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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Neil Young announced on Nov. 15 that he'll be releasing his new album, The Visitor, along with an entire high-quality digital catalog on Dec. 1. "December 1st will be a big day for me," Young posted on Facebook. "The Visitor will be coming to your town. I will be going to my town. You will be able to hear me and see me. My archive will open on that same day, a place you can visit and experience every song I have ever released in the highest quality your machine will allow. It's the way it's supposed to be. In the beginning, everything is free." Young says he built his Neil Young Archives site "for myself as much as for everyone else," according to a welcome note. The NYA will use Xstream Music high resolution streaming by OraStream to offer uncompressed master recordings. A timeline on the archives will outline "when and how the music was made" throughout his career. "Every single, recorded track or album I have produced is represented," he says. Info cards with album contents, art and credits will be available, as well as a filing cabinet to present all of Young's songs chronologically, with their corresponding media, memorabilia, press clips and more. - Billboard, 11/15/17...... Gene SimmonsKiss member Gene Simmons has reportedly been banned from the Fox News Channel for life after exposing his belly and attacking staff with a copy of his new book, On Power. On Nov. 16, as he appeared on the FNC show Fox & Friends to promote the book, Simmons reportedly left the set and barged into a staff meeting, before making crude insults to the female staff members and shouting "Hey ladies, sue me!," then lifting his shirt up. One witness said Simmons also made Michael Jackson-related paedophilia jokes, before hitting each staff member on the head with a copy of On Power, and remarking that the sound it made suggested they were lacking in intelligence. Simmons' actions have resulted in his picture being put up at the Manhattan building's entrance, and the star receiving a lifetime ban from Fox News. A representitive for Simmons declined to comment. Elsewhere, commenting on the Harvey Weinstein controversy, Simmons said, "The lunatics have taken over the insane asylum when respected business entities such as yourself ask guys that like to stick their tongues out what I think of Harvey Weinstein. Okay, I'm a powerful and attractive man, and what I'm about to say is deadly serious. Men are jackasses. From the time we're young we have testosterone. I'm not validating it or defending it." - New Musical Express, 11/17/17...... Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song," which originally appeared on the band's 1970 set Led Zeppelin III, has once again climbed to No. 1 on Billboard Hard Rock Digital Song Sales roundup after being featured in the newly-released movie Thor: Ragnarok. "Immigrant Song" previously achieved the No. 1 position on the same chart in April 2017 after appearing in the film's trailer. Downloads of "Immigrant" increased by a whopping 977 percent to 18,000 sold in the week ending Nov. 9, up from 2,000 in the previous week. "Immigrant" also returned to the Billboard Hot Rock Songs chart at No. 4, where older songs can re-enter if showing a meaningful increase and ranking in the top 25. The song previously hit No. 16 powered by the Thor trailer earlier this year. Meanwhile, Led Zep's 2007 greatest hits compilation Mothership leaped from 166 to 80 with a 70% gain to 8,000 equivalent album units. Mothership also jumped from No. 11 to No. 2 on the Hard Rock Albums chart. - Billboard 11/15/17...... In related news, actor Jack Black, who also used "Immigrant Song" in his 2003 movie School of Rock, has challenged Thor star Chris Hemsworth to a Battle of the Jams to settle the "claim" to the song. Black, who went as far as to beg for Led Zeppelin's permission to use the song in his film by filming the Battle of the Bands scene to enlist the crowd in his begging, tweeted "This is a challenge!" to Hemsworth. Hemsworth seemed equal parts uncomfortable and confused when he posted his response to Instagram, saying, "You're right, you got me! Guilty as charged." Hemsworth then posted compliments to the School of Rock faux music professor, writing "We stole 'Immigrant Song' from you. But guess what? You stole it, too. And as Oscar Wilde once said, 'Talent borrows and genius steals.' So, we're both guilty of the same crime." - Billboard, 11/13/17...... Fleetwood MacFleetwood Mac announced on Nov. 15 that they will reissue their self-titled 1975 album, featuring unreleased material, on Jan. 19 via Warner Bros. The remastered album will be available in three different formats: a single-CD, a 2-CD collection featuring unreleased studio and live recordings, and a 3-CD/LP/DVD deluxe edition that features additional live material. The unreleased material includes live performances of several tracks, including "Rhiannon," "Landslide" and "Say You Love Me." The live songs were recorded during concerts in 1976, and the deluxe edition will include 14 additional unreleased live tracks. The deluxe edition will also include the original album pressed on 180-gram vinyl, plus a DVD featuring 5.1 surround sound and high-resolution 24/96 stereo audio mixes of the record. Earlier in 2017, the Mac's Christine McVie revealed the band would launch a world tour in 2018. "We're going to start rehearsing in March, next year. The tour is around June. It will be global," she said. - New Musical Express, 11/16/17...... Late Steely Dan member Walter Becker's wife Delia issued a statement on Nov. 15 saying that her husband died "in the course of being treated for an extremely aggressive form of esophageal cancer." Becker passed away on Sept. 3 at age 6, less than four months after he was diagnosed. "Walter passed peacefully in our New York City home, surrounded by his family, his music, and a blustery rainstorm -- one of his favorite sounds -- blowing outside the window," she writes. "In keeping with his wishes, he was cremated without ceremony or memorial in New York City. Understandably, Walter wanted privacy during the course of his illness and he hoped for recovery. He wanted to be able to return to the stage and once again perform for his fans. It's important to me, as it was to Walter, that you all know he never intended to keep anyone in the dark about his condition. He just ran out of time much sooner than any of us thought possible," she added. Delia also thanked fans for the "tsunami" of tributes and remembrances that have come in the past two months, calling them "deeply moving." "Thank you, everyone, for helping me and his loved ones know that Walter's mark on the world -- and on all of you -- will not soon fade," she wrote. Becker was absent at both of Steely Dan's performances during July's Classic West and Classic East concerts due to an unspecified illness. In August, his bandmate Donald Fagen said that his bandmate was "recovering from a procedure," but didn't elaborate further. Fagen recently embarked on the first Steely Dan tour since the death of Becker. - NME, 11/15/17...... Jeff LynneJeff Lynne has announced his latest incarnation of Electric Light Orchestra will embark on its first U.S. tour in over 35 years on Aug. 2, 2018 at Oakland, California's Oracle Arena. The tour will then zig-zag across North America, playing Los Angeles (8/4), Denver (8/8), Houston (8/10), Dallas (8/13), Rosemont, Ill. (8/15), Detroit (8/16), Toronto (8/18) and New York's Madison Square Garden (8/21) before wrapping at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center on Aug. 24. The tour comes days before the arrival of ELO's new Wembley Or Bust. live album and DVD ."Our audiences are amazing. It's like they're in the group. We can't wait to play for them again," Lynne said in a statement. After a nearly 30-year hiatus, Lynne revived ELO in Sept. 2014 under the moniker "Jeff Lynne's Electric Light Orchestra" at the sold-out BBC Radio 2's Festival in a Day. They performed at the Grammy Awards in Feb. 2015 and released Alone in the Universe -- the first album credited to "Jeff Lynne's ELO" -- the following November, promoting the release with rare performances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live and CBS This Morning. - Billboard, 11/13/17...... A concert special of Barbara Streisand's "The Music| The Mem'ries| The Magic!" 2016-17 tour will premiere globally on the Netflix streaming service on Nov. 22. In the Miami concert, Streisand strolls through her six-decade career, up to her 35th studio album, Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway. The album, released in Aug. 2016, became Streisand's 11th No. 1 album and featured the diva performing with a number of collaborators, including Melissa McCarthy, Anne Hathaway and Jamie Foxx. - Billboard, 11/13/17...... Long imprisoned cult leader Charles Manson is reportedly in grave condition at a Bakersfield, Calif. hospital with a bleak prognosis. The 83-year-old Manson, who is serving seven life sentences in Corcoran State Prison in California, has been suffering from health issues for some time, and In January he had to be hospitalized for severe intestinal bleeding. He also needed surgery to repair a lesion but doctors said he was too weak and sent him back to prison. Since arriving at the Bakersfield facility three days ago, Manson's been getting various treatments around the hospital, always guarded by five cops. A source familiar with Manson's condition told TMZ.com that "it's not going to get any better for him... it's just a matter of time." Behind bars since 1971, Manson has been denied parole a dozen times. His next hearing is scheduled for 2027. - New York Daily News, 11/15/17...... Rocky star Sylvester Stallone has become one of the latest Hollywood celebrities to be accused of sexual assault. While filming a movie in Las Vegas in 1986, Stallone is alleged to have forced a 16-year-old girl to have sex with him and his bodyguard Michael De Luca at a hotel, according to a police report obtained by the UK's Daily Mail. The unnamed teen claims she was "intimidated" about having sex with Stallone, and became "very uncomfortable" when De Luca joined in but felt she had "no choice." After the incident, the girl said Stallone -- who was 40 at the time -- threatened "to beat her head in" if she told anyone because both men were married. The teen didn't pursue charges against them because she was "humiliated and ashamed" after the encounter, according to the police report. However a spokesperson for Stallone has categorically denied the allegations. "This is a ridiculous, categorically false story," said Stallone rep Michelle Bega. "No one was ever aware of this story until it was published today, including Mr. Stallone. At no time was Mr. Stallone ever contacted by authorities or anyone else regarding this matter." - Postmedia News, 11/16/17...... Brian MayQueen guitarist Brian May took to Instagram on Nov. 13 to voice his displeasure at a photographer named Barbara Kremer who reported one of his photos for copyright violation. May posted a screenshot of the notification he received, after a user reported one of his photos when he forgot to credit them -- which resulted in his account being suspended. And he wasn't afraid to name and shame. "Well this is what I woke up to," he wrote. "How RUDE! I'm usually very careful to credit anyone whose photos I post -- but in this case, at the end of the day, I must have forgotten. (Barbara Kremer) reported me to Instagram and they not only took the picture down but disabled my whole account until I'd dealt with the issue -- which took about 45 minutes of my time that I could not afford because the link refused to work on my phone." May then made it very clear that Barbara was not welcome at any future gigs: "If I ever discover that you are at one of our concerts in future, look out, because, logically, I will be tempted to have you thrown out." Several Queen fans flocked to support May, with one user commenting: "Please don't let one bad apple spoil the whole bunch, as Michael Jackson used to sing." However, another user jumped in to suggest that naming her was unfair: "Yes, poor judgement from her side. But I think you should know better than to hang and shame a regular woman, way below you in society, possibly exposing her for harassment or even death threats." - NME, 11/13/17...... Former The Carol Burnett Show cast member Vicki Lawrence will star in a new sitcom pilot for Fox with a "retirement home" theme called Cool Kids. Lawrence will join David Alan Grier (The Carmichael Show), Leslie Jordan (Will & Grace) and Roseanne alum Martin Mull in the sitcom, from It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia masterminds Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney and Glenn Howerton. - Deadline.com, 11/16/17...... Veteran gossip columnist Liz Smith, known as the "Dame of Dish," died in New York on Nov. 12 of natural causes. She was 94. Ms. Smith chronicled the gossip among New York City's rich and scandalous for 60 years and played a key role in the high-profile divorce between Donald and Ivana Trump. For more than a quarter-century, her Daily News column -- titled "Liz Smith" -- was one of the most widely read in the world. Its success was due in part to Smith's own celebrity status, giving her insider access. However unlike some of her rivals, including Walter Winchell, Ms. Smith succeeded with kindness and an aversion to cheap shots. Whether reporting on entertainers, politicians or power brokers, the "Dame of Dish" never bothered with unfounded rumors, sexual preferences or who's-sleeping-with-whom. Ms. Smith later worked in television at WNBC-TV for three nights a week commentary, then jumped to Fox, and she later did work for the cable channel E! Entertainment Television. During that time, she migrated from the Daily News to the rival New York Post and finally to Newsday, ultimately earning salaries well into six figures. Her column was syndicated nationwide, drawing millions of readers. - CBS News, 11/12/17...... Malcolm YoungMalcolm Young, guitarist and co-founder of legendary Australian rock band AC/DC, died on Nov. 18 after a three-year battle with dementia. He was 64. Young founded AC/DC alongside his brother, Angus Young, in 1973, ten years after the brothers relocated to Sydney, Australia from Glasgow, Scotland. He and Angus had been credited as co-writers on every AC/DC song beginning with debut High Voltage in 1975 through 2014's Rock or Bust. Malcolm last performed with AC/DC in 2010 following the band's tour in support of 2008's Black Ice album, officially retiring from the group in 2014. Malcolm is said to have died peacefully alongside his family, and is survived by his wife, O'Linda, and two children. AC/DC confirmed the news on its website, posting that "it is with deep heartfelt sadness that AC/DC has to announce the passing of Malcolm Young... With enormous dedication and commitment he was the driving force behind the band. As a guitarist, songwriter and visionary he was a perfectionist and a unique man. He always stuck to his guns and did and said exactly what he wanted. He took great pride in all that he endeavored. His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed." Angus Young added, "As his brother it is hard to express in words what he has meant to me during my life, the bond we had was unique and very special. He leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever. Malcolm, job well done." Other musicians reacting to Malcom's death include Eddie Van Halen, who posted that "it is a sad day in rock and roll. Malcolm Young was my friend and the heart and soul of AC/DC. I had some of the best times of my life with him on our 1984 European tour. He will be missed and my deepest condolences to his family, bandmates and friends." Paul Stanley, Slash, Ozzy Osbourne and Joe Satriani also tweeted their condolences. Malcom's death came just 27 days after his older brother, musician/producer George Young, died at age 70. - Billboard, 11/18/17...... It has been publicly revealed that actor Don Pedro Colley, perhaps best known for playing the straight-shooting Sheriff "Big Ed" Little of Chickasaw County on the 1979-85 CBS action comedy The Dukes of Hazzard, died on Oct. 11 in his hometown of Klamath Falls, Ore., following a long battle with cancer. He was 79. Colley also recurred as Gideon, a friend of Fess Parker's lead character, on NBC's Daniel Boone and appeared on other shows including Daktari, The Wild Wild West, Adam-12, Night Gallery, Ironside, The Streets of San Francisco, Little House on the Prairie, Starsky and Hutch and The A-Team. His big screen credits include Beneath the Planet of the Apes and the first film directed by Star Wars director George Lucas. - The Hollywood Reporter, 11/17/17.

Monday, November 13, 2017

An anonymous buyer has paid $396,500 for a Martin D-28 acoustic guitar once owned by Bob Dylan and played by him at such seminal rock events as George Harrison's 1971 Concert for Bangladesh in New York City and during Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue tour from October 1975 to May 1976. Larry Cragg, Dylan's former guitar repairman and the current owner of the guitar, paid $500 to Dylan in 1977 to buy the instrument, and his original purchase receipt was included in the auction. The auction was conducted by Heritage Auctions in Dallas on Nov. 11. AP, 11/12/17...... A freelance science journalist named Ben Ryan is alleging that Rolling Stone founder and publisher Jann Wenner once offered him a writing deal in exchange for sex back in 2005. Speaking to the website BuzzFeed.com, Ryan said Wenner invited him to come to his apartment to discuss writing opportunities at Men's Journal, then one of his Wenner Media magazines, and to his surprise, kissed him as they were sitting on a couch, but he rejected Wenner's advances. Ryan then claims that Wenner tried to convince him to stay and continue their encounter by offering him a writing deal, which Ryan says he also flatly turned down. Wenner, in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, confirmed the encounter with Ryan but said that an offer was never made. "He turned me down, which I respected," the openly gay Wenner said. "I had no intention of making him feel uncomfortable. His piece was subsequently published in any case; no work was promised and no work was lost. I have never and would never make an offer of this kind." Wenner is also the subject of a new book by media reporter Joe Hagan called Sticky Fingers, which he has since disavowed but originally participated in. - The Hollywood Reporter, 11/10/17...... John CaleJohn Cale, a founding member of the late '60s/early '70s band The Velvet Underground, has announced he'll perform two shows at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Nov. 16 and 17 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of VU's iconic 1967 LP The Velvet Underground & Nico. Cale, joined by such special guests as Animal Collective, MGMT, Sky Ferreira and Kurt Vile, will perform the album in its entirety. Cale has also announced he'll be throwing his own birthday party, "John Cale's 75th Birthday Celebration: A Live Audio-Spectrum from Dissonance to Destruction," focusing on his solo work. - Billboard, 11/10/17...... What turned out to be late rock legend Tom Petty's final tour, his 2017 40th anniversary trek with his band the Heartbreakers which began on Apr. 20 in Oklahoma City, Okla., drew a total of 637,671 fans to 44 headlining performances at arenas, amphitheaters and stadiums in the U.S. and Canada. Petty's final stand of three concerts at the Los Angeles amphitheater in September capped a five-month trek through 36 North American cities that grossed more than $61 million during its run. The Hollywood Bowl stint was ultimately the highest-grossing date on the jaunt, with a $5.3 million take from 49,217 sold seats on Sept. 21, 22 and 25. The only other three-show run was in Berkeley, California, in late August at the Hearst Greek Theatre. Petty also made a handful of festival appearances during the summer, among them a headlining slot on the final night of British Summer Time, a six-night festival at London's Hyde Park. It was his only European event this year, and marked only his second performance in the U.K. in two decades. The tour's success makes it on track to potentially rank among 2017's top 25 tours for the first time since 2010 when it ended the year at No. 14 based on $45 million in sales. - Billboard, 11/10/17...... Elton John celebrated the 25th anniversary of his Elton John AIDS Foundation on Nov. 7 at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City by delivering a teary and emotional speech about his efforts to raise awareness and fight against AIDS. After the mother of Ryan White, an Indiana teenager who became the poster child for HIV awareness during the 1980s AIDS crisis, spoke passionately about how the iconic rocker visited her son while he was sick and helped her family financially, John said the White family "lit a little candle in my soul." "Six months after Ryan passed away, I got help and I became sober," Elton said. The Elton John AIDS Foundation launched in 1992 in the United States and in the United Kingdom a year later. The two organizations have raised more than $385 million since then, and John said 98 percent of what is raised is used to help others. John told the audience that he's convinced his struggle to end the AIDS epidemic will be successful by 2030. Also attending "An Enduring Vision: A Benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation" were host Neil Patrick Harris along with Billy Joel, Sting, Sheryl Crow and actresses Glenn Close and Susan Lucci. The event raised more than $700,000 in a live auction. - AP, 11/8/17...... Roger WatersI In related news, former Pink Floyd principal Roger Waters wrapped the opening leg of his Us + Them World Tour in Vancouver on Oct. 28 and 29, the last stop on a 45-city trek through North America that launched in late May. The tour's latest jaunt, from Oct. 2-29, has grossed over $18 million and ranks among the top 10 top-grossing tours for the week ending Nov. 10. So far the tour has racked up a total of $89 million in ticket sales from 63 concerts scheduled during a five-month stretch. More than 734,000 fans of the Pink Floyd alum caught the tour in North American markets during the run. - Billboard, 11/10/17...... The Eagles have shared audio of their first live performance of "New Kid in Town" in 1976 from their three-night stand at The Forum in Los Angeles, several weeks before the December release of their now classic Hotel California album. Co-written by lead singer Glenn Frey along with Eagles drummer/vocalist Don Henley and close band friend J.D. Souther, "New Kid in Town" would go on to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart and win a Grammy for best vocal arrangement for two or more voices. The live "New Kid in Town" is one of 10 tunes featured on the Eagles' upcoming Hotel California: 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, which hits stores on Nov. 24. The 2-CD/1 Blu-ray Audio set includes a newly remastered version of the original album and the 10 concert tracks. The accompanying Blu-Ray audio disc features the 5.1 Surround Sound mix originally released on DVD-A in 2001. A more economically priced 2 CD remastered version of the album will be released the same day. - Billboard, 11/9/17...... A musical cast recording of the forthcoming Jimmy Buffett-based musical "Escape to Margaritaville" has been announced for release on Feb. 16, 2018, the same day Buffett's first-ever musical debuts on Broadway. The CD and digital release of the album will come via Buffett's Mailboat Records and will be recorded later in November in Chicago, featuring such Buffett classics as "Come Monday," "Volcano" and "Cheeseburger in Paradise." "Escape to Margaritaville" will play Chicago's Oriental Theater from Nov. 9 - Dec. 2 before arriving at Broadway's Marquis Theatre; previews begin Feb. 16, 2018 and the show officially opens Mar. 15. Meanwhile, Buried Treasure: Vol. 1, a special collection of Buffett songs recorded in 1969 in Mobile and Nashville and discovered hidden in a recording studio closet, will be released on Nov. 17. - Billboard, 11/9/17...... Barry GibbIn related news, the live theater division of Universal Pictures announced on Nov. 8 that the Bee Gees will be getting their own stage musical. Universal president Jimmy Horowitz says he's reached an agreement with surviving Bee Gee Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb's widow Yvonne Gibb and the estate of Robin Gibb to develop a stage musical based on the life story of the legendary trio. Barry Gibb will serve as an executive producer on the project, which will feature the group's iconic music. "This is a wonderful opportunity for our family," said Barry Gibb in a statement. "I'm personally very excited to be a part of the creative process along with Yvonne and Dwina. It's another adventure for us and a chance to throw the spotlight on all my brothers and finally the real story of us will be told. It's an honor to be working alongside the people I most respect. I can't wait to get started!" - Billboard, 11/8/17...... Legendary 1960s British pop singer Petula Clark has announced her first U.S. tour in five decades behind her new album Living for Today, which hits stores on Nov. 10. The 84-year-old Clark -- best known for her 1964 hit "Downtown" and for starring turns on stage in Sunset Boulevard and Blood Brothers -- recorded the album mostly in London, and along with original songs includes choice covers of Steve Winwood's "While You See A Chance," Peggy Lee's "Fever" and the Beatles' "Blackbird." An original song called "The Rainbow" reunites Clark with her "Downtown" collaborator Tony Hatch for their first teaming in decades. Clark, who now resides in Geneva, kicks off her U.S. tour on Nov. 12 in Modesto, CA, with dates booked through Dec. 26 at B.B. King's in New York City. - Billboard, 11/9/17...... Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley says she intends to file a lawsuit against her former financial managers, claiming they squandered more than $100 million over a 10 year period. Presley claims her financial guru Barry Spiegel sold 85% of her interest in Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) and then gave the money to Robert F.X. Sillerman as a way of ingratiating himself with the famous investor. Presley also charges that Spiegel spent $9 million of her money without her knowledge to buy an English estate and couldn't make the balloon payment on the property, and stopped paying her taxes in 2012 which left her with a tax bill of $7 million. Siegel counters that Lisa Marie overspent herself into destitution, and as early as 2003 as $20 million in debt and he was the one who righted the ship. Siegel says he tried hard to get her to stop her excessive spending over the next 10 years but it fell on deaf ears. - TMZ.com, 11/9/17...... In an interview with the UK paper The Sun, Mick Jagger revealed that the Rolling Stones will be "getting plans into place" for some huge shows in the UK in 2018. "We were disappointed not to perform in the UK on our recent jaunt and we're looking forward to getting plans in place to do so next year," Jagger said. This summer the Stones said they were forced to pass on UK shows in 2017 "due to lack of available venues because of sporting fixtures." The news comes after reports emerged that band would be headlining a "multi-day extravaganza" at Knebworth in the summer of 2018. - New Musical Express, 11/8/17...... Olivia Newton-JohnIn what has become a sort of annual tradition, a new private detective has alleged that Patrick McDermott, the ex-boyfriend of Olivia Newton-John, faked his death in 2005 and is now living in Mexico. The detective, Charlie Parker, told New Idea magazine that a photo discovered "last month on a noticeboard at [a] run-down El Palmar del Camaron beach campsite" shows a man who is almost certainly McDermott. Parker says the man in the photograph and McDermott are a "90% match." In an interview with the Australian version of 60 Minutes in 2016, Newton-John said she has no idea what happened to McDermott, and that it's just one of those things you have to "accept and let go...I live on." - Jezebel.com, 11/7/17...... The CBS television network has annouinced that will air a Grammys Greatest Stories: A 60th Anniversary Special on Nov. 24 that will feature rare archival footage, exclusive interviews and special appearances by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Sting and U2. The special will also take viewers behind the scenes of "Music's Biggest Night," revealing secrets about the remarkable performances and unique Grammy moments only seen on the the Grammy Awards. CBS has also announced a 50th anniversary Carol Burnett special for Dec. 3 that celebrates Burnett's classic award-winning comedy series The Carol Burnett Show. In the special, filmed on the show's original soundstage (Stage 33 at CBS Television City in Los Angeles), Burnett reminisces about her favorite sketches, Q&As with the studio audience, guest stars, her memorable wardrobe and bloopers, as well as the tremendous effect the show continues to have on television today. Guest stars include original cast members Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner, costume designer Bob Mackie, and comedians and friends including Jim Carrey, Stephen Colbert, Bernadette Peters, Jay Leno and Martin Short...... Pentti "Whitey" Glan, a session drummer who played on Alice Cooper's Welcome to My Nightmare and Lou Reed's Rock 'n' Roll Animal, has died of lung cancer at age 71. Glan was once of member of the band Bush, which opened for Steppenwolf and Three Dog Night in the early '70s. ne of Bush's songs, "I Can Hear You Calling," which Glan co-wrote, was the b-side to Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World." Steppenwolf frontman John Kay then used his talents on a pair of solo albums, 1972's Forgotten Songs and Unsung Heroes and 1973's My Sportin' Life. Glan also played the drummer in The Rose, the 1979 Bette Midler movie that was loosely based on the life of Janis Joplin. - 11/8/17...... Actor John Hillerman, best known for his portrayal of Tom Selleck fastidious estate caretaker Jonathan Quayle Higgins III on Magnum, P.I., died on Nov. 9 at his home in Houston, Tex., of as yet undisclosed causes. He was 84. Mr. Hillerman received four Emmy nominations in consecutive years for portraying Higgins and won in 1987. He also played the Hardin twins in the 1973 film Paper Moon, one a moonshiner ripped off by Ryan O'Neal, the other a sheriff's policeman who chases him into St. Louis and has him beaten up. Other bigscreen appearances include What's Up, Doc?, The History of the World, Part 1, and Blazing Saddles. Mr. Hillerman retired from acting in 1999, after a career spanning more than 70 film and TV roles (and dozens more on the stage). His final role was in A Very Brady Sequel, in 1996. - The Hollywood Reporter, 11/9/17.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Sterling Venue Ventures has announced an opening celebration of their brand-new venue, The Canyon in Santa Clarita, Cal., featuring acclaimed singer-songwriter Rickie Lee Jones, on Nov. 11. Other artists scheduled to perform at The Canyon in the weeks ahead include Gin Blossoms (11/17), Petula Clark (11/18), Timothy B. Schmidt of the Eagles (11/26), the Queen tribute band Queen Nation (11/24), Tower of Power (12/15), and Todd Rundgren (12/27). More info can be found on their official website. - Miles High Productions, 11/6/17...... Eric ClaptonA new Eric Clapton documentary titled Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars will premiere in limited release in theaters across the US on Nov. 24, before premiering on the Showtime channel on Feb. 10, 2018. Directed by Lili Fini Zanuck, the rock doc is described as an "unflinching and deeply personal journey into the life of the legendary musician" that covers the breadth of the legendary musician's career, including his tenures in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, The Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith and Derek and the Dominos. It also features archival materials like classic performance clips, on- and offstage footage, iconic photos, concert posters, handwritten letters, drawings and personal diary entries, as well as extensive interviews with Clapton himself and his family, friends, musical collaborators, contemporaries and heroes, including late music icons B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix and George Harrison. Life in 12 Bars, which has been submitted for Oscar consideration, is produced by Abramorama, which has previously released music-driven films about the Beatles, The Grateful Dead, Clive Davis and Sean Combs. - The Hollywood Reporter, 11/3/17...... A breach of contract lawsuit was filed against Universal Music Group/Vivendi on Nov. 6 in Los Angeles by Overrated Productions, which alleges that UMG has been "willfully underpaying" royalties on Player's 1977 No. hit "Baby Come Back." Overrated Productions, which earlier in 2017 acquired the rights to the work from producer Dennis Lambert and his Haven Records, also claims UMG has been concealing the underpayment by providing statements that were "intentionally confusing at best and misleading at worst." Overrated Productions says the song is still actively licensed, and has recently appeared in everthing from The Simpsons to Toyota commercials. The complaint claims the rights and accounting for the master recordings were transferred to a European entity to artificially lower royalty payments by skimming 25 percent off the top for an "intra-company payment." Therefore, Overrated argues, UMG has failed to pay the correct amounts for synchronization licenses, record sales, digital downloads, ringtones, streaming and other licenses of the masters. UMG has not yet commented on the lawsuit. - The Hollywood Reporter, 11/6/17...... Ozzy OsbourneOzzy Osbourne announced on Nov. 5 that he'll be hitting the road one last time in 2018 for a farewell solo tour that, this time, he swears will be his last although it is slated to last well into the year 2020. "This will be my final world tour, but I can't say I won't do some shows here and there," the Black Sabbath frontman said in a statement. "But after 2,500 shows don't expect the 68 year-old heavy metal icon to do something quite this big ever again. Osbourne will be backed up by his longtime collaborators Zakk Wylde (guitar), Blasko (bass), Tommy Clufetos (drums) and Adam Wakeman (keyboards). - Billboard, 11/6/17...... A diverse collection of musicians including Patti Smith, Joan Baez, Michael Stipe, Cat Power and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers participated in a climate change awareness benefit at Carnegie Hall on Nov. 5, 2017 in New York City. Co-organized by Jesse Paris Smith, the daughter of Patti Smith, the "NYC Pathway to Paris Concert" also featured impassioned speakers who urged audience members to write to legislators to demand they divest from fossil fuels, and rallied the crowd behind the "1000 Cities" campaign, which seeks to have the world's cities go beyond even what the Paris climate agreement sought and pledge to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2040. - Billboard, 11/6/17...... In related news, Paul McCartney slammed US Pres. Donald Trump in an interview with the BBC on Nov. 5 for the president's decision earlier this year to pull out of the Paris climate agreement to cut global emissions. "It's not the total solution, but it's part of the solution," the former Beatle said. "A lot of people have been saying this for a long time but there's resistance. Particularly when you've got someone like Trump who says that it (climate change) is just a hoax. A lot of people like myself think that's just madness so it's maybe a good time now to try and focus people's attention and say 'look, forget about him we can do something'," he added. Macca is promoting a new short film called One Day a Week which encourages people to go just one day a week without eating animal products to help the environment. Sir Paul has also revealed he's written a new song about Pres. Trump which will be featured on his next album, which is due before the end of 2017. - New Musical Express, 11/6/17...... In other Beatles-related news, British artist Chris Barker has once again re-imagined the Fab Four's iconic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band LP cover to update the musicians, actors and other celebrities who have passed away in 2017. Barker's 2017 Sgt. Pepper's montage, which can be viewed at pic.twitter.com/piWGmUiZwk, features the likes of Tom Petty, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Mary Tyler Moore, Robert Guillaume, Bill Paxton, Sam Shepard, Al Jarreau, Don Rickles, Martin Landau, Charlie Murphy, Jerry Lewis, Hugh Hefner, Harry Dean Stanton, Adam West, John Hurt and Roger Moore, among others. In 2016, Barker's Sgt. Pepper's re-imagining honored deceased celebrities including David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey, Sir George Martin and Gene Wilder, among many others, and it received millions of retweets and much online and printed attention. Barker says he isn't sure if the re-imagining of the Sgt. Pepper's cover will be an annual event, but "if we don't get a hold on climate change, hate crime, gun violence and world leaders threatening nuclear annihilation during their morning bowel movement, then we might not have too many more years, so it's down to all of us really." - Billboard, 11/7/17...... Elton JohnElton John will be honored at Harvard University on Nov. 11 for his philanthropic efforts to fight HIV and AIDS. John, 70, will be awarded the Harvard Foundation's Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award in a ceremony. Elton, who runs his own AIDS foundation, said in a statement that the award was "both gratifying and tremendously humbling." "I will continue to sustain and grow the progress we've made to eradicate stigma and end the spread of HIV/AIDS, once and for all," he added. Previous winners of the award include former South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. - AP, 11/6/17...... A recently unearthed interview from 2014 reveals that Bob Dylan once teamed up with Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm writer/director Larry Charles to pitch a slapstick comedy show to cable TV's HBO during the 1990s. Although HBO approved the project, Dylan lost interest in it before it could ever emerge, however Larry Charles went on to rework the idea into the 2003 big screen drama Masked and Anonymous, which starred Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Jessica Lange and Bob Dylan himself. - New Musical Express, 11/6/17...... Kenny Rogers, who has announced he's heading into retirement after a six-decade-long music career, was honored with a Legacy Award at the SESAC Nashville Music Awards on Nov. 5 in Nashville, Tenn. After several artists including Kim Carnes reprised some of Rogers' most familiar material, including "Lady," "Don't Fall in Love with a Dreamer" and "The Gambler," Rogers accepted the award and thanked the writers for allowing him to be the vessel for their songs. Rogers, whose career included a stop in jazz before doing folk music with the New Christy Minstrels and dabbing in psychedelia with the First Edition, said that "genre is a not a word I understand," which elicited cheers. - Billboard, 11/6/17...... Rick AllenDef Leppard drummer Rick Allen has announced he'll make a special Veteran's Day appearance at the Wentworth Gallery in Atlanta, Ga., on Nov. 11 to launch his "Rock Allen: Drums For Peace" art tour to benefit military veterans. Allen, who lost his left arm in a New Year's Eve 1984 car crash, says he feels a special connection to those returning from duty with debilitating injuries, and he and his wife Lauren Monroe have established their own charity, the Raven Drum Foundation, to provide assistance to the troops. Allen's artwork is a mixed media collection that includes his paintings on drum heads, toy buses, clothing and other objects. Allen also has exhibitions booked for New York and Washington, D.C. for 2018, with more to be scheduled to coincide with Def Leppard performances. The group, meanwhile, is "in recovery mode" after touring to celebrate the Hysteria album's 30th anniversary this year. - Billboard, 11/6/17...... Australian rock musician/songwriter/producer George Young, a former member of the Aussie '60s band The Easybeats who co-wrote The Easybeats' classic hit "Friday on My Mind," died on Oct. 22. He was 70. Young also co-produced records by the likes of AC/DC, John Paul Young, The Angels and Rose Tattoo, and is the older brother of AC/DC members Angus and Malcolm Young. After touring with bands like the Rolling Stones in the late '60s, the Easybeats broke up. George Young then formed Albert Productions in Sydney with Ted Albert, which became an indie powerhouse. In 1988 he was inducted, along with Easybeats guitarist Harry Vanda, into the inaugural class of the ARIA Hall of Fame, and again as a member of the Easybeats in 2005. "Without George Young, AC/DC would not exist," the band said in a statement. "He was a pioneer who, with close friends Harry Vanda and Ted Albert, created a new sound for the Australian music industry." Easybeats frontman Stevie Wright died in 2015 at the age of 68. - 10/24/17...... Singer Robert Knight, best known for first charting the country-soul song "Everlasting Love" in 1967, died on Nov. 5 following a short, undisclosed illness. He was 72. Knight began his career in 1959, when he formed a vocal group with some high school pals known as The Paramounts. He joined a second group during his college years, The Fairlanes, landing a solo deal with songwriters/producers Buzz Cason and Fred Foster's label Rising Sons Music. It was Cason, along with songwriter partner Mac Gayden, who wrote "Everlasting Love," the Motown-style track with its uplifting chorus that would make Knight a star when it was released in 1967, crossing from the R&B charts to the pop listing and peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. Although he charted such lesser hits as "Blessed are the Lonely" and "Isn't it Lonely Together" afterward, he moved away from music later in life to focus on a job at Vanderbilt University in Nashville as a lab technician, chemistry teacher and member of the grounds crew. "Everlasting Love," meanwhile, proved to have everlasting popularity, having been by everyone from U2 to Gloria Estefan. Between its various versions, the song has become a Hot 100 top 40 hit in each of the '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s. - Billboard, 11/6/17.

