 (1.6 million streams, 2,000 sold), "The Spirit of Radio" at No. 13 (1.3 million streams, 2,000 sold), and "Subdivisions" at No. 24 (1.1 million streams, 1,000 sold). In all, Rush's song catalog drew 34.2 million on-demand streams, a jump of 622%, and moved 42,000 album units, up 701%, in the tracking week. - Billboard, 1/22/20...... Former Happy Days star Henry Winkler has denied he and Tom Hanks are still feuding over Winkler's firing from the movie Turner & Hooch. Winkler was dismissed as the director of the 1989 Disney dog film, with rumours swirling for years that he and Hanks had clashed on set. This made for an awkward moment during the Jan. 19 SAG Awards as a camera cut to Winkler when a clip from Turner & Hooch was shown during a career spanning montage celebrating Hanks receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award. Denying they are at odds, Henry told TMZ: "I don't have a feud with Tom Hanks." Winkler, 74, also said that "sure," he would want to work with Hanks again, despite the fact that teaming up on Turner & Hooch did not work out for him. Winkler said that he and Hanks had in fact been friends for "years" and that he had also enjoyed working with the two-time Oscar-winner's wife, Rita Wilson. - WENN/Canoe.com, 1/22/20...... Mick JaggerMick Jagger is set to act in his first significant film part since 2001's The Man From Elysian Fields when he appears in the forthcoming movie The Burnt Orange Heresy. In the movie, the Rolling Stones frontman plays shady art dealer Joseph Cassidy who tries to persuade an art critic (played by Claes Bang) to steal a painting from a reclusive artist Jerome Debney (Donald Sutherland). According to a synopsis, "Soon, James' greed and ambition get the better of him, and he finds himself caught in a web of his own making." A clip from the movie, which hits U.S. theaters on Mar. 6 (no U.K. release date has been set), can be viewed on YouTube. - NME, 1/25/20...... Longtime PBS NewsHour anchorman Jim Lehrer reportedly died "peacefully in his sleep at home" on Jan. 23 at age 85. Mr. Lehrer anchored NewsHour, the flagship newscast on public television in the United States, for 36 years until his retirement in 2011. Mr. Lehrer was also noted for hosting several U.S. presidential debates, once stating he always tried to keep the focus on the candidates and not on himself. "I'm heartbroken at the loss of someone who was central to my professional life, a mentor to me and someone whose friendship I've cherished for decades," said Judy Woodruff, who replaced Mr. Lehrer at the NewsHour anchor desk. "I've looked up to him as the standard for fair, probing and thoughtful journalism and I know countless others who feel the same way," - CNN.com, 1/23/20.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer filed a lawsuit against his bandmates on Jan. 17, charging they violated his contract by not allowing him to perform with the band on the upcoming 2020 Grammy Awards on Jan. 26. Kramer, who says he's fully recovered from several injuries he suffered in the spring of 2019, says the band unfairly blocked his return for the Grammys performance. Aerosmith responded to the suit in a statement devoid of animosity: "Joey Kramer is our brother; his wellbeing is of paramount importance to us. However he has not been emotionally and physically able to perform with the band, by his own admission, for the last 6 months. We have missed him and have encouraged him to rejoin us to play many times but apparently he has not felt ready to do so." The statement goes on to say Kramer "has now waited until the last moment to accept our invitation, when we unfortunately have no time for necessary rehearsals during Grammys week" and the band would "be doing a disservice to him, to ourselves and to our fans to have him play without adequate time to prepare and rehearse." Kramer says that Aerosmith, which is being honored with a Lifetime Achievement Grammy as well as being named MusiCares Person of the Year in another Grammy week event, is depriving him "of the opportunity to be recognized along with my peers for our collective lifetime contributions to the music industry... Neither the MusiCares' Person of the Year Award nor the Grammys' Lifetime Achievement honors can ever be repeated." - Billboard, 1/22/20...... Ozzy OsbourneIn an interview with the ABC's Good Morning America on Jan. 21, Ozzy Osbourne revealed that his been struggling with a form of Parkinson's disease called PRKN 2 after he suffered a fall in February 2019. "It's been terribly challenging for us," Ozzy told GMA, which posted the interview on their Twitter feed. Osbourne continued: "I did my last show New Year's Eve at The Forum. Then I had a bad fall. I had to have surgery on my neck, which screwed all my nerves. A year ago next month I was in a shocking state. I'm on a host of medication, mainly from surgery. I've got numbness down this arm from surgery, my legs feel like they're going cold, I don't know if that's from the Parkinson's." Ozzy's wife Sharon Osbourne, also present for the interview, stressed Ozzy's diagnosis "is not a death sentence by any stretch of the imagination" and that the couple "will travel to a doctor in Switzerland in April in a bid to secure further treatment for the condition." Ozzy added how he's determined to hit the road again in October for a planned UK tour, and that 2019 was the "longest, most painful and miserable" year of his life. The following day, Sharon thanked fans for their "outpouring of love" after Ozzy's revelation on her daytime show The Talk. "...Just to have all this outpouring of positive reaction from everyone that watches the show, and our friends, it's heartwarming. And I know that Ozzy will be just over the moon. He will be taken aback." Ozzy will release his latest solo LP, Ordinary Man, on Feb. 21. - New Musical Express, 1/21/20...... The estate of Michael Jackson renewed its partnership with music rights management company BMI on Jan. 21, in an agreement that dates back 41 years. BMI announced it will continue licensing the King of Pop's songwriting catalog for public performance, renewing a pact first signed in 1979 and last refreshed in 2014. According to BMI, 17 of Jackson's songs have exceeded over one million plays on radio, with some exceeding five million spins. "The influence of Michael Jackson's revolutionary music is undeniable," said BMI president/CEO Mike O'Neill "We are extremely pleased that his estate continues to entrust BMI to represent his extraordinary catalog." - Billboard, 1/21/20...... Hall and Oates announced a massive 32-date 2020 North American tour on Jan. 21 that will see the popular rock/R&B duo visit cities across the entire US, from Hawaii to New York. With openers Squeeze and KT Tunstall, Hall and Oates will launch the trek with a two-night stand at Foxwoods in Mashantucket, Conn. on May 15 and 16 and continue through Los Angeles (5/29), Denver (6/14), Austin (6/19), Toronto (7/10), Cleveland (7/14), Atlanta (8/13), Tampa (8/15) and more. The tour is currently scheduled to close out on Sept. 2 at Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion in Gilford, N.H. "I'm really looking forward to a big time 2020 tour!" said John Oates in a release. "Having KT Tunstall and Squeeze on the bill with us is just gonna make for an amazing night of music. Can't wait to see you all on the road." Warm ups before the tour begins in earnest in May will include shows at Giant Center in Hersey, Penn., on Feb. 26; Madison Square Garden in NYC on Feb. 28; and two shows in Hawaii on March 27 and 29. - Billboard, 1/21/2020...... Brian JohnsonAC/DC are reportedly planning to make a live comeback in 2020 with former frontman Brian Johnson handling vocal duties for the legendary Australian hard rockers. Australian radio personality Eddie McGuire, on his "Triple M Melbourne" show, says Johnson will return to the group after hearing loss forced him to leave the band in 2016, and that the band is planning a new album "in February/March this year... and [will be] touring Australia in October/November 2020." "And after a lot of work and a lot of technical research, they have been able to get a hearing aid for Brian Johnson, who will be out front," McGuire added. He also raised the possibility of former AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd, who left the band in 2015 after being convicted of drug possession and threatening to kill a former employee, returning to the band "after the issues that he's had in recent times. Rumors of a full AC/DC reunion date back to 2018, when there were reports the band was working after a lot of work and a lot of technical research, they have been able to get a hearing aid for Brian Johnson, who will be out front." Rumors of a full AC/DC reunion date back to 2018, when there were reports the band was working on a new album that would feature the work of their late rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young on "every track," and Rudd and Johnson were spotted together in Vancouver in 2019, where the band has recorded all their albums over the last two decades. - New Musical Express, 1/20/20...... Family members of Prince have apparently reached settlements in their wrongful death lawsuit against a slew of defendants who they originally sued in April 2018, two years after the funk-rock icon died of died of an accidental fentanyl overdose on April 21, 2016, without leaving a will. The defendants include the Minnesota doctor who saw Prince in the weeks before his death and the Illinois hospital that treated him for an opioid overdose seven days before he died. Prince's heirs alleged the parties had the duty and opportunity to diagnose and treat Prince's addiction and prevent his death, but failed to do so. But as early as summer 2019, the family has quietly dismissed the suits. Claims against Dr. Michael Schulenberg -- a doctor who treated Prince in the weeks before his death -- were permanently dismissed in November, along with claims against Schulenberg's former employer. Both sides agreed to the dismissals. Claims against Walgreens, which filled prescriptions for Prince, and Trinity Medical Center, the Illinois hospital where Prince was treated for an opioid overdose a week before he died, were also permanently dismissed in August by agreement. Meanwhile, Prince's siblings are still waiting to learn how much his estate is worth. Court filings several months after Prince's death suggested the estate was worth around $200 million before taxes. More recent filings suggest the estate and Internal Revenue Service have not yet agreed on its value. - AP, 1/20/20...... StingFormer The Police frontman Sting is adamant against being the subject of a Rocketman-like biopic treatment, according to a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "Absolutely not," the 68-year-old Grammy-winner told the publication. "I'm telling my story in an artistic way." That way is Sting's musical "The Last Ship," which is currently being presented at Broadway's Ahmanson Theatre through Feb. 16, a different version from the one that ran on Broadway for four months in 2014. Sting wrote the music and lyrics and plays the foreman of a Newcastle shipyard in the show, which draws from his early years growing up in a grim, ship-building town in Northern England. "It's really the story of my town," Sting says. "I come from a little town in the Northeast of England. It was a famous shipyard town. We built the biggest vessels ever constructed on the planet, right at the end of my street. So it was a kind of epic, surreal industrial environment, which I didn't appreciate as a kid. It was a very frightening idea that I would end up in the shipyard as my ancestors had done. I'd pass thousands of men every morning, thinking, 'I don't want this.'" Other topics Sting weighed in on included the demise of the Police ("Everything we set out to do as a band we achieved 100 fold. After you've done that it becomes diminishing returns in terms of satisfaction") and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leaving the Royal Family ("I think the press are making more of it than even the royal family are. I mean, he has every right to make his own life... It's ridiculous what they're making of it. Poor lad."). - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/20/20...... Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie announced on Jan. 21 that Blondie will embark on an "In Conversation" book tour of the U.K. in April centering around Harry's and Stein's respective books, Harry's best-selling autobiography Face It and Stein's two photo books, Negative and Point of View. The conversations will, according to a press release, be further "illuminated with seminal images of the band and New York City from Debbie's autobiography and Chris Stein's two books, as well as film clips, fan art, book readings and audience Q&As." "I've always loved the way Chris tells stories," Harry said in the statement. "I think you will too." The tour will begin on Apr. 22 in Glasgow, then visit Birminham on Apr. 24, Manchester on Apr. 26 and London on May 28. - NME, 1/21/20...... Bruce Springsteen surprised fans on Jan. 19 with three separate performances at the Light Of Day Parkinson's disease charity at the historic Stone Pony venue in Asbury, N.J. The Boss first took the stage during a set by Jesse Malin as part of the Light of Day week of fundraising shows for contributions to two of Malin's songs, then later joined Willie Nile to play "One Guitar" before joining Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers for a full ten-song set. The crowd was also treated to versions of his own classics, "Darkness on the Edge of Town," "Atlantic City" and "The Promised Land." Springsteen made a similar surprise appearance at the event in 2015. - NME, 1/20/20...... QueenBritain's Royal Mint announced on Jan. 20 that they will release a new Queen 5 coin beginning on Jan. 24, the first in a series of "Music Legends" collection by the mint. The coin commemorates all four members of the band through the portrayal of each member's instrument, including Freddie Mercury's Bechstein grand piano which he played on the Queen classic "Bohemian Rhapsody." Queen's logo is placed at the center of the design and is underscored by Mercury's signature mic stick. In a statement when the coins were first announced in May 2019, Queen guitarist Brian May said, "This is a big 'Who could have imagined it?' moment for us. When we began as Queen, even the first rung of the ladder to recognition seemed remote and unreachable. To have our band recognised and our music celebrated in this way is very touching -- a real honour." The commemorative coins are priced at £13 for an uncirculated coin right up to £2,100 for a gold proof coin, and can be viewed and purchased at the RoyalMint.com website. Queen recently announced plans to perform at a benefit concert for Australian bushfire relief at SydneyŇs ANZ Stadium on Feb. 16. - New Musical Express, 1/20/20...... A longtime friend of Rush says some of the rumors surrounding Rush drummer Neil Peart's final days are inaccurate. Donna Halper, the woman credited with discovering Rush while working at an Ohio radio station back in 1974, says rumors currently circulating on social media that the musician was in a wheelchair and unable to speak in the months prior to his death after a three-year battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, are "inaccurate." "The vast majority are inaccurate," Halper says. "As for me, I choose to remember Neil as he was, and I want to respect his family's privacy during this difficult time." Also in her Twitter feed, Halper said: "Normally, I would remain silent and let people say what they want to say, but this is different. My friendship with Rush is something I take very seriously, and I will defend the truth as much as I can. It's the least I can do. But it ended the way he wanted, surrounded by his family & best friends. (By the way, he was able to speak, almost till the very end, I am told.) Anyway, I'm just sorry there is no cure for the kind of cancer he had. May he rest in peace." - NME, 1/19/20...... Parlophone Records has shared a video for another previously unreleased David Bowie track, "I Can't Read '97," on YouTube. The track is one of six on the new Record Store Day Bowie EP Is It Any Wonder? The original version of "I Can't Read" appeared on the self-titled debut album of Bowie's short-lived supergroup Tin Machine in 1989. Bowie re-recorded the track during the mixing stage of his 1997 LP Earthling, but it was cut from the album at the last minute to be replaced by "The Last Thing You Should Do." - NME, 1/17/2020...... Rod StewartIn an interview with the UK's Mail on Sunday, former Rod Stewart girlfriend Britt Ekland claimed Rod was tight with his money and made her pay rent to him during their two-year relationship. Ekland, 77, who dated Stewart from 1975 until 1977, also made the sensational claim that the 75-year-old "Maggie Mae" singer also used to like wearing her satin knickers. "People thought he bought me Chanel suits but I bought copies of Chanels with my own money," said Ekland, adding scathingly that Rod gave her "nothing." Ekland said that Stewart, who was famously once branded as "tight as two coats of paint" by his former Faces bandmate and current Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, added she "had to pay $100 a month board and lodgings when I was living with him... I would go shopping with him and watch him buy clothes from Yves Saint Laurent but nothing for me." Britt went on to claim Rod used to borrow her underwear: "He did used to like to wear my underwear though," she said. "He would wear these baggy satin trousers and needed little satin pants. Rod would wear my knickers. He liked them." In addition to her courtship with Stewart, the Swedish born Ekland is known for being a Bond girl, starring as Mary Goodnight in the 1974 film The Man with the Golden Gun alongside Roger Moore. In an odd twist, Ekland briefly dated actor George Hamilton before her relationship with Rod, and Hamilton's wife, Alana Hamilton, would later leave him for Rod -- when the singer was dating Britt. Describing the moment she found out Stewart had been unfaithful, she said: "George Hamilton told me, 'Oh how funny, [Alana] has just left me for your ex-boyfriend.'" "Suddenly a light went on and I thought 'Rod'," Ekland says. "I got in the car and drove home. I wanted to throw up. He never said sorry. Never. I wish he had. I think that would have brought it to an end. I think it is only fair to do that." - DailyMail.co.uk, 1/20/20..... Mic Gillette, first trumpet and founding member of the '70s Oakland funk outfit Tower of Power, has died at age 64 after suffering a heart attack. Gillette played a bevy of brass instruments alongside trumpet throughout his tenure in Tower of Power, including trombone, flugelhorn and tuba. Along with Tower of Power, Gillette was a member of two Bay Area funk bands, Cold Blood and the Sons of Champlin, and for a time played with Blood, Sweat and Tears. Both on his own and as a member of the Tower of Power horn section, he recorded with an array of artists including the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Santana, Sheryl Crow and Rod Stewart. After years of touring, he left Tower of Power in the mid-'80s to focus on raising his family, but continued to work as a session musician and record solo material with his own Mic Gillette Band. While Gillette rejoined Tower of Power for a reunion tour in 2009, he continued to focus on teaching music to East Bay middle and high schoolers. - The San Francisco Chronicle, 1/19/20...... David Olney, an underappreciated Nashville singer/songwriter whose work was recorded by the likes of Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Del McCoury and others, died of an apparent heart attack while performing onstage at the 30A Songwriters Festival in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., on Jan. 18. He was 71. The Rhode Island native moved to Nashville in 1973 and later formed the rock group The X-Rays. He released the first of over two dozen solo albums, Eye of the Storm, in 1986. "Olney was in the middle of his third song when he stopped, apologized and shut his eyes," his singer/songwriter friend Amy Rigby wrote in a Facebook post. "I just want the picture to be as graceful and dignified as it was, because it at first looked like he was just taking a moment," she added. - Billboard, 1/19/2020.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Music streams of Rush songs are up 776% after the death of drummer Neil Peart, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. After Peart's death was first reported on Jan. 10, on-demand audio and video stream's of the band's back catalog increased to a combined 24.54 million -- up 776.4% as compared to the previous four days (2.8 million on Jan. 6-9). Rush's most-streamed tunes during the Jan. 10-13 period was the 1981 hit "Tom Sawyer," with 2.82 million streams (up 305% as compared to the 698,000 streams it registered Jan. 6-9). Sales of Rush songs grew by 2,304% to 19,000 (from 1,000), while the group's album sales gained 1,820% to 6,000 (up from a negligible figure). It is expected that Rush's The Spirit of Radio: Greatest Hits 1974 - 1987 will also re-enter the Billboard Hot 200 album chart for the week ending Jan. 25. Rush also dominates the LyricFind U.S. and global chart dated Jan. 18, led by "Tom Sawyer," which bows at No. 1 on both lists. The band is responsible for 23 of the 25 positions on the Global survey and 18 of the 25 spots on the U.S. ranking. The LyricFind charts rank the fastest-momentum-gaining tracks in lyric-search queries and usages globally and in the U.S. Peart, 67, died on Jan. 7 after a 3-year battle with cancer. - Billboard, 1/16/20...... The Doobie BrothersMarc BolanSeventies acts T. Rex and the Doobie Brothers are among the six artists inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Jan. 15, the Cleveland-based hall and museum announced on Jan. 15. T. Rex producer Tony Visconti, who helmed the group's key albums between 1970-73, noted that T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan and his band "have inspired hundreds of bands and record production over the years" and the legendary glam-rock outfit" is still loved by millions of fans and their music will still continue to inspire future musicians." Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers, who kick off a 50th anniversary tour on May 23 in Los Cabos, Mexico, says that "everybody's pretty jazzed" about the RRHOF induction news, especially since it was the Doobies' first time on the ballot after being eligible since 1971, while later Doobies recruit Michael McDonald added "everybody's really excited about this and looking forward to getting together with all the other guys and having that evening together to celebrate." Also selected were Depeche Mode, Whitney Houston, Nine Inch Nails and The Notorious B.I.G. Of the six acts, only Depeche Mode and NIN were previously nominated, who were inducted on their respective third nominations. The rest are first-time nominees, with all but Notorious B.I.G having been eligible for many years. Longtime Bruce Springsteen manager Jon Landau, who guided the Boss's career in its early days, and longtime Eagles manager Irving Azoff, were also chosen to be honored with an Ahmet Ertegun Award. Those nominated but not inducted include Pat Benatar, Dave Matthews Band, Judas Priest, Kraftwerk, MC5, Motorhead, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Todd Rundgren, Soundgarden and Thin Lizzy. The latest inductees will become official on May 2 at the 35th Annual RRHOF induction ceremony, which for the first time ever will be broadcast live on HBO. This year's ceremony takes place at the Public Auditorium in Cleveland. Tickets go on sale Feb. 27 and participating performers and inductees will be announced at a later date. - Billboard, 1/15/20...... In other awards news, Aerosmith will be honored during Grammy Week in April as the 2020 MusiCares Person of the Year during The Recording Academy's 30th-anniversary benefit gala. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees will be honored for their philanthropic achievements and join an elite group of past award recipients that includes Dolly Parton, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Lionel Richie, Bob Dylan and Carole King. Aerosmith is being honored for its philanthropic organization Janie's Fund, which frontman Steven Tyler established in 2015 to coincide with the song's 26th anniversary. The charity is dedicated to helping emotionally and behaviorally troubled children across America. The band, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020, will continue the second year of its Las Vegas "Deuces Are Wild" residency through this June, followed by an arena/stadium tour of Europe. - Billboard, 1/14/2020...... Steve MillerThe Steve Miller Band will be among the headliners at the second annual BeachLife Fest 2020, set for L.A. County's South Bay beach area on May 1-3. It will be SMB's only Southern California appearance of 2020. Also performing will be Counting Crows, UB40 and The Marley Brothers. This year's BeachLife will include a Yacht Rock Brunch starring Ambrosia and Friends with special guests Stephen Bishop ("On and On"), John Ford Coley ("I'd Really Love to See you Tonight"), and Elliot Lurie ("Brandy You're A Fine Girl"). Sugar Ray will also host a weekend brunch set against a backdrop of raised mimosas and palm trees and the laid-back oceanside event. Tickets can be acquired at Beachlifefestival.com. - Billboard, 1/16/20...... Meanwhile, Steve Miller is among the inductees of the 2020 Songwriters Hall of Fame, it was announced on CBS This Morning on Jan. 16. Miller was present during the announcement, saying it "feels delightful... it's really a great, great honor." Explaining why the nod was so important to him, the 76-year-old singer and guitar wizard said, "the songs are the most important part of everything. To be honored this way is unexpected." Also inducted into the SHOF were Mariah Carey, The Isely Brothers, The Eurythmics, and songwriter Rick Nowels, who has penned hits for Madonna, Dido, Adele and Lana Del Rey. - Billboard, 1/16/20...... Legendary singer José Feliciano will release his latest album, Behind This Guitar, on Jan. 31. Produced by Rick Jarrard, the album features a rendition of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain," and Feliciano has shared a video of his version of the song on YouTube. The eight-track Behind This Guitar, which also includes a new recording of José's classic holiday hit "Feliz Navidad," marks the first time the musician has recorded in Nashville. "Once the (instrumental) tracks were done in Nashville I went to my sound tech's studio in Connecticut and did the vocals and we put it together and I'm really happy with how it came out," Feliciano noted. "I think it has real hit potential." Feliciano is set to appear at a special event Feb. 11 at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. The musician, who this year marks the 55th anniversary of his first album release, is also working on a memoir as well as a documentary about his life and career. - Billboard, 1/16/20...... Bruce Springsteen and wife Patti Scialfa were proudly on hand to see their 25-year-old son, Sam Springsteen, sworn in as one of 15 new firefighters with the Jersey City Fire Department on Jan. 14. The Boss and Scialfa sat in the front row as their 25-year-old son was sworn into the newest class. "We're very proud," Bruce told reporters at the ceremony. "We're just excited for him today." - AP, 1/14/20...... Donald FagenSteely Dan and Steve Winwood have announced a co-headlining 2020 summer tour set to kick off June 2 in Portland, Ore. Their 23-date "Earth After Hours" tour will also visit such cities as Auburn, Wash. (6/4), Los Angeles (6/8), Phoenix, Ariz. (6/11), Atlanta, Ga. (6/19), Memphis, Tenn. (6/20), Toronto, Ont. (6/23), Cincinnati, Oh. (6/28), and Holmdel, N.J. (7/10) before wrapping on July 11 at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, N.Y. Steely Dan lead vocalist and keyboardist Donald Fagen has continued to perform live under the Steely Dan name since the band's co-founder, multi-instrumentalist and backing vocalist, Walter Becker, died of complications from esophageal cancer in 2017. - Billboard, 1/15/20...... An ambitious 40-city Foreigner summer tour with openers Kansas has been announced to launch on July 9 in Albuquerque, N.M. Hitting such major markets as Indianapolis, St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Boston, Toronto, Birmingham, Jacksonville and Nashville, the band's "Juke Box Heroes" tour will close out in September with three shows in Texas. "We can't wait to hit the road with our good friends Kansas and Europe and bring all our biggest hits to cities across the country," Foreigner founding member Mick Jones in a release. "We always have such a good time together, and combined we share some of the greatest songs in rock and roll. We are so excited to see our fans from coast to coast, and plan to make this summer our most epic tour yet!" Prior to the tour, Foreigner will launch 2020 with a three-day run at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Tennessee with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra from Jan. 16-18 before the group's residency at The Venetian in Las Vegas, which kicks off Jan. 24. Meanwhile, tourmates Kansas also plan to release their 16th studio album this summer. - Billboard, 1/13/20...... Randy Newman issued a statement on Jan. 15 saying he's been forced to cancel his upcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand due to a longer-than-expected recovery period from recent surgery. Newman had been set to kick off his seven-date tour on Feb. 2 at Melbourne's Hamer Hall, then play shows in Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane, then head east for his first ever New Zealand trek, taking in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. "I couldn't be more sorry, I really couldn't," said Newman in a statement. "I had a hip operation, and I thought I was going to get better, but I'm not. And I'm losing feeling in three fingers on my left hand. Not that I ever had a great left hand in the first place, but it's hard to play." Newman was recently nominated for a best original song Oscar (his 13th) for "I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away" from Toy Story 4, and for best original score for Marriage Story. Elton John and Bernie Taupin, fresh off their Golden Globe win for best original song for "(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again" from Rocketman, were also nominated for an Oscar in the best original song category. - Billboard, 1/15/20...... Meat Loaf has filed a lawsuit against a hotel at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and organizers of a horror convention held there, blaming them for negligence when he fell from a stage while answering questions from convention goers last May. Meat Loaf, whose real name is Michael Lee Aday, and his wife Deborah filed the suit on Jan. 13 in a state district court in Fort Worth, Tex., against the Hyatt Corp. and Texas Frightmare Weekend LLC. The lawsuit alleges the defendants hung curtains at the back edge of the stage at the Hyatt Regency DFW hotel that hid where the stage ended, creating a "hidden hazard." Meat Loaf, 72, incurred severe neck, collarbone and shoulder injuries that have prevented him from performing since, according to the complaint. It says he spent 42 days hospitalized after the fall and required him to undergo physical therapy. - AP, 1/14/20...... SantanaLegendary guitarist and longtime cannabis advocate Carlos Santana has announced he's getting into the marijuana business. On Jan. 15, Santana announced a partnership with Left Coast Ventures, a cannabis and hemp company headquartered in Santa Rosa, California. Santana will develop premium cannabis and hemp CBD brands for the company that are influenced by his Latin heritage, while "incorporating his divine philosophies" with strains and products that "promote the spiritual consciousness and wellness effects" of the drug. "Cannabis is a window or a door to different awareness of consciousness," said Santana in a statement. "It gives you the choice to perceive through a different filter of awakening and healing, the misperception of distance as an illusion, which keeps you from being centered in your essence-core. It helps you arrive at knowing, accepting and owning a quality of life that is being with joy!" Santana's pot brand is expected for a summer 2020 launch and will be available to buy in select dispensaries in California; the line will include flower and pre-rolls upon release. The hemp CBD brand, which will include topicals with formulations inspired by Santana's own family, is slated for release in the fall. - Billboard, 1/15/20...... Queen + Adam Lambert and Alice Cooper have been confirmed as headliners of a Sydney Bushfire Relief Concert at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on Feb. 16. All profits and contributions will go to various wildfire relief charities that will help victims of devastating Australian bushfires that have taken dozens of lives, destroyed thousands of homes and razed more than 12 million hectares, an area roughly the size of the states of Vermont and New Hampshire, combined. The massive nine-hour-plus concert will be hosted by actor and comedian Celeste Barber, who has already raised more than A$50 million ($35 million) towards bushfire relief via her own online appeal. Other headliners include Amy Shark, Baker Boy, Conrad Sewell, Daryl Braithwaite, Guy Sebastian and Icehouse. - Billboard, 1/13/20...... David Bowie is set to be honored by having a Paris street named after him, it was announced on Jan. 13. Paris mayor Jerome Coumet, a professed fan of the late rock icon, said that a new road near Austerlitz station in the southeast of the French capital would be named after Bowie. Revealing that Bowie "had a strong link with the City of Lghts," Coumet added that "the naming must be approved by the Paris council in February," something he says normally happens without a problem. Jan. 10 marked the fourth anniversary of Bowie's death, and the musician's 48-year-old son, Duncan Jones, and Bowie's wife of almost 24 years, Iman, paid tribute to him in a series of touching social media posts. Jones posted a photograph of Bowie on holiday via Twitter, captioned "Dad relaxing happily in the Australian outback," adding "Always alive when he's in here - [heart emoji]." Iman took to Instagram to pay tribute to her late husband with a picture of the two together, as well as a separate post featuring the words: "Sometimes memories sneak out of my eyes and roll down my cheeks." - New Musical Express, 1/13/20...... Star Wars actor Mark Hamill is praising a Flagstaff, Ariz., record store for returning a Star Wars: A New Hope soundtrack LP that had been a gift from film composer John Williams that he hadn't seen since the 1990s. The record was one of numerous Star Wars items brought in to sell by a woman after her father's death in 2018. Micheil Salmons, the store's general manager, said they eventually tried reaching out to Hamill via social media. The actor confirmed it was genuine, and the vinyl was sent back to him. Micheil Salmons, the store's general manager, said they reached out via social media to Hamill, who confirmed it was genuine, and the vinyl was sent back to him. Hamill said in a tweet that it felt "totally unexpected & positively surreal" to get back the record he hadn't seen since the early 1990s. "I happily offered to sign any (Star Wars) items they sent me," the actor wrote. Williams had written on the vinyl's sleeve: "Dear Mark Hamill, May the force always be with us." - AP, 1/14/20...... Rory GallagherA posthumous release by late Irish rocker Rory Gallagher, Check Shirt Wizard - Live in '77, has been released via Chess/UMC Records. The 20-song, previously unreleased, set is culled from four shows (London, Brighton, Sheffield and Newcastle) during an early 1977 tour across the UK in support of Rory's then latest album Calling Card. Featuring live versions of tracks from that album as well as songs from Gallagher's 1975 set Against The Grain other live favorites, the new album has been mixed from the original multi track tapes from the Rory archive, which were recorded at the Rolling Stones and Jethro Tull's mobile studios and mastered at Abbey Road. Gallagher's most popular albums have always been his live ones, such as Live! In Europe, Irish Tour '74 and Stage Struck. Check Shirt Wizard - Live in '77, is available to pre-order from https://RoryGallagher.lnk.to/CSW. Renowned for his blistering live performances and highly respected for his dedication to his craft, Gallagher died in 1995, aged 47. - Noble PR, 1/15/20...... Chris Darrow, a former member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, has died of as yet undisclosed causes at age 75. In the 1960s, the South Dakota native and Claremont, Calif. transplant became acquainted with Chris Hilman of The Byrds, who had a profound influence on his transition from bluegrass and folk to rock music. He went on to form the genre-bending rock band Kaleidoscope, recording several albums before his joining influential country-rockers the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1967. Darrow worked with the band on two albums, and appeared in the Clint Eastwood movie, Paint Your Wagon, before forming the band The Corvettes, who became the touring band for Linda Ronstadt. Darrow also had a prolific solo career, releasing a total of 10 records between 1972 and 2006, and worked with such notable artists as Leonard Cohen and James Taylor. - 1/16/20.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

David Lee Roth kicked off a 2020 Vegas residency at the House of Blues on Jan. 8 with a mixture of rants, unabashed peacocking, and non sequitors like "my inner child is Edward James Olmos." The 65-year-old former Van Halen singer observed Elvis Presley's Jan. 8 birthday by popping onstage in a bedazzled leather jacket that resembled one of Elvis' famous jumpsuits, and during a version of the VH classic "Unchained," sported a pompadour wig and gave a shout out to the King on what would have been his 85th birthday. Roth also indulged in long stories about his childhood in Detroit as well as his early days with VH as they hosted illegal wet T-shirt contests at a Van Nuys Boulevard nightclub. His sets included "Running With the Devil," "Just Like Paradise, "Just a Gigolo" and "California Girls," forgetting the words to the latter in one particularly cringy moment. Conveying how much he loves spontaneity, Roth told the audience that no two shows of his residency would be the same. Meanwhile, Roth earlier told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that his VH bandmate Eddie Van Halen is "not doing well" and suggested Eddie's performing ability has deteriorated because he hasn't been active since their last reunion tour in 2015 ."Ed's not doing well, and singing and dancing is a perishable skill," Roth said of the 64-year-old guitarist. "If you have the capacity, it's something that has to be used routinely, if not for the thrill of it and the magic of creating with other incandescent spirits." Roth did not address recent reports in the media that Eddie has allegedly been battling cancer again, allegedly secretly battling the disease for five years and making secret trips between the US and Germany to receive radiation treatment. Eddie, a former heavy smoker and alcoholic, has a lengthy health history, having undergone hip replacement surgery in November 1999, after being diagnosed with chronic avascular necrosis years earlier. In 2000, he began receiving treatment for tongue cancer and the subsequent surgery removed a third of his tongue. - Billboard/Music.News.com, 1/10/20...... Neil PeartThe rock world is mourning the loss of legendary Rush drummer Neil Peart, who died in California on Jan. 7 at age 67 after a battle with brain cancer. Canada's CBC first reported the news on Jan. 10, citing information from Peart's publicist, Elliott Mintz. Considered one of the best drummers in rock history with Modern Drummer listing him at No. 3 in a 2014 all-time ranking list, Peart also made his mark on the larger pop culture as seen through references in TV shows like Freaks and Geeks, Archer and Family Guy. Born in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1952, Peart became infatuated with music at an early age and started playing the drums after his parents bought him a pair of drum sticks for his 13th birthday. After moving to the U.K. at 18 to make it as a professional musician, he returned to Canada, where in 1974 he auditioned for singer/bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson to replace John Rutsey as drummer for the band Rush. Although his audition was rocky, Lee and Lifeson decided to give Peart a chance, and the new trio started playing live gigs just weeks later. Though Lee had written the lyrics on the group's first album with Rutsey, he happily ceded the role to Peart, whose songwriting focus was heavily influenced by his studies of objectivist Ayn Rand while he had lived in England. The visionary drummer's style, both manic and intricate, would also help come to define the band's virtuosic prog-rock sound. Born in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1952, Peart became infatuated with music at an early age and started playing the drums after his parents bought him a pair of drum sticks for his 13th birthday. After moving to the U.K. at 18 to make it as a professional musician, he returned to Canada, where in 1974 he auditioned for singer/bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson to replace John Rutsey as drummer for the band Rush. The trio would record five albums over the next half-decade, spanning from 1975's Fly by Night to 1978's Hemispheres, building the band's cult reputation at home and abroad. Neil PeartThe most successful of these efforts was 1976's 2112, whose 20-minute opening title suite took up the record's entire first side and set new standards for classical composition in late-'70s arena rock. It made the top five on the Canadian albums chart and was ultimately certified triple-platinum by the RIAA in the U.S. The Canadian power-trio's most successful period would come early in the next decade, though, with the release of 1980's Permanent Waves and 1981's Moving Pictures -- the latter giving the group their first chart-topping album in their home country. The two sets sold well and together spawned classic rock standards like "The Spirit of Radio," "Limelight" and "Tom Sawyer," emphasizing both the group's highly melodic and anthemic songwriting and their peerless instrumentation, including Peart's iconic drum fills in "Sawyer" and the oft-imitated instrumental "YYZ." Rush released a statement on Jan. 10 confirming the news, writing: "It is with broken hearts and the deepest sadness that we must share the terrible news that on Tuesday our friend, soul brother and band mate of over 45 years, Neil, has lost his incredibly brave three and a half year battle with brain cancer (Glioblastoma). We ask that friends, fans, and media alike understandably respect the family's need for privacy and peace at this extremely painful and difficult time. Those wishing to express their condolences can choose a cancer research group or charity of their choice and make a donation in Neil's name. Rest in peace brother." - Billboard, 1/10/20...... Cher has set a personal touring career record in 2019 with the final dates of her ongoing "Here We Go Again Tour," which raised the diva's calendar-year gross to $108.2 million. The tour earned $14.1 million and sold 109,521 tickets according to figures reported to Billboard Boxscore. Cher earned $3.8 million at New York's Madison Square Garden on Dec. 3-4 and sold out at 27,495 tickets over both nights at the Manhattan arena, while breaking the $1.5 million mark with single-night stops throughout Texas at Houston's Toyota Arena, San Antonio's AT&T Center and the American Airlines Center in Dallas. The dates raised Cher's calendar-year gross to $108.2 million, making it the biggest year of her touring career in Boxscore history. Her previous bests were in 2002 and 2003, the first years of the "Living Proof Tour," when she grossed $75.4 million and $68.5 million, respectively. Coming in at No. 7 and No. 8 on the Boxscore chart were Rod Stewart and Billy Joel, respecively. - Billboard, 1/10/20..... Nielsen Music is reporting that vinyl album sales in the US grew to a new yearly high in 2019 for the 14th consecutive year, led by the Beatles who sold 471,000 copies sold across their entire catalog, more than any other artist. Vinyl sales climbed to 18.84 million units sold in 2019 (up 14.5%), and represented 16.7% of all album sales for the year. In 2018, the format accounted for 11.9% of all album sales. The Beatles also had the top-selling vinyl album of 2019, with Abbey Road. The set, first released in 1969, sold 246,000 copies on wax in 2019, thanks in part to its deluxe 50th anniversary reissue. The set topped the weekly Billboard Hot 200 album chart for 11 weeks in late 1969 and early 1970. Other '70s related acts in the top 10 vinyl sales for 2019 include Queen (No. 2; 345,000), Pink Floyd (No. 4; 217,000), Fleetwood Mac (No. 5; 149,000), Prince (No. 7; 140,000), Led Zeppelin (No. 8; 134,000) and Michael Jackson (No. 9; 127,000). - Billboard, 1/9/20...... In other vinyl news, Bruce Springsteen announced on Instagram on Jan. 11 that he will be reissuing five of his albums on vinyl, many of which have not been available on the format since their original releases. They include 18 Tracks (1999), Live in New York City (2001), The Rising (2002), Devils & Dust (2005) and Live in Dublin (2007). The records, transferred from the original source masters, will go on sale Feb. 21. Each of the five albums cover the period when Springsteen was reunited with the E Street Band, whom he'd previously worked with between 1972 and 1989. The Rising, recorded in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, marks the first album recorded together since the band rejoined him in 1999. - New Musical Express, 1/12/20...... Graceland Auctions has announced a three-wheeled golf cart once owned by Elvis Presley is among hundreds of Elvis memorabilia items that will be put on the auction block in support of the Elvis Presley Foundation. According to GA, the cart is over 50 years old, and was indeed owned by The King himself: "Shortly after Elvis and Priscilla married in Las Vegas on May 1, 1967, the couple spent the next several weeks in Memphis enjoying time together at Graceland and on May 18, 1967, Elvis purchased a white Harley-Davidson golf cart from Taylor Harley-Davidson in Memphis." The website states the singer rarely actually played golf, however, instead using the cart for travel more easily around his estate. The cart, which includes a white "1-ELVIS" license plate, was previously available for public viewing at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. - NME, 1/8/20...... David BowieParlophone Records has announced it will mark what would have been David Bowie's 73rd birthday on Jan. 8 with two posthumous projects. The first is a nine-track album due out on 2020 Record Store Day (April 18) on vinyl and CD for the first time entitled ChangesNowBowie, culled from a 1996 session with longtime bassist Gail Ann Dorsey, guitarist Reeves Gabrels and producer Mark Plati during rehearsals for a 50th birthday Madison Square Garden show. As the first taste of that project, Parlophone has released a mostly acoustic version of Bowie's beloved 1970 track "The Man Who Sold The World," which will also appear on a six-song EP of unreleased and rare tracks, "David Bowie Is It Any Wonder?," slated to be released in weekly batches over the next six weeks beginning on Jan. 17. The EP features tracks originally recorded for radio and broadcast by the BBC on Bowie's 50th birthday on Jan. 8, 1997, with a cover image taken by renowned photographer Albert Watson in 1996. Bowie's latest birthday was also marked with a 30-minute experimental film of the late rock icon shot by friend/collaborator Prof. Martin Richardson which was played for a select group of 300 Bowie fans on Friday Jan. 10 at the U.K.'s Leicesters's National Space Centre to mark four years since's the singer's passing. The 35mm film of Bowie walking towards a camera and striking various poses had reportedly been stored in a box at Leicester's De Montfort University for several years and was used to produce a moving hologram for the 1999 Hours album. Meanwhile, Bowie and fellow late pop star George Michael have been named among the most influential people in British history with their recent addition to The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The two musicians, as well as legendary late Beatles producer Sir George Martin, are among 228 contemporary figures who have been added to the book's newest edition. New entries are only allowed to be added following their death, with all of 2020's additions having died in 2016. They bring the the total number of articles in the dictionary to 61,411, which covers the lives of 63,693 people. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 1/9/20...... Elton John has announced he's pledging $1million to to help combat the bushfires in Australia that have been raging since September. John announced his donation while making a plea on behalf of the nation's endangered animals and affected citizens. "We should all be in the awe of the work the firefighters are doing," John, 72, said. "There are people out there who have lost their lives trying to save homes, there are people who have lost their lives and their homes. And lastly, there's the plight of the animals, a loss of their habitat that, frankly, is on a biblical scale and it's heartbreaking. Therefore tonight, I will be pledging $1 million dollars to support the bushfire relief fund." The fires have consumed more than 18 million acres in Australia during the nation's most disastrous fire season in history, and 130 blazes continue to burn out of control, taking the lives of at least 25 to date. Elton joins the likes of Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman, The Wiggles, Kylie Minogue and P!nk who have made six-figure donations or scheduled benefit concerts to aid firefighting cause. On Jan. 9, Queen guitarist Brian May revealed that the band have been asked to play a Live Aid style benefit concert for victims of the bushfires. Concert promoters TEG Live and TEG Dainty have announced the benefit gig "Fire Fight Australia" to raise funds, with the show confirmed fo Feb. 16, but as yet no acts have been confirmed. Queen has seven gigs scheduled in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and the Gold Coast from February 13 to 29, with their schedule currently clear on Feb. 16. "Of course, we are going there very soon, we are looking at it very carefully" May said recently outside parliament in Westminster, where he was promoting the Save Me Trust's "Amazing Grace Campaign" to help Britain's hedgehogs. - Billboard/NME, 1/7/20...... Ozzy OsbourneOzzy Osbourne shared the title track from his upcoming album Ordinary Man on YouTube on Jan. 10, which features his surprise collaboration with Elton John. "Ordinary Man" sees Ozzy singing the first verse backed by Elton on piano, before Elton contributes vocals during the second verse. Ozzy also revealed the cover artwork for Ordinary Man, his first LP since 2010's Scream, and additional contributors including Post Malone, Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash, and Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello. "It all just came together," Osbourne said in a press release. "Slash is a dear friend of mine, as is Elton. When I was writing 'Ordinary Man', it reminded me of an old Elton song and I said to [wife] Sharon Osbourne, 'I wonder if he would sing on it?' We asked and lo and behold, he agreed and sings and play piano on the song," he added. Osbourne's backing band on the LP also includes Guns & Roses' Duff McKagan, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and producer Andrew Watt on guitar. Ordinary Man drops on Feb. 21. Meanwhile, Sharon Osbourne has slammed Prince Harry and his wife Megan Markle's decision to step back from royal life, insisting they should have waited until Queen Elizabeth retired. Sharon says the Duke and Duchess of Sussex "should be able to do what they want... it's 2020." "However, his family are royal, for thousands of years. And to respect that family, you go to your family; you tell them how you feel; you say, let's sort this out," Sharon said on her daytime TV show The Talk. "The queen has said that within the next 18 months she's going to retire, which means that Harry's dad, Prince Charles, will be King. So, you know what, you wait until the Queen's retired." But Sharon added that Duchess Megan has some new career plans in mind and will have set her sights on teaming up with big names in the US. "My prediction is, that she'll end up doing something with Oprah [Winfrey] and Michelle Obama." - Billboard/Music-News.com, 1/10/20...... Aretha Franklin's son Kecalf has called for a boycott of the upcoming Aretha biopic Respect, which is due to hit theaters in late 2020 and stars Jennifer Hudson after she was handpicked by the Queen of Soul herself for the the title role. But Respect failed to garner the support of Franklin's wider family, after Kecalf threatened to boycott it in a lengthy Facebook post. "Once again The Franklin Family (Does Not) support the movie that is in production," he wrote on Facebook. "Nor do we support the book 'The Queen Next Door'!!! Neither entity felt the need to contact the (core) family about anything." Kecalf also took issue with the 2019 book The Queen Next Door: Aretha Franklin, An Intimate Portrait, which is thought to have provided inspiration for the movie. "How can you make a movie about a person and not talk to the person's sons or grandchildren about important information," he said. "How can you put a person's family in a book and not ask permisssion? If you are a real fan of my mothersplease do not support this. Ask yourself -- would you want this done to you. Note: the only person my mother was in favor of for the movie was Jennifer Hudson," he added. In 2019, Aretha was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize, almost a year after her death. - NME, 1/9/20...... "MJ," the new Broadway show based on the life and career of Michael Jackson, will hold an open casting call in Detroit during the week of Jan. 12 as part of several audition sessions coming up across the US. The show is reportedly seeking performers who can play the late star at various life stages, including Jackson as a 10-year-old, as a teenager, and around aged 30, according to the Detroit Free Press. "MJ," penned by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lynn Nottage and choreographed by Tony Award winner Christopher Wheeldon, will arrive on Broadway to previews on July 6 before its official opening on August 13 at the Neil Simon Theatre. - NME, 1/7/20...... The ABC television network announced on Jan. 9 that it is partnering with movie director Mel Brooks for its newest live musical event, Young Frankenstein Live!, which will be based on the 2007 Broadway musical adaptation of Brooks' classic 1974 film of the same name. Produced by the show's creator Brooks, Young Frankenstein Live! is expected to premiere in fall 2020 and feature Brooks' music that he composed from the Broadway adaptation. Brooks also co-wrote and directed the 1974 comedy film which parodied Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and starred Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle. - ComingSoon.net, 1/9/20...... Buck HenryLegendary screenwriter Buck Henry, best known for his work on the classic 1967 film The Graduate and for co-creating the '60s spy comedy series Get Smart!, died of a heart attack on Jan. 8 at Cedars-Sinai Health Center in Los Angeles. He was 89. Mr. Henry scored a pair of Oscar nominations -- one for his adapted screenplay for The Graduate and another for co-directing (with Warren Beatty) the 1978 movie Heaven Can Wait. He also won a writing Emmy in 1967 for Get Smart!, the spy spoof he created with Mel Brooks, among many other accolades. Mr. Henry later became a familiar face to a new generation of TV viewers in the 1970s by hosting Saturday Night Live several times during its first five seasons. On SNL he might be best remembered as John Belushi's foil in the classic "Samurai" skits, as well as Uncle Roy, who menaced children he was babysitting. Born Buck Zuckerman in New York City on Dec. 9, 1930, Mr. Henry got his start writing for Steve Allen and Garry Moore's TV shows in the 1960s, including That Was The Week That Was, before penning the script for The Graduate, Mike Nichols' seminal film starring Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross and Anne Bancroft. The film scored seven Oscar noms including Best Picture, with Nichols winning Best Director. The film also made the top 10 in the AFI's "100 Years -100 Movies" list in 1998. Mr. Henry would focus his screenwriting on the big screen during the 1970s, penning such films as The Owl and the Pussycat, Is There Sex After Death?, the Barbra Streisand-starred What's Up, Doc?, and The Day of the Dolphin. He had appeared onscreen in numerous films and comedy shows by the mid-'70s when he was chosen to host Saturday Live Night during its first season in 1976. Appearing alongside the Not Ready for Primetime Players, he would go on to host nine more times through 1980, becoming the first SNL host to hit double digits. His later screenwriting credits include To Die For (1995) and Town & Country (2001). In addition to Heaven Can Wait, his other directing credit includes Candy in 1968, whose cast included Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, James Coburn and Walter Matthau. - Deadline.com, 1/8/20.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Gene Simmons of KISS kicked off 2020 with a Twitter post that launched a heated debate about adding ice to his milk and cereal. "Anyone else put ice cubes in their cereal?," Simmons simply asked alongside photos of his concoction: Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats and Oreo O's in a bowl of milk, with a number of large ice cubes floating around. The result was a flooded comment section filled with people who were disgusted at the idea of watered-down milk, and others who have been adding ice to their go-to breakfast their whole lives. Simmons' son, Nick Simmons, even hilariously chimed in that he's experienced "30 years watching him do this. This is my life." - Billboard, 1/2/2020...... A Huddleston, Va. woman named Beth Bays has created a 15-foot-tall hay sculpture of Willie Nelson that has struck a chord with the community. Bays has been making giant hay bale sculptures for the last eight years, and her most memorable ones include characters from The Wizard of Oz and the Virginia Tech "Hokie" bird mascot. Bays' Nelson sculpture, which she branded "Will-Hay Nelson," can be viewed on Instagram. - AP, 1/3/2020...... Rod StewartRod Stewart and his 39-year-old son Sean Stewart are due to appear in a Palm Beach court on Feb. 5 after the pair were involved in a New Year's Eve scuffle at the The Breakers hotel. According to court records, a security guard named Jessie Dixon told police officers that Stewart's group was at the check-in table for a private party that they weren't authorized to attend. When the group became unruly and began causing a scene, Dixon said he put his hand on the younger Stewart's chest and told him to back up and make space, which prompted Sean Stewart to shove him backwards and go "nose to nose" with him, the report said. Rod, 74, then allegedly punched Dixon in his "left rib cage area" with a closed fist. Sean told investigators he became agitated when they were not able to attend the event "due to Dixon's interaction with him and his family." After viewing security footage, police determined the Stewarts were the "primary aggressors," and Dixon signed an affidavit saying that he wanted to press charges against the pair, who were both charged with simple battery and issued notices to appear in court on Feb. 5. Meanwhile, Rod Stewart announced on Jan. 7 that he'll launch a North American summer tour with openers Cheap Trick on July 1 in Cuyahoga Falls, Oh. The 21-city tour will visit mostly mid-size markets including Clarkston, Mich. (7/25), Hershey, Pa. (8/1), Wantagh, N.Y. (8/14), Columbia, Md. (8/15), and Maryland Heights, Mo. (9/2) before wrapping Tinley Park, Il. on Sept. 5. Stewart became the oldest solo male artist to top the U.K. pop charts in December with his latest album, You're In My Heart. - AP/Billboard, 1/7/20...... Ozzy Osbourne's wife Sharon Osbourne made a surprise announcement on her syndicated daytime TV show The Talk. on Jan. 7 that Ozzy is collaborating on a new song with Elton John. When asked about Ozzy's plans for 2020 after a year of health scares, Sharon told co-host Carrie Ann Inaba: "A lot of good things. Wellness. And to get back with his fans, to get doing what he loves, which is touring and being out there with his fans." Sharon continued: "And yes, there's new music, and it's great. He's got all his friends playing on it. He's doing a song with Elton. There's so much good stuff. Good things." News of the two rock icons' collaboration comes only a few days after Ozzy's daughter Kelly Osbourne dismissed what she described as "bullshit" reports that her famous dad was in "dire straits" and on his deathbead. "Today I had a wonderful start to 2020. I went out to lunch with my family," the 35-year-old posted on Instagram. "Then I spent the rest of the day laughing and hanging out with my dadI come home to read sickening articles about my dad supposedly being on his 'death bed' sometimes the media makes me sick!!," she added. On Jan. 6, Ozzy posted a video for "Straight to Hell," his second single from his upcoming album Ordinary Man, on YouTube. - NME, 1/7/20...... Meat LoafIn an interview with the U.K.'s Daily Mail on Jan. 3, Meat Loaf claimed that 17-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg has been "brainwashed" into believing in climate change. Meat Loaf said "I feel for Greta" and that she's been "brainwashed into thinking that there is climate change and there isn't... She hasn't done anything wrong but she's been forced into thinking that what she is saying is true." Thunberg, who has become an icon in the global environmental movement and inspired a number of protests and strikes, responded to the musician's words on Twitter on Jan. 7: "It's not about Meatloaf. It's not about me. It's not about what some people call me. It's not about left or right," she tweeted. "It's all about scientific facts. And that we're not aware of the situation. Unless we start to focus everything on this, our targets will soon be out of reach." Meat Loaf's interview also included his thoughts on his self-proclaimed "sex god" status, back surgeries, and his favorite TV shows. In 2019, he made headlines when he fell offstage during a speaking event and broke his collarbone. He has previously claimed that his health issues that resulted in him collapsing on stage at another event mean that he may never sing again. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 1/7/20...... Speaking of Greta Thunberg, Patti Smith penned an environmentally conscious poem for the young activist's 17th birthday on Jan. 3. Smith posted Thunberg's photo on her Instagram page and broke up the poem's stanzas within the caption: "This is/ Greta Thunberg, turning/ seventeen today, asking/ for no accolade, no gifts,/ save we not be neutral./ The Earth knows its kind,/ just as all deities, just as/ animals and the healing/ spring. Happy birthday/ to Greta, who stood today,/ as every Friday, refusing/ to be neutral," the punk poetess posted. The last three lines refer to Thunberg's weekly routine of heading to the front of the Swedish parliament building on Fridays with her "Skolstrejk fr klimatet" sign (which translates to "School strike for the climate") to demand action toward the global climate change crisis. - Billboard, 1/3/20...... The surviving members of the Allman Brothers Band announced on Jan. 3 that they'll be celebrating the ABB 50th anniversary with a show at Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 10. The concert will reunite drummer Jaimoe Johanson, guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks, bassist Oteil Burbridge and percussionist Marc Quinones under the name The Brothers. Also appearing will be "special guest" Chuck Leavell on keyboards. It will be the first performance of the ABB since Gregg Allman died following a battle with liver cancer in 2017 and the suicide of ABB drummer Butch Trucks. Founding guitarist Dickey Betts will not be at the show, having had a falling out with the band years ago. - Billboard, 1/3/20...... R&B/Funk legends The Isley Brothers have been confirmed as headliners for the 2020 Playboy Jazz Festival, set for L.A.'s Holywood Bowl on June 6 and 7. In addition to brothers Ronald and Ernie Isley, the lineup will include St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science and Musiq Soulchild among several other artists, according to organizers the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. The full talent lineup for the 42nd annual PJF will be announced on Feb. 18, along with the complete schedule for the Hollywood Bowl's summer 2020 season. Actor/comedian George Lopez will mark his eighth anniversary as festival host. - Billboard, 1/7/20...... Bernie TaupinElton JohnElton John and his longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin were honored with a best original song Golden Globe award during the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 5, 2020 in Beverly Hills, Calif. The duo took BOS trophies home for "(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again," the new song they contributed to Rocketman, the kaleidoscopic musical biopic about Sir Elton's life. Incredibly, John noted it was the first award he and Taupin have won as a duo. "It's the first time I won an award with him. Ever," John said while accepting the award. "We never won a Grammy, we never did anything together except for this and I'm so happy, thank you very much." Taupin then added: "[The song] deals with our relationship... and a 52-year-old marriage... which doesn't happen very much in this town," he said, visibly moved. Elton, a five-time Grammy winner, did not win any of them with Taupin, who has been nominated twice, but has no wins. Since 6 of the last 10 Globe winners for best original song went on to win the Oscar, as did 7 of the last 10 Globe winners for best original score, John and Taupin could be considered as front-runners for the coveted Oscar. If John and Taupin's win for BOS was a mild surprise (facing competition from Beyoncé and Taylor Swift), Taron Egerton's win as Best Actor for a Musical or Comedy for portraying John in Rocketman was a flat-out shock, beating out heavily favored comeback king Eddie Murphy in Dolemite Is My Name. His award was well-earned however, as Egerton supplied his own vocals in the biopic, while 2019 Golden Globe winner Rami Malek did a lip-synced performance of Freddie Mercury in 2018's Bohemian Rhapsody. Egerton thanked Elton for allowing him the honor of portraying him onscreen. "To Elton John -- thank you for the music, for living a life less ordinary and for being my friend," he said. - Billboard, 1/5/20...... In an apparent attempt to avoid new EU copyright laws which went into effect on Jan. 1, a collection of about 130 rare and unpublished Rolling Stones recordings were published to the YouTube account 69RSTRAX shortly before the new year, then mysteriously removed within hours. Offering no immediate clue as to the identity of the publisher, a YouTube-mandated email address for 69RSTRAX directs business enquiries to ABKCO, a music publishing company that owns the rights to a substantial number of early Rolling Stones recordings. According to Variety, the publishing of the tracks might have been an attempt to avoid EU copyright laws and keep them out of the public domain on the 50th anniversary of their creation. Sound recordings are protected for 50 years after they are published, and can be extended to 70 years as long as they are "lawfully communicated to the public" within the first 50 years. Previously, some publishers, faced with similar issues, have released collections of recordings, such as the Beatles' 2013 album Bootleg Recordings 1963, and a limited-run Bob Dylan compilation album literally published as The Copyright Extension Collection, Volume 1. The Stones tracks included several near-complete 1969 concerts and multiple alternate studio versions of songs from the albums Let It Bleed and Sticky Fingers, many of which have been available for decades on bootlegs -- along with many that have not. Variety note that while the brief release of the Stones recordings could extend their copyright, they are not sure whether a post on YouTube constitutes a publication as defined by European Union law. The 20-year extension to the 50-year copyright period was passed in Sept. 2011 by the Council of the European Union, which at the time claimed that the change was designed to benefit artists and songwriters. However, a number of artists decried the council's decision, noting that the extension would instead benefit record companies -- who in most cases retained ownership of sound recordings in the original record contracts -- rather than the musicians who wrote and performed them. - New Musical Express/Billboard, 1/3/20...... Michael JacksonAs anticipated, a California appeals court on Jan. 3 restored two lawsuits accusing Michael Jackson of child sexual abuse, after the state's statute of limitations on the crime was extended. The lawsuits were filed by Wade Robson in 2013 and James Safechuck in 2014, but were dismissed on the grounds that the statute of limitations had expired for both men. California law required such cases to be filed before the accuser's 26th birthday. However, in October 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a new state law giving those who claim they were sexually abused as children until age 40 to file suit, effective Jan 1. In November, three judges from the 2nd District Court of Appeal said in a tentative ruling that in light of the new law, Safechuck and Robson's suits ought to be reconsidered. Now, the California judges have made that ruling official. While the new ruling does not address the truth of their allegations, it does give them the green light to proceed with their lawsuits against MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures, who they argue are liable for the alleged abuse. Howard Weitzman, attorney for the Estate of Michael Jackson, said that "The Court of Appeal specifically did not address the truth of these false allegations, and we are confident that both lawsuits will be dismissed and that Michael Jackson will be vindicated once again." - Billboard, 1/3/20...... The Grateful Dead spin-off band Dead & Company paid tribute to the band's legacy with a career-spanning New Year's Eve show at Chase Center in San Francisco on Dec. 31. Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Walton, the most iconic Deadhead, appeared as a seven-foot tall Father Time in a wizard-white beard, a resplendent crown of roses, to ring in the new year and decade. Dead & Co. band member John Mayer took photos as if he were a fan, and not the band's lead guitarist, tasked with the impossible role of reanimating the spirit of Jerry Garcia. Then a few thousand rainbow-colored balloons descended from the rafters to the floral strains of the GD classic "Sugar Magnolia." Three hours, three sets and 24 songs strong, it was encored with a rendition of the band's biggest pop hit, "Touch of Grey." It was the final show of a four-night "Fun Run" mini-tour by the band that included two stellar performances the previous week at The Forum in Los Angeles. In line with the band's storied tradition, the trip remained "long and strange." - Billboard, 1/2/2020.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