Friday, November 3, 2017

In a new interview with the UK paper The Guardian, Robert Plant has revealed he can no longer listen to some tracks by his iconic former band Led Zeppelin. "Songs like [Led Zeppelin I's] 'Babe I'm Going To Leave You'... "I find my vocals on there horrific now. I really should have shut the f--k up!," said Plant, who is still known to perform selections from Led Zep's extensive back catalogue during his solo shows. Plant, who recently released his latest solo album Carry Fire, said told another UK paper in October that he wouldn't consider being part of a Led Zep reunion, saying "I've got to keep moving." Plant also about his 1975 automobile accident which left him confined to a wheelchair for several months, including into the recording of 1976's Presence LP. "The whole of that album, Presence, is absolutely racked with pain. Plus, the fraternity of the band at the time was stretched to breaking point," he said. - New Musical Express, 11/2/17...... Neil YoungNeil Young has announced he'll release The Visitor, his follow-up to 2016's Earth, on Dec. 1 via Reprise Records. The Visitor wil be Young's first album with his backing band Promise of the Real and will feature Willie Nelson's son Lukas Nelson, who has previously fronted the Promise of the Real. On Nov. 3, Young shared The Visitor's first single, "Already Great." Meanwhile, on Nov. 2 Young announced he'll be auctioning off a large portion of his possessions that he's come to accumulate over the years, including his "personal collection of model trains, classic cars, guitars, recording gear, clothing, memorabilia, and more." "Collecting all of these items have been my great joy," Young said in a statement. "They have provided a source of inspiration, fun and creativity throughout my life. Now it is time to share them with others in the world whom I hope will enjoy and love them as much as I have," he added. Young, a longtime model train enthusiast, is credited with inventing the CAB-1, the first truly user-friendly remote control in the toy train industry, and backed the creation of the Trainmaster Command Control, which allows owners to run multiple trains at once. All of the items will be visible for public viewing at Julien's Auctions Gallery in Los Angeles from Dec. 4-9, with the auction taking place both at the gallery and online on the 9th. Fans can register online to participate in the auction. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Bridge School in California. - Stereogum.com/Billboard, 11/3/17...... A new song by Bruce Springsteen called "Freedom Credence" is featured in the new Miles Teller-starring movie Thank You For Your Service. Over a spare beat, Springsteen sings, "Some say is freedom is free/ But I tend to disagree/ I say freedom is won/ With the blood of someone's son." Thank You For Your Service tells the story of returning Iraq War veterans dealing with PTSD. - Stereogum.com, 10/31/17...... Michael Jackson has once again topped the Forbes top-earning dead celebrities list for the fifth year in a row. Jackson, who died eight years ago, earned an estimated $75 million in 2016 from earnings boosted by a new greatest hits album, a Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil show and a stake in the EMI music publishing catalog. Two other '70s artists also made the top five, Elvis Presley in fourth place with $35 million and Bob Marley in fifth place with $23 million. In other Jackson-related news, Michael's son Prince Michael Jackson was hospitalized on Nov. 2 after being involved in a motorcycle accident. Prince Michael is Jackson's oldest son, and details of the crash weren't known other than that the 20-year-old was taken to an emergency room at a nearby Los Angeles hospital. He was released from the hospital shortly after he arrived with no major injuries sustained, and apparently made it to his class at Loyola Marymount University on time, posting "Well shit..." via Instagram during his ride in the ambulance. - AP/Billboard, 11/2/17...... The BeatlesOn Nov. 2 the Beatles announced plans to release a limited-edition box set of their Christmas holiday messages, originally given only to fan club members on flexi-discs from 1963 to 1969, on Dec. 15. The set will include seven 7-inch colored vinyl singles, one for each of the legendary band's seven Christmas messages during the time they were a unit. The Christmas records have never been given general release as a set before, though one was made available as part of The Beatles Rock Band video game. The seven holiday messages were originally titled "The Beatles Christmas Record" (1963), "Another Beatles Christmas Record" (1964), "The Beatles Third Christmas Record" (1965), "Pantomime -- Everywhere It's Christmas" (1966), "Christmas Time (Is Here Again)" (1967), "The Beatles Sixth Christmas Record" (1968) (which includes a guest appearance by Tiny Tim singing the Beatles song "Nowhere Man"), and "The Beatles Seventh Christmas Record" (1969). Each single will include a sleeve with the original artwork from the fan club discs, and the box will also have an added 16-page booklet with recording notes and reproductions of the fan club newsletters that was sent to fans with the original discs. Also on Dec. 15, the Beatles will continue their celebration of the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band with three more releases -- a high-res audio version (90kHZ/24 bit) of the deluxe edition of the album from earlier in the year, along with two vinyl discs. The hi-res tracks package will feature the 2017 stereo mix as produced by Giles Martin, plus 18 added tracks with complete alternate takes, an instrumental mix of "Penny Lane" and two alternate takes of "Strawberry Fields Forever." The two vinyl versions will feature a 180-gram black vinyl album and a limited vinyl picture disc. Meanwhile, the 2016 Ron Howard-directed Beatles film Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years will premiere Nov. 25 on PBS. - Billboard, 11/2/17...... In other Beatles news, what is being touted as "the world's rarest Beatles album" is expected to go under the hammer later in November. The album, which is expected to fetch over $200,000, is an early edition of the quartet's 1966 Yesterday and Today album once owned by John Lennon and sporting hand-drawn sketches by him, and features an infamous photo of the Fab Four dressed as butchers. It remains one of the only copies in existence after executives at Capitol Records ordered the destruction of albums featuring the contentious photograph. Lennon's personal copy was among the rare survivors, and he gave it to Beatles collector Dave Morrell in 1972 in return for memorabilia and bootleg material. The LP also has a message from Lennon to Morrell: "To Dave, from John Lennon," alongside a date of December 7 1971. "This piece is rare because one it's the butcher cover that was withdrawn and never sold on the market after the second day," says Gary Shrum of Heritage Auctions. "It's John Lennon's personal copy, it's a prototype that had a blank back, which John did artwork on the back of. Plus it's a stereo copy which was the rarest of the butcher covers, because only a few stereo copies got out when they were for sale," he added. - New Musical Express, 10/31/17...... In related news, a letter written by John Lennon's murderer, Mark Chapman, was recently sold through Serial Killers Ink, a website which specializes in selling the items of infamous criminals. The letter, written by Chapman to a pen pal only identified as "Michael," reveals that Champan believes he has been forgiven by Jesus for his actions. "Jesus is everything," he wrote. "I have found this through the many long years here at Attica [the New York state jail where he was imprisoned until 2012]. He chose to die so that our sins -- even mine -- could be forgiven. Twelve years ago I shot and killed the rock superstar John Lennon, formerly of The Beatles. Let me say here that it was a horrible occurrence, I have never forgotten it." The letter was sold to a private buyer for £265. - NME, 11/1/17...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, Paul McCartney and his daughters Mary and Stella McCartney are continuing their "Meat Free Monday" campaign with the launch of a new short film titled One Day a Week to encourage people to go just one day a week without eating animal products. The film is being released ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in the second week of November and focuses on animal agriculture as an under-covered aspect of climate change. The foundation of Meat Free Monday is to "raise awareness and inspire people to make a change in their diets from an early achievable starting point." "There's a simple but significant way to help protect the planet and all its inhabitants," McCartney says in the film. "And it starts with just one day a week. One day without eating animal products can have a huge impact in helping maintain that delicate balance that sustains us all." One Day a Week is narrated by McCartney and features his own music -- tracks from his 1997 orchestral album Standing Stone and an unreleased song called "Botswana." - Billboard, 11/2/17...... Bob DylanTrouble No More, a new Bob Dylan concert documentary that explores the rock icon's conversion to Christianity that was marked by his starkly confessional 1979 album Slow Train Coming, premiered at theaters in Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago and San Francisco on on Nov. 2. The following day, Columbia/Legacy released the film as part of the Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981 deluxe box set, the latest installment in Dylan's ongoing Bootleg Series. The film highlights Dylan's brief, polarizing "gospel period," during which he released three studio albums: 1979's Slow Train Coming, 1980's Saved and 1981's Shot of Love in which the rock bard eschewed his earlier, secular material on the accompanying tour and often broke into fiery, apocalyptic sermons onstage. In other Dylan news, the singer's acceptance speech for winning the Nobel Prize in Literature has been released in a print version. Simon & Shuster published a 23-page "book" of Dylan's humorous and insightful diatribe on Oct. 31. The book is also available in a limited collector's edition: 100 "individually signed and numbered hardcover copies" are available for $2,500 each. A more affordable version of the printed lecture, in which the singer riffs on such topics as Melville, All Quiet on the Western Front, Odysseus, and Leadbelly, is being sold for $16.99. - Billboard/Spin.com, 11/1/17...... New Orleans paid tribute to their favorite son Fats Domino on the evening of Nov. 1 with a second line procession to honor the late "Blueberry Hill" singer who passed away on Oct. 24 at 89. The raucous march of thousands was packed with horn players, families, tambourines, colorful parasols, Mardi Gras Indians and some special guests, with police reporting as many as 10,000 attendees. Among the attendees was Domino's grandson, Chevis Domino, as well as fellow New Orleans musical icons Dr. John and Trombone Shorty, who gathered with some of Domino's family on the porch of the singer's former home on Caffin Ave. in the Lower Ninth Ward. Domino's family has not yet announced official funeral arrangements, but released a statement from daughter Adonica Domino following the procession thanking fans for "all the beautiful words, tributes and celebrations honoring our father." - Billboard, 11/2/17...... In an interview with Livewire.com, Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi says that his cancer will "probably" come back. Iommi, who was first diagnosed with lymphoma in early 2012 but announced that it was in remission in Aug. 2016, says it was always hard for him to travel after his diagnosis. I love playing on the road, I love being in the band, I love playing to the fans, but it's just the other side. You can only do what you can do and your physical side takes over and you get tired. And after doing so many shows, I really did get tired." "To me, it's never gonna go away; it's always gonna be there," he continued about his cancer diagnosis. "According to my oncologist, the professor, he said it's probably gonna come back. So it's hard to sort of go, 'Oh, well, that's brilliant then.' But I do live [day] by day now, and just every day is a winner, really. And we'll see. I hope it doesn't come back, but you never know." - New Musical Express, 11/1/17...... Three half siblings of Prince, Sharon, Norrine and John R. Nelson, filed a motion on Oct. 28 to remove Comerica Bank & Trust as executor of Prince's estate. The Nelsons are upset that Comerica recently removed the contents of Prince's vault, including master tapes of unreleased music, from his Paisley Park studio complex in Minnesota and shipped the materials to California. The three heirs contend that Comerica did not ask their permission. Comerica has said the company discussed the move with the heirs. - AP, 10/31/17...... Mick JaggerThe UK paper The Sun is reporting that Mick Jagger, 74, has recently spent several nights in Paris with his 22-year-old girlfriend, Noor Alfallah, when the Rolling Stones played Paris in October. Jagger and Alfallah reportedly first hooked up at a private flat in the suburbs on a Sunday in early October, then the next day a chauffeur drove her back to her hotel. They repeated the routine on Tuesday and Wednesday. The US-born socialite and film producer watched the Stones perform at the city's U Arena the next night and they enjoyed three more dates in late October. A source said: "Mick still has his legendary charm but even the band were surprised someone as young and beautiful as Noor came to Paris to see him. They are both single and seemed to have a lot of fun together, so everyone just let them get on with it. Mick is showing absolutely no sign of slowing down. He certainly had a smile on his face and famous twinkle in his eye." - TheSun.com, 10/29/17...... Steely Dan played their first UK show since the death of founder member Walter Becker on Oct. 29 at The O2 in London as part of Bluesfest. Becker's musical partner Donald Fagen paid tribute to him during the gig, commenting: "We're a little different than we were a few a months ago but I gotta live with that." Fagen and his 12 piece band played a groove-ridden set that drew upon the band's classic albums from the 1970s, including "Rikki Don't Lose That Number," "Bodhisattva," "My Old School" and "Peg" as well as "Hey Nineteen" and "Babylon Sisters" from 1980's Gaucho. Backing vocals came from the three "Danettes." Opening for Steely Dan were the Doobie Brothers. - NME, 10/30/17...... Keith Wilder, a vocalist with the '70s disco era group Heatwave, has died at 67. Wilder's late brother, Johnny Wilder, formed the band in 1975. Heatwave is best known for their hit singles "Boogie Nights" (1976) and "Always and Forever" and "The Groove Line" (1977).

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Late Steely Dan guitarist Walter Becker was saluted by the duo's remaining member, Donald Fagen at Pier Six Pavilion on the Baltimore harbor on Oct. 24. The concert was the eighth and final show on Steely Dan's tour as Fagen carries on the mantle of the band after Becker's passing on Sept. 3 at age 67. Fagen referred a couple times to "my partner Walter Becker," without explicitly acknowledging why he wasn't right there across the stage as usual. And midway through the show, he sang "Book of Liars," a song from Becker's 1994 solo album 11 Tracks of Whack that had long been a Steely Dan live staple, while dozens of photos of Becker played on a screen behind the band. After wrapping up the song, Fagen remembered a tourdate in Japan where the band's set lists had been printed with the song's title mistranslated to "Box of Leers." Jon Herington, a regular of Steely Dan's albums and tours since the band reformed in the '90s, is now the only guitarist in a band that has historically employed two or three guitars onstage. Steely Dan stuck to the most reliable favorites from its early albums, aside from "Book of Liars" and Fagen's 1982 solo track "New Frontier." "I intend to keep the music we created together alive as long as I can with the Steely Dan band," Fagen said in a statement after Becker's death. - Billboard, 10/25/17...... The EaglesIn related news, the Eagles performed in Glenn Frey's hometown of Detroit on Oct. 27 for the first time since their late band co-founder died on Jan. 18, 2016, at age 67. With Frey's widow Cindy, daughter Taylor and a corps of relatives cheering the group on, the Eagles celebrated Frey with a number of tributes including a moving rendition of "Peaceful Easy Feeling" by Frey's son and new Eagles member Deacon Frey. "What a treat for me to be back here in my dad's hometown. It's kinda awesome," Deacon said before acknowledging his relatives. After the song, Deacon looked upward and mouthed "That's for you, dad," as a sepia-toned image of his father appeared on the video screen behind the stage. Country star Vince Gill, who has also been touring with the Eagles, offered the Frey number "New Kid in Town" and told the crowd in Little Caesars Arena that it's an "honor to be in the hometown of my dear friend Glenn Frey and singing his songs for you." The Eagles, who launched their current tour in July, played the remaining date on their short tour at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry on Oct. 29, a private show that will be recorded and broadcast during Thanksgiving weekend on the group's limited-run SiriusXM Eagles Channel. - Billboard, 10/28/17...... Sammy Hagar was honored with a Humanitarian Award at the 2017 Loudwire Music Awards on Oct. 24 in Los Angeles. The "Red Rocker" accepted the award on behalf of his extensive philanthropic work with the Hagar Family Foundation, which supports a variety of programs benefiting disadvantaged children and families, including local food banks and hospitals, as well as other charitable efforts. After the presentation, Hagar said the award was "out of sight" and has particular significance since aerly in his career he may have dreamed of Grammys and musical fame but never a humanitarian honor like this. "To me, making money is fun. And it's not about how rich you are, it's about what you do with your money and how you live your life," he said. "I grew up poor as a motha, had nothing, and I'll take being wealthy over that anyway (but) it's really what you do with your money, it's not about how much money you have. It's about how you live your life and what you do with it." Also in attendance at the Loudwire awards were Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford, Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, and Eddie Money. - Billboard, 10/26/17...... Smokey RobinsonSmokey Robinson is set to release his first solo holiday via Amazon Originals on Nov. 10. Entitled Chrismas Everyday, the set features 10 soulful songs, including seven seasonal favorites and three Robinson originals. "I was quite pleased when I was approached about doing a holiday album," Robinson said in a statement. "I love the feeling of Christmas, and these are some of my absolute favorite songs. Folks are going to be surprised by some of the arrangements," he added. The album, which features contributions from Take 6, The Dap-Kings, Mindi Abair and Trombone Shorty, is Robinson's first solo holiday offering, however he previously released two holiday albums with his former group, The Miracles, including the now Christmas classic, 1963's Christmas with The Miracles. In fact, the new album takes its name from a song originally included on that set. - Billboard, 10/27/17...... Paul McCartney paid tribute to Fats Domino with a post on his official website on Oct. 25, calling the late rock and roll icon a "huge influence" on the Beatles. "We were excited to meet Fats once in his home town of New Orleans," Sir Paul wrote. "He was wearing a huge star spangled diamond encrusted watch which was our first encounter with bling!" Macca continued: "As one of my favourite rock 'n' roll singers, I will remember him fondly and always think of him with that twinkle in his eye. I read that he had eight children. He himself was named Antoine. His kids were named Antoine III, Anatole, Andre, Antonio, Antoinette, Andrea, Anola and Adonica. Now that is pure Fats!" The inaugural class Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, who passed away of natural causes on Oct. 24 at the age of 89, sold over 65 million records over the course of his career, more than any other '50s-era artist other than Elvis Presley. - New Musical Express, 10/26/17...... Kenny RogersSeveral friends and collaborators Kenny Rogers were on hand to honor the Country crossover superstar at his final concert appearance in Nashville, Tenn., at the Bridgestone Arena on Oct. 25. However the beloved 78-year-old entertainer was mostly a spectator as a mixture of current superstars, including Lady Antebellum, Justin Moore, Billy Currington and Alison Krauss, along with veteran entertainers Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Lionel Richie, The Judds and the Oak Ridge Boys, showcased some of their favorite musical moments of the Houston, TX native's career. The Oak Ridge Boys urged the sold-out crowd to sing along to Rogers and Dottie West's 1978 duet "Love or Something Like It," while The Judds deliverd a soaring version of "You Turn The Light On," a track from 1979's million-selling Kenny LP. After a brief intermission, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry proclaimed it was "Kenny Rogers Day" in Music City, Alison Krauss serenaded Rogers and the crowd with a gorgeous take on "Love The World Away," while Kris Kristofferson paid tribute to Kenny's cover of his song "Me and Bobby McGee." Rogers and Dolly Parton then came out to reminisce about their deep friendship, with Parton doing her best to try to embarrass her duet partner, getting laughs from Rogers and the audience. The two then performed their 2013 single "You Can't Make Old Friends," and Parton then surprised Rogers with a version of her "I Will Always Love You." The two wound up their performance career together with a nod back to 1983's million-selling "Islands In The Stream" before walking off the stage together. Though the date was Rogers' final Nashville appearance, the singer still has dates on the calendar for his "The Gambler's Last Deal" tour through December. Rogers says that saying goodbye has brought out the emotions. "It's sad on one hand, but on the other hand, you have to do it sooner or later. Either that, or die out there. That wasn't my choice," he said. The concert was filmed and recorded for broadcast and distribution at a later date. - Billboard, 10/26/17...... A 1963 Martin D-28 acoustic guitar played by Bob Dylan at many of his notable concerts in the 1970s is expected to fetch more than $300,000 when it goes on the auction block on Nov. 11 in Dallas. Heritige Auctions says it was the same guitar was used by Dylan at George Harrison's iconic "Concert of Bangladesh" in New York City, as well as on his Rolling Thunder Review tour from Oct. 1975 to May 1976. Larry Cragg, who was Dylan's guitar repairman at the time, bought the instrument from Dylan in 1977, and the original receipt, which is included in the offering, notes that it was purchased for $500. Though a musician himself, Cragg said he's never played the guitar and it's been kept in in a humidity- and temperature-controlled environment. "It's kind of past being a guitar now. It's the kind of thing that you'd think that people would put in a glass case or in a museum somewhere," says Cragg, who owns a San Francisco-based guitar rental shop and has also worked with the likes of Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Carlos Santana, Jefferson Airplane and Neil Young. A Fender Stratocaster played by Dylan at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival when he famously "went electric" sold for almost $1 million in 2013 at Christie's in New York City. That guitar was sold by a New Jersey family who had kept it for nearly 50 years after Dylan left it on a private plane. - AP, 10/25/17...... Jim SteinmanComposer Jim Steinman's "Bat Out of Hell: The Musical," based on Meat Loaf's 1977 album, officially opened on Oct. 25 at Toronto's Ed Mirvish Theatre where it will remain in production until Dec. 24. The musical, directed by Jay Scheib, opened in Manchester, England, in February of this year and ran until the end of April, then moved to London's West End from June until late August. Steinman originally wrote Bat Out of Hell for the stage in 1975. It was performed once, under the name "Neverland," in 1977. Forty years and many script revisions later, "Bat Out of Hell: The Musical" is now about some rebellious teens in post-apocalyptic Obsidian, ruled by the tyrannical Falco. A character named Strat (Andrew Polec) falls in love with the leader's daughter, Raven (Christina Bennington), and sets out to rescue her. "People have such a love for the music, as we do," Bennington says. "It's so great that people feel liberated enough that they can come and sing along." Meat Loaf hasn't seen the production yet, however he met Polec and Bennington for the first time in Toronto in May where they were in town to promote the upcoming show. A CD of the musical was released on Oct. 20. - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/26/17...... Singer Dick Noel, known as the "King of the Jingles" for his work on commercials, died on Oct. 27 in Escondido, Calif., after a long illness. He was 90. Mr. Noel was also known for his work with the Ray Anthony Orchestra and his appearances on TV shows in the 1960s hosted by Arthur Godfrey and Tennessee Ernie Ford. A Time for Love, his highly regarded 1978 album made in collaboration with pianist Larry Novak, featured world-weary renditions of such ballads as "Send in the Clowns" and "Here's That Rainy Day," and he was praised in the liner notes by famed jazz vocalist Mel Torme. The Brooklyn native also hosted several radio programs, sang regularly on The Ruth Lyons Show in Cincinnati and then joined Don McNeill's popular Breakfast Club, for which he was the lead singer on that Chicago-based radio show for years. After leaving Ford's variety program in 1965 Mr. Noel returned to Chicago, where he sang on a multitude of national TV and radio commercials. "The King of the Jingles" was said to have recorded 15,000 spots, including those for United Airlines and MacDonald's, during his career. He retired to the San Diego area in the late 1980s, and is survived by Nancy, his wife of 40 years, and daughters Patricia and Catherine and stepchildren Ken, Cliff and Laura. - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/26/17.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Fats DominoFats Domino, a rock pioneer and boogie-woogie piano legend who became one of rock 'n' roll's most iconic architects, passed away of natural causes in his home in New Orleans on Oct. 24. He was 89. Born Antoine Domino on Feb. 26, 1928 in New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward, Mr. Domino was raised in the same environment that produced Little Richard, Professor Longhair and Dr. John. His first professional appearance was at age 10, and he pounded away on the piano at local bars until 1949 when he was given a regular engagement by bandleader and and trumpeter Dave Bartholomew, which began a professional partnership that survived and flourished through the years, with Bartholomew becoming Mr. Domino's musical arranger and co-writer. That same year, Mr. Domino signed a record deal with Imperial Records, and his debut single, "The Fat Man," became his first million-seller. By 1955 he'd made a name for himself, produced some of his finest material and stockpiled a number of gold and multi-platinum singles. His pounding, up-tempo piano style made him a natural rock 'n' roller and he never had to adapt at all ("I wouldn't say I invented rock & roll but I don't remember anyone before me playing that stuff," he once said). Mr. Domino established himself with this new audience, both in terms of his concert appearances, and with a collection of rock classics that were uniquely his own, including "Ain't That a Shame," "I'm Walkin'," "Blueberry Hill" and "Margie." He also appeared in two early rock 'n' roll movies -- The Girl Can't Help It and Shake, Rattle and Roll. Fats DominoThough he was hugely popular and appeared on Dick Clark's American Bandstand in 1957, he and his band were still denied lodging and forced to use segregated facilities while touring in the 1950s. Mr. Domino earned his last gold disc -- his twentieth -- in 1960 with "Walkin' to New Orleans," and the rest of the decade proved to be a dormant period. In 1967, Beatles manager Brian Epstein persuaded him to play his first British concert, at the Saville Theatre. Mr. Domino subsequently made further U.K. visits, and also found his career re-activated by the '50s rock 'n' roll revival boom, aided by a small part in the 1973 rockumentary Let the Good Times Roll. Mr. Domino then went into semi-retirement, living in luxury in New Orleans with his wife and eight children, but still playing regular dates in Las Vegas and toured the world. After leaving Imperial, Mr. Domino recorded albums for labels including Mercury, Warner Bros., Atlantic and Broadmoor, releasing his final major-label album, Christmas is a Special Day, in 1993. A health scare eventually took him off the road in 1991, and his stately New Orleans home was destroyed in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina when flood waters swamped the Lower 9th Ward, wiping out most of his possession and forcing a helicopter evacuation by the Coast Guard. Mr. Domino was one of the initial inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 alongside such fellow icons as Elvis, James Brown, Little Richard and Chuck Berry, and he received the National Medal of Arts from former Pres. Bill Clinton in 1998 and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987. On Oct. 25, his family released a statement saying that he "passed away peacefully at home surrounded by those he loved and those who loved him." "His music reached across all boundaries and carried him to all corners of the world," it continues, before quoting lyrics from his 1960 song "Rising Sun." Funeral arrangements are pending. - The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock/Billboard, 10/25/17.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Stevie Wonder reaffirmed his support for the movement of protesting against police brutality and racial injustices in America by kneeling while performing the national anthem before the start of the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix race in Austin, Tex., on Oct. 22. Wonder, who performed the song with this trusty harmonica, told the audience, "I've never seen the color of my skin nor the color of your skin. What I want you to know is that we are in a race, we here, all of us here, a race against time -- it's time for all the leaders, all the people, all of us to come together in the spirit of unity so we can move this world to a positive form." Many in the audience also reportedly dropped to a knee to support the cause. Wonder also knelt for his performance of the national anthem at New York's Global Citizen Festival on Sept. 23. Meanwhile in other Stevie Wonder news, the Motown legend is moving his annual "House Full of Toys" Christmas benefit show to the Staples Center in Los Angeles after a 21-year run at various L.A. venues, including the Microsoft Theater, the Forum in Inglewood and the Gibson Amphitheater in Universal City. The 2017 benefit, which is set for Dec. 10, will feature Wonder performing works from his iconic 1972 album Talking Book and his 1973 album Innervisions. Wonder launched his charity show, which benefits children, people with disabilities and families in need during the holidays, in 1996 at the now defunct Sunset Strip House of Blues. - Billboard, 10/24/17...... Billy JoelBilly Joel and his wife Alexis welcomed their second daughter, a 7 lb., 3 oz. girl named Remy Anne, into the world at 7:50 p.m. on Oct. 22. "Alexis and Remy are doing well, and everyone is thrilled," a rep for Joel said. Joel and Alexis are also the parents of another girl, Della Rose, and Joel has a daughter, Alexa Ray, with his ex-wife Christie Brinkley. Meanwhile, during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Oct. 19, Joel revealed that he is extending his Madison Square Garden residency through the new year, the 48th of his current residency there and the 91st of his career at the legendary venue. "We're gonna go into 2018," Joel said. "I thought it would kind of taper off after four or five years, but they're buying tickets faster now than they were at the beginning." Joel also revealed that his songs are based on real people (Davy, who's still in the Navy, in "Piano Man," for instance), and that his favorite Bruce Springsteen song is "Meeting Across the River" before instructing Kimmel's house band on how to play the song so he could do his best Springsteen impression. "It's a very atmospheric Springsteen song," Joel said. The Piano Man added that he would consider performing an intimate Broadway show, as his pal Springsteen is currently doing. "We talked about it with Bruce last night. I said, 'Why don't we switch it up once in a while? You come do the Garden, and I'll do your gig for a couple days.'" - Billboard, 10/23/17...... As Dolly Parton releases her first album of music exclusively for children, I Believe in You, the Country music icon has donated $1 million to anderbilt University Children's Hospital in Nashville. "I love children," Parton told reporters on a recent visit to the hospital. "I've always been involved in one way or another with children's charities or with children in general, because I love little kids. I'm from a big family of children." Parton also heads the Imagination Library, a nonprofit organization that aims to promote early childhood literacy by giving children age-appropriate books to read. A portion of the sales of I Believe In You is benefiting the Imagination Library. - Billboard, 10/23/17...... Speaking of County music queens, Loretta Lynn made a suprise appearance at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Medallion Ceremony on Oct. 22 to celebrate the induction of new members Alan Jackson, Don Schlitz and the late Jerry Reed. It was Lynn's first Nashville appearance since suffering a stroke earlier in 2017, and the legendary "Coal Miners' Daughter" songstress received a standing ovation from the capacity crowd. Lynn, who inducted Jackson, recalled telling him early in his career that he would become one of the greatest singers in country music, and said "You haven't let me down." Jerry Reed's fellow Georgian, "Everything Is Beautiful" singer Ray Stevens, helped induct Reed with a humorous rendition of "When You're Hot, You're Hot" and a faithful romp through "East Bound and Down," a 1977 hit from Smokey and the Bandit. - Billboard, 10/23/17...... Todd RundgrenAs Meat Loaf's legendary 1977 LP Bat Out of Hell celebrates its 40th anniversary on Oct. 21, the album's producer, Todd Rundgren, said he initially saw the songs as a spoof of Bruce Springsteen when they were rehearsed by Meat Loaf and his songwriting partner, Jim Steinman. "Because the songs were sort of very basic changes, the themes were all... [Laughs.]," Rundgren recalled. "By the time it was the '70s, the themes were kind of nostalgic. Even though Bruce Springsteen would represent them as still being real, the iconography was still out of the '50s, you know? It was switchblades and leather jackets and motorcycles and that sort of junk. So I saw the whole presentation as being a spoof of Bruce Springsteen, and that's why I decided to do it," Rundgren added. - Billboard, 10/20/17...... A series of tweets from Bob Seger's Twitter account have indicated the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is on his way to recovering after undergoing surgery for a pinched vertebra in his neck recently. "Bob is on the road to recovery after undergoing surgery on Friday to address the medical issue causing the postponement of his tour," according to an Oct. 23 tweet. "According to his doctors surgery 'couldn't have gone better.' Bob wants to thank all his fans for the outpouring of well wishes and support... We hope to have news regarding dates for the tour soon," read two additional tweet. Seger and his Silver Bullet Band tour was initially set to run through Nov. 17, the release date for upcoming album I Knew You When. - Billboard, 10/23/17...... Bob Dylan paid tribute to his former touring partner and Traveling Wilburys bandmate Tom Petty on Oct. 21 during a concert in Broomfield, Col., by closing his encore with a cover of Petty's 1991 single "Learning to Fly." Dylan previously issued a statement following Petty's death after suffering cardiac arrest on Oct. 2. "It's shocking, crushing news," Dylan said. "I thought the world of Tom. He was great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I'll never forget him." Petty and his band the Heartbreakers backed Dylan on the latter's 1986 True Confessions Tour, and in 1988 Dylan, Petty, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne co-founded the supergroup the Traveling Wilburys. Meanshile one day earlier, Petty fans participated in a "Tom Petty Memorial Vampire Walk" down Ventura Blvd. on Oct. 19, 2017 in Sherman Oaks, Calif. The event was a goofy reference to a line from Petty's "Free Fallin'": "All the vampires walking through the valley move west down Ventura Boulevard." - New Musical Express/Stereogum.com, 10/22/17...... As more women come forward in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual harrassment scandal, Rod Stewart's current wife Penny Lancaster has revealed that she lost her virginity to a rapist who drugged and assaulted her when she was first starting out as a model. On Oct. 19 the blonde beauty appeared on the U.K. talk show Loose Women, on which she is a panellist, as the co-hosts discussed the viral #MeToo social media campaign, exposing instances of sexual abuse or harassment. Penny revealed her attack happened when she was just a teenager and beginning her modeling career, after she was invited to join a man she had previously worked with at a fashion industry event. Lancaster said she was offered a spiked drink by the man, and fighting back tears, said she "found myself face down on the bed with him on top of me." 46, was too scared to tell her parents about the assault, because she was convinced they would chastise her for agreeing to go to his home. "He was a client I had worked with, and he promised to introduce me to other people," she continued. "I was just naive, and I trusted him." - WENN.com, 10/19/17...... Charlie DanielsCharlie Daniels released his new memoir, Never Look at the Empty Seats, on Oct. 24, and the Southern rock legend says he's been writing the book on and off for the past 20 years. "I just started writing down my memories. As I went along, I started putting it into book form," Daniels says. "I just kept writing, and interesting things would keep happening. I could never find a place to end it until I was told that I was going to be in the Country Music Hall of Fame. I thought what a great place to stop it, so that's what I did. It starts with my earliest remembrances, being born and bred in North Carolina, up through the night of the Country Music Hall of Fame induction," he remarked of the event from October 2016 that caps off the book. The book also details many of the high points of Daniels' career, and a few of the lows, such as his memories of the evening of Oct. 20, 1977, when he received news that some members of his good friends Lynyrd Skynyrd had been killed in a plane crash. "We went out on stage night that night knowing he had some friends that were killed, but not knowing who they were," Daniels says. "We just took it out on the music, and did our thing, and worked through it. It was definitely a sad night." - Billboard, 10/20/17...... George Young, the brother of AC/DC's Malcolm and Angus Young who found fame as a member of 1960s group The Easybeats before later producing some of AC/DC's earliest albums including 1976's High Voltage and 1977's Let There Be Rock, died on Oct. 22 at the age of 70. Born in Scotland in 1946, George Young emigrated to Australia at a young age before becoming a member of The Easybeats, who were hailed as Australia's answer to the Beatles. The band became best known for their hit "Friday On My Mind," broke up in 1970 before they were later inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2005. "It is with pain in our heart that we have to announce the passing of our beloved brother and mentor George Young," a statement from AC/DC said on Oct. 22. "As a musician, songwriter, producer, advisor and much, much more, you could not ask for a more dedicated and professional man. You could not ask for a finer brother. We will always remember him with gratitude and hold him close to our hearts." - New Musical Express, 10/23/17...... Al Hurricane, known as the "Godfather of New Mexico music" for developing a distinct sound bridging the state's unique Hispanic traditions with country and rock, died on Oct. 22 after a battle with prostate cancer. He was 81. Born Alberto Nelson Sanchez on July 10, 1936, in the tiny village of Dixon, Mr. Hurricane began his professional music career by singing in Albuquerque Old Town restaurants before releasing his first songs, "Lobo" and "Racer" under the band Al Hurricane & the Night Rockers in 1962. Mr. Hurricane recorded more than 30 albums and received a number of awards while traveling internationally. Following the 1980 Santa Fe prison riot -- one of the most violent prison riots in U.S. history -- Mr. Hurricane released the song "(El Corrido De) La Prison De Santa Fe" which was a narrative about the conditions that led to the uprising. - AP, 10/23/17...... Howard Carroll, the lead guitarist for the influential and Grammy Award-winning gospel group The Dixie Hummingbirds has died at the age of 92. The group started as a quartet of students formed by James B. Davis in a Greenville, S.C., high school in 1928. The group toured widely and recorded a cappella for the Decca label in the 1930s and then relocated to Philadelphia in the 1940s. After World War II, as the sound of gospel changed, the Hummingbirds added bass, drums and guitar supplied by Carroll. They performed on Paul Simon's "Loves Me Like a Rock" in 1973 and won a Grammy for their own version. - AP, 10/20/17...... Robert GuillaumeEmmy-winning actor Robert Guillaume, best known for his portrayal of the sharp-tongued butler in the TV sitcoms Soap and Benson, died on Oct. 24 at his home in Los Angeles after battling prostate cancer. He was 89. Born fatherless on Nov. 30, 1927, in St. Louis, Mr. Guillaume was one of four children. His mother named him Robert Peter Williams; when he became a performer he adopted Guillaume, a French version of Williams, believing the change would give him distinction. After working as a postal employee, department store clerk and motorman, Mr. Guillaume enrolled at St. Louis University, excelling in philosophy and Shakespeare, and then at Washington University (St. Louis) where a music professor trained the young man's superb tenor singing voice. After serving as an apprentice at theaters in Aspen, Colo., and Cleveland, he toured with several Broadway shows and began appearing on sitcoms such as The Jeffersons and Sanford and Son. Then came Soap and a spin-off of his butler character on Benson. His period of greatest success was marred by tragedy when his 33-year-old son Jacques died of AIDS. He earned a Tony nomination in 1977 for his role as Nathan Detroit in the first all-black version of "Guys and Dolls," and became the first African-American to sing the title role of "Phantom of the Opera," appearing with an all-white cast in Los Angeles. It was while playing in "Guys and Dolls" that he was asked to test for the role of an acerbic butler of a governor's mansion in "Soap," a primetime TV sitcom that satirized soap operas. "The minute I saw the script, I knew I had a live one," he recalled in 2001. "Every role was written against type, especially Benson, who wasn't subservient to anyone. To me, Benson was the revenge for all those stereotyped guys who looked like Benson in the '40s and '50s (movies) and had to keep their mouths shut." The character became so popular that ABC was persuaded to launch a spinoff, simply called Benson, which lasted from 1979 to 1986. The series made Guillaume wealthy and famous, but he regretted that Benson's wit had to be toned down to make him more appealing as the lead star. - AP, 10/24/17.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