A group of music publishing companies who own the rights to some of the most popular songs of all time filed a lawsuit in New York federal court on Dec. 30 against U.K.-based producer Coda Publishing, Marina del Rey-based distributor Vision Films, director Robert Carruthers and others over several documentaries released by the companies. The suit claims documentaries about the Rolling Stones (Their Satanic Majesties and Big Hits), ABBA (The Gold Singles), Elton John (In Performance), and Lynyrd Skynyrd (Rock Case Studies), along with documentaries about U2, Nirvana and Red Hot Chili Peppers, "are nothing more than a delivery system for intentionally infringed materials." Online retail giant Amazon.com appears to have pulled the titles, but as of Jan. 1 some of them were still available for rental or purchase though Vimeo.com. The complaint asks the court to declare the defendants willfully infringed the copyrights, to order that all copies of the films be destroyed, and to award statutory damages of up to $150,000 per infringement or actual damages plus the defendants' profits. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/1/20...... David Lee RothThe Washington Post has published an article by writer Nancy French who says she was given David Lee Roth's old phone number when she and her new husband moved from Tennessee to New York City in the 1980s, and began to receive sultry phone calls from several women asking to "speak to David." French said she would hand the phone to her husband who insisted it was a wrong number and hang up, but the calls caused her to question her marriage. "Maybe our relationship was all a ruse. I'd heard stories of people getting married only to realize their spouse had a double life," she wrote. Thankfully, Roth's agent finally called and cleared the confusion. "Apparently, [Roth] had changed his number right before we moved to Manhattan but still gave out his old number to women he met but wanted to let down easily," French wrote. "Later that year, he appeared on MTV with Van Halen. When rumors of them getting back together started flying, our phone rang with congratulations and invitations to exclusive parties." - Billboard, 12/30/19...... Vinyl album releases by Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, the Beatles, Queen and classic rock artists on a Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack have helped the vinyl LP format to top sales of 1 million in a single week for the first time in the Nielsen Music era. In the week ending Dec. 26, 2019, a whopping 1.243 million vinyl albums were sold. Vinyl albums were once the dominant format for album purchases in the U.S., up until the early 1980s. After that, cassettes took hold until the early 1990s, when the CD format flourished and become the leading format for album purchases. Of the top 10 single biggest weeks for the vinyl album format in the Nielsen Music era, five occurred in 2019, three in 2018, one in 2017 and one in 2015. It's expected that 2019 will mark yet another big year for vinyl, once the 2019 Nielsen Music tracking year closes on Jan. 2, 2020. - Billboard, 12/30/19...... In a new interview with the U.K. music mag Mojo, Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood recalled how his fellow Stones guitarist Keith Richards branded him a "weakling" after he attempted to ditch alcohol and drugs for the first time. Wood, who has been sober for a decade, said RIchards was dismissive of his efforts when he first attempted to get clean in 2005. "I do remember going on stage clean for the first time, it was at this club in Canada for the start of a tour (in August 2005)," Wood noted. "I was like this, ([terrified], and Mick [Jagger] whispered, 'It's alright, you can do it, don't worry.' But Wood said Richards was "trying to make out I was the weakling" by going "rehab's for quitters!" "But it takes a lot of strength to do this if indeed I'm gonna be able to do it at all because there's no guarantees," Wood said. Wood added that during a 2009 intervention when he began to relapse, "they took my counsellor away and got me so annoyed... You sometimes wonder if they want you to go out and drink again... It's big money for them." "So I left rehab and did it for myself I felt I knew what to do... Fellowship. I did 90 meetings in 90 days and I did the same again. Didn't need the rehab place -- I did it through the meetings." - New Musical Express, 1/31/19...... Officials in the U.K. apologized on Dec. 28 for mistakenly publishing the home addresses of more than 1,000 people who received special honors including pop singers Elton John and Olivia Newton-John, along with several Oscar-winning film directors, senior politicians and diplomats, popular athletes and people in sensitive defense roles. The addresses were published online for about an hour on the evening of Dec. 27 when the Cabinet Office posted the recipients of New Year's Honors, including knighthoods. "The information was removed as soon as possible," the Cabinet Office said in a statement. "We apologize to all those affected and are looking into how this happened." Officials said the individuals will be contacted about the error. The Information Commissioner's Office said it was investigating "in response to reports of a data breach involving the Cabinet Office and the New Year's Honors list." It can impose fines for privacy violations. Britain's Cabinet Office publishes a list of the people receiving honors for merit, service or bravery twice a year: shortly before New Year's Eve and on the Saturday in June when Queen Elizabeth II's birthday is officially observed. - AP, 12/28/19...... Actress Teri Garr, star of such blockbuster films as Young Frankenstein and Tootsie, is reportedly "fine" after being hospitalized on Dec. 30 for a "medical emergency." Garr, 75, was taken to a local medical center by ambulance, but her rep says the situation was much more minor than first implied, and said Garr had actually been suffering from dehydration, which led to confusion. "Teri is fine. She had some confusion which it turns out was caused by dehydration. To be cautious they are keeping her overnight and she'll be home tomorrow," the rep said. Garr has suffered health issues for years and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999. She also suffered a brain aneurysm in late 2006, but recovered and returned to acting until she retired in 2011. - WENN/Canoe.com, 12/31/19...... Neil InnesBritish songwriter and comedian Neil Innes, who collaborated with the Monty Python comedy troupe and co-founded the Beatles parody band The Rutles, died unexpectedly of natural causes on Dec. 29. He was 75. Innes wrote several original songs for Monty Python's sketch-comedy TV show, Monty Python's Flying Circus, as well as 1975's classic movie, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in which he also appeared as an actor. Innes' years as a supporting player with Monty Python and his gift for wry and funny songwriting led to a long-running stint as co-leader of The Rutles, a fictional late-'70s Beatles pastiche that featured Monty Python's Eric Idle as the Paul McCartney stand-in, Dirk McQuickly, and Innes as the John Lennon stand-in, Ron Nasty. The Rutles ultimately became a "real" band, appearing on Saturday Night Live and recording a mockumentary film called All You Need Is Cash in 1978. Assorted Rutles reunions, tours, retrospectives and compilations have followed in the decades since. Innes released numerous solo albums over the years, beginning with 1973's How Sweet to Be an Idiot, and in 2010, the the Essex-born musician and writer formed a new group called the The Idiot Bastard Band. He is survived by wife Yvonne, their three sons and three grandchildren, who "give thanks for his life, for his music and for the joy he gave us all," according to a statement. - NPR.org, 12/30/19...... Songwriter/musician Allee Willis, who wrote the theme tune for the hit sitcom Friends as well as hits for such bands as Earth, Wind & Fire, the Pointer Sisters and Pet Shop Boys, died on Dec. 24 after suffering a sudden heart attack. She was 72. Willis co-wrote "I'll Be There For You," which went on to be recorded by The Rembrandts, with Friends creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman in 1995. She was nominated for an Emmy for the track in the same year, missing out on the award to the theme for Star Trek: Voyager. Willis moved to New York in 1969 where she worked as a copywriter at Columbia and Epic Records, getting her start as a songwriter three years later. Since then, songs penned by her have reportedly sold more than 60 million records around the world, while she was also nominated for two Grammys for her work on the soundtracks for Beverly Hills Cop and the musical version of The Color Purple. She was also responsible for tracks such as Earth, Wind & Fire's "September" and "Boogie Wonderland," the Pet Shop Boys/Dusty Springfield collaboration "What Have I Done To Deserve This," and the Pointer Sisters' "Neutron Dance." She once described "September" as being "that song that when people found out I'd written that, they just go, 'Oh my God' and then tell me in some form how happy that song makes them every time they hear it." She also collaborated with the likes of Herbie Hancock, James Brown and Bob Dylan, and wrote the theme song for The Karate Kid in Joe Esposito's "You're The Best." More recently pictured working with rapper Big Sean. In 2018, Willis was inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. - New Musical Express, 12/25/19...... Actress Sue Lyon, best known for her first major role as a teen nymphet in the 1962 Stanley Kubrick-directed film Lolita, passed away in Los Angeles on Dec. 26. She was 73. In the movie based on Vladimir Nobokov's famous novel about a middle-aged college professor who becomes infatuated with a teen nymphet, Lyon starred opposite James Mason, picked out of 800 young actresses who had auditioned to play the title character in the controversial film when she was just 14 years old. Her performance earned the blonde beauty the Golden Globe in the most promising newcomer-female in 1963. Her followup to Lolita was a co-starring role opposite Richard Burton, Ava Gardner and Deborah Kerr in the John Huston-directed 1964 feature The Night Of the Iguana. She went on to appear in two dozen movies and TV shows, more notably Evel Knievel, Tony Rome and 7 Women. Her last screen credit was the 1980 horror movie Alligator. According to her longtime friend Phil Syracopoulous, her health had been declining for some time. - Deadline.com, 12/28/19...... Jack SheldonWest Coast jazz trumpeter Jack Sheldon, best known for playing "The Shadow of Your Smile" in the 1965 Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton drama The Sandpiper, serving as Merv Griffin's TV talk show sidekick, and voicing characters on the children's series Schoolhouse Rock!, died on Dec. 27, according to this longtime manager, Dianne Jimenez. He was 88. Mr. Sheldon's haunting version of "The Shadow of Your Smile," written by Johnny Mandel and Paul Francis Webster, won the Grammy Award for song of the year and the Academy Award for best original song. Mr. Sheldon was also seen or heard in several other films including The Long Goodbye (1973), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), Save the Tiger (1973), Mommie Dearest (1981), Mr. Saturday Night (1992), Arachnophobia (1990) and For the Boys (1991). On Merv Griffin's long-running TV talk show that began in 1962, the fun-loving Mr. Sheldon enjoyed rich comic banter with the host, a big band singer himself. Griffin's favorite song was "The Shadow of Your Smile," and Mr. Sheldon performed it at Griffin's funeral in 2007. The Jacksonville, Fla., native also provided the voice for the Conjunction Conductor and performed as proposed legislation in the memorable piece "I'm Just a Bill" on the Saturday morning kids educational series Schoolhouse Rock!, which premiered on ABC in 1973. He parodied "I'm Just a Bill" as an "Amendment to Be" on a 1996 episode of The Simpsons and reprised his roles as the bill and the conductor on episodes of Family Guy in 2000 and 2001. In the late 1950s, Mr. Sheldon toured with orchestras led by Stan Kenton and Benny Goodman and backed such famous singers as Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. An inventive player, he also headed his own 17-piece orchestra. His TV credits include The Cara Williams Show, Run Buddy Run and The Girl With Something Extra. He was the subject of a 2008 documentary, Trying to Get Good: The Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon, in which he detailed his battle with alcohol and substance abuse. He then made a resounding recovery from a stroke suffered in 2011 that robbed him of the use of his right arm. "I like the music to swing," he told the Los Angeles Times in 1987, "and I like to make people feel it, feel happy and sad, everything. If the music makes me smile and happy, then maybe the people will feel it, too." - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/31/19.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

A Tina Turner mural featured on a pulldown storefront of a record store in North Carolina was defaced on Dec. 26. Employees of Static Age Records in downtown Asheville, N.C. reported the incident, in which the culprit covered the mural in a black sheet, to police and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Store owner Jesse McSwain said that his store is "a widely inclusive, safe space" and that "hate speech will get you out the door." In addition to Turner, the pulldown storefront also honors Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Lemmy from Motörhead and Lou Reed. Turner's mural was based on her character in the film Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. - AP, 12/27/19...... Elton JohnElton John thanked his legion of fans for a landmark year with a touching Christmas video posted on Instagram on Dec. 24. John, 72, highlighted his most recent accomplishments as he looked back on his "most successful year" ever and wished fans happy holidays. "Merry Christmas everybody, and thank you for making 2019 probably the most successful year of my career," he said. "Wow, at 72 years of age, I'm blown away. First of all you have all supported the Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour so well it is breaking box office records everywhere, thank you," he added. John also opened up about the success of his new autobiography, Me, and the hit biopic Rocketman. "Rocketman came out in the spring and got incredible reviews, and did incredibly well, Thank you," he shared. "Me, my autobiography, came out in the autumn and did incredibly well, thank you." The rocker also said he "can't believe" he took the top spot on Billboard's 125 Top Artists of All Time list, and named the presentation of France's highest civilian award, the Legion d'Honneur, in June as another big highlight of 2019, adding, "I was blown away." He capped the post with another tribute to fans: "You have come to the show, you have dressed up, you've come along and had a great time and you've made me feel so happy every time I come on stage." - WENN/Canoe.com, 12/26/2019...... As if John wasn't awarded enough in 2019, Queen Elizabeth II released her annual New Years Honours list on Dec. 27, and those receiving 2020 honours include Sir Elton and Olivia Newton-John. Each year, the British honors system recognizes 1,097 new members by designating orders of chivalry. John, who received his knighthood (hence his "Sir" title and "CBE" post-nominal letters) from the Queen in 1998, was upgraded to Companion of Honour for his contributions to music and charity. His full name is now Sir Elton Hercules John, CH, CBE, but he can choose to use the new post-nominal letters "CH." The Order of the Companions of Honor only allows 65 members total, and John clocks in as the 62nd member. Sir Paul McCartney is also part of this exclusive organization. Olivia Newton-JohnAdditionally, Olivia Newton-John received her damehood for "her services to charity, cancer research and entertainment." The 71-year-old Grease star is currently battling breast cancer for the third time in her life and started the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne, Australia back in 2008. "I am extremely excited, honoured and grateful beyond words to be included with such an esteemed group of women who have received this distinguished award before me," said the British-born Australian singer-actress. "As a girl born in Cambridge, I am very proud of my British ancestry and so appreciative to be recognised in this way by the United Kingdom," she added. Olivia's new full name is Dame Olivia Newton-John, AC, DBE, but the post-nominal letters "AC" stem from the Companion of the Order of Australia, which she was awarded in June 2019. Others recognized for their musical efforts by the New Year Honours list include Queen drummer Roger Taylor and singers Billy Ocean (OBE) and Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody (OBE). Taylor, 70, has campaigned for the awareness of AIDs, launched a musical featuring Queen's greatest hits and is one of the few living people to appear on a Royal Mail stamp when he was pictured behind the late Freddie Mercury playing drums, which caused controversy in 1999. - Billboard/Deadline.com/New Musical Express, 12/27/19....... Ozzy Osbourne posted a Christmas 2019 playlist on Spotify on Dec. 23, announcing it on Twitter with a cheeky "How #Ozzy Stole #Christmas." Osbourne's 35-track playlist includes Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime," Frank Sinatra's "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," also delving into his heavy metal roots with Spinal Tap's "Christmas With The Devil," AC/DC's "Mistress For Christmas," Weezer's "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" and Korn's "Kidnap the Sandy Claws." The rock icon also included some of his own solo tracks, including "Miracle Man," "Mama, I'm Coming Home" and his latest single, "Under The Graveyard." Ozzy will release Ordinary Man, his first solo LP since 2010's Scream, in January. - Billboard, 12/23/19...... A rock guitarist extraordinaire named Andrea Boccarusso has posted a video of himself to YouTube in which he performs a mind-blowing medley of 50 of Led Zeppelin's most classic riffs. Boccarusso, who has previously posted videos of himself running through the catalogs of the likes of AC/DC, Iron Maiden and Metallica, is seen switching back and forth between acoustic and electric guitars (sometimes playing both at once) on such beloved Led Zepp tracks as "Trampled Under Foot," "Stairway To Heaven," "Dancing Days," "No Quarter," "Gallows Pole," "When the Levee Breaks," "Dazed and Confused" and "In My Time of Dying." - NME, 12/24/19...... Just in time for Christmas, Paul McCartney has co-designed a collection of limited-edition cashmere sweaters embroidered with titles of two tracks on his 2018 album Egypt Station, "People Want Peace" and "Do It Now," and made them available for $400 apiece at his official merchandise shop on PaulMcCartney.com. The former Beatles reached out earlier in 2019 to sweater label Lingua Franca to create a collection of limited-edition sweaters. Lingua Franca sweaters -- stitched with punchy, culturally relevant slogans -- caught the attention of several celebrities amid the rise of the #Time'sUp movement, with phrases like "Fight Like A Mother" and "Nevertheless, She Voted." Lingua Franca's founder and longtime Beatles fan Rachelle Hruska MacPherson says Sir Paul was "really involved in the process, which was so beyond cool." "Paul's team asked if it would be possible to get a selection of designs mocked up. They had some potential slogans from Paul's recent album," MacPherson says. "We showed them fifteen mockups, and Paul picked six. We really trusted Paul's judgement on color combinations. The fact that Paul was picking all the colors was exciting," she added. - Billboard, 12/23/19...... Marie OsmondIn a recent chat on the Fox News channel, Marie Osmond reflected on the horrific abuse she suffered as a teen when she was told to "keep food out of her fat face" by studio executives. Osmond, 60, revealed that while she was a 15-year-old filming her show Donny & Marie with her brother Donny Osmond herself after a member of staff at the studio took her out into the parking lot to tell her they would cancel the show unless she went on an extreme diet. "I was 103 lbs. -- I'd kill to be 103 lbs. So I got down to 93 lbs. I never realized the mental abuse behind that," she said. Marie has since found it difficult to keep her diet consistent, and lost 50 pounds ahead of her Dancing With the Stars appearance in 2007. Osmond, a mother of eight, also ecently opened up to People magazine about the 2020 suicide of her son Michael Blosil at 18 years old. "You can't breathe, when you're contemplating something that devastating in your life, you can barely function," she said of her son's loss. However she said it was her strong faith that helped her to get through the ordeal: "You have to find a way to breathe again. Mine was my faith. I have great faith, and I know I will see him again." - DailyMail.co.uk, 12/27/19...... In a new interview with the Toronto Sun, The Who guitarist Pete Townshend claims The Who "invented heavy metal" in 1970 with their acclaimed concert album Live At Leeds, and added that Led Zeppelin "copied their sound." "We sort of invented heavy metal with Live At Leeds. We were copied by so many bands, principally by Led Zeppelin -- you know, heavy drums, heavy bass, heavy lead guitar and some of those bands, like Jimi Hendrix for example, did it far better than we did." Townshend continued: "Cream, with Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, they came along in '67, same year as Jimi Hendrix, and they kind of stole our mantle in a sense. So people who want to hear that old heavy metal sound, there are plenty of bands that can provide it. So it's not really what we can actually do today. Even if we wanted to, it was never high on my list of wishes." The Who were honored with the founding stone in London's new Music Walk of Fame in November, and have received positive reviews for their latest LP, WHO. - New Musical Express, 12/23/19...... Speaking to the UK paper The Sun, Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood said he feels the Stones are "indestructible" after multiple band members have survived health scares. "After 50 years of chain smoking, my life was hanging by a thread, but I survived. The doctors were able to remove the tumour from my left lung, thank God the cancer had not spread," Wood noted, also running through the health problems of other members. "Not to forget Charlie [Watts], who had laryngeal cancer a few years ago, and Keith [Richards], with his heavy bleeding after falling from a palm tree. Everything went well, a big miracle. The Stones are simply indestructible." Earlier in 2019, frontman Mick Jagger also underwent successful heart surgery. - NME, 12/23/19...... In other Stones-related news, Tom Waits has written a new poem about Keith Richards for his recent birthday on Dec. 18. In the poem which appears in the latest edition of Rolling Stone magazine, Waits runs down the list of qualities he admires in the guitarst: "He wrote his share of the songs from Sticky Fingers/ In a henhouse in Malta / He once won the Hope Diamond in a poker game/ And in the same night lost it in a game of craps / He owns a lug wrench and a tire jack made of solid gold." Richards appeared on several of Waits' albums including Rain Dogs and Bad As Me, and the pair also teamed up to record a track for Johnny Depp's Pirate Chanteys album. - NME/Rolling Stone, 12/20/19...... Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley is apparently "going to war" with her ex-husband Michael Lockwood over her vast fortune and custody of the couple's twin daughters. The judge in the estranged couple's case has set a trial date for July 20, 2020, setting aside an entire month for the trial in one of the nastier celebrity divorce settlements in recent years. During a 2016 investigation by the L.A. Dept. of Children and Family Services prompted by Lisa Marie after she accused Lockwood of inappropriate behavior with their daughters, Lockwood claimed Presley was "coaching" the children to accuse him of illegal acts. Lisa marie claimed she had found "disturbing photos" of the couple's twin daughters on her ex's computer, however it turned out Presley was actually in the bathroom when most of the pictures were taken. Lockwood was ordered to pay a huge chunk of Lisa Marie's attorney's fees to the tune of $140,000, which is an important part of the case as Presley claims the $100 million fortune she inherited from her dad Elvis Presley is all but gone after she entrusted it to her former business manager, Barry Siegel. Presley claims Siegel, who she is now suing, made a series of bad investments that dwindled the fortune down to just $14,000, and also saddled her with a host of debts. A rep for Siegel responds: The 2005 deal she is complaining about now cleared up over $20 million in debts Lisa had incurred and netted her over $40 million cash and a multi-million-dollar income stream, most of which she managed to squander in the ensuing years." - TheBlast.com, 12/21/19...... Lee MendelsonSix-time Emmy-winning TV producer Lee Mendelson, who produced more than 60 specials featuring Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the Peanuts gang, died on Christmas Day at his home in Hillsborough, Calif., after a long battle with cancer. He was 86. Working often with the late Bill Melendez -- the only animator permitted by Charles M. Schulz to work with the Peanuts characters -- Mendelson collected his first Emmy in 1966 for A Charlie Brown Christmas -- writing the lyrics to its famous theme song "Christmastime Is Here" -- and his last in 2016 for It's Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown. He also wrote and directed for the franchise. He amassed 29 Emmy noms during his career, 26 for his work with Peanuts characters, and earned a pair of Grammy nominations as well. His landmarks included 1966's It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, 1967's You're in Love, Charlie Brown, the Oscar-nominated A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1971), 1973's A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, 1975's You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown, 1976's It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown and 1980's She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown. The San Francisco native and Stanford graduate also won Emmys in 1984 and 1987 for producing programs featuring the cartoon characters Garfield and Cathy, respectively. "It wasn't great for us, but to have him pass on Christmas really ties into his history and legacy," one of his sons, Jason Mendelson, told the Palo Alto Daily Post newspaper. He is also survived by his wife, Ploenta, two other sons, a daughter, and eight grandchildren. - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/27/19...... Tony Award-winning composer Jerry Herman, who wrote the cheerful, good-natured music and lyrics for such classic shows as "Mame," "Hello, Dolly!" and "La Cage aux Folles," died on Dec. 26 at age 88. The creator of 10 Broadway shows and contributor to several more, Mr. Herman won two Tony Awards for best musical: "Hello, Dolly!" in 1964 and "La Cage aux Folles" in 1983. He also won two Grammys for the "Mame" cast album and "Hello, Dolly!" as song of the year, and was a Kennedy Center honoree. He had three original Broadway productions playing at the same time from February 1969 to May 1969. "We lost one of the greats," Broadway actor Harvey Fierstein tweeted. "A collaborator and friend for almost 40 years. I cannot thank him enough for his love, trust, encouragement, support and laughter." - AP, 12/27/19...... Veteran radio personality Don Imus whose insult humor and savage comedy catapulted him to a long-lasting and controversial radio career, died of as yet undisclosed causes on Dec. 27 at Baylor Scott and White Medical Center in College Station, Tex., after being hospitalized on Christmas Eve. He was 79. Outspoken in an age of political correctness, Imus's often coarse satire offended sensibilities. Yet, his listeners included those whom he often ridiculed. He sparked national outcry in 2007 when he made derogatory, racist remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team. Both CBS Radio and MSNBC dropped his show. Imus rebounded by signing a multi year contract with the Fox Business Network in 2009 to simulcast his radio program Imus in the Morning from 6 a.m. - 9 a.m., with Fox anchors appearing during the program. Imus battled a lifelong addiction to drugs and alcohol and in 2009, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He is survived by his wife Deirdre, two sons and four daughters. - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/27/19...... Baba Ram DassAmerican spiritual teacher, former academic and clinical psychologist Baba Ram Dass, who embodied the 1960s psychedelic youth movement by authoring such books as 1971's Be Here Now, died on Dec. 22 at his home on Maui, Hawaii. He was 88. Born Richard Alpert, he returned from a trip to India in 1968 as a bushy-bearded, barefoot, white-robed guru, and became a lecturer on New Age possibilities and a popular author of more than a dozen inspirational books. His lecture presentation was a mix of pithy wisdom and humor, often expressed in the same sentence. "Treat everyone you meet like God in drag," he said in one talk. Ram Dass also started a foundation to combat blindness in India and Nepal, supported reforestation in Latin America, and developed health education programs for American Indians in South Dakota. He was particularly interested in the dying, and started a foundation to help people use death as a journey of spiritual awakening and spoke of establishing a self-help line, "Dial-a-Death," for this purpose. His book Be Here Now, originally published in 1971, has had more than three dozen printings and sold more than two million copies. Wavy Gravy, the eccentric poet and peace activist, once said, "Ram Dass was the master of the one-liner, the two-liner, the ocean liner." By the 1980s, Ram Dass had a change of mind and image. He shaved off the beard but left a neatly trimmed mustache. He tried to drop his Indian name -- he no longer wanted to be a cult figure -- but his publisher vetoed the idea. Ram Dass said that he had never intended to be a guru, and continued to turn out books and recordings, making sure his books and tapes were reasonably priced. Ram Dass's death was announced on his official Instagram account. - The New York Times, 12/23/19.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the latest installment in the legendary Star Wars franchise that began in 1977, scored a huge launch in the third weekend of December with $175.5 million at the North American box office and $373.5 million globally. Though coming in notably behind the previous two films in the trilogy in the U.S., the J.J. Abrams-directed sci-fi flick opened No. 1 in nearly every country overseas, Rise of Skywalker sputtered in China with $12.1 million. Europe topped all regions with $122 million, led by the U.K. ($26.8 million) and followed by Germany ($21.8 million) and France ($15.2 million). In Japan, the film scored the No. 3 opening of the year for a Western film with $14.6 million). Generally speaking, sci-fi is a challenged genre in Latin America and parts of Asia. The film -- which cost Disney and Lucasfilm as much as $300 million to produce before marketing -- also marked the third-biggest opening of 2019 in North America to date, behind Avengers: Endgame ($357.1 million) and The Lion King ($191.7 million) - Billboard, 12/22/19...... Don McLeanJeopardy! host Alex Trebeck, who hosts his annual Christmas party at Vitello's restaurant in Los Angeles, was serenaded by Don McLean on Dec. 18 after Trebeck requested the "American Pie" singer perform at the event. "I sent an email to Don's people on his website and here we are tonight," Trebek told the audience. "I can officially take this off of my bucket list. This was a real treat for me," he added. "I had never met Alex and normally I just come in and do my thing," McLean told People magazine. "When I arrived, Alex handed me a piece of paper with a list of songs he wanted me to perform and in the order he wanted them performed in. Then when I looked next to each song, he had timed them out." "I looked at Alex and said, 'Well, tonight is your night and I will do exactly what you want,'" McLean continued. "And that is what I did. Except I did toss in one Christmas song in the spirit of the event! Alex is a wonderful man and is loved by the world." Trebek, 79, was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in March. - Billboard/People, 12/20/19...... In a new interview with Haute Living, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler said he spent "many years" feeling angry at being forced into rehab by his bandmates as they went on vacation. "There were no such things as rehabs; there were mental institutions.... I went away in '84 and '86, and I didn't really get it," Tyler said, referring to some of the times he failed to detox. "The early 80s were terrible, and drugs took us down. I was the first one to get treatment." Tyler added his breakthrough moment came in 1988 when his management and the rest of Aerosmith stepped in and "pulled an intervention" on him. "They thought, 'Get the lead singer sober, and all our problems would be over. So, I got sober, and you know it took me many years to get over the anger of them sending me to rehab while they went on vacation." But Tyler says he feels nothing but gratitude toward the band now: "But today because of that moment I am grateful and owe a thanks to them for my sobriety. I stayed in this band because I know the power that Joe [Perry] and I have from all the songs that we've written, or Brad [Whitford] and Tom [Hamilton] and Joey [Kramer]," he said. "Joey has been here through thick and thin. My whole life is dreams coming true. I am so beyond grateful for it all." - New Musical Express, 12/23/19...... In a new interview with the BBC's Reel Stories, Rod Stewart revealed he mainly joined the 1960s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the U.K. to "get shagged." "We used to all go on the CND marches. "I used to do it to get shagged. I didn't care about the war actually," said Stewart, who joined the anti-nuke Aldermaston Marches on Easter weekends in England and was once arrested at a sit-in. Reflecting on his early years, the "Maggie May" singer said he's shocked he was so successful with women, because his personal hygiene wasn't great. "It was just rebellion, that's all it was," he said. "You had to be smelly, though. You had to wear corduroy trousers for months and it really smelled. Don't change your underpants. It was disgusting." But the 74-year-old rocker, who is now married to third wife Penny Lancaster, 48, added that despite being rough around the edges, his hair was always on point. "On the Tube (London Underground), all us were going down there holding on to our bouffant haircuts, because when you go down the escalator the train comes in and there's an awful wind that comes up," he mused. "So (there would be) six or seven of us all going down holding our hair. Even then I used to have it back-combed." - WENN/Canoe.com, 12/22/19...... Country great Willie Nelson and his musician sons Micha and Lukas Nelson have paid tribute to late rock legend Tom Petty by recording a version of Petty's song "For Real." Bob Dylan's son Jakob Dylan, George Harrison's son Dhani Harrison, and Amos Lee also appear on the Petty and the Heartbreakers track that was previously unreleased until it appeared on the TP greatest hits collection The Best of Everything earlier in 2019. - New Musical Express, 12/22/19...... CherBette MidlerTwo of Pres. Donald Trump's biggest archenemies from the '70s music world -- Cher and Bette Midler -- have reacted to Pres. Trump's impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives on Dec. 18 for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, only the third time in history a president was charged with committing high crimes and misdemeanors. Midler simply posted "Impeached" on her Twitter feed after the vote to impeach, while Cher posted: "'IMPEACHED PRESIDENT' donald j.trump, Makes RICH RICHER, poor poorer, & Will PURGE MILLIONS Of DEMOCRATS Off VOTING ROLLS. RUSSIA, RUDI, RESTRICTIONS, That's trumps game plan. For What Does It Profit a Man To Gain The Whole (Earth emoji), Yet Lose His Own Soul(?)." Pres. Trump now faces removal from office by the Senate in a trial set for January. - Billboard, 12/18/19...... '70s artists Chicago, Roberta Flack, John Prine, Iggy Pop and the late Isaac Hayes will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy during the 2020 Grammy Awards on Apr. 18 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif. Chicago and Prine were previously both nominated for Best New Artist Grammys, but came up short, while Iggy Pop has never won a Grammy Award in competition. Also honored with LAA's will be the late Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who also never won a Grammy in competition. Composer/pianist Philip Glass, who likewise never won a Grammy, has been selected to receive a Trustees Award, along with Ken Ehrlich, who has produced or executive produced the annual Grammy Awards telecast for 40 years, and the late A&R executive Frank Walker. Meanwhile, Elvis Costello & the Imposters' 2019 album Look Now and Barbra Streisand's 2019 set Walls were nominated for Grammys in the Traditional Pop Category. Also, the 2019 Woodstock retrospective box set Woodstock: Back to the Garden The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive was among the nominees for Best Historical Album Grammy, which also include releases by Bobbie Gentry, Pete Seeger and Vladimir Horowitz. - Billboard, 12/19/19...... Turning to the Oscars, Randy Newman and Elton John are on the shortlist for two Oscars each for the 92nd annual Academy Awards in 2020. Newman is shortlisted for Best Original Score for Marriage Story, and for Best Original Song for "I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away" from Toy Story 4. Newman has been nominated in the latter category with a song from each of the first three Toy Story films. John is in the running for Best Original Song with both "Never Too Late" from The Lion King (which he co-wrote with Tim Rice) and "(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again" from Rocketman (which he co-wrote with Bernie Taupin). Meanwhile, Elton John and husband David Furnish have announced details for their 28th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party, set for West Hollywood Park in Los Angeles on Feb. 9. Cast members of the Netflix series Queer Eye (Jonathan Van Ness, Tan France, Karamo Brown and Bobby Berk) will be co-hosting the gala along with Sir Elton and Furnish, and British actor, singer-songwriter and Brits Critic Choice Award winner Sam Fender will be the headline performer. "I absolutely love Sam Fender. He's so talented," said Elton in a press release. "Each year we are blessed to have incredible artists do what they do best at our party and this year will be another special night not to miss. Given we have some of the wonderful hosts of Queer Eye at our party, we all wanted to use the event to raise funds for our work with LGBT communities around the world, many of whom are 20 times more vulnerable to the disease than their straight peers. AIDS isn't over until no one gets left behind." IMDb.com will broadcast its four-hour "IMDb Live" streaming show during the party with co-hosts actress and comedian Aisha Tyler and IMDb special correspondent Dave Karger. The Academy Awards Viewing party benefits the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which was founded in 1992 and has funded local experts in 23 countries "to spread awareness, prevent infections and provide care and treatment for the most marginalized groups," according to the release. - Billboard, 12/18/19...... In other Elton news, John has topped the monthly Billboard Boxscore tours list with a gross of $24 million from 11 shows in November during his final North American dates of 2019, as well as the opening show of his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour's Australian leg. The November earnings bring his tour to a so-far total of $268.6 million and sends John's career-total to $1.309 billion. That places him about $30 million behind from Madonna, currently the second-highest grossing solo artist and top-grossing female artist in the history of Billboard Boxscore. After dipping to No. 6 in October, John returns to the peak position, having topped the chart in September and February. November marks his eighth month on the Top Tours chart, and seventh in the top 10. - Billboard, 12/19/19...... Judy CollinsFolk-rock icon Judy Collins has earned her first career No. 1 on any Billboard music chart, more than 55 years after she first reached a ranking. Collins's new holiday LP, Winter Stories featuring Jonas Fjeld and featuring Chatham County Line, has climed from No. 2 to No. 1 in its second week on the Bluegrass Albums Chart for the week ending Dec. 21, with 1,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Dec. 12, according to Nielsen Music. Collins, 80, initially appeared on a Billboard survey when her debut LP Judy Collins #3 entered the Hot 200 album chart dated March 28, 1964. Her 1968 LP Wildflowers reached No. 5 on the Hot 200, her lone top 10 of 18 appearances to-date. The most iconic track from Wildflowers, Collins' rendition of the Joni Mitchell-penned "Both Sides Now," rose to No. 8 on the Hot 100 pop singles chart, her sole top 10 among 10 entries. Collins recently said that Winter Stories is more of a winter-themed project than Christmas-specific. "Winter lasts a lot longer than Christmas does, that's for sure," she said with a chuckle. The set finds Collins collaborating with Norwegian singer-songwriter Jonas Fjeld and veteran Americana band Chatham County Line, based in Asheville, N.C. The set also sports new versions of the Joni Mitchell-written "River," as well as the Collins compositions "The Blizzard" and "Mountain Girl." - Billboard, 12/18/19...... The estate of Michael Jackson has settled a long-running dispute witht he Disney-owned network ABC over an unauthorized TV documentary, The Last Days of Michael Jackson, that ABC screened in 2018. The Jackson estate filed a lawsuit against Disney in May of that year, claiming the program used "substantial portions" of copyright material owned by Jackson's estate without permission. This included Jackson's music videos plus concert and documentary footage. Jackson's estate also protested that they were only made aware of the special days before its broadcast. They were also angry at Jackson's image being used in promotional material for the documentary, which they said made it look like it had the approval of the estate. ABC withdrew the promotional photo, but they argued that the use of the video, concert and documentary footage was allowable under US TV's "fair use" rules.A spokesperson for Jackson's estate now says the dispute "was amicably resolved," but details of the settlement have not been revealed. - NME, 12/20/19...... Famed rock & roll pioneer and country artist Jerry Lee Lewis was presented with a Mississippi Country Music Trail marker on Dec. 19 during a ceremony at the 84-year-old's Nesbit, Miss., ranch. The event was attended by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, Grammy-winning country singer Marty Stuart and local officials. The Mississippi Country Music Trail celebrates the state's contributions to country music. Lewis, a member of the inaugural Rock & Roll Hall of Fame class of 1986, was born in Ferriday, La., in 1935. He later moved to Memphis, Tenn., and began establishing himself as a musician there in 1956. However his career took a nosedive in 1958 after news leaked that he had secretly married his 13-year-old cousin the previous year. - AP, 12/23/19...... Bohemian Rhapsody star Ben Hardy has hinted there could be a potential sequel to the hit 2018 Freddie Mercury and Queen biopic. Hardy, who played Queen drummer Roger Taylor in the movie, says he "would love to" appear in a Bohemian Rhapsody sequel. "I loved working with all those guys, and the thought of going back and being with those guys for another three months or four months would be amazing, but I'm the same as you, I've only heard the rumour mill," Hardy said. "The film goes up to '85, so you've got another six years there that you can tell. I think it'd be a very different movie," he added. Meanwhile, Queen and Adam Lambert are set to head out on a huge UK arena tour in 2020. - New Musical Express, 12/20/19...... Stevie Nicks will be among the headliners at the 30th Anniversary Jazz Aspen Snowmass festival, a three-day experience set for Labor Day 2020 weekend in Snowmass, Colo. Also performing will be Eric Church, Maren Morris and Kings of Leon, marking the first time all four headliners have performed at the event. Founded in 1991 and entering its 30th season, JAS is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Its mission is to present and preserve jazz and related forms of music through world-class events, performances and education programs. - Billboard, 12/18/19...... Ozzy OsbourneOzzy Osbourne has topped Billboard's Mainstream Rock Songs airplay chart with his latest song, "Under the Graveyard," the first single from his forthcoming studio album Ordinary Man. On Dec. 19, Osbourne unveiled the cinematic music video for the tune. "I've always enjoyed working with [director] Jonas (Akerlund)," Osbourne says. "Jonas' vision for 'Under the Graveyard' was to create something more than just your standard music video." The clip stars Jack Kilmer and Jessica Barden as a young Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne in 1979, as the latter details how she wanted to help the young musician out of his struggles with addiction. "I wasn't going to let him give up on himself," Barden tells the camera as the young Sharon marches into the hotel room and stays up all night with Ozzy, calming him through withdrawals and temptation to enter back into his dangerous lifestyle. In a touching happy ending, "Under the Pressure" concludes with a real-life snapshot of Ozzy and Sharon on their wedding day. - Billboard, 12/19/19...... The legendary UK Monmouth recording studio where such legendary acts as Queen, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath recorded music over the years is up for sale. According to the BBC, Rockfield Studio was set up in the early '60s by brothers Charles and Kingsley Ward after they converted their farm. Monnow Valley Studios near Monmouth in Wales started out as the rehearsal facility for Rockfield but became an independent studio when Charles branched out on his own in the early '80s. The studios then split, with Monnow operating independently ever since. Monnow Valley Studios has changed ownership over the years but has remained a recording and rehearsal space. Other artists who have recorded there over the years include Welsh crooner Tom Jones and Oasis. - NME, 12/19/19...... To celebrate the festive season, Piston, the five-piece rock and roll band from Cannock, West Midlands, UK, have recorded an electrifying homage to the '70s hard rock outfit Slade by releasing a cover of Slade's 1972 anthem "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" just in time for Christmas. The official music video features cameos from Bad Touch, Collateral, Gorilla Riot, Sons of Liberty, New Saints and Liberty Lies. Piston embarked on a UK tour with Collateral in September. In October, the band supported The Cult on their Sonic Temple UK tour and former Deep Purple icon Glenn Hughes on his Classic Deep Purple Live tour. - Noble PR, 11/29/19...... British actor and singer Kenny Lynch, one of the UK's first black pop stars who toured with the Beatles in the 1960's and became famous for his UK Top 10 hit "Up On the Roof," has died at the age of 81. His family announced the news on Twitter, saying that he would be "remembered and missed by many." His acting career included roles in the likes of Carry On Camping, Bullseye and The Sweeney. Tributes to the late actor and singer have been led by '80s hitmaker Boy George, who called Lynch an "absolutely huge part of my 70s life and on." - NME, 12/18/19.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Queen have shared an animated video on YouTube they recently made for their 1984 yuletide single, "Thank God Its Christmas." Queen founding members Brian May and Roger Taylor devised the concept for the video with direction and production for the video's snowy nighttime scene by Justin Moon and Drew Gleason. Roger Taylor recently remarked on the new video: "Ironically, Christmas tends to be such a stressful time for so many of us. So many emotions, joyful memories of past Christmas' as delighted children and responsible adults / parents. It's just a great relief when it finally happens." Brian May added: "The video goes a little further by including a subtle reminder that we as humans now need to feel a responsibility for the welfare of ALL creatures on Earth - not just for our own benefit, and that of our grandchildren, but out of respect for the rights of the animals themselves." Prior to the new video, no visuals for the song had been released for "Thank God Its Christmas." - New Musical Express, 12/16/19...... Ted NugentA three-minute "Facebook Live" video of Ted Nugent signing a long line of red "Re-Elect That Motherf----r" hats has topped Billboard's monthly Top Facebook Live Videos chart for November. Nugent had the hats produced to show his enthusiastic support of Pres. Donald Trump and to sell them to fans. Along the way, he apologized for the delay in getting the hats, which resemble Pres. Trump's famous "Make America Great Again" hats, out to those who had ordered them. Nugent's video was the only upload from any musician to top 1 million views in its first seven days, racking up 1.2 million views, and was the week's most shared by a musician (17,000). Billboard's Top Facebook Live Videos chart tracks the widest-reaching and most-reacted-to videos posted by musicians on Facebook Live. - Billboard, 12/17/19...... Tom Petty's widow Dana Petty and his daughters Adria Petty and Annakim Violette reached a settlement agreement on Dec. 13 in their legal battle over the estate of the late rock star, who died of an accidental drug overdose on Oct. 2, 2017, at age 66. The legal feud first erupted in April 2019, when the two parties filed dueling court petitions accusing the other of attempting to control Petty's assets. In May, a $5 million lawsuit was filed against Dana and several co-defendants by Petty Unlimited, an LLC established in Petty's will, that accused her of "self-dealing, theft, and gross mismanagement" of her late husband's estate and an attempt to "deprive" Adria and Annakim of their share of his assets. Dana then filed a petition two weeks later asking the court to fund and execute an operating agreement for Tom Petty Legacy, a separate LLC she established on her own, while alleging "foul behavior" on Adria's part with regard to estate matters. She also accused the two daughters of interfering in and delaying several posthumous Petty releases, including the 2018 box set An American Treasure, the 2019 greatest hits collection The Best of Everything and a 25th anniversary reissue of Petty's 1994 acclaimed solo album Wildflowers that has yet to materialize. The new legal documents, filed in California Superior Court in Los Angeles, do not disclose details of the settlement. - Billboard, 12/13/19...... French musician/composer Alexandre Desplat, who scored the new movie version of Louisa May Alcott's famous 1868 novel Little Women, says that David Bowie provided inspiration for his music for the new film. Desplat says Little Women director Greta Gerwig had requested music resembling "Mozart meeting Bowie" for the film's score. "I always try to ask, 'What do you expect from me as the composer? Do you want me to do something grand? Melancholic? Lush? Huge? Small?'," Desplat said of his initial discussions with the director. "She said with enthusiasm, 'I'd like the music to be a mix of Mozart meeting Bowie'. It doesn't mean anything, but it does mean something if you let the energy come into your system and you get something of that, and this opening is about that." The film has already received an early nod for the 2020 Oscars in the Music (Original Score) category. Desplat has previously bagged two Academy Awards for his work on The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Shape of Water. - Billboard, 12/18/19...... David Lee RothKISS announced on Dec. 17 that former Van Halen lead singer and solo star David Lee Roth will be their special guest on the final legs of their self-proclaimed continuing End of the Road farewell tour. "David Lee Roth will bring his exciting stage show featuring a twin guitar big rock sound and a set list of classic hits and future energy," the band said in a statement. The tour is slated to officially wind-down with a July 17, 2021 show at an as-yet-unannounced venue in the group's native New York. KISS is currently in Japan where they played the Osaka Dome on Dec. 17, while Diamond Dave is gearing up to launch a Las Vegas residency on Jan. 8 at the House of Blues Las Vegas. Roth recently posted an announcement of his Vegas residency on Instagram. - Billboard, 12/17/19...... Rod Stewart has angered many of his fans in the UK by tweeting a celebratory message after his new album You're in My Heart, with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra topped the charts there, while the same time including a congratulatory message to controversial UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson for his own recent success at the polls. Stewart's praise directed at Johnson has drawn particular controversy from his large contingent of Celtic supporters within his fanbase. Others suggested that the "Maggie May" singer's support of Johnson -- whose Conservative government won the recent general election with a majority in Parliament -- compromised his Scottish identity. Stewart also added a slightly curt "no hard feelings" to The Who guitarist Pete Townshend, whose new Who album WHO was bumped to third place in the UK charts, behind Robbie Williams' new seasonal effort The Christmas Present. - New Musical Express, 12/14/19...... Late The Cars principle Ric Ocasek, late The Monkees member Peter Tork, and late counterculture icon Peter Fonda, all who passed away in 2019, are among the personalities featured in British artist Christ Barker's annual Christmas Sgt. Pepper's cover tribute. Barker began his tribute based on the famous cover of the 1967 Beatles LP in 2016, in which he re-imagines the cover with recently deceased celebrities and pop culture icons, in 2016. He says his first Sgt. Pepper's cover was "partly to cope with the shock" of losing so many celebrities that year, including David Bowie, Prince, Carrie Fisher and George Martin, along with the jarring outcomes of the Brexit referendum and the 2016 election of US Pres. Donald Trump. Barker said he decided to continue the tribute after 007 actor Roger Moore, rock & roll icon Chuck Berry, and Batman actor Adam West passed that year. In 2019, Barker says he's also focusing on his worries about pollution and climate change by featuring a Sumatran rhino to highlight the plight of many endangered species around the world. Also making this year's cover are Cream drummer Ginger Baker, actors Albert Finney, Doris Day, Luke Perry, Rip Torn, Valerie Harper and Jan-Michael Vincent, and Grumpy Cat. - Billboard, 12/13/19...... In other Beatles-related news, Ringo Starr gave a thumbs up to the 2019 Beatles-themed movie Yesterday from the red carpet of the recent Global Citizen Awards at London's Royal Albert Hall. Ringo appeared to not remember about the film, but gave his seal of approval after being reminded by his actress/model wife Barbara Bach. "Oh yeah - I loved it," Ringo explained. "I mean, what a great concept. You know?" he added. The movie, which hit cinemas this summer, follows the story of a fledgling musician whose life takes a dramatic turn when he realizes he's one of only a handful of people left in the world that remembers Beatles songs. - NME, 12/16/19...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, a pair of sunglasses once worn by John Lennon have been sold at a Sotheby's auction in London for £137,500. Lennon, who was assassinated outside his New York apartment on Dec. 8, 1980, mistakenly left a pair of glasses designed by Oliver Goldsmith in the back of Ringo Starr's car in the summer of 1968. In a letter by John's former chauffeur Alan Herring, Herring recalled: "I had picked John up with Ringo and George [Harrison] in Ringo's Mercedes and driven the boys into the office. When John got out of his car I noticed that he'd left these sunglasses on the back seat and one lens and one arm had become disconnected. I asked John if he'd like me to get them fixed for him. He told me not to worry they were just for the look. He said he'd send out for some that fit. I never did get them mended -- I just kept them as they were as John had left them." Herring was originally employed by Harrison as a landscape contractor at his home in Surrey, England, and was later employed by fellow Beatles star Ringo. - NME, 12/16/19...... Jonathan CainJourney keyboardist Jonathan Cain says his main focus in 2020 will be making some new Journey music, the band's first since 2011's Eclipse. Cain says it will probably be in the form of an EP rather than a full album just to "break the ice" after the long gap. "I have quite a bit of ideas lyrically," Cain says. "We have the beginning of a really good song and we've even got a title for the next record. For me it works best with just [guitarist] Neal [Schon] and I in a room and we come together rather than trying to dictate what it is." Cain adds that he and Schon have "mended our friendship and moved on" since their relationship was fractured after some vitriolic social media posts by Schon during the summer of 2017 when Schon became upset that Cain, Journey singer Arnel Pineda and bassist Ross Valory attended a meeting at the White House with Pres. Trump. "Neither one of us liked the way all that went, and neither did the fans. It was just a lot of misunderstanding and things that were taken wrong," Cain says. "I think we both learned a lot, and it shows that our relationship is better than that and we shouldn't come against each other." Cain, who began a solo Christian music career with 2016's What God Wants to Hear and followed it up in 2018 and 2019 with two additional Christian albums, says he's among those who welcome rapper Kayne West to the ranks of Christian music. "For me it looked like a move of God, and I'm thrilled he's doing it," Cain said. Meanwhile, Journey will play the next edition of its Vegas residency in the Colosseum at Caesars Palace starting Dec. 27, including a New Year's Eve show. Its summer tour with Pretenders kicks off May 15 in Ridgefield, Wash., with arena and amphitheater dates into September. - Billboard, 12/17/19...... Roy Loney, the founding lead singer of the influential '70s San Francisco power pop band the Flamin' Groovies, died of "severe organ failure" at CPMC Davies Campus in San Francisco on Dec. 13, after a brief hospitalization. He was 73. Loney was a charismatic frontman whose high-energy stage moves and growly, blues-inflected vocals were part of the psychedelic, hippie vibe of the Bay Area rock scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Unlike the prevailing flower power sound of the time, the Groovies were full-steam-ahead '50s-inspired rockers, injecting blues, rockabilly and R&B swing into a power pop froth on songs such as "Love Have Mercy," "The First One's Free" and "Bam Balam" -- all written or co-written by Loney -- on their full-length 1969 Epic Records debut. They jumped to Kama Sutra Records for their second effort, 1970's even more raw Flamingo, which solidified their gritty sound. In 1971, the band released Teenage Head, a masterpiece of loose, concise bluesy garage rock. But by the next year Loney quit the group as a precursor to a long solo career with a number of different bands; the Flaming Groovies, however, would record Shake Some Action in 1976, and its title track with vocals by new singer Chris Wilson became its signature tune. Loney re-emerged as a solo act in 1979, when he released the full-length Out After Dark, then returned to the music business in the early 1990s with a series of backing bands. He reunited with the Groovies for occasional shows up until May of this year. E Street Band guitarist and radio show host Stevie Van Zandtposted a tribute to Loney on Twitter: "RIP Roy Loney. Legendary Garage Rocker and original lead singer with the Flamin' Groovies. He will live forever in the Underground Garage." - Billboard, 12/16/19...... Dolly PartonLegislators in Tennessee are considering replacing a controversial bust of former Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest that has resided in the state Capitol building since 1978 with one of the state's most celebrated musicians, Dolly Parton. According to The Tennessean newspaper, Parton is being considered for the honor because of her revered status as a country music legend and as an ambassador of goodwill around the world, in contrast to the former KKK Grand Wizard. "If we want to preserve history, then let's tell it the right way. Right now there are eight alcoves [in the Capitol]. Seven are filled with white men," said Tennessee House of Representatives member Jeremy Faison. Faison has also suggested building a monument to honour the slaves who built the Capitol Building, while the bust of Forrest should be placed in a museum to educate people about the Fort Pillow massacre of 1864 -- where soldiers under his command massacred African-American troops. Meanwhile, Parton's new Netflix series arrived in late November, and she released her latest album, Heartstrings, on Nov. 22. - The Tennessean/NME 12/16/19...... Joe Smith, a legendary record executive who signed the Grateful Dead and helmed three labels, including as president and CEO of Capitol-EMI Music, died on Dec. 2 at the age of 91. Mr. Smith, who received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015, worked closely with a number of artists, including Bonnie Raitt, whom he signed while president at Warner Bros. Records in the '70s and then brought to Capitol and was part of her comeback in the late '80s, including her multiple Grammy winner, 1989's Nick of Time. Among the other artists with whom he worked are Jackson Browne, Frank Sinatra, Garth Brooks, Eagles, Rod Stewart, The Cars and Bob Seger. In 2012, the Library of Congress acquired more than 200 hours of interviews conducted by Mr. Smith for his 1985 book, Off the Record: An Oral History of Pop Music, a collection of interviews with more than 200 artists, producers and executives, including Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Tina Turner, Tom Jones, B.B. King and Barbra Streisand. "Joe believed in supporting artists for the long haul, allowing us to stretch and grow," Bonnie Raitt said in memoriam to Mr. Smith. - Billboard, 12/2/19...... Emmy Award-winning composer, conductor and electronic music pioneer Gershon Kingsley, who wrote the 1969 top 10 hit "Popcorn" and played a pivotal role in popularizing the Moog synthesizer sound, died Dec. 10 in New York. He was 97. Although "Popcorn" was written by Mr. Kingsley, it was a remake by Hot Butter that reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972, and No. 1 in at least six other countries. In 2005, Crazy Frog released its version, with the song again going to No. 1 in a number of countries. In 2018, Mr. Kingsley released a yellow vinyl 12" of his trademark song for Record Store Day. Mr. Kingsley also wrote theme music for the American game show The Joker's Wild and several German television shows. In the 1980s, Mr. Kingsley released a number of New Age albums, and one of his latest theatrical works, "Raoul," about Raoul Wallenberg, premiered in New York in 2004 and went on to full production in Bremen, Germany, in 2008. - Billboard, 12/14/19.

Friday, December 13, 2019

A video of Bruce Springsteen performing with his late saxophonist Clarence Clemons for the last time on Dec. 7, 2010, has been shared on YouTube. The intimate performance was played in front of about 60 Jersey fans in the Asbury Park Carousel House, where The Boss delivered a special live concert of songs from his Darkness on the Edge of Town box set The Promise a year before Clemons died of complications from a stroke. The last song in the set, fittingly, was the melancholy holiday song popularized by Elvis Presley, "Blue Christmas." - Billboard, 12/12/19...... Meanwhile, Paul McCartney has revealed he once recorded a secret Christmas album of demos "just for the family" which gets played once a year at festive gatherings. Interviewed on BBC Radio 4's World at One radio show, Paul said, "Years ago I thought, there's not very good Christmas records, so I actually went into my studio over a couple of years and I made one." But McCartney added he would never release the demo of Christmas carol instrumentals, despite it becoming a firm favourite among his children and grandchildren. "The kids like it," he said. "It's something they've heard through the years, you know, and now it's the grandkids getting indoctrinated with my carols record." McCartney, who will be headlining the UK's legendary Glastonbury festival in 2020, also said he plans on getting ready for his high profile gig by playing 10 concerts "to get up to speed." "You don't get an athlete just coming into the Olympics not having done a few races beforehand," he said. "The idea is by the time I get to Glastonbury it'll just be just like another gig. But of course it won't be, because it's very special." In other Macca news, the Netflix streaming sevice announced on Dec. 11 that they're set to adapt McCartney's 2005 children's novel High In The Clouds into an animated feature film. Directed by Oscar-nominee Timothy Reckart and produced by French movie studio Gaumont, the film will feature original songs and music by McCartney. "I've always loved animated films and this is a hugely important passion project for me. I can't wait for the world to see it," he said in a statement. - New Musical Express/Billboard, 12/12/19...... Rick WrightNick MasonDavid Gilmour On Dec. 13, Pink Floyd released The Later Years, a lavish 16-disc box set covering their output from 1987's A Momentary Lapse of Reason forward, including their No. 1 1994 follow-up, The Division Bell. The six-hour set features an updated and remixed Momentary Lapse, and includes a host of other rarities, including concert footage, new mixes of classic tracks and other bonus material. Also included on the 10 CD/6 Blu-ray set is a new version of Momentary Lapse featuring new drum tracks from Nick Mason. Momentary Lapse co-producer Bob Ezrin says the original album was at "a transition point in music-making, the beginning of the digital revolution." "The essentially Pink Floyd sound has always been very elemental, very much four people and the sound of every individual," Ezrin notes. "So it was great we were able to reinstall Nick and Rick [Wright] in the places they should have been if only we were all available at the time. It has a greater Pink Floyd-ness than it ever had before." - Billboard, 12/10/19...... The Who are on track to chart their first U.K. No. 1 LP in nearly 50 years with their new studio effort from Polydor Records, WHO. WHO leads the U.K.'s Official Albums Chart Update at midweek, ahead of its closest rival, Robbie Williams' The Christmas Present. The Who have released 12 studio albums and hit the chart summit just once, with Who's Next from Sept. 1971. - Billboard, 12/10/19...... Ozzy Osbourne has scored his first No. 1 hit on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Songs chart since 2010 with "Under the Graveyard," the first single from his forthcoming studio album Ordinary Man. The song, Ozzy's first leader on the MRS chart since his 2010 hit "Let Me Hear You Scream," jumped from No. 4 to No. 1 on the survey dated Dec. 14. Osbourne, 71, is among the eldest musicians to appear on the MRS chart, joining Queen's 71-year-old guitarist Brian May, who contributed to Five Finger Death Punch's "Blue on Black," which was No. 1 for five weeks on the same chart in June and July. Ordinary Man, Osbourne's first solo full-length since 2010's Scream, is expected in January. - Billboard, 12/11/19...... Interviewed on Spotify's Best Advice series on Dec. 11, Elton John revealed the best career advice he's ever received. The Rocket Man said American talent agent Howard Rose once encouraged him to perform in smaller venues than what John already knew he could fill. "When you're in places like New York and Los Angeles and you can sell out big venues, we're gonna put you in smaller venues and create a ticket craziness, so you sell out straight away and no one can get a ticket," Elton says Rose once told him. "That means the next time you come around, you're gonna sell out a bigger venue." John will kick off North American dates of the second year of his three-year tour worldwide "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour in 2020 with a two-night stand at Toronto's Scotiabank Arena on Mar. 28 and 29. - NME, 12/12/19...... A David Bowie tribute band called David Live will perform during a Bowie "360 live immersive show" and Sir Patrick Moore Planetarium at England's National Space Centre in January. The band will play the late rocker's music spanning 1969-1972, which is described by the ticket website as "a significant period of time that covered both Bowie's experimental phase (Space Oddity to Ziggy Stardust) and the Apollo lunar landing window." An exhibition of media inspired by Bowie will also be on display at the planetarium. - New Musical Express, 12/11/19...... David ByrneJerry HarrisonTina WeymouthChris FrantzTo the delight of Talking Heads fans, the New Wave icons opened what appears to be an official Instagram account on Dec. 9, sparking rumors of a potential long-awaited reunion. Although the account has yet to share a single post or be authenticated by Instagram's coveted blue check mark, the band's new handle, @talkingheadsofficial, has already garnered more than 10,000 followers in just two days, including former TH keyboard player Jerry Harrison. While frontman David Byrne has been famously reticent in the past about getting the band back together, interestingly 2020 will mark the 40th anniversary of the Heads' critically-acclaimed fourth album, Remain in the Light, which Harrison already announced he'll be celebrating by playing a series of special shows with Adrian Belew and the funk band Turkuaz. - Billboard, 12/11/19...... The Eagles announced on Dec. 10 that they'll be playing their seminal 1976 album Hotel California in its entirety next summer at London's Wembley Stadium. The pair of shows, which will also include a set of the country-rock legends' greatest hits, are set for Aug. 29 and 30 as part of the band's "Hotel California" tour in the U.K. Tickets for the Wembley shows go on sale to the general public on Dec. 14 at 9 a.m. and can be purchased by visiting the Eagles' official website. - Billboard, 12/10/19...... An urban legend that Jimi Hendrix was to blame for the arrival of wild parakeets in Britain has been finally debunked in a new study published in the Journal of Zoology. It was previously claimed that Hendrix released the first pair of parakeets, called Adam and Eve, as a symbol of peace while stoned in London's Carnaby Street in 1968. But the study confirms that the birds were sighted in Britain as far back as 1855, when one parakeet was spotted in Norfolk. Experts now believe that the parakeet population may have risen after the birds escaped from damaged bird houses during Britain's Great Storm of 1987. They also claim that many parakeets kept as pets were released during an outbreak of "parrot fever" in 1929, 1930 and 1952, with the public urged by newspapers to keep away from the "dangerous birds." A rival urban legend claimed that late '80s pop singer George Michael was to blame, after burglars broke into his Hampstead home in the 1990s and raided his secret aviary, but he failed to report the crime since he was wary of the police. Another popular theory claimed that the birds escaped from the set of the classic 1951 film The African Queen starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. - NME, 12/12/19...... The family of the late Marvin Gaye are asking the original judge in the now infamous "Blurred Lines" vs. "Got To Give It Up" lawsuit to revisit his decision to deny an award of $3.5 million in attorney fees after Pharrel Williams and Robin Thicke were ordered to pay half of "Got To Give It Up"'s royalties to Gaye's family as well as a one-off payment of $5.3 million in damages in 2015. Gaye's famiy claim that Williams committed perjery in court when defending himself in lausuit after he told GQ magazine in November that he "reverse engineers the feeling he gets from listening certain music, adding that he "did that in "Blurred Lines' and got myself in trouble." The Gaye family, represented by litigator Richard Busch, believes Williams' November 2019 comment constitutes a fraud on the court and evidence of perjury, and wants US District Court Judge John Kronstad to deny the attorney fees. The Gaye family's motion stops short, however, of requesting new criminal prosecution. - NME, 12/10/19...... Linda RonstadtLinda Ronstadt, who was honored with a prestigious Kennedy Center Honor at the 42nd annual Kennedy Center Honors gala in Washington, D.C., had some strong words for Sec. of State Mike Pompeo at a dinner the evening before the ceremony after Pompeo introduced her to the audience, congratulating her and joking aloud "when he would be loved," a reference to Ronstadt's hit "When Will I Be Loved." In response, the 73-year-old singer told Pompeo, "Maybe when you stop enabling Donald Trump." The awkward exchange was tweeted about by Sam Greisman, the son of Oscar-winning actress and fellow 2019 Kennedy Center Honors recipient Sally Field. "Linda Ronstadt got up to get laurels, looked the f---er right in the eye and said 'maybe when you stop enabling Donald Trump.' Icon," he wrote. Other honorees included Earth, Wind and Fire; conductor Michael Tilson Thomas; and the long-running children's TV show Sesame Street. The event, hosted by LL Cool J, was taped and will be broadcast on CBS on Dec. 15. Pres. Trump an first lady Melania Trump declined to appear at the event for the third year in a row. - Billboard, 12/8/19...... The U.S. Library of Congress announced on Dec. 12 that Prince's 1984 film Purple Rain is among the 25 films added to its annual National Film Registry in 2019. The grossed more than $68 million at the box office in the US in its first release and earned over $80 million worldwide. It went on to win the Oscar for Best Original Song Score, the last movie to receive that particular award. Other "culturally and historically significant" films that are set to be archived in 2019 include Martin Scorsese's classic concert film for The Band, The Last Waltz, and Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It. - NME, 12/12/19...... Queen + Adam Lambert have added five new dates to their forthcoming UK "Rhapsody" tour. The band had already announced five nights at London's O2 Arena in June 2020 along with two dates at the Manchester Arena (6/11, 12). Now they've added five more nights at the O2 to run throughout the month. The "Rhapsody" shows were inspired by the Oscar winning 2018 biopic Bohemian Rhapsody and will feature ambitious staging, lighting and visuals. The film is now the highest-grossing music biopic of all time and the biggest-selling film of 2019 in the UK. - NME, 12/11/19...... An AC/DC reunion with former lead singer Brian Johnson has apparently been confirmed by their fellow hard rock acts Twisted Sister and Behemoth, with the latter band's member Nerghal telling Loudwire: "I know there's a new AC/DC album in the making with [late AC/DC rhythm guitarist] Malcolm Young. It's coming. It's going to be an outtake from Rock or Bust. What do I expect? I expect nothing more and nothing less, just give me f---ing rhythm and Angus and Malcolm's guitar. Don't give me anything extra. [Brian Johnson] is back in the band." Dee Snider of Twisted Sister also seemingly backed the reports on Twitter, claiming that the band will reunite with drummer Phil Rudd, who was ousted from the group following his conviction in 2018 for drug possession and making threats to kill a former employee. - NME, 12/10/19.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Ozzy Osbourne is offering a $25,000 reward for the return of a stolen guitar that once belonged to his late friend and musical collaborator, Randy Rhodes who died in a plane crash in 1982 at age 25. Osbourne shared images of the guitar which was stolen from the Musonia School of Music in North Hollywood on Thanksgiving, posting "As many of you have heard, the Musonia School of Music in N. Hollywood, CA (the school where Randy Rhoads famously taught guitar) was viciously robbed on Thanksgiving night. Musonia was run by Randy's late mother, Delores, and after his death 37 years ago, the school became something of a pilgrimage to his fans from all over the world." He continued: "It is a place where the Rhoads Family happily opened their hearts to share the life of Randy. As you can imagine, the items that were stolen, including Randy's first electric guitar, are irreplaceable to the Rhoads Family. I am heartbroken that these treasured physical memories of Randy and Delores have been taken from the family so I've decided to personally offer a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction and/or return of all stolen items." Ozzy previously announced his "No More Tours 2" tour with opener Marilyn Manson will kick off on May 27, 2020 in Atlanta and conclude July 31 in Las Vegas, then in the fall he'll play several rescheduled dates in the UK and Europe with Judas Priest. - New Musical Express, 12/8/19...... John LennonYoko OnoDecember 8 marked the 39th year since John Lennon was shot and killed outside his New York apartment at age 40, and his widow Yoko Ono posted an emotional tribute to her late husband on Twitter that day. "Dear Friends. Every day, 100 Americans are shot and killed with guns. We are turning this beautiful country into a War Zone. Together, let's bring back America, the green land of peace," she wrote. Ono also shared a statistic that revealed over 1,400,000 people have been killed by guns in America since Lennon's death. "The death of a loved one is a hollowing experience. After 39 years, Sean, Julian and I still miss him. Imagine all the people living life in peace," she added. Yoko's outdoor art installation, the Imagine Peace Tower in Reykjav'k, Iceland, is lit up each year in memory of John from the date of his birthday until the anniversary of his death. Live footage of the tower can be viewed on Twitter. - New Musical Express, 12/9/19...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney has weighed in on the ongoing climate crisis in a new interview during an event to promote a product from his late wife Linda McCartney's vegetarian food product line. Sir Paul, his family, climate activist Anna Taylor, and zero-waste restaurant founder Doug McMaster were in attendance at the Dec. 8 event sponsored by the UK's Vice. Speaking about the crisis, McCartney said: "It changes really slowly, so all you can do is what the kids are doing, and protest and do everything you can." Speaking about recent environmental protests, McCartney said: "I was thinking the other day, 'Oh, it's going to turn everyone off' and sure enough it is: 'Oh they're naughty, they're making noise, it woke me up.' But it's like, what about the suffragettes? They were dying for it and now women have rights. Well, some women -- not everyone." Macca also went on to note the government's lack of action on climate change. "The weird thing is that the only people who aren't responding are the government. Everyone else is going, 'Yeah!' and [U.S. Pres. Donald] Trump is going, 'Climate change is a hoax.'" - NME, 12/9/19...... Sheryl Crow and one of her musical heroes, Stevie Nicks, joined forces on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live on Dec. 5 for a performance of "Prove You Wrong," the track on which Nicks also appears on Crow's latest collaborative album, Threads. The pair traded verses effortlessly as they promise an ex lover it would be easy to move on after a relationship's end. Earlier in December, the two singers also stopped by Ellen DeGeneres' talk show to sing "Prove You Wrong" along with "Redemption Day," and on Dec. 4 Nicks surprised the audience during Crow's concert at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in L.A. for renditions of "Prove You Wrong" and Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide," with a clip of the performance later posted on YouTube. - Billboard, 12/6/19...... Rod StewartRod Stewart has earned his first Billboard Classical Albums chart No. 1 with his new album You're in My Heart, with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra debuting at the top of the chart for the week ending Dec. 7. The honor is just a week shy of the 50th anniversary of Stewart's Billboard chart debut, as he made his first appearance on any ranking with The Rod Stewart Album, which entered the Hot 200 (at No. 200) on the list dated Dec. 13, 1969. The new set takes its title from Stewart's classic 1978 single, and also on the album's 22-song tracklist are a new duet version, with Robbie Williams, of the Motown classic "It Takes Two," which Stewart originally recorded in 1991 with Tina Turner, and a newly-recorded Stewart ballad, "Stop Loving Her Today." Stewart also boasts three No. 1 songs on Adult Contemporary and one each on Dance Club Songs ("Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?," 1979), Mainstream Rock Songs ("Downtown Train," 1990) and Pop Songs ("All for Love," 1994), along with a leader each on Top Rock Albums and Top Holiday Albums. - Billboard, 12/5/19...... Dolly Parton is honoring her Eastern Tennessee childhood upbringing with a new musical dubbed "Dolly Parton's Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol," which will run through Dec. 29 at Emerson Colonial Theatre in Boston. The musical is based on a book and adaption by David H. Bell, and while Dolly doesn't perform in Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol, she wrote much of the music with songs like "Appalachian Snow" and "Circle of Love" paying homage to those who, like her, lived on the margins in the Tennessee mountains. "We decided to use the (Charles) Dickens story of a Christmas Carol -- and of course that mean ole guy Scrooge -- because I related to all those people in the family, just struggling and trying to have good things even in the worst of times," Dolly says. "Being from that part of the world, I was from a poor family and remember how we had so little but always wanted to have a good Christmas." Parton's life story is also at the center of a new podcast from New York Public Radio's WNYC. - Billboard, 12/5/19...... Aerosmith emailed a list of their 2020 European tour dates to fans on Dec. 6 and included was a stop at the UK's iconic Glastonbury festival on June 27. If the Boston-based rockers play Glastonbury on that date it rules them out of a headline slot, as Paul McCartney is already confirmed to take top billing on the same day. Aerosmith's European tour also sees them performing at London's O2 Arena on July 15 and Manchester Arena on July 18. Despite officially calling it a day in 2017 with their "Aero-Vederci Baby!" farewell tour, the rockers reunited earlier in 2019 for an expansive Las Vegas residency. - New Musical Express, 12/7/19...... Elton John has taken the No. 4 spot on the Billboard Boxscore's 2019's year-end top tours list, as his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour grossed $194 million during the year. John toured consistently throughout the year, topping two monthly Boxscore recaps in February and September. The Rolling Stones also made an appearance on the year-end roundup, as they swept North American stadiums in a short summer leg that complimented their 2017-18 European dates. - Billboard, 12/5/19......Joe ElliottDef Leppard, Motley Crue, Poison and Joan Jett have announced a massive co-headlining stadium tour in 2020 simply titled "The Stadium Tour." Visiting some of America's largest venues, the Stadium Tour gets underway July 7 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami and then hit cities including Houston, San Francisco, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Boston, Chicago and more. The 22-date trek will close out on Sept. 5 at the brand new SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. During a press conference at SiriusXM Studios' garage in Hollywood on Dec. 4 featuring members of Def Leppard, Motley Crue and Poison, Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott said, "There's a lot of people who still think the '80s is a mockable decade, and we're about to prove that it's not. It's last man standing to a point maybe, but we have survived. Whether we've gone away and come back or we've been constant, it's the music that's been the thread that keeps bringing everybody back again." - Billboard, 12/4/19...... Two members of The Ramones have apparently reached a truce in their ongoing trademark dispute. Joey Ramone (born Jeffrey Hyman) and Johnny Ramone (born Johnny Cummings) died in 2001 and 2004, respectively -- both from cancer. After a year of arbitration, Joey Ramone's brother, Mitchel Hyman, and Johnny Ramone's widow, Linda Cummings-Ramone, have come to an agreement over the use of the name Ramone. A final arbitration agreement was filed on Dec. 2 in New York, resulting in Hyman and Cummings-Ramone each owning 50% interests in Ramone Productions Inc. (RPI), the company which markets license and produces memorabilia and music-related products bearing the group's name and likeness. Cummings-Ramone is also the company's co-president and director. The dispute started when Hyman brought claims against Linda Cummings after she legally changed her name to Ramone in 2014. Hyman claimed that Cummings' use of the Ramone name was "improper and unauthorised." He also wanted to stop her from referring to her Los Angeles house as "Ramones Ranch." - Billboard, 12/6/19...... Questlove, the drummer of the band The Roots, is set to make his directorial debut with a feature documentary titled Black Woodstock, detailing 1969's Harlem Cultural Festival. The outdoor festival, held in Harlem's Mount Morris Park, was headlined by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone and The Staple Singers for a musical celebration of African-American culture and unity. However despite attracting a crowd of 300,000 attendees, the festival -- held in the same year as Woodstock -- failed to receive any mainstream media coverage. It's said that Black Woodstock will use 40 hours of never-seen-before footage, while producers promise music and performance footage to "knock audiences out of their seats." "I am truly excited to help bring the passion, the story and the music of the Harlem Cultural Festival to audiences around the world," Questlove said in a statement. "The performances are extraordinary. I was stunned when I saw the lost footage for the first time. It's incredible to look at 50 years of history that's never been told, and I'm eager and humbled to tell that story," he added. - NME, 12/5/19...... Willie NelsonIn a recently surfaced interview with local San Antonio, Tex. news station KSAT, Willie Nelson revealed that in an effort to take better care of himself, he no longer smokes cigarettes or marijuana. "I have abused my lungs quite a bit in the past, so breathing is a little more difficult these days and I have to be careful," the 86-year-old said. "I started smoking cedar bark, went from that to cigarettes to whatever. And that almost killed me," he added But a rep for Nelson told the AP later that Willie hasn't given up cannabis, and pointed out "there are different ways" to consume pot. "That said," she said "Willie does what he wants, when he wants, when it comes to smoking." One thing though Nelson won't be giving up anytime soon is touring. "I love the bus," he told KSAT. "This is my home." When asked how he feels about rumors that his health problems might suggest he is "near death," Nelson, in response, said "I don't give a f---, I'm here, I'm glad to be here." - AP/Jezebel.com, 12/4/19...... Carroll Spinney, the legendary puppeteer who gave the Sesame Street characters Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch their warmth for nearly 50 years, died on Dec. 8 at his home in Connecticut at age 85, according to the Sesame Workshop. Mr. Spinney voiced and operated the two major Muppets characters from their inception in 1969 when he was 36, and performed them almost exclusively into his 80s on the PBS kids' television show that later moved to HBO. "Before I came to 'Sesame Street,' I didn't feel like what I was doing was very important," Mr. Spinney said when he announced his retirement in 2018. "Big Bird helped me find my purpose." Through his two characters, Mr. Spinney gained huge fame that brought international tours, books, record albums, movie roles, and visits to the White House. The Sesame Workshop said in a statement that Mr. Spinney lived for some time with dystonia, which causes involuntary muscle contractions. "Carroll was an artistic genius whose kind and loving view of the world helped shape and define Sesame Street from its earliest days in 1969 through five decades, and his legacy here at Sesame Workshop and in the cultural firmament will be unending," the Workshop said in a statement. - AP, 12/8/19.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Eagles and the Doobie Brothers announced a luxury destination concert on Dec. 3 scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend in Cabo San Lucas in Baja California, Mexico. From May 23-24, 2020, fans can experience intimate sets from the two groups at the event titled Cabo en Vivo. May 23 will be an evening with The Doobie Brothers, including Tom Johnston, Michael McDonald, Pat Simmons and John McFee. The following day, attendees will be entertained by the Eagles consisting of their current lineup of Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit, with Deacon Frey and Vince Gill. Both beachfront performances will be held at Cabo Corridor for a select crowd. Only 5,000 passes will be sold for the entire event. Destination packages will go on sale Dec. 20. - Billboard, 12/3/19...... Chicago announced on Dec. 2 they'll hit amphitheaters this summer with special guest Rick Springfield. The 2020 trek will see the two legendary acts bring their hits to 26 cities in U.S. and Canada. The tour will kick off on June 12 in Concord, Calif., at Concord Pavilion and run through Salt Lake City, Dallas, Tampa, Toronto and more. Scheduled dates will close out Aug. 1 at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill. At the beginning of the tour, the Doobies and Springfield will play the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre outside Denver on June 18. The Doobies appeared in this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and will perform on NBC during the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting in New York on Dec. 4. - Billboard, 12/1/19...... Johnny Van ZantOn Dec. 3 Lynyrd Skynyrd announced U.S. dates for the third year of their farewell tour with special guests Travis Tritt and the Eli Young Band. New dates for the legendary Southern rockers' "Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour" will launch on Mar. 7 at Martin Luther King Jr. Arena in Savannah, Ga. The tour will continue through California, Nevada, Mississippi, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Kentucky and more. On July 31, the newly announced dates will close out at The Amphitheater at White River State Park in Indianapolis, Ind. "We've said we want to play every venue and market we've ever visited around the world one last time and even some places we haven't, so we get to see all of Skynyrd Nation," said the band's lead singer, Johnny Van Zant, in a press release. "We are getting close!" International dates will be announced soon. - Billboard, 12/3/19...... In other Southern rock news, Allman Brothers Band keyboardist Chuck Leavell will lead a Dec. 3 Macon City, Georgia Auditorium concert celebrating the re-opening of the home of the group's former record label, Capricorn Records. ABB drummer "Jamoe" Johanson, Cowboy guitarist Tommy Talton, bluesman Taj Mahal and Widespread Panic's John Bell will be performing, as well as newer artists like Marcus King, Brent Cobb and Dickey Betts' son Duane Betts. The ABB released its debut album in November 1969, the first album issued on Capricorn Records. The Macon, Ga. based imprint would become synonymous with Southern rock, thanks to iconic hits by the Allmans, Marshall Tucker Band, Wet Willie and others. On Dec. 3, the legendary studio is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a grand re-opening as "Mercer Music at Capricorn." - Billboard, 12/3/19...... German electronic rock pioneers Kraftwerk have been confirmed as the latest headliner for the UK's All Points East 2020 festival, joining a line-up that includes the likes of Iggy Pop, Johnny Marr, Anna Calvi and Kim Gordon. Kraftwerk will perform their "Kraftwerk in 3D" show at London's Victoria Park on May 29, in what is set to be their only UK show of 2019. In October, Kraftwerk were announced among the latest nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. - New Musical Express, 12/3/19...... As Elton John's massive "Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour" kicked off in Australia in late November, the Rocket Man blasted off with a four-letter tirade at security personnel at HBF Park in Western Australia on Dec. 1, objecting to the treatment of a female fan who was being ejected. "Hey, you two security guards with the girls, F--- off. Bring her back here immediately," he said, as the audience cheered him along. "Come on you c---s. Morons, you both are, morons. You don't treat girls like that. Leave her alone you turds." His colorful outburst happened at the second of two Perth concerts on his farewell tour, and was caught on film by onlookers and posted on Twitter. Soon after, John shed some light on his angry moment. "I apologize for the 'c-word', I just hate people being assaulted, especially women by security guards. I have a pet hate of security guards anyway," he said. It is unclear why the woman was ejected. Elton's final lap of Australia and New Zealand will see the veteran rocker play 40 arena and open-air shows through the southern summer. Billboard, 12/2/19...... The BeatlesBeatles fans are being invited to listen to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band at a new immersive event that aims to give the impression that the Fab Four are performing live. The pioneering experience, which is set to take place at Liverpool's Dr. Martin Luther King Building between Dec. 19 - Jan. 9, will present fans with a remixed version of the legendary 1967 album by George Martin's son, Giles Martin. The record will be played in Dolby Atmos with speakers being placed around the fans in a bid to transport them to Abbey Road Studios, where the album was recorded. "People will become fully immersed in a soundscape, which is unlike any other," Martin told the Liverpool Echo. "For me, it's like imagining falling through the vinyl of a record and and into this world where you're surrounded by the Beatles. It's like sitting in Abbey Road's Studio 2 and having the Beatles play for you," he added. In other Beatles-related news, singer Rihanna has shared a funny clip of her chance reunion with Paul McCartney during a flight from New York after Thanksgiving. The pair, who collaborated on Kanye West's song "FourFiveSeconds" in 2015, bumped into one another in the first class section of the plane, which was heading to London. A video that Rihanna shared on her Instagram stories reel (since reposted by the Metro paper) shows the former Beatles musician stood in front of her plane seat. "I'm about to put you on blast, Mr McCartney. How are you on this flight?" she asks him off-camera. McCartney then laughs, saying: "What's going on here? Who is this filming me?" before Rihanna answers: "Who is this peasant filming this legend?" - New Musical Express, 12/2/19...... In an interview with Cincinnati TV station WCPO on Dec. 3, The Who's Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey gave their first extended on-camera interview about the Dec. 3, 1979, tragedy that took the lives of 11 Who fans 40 years ago. "It's a weird thing to have in your autobiography that, you know, 11 kids died at one of your concerts," Townshend said. "It's a strange, disturbing, heavy load to carry." Townshend, Daltrey and their manager Bill Curbishley shared their personal accounts of what happened that night at Cincinnati's Riverfront Coliseum, where 11 fans were crushed to death by a surging crowd trying to enter the building, with the dead ranging in age from 15-27. A new documentary about the incident, The Who: The Night That Changed Rock, was taped in Seattle earlier in 2019 and aired on WCPO the same evening. The incident left a lasting scar on the city, which has religiously marked the grim anniversary over the years, with survivors of that night and their families sharing their stories with O'Rourke in the special. "That dreadful night of the third of December became one of the worst dreams I've had in my life," Daltrey says in the hour-long special. Curbishley witnessed the deaths that night and made the call to not tell the band until after the gig, convincing local fire officials to let the band keep playing to avoid any other potential injuries or deaths. In the years since, a memorial plaque was unveiled outside the now-renamed arena honoring the dead, Daltrey visited a Finneytown memorial site in 2018 and Townshend recently told the Associated Press that the group has plans to return to Cincinnati for its first concert since that night in 1979. Meanwhile, Daltrey told Rolling Stone in a new interview that Townshend wanted him to rap on the band's new album, WHO. Daltrey said he was less than impressed with the demo version of "All This Music Must Fade" that Townshend had sent him. "I hated [the song] at first... well, no f---ing way I'm going to rap. No way. Let the youngsters wear those clothes," he said. WHO, the band's twelfth studio LP, hits stores on Dec. 6. - Billboard/NME, 12/3/19...... To celebrate the festive season, Piston, a five-piece rock and roll band from Cannock, West Midlands, have recorded an electrifying homage to '70s rockers Slade by releasing a cover of their 1972 anthem "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" just in time for Christmas. The official music video features cameos from Bad Touch, Collateral, Gorilla Riot, Sons of Liberty, New Saints and Liberty Lies. Piston recorded the single at Long Wave Recording Studio in Cardiff on Oct. 27, with production by Romesh Dodangoda. A clip of their Slade cover can be viewed on YouTube. - NoblePR.co.uk, 11/29/19...... Casey KasemFamily members of late "American Top 40" radio personality Casey Kasem have settled dueling lawsuits alleging that Casem was badly mistreated before his death in 2014. The two sides filed a joint request on Dec. 2 in Los Angeles Superior Court to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit by three of Kasem's children and his brother against Kasem's widow that claimed her neglect and physical abuse led to his death, as well as a countersuit making similar claims against the plaintiffs that was filed by his widow and another daughter. The terms of the agreement were not revealed. Kerri Kasem, one of the daughters who filed the initial lawsuit, released a statement saying she was "distraught and heartbroken over her family and lawyers' decision to force her into a settlement." The first lawsuit was filed four years ago by Casey Kasem's children from a previous marriage, Kerri, Julie and Michael Kasem, and his brother Mouner Kasem. It was a lingering chapter in a series of heated and often public fights between his children and his second wife, former actress Jean Kasem, that began even before his death at age 82. The wrongful death lawsuit accused Jean Kasem, who was married to Casey Kasem for 34 years, of elder abuse and of inflicting emotional distress on his children by restricting their access to him before his death. Jean Kasem denied all of the allegations. She counter-sued and alleged that Casey Kasem's children were motivated by their desire to get his money after he cut them off financially in 2012, and that they had brought emotional distress to her and her father, claims they denied. Police and prosecutors in California and Washington investigated his treatment and death and found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing. Best known as the voice of radio's "American Top 40" for decades and for his sign-off catchphrase, "Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars," Kasem was also a constant on television as a host of shows and specials and as the voice of animated characters that included Shaggy in the Scooby-Doo TV cartoons. - AP, 12/2/19...... Actress Shelley Morrison, best known for her roles on The Flying Nun and Will & Grace, died on Nov. 30 of heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She was 83. Ms. Morrison played Sister Sixto alongside Sally Field on The Flying Nun, but was probably best known for her role as Rosario Salazar on Will & Grace from 1999 to 2006. She was the maid to Megan Mullally's character, Karen and the two often bantered back and forth. Mullally tweeted that her heart was heavy after learning about her co-star's passing. Ms. Morrison, who held many stage and screen roles throughout her 50-year career, more recently voiced Mrs. Portillo on the children's cartoon Handy Manny. - CBSNews.com, 12/2/19.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