A song written by Bruce Springsteen for the first Harry Potter film in 2001 but rejected by the movie's producers has appeared online on the Springsteen torrent site Jungleland.com. Springsteen reportedly became inspired to write a song for the film after reading the first Harry Potter novel to his son in the late 1990s. The song, called "I'll Stand By You Always," is part of a 13-track compilation of mostly rare soundtrack songs by The Boss titled Odds and Sods. - New Musical Express, 10/19/17...... Elvis Costello and Bonnie Raitt were honored at the annual Little Kids Rock benefit show at PlayStation Theater in New York City on Oct. 18. Costello and Raitt are longtime supporters of Little Kids Rock, which aims to provide music education to public schools. "In these days of discord, dissonance and distraction, I'm constantly reminded by a truth that is as old as the human family itself: music can bring people together in ways that virtually nothing else can," said Little Kids Rock founder David Fish, who has raised $1.5 million dollars for the LKR foundation through the series of tribute shows. "There's been study after study proving the benefits of music education and exposure to the arts makes all the difference," Bonnie Raitt told the attendees. Before launching into a spirited cover of Aretha Franklin's 1967 track "Baby I Love You," Raitt expanded on the theme of the evening: "Here's to the power of a beautiful ballad to break hearts and heal." - Billboard, 10/19/17...... Diana RossDick Clark Productions, the organizer of the American Music Awards, announced on Oct. 18 that Motown legend Diana Ross will be the recipient of the American Music Award of Lifetime Achievement during the 2017 AMA on Nov. 19 in Los Angeles. Ross, who as a member of The Supremes became the best-selling Motown act of the 1960s and released several additional chart-toppers during her decades-long solo career, is a seven-time AMA winner and hosted the AMAs in 1986 and 1987. "I have endless memories of all the years that I have appeared on the American Music Awards," Ross says in a statement. "It started with Dick Clark and the Caravan of Stars and American Bandstand. It was Dick Clark who said, 'Music is the soundtrack of our lives.' So true. I am so excited to be receiving this honorable award." The AMAs will be broadcast live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Nov. 19 at 8:00 p.m. EST on ABC. - Billboard, 10/18/17...... In light of the alleged sexual harassment and abuse revelations by some powerful figures in the movie industry that have made headlines recently, '60s and '70s hitmaker Sir Tom Jones has revealed that it also exists in the music industry and can happen even to men, too. "Things have always happened in the music industry as well," Jones said in an Oct. 18 interview with the BBC Radio 5. "There's been people complaining about publicists and different things they've been expected to do to get a record contract, just like a film contract. There were a few things like that. But you avoid it. You just walk out| But what's tried on women is tried on men as well," he added. Speaking specifically of his own experience, Jones said: "It wasn't bad, just somebody tried to pull| it was a question and I said 'No thank you.'" - NME, 10/19/17...... Legendary rocker Tom Petty was laid to rest in a private ceremony in Pacific Palisades, Calif., on Oct. 16. Petty, who passed away from cardiac arrest on Oct. 2 at age 66, is buried in the same temple and meditation garden where his good friend, former Beatles member George Harrison, was laid to rest in 2001. Petty's daughter AnnaKim posted a series of photos in Instagram as she experienced the ceremony, including one of herself beneath a black & white picture of Petty on a stand above a flower arrangement with the caption "the dark of the sun we will stand together" and another that read "My beautiful twin star??I promise not to be sad and to follow my heart you live on in your art." - Billboard, 10/17/17...... In other Petty-related news, it has been revealed that Petty offered what would become his first Top 10 Hit -- the 1979 Damn the Torpedoes track "Don't Do Me Like That" -- to the J. Geils Band, but the band passed on it. J. Geils singer Peter Wolf told Rolling Stone that "maybe we thought we had the songs for our album... We can do it for the next one," but adds that that band did like the song. Petty reportedly didn't think the song was right for him and his group the Heartbreakers for some reason, but was eventually convinced he should record it by Damn the Torpedoes producer Jimmy Iovine. In a strange twist of fate, Peter Wolf's new band, the Midnight Travellers, actually opened for Petty on his final tour. - Stereogum.com, 10/19/17...... Ringo StarrMeanwhile, Ringo Starr says he was totally shocked to hear about the death of his good friend Tom Petty on Oct. 2, the day after the tragedy of the lone sniper in Las Vegas. Ringo says he had been booked to play in Las Vegas on Oct. 2, and on the same day he learned of Petty's death. "It was a shock. When you first hear it, it's like, 'What...?!' Like when I heard Elvis was dead; It's like, 'What?!' It has to sink in. It was very sad. That's all I can say, really. God Bless him and his family," said Starr, who occasionally collaborated with Petty and notably appeared in Petty's video for "I Won't Back Down" in 1989. Starr says he hopes to return to Las Vegas under much better vibes when he and his All-Starr Band kick off a fall tour supporting his new album, Give More Love, with an 8-show residency beginning Oct. 13 at Planet Hollywood. His tour will continue through Nov. 16 in New Jersey. "We're gonna try to play those shows with a lot of peace and love and try to raise the spirits," the eternally optimistic Ringo said. The deluxe version of Give More Love features a newly recorded version of his 1972 hit "Back Off Boogaloo" built atop recently discovered session tapes. "We just got lucky with that one," Ringo says. "I'm going through a lot of tape and we're looking to see if anything else is on them. So far we haven't found anything as important as that, but I might find something else on there." - Billboard, 10/14/17...... Bryan Singer, the director of the forthcoming Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, has shared a photo of lead actor Rami Malek performing as Mercury on Instagram. "Couldn't help myself and had to post this iPhone pic," Singer posted in a caption accompanying the photo. Singer is best known for directing the X-Men franchise, while Malek is a relative unknown, having previously acted in TV series, Mr Robot. - New Musical Express, 10/17/17...... For the first time in its history, Playboy magazine will feature a solo male on its cover -- recently deceased Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. For its Nov./Dec. 2017 issue, a 39-year-old Hefner will appear on the cover in a 1965 portrait by photographer Larry Gordon. "Hef" will be the eleventh man to ever grace the publication's cover, but none until now have been featured without a female model present. The first six pages will include a piece from Hefner's son Cooper, as well as a celebration of the magazine mogul's life. Playboy issued a statment saying the new issue is "a prelude to a forthcoming 100+ page special tribute dedicated to the man who changed the world with his visionary magazine and company." - Billboard, 10/19/17...... Tina TurnerTina Turner was on hand at an announcement party to help launch a new musical based on her life and career, "Tina," which is scheduled to open Apr. 17, 2018, at London's Aldwych Theatre. Turner joined the actress who will be portraying her, Adrienne Warren onstage for a rare performance for guests at the party. "Growing up watching Tina, I knew how to shake my hips before I could tie my shoes," said Warren, who was nominated for a Tony in 2016 for her featured role in the musical "Shuffle Along." "I am elated, honored and humbled. Meeting and working with Tina is and will always be one of the great moments of my life," she added. The musical "Tina" will trace Turner's life from her humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tenn., through her stormy marriage to Ike Turner, her hard-won independence and her ultimate emergence to become one of the top-selling female recording artists of all time. - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/19/17...... Rolling Stone magazine founder Jann Wenner is reportedly no longer speaking to the author of a new biography about him, Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine, after feeling "betrayed" by the book's writer, Joe Hagan. Wenner is reportedly upset that the book delves into his personal life, including his sexual history, marriage, drug use, and working relationships, and has dis-invited Hagan from scheduled promotional appearances, including one at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which Wenner co-founded. Two earlier would-be Wenner biographers had book deals fall through after the magazine mogul withdrew his cooperation. Sticky Fingers will hit stores on Oct. 24. - Spin.com, 10/18/17...... "Run James Run," one of the two new tracks featured on Brian Wilson's new solo anthology Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology, was inspired by guitar icon Jeff Beck after Beck mentioned that he also owned a number of 1932 Deuce Coupe hot rods. "While Brian and I were driving home from the studio, he stated that in his opinion, 'What the world needs now is one last great car song!'" recalls Wilson's collaborator Joe Thomas. "The next day, we started laying the tracks down." The song's title comes from a tune Wilson wrote in the '60s, which he hoped would become a James Bond theme. When that didn't happen, the song because the instrumental "Pet Sounds." Years later, Wilson revived the title and Thomas and Wilson finished the song. Playback dropped on Sept. 22 via Rhino Records. - Billboard, 10/18/17...... In a new interview with Northern Ireland's Belfast Telegraph, Billy Joel revealed that he is set to become a father for the third time. The 68-year-old Piano Man and his current wife, Alexis Roderick are expecting their second child in November after becoming the parents of their two-year-old daughter, Della Rose. Joel told the paper that Della Rose is "pretty good. She sleeps through the night... I hope the next one will." Joel and Roderick have been together since 2009, and the musician made her his fourth wife in 2015. Joel is also dad to singer Alexa Ray Joel, his 31-year-old daughter from his second marriage to supermodel Christie Brinkley. - WENN.com 10/18/17...... John McLaughlinLegendary rock guitarist and bandleader John McLaughlin says he plans to retire from touring as he prepares for the start of his final North American run "The Meeting of the Spirits Tour" with his band the 4th Dimension that begins Nov. 1 in Buffalo, N.Y. "I think one of the most catastrophic things that could happen would be to go on tour and have a really bad hair day where I'm not really able to play," the Mahavishnu Orchestra mastermind said in a new interview with Billboard. "That's a nightmare for me. I don't want to get confronted with that situation, so I told the guys in the band, and some months ago, that this is the goodbye tour." McLaughlin and company have dates booked through Dec. 9 in Los Angeles, with Jimmy Herring and the Invisible Whip on the tour and playing an encore set of Mahavishnu Orchestra material together. While McLaughlin may be giving up the road, he isn't giving up on music altogether; he has just released a new album called Live@Ronnie Scott's. - Billboard, 10/18/17...... Cher has just signed on to join the cast of the Abba-inspired Mamma Mia! sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Cher teased out the news in mid-October with a series of tweets, although the details of the character she will play are being kept under wraps. In addition to Cher's role -- her first big-screen appearance since 2010's Burlesque with Christina Aguilera -- the movie will reunite original Mamma Mia! cast members Meryl Streep, Julie Walters, Christine Baranski, Amanda Seyfried, Dominic Cooper, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgard and Colin Firth. - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/16/17...... Speaking to the UK's Daily Telegraph, Robert Plant says it's extremely unlikely that Led Zeppelin will ever reunite again. "You can't ever really go back... It's tough enough repeating yourself with something that's a year old, never mind 49 years old," Plant said. "I've got to keep moving." Plant fronted Led Zep until their split in 1980, before a subsequent reunion in 2007 saw him playing with John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page once more at the Ahmet Ertegun tribute concert, where they were joined by the son of the late John Bonham on drums. He is currently gearing up to tour behind his new album, Carry Fire. - NME, 10/16/17.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Such '70s artists as Kris Kristofferson, Rita Coolidge, Arlo Guthrie and the Doors drummer John Densmore are set to headline a benefit concert for Native American activist Leonard Peltier on Nov. 6 at the Bank of Oklahoma Center in Tulsa, Okla. Peltier made headlines during a deadly shootout with F.B.I. agents on an Indian reservation in 1975, resulting in the death of two agents who were murdered execution-style. Although no one knows who fired first and no one actually saw Peltier kill the officials, he was sentenced to back-to-back life terms and has served 40 years. In September, the 73-year-old Peltier underwent sudden heart surgery at a high-security prison in Florida. Civil rights attorney David Frankel has been hired by the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee to help fight for Peltier's freedom, and says Peltier's poor health could help his chances for parole. Peltier "represented the F.B.I.'s last chance to obtain a conviction" in the reservation murders after two Native Americans were acquitted, author Peter Matthiessen argued in his 1983 book, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse. However former F.B.I. agent Ed Woods argues that "Whether planning to or not, Peltier was there and participated in the murder of two federal agents." Also participating in the benefit will be Jessi Colter, Shooter Jennings and Joe Ely, with video messages from the likes of Peter Gabriel, Tom Morello and Steven Van Zandt. - Billboard, 10/13/17...... Bob SegerBob Seger has announced he plans to go ahead with the release of his latest album, I Knew You When, despite being forced to cancel the remaining 19 dates on a tour with his Silver Bullet Band behind the new album due to a medical issue. Seger has announced two versions of the album will be released on Nov. 17 -- a 10-track standard edition that will include his recently released cover of Lou Reed's "Busload of Faith" as well as a version of Leonard Cohen's "Democracy," and a deluxe version that features three additional tracks, including "Glenn Song," a tribute to his late friend Glenn Frey that Seger released via his website in January on the first anniversary of Frey's passing. - Billboard, 10/13/17...... Robert Plant, who released his latest solo LP, Carry Fire, on Oct. 13, says the recent passing of Tom Petty "was premature, by far," and that Petty's untimely passing reminded him of the death of his former Led Zeppelin bandmate, drummer John Bonham. "I remember we lost John Bonham 37 years ago and that was the end of Led Zeppelin really," Plant says. "We were only kids then and there's no amount of talking or paying respects that can bring anybody back, especially somebody who goes so sadly with so many years left to roll really." Bonham's sister, Deborah, has recently received permission for a bronze statue in his honor to be erected in his hometown of Redditch, Worcestershire, in time to commemorate what would have been his 70th birthday next May. - Billboard, 10/13/17...... Speaking of Tom Petty, the late rock legend's 1993 Greatest Hits album is one of three albums vying for the top spot on Billboard's Hot 200 album chart for the week ending Oct. 12. The set re-entered the chart for the week ending Oct. 5 at No. 2, mostly powered by digital albums: 44,000 downloads vs. a little more than 7,000 in CD sales. Petty also currently populates 14 of the top 25 spots on Billboard's Top 50 Hot Rock Songs chart, with "Free Fallin'," "I Won't Back Down," "Mary Jane's Last Dance," "Learning to Fly" and "You Don't Know How It Feels" leading the way. - Billboard, 10/11/17...... In other Billboard chart action, Michael Jackson has just earned his 30th charting album on the Hot 200 with his new Halloween-inspired album Scream. The LP, which dropped on Sept. 29, has bowed on the chart at No. 33, making it Jackson's 16th Top 40 set. Scream's tracklist "reflects The King of Pop's affection for this time of the year," according to a press release from Jackson's label Sony, "and its themes of costumes and disguise, darkness and light, character transformations and surprise. It's the perfect soundtrack for Halloween/October parties." Scream moved 14,000 units -- 11,000 of those from traditional album sales. The set includes familiar Jackson hits like the title track (with sister Janet Jackson), "Thriller" and the No. 1 hit "Dirty Diana." - Billboard, 10/13/17...... Roger DaltreyThe Who frontman Roger Daltrey has announced he'll publish a memoir about his storied life that is scheduled to be published in August of 2018. On Oct. 12, Daltrey confirmed that he has a book deal with Blink Publishing in the UK, and Henry Hold and Co. in the US. In addition to his tenure with the Who, Daltrey says the book will cover his solo career, and focus "particularly on how Britain has changed since he was born in 1944." Meanwhile, in a recent interview Daltrey left the future of live shows by the Who up in the air: "We're doing remarkably well for where we are but we just don't know. If we get through this year, we're gonna need some time off. We'll re-think it after that." Daltrey and his fellow Who co-founder Pete Townshend ended their latest tour in August. - New Musical Express, 10/12/17...... Two surviving members of the Velvet Underground, John Cale and Moe Tucker, recently reunited at the "Grammy Salute to Music Legends" concert to perform the band's classic 1967 track "I'm Waiting For The Man" from the debut VU album. March 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the band's seminal The Velvet Underground & Nico LP, and on their performance of "I'm Waiting for the Man," Cale played a Kurzweil keyboard while Tucker played a woodblock along with Cale's backing band. Tucker and Cale are the only surviving members of the Lou Reed-led band. The "Grammy Salute to Music Legends" concert also honors the likes of Sly Stone, Nina Simone and Dionne Warwick. - NME, 10/12/17...... Bruce Springsteen officially kicked off his 18-week Broadway residency, "Springsteen On Broadway," at Walter Kerr Theatre on Oct. 12 New York City, and critical reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Rolling Stone called the show an "intimate triumph," while the BBC described it as "intimate and personal," with reporter Elysa Gardner noting that the residency is "neither a musical nor a concert in the tradition of his previous solo tours." "The two-hour program is also, in its distinctly intimate, sometimes darkly earnest fashion, an affirmation of the earnest showmanship and vivid storytelling that Springsteen's rock and roll shares with musical theatre," Gardner wrote. The New York Post noted that Springsteen's show has been "reducing its audiences to tears," while New York Times critic Jesse Green noted the show was "real and intense... a greatest anti-hits concert." "Many of the songs Mr. Springsteen has chosen to sing are less familiar and more meditative than his chart-toppers, and those that were chart-toppers are almost unrecognizable," Green observed. The production sees Springsteen playing guitar, piano and harmonica, and singing duets with his wife, Patti Scialfa, and first grew out of an acoustic concert at the White House in the final weeks of the Barack Obama administration. Among the celebrities in attendance at the first show were Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, Edward Norton, Tina Fey, Jon Stewart, Brian Williams, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Steven Van Zandt. - NME/The Hollywood Reporter, 10/13/17...... Jonathan CainJourney keyboardist Jonathan Cain released a new solo holiday album, Unsung Noel, on Oct. 13, and says his lifelong love of Christmas and a more recent passion for Christian music led him to record the set. "I wanted to make an album that really celebrates the Nativity and the birth of Christ and the coming of Christ and the things I thought were missing on a lot of the Christian albums," says Cain, who released his first Christian album, What God Wants To Hear, in 2016. That particular mission led him to become "sort of a detective," delving deep into topics he wanted to address in his own material for the album. Cain says he wrote most of his original songs during Journey's 2016 summer tour, "and I hit on a nice combination of songs... It was just something I felt I could do. It was very positive." Cain says that Journey "will have to get through our differences" before announcing plans for 2018, referring to a recent squabble with Journey guitarist Neal Schon when Cain and other members paid a visit to Pres. Donald Trump's White House, but he's confident that will happen. "We'll get through them," Cain says. "Something like that wasn't the first time we've come at odds with each other. It's been 36 years now. But I think time heals all things, and you move on." - Billboard, 10/11/17...... On Oct. 10, Paul McCartney penned a letter to a Texas veterinary supply company urging it to provide proper care for some 150 greyhounds living in squalor in dirt-floored pens near Austin. "I join my friends at PETA in asking you to pay these greyhounds back, and to let them retire from the dirt-floored, barren conditions in which they are kept isolated and alone, some of them cringing at the footfall of the person coming to take their blood again and again," McCartney wrote. "They had a hard life on the racetrack, and they will die without love if left where they are. I've seen pictures of how they have suffered from nails that have grown back into their paw pads, as well as from infected gums and rotted teeth, and I'm told that some have apparently even died from a lack of water." Sir Paul wrote his plea to Patterson Veterinary Supply, the parent company of The Pet Blood Bank, which provides canine blood products for veterinary transfusions across the country. It began in 2004 initially seeking volunteers and using a bloodmobile, but that did not bring in enough blood and the company turned to retired greyhounds it houses in a kennel on a private farm outside Austin, Texas. McCartney, who in the letter also referenced his former pet dog Martha which was immortalized in the 1968 Beatles song "Martha My Dear," has been a longtime supporter of PETA, participating in interviews on the animal rights organization's website and appearing in pro-vegetarian ads. - Billboard, 10/10/17...... Elvis PresleyTech giant Apple Computer has scrapped a planned 10-part Elvis Presley biopic that was to have been produced by Hollywood studio The Weinstein Co. after the explosive scandal involving that company's co-founder Harvey Weinstein, who was fired from the company following allegations of decades-long sexual harassment. The series, dubbed Elvis, was first announced in Sept. 2016, and was to be produced by TWC in partnership with the Presley estate. The estate allowed producers access to Presley's entire music catalog, access to film at his Graceland home as well as his cars and clothing. The drama was to be based on rock critic Dave Marsh's 1982 book Elvis. Presley's ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, was set to exec produce alongside Harvey Weinstein, Jerry Schilling and David Glasser. A writer and star had not been attached, and Elvis was one of four scripted originals that Apple was reportedly planning, including biopics on Michael Jackson, Prince and Frank Sinatra. - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/9/17...... Former The Scorpions and U.F.O. guitarist Michael Schenker will kick off a new "Michael Schenker Fest" tour of the U.K. on Nov. 2 at London O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, also visiting Sheffield O2 Academy on Nov. 3, Manchester O2 Ritz on Nov. 4, and Hull City Hall on Nov. 5. The project reunites the original Michael Schenker Group vocalists - Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet and Robin McAuley, plus MSG musicians Steve Mann (guitar, keys), Chris Glen (bass) and Ted McKenna (drums). Says Schenker, "It's a miracle that after all these years, a tour like this will take place with the original band members of M.S.G.... To being able to re-experience, and for the new audience to get a feel of what it was like, is incredibly enjoyable." - Noble PR, 10/10/17...... Bob Schiller, an Emmy-winning TV comedy writer whose credits reach back to the infancy of the television medium, died on Oct. 10 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 98. Mr. Schiller's writing credits include I Love Lucy, Maude, All in the Family and The Carol Burnett Show, among others. - The Washington Post, 10/13/17.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Queen has released previously unheard versions of "We Will Rock You" and "We Are The Champions" to mark the 40th anniversary of their seminal 1977 album News Of The World. The new versions of the iconic tracks will form part of the "Raw sessions" disc of Queen's upcoming 40th Anniversary re-issue of News Of The World, which is set for release on Nov. 17. The new tracks feature never-before-heard lead vocals, along with new lead guitar parts which were changed during the recording of the album. On "We Will Rock You," guitarist Brian May is heard deploying a markedly different guitar solo, while "We Are The Champions" ends with a fade-out, as opposed to its more recognisable abrupt end. - NME, 10/6/17...... Paul McCartney is featured in a "making of" short on the new DVD and Blu-ray release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which hit stores on Oct. 3. In the film, McCartney plays Uncle Jack, a pirate relative of Capt. Jack Sparrow. In keeping with the tone of the film, it's a very light-hearted role. In addition to talking about his role, McCartney also does some singing, both in the movie and in an extra version on the DVD recorded when there was silence on the set and the only thing heard is McCartney's voice. This extra version is not in the movie. - Billboard, 10/4/17...... Justin HaywardPeter WolfRic OcasekMark KnopflerOn Oct. 5 the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the nominations for their class of 2018, with '70s acts the Moody Blues, J. Geils Band, the Cars, Dire Straits, Judas Priest, MC5 and Rufus featuring Chaka Khan among the 19 legendary acts making the shortlist. It was the first nomination to the Cleveland-based hall and museum ever for the Moody Blues, Dire Straits and Judas Priest, with the J. Geils Band getting its fifth nomination, the Cars and MC5 getting their third nod, and Rufus featuring Chaka Khan getting their second. Other nominees included Radiohead, Kate Bush, Rage Against The Machine, Bon Jovi, Depeche Mode, Eurythmics, LL Cool J, the Meters, Nina Simone, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Link Wray and the Zombies. The top five vote getters will be decided by a public vote (through Dec. 5 at the RRHOF's website), along with input from over 800 artists, historians and music industry insiders. The winners will be announced in December and inducted on Apr. 14 at a ceremony at Public Hall in Cleveland, Oh. To be eligible for entry into the RRHOF, each potential nominee's first single or album had to be released in 1992 or earlier. - New Musical Express, 10/5/17...... Tributes continue to pour in for late 2002 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Tom Petty, who passed away after suffering cardiac arrest in his Malibu home on Oct. 2. Between the third and fourth quarters of the Florida Gators and LSU Tigers college game on Oct. 7, a packed crowd of 9,000 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium sang Petty's smash "I Won't Back Down" in tribute to the legendary musician. "This one's for you, @TomPetty," the Gators' official account tweeted. On Oct. 4, Bruce Springsteen opened the first preview of his Broadway show in New York with a dedication to his friend and fellow rock icon Petty. The two-hour show started with The Boss standing on stage dressed all in black, dedicating the show to the late musician, sending his thoughts and prayers to Petty's family and his bandmates, the Heartbreakers (his Broadway show officially opens on Oct. 12). On Oct. 7, country star Jason Aldean, the performer onstage during the recent tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, performed Petty's "I Won't Back Down" on NBC's Saturday Night Live in a nod to both Petty and the Vegas victims. Meanwhile, Petty's U.S. music sales have increased 6,781% following his death, with huge increases in sales, streams and airplay of his back catalog surging as fans mourn the singer-songwriter. On Oct. 2-3, Petty's catalog of albums and digital songs (including his work with the Heartbreakers, Mudcrutch and supergroup Traveling Wilburys) sold 218,000 combined albums and song downloads -- up from just 3,000 sold in the previous two days. Petty's top-selling albums following his passing were his Greatest Hits (32,000), Wildflowers (4,000), Anthology: Through the Years (4,000), Damn the Torpedoes (3,000) and Full Moon Fever (2,000). His top-five-selling songs for that same Oct. 2-3 period were: "Free Fallin'" (21,000 downloads), "I Won't Back Down" (15,000), "Mary Jane's Last Dance" (12,000), "Learning to Fly" (11,000) and "You Don't Know How It Feels" (9,000). Greatest Hits also re-entered the Billboard Hot 200 album chart for the week ending Oct. 21 at No. 2 with 84,000 units sold. The album initially peaked at No. 5 on the roundup in Feb. 1994, following its release the previous year. Petty's 1994 solo studio effort Wildflowers returned to the chart at No. 27 with 16,000 units, Anthology: Through the Years returned at No. 32, and Damn the Torpedoes re-entered at No. 122. In more Petty news, the Los Angeles County coroner department has announced it is conducting an investigation of Petty's untimely death. Although no foul play is suspected, the agency says it investigates all deaths where the deceased hadn't seen a doctor in six months. Results of a toxicology screening, to determine if the musician had any drugs in his system, could take several months. - Billboard, 10/9/17...... Mick JonesFour original members of Foreigner -- guitarist Mick Jones, vocalist Lou Gramm, drummer Dennis Elliot and multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald -- reunited on Oct. 6 at the Soaring Eagle Casino & Hotel in Michigan for the first of two weekend reunion concerts, the final U.S. dates of the group's 40th anniversary tour. The band, joined by newer members Rick Wills on bass and Michael Bluestein on keyboards, performed a five-song mini-set that included an acoustic version of "Fool For You Anyway" and their titanic hit "Juke Box Hero," which was introduced with a section of their 1978 instrumental "Tramontane." Some surviving original members of the original band had already reunited earlier in 2017 -- in Florida, Spain and at Jones Beach in New York -- but this marked the first time all of the musicians were together onstage at the same time. "It's good to be back," Wills told the crowd. "We don't believe it. You probably don't believe it, either." The reunion concert was recorded and filmed for a live album, home video and broadcast production set for 2018. The current Foreigner has a run of Canadian dates starting Oct. 10 in Calgary, while a Foreigner with the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra album and PBS special are in the works for 2018. - Billboard, 10/7/17...... After their nomination for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Oct. 5, the Moody Blues members Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge issued a joint statement the same day saying, "We are very honored to be considered for an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. We know that the fans have been diligently supporting us along the way on this, and that it means a lot to them, as well as to us. Being a British band, we are grateful for our American recognition, and especially to fans who have been with us throughout our musical journey." It has been speculated that a Moodys RRHOF induction could lead to a potential reunion of the group's most famous lineup. Hayward, Lodge and Edge remain active in the group, while keyboardist Mike Pinder left the band during 1978 and flutist Ray Thomas retired in 2002, though both made guest appearances on Lodge's 2015 solo album 10,000 Light Years Ago. Not included in the nomination are co-founding members Denny Lane or the late Clint Warwick, or keyboardist Patrick Moraz. Lodge will be releasing a solo live album this fall and playing a short U.S. tour starting Oct. 26, while the Moodys recorded and filmed one of the Days Of Future Passed 50th anniversary shows for subsequent release. The group plans to set sail on its Moody Blues Cruise on Jan. 2 out of Miami and follows with a short U.S. tour that winds up with four nights at the Wynn Las Vegas. - Billboard, 10/6/17...... Jeff LynneJeff Lynne's ELO have unveiled a trailer for their new live album and DVD, Wembley Or Bust. Recorded at their massive show at London's iconic Wembley Stadium on June 24, 2017, Wembley Or Bust. comes in a variety of formats across CD, DVD, Blu-Ray and vinyl and will be released on Nov. 17. Directed by Paul Dugdale, the 22-song release is loaded with such ELO classics as "Evil Woman," "Don't Bring Me Down," "Mr Blue Sky" and many more. "It's the best time I ever had in music," said Lynne of the Wembley show. "It is beyond anything I could have imagined." - NME, 10/6/17...... As '70s disco legends the Village People celebrate their 40th anniversary in 2017 with a world tour, the group has just been slapped with a lawsuit entangling several former creative partners that challenges the group's very name. The lawsuit was filed by Can't Stop Production, the U.S. arm of Scorpio Music -- a French label founded by Henri Belolo, who is credited with discovering the group back in the '70s. CSP alleges that the group's current members have no legal right to use the name Village People, directing their lawsuit at Sixuvus Ltd., a management company that six of the group's former members created upon reviving the group in 1987. Sixuvus counters that because the current Village People members have been performing under the name for three decades, CSP has already lost any trademark rights it may have had to the name. Ray Simpson, who replaced "motorcycle cop" Victor Willis as lead singer in 1979, released a statement on Oct. 5 claiming the suit was filed at the request of Willis himself, who in 2015 won the right to reclaim 50 percent of the copyright to several of the group's most famous songs, including "Y.M.C.A.," after a trial lasting nearly a month. "Our fans have responded over social media and in the court of public opinion," Simpson said in the statement. "They recognize that 'WE' are the true Village People the world has come to know and love. It is our pleasure and honor to perform for our audiences around the world, and look forward to continuing with our careers," he added. - Billboard, 10/6/17...... Van Morrison's latest album Roll With the Punches has bowed at No. 23 on Billboard's Hot 200 album chart for the week ending Sept. 28, the celtic crooner's 21st top 40-charting set and 47th entry overall on the chart. Also making its debut on the Hot 200, at No. 195, is former paramours Stephen Stills and Judy Collins' new duet album, Everybody Knows. Stills and Collins sing together on an album for the first time, and the release becomes Stills' first chart entry outside of super groups Crosby, Stills & Nash and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young since his 1984 solo set Right By You. As for Collins, the new album is her 18th charting effort, and second this decade, following 2015's Strangers Again. - Billboard, 10/5/17...... "The Flame," the "final chapter" of the late Leonard Cohen's poetry, is set to be officially released in 2018. Cohen himself chose and ordered the poems in the book, of which "the overwhelming majority" is new material. The iconic Canadian poet and musician, who died aged 82 on Nov. 7, 2016, first published a collection of poetry in 1956, and published 12 more volumes throughout his career. He also wrote two novels -- The Favorite Game and Beautiful Losers -- before his music career began in the late '60s. In a press release, publisher Canongate described "The Flame" as "an enormously powerful final chapter in Cohen's storied literary career." - New Musical Express, 10/7/17...... Little RichardFlamboyant rock & roll icon Little Richard has reportedly renounced his homosexuality, and also says he now believes that same-sex relationships are "unnatural affections." Little Richard, 84, recently appeared on a program on the Christian network called Three Angels Broadcasting, and revealed that, in addition to abandoning his famous wig, he's also renounced his attraction to men because it's "unnatural." "When I first come in show business they wanted you to look like everybody but yourself," he said. "And, anybody that comes in show business they gone say you gay or straight God made men, men and women, women." - Dlisted.com, 10/7/17...... A group of residents in New York City has petitioned their leaders to have a street in the Greenwich Village neighborhood named in honor of Jimi Hendrix. Organizers of the petition are seeking to co-name West Eighth Street as "Jimi Hendrix Way," and hope the co-naming also would attract visitors to an area fighting gentrification. Richard Geist, a local store owner, says the block has "lost the magic and we want to bring that magic back." Hendrix opened his Electric Lady Studios on the West Eighth Street just before his death in 1970. To co-name a street, petitioners would have to make a proposal to the local community board before it could be proposed to the full New York City Council for a vote. - AP, 10/4/17...... Pop and R&B singer Walter "Bunny" Sigler, producer and artist that helped Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff create the "Philly Sound," died on Oct. 6 at home of a heart attack. He was 76. Sigler was known for his work with Patti LaBelle, Lou Rawls, the Spinners and countless others, and his music was sampled by such contemporary acts as Jay Z, Nelly and Outkast. "He wrote, produced, recorded and sang," said his attorney Lee Remick, "and he wrote gospel, Christmas music, R&B and funk. He was a musical genius." According to Remick, Sigler had been sick for the last 10 months and suffered from diabetes. Both LaBelle and Gamble and Huff released statements paying tribute to Sigler. - 10/7/17...... Songwriter Jerry J. Ross, who co-wrote and produced such hits as The Supremes' "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" and "Someday," died on Oct. 4 of prostrate cancer at the Holy Redeemer Hospital hospice unit in Meadowbrook, Penn. He was 84. Mr. Ross is credited with discovering and mentoring Kenny Gamble in a relationship that goes back to the late 1950s, when he helped Gamble and Thom Bell record "Someday" for his Heritage label as Kenny and Tommy. "Jerry Ross was instrumental in introducing Thom Bell and me to the music business, including signing me to my first recording artist deal with Columbia Records," Gamble said in a statement. "He mentored Thom Bell and me to write songs. He was our good friend and was key to the beginning of the Gamble, Huff and Bell legacy." - 10/7/17.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