While not celebrated in his native England, the American Thanksgiving holiday is being observed by longtime L.A. transplant Ozzy Osbourne in the form of a 32-song Turkey Day playlist posted on Spotify.com. Osbourne's eclectic collection includes not only several of his famous Black Sabbath and solo tracks ("Dreamer," "Thank God for the Bomb," "In My Life," "Sweet Leaf," "After Forever," "Thank God For the Bomb," "Rat Salad" and "Mama, I'm Coming Home"), but also includes some holiday-appropriate songs including Adam Sandler's "The Thanksgiving Song," the Ramones' "We're a Happy Family," Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here," ZZ Top's "I Thank You," REO Speedwagon's "Flying Turkey Trot" and John Lennon's "Cold Turkey." Ozzy will release his latest solo LP, Ordinary Man, in January. Meanwhile, Ozzy and his latest collaborator Post Malone have shared an official live video for Malone's song "Take What You Want" on YouTube. "Take What You Want" is featured on Malone's latest album Hollywood's Bleeding and reportedly inspired Ozzy to begin working on new music. The video shows the pair erforming at the track at the LA Forum during Malone's final show of his "Runaway" tour. - Billboard, 11/28/19...... Ginger BakerEric ClaptonIn memorial to his late Cream and Blind Faith former bandmate Ginger Baker wo passed way in October at age 80, Eric Clapton has announced a 2020 charity tribute concert for Baker at London's Hammersmith Apollo on Feb. 17. "Eric Clapton & Friends: A Tribute to Ginger Baker" will focus on the pair's work together in those two bands, with proceeds going to Leonard Cheshire, the health and welfare charity that aids people living with disabilities. Ginger Baker's social media accounts, which are overseen by his daughter Nettie, announced the event with the message: "Very pleased to share this news. Big thank you to @EricClapton." With bassist Jack Bruce, Cream released four albums including the influential Disraeli Gears before splitting in 1968. Baker and Clapton went on to play in Blind Faith with vocalist Steve Winwood of Traffic and Family bassist Ric Grech, who released only one self-titled album. - New Musical Express, 11/25/19...... The ex-wife of Elton John's lyricist Bernie Taupin has announced she will offer handwritten lyrics to some of Elton's biggest songs, including "Your Song," "Candle in the Wind," "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and "Bennie and the Jets," for auction through Bonhams Auction House in Los Angeles on Dec. 9, where individual items have estimates of between $30,000 - $250,000. Maxine Taupin, who was married to Taupin from 1971 to 1976 and the inspiration for the John classic "Tiny Dancer," is also set to auction off the lyrics for "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)" and "Border Song." In an interview with Rolling Stone, Maxine said she couldn't recall how she wound up with the valuable lyrics after her divorce. "You don't just normally sit in a room and divide things up, but it might have happened like that. I don't really remember the moment. But some of them were framed on a wall in my home and other ones were in a bank vault, perfectly preserved," she said, adding "When I heard the finished songs, I was instantly transported to that magical place these two creative forces have been taking us all to for so many years." Maxine, who last saw Elton perform in 2004, said that she decided to cash in on the lyrics in the wake of the Elton biopic Rocketman's success. Meanwhile, Rod Stewart has told a Scottish radio station that he's currently in the midst of a spat with his good friend Elton after criticising John's decision to head out on an extensive farewell world tour. "I do love Elton, only we're not talking at the moment. We've had a spat because I criticized his tour as being money-grabbing," Stewart said. In March, Stewart slammed John's "Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour," telling Andy Cohen "I did email her [Sir Elton] and said, 'What, again dear?' And, I didn't hear anything back. I don't think this is a big deal, it stinks of selling tickets." - NME, 11/25/19...... Neil Young posted on his Neil Young Archives website on Nov. 23 that he plans to rlease his long-awaited album Homegrown in 2020, 45 years after the album was originally shelved. "'Homegrown' will be our first release in 2020, sounding great in vinyl -- as it was meant to be Made in the mid-nineteen seventies!," he wrote. Young called the album "the unheard bridge between Harvest and Comes a Time, and suggested that the mostly-acoustic LP, which focused on his difficult relationship at the time with actress Carrie Snodgress, didn't originally see the light of day because it was too intensely emotional. He described it as a "record full of love lost and explorations," and one "that has been hidden for decades... too personal and revealing to expose in the freshness of those times." Young added that Homegrown had taken longer than usual to restore because he refused to complete the process digitally, with the accompanying video showing his longtime producer John Hanlon working on the album. "Mr. J. Hanlon is seen here mastering 'Homegrown' in an all analog chain," he explained. "This is the way records were made when we started out. This is the way we made them sound great. We were told that this was impossible now, the 'Homegrown' tapes were too damaged to use; we had to use Digital." - NME, 11/23/19...... Robert LammChicago released a Christmas album, Chicago Christmas 2019, in October, and the brassy rock troupe says that's only the beginning of its holiday festivities. Chicago is being featured in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade on Nov. 28 riding the Hallmark float, and will appear on NBC's Today show when they will announce the itinerary of its 2020 summer tour. They'll also be on hand for a co-headlining performance at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting, filming Dec. 3 and airing the following night on NBC ."I usually try to check in with what's going on with the holidays and try to get into the festivities with the family," trumpeter Lee Loughnane, who produced Chicago Christmas 2019, says. "If there's a football game on I'll usually watch that, but it's good to feel a part of everything this year." Chicago Christmas, which features eight new original songs and three seasonal staples, recently hit No. 1 on the Billboard Holiday Album Sales chart. Singer Robert Lamm says "Each song has its own personality, and that's one of the things I love about (Chicago Christmas 2019) the most; It's really where we are, creatively, at this point." Lamm added that the group is "open to (recording) new material... now that we have the ability to record while we're touring, it's that much easier. So we'll see." Chicago will begin a residency at the Venetian Theater in Las Vegas on Feb. 28, and is also planning an extensive summer tour in 2020. - Billboard, 11/27/19...... Robbie Robertson of The Band has worked with director Martin Scorsese for more than 40 years (they were even roommates in the '70s when Robertson moved into Scorsese's L.A. house on Mulholland Drive), and now Robertson has scored the soundtrack of Scorsese's new Netflix film The Irishman. Robertson says Scorsese wanted him to create music that fit the tone of the new film, probably best described as a character drama more than a traditional mobster movie. "It's a very strong mood, and I've never seen a gangster movie with this kind of tonality before," says Robertson. "It was tricky." It was made trickier by the fact that The Irishman, which stars Robert De Niro as a truck driver who becomes a hitman for an Italian crime family and crosses paths with infamous Teamster Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), spans multiple decades. This meant that Scorsese used de-aging technology to make septuagenarian actors De Niro, Pacino and Joe Pesci look, at some points, as young as 30. "I thought, 'as long as it works,'" says Robertson of his first impression when he was told about the de-aging concept. "As long as it isn't distracting. All we know from the past is people that are younger playing older, not too much the other way around. They give these tests and the tests looked really encouraging and it was like, if you can do that and if you can pull it off, this is historic." Robertson, who previously worked with Scorsese on several of his films including Raging Bull, Casino, The Departed and The Wolf of Wall Street, released his latest solo album, Sinematic, on Sept. 20. - The Hollywood Reporter, 11/28/19...... Newly discovered letters written by Paul McCartney's late first wife Linda McCartney about Paul will be auctioned through Chiswick Auctions in London on Jan. 29, 2020. Discovered by Linda's friend and former male housemate Miki Antony, the letters were written before Linda married the Beatle in 1969. They reveal her excitement about dating the star and how she was commissioned to photograph "groovy" bands of the day. In June 1967, weeks after she had begun dating McCartney, Linda (then Linda Eastman) photocopied an American gossip column that featured a sentence about her. She sent it to Antony with a passage underlined that read: "They say Beatle Paul McCartney's latest favourite femme is Linda Eastman, a Yankee Doodle fan-mag [photographer]." Linda wrote on the back: "Thought you'd get a big laugh over the enclosed clipping. Have no idea where they picked up that lie, but it just shows how truthful newspapers are." Linda and Paul met at the Bag O' Nails nightclub in London's Soho in May 1967. They married in March 1969 and McCartney "cried for a year" after his wife's death from cancer in 1998, aged just 56. aul and Linda McCartney. Antony says she met Linda while she was studying at the University of Arizona. He said: "She was a good friend for a year and a half. But then, of course, she went off into the Beatles world and that was it. She was lovely." - New Musical Express, 11/24/19...... CherCher paid homage to her late first husband Sonny Bono on the Season 28 finale of ABC's Dancing With the Stars on Nov. 25 with a performance of the Sonny & Cher classic "The Beat Goes On." Dressed in a hippie outfit straight out of the 1960s with a sparkly magenta top, striped bell bottoms and teal faux fur vest, the 73-year-old icon duetted with Sonny on the 1967 hit using old video footage of the pair. "Charleston was once the rage, uh huh/ History has turned the page, uh huh/ Miniskirt's the current thing, uh huh/ Teenybopper is our newborn king, uh huh," Cher belted out, trading lines with Sonny as she launched into some serious arm-ography with the backup dancers. A clip of the performance has been shared on YouTube. - Billboard, 11/26/19...... The Who's Pete Townshend is apologizing for his recent controversial interview with Rolling Stone in which said that he "thanks God" that his bandmates Keith Moon and John Entwistle are no longer around. "They were f---ing difficult to play with," Townshend said in the interview, sparking criticism. "They never, ever managed to create bands for themselves. I think my musical discipline, my musical efficiency as a rhythm player, held the band together." Now Townshend has posted a message to himself on his Facebook page. "PETE! FOR F---'S SAKE PUT A LID ON IT!," he wrote. "No one can ever know how much I miss Keith and John, as people, as friends and as musicians. The alchemy we used to share in the studio is missing from the new album, and it always feels wrong to try to summon it up without them, but I suppose we will always be tempted to try. To this day I am angry at Keith and John for dying. Sometimes it shows. It's selfish, but it's how I feel." The guitarist and singer went on to apologize to the late musician's children, Chris Entwistle and Mandy Moon, as well as to the Who's fans. "I understand that a lot of long-time Who fans will be hurt by the way it comes across as a headline. I only hope that they know me well enough that I tell the truth as much as I can, but I also tell both sides and the upside is missing in the headlines," he said. - Billboard, 11/27/19...... Tina Turner shared a rare video message with her fans on Nov. 26, her milestone 80th birthday. "Yes, I'm 80. How did I think I would be at 80? Not like this," she said. "How is this?" she continued. "Well, I look great, I feel good, I've gone through some very serious sicknesses that I'm overcoming. So it's like having a second chance at life. I'm happy to be an 80-year-old woman." Turner's video montage also featured birthday messages from the likes of Ringo Starr, Ronnie Wood, Nile Rodgers and others. - New Musical Express, 11/26/19...... Dolly Parton has delivered big ratings for NBC with her Nov. 26 special Dolly Parton: 50 Years at the Opry. The two-hour show outdrew the same-day season averages for competing series on other networks, and averaged 7 million viewers, along with a 0.8 rating among adults 18-49. The total-viewer count was the best for the NBC from 9 to 11 p.m. on Tuesday during the fall 2019 season. The show also outdrew ABC's Nov. 12 Parton interview special, Dolly Parton: Here She Comes Again, which had a little under 4 million viewers. - The Hollywood Reporter, 11/27/19...... Prince will release a Super Deluxe Edition of his classic 1982 album 1999 on Nov. 29. In addition to a remastered version of the 1999 double LP, the release also features 35 alternate versions, remixes, previously unreleased tracks and live cuts, including a Special Dance Mix of "Little Red Corvette." It also features the guitar-pop gem "Money Don't Grow on Trees" from his 1979 self-titled debut, and the Dirty Mind outtake "Vagina." - Billboard, 11/27/19...... The rock supergroup Hollywood Vampires featuring Alice Cooper, Joe Perry and Johnny Depp has announced a fall 2020 UK tour in support of their latest album, Rise. The group will play Leeds on Sept. 2, Glasgow on Sept. 3, London on Sept. 5, and Birmingham on Sept. 6. "This show has something for everyone," Cooper says. "I like to joke that The Vampires are the world's most expensive bar band, but what a lot of people don't realise is that this is a real rock band, not just some novelty. I wouldn't keep doing it if it weren't such a great band... I never get tired of playing with these guys!" - New Musical Express, 11/26/19...... Ace FrehleyFormer KISS guitarist Ace Frehley has been slapped with a restraining order by his longtime girlfriend Rachael Gordon after a bizarre incident when he stormed into his home and grabbed his belongings. According to the celebrity gossip site TMZ.com, Gordon claims in court documents that Frehley, 68, returned home from a business trip unannounced and barged into the couple's home with a male and a female bodyguard, as well as his adult daughter, Monique, and gathered up items including guitars and gold records. Gordon also alleges that Monique threatened her with physical violence and screamed at her, "You are a skank. My family will kill you." According to her filings, the tumultuous visit and verbal abuse left Gordon "in shock, afraid, filled with anxiety" and "paralyzed with fear." A friend of Gordon's also claims to have witnessed the incident and stated Frehley's entorage "looked like they were on drugs." Gordon also alleges Frehley has displayed troubling behaviour with her in the past, alleging he once threw a knife on their bed and told her words to the effect of "you know what that can do to you." Gordon says she's also planning to move out after the altercation, claiming the home ambush happened just as their lease ended and she needs the cash to find a new home as she does not work and he controls their finances. She is asking for $20,000 for moving expenses, $11,000 for rent and $25,000 in legal fees. - WENN/Canoe.com, 11/28/19...... Doug Lubahn, a studio bassist for The Doors, died on Nov. 24 of as yet undisclosed causes. While The Doors never had a full-time bass player, Lubahn appeared on three of the group's most acclaimed albums including Strange Days, Waiting for the Sun and The Soft Parade. After his work with The Doors, Lubahn went on to play in several other bands including Dreams, Pierce Arrow and Riff Raff. "Words could never express the sorrow. He was the love of my life. I'll miss the laughter more than anything," wrote his wife Pat Devanny. On The Doors' official Twitter page, a note read: "Our condolences go out to the family, friends and fans of Doug Lubahn. Doug made indelible contributions to rock and roll, and especially to The Doors. He played bass on Stage Days, Waiting for the Sun and Soft Parade. #RIP, Doug." - NME, 11/26/19...... Ron Oberman, a senior record executive and former publicist to David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen, died on Nov. 21 in his Spanish Springs, Nev., home after battling FTD (Frontal Temporal Degeneration) disease, a family spokesperson confirmed. He was 76. Oberman was best known for developing and furthering the careers of international music artists such as Bowie, Springsteen, The Bangles, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Warrant, Wilderness Road, Martika and more. He also worked with the Beatles and Mick Jagger. Oberman began his career with a Washington, D.C. newspaper as the writer of a weekly teen column, and later worked in the A&R department of Mercury Records, where he developed and introduced the then-unknown Bowie, and subsequently served as Bowie's North American publicist. Columbia Records eventually signed Oberman as head of its A&R department. Apart from Bowie, Oberman helped save Springsteen from being dropped by Columbia after writing a letter to the head of the label, pleading to give the singer-songwriter another chance. Oberman stayed with Columbia for 25 years, and then moved to become the head of MCA Records' A&R department, where he discovered and signed the Bangles. He is survived by his wife, Amber DiLena. - The Hollywood Reporter, 11/24/19...... Cartoonist Gahan Wilson, whose illustrations in such iconic magazines as Playboy, The New Yorker and National Lampoon earned him the nicknames "the Michelangelo of the Macabre" and "the Wizard of Weird," has died at 89. Mr. Wilson gained fame with such offbeat drawings as a man deliriously happy as he is being strapped into the electric chair and saying, "Gee, it's just like in the movies." Another showed an eye doctor with a knife about to attack a patient who is reading an exam chart that says, "I am an insane eye doctor and I am going to kill you now..." Mr. Wilson told David Letterman in 1982 that he was always attracted to circus sideshows and freaks. "They're fun," he said. "They're nice people." Mr. Wilson's stepson wrote on Facebook that Wilson, born Feb. 18, 1930, died peacefully surrounded by loved ones on Nov. 21. - CNN.com, 11/23/19.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Carole King will present the American Music Awards' "Artist of the Decade" honor to pop sensation Taylor Swift during the 2019 AMA Awards on Nov. 24 in Los Angeles, it was announced by ABC and Dick Clark Productions on Nov. 21. "I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to present Taylor with the Artist of the Decade honor," said King in a statement. "She is an extraordinary songwriter who has cultivated a unique and personal relationship with her audience. As a woman songwriter who also got into the music world at a young age, I know the kind of determination, struggle and single-minded perseverance it has taken for her to reach such heights." The award show will be broadcast live on ABC from L.A.'s Microsoft Theater beginning at 8 p.m. EST. In addition to Swift, among the many performers will be Post Malone featuring Travis Scott and Ozzy Osbourne. Ozzy recently collaborated with Malone on Malone's single "Take What You Want." - Billboard, 11/21/19...... Neil YoungNeil Young has declared that Facebook "is toast" on his Neil Young Archives website and that he's "no longer interested" in linking to the popular social media platform due to its "support of right wing groups." In the NYA posting entitled "Facebook is toast at NYA", Young wrote: "Facebook is facing criticism for sponsoring the annual gala of the Federalist Society, the powerful right wing organisation behind the nomination of the conservative supreme court justice Brett Kavanaugh. This turn of events, in addition to the false information regularly supplied to the public on Facebook, with its knowledge, has caused us to re-evaluate and change our use policy. I don't feel that a social site should be making obvious commitments to one side of politics or the other. It further confuses readers regarding truthfulness in coverage and message. NYA, is no longer interested in further links with FACEBOOK and will be discontinuing use. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause to you." Young's move comes just a month after he threatened to pull all Facebook posts from his archive site, when he wrote: "It's a problem we face together. FB gives you more than you want and it's not all good. A lot of it is very bad misinformation about political campaigns and ads that are outright falsehoods... If we continue to be on Facebook, we are conflicted about who we are. With that in mind, don't be surprised if we drop all references and contacts with the platform." - New Musical Express, 11/21/19...... As the annual Record Store Day approaches on Black Friday (Nov. 29), Paul McCartney has shared two new songs on YouTube that he'll release on that day as a double A-side, 7-inch picture disc single. "Home Tonight" and "In a Hurry" are upbeat and fun, featuring the former Beatle's characteristically melodic vocals, and were recorded during Paul's sessions for his 2018 album, Egypt Station. The limited edition single will feature album artwork based on the old-time parlour game "Exquisite Corpse." - Billboard, 11/22/19...... Speaking of the Beatles, the late George Harrison is given credit by Elton John for helping him during his long battle with drug addiction in an interview Elton recently gave with DJ Chris Evans on the UK's Virgin Radio Breakfast Show. When asked by Evans what the "best piece of advice" was that Harrison gave him, John replied "stop putting that marching powder up your nose." "Twenty-nine-years it's been. The nose is still here!," the 72-year-old Elton added. In another recent interview, Elton also revealed how he had to learn to walk again after contracting a serious infection following surgery for prostate cancer. Speaking to Graham Norton for new BBC programme Elton John: Uncensored, he revealed: "I had to learn to walk again. I was extremely sick. All I could think about when I was lying in my hospital bed was 'please don't let me die, I want to see my children', and luckily I survived it." The music icon then compared himself to the Bionic Woman. "Now I'm fine but there's very few bits of me left. There's no hair, there's a pacemaker, there's no tonsils, there's no prostate, there's no appendix, I've had kidney stones. I'm like the Bionic Woman." - New Musical Express, 11/22/19...... Michael JacksonIt has been revealed that a movie about the life and career of Michael Jackson is in the works from Graham King, the producer of the smash Queen and Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. King and his GK Films will work on the project with the Jackson estate, which has granted him the rights to the late singer's music. Bohemian Rhapsody earned over $900 million at the global box office and six Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture. GK Films is also developing a new Bee Gees movie for Paramount. In other MJ news, the lead role for an upcoming Michael Jackson Broadway musical set to open in the summer of 2020 was revealed on Nov. 21 by its producer, Lia Vollack, and the Jackson estate. Tony nominee Ephraim Sykes, currently on Broadway in "Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations" portraying Motown recording artist David Ruffin, will take on the role of the late King of Pop. The production -- previously titled "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," after Jackson's 1979 single -- will begin preview performances July 6 with an official opening set for Aug. 13 at New York's Neil Simon Theatre. Sykes' other Broadway credits include "Hamilton: An American Musical," "Memphis," "Newsies," "Motown the Musical" and "The Little Mermaid." - The Hollywood Reporter, 11/22/19...... In other Broadway news, Tina Turner made a surprise appearance on the opening night of the "Tina: The Tina Turner Musical," which debuted at Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Nov. 7. Turner suprised the audience by joining the cast onstage with other members of the musical's team after the show and gave an emotional speech, noting that "This musical is my life but it's like poison that turned to medicine. I can never be as happy as I am now." "Tina" follows the Grammy-winning singer, played by Adrienne Warren, as she moved from Tennessee to St. Louis, detailing her abusive relationship with ex-husband Ike Turner, but ultimately launching her 50-year global career as the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll. Other celebrities in attendance on opening night included Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Martha Stewart and Spike Lee. - Billboard, 11/8/19...... Ozzy Osbourne released his new single, the thrashing new track "Straight to Hell," on Nov. 22 and has shared it on YouTube. Kicking it off with his signature "Alright now!" phrase, the veteran shock rocker chants, "You're flying higher than a kite tonight / You took the hit and now you feel alright. You're deadbeat's dead so we must celebrate / I'll make you scream, I'll make you defecate." Then none other than Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash shows up to deliver some devlish riffs. "Straight to Hell" follows Ozzy's previous single, "Under the Graveyard," which was his first new single in almost a decade. Osbourne is gearing up to release his forthcoming album Ordinary Man in early 2020, which will coincide with his "No More Tours 2" tour featuring special guest Marilyn Manson. - Billboard, 11/22/19...... The WhoThe Who became the first act to be honored on London's new Music Walk of Fame on Camden High Street on Nov. 19 in what organizers hope will become a must-see Hollywood Boulevard-style tourist attraction for visitors to the city. Founding Who members Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey were on hand at the inaugural presentation and spoke of their pride at being immortalized on the permanent walk, located in the north London borough of Camden. "This will be great for Camden. It'll be great for London," Townshend said. "It'll be great for the neighbourhood and it will be great for our business, one of the biggest exports that we have in the U.K. We've all contributed. We're all still contributing and we will go on contributing," he added. Townshend went on to say, joking that he would have preferred the commemorative paving slab to be on Goldhawk Road in West London, where The Who started their career, "but those f---ers have got no money." Roger Daltrey spoke of Camden's rich musical heritage and said the area remains "a great place to come for the best of the music that's out there at the moment." "May it long reign and may this avenue of stars grow and grow because we have got the best music industry in the world," Daltrey told the audience, made up of invited guests, media and hundreds of curious bystanders lining the opposite side of the street. London's Music Walk Of Fame is the brainchild of music promoter Lee Bennett, who first came up with the idea when he was living in California and noticed the U.K. had no equivalent to Hollywood's world famous tourist attraction. Bennett says he plans to lay around 20 special paving stones recognizing iconic music artists and ground-breaking innovators each year. Future inductees will be selected by an international panel of artists, executives and journalists. The next act to be honored will be Camden band Madness in early 2020. - Billboard, 11/19/19...... In other Who news, the band has just shared the third single, "I Don't Wanna Get Wise," from their upcoming album WHO. The upbeat new song extolls the virtues of not wanting to "get wise" because life will work itself out. It will be featured on the band's twelfth studio album, which hits stores on Dec. 6. The band has also shared information about four bonus tracks that will be found on the deluxe edition of WHO. "This Gun Will Misfire" and "Danny & His Ponies" were written and recorded specifically for WHO, while "Got Nothing to Prove" and "Sand" are demos from the mid-'60s that the group finally completed. Townshend says the latter two songs "would not have been rejected by the bandmembers but rather by my then-creative mentor, Who manager Kit Lambert." - New Musical Express, 11/22/19...... Lynyrd Skynyrd will be among the headliners at the Epicenter 2020 Music Festival, set for Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. from May 1-3. Other headliners include Metallica, David Lee Roth, Staind, Papa Roach, Anthrax and Dropkick Murphys. Camping at Epicenter will begin on Apr. 30 with campgrounds open until May 4. VIP, 3-day passes and more are available now. - Billboard, 11/19/19...... The Doobie BrothersThe Doobie Brothers have announced they'll reunite for a special North American tour in 2020 to celebrate 50 years since the band's formation. Kicking off on June 9 at the Coral Sky Ampitheatre in West Palm Beach, Fla., the 30-date run will mark the first time four of its members -- Tom Johnston, Pat Simmons, John McFee and Michael McDonald -- will tour together in nearly a quarter century. Other cities on the tour include Nashville (6/17), Toronto (7/19), Denver (8/30), Seattle (9/5) and Los Angeles (9/18), before it wraps on Oct. 10 at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in Houston, Tex. Pat Simmons recently teased a 50th anniversary Doobies tour during a set on Nov. 18 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn., part of a short outing that includes performances of its albums Toulouse Street and The Captain and Me. After hitting "Takin' It To the Streets," Simmons told the audience, "that's really good, maybe we should go on the road." In a press release announcing the tour, Tom Johnston said, "We're truly excited about our 50th Anniversary Tour as it's a celebration of the band's entire history. We'll be performing songs from our full catalog, as well as new music." - Billboard, 11/19/19...... A coin commemorating what would have been the 70th birthday Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott has been announced by the Central Bank in Lynott's native Ireland. Bank president Michael Higgins will unveil the special coin, of which 3,000 will be minted at a face falue of 15, on Nov. 26 at St Kevin's College, Crumlin, Dublin, which is Lynott's former school. Lynott, who played bass and sang lead vocals in the celebrated Dublin band from 1969 until his death in 1986, died at the age of 36 after contracting pneumonia and suffering organ failure. Other tributes to Lynott over the years include a statue erected in Dublin city centre, just off Grafton Street, in 2005 which was organized by his mother, Philomena. Thin Lizzy are among the nominees for the class of 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. - New Musical Express, 11/20/19...... Three members of KISS -- Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer -- performed for eight lucky fans during a boat cruise off the coast of southern Australia on Nov. 18. KISS had also planned to perform for great white sharks during the cruise, with the fans in another boat separated from them by a small submarine, but unfortunately the sharks never showed up. As part of a promotion by Airbnb, the concert was planned to entice sharks using the low-frequency sounds of rock and roll, and the fans on glass-bottomed boats would be able to get a close look. "I would say it's one of the most unusual, eclectic things we ever did, that's for sure," Singer told an Australian TV station. The station's segment of the event can be viewed on YouTube. - Billboard, 11/20/19...... Michael J. PollardActor Michael J. Pollard, who became a familiar face to movie audiences in 1967 with his supporting role as C. W. Moss in the acclaimed Arthur Penn-directed movie Bonnie and Clyde, passed away on Nov. 22 of as yet undisclosed causes. He was 80. Rob Zombie, who directed the 2003 horror movie House of 1000 Corpses which featured Pollard in the role of Stucky, broke the news on his Facebook page with a touching message for the late actor. "We have lost another member of our House Of 1000 Corpses family. I woke up to the news that Michael J. Pollard had died. I have always loved his work and his truly unique on screen presence. He was one of the first actors I knew I had to work with as soon as I got my first film off the ground. He will be missed." Born in New Jersey in 1939, Mr. Pollard attended Montclair Academy and Actors Studio in New York. By the late '50s, he had appeared in such television programs as Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Andy Griffith Show. On The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, he took over for future Gilligan's Island star Bob Denver, with Jerome Krebs replacing Denver's iconic Maynard G. Krebs for a short period of time. This started what would become a decades-long career as a character actor performing in dozens of roles. In 1966, he took on one of his most memorable roles on an episode of the original Star Trek series as Jahn, the teenage-leader of an all-child planet. But Mr. Pollard is perhaps best known for his supporting role as C. W. Moss in 1967's Bonnie and Clyde, which starred him alongside Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman and Estelle Parsons. For his performance, Mr. Pollard scored Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor, and was won a BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles. The movie's success also led to Mr. Pollard staging a mock presidential campaign where he created the joke campaign song "Michael J. Pollard for President." Following Bonnie and Clyde, the character actor would continue to appear in dozens of movie and TV roles over the years, including Scrooged, Melvin and Howard, Dick Tracy and the Superboy TV series. For horror fans, he is also very fondly remembered for his part as Stucky in House of 1000 Corpses, which serves as one of his final acting roles. - MovieWeb.com, 11/22/19.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Bruce Springsteen played a two-hour benefit show in his hometown of Asbury Park, N.J. on the evening of Nov. 16 for a fundraiser for Boston College, where his son Evan once attended. The 500-capacity Stone Pony club saw the rock icon, backed by his E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg and former Asbury Jukes guitarist Bobby Bandiera and his band, perform a 22-song set that mixed in classics such as "Born to Run," "Dancing in the Dark" and "Spirit in the Night" with covers including "Twist and Shout." An encore set featured a medley of Detroit songs and a final acoustic take on "Thunder Road." Springsteen previously played a benefit for the private Jesuit University in Chestnut Hill, Mass., at the Stone Pony in 2011. Footage from the event of Springsteen playing "10th Avenue Freezout" with the full band was shared on YouTube. - Billboard, 11/18/19...... Paul McCartneyIn a new interview with Billboard, Paul McCartney revealed he and his wife Nancy Shevell snook into a cinema near their home in the Hamptons over the summer for a screening of the recent Beatles-themed movie Yesterday. Sir Paul said he politely declined an offer to see the film at an official screening, but decided to see the movie after he heard Danny Boyle would direct it. "I thought, 'They must think they can pull it off.' And I thought nothing more of it until they asked if I wanted to see a screening," Paul said. "I asked Nancy, and we said, 'Let's go, you and me, on a date to the cinema'. We were in the Hamptons in the summer and there it was, so we got two tickets and walked in when the cinema went dark. Only a couple of people saw us. We were in the back row, giggling away, especially at all the mentions of Paul McCartney. A couple of people in front of us spotted us, but everyone else was watching the film. We loved it.'" Yesterday stars Himesh Patel as singer/songwriter Jack Malik, who lives in a world where nobody knows that the iconic Liverpool band ever existed. McCartney also gave an update on his forthcoming musical adaptation of the movie It's a Wonderful Life, which is due out in 2020. "The reason I never wanted to do a musical is I couldn't think of a strong enough story," he said. "But a guy I've known since school in Liverpool became a theatrical impresario in London [Bill Kenwright], and he rang me up and said, 'I've got the musical rights to It's a Wonderful Life. That's a strong story. So I met with the writer, Lee Hall, and I asked him to write the first 20 minutes of how he sees this as a play. So I was on holiday in the Hamptons, and I had lots of free time. So I read it and thought, 'That's a good opening, I like this', and I sat at the piano and threw this melody at these dummy lyrics he had written. This was August. I sent it to them, and they said, 'You've nailed it'. So it's going well." Macca was interviewed by Billboard after the magazine named the Beatles as topping their list of the "Top 125 Artists of All Time" on the occasion of its 125th anniversary. The Rolling Stones claimed the No. 2 spot on the list, with Elton John named the No. 3 act and top solo artist. - Billboard, 11/14/19...... In other McCartney news, Glastonbury UK festival organizer Emily Eavis has announced that the Beatles icon will headline the legendary festival in 2020 just hours after Paul shared an image of American composer Philip Glass, actress Emma Stone and rock legend Chuck Berry. When the surnames of all three are combined, the not-so-subtle clue of "Glass-Stone-Bury" is provided. Eavis wrote on Twitter: "IT'S REAL!! So excited.. Having Paul McCartney coming back to headline the Pyramid next year is an absolute dream come true. There really was no one that we wanted more for the 50th anniversary." McCartney also confirmed the news, posting: "Hey Glasto - excited to be part of your Anniversary celebrations. See ya next summer!" The announcement ends months of speculation surrounding a headline slot for Macca at Glastonbury's fiftieth anniversary in 2020. Paul last headlined the festival in 2004, alongside Muse and Oasis. Meanwhile McCartney, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour and Jeff Lynne are among some of the names who have signed a guitar to help raise money for former Fairport Convention guitarist Jerry Donahue, who suffered a severe stroke in 2016 and has been disabled since. The guitar -- a signature Jerry Donahue Fender Telecaster -- is expected to sell for in the region of between £10,000 and £20,000. Other big names who have signed the guitar include The Who's Pete Townshend, Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi, Dire Straits's Mark Knopfler and The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson. - New Musical Express, 11/18/19...... German artist TrippieSteff has reimagined the cover of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album with 21st century celebrities as part of a remake of several classic album covers, including Blondie's Parallel Lines and Nirvana's Nevermind, by a team of graphic designers and artists. TrippieSteff's new Sgt. Pepper's artwork features Taylor Swift, Kanye West, Drake and Lil Nas X in place of the original Fab Four at the center, and the artwork also depicts a range of other contemporary figures including Elon Musk, Kylie Jenner, Bernie Sanders and BoJack Horseman. "The original cover was a blend of high and low cultural figures that depicted the zeitgeist mindset of the late 60s," TrippieSteff explained. "It was also a group of influential figures that were 'heroes' to the Beatles. With a desire to keep the same theme, I chose to feature the most iconic and influential figures of the past decade. These are people that have been controversial figures in music, politics, television, human rights and more. By putting them together in the same image, I wanted to show that they are all equally important." - NME, 11/15/19...... Randy NewmanRandy Newman has been nominated in both the Best Original Song and Best Score categories at the upcoming Oscars for his contribution to the Toy Story 4 soundtrack. Newman, 75, has two eligible titles in the song category: "The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy" and "I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away." Newman, a 20-time Oscar nominee and two-time winner, is the only songwriter in Academy Awards history to receive a nomination for Best Original Song for three films from the same franchise. His tunes have been nominated for each of the first three Toy Story films -- "You've Got a Friend in Me" (1995), "When She Loved Me" (1999) and 2010 winner "We Belong Together," and he could extend his streak come Jan. 13, 2020, with the two new titles. While Newman is the only songwriter to receive a nod for best original song for three films in the same franchise, legendary composer John Williams has equaled or surpassed this feat in the Best Original Score category with two franchises: He was nominated for best original score for five Star Wars films (he won for scoring the 1977 original) and three Indiana Jones movies. He may land his sixth Star Wars nom for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, out Dec. 20. - Billboard, 11/15/19...... Wade Robson and James Safechuck, the two men who accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them as children, could bring their lawsuits to trial thanks to an update in California's child sexual abuse law. The pair, whose accusations were featured in the documentary Leaving Neverland as well as in a 2013 lawsuit that was dismissed four years later, could find themselves back in court as the new law comes into force. Both men had appealed the 2017 decision to discharge their cases, which was due to a statute of limitations, but these appeals have since been on hold in the appellate court. But the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases has since been extended in Californian law, and the California Court of Appeal has issued a tentative ruling that could overturn the 2017 dismissals. Should a trial be granted, Robson and Safechuck would be able to sue the Jackson estate for millions of dollars like they attempted to do so six years ago. The estate, his family, and Jackson himself before he died in 2009 have denied all accusations of sexual misconduct levelled against him. In other MJ news, the famous episode of The Simpsons featuring Michael Jackson has been excluded from the show's catalog available on the newly launched Disney+ streaming service. In the wake of the increased controversy surrounding the allegations made in Leaving Neverland, it was announced earlier in 2019 that the 1991 episode would be pulled from broadcast rotation, with Simpson showrunner Al Jean recently going as far to say that the late singer used his cameo "to groom young boys." The episode, titled "Stark Raving Dad," featured Jackson as the voice of Leon Kompowsky, a psychiatric hospital patient who ends up sharing a room with Homer Simpson. The white, overweight Kompowsky tries to convince Homer that he is the late King of Pop, and is even seen singing "Billie Jean" and showing off his legendary moonwalk dance moves. The episode ends with Kompowsky helping Bart compose a song as a birthday present to Lisa, before admitting that he knows he isn't really Michael Jackson. - New Musical Express, 11/18/19...... In a new interview with People, Ozzy Osbourne's daughter Kelly Osbourne revealed the Osbourne family are the "closest" they've ever been to reviving their hit MTV reality series, The Osbournes. "I'm not joking, every single year about every three months or so someone else gives us another offer and we keep saying no," Kelly said. "It keeps coming 'round. Right now there's another offer on the table and I think this is the closest we've ever come to accepting one. But whether that will happen or not, I don't know." The 35-year-old singer/actress/fashion designer added that it would be more difficult to shoot a new series of the show now that the Osbourne clan has expanded. "We've got other people to think about. My brother [Jack Osbourne] has three kids. Do we want that life for them without them being old enough to choose if they want to do it or not like my brother and I were?" Meanwhile, father Ozzy has just announced that he's going on a joint tour with Marilyn Manson after Ozzy previously postponed world tour dates after a long spate of illness. Osbourne's "No More Tours 2" trek will begin with Manson on May 27 in Atlanta and conclude July 31 in Las Vegas. October and November will then see the Black Sabbath legend embark of rescheduled UK and European dates with Judas Priest. Ozzy also recently announced his first solo album in 10 years, Ordinary Man, with the launch single "Under The Graveyeard." It is expected to drop in January. - NME, 11/15/19...... KISS added some dates to their 2020 schedule, which kicks off with a Feb. 1 show at the SNHU Arena in Manchester, N.H., and sees the shock rockers on the road for 44 dates through an Oct. 2 show at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Tex. The band says their "End Of the Road Tour" will end on July 21, 2021, at an as-yet-unannounced venue in their home turf of New York after a half century of giving their best to the KISS Army. The news of the new dates came just hours after the band canceled a planned Australia/New Zealand tour after singer Paul Stanley fell ill with the flu and was advised by a doctor to rest. The opening date was recently pushed back due to Stanley's illness, and now the singer says he's suffered an additional infection in his throat. "Words cannot begin to convey our massive disappointment in having to cancel our 'End Of The Road' tour of your incredible country," Stanley said in a message to the band's Australia/NZ fans. "Our connection to you is unparalleled and decades deep." - Billboard, 11/14/19...... To mark the 40th anniversary of its seminal 1979 album London Calling, The Clash has opened a new exhibition at the Museum of London which should prove to be a near-essential pilgrimage for fans of the punk icons across the globe. Upon entering, fans will immediately notice Paul Simonon's broken bass guitar, after he famously smashed the instrument on stage at The Palladium in New York City. The moment went on to become immortalized on the cover of London Calling. Other items on display include Joe Strummer's note book with early lyrics to London Calling and Topper Headon's drum sticks -- the only item of Headon's that remains from this time. The exhibition will run through Apr. 19, 2020. - NME, 11/15/19...... Buddy MilesA previously unseen interview with the late drummer Buddy Miles, a member of Jimi Hendrix's band Band of Gypsys, has just been shared online and sees Miles discussing how he worked with Hendrix to create the now legendary song "Machine Gun." In the new clip posted to YouTube and filmed prior to Miles' death in 2008, he discusses how the three became the Band of Gypsys. "The Band of Gypsys was a strong statement from three brothers, because we all had intimacy and love," Miles explains in the clip. "We also had a feel for what we thought was right and what we enjoyed playing." As for 'Machine Gun' itself, he describes how the classic track was inspired by Hendrix's love of Delta Blues. "It was taken from a style called Delta Blues. He had a deep fascination with Muddy Waters too, but that track was most definitely from the Deep South." On Nov. 22, a new Band of Gypsys box set entitled Songs For Groovy Children: The Fillmore East Concerts will drop. It captures all four historic concerts by Hendrix and the band at New York's Fillmore East. - NME, 11/15/19...... The Monkees members Michael Nesmith and Mickey Dolenz announced on Nov. 13 they'll be hitting the road in 2020 for an "Evening With the Monkees" tour. Nesmith and Dolenz, the only surviving members of the beloved 1960s quartet, will also release their first live album as a duo, The Monkees - The Mike and Mickey Show Live, on Apr. 3. Their tour is set to launch on the new album's release day with a performance at Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver. The 14-date trek will run through Seattle, Sacramento, Phoenix, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and more. Dates will close out on Apr. 26 at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville. The duo, who previously toured in 2018, will perform material from throughout their more than 50 years in the Monkees and beyond with hits from the band's 1966 self-titled debut to 2016's Good Times. That album was recorded with the three surviving members at the time: Nesmith, Dolenz and Peter Tork. Tork passed away in February this year, while original member and singer Davy Jones passed away in 2012. - Billboard, 11/13/19...... The blue velvet gown worn by the late Princess Diana when she famously enjoyed a dance with Saturday Night Fever icon John Travolta at a White House dinner in 1985 is expected to fetch $452,000 when in goes under the hammer soon at auction. The late British royal donned the stunning Victor Edelstein dress during a state dinner hosted by then-U.S. Pres. Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan in Washington, D.C., and hit the dancefloor with fellow guest Travolta. The off-the-shoulder designer outfit had initially been offloaded at a charity auction in New York in June, 1997, just two months before Diana's death in Paris, France, and it was sold to the highest bidder again in 2013 as part of a collection of the princess' gowns. "This is arguably her most iconic gown, the photos of her being twirled around the dance floor by a handsome John Travolta at the White House caused a sensation at the time, and are still memorable today," said a rep for Kerry Taylor's Auctions. The auction is set to take place in December. - WENN/Canoe.com, 11/18/19...... Terry O'NeillTerry O'Neill, an iconic British photographer known for capturing the 1960s culture through his work with such famous music and film celebrities as the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Elton John and Frank Sinatra, died at his home on Nov. 16 after battling prostate cancer. He was 81. Recognized as one of the world's most collected photographers, Mr. O'Neill began his career at the birth of the 1960s, as he chronicled the emerging faces of film, fashion and music that would go on to define the Swinging Sixties era. He famously captured images of figures such as Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, Elvis Presley and Audrey Hepburn and was also one of the first photographers to work with then new 007 franchise starring Sean Connery as James Bond. He also photographed the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, as well as photographed backstage reportage with David Bowie, Elton John, Eric Clapton and Chuck Berry. Elton John paid tribute to Mr. O'Neill on Twitter, where he praised the late photographer. "Terry O'Neill took the most iconic photographs of me throughout the years, completely capturing my moods," Elton wrote. "He was brilliant, funny and I absolutely loved his company. A real character who has now passed on. RIP you wonderful man. Love, Elton," the singer posted alongside a photo Mr. O'Neill took of him. Mr. O'Neill was awarded the Royal Photographic Society Centenary Medal in 2011 in recognition of his significant contribution to the art of photography and an Honorary Fellowship of the Society. Earlier this year, he was also awarded a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for services to Photography in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours list. - The Hollywood Reporter, 11/17/19.

Wednesday, November 11, 2019

Elton John announced the final 2020 North American dates for his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour on Nov. 13. John will kick off North American dates of the second year of his three-year tour worldwide tour with a two-night stand at Toronto's Scotiabank Arena on Mar. 28 and 29. Other dates include Montreal (4/2, 3), Miami (5/30), St. Paul (6/15, 16), Chicago (6/19, 20), New Orleans (6/24) and Houston (6/30, 7/1) before wrapping at Kansas City's Sprint Center on July 8. The 24 new dates join previously announced dates that include double headers at Madison Square Garden in New York, Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, Little Caesars Arena in Detroit and American Airlines Center in Dallas. Elton launched his goodbye tour in September of 2018 and has sold out every show so far. The three-year trek is expected to close out in 2021. - Billboard, 11/13/19...... The new Jeff Lynne's ELO album From Out of Nowhere has become the first U.K. chart-topping studio set from the recording act masterminded by Lynne (formerly billed as the Electric Light Orchestra and then ELO) since Time in 1981. ELO previously hit No. 1 with Discovery in 1979 and subsequently with the All Over The World - The Very Best Of compilation, as new audiences were being drawn to their music in 2016. - Billboard, 11/8/19...... Edgar WinterJohnny WinterEdgar Winter has announced he's prepping a star-studded tribute album to his late rocker older brother Johnny Winter that he hopes to release sometime in 2020. "It's really turned out to be a wonderful blessing in my life, doing this," says Edgar, who received early encouragement and support from Johnny including having Edgar as part of his band when it played the legendary 1969 Woodstock festival. "Johnny's my all-time musical hero. If it weren't for him I wouldn't be where I am now. I just feel like I need to acknowledge that and put out a record he would love." Edgar says the 16-song set will include a mix of Johnny Winter originals as well as some of his signature covers, such as Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode," the Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash," Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited" and Rick Derringer's "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo," which Johnny Winter recorded first, in 1970. Contributors to the project include Joe Walsh, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, Buddy Guy, Joe Bonamassa, Robben Ford and Kenny Wayne Shepherd, with more guests to be announced soon. Meanwhile, Edgar is among the contributors of Ringo Starr's new album What's My Name, and describes the former Beatles drummer as "such a unique, just joyful gentleman." "And beyond that he's such a heartfelt advocate and spokesman for peace and love, and being an old hippie and having played Woodstock, I just love that idea of spreading that light and that message," Winter notes. "I think the Beatles did that, and Ringo carries it on in admirable fashion." - Billboard, 11/13/19...... The Bellamy Brothers have shared a clip of the title track of their latest album Over the Moon on YouTube, with brothers David and Howard Bellamy singing the sweet ballad of new love set to the backdrop of a star-filled sky. The "Let Your Love Flow" hitmakers will be once again joining country star Blake Shelton on his 2020 "Friends and Heroes" tour, which kicks off Feb. 13 in Portland. - Billboard, 11/13/19...... During a visit to Fargo, N.D. on Nov. 9 for a performance at the Fargo Theatre, Kris Kristofferson surprised customers when he performed with an acoustic guitar at a local downtown bar and asked to sing with the band 32 Below. According to radio station KFGO-AM, members of the band had taped a note to Kristofferson's tour bus door. The note said the band was "huge fans" and "would be absolutely stoked" if the famous country star came to the bar and allowed them to buy him "a beer or five." Kristofferson decided to show up at Dempsey's Public House bar and perform a rendition of his classic "Me and Bobby McGee" with the band. 32 Below later said on Facebook: "We played a legendary song with the legend who wrote it!" - AP, 11/13/19...... Some British fans of the Clash have taken to Twitter to air their dismay over UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's recent declaration that the Clash and the Rolling Stones are his two favourite bands. "(My favourite band is) either the Clash or the Rolling Stones, and mainly I listen to the Rolling Stones nowadays, so you can make of that what you will," he said. Johnson made the remarks in new general election campaign video in which he's seen walking around the Conservative Party headquarters answering questions. "Don't pretend to like the Clash, you lying Tory," one Clash fan posted to Twitter on Nov. 13, while another wrote, "I can assure you there is no chance that you are the Clash's favourite PM. You represent EVERYTHING the Clash stand against." The surviving members of the Clash are yet comment on Johnson's remarks. - New Musical Express, 11/13/19...... In celebration of Motown Records' 60th anniversary, the Ryan Gordy Foundation honored Motown founder Berry Gordy and Motown legend Smokey Robinson during a gala in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Nov. 11. Berry Gordy was presented a Power of Love Award statuette by Michael Jackson's two eldest children, Paris and Prince. "We honor you and your lifetime of incredible achievements across music and entertainment," noted Prince, with Paris adding, "This is a man that we love so dearly and appreciate with all of our hearts." Smokey Robinson next took the stage to pay tribute to Gordy. He said, "You've been my mentor, my motivator, my encourager, my confidant, my go-to and -- back in the days when we lived in the hood -- we were each other's 'N'-word, a high and prestigious position. But the sum total of all these and other my's is that you are my best friend. I love you." "I accept this award in appreciation for the precious years I spent with my dear grandson Ryan Gordy. He inspired me with thoughts beyond his years and his love for life. He was a fighter who never gave up. For all those sharing in the power of love tonight, I thank you," said Gordy, who turns 90 on Nov. 28. Hosted by comedian Chris Tucker and helmed by chairperson Frances Robinson, the dinner and awards event raised $250,000 toward the building of a center for the RGF. Launched in 2017, RGF is named after Gordy's grandson Ryan, who died of leukemia at the age of 29 in 2016. Smokey Robinson accepted his own award, RGF's Legendary R&B Pioneer and Humanitarian Award, from Lionel Richie, who called Robinson "my hero." "What you feel about Berry, Smokey, I feel about you. I love you man, and thank you for being exactly who you are in my life," Richie added. - Billboard, 11/12/19...... Marie Osmond told the audience on her television talk show The Talk on Nov. 11 that she's ready to perform the final week of an 11-year run with her brother Donny Osmond at the Flamingo Las Vegas, even though she was forced to cancel a Nov. 9 show after chipping her knee the previous week. Osmond, 60, was forced to back out of that show but is promising audiences she will be back for the final week of shows in the third week of November. Front-row seats for the last concert by the popular '70s performers on Nov. 16 are reportedly going for $4,000 or more, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. - AP, 11/12/19...... Rod StewartIn a new interview with the toy railroad hobby magazine Railway Modeller, Rod Stewart revealed that he has spent almost 26-years building a huge, 124-ft-long intricate model of a city influenced by both New York and Chicago. Later, after the interview was shared, Stewart rang BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine Show to refute accusations that he hadn't made the model railway himself. "I would say 90% of it I built myself," Sir Rod declared. "The only thing I wasn't very good at and still am not is the electricals, so I had someone else do that. A lot of people laugh at it being a silly hobby, but it's a wonderful hobby," he added. Stewart also told the magazine that he often worked on the model while on tour, sometimes requesting an extra room for his constructions in hotels. "We would tell them in advance and they were really accommodating, taking out the beds and providing fans to improve air circulation and ventilation," the musician said. "When I take on something creative like this, I have to give it 110%," he added. "For me it's addictive. I started, so I just had to finish. I'm lucky I had the room. If I'd have realised at the start it would have taken so long, I'd have probably said, 'No! No! Nah!'" Stewart also revealed that he works on the railway in the attic of his Los Angeles home. - New Musical Express, 11/13/19...... Documentaries about such diverse music figures as Linda Ronstadt, Miles Davis, Luciano Pavarotti, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash are among the 159 feature films that have been submitted in the Best Documentary Feature category for the 92nd Academy Awards, set for Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. At least seven of the 159 films were also entered for best music film in the upcoming 62nd annual Grammy Awards process. Those films that are vying for both Oscar and Grammy noms are: Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes; David Crosby: Remember My Name; Echo in the Canyon; Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles; Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool; Pavarotti and Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese. Other music docs that are entered in the Oscar process include The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash; Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice; Western Stars (starring Bruce Springsteen) and Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation. A shortlist of the 15 films that are advancing in the category will be revealed on Dec. 16. Nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards will be announced on Jan. 13, 2020. - Billboard, 11/12/19...... On Nov. 12 Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters was announced as a keynote speaker for the 2020 South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Tex. "Roger Waters is a true creative visionary, and we're pleased to have him participate for 2020," said Hugh Forrest, the event's chief programming officer. "SXSW continues to be a unique destination for innovation and discovery, and we're excited about the addition of the many groundbreaking pioneers, influential voices and business leaders that we've added to this year's lineup." Other keynotes include artist and former Sonic Youth basist Kim Gordon and director/producer/writer Erin Lee Carr. Previously announced featured speakers include Chic legend Nile Rodgers and comedic actor Cheech Marin. The 2020 edition of SXSW runs from Mar. 13-22 in Austin, Tex. - Billboard, 11/12/19...... Punk poetess Patti Smith will be among the headliners at the 2020 Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Tenn., set for next spring. Smith will play with her band and participate in the literary program. The three-day fest (March 26-29), which focuses on "the avant garde, unexpected and surprising," will pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of the invention of the Theremin, with Rob Schwimmer, a master of the eerie instrument leading a trio featuring pianist Uri Caine and violinist Mark Feldman in a 20th anniversary celebration of their album Theremin Noir. - Billboard, 11/12/19...... Singer/songwriter legend Joni Mitchell and jazz great Wayne Shorter were honored by the likes of Quincy Jones, Chaka Khan, Ray Parker, Jr. and Rita Wilson during a fundraiser for the Jazz Foundation on Nov. 10, 2019 in Los Angeles. Heralding Mitchell and Shorter's "transcendent art and boundless imagination" in his opening remarks, JFA executive director Joseph Petrucelli introduced Quincy Jones, who noted that "jazz means freedom." A top-notch crew of session musicians then backed the aforementioned performers in paying homage to Shorter and Mitchell. The Joni Mitchell tribute concluded with a special performance by Chaka Khan of Mitchell's "Man from Mars" and "Hissing of Summer Lawns." Noted Khan as she came onstage, "Wherever Joni goes, there I am." - Billboard, 11/11/19...... In a new interview with the UK's Yorkshire Post, the Who's Pete Townshend said that his "increasingly affectionate relationship" with singer Roger Daltrey is a major reason for the Who's impressive longevity. "I still perform partly because of my ongoing, developing and increasingly affectionate relationship with Roger," said Townshend, who formed the Who with Daltrey, John Entwistle and Keith Moon in 1964. "When you look back at where we started, I wouldn't say we despised each other but we had very little in common. Now, we have very little in common but we really care about each other deeply." Townshend continued: "We are really comfortable with each other. He says, 'You've got your guitar and your pen, I've got my voice'. We meet in the middle and it just happens to be performing." - NME, 11/13/19...... Billy Joel will participate in a special SiriusXM event at the Faena Theater in Miami Beach, Fla. on Dec. 5. "Billy Joel: An Evening of Questions and Answers" will feature the legendary musician sitting in front of a piano taking questions from SiriusXM subscribers in the audience. SiriusXM subscribers will be able to call in to the live event at (844)-365-BILLY (2455) and ask Billy Joel a question. Joel will also be sharing stories behind his music as well as performing portions of songs in between conversation. The exclusive event will broadcast live on Joel's SiriusXM channel, The Billy Joel Channel, at 8pm ET on Dec. 5. The limited-run channel that features the works of the iconic superstar including music spanning his 5 decades-long career along with exclusive stories from Joel will run through Dec. 6 at 3am ET. - Billboard, 11/11/19...... Mick FleetwoodOn Nov. 11, Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood announced an all-star tribute to the early years of Fleetwood Mac and the band's original co-founder, Peter Green, that will take place on Feb. 25 at the London Palladium. "The concert is a celebration of those early blues days where we all began, and it's important to recognize the profound impact Peter and the early Fleetwood Mac had on the world of music," Mick Fleetwood said in a statement. Among the killer lineup of musicians pitching in will be Mick's Fleetwood Mac bandmate Christine McVie, along with ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, Jonny Lang, John Mayall, Andy Fairweather Low, Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler and former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman. The show will be filmed for later broadcast, and some of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the Teenage Cancer Trust. Green, 73, and Fleetwood co-founded Fleetwood Mac in 1967 with John McVie, Danny Kirwan and Jeremy Spencer. - Billboard, 11/11/19...... KISS announced on Nov. 11 that they have pushed back the kick off of the Australian leg of their "End of the Road" tour due to singer/guitarist Paul Stanley becoming ill. "Due to a bad case of Influenza, doctors have advised Paul Stanley to rest for the next few days and not to undertake the long trip from Los Angeles to Perth," read the note from the group, which had been slated to leave the U.S. on Nov. 12 for the Perth launch of the outing on Nov. 16. "With the expectation of Australian audiences high, KISS don't want to not give 100% and so have made changes to the Australian and New Zealand dates," the note added. As a result, the gig at Perth's RAC Arena has been moved from Nov. 16 to the end of the Australian tour on Dec. 3. - Billboard, 11/11/19...... In related news, Ozzy Osbourne has rescheduled the postponed UK and European dates on his "No More Tours 2" tour after being forced to push them back following a series of illnesses and a fall at home earlier in 2019 that re-aggravated an old injury. According to a roster of dates, the tour is now slated to kick off on Oct. 23 at the Utilita Arena in Newcastle. The dates are currently scheduled to last through a Dec. 2 show at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland. Fellow British metal icons Judas Priest will open the dates. The six-week tour was originally scheduled for January. The outing includes a return to Ozzy's hometown of Birmingham for a Halloween show, as well as gigs in Sweden, Switzerland, Spain and Italy. Osbourne's upcoming solo album, Ordinary Man, is due out in January and his first solo single in nearly a decade, "Under the Graveyard," dropped earlier in November, and its video has been shared on YouTube. His upcoming box set, See You on the Other Side, hits stores on Nov. 29. - Billboard, 11/11/19...... Neil Young has penned a letter and posted it on his Neil Youg Archives website about his frustrating experience attempting to obtain citizenship in the United States ahead of the 2020 presidential election due to his marijuana use. "I want to be a dual citizen and vote," Young, who's a Canadian citizen, explained in a Nov. 8 post titled "I Have Been Very Successful in My Life." "When I recently applied for American citizenship, I passed the test. It was a conversation where I was asked many questions. I answered them truthfully and passed." "Recently however, I have been told that I must do another test, due to my use of marijuana and how some people who smoke it have exhibited a problem," he wrote in reference to a policy update issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services earlier in 2019. Young continued: "The problem is defined in an April 19, 2019 addition under Attorney General Sessions. USCIS issued a Policy Alert which includes: 'An applicant who is involved in certain marijuana related activities may lack GMC (Good Moral Character) if found to have violated federal law, even if such activity is not unlawful under applicable state of foreign laws.' I sincerely hope I have exhibited good moral character and will be able to vote my conscience on Donald J. Trump and his fellow American candidates, (as yet un-named)," he added. In October, Young told the Los Angeles Times that "If everything goes as planned, I'll be taking the oath of citizenship" soon after his Nov. 12 birthday. "I'm still a Canadian; there's nothing that can take that away from me," he noted. "But I live down here; I pay taxes down here; my beautiful family is all down here -- they're all Americans, so I want to register my opinion." - Billboard, 11/10/19...... Paul McCartney has paid tribute to revered Beatles photographer Robert Freeman, who has passed away at age 82. McCartney paid tribute to Mr. Freeman via a post on his blog on on paulmccartney.com, describing him as a "wonderful man" and "one of our favourite photographers who came up with some of our most iconic album covers... I will miss this wonderful man but will always cherish the fond memories I have of him." Mr. Freeman's work included the photos featured on the covers of classic Beatles LPs like the band's second album With The Beatles, Beatles For Sale, Help! and Rubber Soul. He also worked on the ending sequences of the first two Beatles films, A Hard Day's Night and Help!. Mr. Freeman suffered a severe stroke in 2014, and his family sold a copy of one of his John Lennon portraits to pay for his care and to help preserve his archive of photos. In addition to his work with the Beatles, Mr. Freeman took photos for a number of other artists including John Coltrane, as well as photographing political figures such as Nikita Kruschev for London's Sunday Times. - New Musical Express, 11/8/19...... In other Beatles-related news, the Fab Four's 1968 track "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" has been declared the most perfect pop song ever written by researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Germany. The scientists analysed 80,000 different chord progressions from 700 songs recorded between 1958 and 1991, using machine learning to give a score to each chord based on how "surprising" it was compared to the chord preceding it. Chord sequences from 30 of the songs were then played to 39 volunteers, stripped of lyrics and melody to make the source track unrecognisable. The volunteers were asked to rate how enjoyable they felt each chord to be. The research found that when the volunteers were relatively sure what chord was coming next, they enjoyed being surprised instead. The research also found that being unsure of how the song would progress would cause activity in a region of the brain connected with musical pleasure. "Songs that we find pleasant strike a good balance between us knowing what is going to happen next and surprising us with something we did not expect," said the institute's Vincent Cheung, a PhD student. "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" was the closest song the researchers could find to "perfection," followed by Genesis' "Invisible Touch," and BJ Thomas' "Hooked on a Feeling." Despite what science has to say, John Lennon once famously disparaged the Paul McCartney-written song, declaring it "granny music shit." - NME, 11/8/19...... David ByrneFormer Talking Heads frontman David Byrne has announced plans for an immersive new theatre production entitled "Theater of the Mind." The production is inspired by historical and recent lab research, according to Byrne. "It will be in a warehouse, where it's divided into a bunch of different rooms," Byrne told Rolling Stone. "A group of 16 audience members will go from room to room and experience these perceptual things. When they leave one room, another group goes in there. That way, you can get 400 people in from 6 pm to 10. You get the same number as if it were a theatre show, but you get more in small groups." The production is set to open in Denver in August 2020. Byrne recently took his "American Utopia" tour to Broadway. The residency will run until Jan. 20, 2020. - NME, 11/8/19...... Robert "Bob" Norris, who played the iconic "Marlboro Man" in cigarette ads for more than a decade beginning in the 1960s, has died at his Colorado ranch at 90. According to multiple sources, Mr. Norris was never a smoker. Mr. Norris landed the high-profile ad campaign for the Philip Morris cigarette brand by happenstance, after advertising executives sought him out after spotting him in a newspaper photo alongside a famous actor friend, John Wayne. Mr. Norris's son Bobby Noris said his father stepped away from playing the company mascot conceived in the '60s, just as consumers were learning how cigarettes affected their health. "He always told us kids, 'I don't ever want to see you smoking," the younger Norris said, "so one of us finally asked, 'If you don't want us smoking, why are you doing cigarette commercials? He called up Phillip Morris and quit that day." The company stopped using the Marlboro Man in its advertisements only after other men who starred in its campaign died of lung cancer, NPR reported in October 2002. Marlboro aside, Mr. Norris, whose ranch in Colorado eventually covered more than 100,000 acres, was vital to his community. Not only was he held roles in local rodeo organizations, but he was an ardent philanthropist, and a local venue is named after him. His family remembered him in a public service held on Nov. 8. - MSN.com, 11/9/19.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Billy Joel will be playing his first-ever solo stadium gig at the 40,000-capacity Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on Sept. 11, 2020. The announcement was made on Twitter by former Cincinnati Reds baseball great and Hall of Famer Johnny Bench. "I am a huge Billy Joel fan," Bench said during his announcement. "His iconic songs will play beautifully in our ballpark, giving all of Reds Country the opportunity to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer live." Joel's Cincinnati gig is just one of the many stadium dates he's booked for the rest of 2019 and into the middle of 2020, including an Oct. 12 show at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas and a March 6 gig at Foro Sol in Mexico City. He'll also perform Apr. 18 at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. and on June 20 at Notre Dame Stadium in Notre Dame, Ind. In September, MGM Television announced that it is teaming with Universal Music Publishing Group to bring the Piano Man's music to life as a scripted "arc-thology" called Scenes From an Italian Restaurant. - Billboard, 11/7/19...... Robbie RobertsonThe Band's 1969 seminal self-titled album, which will be released as a deluxe 50th anniversary edition on Nov. 15, will feature their entire 11-song performance at the legendary 1969 Woodstock festival, including a cover of The Four Tops' "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever." The Band: 50th Anniversary Edition has been newly remastered and will also include 13 previously unreleased, alternate versions of the album tracks. The Band's Robbie Robertson says says pulling out the Woodstock tapes took him right back to the classic 1969 festival. "When I listened to it, I had this flashback," Robertson says. "We played on the final night and it had just gotten dark out and it was the perfect time to play, but we kinda thought, 'I dunno if we fit in here.'" Robertson adds The Band's set "was the equivalent of going out and playing hymns," and not what the partying crowd was looking for. "Their arms weren't in the air anymore. It was like they went into a spell, a whole different feeling. So we played and left and then they went back to the party," he says. The Band's 1969 LP debut includes such Band classics as "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," "Rag Mama Rag" and "Up On Cripple Creek," and was co-produced by John Simon and recorded at a residential home in the Hollywood Hills previously owned by Sammy Davis Jr. It's unique sound was a mix of rock, folk, blues and country -- Americana, before the genre was termed. On Sept. 20, Robertson released Sinematic, his first new solo effort in eight years, with guest appearances by Van Morrison, Citizen Cope and Derek Trucks. - Billboard, 11/7/19...... Speaking of Woodstock, original 1969 festival organizer Michael Lang says that Japanese investor Dentsu turned out to be the wrong choice for his failed attempt at a 50th anniversary Woodstock festival this summer. "It really started to come apart for me a week before we signed with Dentsu," Lang said during Billboard Live Music Summit in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Nov. 5. Lang said that Dentsu had been brought on to Woodstock 50 in 2018 for media and sponsorships exclusively "[but] somewhere along the line they asked if they could do funding. We had other people who were lined up but it just seemed convenient." According to Lang, Dentsu's co-producer title gave them partial control of the festival, even though they had no experience putting on an event of that caliber. "When [Dentsu] decided that they had an opinion, it could throw a wrench into anything -- and did," said Lang. While Woodstock 50 never occurred, Lang said he spent the anniversary weekend at the original festival location and continues to get people coming up to him to thank him for the 1969 event. "Everybody who's ever come up to me, and there have been in thousands of people, say [Woodstock '69] changed my life for the better," said Lang. - Billboard, 11/5/19...... Interviewed in a "recovery" special edition of the showbiz publication Variety, Elton John revealed how he feared he wouldn't be able to perform sober after taking a year-long break to seek treatment for addiction. "After I finally surrendered and decided to seek treatment for my addiction, there came a point when I wondered if I would ever go back to work as Elton John again. When the day arrived, I was terrified, but I did manage to get through the performance. It was the only time I stepped on a stage that year, and I had to do it on my own without the band. In retrospect, I'm glad I went straight in at the deep end That show gave me confidence to know that I could still perform sober," said John, who attended extensive Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in 1990. Elton also discussed his battles with drugs and alcohol in his recent memoir Me, in which he recalls one time when he mistook Bob Dylan for his gardener while high, describing him as "scruffy." - New Musical Express, 11/6/19...... Joe WalshEagles guitarist Joe Walsh will headline his third annual VetsAid benefit concert on Nov. 10 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Tex. Walsh -- the son of a Gold Star veteran who died while on active duty when Walsh was just 20 months old -- launched VetsAid in 2016 to help fund local, grassroots veterans aid agencies. So far the charity has distributed nearly $1.2 million in grants. The 2019 VetsAid benefit will also feature the Doobie Brothers, ZZ Top, Brad Paisley, Sheryl Crow and Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit. "I aimed it at the little vet-run organizations in the Midwest and stuff that didn't have a budget," Walsh explains. "If a vet gets home and he's pretty alone and not a lot of people understand him, that's the beginning of the depression and the isolation, and that's the seed of the suicides. So it's so important to keep those organizations going, and that's what we've been able to do." Walsh says VetsAid will continue to play different cities each year rather than settle into one city. Meanwhile he's also touring with the Eagles, which kicked off a tour in October in Las Vegas, playing Hotel California in its entirety, accompanied by orchestras and choirs. "There's stuff on that album we never played," notes Walsh. We had to go back and figure 'em out, and it was a lot of work. I had to go back and really study, so playing the whole thing live really took some focus, and somehow we tamed the orchestra so it doesn't overwhelm the show -- it enhances it. When I got a chance to finally just sit back and be part of it and hear the orchestra behind us, I got emotional." - Billboard, 11/6/19...... Speaking of performing classic '70s albums in their entirety, Neil Young says he "turned down millions of dollars" to perform his chart-topping 1972 album Harvest in a new interview with AARP magazine. "I was just offered millions of dollars for a tour to do Harvest," says Young, who halted his seven-year hiatus from music to release his 13th studio album Colorado on Oct. 22. "Everyone who played on Harvest is dead. I don't want to do that. How about planting instead of harvesting? If I decide to go on the road, I'd like to do a documentary tour next year with different people that keep changing. Not right or left. Democracy is not you on this side and me on that side just to see who wins," he added. The legendary rocker also says he isn't "closing the door" on a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young reunion. "[David] Crosby could write an introspective book: 'Why People Won't Talk to Me Anymore.' He made a lot of great music for a long time. I don't know what happened with David. I got nothing to say," Young said. "I love Stephen [Stills]. I love Graham [Nash]. If a reunion happens, it would be a surprise. I won't close the door on anything. I can hold a grudge with the best of them but only if there's a reason for it." - Billboard, 11/5/19...... Dolly Parton's new series Heartstrings premieres on Netflix on Nov. 22, and sees the country legend sharing the origin stories behind eight of her seminal song. The anthology series, a trailer for which has been shared on YouTube, will take on hour-long love stories, family dramas, revenge comedies, westerns and inspirational tales to dissect eight of Parton's hits -- "These Old Bones," "If I Had Wings," "JJ Sneed," "Jolene," "Cracker Jack," "Sugar Hill," "Down From Denver" and "Two Doors Down" -- which also double as the episode titles. An all-star cast including Kathleen Turner, Delta Burke, Gerald McRaney, Ginnifer Goodwin, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Timothy Busfield, Melissa Leo and Julianne Hough will be featured in each stand-alone episode. During a premiere of the series at her Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., on Oct. 29, Parton revealed why the much anticipated sequel to her classic 1980 comedy 9 to 5 co-starring Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda has been nixed. "Well, actually I think we dropped that whole idea," Parton said. "I don't think we're going to do the sequel. We never could get the script where it was enough different than the first one, and that one turned out so good." She did add however that she, Tomlin and Fonda are open to other future collaborations. "We're thinking we might do a completely different thing together, Jane, Lily and I," Parton hinted. "We may do something different altogether, but I don't think we're going to continue with that." - Billboard, 11/5/19...... Speaking of '70s country superstars, Charlie Pride became first person to receive the Crossroads of American Music Award during a ceremony on Nov. 1 in his native Mississippi at the Grammy Museum Mississippi. The museum says the award honors "an artist who has made significant musical contributions influenced by the creativity born in the cradle of American music." Pride, a three-time Grammy winner, was born in 1938 in the Mississippi Delta town of Sledge, and he now lives in Texas. He started his recording career in the 1960s, and his hits include "Kiss an Angel Good Morning" and "It's Gonna Take a Little Bit Longer." - AP, 11/3/19...... KISSKISS reportedly announced via television screens on their KISS Kruise, which ran from Oct. 30 to Nov. 4 on the luxury cruise ship the Norwegian Pearl, that they are extending their "End Of The Road" world tour with 75 new dates for 2020, including a slate of summer shows in Europe surrounding their previously announced headlining slot at the UK's Download Festival. The new batch of tour dates begins with a North American tour leg that runs from Feb. 1, 2020 in Manchester, N.H. to March 15 in Biloxi, Miss. KISS will then perform in South America from Apr. 24 to May 19, covering El Salvador, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and more. The band then heads to Europe, kicking things off in Paris on June 9 before headlining Download Festival alongside Iron Maiden and System Of A Down. After Europe and a stop in Johannesburg, South Africa, KISS will return to the US for more tour dates until Oct. 3. During the KISS Kruise, KISS vocalist/guitarist Paul Stanley also announced that the "End Of The Road" tour will come to an end on July 17, 2021 in New York City, and that original KISS members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss have been approached about performing with the group at their final concert. Criss was replaced by drummer Eric Carr in 1980, while Frehley was replaced by Vinnie Vincent two years later. Both Frehley and Criss have returned to KISS for short periods since their departures. - NME/Canoe.com, 11/4/19...... In a new interview in the British heavy metal mag Heavy Consequence, Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford revealed that he once dreamed of forming the UK's "Big Four" metal bands with Black Sabbath, Motörhead and Iron Maiden. "My dream had always been to have like 'The Big Four of the UK', without turning this into a kind of depressing way," Halford said, but acknowledged that the death of Motörhead's Lemmy Kilmister and the retirement of Black Sabbath would make that difficult to accomplish: "Sadly, two-fourths of that has gone, but the music lives forever. That's the main thing." Halford also expressed his enthusiasm for a Judas Priest and Iron Maiden joint tour, which his bandmate Ian Hill had previously supported. "I think both bands would look to do that," Halford said. "It's all about the timing of doing such a thing. We're good friends." In October, both Motörhead and Judas Priest were announced as nominees for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame 2020. - New Musical Express, 11/6/19...... On Nov. 4, Ringo Starr announced upcoming 2020 North American tour dates for his Ringo and his All Starr Band. Starr and the band's 20-show run will kick off May 29 with back-to-back nights at Casino Rama in Rama, Ont., before hitting major U.S. cities like Pittsburgh (6/20), Philadelphia (6/21) and Atlanta (6/23, 24) and wrapping up June 28 at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Fla. The tour will also include three shows at New York City's iconic Beacon Theatre on June 2, 3 and 5, with support from the Avett Brothers on three of the tour's dates, and Edgar Winter on two dates. Ringo released his 20th solo album, What's My Name, on Oct. 25. - Billboard, 11/4/19..... The estate of Michael Jackson and MIJAC Music, Jackson's personal publishing company, announced on Nov. 4 they have acquired majority ownership of the U.S. rights to the publishing catalog of Sly and the Family Stone, will retain long-term administration rights. The Jackson estate already owns the entirety of the band's catalog outside the U.S. through MIJAC, which acquired those rights in 1983. The acquisition includes a trove of the Bay Area funk band's '60s and '70s classics, like "Family Affair," "Dance to the Music," "Everybody Is a Star," "Hot Fun in the Summertime" and "Everyday People." Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. When asked to comment, bandleader Sly Stone only commented, "Thank You Mijac (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" -- a reference to his 1969 song "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)." MIJAC Music was created by Jackson in 1980. Its first acquisition was for the publishing rights to Sly and the Family Stone's catalog in 1983. The company also includes all of the songs written by Jackson, plus hits made famous by artists like Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and Elvis Presley. The deal comes ahead of the starting date when Sly Stone (real name Sylvester Stewart) could reclaim his publishing ownership under the 1976 U.S. Copyright Act. Under that law, songs written after 1978 can be reclaimed 35 years after they were issued and songs written before 1972 can be reclaimed after 56 years. As such, Sly and the Family Stone songs from 1968 would be eligible for reversion beginning in 2024. The acquisition announcement of the Stone catalog comes at a busy time for the Jackson estate, which is currently continuing to fight HBO's controversial Finding Neverland documentary, preparing a Broadway musical about Jackson, and commemorating the 10th anniversary of Jackson's This Is It, among other projects. - Billboard, 11/4/19...... Pete TownshendIn a new interview with the UK's The Big Issue magazine, the Who's Pete Townshend said his past behaviour in which he smashed up his instruments on stage was "a waste of time" despite it helping to get people to listen to his band. "I was always pretty snobby about rock and roll," said Townshend, who added that he was "in it for the art." "Getting into auto-destruction was straight out of art college. People still say that I should never have smashed instruments," he said, before concluding: "F--- off. It is how I got you to listen to me." Elsewhere in the interview Townshend said that his generation of "the hippy era" of the '60s "misused the power" for social change. "My generation felt disenfranchised," he said. "That is a complex word for feeling like we had nothing to live for. It made us not so much angry as loose. We were loose-living. And when psychedelic drugs and more importantly the pill came along, away we went. Then we took power. But I think we misused the power to a great extent. The hippy era could have turned into something much better than it did." - NME, 11/4/19...... Olivia Newton-John's iconic Grease leather jacket and skintight pants fetched $405,700 during an auction on Nov. 2 in Beverly Hills. According to Julien's Auctions, the leather jacket sold for $243,200 and the pants, which Newton-John famously had to be sewn into, went for $162,500. Other Grease memorabilia included a Pink Ladies jacket that went for $50,000 and a poster signed by Newton-John, John Travolta, director Randal Kleiser and producer and songwriter John Farrar, which sold for $64,000. The proceeds from the jacket and pants, as well as a portion of the other items sold, will go the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre in Australia. Meanwhile, a pair of Michael Jackson's sparkly socks worn during his first ever "moonwalk" as he performed "Billie Jean" during the 1983 Motown 25th anniversary are expected to command up to $1 million (or £776,000) during an auction organised by GottaHaveRockandRoll.com which begins on Nov. 13. In Chippenham, U.K., a rare copy of the Sex Pistols' single "God Save the Queen" fetched £13K. One of the rarest and most sought after records in the world, it was expected to fetch between £12,000-£15,000. - AP/NME, 11/4/19.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

In a new interview with the British paper The Guardian as she promotes her just published book Touched by the Sun: My Friendship with Jackie, Carly Simon revealed that Pres. Donald Trump "was all over me like ugly on an ape" and she found him "repulsive" during an encounter with Trump one time at an event in New York. The "You're So Vain" singer said she met Trump once at a luncheon for Benazir Bhutto, the late lady prime minister of Pakistan, when Trump was a reality TV star on The Apprentice. "When I came into the room, there was Trump and a whole bunch of New York dignitaries. Trump wasn't paying any attention to me at all. Why would he?," Simon recalled. "Benazir Bhutto summoned me and asked me to go into the bedroom with her and so I went and we sat on the bed and she held my hands and said: 'I just love your music.' We talked about different songs that were her favourites and it maybe lasted three minutes." However Simon says her bedroom chat with Bhutto caused Trump to view her in a different light. "When I went out of the bedroom, obviously I had all of a sudden become important through the eyes of Donald Trump. So he was very anxious to meet me and invited me to Mar-a-Lago [his luxury estate in Florida] and was all over me like ugly on an ape." Simon says she turned down the offer straight away "because I thought he was kind of repulsive." Simon's new book, which details her relationship with former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, hit stores on Oct. 22. - New Musical Express, 11/3/19...... The Bee GeesThe entertainment site Deadline.com reported on Oct. 31 that Paramount Pictures, a new producer and financier company named Sister, Bohemian Rhapsody producer Graham King, and Steven Spielberg's production company Amblin are teaming up to develop a biopic on the eight-time Grammy winning pop group the Bee Gees. Paramount purchased the life rights to the Gibbs family estate, which includes deceased Bee Gees members Maurice and Robin Gibb and sole surviving member Barry Gibb, with the help of King, which ensures original Bee Gees music will be featured in the biopic. A Bee Gees project would mark a return to the rock biopic world for both Paramount and King, with the studio still enjoying critical acclaim and modest financial success from its Elton John biopic Rocketman, which has the possibility of Academy Award success similar to Bohemian Rhapsody's 5 Oscar nods and 4 wins, including Best Actor for Rami Malek and Freddie Mercury. The Bee Gees film has not been written yet, and no roles have been assigned. The Gibb brothers formed their pop trio in their native Australia in 1958, rising to popularity in the late '60s to early '70s with the rise of the disco era and selling over 220 million records worldwide. The were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. - Deadline.com/Billboard/Hollywood Reporter, 10/31/19...... Michael Jackson has once again been named the highest earning dead celebrity after the late King of Pop topped the latest list for 2019 compiled by Forbes magazine. The news comes after the estate of Jackson, who died in 2009 aged 50 following an overdose of the anaesthetic propofol, earned over £46 million in the last 12 months, with his streaming numbers "surging" according to Forbes despite the controversy that followed the release of the controversial MJ documentary Leaving Neverland earlier in 2019. "With proceeds flowing from his Mijac Music catalogue, a Las Vegas show and a long-term deal with Sony, he retains his post mortem cash crown for the seventh consecutive year," Forbes reports. Coming in right behind Jackson on the list was Elvis Presley, whose estate made over £30 million in the past year. - New Musical Express, 11/1/19...... The three-year stretch when Bob Dylan laid low after his 1966 world tour which, although considered his creative peak, saw him living behind dark glasses and flying on amphetamines while in the throes of drug abuse and paranoia is captured on Dylan's latest Columbia release, Travelin' Thru, 1967 - 1969: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 15. The release, which hit stores on Nov. 1, features recordings beginning in 1967, when he headed to Nashville's Columbia Studio A and made the earthy John Wesley Harding, and in 1969, he recorded the breezy Nashville Skyline at the same studio. The 1967-69 era is often seen as a peculiar one for Dylan -- partly due to his voice, which changed from harsh and nasal to a mellow country croon in the Nashville Skyline era. The studio outtakes and live cuts on the release offer their own simple, subtle pleasures, as the pop bard played with rhythms and tempos and collaborated with country music superstar Johnny Cash, with all of their approximately 20 collaborations featured on the set. - Billboard, 11/1/19...... Jeff LynneElectric Light Orchestra mastermind Jeff Lynne says he wasn't particularly focused on making an album to follow up 2015's Alone in the Universe under his Jeff Lynne's ELO banner, but inspiration for his just released JLE album From Out of Nowhere came from, well, out of the blue. "I suddenly thought 'This is good already.' I had just started like the first five minutes," Lynne says of the album's title track. "From out of nowhere, the tune came. It was just one of those songs that comes really quick." Lynne's latest LP comes after a flurry of activity in recent years from the British studio wizard and ELO creator, who returned to the road with the re-branded Jeff Lynne's ELO in 2015 after nearly a 30-year hiatus. His new band has toured frequently since, and he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. The new album features plenty of ELO's trademark layered instrumentation -- though with perhaps fewer strings than some past efforts -- and stacked vocals across 10 largely upbeat tracks. "I try to make them positive and have a positive vibe and just get on with it and have fun," Lynne says as he prepares for an upcoming concert in England for the BBC. Lynne adds that he "loves to play all the instruments and handle all the vocals" by himself. "My favorite thing is when I'm overdubbing instruments onto a track and I love to play them. So that's why I choose to do them," he says. "I could easily get anybody to play them, probably, but I come up with the ideas and I like to play them and I've got all the gear, all the keyboards, all the guitars and the drums, the bass. As a player, it's just so much fun to do that. I'd rather do that than anything else." The genial pop maestro adds that "I just hope I can keep coming up with something different, something new. Just keep trying. I just love making music so it's what I love to do best of all. So I'll just keep at it and try and come up with the best one ever one of these days." - Billboard, 11/1/19...... In a new Rolling Stone interview conducted by Foo Fighters leader Dave Grohl, Ringo Starr opens up abou the moment he was told the tragic news of his Beatles bandmate John Lennon's 1980 death. "When John went, I was in the Bahamas. I was getting a phone call from my stepkids in L.A. saying, 'Something's happened to John'," Ringo explained. "And then they called and said, 'John's dead'. And I didn't know what to do." Revealing that he "still well[s] up that some bastard shot him," Starr went on to detail his actions in the immediate aftermath of John's death. "I just said, 'We've got to get a plane'. We got a plane to New York, and you don't know what you can do," he remembered. "We went to the apartment. 'Anything we can do?' And Yoko [Ono] just said, 'Well, you just play with Sean [Lennon, John's son]. Keep Sean busy'." "And that's what we did. That's what you think: 'What do you do now?'" Ringo released his 20th studio album, What's My Name, on Nov. 1 via UMe. It features a cover of Lennon's 1984 song "Grow Old With Me" alongside Paul McCartney, which Ringo describes as "a very emotional experience for me." - New Musical Express, 10/30/19...... Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood has released a trailer to YouTube for his upcoming documentary Somebody Up There Like Me, in which he discusses he struggles with addiction. "I was in the hands of destiny all my life and being the right place at the right time," the guitarist says at the beginning of the trailer, before discussing his ongoing struggles with addiction. Wood is now nine years sober. Talking about his recovery, his wife Sally Humphries adds: "Ronnie's always a happy person. I just feel that if you're talking to a sober person, you've got the real person." Somebody Up There Like Me hits theaters on Nov. 26 and features interviews with Wood, Humphries, his Rolling Stones bandmates Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and his former Faces bandmate Rod Stewart, among others. - New Musical Express, 10/30/19...... Harry NilssonIn conjunction with the Nov. 22 release of the new Harry Nilsson box set Losst and Founnd which collects the final recordings made by the late Grammy-winning pop singer, Warner Chappell Music has announced a new four-part limited podcast series detailing the "long and fascinating narrative" behind the release. Entitled Final Sessions and hosted by Billboard contributor Joe Levy, the podcast -- each season of which will delve into another of "music's most notable releases" -- will also explore Nilsson's music, his close friendship with the Beatles, his family life and how his backstory informed his songs. The first episode of Final Sessions was released on Nov. 1 on all platforms. A new episode is slated to air every Friday in November leading up to the album's release. Produced by Mark Hudson (Ringo Starr, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne), Losst and Found features nine Nilsson originals as well as covers by songwriter Jimmy Webb and Yoko Ono. It is the first album of new material from Nilsson since 1980's Flash Harry. Nilsson, who died in 1994 of a heart attack at the age of 52, released a total of 15 studio albums and racked up three top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart: "Everybody's Talkin'," "Coconut" and the No. 1 single "Without You." - Billboard, 11/1/19...... A Cornell University music professor has unearthed a previously unknown suite of songs recorded by the late Lou Reed for pop artist Andy Warhol, who was a collaborator of Reed's former band Velvet Underground and the band's onetime manager. Prof. Judith Peraino says she came across a cassette tape of the songs in 2017 while doing research at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. On Oct. 30, Peraino published "I'll Be Your Mixtape: Lou Reed, Andy Warhol, and the Queer Intimacies of Cassettes" in The Journal of Musicology. One side of the cassette contains live recordings that Reed had put together from his 1975 tour. The other was labelled "Philosophy Songs (From A to B & Back)" and contained 12 songs and a fragment of a 13th, all featuring Reed singing alone with his guitar. For the lyrics, Reed drew on the book Warhol had published that year, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B & Back Again). "This tape is Lou Reed working out what he does best," Peraino told the New York Times, "which is figuring out the character of his song, telling the stories, being as brutally honest as he is in many of his writings." Reed's widow Laurie Anderson told the paper she had not known about the songs' existence, though Reed had talked about "some things that he had made for Andy." It's an open question whether the tape will remain property of the Warhol Museum, or if it will be claimed by Reed's estate or his former record label. It's also unclear if the songs will eventually be made publicly accessible. The cassette is still at the Warhol Museum, and access is restricted to professional scholars. Reed died on Oct. 27, 2012, from liver disease. An updated volume of his lyrics, I'll Be Your Mirror, will be republished on Nov. 7 after several years out of print. - New Musical Express/New York Times, 10/31/19...... Elton John's "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour, which played 14 concerts during the month of September, earned $28.9 million from 216,004 tickets according to figures reported to Billboard Boxscore, which gives the English pop star the top spot on the publication's Top Tours chart. $28.9 million is the highest one-month total so far for Elton's tour, surpassing the $28.5 million he earned in October 2018. John has been a consistent presence on the Top Tours chart, netting his fifth month in the Top 10 and sixth on the chart. Elton's 14-show sprint in September brought him up along the west coast through Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, and San Francisco before five Canadian dates in Vancouver and Edmonton. - Billboard, 10/31/19...... As the third installment of the female-charged big screen reboot of the hit '70s TV detective series Charlie's Angels hits theaters in the US on Nov. 15, an 11-track soundtrack album hits stores on Nov. 8 that was executive-produced by Ariana Grande, who features on five of its songs. Grande's contemporaries Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey also appear on the soundtrack of the new movie, which stars Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska and Elizabeth Banks, who directed and wrote the screenplay. The new movie follows the Angels from across the globe as they work to protect society after a systems engineer blows the whistle on a dangerous technology. - Billboard, 11/1/19...... A rare vinyl copy of the Sex Pistols 1977 single "God Save the Queen" is expected to fetch thousands of pounds when it goes under the hammer in the U.K. at Wessex Auction Rooms at Westbrook Farm in Chippenham. The record is described by the auctioneers as "a superb copy of one of the rarest and most sought after records in the world," as it is contained in original A&M sleeve, and within card sleeve with A&M Records sticker." Speaking to a local paper, auctioneer and vinyl expert Martin Hughes said: "I have had the privilege of selling many rare records but this is certainly the most exciting of them all. The Sex Pistols will always be the most iconic punk band, and perhaps also one of the most culturally significant. This is a chance for a collector to own a piece of music history." Meanwhile, the '70s punk icons are reportedly being considered for a big screen biopic treatment, with the U.K. firm Starlight Films working on the early stages of a Sex Pistols movie for the last 18 months. - NME, 10/29/19...... Olivia Newton-JohnThe sexy outfit worn by Olivia Newton-John in one of the final scenes of her 1978 movie Grease which as legend has it she was literally zipped into is being auctioned by the Australian pop/movie icon to help raise funds for her cancer treatment center in her native country. The outfit is just one of 500 items Newton-John is selling to help her cause, which also include her original Grease script, the gown she wore to the Grease premiere, and a custom Pink Ladies jacket. "It took quite a few months to weed through boxes and storage containers. But it was a fun venture. It just took a lot of time and sorting," Olivia told the U.K. paper The Guardian. Newton-John noted her Grease pants "have a broken zip and I had to be stitched into them because they were made in the 50s." Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer for the third time earlier in 2019. In January, she released a video that clarified that, contrary to reports, she was not on her death bed, and was in fact doing quite well. - Jezebel.com, 10/29/19...... Oscar-nominated screenwriter Bernard Slade, known for creating such TV series as The Partridge Family, The Flying Nun and Bewitched as well as the enduring romantic comedy "Same Time, Next Year" for Broadway" and its movie adaptation, died peacefully on Oct. 30 at his Beverly Hills home from complications of Lewy body dementia. He was 89. In the 1960s and 1970s, Mr. Slade also created NBC's The Girl With Something Extra which like The Flying Nun also starred Sally Field, ABC's Love on a Rooftop featuring Judy Carne and Pete Duel, and CBS' Bridget Loves Bernie starring David Birney and Meredith Baxter. Both original Broadway and movie versions of "Same Time, Next Year" starred Ellen Burstyn, who won a Tony in 1975 for her stage performance, then earned an Oscar nomination for best actress. She starred opposite Charles Grodin on Broadway and with Alan Alda in the 1978 feature. Slade's work netted him Tony and Oscar noms as well. Mr. Slade was married to actress Jill Foster for 64 years before her death in 2017. He often credited her as the inspiration for many of his favorite female characters, including Doris in "Same Time, Next Year." - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/30/19...... Tom Draper, a black music industry pioneer who during his 12-year stint with Warner Bros. Records helped the label become a leading force in black music with a roster that included Prince, Chaka Khan, Al Jarreau, the Staple Singers, Ashford & Simpson and Bootsy Collins, among others, died Oct. 25 in Atlanta after a short illness. He was 79. Born and raised in Detroit, Draper attended the University of Detroit, where he earned a bachelor's degree in marketing. He worked in promotion for RCA Records' newly established black music department and was subsequently promoted to VP of A&R before moving to Warner Bros. Records and became a Time Warner VP in 1987. Draper also supported various social causes including the Children's Defense Fund and the Institute for Black Parenting. - Billboard, 11/1/19.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The historic Hayvenhurst home of Michael Jackson in Los Angeles was transformed into a haunted house on Oct. 25 by Jackson's sons Prince and Bigi Jackson for their third annual event to benefit Prince Jackson's Heal Los Angeles foundation. With "Thriller" on loop, and mile-long spooky mazes in the themes of clowns, the Jackson siblings' party was also attended by their cousins and extended family members. "Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, it's almost one of the only ones I actually celebrate," said Prince, who was dressed as Clark Griswold from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (his girlfriend's idea). "It's fun to dress up and scare people -- my family's always been pranksters and we always play tricks on each other." Heal LA was founded by Prince as a continuation of the King of Pop's Heal the World organization, and recently got its nonprofit status. It works to improve the conditions of those in Los Angeles, focusing on child hunger, homelessness and abuse. Meanwhile, Micheal Jackson accusers Wade Robson and James Safechuck are hoping to get another shot at a financial windfall from the Jackson estate by citing a newly signed California law meant to support victims of childhood sexual assault. The pair has filed paperwork with the appellate court where they continue to fight the estate, citing Assembly Bill 218 that California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law on Oct. 13. Robson and Safechuck are asking the court for an "opportunity to submit supplemental briefing as to the new law and its effect on this action," which could drastically change the case. The law, which takes effect on Jan.1, 2020, is designed to extend the time for victims for childhood sexual assault. According to the law, the new period to sue direct perpetrators of such crimes is either the victim's 40th birthday or within five years after the victim discovers the psychological injury from the sexual assault. Robson is 37 years old, and Safechuck is 41. The case is due back in court in November for a hearing on the case. - Billboard/TheBlast.com, 10/28/19...... Ozzy OsbourneIn other Halloween-related news, Ozzy Osbourne says he's hoping to scare up the weirdest, wildest Halloween costume contest ever by challenging fans on Oct. 24 to dress up as their favorite version of Ozzy and send in a pic for a chance to win a signed bone like the one that appears on the cover of his upcoming box set, See You on the Other Side, which drops on Nov. 29. Ozzy's official site already features dozens of amazing entries, which Ozzy will accept through Nov. 1. See You on the Other Side collects all 10 of Ozzy's solo albums and the "Mr. Crowley" and "Just Say Ozzy" EPs, as well as the Tribute double live album, Live & Loud, Live at Budokan and the Flippin' the B-Side rarities collection. Ozzy has shared a trailer for his contest on YouTube. Meanwhile, Ozzy's wife Sharon Osbourne revealed in a new interview on SiriusXM radio that Ozzy has "just finished a new album" that he intends to release in January. Sharon also added that Ozzy was thrilled about "Take What You Want," the song he collaborated on with Post Malone and Travis Scott. The track appears on Malone's recent album, Hollywood's Bleeding. In January 2019, while recovering from pneumonia, Ozzy suffered a fall at home. He underwent neck surgery for his injuries, the aftermath of which he described as "agony beyond anything I ever experienced before in my life." Ozzy's recent health struggles have led him to postpone several dates of his "No More Tours II" farewell tour, and Sharon says after he finishes his rescheduled dates for a North American tour that kicks off in May 2020, he "won't do any more touring" but a Las Vegas residency is not out of the question. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 10/25/19...... New Jersey rock legend Southside Johnny and '80s power pop/rock hitmakers The Smithereens were inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame on Oct. 27. "Without Southside Johnny, there never would have been a Jon Bon Jovi," said Jon Bon Jovi, who inducted him. "I always wanted to be an Asbury Juke," Bon Jovi added, calling the band's leader "a friend, a mentor, a bad influence and sometimes a cranky S.O.B." Bon Jovi and Southside also performed a rendition of "I Don't Wanna Go Home" at the ceremony held at Asbury Park, N.J.'s Convention Hall, backed by the band Kings Of Suburbia. - AP, 10/27/19...... In other N.J.-related news, Bruce Springsteen's new movie Western Stars earned a disappointing $560,000 from 537 theaters in its weekend premiere in the fourth weekend in October. Combined with grosses from preview sneaks hosted by Fathom Events on Oct. 19 and Oct. 23, the documentary has earned $1 million to date, according to Warner Bros. Western Stars showcases Springsteen performing all 13 songs on his first studio album in five years. It also includes archival footage, personal narration and guest appearances. - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/27/19...... Meanwhile, Springsteen's E Street Band member Nils Lofgren, who appears in Western Stars, says he's "glad Bruce is publicly saying he finally wrote some songs for us." "There's nothing booked, but I'm hoping that at some point we start looking at recording. That's up to Bruce, of course. But I certainly feel with the planet falling apart it would be high time and useful for the entire world to have a Bruce record and tour," Lofgren adds. As also a member of the band Crazy Horse, Lofgren also has a significant part in Neil Young's new movie Mountaintop, which chronicles the making of Young's just released album Colorado. "We all showed up with just a rudimentary understanding of the (chord) changes, not any grand specific ideas, and as soon as we started playing with each other it led from that," Lofgren recalls. The process is captured in Mountaintop, which screened for one night only in theaters on Oct. 22 and will likely surface again -- on the Neil Young Archives site if nowhere else. - Billboard, 10/25/19...... Peter AsherGrammy-winning record producer Peter Asher, a former member of the '60s British Invasion pop duo Peter & Gordon who has produced for artists such as James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt, has just released a new Beatles-related book titled The Beatles From A to Zed: An Alphabetical Mystery Tour. "I had this idea of trying an alphabetical system, taking a leaf out of Sesame Street's book," Asher says. "And so I did it letter-by-letter. Not just song titles but people, instruments and all kinds of different stuff using a particular letter." One of Asher's personal anecdotes that is also included is that James Taylor's song "Something In The Way She Moves," from his self-titled debut album on the Beatles' Apple label that Asher produced, inspired George Harrison's "Something." "James had written that song and George used that same line of lyrics, which James said was a compliment," says Asher, who also hosts a weekly SiriusXM Beatles Channel radio show. Also, "James pointed out that in (his) song he used the lyrics 'I feel fine'." Asked to describe the Beatles as he knew them, Asher says, "Paul was the charmer and is an amazing musician. John could be argumentative and cantankerous. But he could also be spectacularly brilliant." Asher will be on tour with his "A Musical Memoir of the '60s and Beyond" solo performances including Dec. 15 at Bimbo's 365 in San Francisco. - Billboard, 10/28/19...... In other Beatles-related news, Ringo Starr participated in a charity book signing at the famed Sunset Marquis' Morrison Hotel Gallery in West Hollywood on Oct. 24, meeting with 30 fans who have purchased limited-edition prints from his new photography book, Another Day in the Life. The book's release closely coincides with the Nov. 1 release of What's My Name, Starr's 20th studio album via UMe. The radiantly upbeat album, recorded at Roccabella West, Starr's home studio in Los Angeles, features such friends and frequent Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band collaborators as Joe Walsh, Edgar Winter, Dave Stewart, Colin Hay, Richard Page, Steve Lukather and Benmont Tench, as well as his fellow remaining Beatle, Paul McCartney. The emotional centerpiece of the album is "Grow Old With Me," a tune John Lennon wrote for his and Yoko Ono's Double Fantasy LP but didn't record (Lennon's demo of the song appeared posthumously on 1984's Milk and Honey). "It moved me," Ringo says. "I did my best and it's very me, but you know, he wrote those words and he'd written songs for me before, so I thought, 'No, I'm gonna do it'." - Billboard, 10/24/19...... On Oct. 25 Diana Ross announced a new set of UK tour dates on Twitter as part of her "Top Of The World" 2020 tour. Tickets for the dates go on sale Nov. 1 at 9:00 a.m. GMT. Ross was recently confirmed as the performer in the hallowed Sunday "Legend Slot" at next year's Glastonbury on June 28, and after that set she'll go on to play at least six more live shows in the U.K. The jaunt is set to wrap up on July 8 with a gig at London's The O2. "I am in total appreciation of all. I'm feeling Great, life is so good. My love, my light is steady and constant. I focus on joy. I love looking at the energy all around me," she posted to her fans. - New Musical Express, 10/25/19...... In a new interview with BBC Radio 2, Brian May of Queen says his band won't be playing the Glastonbury festival in 2020 after clashing with Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis over Britain's controversial badger cull, which May has long opposed. Eavis previously called May a "danger to farming" and criticised the guitarist's opposition to the controversial cull -- arguing that the process is a fight against the impact that bovine TB can cause when cattle become infected. "We won't [play Glastonbury] and there are a lot of reasons for that," May told the BBC2. "One of them is that Michael Eavis has frequently insulted me, and I don't particularly enjoy that. What bothers me more is that he's in favour of the badger cull, which I regard as a tragedy and an unnecessary crime against wildlife. There's a little bit of a schism there, I wouldn't do Glastonbury. Unless things changed radically," May added. - New Musical Express, 10/25/19...... A new tribute album to late blues/jazz legend Mose Allison, If You're Going to the City: A Tribute to Mose Allison, will feature contributions from Jackson Browne and Taj Mahal. The 15-song set also features Allison covers by the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Chrissie Hynde, Iggy Pop, Ben Harper, Richard Thompson, the Pixies' Frank Black and more. It was put together by Allison's daughter Amy Allison, who duets with Elvis Costello on her father's "Monsters of the Id," and musician/producer Don Heffington. "He strikes a chord across all genres," Amy says of her late dad. "You can have a musician you wouldn't ever imagine would be influenced or an admirer of my dad, but they are. I think musicians just really respect him, all different musicians seem to relate in some way, which is so great." A clip of Jackson Browne's contribution, "If You Live," and Taj Mahal's contribution, "Your Mind Is On Vacation," can be viewed on YouTube. - Billboard, 10/28/19...... John FogertyJohn Fogerty has shared a rippin' live version of the title track of his 1985 album Centerfield on Soundcloud.com, which appears on his upcoming live album and film 50 Year Trip: Live at Red Rocks. "I'm really happy about the life that song has had," Fogerty says. "Back when I wrote it I liked it, but I probably thought I was really tempting the Fates to try and mix rock n' roll and baseball. I knew there had been other baseball songs over the years, and they really didn't become hits -- except maybe 'Say Hey (The Willie Mays Song)' by The Treniers. But I just said, 'By golly, I'll just do it anyway,' and it worked out." Though he played "left out" as a youth, Fogerty, a San Francisco Bay Area native, has been a baseball fan from a young age, indoctrinated to root for the New York Yankees by his father and later becoming a San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's fan. "My dad would talk about this fabled (Yankees) team back east when Babe Ruth played -- and I was so young I thought he was still playing," Fogerty recalls. "It was just this mystical, magical thing I kind of adopted, and then I eventually got my own teams to root for." Fogerty says he's ready to make some new music -- his first since 2013's Wrote a Song For Everyone and his first of all-new songs since 2007's Revival. "I'm very much working on new songs and trying to find the right musicians who really do what I'm trying to do," he explains. "It's a process. I'm getting very antsy about not having done it this year, although apparently I've had some distractions here to keep me busy. I don't quite have the urgency I had in 1969; I've got a family and a beautiful wife and those things sort of have the priorities. But I sure want to get this rolling, I really do." - Billboard, 10/25/19...... Motörhead released a box set of vinyl reissues, 1979, via Sanctuary Records on Oct. 25, which contains half-speed remasters of the band's classic '79 albums Overkill and Bomber, alongside two newly unearthed live shows from that year and an LP of outtakes from both titles. The package features seven LPs in total, as well as a 7-inch "No Class" single, a Bomber tour program, Overkill sheet music, and a 40-page book of insightful liner notes. - Billboard, 10/25/19...... A posthumous memoir from Prince,, The Beautiful Ones, was released on Oct. 29 and contains no bombshells, though word is Prince very much wanted to provide some, and a mere 28 memoir pages written in Prince's elegant script and quirky style. Though the project was thrown into chaos when Prince died on Apr. 21, 2016, of an accidental drug overdose, his estate ultimately decided to press on, allowing co-writer Dan Piepenbring and his publishing team free access to the pieces of his life left behind at his beloved Paisley Park, including the contents of his vault. Piepenbring says their last conversation was just four days before Prince died, and focused on Prince's parents and their conflicting influences in his life. Many of the photos in the book are familiar to hardcore Prince fans and it includes a heavy dose of previously published interviews with Prince. - AP, 10/26/19...... SantanaCarlos Santana announced on Oct. 28 the itinerary for his upcoming spring 2020 European leg of his "Miraculous 2020" world tour. Santana will kick off the jaunt on Mar. 14 at the Unipol Arena in Bologna, Italy, playing several cities including Budapest (3/19), Vienna (3/20), Cologne (3/23), Glasgow (3/26), London (3/27), Amsterdam (3/31) and Stockholm (4/3) before wrapping in Helsinki on Apr. 5. The Grammy-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is marking the 20th anniversary of his Supernatural album and the 50th anniversary of his classic 1970 sophomore release, Abraxas. The tour will also feature what Santana calls "the new hymns and songs of tomorrow" from his band -- which includes his wife and drummer Cindy Blackman Santana -- from his 2019 Rick Rubin-produced album Africa Speaks. - Billboard, 10/28/19...... Elton John was forced to postpone an Oct. 26 concert in Indianapolis, Ind., due to illness. "It is with the heaviest heart that I'm forced to deliver the news that I am extremely unwell and therefore unable to perform at Bankers Life Fieldhouse tonight," John wrote in an announcement on social media a few hours before the concert was set to begin. "I absolutely hate to let my fans down, but I owe it to you to put on the best show possible and unfortunately that's simply not possible. The date will be rearranged for March 2020, and I promise I will deliver the show you deserve. Thank you so much for your support and understanding," Elton added. The Indianapolis show, part of John's "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour, has now been rescheduled for Mar. 26, 2020. - Billboard, 10/26/19...... In a new interview with Britain's Mail on Sunday newspaper published on Oct. 27, Pete Townshed of The Who revealed his 2003 bust for using his credit card to access a child porn website "sort of saved my life." Townshend, who later accepted an official caution and was placed on Brtain's sex offenders registry for five years, has always maintained his innocence, claiming he was merely researching the issue of online child porn. "Just for the record, my arrest was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me. It probably saved my life," he told the publication. Explaining further, Townshend said that he'd been putting off having a test for bowel cancer, which he eventually booked in after police raided his home. "While I was waiting for the police to go through my computers I decided to have that long-postponed colonoscopy," the 74-year-old guitarist explained. "The doctor showed me the polyp. He said 'this would have killed you in six months.' So it sort of saved my life." - WENN/Canoe.com, 10/28/19...... Former Police frontman Sting's Rainforest Fund has announced a benefit concert with performances by Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, James Taylor and more this December. The organization founded by Sting and his wife and actress Trudie Styler will host their 30th anniversary benefit concert at Beacon Theatre in New York with actor Robert Downey Jr. serving as host. The event, called We'll Be Together, will also welcome Bob Geldof, Shaggy, Ricky Martin and Eurythmics to celebrate artists and songs from the '80s and '90s -- when the Rainforest Fund says music and activism united to change the world and MTV brought it to life with sound and vision. "We'll Be Together is a nod to the past benefits such as Band Aid, Live Aid and Farm Aid that united music and global issues to ignite a revolution of social change and awareness," said Styler in a release. "With the Amazon blighted by fire this summer, and a real and growing awareness of climate change, there has never been a more important or more opportune moment to fight to protect our forests. All life on earth depends on their survival." Tickets for the show will be available for purchase by the general public beginning at 9:00 am on Nov. 1. - Billboard, 10/24/19...... Paul Barrere, guitarist and singer for the rock group Little Feat, died on Oct. 26 in a Los Angeles hospital due to side effects from an ongoing treatment for liver disease. He was 71. Little Feat's lead guitarist, singer and main songwriter, Lowell George, died in 1979. But Barrere was a foundational part of Little Feat's funky, blues-inflected Southern rock. He wrote or co-wrote some of the band's most beloved songs including "Skin It Back," "Time Loves a Hero" and "Old Folks Boogie." After initially auditioning as a bassist, Barrere joined the band three years after its founding in 1969. The band would carve out a distinct, danceable American sound of their own that melded blues, rockabilly, country, gospel and funk. Little Feat is currently on a 50th anniversary tour that Barrere sat out due to his health. It was set to wrap up on Oct. 27 in Wilks-Barre, Pennsylvania. Bonnie Raitt, with whom Barrere also played, remembered the guitarist, calling him "a cornerstone of one of the greatest bands of all time." "We will hold him in our hearts and celebrate his life and music always," she said. - AP, 10/27/19...... Robert EvansVeteran movie producer and former Paramount Pictures chief Robert Evans, who produced such classic '70s and '80s films as Chinatown and Urban Cowboy, passed away on the evening of Oct. 26. He was 89. Even though Hollywood history is filled with colorful characters, few can match the tale of Mr. Evans, whose life would seem far-fetched if it were fiction. With his matinee-idol looks but little acting talent, Mr. Evans was given starring roles in a few movies and then, with no studio experience, was handed the production reins at Paramount in the 1960s. When he left the exec ranks, his first film as a producer was the classic Chinatown, and he followed with other hits, like Marathon Man and Urban Cowboy. Eventually, his distinctive look and speaking style turned him into a cult figure, and he had the distinction of being the only film executive who starred in his own animated TV series. Amid the successes, his wife, actress Ali MacGraw, left him for Steve McQueen, her costar in the 1972 caper movie The Getaway, a love triangle that got huge media attention. (MacGraw was the third of Mr. Evans' seven wives.) In 1980, Mr. Evans was arrested for cocaine possession and a few years later, was involved in an even bigger scandal: the murder of would-be Hollywood player Roy Radin during the production of The Cotton Club. Due to his association with Radin, Mr. Evans became a material witness in the execution-style slaying, though no proof of Mr. Evans' knowledge of or connection to the murder was ever established. Drug dependency and the studios' changing corporate culture plagued Mr. Evans' later career. When he eventually resurfaced at Paramount in the '90s, his production track record was mostly undistinguished (The Saint, Sliver). But by then his larger-than-life persona was already the stuff of Hollywood legend. Evans parodied himself in the film Burn, Hollywood, Burn (1998), and Dustin Hoffman, a longtime friend, borrowed liberally from Mr. Evans in creating the character of an outrageous producer in the 1997 satire Wag the Dog, earning an Oscar nomination in the process. In 1998 Mr. Evans suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed on one side and unable to speak, but he eventually made a full recovery after much therapy. He made a triumphant return in some sense with the 2002 documentary adaptation of The Kid Stays in the Picture, in which Mr. Evans idiosyncratically discussed his life. Mr. Evans, who was married and divorced seven times, is survived by his son, Josh, an actor and director, and a grandson. - Reuters/Variety.com, 10/28/19.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

This summer, Queen in partnership with YouTube Music and the band's label Hollywood Records launched a "You Are The Champions" project in which 10,000 Queen fans from more than 120 countries submitted their renditions of three Queen classics -- "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Don't Stop Me Now" and "A Kind Of Magic." Now the band has selected three of the best fan-made videos for "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Don't Stop Me Now" and "A Kind Of Magic" to become the official Queen videos for those respective songs. "It's one of the most rewarding things that can happen to an artist of any kind: to see that our work has inspired folk all around the world to create their own performances and visual art is a thrill," Queen guitarist Brian May says. "And the diversity of their vision is astonishing. Big thanks to everyone who participated." The "You Are The Champions" campaign was created to celebrate Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" becoming the the first pre-1990s video to reach one billion YouTube views. - Billboard, 10/24/19...... Although Elton John had been rumoured to be among the headliners for the U.K.'s 50th anniversary Glastonbury festival next year, the Rocketman took himself out of the running on Oct. 23 by announcing he will be performing shows in the U.S. that conflict with the festival's June 26-28 dates. John announced he will be performing shows in Dallas on June 26 and 27. Other acts rumoured to be performing at Glastonbury 2020 include Sir Paul McCartney, Fleetwood Mac, Taylor Swift, The 1975, Foals and Green Day, however the only confirmed act so far is Diana Ross, who will performing in the coveted Sunday legends slot. Sir Elton continues to promote his recently released memoir, Me, and is in the midst of a long U.K. run of his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour that began in September and will run through December. - New Musical Express, 10/23/19...... Paul McCartneyPaul McCartney shared a new music video on Oct. 23 for his 1993 animal rights advocacy tune "Looking For Changes" as part of the music legend and avid animal rights activist's collaboration with animal ethics organization PETA. The animated clip shows scenarios in which lab workers get tricked by the animals they are about to experiment on, as a cartoon McCartney and his furry friends head over to Capitol Hill to demand government "changes in the way we treat our fellow creatures." Sir Paul's video comes after U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard asked National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins for a plan to reduce the use of animals in experiments during a hearing in September. According to PETA, studies show that 90% of basic research used with animals doesn't lead to treatments for humans. The Environmental Protection Agency then announced its plan to end all tests on mammals. - Billboard, 10/23/19...... Moviegoers in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Asbury Park, N.J., attending Springsteen's new movie Western Stars at the AMC Lowes Freehold Cinema on Oct. 19 were delightfully surprised when the Boss himself showed up at the theater to introduce two preview screenings of the film. Springsteen told audiences that since his band knew it wasn't going to tour, he had to try to figure out a way to bring the music to his audience and decided to release the Western Stars movie, which was shot in a barn in front of a small audience at Springsteen's property in Colts Neck. The film officially hits U.S. theaters on Oct. 26. - AP, 10/22/29...... Seventies reggae legend Bob Marley's song "Turn Your Lights Down Low" was covered by two contestants on the NBC talent show The Voice on Oct. 21. During part three of the battles, contestant Kiara Brown went head-to-head with fellow contestant Royce Lovett with a cover of the song, originally recorded by Marley and his band the Wailers for the classic album Exodus. The judges, which include John Legend, Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani decided to give Lovett the win, who Stefani said "has so much character, personality and dynamics." A clip of Lovett's peformance can be viewed on YouTube. - Billboard, 10/22/19...... Producers of the Who's Broadway adaptation of their classic 1969 album Tommy announced on Oct. 21 that New York audiences will get another chance to witness that sensory experience when the musical "Tommy" returns to the Great White Way for dates that are to be announced soon. The new production will again directed by Des McAnuff, who was instrumental in developing the material for the stage when it premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse in Southern California in summer 1992 and became an instant hit. The production transferred to Broadway the following spring and went on to win five Tony Awards, including best original score for Pete Townshend and best direction of a musical for McAnuff, as well as scenic design, lighting and choreography (it lost out on best musical to "Kiss of the Spider Woman.") Featuring such songs as "Pinball Wizard," "Acid Queen," "Listening to You" and "I'm Free," the show tells the story of a British Army captain's young son, Tommy Walker, traumatized into apparent deafness and blindness and subjected to neglect, abuse and drugs before finding fame as a pinball champion and eventual spiritual leader. McAnuff and Townshend recently reunited at an Oct. 14 one-night-only benefit concert performance of the musical at La Jolla Playhouse, marking the album's 50th anniversary. - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/21/19...... Cable network HBO filed paperwork in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court on Oct. 20 to appeal a decision to allow the Michael Jackson estate to enforce a non-disparagement clause in a 1992 contract that provided HBO with rights to air a televised concert following the release of Jackson's album Dangerous. The pay cabler wants another shot at convincing a court that the Jackson estate can't go to arbitration over its Emmy-winning sex abuse documentary Leaving Neverland. HBO has argued that the legal claims are premised on an old agreement that has been fully performed by the parties and thus terminated. It further contends that the Jackson estate is attempting to trample on its First Amendment rights by using a quarter-century-old, nearly forgotten contract as "a perpetual platform to police HBO's speech." An attorney for the Jackson estate described HBO's appeal as "bogus (and) nothing more than HBO's latest desperate attempt to cover up the truth about its shoddy journalism." - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/21/19...... Walter BeckerAn estate auction of late Steely Dan guitarist Walter Becker took place at Julien's Auctions' Beverly Hills location on Oct. 18 and 19 and fetched $3.3 million, overall, surpassing initial estimates of $1-$2 million on opening day. The auction featured 600 guitars and 400 amps that belonged to the acclaimed musician, renowned for his quiet perfectionism in the studio with longtime musical partner Donald Fagen. "It's phenomenal," said Darren Julien, owner of Julien's Auctions. "Who else had this many guitars and this many amps? Who else had a collection like this? It's unbelievable. And he didn't just buy them because they looked great. He literally played all of them and that's what made this collection unique." The auction was attended by Becker's widow, Delia, who said her husband was "obsessed with sound" and guitars were stored "everywhere." In addition to storage spaces in New York and Hawaii, their New York apartment was filled with guitars and Delia said "amps were lined up at the foot of the bed, under every table, the dining room table was all amps and then all the floor space." One of Becker's favorite guitars to play at concerts, a green sparkly Strat-style guitar purchased from New York based guitar maker Chihoe Hahn in 2011, sold for a whopping $68,750 to a buyer bidding over the phone. At a private VIP reception held a couple of days before the auction, guests included Becker's daughter, Sayan, Men at Work frontman Colin Hay and Village Studios owner Jeff Greenberg, where some of Steely Dan's best known hits "Peg" and "Hey Nineteen" were recorded. "I'd rather have Walter here and not see all this stuff for sale," said Greenberg. "But it's pretty trippy, right? These are spectacular guitars. He was magical. Their records are still magical. It's some of the greatest music ever made." Becker died of esophageal cancer at age 67 in 2017. - Billboard, 10/21/19...... Appearing recently on the U.K. TV programme The Jonathan Ross Show, punk rock icon Iggy Pop was asked about his younger days in the Stooges and how he once stuck his tongue into an electric socket. "Well it was an electric train transformer," said Pop correcting Ross before adding: "I tried spider webs too. I tried to smoke them. You know you've got to start somewhere." As for the experience itself, he described it as "harsh." When host Jonathan Ross asked Pop if he was surprised that he's still alive, he said: "No its brinksmanship. My psychiatrist told me in the '70s 'you have amazing brinkmanship, you go to a certain place and you know when to pull back'. I always have and I'm a very conservative guy in my daily life. I go to bed early." Pop released his latest album, Free in September, and will make a one-off appearance as part of The EFG London Jazz Festival. Pop will perform his new record in its entirety at The Barbican Centre on Nov. 21, and it will be his only UK date of the year. - New Musical Express, 10/21/19...... A previously unreleased track from Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, "Wanted Man," has been shared on YouTube for the first time ahead of the release of the 15th installment of Dylan's Bootleg Sessions series. Travelin' Thru, 1967 - 1969: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 15 hits stores on Nov. 1 and will feature 47 unheard and sought after Dylan recordings. Dylan wrote "Wanted Man," which appears on disc 3 of the 3-disc set, for Cash and it later became a hit for the late country star. - NME, 10/21/19...... It was announced on Oct. 20 that 10km of an Australian motorway on the actual "Highway To Hell" will close in March 2020 to host a rolling AC/DC tribute concert in memory of the 40th anniversary of the death of AC/DC vocalist Bon Scott. On March 1, the Canning Highway, the motorway Scott would travel down regularly in his youth, will close between Canning Bridge and Fremantle to play host to the world's longest festival stage, featuring 8 bands playing AC/DC covers, including Amyl and the Sniffers, Shonen Knife and more. The stretch of motorway that will close is known as the real "Highway To Hell," named after a series of fatal crashes along the stretch and immortalised in the band's iconic 1979 album of the same name. Part of the 2020 Perth Festival, the event will reportedly mimic AC/DC's video for "It's A Long Way To The Top," which saw them playing on the back of a truck as it rode through Melbourne. The closing date of the event will coincide with the exact 40th anniversary of Scott's ashes arriving at Fremantle Cemetery. "It was like, 'We just have to do this', despite the ridiculous size of it," says event director Iain Grandage. Meanwhile, former AC/DC singer Brian Johnson said earlier in 2019 that he will "absolutely" tour again with AC/DC, after he was forced to quit the band in 2016 after suffering hearing loss. Johnson and Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh have also confirmed they've been in the studio together and new music could be coming from them. - NME, 10/20/19...... Carly SimonCarly Simon is getting mixed reviews for Touched by the Sun: My Friendship with Jackie, her just released book about her relationship with former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. One reviewer notes that in the memoir, Simon does not quite seem to grasp that Jackie O was not a very good friend: "In one section, she describes needing to take a Valium in a restaurant bathroom after waiting hours for her 'friend,' terrified that Jackie ditched her for something better. When Jackie finally arrived she claimed to have been 'stuck in an elevator,' a story Simon, even after all these years still seems to buy." Another reviewer has pointed out that Simon's relationship with Onassis does not sound at all like friendship, a revelation that the book's editors were perhaps too kind to point out: "When Jackie asks Simon to find a band to play daughter Caroline Kennedy's wedding, the musician is not only flattered, but grateful. She books the band and even sings with them. It never occurs to her how canny Jackie was to snag a Grammy- and Oscar-winning artist for free." - Jezebel.com, 10/20/19...... Meanwhile, Patti Smith was interviewed by the U.K. paper The Guardian as part of a promotional tour to promote her new book, Year of the Monkey. Asked to name a book she was unable to finish, Smith replied by naming The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain. "It gave me such anxiety that I threw up. I never finished it -- and still can't bear to," the author and musician said. Elsewhere, Smith revealed that Little Women was the book that changed her life and that the book she wish she had written was The Adventures of Pinocchio by Italian writer Carlo Collodi. "[It's] the perfect book for any age," she said of Collodi's book that later became the basis for the 1940 Disney movie Pinocchio. "It addresses creation, the war between good and evil, redemption, and transfiguration in one beloved tale. I have loved it since age seven and have long wished to write something similar." - NME, 10/19/19...... TV producer and executive Al Burton, who developed and or produced such famous '70s sitcoms as One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman for Norman Lear died on Oct. 22 at his home in San Mateo, Calif. He was 91. Mr. Burton was also a force in baby boomer entertainment and marketing who forged a career that spanned the first six decades of television and included concerts, beauty pageants and other live events. Mr. Burton was also the producer of Charles in Charge, Win Ben Stein's Money (for which he won a Daytime Emmy award) and Turn Ben Stein On for Comedy Central. Mr. Burton's gift for spotting talent helped ignite the careers of Ben Stein, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael J. Fox, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jimmy Kimmel, Ricky Schroder, Pamela Anderson, George Clooney, Valerie Bertinelli and MacKenzie Phillips, among others. In the '60s, Mr. Burton began live, outdoor, summer pop music broadcasts from Pacific Ocean Park in 1960, including the first live TV performance of the Beach Boys. He launched his first Teen-Age Fair in 1962, and it drew attendance of 256,000. He also booked the Rolling Stones for their first U.S. appearance as well as other acts like the Doors, Ricky Nelson, Lesley Gore and The Four Seasons. He retired to the Bay Area in 2006 and is survived by his wife, Sally, and their daughter, Jennifer. - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/23/19...... Aretha FranklinOscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker and Marlon Wayans have joined Jennifer Hudson in MGM's upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic, Respect. Whitaker will play Franklin's father, a Baptist minister and popular preacher who was unfaithful to his wife, while Wayans will play Ted White, Franklin's first husband, whom she married when she was 19 and who was abusive. Hudson is portraying Franklin. Directed by Tony winner Liesl Tommy, the biopic follows the Queen of Soul's rise to fame in the 1960s and 1970s and chronicles her abusive marriage. The film will feature several of Aretha's best known songs, including "Respect," "I Say a Little Prayer," "Think," "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," "Spanish Harlem," "Amazing Grace" and "Chain of Fools." - Billboard, 10/18/19...... Nick Tosches, a literary music writer who looked older than his years and cloaked himself in a noir-ish persona, died on Oct. 20 the age of 69. Tosches made a career of questioning the origins of inspiration, often tracing it back to ancient times, and finding the precise language with which to express it. Tosches was known by music fans for his essays and reviews, and especially his two classic biographies. His book on Jerry Lee Lewis, 1982's Hellfire, was once described by Rolling Stone magazine as "quite simply the best rock and roll biography ever written." A decade later, his biography of Dean Martin explored the life of the boozy pop singer and actor with reportorial detail and literary language, and it was once rumored to be a Martin Scorsese film, with Tom Hanks attached to star. - Billboard, 10/23/19...... Ed Cherney, a Grammy and Emmy-winning recording engineer who worked on such seminal works as Bonnie Raitt's Nick of Time, Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven," The Rolling Stones' Bridges to Babylon, and Willie Nelson's "My Way" among hundreds more, died on Oct. 22 from cancer. He was 69. Other artists he worked with included Bob Dylan, Bette Midler, Elton John, Sting, Etta James, Bob Seger and Jackson Browne, among others. "Eddie was a real sonic genius," says producer Don Was, who worked with Cherney on the Raitt and Rolling Stones' albums, among others. "He knew how to add some ear-pleasing sparkle and sheen while keeping the music feeling intimate and natural... A terrific person and a great friend. He is utterly irreplaceable." - Billboard, 10/22/19.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