As a U.S. tax court gets ready to render a decision in a huge case examining whether the government is owed money in estate taxes from Michael Jackson's death in 2009, the Internal Revenue Service has caught a small break. On Oct. 2, Judge Mark Holmes refused to strike testimony from the government's key valuation expert, Weston Anson, despite acknowledging that Anson's testimony wasn't truthful during the Feb. 2017 trial. Anson appeared on the witness stand to bolster the IRS' contention that the worth of Jackson's name and image at the time of death was $161 million, instead of just $2,105, as the Jackson estate maintains. Under cross-examination, Anson claimed that he had never worked for the IRS before, despite the fact that he had worked on a similar case involving Whitney Houston's estate. An ultimate decision in the case, which will be a pathbreaking one that will establish some guidance around the value of celebrities posthumous rights for estate tax purposes, is expected soon (that is, if estate taxes survive any tax reforms being currently contemplated by lawmakers in Washington D.C.). - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/3/17...... Bruce SpringsteenIn a new interview with Variety, Bruce Springsteen has revealed that he has completed his new solo album, but as of now it has no title or release date. "It's connected to my solo records writing-wise... but it's not like them at all," Springsteen noted. "Just different characters living their lives." The Boss went on to say that the record "is influenced by Southern California pop music of the '70s... Jimmy Webb, Burt Bacharach, those kinds of records. I don't know if people will hear those influences, but that was what I had in my mind. It gave me something to hook an album around; it gave me some inspiration to write. And also, it's a singer-songwriter record." In a series of tweets on Oct. 3, Springsteen also reacted to the death of his friend and fellow musician Tom Petty a day earlier, describing himself as "devastated and heartbroken" over the death of a person he describes as "a long lost brother." "Down here on E Street, we're devastated and heartbroken over the death of Tom Petty," he tweeted. "Our hearts go out to his family and bandmates. I've always felt a deep kinship with his music. A great songwriter and performer, whenever we saw each other it was like running into a long lost brother. Our world will be a sadder place without him." Meanwhile three days earlier, Springsteen helped Bryan Adams close out the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto on Sept. 30 by jamming with the Canadian rocker on "Cuts Like a Knife" and "Badlands." The event is a week-long Paralympics-style competition for wounded military veterans. - New Musical Express/Billboard/Stereogum.com, 10/4/17...... Also paying tribute to Tom Petty in recent days are former Eagles guitarist Don Felder, rising stars Norah Jones and John Mayer, and Petty's own daughter, AnnaKim Violette. Don Felder, a friend and guitar mentor to Petty from his younger days in Gainsville, Fla., posted that his "heart was shattered" upon learning the news that Petty had died. "Growing up together in Gainesville and seeing one of my students blossom as an incredibly gifted musician and songwriter has been one of my most fulfilling experiences in this life," Felder said. "It was obvious very early on in his career that his talent, magnetism and charisma were a very special gift that few souls in this world are given. He has given this world so many wonderful memories and touched millions with his magic. Gone far too soon. May he rest in peace knowing how much he is loved and appreciated by all of us that are left behind." Norah Jones, who performed the Wildflowers songs "Time To Move On" and "You Don't Know How It Feels" with Petty at the MusicCare's Person of the Year gala that honored Petty in Feb. 2017, issued a statement saying she was obsessed with Petty's Wildflowers album as a young girl, and that "in the last 10 years, I've had the pleasure of singing his songs at countless tributes and Petty Fests and every time I was punched in the gut by the sheer beauty of his songwriting. So many gems. So many heartfelt anthems that make you wanna sing loud. So many favorites -- you just can't pick one. His music makes people feel so much." Tom PettyJohn Mayer mourned Petty in a poetic tribute on Instagram in which he said the Petty "made me believe that songwriting was everything... one of the high priests of the Sonic Church of California." Petty's youngest daughter AnnaKim Violette shared her thoughts and feelings on social media with a series of emotional posts featuring pictures of herself with her dad, including images of her dancing at his concerts. " I love his class honesty and how strange and funny he is... Tom Petty is an American Icon because his heart has always put human rights first," she tweeted. Meanwhile, Petty fans led a candle-lit vigil at the music icon's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Oct. 3. In a series of photos posted on Instagram, a line of candles is seen on the edge of his star, along with bunches of freshly bought flowers that have been laid down. Fans are also mourning the rock legend's passing by snapping up and downloading several of his most well known albums. Petty and the Heartbreakers' 1993 Greatest Hits album appears to be headed to re-enter the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 200 albums tally, with the set moving over 45,000 units in the week ending Oct. 5. It's also expected that Petty will impact Billboard's Top Rock Songs chart for the same week with hits like "Free Fallin'," "I Won't Back Down," "Mary Jane's Last Dance," "You Don't Know How It Feels" and "American Girl." - Billboard/WENN.com/New Musical Express, 10/3/17...... Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band announced on Oct. 3 that they've been forced to postpone the remainder of their North American Runaway Train Tour -- a total of 19 dates -- so Seger an tend to a medical issue concerning his vertebrae. "I'm so disappointed to have to suspend the tour as the band is on a great roll," Seger said in a statement. "It's a privilege to play for our amazing fans. Hoping to be back out on the road very soon." No further details were given, and rescheduled dates will be announced when available, with previously purchased tickets to be honored at the new dates. Seger and his band kicked off his current tour on Aug. 24 in Toledo, Oh., playing 13 shows before postponing their Sept. 30 gig in Columbus, Oh., due to a pinched vertebra in his neck. The tour was set to run through Nov. 17, the same day he releases his new album, I Knew You When. Seger's tour cancellation also affected the tour of his opening act, Roadcase Royale featuring Nancy Wilson, who also announced they were cancelling their shows on Seger's tour. - Billboard, 10/3/17...... After the shocking incident that occurred on Oct. 1 during a country music concert on the Las Vegas strip in which a lone gunman massacred at least 58 people and injured around 527 others with an automatic rifle from a nearby highrise hotel, Paul McCartney paid homage to the victims at the final stop on the U.S. leg of his One on One Tour on Oct. 2 in Detroit. After opening with the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night," McCartney told the crowd at Little Caesars Arena that, "On such a terrible day, we're going to celebrate the joy in life" before leading into "Save Us." The sentiment echoed McCartney's tweet from earlier in the evening, when he wrote that, "Even though this has been a very sad day, we're going to celebrate the joys of life #OneOnOne." McCartney made no subsequent comments about Las Vegas, although the events there did add poignancy to renditions of songs such as "We Can Work It Out" and the pairing of "A Day In The Life" -- which McCartney noted was "appropriate in today's world" -- and John Lennon's "Give Peace A Chance." Carlos SantanaOne of Paul's fellow rock icons, Carlos Santana, also reacted to the tragic incident with a post on his official website: "To everyone that lost loved ones, we stand with you," said Santana. "Why allow weapons of mass destruction to be sold to civilians? The laws need to be changed to prevent this from ever happening again," he added. Santana is currently playing his fifth annual residency at the House of Blues Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay -- the same hotel from which a gunman fired into the audience at the nearby Route 91 Harvest country music festival. In related news, Johnny Cash's daughter, country singer Roseanne Cash called on her fellow country artists to denounce the National Rifle Association in the wake of the shooting in an editorial published in the New York Times on Oct. 3. In the essay, Cash pointed to how "the National Rifle Association has increasingly nurtured an alliance with country music artists and their fans." However, she writes, beneath the friendly "public relations veneer" of campaigns like NRA Country, which claims to celebrate American values, respect for the military, and freedom, Cash says that the "N.R.A. funds domestic terrorism." Cash urges her fellow country artists to "find the strength of moral conviction, even if it comes with a price tag, which it will." - Billboard, 10/3/17...... Kiss fans were split in their reaction to the band's request that the audience join them in a display of U.S. patriotism by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance during their set at the Gretna Heritage Festival in Louisiana on Sept. 30. "It's always cool to love your country," frontman Paul Stanley said before leading the audience in the pledge. One supporter tweeted, "Kiss just stopped their concert to take a moment to thank the veterans and say the pledge of allegiance. Pretty damn cool." But another concert attendee posted: "Kiss made everyone do the pledge of allegiance before they would do an encore. That was the least rock and roll thing I've ever seen." Kiss also led fans in the pledge at a September concert in Sugar Land, Tex. A year ago during their "Freedom to Rock" tour, Kiss criticized NFL star Colin Kaepernick for not standing while the national anthem was played before the start of games. - Billboard, 10/1/17...... Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner was laid to rest next to Marilyn Monroe, according to his wishes, on Sept. 30 after passing away three days earlier at age 91. The iconic Playboy founder was given an extremely private funeral and memorial service was held in Los Angeles at the Westwood Village Memorial Park. His four children and widow, Crystal Harris, were reportedly all in attendance. Mr. Hefner had purchased a crypt beside Monroe -- Playboy's first-ever cover girl -- all the way back in 1992 for a reported $75,000, even though the two had never even met in person. In 2009, Mr. Hefner told The Los Angeles Times, "I'm a believer in things symbolic. Spending eternity next to Marilyn is too sweet to pass up." Meanwhile, it has been revealed that actor Jared Leto will portray Mr. Hefner in an upcoming biopic directed by Brett Ratner. "Jared is an old friend," says Ratner. "When he heard I got the rights to Hef's story, he told me, 'I want to play him. I want to understand him.' And I really believe Jared can do it. He's one of the great actors of today." In April, Ratner invited Leto to the Playboy Mansion for the premiere of Amazon's docuseries American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story, which doubled as a celebration of Mr. Hefner turning 91. Ratner says he is also planning a reboot the Hugh Hefner-hosted, late-1960s talk show Playboy After Dark. - Billboard/The Hollywood Reporter, 10/3/17...... Lionel RichieFormer Commodores member Lionel Richie will be among the hosts for ABC's reboot of the new American Idol talent reality TV show, joining a panel that includes Ryan Seacrest, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan. "I am very excited to be joining Katy, Luke and Ryan on 'American Idol,'" said Richie, according to a press release. "As a singer, songwriter and producer, I feel I can bring a great deal of experience to the table. It's going to be so much fun!" Shooting on the new American Idol began on Oct. 3, and the panel made their debut appearance on ABC's Good Morning America on Oct. 4. - Billboard, 9/29/17...... Roger Waters has announced he'll play the UK's Hyde Park in the summer of 2018 as part of the British Summer Time festival. The Pink Floyd icon will kick off the series of massive outdoor gigs on July 6, and is the first headliner to be announced after the likes of Phil Collins and Justin Bieber headlined the Hyde Park stage this past summer. The show will mark Waters' first live appearance in the UK since releasing new album Is This The Life We Really Want? in June, and comes as part of his "Us+Them Tour." - NME, 10/2/17...... Parlophone Records unveiled the highly anticipated David Bowie box set A New Career in a New Town on Sept. 29, an 11-disc compilation that focuses on the Thin White Duke's "Berlin Trilogy" -- the three LPs constructed between 1977 and 1979 which include Low, "Heroes" and Lodger. Featured in the release are such import rarities as the "Heroes" EP, which rounds up the German and French album and single versions of the song in a compilation exclusive to the set, as well as a newly remixed edition of Lodger. A New Career in a New Town is the latest installment of Parlophone's "definitive" Bowie reissue campaign. - Billboard, 9/29/17...... Two double albums' worth of unreleased recordings by late folk rock legend Tim Buckley are set to be released in October via Manifesto Records. The new releases will collect live recordings from Buckley's 1969 shows at The Troubadour in Los Angeles. The double CD Venice Mating Call and double LP Greetings From West Hollywood will both be released on Oct. 13. The records are the latest in a series of live albums released since Buckley's death. Tim Buckley died in 1975 at the age of28. He was found dead in his bed by his wife, having overdosed on heroin. - NME, 9/29/17...... God bless Ringo Starr, rock's mischievously minimalist and Eternal Optimist Emeritus, forever stripping things to their playfully swinging 4/4 peace-'n-love core. His umpteenth solo set Give More Love is a well-timed all-star candygram. Paul McCartney kicks in bass lines and Beatles screams on the hilarious war cry "We're on the Road Again," while "King of the Kingdom" is a giddily genteel reggae invitation to "sing praises for Haile Selassie." Ringo caps it all with re-imagined faves, including a charming "Don't Pass Me By" that ends with a reprise of "Octopus's Garden" -- a place he knows many of us would love to be alongside him. - Rolling Stone, 10/5/17...... Leon RussellOn the growing list of farewell albums by dying rockers, Leon Russell's new contribution On a Distant Shore -- recorded months before his Nov. 2016 passing -- may be the most unflinching yet. "Sounds like a funeral for some person here/ And I might be the one," he bemoans; elswhere he dwells on loneliness and lost lovers. Paradoxically, though, the soul-rock icon hasn't sounded so alive in years. From the swampy choogle of "Love This Way" to the supper-club orchestration of "On the Waterfront" to the Cotton Club jazz of "Easy to Love," he poignantly circles his musical bases one last time. - Rolling Stone, 10/5/17...... Legendary TV game show host Monty Hall, best known as the host of Let's Make a Deal which aired on NBC beginning in 1963, died in his home in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sept. 30. He was 96. Born Monte Halparin in Winnipeg, Canada to Orthodox Jewish parents, Mr. Hall shot to fame in 1963 when he and a business partner developed and produced Let's Make a Deal. The show became an instant success, with contestants wearing crazy costumes to attract Hall's attention getting to choose between mystery prizes behind three bedazzled doors. The daytime show became so popular that NBC later moved a version of it to prime time. Mr. Hall was the father of actress Joanna Gleason, who announced the death to the New York Times. - New York Daily News, 9/30/17...... Percussionist Laudir de Oliveira, a former member of such rock ensembles as Brasil '66 and Chicago, died on Sept. 17 during a solo concert performance in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was 77. "He had just rained on a spectacular solo, at the end of "Fibra," a composition by Paulo Moura, said his fellow musician Jovi Joviniano. "It was super applauded. It was his last applause," said Jovi, who is also a percussionist. de Oliveira started out as a percussionist in Brazil, working with Sergio Mendes and Marcos Valle. He moved to the U.S. in 1968 and caught the eye of rock musicians and producers, playing on Joe Cocker's debut album and providing percussion on his hit song "Feelin' Allright." In 1973, Chicago invited de Oliveira to play on their album Chicago VI. After playing on the album Chicago VII in 1975, the band invited de Oliveira to become an official member as they began incorporating latin influences to their music. In 1978, de Oliveira played percussion on The Jacksons' album "Destiny." As Chicago moved into a pop-oriented sound, they asked de Oliveira to leave the band in 1982. He continued doing session work as a percussionist, playing with such greats as Carlos Santana, Nina Simone and Chick Corea. He reunited a few times with Chicago, playing with the band in 2016 in New York City. Chicago paid tribute to de Oliveira on their Facebook page, posting they were "grateful for the tremendous contributions he made to the music of Chicago and the enormous talent he shared with us, and with so many others." - 9/25/17.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tom PettyTom Petty, who with his band the Heartbreakers evolved into a classic American rock & roll band revered by his peers and fans alike, died on Oct. 2 of full cardiac arrest after being found not breathing in his home in Malibu, Calif. He was 66. News of the rock legend's death was finally confirmed after a series of premature reports about his supposed passing came earlier in the day, when CBS published Petty's obituary after tweeting that the Los Angeles Police Department had confirmed his death. After Variety also cited an unnamed source who said the musician had died, the LAPD then issued a statement saying it had no information on Petty's condition and that "initial information was inadvertently provided to some media sources," and apologized for the misunderstanding. Petty's manager finally released a statement saying that the singer/guitarist suffered a massive heart attack earlier in the day and passed at 8:40 p.m after being taken to UCLA Medical Center. Although emergency responders were able to get a pulse back, he remained in critical condition. "On behalf of the Tom Petty family we are devastated to announce the untimely death of our father, husband, brother, leader and friend Tom Petty," his manager said in a statement. "He died peacefully surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends." Born on Oct. 20, 1950, in Gainesville, Fla., and the son of an insurance salesman, Petty quit high school in his senior year to join one of the state's top bands, Mudcrutch, which also included future Heartbreakers, guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench. Petty was sent to Los Angeles to seek a record contract, and Shelter Records, which was co-owned by Leon Russell and Russell's producer Denny Cordell, signed the band. Tom PettyMudcrutch disbanded soon after moving to L.A., and while Cordell offered to record Petty solo, Petty waited until 1975 to form the Heartbreakers after hearing a demo recorded by Campbell, Tench, bassist Ron Blair and drummer Stan Lynch. The fivesome inherited Petty's Shelter contract, and released their self-titled debut the following year. After they toured England, the album moved up on the British charts and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers became a headlining act. After Shelter's U.S. distributor, ABC Records, released "Breakdown" in America, the single cracked the Top 40 and another song, the Byrds-y "American Girl," was later recorded by Byrds veteran Roger McGuinn (McGuinn would later recall hearing Petty on the radio and thinking it was himself singing). You're Gonna Get It, their sophomore effort released in 1978, placed two singles on the Hot 100, "Listen to Her Heart" and "I Need to Know." After ABC Records filed for bankruptcy as the band's career was taking off, Petty tried to renegotiate his record deal with ABC's new owner, MCA Records. After nine months of litigation, Petty signed to the MCA imprint Backstreet Records. Damn the Torpedoes, released in 1979, firmly established Petty and his band in the rock pantheon, sold over two-and-a-half million copies, and climbed to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart, helped by two Top 40 singles, "Don't Do Me Like That" (No. 10), and "Refugee," (No. 15). The followup, 1981's Hard Promises, went platinum on the strength of its infectious single "The Waiting" (No. 19), and became notable for Petty's insistence that MCA release it at an $8.98 list price instead of the then-high $9.98 price (he organized fan protest letters, and also threatened to title it "$8.98"). Tom PettyPetty scored another victory against corporations after tire manufacturer B.F. Goodrich attempted to use his "Mary's Got a Brand New Car" in a commercial, filing suit against the company. In 1981, Petty's duet with Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks, "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," was featured on Nicks' debut solo album Bella Donna, and rose to No. 3. His critical and commercial streak continued in 1982 with "You Got Lucky," from the LP Long After Dark, and Blair left the band and was replaced by Howie Epstein on bass. During the making of 1985's Southern Accents, three years in the making, Petty became frustrated and broke his left hand after punching a wall, but the Dave Stewart-coproduced album did produce a No. 13 single, "Don't Come Around Here No More." In 1986, Petty and Heartbreakers embarked on a world tour with Bob Dylan but after a well-received outing, Petty's house burned down the following year while he was away (arson was suspected, and his wife and two daughters escaped). His career was revitalized in 1988 when he joined the "supergroup" the Traveling Wilburys with Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra. His first solo effort, Full Moon Fever, was released the following year. Produced by Lynne, the acclaimed album's "Free Fallin'" went to No. 7 on the pop chart. In 1991, Petty released another fine effort with the Heartbreakers, Into the Great Wide Open, also produced by Lynne, and the following year it was announced that he had signed a secret $20 million, six-album deal with Warner Bros. Records, even though he owed MCA two more records at the time. In 1993, Petty was sued by songwriter Martin Allen Fine, who claimed Petty's "Runnin' Down a Dream" infringed on an earlier song that Fine had written. Petty was vindicated when the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a lower court's ruling that his song did not violate Fine's copyright. "I don't believe in lawsuits much. Tom Petty

Further reading on
Super Seventies RockSite!:

Tom Petty: In His Own Words

I think there are enough frivolous lawsuits in this country without people fighting over pop songs," Petty told Rolling Stone in 2006, after it was pointed out that a song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers sounded suspiciously like his own hit, "Mary Jane's Last Dance." Petty scored another triumph in 1994 with the release of his second solo album, Wildflowers, which went triple-platinum and, again, featured most of the Heartbreakers. Petty and the Heartbreakers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 (on their first nomination), and despite achieving the stature as one of the country's top rock bands, he didn't actually score his first No. 1 album until 2014 with Hypnotic Eye. "The only good thing about getting older is you get smart enough to avoid unnecessary problems. You know what's worth spending time on and what's not," Petty told Billboard. "If I had known that at 20, life would have been so much easier, but you have to experience all these things so you figure out how to find your way through the woods." Petty and the Heartbreakers had just wrapped their 40th anniversary tour at the Hollywood Bowl in late September. Artists tweeting their respects to Petty include Paul McCartney ("Sending love to Tom Petty and his family at this difficult time"), Ringo Starr ("God bless Tom Petty peace and love to his family I'm sure going to miss you Tom"), Sheryl Crowe ("no words. just thanks"), Paul Stanley, Bryan Adams, Steven Van Zandt and Cameron Crowe. - The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock/Billboard, 10/3/17.