The Beatles' Apple Corp. Ltd. and Capitol Records announced on Oct. 16 that a new limited-edition vinyl box set of the Beatles' UK singles will go on sale on Nov. 22. The Singles Collection will feature all remastered versions of all 22 of the band's UK singles which were released between 1962 and 1970, while an exclusive new double A-side single -- for the mid-1990s-issued tracks "Free As A Bird" and "Real Love" -- is also included. The 46 tracks will be released on 23 180-gram seven-inch vinyl singles, while each single is adorned with an individual international picture sleeve from its original release. The set is accompanied by a 40-page booklet with photos, ephemera and detailed essays by noted Beatles historian Kevin Howlett. - New Musical Express, 10/16/19...... Tom JohnstonOn Oct. 15, the Cleveland-based Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced the 16 nominees for the Rock Hall Class of 2020. Nine artists received nominations for the first time in their careers: Pat Benatar, Dave Matthews Band, The Doobie Brothers, Motörhead, The Notorious B.I.G., Soundgarden, T. Rex, Thin Lizzy and Whitney Houston. Also nominated were Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, MC5, Nine Inch Nails and Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, all who have been nominated up to five times before, along with Judas Priest who were recently nominated for the Class of 2018, and Todd Rundgren who was nearly tapped for the RRHOF Class of 2019. The Doobie Brothers' Tom Johnston told Billboard that "we're all honored to be nominated." "I'm sure we've all paused to reflect, and I think I speak for all the other guys when I say that it seems rather odd we haven't been selected before. But at the same time we don't take it for granted and we are honored to be nominated, and if we can just carry it all the way to getting in it would be awesome," he added. The 35th RRHOF induction ceremony will take place May 2, 2020 in the organization's hometown of Cleveland, Oh. The RRHOF Class of 2020 is decided by an international body of more than 1,000 voting members, but fans can impact the vote. Starting Oct. 15 and running through 11:59 pm ET on Jan. 10, 2020, fans can go to Google and search "Rock Hall Fan Vote" or any nominee's name plus "vote" to cast a ballot with Google, vote at RockHall.com, or at the Museum itself in Cleveland. The five artists who receive the most fan votes comprise a fans' ballot that will be tallied along with the others to determine the 2020 inductees, which will be announced in January 2020. - Billboard, 10/15/19...... Two rock songs featured in Warner Bros.' new The Joker film, Cream's "White Room" and Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll, Part 2," are experiencing a surge in sales after the movie premiered in the US on Oct. 4. "White Room," which was originally a No. 6 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart in 1968, has debuted at No. 15 on Billboard's Hot Rock Songs chart for the week ending Oct. 19. The track, which also has a tie-in by the recent death of Cream drummer Ginger Baker on Oct. 6, gained by 687% to 2,000 downloads sold and 78% to 1.5 million U.S. streams, according to Nielsen Music. Meanwhile, "Rock and Roll, Part 2" surged by 971% to 1.5 million streams and 800% to 2,000 sold. The song's inclusion in the film came under fire due to that fact that Glitter is a convicted pedophile currently serving a 16-year prison sentence after being found guilty of attempted rape, indecent assault and sex with a minor. Although Glitter sold away his master recording and publishing rights to the song years ago, he isn't directly receiving sync fees or royalty payments for most of the song's streams. However Glitter could receive a smaller source of revenue from digital performance royalties from the song's non-interactive streams on Pandora, SiriusXM and other webcasters. By law, those royalties are collected by the rights management organization SoundExchange, which then distributes the money primarily to the main artist and the owner of the recording, which is commonly the label. If Glitter is registered with SoundExchange (which does not reveal its client list due to privacy rules), he should be receiving those payments, and may profit from the song despite no longer owning its rights. Likewise, Glitter is likely still collecting performance royalties for "Rock and Roll Part II" as a songwriter because the way performance rights organizations generally work. Although the NFL banned crowd participation favorite from being played in stadiums after Glitter's conviction in 2006, a cover version was still used and even adopted as the New England Patriots' touchdown anthem. A source close to Warner Bros., which likely paid between $100,000-$200,000 to license the song, says there are no plans to remove the song from the Joker soundtrack or future versions of the film, contrary to recent reports. And the only official soundtrack currently available for listening is the film score. - Billboard, 10/18/19...... Paramount Pictures screened its summer Elton John biopic hit, Rocketman, in its entirety on seven large and small screens at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on Oct. 17 as the latest in a boomlet of "live-to-film experiences." The Hollywood Symphony Orchestra, conducted by John Beal, was also onstage to play live. Although none of the actors, including lead actor Taron Egerton in John's role, sang live during the screening, but a highlight came at the end of the film when John and Egerton came onstage together to perform "(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again," the jubilant song which Elton and his longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin co-wrote for the film. Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher then introduced Taupin, who said, "The music is what keeps us alive and keeps us going -- and I'm just getting started." Taupin introduced two actors from the film, Jamie Bell, who played him as a voice of reason and Elton's most loyal friend, and Bryce Dallas Howard, who played Elton's cold and indifferent mother. "This has been the greatest creative episode of my life. The people on this stage are going to be friends for life," said Egerton. Rocketman grossed $96.3 million at the U.S. box office in its three-month theatrical run, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com, however that is only half as much as the 2018 Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Nevertheless, Rocketman is the fourth highest-grossing music biopic since 1978 according to BoxOfficeMojo. - Billboard, 10/18/19...... Meanwhile, as Elton continues on his publicity tour for his riveting newly released autobiography Me, the rock legend stopped by for an interview with DJ Jim Kerr at the iHeartRadio theater in Burbank, Calif., on Oct. 16. Elton told Kerr that he has no plans to disappear from the music scene after he ends his 350-show "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" farewell tour. "It's not to say I'm going to stop doing things. I'm going to make records, I'm going to write musicals and I will do the odd show, here and there, maybe a residency, but it won't be traveling," he said. "I will never be in Australia again or all over Europe. I'll be in England or America and that's it but I don't know where, I don't know when and I don't know if it will even happen. Life throws curveballs at you," he added. In another interview with Britain's GQ magazine, John also revealed he's seen Disney's 2019 photorealistic remake of The Lion King, and he thinks it's a "huge disappointment." "Music was so much a part of the original and the music in the current film didn't have the same impact," John said. "The magic and joy were lost... they really screwed up the music." Elton composed and performed songs for the original 1994 The Lion King, whose soundtrack became the best-selling album of the year. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 10/17/19...... Bruce SpringsteenBruce Springsteen and his wife Patti Scialfa were in attendance at the New York premiere of his new Western Stars movie, in which he performs songs from the album backed by a band and full orchestra at his family's Stone Hill Farm in Colts Neck, N.J. "I was surprised, because I hadn't seen it in so long," Scialfa said on the blue carpet before the premiere. "I hadn't even remembered that we did all those silly things. So, it's actually very, very sweet. It's really a lovely surprise," she added. Between each song Springsteen shares commentary and draws connections to his own life, and his voice accompanies archive footage and home movies of his family. Several amusing scenes from their honeymoon touched Scialfa, who missed the September world premiere of the film at the Toronto International Film Festival. Springsteen says he has no plans for a Western Stars tour, instead he's heading back into the studio to work on a new E-Street Band record. He laughed at the notion of incorporating recent social and political upheavals in the lyrics of the band's new music, instead saying he's "leaning toward the personal." "Most of what I've written so far ruminates a little bit about some of the things from my past," he said. Also attending the NYC premiere were Steven Van Zandt, Ralph Lauren, Clive Davis, Jon Stewart, Edward Burns, Harvey Keitel and music mogul Jimmy Iovine. A Western Stars soundtrack album will be released on Oct. 25 - AP, 10/18/19...... Bob Seger, currently on a farewell tour with his Silver Bullet Band, became sentimental during his show at Pittsburgh's PPG Paints Arena on Oct. 17. Just before his "Travelin' Man"/"Beautiful Loser" medley, the Michigan rocker pronounced "I'm gonna miss you, Pittsburgh" and then reminded the packed house that his Sept. 28, 2017 stop there wound up being the last date of his "Runaway Train Tour." Two days after that show, Seger postponed the rest of the tour in order to have spinal surgery, which kept him off the road until he launched his "Roll Me Away" farewell tour in November 2018. "I'm gonna miss you, Pittsburgh... I'm all better now, thank goodness," Seger noted, then performed a nearly two-hour, 22-song show loaded with hits and occasional rarities such as "You Take Me In" from is 2014 Ride Out album. Seger also revealed to the crowd that he had welcome commiseration from good friend Bruce Springsteen. "He said 'I had exactly the same operation in exactly the same place,' between the fourth and fifth vertebrae," Seger said. "People who sing hard, I guess that's what happens to them." Seger and his band have five more dates on the "Roll Me Away" tour before wrapping in Philadelphia on Nov. 1. - Billboard, 10/18/19...... The Nashville, Tenn.-based Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum announced on Oct. 17 that it will honor the legendary A-list sessions musicians known as The Hit Men with its inaugural "Road Warrior" award. "It's an incredible honor to be recognized for the work we've each put into our careers supporting the greatest names in the music industry," founding member Lee Shapiro said. The MHOFM opened in 2006 and showcases the often-unsung musicians who have backed legendary pop performers. Among its famous inductees are the Wrecking Crew, the group of L.A. studio musicians that played on numerous '60s pop hits; and the Funk Brothers, Motown Records' house rhythm section. The Hit Men was originally assembled in 2012 in a basement studio in Fair Lawn, N.J. by former members of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, and has toured steadily since then. Its Oct. 28 concert at Nashville's City Winery will close a month of shows in California, Arizona, Maine, Louisiana and Tennessee. - AP, 10/17/19...... Roger TaylorIn a new interview with PlanetRock.com, Queen drummer Roger Taylor has hit back at critics of the group's 2018 Oscar-winning biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. "The trouble with us is, we're too f---ing popular, and a lot of the media just hate that," Taylor said. He added that although there were a handful of "decent" reviews, "there were many that were kinda sneering and superficial." "I thought, 'You just don't get it, do you?'," the drummer said. "You weren't moved, and whatever, but fuck you actually. F--- you all the way to the bank, actually... I think people know a lot more than film critics, and the word of mouth via social media is so much more powerful than review from a guy who probably watches 40 movies a week, and has probably lost the essence of the joy of a movie," he added. Meanwhile, Queen has blocked Pres. Donald Trump from using their music once again, after Trump featured Queen's 1977 iconic rock anthem "We Will Rock You" in a new campaign video. "Don't expect this video -- which uses Queen's "We Will Rock You" in its entirety -- to remain up for long," wrote Buzzfeed's Adam B.Vary on Oct. 10. "A rep for Queen told me tonight that the band 'has already entered into a process to call for non use of Queen song copyrights by the Trump campaign. This is ongoing'," Vary added. It's believed that the clip was eventually taken down on Oct. 13. While Trump is yet to delete the tweet, an official notice now states: "This media has been disabled in response to a report by copyright owner." Queen previously locked horns with Trump in 2016, when the then Republican presidential nominee walked onstage at the Republican National Convention to "We Are the Champions." The band said they did not want their "music associated with any mainstream or political debate in any country" and said they didn't want the 1977 song "to be used as an endorsement of Mr. Trump and the political views of the Republican Party." Prince and Nickelback have also made similar moves against Trump from using their music at campaign rally and in campaign ads in recent weeks. - New Musical Express, 10/17/19...... In related news, Lynyrd Skynyrd is pushing back over the use of their classic 1973 signature sone "Free Bird" in a violent video aired during a recent gathering of Donald Trump supporters during a conference at the president's Trump National Doral Miami golf club in Florida. A spokesperson for the band has confirmed that the group had not authorized the use of "Freebird" in the nearly four-minute video that appears to use doctored footage from the 2014 video game "Kingsman: The Secret Service" in order to depict Trump murdering reporters and anchors from CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Buzzfeed, PBS, Politico and many other media organzations using a handgun and a knife inside the so-called "Church of Fake News." "The use of Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Freebird' in the video as depicted was unauthorized," the band said in statement. The mock rampage also shows Trump attacking, striking and killing such political rivals as former Pres. Barack Obama, former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, late Sen. John McCain, Sen. Bernie Sanders and a member of Black Lives Matter. The video ends with a smiling Trump putting the head of a CNN reporter on a stake. - Billboard, 10/16/19...... Country star Kacey Musgraves, who has been covering Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" on her current tour, was joined by Gaynor on Oct. 15 for a rendition of the 1978 disco classic during the first of her two shows at New York City's Radio City Music Hall on Oct. 15. Musgraves surprised the audience by inviting Gaynor to join her on stage to perform the track together. Speaking to the crowd, Gaynor, who was proclaimed as "the queen of disco" by the country singer, said: "I recorded this song 40 years ago, and I can't tell you how pleased I am that Kacey is carrying on the tradition, helping you all to survive." Fan-shot footage of the pair performing the song can be seen on YouTube. - New Musical Express, 10/16/19...... Dionne WarwickPop songstress Dionne Warwick has teamed up with such acts as Aloe Blacc, Andra Day, Johnny Mathis, Michael McDonald, The Oak Ridge Boys and John Rich for a new Christmas album, Dionne Warwick & The Voices of Christmas, which hits stores on Oct. 18 via BMG. "Every song, I felt, suited my duet partner. That's why it's called The Voices of Christmas," eight-time Grammy winner Warwick says. "Each of the songs felt suited to each one of the people I was singing with and that's how we chose them. That's the approach I wanted to take, and I wanted to do arrangements of the song to suit that particular person as well." Produced by her Warwick's son Damon Elliott, also known as Buck 22, the project was recorded in Nashville, Los Angeles, New York and Las Vegas this past summer. "It was wonderful," she says of working with Elliott. "He's earned the right. He's a wonderful producer." A video of her song featuring Aloe Blacc, "This Christmas," has been shared on YouTube. The 78-year-old Warwick says dates are still being determined for her upcoming Christmas tour, but she's hoping John Rich will be able to join her on a few of those dates. - Billboard, 10/16/19...... Santana and Journey co-founder Gregg Rollie has premiered a video called "What About Love" from his new album, Sonic Ranch. "The message really comes from playing with Ringo [Starr]," Rolie, said Rolie, who has been a member of Ringo's All-Starr Band since 2012. "He's been relentless on 'peace and love' forever. He's been saying it for years, and he's right. I just took it a step further and did it a little stronger. The song is like, 'Hey, wake up! What ABOUT this?'" Rolie is also working on new material with former Journey drummer Deen Castronovo and bassist Marco Mendoza (both part of the Journey spin-off band Journey Through Time), his son Sean and with Yayo Sanchez, the 26-year-old who became a viral sensation jamming with Foo Fighters. - Billboard, 10/16/19...... The Grateful Dead veteran Phil Lesh has postponed his annual "Phil-O-Ween" Halloween shows after undergoing back surgery. The shows had originally been scheduled for Oct. 31, Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 at the Capitol Theatre in New York, but is has been announced that The Darkstar Orchestra will replace Lesh for those three days. "I want you all to know I'm very disappointed I'm not going to be able to make these shows," Lesh explained in the video. "I'm feeling really good but the doctors recommend that I take more time to recover from the surgery that I recently had." - Billboard, 10/15/19...... Six months after Grease rights-holders Paramount announced a Grease feature film prequel of the hit 1978 movie, a live-action TV spinoff based on the movie is in the works. WarnerMedia-backed streamer HBO Max has handed out a straight-to-series order for musical Grease: Rydell High, with its name stemming from the school at the center of the beloved original. The TV series will be produced by Paramount Television, the studio behind Fox's Emmy-winning 2016 one-off Grease: Live. The TV spinoff reimagines the original movie and will feature some characters from it. The series is still set in the 1950s and will feature big musical numbers from the era combined with new original songs. It will explore the peer pressures of high school, the horrors of puberty, and life in middle America with a modern sensibility. - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/15/19...... In a new documentary on Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, Somebody Up There Likes Me, Wood reveals he used to take a Bunsen burner with him to parties to smoke cocaine. "I enjoyed the shit out if it," Wood says of his experience with the drug. "Took it with me wherever I went. I thought it was the best thing going. I would take it to parties and go, Everybody try this , get [a] great big Bunsen burner out, the pipes, the works, freebase and everything. And people would be going, 'You're f---ing crazy', but I would love it," he adds. Discussing his sobriety in the documentary, the former Faces guitarist explained: "It's very difficult because you go through a period of dry and you go, 'I've done it. I've cleaned up now. I can have just one'." Meanwhile, the Stones are gearing up to release a live album and film of their 1998 Buenos Aires concert, Bridges to Buenos Aires, on Nov. 8. - NME, 10/16/19...... Bill MacyBeloved TV sitcom star Bill Macy, best known as Maude Findlay's (Bea Arthur) husband Walter Findlay on the 1972-1978 Norman Lear-produced CBS series Maude, died on Oct. 17. He was 97. Mr. Macy also appeared in cult 1979 comedy movie The Jerk starring Steve Martin and the films My Favorite Year, Me, Myself and I, Analyze This and The Holiday, among others. As well as Maude, Mr. Macy's TV credits included roles on Law & Order, St. Elsewhere, Chicago Hope, The Facts of Life and Seinfeld. Tributes to Mr. Macy on twitter included posts by Illiana Douglas, Ali Adler and comedian Gilbert Gottfried, who described him as "funny and crazy and loved a good Kosher herring." - WENN/Canoe.com, 10/18/19...... Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind the iconic children's show Sesame Street, announced on Oct. 16 that a new season of Sesame Street will return in the fall of 2019 for a historic 50th anniversary season. The season will kick off on Nov. 9 with a primetime special, Sesame Street's 50th Anniversary Celebration, on HBO. The episode is set to feature guest appearances by the likes of Patti LaBelle, Elvis Costello, Meghan Trainor, Norah Jones and Nile Rodgers. The regular season will premiere the following week on Nov. 16. Special guests making their way to Sesame Street over the course of Season 50 will include Charlie Puth, Maren Morris, Dave Grohl and Chrissy Teigen. Following its debut on HBO, Sesame Street's 50th Anniversary Celebration will air Nov. 17 on PBS and PBS Kids. - Billboard, 10/16/19.

Monday, October 14, 2019

As Halloween approaches, a lyric chart compiled by Billboard, the LyricFind Global Chart, shows internet surfers getting into the holiday spirit with a slew of spooky tunes topping the tally. Michael Jackson's "Thriller" leads the list, re-entering at No. 1. Originally a No. 4 Billboard Hot 100 hit in March 1984, the song reaches the LyricFind Global chart for a second time, having previously appeared at No. 20 in Nov. 2016. "Thriller" is followed by Aqua's "Halloween," with Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers' "Monster Mash," R. Dean Taylor's "There's a Ghost in My House" and Meat Loaf's "Bat Out of Hell" rounding out the top five at Nos. 2 through 5, respectively. In all, 16 of the chart's 25 positions are occupied by songs that can be considered themed around Halloween. - Billboard,10/11/19...... Michael JacksonSpeaking of Michael Jackson, among the revelations in Elton John's upcoming biography Me is Elton describing the King of Pop as "mentally ill" and a "disturbing person" in his final years. Elton wrote that he first met the pop star when Michael was a teen, but it wasn't until Jackson's later years that John questioned "what prescription drugs he was being pumped full of." "He was genuinely mentally ill, a disturbing person to be around," John wrote. Revealing details of a time the two had lunch together in the 1990s, Elton said Jackson appeared sick and donned a face full of makeup and plaster. "The poor guy looked awful, really frail and ill," John revealed. The alarming lunch encounter grew worse when John recalled Jackson disappearing from the table "without a word." He was later found inside of the cottage of John's housekeeper "quietly playing games" with her 11-year-old son. "For whatever reason, he couldn't seem to cope with adult company at all," John wrote. Elton concluded that Jackson appeared to have "totally lost his marbles" in the 2000s. Me will hit bookstores on Oct. 15. - American Media Inc./Canoe.com, 10/11/19...... In other Michael Jackson news, it was announced on Oct. 10 that the upcoming Jackson bio-musical, "MJ the Musical," will make its bow on Broadway in the summer of 2020. The production -- previously titled "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," after the late King of Pop's 1979 hit -- will begin preview performances July 6 with an official opening set for Aug. 13 at the Neil Simon Theatre. In February, the producers of the show the Michael Jackson Estate and Columbia Live Stage) canceled its pre-Broadway engagement in Chicago, citing scheduling difficulties following this year's strike by Actors' Equity. Performances in the Windy City were originally set to kick off Oct. 29. "MJ the Musical" is still in development at studios in New York. A teaser for the musical has been shared on YouTube. - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/10/19...... Dolly Parton celebrated 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry on Oct. 12 with two sold-out performances that were filmed as part of an upcoming Nov. 26 television special on NBC titled Dolly Parton: 50 Years at the Grand Ole Opry. "The night that I actually became a member 50 years ago was one of the highlights of my whole life because it was a true dream of mine," Parton said during a press conference before the Opry performances. "You never know what's going to happen to you in your life. You never know if your dreams will come true." Parton, 73, has several other film and television projects on the horizon as well as numerous collaborations and co-hosting duties on the upcoming CMA Awards in November. Meanwhile, Dolly recently revealed to ELLE magazine that she's been sexually harassed with unwanted advances over her 50-year career. "I've certainly been harassed in my life. I've certainly had to put up with a lot of BS," she says. "I was always strong enough to walk away from it and not to have to fall under it. I was lucky that I was in a good country town, where the men in the business have wives, and sisters, and cousins, and children," she added. In more Dolly news, Parton's Dollywood theme park is being sued by the copyright owners of the famous theme song in the 1965 A Charlie Brown Christmas special. Los Angeles-based Lee Mendelson Film Productions, which owns the copyright to the song written by Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi, charge the East Tennessee theme park has used the song without permission in live Christmas performances since 2007. They're asking for $150,000 for every time the song has been used, as well as seeking an injunction against Dollywood from playing their music. Dollywood declined to comment on pending litigation. - Billboard/AP/New Musical Express, 10/13/19...... Wayne Newton has sold his former home, Casa de Shenandoah near Las Vegas, for $5.56 million according to Clark County records. The 36-acre ranch sold for $5.56 million in July and in addition, a nearby commercial property that was home to a gift shop and theater was sold in September. Current owner ICSD purchased the properties in 2010 and transformed them into a tourist attraction. However, the tourist attraction closed three years later and was placed into Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Newton, who has been a Vegas staple for around 60 years, originally purchased the property in 1966. - AP, 10/13/19...... Eddie Van HalenEddie Van Halen is reportedly suffering from throat cancer which he believes he contracted after years of sucking on his metal guitar pick. Van Halen, 64, was diagnosed with cancer nearly 20 years ago and has been travelling between the United States and Germany for treatment, according to TMZ.com. He had a third of his tongue removed in 2000 and had reportedly been declared cancer free in 2002 but has now been to Germany to get radiation treatment over the last five years. Although the veteran rocker is a former "heavy smoker," he is said to blame holding the metal pick in his mouth while performing on stage for his diagnosis. A source told TMZ "for the most part it's worked to keep the disease in check" and he is "doing okay." In 2015, he told Billboard that "I used metal picks -- they're brass and copper which I always held in my mouth, in the exact place where I got the tongue cancer. Plus, I basically live in a recording studio that's filled with electromagnetic energy. So that's one theory. I mean, I was smoking and doing a lot of drugs and a lot of everything. But at the same time, my lungs are totally clear. This is just my own theory, but the doctors say it's possible." Van Halen's namesake band last performed in October 2015 at at L.A.'s Hollywood Bowl and there were rumors the band's classic lineup were set to perform for the first time since 1984. "Him and (brother) Alex [Van Halen] are sitting there laying back and they're waiting to see what happens next. I think they're on a hiatus," his friend Steve Lukather of Toto said in a podcast in Septmber. In 2012, Eddie underwent emergency surgery for a "severe bout of Diverticulitis" -- small pouches formed in the wall of the intestine that can cause a great deal of pain when inflamed or infected. As a result of his operation, the group postponed the Japan leg of their tour. - TheDailyMail.uk, 10/13/19...... Neil Young has just shared a trailer for his new documentary Mountaintop on YouTube. Mountaintop goes behind the scenes of the making of Colorado, Young's first album in seven years with Crazy Horse. Earlier in 2019, Young announced that he would be postponing the rest of his 2019 tour plans to focus on completing 15 unfinished film projects, one of which was a "making of" documentary filmed to tie into the release of Colorado. Young has said he believes the new project with Crazy Horse will be able to "stand alongside Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, Rust Never Sleeps, Psychedelic Pill and all the others." He adds Colorado will "feature 10 new songs ranging from around 3 minutes to over 13 minutes." Besides CD and digital versions of the record, there will also be a double vinyl release comprising three sides of music and a 7" exclusive single not on the album. - New Musical Express, 10/12/19...... A list of the UK's best-selling albums of the past 50 years has been revealed to coincide with the country's National Album Day on Oct. 12. The results for the 1970s are as follows: Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970 and 1971); the TV-marketed compilation 12 Dynamic Hits (1972); Elton John - Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player (1973); The Carpenters - The Singles: 1969-1973 (1974); The Stylistics - The Best of The Stylistics (1975); ABBA - Greatest Hits (1976); ABBA - Arrival (1977); Saturday Night Fever - Soundtrack (1978); and Blondie - Parallel Lines (1979). - New Musical Express, 10/12/19...... A play inspired by Queen's classic 1975 album A Night at the Opera called "Q: A Night at The Kabuki" by Japanese theater troupe NODA MAP opened Tuesday (Oct. 8) in Tokyo. The play, written and directed by veteran playwright Hideki Noda, isn't about the rock legends themselves but a reworking of the Shakespearean tragedy "Romeo and Juliet." "Q: A Night at The Kabuki" came about after the publisher of Queen's catalog in Japan, Sony Music Publishing, approached the band about creating a play visualizing the world depicted in A Night at The Opera. All the album's 12 tracks are effectively featured in the production to enhance the understanding of the storyline, while the costumes juxtapose the styles of the band members when the album was first released and 12th century Japan. The play runs from Oct. 8-15 in Tokyo; Oct. 19-27 in Osaka; Oct. 31-Nov. 4 in Fukuoka; and returns to Tokyo from Nov. 9-Dec. 11. - Billboard, 10/11/19...... Diana RossDiana Ross has been confirmed for the "Legends Slot" during the 2020 Glastonbury Festival in the U.K., set for Michael Eavis' Worthy Farm next June. "I am delighted to say that one of the all-time greats, the wonderful Diana Ross, is coming to Glastonbury to play the Sunday legend slot on the Pyramid next year," Glastonbury co-organizer Emily Eavis tweeted on Oct. 10. "This is a dream come true," Ross responded the same day. "To all the fans across the world, this is my tribute to you. I'm coming to Glastonbury, with love," she added. Previous performers in the coveted "Legends Slot" include Dolly Parton, Jeff Lynne's E.L.O. and Lionel Richie. Other names linked to the 2020 festival include Elton John, Foals and Paul McCartney -- who recently claimed that Glastonbury was looking like a "distinct possibility." However two other acts that were rumoured to be considering a Glastonbury performance, Fleetwood Mac and Led Zeppelin, have been ruled out of playing the festival in 2020 by organizers. - Billboard, 10/10/19...... In a new interview with BBC 6 Music, Ringo Starr has confirmed the Beatles' 1969 album Abbey Road was not meant to be the group's final album. Until recently, it was thought that the band went into recording the Abbey Road knowing it would be their last until a tape, uncovered by Beatles expert Mark Lewisohn, revealed that the band were discussing a follow up album. "We did do Abbey Road and we was like, 'Okay that's pretty good -- but none of us said, 'OK, that's the last time we'll ever play together'. Nobody said that. I never felt that," Starr said. "We'd made this record, and then we would go off and do whatever we wanted to do. And then Paul [McCartney] would call us and say, 'Hey, you want to go in the studio lads?' and we'd do another one. So it was not the end -- because in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make. So I never felt it was in stone," he added. "It's a revelation," Lewisohn told The Guardian about the tape. "The books have always told us that they knew Abbey Road was their last album and they wanted to go out on an artistic high," Lewisohn said. "But no -- they're discussing the next album. And you think that John [Lennon] is the one who wanted to break them up but, when you hear this, he isn't. Doesn't that rewrite pretty much everything we thought we knew?," he added. - NME, 10/11/19...... In other Beatles news, a recently unearthed interview has revealed that John Lennon's least favorite Beatles song was Rubber Soul's "Run For Your Life." "I never liked Run For Your Life, because it was a song I just knocked off," Lennon told Rolling Stone in a 1970 interview. "It was inspired from -- this is a very vague connection -- from (Elvis Presley's) Baby Let's Play House," Lennon said. "There was a line on it, I used to like specific lines from songs, so I wrote it around that ("I'd rather see you dead, little girl, than to be with another man") but I didn't think it was that important." - NME, 10/11/19...... The estate of Prince has blasted Pres. Donald Trump for playing Prince's hit "Purple Rain" during a rally in Minneapolis on Oct. 10 without consent, and even after promises it wouldn't ever happen. The president tried working the North Star State crowd with some hometown hits, and Prince's 1984 classic could clearly be heard playing from speakers during the early phases of the event. Soon after, the official Prince account on Twitter responded. "President Trump played Prince's 'Purple Rain' tonight at a campaign event in Minneapolis despite confirming a year ago that the campaign would not use Prince's music," the tweet reads. "The Prince Estate will never give permission to President Trump to use Prince's songs." The tweet also carried a photo of a letter confirming that, nearly one year ago to the day, the Trump campaign would "not use Prince's music in connection with its activities going forward" after previously using Prince songs during its rallies. During the rally, the president also got in jabs at such musicians as Bruce Springsteen, Beyoncé and Jay-Z. "I didn't need Beyonc and Jay-Z. I didn't need little Bruce Springsteen," Trump said of his 2016 election triumph. He went on to claim Springsteen would "do about two songs, then leave, and everyone leaves with him. And (Hillary Clinton is) still speaking in front of the same lousy crowd. Craziest thing I've ever seen." Springsteen, who is neither little in stature or in size (he's listed at 177cm tall), probably laughed off the insult. In an interview published in Esquire magazine in 2018, the veteran rocker said, ""[Trump] has no interest in uniting the country, really, and actually has an interest in doing the opposite and dividing us, which he does on an almost daily basis. So that's simply a crime against humanity, as far as I'm concerned. It's an awful, awful message to send out into the world if you're in that job and in that position. It's just an ugly, awful message." - Billboard, 10/11/19...... Ian AndersonFans of Jethro Tull will be in for a treat this fall as the classic English prog-rockers will be doing a little "living in the past." Tull frontman Ian Anderson says first up will be a four-CD, two-audio DVD expansion of Tull's 12th studio album Stormwatch. Stormwatch: 40th Anniversary Force 10 Edition will drop on Oct. 18 and feature an unreleased early version of "Dun Rungill," which the band has shared a video of on Soundcloud.com/rhino-uk. That will be followed in November by The Ballad of Jethro Tull, a sanctioned biography featuring more than 200 photos, many from Anderson's personal collection, and downloads of two new songs, "The Ballad of Jethro Tull" and "Marmion." "There is always new music afoot," Anderson says, "but these (archival) projects raise their heads with some regularity now. Twenty, 30 years ago, no major record company could be bothered with doing anything special with old catalog. It was just too much trouble. But now, in the harsh reality of the modern age and rapidly dwindling sales of physical production, anything they can do to make a small profit (is) for them, very important. And the fans are the ones who benefit. They get the result of all that work and effort, which they would never have gotten 20 or 30 years ago. So everybody's a winner." Anderson says some of the remembrances by Tull members John Evan and Dee Palmer in the new Ballad of Jethro Tull book were "amusing to read -- and they were quite funny. It was quite upbeat and good to read." Anderson says he and the current incarnation of Jethro Tull have already done some rehearsing for shows during 2020 -- which unfortunately won't include the U.S. after Anderson's visa expired during September. Plus, he adds, "I've played the USA so many times for so many years, and in many ways I'm feeling that I've run out of places to play. So I keep saying to my agent, 'Look, can we find something different to do? Different cities? Different venues?' Getting visas for me and the band and the crew is really a pain in the ass, so I'm not going to do that until I have enough in the way of some fresh challenges to justify all the hassle." In the meantime, the band will play other territories and continue to work on new music -- and perhaps the band's first new release since The Jethro Tull Christmas Album in 2003. - Billboard, 10/9/19...... In a post to Twitter on Oct. 9, Ozzy Osbourne said that he's been forced to cancel European tour dates that had been scheduled for January and February after suffering a "bad fall" early this year he "screwed up all the vertebrae" in his neck. The 70-year-old rocker added however he's recovering enough that he's keeping North American tour dates that start in May 2020 on the calendar. "I'm bored stiff being stuck in bed all day," said Ozzy, who had to cancel North American shows in 2019 because of health troubles. - Billboard, 10/9/19...... Aerosmith has been chosen as the MusiCares Person of the Year for 2020, the Grammys' Recording Academy has announced. The 30th anniversary gala and tribute will take place on Jan. 24, two days before the 62nd Grammy Awards take over the Staples Center in Los Angeles. As always, proceeds for the bash will go to MusiCares, which provides financial and other support for music people in times of need. Following a dinner, Aerosmith will be honored with a tribute concert featuring well-known musicians and other artists and, finally, the Person of the Year award presentation. Aerosmith has a long history of supporting charitable organizations, most notably frontman Steven Tyler's Janie's Fund initiative, which supports vulnerable girls and young women who have survived abuse and neglect. Aerosmith joins other recent MusiCares honorees, including Dolly Parton, Fleetwood Mac and Tom Petty. They are only the second band to be chosen for the honor, following Fleetwood Mac. - Billboard, 10/4/19...... Judy CollinsFolk-rock legend Judy Collins will release a 10-song set of seasonal songs, Winter Stories, on Nov. 29. The album was recorded with Norwegian singer Jonas Fjeld and special guests Chatham County Line in Asheville, N.C. -- where Collins also created Come Rejoice! A Judy Collins Christmas 25 years ago. The set includes versions of Joni Mitchell's "The River" and Jimmy Webb's "Highwayman," as well as an epic, seven-minute treatment of Collins' own "The Blizzard." The LP continues a prolific stretch of work for Collins, including a lengthy tour with former boyfriend Stephen Stills to promote their 2017 set Everybody Knows. "I've got a lot to do and a lot on my plate and a lot of things I'm thinking about," Collins says. "I love what I do and it's a creative time, so...why not? As long as you're well and healthy and love what you do, as I do, there are a lot of opportunities that are going to come up." Collins is also preparing another album, Resistance and Beauty, for 2020 which features the topical "Dreamers," a song she began performing with Stills in 2018. "There's a song (on it) called 'The Grand Canyon,' which I think is maybe one of my best songs, and a song called 'Arizona'," Collins says. "Nature prevails in my songs, I think. I can't get away from it." - Billboard, 10/9/19...... Oscar nominated actor Robert Forster died on Oct. 12 aged 78 after losing a battle with brain cancer. The prolific actor amassed over 100 film and TV credits during his career, but scored his Academy Award nomination for his role as Max Cherry in Quentin Tarantino's 1997 film Jackie Brown. His last movie role was a reprisal of his Breaking Bad character, Ed, in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, which was released on Netflix the same day as his death. Forster made his movie debut opposite Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor in 1967's Reflections in a Golden Eye. He went on to have a celebrated career, which even included stints on Broadway, beginning in 1965 with "Mrs. Dally." He is survived by his children, Bobby, Elizabeth, Kate and Maeghen; his grandchildren, Tess, Liam, Jack and Olivia; and his longtime partner, Denise Grayson. - WENN/Canoe.com, 10/12/19.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Ginger BakerGinger Baker, drummer and co-founder of 1960s blues-rock supergroup Cream, died on Oct. 6, his family confirms. He was 80. Baker's death follows a 2016 fall in his home and subsequent open heart surgery after being diagnosed with a heart condition, and the news follows recent posts on his social media channels that he was hospitalized in "critically ill" condition. Baker was one-third of the 1960s power trio with guitarist Eric Clapton and bassist Jack Bruce that mixed blues with sunshine-pop, hitting the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart with "Sunshine of Your Love" (No. 5) and "White Room" (No. 6) in 1968. The band split in 1968 and reunited in 2005 for a residency at the Royal Albert Hall, captured that year on the live album Royal Albert Hall London May 2-3-5-6, 2005. Despite existing for only two years, Cream sold over 35 million records over their lifespan. After Cream disbanded, Baker and Clapton started another blues-rock supergroup, Blind Faith, with bassist Ric Grech and Traffic guitarist Steve Winwood, in 1968. Blind Faith burned out even quicker than Cream, releasing a 1969 self-titled album and undergoing one tour before going their separate ways. In 1972, Baker released two solo albums, Ginger Baker at His Best and Stratavarious, in which he dabbled in jazz fusion and Afrobeat. Ginger BakerLate in life, Baker often appeared in the press as a lovable, irascible grouch, living in South Africa with his Zimbabwean wife, Kudzai, while treating his emphysema and degenerative spine condition. During Cream's brief reunion in 2005, he sang his oddball interlude "Pressed Rat and Warthog" (from 1968's Wheels of Fire) with ill-fitting socks falling down his legs and fought bitterly with Jack Bruce onstage. "It's a knife-edge thing for me and Ginger," Bruce was quoted as saying in Rolling Stone. "Nowadays, we're happily co-existing in different continents, although I was thinking of asking him to move. He's still a bit too close." Baker also contributed to Public Image Ltd.'s 1986 album Album and in 2009 published an autobiography, Hellraiser: The Autobiography of the World's Greatest Drummer. He stayed behind the kit until heart issues forced him to retire from performing in 2016. Even as his health seriously declined, Baker opted to spit in the face of death. "[It] is the final great adventure!. When I die, put me in a lead coffin and throw me out to sea!," he once said. Baker's son, Kofi Baker, released a statement following his father's death on Oct. 6. "The other day I had a beautiful visit with my dad... we talked about memories and music and he's happy that I'm keeping his legacy alive." Kofi, who is a drummer in his own band, admitted in the past that the pair endured a rocky relationship, but added "our relationship was mended and he was in a peaceful place. Thank you all for the kind messages and thoughts. I love my dad and will miss him always." - Billboard, 10/6/19.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Joni Mitchell's Joni 75: A Joni Mitchell Birthday Celebration (Live), Barbra Streisand's Walls, Elvis Costello & the Imposters' Look Now and Bryan Ferry and his Orchestra's Bitter-Sweet are among the nominees for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album when the 2020 Grammys are held next year. As of this year, the Grammys' Recording Academy expanded the category to also include "contemporary pop songs performed in traditional pop style" in addition to the usual albums made up of songs from the Great American Songbook as well as cabaret and musical theater-style songs. Joni Mitchell won the 2000 award in this category with her album Both Sides Now, and her salute album would be the second salute to her to win big in this category. Herbie Hancock's River: The Joni Letters won the 2007 awards for album of the year and best contemporary jazz album. Mitchell received a lifetime achievement award from the Academy in 2002. - Billboard, 10/8/19...... Elton JohnThe UK's Daily Mail paper has obtained excerpts from Elton John's upcoming autobiography which include the Rocketman revealing that he was "24 hours from death" when he contracted an infection following surgery for prostate cancer in 2017. In the memoir, entitled Me, John says that he found out he had the disease following a routine medical checkup. The 72-year-old Elton explains that he made the decision not to undergo chemotherapy and instead had surgery to remove his prostate, which wouldn't see his visiting hospital "dozens of times" and interfere with his planned live shows. Although the procedure was a success, the singer contracted an infection which led to serious problems. "I was incredibly lucky -- although, I have to say, I didn't feel terribly lucky at the time," John wrote. "I lay awake all night, wondering if I was going to die. In the hospital, alone at the dead of night, I'd prayed: Please don't let me die, please let me see my kids again, please give me a little longer." Other revelations in the book include Elton hosting a dinner party where Sylvester Stallone and Richard Gere fought over Gere flirting with Princess Diana, and John once trying to give "scruffy" Bob Dylan a makeover after mistaking him for his gardener. Me hits bookstores on Oct. 15. - NME, 10/5/19...... Paul McCartney announced on Oct. 8 that he'll be releasing two new songs -- "Home Tonight" and "In A Hurry" -- for the 2019 Record Store Day on Black Friday, which falls on Nov. 22. Both tracks were recorded during McCartney's sessions for his 2018 album Egypt Station, and created with legendary producer Greg Kurstin. The limited edition vinyl will be available Nov. 29 as a 7-inch picture disc featuring album artwork based on the old-time parlour game "Exquisite Corpse." - Billboard, 10/8/19...... In other Beatles-related news, the Fab Four's former No. 1 album Abbey Road has returned to the Billboard Hot 200 album chart, from No. 71 to No. 3, after the album was reissued as a 50th anniversary deluxe release on Sept. 27. The release earned 81,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in the week ending Oct. 3 (up 803%) with 70,000 of that sum in album sales (up 3,091%). Abbey Road was first released in the U.S. on Sept. 26, 1969 and spent 11 nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1 on the chart in late 1969 and early 1970. It first reached the top of the list dated Nov. 1, 1969, and it spent its final week at No. 1 on Jan. 24, 1970. Abbey Road's most recent rise is its first week in the top 10 since April 25, 1970 (when it ranked at No. 9) and its highest placing since March 14, 1970 (No. 3). The album has spent a total of 329 weeks on the Hot 200 chart (including the new chart week), which marks the most weeks on the chart for any studio album by the Beatles. Only the group's greatest hits set 1, released in 2000, has spent more time on the chart, with 388 weeks. Abbey Road is also the band's largest-selling studio album in the history of Nielsen Music, as it has sold 5.6 million copies in the U.S. since the firm began electronically tracking sales in 1991. For its 50th anniversary reissue, Abbey Road was freshly mixed and in a variety of formats, many coming with an array of previously unreleased recordings and demo tracks. It follows the previous Beatles reissues The Beatles (aka "The White Album") in 2018 and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in 2017. - Billboard, 10/6/19...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, lost footage of the band from 1965 has just been found in a bread bin in Wales. It sees the four Beatles joking around with the interviewer during an appearance in Cardiff, before breaking into a rendition of "There's No Business Like Show Business." Additional footage found, from 1967, shows the band talking about the spiritual figure Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and about their relationship to his readings. Speaking in response, John Lennon said: "Of course it's not a cult and if we didn't take it seriously we wouldn't be here." The film was found during the clearance of a house, and has been described as a "great find" by Paul Fairweather from Omega Auctions. "All four Beatles are in fine form throughout both of the Cardiff films, laughing and joking, while the interviewer tries to remain serious," Fairweather said. "The sound and image quality is fantastic. I expect these have never been seen since 1965." The footage has been valued at around £10,000. - New Musical Express, 10/6/19...... A concert film of Lionel Richie's acclaimed performance at the 2015 Glastonbury Festival will be screened in select cinemas around the globe for one night only on Nov. 19. Lionel Richie at Glastonbury will be prefaced by an exclusive introduction and personal reflections from Richie about a career journey that began in Tuskegee, Ala. and ultimately brought him to Glastonbury. "I'm so excited for the opportunity to share the 2015 Glastonbury Festival performance with fans across the globe," said Richie in a release announcing the event. "I'm honored to have played on such an iconic stage and the fans' energy that day truly made this show a memorable moment in my career." Tickets for the U.S. screenings of the film go on sale on Oct. 18 at FathomEvents.com, and a list of U.S. theater locations can also be found there. - Billboard, 10/8/19...... The Eagles announced on Oct. 8 that they will play their 1976 album Hotel California in its entirety, backed by an orchestra and choir, in six U.S. cities in early 2020. Starting in February, the Eagles will perform the classic album in Atlanta (2/7-8), New York (2/14-15), Dallas (2/29, 3/1), Houston (3/6-7), San Francisco (4/11-12) and Inglewood, Calif. (4/17-18). The Eagles first performed Hotel California in its entirety for the first time on Sept. 27 at MGM Grand Garden Arena, followed by a greatest hits set after a brief intermission. They repeated the evening on Sept. 28 and Oct. 5. - Billboard, 10/8/19...... Gary GlitterWarner Bros.' new The Joker movie, already having stirred up a fair amount of controversy for its nihilistic R-rated storyline in the wake of a mass shooting in a Colorado theater during premiere week of a previous Batman franchise movie, has come under more fire for using a track by convicted pedophile and '70s glam rock artist Gary Glitter on its soundtrack. The critical and commercial hit uses Glitter's 1972 hit "Rock and Roll Part 2" in a lengthy and pivotal scene, in which star Joaquin Phoenix dances down a long flight of stairs and transforms into the iconic character. Much of the anger on social media has centered on the fact that Glitter could be receiving royalties from Warner Bros. for using his song. "Gary Glitter gets royalties for Joker. They're literally paying a paedophile to use his music in a movie about the consequences of child abuse. I'm off the fence -- this movie is immoral bullshit," tweeted one critic, while another said the track choice was the "most morally questionable" aspect of the film. Glitter, 75, whose real is name Paul Gadd, enjoyed huge success in the 1970s and 1980s as a star of Britain's glam rock scene, but fell dramatically from grace in the late 1990s after being arrested for downloading child pornography. In 2015, he was found guilty of attempted rape, four counts of indecent assault and one count of having sex with a girl under the age of 13, and sentenced to 16 years in prison. However, one Twitter user pointed out that Joker wasn't the first film to use a Glitter track, "Rock n Roll" having been played on 2004's Meet the Fockers. - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/7/19...... As a new biopic on screen legend Judy Garland hit U.S. theaters in late September, Barbra Streisand took to Twitter on Oct. 5 to pay tribute to the late star by posting YouTube clips of the pair singing "Happy Days Are Here Again" and "Get Happy" together back in 1963. "Such a special moment in my career," Streisand wrote. "She was incredible. Totally unique. Just been reminded this aired 56 years ago today on CBS." Streisand and Garland performed together during episode 9 of The Judy Garland Show, which was taped on Oct. 4, 1963, and then broadcast by CBS two days later. This duet paved the way for Streisand, who had just released her first album, to receive her first Emmy nomination, for outstanding performance in a variety or musical program or series, in 1964. - Billboard, 10/7/19...... ABBA's Bjorn Ulvaeus has praised young climate change activist Greta Thunberg in a new video, saying she has "superpowers." In a video message to Australia's SBS news, Ulvaeus described the intense young lady as a "populist nightmare" who "drives some people, mostly men, crazy, and I find it difficult to understand where that anger comes from." "How can you stoop so low as to criticise the looks of a child? A young girl," he added. "The reason is of course the lack of counter-arguments. ven if you don't think that everything Greta says or does is unquestionable, you have to admire her guts and her focus. It's a monumental achievement to create a global mass movement from scratch in such a short time." Earlier in 2019, Ulvaeus revealed that new ABBA music will be arriving this autumn, with a digital avatar ABBA tour also set to take place soon. - New Musical Express, 10/7/19...... Experimental pop musician Anna Nasty, who has been recording and performing as Olivia Neutron-John, has announced she will no longer use the punny moniker after a Sept. 28 show in New York after she received a cease-and-desist letter from Olivia Newton-John's legal team. Nasty said she received the letter in July, about two months after the release of her band's self-titled debut album, and "because I have very limited resources, I was unable to fight it." The Washington, D.C. area musician, who started recording as Olivia Neutron-John around 2013, says she's "going to take this as an opportunity to step back and reinvent." - New Musical Express, 10/8/19...... Peter FramptonPeter Frampton performed the finale of his 2019 farewell tour at The Forum in Los Angeles on Oct. 5. The 69-year-old Frampton announced in February that he's suffering from Inclusion-Body Myositis (IBM), a muscle disorder that causes inflammation, weakness and atrophy, and that he's retiring from live performing after his farewell tour. Billed as "Peter Frampton's Finale -- The Farewell Tour," the show saw Frampton making reference to his disease after night's final number, saying the "love and support of his fans would help him heal," but the show wasn't a bummer. Rather, it felt like a celebration with the singer/guitarist taking a joyful look back at his career, with several thousand people on hand to partake in the party. Dressed in jacket, T-shirt and jeans, Frampton looked lean and fit and it didn't appear that the disease has affected his ability to perform, as he was fine in voice and his guitar virtuosity remained intact for the two-hour set that opened with "Something's Happening" followed by such Frampton Comes Alive! tracks as "Lines on My Face," "Show Me the Way," "(I'll Give You) Money," "Baby, I Love Your Way" and "Do You Feel Like We Do." The show also included a mostly instrumental cover of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" hit hard, following Frampton's intro that noted he once performed the song live with the late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell on vocals. Encores included "Four Day Creep," "I Don't Need No Doctor" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." - Billboard, 10/6/19...... In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Ric Ocasek's widow Paulina Porizkova remembers her last moments with the late Cars frontman. Porizkova, who found Ocasek in his home after his death, said that his recent surgery was not at all the cause behind his death. "I don't know how much I want to say about the surgery, but it was successful. He was recuperating really well," she says. "So his passing was a f---ing shock." She also spoke of bringing cookies home for the singer on the night before his death. "He said, OK, thanks, hon. I had some terrible cookies because I was in the mood for cookies, but I'll have your gooey cookies tomorrow. I think I'm going to bed early since I m feeling a little sore.' And that was the last time I saw him alive." Ocasek died on Sept. 15 aged 75. Porizkova also stated that she was baffled by the New York medical examiner's autopsy on Ocasek, which stated that Ocasek died of atherosclerosis. - New Musical Express, 10/6/19...... Sting has announced he'll release a new live album dubbed My Songs: Live recorded during his "My Songs World Tour" earlier in 2019. "This is my life in songs," Sting writes in the live album's insightful song-by-song liner notes. "Some of them reconstructed, some of them refitted, some of them reframed, and all of them with a contemporary focus." Sting's 2019 My Songs studio album featured updated sonics, dynamics and arrangements based on the way his songs have evolved for him over the years. Meanwhile, Sting will be performing his musical "The Last Ship" in five cities in 2020 starting Jan. 14 at Los Angeles' Ahmanson Theatre followed by runs in San Francisco, Washington D.C., St. Paul, Minn. and Detroit. - Billboard, 10/4/19...... Sony Music and the Michael Jackson estate announced on Oct. 4 that Jackson's This Is It album is getting a limited-edition 10th anniversary box set reissue. Only 1,000 numbered copies will be made of the set that is available for pre-order at the Jackson online store and will be released on Dec. 11. Each will include four LPs on translucent-blue vinyl, a 3-D Blu-Ray disc of the film, a 60-page coffee table book with two dozen previously unpublished pictures and an authentic lenticular concert ticket for the July 24, 2009, concert at O2 Arena in London that was never held because Jackson died 18 days before his comeback series of shows were scheduled to begin. Jackson's This Is It soundtrack came from the movie that captured his final concert rehearsals before his 2009 death. The film was released in theaters that October and had the highest global box office gross of any concert documentary. - AP, 10/4/19...... KISSAs part of a promotion by AirBnB, KISS and eight KISS fans will set sail on separate boats off the coast of southern Australia on Nov. 18 to perform for great white sharks, with the fans separated from them by a small submarine. While KISS stays above board on one vessel, the fans will be lowered beneath the surface of the water from a second boat into the viewing sub in an area known for shark activity. Using underwater speakers, KISS will begin playing, and the sound will be audible to the submerged fans and the sharks. "I was a little taken aback by it, but they explained that sharks are attracted to low frequencies and so they're attracted to rock 'n' roll," KISS singer/guitarist Paul Stanley told The Associated Press. "Since we're going to be in Australia, it gives a whole new meaning to doing a concert down under." The event will take place in the Indian Ocean off Port Lincoln, South Australia. KISS will be in full makeup and costumes for the performance, which will be at least four songs. "I'm not sure how much of us the sharks can take," Stanley said. "I'm hoping they know 'Rock And Roll All Nite.'" Proceeds will go to charity, according to AirBnB. Reservations can be made starting at 6 p.m. EDT on airbnb.com/KISS on Oct. 14. - AP, 10/3/19...... In advance of the Oct. 11 release of Freddie Mercury's Never Boring solo box set, Hollywood Records has shared a newly remixed, 4K video version of one of the late Queen singer's most legendarily over-the-top videos, re-created from the original raw footage shot during his blow-out 39th birthday party at the legendary Mrs Henderson transvestite club in Munich, Germany. The clip finds Mercury, decked out in harlequin tights and a gold-tasseled military jacket, playing host to a menagerie of pals living it up under the club's lights, grinning as his eyes eerily glow red, getting a champagne flute to the face and harmonizing on the song's scat-singing chorus amid a pile of queens. In other Queen-related news, the band's historic performance at Live Aid has been recreated in an upcoming episode of The Simpsons. Queen guitarist Brian May posted an image of Homer Simpson made over as Mercury to his Facebook page last night (October 4). Further plot details on the upcoming episode are not yet known. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 10/4/19...... Lynyrd Skynyrd founding member and longtime .38 Special bassist Larry Junstrom has died at age 70. Born Lawrence E. Junstrom in Pittsburgh on June 22, 1949, Junstrom was one of the founding members of Southern rock icons Skynyrd, joining the Jacksonville-Florida-bred band after singer Ronnie Van Zant, drummer Bob Burns and guitarists Gary Rossington and Allen Collins joined forces in 1964 as My Backyard` By 1969 they changed their name, releasing their debut album in 1973, Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd, which included such soon-to-be-classics as "Gimme Three Steps," "Simple Man" and one of the most enduring rock anthems of any era: "Free Bird." By the time the band broke out of Florida, though, Junstrom had been long gone, leaving in 1971 and replaced by Leon Wilkeson. He wasn't out of the spotlight long, though, hooking up with another all-time classic Southern band, the Donnie Van Zant-fronted .38 Special in 1976 and playing with that band for 38 years on 12 studio albums until 2014 and scoring such hits as "Hold on Loosely" and "Caught Up In You." Junstrom retried from .38 Special in 2014 following a hand injury that required surgery. Lynyrd Skynyrd paid homage to one of the band's co-founders on their website, writing, "Rest Easy, LJ, you will always be remembered as the big man, on the big bass with the even bigger heart!" - Billboard, 10/7/19...... Diahann CarrollPioneering African-American actress and singer Diahann Carroll, who made television history with her turns on Julia and Dynasty, died at her home in Los Angeles on Oct. 4 after a long bout with cancer. She was 84. Ms. Carroll was known as a Las Vegas and nightclub performer and for her performances on Broadway and in the Hollywood musicals "Carmen Jones" and "Porgy & Bess" when she was approached by an NBC executive to star as Julia Baker, a widowed nurse raising a young son, on the comedy Julia. Although Ms. Carroll initially didn't want to do the part because she "didn't think the show was going to work, "she eventually became the first African-American female to star in a non-stereotypical role in her own primetime network series. Julia, which premiered in September 1968, finished No. 7 in the ratings in the first of its three seasons, and Ms. Carroll received an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe for her work. After hosting a CBS summer replacement variety show in 1976, she retired from show business and moved to Oakland. Landing the role of Dominique, the half-sister of John Forsythe's Blake Carrington in Dynasty, in 1984 put her back on the map in Hollywood. More recently, Ms. Carroll had recurring roles on NBC's A Different World, ABC's Grey's Anatomy, and USA's White Collar. She also appeared in such films as Eve's Bayou (1997) and on stage as Norman Desmond in a musical version of Sunset Blvd. She was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 2011. She was married four times, to Monte Kay, Freddie Glusman, Robert DeLeon and singer Vic Damone, from 1987 until their 1996 divorce. In addition to her daughter, producer-journalist Suzanne Kay, survivors include her grandchildren, August and Sydney. - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/4/19...... Comedian Rip Taylor, known for his extremely flamboyant and enthusiastic personality as well as his penchant for showering people with confetti, died on Oct. 6 of as yet undisclosed causes. He was 84. Born in Washington, D.C. in 1935, Taylor briefly worked as a congressional page. During the Korean War, he joined up with the special services and worked to entertain troops, where he came up with a comedy routine that made him famous, and by the '60s he had become a regular player in the Catskills. Taylor's comedy then became a recurring feature on the The Ed Sullivan Show, though Sullivan himself only referred to Taylor as "The Crying Comedian" when he couldn't remember his name. His frequent TV appearances made Taylor an in-demand comedian, landing him high-profile gigs in Las Vegas in the '70s opening for performers like Frank Sinatra, Debbie Reynolds, Judy Garland, and The Kingston Trio. The '70s also saw him transition to the world of television, regularly appearing on Hollywood Squares, The Gong Show, and as a guest host on The Match Game. He played a genit on Sigmund And The Sea Monsters, popped up on The Brady Bunch Hour, and hosted a weird pageant parody series called The $1.98 Beauty Show. Taylor also did voice work in projects like Scooby Goes Hollywood, The Emperor's New School and Tom And Jerry: The Movie. He appeared in movies like Wayne's World 2, Chatterbox and Indecent Proposal (making a rare appearance without his usual toupee). Taylor also somehow became a fixture of the Jackass movies and made a post-credits cameo in Johnny Knoxville's Dukes Of Hazzard. Taylor is survived by his longtime partner, Robert Fortney. - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/6/19.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Rod Stewart surprised a British couple with a serenade during their wedding in Las Vegas on Oct. 2 after they became stranded in the city when the British tour agency Thomas Cook abruptly announced its bankruptcy in late September. Sharon Cook and Andrew Aitchison of Liverpool and their 14 guests were left high and dry in Vegas until Delta Air Lines and Caesars Palace stepped in to throw them a party in the hotel's Venus Garden Chapel. At the end of the ceremony, Sir Rod surprised the pair with an acoustic version of his hist "Have I Told You Lately" accompanied by a string trio. Stewart then invited the whole gang to cap off the blessed event with a visit that night to his "Rod Stewart: The Hits" show at the Colosseum. "Thank you Rod you've absolutely made our dream wedding you absolute legend," Andy Aitchison tweeted after the wedding. - Billboard, 10/3/19...... On Oct. 3 Fleetwood Mac announced they'll close out their 2018-19 world tour with one last blowout gig at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Nov. 16. The band, with Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie joined by new members Mike Campbell and Neil Finn, kicked off the tour in October 2018 and have visited eight countries for over 80 shows. In a statement, Mick Fleetwood said, "Mike and Neil and the overall band chemistry really worked and let the band realize that this is the right combination to go forward with in Fleetwood Mac style. It's got the unmistakable Mac sound." - Billboard, 10/3/19...... Gene SimmonsKISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons is reportedlyr esting comfortably after undergoing surgery to remove kidney stones in late September. Tweeting on Oct. 1, Simmons' wife Shannon Tweed-Simmons wrote, "Well, now that the cats out of the bag, this is Gene's second of three procedures that will remove these large kidney stones so he can move on with Rockin' & Rollin'," she wrote and included a link to an Instagram shot of an ultrasound of what appeared to be one of the stones. KISS postponed a concert in Salt Lake City in September after Simmons said he had to fly home for an unspecified medical procedure, calling it "nothing serious... but it must be taken care of now." The gig was the final scheduled performance of the band's "End of the Road" world tour before they are slated to move begin an Australian leg in November. KISS also postponed shows in Los Angeles and Oakland last month due to "unforeseen scheduling issues," with the gigs re-scheduled, respectively. - Billboard, 10/3/19...... Reggae legend Bob Marley's former home in west London has been honored with a rare English Heritage blue plaque that was unveiled on Oct. 1 at 42 Oakley Street in Chelsea. The house was the headquarters of Marley and his The Wailers and Marley's primary address in 1977, during their recording of the Exodus album. The plaque was unveiled by Rastafarian writer Benjamin Zephaniah and broadcaster David Olusoga, who called Marley "a cultural icon who blazed a trail for other black artists." John Lennon, Freddie Mercury and Mozart are among the other cultural icons who have been honored with the blue plaque. Marley died in 1981 at the height of his fame. - AP, 10/3/19...... On Oct. 2 Elton John announced further European shows on his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" in 2020 that includes two additional nights at London's 02 Arena on Dec. 16 and 20. Sir Elton will also perform farewell gigs in Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Leeds before kicking off the European leg in London on Nov. 2. In a statement, John said, "...these UK shows will be incredibly special... The UK is home, and where my heart will always be... These homecoming shows will be very emotional, and a lot of fun." Elton first announced his 3-year farewell tour in 2018 after deciding to retire from touring, telling his fans that he wanted to focus on his family. He and husband David Furnish are parents to two young sons who are now at school age. John will perform more than 300 shows in North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Australasia before its conclusion in 2021. - New Musical Express, 10/8/19...... The family of Cream drummer Ginger Baker is asking fans to keep the 80-year-old musician in their prayers after he was admitted to hospital in a critical condition on Sept. 25. "Ginger is holding his own & thank you for all your good wishes. He is receiving visits from close family & very special friends," the family tweeted. No further details about Baker's illness have been disclosed as of yet. In 2013, Baker announced that he suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease caused by smoking, and chronic back pain as a result of degenerative osteoarthritis. In July 2016, he underwent open-heart surgery after being diagnosed with a "major" heart condition. He suffered a fall at his home four months earlier, which forced him to cancel shows with his band Air Force 3. Baker founded Cream in 1966 with Eric Clapton and bassist Jack Bruce, the trio released four albums including the influential Disraeli Gears before splitting in 1968. Baker and Clapton went on to play in Blind Faith with Steve Winwood of Traffic. - New Musical Express, 9/30/19...... Roger WatersOn Sept. 30, Roger Waters shared a trailer for his upcoming concert documentary Us + Them, which was filmed across four nights at Amsterdam's Ziggo Dome on the European leg of his 2017-18 "Us + Them" tour. In the trailer, Waters performs Pink Floyd's seminal track "Dogs" as a hologram of London's Battersea Power Station is seen floating in the middle of the crowd, a reference to the band's 1977 album Animals. As well as showcasing the titular album and its message of "human rights, liberty and love," the film also features songs from Waters' legendary Pink Floyd albums, including Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall, Wish You Were Here and Waters' latest solo album, Is This The Life We Really Want? Us + Them was screened in select cinemas in the UK on Oct. 2, and another night of screenings is scheduled for Oct. 6. - NME, 9/30/19...... Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has tweeted out a message of support for his fellow rocker and friend James Hetfield of Metallica after Metallica recently announced that they will be postponing their Australian and New Zealand tour as Hetfield has re-entered substance abuse rehabilitation treatment. "My best out to James Hetfield," Iommi wrote on Twitter on Oct. 2 alongside a throwback photo of the duo. "You've done the right thing seeking help -- I'm thinking of you my friend and wishing you all the very best on your recovery. Looking forward to seeing you back at your best very soon. Your pal Tony," he added. - Billboard, 10/2/19...... Iggy Pop announced on Oct. 2 he will perform an exclusive London live show in November. The iconic punk rocker, who released his latest album Free in September, will make a one-off appearance as part of The EFG London Jazz Festival. Pop will perform his new record in its entirety at The Barbican Centre on Nov. 21, and it will be his only UK date of the year. On Oct. 1, Pop shared the official video for his new single, "Love's Missing," on YouTube. "Loves screaming/ So quietly and in pain/ Loves absent it's failing her once again/ Loves screaming," croons Pop in the track, his raw lyrics matched with close-up shots of him on the mic. Speaking about Free earlier in 2019, Pop described his 18th solo LP as "an album in which other artists speak for me, but I lend my voice." - New Musical Express, 10/2/19...... On Oct. 1, Barbra Streisand celebrated 57 years as an artist on the Columbia Records label by sharing a throwback picture on Instagram of the budding star, grinning ear to ear, signing her contract in 1962 while Columbia Records president Goddard Lieberson, her manager Marty Erlichman, and Columbia A&R man David Kapralik look on. The diva's 57th anniversary with Columbia easily makes her the label's longest-running continuous artist. Over the course of her storied career, Streisand has become the first artist to score a No. 1 album on the Billboard Hot 200 in six consecutive decades, as well as charting 11 albums to the top of the Hot 200, starting with People hitting No. 1 in 1964. - Billboard, 10/2/19...... Lou GrammForeigner announced on Oct. 1 that lead singer Lou Gramm has been forced to sit out the group's "Double Vision: Then & Now" tour due to serious medical issues. The band tweeted that 69-year-old Gramm was hosptialized in Rochester, N.Y., in late September with a "severe respiratory infection, dehydration and fatigue." Though he'd prepared for the 40th anniversary tour, a doctor reportedly told Gramm that he would be unable to perform on the shows. In a note to fans, he wrote, "I'm very disappointed about not being able to perform at the FOREIGNER Double Vision: Then & Now shows for all the fans. My doctor insists if I pushed myself to perform, I would be in big trouble. So doctor's orders, I ride the bench. Rock on." Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones added that "We will all miss Lou at our upcoming shows and we join all his family, friends, and fans in wishing him a speedy recovery." A spokesperson for the group noted that requests for refunds can be addressed at point of purchase before the concert date. The Mick Jones-led Foreigner announced the tour in September, which will feature the current lineup performing with the classic one to celebrate their 40th anniversary. Original members Gramm, drummer Dennis Elliott, guitarist Ian McDonald, keyboardist Al Greenwood and bassist Rick Wills are slated to take the stage with Jones and the current Foreigner lineup of guitarist Tom Gimbel, bassist Jeff Pilson, singer Kelly Hansen, keyboardist Michael Bluestein, guitarist Bruce Watson and drummer Chris Frazier. - Billboard, 10/2/19...... The Beatles' special 50th anniversary reissue of Abbey Road is on track to top the album chart in the U.K. after dropping on Sept. 27. Abbey Road is No. 1 on the midweek chart with a lead of 12,000 chart sales over the reigning chart-leader, Liam Gallagher's Why Me? Why Not, according to the Official Charts Company reports. Widely regarded as the Beatles' greatest LP, Abbey Road is the final studio album recorded by the Fab Four. - Billboard, 10/2/19...... The estate of Prince announced on Oct. 1 that it has new leadership and development partners for the late artist's famed Paisley Park complex located 30 minutes outside of Minneapolis in Chanhassen, Minn. Alan Seiffert will serve as executive director of Paisley Park, while entertainment development companies MR-ProFun and Mycotoo will come on board to "enhance the overall experience" for guests of the facility -- Prince's former home and recording studio in Minnesota, which is now a public museum. "Just as it was for Prince, Paisley Park is more than a building or place -- it is a creative laboratory, performance studio, and innovative space offering future generations the chance to create and share their work," Seiffert said in a statement. "I am honored to help bring Prince's vision to life." The 65,000 square-foot Paisley Park, where Prince recorded many of his most famous albums, opened to the public as a museum just months after Prince's death at the complex in April 2016. - Billboard, 10/1/19...... David Lee RothIn an interview with Detroit radio station WRIF on Oct. 1, Van Halen singer David Lee Roth said that Van Halen is "finished" and that his upcoming Las Vegas residency "is the next phase" of the band. "I've inherited the band de facto -- whatever that means," the 64-year-old singer said. "I think it means if you inherit it, carry this proudly. Van Halen isn't gonna be coming back in the fashion that you know." Roth went on to explain that he was now "the face of Van Halen" as he's "not sure what's happening with Ed (VH guitarist Eddie Van Halen)." Pressed on whether Eddie had been facing any health issues, Roth responded: "I hear all the same rumours that you do and it's not my place to guess." Earlier in 2019, fans speculated that Van Halen's rumoured reunion had been shelved due to Eddie's ill health. Van Halen haven't performed a live show since their appearance at Hollywood Bowl in October 2015. The date formed part of the band's extensive North American tour that summer. - New Musical Express, 10/1/19...... A trailer for the new 90-minute Johnny Cash documentary The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash was shared on YouTube on Oct. 1. The Gift was created with the full cooperation of the Cash estate and uses his legendary 1968 gig at Folsom Prison as a central motif for the deep dive into Cash's life. Directed by Emmy- and Grammy-winning filmmaker Thom Zimmy (Springsteen on Broadway), it has been given a Nov. 11 premiere date. - Billboard, 10/1/19...... Speaking of Bruce Springsteen, the NJ rocker has been nominated for a best music film Grammy at the upcoming 62nd annual Grammy Awards for his Springsteen on Broadway film. Springsteen won in this category in 2006 with Wings for Wheels: The Making of Born to Run. Springsteen's 14-month run at the Walter Kerr Theatre in 2017-18 has proven to be an awards magnet. He received a special Tony Award prior to the Emmy nom. Also nominated in the same category is Bob Dylan, for his Martin Scorsese-directed concert film Rolling Thunder Revue. Scorsese also directed Dylan's No Direction Home, the 2005 winner in this category. - Billboard, 10/1/19...... Speaking with CBS morning host Gayle King recently, Olivia Newton-John talked being positive and staying present despite battling breast cancer for the third time. "...I need to enjoy my life," Newton-John said. "So, I'm going to eat a cookie if I want it. And I'm gonna have a cup of tea if I want it. And if I wanna have a little bit of wine, I'm gonna do that.' Because the joy of life and everyday living has to be a part of that healing process as well." Olivia was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 at the age of 43, and returned in 2013. In May, she revealed that her recent struggles with the disease had spread to her back. "It's almost like, I think I know what the statistics are. And if, and, but I put them away. But I'm gonna live longer than that. I've made that decision. And I don't buy into the statistics 'cause I think they can make you really nervous," she said. "It's a decision how you choose to feel about something. So, I've chosen that path," she continued in a positive light. "I'm happy. I'm lucky. I'm grateful. I have much to live for. And I intend to keep on livin' it." - Billboard, 9/30/19...... Debbie HarryIn her new memoir Face It, Blondie's Debbie Harry reveals that David Bowie once exposed his penis to her as a thank you for getting him cocaine. "One time David and Iggy (Pop) were looking for some blow," Harry writes. "Their connection in New York had suddenly died and they were out... After they did the blow, David pulled out his c---, as if I were the official c--- checker or something. Since I was in an all-male band, maybe they figured I really was the c--- -check lady." Harry writes she was not offended by Bowie exposing himself: "David's size was notorious, and he loved to pull it out with both men and women. It was so funny, adorable and sexy." Face It was published on Oct. 1 via Dey Street Books. - WENN/Canoe.com, 9/30/19...... Mott the Hoople announced on Sept. 30 they have been forced to cancel their upcoming fall "Mott the Hoople '74" reunion tour that was to feature original members frontman Ian Hunter, keyboardist Morgan Fischer and guitarist Ariel Bender due to Hunter's illness. "The group's singer and guitarist Ian Hunter has recently developed a severe case of tinnitus and has been advised by his doctors to discontinue performing until this condition subsides," according to a press release. The fall tour was set to kick off on Oct. 21 at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y. and run through Nov. 6 when they closed out the 11-date trek at The Moore Theatre in Seattle. The upcoming run followed the reunited group's dates earlier this year that kicked off in April. The eight-stop tour played Chicago, Detroit, Boston and closed out in New York on April 10. - Billboard, 9/30/19...... Blues-rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa will return to the UK in April 2020 to perform six concerts. Dates include the Brighton Centre (Apr. 25), Edinburgh Playhouse (Apr. 27), Liverpool M&S Bank Arena (Apr. 28), Gateshead Sage (Apr. 30), Leeds First Direct Arena (May 1) and Cardiff Motorpoint Arena (May 2). Joe Bonamassawill release his new live album Live at The Sydney Opera House on Oct. 25 via Provogue/Mascot Label Group in the UK and Europe and J&R Adventures throughout North America. - Noble PR, 9/30/19.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Neil Young and Crazy Horse shared a "love letter from us to planet Earth" video on YouTube on Sept. 27 paired with messages of all the reasons why earth is such a sacred place. In April, Young and the band announced their new studio album Colorado would arrive in October and feature "10 new songs ranging from around 3 minutes to over 13 minutes." A documentary chronicling the making of Colorado will premiere in more than a hundred theaters worldwide the same week Colorado is released, Young wrote on his Neil Young Archives website in August. - New Musical Express, 9/29/19...... The EaglesThe Eagles performed their seminal 1976 platinum LP Hotel California in its entirety for the very first time on Sept. 27 during at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena. In an amusing nod to the album era, the Eagles opened the show with a mysterious, caped man striding across the stage and placing a Hotel California disc onto a turntable. When it came time to flip the album, a woman dressed in a cigarette girl costume came and did the honors. Also notable was the show being the first time the Eagles had played "Try and Love Again" since Randy Meisner, who sang lead on the track, left the band in 1977, and original Hotel California arranger/conductor Jim Ed Norman being on hand to lead a 46-piece orchestra and 22-member choir from UNLV. The show was the first of three that evening that also included a blazing greatest hits set that had the sold-out audience of 13,000 constantly on its feet. "We're going to take a 20-minute break, put our heads back together and play you everything we know," Eagles drummer/vocalist Don Henley told the audience after the Hotel California show. What followed was a 23-song set of solid hits (including guitarist Joe Walsh's solo and James Gang hits) with valuable contributions from the newest Eagles, Vince Gill and the late Glenn Frey's son, Deacon Frey. The two encores included "Rocky Mountain Way," "Desperado," "The Long Run," and the "Hotel California" reprise. - Billboard, 9/28/19...... Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr recently reunited at London's Abbey Road studios to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' classic 1969 album Abbey Road. McCartney and Starr attended a party at the studios in St John's Wood, North London with their respective wives, Nancy Shevell and Barbara Bach. Other guests included Nile Rodgers of Chic and Taron Egerton, the star of the recent Elton John biopic, Rocketman. On Sept. 26, an Abbey Road 50th anniversary release was released featuring a new mix by Giles Martin and 23 demos and alternative recordings of songs produced for Abbey Road. To mark the reissue, the Beatles recently released the first official video of one of the album's classic songs, "Here Comes The Sun." The new stereo mix of the George Harrison composition captures a gorgeous sunrise illuminating Abbey Road Studios' Studio Two, where the Fab Four recorded most of the legendary album. In related news, Alex Lacamoire, the musical director of the hit Broadway show "Hamilton," has shared a new video of himself playing the entire Abbey Road album in just 50 seconds. Lacamoire performed his condensed Abbey Road on a piano originally used by the Beatles, which is kept at Abbey Road Studios where they made the album in 1969. "Abbey Road is in my head. I just needed to make sure that the way I remembered these songs from when I was six-years-old is the way they are," Lacamoire told Rolling Stone. Lacamoire has previously played Billy Joel's 1977 album The Stranger in the same manner. - NME, 9/27/19...... In other Beatles-related news, Ringo Starr performed a rendition of the Beatles' classic "Yellow Submarine" with classroom instruments on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon with the show's house band, The Roots, on Sept. 24. Ringo also sang some of the Beatles' best-known songs, including "With a Little Help from My Friends." Ringo led from the top on vocals and playing a tiny three-piece drum kit while the late-night show's host, Jimmy Fallon, took duties on a Casio keyboard, wooden block and kazoo, as the Root's leader Questlove showed his talents on clappers and a shaker fashioned as a submarine. - Billboard, 9/25/19...... Billy JoelA new anthology TV series based on Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Billy Joel is in the works. MGM Television, the same studio behind the recent Elton John and Queen biopic movies, is teaming with Universal Music Publishing Group to bring Joel's music to life as a scripted "arc-thology" called Scenes From an Italian Restaurant. The show, which takes its title from Joel's favorite song from his sizable catalog, will see each episode based on lyrics of his hits and populated by characters from his songs, including "The Stranger," "Piano Man" and "Moving Out." The tracks will be reimagined and rearranged by Joel's music team -- with his input -- and take his tunes in new directions. Kevin Fox (Law & Order: SVU) is creating the series, which will be shopped to networks, and will exec produce alongside Joel and his longtime producing partner, Steve Cohen (with whom he collaborated on the Billy Joel: New York State of Mind documentary). - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/25/19..... After premiering in London at the Old Vic Theatre in July 2017, Irish playwright/director Conor McPherson's Bob Dylan-inspired musical, "Girl From The North Country," will return to New York at the Belasco Theater on Mar. 5, 2020, with preview shows kicking off on Feb. 7. After its successful Old Vic run, the show moved to London's West End, New York at The Public Theater and Toronto at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. Set in 1934 in Dylan's hometown of Duluth, Minn., the 20-song musical weaves songs from the rock bard's expansive catalog into a story about a family who runs a boardinghouse, which results in various characters coming in and out of their lives. Tickets are already on sale for the roughly eight-month show, which features Tony Award nominees Marc Kudisch and David Pittu along with Oscar-winning actress Mare Winningham, that concludes in Sept. 2020. - Billboard, 9/27/19...... Songs by Eddie Money and The Cars' Ric Ocasek continue to sell briskly following their deaths on Sept. 13 and Sept. 15, respectively. Money's 1986 top five hit "Take Me Home Tonight" entered the Billboard Hot Rock Songs chart at No. 3 for the week ending Sept. 28, while The Cars' 1984 top five hit "Drive" (sung by bassist Benjamin Orr, who died in 2000), bowed at No. 6. Other songs charting by the two late artists include "Two Tickets To Paradise," "Shakin'," "Baby Hold On," "Just What I Needed" and "My Best Friend's Girl." - Billboard, 9/27/19...... Aerosmith were forced to cancel their Sept. 26 show of their "Deuces Are Wild" Las Vegas residency after frontman Steven Tyler lost his voice. "I lost my voice... but I can't talk about it," Tyler wrote in a tweet about the canceled gig. Tyler added that refunds for the gig will be available at the point of purchase. Accompanying the post was an amusing photo of Tyler pointing to a hand-scribbled "OUT OF ORDER" sign underneath his throat. - Billboard, 9/27/19...... In related news, the Who cut their Houston concert short on Sept. 25 after lead singer Roger Daltrey lost his voice midway through the show. The British rock legends were eight songs into the concert when Daltrey, 75, told the audience, "I think I should quit while I'm ahead." Lead guitarist Pete Townshend then apologized to the crowd, saying Daltrey "cannot speak now" and promised the crowd that the band would honor their tickets at a make-good concert still to be scheduled. The Who also postponed concerts on their "Moving On! Tour" scheduled for Sept. 27 in Dallas and Sept. 29 in Denver. - AP, 9/26/19...... On Sept. 25, Queen + Adam Lambert announced they'll bring their "Rhapsody Tour" to the UK in June 2020 after a successful run across North America this year. Kicking off with five shows at the London O2 Arena on June 2, 3, 5, 6 and 9, the band will play the Manchester Arena on June 11 and 12, the second Manchester show added after phenomenal demand. On Sept. 28, Queen and Adam Lambert were the headliners of a Global Citizen free concert in New York City's Central Park before 60,000 people. - New Musical Express, 9/25/19...... Sales of such iconic country music artists as Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Patsy Cline and Vince Gill have soared following the premiere of the 8-part Ken Burns-directed Country Music documentary series on PBS on Sept. 15. The Haggard/Nelson duet "Pancho and Lefty" sold 2,000 downloads in the day of the premiere of the episode in which it was featured (episode seven) and the following day (Sept. 23-24) vs. the previous two days (Sept. 21-22), a 700% gain, according to initial sales reports to Nielsen Music. Cline's Nelson-penned hit "Crazy" and Gill's "Go Rest High on That Mountain" also saw huge gains after their respective episodes were aired. As for the largest percentage gains, that distinction belongs to Kris Kristofferson's "Why Me," which moved 1,000 downloads in the day of the episode's airing and the day following alone (episode 6, Sept. 23-24), a 2,589% boost. - Billboard, 9/26/19...... Jeff LynneOn Sept. 26, Jeff Lynne announced his Jeff Lynne's ELO will release the follow-up to his 2015 album Alone In the Universe on Nov. 1 on Columbia Records. Entitled From Out of Nowhere, the 10-track LP's title will continue the ELO branding of a spaceship. "From Out of Nowhere -- that's exactly where it came from," Lynne said in a press release. "That's the first one I wrote for this album and it's kind of like that." Lynne says the title track, "From Out of Nowhere," is a song about hope and salvation, with Lynne often finding himself turning to a sense of optimism, a recurring theme on the album. "Everybody's got to have a bit of hope," he says. In the song, Lynne sings, "Let me go, let me fly/ To a place where I love/ Let me fly away and start again." Lynne played nearly every note on the album (guitars, bass, piano, drums, keyboards, vibes) as well as singing all the lead and harmony vocals, with some added percussion from engineer Steve Jay. - Billboard, 9/26/19...... A soundtrack album from Bruce Springsteen's Western Stars movie, Western Stars - Songs From the Film, will be released on Oct. 25, Columbia Records announced on Sept. 27. The 14-track LP will feature live performances of all the songs from the Western Stars album, as well as a cover of Glen Campbell's beloved 1975 single "Rhinestone Cowboy." The album was mixed by Bob Clearmountain and mastered by Bob Ludwig, the team behind Springsteen's Springsteen on Broadway album from his successful show of the same name. The Western Stars movie premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival earlier in 2019, with Springsteen performing the songs from his first studio album in five years backed by a band and full orchestra at Stone Hill Farm in Colts Neck, N.J. - Billboard, 9/27/19...... In other Springsteen-related news, E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt has announced he's been forced cancel most of his "Summer of Sorcery Tour" of North America due to sinusitis on doctor's orders. "I thought I could shake this sinusitis, but it doesn't seem to be going away," Van Zandt said in a statement on Instagram on Sept. 24. "I've never canceled shows before. I feel terrible about this, but my doctors are telling me there's just no way to continue right now. We were really looking forward to continuing this 90-show tour around the world. We want to thank the fans for all of their support. I really hope we can make up these dates someday somehow." The only two shows remaining are a Nov. 2 one in Boston and the Nov. 6 date in New York City. The New York show will be filmed for a future live DVD and album release. - Billboard, 9/24/19...... Patti Smith released her latest book, Year of the Monkey, on Sept. 24 via book publisher Knopf. "I would say this is my most informal book, and I like that," Smith says. "I mean, it has its formal passages, but it's really just, like, me. If anybody was wonderin' what I'm like, it's just what I'm like. When I was done, I wished it wasn't. [Laughs.] But I'll write another one." Unlike her 2010 book Just Kids, her memoir reflecting on her relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe and her life in New York in the '70s, or 2015's M Train, the most vivid scenes of Year of the Monkey aren't necessarily pulled from reality. "I live a lot in my imagination," Smith says. "It's a book written in real time merged with imagination, and that's how I maneuver the world. That's how I navigate all the difficult things we have to navigate. We lose the people we love, but we have to be receptive that they will be by our side. They will speak to us in certain ways." - Billboard, 9/25/19...... Jann Wenner, the Rolling Stone magazine co-founder and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation chairman, announced on Sept. 25 that he will be retiring as the RRHOF chairman in 2020. Taking over as chairman in the new year will be John Sykes, president of entertainment enterprises for iHeartMedia and a co-founder of MTV. "Jann Wenner is a cultural legend," Sykes said. "It's an honor to serve the foundation in this new capacity, and to build on Jann's legacy." Wenner, 73, will remain on the board of directors. Wenner produced the RRHOF's 25th anniversary concert at Madison Square Garden in 2009, which was headlined by U2, Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, Stevie Wonder and Sting, and is credited with recruiting late famed architect I.M. Pei to create the RRHOF headquarters in Cleveland, Oh. - AP/Billboard, 9/25/19...... David BowieRobert FrippKing Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp has spoken about his ongoing dispute with David Bowie's estate over his contributions to the classic Bowie albums "Heroes" and Scary Monsters. Fripp famously leant his efforts to the seminal 1977 "Heroes" of the Berlin trilogy, performing the iconic sustained guitar part on the title track. Bowie then invited Fripp back to add his distinctive guitar sounds to 1980's Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) album. Posting on Facebook, Fripp claims that rules of "historic injustice" are blocking the recognition of his contributions to the records, where he argues he should be recognized under the modern term of "Featured Player." He is currently in dispute with Bowie's estate and the UK's PPL over the correct payment of royalties. "The dispute centres on the refusal of PPL and the David Bowie estate to acknowledge that RF's contribution to the "Heroes" and Scary Monsters albums is that of a Featured Player," wrote Fripp. "This accreditation as a Featured Player is supported by Brian Eno, Tony Visconti [and] David Bowie himself (although the terminology was not then in use), and the Court Of Public Opinion over four decades. Essentially, the DB Estate argues that RF's Featured Performer Status is not acknowledged by PPL rules; and PPL argues that as the DB Estate does not accept RF as a Featured Performer, RF is therefore not a Featured Player - and their rules confirm this. Anyone read Catch 22?," he continued. Fripp went on to slam the music industry itself as being run by "self-serving" individuals. "This, a microcosm in our larger societal turmoil, as a new paradigm seeks to be welcomed into our suffering world," he added. Meanwhile, a new version of Bowie's "Heroes" song recorded live at Earl's Court video has been released to mark the track's 42nd anniversary. - New Musical Express, 9/25/19...... A previously unreleased Aretha Franklin recording, "Big Band Holidays II," will be featured on a new Christmas album from The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. Franklin performed the song as she played the piano at a 2015 holiday concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center; her performance of the classic, in both English and German, was a surprise. It will be featured on the Big Band Holidays II album, which is being digitally released on Oct. 25 and will be in stores on Nov. 8. Few songs have been released from Franklin since her death in August 2018. - AP, 9/24/19.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Lynyrd Skynyrd announced on Sept. 24 their concert film Last of The Street Survivors Farewell Tour will be coming to movie theaters for one night only on Nov. 7. Part of the southern rock legends' farewell tour, the film will include footage from the concert as well as interviews with the band. "We can't wait to share this amazing night and performance with the Skynyrd Nation, especially those that weren't able to be there that evening," Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington said in a statement. "The energy, passion and reaction to the music and band was something we will never forget." Tickets for the film, which features the band's 2018 hometown stadium performance at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla., will go on sale Oct. 4 at FathomEvents.com and participating theater box offices. The farewell tour runs through October. Lynyrd Skynyrd recently postponed two of its August concert dates to October to allow Rossington to recover from health issues. - Billboard, 9/24/19...... Paul McCartneyPaul McCartney reacted to such topics as the recent BTS Beatles cover of "Hey Jude," his admiration of Elvis Presley, and his dreams about John Lennon during an appearance on CBS's The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Sept. 23. Host Stephen Colbert asked if Sir Paul was aware that K-pop megastars BTS had done their own Beatles homage on The Late Show earlier this year -- during which they sang an impromptu round of "Hey Jude" -- which Macca gave a hearty round of applause to as Colbert wondered 'what it was about the Beatles that transcends all language barriers?'" "Easy lyrics?" McCartney joked. After asking someone to get him the top 10 all time covers of "Yesterday," McCartney said his favorites included versions by Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and his favorite, Marvin Gaye. After Colbert asked if he still thinks of his songwriting partner John Lennon, Paul said he does "quite often... I dream about him. When you've had a relationship like that for so long, such a deep relationship, I love when people revisit you in your dreams," he said. "I often have band dreams. I have a lot of dreams about John." McCartney also plugged his new children's book Hey, Grandad!, which he said was inspired by his grandkids. Meanwhile in another new interview with BBC Newsnight, McCartney broke from his fellow former Beatle Ringo Starr's opinion about the controversial Brexit referendum. Paul said Brexit was "probably a mistake" and added he doesn't think "anyone quite knows what to do with" the U.K.'s scheduled withdrawal from the E.U. "I think it's a mess," he said, "and I will be glad when it's over." McCartney said that he didn't participate in the 2016 Brexit vote, where just over half of those voting (51.9%) supported the withdrawal. "I vote for someone I believe in, and so often, there's nobody I believe in," he said. The 77-year-old also explained that he disagreed with others in his generation who thought Brexit represented a return to "the old days." But he also expressed hope for the future: "I think we'll come through with it; I think we always do. I mean, I am old enough to remember garbage in the streets and people not being able to get buried because the gravediggers were on strike. I mean, that was a pretty rough time, and we came through it. So I think we will come through this." - Billboard/New Musical Express, 9/24/19...... In other Beatles-related news, the first ever music video for the Beatles' "Here Comes The Sun" is being shared on YouTube to celebrate the Abbey Road 50th anniversary release which hits stores on Sept. 26. In a nod to the beloved George Harrison-penned song's title, the video captures a gorgeous sunrise illuminating Abbey Road Studios' Studio Two, where the Fab Four recorded most of the legendary album. "The video's sun centerpiece was filmed as it was meticulously crafted on-set in Abbey Road's Studio Two," according to a press release. The video, which premieres on Sept. 26, also features photos from the Apple Corps archive, as well as footage shot by Linda McCartney and supplied by Paul. A trailer for the new video can be viewed on YouTube. Besides session recordings and demos, the Abbey Road reissue will feature new mixes of the 17 tracks by Giles Martin -- the son of late Beatles producer George Martin -- and engineer Sam Okell. Martin's remix of the Abbey Road opener "Come Together" can be streamed on Spotify.com. - New Musical Express, 9/24/19...... Members of an 11-judge panel at a Sept. 23 hearing before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said they are unsure if the copyright dispute over Led Zepplin's "Stairway To Heaven" requires a new trial. The panel harshly and consistently challenged a plaintiffs' attorney, Francis Malofiy, who argued that a new trial is justified and that jurors should be allowed to hear the recorded versions of the songs in the lawsuit that alleged Zeppelin's 1971 song was stolen from a 1968 song called "Taurus" by Spirit. The estate of the late Randy Wolfe of Spirit sued and lost at a 2016 trial that included testimony from Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and singer Robert Plant, but a three-judge 9th Circuit panel earlier in 2019 ordered a new trial and Led Zeppelin appealed to the larger group of judges. At issue is the classic introductory riff to "Stairway to Heaven," which leads into the opening lyrics. Malofiy told the court that Page, who wrote the riff, said he does not even read music, so it s ridiculous to merely consider the sheet music version of "Taurus." Led Zeppelin attorney Peter Anderson argued that Malofiy was trying to bring up an entirely new and irrelevant issue with talk of the sheet music and recording. "At no point in this case," Anderson said, "did the plaintiff ever take the position that the deposit copy was in error." The U.S. government also weighed in on the case, siding with Led Zeppelin. Government attorney Daniel Tenny said that the "Taurus" recording "could be considered under more recent copyright legislation, but under the 1909 law that applies, only the sheet music matters." - Billboard, 9/24/19...... In other Led Zeppelin news, Jimmy Page recently told the UK music mag Uncut that a Zeppelin biopic has been discussed by the band after the box office success of the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody and the Elton John biopic Rocketman. "We'll have to ask [Zeppelin frontman] Robert Plant if he'll play me. See how he gets on," Page said. "It's been discussed. There are always people trying to make money out of Led Zeppelin. In Siberia and LA there's probably a meeting going on right now," he added. However, Page remains sceptical that the project will ever get off the ground. "I'm too busy with real things to care about things that won't come off," he said. "What would I want to do a film for? Listen to the albums. It's all on there." But Page was more committed to his own tell-all autobiography. "I will definitely do an autobiography," he said. "Every six months brings new things for me to write about or comment about. I have a number of ways I plan to approach it. But I am determined that I'll write it first and then go to a publisher because I don't want to be held to a deadline." LZ fans can also look forward to a forthcoming documentary to mark the band's 50th anniversary. As well as including new interviews with Page, Plant and John Paul Jones, it's also set to feature previously unseen interviews with the late John Bonham. - New Musical Express, 9/20/19...... Former The Supremes member Mary Wilson became the first dancer eliminated from the competition on ABC's Dancing With The Stars on Sept. 23. After starting brightly the previous week with a foxtrot to The Supremes hit "Baby Love," Wilson worked some dancefloor magic to "Think" by Aretha Franklin. Each of the three judges, however, gave her just five votes apiece, for a total of 15 out of 30. - Billboard, 9/24/19...... Berry Gordy Jr.In other Motown-related news, Berry Gordy Jr., the founder of the Hitsville U.S.A. studios, announced his retirement during a Hitsville Honors ceremony on Sept. 22 at Orchestra Hall in his home town of Detroit, where he started Motown 60 years ago with an $800 loan from his family trust. Gordy, who turns 90 in November, made the surprise reveal during a good-naturedly rambling 35-and-a-half-minute speech that caused Lee Daniels, who presented a Motown Legacy Award to Berry, to put the weighty trophy he was holding on the floor after Gordy hit the half-hour mark. Gordy saved the "important announcement" until the end, telling the audience that "As I stand here I'm back where I started. I have come full circle, so it is only appropriate that... I should announce my retirement." After a response of laughter and then a warm ovation, Gordy -- who started the label in 1959 -- continued that, "For years I have dreamt about it, talked about it, threatened it and tried to do it. In fact, this has gone on for so many years that those trying to help me retire (have) retired themselves. It is time for me to spend my next 60 years reflection on how fortunate I am, how much I appreciate and love all of you and how wonderful my life has been, and will continue to be." Though Gordy sold Motown in 1988, he's remained active in creative and business concerns, including produced the Tony Award-nominated "Motown: The Musical" in 2013 and staying involved with management of the Jobete publishing catalog, now administered by Sony/ATV. Meanwhile on Sept. 22, a ceremonial groundbreaking to expand the Detroit Hitsville U.S.A. building was conducted during a weekend of events marking the company's 60th anniversary. Gordy recently announced plans to donate $4 million toward the project incorporating interactive exhibits, a performance theater and recording studios. - Billboard/AP, 9/23/19...... A guitar given to late blues guitar legend B.B. King for his 80th birthday sold for $280,000 at an auction of more than 550 items from King's estate in Los Angeles on Sept. 21. Julien's Auctions says King, who died in 2015 in Las Vegas at age 89, often used the black Gibson ES-345 prototype that was one of several guitars he called "Lucille." A spokeswoman for Juliens said that the buyer wants to remain anonymous. The auction house said the estate sale brought in $1.3 million. It included awards, photographs, King's passports, luggage, jewelry, clothing, audio equipment and other guitars. A ring that King wore in photos sold for $16,250. It is 18-karat gold and has "BB" encrusted with 22 diamonds, and its initial estimated value was $6,000 to $8,000. A collection of King's 78 rpm blues records sold for $51,200, after an estimated value of $500 to $700. - AP, 9/23/19...... A new version of the music video for David Bowie's 1977 song 'Heroes' has been released to mark the 42nd anniversary of the song's original release. Released as a single on Sept. 23, 1977, the song served as the title track for the late artist's acclaimed twelfth studio album, which was released the following month. The new 'Heroes' edit is made from footage from the filming of the original video to celebrate the song's latest anniversary, and the clip has subsequently been given the stamp of approval by Bowie's official Facebook page. "Thanks to the vast possibilities of modern digital editing, it was relatively easy to alter some of the cross cuts between the two camera angles, and moreover to correct or somewhat mask Bowie's lip-sync errors," said Nacho's Videos in a statement. - NME, 9/23/19...... Sammy Hagar has apologized for the cancellation of his upcoming "High Tide Beach Party & Car Show" in Huntington Beach, Calif., which has been canceled over permit issues, according to a notice on the festival's website. The music event, which had been scheduled for Sept. 28-29 at Huntington State Beach, was "denied the necessary permit" from California State Parks," the notice reads. "Unfortunately, there is no possibility to relocate the event." Ticket-holders will be issued a refund. The second annual event was to feature performances by Hagar and his current backing band the Circle, The Beach Boys, Vince Neil, Night Ranger, Blue Oyster Cult and Extreme. "I don't know exactly what happened," Hagar said in a Twitter video post apologizing for the cancellation. "The promoters and the city both put out press releases saying what happened. And I guess that's what happened. All I can say is I'm sorry. I'm more disappointed than anyone. I think all the fans know how much I care about them, how much I care about my parties and my music and everything that I do. But I'm gonna try to make it up." - Billboard, 9/22/19...... KISS, Iron Maiden and System Of A Down have been confirmed as headliners of the UK's 2020 Download Festival set for Donington Park between June 12-14. Each act taking top billing across the three days, with KISS kicking off the proceedings on June 12, before Iron Maiden and System Of A Down follow suit on June 13 and June 14 respectively. Other acts confirmed include the Deftones, The Offspring, KoRn, Of Mice and Men and Daughtry. "I've said it before, Download Festival audiences are the best. They are up for whatever is thrown at them," KISS bassist Gene Simmons said in a previous interview. "KISS is going to come fully prepared to rock their world in 2020 to say Thank you for always showing up for us," Simmons added. Tickets go on sale Sept. 25. - New Musical Express, 9/23/19...... Todd RundgrenMickey DolenzA tribute tour to the Beatles' 1968 album The Beatles (aka "The White Album") headed by Todd Rundgren and Mickey Dolenz of The Monkees kicked off on Sept. 21 in Atlantic City, N.J. "There was actually a very good relationship between (the Beatles) and us," says Dolenz, a member of the famed Hollywood Vampires "softball team/drinking club" which also included John Lennon and Ringo Starr. "I put that (relationship) down to the fact that the Beatles got it. They got what the Monkees was about, which was not a group but a TV show about a group that wanted to be the Monkees. They related to us as other creative people, not as another band -- the 'Prefab Four' or anything like that," he added. Rundgren acknowledges that, like many, he viewed the Monkees as "essentially a synthesized product" back in the '60s. But he's equally certain it won't have much bearing on the show, which will feature "The White Album" album in its entirety. "Whenever you get an opportunity to play classic music, you usually take it -- especially if you've spent a lot of your life being a Beatles fan," says Rundgren, who was part of the "A Walk Down Abbey Road" tour also produced by the New York-based Flower Power Concerts Inc. The pair's "It Was Fifty Years Ago Today" tour has two legs, a 17-city east coast run that wraps Oct. 20 and another week of 5 dates during December which wraps on Dec. 11 in Los Angeles. - Billboard, 9/20/19...... On Sept. 20 a judge ruled that the lawsuit brought against HBO by Michael Jackson's estate must be moved to arbitration, after the network aired controversial documentary Leaving Neverland earlier in the year. U.S. District Court Judge George H. Wu granted a request made by Jackson's estate that HBO must adhere to a 1992 arbitration agreement that stated the network could not make disparaging remarks about the singer or "do any act that may harm or disparage or cause to lower in esteem the reputation of [Jackson]." Leaving Neverland focuses on testimony by Wade Robson, 36, and James Safechuck, 41, who both claim that Jackson sexually abused them when they were children. In the wake of the film being shown, Jackson's songs were subsequently banned on numerous radio stations around the world. Meanwhile in other MJ news, the late King of Pop's estate has reportedly earned almost $2 billion since the singer's death a decade ago. New documents obtained by TheBlast.com reveal that the late singer's estate has pulled in $1.7 billion in profits since he died in 2009. In documents submitted to the Los Angeles County Court, the Jackson estate's executor and lawyers explain how they are garnering "significant revenues." In 2018, it was revealed that Jackson had topped the list of the highest paid dead celebrities for the sixth year in the row. - NME, 9/21/19...... A new posthumous album from Leonard Cohen, Thanks For The Dance, has been announced by Cohen's son Adam Cohen. Adam developed the new LP and says he wanted to fulfill his father's dying wish to complete the "bare musical sketches" that he left behind from his final album You Want It Darker. In doing so, Adam recruited the likes of Spanish guitarist Javier Mas, who accompanied Leonard on stage for the last eight years of touring. Thanks For The Dance will drop on Nov. 22. - NME, 9/20/19...... Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple has announced that Dead Sea Skulls and Piston will be his special guests on his upcoming "Glenn Hughes Performs Deep Purple Live" UK tour this November. The 10-date tour gets underway on Nov. 16 in Bexhill and wraps on Nov. 28 in Middlesbrough. "I'm excited to return to touring 'Classic Deep Purple Live'" in the UK in November 2019," says Hughes. "I first toured [it] in Australia and New Zealand last year and it went down a storm. Can't way to play the UK again." - Noble PR, 9/20/19...... Robert HunterRobert Hunter, the esteemed poet, writer and lyricist for the Grateful Dead, passed away at his home on the evening of Sept. 23 of as yet undisclosed causes. He was 78. After joining the Grateful Dead in 1967, Hunter wrote the lyrics for such classic Dead songs as "Dark Star," "Box of Rain" and "Touch of Gray." Born Robert Burns on June 23, 1941, in Arroyo Grande, Calif., Hunter was one of the key figures in the burgeoning West Coast psychedelic rock movement, and was already friends with the late GD frontman Jerry Garcia before he joined, with the two having met for the first time in 1961. His lyrics often read like mysical poetry, telling ambitious tales of mythical American figures -- miners, gamblers, pioneers -- searching for an elusive truth behind the mystery of life. Hunter was inducted along with the Grateful Dead into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, becoming the first ever non-performer of a band to be inducted as a band member. As well as releasing a number of solo records and poetry collections over the years, Hunter also worked with the likes of Elvis Costello, Bruce Hornsby and Bob Dylan. He memorably worked on songs for the Dylan albums Down in the Groove (1988), Together Through Life (2009) and Tempest (2012). Hunter is said to have died peacefuly with his wife Maureen holding his hand. "For his fans that have loved and supported him all these years, take comfort in knowing that his words are all around us, and in that way his is never truly gone. In this time of grief please celebrate him the way you all know how, by being together and listening to the music," Hunter's family said in a statement, which concluded with one of his most memorable lines from the Dead ballad "Ripple," "Let there be songs to fill the air." - Billboard, 9/24/19.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Cher was among the artists appearing on the two-hour season finale on America's Got Talent on Sept. 18. The diva was featured in an animated skit with Simon Cowell, and ran through a version of ABBA's "Waterloo." Inspirational singer Kodi Lee, who warmed hearts with an emotional piano cover of Donny Hathaway's "A Song For You," was named as the season 14 winner. - Billboard, 9/19/19...... Columbia/Legacy Records announced on Sept. 19 that a rare and infamous 1969 session in Nashville by Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash will be featured on the 15th installment of Dylan's Bootleg Sessions series on Nov. 1. Travelin' Thru, 1967 - 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 15 will showcase Dylan's two years spent in Music City and also feature unheard material from the recording sessions for Dylan's John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline and Self Portrait albums. To help promote the new release, two previews including "I Pity the Poor Immigrant (Take 4)" and "Tell Me That It Isn't True (Take 2)" were shared on YouTube. - New Musical Express, 9/19/19...... Brian MayA new play featuring a Japanese re-telling of Queen's classic 1975 album A Night At The Opera will open in Tokyo on Oct. 8. The experimental production, which flamboyant late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury would probably have loved, is from writer/director Hideki Noda of the independent NODA*MAP theater company. In a press release, Noda said he began working on the project two years ago "out of the desire to explore and bring the dramatic world of A Night at the Opera, which includes 'Bohemian Rhapsody', to life on stage in a theatrical setting." With the permission and support of the surviving members of the band, the production will feature all the songs from the album, which contains such classics as "I'm In Love With My Car," "You're My Best Friend," "Love of My Life" and, of course, "Bohemian Rhapsody." In a statement, Queen guitarist Brian May said the band is "thrilled and honoured that legendary playwright and director Hideki Noda has chosen to expand on the theatrical aspect of Queen's album A Night at The Opera and actually make it into a real live play." After its Tokyo run, the play will also visit Osaka and Kitakyushu, Japan. - Billboard, 9/19/19...... Robbie Robertson of The Band has contributed to a video of The Band's classic track "The Weight" sponsored by Playing For Change, a global nonprofit which helps provide music education to young people around the world. In the YouTube video, which leads with the words "Celebrating the 50th anniversary of a song that transcends time & space," Beatles drummer Ringo Starr is the first person on screen, sitting behind his kit with a cell phone in his hand, jokingly asking "What key is it in, Robbie? F demented?" Then Robertson, in another city, kicks off the song playing the opening lick on guitar from a Los Angeles park bench, before Marcus King comes in on guitar and vocals from Greenville, S.C. Throughout the course of the song, musicians participate from all over the world -- including Japan, Italy, Nepal, Democratic Republic of Congo, Bahrain (interestingly, no Canada where Robertson was born) -- on instruments ranging from traditional guitar to sitar and oud. Robertson, who previewed the new video after the world premiere screening of his new documentary, Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band, at the Toronto International Film Festival, said, "the Playing For Change people and my son Sebastian, they just did it... I've seen others and they're fantastic." - Billboard, 9/18/19...... With his contribution to Post Malone's new hit "Take What You Want," Ozzy Osbourne has ended a record break between Top 10 songs on Billboard's Hot 100 pop chart. Osbourne's last appearance on the Hot 100 was a duet with Lita Ford, "Close My Eyes Forever," which hit number 8 in 1989. Now that Malone's hit has hit No. 8 on the chart, Osbourne has ended a 30 years and three months break between top 10 hits in the chart's archives. Coming in behind Ozzy are Dobie Gray, who hit in 1973 with "Drift Away" and in August 2003 with a remake of "Drift Away" with Uncle Kracker (30 years, two months and one week), and Paul McCartney, who charted "Spies Like Us" in 1986 before making the Top 10 again in 2015 with "FourFiveSeconds" featuring McCartney, Rihanna and Kayne West (29 years and two weeks). - Billboard, 9/16/19...... Elton JohnAfter completing 11 sold out shows in the same market this spring, Elton John has added seven new concert dates to his sold out "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour in New York and New Jersey. The new tour dates hit all four major arenas in the New York area with shows April 6-7 at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan; Apr. 10-11 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn; April 15 at Prudential Center in Newark; and Apr. 17-18 at NYCB LIVE's Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. John's tour kicked off to a sold-out crowd on Sept. 8, 2018, in Allentown, Penn., where he treated fans to such hits as "Bennie and the Jets," "Rocket Man," "Tiny Dancer," and "Philadelphia Freedom." Meanwhile, Elton is confirmed to play 40 combined dates in Australia and New Zealand this winter beginning with back-to-back shows at Perth's HBF Park on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. The 72-year-old rock legend is set to crisscross Oz playing a mix of arenas and open-air shows, including Mount Cotton, a town of less than 7,000 people in Queensland with chicken farms that's a koala conservation area. In other Elton-related news, it was announced on Sept. 18 that a musical adaptation of "The Devil Wears Prada" featuring music written by John will make its pre-Broadway world debut in Chicago on July 14, 2020 and play through Aug. 16, 2020. The musical will feature all-new music by John, whose Broadway bona fides include "The Lion King" and "Billy Elliot the Musical," and lyrics by singer-songwriter Shaina Taub. "The Devil Wears Prada" follows protagonist Andy, a young writer who starts a job at a prestigious publication in New York City under a "stylish yet terrifying boss." - Billboard/New Musical Express/Deadline.com, 9/18/19...... Michael Jackson's estate has responded to the recent Emmy Award win by the controversial Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland. "For a film that is a complete fiction to be honored in a nonfiction Emmy category is a complete farce," the estate told The Hollywood Reporter on Sept. 16. "Not one shred of proof supports this completely one-sided, so-called documentary which was made in secrecy and for which not one person outside of the two subjects and their families were interviewed." Leaving Neverland earned a total of five noms heading into the Sept. 15 Emmy Awards ceremony, including: outstanding directing for a documentary/nonfiction program; outstanding documentary or nonfiction special; outstanding picture editing for a nonfiction program; outstanding sound editing for a nonfiction program; and outstanding sound mixing for a nonfiction program. It won for best documentary or nonfiction special. After Leaving Neverland's debut in January at the Sundance Film Festival, Jackson's estate called the project "a tabloid character assassination" and insisted it "isn't a documentary," while his family called director Dan Reed and the pic's two accusers, James Safechuck and Wade Robson, "opportunists." The Jackson estate and and HBO are currently locked in a fierce legal battle over a contract that allegedly bars the company from disparaging MJ. - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/16/19...... The Cook Islands, a nation in the South Pacific, has released a pair of commemorative coins in honor of two classic AC/DC albums, For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) and Razor's Edge. 1981's For Those About To Rock is honored on a two dollar coin while 1990's The Razors Edge can be found on a ten dollar coin. Both feature a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the reverse side. Both coins are minted in .999 silver, the two dollar coin has a mintage of 5000 while the ten dollar coin has a mintage of 999. The coins are the third and fourth in a series released by Liechtenstein's CIT Coin Invest AG. - New Musical Express, 9/15/19...... Rod StewartAttending a fundraiser in Surrey, England on Sept. 14 for the Prostate Project and European Tour Foundation charities, Rod Stewart revealed he's been given an all clear from his doctors on his 2-year battle with cancer. "Two years ago I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. No one knows this, but I thought it was about time I told everybody," the 74-year-old Stewart said to whoops from the crowd. "I'm in the clear now because... I caught it early. But I have so many tests and things... Guys, you've got to really go to the doctor... finger up the bum, no harm done... I've worked for two years and just been happy and the good lord looked after me," he added. Former Faces bandmates Ron Wood and Kenney Jones supported Stewart at the event, where they jammed with him on some of Stewart's most beloved hits, including "Maggie May." - Billboard, 9/18/19...... The Rolling Stones announced on Sept. 19 they will release a live album and concert film entitled Bridges to Buenos Aires on Nov. 8. The release captures the band's triumphant show on Apr. 5, 1998 in the Argentinian capital on the band's Bridges to Babylon tour. The two-hour concert was the last of a five-night, sold-out run at Buenos Aires' River Plate Stadium. Bob Dylan, who had played an opening set, later returned to the stage to perform his composition "Like A Rolling Stone" with the band. Bridges to Buenos Aires comes just months after the Stones announced the release of Bridges to Bremen, which captures a stop in the German city on the same tour behind Bridges to Babylon. Like its Bremen counterpart, the Buenos Aires concert film was restored from original footage, and the audio remixed and remastered from live multi-track recordings. Bridges to Buenos Aires will be released in DVD, Blu-Ray and digital video formats, while the live album will be available on CD, limited-edition blue translucent triple vinyl and digital audio. - NME, 9/19/19...... Fans of the late Eddie Money have streamed his 1986 hit "Take Me Home Tonight" over three million times since his passing on Sept. 4 after a battle with stage 4 esophageal cancer. On-demand streams of the song, which features The Ronettes' Ronnie Spector providing backing vocals, increased by 349% in the U.S. to 3.1 million in the three days after his passing (Sept. 13-16) as compared to the three previous days, according to Nielsen Music. "Take Me Home Tonight" was Money's highest-charting single on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching No. 4 on the Nov. 15, 1986-dated chart. The track additionally spent more time on the list than any other Eddie Money hit, racking up 23 weeks on the tally. The single also spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock Songs airplay chart. Money's entire catalog of songs also saw a 931% gain in on-demand streams on Sept. 13-16 versus Sept. 10-12. - Billboard, 9/17/19...... KISS bassist/singer Gene Simmons announced on Sept. 13 that the band's scheduled show at the USANA Amphitheatre in Salt Lake City the next evening would be postponed due to a medical emergency. "Apologies to the fans in Salt Lake City. We will come back and do the show at a later date," wrote Simmons of the show that was to be their final U.S. gig before the start of a November swing in Australia. "The truth is, I have to fly to LA to do a medical procedure. Nothing serious. But it must be taken care of now. Thank you for your good wishes. All is well." KISS is currently in the midst of its End of the Road world tour, which it says will likely be its final outing. KISS postponed shows in Oakland and Los Angeles earlier in September, moving the original Sept. 16 Oakland Arena date to March 6 and the Sept. 20 Staples Center date in Los Angeles to March 4 after what were described as "unforeseen scheduling issues." - Billboard, 9/16/19...... Ric OcasekIn related news, sales of The Cars' albums and songs have surged by 2,662% in the wake of the Sept. 15 death of the band's mastermind, Ric Ocasek. Nielsen Music reports The Cars' combined albums and songs sold 27,000 copies on Sept. 16 and in the late hours of Sept. 15 (following news of Ocasek's passing that evening). In the two previous days, The Cars' music and sold just 1,000. The bulk of the sales came via the band's Complete Greatest Hits album, which features 16 of the band's 18 Billboard Hot 100 hits. In terms of individual song sales, "Drive" was by far the act's biggest seller, with nearly 4,000 downloads sold. Rounding out their top five sellers: "Just What I Needed" (2,000), "Magic" (a little under 2,000), "My Best Friend's Girl" (a little under 2,000) and "You Might Think" (1,000). Ocasek's solo catalog of material also posted gains. Meanwhile, the New York City medical examiner revealed that Ocasek's death was due to heart disease, worsened by emphysema. The 75-year-old musician's wife, model/actress Paulina Porizkova, posted on Instagram that she went to bring him his Sunday morning coffee and "realized that during the night he had peacefully passed on." Porizkova said her husband had been "recuperating very well after surgery" and that their two sons were making sure he was comfortable. Porizkova, who announced she was separating from Ocasek in 2018, did not say what type of surgery Ocasek was recovering from. On Sept. 16, Porizkova thanked Cars fans for tokens left outside the couple's Manhattan home after his death. "Thank you... We appreciate the great outpouring of love," she wrote on Instagram alongside the photo of some flower bouquets, tiny metal race cars and candles left near the gate. The couple met in 1984 on the shoot for the Cars' "Drive" video shoot and and have two sons, Jonathan and Oliver, together. Also paying tribute to the late Cars frontman was Patti Smith, dedicated a performance of her 2012 song "Tarkovsy (The Second Stop Is Jupiter)" to Ocasek during her Sept. 17 concert in Detroit. - Billboard/AP, 9/18/19...... Steve Martin says his annual Bluegrass Award, which he and his wife Anne Stringfield dreamed up in 2010 after Martin noticed that some master musicians were still paying off their banjos, is in danger of disappearing due to the sheer number of qualified musicians as bluegrass music goes through a flowering. "It became very difficult to keep pace, even with all our great board members, of so many great players. In the '60s, when I was first learning, great players were rare," says Martin. "Now, if you listen to a bluegrass channel, you listen to the banjo player and go, 'Who's that?' And you've never even heard of him and they're playing incredibly sophisticated stuff I couldn't even pretend to do." Martin says he hopes some entity might take over administrating his Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, which comes with a $50,000 prize and a sculpture. The 2019 recipient was recently awarded to 19-year-old Victor Furtado of Boston, a student at the Berklee College of Music. - AP, 9/17/19...... Appearing on the British TV show Good Morning Britain on Sept. 16, Irish singer Sinead O'Connor claimed that Prince, who penned her seminal hit "Nothing Compares 2 U," once tried to "beat her up" and left a female band member with broken ribs. "Prince tried to beat me up," O'Connor said. "It was a very frightening experience. He summoned me to his house one night and I foolishly went alone. He was uncomfortable with the fact I wasn't a protege of his and that I'd just recorded the song." She added: "He was wanting me to be a protegé of his and ordered that I don't swear in my interviews. I told him where he could go and he went for me. He went upstairs and got a pillow and he had something hard in the pillow. I ran out of his house, hiding behind a tree. We meet on the highway in Malibu at five in the morning -- I'm spitting at him, he's trying to punch me. I had to go ring someone's doorbell, which my father always told me to do if I was in a situation like that." O'Connor also claimed that the late singer was "into some pretty dark drugs at the time" and said, "I'm not the only one he went at. One of the girls in his band was in the hospital with broken ribs at the time." - NME, 9/16/19...... Clive DavisA new documentary on the legendary music industry mogul Clive Davis, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, premiered on Netflix on Sept. 17. The film presents the visionary exec's five-decade career, during which he founded Arista Records and J Records, and shaped the careers of icons including Santana; Blood, Sweat & Tears; Chicago; Earth, Wind & Fire; Boz Scaggs; Billy Joel; Bruce Springsteen; Aretha Franklin; Aerosmith; Whitney Houston; Alicia Keys; and many more. In the film, Davis recalls the time he signed Janis Joplin to Columbia Records. "[Janis] came to my office privately. She graciously said that the mere signing of a contract in a corporate building was not adequate to represent our linkage. She wanted to commemorate it [by sleeping together]. I told her that it was a great compliment but would not be fitting to complicate our professional relationship." - Billboard, 9/17/19......Cokie Roberts, a legendary journalist who won countless awards, including three Emmys, throughout her decades-long career, died on Sept. 17 due to complications from breast cancer. She was 75. Ms. Roberts was perhaps best known as a commentator for ABC News, starting as a contributor for This Week with David Brinkley, and as the network's chief congressional analyst and anchor on This Week with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts. Known for her savvy insight and analysis of politics, government and Washington D.C., Ms. Roberts continued to appear on This Week after George Stephanopoulos and Martha Raddatz took over hosting duties. Born in New Orleans, Ms. Roberts grew up surrounded by politics. Her father, Hale Boggs, was a longtime Democratic congressman from Louisiana who served as House majority leader. "I knew Congress in a way that nobody knew Congress," Ms. Roberts recalled in the TV Academy interview. "It was very.very helpful." Ms. Roberts started in radio as a foreign correspondent for CBS in Athens, Greece, and then moved to NPR to cover Capitol Hill in 1978. "Cokie Roberts will be dearly missed," said James Goldston, president of ABC News. "Cokie's kindness, generosity, sharp intellect and thoughtful take on the big issues of the day made ABC a better place and all of us better journalists." She is survived by her husband, fellow journalist Steven Roberts, her children, Lee and Rebecca and her six grandchildren. - Deadline.com, 9/17/19.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Ric OcasekSinger/guitarist/songwriter/producer Ric Ocasek, the frontman of the legendary New Wave band The Cars, died on Sept. 15 after being discovered unconscious and unresponsive in his Manhattan townhouse at around 4:14 p.m. EDT by his estranged supermodel wife, Paulina Porizkova. He was 75 and the primary cause of death is not yet known. Born Richard Otcasek on Mar. 23, 1949, in Baltimore, Md., Ocasek took up guitar at age 10 and immediately began to write songs. After dropping out of Antioch College and Bowling Green State University, he began making a living as a musician. He met future Cars bassist Benjamin Orr (who died in 2000) in Cleveland, Oh., where Orr worked as a studio producer and session musician. After working in various bands in the northeast, the pair settled in Cambridge, Mass., in the late Seventies. After recruiting guitarist Elliot Easton, keyboardist Greg Hawkes, and drummer David Robinson, the quintet had intensive rehearsals in Ocasek's basement and made some demo tapes, including "Just What I Needed," which became popular with locals after it was played on Boston radio station WBCN. The band was signed by Elektra Records and released their self-named debut album in 1978, and it became a milestone in the burgeoning New Wave scene. Recorded in just two weeks and immaculately produced by Roy Thomas Baker, the album spawned three hit singles -- "Just What I Needed" (#27, 1978), "My Best Friend's Girl" (#35, 1978) and "Good Times Roll" (#41, 1979) -- and went platinum, becoming such a persistent chart presence that the release of the band's second album, Candy-O, was delayed even though it was recorded in early 1979. Driven by Ocasek's artful pop songs, The Cars were the fastest, most consistently successful of all New Wave bands, with their first and second albums selling more than six million copies worldwide. After Candy-O, Ocasek then turned his attention to producing other artists, including Suicide's Alan Vega, Romeo Void and Bebe Buell. Ric OcasekThe Cars' 1981 album, Shake It Up, went platinum on the strength of the No. 4 title track and another hit, "Since You're Gone." In 1983, Ocasek released the first of his seven solo albums, Beatitude, and around this time also did production for Bad Brains. In 1984, The Cars staged a major comeback on the charts with their Heartbeat City LP, which launched four hit singles that year: "You Might Think" (#7), "Magic" (#12), "Drive" (#3) and "Hello Again" (#20). The video for the song starred model Porizkova, whom Ocasek would wed in 1989. The Cars would chart two more Top 20 hits in the Eighties -- "Tonight She Comes" (#7, 1985) and "You Are The Girl" (#17, 1987) -- however by the time of 1987's Door To Door album, the band began to unravel due to personal conflicts and called it quits. Ocasek would have a #15 solo hit, "Emotions In Motion," in 1986, but found his biggest post-Cars success as a producer, helming Weezer's landmark self-titled debut ("the Blue Album"). The proper lineup of The Cars (after once touring with Todd Rundgren fronting the band) would reunite for 2011's well-received Move Like This album. Ocasek released a book of poetry, Negative Theatre, in 1992, and in 2017 revealed he was working on an album that would compile "the best picks of the solo albums" as well as "another 10 or 15 songs that nobody's ever heard. Some are finished, some are demos. It's stuff I've always liked but never put it on things." Several of Ocasek's contemporaries, including Peter Frampton, Billy Idol and Bryan Adams, paid tribute to the late musician on Twitter upon learning of his death. "So sad. Such a great writer, singer, player, producer. My thoughts are with his family. Rest in peace," Frampton wrote. The band Weezer posted: "The Weezer family is devastated by the loss of our friend and mentor Ric Ocasek." - Billboard, The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock, 9/16/19.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