Friday, September 29, 2017

The new Michael Jackson compilation Scream, which dropped on Sept. 29, features the the first-ever augmented-reality experience created exclusively for a Michael Jackson album. With the music discovery app Shazam, fans can point their camera at the album's poster to launch a spooky extra. Also, fans in cities across the US can also look for Scream billboards and posters that will feature the Shazam logo and trigger a second AR experience inspired by the album's cover art. A collectible glow-in-the-dark double vinyl LP of the 13-track Scream will also be available on Oct. 27. As one more Halloween treat, Jackson's estate has tapped DJ Steve Aoki to create an official "Thriller" remix -- "Thriller (Steve Aoki Midnight Hour Remix)," which is available on Sept. 29 as a standalone single or to stream. - Billboard, 9/29/17...... David BowieDenis Velleneuve, director of the new Blade Runner movie Blade Runner 2049, has revealed that David Bowie was originally considered to play the part of Niander Wallace in the film. "Our first thought [for the character] had been David Bowie, who had influenced Blade Runner in many ways," Villeneuve told a UK paper. "When we learned the sad news, we looked around for someone like that." After Bowie died in Jan. 2016 after battling cancer, Jared Leto was ultimately cast in the villainous role for Blade Runner 2049. The movie hits theaters on Oct. 6. Meanwhile, a story has emerged that Bowie once preferred to hide under a table to avoid the company of late James Bond actor Roger Moore to avoid his company back in the late 1970s. Author Dylan Jones writes in his new Bowie biography David Bowie: A Life that author Hanif Kureishi told him that after Bowie moved to Switzerland and the end of the Seventies to escape tax obligations and drug dealers, Moore showed up at his house in Geneva uninvited and they had a "fantastic night," however Moore returned early the next morning and invited himself in again, and Moore's stories were slightly less entertaining the second time around. "After two weeks [of Moore turning up] at 5.25pm -- literally every day -- David Bowie could be found underneath the kitchen table pretending not to be in," Jones writes in the book. In still more Bowie-related news, a world David Bowie Tribute Tour featuring Bowie collaborators from throughout his long career is set to kick off on Jan. 10 in Paris. The 24 additional dates on the tour, which features such musicians as Mike Garson, Adrian Belew, Gerry Leonard and Gaby Moreno, includes stops in Manchester UK, Dublin, Amsterdam, Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, Montreal, Detroit, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, San Diego and Seattle, before wrapping on Mar. 3 on Portland, Ore. - Billboard/New Musical Express/Spin.com, 9/28/17...... The Soundtrack of Our Lives, a documentary about music mogul Clive Davis, premiered at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood on Sept. 26. As the movie showcases, the Davis's 50-year career has been bookended by the drug-related deaths of arguably his two most talented discoveries, Janis Joplin and Whitney Houston -- both of whom died alone in Los Angeles hotel rooms. Davis, in attendance for the premiere, said that "the tabloid version is not the full version of Whitney. You will see the full version of Whitney in this film tonight." The Soundtrack of Our Lives also ventures into the private life of Davis, who has emerged as an unlikely advocate for bisexuality as a senior citizen. After the screening ended, Davis received a standing ovation, and the film received glowing reviews in local papers. Also attending were Santana and Ralph Johnson of Earth, Wind and Fire,, among other Davis protégés. - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/28/17...... Phil EhartKansas has just launched a second leg celebrating the 40th anniversary of its 5x platinum 1977 LP Leftoverture, with the midwest prog-rockers playing the album in its entirety. To also mark the anniversary, Kansas will release the live album Leftoverture Live & Beyond from previous tour dates. "It was something that we really wanted to have documented," says Kansas drummer Phil Ehart, who along with guitarist Rich Williams remains from Kansas' original lineup. "You really have to go all the way back to (1978's) Two For The Show for something like that. We've had other live things, but nothing quite like this so we felt it had been a long time." The Live & Beyond Tour, originally planned for only 10 special shows, has expanded to more than 80 dates due to its success, well beyond what Ehart and company expected. "Yeah, to say it surpassed our expectations is kind of an understatement," Ehart says. "I guess we had forgotten what a gigantic album that was, and how popular it was. When we had a chance to do it in its entirety the Kansas fans really came out in full force, and there were a lot of people who were just Leftoverture fans; Because of 'Wayward Son' it was the only album of ours they ever owned. So it really became a lot more than we expected." The Leftoverture Live & Beyond will also feature 11 other songs, including such Kansas favorites as carus," "Point Of Know Return," "Paradox," "Journey From Mariabronn" and "Portrait (He Knew)." Ehart says an additional live album will be released in 2018, with a live version of the band's followup, Point of Know Return, in its entirety. - Billboard, 9/28/17...... "The Cher Show," a musical based on the life of Cher, will arrival this fall as part of the "Broadway In Chicago" Season Subscription Series. "My life as a musical on Broadway," Cher said in a statement. "It seems crazy, exciting and bizarre -- but that's probably how my life seems to most people." "The Cher Show" is directed by Tony-award winning director Jason Moore ("Avenue Q"), and features choreography from Tony Award-winner Christopher Gattelli. - Billboard, 9/28/17...... The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame presented its first induction ceremony in six years on Sept. 23 at Massey Hall in Toronto, with Neil Young, Bruce Cockburn, the group Beau Dommage, and Stphane Venne being honored by their native country. "I'm getting an award for writing songs. How crazy is that?," Neil Young said during the four-hour ceremony. Previous inductees of the CSHOF, which number around 50, include Robbie Roberston, Rush, Paul Anka, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Randy Bachman, Burton Cummings and Gordon Lightfoot. The gala was capped by an all-star jam that included Rush's Alex Lifeson for "Cinnamon Girl" and many of the honorers on the grand finale of "Rockin' In The Free World," including Randy Bachman, Whitehorse and Blackie & The Rodeo Kings. - Billboard, 9/27/17...... Paul McCartneyFor the first of two shows at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY, on Sept. 26, Paul McCartney called upon his old pal and Nassau native Billy Joel to contribute to the Beatles' classics "Get Back" and "Birthday," the latter which Macca thoughtfully dedicated to "anybody who's got a birthday -- and also anybody who's got a birthday any time this year." McCartney and Joel have jammed together several times in the past, most notably during Joel's 2008 concerts at New York's Shea Stadium before its demolishment. McCartney will take his One on One tour to Detroit for two shows at the start of October. - Spin.com, 9/27/17...... In other Beatles-related news, a new album of instrumental music from late Beatles producer George Martin is due out on Nov. 10. George Martin: the Film Scores and Original Orchestral Compositions will feature excerpts from Martin's under-recognized and unreleased film scoring work, specifically the original music he contributed (outside of the work he did for the Beatles and Paul McCartney's songs from the film) for the Beatles' animated feature Yellow Submarine and the James Bond film Live and Let Die. - Spin.com, 9/29/17...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, Beatles fans can now literally live in a "Yellow Submarine" as sock distributor Happy Socks, in partnership with the band, has announced the release of a new line of Beatles-related socks. "The Happy Socks x The Beatles" collection boasts six designs based on the film's characters and scenes, including the Dreadful Flying Glove, Chief Blue Meanie and Jeremy, Pepperland, and, of course, the Yellow Submarine. And rather ingeniously, the socks are packaged in collectible gift boxes designed to resemble a record LP and EP. The Yellow Submarine sock collection will be available at Happy Socks stores and happysocks.com starting Oct. 3. - Billboard, 9/28/17...... Elvis Presley's ex-wife Priscilla Presley has announced a new children's book based on Elvis' 1956 ballad "Love Me Tender." Elvis Presley's Love Me Tender will be released on Nov. 13 via Dial Books for Young Readers. Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin and featuring an endnote written by Priscilla, the book is described as a "heartwarming ode to the special bond between children and the adults who love and care for them -- be they parents, grandparents, adoptive parents, aunts, uncles or guardians." "It's a feel-good story of love and accepting and a happy ending. Isn't that what children want?," Priscilla said. - Billboard, 9/27/17...... Judas Priest have been confirmed as headliners of the 2018 UK Bloodstock Festival, which takes place from Aug. 9-12. "Thrilled, honoured and primed, ready to unleash Priest-style metal fury into the headbanging heart and home of heavy metal at Bloodstock!," Judas Priest said in a statement. The heavy metal giants will be topping the Friday night of the iconic metal festival's bill, with Gojira and Nightwish also headlining across the weekend. - New Musical Express, 9/24/17...... Steven TylerAerosmith has been forced to cancel dates of their current "farewell" tour after frontman Steven Tyler suffered what was reportedly a seizure after the band's performance in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Sept. 25. "Unfortunately, due to unexpected medical issues, lead singer, Steven Tyler, is seeking immediate care," according to a statement from the band. "(He) has been advised by his doctors that he cannot travel or perform at this time. Therefore, the last four shows of the South American tour will be cancelled." The cause of the seizure is not currently known, the report states, and neither Tyler nor his band have verified the reports. Tyler also released his own statement, saying he was sorry and he "felt like I've let you down" but "Please not to worry... I am not in a life-threatening condition, but I need to deal with this right away, and get some rest and medical care immediately in order to sustain and maintain my future performances... I promise I'll be back." The cancelled shows include dates in Curitiba, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; Rosario, Argentina; and Monterrey, Mexico. - New Musical Express, 9/28/17..... A new series based on the 1974 "blaxploitation" TV movie and subsequent TV series Get Christie Love! is being planned by Lionsgate Television and Universal Television, and like the original Christie Love, will air on ABC. The new Get Christie Love (no ! in the title) will be an "an action-packed, music-driven drama that centers on Christie Love, an African American female CIA agent who leads an elite ops unit." The hour-long drama will be written by Power creator Courtney Kemp and produced by Vin Diesel, Debra Martin Chase and Shana C. Waterman. - Deadline.com, 9/26/17...... Former The Dukes of Hazzard actor Top Wopat has been hit with new charges of indecent assault and battery amid allegations he acted inappropriately with a minor. Wopat, 66, was accused of poking a 16-year-old co-star's bare stomach during rehearsals for a production of the play "42nd Street" in Waltham, Mass., this past summer, when he also reportedly complimented her on her "nice butt" and slapped her backside with his script. According to legal documents obtained by the gossip website TMZ.com, the underage actress, whose identity has not been revealed, had been trying to ignore Wopat's advances after he allegedly told her, "I'm a creepy old man, you're really talented and really cute." A complaint was made after the rehearsal incident, and now Wopat is facing two additional charges of accosting and annoying, as well as the indecent assault and battery counts. On Aug. 3, Wopat pleaded not guilty to those charges of felony indecent assault and battery, as well as another for cocaine possession, and was released on bail. Days later, Wopat's representative revealed the troubled star would be taking some time out to tackle his "ongoing struggle with substance abuse." In the statement, Wopat expressed his "deepest regrets to friends, family, and his many loyal fans" for what he referred to as "unfortunate events." He has yet to comment on the new allegations. - WENN.com, 9/26/17...... Robert PlantAs Robert Plant releases his latest solo LP Carry Fire on Oct. 13, the former Led Zeppelin frontman has announed he will kick off a 2018 North American tour named after the album on Feb. 9. The 12-date trek (with additional dates expected to be announced later) will conclude (for now) on Mar. 2. On Sept. 26, Plant released the first single from the new LP, a version of the Beach Boys tune "Bluebirds Over the Mountain" featuring vocal contributions from the Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde. For the upcoming tour, the 69-year-old Plant says he's determined not to let tickets get into the hands of scalpers or bots, and that he's "collaborating with Ticketmaster to sell Presale tickets through its Verified Fan program." - Billboard, 9/26/17...... Carol Peters, the longtime manager of the band Heart, dief from cancer on Sept. 18. She was 72. Peters managed Heart for 17 years, guiding them through a resurgence in their career that saw great success on the road, in addition to an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. Peters was a pioneering female in the music industry, who generously shared her knowledge and experience. She started her career at Ampex Records in 1965 in Chicago. When her husband was stationed in the U.K. in the Air Force, she moved to London and joined Tetragrammaton Records, where she worked closely with Deep Purple. She then moved into an International role at Elektra Records in London in the late '60s. By 1971, she and her husband relocated to Los Angeles, where she joined United Artists Records' publicity department. Following her return to Los Angeles in 1976, she worked at a series of labels, including Capitol, Planet Records, Warner Bros. and then Pasha Records, where, as general manager, she helped break Quiet Riot. "Carol was a remarkable human being. She poured her soul into everything she was"mother, wife, friend, guiding force, businesswoman and inspiration," Heart's Ann Wilson said in a statement. "Generous, realistic and optimistic, Carol loved completely...so she was loved completely." - Billboard, 9/28/17.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Hugh HefnerPublishing and pop culture icon Hugh Hefner, who parlayed $8,000 in borrowed money in 1953 to create Playboy magazine, died in his home at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles of natural causes on Sept. 27. He was 91. Born Hugh Marston Hefner on Apr. 9, 1926, in Chicago to parents Glenn and Grace Hefner, who he once described as "puritan" and "repressive," as a boy he was non-athletic and introverted but incredibly imaginative, and he immersed himself in movies, music, radio, cartoons and a love for animals. At about age 6, he allowed his dog to sleep on his beloved "bunny blanket" -- which was replete with images of rabbits -- and when the pet died, the parents burned the blanket, an experience that some say may have influenced Mr. Hefner's choice of a bunny for the logo of his empire years later. Mr. Hefner created Playboy after borrowing $1,000 from his mom and $7,000 from more than 40 other investors for a publication he was set to call Stag Party until he discovered a men's magazine called Stag already existed. He purchased a picture of a naked Marilyn Monroe that was taken before she was famous and put it on the cover of his magazine, which he renamed Playboy. The first issue hit newsstands in December 1953. He didn't bother putting a date on it because he was doubtful there'd be future issues, but it sold 54,000 copies -- 80 percent of the total he had printed -- and his largely male audience thirsted for more. The iconic mascot, a silhouette of a bunny in a bow tie, made its debut in the second issue, chosen because Hefner thought rabbits carried "sexual meaning" and were "shy, vivacious, jumping" animals. In 2008, it was reported that Mr. Hefner had resorted to selling tickets to his famous parties at the Playboy Mansion with the proceeds going to Playboy Enterprises. Mr. Hefner's daughter, Christie Hefner, ran the company for more than 20 years but left in 2009. While most famous for Playboy, the urbane businessman dabbled in all forms of media, including hosting his own TV shows, beginning with Playboy's Penthouse in the late 1950s and early '60s. Shot in his hometown of Chicago and syndicated, the show featured Mr. Hefner in a tuxedo and smoking a pipe surrounded by "playmates" and interviewing such celebrities as Bob Newhart, Don Adams and Sammy Davis Jr. The show boosted his personal and professional reputation and promoted what eventually became known as the "Playboy Philosophy," a lifestyle that included politically liberal sensibilities, nonconformity and, of course, sophisticated parties with expensive accouterments and the ever-present possibility for recreational sex -- though Mr. Hefner maintained he was a relative late bloomer in that department, remaining a virgin until he was 21. Mr. Hefner followed that show with Playboy After Dark, which had a similar format but with more rock 'n' roll, including appearances by the Grateful Dead, Three Dog Night, Harry Nilsson and Linda Ronstadt. The syndicated Screen Gems show was taped at CBS in Los Angeles and ran for 52 episodes in 1969-70. Mr. Hefner also co-produced hundreds of Playboy-branded videos and a few feature films, such as Roman Polanski's Macbeth and Monty Python's first film, And Now for Something Completely Different, both released in 1971. Hugh HefnerHe had been also been a sought-after guest on TV shows as far back as 1969 when he played a Control agent in an episode of Get Smart, and more recently he appeared on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage and Sex and the City as well as in animated shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy. Mr. Hefner also made cameos in several movies, most recently 2008's The House Bunny, which told the fictional story of a Playboy "bunny," played by Anna Faris, who has been kicked out of the Playboy Mansion, the famous real-life, 22,000-square-foot house in Los Angeles where Mr. Hefner lived for more than four decades and where he hosted famously decadent parties that attracted celebrities A-list through D. The house sold for $100 million in August with the provision that Hefner be allowed to live there the rest of his life. Mr. Hefner became the unofficial spokesman for the sexual revolution that permeated the 1960s and '70s and he was both lauded and criticized by feminists of the era, with some accusing him of objectifying women while others said he liberated and empowered them. He was also a staunch supporter of abortion -- including helping to finance the landmark Rowe v. Wade decision in 1973 -- and more recently was an outspoken advocate of same-sex marriage, and his dedication to such issues (along with his distribution of pornography) made him a pariah in some religious circles. Mr. Hefner also launched the Playboy Channel in 1982, a premium cable outlet that has since been sold and rebranded Playboy TV and is more explicitly sexual than when it was under his purview. He created The Playboy Club nightclub chain that still exists as a novelty, but in its heyday in the 1960s, it featured some of the era's biggest stars -- including Rat Packers Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. He was also a staunch supporter of abortion -- including helping to finance the landmark Rowe v. Wade decision in 1973 -- and more recently was an outspoken advocate of same-sex marriage, and his dedication to such issues (along with his distribution of pornography) made him a pariah in some religious circles. "By associating sex with sin, we have produced a society so guilt-ridden that it is almost impossible to view the subject objectively," he wrote in 1963 in one of his many broadsides aimed at Christian leaders. After his marriage to first wife and classmate Millie Williams ended in divorce in 1959, Mr. Hefner married Kimberly Conrad, a former Playmate of the Year, and the couple had sons Marston and Cooper. They divorced in 2010, and Mr. Hefner married Crystal Harris two years later. In 2011, Hefner told The New York Times that he had already chosen and paid for his final resting place -- a crypt next to Marilyn Monroe's in Westwood. Mr. Hefner's death was mourned by a wide variety of celebrities, including Ryan Seacrest, Mark Hamill, Kiss' Gene Simmons, former cover subject Jenny McCarthy, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rob Lowe, Kat Dennings, Heidi Montag and Juicy J, among others. - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/27/17.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Neil Young has achieved his 40th top 40-charting solo LP with his latest studio effort Hitchhiker, which bowed on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart at No. 20 for the week ending Sept. 14. In total, Young has notched 56 solo entries on the Hot 200, with an additional nine as part of the supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Meanwhile, Gregg Allman's posthumous released Southern Blood has become the late Southern rock icon's fourth Top 40 album. Allman died May 27, and last hit the top 10 with his highest-charting solo effort, 2011's Low Country Blues, which peaked at No. 5. - Billboard, 9/23/17...... Stevie WonderIn a show of support for former NFL player Colin Kaepernick's now-viral move to take a knee during the National Anthem in 2016, Stevie Wonder took to both knees on Sept. 23 during the 6th annual Global Citizen Music Fest in New York City's Central Park. "Tonight, I'm taking a knee for America," Wonder explained as he knelt down. "But not just one knee. Both knees. Both knees, in prayer for our planet, our future, our leaders of the world and our globe. Amen." Wonder's rousing hour and a half performance included several of his greatest hits including "Isn't She Lovely" and "We Are the World." Wonder also referenced US Pres. Donald Trump, who recently stated that NFL players who protest should be "fired," and Pres. Trump's current feud with North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un. "We must take care of each other, and this planet. If we don't, we could lose the ultimate video game of life," the 67-year-old singer and activist said. "Weapons are real and rhetoric is dangerous." - Billboard, 9/23/17...... Cher is among the many celebrities who are paying tribute to Sen. John McCain for the Arizona Republican's decision to break from his party vote "no" on the Graham-Cassidy health-care proposal, which put the brakes on the Republican agenda to repeal the Affordable Care Act put forth under former president Barack Obama. "Bless you @SenetorJohnMcCain," Cher tweeted on Sept. 22. "This is 3rd Time I've Watched You Take The High Road,& Pick The American----Ppl over Politics----#StillaHero2Me," the diva added. Director and former All In the Family actor Rob Reiner also echoed Cher's opinion. "John McCain-a hero once again. Hopefully this will encourage other senators to have courage and kill this abomination once and for all," he posted the same day. - Billboard, 9/22/17...... Bob Seger released the first single from his upcoming album I Knew You When on Sept. 22, a cover of the late Lou Reed's "Busload of Faith." Recorded with the Silver Bullet Band during May 2017 in Nashville, the song was premiered by Seger and his band during a concert on Sept. 21 at a concert in Cincinnati. Seger also performed "Busload of Faith," which originally appeared on Lou Reed's critically lauded 1989 album New York, when he and the Silver Bullet Band played the final show ever at the Palace of Auburn Hills, in suburban Detroit, on Sept. 23. Seger tweaked some of Reed's original lyrics as well for his version -- for instance, substituting "You can't depend on the president" into the verse Reed wrote as "You can't depend on the churches." - Billboard, 9/22/17...... Frank ZappaDates for a hologram tour featuring the late Frank Zappa are expected to be announced in late 2018, hologram entertainment company Eyelussion announced on Sept. 21. The company is partnering with the Zappa Family Trust to to produce the "Frank Zappa - Back on the Road" concerts which, according to Zappa's son Ahmet Zappa, will be playing his late dad's "most well-known music as well as some rare and unheard material." The Zappa shows will also incorporate several former Zappa collaborators, including Steve Vai, Ian Underwood, Adrian Belew and Arthur Barrow. Production for the show will begin later in 2017, with a tour date announcement planned for late 2018. - Billboard, 9/22/17...... Elton John is calling on Australians to vote "yes" in the country's current same-sex marriage referendum. A postal vote is taking place Down Under to decide whether or not to legalise gay marriage. John -- who is currently touring in Australia -- posted an emotional Instagram post, revealing the "guilt and regret" he felt being previously married to a woman, saying he had "denied who I really was." "Many years ago, I chose Australia for my wedding to a wonderful woman for whom I have so much love and admiration," Elton wrote. "I wanted more than anything to be a good husband, but I denied who I really was, which caused my wife sadness, and caused me huge guilt and regret. To be worthy of someone's love, you have to be brave enough and clear eyed enough to be honest with yourself and your partner," he added. Voting on the bill began on Sept. 12, and the result will be announced on Nov. 15. - New Musical Express, 9/21/17...... According to The Hollywood Reporter, David Lee Roth has just signed with the ICM Partners talent agency in all areas. Roth, the original lead singer of Van Halen who went solo in 1985 but rejoined the band in 2007, continues to be represented by business manager Gerri Leonard of Leonard and Associates. - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/21/17...... A memorial for recently deceased country singer Don Williams has been set for Sept. 27 at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tenn. Williams, who died Sept. 8 at 78 years old, was inducted into the CMHOF in 2010. The memorial service at CMA Theater, beginning at 4:30 p.m., will be open to Williams' family, friends and music industry personnel. Meanwhile, Williams' 20 Greatest Hits album has reentered the Billboard Hot 200 album chart at No. 85, his highest-charting album on the pop survey since 1980. - Billboard, 9/21/17...... Gene SimmonsAce FrehleyTwo founding members of Kiss -- bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons and guitarist/vocalist Ace Frehley -- performed on stage together for the first time in 16 years on Sept. 20 at a Hurricane Harvey benefit show in St. Paul, Minn. Simmons and Frehley, who hadn't played with each other since the last show of Kiss' Farewell Tour in Australia in April 2001, have had an ongoing beef that was still simmering as recently as 2014, when Kiss were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Frehley didn't perform with the rest of the band. Frehley told the Minneapolis StarTribune that his decision to perform with his old bandmate was the result of a spur-of-the-moment phone call: "I just did four shows on the East Coast, and I looked at my calendar and I noticed I was off today. I had to head back to San Diego eventually where I live, so I figured I could make a pit stop here. I called Gene, and he was really excited about me being involved, and it's that simple." He also noted that Simmons had been to his house recently to co-write two songs for an upcoming solo album. The two rockers performed four tracks together: "Parasite," "Cold Gin," "Shock Me," and "Rock And Roll All Nite," the latter with select audience members onstage. - Stereogum.com, 9/21/17...... A new version of Paul McCartney's venerable yuletide hit "Wonderful Christmastime" by McCartney, Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon, and his house band The Roots, will be part of a 16-track Christmas album entitled Holidays Rule Vol. 2, due from Capitol Records on Oct. 13. The freshly recorded "Wonderful Christmastime" will be joined in the compilation with seasonal tunes by the likes of Norah Jones, Grace Potter, Roseanne Cash, The Decemberists and Judah & the Lio. The first edition of Holidays Rule was released in 2012 and featured songs from McCartney fun., The Shins and Rufus Wainwright, among others. - Billboard, 9/22/17...... A British auction house called Parlogram is auctioning a rare, unreleased demo of the Beatles song "What Goes On" on the UK eBay website. This 1963 demo version predates the Beatles recording sung by Ringo Starr and released on the UK Rubber Soul album in 1965; instead it is sung by John Lennon, who wrote the song, and features Lennon singing different lyrics. The demo also has Lennon on acoustic guitar and Paul McCartney on harmony on the chorus; a few piano notes are audible in the background toward the end of the track. So far, the sale has attracted at least 25 bidders and, with 7 days to go, has a high bid of £6,500. The Beatles are said to have originally intended to record "What Goes On" during a 1963 session, but the plan was scrapped. Starr was later given a co-composer credit for the new middle eight, which was added during the 1965 recording sessions. The "What Goes On" demo disc was first sold by the George Harrison family though Bonham's auction house in 2012 for $8,461, including buyer's premium. Under U.K. law, the track is now in the public domain since it hadn't been released within 50 years of recording. - Billboard, 9/21/17...... In other Beatles-related news, Yoko Ono has forced a Polish lemonade company calling itself "John Lemon" to change its name. Yoko's lawyers recently sent legal letters to the company established in 2012 that distributes lemonade to bars and restaurants in the UK and 13 other European countries. Ono's lawyers cited trademark infringement against her husband's name and personal rights, telling a London paper that the company was "abusing and misusing the legacy of John Lennon to sell their soda." The attorneys also cited a Facebook post by John Lemon - Ireland that displayed a mural of Lennon holding lemons with the company's logo underneath. Other advertisements displayed round glasses that recalled Lennon's signature frames, along with the words, "Let It Be." Upon receiving the letters, John Lemon agreed to change its name to On Lemon, which is remarkably similar to "Ono Lennon," though there's nothing Yoko can do about that. - Billboard, 9/20/17...... Olivia Newton-JohnAppearing on the Today show on Sept. 20, Olivia Newton-John told hostess Natalie Morales that she is still "a thriver" some 25 years after her first cancer diagnosis. Newton-John has recently had a resurgence of breast cancer that metastasized to her lower back, and according to her the pain had been so debilitating she was forced to cancel her tour that was scheduled for May and, at times, made it difficult for her to walk. "In my mind, it was over, I'd finished with it," said Olivia, whose first bout of cancer occurred in 1992, which motivated her to become an advocate for cancer research and eventually build the namesake Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in 2008. On top of chemotherapy and a holistic treatment plan, Newton-John attributed the remission of her first cancer to medicinal marijuana, which her husband (a president of a natural remedy company) grows himself. "This plant is a healing plant. I think we need to change the vision of what it is because it helped me greatly and it helps with pain and inflammation," she said. - Billboard, 9/21/17...... Bob Dylan and Columbia Records announced on Sept. 20 that the latest installment of his ongoing Bootled Series box set will explore the singer's gospel period and its accompanying late '70s/early '80s albums: Slow Train Coming, Saved and Shot of Love. Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981, due from Columbia/Legacy on Nov. 3, will drop in a two-CD or four-LP set, or a deluxe box that includes eight CDs and one DVD. The collection will feature 100 previously unreleased live and studio recordings, along with 14 songs never included on any Dylan release. Fans who purchase the deluxe box will also receive Trouble No More: A Musical Film, which includes never-before-seen footage of Dylan's 1980 tour. In other Dylan news, the singer is the last cover star for the print edition of New York's legendary The Village Voice alt-weekly paper, which released its final print edition on Sept. 20. The photo was taken by the late Fred McDarrah, a staff photographer for the Voice who was one of the first to photograph Dylan, and the cover is itself a cropping of one of McDarrah's more famous Dylan photos. The Village Voice has announced it is going digital-only as a response to the changing publishing landscape. - Billboard/Spin.com, 9/20/17...... A deluxe edition of the Sex Pistols' seminal 1977 album Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols will be released Oct. 27 in the UK via USM/USC to celebrate the LP's 40th anniversary. The label announced that the out-of-print deluxe edition of the album, which was originally released in 2012 and has since been out of print, will now be rereleased. The box set will include three CDs, including the original album with b-sides from 1977, a disc of outtakes, and a disc of live material, also recorded in 1977. It will also feature a DVD of footage of the band playing live from the infamous boat party held on the Thames as well as performances at Penzance's Winter Gardens and Stockholm's Happy House. Never Mind the Bollocks... was originally released on Oct. 28, 1977, and is famously the only studio record to be put out by the punk group. At the time of its release, many stores refused to stock it. - NME, 9/20/17...... Roger TaylorAlso celebrating its 40th anniversary is the Queen double A-side single "We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions," which has just been named by Billboard as the "Biggest Jock Jam Single of All Time." Still played on an almost-daily basis on radio and at just about every major sporting event on the planet, "We Will Rock You" has transcended time, fashion, and Queen's own seeming obstacles to current popularity. Queen's Roger Taylor recalled how the band recorded the song: "Cut to we're in the studio in Wessex and I'm nervous about telling the guys: 'So, there's no drums or bass, just foot stomps, claps and vocals for most of it.' So we stamped on these boards in this old church where we recorded and it made a good noise and I thought, 'stamp here and clap and we'll build it up a million times so it sounds like a huge audience.'... I was really pushing the boundaries of what I knew had been done in terms of creating live sound in the studio. I didn't want it to be a normal song where you pause for guitar solo, so we say everything and then the guitar solo kicks in. That was odd." - Billboard, 9/22/17...... It has been revealed that iconic comedian Jerry Lewis, who died on Aug. 20 at his home in Las Vegas at age 91, has intentionally excluded his six sons from his first marriage -- including '60s pop singer Gary Lewis --- from his last will and testament. In the document, which was executed in 2012, Lewis makes no secret of the fact he has decided to leave his children from his first marriage to Patti Palmer out of the will. The reasons for Lewis' estrangement from his sons is believed to have been connected to his son Joseph's death in 2009, with his eldest son Gary blaming his father for his son's passing. Labelling him a "mean and evil person," Gary added that he believes Joseph's suicide could have been prevented if he and his father had a better relationship. "I believe he partly died of a broken heart," Gary Lewis told the Daily Mail. According to reports, Lewis left his entire estate to widow SanDee Pitnick, with their adopted daughter Danielle second in line to inherit the fortune. - WENN.com, 9/22/17...... Producer/engineer Johnny Sandlin, best known for his work with Gregg Allman, The Allman Brothers Band, Widespread Panic, Col. Bruce Hampton and Chuck Leavell, has died at the age of 72. Born in Decatur, Ala., on Apr. 16, 1945, Sandlin was a longtime producer for the Capricorn Records label, as well as a session musician who played guitar, bass and drums in a series of bands in the early 1960s. Sandlin worked on the production side of such landmark Allman releases as Live at the Fillmore East (1970), Eat a Peach (1971) and Brothers and Sisters (1973), among others. He also worked on some of Gregg Allman's solo albums, as well as releases from Wet Willie, Kitty Wells, Bonnie Bramlett, comedian Martin Mull and many others. He gave up his gig as vice president of A&R at Capricorn in 1976 to work as an independent producer on albums including Gregg Allman and then wife Cher's 1977 duets release Two the Hard Way, as well as efforts by Delbert McClinton. In the 1980s he shifted his focus to work with a number of classic country acts, including Ronnie Dunn, Jerry Reed and the Gatlin Brothers. He is also an inductee of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. - Billboard, 9/19/17...... Nancy WilsonHeart member Nancy Wilson's new band Roadcase Royale released its debut First Things First on Sept. 22, and it features "The Dragon," a song Wilson wrote back in the 1990s for Heart. In addition to band originals, the album includes new renderings of the Heart favorites "Even It Up" and "These Dreams." Roadcase Royale is currently touring behind the new LP, opening for Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band into November. As for Heart, the band remains fractured after Ann Wilson's husband Dean Wetter was arrested for assaulting Nancy's 16-year-old twin sons backstage at a Heart show in suburban Seattle. Ann Wilson is currently touring as a solo act. - Billboard, 9/20/17...... Soul singer Charles Bradley, who drew comparisons to James Brown thanks to his excitable stage persona, passed away in Brooklyn on Sept. 23 following a long bout with cancer. He was 68. Bradley had been suffering from stomach cancer after first being diagnosed with the disease last year. Earlier in September, he was forced to cancel a string of live dates after the cancer returned and spread from his stomach to his liver. After spending decades working as a chef and playing gigs on the side, his music career only took off relatively recently, having been signed to Daptone Records in 2002 for a series of singles after years of singing in cover bands. His life and career later became the subject of the 2012 documentary Charles Bradley: Soul of America, which showcased his talents to a wider audience. - Billboard, 9/23/17.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers closed out the three-day KAABOO festival in Del Mar, Calif. on Sept. 17 with a two-hour set that highlighted his catalog of hits like "Free Fallin'," "Refugee" and "Don't Come Around Here No More," as well as delving into album territory with tracks like "Crawling Back to You" from Petty's 1994 solo release Wildflowers. Coincidentally, the date marked the same week 40 years earlier when Petty and the Heartbreakers' eponymous LP debuted on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart for the week ending Sept. 24, 1977. "Thanks for 40 years," Petty shouted to the crowd at the end of the marathon set. - Billboard, 9/18/17...... John FogertyJohn Fogerty has signed an exclusive record deal with BMG for a new solo album and to reissue his solo catalog, the label announced on Sept. 18. The deal kicks off on Nov. 17 with a 20th anniversary release of the former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman's Grammy-winning 1997 solo album Blue Moon Swamp in various configurations and with a new cover, with re-releases of his solo LPs Centerfield, Eye of the Zombie and Deju Vu (All Over Again), as well as his live album Premonition and a new greatest hits collection curated from his solo catalog. "We couldn't be more proud to sign a cultural and musical icon like John Fogerty, and become part of his legacy as he continues to create extraordinary and timeless music," BMG exec John Loeffler said. Meanwhile, Fogerty is also at work on a new solo LP due in 2018, the followup to his 2013 album Wrote a Song for Everyone, a collaboration with such artists as Foo Fighters, Bob Seger and Miranda Lambert, among others. Fogerty will begin a residency at Las Vegas' Wynn's Encore Theater this fall, with upcoming runs set for Sept. 20-Oct. 7 and Jan. 10/20, 2018. - Billboard, 9/18/17...... Paul McCartney treated fans at New York's Madison Square Garden to an assortment of solo and Beatles hits, humor and humility as his "One on One" tour hit the Big Apple on Sept. 15 for the first of two shows at the legendary venue. "You must be bored by now," McCartney said to a fan holding up a sign that read this was their 113th McCartney show. "Tonight we're going to have some fun," the 75-year-old music legend said as he opened with the Fab Four's 1964 hit "A Hard Day's Night" that segued into "Save Us" from his 2013 solo album New. "This is going to be a night full of memories for me," Paul said in a social media post earlier in the day. After bringing out Bruce Springsteen for an encore jam of "I Saw Her Standing There" (not once but twice, at the Boss's suggestion), Macca closed the three-hour set in a fitting manner with the Abbey Road medley of "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End." - Billboard, 9/18/17...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, Ringo Starr told the BBC's Newsnight on Sept. 13 that he made the decision to vote in favour of the Brexit referendum in 2016 because the EU was a "shambles." "The people voted and, you know, they have to get on with it," Starr said, then urged the British government to move ahead with the Brexit negotiations. "Suddenly, it's like, 'Oh, well, we don't like that vote.' What do you mean you don't like that vote? You had the vote, this is what won, let's get on with it." Ringo added that "being in control of your country is a good move... but don't tell [Brexit opponent] Bob Geldof" about his opinion. Starr's Brexit opinion also differs from his former bandmate Paul McCartney, who previously told the Washington Post that "I think I would have come down on the remain side because people like the Governor of the Bank of England, a lot of financial experts, were saying that." - New Musical Express, 9/13/17...... Country star Dolly Parton reunited with her 9 to 5 pals Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda to present the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sept. 17. "I have been waiting to a 9 to 5 reunion since we did the movie," Parton said. Tomlin and Fonda then took a few shots at Pres. Donald Trump, comparing him to Dabney Coleman's portrayal of the caddish Franklin Hart Jr. from the 1980 film. "In 1980, we refused to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot boss," Fonda said, with Tomlin adding "...and in 2017 we still refuse to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot boss." The trio then announced the winner, Alexander Skarsgard, for his work in Big Little Lies. - Billboard, 9/17/17...... Alan ParsonsAlan Parsons has collaborated on a remix of his 1982 hit "Eye in the Sky" by the Disco Demolition troupe to celebrate the 35th anniversary reissue of his album of the same name. The track -- which the Chicago Bulls used for player introductions during their 90s championship run, with other sports teams subsequently adopting it -- will not be included on the upcoming deluxe anniversary edition of the album, but Parsons says he still finds the prospect of remixing one of his iconic pieces intriguing. "We communicated first by phone and then went online and were able to actually work together in real time, listening to how the mix developed," says Parsons. "I think it ended up great. The first (remix) was steering a little too far away from the original. I think we've captured the spirit of the original in this one," he added. The Eye In The Sky 35th Anniversary Collector's Edition, due Nov. 17, features three CDs, including bonus tracks and collaborator Eric Woolfson's dictated songwriting diaries, as well as a Blu-ray disc with 5.1 Surround Sound and Stereo HD mixes of the album. Parsons says the new "Sirius" has opened him to allowing and working on other remixes of his material. "[Today's youth] want a different style, a different kind of music in their clubs and in their homes, on their trains with their iPhones. So, yes, I have to be open to that," he noted. - Billboard, 9/14/17...... Grateful Dead co-founder Bob Weir has been appoined as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for his work with an outfit called Tribal Planet, which became the official technology provider for the United Nations Development Programme. Weir was honored with the position at the 8th annual Social Good Summit at the 92nd Street Y. As a Goodwill Ambassador, Weir will work with the UNDP to raise awareness of the UN's Global Goals and work to combat climate change. "I'd like to see climate change and the ongoing diminishing of biodiversity arrested and dealt with to the point where the sustainability of life on earth isn't threatened," Weir told Billboard. He added he will help the UNDP advocate for climate initiatives and projects that promote renewable energy, preserve coastlines, combat deforestation and ensure a healthy planet for generations to come. - Billboad, 9/17/17...... The 32nd Annual Farm Aid benefit concert was held in Burgettstown, Penn., on Sept. 16, with longtime co-headliners Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews, and accompanied by an all-star bill that included Sheryl Crow, Jack Johnson, the Avett Brothers and more. "America is already great," said Neil Young pointedly in an onstage press conference that preceded the concert, the first Farm Aid of the Donald Trump era. "We don't need to apologize. We don't need to feel bad," he added. At the end, all of the performers came onstage for a medley of "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die," "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," "I'll Fly Away" and "Living in the Promisedland." Farm Aid has raised some $50 million in its three decades of existence to help family farmers remain on their land, making it music's longest-running concert for a cause. - Billboard, 9/17/17...... Victor WillisDisco hitmakers Village People are set to close the 2017 Internet streaming "Streamy" Awards on Sept. 26, which will be airing live on Twitter at 9:30 p.m. ET to 6:30 p.m. Original Village People "Cop" member Victor Willis will be returning to perform with the group for the first time in over 30 years, however he's completely replacing the group's lineup, including two Village People who have been a part of it since its inception in 1977. Those two members, "Native American" Felipe Rose and "GI" Alex Briley, are reportedly furious that Willis is ousting all of them to form a practically new group. Willis, who left the group in 1979, is the recognizable voice behind the group's most iconic hits, including "Y.M.C.A.," "Macho Man," and "In The Navy." Willis says that he "felt the former touring version of the group... looked old and tired... So a revamp or repositioning of the group was required to bring it back into the mainstream. The addition of an Asian American for the first time in the group's history is part of that reposition." Willis went on to criticize the lineup for being what he deemed a "karaoke" act, and blasted them for using backing tracks during their live performances rather than a live band. The new (and improved?) Village People are set to close the Sept. 26 show with a medley of the group's greatest hits. - Billboard, 9/14/17...... After attorneys representing record companies who manage late country legend Johnny Cash's discography sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Internet radio station Stormfront, the white nationalist organization stopped using Cash's cover of Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" as its theme music. In August, Cash's children, Rosanne and John Carter Cash, said their dad abhorred racism and were "sickened" to learn that a neo-Nazi wore a shirt bearing their father's name at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Stormfront has reportedly pivoted to the Confederate standard "The South Will Rise Again" as its theme song. Cash covered Petty's "I Won't Back Down" on his 2000 covers album American III: Solitary Man. - Billboard, 9/14/17...... Foreigner has announced it will film its forthcoming 40th anniversary reunion at the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mount Pleasant, Mich. on Oct. 6-7 for a TV special, DVD and live album. Foreigner founder and leader Mick Jones will be joined by original frontman Lou Gramm, drummer Dennis Elliott, keyboardist Al Greenwood and multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald, along with the group's second bassist Rick Wills. Mick Jones says he repaired his fractured releationship with Lou Gramm when the pair were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013, and that he's "kept his voice." "All the musicians are getting on very well together and it's just refreshing and we're really enjoying it," Jones added. Foreigner currently has North American dates and a concert in Mexico booked into mid-November, while a European tour set to launch May 8 in Bulgaria. The 40th anniversary reunion show is expected to be released in 2018. - Billboard, 9/14/17...... In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Ozzy Osbourne responds to rumors that he's planning to retire. "People around my age go, 'I'm 65 now. I'm retired.' Then they f-----g die," Ozzy said. "My father got a bit of cash from the job he had, did the garden and died. And I'm going, 'That's a bit of an anticlimax after working so many years in a factory.' I ain't retiring. People still want to see me, so what's there to retire from?" On the subject of Black Sabbath, Osbourne said: "They've retired but I haven't. It's like I'm jumping off one boat onto another. People forget, I was with Sabbath from '68 to '79, but I've been on my own from '79 'til now." - NME, 9/15/17...... Jann WennerSpeaking of Rolling Stone magazine, founder/publisher Jann S. Wenner told the New York Times on Sept. 17 that he's putting his stake in the publication up for sale. "I love my job, I enjoy it, I've enjoyed it for a long time," the 71-year-old Wenner said, adding that his move was a business decision and "just the smart thing to do." Wenner and his son Gus, 27, recently sold Wenner Media's other two magazines, Us Weekly and Men's Journal, to American Media. As reported by the Times, they also sold a 49 percent stake in Rolling Stone in 2016 to a Singapore-based music tech company called BandLab Technologies. Both Wenner and his son said they would like to continue working for the magazine, but acknowledged that decision would be up to the new owner. Founded in 1967, Rolling Stone became famous for covering rock and pop music and counter-culture as well as politics and gonzo-style journalism, with the likes of such esteemed writers as Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe and Lester Bangs. It is not known whether the company is already in talks with potential buyers. - Billboard, 9/17/17...... Steely Dan's Donald Fagen announced on Sept. 13 that he's been forced to cancel four solo dates due to an undisclosed illness. The news comes just 10 days after the death of Fagen's longtime Steely Dan partner Walter Becker at age 67. The shows in question were set to take place in Portland on Sept. 12, Seattle on Sept. 13, Saratoga, Calif. on Sept. 15 and San Francisco on Sept. 16. It is unclear if Fagen's health will effect the recently announced run of Steely Dan dates scheduled to take place across October. - Spin.com, 9/13/17...... Gene Simmons of Kiss has announced he'll release a box set of previously unreleased solo material this year known as The Vault on 10 CDs in a big vault-like box. The catch is The Vault will only be available to those who spend an exorbitant amount of money for one of three different "experiences": for $2,000 you can meet up with Simmons at one of 21 events around the world where you can pick up your box set and chat with Simmons for 5 minutes; for $25,000 you can meet up with Simmons at one of 11 studios around the world where you can pick up The Vault and spend an hour with him listening to its tracks; and for $50,000 Simmons will hand-deliver The Vault to your very home, where you and up to 25 friends can spend two hours with him. However, it is stipulated he will not be in full makeup and costume, nor will he supply food and drink. - Stereogum.com, 9/13/17...... Harry Dean StantonHarry Dean Stanton, the quintessential American actor with a gaunt, bedraggled look who labored in virtual obscurity for decades until a series of roles increased his visibility, died of natural causes on Sept. 15 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 91. Rarely a leading man, Mr. Stanton delivered memorable performances in such films as Cool Hand Luke (1967), Two-Lane Blacktop (1971), Ridley Scott's Alien (1979), John Carpenter's Escape From New York (1981) and John Hughes' Pretty in Pink (1986). He was eerily creepy as evil polygamist and self-proclaimed Mormon prophet Roman Grant on HBO's Big Love, and he partnered regularly with David Lynch, appearing in the director's Wild at Heart (1990), Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992), the 1993 miniseries Hotel Room, The Straight Story (1999) and Inland Empire (2006). With great pal Jack Nicholson, Mr. Stanton worked in The Missouri Breaks (1976), Man Trouble (1992), The Pledge (2001) and Anger Management (2003). In Cool Hand Luke, Mr. Stanton coached Paul Newman's character on the song "Plastic Jesus," and sang rendition of the gospel standard "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" himself in the film. Born on July 14, 1926, in West Irvine, Ky., Mr. Stanton served in the Navy as a cook on an ammunitions ship in the Pacific during World War II -- he was in the Battle of Okinawa -- then enrolled at the University of Kentucky to study journalism and radio arts. Since 2011, the Kentucky city of Lexington each year has hosted a Harry Dean Stanton Festival. Except for a brief marriage, Stanton was a bachelor who in the 2013 Stanton documentary Partly Fiction spoke about the lost love of his life, actress Rebecca De Mornay. "She left me for Tom Cruise," he says in the film. Blondie's Deborah Harry, whom he also dated, recorded a 1989 song for him, "I Want That Man." His agent said that Mr. Stanton "is survived by family and friends who loved him." - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/15/17.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Rolling Stones kicked off their 2017 European tour in Hamburg, Germany on Sept. 9 before 82,000 fans at the Festwiese am Stadtpark. It was the first live music event at the German venue in 28 years, and the Stones played a 23-song set of fan favorites including the opener "Sympathy for the Devil," lesser performed album tracks "Just Your Fool" and "Dancing with Mr. D," and encores "Gimme Shelter" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash." The band has 13 additional dates planned, including stops in Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Holland, Denmark, Sweden and Holland before wrapping with three dates in France in late October. Meanwhile, the band is reportedly considering headlining a new UK festival at Knebworth in 2018. Sonisphere 2014 was the last major music event to take place at Knebworth, after the 2015 edition of the festival was cancelled. - New Musical Express, 9/10/17...... Bob DylanBob Dylan announced on Sept. 11 that he'll hit the road with opening act Mavis Staples for a 21-date fall tour set to kick off on Oct. 13 at Harrah's Resort SoCal in Valley Center, Calif. The tour will visit many cities than Dylan missed during his recent Outlaw Music Festival Tour with Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow and more, including Omaha, Neb.; Ames, Iowa; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Akron, Oh.; Uniondale, NY.; and Richmond, Va. The tour wraps on Nov. 16 in Boston. - Billboard, 9/11/17...... As Hurricanes Harvey and Irma ravaged the southern US and several Carribean islands in recent weeks, Barbra Streisand has penned an editorial for HuffingtonPost.com demanding that Pres. Donald Trump acknowledge climate change. "Donald Trump can visit all the disaster areas he wants -- but what can you do when he and his administration don't acknowledge the science behind climate change, even removing information from the Environment Protection Agency website," the diva wrote. Streisand, who noted she had begun her "The Music... The Mem'ries... The Magic! Tour" in Houston (her first ever show in the city), and ended the North American run with three dates in Florida last fall, also called on her fans to "write your representatives" and "call the White House" to "tell them to face the facts -- ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising -- climate change is real!" Streisand was one of the performers in a Hand in Hand Telethon benefiting the hurricane victims on Sept. 12, which raised $44 million in hurricane relief. Stevie Wonder also performed on the telethon and before launching into his set, he delivered a powerful message about equality and environmental responsibility. "We've come together today to love on the people that have been devastated by the hurricanes," he said. "When love goes into action, it preferences no color of skin, no ethnicity, no religious beliefs, no sexual preferences, and no political persuasions. It just loves." After his set, he said that "anyone who believes that there is no such thing as global warming must be blind or unintelligent... Lord, please save us all." - Billboard, 9/13/17...... In related news, several top '70s artists including Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt will headline an all-star "Harvey Can't Mess with Texas: A Benefit Concert" planned for Sept. 22 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Tex. Leon Bridges, Lyle Lovett, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians and Ryan Bingham will also be among the performers, as well as appearances by such Texas-born celebrities as Matthew McConaughey, Dan Rather, Rene Zellweger and Luke Wilson. The event will be broadcast at 9:00-10:00 p.m. on 11 Texas TEGNA stations and stream internationally on YouTube.com/Texas Strong. - Billboard, 9/13/17...... Tom Waits gave his first live performance in two years a Lagunitas Brewery in California on Sept. 12, his first public performance since appearing on The David Letterman Show in May 2015. At the Lagunitas Brewery show, Waits joined Mavis Staples for a rendition of the Staples Singers classic "Respect Yourself." - New Musical Express, 9/13/17...... Eric ClaptonAs a new Eric Clapton documentary called Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 11, the legendary guitarist says he isn't bothered that guitar sales are down. "My kids listen to classic rock, but that may only be because of me, because that's what I've played to them," Clapton said during a press conference earlier in the day. "I mean, from the time of their conception, they've been listening to music through the womb. I played them playlists, just brainwashed my kids, and at the back of it was always the guitar or some kind of solo instrument or a singer. My belief in music is it's all good. It's all good. Even stuff that doesn't appear to be so, it's all good." According to a recent story in the Washington Post, sales of guitars were down to 1 million a year from 1.5 million, and major manufacturers (Gibson and Fender) are having financial difficulties, as is the retail outlet Guitar Center. "I don't know. Maybe the guitar is over," Clapton said, laughing. "Good question though." - Billboard, 9/11/17...... A new music festival in Memphis, Tenn. set for Oct. 6-7 at Shelby Farms will showcase Stax Records veterans Booker T. Jones and Steve Cropper on the closing day. The ten-piece act Booker T Presents: A Stax Revue & Journey Through Soul, Blues, and R&B will perform the main stage, with an All-Star performance from Steve Cropper & Friends to follow. Other performers headlining the Memphofest show include Dave Mason, Eddie Floyd (who wrote "Knock on Wood" with Cropper), John Popper of Blues Traveler, Oteil Burbridge of the Allman Brothers Band. - Billboard, 9/13/17...... Billy Joel made an appearance on Harry Connick Jr.'s syndicated talk show Harry on Sept. 11. The Piano Man performed his 1980 Glass Houses album track "Don't Ask Me Why" with Connick Jr. as well as "Vienna" from The Stranger. He also took time to poke fun as his buddy Elton John. - Stereogum.com, 9/12/17...... Speaking of Elton, the Rocket Man's Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) will return for its annual New York Fall Gala on on Nov. 7 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The gala -- which celebrates the foundation's 25th anniversary this year -- will pay tribute to founder John and his contributions to his foundation and beyond. "Elton's philanthropic endeavors and activism for human rights and the arts have inspired millions and made a positive difference in people's lives around the world," said EJAF Chairman David Furnish in a press release about the event. "But without a doubt, Elton's greatest contribution as a humanitarian is his 25-year commitment to building one of the most important institutions in the effort to end AIDS -- the Elton John AIDS Foundation." Entertainers and celebrities expected to attend include Ozzy Osbourne, Aretha Franklin, Sharon Stone and Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton. - Billboard, 9/12/17...... Actor/comedian Mike Myers is reportedly set to co-star in the upcoming Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. While it remains unclear who Myers will play in the long-awaited movie -- especially since the director Bryan Singer is still in the midst of filling out the cast -- his casting makes perfect sense, as he and partner Dana Carvey famously rocked out to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" in the comedy Wayne's World in 1992. Myers once told Rolling Stone that his family was "obsessed" with "Bohemian Rhapsody." "I'd gone to England in '75 with my family and heard 'Bohemian Rhapsody' on the radio," he said. Bohemian Rhapsody is set to be released in the US on Dec. 25, 2018 with Mr. Robot actor Rami Malek portaying late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. - Billboard, 9/13/17...... Hank Williams Jr.Country singer Hank Williams Jr., who parted ways with ESPN's Monday Night Football amid controversy in 2010 after comparing former president Barack Obama to Adolph Hitler, has returned to the broadcast with a revamped performance of "All My Rowdy Freinds Are Here on Monday Night" alongside Jason Derulo and Florida Georgia Line. "Monday Night Football has the most famous music video in sports television. It's time to bring it back," Stephanie Druley, the network's senior vice president for events and studio production, told The Washington Post after Williams' return was announced. The song had served as MNF's intro song to ESPN's sports broadcast for more than 20 years before Williams' six-year hiatus. The newly-recorded song was played before the MNF game between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings. - Billboard, 9/12/17...... Former Doobie Brothers member and '80s solo star Michael McDonald will release Wide Open, his first album of original material in 17 years, on Sept. 15. McDonald says most of the songs on Wide Open "have to do with sobriety, that journey in my life of getting sober.... If they're about anything, they're about my coming to terms with my living out in the open and learning to live without substances to fill the hole, without self-medicating." McDonald adds that he became sober in 1986 and that "I think every ounce of pain in just living always ends up being the best thing that happened to me. It's always a growth period. I learn at the speed of pain." McDonald says that recording his background vocals for Steely Dan's "Peg" was "very difficult... because the harmonies are so close" and that Kenny Loggins' "This Is It" is his favorite non-Steely Dan song he sang background vocals on. "It was always fun for me to sing with Kenny -- still is. He's such a phenomenal singer and has such great ideas in terms of backgrounds," McDonald says. - Billboard, 9/12/17...... Speaking of Steely Dan, the band has just announced its first tour since the death of Walter Becker on Sept. 3. The modest 8-date trek will begin Oct. 13 in Thackerville, Okla., also hitting Grand Rapids, Mich. (10/16), Buffalo, NY (10/17), Orilla, Ontario (10/19), Windsor, Ontario (10/20), Wallingford, Conn. (10/22), and Baltimore (10/24) before wrapping in National Harbor, Maryland on Oct. 25. The tour marks Steely Dan's first performances since July's Classic East and Classic West festivals in New York and Los Angeles, respectively. Becker missed those shows due to an unspecified illness; he last played with the group on May 27, 2017. - Billboard, 9/11/17...... Melissa ManchesterMelissa Manchester released her 21st studio album, The Fellas, on Sept. 9 via Long Run Entertainment. The Fellas is the Grammy-winning singer's "tribute to several of the great men singers who rocked my world and informed my soul," she says, noting that she has wanted to record such a set since she released her female companion album Tribute back in 1989. Not suprisingly, the LP features a contribution from Manchester's former love interest, Barry Manilow, for a duet of "For Me and My Gal." Melissa says Barry came up with the scrumptious idea of paying tribute to Gene Kelly with one of Kelly's most famous tunes. "We both loved the original version, sung by Kelly and Judy Garland, from the film of the same name," Manchester says. "Peter Hume did a wonderful orchestration." Manilow says that "I jump at any chance to sing (or just be) with my dear friend Melissa... She has one of the greatest voices and singing styles in music today. And she's a wonderful songwriter. I loved being a part of creating and singing 'For Me and My Gal' with her." - Billboard, 9/12/17...... Sabrina Sutherland, the executive producer of the Twin Peaks reboot Twin Peaks: The Return, has confirmed that David Bowie "gave producers permission" to use his clips in the new series. Sutherland is referring to the doctored footage of Bowie's scene in "Fire Walk With Me" that appears in episodes of The Return. Bowie played mysterious FBI agent Phillip Jeffries in the original series, and in the new series, Jeffries returns to give cryptic advice to two versions of Dale Cooper with a metallic Southern accent. There's been no word yet about whether the plans for Jeffries' transfiguration were generated before or after Bowie's death, or whether Bowie knew about them. - Spin.com, 9/11/17...... Bob Seger confirmed on Sept. 10 that he'll be releasing a new album in November, with the first single from the new set debuting later in September. Seger says he has been working on the album primarily in Nashville, and it will be his 18th studio album and first since Ride Out in 2014. A formal announcement about the project is expected before the end of September. Seger recently added six new shows on his "Runaway Train Tour," including stops in Oakland, Boise, Portland, Seattle and St. Paul before the trek wraps up on Nov. 17 in Chicago. - Billboard, 9/10/17...... Steve HoweProg-rockers Yes announced on Sept. 12 that they're scrapping the remaining dates on their Yestival Tour with openers Todd Rundgren and Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy following the unexpected death of Yes guitarist Steve Howe's son, Virgil. Virgil, who played drums for the British power-rock outfit Little Barrie, played behind the kit, sang and performed keys on his father's 1993 album The Grand Scheme of Things. Details surrounding Virgil's death have not been disclosed. Yes, whose current lineup also features Alan White, Geoff Downes, Jon Davison and Billy Sherwood, issued a statement thanking "all their fans for their support and understanding at this time" and asked that the Howe family's privacy "be respected during this difficult time." On the Yestival Tour, the band mined its first nine albums, from 1969's Yes through 1978's Tormato, with at least one song from each. - Billboard, 9/12/17...... Former Thin Lizzy member Brian Downey has added a second London date to his "Alive and Dangerous" concert in London. Downey will perform at Nells Jazz & Blues in London on Nov. 24 with his new band Brian Downey's Alive and Dangerous to mark the 40th anniversary of one of Thin Lizzy's classic concert LP, Live and Dangerous. The album was recorded live in 1977 at London's Hammersmith Apollo and Toronto's Seneca College, though it wasn't officially released until a year later in 1978. Downey's band features Brian Grace (best known as the guitarist for the Commitments' Andrew Strong), and former Low Rider members Matt Wilson (lead vocals, bass) and Phil Edgar (lead guitar). - Noble PR, 9/12/17...... Don Ohlmeyer, a legendary TV sports producer and executive who helped lead NBC's "Must-See TV" revival in the 1990s, died on Sept. 10 at his home in Palm Desert, Calif. He was 72. Ohlmeyer's death was announced by his longtime friend Al Michaels during the Sunday Night Football telecast on NBC. "He was truly special and one of a kind," said Michaels. Ohlmeyer had a long run as a sports producer at ABC and NBC in the 1970s and 80s before he moved to NBC as West Coast president in 1993. - Variety, 9/11/17.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Roadcase Royale, the new "supergroup" featuring Nancy Wilson of Heart and Liv Warfield (formerly of Prince's New Power Generation Band) will perform at The Gramercy Theatre in New York on Sept. 10. Roadcase Royale also has gigs scheduled at Milwaukee's Pabst Theater on Sept. 24; Charlotte, N.C.'s Neighborhood Theatre on Oct. 1; Knoxville, TN's Bijou Theatre on Oct. 4; Nashville's City Winery on Oct. 8; and the Tower Theatre in Oklahoma City, OK, on Oct. 15. On Sept. 22, Roadcase Royale will release its debut album, First Things First, which was produced by by fellow Roadcase Royale band member Dan Rothchild, who has also played with Heart, along with the band. - Miles High Productions, 9/8/17...... Barbra StreisandBarbra Streisand will be among the headliners of a Hurricane Harvey benefit telethon set for Sept.12 at 8:00 p.m. ET on the four major broadcast networks and cable channel CMT. The Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Harvey Relief, organized by Houston rapper Bun B and SB Projects head Scooter Braun, will be based in Los Angeles at the Universal Studios lot, with stages also at New York's Times Square, Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, and San Antonio's Majestic Theater. Other musicians set to appear inlcude Beyoncé, The Black Eyed Peas, Justin Bieber, Drake, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton, Lyle Lovett and George Strait, among others. Non-music celebrities include George Clooney, Robert De Niro, Jamie Foxx, Adam Sandler, Ryan Seacrest, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts and Matthew McConaughey, among others. Organizers have also announced that the telethon will be expanded to help those affected by the impending Hurricane Irma in Florida. - Billboard, 9/6/17...... Rising actress Lucy Boynton, most recently seen in the music-themed and critically acclaimed film Sing Street, has signed on to portray Freddie Mercury's lifelong companion Mary Austin in the upcoming Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. While Austin and Mercury lived together in London for several years, he later had relationships with male lovers, and told Austin of his homosexuality. The pair remained friends however, and Mercury wrote several songs about Austin, including "Love of My Life." Shooting is scheduled to begin on Bohemian Rhapsody this month, and the film, with Rami Malek portraying Mercury and Ben Hardy, Joe Mazzello and Gwilym Lee playing band members Roger Taylor, John Deacon and Brian May, respectively, is slated for U.S. release on Dec. 25, 2018. In other Queen news, Brian May met with UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for the first time on Sept. 4 at the Lush Summit 2017 in London, and described the politician as "very impressive" and afterward tweeted that Corbyn "speaks like a human being rather than a politician." May, an animal rights activist, has been a local Labour supporter in the past and recently criticised Prime Minister Theresa May's stance on fox hunting. May also praised Corbyn for "talking good sense on attacking wildlife crime." - The Hollywood Reporter/New Musical Express, 9/7/17...... David CrosbyDavid Crosby has shared the title track from his forthcoming solo album Sky Trails, set to drop on Sept. 29. Crosby says he wrote the "Sky Trails" track with Becca Stevens, drawing on both of their experiences as touring artists. "When you're on the road, after the second or third week you don't know where you are," Crosby notes. "You're out there somewhere, and all the cities look roughly the same, and you lose track. I know it sounds funny, but it happens to us road musicians all the time, and that leads to a kind of disorientation." Crosby will hit the road behind Sky Trails in late October with a two-night stand at the City Winery in Chicago on Oct. 30 and 31. As for Crosby, Stills and Nash (and sometimes Young), Crosby says he has "no idea" if either the personal or professional relationships among the four can be repaired for future recording and touring. Crosby also recently commented on his love for social media, saying: "I like talking to people. I like Facebook and Instagram, too, but I function best on Twitter because I'm a words guy. I like communicating with people. It's fun for me. I don't answer questions if they're too dumb. I get in trouble there, mind you. I get in trouble there saying Kanye West has absolutely no talent and is a complete poseur. I get in trouble there saying Donald Trump is a walking intelligence-free zone. But I have fun." - Billboard, 9/6/17...... The Rolling Stones have just unveiled a new psychedelic video of "She's a Rainbow" for their upcoming 50th anniversary release of their landmark 1967 album, Their Satanic Majesties Request. "She's a Rainbow" was a minor hit for the band in the year of the Summer of Love, and along with "2000 Light Years From Home," remain the only tracks from the trippy LP that the Stones have ever played live. Their Satanic Majesties Request arrives as a limited edition deluxe double vinyl and double hybrid Super Audio CD package on Sept. 22. Meanwhile, the Stones kick off a European tour in Hamburg, Germany, on Sept. 9, a 14-date jaunt that will also see them visiting Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Holland, Denmark and France, wrapping with three shows in Paris on Oct. 19, 22 and 25. - New Musical Express, 9/8/17...... CherCher says she was livid when Pres. Donald Trump announced he was going through with his plan to end the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program put in place by Pres. Obama in 2012 to protect "DREAMers" (named for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act), who came into the country as children from being deported. The pop singer has labeled Trump a "complete coward" for his action, is vowing to take in some of those affected, and is encouraging her fans to do the same. "Those who can must take a DREAMER in2 their home & protect them!!" she tweeted on Sept. 5. "I'm ready 2 do this." - Billboard, 9/6/17...... A posthumous release from Gregg Allman, Southern Blood, was released on Sept. 8 on Rounder Records, and is the followup to the former Allman Brothers Band frontman's 2011 Grammy-nominated Low Country Blues. Producer Don Was says the root of Southern Blood was Allman's 1973 solo debut Laid Back. "Laid Back had that great pedal steel on it and incorporates a little more of Gregg's roots than maybe what you heard from just the Allman Brothers," Was explains. "One of the things Gregg and I did speak about was making the texture of this record something along the lines of what Laid Back would have sounded like if it were recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals in 2017." - Billboard, 9/6/17...... An enhanced version of Michael Jackson's legendary 1983 video for his smash "Thriller" called "Michael Jackson's Thriller 3-D" was screened at the Venice Film Festival on Sept. 4, alongside a behind-the-scenes "Thriller" documentary that has never been shown in cinemas before. Director John Landis, who helmed the original video and the new version, says the backstage documentary about the 1983 video shows Jackson "happy and joyous" and at his creative peak. "It's a celebration of Michael I didn't expect, and very emotional for me," says Landis, who added that Jackson's 2009 death was a tragedy that robbed the world of a brilliant performer. He said: "I was horrified, and I'm still upset about it." Meanwhile, a new Jackson Halloween-themed compilation entitled Scream was announced on Sept. 5. The release will be a 13-track greatest hits collection that brings together Jackson's most danceable tracks across his discography, including the title track, a '90s duet with sister Janet Jackson, as well as "Thriller," "Dirty Diana," "Dangerous," "Leave Me Alone" and "Is It Scary." The album will also include bonus track "Blood On The Dance Floor X Dangerous," a mash-up from The White Panda of MJ's "Blood on the Dance Floor." Scream will drop on Sept. 29. - AP/New Musical Express, 9/4/17...... Carol BurnettThe CBS television network announced on Sept. 7 that it will celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Carol Burnett Show with a two-hour special set for Dec. 3. The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special will film on Stage 33 at CBS Television City in Los Angeles, the show's original soundstage. Hosted by Burnett, who will reminisce about her favorite sketches, her memorable wardrobe and bloopers, and Q&As with the studio audience, the special will also feature original cast members Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner, costume designer Bob Mackie, as well as other comedians, comic actors and friends, including Bernadette Peters, Jim Carrey, Kristin Chenoweth, Stephen Colbert, Harry Connick Jr., Bill Hader, Jay Leno and Martin Short, among others. - Deadline.com, 9/7/17...... In a new interview on the celebrity gossip show Entertainment Tonight, Ozzy Osbourne's wife Sharon Osbourne says she and her 68-year-old hubby have learned to laugh about the veteran rocker's recent infidelities to help them heal following a brief separation. "We speak about it, we laugh about it! Because it helps you get through it," Sharon said, admitting keeping her feelings bottled up would otherwise drive her crazy. "You know, you have to find some humour in something," she continued. "The bottom line is that I love him, he loves me..." Earlier in the week, Sharon told Britain's Daily Telegraph that the musician had cheated on her with a total of six different women, but they have worked through their problems by addressing the situation head-on. "We've worked for so much together, we've achieved so much together," the 64-year-old Sharon said. "Our family, our friends, and I just don't want to give that up (sic)!" Meanwhile, the History Channel has just announed it will renew Ozzy and son Jack Osbourne's new reality show World Detour for a second season, and move it to its sister channel, A&E. - WENN.com, 9/7/17...... Wilko Johnson, the original guitarist for Dr. Feelgood, will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Wilko Johnson Band and his 70th birthday with a concert at London's Royal Albert Hall on Sept. 26. Johnson, known for his distinctive chopping guitar style, recently found further fame on TV in Game Of Thrones, and also rose up the charts once more after teaming up with the Who frontman Roger Daltrey on the hit 2014 album Going Back Home, which features incendiary re-workings of songs from Wilko's Dr. Feelgood days, including "All Through The City" and "Going Back Home." Johnson's bestselling memoir Don't You Leave Me Here has recently been published in paperback edition. - Noble PR, 9/6/17...... Former Tower of Power singer Rick Stevens, who sang lead on the group's first two albums, including on the hit songs "Sparkling in the Sand" and "You're Still a Young Man," died on Sept. 5 after a short battle with cancer. He was 77. Stevens, who joined the Oakland-based Tower of Power in 1969, was convicted of murder for killing three people in 1976 during a drug deal gone wrong. He spent 36 years in prison, and was paroled in 2012. Current Tower of Power leader Emilio Castillo called Stevens a soulful singer who had a strong personality. "He went above and beyond the call of duty and carried his message of faith and redemption to many," Castillo posted the same day. - Billboard, 9/5/17...... Don WilliamsCountry music legend Don Williams, who scored 17 No. 1 singles and 45 Top 10 singles on the country charts including "Tulsa Time," "Good Ole Boys Like Me" and "I Wouldn't Want To Live If You Didn't Love Me," passed away on Sept. 8 after what his reps describe as a "short illness." He was 78. Born on May 27, 1939 in Floydada, Tex., Williams began his solo career in 1971, and wrote for the publishing company of legendary Nashville producer Jack Clement. A crooner as much as a country singer, Williams topped the country chart in 1979 with "It Must Be Love" and "Love Me Over Again," and recorded the 1981 crossover hit "I Believe in You," which hit No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in addition to hitting the top of the Hot Country Songs chart. "Tulsa Time," perhaps Williams' most rockin' performance, was released in 1978 and covered by many artists, most notably Eric Clapton, who released the song as the B-side to "Cocaine" in 1979. Williams' star shined throughout the '80s decade with hits such as "Stay Young," "Desperately," and "Old Coyote Town," keeping his records in the top 10 through label changes to Capitol (1986) and RCA (1989), where he notched his final top 10 hit, 1991's "True Love." All in all, Williams' Hot Country Songs chart numbers include 45 top 10 hits and 17 No. 1s, with his final chart-topper being 1986's "Heartbeat in the Darkness." The laid-back artist, known as "The Gentle Giant" for his broad six-foot-plus frame and big, smooth baritone voice, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010, and retired from music in 2016. - Billboard, 9/9/17...... Holger Czukay, co-founder of legendary German '70s experimental act Can, passed away on Sept. 5 at the age of 79. Though his cause of death is unknown, Czukay was found dead in Can's studio in Weilerswist, near Cologne, according to a German newspaper. Czukay, born in Poland in 1938, formed Can with bandmate Irmin Schmidt in 1968. Can pioneered the "Krautrock" movement, mixing rock, electronic and world music, and released numerous albums, including 1973's notable Future Days. "I Want More," Can's biggest hit, peaked at No. 26 on the U.K. singles chart in 1976, but the group's sound proved influential to many artists. Czukay also released several solo albums, with his latest being 2015's Eleven Years Innerspace. - Billboard, 9/5/17...... Famed tour manager and rock photographer Harry Sandler passed away on Sept. 2 after a brief fight against cancer. He was 73. Sandler spent much of his career as a tour manager working with Irving Azoff, assisting with the careers and tours of artists like John Mellencamp, Eagles, Katy Perry, Billy Joel, Jewel, Van Halen, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Nicks. "Harry Sandler worked for me for 32 years," said John Mellencamp. "We fought many a round together against unscrupulous promoters, record companies, managers, merchandisers, and tried to keep ticket prices fair from dishonest ticket scalpers. Harry even produced a movie for me. He gave many people their start in this business. Harry was part of my family. All my kids grew up knowing him, and we traveled the world together. I don't recall having any serious arguments with Harry. He was generally correct about most things. But mostly I remember just laughing with him." Sandler had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on June 29 and died 66 days later. - Billboard, 9/3/17.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Walter BeckerWalter Becker, the guitarist/songwriter and cofounder of Steely Dan, died on Sept. 3 of an unspecified illness. He was 67. His passing was confirmed by a post on his official website, which simply displayed two images of the musician in his childhood and in later life along with the dates "feb. 20 1950 -- sept. 03 2017." Becker and Donald Fagen formed Steely Dan, taking the name of a dildo mentioned in William S. Burroughs' novel Naked Lunch, after the pair moved to California in the early 1970s. They had met in 1967 at Bard College in upstate New York, where they played in amateur bands whose material included everything from jazz to rock to pop to progressive rock. In L.A., they met independent producer Gary Katz who enlisted them as staff songwriters at ABC/Dunhill Records, and who hatched the idea of what would become Steely Dan. Becker, born on Feb. 20, 1950 in Queens, played both guitar and bass in Steely Dan, while also contributing backing vocals. Along with lead vocalist and keyboardist Fagen, the two remained Steely Dan's only core members throughout their career. Less a band than a concept, Steely Dan became one of the most sophisticated, successful and mysterious pop outfits of the Seventies. The band, which in early incarnations also included guitarist Denny Dias, drummer Jim Hodder, keyboardist David Palmer and guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, combined pop hooks with jazz harmonies, complicated time changes and cryptic, often highly ironic lyrics, to form its own unique sound. It's debut, Can't Buy a Thrill, was released in 1972 and yielded two hit singles, "Do It Again" (No. 6), and "Reeling in the Years" (No. 11). Walter BeckerDonald FagenThe album sold well and was hailed by critics, but Becker, Fagen and Katz were put off by a singles-oriented audience, and the followup, 1973's Countdown to Ecstasy, perhaps consciously contained no hit singles. On their next effort, 1974's Pretzel Logic, the band were joined by singer/keyboardist Michael McDonald, who sang mostly backup vocals. That album featured a top five hit, "Rikki Don't Lose That Number," and more pronounced jazz leanings. Steely Dan then retired from touring and became a studio-only outfit, releasing Katy Lied in 1974 with its minor Top 40 hit, "Black Friday." 1976's Royal Scam, which sold relatively well, featured some of Becker and Fagen's most acerbic lyrics, but it was 1977's Aja that would become recognized as their masterpiece, a seven-song tour de force of FM favorites featuring session work by such expert sidemen as Wayne Shorter and Lee Ritenour. Aja went Top Five within three weeks of its release and became the band's first platinum album. After releasing the long-awaited followup, Gaucho, in 1980, Becker and Fagen announced they were going their separate ways, but reunited in 1993 to resurrect Steely Dan. They released two more albums -- the most recent being 2003's Everything Must Go -- while also resuming touring duties in recent years. During his hiatus from Steely Dan, Becker produced such artists as Rickie Lee Jones and China Crisis, and handled production work for the New Age label Windham Hill the jazz label Triloka. Walter BeckerHe also released two solo albums, 11 Tracks of Whack (1994) and Circus Money (2008). Steely Dan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, taking the opportunity at the ceremony to take questions from the audience. Becker overcame substance-abuse problems in the 1980s after his girlfriend died from an overdose, with her mother claiming he fostered the young woman's drug problem and attempting to sue him. Becker was absent at both of Steely Dan's performances during the July 2017 Classic West and Classic East concerts due to an unspecified illness. In August, Fagen said in an interview that his longtime collaborator was "recovering from a procedure," but didn't elaborate further. In a statement published on RollingStone.com, Donald Fagen paid tribute to his dear friend and bandmate in a thoughtful lengthy post, which included: "Walter Becker was my friend, my writing partner and my bandmate since we met as students at Bard College in 1967... He was smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter. He was cynical about human nature, including his own, and hysterically funny... His habits got the best of him by the end of the seventies, and we lost touch for a while. In the eighties, when I was putting together the NY Rock and Soul Review with [my wife] Libby, we hooked up again, revived the Steely Dan concept and developed another terrific band. I intend to keep the music we created together alive as long as I can with the Steely Dan band." - Billboard/Rolling Stone, 9/3/17.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Irish rockers U2 invited Patti Smith onstage at their Sept. 3 concert at Detroit's Ford Field to jam on the band's The Joshua Tree finale "Mothers of the Disappeared." Introducing the punk poetess at the end of the song, frontman Bono told the audience that "There is no one to compare. We don't have anyone to compare with Patti Smith. We wouldn't have written The Joshua Tree without her. What an honor it is to have her on the stage." It was the opening night of U2's Joshua Tree Tour 2017, as it celebrates the 30th anniversary of the acclaimed 1987 LP. Although a New Yorker, Smith has close ties to the Motor City, living in the Detroit suburb of St. Clair Shores from 1980-96 while married to the late MC5 guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith and giving birth to her two children there. - Billboard, 9/4/17...... Gloria Gaynor'70s soul singer Gloria Gaynor has rewritten the lyrics to her inspirational 1979 No. 1 smash "I Will Survive" to honor the victims of Harvey. "The lyrics just came flowing out in about five minutes," Gaynor said in an interview with CNN. Gaynor's charitable website, IWillSurvive.org, is also offering a line of custom Texas-themed "I Will Survive" T-shirts, with proceeds going to the state's Salvation Army relief efforts. In related news, Paul Simon and his wife Edie Brickell issued a press release on Sept. 1 with a pledge to donate $1 million dollars towards the relief effort for those affected by the recent devastating Hurricane Harvey in Texas. The couple said the money will go to help smaller towns in the area surrounding Houston, with medical emergencies and restoration of homes given top priority. - Stereogum.com, 9/1/17...... Tom Jones tweeted on Sept. 2 that his fall tour will be delayed "following medical advice," without providing further details about why the decision was made. The 77-year-old Welsh crooner previously announced he would launch a lengthy U.S. tour in Pennsylvania on Sept. 6, but now the tour has been postponed until May and June of 2018. Jones, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2006, added his "sincere apologies" to his American fans who were planning to attend the shows. - AP, 9/2/17...... Pattie LaBelle was honored with a BMI Icon Award on Aug. 31 during the performing rights organization's annual R&B/Hip-Hop Awards in Atlanta. LaBelle's five-decade career was toasted by such artists as Grammy winner BeBe Winans (who sang "On My Own," LaBelle's Hot 100 No. 1 duet with Michael McDonald), Ledisi (who sang "Lady Marmalade"), Avery Sunshine, Kierra Sheard and Tasha Cobbs-Leonard. After being called to the stage by Ledisi at the end, LaBelle surprised the audience with an impromptu performance of "Over the Rainbow." Previous BMI Icon Award honorees include Nile Rodgers, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, James Brown and Snoop Dogg. - Billboard, 9/1/17...... Robert Plant has previewed a second track from his upcoming solo album, Carry Fire, titled "Bones of Saints." More traditionally rocking than the previously shared track, "The May Queen," "Bones of Saints"' rics seem to nod at the current political situation, with lines about "guns, fences and fires in the sky" over a shuffling rockabilly beat and, of course, Plant's signature plaintive wail. - Spin.com, 9/1/17...... Chuck BerryA Chuck Berry tribute concert planned for the 2017 LouFest in the pioneering rock & roller's hometown of St. Louis will be headlined by artists including Dave Matthews Band, Cage the Elephant, members of The Roots, and Britt Daniel of Spoon. Dubbed "Hail! Hail! Chuck Berry!," the all-star tribute will take place Sept. 9 at 8 p.m. on the festival's Bud Light Stage. The concert has the blessing of Berry's family, which is using the occasion to announce the formation of the Chuck Berry Foundation, which will focus causes in the arts and music education. Concert organizers say the Berry tribute will "ultimately become an everlasting piece of the festival for years to come." Berry died on March 18 at the age of 90. The LouFest 2017 is set for Forest Park at a new event space adjacent to the historic Muny Amphitheater. - Billboard, 9/1/17...... Several artists who recorded for the legendary Stax Records participated in a 50th anniversary tribute to the famed 1960's Stax/Volt Records tour, which took the U.K. and Europe by storm in 1967, as part of the 2017 BBC Proms season at London's Royal Albert Hall on Sept. 1. From that tour, Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper, Eddie Floyd and Sam Moore all took part in the concert, along with Stax labelmate William Bell. The concert took place as Stax continues the year-long Stax 60 commemoration of the company's 1957 inception. "It was a family at Stax," Cropper noted before the concert. "We were like brothers and sisters, and we worked together for the same purpose, to get hit records for everybody." - Billboard, 9/1/17...... Bruce Springsteen has added 10 weeks to his upcoming Broadway residency at the Walter Kerr Theatre, which is set to get officially underway on Oct. 12. Springsteen announced on Aug. 31 he will perform five shows a week beginning Oct. 3, and his run is now scheduled through Feb. 3. The extension announcement was made on Aug. 30, the same day tickets for "Springsteen on Broadway" went on sale exclusively through Ticketmaster Verified Fan, a new technology that aims to combat bots and get tickets into the hands of real fans who intend to go to the event. The entire initial 10-week run sold out within the day, with tickets hitting the secondary market shortly afterward -- some offered at up to nearly $10,000 a seat. "I wanted to do some shows that were as personal and as intimate as possible," stated Springsteen when he officially announced the run. "I chose Broadway for this project because it has the beautiful old theaters which seemed like the right setting for what I have in mind." - The Hollywood Reporter, 8/31/17...... Elton JohnOn Aug. 31, Elton John remembered the 20th anniversary of the untimely death of Princess Diana, who perished in 1997 after being involved in a car crash in a Paris tunnel. "20 years ago today, the world lost an angel #RIP," Sir Elton posted on Instagram, including a photo of the pair together. John, who was good friends with Diana, reworked his 1973 song "Candle In The Wind" in her memory. He performed it at her funeral and released it as a charity single that has gone on to sell more than 33 million copies worldwide. - New Musical Express, 8/31/17...... A note written by Jimi Hendrix to an "awestruck" British fan 50 years ago is set to be auctioned this fall. The legendary axman gave the then 19-year-old Anthea Connell the message written on the back of a pack of guitar strings at a concert in March 1967. "To Anthea -- Love and kisses to you forever," Hendrix wrote, adding "I wish I could really talk to you. Stay sweet, Jimi Hendrix." "I'd love to tell you we had a deep and meaningful conversation -- I must have mumbled something," Connell told the BBC. "I was totally awestruck. Jimi Hendrix was a complete icon." Conwell is now selling the note, which is framed with autographs from Hendrix band members Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding, at Hansons in Etwall, Derbyshire. It will go on sale on Oct. 23 and is expected to fetch between £2,000 and £3,000. - New Musical Express, 8/31/17...... Comedian Shelley Berman, the wildly popular "sit-down" comic of the late 1950s and '60s, died on Sept. 1 at his home in Bell Canyon, Calif., after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 92. Mr. Berman was a standout in a golden era of comedy that included other observational masters like Mort Sahl, Lenny Bruce and Bob Newhart. The Chicago native trained as a serious actor before jumping into comedy as a nightclub performer. His signature bit was to sit cross-legged on a bar stool, act as if he were on the telephone and improvise long, complicated, one-sided conversations. His Inside Shelley Berman album, a live record released in 1959, became the first comedy album to go gold (reaching sales of 500,000 units) and was the first non-musical recording to win a Grammy Award. The Chicago-born Mr. Berman's acting credits include The Best Man (1964), when he played a guy who has some dirt on presidential candidate Cliff Robertson, and on the small screen, he appeared in a 1961 episode of The Twilight Zone as the misanthropic Archibald Beechcroft, who wills everyone in the world to be just like him (to his eventual dismay). More recently, he appeared as a hilariously senile judge on Boston Legal. He also showed up on episodes of Peter Gunn, Bewitched, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Night Court, MacGyver, Grey's Anatomy and Hawaii Five-0, among others. For more than 20 years, Mr. Berman taught humor writing at USC. In 2013, his collection of poetry, To Laughter With Questions, was published. - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/1/17...... Al GreenAuthor Jimmy McDonough, who previously penned the bestselling Neil Young biography Shakey, released an Al Green biography entitled Soul Survivor on Aug. 29. The book, the first in-depth biography of Green, chronicles the legendary singer's road from gospel to secular and back again, and also uncovers the story of his label, Hi Records. McDonough conducted countless in-depth interviews with major players in Green's story, some speaking for the very first time. - De Capo Press, 8/31/17...... Richard Anderson, the tall, handsome actor best known for costarring simultaneously in the popular 1970s television shows The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, died of natural causes at age 91 on Aug. 31. Mr. Anderson was best known to TV viewers as Oscar Goldman, Lee Majors' boss at the secret government spy agency the astronaut went to work for after becoming a cyborg. The Six Million Dollar Man began as a TV movie in 1973 and when it proved a hit it was turned into a weekly series the following year. Its popularity led to the 1976 spinoff show, The Bionic Woman, starring Lindsay Wagner. Mr. Anderson took on the Oscar Goldman role in that show, too, sometimes appearing from week to week in both series. "Richard became a dear and loyal friend, and I have never met a man like him... He loved his daughters, tennis and his work as an actor," Lee Majors said in a statement, adding the two first met when they filmed several episodes of another hit television show, the 1960s western The Big Valley. Mr. Anderson was also a frequent guest on TV series and had regular roles on Bus Stop, Perry Mason, Dan August and The Fugitive. Other television credits included Slattery's People, Dr. Kildare, The Virginian, The Rifleman, Bonanza, Mannix and The Mod Squad. He is survived by three daughters, Ashley Anderson, Brooke Anderson and Deva Anderson. - AP, 8/31/17...... Skip ProkopSkip Prokop, drummer/vocalist with seminal Canadian rock/jazz ensemble Lighthouse, died on Aug. 30 from heart complications. He was 73. Formerly with The Paupers, Hamilton, Ont. native Prokop went on to be the band leader with Lighthouse in 1968 along with keyboardist Paul Hoffert and guitarist Ralph Cole. Known as Canada's answer to Chicago, Lighthouse launched as a 13-piece, rock/funk/jazz group making their debut at Toronto's Rockpile on May 14, 1969. One of their first gigs was at New York's Carnegie Hall and they also played Bill Graham's Fillmore East and Filmore West during that first year. They won the Juno Award for Top Canadian Group three consecutive years in 1972-73 and 74. After three relatively unsuccessful albums on RCA, Lighthouse finally clicked as a recording group when, after enlisting Bob McBride as lead vocalist, they recorded One Fine Day on GRT/Evolution Records in 1971 earning North American radio exposure for the title track (No. 24 on the U.S Billboard charts) and enjoyed equal exposure with "Hats Off To The Stranger." They enjoyed further success with "Sunny Days," but when McBride failed to show up for recording sessions for their 1972 release, Can You Feel It, producer Jimmy Ienner convinced both Prokop and Cole to split the vocals and the album was released with "Pretty Lady" charting as a hit single. After splitting up in 1976, Lighthouse staged a number of reunions with Prokop also venturing out to be a deejay and also formed a Christian rock/funk band called Mercy Train. Prokop, Hoffert and Cole relaunched Lighthouse in 1992 as a 10-member unit and have continued to tour, appearing on the Moody Blues' Cruise Ship event in 2014. - AP, 8/31/17...... British singer-songwriter and guitarist Michael "Mick" Softley, a figurehead during the Sixties British folk scene who worked with performers such as Donovan, Mac MacLeod and Maddy Prior, died on Sept. 1. He was 78. Donovan covered two of Softley's songs ("Goldwatch Blues" and "The War Drags On") on his early recordings. - 8/31/17.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Rolling Stones have released a lyric video for their 1967 song "2000 Light Years From Home" in advance of the upcoming 50th anniversary reissue of their classic dark psychedelic masterpiece LP, Her Satanic Majesties Request. The Stones themselves are not featured in the clip, however it features all the touchstones of the era, from a floating yogi, dancing mushrooms, groovy space ships, and doors that open new worlds of perception. The Her Satanic Majesties Request reissue arrives on Sept. 22 as a box set with both stereo and mono version of the album on vinyl and a hybrid super audio CD along with a 20-page book with new liner notes. - Billboard, 8/30/17...... PrinceThe sister of late rock icon Prince, Tyka Nelson, has told Britain's Evening Standard paper in a new interview that her famous brother's favorite color was actually orange -- not purple. "The stand out piece for me is his orange Cloud guitar," Nelson said about a Prince memorabilia auction earlier in August. "It is strange because people always associate the colour purple with Prince, but his favourite colour was actually orange." A cursory search of images of Prince could bear Nelson's assertion out, as he appeared in a sparkling orange tunic at the 2016 Grammy awards, in an all-orange suit from his legendary 2007 Super Bowl performance, in orange with an orange guitar during a Las Vegas residency in 2006, and in orange wear at the 2006 BET Awards and the 2012 iHeartRadio festival. The shocking claim comes as Spotify erected several simple all-purple billboards earlier this to promote the addition of his catalog to their streaming library, and more recently the Pantone Color Institute partnering with the Prince estate to create a new custom shade of purple in his honor. - Spin.com, 8/29/17...... On Aug. 24, David Bowie reached another posthumous milestone -- the 1 billionth stream of the late rocker's catalogue on the Spotify streaming service. Bowie reached the benchmark with his 1977 classic "Heroes" leading the way as his most-streamed solo track of all time on the popular subscription platform. "Heroes", originally recorded in English, French and German, is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2017 and will enjoy a special limited edition picture disc release in September. Also coming that month is the latest in a series of career-spanning Bowie box sets, A New Career in a New Town, which covers the years 1977-1982. Bowie passed away on Jan. 10 of cancer, two days after the release of his final album, Blackstar, which became his first No. 1 album in the US. - Billboard, 8/29/17...... The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced on Aug. 28 that the upcoming New York Film Festival will include the debut of a new Bob Dylan documentary titled Trouble No More. The concert film, directed by Jennifer Lebeau, features long-lost footage from Dylan's '79-'80 tour. Also premiering will be a new doc about the career of Jaws director Steven Spielberg directed by Susan Lacy and featuring interviews with his fellow directors Francis Coppola, Brian De Palma, George Lucas and Martin Scorsese. The 55th New York Film Festival, also showcasing new films from Woody Allen, Todd Haynes and Richard Linklater, is set to run Sept. 28-Oct. 15 at Lincoln Center. - The Hollywood Reporter, 8/28/17...... Ronnie Van ZantOn Aug. 28, a U.S. District Court judge issued an extraordinary injunction banning the release of Street Survivor, a new documentary about the 1977 plane crash that killed Lynyrd Skynyrd members Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines. The injunction is the result of a lawsuit brought by heirs of Van Zant and Gaines, along with Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington, who sued the film production company Cleopatra and alleged that former Synyrd drummer Artimus Pyle assisted the making of the movie in violation of his agreements that the band survivors never use the name Lynyrd Skynyrd again. "Cleopatra is prohibited from making its movie about Lynyrd Skynyrd when its partner substantively contributes to the project in a way that, in the past, he willingly bargained away the very right to do just that," Judge Robert Sweet opined. "In any other circumstance, Cleopatra would be as 'free as a bird' to make and distribute its work," he added, making reference to the band's signature tune, "Freebird." The filmmakers argued that Street Survivor didn't and wouldn't represent any authorization from the band, that the production company wasn't a party to the agreements, and that the film constituted free speech. But after hearing evidence, the judge has now sided with the heirs and ordered up an expedited trial. Attorneys representing Cleopatra said their client still intends to release Street Survivor and will seek relief from an appeals court. - The Hollywood Reporter, 8/28/17...... Michael Jackson's daughter Paris Jackson, paid tribute to her late dad on Aug. 29, what would have been the King of Pop's 59th birthday, by posting a photo of herself as an infant kissing her father. Writing in the accompanying caption, the 19-year-old remarked that she'd "never feel love again the way I did with you." "You are always with me and I am always with you," Paris added. "Though I am not you, and you are not me, I know with all of my being that we are one. And our should will never change in that way. Thank you for the magic, forever and always." Jackson also appeared during the MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 27 and called out "Nazi, white supremacist jerks" when discussing the recent violence and far right protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. "As a nation with liberty as our slogan, we have zero tolerance for their violence, their hatred and their discrimination," she declared. - New Musical Express, 8/29/17...... Jerry Lee LewisIn the late 1960s, pioneering rock & roller Jerry Lee Lewis mounted a return to the country music charts after his career was nearly derailed over a 1950s scandal involving his marriage to his 13-year-old cousin, Myra. Lewis scored several top country singles, including "What Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me)," "She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye," "To Make Love Sweeter for You" and "Touching Home," and recently a petition was started online to call attention to his exclusion from the Country Music Hall of Fame (he was among the first inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. "I don't know why I am not in it," the 81-year-old Lewis said of the CMA snub. "I mean, they got it stirred up and talking about it. I don't know why they don't put me in it. I don't understand that." And there seems to be plenty of support for that within Nashville's music community, who consider "The Killer" more of a country singer than a rock star. "You know, I was at the age that I didn't really know him as a rock 'n' roller until I got in the bar and started playing his rock stuff," says country star Toby Keith. "But I knew all of his country songs. He's an incredible country singer." On Aug. 24, Lewis was honored by top country artists such as George Strait, Kris Kristofferson, Chris Stapleton and Lee Ann Womack during the live concert series Skyville Live. Womack said that Lewis' contributions to music, no matter the genre, should make him eligible. "He's one of the greatest artists that we have ever had the pleasure of having in country music," she said. "That's my opinion and I am sure that's most everybody's opinion. I think anybody that has made that kind of impact deserves to be in the Hall of Fame." Lewis adds that "my style of country music is just me... I wouldn't know how to do anyone else's." - AP, 8/26/17..... The band Muse closed out the UK's Reading 2017 festival on Aug. 27 by bringing out AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson for a surprise jam. Johnson joined the trio on stage at the start of the encore. "He's back!" announced frontman Matt Bellamy, inviting the singer to the stage to join Muse in a cover of AC/DC's "Back In Black." "Thank you so much, thank you boys," Johnson said at the end of the song, hugging Bellamy. The performance marked one of Johnson's first since being forced to leave AC/DC in 2016 to hearing issues. He previously joined Robert Plant and Paul Rodgers on stage in Oxford earlier in 2017. - NME, 8/27/17...... Tobe HooperTobe Hooper, the pioneering director of the 1974 grisly horror masterpiece The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as well as Poltergeist, died on Aug. 26 in Sherman Oaks, Calif., of as yet unannnounced causes. He was 74. Hooper, who began his film career as a documentary cameraman in the 60s, gained fame as director of two of the most frightening and original horror films ever made. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre practically invented its own strain of evocative rural terror, telling a story of a group of friends drawn into the deadly orbit of a group of cannibals. The film, made for only $300,000, drew widespread acclaim and is remembered as one of the greatest horror films of all time. Hooper cowrote The Texas Chain Saw Massacre script with Kim Henkel, basing it loosely onthe horrific crimes of Ed Gein, a murderer whose influence would also be felt on a latter horror classic, The Silence of the Lambs. While initially banned in some countries, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre became recognized as a great horror film in that, much like Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (also inspired by Gein), most of the violence was implied as a traveling group of teens found their way into the company of a demented clan of cannibals in a Texas slaughterhouse, led by the saw-wielding burly figure Leatherface. While the film was initially lambasted for its shockingly violent subject matter, it received reconsideration over time for the restraint shown onscreen, and stands with films like Halloween and The Night of the Living Dead as pictures that helped shape the genre. Subsequent and far more violent incarnations of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series helped launch the film careers of Oscar winners Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger, along with Jessica Biel. Hooper's other classic was Poltergeist, the 1982 ghost story produced by Steven Spielberg and starring Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams as parents who move to a dream house in the suburbs, only to find it full of ghosts from a graveyard below the house. Perhaps his other most memorable credit was directing the 1979 miniseries adaptation of the Stephen King vampire saga Salem's Lot. Hooper's last directing project was he 2013 horror thriller Djinn. - Deadline.com, 8/27/17.