On Sept. 9 Bob Dylan announced an ambitious new string of 28 fall U.S. tour dates that will take him across the country, beginning on Oct. 11 at the UC Irvine Bren Events Center in Irvine, Calif., and keeping him on the road through a Nov. 21 gig at the Met Philadelphia. He'll be visiting such major markets as Denver (10/17), Kansas City, Mo. (10/20), St. Louis (10/22), Milwaukee (10/26), Chicago (10/30) and Baltimore (11/12), also visiting several university auditoriums in college cities. Tickets for his fall tour went on sale Sept. 13. - Billboard,...... Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth has announced he'll kick off a Las Vegas mini-residency in 2020 at the House of Blues in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. He'll be performing Jan. 8, Jan. 10-11 and March 18, March 20-21, March 25 and March 27-28. "A weekend with me is interactive way beyond just music. It starts with the best food on Earth. The fellas smoke their three cigarettes for the year and we all stay up way past our bedtime!," Roth said in a statement. Roth will be joining a long list of artists with Vegas residencies that curently includes Aerosmith, Britney Spears, Bruno Mars, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson and Jennifer Lopez. - AP, 9/9/19...... Marvin GayeTo help celebrate Motown's 60th anniversary, on Sept. 13 the Detroit-based label released a video of Marvin Gaye performing his classic 1971 track "What's Going On," interweaved with vignettes of modern-day issues, such as the Flint water crisis, racial struggles with police, mass shootings, and lack of affordable insurance. "We wanted a place that resonates with the song and the history of Motown, while also remaining relevant to the sociopolitical issues in the music video," Leaf said of filming the clip in Flint, Mich. "It was very important for us to find real people that resonated with the stories, rather than casting actors." The 2019 "What's Going On" was directed by Savanah Leaf and is the first video from Universal Music Group's "Never Made" project, a series that creates content for songs that, surprisingly, never had a music video, which until now had included Gaye's early '70s observation on society's injustices. - Billboard, 9/13/19...... In other Motown-related news, Gladys Knight says in a new interview that her favorite Motown memory is "the sense of family as we became friends in the early days." "We had so much fun... Most of us lived in the same neighborhood, so on a Saturday we'd be barefootin' in our basement," she says. "Then we'd go to Martha [Reeves]'s house [of The Vandellas] down the street and start dancing again. Tammi Terrell; Eddie Kendricks, David Ruffin and all of The Temptations lived right in back of us [laughs] We'd sing together and act crazy. It was family." Knight is currently touring the US, playing the Hollywood Bowl, Memphis and Cincinnati during the second week of September and will next visit Kansas City, Mo., San Antonio and Atlanta before wrapping in Brooklyn on Nov. 23 and Morristown, N.J. on Nov. 24. Her setlist includes salutes to her late dear friends Aretha Franklin ("A Natural Woman") and James Ingram ("One Hundred Ways"). - Billboard, 9/10/19...... Bruce Springsteen has once again signed on to be a major headliner at the upcoming 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes celebration at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. The Boss will be welcomed to the stage alongside comedians Jon Stewart, John Oliver, Ronny Chieng and Hasan Minhaj. The special event coincides with the nation's largest comedy festival (Nov. 4-10), with more than 200 comedians performing at 100 shows across New York. - Billboard, 9/9/19...... The estate of Prince and Warner Records announced on Sept. 10 that Prince's classic 1982 double-LP 1999 has been remastered for the very first time and expanded with 35 previously unreleased tracks for an upcoming 1999 Super Deluxe reissue. Released on Oct. 27, 1982, 1999 was Prince's first true crossover success, peaking at No. 7 on the the Billboard Hot 200 and featuring a raft of hit singles including "Little Red Corvette," "Delirious" and the title track. Both the CD and vinyl set will hit stores on Nov. 29. - Billboard, 9/10/19...... It's a "highway to hell": police in Montana have indulged in a creative way to move a bison blocking the road -- by blasting out AC/DC music. On Sept. 11, the Gallatin County Montana Sheriff's Office shared a picture of the road-blocking bison on their Facebook page, stating: "Being a deputy around West Yellowstone comes with unusual duties, including herding bison off the highway so no one gets hurt. When deputies respond to a bison on the road, they turn on lights and siren and encourage the animal to leave the road with an air horn. With a reluctant bison, they've been known to play AC/DC's 'Hell's Bells' over the speakers -- that usually seems to work." AC/DC recently marked the 40th anniversary of their classic 1979 album Highway to Hell on social media. - New Musical Express, 9/11/19...... Ringo StarrOn Sept. 13 Ringo Starr announced details of his 20th studio album, What's My Name, and posted a video of the album's title track on YouTube. Set for release on Oct. 25, What's My Name sees Starr working with a host of collaborators including Paul McCartney on a cover of the John Lennon-penned "Grow Old With Me" which originally appeared on his and Yoko Ono's Milk and Honey album. With Starr on vocals and McCartney on bass and backing vocals, the song was written by Lennon just a few years before his death. Ringo says the inspiration to record the song came to him when he ran into producer Jack Douglas, who produced Lennon and Ono's Double Fantasy album, among other classic recordings. "Jack asked if I ever heard 'The Bermuda Tapes', John's demos from that time, and I had never heard all this," Ringo says. "The idea that John was talking about me in that time before he died, well, I'm an emotional person. And I just loved this song. I sang it the best that I could. I do well up when I think of John this deeply. And I've done my best. We've done our best. The other good thing is that I really wanted Paul to play on it, and he said yes. Paul came over and he played bass and sings a little bit on this with me. So John's on it in a way. I'm on it and Paul's on it. It's not a publicity stunt. This is just what I wanted." - New Musical Express, 9/13/19...... In other Beatles-related news, renowned Beatleologist Mark Lewisohn recently gave the UK paper The Guardian access to a tape of a meeting held 50 years ago this September, which seemingly shows the Fab Four at loggerheads as John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison met at Apple headquarters in Savile Row. "It's a revelation," Lewisohn told the paper. "The books have always told us that they knew Abbey Road was their last album and they wanted to go out on an artistic high. But no -- they're discussing the next album. And you think that John is the one who wanted to break them up but, when you hear this, he isn't. Doesn't that rewrite pretty much everything we thought we knew?" The new revelation, including one in which McCartney criticizes Harrison's songwriting, will feature in "Hornsey Road," a new musical from Lewisohn which tracks the creation and recording of Abbey Road. - NME, 9/13/19...... Elswhere on the Fab Four front, the inspiration for the band's famous 1967 song "Strawberry Field Forever" is set to open as a tourist attraction. The song was inspired by a garden of a Salvation Army children's home in Liverpool, where John Lennon used to play growing up. Until now, fans were forced to look through red metal gates at the garden, without being able to access the location. But now Strawberry Field has announced that beginnign Sept. 14 the garden will be open to the public for the first time. According to the website, the site is now "home to an interactive visitor exhibition, community cafe, shop, calm garden spaces for spiritual reflection and -- at its heart -- a Steps to Work programme for young adults with learning disabilities and other barriers to employment." The Victorian house on the site was torn down in 1973, and replaced by a new building that was shut down in 2005. - NME, 9/11/19...... The B-52'sFred Schneider of the B-52's has confirmed that his band is "scheduled to do two more songs" soon to accompany "a deluxe package of all our records" that's expected out sometime during 2020. They're releasing deluxe this, deluxe that every year," Schneider says, "so we're planning to record two more songs." Schneider adds that Keith Strickland, who's retired from touring with the B-52's, will be writing the music for the songs, with Schneider, Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson adding lyrics. The B-52's are currently on a North American tour (with opening acts OMD and Berlin) celebrating the 40th anniversary of their first eponymous album. "We won't be doing any major tours anymore, but we'll be doing gigs and festivals and things like that," Schneider explains. The group does have a one-off show booked for Nov. 16 in Mexico City and will be part of the "80s Cruise" setting sail next March 8 from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Schneider says the B-52's "still kick ass" and "it's 40 years of friendship -- more, really -- and still going strong. We didn't know what we were doing back when we started and it just kind of snowballed. I'm ready to relax, a little, but we're not going to just stop cold." - Billboard, 9/10/19...... ABCKO Records announced on Sept. 11 that they will release a massive 50th anniversary Rolling Stones Let It Bleed box set on Nov. 1. The album has been remastered in stereo and mono on both super audio CD and vinyl, and the deluxe release will include a double A-side "Honky Tonk Women"/"You Can't Always Get What You Want" picture sleeve vinyl 7" mono single. Also included in the deluxe edition are three 12" x 12" hand-numbered replica-signed lithographs printed on embossed archival paper, and a full-color 23" x 23" poster with restored art from the original 1969 Decca Records package along with an 80-page hardcover book that includes an essay by Rolling Stone journalist David Fricke and never-before-seen photos by the band's tour photographer Ethan Russell. The label is also releasing the remastered stereo version of Let It Bleed as a stand-alone CD, vinyl LP, and digitally. - New Musical Express, 9/11/19...... Appearing on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live on Sept. 11, Ozzy Osbourne's wife Sharon Osbourne shared an update on her husband's health. "He's getting a lot better but it's been a very, very hard road," she told host Jimmy Kimmel. Ozzy had been forced to delay his farewell tour due to the flu (which led to pneumonia) as well as a fall that resulted in spinal surgery and two other major operations. Even so, Sharon says they're both keeping in good spirits about it. After she explained that Ozzy showed her an X-ray of his rod- and bolt-filled body, she joked, "No wonder they call him Iron Man, because I tell you -- he's got so much metal in his body, it's frightening." - Billboard, 9/12/19...... The WhoAfter performing a surprise 4-song set on the sixth story rooftop at the Pace Gallery's massive new Chelsea headquarters in New York City on Sept. 12, The Who announced they'll release their first album in 13 years in November. WHO (for those keeping track, this is the fifth Who studio album with 'who' in the title) will be released on Nov. 22 and according to an interview with frontman Roger Daltrey in July, "it's typical [Pete] Townshend." "He's still got the bite and that knack of creating songs with the earworm that climbs into you. How it fits in the modern market I don't know, but I don't care. I know inside me it's good stuff." WHO will include a studio version of "Ball and Chain," a classic Who rocker in the vein of Quadrophenia that references the U.S.'s controversial detention camp in Cuba: "Down in Guantanamo / we still got the ball and chain," Daltrey growls. "There's a long road to travel for justice to make its claim / so let's bring down the gavel / let the prisoner say his name." Daltrey and Townshend are joined on the album by drummer Zak Starkey and bassist Pino Palladino. The Who/Pace connection wasn't entirely random -- within the new gallery was the cover art to the band's new LP, courtesy of Sir Peter Blake, the renowned U.K. artist best known for crafting the cover imagery for the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band with then-wife Jann Haworth. - Billboard, 9/13/19...... Neil Young and Crazy Horse shared a new song called "Rainbow of Colors" on Sept. 13 that will appear on their upcoming album Colorado "Rainbow of Colors" is a song about the USA and the whole world," Young says. "The idea of this song is that we all belong together. Separating us into races and colors is an old idea whose time has passed." Colorado will drop on Oct. 25 via Reprise Records. - NME, 9/14/19...... Sting has topped Billboard's Dance Club Songs chart for the week ending Sept. 14 with his "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free 2019." It is one of six songs produced by Dave Aude for Sting's My Songs release, which hit stores on May 24. "When Sting asked me to produce for My Songs, I asked if I could work on 'If You Love Somebody Set Them Free,' as it's one of my all-time favorite Sting songs," Aude says. "It's the only one that I totally flipped on its head, and the result is pure dancefloor magic. I'm beyond proud." - Billboard, 9/12/19...... Blues guitar legend Joe Bonamassa will participate in the second annual "Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea Mediterranean II" cruise, which sets sail on Aug. 14 aboard the Norwegian Jade from Barcelona, Spain to Genoa, Italy and Cannes, France. The 6-day cruise will feature music across multiple stages, meet and Greets with artists from the lineup, and one-of-a-kind collaborative sets from blues legends. The specially curated schedule of events offers a variety of music-centric activities including an activity with Bonamassa. Tickets can be booked at BluesAliveAtSeaEurope.com. - Noble PR, 9/10/19...... Alice CooperHaving decided to do a "tip of the hat" to his hometown of Detroit, Alice Cooper has recorded a new vinyl EP of Detroit songs with some of the Motor City's most famous players including Bob Seger. Cooper's Breadcrumbs EP is a six-song set of mostly covers with a highlight being a high-octane rendition of Seger's 1966 single "East Side Story," a video of which has been shared on YouTube. "When people say, 'Well, what is your music?' I say it's Detroit rock -- we just put a different slant on it," says the shock rocker, a Detroit native who moved with his family to Phoenix when he was an adolescent. "At the bottom of it, all Alice Cooper records are Detroit, Chuck Berry, hard rock and then twisting it up into what we are lyrically and performance-wise. But you take the bottom of all those songs and they're all guitar-driven rock n' roll songs, which is what I associate as the Detroit sound. I wanted to use all Detroit players and songs either about Detroit or written by (Detroit musicians)." Cooper confessed that he wasn't familiar with Seger's version of "East Side Story," a regional hit for Seger and his band, but his producer Bob Ezrin saw a video of Seger performing it and went, "We could jazz that song up a little bit and turn it into something else.' It has a great story and I love the chord structure and everything to it. We just treated it a little more hard rock." Alice says he got a chance to tell Seger about the recording when he caught him in Arizona on his current Farewell tour. "I said, 'We're gonna do one of your songs,' and he probably thought I wanted to do one of the hits," Cooper recalls. "I told him 'East Side Story,' and he goes, 'What?!' I said, 'Yeah, we're gonna do that one.' I hope he likes it. I'm glad we gave it a second life." Cooper's Breadcrumbs EP, out Sept. 13, also includes covers of the MC5's "Sister Anne," Suzi Quatro's "Your Mama Won't Like Me" and Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels' "Devil With a Blue Dress On," as well as the new song "Go Man Go" and "Detroit City 2020," a remake of the track from his 2003 album The Eyes of Alice Cooper. The EP will also serve as an introduction to Cooper's next album, which will be all original but, he says, feature the Detroit flavor showcased on Breadcrumbs. "We knew we couldn't get to this new album until 2020, so (the EP) is kind of 'let's throw them some bread crumbs' and give everybody a feel of what it's going to be," explains Cooper, who's currently on tour in Europe. - Billboard, 9/9/19...... TV/movie legend Ed Asner will celebrate his upcoming 90th birthday by letting his famous friends rip into him at a celebrity roast and birthday party set for Nov. 3 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles. The evening will benefit the new Ed Asner Family Center, dedicated to promoting mental health and serving special needs children and their families. Cloris Leachman, Mark Hamill, Lily Tomlin and Brad Garrett will be among the celebrities roasting Asner, with Nancy Sinatra and Steve Lukather of Toto set to perform. From his work as an actor, to fighting social injustice, to his fight for union workers everywhere, to making sure the underdog gets a fair shot and finally to his dedication to helping differently abled individuals and their families be the amazing people they are, my father has been there for everyone," said Asner's son Matthew Asner, who also serves as president of The Ed Asner Family Center. - WENN/Canoe.com, 9/14/19.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Eddie MoneyEddie Money, the '70s and '80s classic rock star who became rock radio's most relatable "everyman" with such top 40 hit singles as "Baby, Hold On," "Two Tickets to Paradise" and "Take Me Home Tonight," died on Sept. 4 after being diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer earlier in 2019. He was 70. Born Edward Mahoney in Brooklyn on Mar. 21, 1949, Money was the son of a New York City policeman who seemed destined to follow in his dad's footsteps when he attended the New York Police Academy. At night, however, he moonlighted as Eddie Money in a rock & roll band and decided he loved rock more than police work. Money quit the academy and moved to Berkeley, Calif., where he sang in Bay Area bars and became managed by local promoter Bill Graham, who negotiated a contract for the rough-voiced singer with Columbia Records. His self-titled debut LP was released in 1977 and spawned two Top 40 hits, "Baby, Hold On" and "Two Tickets to Paradise," which became his signature turnes and eventually were certified double-platinum by the RIAA. Money continued to release hit albums and singles for the next several years, including 1979's Life For the Taking and 1982's No Control, which followed his debut album to platinum status. After the latter LP he maintained a low profile for about three years as he worked to overcome a drug problem, but made a huge comeback in 1986 with "Take Me Home Tonight," which would become his biggest hit.The single -- which featured '60s pop legend Ronnie Spector and borrowed the iconic hook and drum beat from her own biggest smash with The Ronettes, "Be My Baby" -- peaked at No. 4 on the pop chart, while its striking black and white video established Money as an MTV star as well as a radio one, and he became a familiar face in the early days of MTV. He continued his chart success with such singles as "I Wanna Go Back" (No. 14, 1987), "Endless Nights" (No. 24, 1987) "Walk on Water" (No. 9, 1988) and "The Love in Your Eyes" (No. 24, 1989). His final top 20 entry came in 1990 with the greatest hits LP single "Peace in Our Time," and he faded from the mainstream with the rise of alternative rock in the '90s. Eddie MoneyNevertheless, Money remained a draw on the touring circuit, his songs continued to be heard on classic rock radio and also appeared in a variety of commercials, TV shows and movies -- with "Take Me Home Tonight" even providing the title of a 2011 retro comedy film set in 1988. Money's engaging presence made him a natural fit on reality TV, and he starred in the AXS cable channel family show Real Money in 2018, during which his recent health struggles were revealed. His final album, Brand New Day, had been scheduled for release this July, but delayed after the singer was forced to undergo a heart valve procedure earlier that month, which reportedly led to him developing pneumonia. "I missed the boat when it came to the big money," Money once said, perhaps referring to AOR giants in his field like Bruce Springsteen or john Mellencamp, but his attitude remained positive. "The kids aren't in jail, they're not in rehab, nobody's wrecked the car this week and there's still milk in the refrigerator," he said in a 2018 interview with Rolling Stone. "I'm having a good month." A statement from his family on Sept. 13 said that Money "passed away peacefully early this morning." It continued: "It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our loving husband and father. We cannot imagine our world without him. We are grateful that he will live on forever through his music." Among the fellow rock stars paying tribute to him on Twitter were Sammy Hagar ("He put up a good fight. And his songs will play on forever"), Paul Stanley ("I remember his first album which I LOVED. A fine singer through the years), and Rick Springfield ("So sad to hear our rock and roll brother Eddie Money passed away this morning. Love to your family and great memories of you Eddie"). - Billboard, Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock, 9/13/19.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, who plays a wealthy art dealer in the new movie The Burnt Orange Heresy, attended the Venice Film Festival on the first weekend of September to help promote the closing film from director Giuseppe Capotondi. Jagger, with actor Donald Sutherland who also appears in the film, quickly turned political when they were asked to comment on a peaceful demonstration about climate change and anti-immigration policies that overtook the red carpet earlier in the day. "I'm absolutely behind that," said Jagger of the protest. "I'm glad they're doing that because they're the ones who are going to inherit the planet." He then blasted U.S. Pres. Donald Trump for pulling out of the Paris Agreement. "We are in a very difficult situation at the moment, especially in the U.S., where all the environmental controls that were put in place -- that were just about adequate -- have been rolled back by the current administration so much that they are being wiped out," he said. "The U.S. should be the world leader in environmental control but now it has decided to go the other way," Jagger added. Jagger also talked about his role in the new movie. "I'm not really a collector. I throw things away," he said. "I buy things and then lose them. I'm a completely hopeless collector. I'm the complete opposite." - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/7/19...... Helen ReddyI Am Woman, a biopic of '70s Australian singer and women's rights pioneer Helen Reddy, had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 5. The principal cast ofI Am Woman is Tilda Cobham-Hervey as Reddy, Evan Peters as Reddy's manager and (now ex) second husband Jeff Wold, and Danielle Macdonald as trailblazing music journalist and Reddy's close friend Lilian Roxon. While director Unjoo Moon knew Reddy well, met Jeff Wold and had the "whole family involved" in the biopic, its star, 24-year-old Cobham-Hervey, chose not to meet Helen in preparation for the role. Hers is not the voice we hear in the film, but rather a combination of Reddy and Australian singer Chelsea Cullen. The soundtrack includes an original song, "Revolution," sung by Reddy's granddaughter Lily Donat and written and produced by Alex Hope (Alanis Morissette). Moon says that Reddy is endorsing his film "absolutely." "She really gave it her blessing. She really enjoyed it. And her whole family, 'cause obviously it includes a lot of them in the film," he says. Moon added his film is still in need of a distribution deal. Reddy, who scored 15 top 40 singles on the pop chart with her signature tune "I Am Woman" going all the way to No. 1, officially retired in 2002 but still performs periodically, most recently in Las Vegas in 2015. She also sang "I Am Woman" a cappella at the 2017 Women's March in Los Angeles. Moon says he's still looking for a distributor for I Am Woman. - Billboard, 9/6/19...... English New Wave singer Gary Numan, who scored a No. 9 single in the U.S. in 1979 with "Cars," has reflected on the 40th anniversary of his sole U.S. hit and top 20 album The Pleasure Principle from which the single was taken. "I'd been out to buy a bass guitar, because I wanted to learn to play bass guitar better... I thought it would be useful in the studio," Numan says. "Still living in my mum and dad's house, I came home from London, and having bought the guitar -- I've still got it, actually -- I took it out of the case, I put it on my lap, and I played [the first four notes of 'Cars']. And I thought, 'Oh, that sounds all right.' The very first thing! The very first four notes that I played when I picked the thing up, having not been a bass player, was f---ing 'Cars'! There is no way you can put that down to any kind of talent... That is just as lucky as you can get!" Numan added that it "took me 10 minutes to write that entire song, all the parts for it. I mean, there's only three... another 20 minutes to put the music to the lyrics, but I think I'd done the whole song in 30 minutes... It's the quickest song I ever wrote, and I'm still learning ridiculously well from it today, 40 years later. That's luck! So for me to ever feel that I was special would be ridiculous." Numan, who has scored more than a dozen top 20 singles in the U.K., says he still hopes to have another hit in the U.S. "Every time I make a record and I put out a single, I still think that there's a chance that it might do something. I'm amazed that I've got the credibility that I've got in the U.S., having only had one big single, really. I don't know how that happened or why that happened. It may be the begrudging recognition that I'm still trying... I'm extremely optimistic." - Billboard, 9/7/19...... It was announced on Sept. 4 that Elton John and his Rocketman doppelgänger Taron Egerton will perform together at a Rocketman concert at L.A.'s Greek Theatre on Oct. 17. The concert will feature the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra playing live-to-picture all the songs from the Paramount Pictures film -- scored by Matthew Margeson -- under the direction of principal conductor John Beal. The film's music producer Giles Martin will produce the music for the performance. "I'm thrilled to debut 'Rocketman: Live in Concert'," Sir Elton said in a statement. "I can think of no better city than Los Angeles to bring the magic of this movie to life and perform live with the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra. I can't wait for the audience to experience the film in a new and profound way." It is unclear what song or songs John and Egerton will perform. Public ticket sales begin Sept. 6 via the Greek Theatre and AXS.com and will be available from $44.50 to $230. When purchasing tickets, fans will also have the opportunity to preorder John's forthcoming autobiography, Me, which will be hit shelves from Macmillan on Oct. 15. - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/4/19...... Freddie MercuryA new box set of Freddie Mercury solo material was announced on Sept. 5, what would have been the late Queen frontman's 73rd birthday. Never Boring will be the first ever curated selection of Mercury's music as well as his spoken words and visuals. Consisting of three CDs with 32 tracks, a Blu-ray and DVD featuring 12 promo videos and a 10 3x10 3 hardback book, Never Boring provides fans with the chance to delve into the musician's work outside of Queen. Never Boring's titled comes from actor Rami Malek, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Mercury. "Freddie was extreme. He was absolute, he was all or nothing, he was always or never. Freddie Mercury was never boring," Malek once said. Never Boring will hit stores on Oct. 11. - New Musical Express, 9/5/19...... Details of a new David Bowie deluxe box set called Conversation Piece that tracks the rocker's development through 1968 and 1969 were announced on Sept. 5. Conversation Piece will bring together home demos, BBC radio sessions, studio recordings with John "Hutch" Hutchinson, and tracks from the experimental music and mime group Feathers. It will also feature 12 previously unreleased tracks and demos from that era alongside a new mix of the David Bowie (aka Space Oddity in the U.S.) album by long-time Bowie producer and collaborator Tony Visconti. The set will also include a 120-page hardback book featuring exclusive memorabilia from Ken Pitt, Bowie's former manager and the David Bowie Archive. A 2019 mix of "Space Oddity" will also be available separately and will come as a CD, standard digital, 96/24 digital, and vinyl release. - NME, 9/6/19...... Meanwhile, Bowie's sometime collaborator Iggy Pop has just released his 18th studio album, Free. Free arrived on digital music platforms on Sept. 6 and includes the previously released tunes "James Bond," "Sonali" and the title track. Free, the follow-up to Pop's 2016 LP Post Pop Depression, has been described by Iggy as having "virtually nothing in common sonically with its predecessor -- or with any other Iggy Pop album." - Billboard, 9/6/19...... A new mix of the Beatles' 1969 track "Oh! Darling" has been freshened up by producer Giles Martin for the 50th anniversary release of the Fab Four's Abbey Road album on Sept. 27 via Apple Corps/Capitol/UMe. Giles freshened up the sound of "Oh! Darling," which can be heard on YouTube, to make Paul McCartney's heartfelt vocals sound sharp as ever. The deluxe Abbey Road will contain 23 outtakes and demos, as well as 17 original songs, remixed by Giles from the original multi-track tapes recorded by his father, the band's longtime producer George Martin. "The Beatles recording journey had gone through many twists and turns, learning curves and thrilling rides," McCartney wrote in the foreword for the anniversary edition packages. "Here we were -- still wondering at the magic of it all." Additionally, Apple Corps unveiled another version of "Oh! Darling," an unreleased "Take 4" from the band's Abbey Road sessions, featuring a Hammond organ from Billy Preston. - Billboard, 9/6/19...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney says headlining the 50th anniversary Glastonbury Festival could be a "remote possibility" next year. Sir Paul is the English bookies' favourite to headline the 2020 Glastonbury fest, alongside the likes of Fleetwood Mac and Elton John, and on the BBC 2's Breakfast Show on Sept. 5 he did little to quell the speculation. "I mean people are saying that it would be good if I did it, so I'm starting to think about whether I can or whether it would be a good thing. My kids are saying 'Dad we've got to talk about Glastonbury' and I think I know what they mean," said McCartney, who previously topped the Glastonbury bill in 2005. "...It is a great festival and we played there quite a long time ago so, maybe it is time to go back, I don't know, I'd have to put a few things in place and try and do that but it's starting to become some sort of remote possibility... I mean it's definitely not fixed yet but people are starting to talk about it," he added. - New Musical Express, 9/5/19....... Director Ron Howard, who co-produced the new Robbie Robertson and The Band documentary Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, has announced a worldwide distribution deal for the movie outside of Canada. "Magnolia is going to distribute the movie theatrically around the world. We've very excited about this collaboration and partnership," Howard announced at the Toronto Film Festival on Sept. 6, where the film had its world premiere. Also attending the press conference was Howard's business and creative partner Brian Grazer, Once Were Brothers director Daniel Roher, and Robertson himself. Once Were Brothers is based on Robertson's 2016 memoir, Testimony, and covers the first three decades of his life. It was also executive produced by Martin Scorsese, who directed The Band's 1978 swan song concert doc The Last Waltz. - Billboard, 9/6/19...... Rob HalfordJudas Priest frontman Rob Halford has announced he'll be releasing a holiday-themed album, Celestial, on Oct. 18 via Legacy Recordings. Halford says the album blends holiday favorites with some of his new compositions. "[Heavy metal] can look pretty intimidating. And it is a very strong, powerful experience," Halford says. "But it comes at different levels. I think the music that we've made on Celestial, for example, gives a display of that. Metal maniacs -- as we call ourselves -- are just as ready for the holidays as everybody else. And what we've tried to do with this music is to reach out to as many of those metal dimensions as we possibly can." Celestial also taps into the holiday spirit by including Halford's family, with his brother on drums, his nephew on bass, his sister on bells, and the twin guitar tandem of Robert Jones and Jon Blakey. "[The holidays are] a beautiful thing as far as bringing families together," Halford adds. "So, what better way to celebrate it than with your family, friends... and music. You must have music at Christmas time." - Billboard, 9/6/19...... For the first time since 1986, vinyl records have outsold CDs, according to a mid-year report from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The 2018 RIAA reported revealed that CD sales are dying three times as fast as vinyl sales are growing, and it's more of the same in this year's. Vinyl revenue grew by 12% in the second half of 2018 and first half of 2019, and CD rates barely changed. The report also revealed that, despite vinyl's growing popularity in relation to CD sales, it still accounts for a relatively small percentage of overall music purchasing, accounting for only 4% of overall revenues. Paid subscriptions to streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, meanwhile, accounted for 62%. - New Musical Express, 9/7/19...... Valerie Harper's only child Cristina Cacciotti reportedly made a loving and funny speech about her mom's toughness during an emotional tribute to her mother on Aug. 30 at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles before her late mom was laid to rest. "I don't have balls, I have steel ovaries," Cristina remembered her mother saying. Rhoda director/producer James L. Brooks, actor Elliott Gould and actress Frances Fisher were some of the guests who came to pay their last respects. Harper suffered through years of health problems, including leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, lung cancer and brain cancer, and reportedly sunk $3 million into cancer treatments to try and stay alive, according to RadarOnline.com. Harper died at age 80 on Aug. 3. - American Media Inc./Canoe.com, 9/8/19...... Former James Bond star Sean Connery says he's recovering after riding out the recent Hurricane Dorian at his home in the Bahamas. Connery, 89, says he opted not to evacuate from his property on New Providence as the monster storm battered the islands and now admits he and his wife Marcheline are "lucky to be alive." "We are both fine," Connery told the UK's Daily Mail paper. "We were lucky compared to many others and the damage here was not great. We had been prepared for the storm, everything was ready in advance -- we weren't taking any chances and knew what to do," he added. Dorian, a Category 5 storm, levelled much of the Bahamas and claimed the lives of more than 20 people. - WENN/Canoe.com, 9/6/19...... Session guitarist Jimmy Johnson, the co-founder of Muscle Shoals Sound Studio and the guitarist of the studio's sessioning group The Muscle Shoals Swampers, died on Sept. 5 of as yet unannounced causes. He was 76. Johnson started out his career in the early '60s, working as a session guitarist at Rick Hall's FAME studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala. There, he lent his guitar skills to records by acts such as Paul Simon, Rod Stewart and Lynyrd Skynyrd. He also went on to play sessions alongside soul and R&B icons such as Aretha Franklin, Etta James and Clarence Carter. Johnson later left FAME with the studio's other backup musicians Roger Hawkins, Barry Beckett and David Hood to establish the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, where they recorded albums by Levon Helm, Russell Smith and Delbert McClinton. In 1969, the Rolling Stones recorded part of theirSticky Fingers album at their studio. Johnson was credited as a recording engineer on three tracks on the LP, including "Wild Horses," "Brown Sugar" and "You Gotta Move." "Recording was in Jimmy's blood," a Facebook post by the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio read, adding that "Jimmy was a part of the family at the studio, often stopping by during tours. He was always happy to share a story about his sessions." - New Musical Express, 9/6/19...... Carol LynleyActress Carol Lynley, a former child model who had an intense film acting career mirroring the country's transformation from the modest Eisenhower era into the sexually frank 1960s, died of a heart attack on Sept. 3 at her home in Los Angeles. She was 77. Ms. Lynley may be best remembered as the nave, soft-spoken adolescent who becomes pregnant by her equally wide-eyed boyfriend, played by Brandon De Wilde, in the 1959 film Blue Denim. It was a role she had originated on Broadway the year before, when she was 16. The blond beauty then made at least a half-dozen Hollywood movies over the next eight years, but by the time she was in her mid-20s her star had faded, and she was never directly in the public eye again. Still, she did make a notable if brief comeback in 1972, when she turned up wearing hot pants and go-go boots in the disaster movie The Poseidon Adventure, singing (or at least lip-syncing) the Oscar-winning song "The Morning After." Born Carole Ann Jones in New York City on Feb. 13, 1942, Ms. Lynley made her film debut, The Light in the Forest, in 1958, followed by Blue Denim and Hound-Dog Man in 1959. Her portrayal of more knowing characters began in 1961 with Return to Peyton Place followed by Under the Yum-Yum Tree with Jack Lemmon in 1963. She was 23 when she posed discreetly nude in Playboy magazine and played the title role in Harlow (1965), a biographical film about the 1930s screen star and sex symbol Jean Harlow. That same year, she won positive reviews as a distraught young mother in Otto Preminger's London-set thriller Bunny Lake Is Missing, but neither critics nor fans responded to her in the same way as they had during her teenage years. Ms. Lynley was was a favorite guest star on television throughout the 1970s and among a handful of actors that Fantasy Island producers turned to multiple times a season, never playing the same character twice. She worked steadily till 1991, just doing a handful of things after. Her later projects included Vic (2006), a 30-minute short about an older actor, directed by Sage Stallone, a son of Sylvester Stallone, and A Light in the Forest (2002), in which she played the grandmother in a family-oriented fantasy. That film had no connection to Ms. Lynley's first movie, which had almost exactly the same title. Ms. Lynley was married from 1960 to 1964 to Michael Selsman, a film industry publicist, and they had a daughter, Jill, who survives her. She also had a long on-again, off-again relationship with the television host David Frost. - The New York Times, 9/6/19...... Cable channel HGTV will premiere A Very Brady Renovation on Sept. 9 at 8:00 p.m. EDT, where the original Brady Bunch kids take the real home in Los Angeles that served as the exterior for the series and remake the inside to match the famous set. - AP, 9/9/19.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Rollling Stones wrapped their No Filter Tour in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Aug. 30, nearly two years after the legendary rockers kicked it off in Hamburg, Germany. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood were said to have been in top form for the show that had to be moved up one day due to the threat of Hurricane Dorian, delivering a powerful show that included their bevy of hits including "Start Me Up," "Honky Tonk Woman" and "You Can't Always Get What You Want." After opening with their classics "Jumping Jack Flash" and "It's Only Rock and Roll (But I Like It)," the band tore through 20 songs, ending with an encore of "Gimme Shelter" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." The first leg of the No Filter Tour started on Sept. 9, 2017 with two shows in Germany and ended in France at the end of October of that year. The Stones remained in Europe for the second leg from May into July, and the tour became one of the most successful treks of 2017 and 2018. However in March 2019, the shocking news came that the North American leg, consisting of 17 shows, had to be postponed because Jagger had to undergo heart valve replacement surgery in April. Jagger, 76, promised the band would be back to make up all the dates after he recovered. In the end, the band, which has been together for 57 years, lived up to that promise. Meanwhile, it was revealed by The Telegraph music critic Neil McCormick on Aug. 28 that Keith Richards uses a motorized ashtray that sucks in ciggie smoke so as not to piss off Mick Jagger. "Today I learned that Keith Richards has a motorised ashtray that absorbs smoke, so his habit won't upset Mick Jagger backstage," McCormick tweeted. McCormick also posted that Richards uses a hotel bell to summon his guitar technician. Although Richards, 76, continues to smoke, he revealed in December 2018 that he'd given up alcohol. - TheDailyMail.uk/New Musical Express, 8/31/19...... Gerry BeckleyGerry Beckley of America has shared a video of a new ballad called "Calling" from his upcoming album, Five Mile Road, which drops on Sept. 20. "It's one of the closest to what I would consider one of my strengths, which is a ballad of that sort," Beckley says, noting that "Calling" is one of his favorites from the new set. "I'm really proud of the tune. It's a pretty simple theme, and I think I did a good job of getting it across. We spend a lot of time away from the ones we know and love. I think you'll find that elsewhere around the album, too." Five Mile Road is Beckley's sixth solo album and the follow-up to his 2016 set Carousel. Beckley co-produced it with Jeff Larson and wrote all the songs except for "Life Lessons," which he co-wrote with his frequent collaborator, actor/musician Billy Mumy. America released their last album, Lost & Found, in 2015, the Beckley and partner Dewey Bunnell's first album of original material in eight years. Beckley predicts that "with the right guidance there could easily be another one or two America projects in the future." But now, the group is focusing on its 50-year anniversary celebration it began in 2019, leading up to the actual golden anniversary of the band's formation, in London, in 2020. He says the group has a number of commemorative projects on tap -- ranging from the single disc Golden Hits that's already out to a couple of planned box sets -- as well as a biography that's been written by Jude Warne. America was recently profiled on CBS Sunday Morning and will be featured on Dan Rather's The Big Interview on Nov. 26. "The band is in great shape. The schedule's pretty full, and we thought rather than wait 'til the actual day, let's kick it off as being the 50th year... we like doing it this way. The challenge has been to spread everything throughout the year so they don't just stack up on each other." - Billboard, 9/4/19...... Ozzy Osbourne's wife Sharon Osbourne has lashed out at UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn amid claims that Corbyn has facilitated the rise of anti-Semitism in the Labour party. Osbourne, who is of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, told the UK paper The Sun, "Oh my God, I hate him so much.... I want to physically hurt this man. He is the most arrogant, ugly f---. I want to hurt him." Corbyn as always denied he is anti-Semitic. Osbourne's comments come ahead of her appearance on the TV program Who Do You Think You Are, which sees her investigating the experiences of her father Don Arden as a Jewish soldier for the British Army during World War II. - New Musical Express, 9/3/19...... Never one to shy away from controversy, Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters showed up at a pro-Julian Assange rally in London on Sept. 2 and joined protesters advocating for the Wikileaks founder's release from prison. "How do we put ourselves in the position of a Julian Assange in solitary confinement," Waters asked the crowd. "Or with that kid in Syria or Palestine or Rohingya, being blown to bits by these people in this building here?" A video of Waters' speech and a performance of the 1975 Pink Floyd hit "Wish You Were Here" has been posted on Bruce Springsteen's latest album YouTube. - Billboard, 9/3/19...... Rock photographer Jay Blakesberg will release Jerry Garcia: Secret Space of Dreams on Oct. 15, a fine art photography book featuring 139 photos of the late Grateful Dead singer/guitarist performing in shows from September 1978 through April 1995. The 208-page hardcover book's foreward was written by Grammy-winning singer/guitarist John Mayer, who is currently touring with the Dead spin-off group Dead & Company, replacing Garcia in the band. The book also features an introduction from journalist/musician/radio host and Grateful Dead historian David Gans, who delves into the mythology around Garcia, as well as an essay from the guitarist's daughter, Trixie. Garcia died in Aug. 1995 at age 53 of a heart attack. - Billboard, 9/4/19...... Robbie RobertsonA new Robbie Robertson and The Band documentary entitled Once Were Brothers has proved to be the hottest ticket at the Toronto International Film Festival, which is set to premiere the film at the gala's opening night on Sept. 5. Once Were Brothers, the first-ever Canadian documentary to win the coveted opening night spot, is directed by Canadian director Daniel Roher and presents the people, the era and the extraordinary music of The Band through present-day conversations with Robertson and various colleagues including Ronnie Hawkins, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Martin Scorsese and Eric Clapton. Robertson, 76, shows no signs of slowing down and much is made of his work ethic in the documentary. On Sept. 20, he'll release Sinematic, his first new solo effort in eight years. Robertson says Sinematic was influenced by the new The Band documentary and his work on Martin Scorsese's upcoming movie, The Irishman. Robertson added he's already working on another collaboration with Scorsese, the score for Killers of the Flower Moon. He's also preparing a special 50th anniversary re-release of The Band's eponymous 1970 debut album, and writing the second instalment of his memoir, Testimony. - WENN/Canoe.com, 9/4/19...... Neil Young and Crazy Horse have shared a video from a new song, "Milky Way," from their upcoming album Colorado and confirmed the new album will be released on Oct. 25 via Reprise Records. Colorado's 11 songs were recorded mostly live in a studio in the Rocky Mountains near Telluride, Col., and co-produced by Young and John Hanlon, with additional mixing at Rick Rubin's Shangri-La Studios in Malibu, Calif. The follow-up to Young and Crazy Horse's acclaimed 2012 set Psychedelic Pill, it will will be available in high-resolution audio through the Neil Young Archives (NYA) and come on a three-sided, double vinyl album with a bonus 7" vinyl single with two non-album tracks, the live solo "Rainbow of Colors" and "Truth Kills." Crazy Horse's current lineup features longtime bassist Billy Talbot and drummer Ralph Molina and guitarist Nils Lofgren. Fans will be able to get a glimpse into the Colorado writing and recording process in the upcoming documentary Mountaintop Sessions, one of 15 films Young has announced are in the works. - Billboard, 8/30/19...... A volume of lyrics by Lou Reed called I'll Be Your Mirror has been updated and republished on Aug. 3 after several years out of print. Named after a song from the Velvet Underground's iconic 1967 album The Velvet Underground with Nico, I'll Be Your Mirror has been updated with lyrics from Reed's final album Lulu, his controversial collaboration with Metallica. It will also feature new introductions from Reed's widow Laurie Anderson, movie director Martin Scorsese and journalist James Atlas. Though Lulu was panned by critics at the time of its release, the avant-garde record was still praised by the likes of David Bowie, who called it Reed's "greatest work," Laurie Anderson revealed in a speech at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which Reed was inducted into in 2015. I'll Be Your Mirror will be published as an e-book, hardback trade edition and a limited edition. Only 250 copies of the latter will be printed, each priced at £100. Pre-orders begin Octo. 8 on publisher Faber & Faber's website. - New Musical Express, 9/4/19...... The companion film to Bruce Springsteen's latest album Western Stars has been given an Oct. 25 release date by Warner Bros. Pictures. The studio acquired the film, which marks Springsteen's directorial debut, following its world premiere at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival. Springsteen partnered with long-time collaborator Thom Zimny on the documentary, which features archival footage and personal narration, in addition to Springsteen performing all 13 songs on Western Stars. The LP debuted at No. 2 in the U.S. and No. 1 in the U.K. and Australia. - Billboard, 9/4/19...... Elton JohnThe UK's Royal Mail announced on Sept. 9 it is honoring Elton John's half-century of contributions to music with an upcoming set of 12 UK postage stamps, including eight that honor the singer's classic albums. Among the records featured on the collection of commemoratives are his acclaimed 1972 breakthrough album Honky Chateau, as well as Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy and Made in England. Other stamps in the collection will feature images of John performing live throughout his five-decade career, from a 1973 show at the Hammersmith Odeon in London to a 2018 show at Madison Square Garden in New York. Sir Elton is only the second individual solo music artist to be featured on a set of stamps from the Royal Mail, following a 2017 edition honoring David Bowie. Images of the stamps can be viewed on Twitter, and can be purchased on the Royal Mail website. - Billboard, 9/3/19...... The Association of Independent Music Awards honored Blondie frontwoman Debby Harry with an Oustanding Contribution to Music award on Sept. 3. Now in its 20th year, the AOIMA honors leading independent artists, labels and industry figures. - Billboard, 9/4/19...... The Motown Museum announced on Sept. 4 that Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr. is donating $4 million toward a project to expand a museum housed in the Detroit building where he built his music empire. Gordy's gift coincides with Motown's 60th anniversary and is the largest individual donation to the project which was officially announced in 2016. "I'm excited about the future of Motown Museum and happy to support it," Gordy said in a statement about the 50,000 square-foot multi-media attraction. "Not only will the expanded museum entertain and tell the stories of talented and creative people who succeeded against all odds, but it will also inspire and create opportunity for people to explore their dreams the way I did mine. I couldn't be prouder to be a part of that." Gordy launched Motown in 1959 with an $800 loan from his family's Ber-Berry Co-op trust and moved the label to Los Angeles in 1972 before selling it in 1988. His late sister, Esther Gordy Edwards, founded the museum in the former "Hitsville U.S.A." headquarters on West Grand Boulevard in 1985. When Edwards died in 2011, Gordy -- who has previously donated properties, artifacts and money to the museum -- credited her with turning "the so-called trash left behind... into a phenomenal world-class monument at the spot where Hitsville started." Museum expansion plans include interactive exhibits, a performance theater, recording studios, an expanded retail area and meeting spaces. - AP, 9/4/19...... A new Beatles mural has been unveiled in the seaside resort of New Brighton, U.K., yards from the old Tower Ballroom where the band played on multiple occasions during the 60s. Opened to the public on Sept. 1, the historic work of art is situated in New Brighton s Victoria Quarter and has huge cultural, musical and historical significance, according to Explore Liverpool. The wall mural is located on Mason Street and sees the Beatles running towards the site of the old Tower Ballroom, where they played 27 times between 1961-1963. Unveiled as a symbol of hope, the mural comes one week after International Beatles Week, 50 years after The New Brighton Tower Ballroom burned down and 100 years after The New Brighton Tower was destroyed. - New Musical Express, 9/2/19...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney has revealed in a new interview with the London Times that one of his grandsons was recently mugged at knifepoint. McCartney, who didn't share which grandchild it was, said his grandson felt like "a coward" after it happened." "He was saying the worst thing was that he should have just thumped the guy; he came back and felt a coward," McCartney explained. "I said, 'No, no, no, no! The guy had a knife and you don't know, the guy might be able to use that knife'." Sir Paul then recalled an occasion during his childhood when he was mugged for his watch. "When I was a kid it was four guys and they nicked my watch," he admitted. "I was of a similar age. I just happened to be on my own, bigger kids came along and it was the same feeling. [I thought at the time] 'I have got to learn karate and be a black belt -- and then I'll get 'em!' It was the worst thing." - NME, 8/31/19...... Paul StanleyKISS singer/guitarist Paul Stanley has weighed in on the recent rash of mass shootings in the U.S. after the most recent attack in Odessa and Midland, Tex., by a man in his mid-30s using an AR-style rifle resulted in the deaths of seven people and the wounding of at least 22 more, including a 17-month-old baby girl. "We don't have more 'crazy' or 'mentally unstable' people in the US," Stanley tweeted on Sept. 1. "What we DO have are commonplace mass shootings with automatic and semi-automatic high powered firearms. THAT cannot be disputed. Tell me what we and our government must do. Prayers and sympathy are not enough." Stanley posted his thoughts over a picture of the aftermath of the most recent Texas shooting. A short time later, Stanley added some response to those who said the veteran rocker should mind his own business. "I DON'T KNOW THE ANSWER but am asking for everyone's thoughts. Anyone who thinks I should 'stay in my lane' should leave now," he wrote. "This is MY house. If you DO have opinions why shouldn't I? In this case I will leave up some of those dopey comments for your enjoyment. Not again." - Billboard, 9/2/19...... Cable channel HLN will premiere a new David Cassidy documentary, David Cassidy: How It Really Happened, on Sept. 8 at 9:00 p.m. EDT. The special delves into Cassidy's death in 2017 at age 67 from organ failure related to alcoholism. "He was happiest on stage. But happiness off stage was hard to find, and Cassidy was keeping gloomy secrets from everyone he loved. In the end, even his death was surrounded by mystery leaving his family, friends and fans with more questions than answers," the network said in a statement. - The Orlando Sentinel, 9/4/19...... Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont sponsored another 50th anniversary Woodstock tribute on Aug. 30 at the annual fair in Woodstock, Conn., which included a battle of the bands. Gov. Lamont, who says his parents would not let him attend the original 1969 festival in New York, spent $17,000 of his own money to finance the tribute. Gov. Lamont, wearing a tie-dyed T-shirt and dancing, served as a judge for the bands, who were required to play at least one song from the original Woodstock. The winner, a band called Last Licks, received $7,500. Gov. Lamont, a Democrat, was joined on stage by Republican state senator George Logan who played a Jimi Hendrix-style national anthem on his guitar, just as he had done at Gov. Lamont's inaugural ball in January. - AP, 9/1/19...... John Travolta's latest film, The Fanatic, has bombed at the U.S. box office in its opening weekend. The Fanatic, directed by Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst, took in a paltry $3,153 on Aug. 30 from 52 cinemas, with final totals for the Labor Day weekend yet to be confirmed. The psychological thriller stars Travolta as Moose, an avid movie fan who becomes obsessed with fictional action hero Hunter Dunbar. When Moose is cheated out of his chance to meet Dunbar, Moose's actions take a increasingly terrifying turn. An official synopsis teases that Moose's fixation turns from "stalking to ambition of destroying the star's life." The movie is said to have been inspired by the real-life story of a fan that once stalked Durst. The Fanatic's poor showing marks the Saturday Night Fever star's fourth box office bomb in a row, according to The Hollywood Reporter. - NME, 9/3/19...... Crystal GayleCrystal Gayle will release her latest LP, You Don't Know Me, on Sept. 6 via BFD Records. The 15-song project will be the "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" singer's first album in 16 years and finds her teaming up with her sisters, Loretta Lynn and Peggy Sue, on a cover of Dolly Parton's "Put It Off Until Tomorrow." "I am honored that my sisters, Loretta Lynn and Peggy Sue, wanted to sing with me on my new album," Gayle says. "'Put It Off Until Tomorrow' is one of our favorites and it's a song that we have performed together many times in concert. Dolly Parton and Bill Owens -- Dolly's uncle -- wrote this song, and I love the original hit by Bill Phillips with Dolly singing harmony." A video for "Put It Off Until Tomorrow" can be viewed on YouTube. - Billboard, 9/4/19...... Late actor Marlon Brando, who was close friends with Michael Jackson and was interviewed by prosecutors when they investigated allegations of child molestation against Jackson in 1994, is quoted in a new podcast as saying that the King of Pop was once reduced to tears when Brando asked the singer about sexual abuse allegations. Recalling a conversation he'd had with Jackson at his Neverland Ranch, Brando told prosecutors: "I had asked him if he was a virgin and he just sort of laughed and giggled." He added that Jackson was uncomfortable with the "f-word" and too embarrassed to about his sex life. Details of Brando's conversation were revealed by podcast series "Telephone Stories: The Trials of Michael Jackson" after creator-producer Brandon Ogborn secured a transcript of a sworn statement and checked its authenticity with Los Angeles Superior Court judge Lauren Weis. Weis previously investigated Jackson during her 23-year stint as a prosecutor with the LA County district attorney. Brando also said that he continued to grill Jackson about the allegations of child abuse against him, which made the singer cry and admit that he hated his father. "With this mode of behavior that's been going on, I think it's pretty reasonable to conclude that he may have had something to do with kids," Brando said. "My impression was that he didn't want to answer because he was frightened to answer me." Jackson was not charged with molestation in 1994 but he went to trial in 2005 and was subsequently acquitted on all counts. - NME, 8/30/19.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Valerie HarperSitcom actress Valerie Harper, best known for playing the brash, Bronx-accented upstairs neighbor to Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) on The Mary Tyler Moore Show beginning in 1970 before starring in her own spinoff Rhoda four years later, died on Aug. 30 after being diagnosed with lung and brain cancer. She was 80. Born in Suffern, N.Y., in 1939, Ms. Harper attended Gotham's Young Professionals School in high school and studied ballet. She started in show business as a dancer/chorus girl on Broadway in 1959 in "Li'l Abner," and went on to perform in Broadway shows such as "Wildcat" and "Take Me Along" and at Radio City Music Hall. After being introduced to the Second City improv theater by her roommate, actress Arlene Golonka, Ms. Harper met Second City performer Dick Schaal, and then moved to Hollywood where she was called to audition for the part of the funny, imperfect Rhoda Morganstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. While Moore's "spunky" Mary Richards character was happily single (a rarity for the era), the Rhoda character was her opposite, an outspoken, wisecracking woman in her thirties who seemed desperate to find a husband. Rhoda's Jewish heritage was often emphasized in the series, and her fans were surprised to find out that Harper wasn't Jewish in real life. Ms. Harper's Rhoda character proved to be so popular that CBS spun off the series Rhoda, which ran from 1974-1978. Rhoda returned to New York to work as a window dresser with a more self-confident persona. Her whiny sister Brenda was played by Julie Kavner, and her husband for part of the series was played by David Groh. Ms. Harper's role as Rhoda Morgenstern garnered supporting actress Emmys in 1971, '72 and '73 and an Emmy nom in '74. The character started her own business decorating store windows and eventually split up with her husband Joe, finishing out the show as a divorcee who frequented singles bars. Valerie Harper"Even with all the feminism we had gone through, being married was equated with success," she once told the TV Academy. In 1986, Ms. Harper starred in the NBC series Valerie, but left after two years in a salary dispute. The series continued without her, with several name changes before finally becoming The Hogans, and she won a $1.4 million judgment against Lorimar Productions and 12.5% of the profits. Ms. Harper went on to guest on familiar series such as The Love Boat, Melrose Place, That '70s Show, Sex and the City, Hot in Cleveland and Desperate Housewives. On the big screen, Ms. Harper had roles in Freebie and the Bean (1974), Blame it on Rio, The Last Married Couple in America and, more recently, the horror pic Shiver. She ran for president of the Screen Actors Guild in 2001, but lost to Melissa Gilbert. Later in her career, she returned to the stage, portraying such figures as Golda Meir and Tallulah Bankhead, and won a Tony for the latter role in "Looped" in 2010. A vocal supporter of the women's movement, Ms. Harper campaigned to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed. Though she was diagnosed with cancer 10 years ago, she continued working and competed on Dancing With the Stars in late 2013. Ms. Harper is survived by her second husband, Tony Cacciotti, and their adopted daughter, Christina. Christina tweeted the news of her mom's passing on Aug. 30: "My dad has asked me to pass on this message: 'My beautiful caring wife of nearly 40 years has passed away at 10:06am, after years of fighting cancer. She will never, ever be forgotten. Rest In Peace, mia Valeria. - Anthony.'" Ms. Harper's Mary Tyler Moore Show co-star Ed Asner told People that his friend was "a brilliant artist with a myriad of ideas on how to make the character more interesting; and was a fighter for those less fortunate." Later on Twitter, the 89-year-old posted the actress was "a beautiful woman, a wonderful actress, a great friend and with balls bigger than mine... Goodnight beautiful. I'll see you soon." - Variety, 8/30/19.

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News items appearing in Super Seventies RockSite!'s "Favorite Seventies Artists In The News" are compiled from numerous online and printed sources, including Billboard.com, New Musical Express, Associated Press, The Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly, CNN, Rolling Stone.com, Canoe.com, TheBlast.com, Miles High Productions, and Noble PR.






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