Friday, August 21, 2017

Sting and composer J. Ralph, who collaborated on the Oscar-nominated song "The Empty Chair" for a recent documentary about murdered American photojournalist James Foley, will be honored at The Smithsonian for their contributions to American music. The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History will acquire donations from the pair, including "The Empty Chair," and participate in a discussion hosted by Dan Rather, followed by performances from Sting and the world premiere of Ralph's new symphonic piece, "Evolocean. Tickets to the free event will benefit the Smithsonian's culture and arts programs. - Billboard, 8/25/17...... Many may not be aware that the subject of the famous Beatles tune "Eleanor Rigby" was an actual person who is buried in Peter's churchyard in Woolton, Liverpool -- where Paul McCartney and John Lennon spent time growing up. Now, Britain's The Guardian is reporting that the grave of Eleanor Rigby will be auctioned off in September, with bidding expected to land somewhere between £2,000 ($2,570) and £4,000 ($5,100). If you happen to win the auction, you could have the right to be buried in the same plot as Ms. Rigby in only seven years. In addition to the grave rights, the original handwritten score for the track will go up for auction as well -- that's expected to bring in around £20,000 ($25,700). - Stereogum.com, 8/22/17...... Bob SegerBob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band kicked off their North American Runaway Train tour on Aug. 24 before a packed house at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio. Seger, in strong voice and sporting an Olde English D t-shirt, played a 21-song set that opened with "Roll Me Away," "Trying to Live My Life Without You" and "The Fire Down Below," also squeezing in "You'll Accomp'ny Me," which he told the crowd he hadn't played in 25 years, and a first-ever live performance of the title track to his 1991 album The Fire Inside. Seger also tapped his most recent release, 2014's Ride Out, for a pair of songs, the environmentally conscious "It's Your World" and a pumping rendition of Steve Earle's "The Devil's Right Hand." Two separate encores included "Against The Wind," "Hollywood Nights," "Night Moves" and "Rock and Roll Never Forgets." Seger's Runaway Train Tour currently has dates booked through Nov. 4, with more expected to be announced. The Michigan-based rocker has been recording new songs, primarily in Nashville, but no release plans have been revealed for the material. - Billboard, 8/25/17...... Longtime Glenn Frey and Eagles collaborator Jack Tempchin has released Peaceful Easy Feeling: The Songs of Jack Tempchin, a collection of some of the most well known songs he and Frey wrote together. Peaceful Easy Feeling also features a song called "Privacy," which Tempchin says was the final song he and Glenn wrote together, though it was never recorded prior to the sessions for this album. "Glenn and I wrote this song in 2002, back when we both first became concerned about the issue of privacy," Tempchin says. "To me, it's become one of the main issues of our time, but most people haven't woken up to it yet. This song and video illustrate that point in a playful and humorous way." Dropping via Blue Elan Records on Aug. 25 and created in tribute to Frey, the album also features Tempchin's covers of some of his most famous songs as well as other previously unreleased material. Tempchin has also premeired a new video for "Privacy." - Billboard, 8/25/17...... A moving version of Glen Campbell's 1968 hit "Wichita Lineman" was played by its composer, longtime Campbell collaborator Jimmy Webb, during a memorial to the late Campbell at the Country Music Hall of Fame's CMA Theater in Nashville, Tenn., on Aug. 24. Also attending were a bevy of Campbell's friends and family who paid tribute to the CMA member in an invitation-only event entitled "Remembering Glen Campbell." Webb also marveled at how Campbell -- who did not read music -- could transfer his complex chords to the guitar, while Beach Boys members Mike Love and Bruce Johnston performed a version of "I Get Around" in tribute to Campbell, who played on that and several other Beach Boys songs as part of the legendary Wrecking Crew group of studio musicians. Other celebrities in attendance included country stars Brad Paisley and Steve Wariner, the I'll Be Me Campbell documentary director James Keach, and actress Jayne Seymour, who hosted the event. Campbell died on Aug. 9 at age 81, and was buried the following day in his hometown of Delight, Ark. - Billboard, 8/24/17...... Art GarfunkelArt Garfunkel will release a new memior, What Is It All but Luminous: Notes From an Underground Man, via Knopf on Sept. 26. In the 256-page tome, Garfunkel recalls the time he met Paul Simon at Parsons Junior High "where the tough kids were, Paul Simon became my one and only friend." "We saw each other's uniqueness. We smoked our first cigarettes. We had retreated from all other kids. And we laughed," Garfunkel writes. Publishers Weekly notes the forthcoming book "reveals flashes of real insight about the transcendent power of music and the inner workings of a singer's life." - Billboard, 8/24/17...... In a new piece for Vogue magazine, David Bowie's widow Inman writes that the "outpouring of grief" from the public following her late husband's death "helped tremendously" in the months after his passing. Iman said that "the stars demanded David's presence" at the time of his death. "We surrendered a husband, a father, a father-in-law, a friend, a mentor, and all the nameless daily ecstasies that occur between people who love one another. The model, who married the late artist in 1992, added the "outpouring of grief over David's passing has helped me tremendously, though sometimes I've been at odds with it, too: Universal grieving for your life partner can also keenly deepen your own sense of all that you've lost. David gave me the most exciting, touching, and deliriously loving 24 years. Still, it was not enough" shockingly brief. And although I'll never get used to losing him, David is nonetheless hiding in plain sight." - New Musical Express, 8/24/17...... Rod Stewart is set to premiere a new version of his 1979 hit "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" with the Joe Jonas-fronted group DNCE during the MTV VIdeo Music Awards on Aug. 27 remotely via video from Las Vegas. The announcement coincides with Stewart's new partnership with Republic Records, which is also DNCE's label. "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" was first released on Stewart's Blondes Have More Fun album in 1978, then topped Billboard's Hot 100 for four weeks in early 1979. - Billboard, 8/23/17...... Performing at the Moonfest 2017 concert in Illinois during the U.S. solar eclipse on Aug. 21, Ozzy Osbourne and his band took the opportunity to play the fitting Ozzy number "Bark at the Moon" just as the skies went dark. The former Black Sabbath singer made no reference to the eclipse, instead telling the audience: "I don't think I've ever been in this part of the world before. I love you all. Thank you for coming to see me." - NME, 8/23/17...... In related news, sales of Pink Floyd's classic 1973 space-rock epic The Dark Side of the Moon increased by more than 160% on the day of the eclipse, selling more than 1,000 copies across all retailers in the U.S. In addition, Dark Side spent much of the day lodged at the top of the U.S. iTunes Store's top album ranking, while Bonnie Tyler's hit "Total Eclipse of the Heart" was No. 1 for most of the day on the iTunes top songs tally. - Billboard, 8/22/17...... David GilmourSpeaking of Pink Floyd, David Gilmour has shared a clip from his upcoming concert film Live at Pompeii. The shows at Pompeii took place July 7-8, 2016 during Gilmour's world tour to promote his latest studio album Rattle That Lock. "I think (the film) is more than any of us could've expected," says director Gavin Elder. "Pompeii wasn't the last concert on the tour, but it was the highlight, that's for sure." Live at Pompeii will premiere in more than 2,000 theaters worldwide on Sept. 13, with release on CD, vinyl, DVD, Blu-ray and digital downloads to follow on Sept. 29. - Billboard, 8/22/17...... Billy Joel, who recently told Rolling Stone magazine that he prefers to stay away from political commentary, has apparently decided to change his mind when it comes to the recent notoriety of neo-Nazi sympathizers, supporters and national "Unite The Right" rallies. Joel made a powerful, political statement on Aug. 21 when he donned a yellow Star of David on the lapel and back of his jacket during the encore of his concert at New York's Madison Square Garden. Joel wearing the symbol comes less than a week after the deadly White Nationalist protest in Charlottesville, Va., which left three dead, and Pres. Donald Trump's controversial remarks following the tragedy. - Billboard, 8/22/17...... The judge overseeing the estate of Prince has appointed a second special administrator to investigate whether anyone should be held liable for the cancellation of its $31 million recorded-music deal with Universal Music Group. The new administrator, Peter Gleekel and his law firm Larson King LLC, is tasked with evaluating whether the estate has a "reasonable basis" to pursue a claim against any entity or individual connected with the July rescission of the deal, and whether it's in the estate's best interest to pursue such a claim. Meanwhile, a secret vault that contains hundreds of hours of unreleased music by Prince will reportedly be unlocked in order to maintain his legacy. Prince's sister Tyka Nelson claimed her late brother had always intended for his fans to hear the music contained within the vault, which is situated at his Paisley Park home. "It was always Prince's plan to release those songs. I want what Prince wants. We have to preserve everything. So as soon as we can release it, don't worry -- we sure will," Tyka told the UK publication The Sun. Along with unreleased demos and new versions of classic Prince tracks, the vault is said to also contain extensive concert footage and live recordings. On Aug. 21, it was also announced that a Prince exhibition featuring rare and iconic items from the singer's life will open in London later in 2017. The exhibition will include guitars, stage costumes, jewellery and items from iconic tours such as Purple Rain in 1984 and LoveSexy in 1988. Opening on October 27 at the O2 in London, the Prince exhibition will run for 21 days. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 8/22/17...... Bootsy CollinsFormer Parliament-Funkadelic member Bootsy Collins will release his first new album in six years, World Wide Funk, on Oct. 27 via Mascot Records. Contributors to the 15-song LP come from across the musical spectrum, including jazz-funk greats like Victor Wooten and Stanley Clark to old school MCs Doug E. Fresh, Big Daddy Kane and Chuck D. Collins was one of the main songwriters and charismatic stars of George Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic in the 1970s, where he was heavily involved in iconic albums like 1975's Mothership Connection and 1976's The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein. - Billboard, 8/24/17...... Albert "Sonny" Burgess, an early pioneer of the rockabilly genre, died on Aug. 18 in his hometown of Little Rock, Ark. He was 88. Mr. Burgess was among a group of singers in the mid-1950s who mixed rhythm and blues with country and western music. The sound became known as rockabilly and included Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. Mr. Burgess eventually signed with Sun Records in Memphis, where Presley, Cash and Lewis were among the artists under contract. He was later inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. - AP, 8/21/17...... Bruce Forsyth, a legendary British entertainer, host and quizmaster on English television whose career spanned the history of TV, died on Aug. 18 at his home in England. He was 89. Dapper and mustachioed, with a toothy smile and cheeky charm, Mr. Forsyth was a television presence for 75 years in such shows as Play Your Cards Right, The Price is Right and The Generation Game, earning him recognition by Guinness World Records in 2012 for having had the longest on-screen television career for a male entertainer. More recently, Mr. Forsyth co-hosted Strictly Come Dancing, a popular dance competition that premiered on BBC One in 2004 and where he delivered such crowd-pleasing catchphrases as "Nice to see you, to see you nice" and "Give us a whirl!" He retired from the program in 2013. Mr. Forsyth was knighted in 2011. - AP, 8/20/17.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Jerry LewisJerry Lewis, an American comedy and film legend who dominated show business with his "straight man" singing partner Dean Martin in the 1950s before going on to star in, write and direct dozens of classic movies on his own, died on Aug. 20 at his home in Las Vegas after battling numerous health problems in recent years. He was 91. Born Joseph Levitch on March 16, 1926, in Newark, N.J., to professional entertainers, Mr. Lewis made his debut at age 5 at a hotel in the Borscht Belt, the legendary upstate New York venue, by singing "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" He dropped out of high school and, while working as a soda jerk and theater usher, cultivated a comedy routine, in which he mimed phonograph records. In July 1946, Mr. Lewis teamed up with Italian-American crooner Martin, who was nine years his elder. Their ad libs, including insults and off-the-wall jokes, were a sensation,and their salaries skyrocketed from $250 a week to $5,000. Playing up their physical and personality contrasts -- Mr. Lewis' monkeyshines and ineptitude against straight man Martin's sedate, sexy charm -- the duo became overwhelmingly successful, catching the attention of Paramount Pictures producer Hal B. Wallis, who signed the team to a contract with Paramount and produced their first film, My Friend Irma, in supporting roles in 1949 which became a hit. Martin & Lewis made a total of 16 films together as headliners, including At War With the Army (1950), Sailor Beware (1952), The Caddy (1953), Living It Up (1954) and You're Never Too Young (1955), before Martin became tired of Mr. Lewis getting most of the attention, and the pair made their final appearance together at New York's Copacabana club on July 25, 1956, ten years to the day they formed their team. The feud that developed did not publicly end until the MDA telethon of 1976, when Frank Sinatra surprised longtime host Mr. Lewis by bringing Martin onstage. Martin died in 1995. Mr. Lewis then signed a $10 million deal with Paramount for 14 films during a seven-year period, and he formed his own production company. Mr. Lewis found his first solo starring role in The Delicate Delinquent (1957) and quickly followed with a string of hits: The Sad Sack (1957), Rock-a-Bye Baby (1958), The Geisha Boy (1958), Don't Give Up the Ship (1959) and The Bellboy, the latter a slew of blackout gags he concocted around the Miami's Fontainebleau Hotel. Mr. Lewis' string of hits continued with Cinderfella (1960) and The Errand Boy (1961), but it was 1963's The Nutty Professor that cemented his reputation. Directing himself, Mr. Lewis starred as a near-sighted professor and chemistry egghead who dazzles his coeds by becoming the ultra-cool pop singer Buddy Love. The movie also served as the basis for Eddie Murphy's retooled remake in 1996, with Murphy taking over the nerdy professor role, this time turning into a sharp-tongued comedian. (Murphy presented Mr. Lewis with the Hersholt trophy at the 2009 Oscars.) Jerry LewisAfter that, his films dropped drastically at the box office, and he experienced his greatest disappointment on TV in 1963 when his two-hour Saturday night talk and variety show didn't click with the socially-conscious mid-1960s era. However, his popularity remained intact in France, which became something of a running gag. For 13 years, Mr. Lewis later admitted, he also was addicted to the painkilling drug Percodan, which was prescribed for treatment of a chipped spinal column he received while doing a pratfall in 1965 on The Andy Williams Show. His controversial 1972 film The Day the Clown Cried -- a drama set inside a Nazi concentration camp -- was never released, although he donated a copy to the Library of Congress in August 2015, with the agreement the film not be shown for a decade. In 1980, after an absence of nearly 10 years from the screen, Mr. Lewis attempted a comeback with the film Hardly Working. More successfully, he followed with a straight role as a talk-show host stalked by an obsessive fan in Martin Scorsese's The King of Comedy (1982), starring Robert De Niro. Mr. Lewis' dramatic performance as a beleaguered TV star was critically lauded. Mr. Lewis most recently appeared in such films as Cookie (1989), Arizona Dream (1993), Funny Bones (1995) and Max Rose (2016), and he played opposite Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood in The Trust (2016). He performed a cameo as himself in Billy Crystal's Mr. Saturday Night (1992) and guest-starred on a 2006 episode of Law & Order: SVU. In 1991, he was presented with the Comic Life Achievement Award at the National Academy of Cable Programming's ACE Awards. The American Comedy Awards gifted him with a lifetime achievement award in 1998. And the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. presented him with its career achievement honor in 2004. When Mr. Lewis was 18, he met singer Patti Palmer, and they wed 10 days later. During their marriage, which lasted from 1944-82, they had five sons, including '60s pop singer Gary Lewis and adopted another child. His youngest, Joseph, became a drug addict and committed suicide in 2009 at age 45. Mr. Lewis also was known for his efforts as national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Assn. He devoted more than a half-century to fighting the neuromuscular disease, hosting an annual Labor Day telethon -- and raising nearly $2.5 billion -- from 1955 until he was ousted before the 2011 telecast. Mr. Lewis was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 for his efforts. Mr. Lewis' health ailments over the years included open-heart surgery in 1983, surgery for prostate cancer in 1992, treatment for his dependence on prescription drugs in 2003, a heart attack in 2006 and a long bout with pulmonary fibrosis, a chronic lung disease for which he took Prednisone, causing his face and body to balloon. He reportedly died at 9:15 a.m. at his home in Las Vegas, surrounded by family and friends. - The Hollywood Reporter, 8/20/17.

Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler, who followed up her 1978 No. 3 single "It's a Heartache" with an even bigger hit called "Total Eclipse of the Heart" in 1983, will be singing the latter song during the total solar eclipse that is due to take place in the US on Aug. 21, 2017. Tyler is booked as a special guest for a few days of the week-long Oasis Of The Seas cruise, which sails from Orlando, Fla., to the Caribbean on Aug. 20. The Royal Caribbean vessel will reportedly be positioned in "the path of totality" so Tyler's performance will coincide with those aboard as they view the eclipse, which will be the first solar eclipse in the U.S. since 1979. "It's going to be so exciting. It doesn't happen very often, does it?," Tyler told Time magazine. Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" was the No. 1 single in the U.S. for four weeks in 1983. She will be backed by Joe Jonas' band DNCE for the performance. - New Musical Express, 8/16/17...... Olivia Newton-John has updated fans in a new video following the return of her breast cancer, which led her to postpone her tour in May. "I'd like to express my gratitude to all of you who sent such kind and loving messages of support over the past few months," Olivia said in a new clip posted to Facebook. "Your prayers and well wishes have truly helped me, and continued to lift my spirits. I'm feeling great, and so look forward to seeing you soon," she added. The "I Honestly Love You" singer, who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, then focused on the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre named in her honor and its new "We Go Together" campaign, which raises money for research, trials and holistic care in an effort to improve the lives of cancer patients. Olivia's organization hopes to raise $1 million through the campaign by encouraging people to share #WeGoTogether messages of "strength and courage" to those with cancer, or loved ones who have passed from cancer, on social media along with their donations. - Billboard, 8/18/17...... Robert PlantRobert Plant announced on Aug. 18 that he'll release a new solo album called Carry Fire on Oct. 13, a collaboration with the likes of the Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde and folk singer/multi-instrumentalist Seth Lakeman. Carry Fire will be the former Led Zeppelin frontman's fourteenth solo album, and his first since 2014's lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar. In a press release, Plant said he spent time in Texas before returning to England three years ago and as a result, Carry Fire melds "unusual rhythms with naturalism and smoldering power." "It's about intention, I rspect and relish my past works but each time I feel the lure and incentive to create new work," Plant said of the new album, which features his band the Sensational Space Shifters, which now includes Lakeman. The album's first single, "The May Queen," mixes Plant's ethereal vocals with a driving track that is part drone and part folk shuffle. Plant will launch a world tour beginning in the U.K. tour behind the new LP on Nov. 16 in Plymouth, also playing Bristol, Wolverhampton, Llandudno, Newcastle, Liverpool, Glasgow, Perth and Manchester during that month. In December, he'll visit Belfast, Dublin, Sheffield, London and Portsmouth, before wrapping on Dec. 12 in Birmingham. - New Musical Express, 8/18/17...... Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford says his band is still "going to be playing for the next five years" and will most likely be releasing singles with new tunes, despite lowering their output in the late 2000s and feuding between some members including singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry. "You don't have to record a whole CD anymore," Whitford told Billboard. "We've started recording a new song... It's very rock 'n roll.... a musical idea of Joe Perry's." Whitford added: "We actually did some recording while we were touring Europe, and we started recording a new song. We were in the studio in London. The music business has changed so much since we started. You have to do things really differently, We could just release one song and make it available for download. It is a different world in the music business." - Billboard, 8/17/17...... An unreleased live version of Lou Reed's "Sweet Jane" can be heard on Reed's first posthumous release, Lou Reed and Kris Kristofferson: In Their Own Words with Vin Scelsa. The performance was captured during a performance by Reed and Kris Kristofferson at NYC's Bottom Line club in February 1994. "Lou was very comfortable on the Bottom Line stage," says Archive Series producer Gregg Bandian. "The audience is interacting with (Reed and Kristofferson). Lou just lets it all hang out; He's funny, he's irascible, he's sarcastic. It's a full Lou experience, and it's very pared down and very raw." The release is due Sept. 15, and Bendian says more releases will be coming from the Bottom Line's archive of more than 1,200 shows. - Billboard, 8/17/17...... A new David Bowie biography by British journalist Dylan Jones of GQ magazine called David Bowie: A Life reveals some new details of his wild "Ziggy Stardust"-era life, including the time, according to groupie Josette Caruso, that Bowie was once offered a "warm, deady body" to have sex with, while on tour in Philadelphia in September 1972. Caruso claims the shocking offer made Bowie look "white as a sheet" and said: "Who on Earth do they think I am? Why would they think I'd be interested in something like that? "Why would I be interested in f----- a dead body?" Bowie once described himself as "incredibly promiscuous," and the biography is said to include details about his sex addiction. The singer once revealed he slept with a string of women throughout the 1970s and 80s, and earlier in 2017, lawyers urged any potential love children to come forward to get a share of his £80 million fortune. David Bowie: A Life hits stores on Sept. 12. - New Musical Express, 8/19/17...... Charlie DanielsIn an Aug. 16 interview with the right-wing media outlet Newsmax TV, Country musician Charlie Daniels said the removal of Confederate statues was similar to demolition actions by the terrorist group ISIS. "That's just what ISIS is doing over at the places where they were," Daniels said when asked if Confederate symbols should be removed across the United States. "There were pieces of history over there they didn't like, they're taking them down," he added. Daniels then echoed Pres. Donald Trump's "slippery slope" argument made by the president a few days earlier in a press conference, saying "Where does it stop?... "Is it just going to be Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, or are we headed into Jefferson and Washington, who were both slave owners?... Is everybody in history who we disagree with, we're going to have to wipe every semblance of them out?" The "Devil Went Down to Georgia" singer concluded by saying "They're statues of people who are part of our history... There are people who are part of our history who were not very savory characters... If you don't like it, don't look at it.... I walk past movie posters I don't like [but] I'm not going to go over and tear them down." - Billboard, 8/18/17...... In related news, the family of late Country legend Johnny Cash are condemning a white supremacist who was spotted wearing a Johnny Cash T-shirt during the neo-Nazi rallies protesting that city's removal of Confederate statues that broke out in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 12. "[Johnny Cash] would be horrified at even a casual use of his name or image for an idea or a cause founded in persecution and hatred," Cash's daughter Roseanne Cash posted on Facebook. "The white supremacists and neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville are poison in our society, and an insult to every American hero who wore a uniform to fight the Nazis in WWII," she added. The emotional post was also signed by Kathy, Cindy and Tara Cash. - Billboard, 8/18/17...... Michael Lang, the co-founder of the legendary 1969 Woodstock festival in upstate New York, has organized the new Lovelight Festival which he hopes to bring enlightenment and the arts to an aching country. Running from Aug. 18-21 in Darlington, MD, the Lovelight Festival celebrates yoga, health and the arts of enlightenment for a family-friendly experience over a long weekend. The headliners include Matisyahu, Trevor Hall, MC Yogi and Living Light. Lang and his co-creators, yoga musician Wynne Paris and producer Kim Maddox, have made the event alcohol and drug-free and vegan. Yoga played a key role in the 1969 festival and that legacy is hoped to continue with Lovelight. Lang also says he plans to expand the festival to two other locations. And with the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Woodstock coming up in a couple of years, Lang says "We're pursuing a festival event for that." - Billboard, 8/17/17...... Randy Newman has come out in support of the Music Scoring Tax Credit Bill (AB 1300), legistlation in his home state of California which aims to keep film and TV music scoring in the state. "The studio musicians here in Los Angeles are one of the greatest resources this city has," the lauded singer/songwriter/composer said in a statement. "For more than 80 years, Los Angeles musicians have played music heard and admired around the world. In the last ten years or so many filmmakers chose to record elsewhere. Film music has suffered because of it," he added. On Aug. 19, a free concert was presented at Los Angeles' City Hall supporting the California State assembly bill, with various unions particpating and featuring Rickey Minor of American Idol and The Tonight Show. - Billboard, 8/16/17...... A defiant Gene Simmons has made his first public remarks since aborting his attempt to trademark the "rock 'n roll devil horns" hand symbol popularized by Ronnie James Dio. "I regret nothing," Simmons told the U.K. paper The Windsor Star. "Wake up every morning and let your conscience be your guide. Did you know I own the money bag logo? The dollar sign with the bag of money. I own all kinds of things. I own 'motion pictures' as a trademark. Anyone who thinks that's silly -- the silliest thing I've ever done is wear more makeup and higher heels than your mommy." Then turning his attention to Dio's widow Wendy Dio, who has said that the symbol belongs to culture and that "to try to make money off of something like this is disgusting," the Kiss frontman said: "People said, 'You can't do that.' Actually, bitch -- I can. I can do anything I want to do." An investigation into Simmon's claims shows that he does indeed have a trademark on one particular clip art-style image of a bag with a money sign on it, but his other trademark claims are dubious. - NME/Spin.com, 8/18/17...... Mick JonesForeigner founder and guitarist Mick Jones has revealed plans for the surviving original Foreigner lineup members and second bassist Rick Wills (his predecessor Ed Gagliardi died in 2014) to get together in Michigan this fall for a session that will be filmed, according to Jones, though no firm details have yet been announced. "One thing for sure is all the musicians are getting on very well together and it's just refreshing and we're really enjoying it," says Jones, who reunited with singer Lou Gramm when the duo was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013. "Lou is good, and he's kept his voice. Al [Greenwood] and Ian [McDonald] are playing the same as they did 40 years ago, basically, and it's a hoot. It's great adrenaline and very enjoyable. I think there's no bad apple anywhere in the whole thing, so I can't see any big problems." Jones is equally excited about Foreigner's current 40th anniversary run, which is touring North America this summer after a spring run in Europe. "I have to say it's just wonderful," Jones says. "It feels like the early '80s. The crowds are flocking in everywhere. Nearly everywhere's a sellout and people just want to be out there and have fun with us.... It feels like the old days back again, so it's going tremendously well. I'm just so happy." Jones, who also published the memoir A Foreigner's Tale earlier in 2017, also hinted the energy could send the band back into the studio to record new material. "It just requires a bit of time to concentrate on writing, which I will have coming up early next year," he says. - Billboard, 8/15/17...... Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley and her children, eight-year-old twin daughters Harper and Finley Lockwood and her 24-year-old son Benjamin Keough honored Presley on the 40th anniversary of his death at Graceland Mansion in Memphis, Tenn., on Aug. 16. Over 50,000 fans joined the family, including Lisa Marie's mother Priscilla Presley, for a candlelit vigil at Elvis' Memphis estate. Lisa Marie, 47, reportedly carried a torch and lit candles with those who'd turned up to remember the late musician. A procession walked around the grounds where he, his parents and grandmother are buried. Meanwhile, some fans attending the annual ceremony have complained after being charged to visit Elvis' grave to pay their respects. For the last four decades, it has been free to visit his grave to mourn him -- but for the first time in 2017, a fee has been introduced. Elvis fans now have to pay $28.75 for an "Elvis Week Property Pass" wristband to be able to walk up the driveway procession towards his grave. "I understand they are a business, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with them making money," one Elvis fan said. "But the current price-gouging situation has created so much friction, it's even dividing fans." Earlier in the week, Priscilla Presley told a British TV interviewer that she didn't think Elvis would "never have overcome his demons." I "I think that he would always have his demons," the 72-year-old Priscilla said. "Elvis was a thinker. He was a searcher. His mother had demons, his father had demons. We all have demons obviously; I don't want to make it bigger than it is. They were a close family but there was always a little bit of sadness in them." In other Elvis-related news, Graceland Holdings LLC has announced it is planning a new $135 million live venue in Memphis that will draw global stars. Also, an "Elvis on Tour: The Exhibition" exhibit is set to open on Nov. 3 in London that will provide Elvis fans with a never before seen glimpse of Presley's life on tour in the 1970's. Among the main attractions are some of Elvis' most recognizable jumpsuits and guitars that he played on tour -- including a Gretzsch Country Gentleman guitar that he used in Las Vegas in 1969. - NME/WENN.com, 8/17/17...... Cher has just released a trippy, magical new song called "Ooga Boo," a contribution to the soundtrack for animated children's television show Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh. The release comes with a psychedelic animated video, where a glamorous alien creature named "Chercophonie" (wink wink) floats through outer space with Tip and Oh, the main characters of the new Netflix spinoff based on the Dreamworks film Home. Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh is streaming now on Netflix. - Billboard, 8/16/17...... Judy CollinsStephen StillsStephen Stills and his former paramour Judy Collins are planning the release of a collaborative album called Everybody Knows, which is due out Sept. 22. The set includes a song Stills wrote for his then girlfriend called simply "Judy," as well as a variety of covers of each other's material, as well as covers by the likes of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and the Traveling Wilburys. A new Collins composition, "River Of Gold," will also be featured. "We always were friends," Collins says of Stills. "We didn't ever hate each other. We had a kind of, I would say, dramatic love affair, lots of positive and then a lot of upset because it wasn't working out. And then, of course 'Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" came along and, I mean, how can you resist when you hear that song all over the country?!" The album project led to a concert tour by the pair that kicked off on July 26 in Highland Park, Ill., and runs through Nov. 4 in Brooks, Calif. - Billboard, 8/15/17...... Grammy Award-winning singer Yvonne Elliman-Alexander of Saturday Night Fever fame and her husband were arrested in Guam on Aug. 15 and charged with illegal drug possession. Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency dogs reportedly sniffed out methamphetamine and marijuana as the two arrived on the island for a benefit concert at a school. Crystal-like rocks, which tested positive for meth, and a glass pipe with suspected methamphetamine residue were in the singer's belongings, according to court documents. Elliman-Alexander, 65, is charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance on board an aircraft, a first-degree felony. Allen Alexander is charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance as a third-degree felony. The two were released on $10,000 personal recognizance bonds, but they can't leave Guam without permission from the court. They also can't go to any clubs or bars. - AP, 8/18/17...... Original Thin Lizzy drummer Brian Downey will perform a rare concert at Nells Jazz & Blues in London on Nov. 24 with his new band Alive and Dangerous to mark the 40th anniversary of the classic live Thin Lizzy set, Live and Dangerous. Next year, 2018, celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the Live and Dangerous album. Although the LP was recorded live in 1977 at London's Hammersmith Apollo and Toronto's Seneca College, it wasn't officially released until a year later in 1978. - Noble PR, 8/18/17...... Dick Gregory, the trailblazing comedian, social critic, writer and civil activist who used his humor to break racial barriers and to spread messages of social justice and nutritional health, died on Aug. 19 in Washington, D.C., after being hospitalized earlier in the week. He was 84. Mr. Gregory was one of the first black comedians to find mainstream success with white audiences in the early 1960s. He rose from an impoverished childhood in St. Louis to become a celebrated satirist who deftly commented upon racial divisions at the dawn of the civil rights movement. Mr. Gregory also ran for president in 1968 as the Peace and Freedom party candidate. His son, Christian, said his dad died late in the evening and the family posted the following message on Twitter: "It is with enormous sadness that the Gregory family confirms that their father, comedic legend -- Dick Gregory (@IAmDickGregory) August 20, 2017." - AP, 8/20/17.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Eagles have just added four more dates to their "An Evening with the Eagles" fall tour, with a shows set for Oct. 17 at the Greensboro Coliseum in North Carolina; followed by an Oct. 20 concert at Philips Arena in Atlanta; Oct. 24 at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville; and Oct. 27 at the new Little Caesars Arena in Detroit -- late co-founder Glenn Frey's home town. The lineup will again feature Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit joined by Frey's son Deacon Frey and Vince Gill -- the same lineup who recently played the well-received Classic West and Classic East stadium concerts during July. Prior to the next Eagles dates guitarist Joe Walsh is playing a three-show solo run in Las Vegas during September and will host his first all-star VetsAid benefit concert on Sept. 20 in Fairfax, Va. Bassist Timothy Schmit, meanwhile, has solo shows booked during November and December to promote his latest album, Leap Of Faith. - Billboard, 8/14/17...... Elvis PresleyThe new U.K. Elvis Presley compilation 50 Greatest Hits is on track to hit No. 1 on the U.K.'s Official Albums Chart Update, which could help the late singer extend his lead as the solo artist with the most U.K. No. 1 albums. Presley moved past Madonna in 2016 to claim the record when The Wonder Of You became his 13th U.K. No. 1 album. Only the Beatles have more No. 1 albums in the U.K., with 15. The annual Elvis celebration in Memphis, Tenn., is set for Aug. 16, with 2017 being the 40th anniversary of his untimely death there at age 42. Meanwhile, a new Kardashian family tell-all by author Jerry Oppenheimer claims that late patriarch Robert Kardashian was allegedly embroiled in a passionate relationship with Elvis' ex-wife Priscilla Presley, and that Elvis would "listen in" on their alleged love-making. In The Kardashians: An American Drama, Oppenheimer claims that Robert fell for Priscilla after being initially snubbed by his future wife, Kris Jenner. Priscilla had just gotten divorced from Elvis after their six years marriage when they embarked on their fling, and Priscilla would get incoherent phone calls from Elvis when she and Kardashian were making love. "She would put the receiver on the pillow and let him listen," Oppenheimer writes. However Priscilla ended the relationship, explaining: "I'm not going to marry anyone until Elvis dies." - Billboard/RadarOnline.com, 8/15/17...... The Pantone Color Institute, which specializes in certifying, categorizing and forecasting color trends, has announced they've partnered with the estate of Prince to create a new custom shade of purple, the late rock star's favorite color, to pay tribute to him. Pantone has dubbed a specific purple hue "Love Symbol #2" in honour of Prince, who passed away in 2016. The shade is inspired by the artist's custom-made Yamaha Purple piano which was made to accompany The Purple One on tour before he died. In the future, the new custom color will be used in all Prince-related material that's published or put out by his estate. - Stereogum.com, 8/15/17...... Pop songstress Dionne Warwick is set to be honored with the Marian Anderson Award, named for a pioneering opera singer, during a ceremony on Nov. 14. The award is handed out in Philadelphia to "critically acclaimed artists who have impacted society in a positive way." Anderson was the first black singer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera. Warwick, who has scored 18 consecutive top 100 singles and 20 best-selling albums, has supported many philanthropic campaigns, including those battling AIDS and world hunger. She's also a champion of music education. Previous winners include singer Patti LaBelle, music producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff and jazz great Wynton Marsalis. - AP, 8/11/17...... David BowieArchival footage of David Bowie, who appeared in director David Lynch's original Twin Peaks series, is being included in the Showtime Twin Peaks sequel, Twin Peaks: The Return. Bowie played FBI agent Phillip Jeffries in the original series, one of the select few FBI agents involved with the "Blue Rose" task force who mysteriously disappeared and reappeared in the late 1980s. A number of scenes in the new show indicate that the agent is alive and well, and working on a plot centering around "Evil Coop" and the infamous green ring. In an episode that aired on Aug. 14, Lynch integrated the footage of Bowie from the early episode "Fire Walk With Me," rather than recasting the role or integrating new material. Lynch also tweeted that he was dedicating the episode to the late rock star. - Billboard, 8/14/17...... In an interview with Rolling Stone, Ringo Starr has revealed how his new collaboration with his former bandmate Paul McCartney on a track from Starr's upcoming album Give More Love came about. "Well, I just called him up and said, 'I got this song called "Show Me the Way," and I want you to play on it," Starr says. "Because he is a really good friend of mine, he said he'd come to L.A. for it. It's about [my wife] Barbara [Bach]. She shows me the way. I wanted it to be very personal." "He's an incredible musician," the 77-year old rock star continued. "He's incredible at singing too and as a writer, but for me, as a bass player, he is the finest and the most melodic." Starr and McCartney also collaborated for a performance at the 2014 Grammy Awards, in commemoration of the Beatles' first appearance on television 50 years earlier. "So we are still pals, but we don't live in each other's pocket," Starr said. Give More Love will drop on Sept. 19. - Billboard, 8/10/17...... Chic principal Niles Rodgers was hospitalized on Aug. 13 over a mystery aliment which forced him to miss a concert at Toronto's Air Canada Centre on that evening. Rodgers and Chic are currently on the road with Earth, Wind & Fire for a tour dubbed "2054: The Tour," and when the tour hit Toronto the disco legend was grounded with illness and taken to hospital where, he says, doctors "are taking great care" of him. Rodgers, 64, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011 and documented his battle via his blog. In 2014, he was given the all-clear on cancer and he related his ordeal to the audience during Chic's set at the U.K.'s Glastonbury Festival in June: "My doctors told me I was suffering from extremely aggressive cancer and that I needed to go home and get my affairs in order... And I feel like the luckiest man in the world tonight because six years after that doctor told me to go home and get my affairs in order, today, six years later, I am cancer-free!" On Aug. 14, Rodgers tweeted: "Thank you all so much. I love @EarthWindFire @CHICorg all the #fans and my doctors who are taking great care of me. See you all very soon." Rodgers, who in April accepted the Award for Musical Excellence at the 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, also tweeted that this is the first gig he's missed due to illness. Meanwhile, Rodgers recently revealed that he scrapped a song he had written about Prince for the forthcoming Chic album as "it felt wrong" to include it following the artist's death in 2016. - Billboard, 8/14/17...... Willie NelsonIn related news, Country legend Willie Nelson was forced to cut a concert short on Aug. 13 after he experienced breathing problems. Nelson's concert at Salt Lake City's USANA Amphitheatre was abbreviated after the singer experienced respiratory problems and checked into a local hospital. A few hours after the incident, the octogenarian music legend, who has battled with a string of health complaints in recent months and years, took to his official website to reassure worried fans: "This is Willie I am sorry to have to cut the SLC show short tonight The altitude got to me I am feeling better now & headed for lower ground - Willie Nelson." Nelson's latest album, God's Problem Child, was released in May and bowed at the top of Billboard's Top Country Albums, his third No. 1 LP on the survey. Nelson has been the target of various online death hoaxes over the years, and he addressed them in a track on that album titled "Still Not Dead." - Billboard, 8/14/17...... Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters has once again criticized Radiohead for their decision to hold the closing show of their "A Moon Shaped Pool" world tour in Tel Aviv, Israel. Waters recently appeared on RT to reaffirm his belief that the band's performance in the country served as a message of support for the Israeli government's policies. "[Radiohead frontman] Thom Yorke is wrong about not endorsing the policies of the Israeli government by playing there," Waters said. "When they cross the picket line, they are making a public statement that they do endorse the policies of the government, whatever they say, because that is what will be reported in Israel and that is what gets reported around the world," he added. Thom Yorke previously responded to criticism from Rogers and other by posting a statement on Twitter: "Playing in a country isn't the same as endorsing its government... We don't endorse [Benjamin] Netanyahu any more than [Donald] Trump, but we still play in America." Rogers counters that "Radiohead are being so soundly criticized by anybody with progressive ideas about human rights, because they have taken that step." - Billboard, 8/11/17...... Late country/pop crossover star was reportedly laid to rest during a private ceremony in his hometown of Delight, Ark., on Aug. 9, only a day after his death at age 81. Campbell's family thanked fans for an "outpouring of love" and confirmed on Facebook that the singer was buried during a private service in Delight. "The Campbell family would like to thank everyone for their enormous outpouring of love and support... Glen was laid to rest on Wednesday in a private ceremony in his hometown of Delight, AR. A private memorial will follow," the statement read. Campbell died after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer's disease. Meanwhile, U.S. sales of Campbell's music grew 5,429 percent in the two days following his death, while streams of his songs increased by 1,430 percent, according to initial data reports to Nielsen Music. On Aug. 8 and 9, Campbell's albums sold 11,000 copies (up 2,300 percent from less than 1,000 on Aug. 6 and 7). His digital songs sold 46,000 downloads (up 7,846 percent from about 1,000 in the two previous days). Combined, his albums (both physical and digital) and digital songs sold 57,000 copies (up 5,429 percent from 1,000 in the two previous days). Campbell's top 10 selling songs and on-demand streamed songs include "Wichita Lineman," "Rhinestone Cowboy," "Gentle On My Mind," "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Southern Nights," "Galveston," "I'm Not Gonna Miss You," "Adiós," "Country Boy" and "Try a Little Kindness." On the midweek U.K. albums chart, Campbell's final studio album Adiós, soared to No. 3. - New Musical Express/Billboard, 8/11/17...... Michael McDonaldFormer Doobie Brothers member and '80s solo star Michael McDonald is preparing to release Wide Open, his first solo album in a decade. McDonald says he has been busy enough that he hasn't felt that passage of time. "Time seems to fly, especially as you get to be my age now. But it has been a while," he says. McDonald actually started working on demos for Wide Open about eight years ago, letting it take its time until he felt like he had the material with which to make an album. Wide Open will be the follow-up to his 2008 covers set Soul Speak, and his first of original material since Blue Obsession in 2000. Wide Open, which he describes as "pretty eclectic," was recorded primarily at McDonald's own studio in Nashville with drummer Shannon Forrest and features guest appearances by Warren Haynes, Robben Ford, Branford Marsalis and Marcus Miller. McDonald says he will be touring to support Wide Open into the fall, including an appearance on PBS' Soundstage. - Billboard, 8/10/17...... In 1973, masked men abducted the 16-year-old grandson of J. Paul Getty -- then the richest man in the world -- off the streets of Rome. But director Ridley Scott says his upcoming film All the Money in the World will focus less on the crime than on the behind-the-scenes drama. The oil tycoon, played by Kevin Spacey, prioritizes his fortune, while the boy's mother (Michelle Williams) pairs with an ex-CIA agent (Mark Wahlberg) to save her child. "I knew about the kidnapping, but this story was very, very provocative," Scott says of David Scarpa's script. All the Money in the World hits U.S. cinemas on Dec. 8. - Entertainment Weekly, 8/14/17.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Carlos Santana and his band paid tribute to late country music icon Glen Campbell during a concert on Aug. 9 in suburban Detroit by performing a stylized version of his Grammy-winning 1967 single "By The Time I Get To Phoenix." "That was for a brother that went home. That was for Glen Campbell," Santana told the audience at the Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre in Sterling Heights, then joking it was "'By The Time I Get To Tijuana'"... I think it was Phoenix. Anyway, that's a tribute to Glen Campbell." Campbell, who passed away on Aug. 8 at the age of 81 after several years battling Alzheimer's disease, has also been remembered by Beach Boys members Mike Love and Brian Wilson. Campbell toured with the Beach Boys as a replacement for Wilson briefly in 1964, and Love said in a Facebook post that he's "never met a more talented person in all the years we have been in the music business and never had a better time on tour than the time spent with Glen... His sense of humor was incredible and we never laughed so much as when he was with us." Wilson tweeted on Aug. 8 that "I'm very broken up to hear about my friend Glen Campbell. An incredible musician and an even better person. I'm at a loss. Love & Mercy." Country music superstar Brad Paisley said in an interview that he thought Campbell "brought a lot of people to country music because he was just so palatable... That shouldn't be mistaken for saccharine in any way because it was not anything but brilliant." Songwriter Jimmy Webb, Campbell's longtime friend and collaborator, said: "Let the world note that a great American influence on pop music, the American Beatle, the secret link between so many artists and records that we can only marvel, has passed and cannot be replaced.... You have to look hard for a bad song on a Glen Campbell album. He was giving people their money's worth before it became fashionable." - Billboard, 8/9/17...... Steve MorseDeep Purple has just embarked on what they've dubbed The Long Goodbye Tour, which will see the hard rock icons playing at least 65 dates around Europe, North America and South America. The tour will be Deep Purple's final tour of big treks around the world, very much like their classic rock counterparts Black Sabbath and Judas Priest have done. Guitarist Steve Morse, who effectively took over founding member Ritchie Blackmore's slot in 1994, says the band is currently working on what could be its final album and "my guitar playing is more sensitive to the music, the song." Morse adds the upcoming album will "have an awesome producer, Bob Ezrin, who we didn't have before. It was just the band and Roger [Glover, bassist]." - Billboard, 8/8/17...... Bruce Springsteen announced on Aug. 9 that he's prepping for an epic eight-week run of Broadway performances at the 1,000-capacity Walter Kerr Theatre this fall that will mix singing, storytelling and readings from his 2016 memoir, Born to Run. "I chose Broadway for this project because it has the beautiful old theaters which seemed like the right setting for what I have in mind," Springsteen said in a statement announcing the run of shows slated to kick off on Oct. 12. "In fact, with one or two exceptions, the 960 seats of the Walter Kerr Theater is probably the smallest venue I've played in the last 40 years." The rock icon will perform five nights a week -- Tuesday through Saturday -- with the series currently scheduled to run through Nov. 26 after previews, which begin on Oct. 3. "My show is just me, the guitar, the piano and the words and music," Springsteen explained. "Some of the show is spoken, some of it is sung. It loosely follows the arc of my life and my work. All of it together is in pursuit of my constant goal to provide an entertaining evening and to communicate something of value." - Billboard, 8/9/17...... Patti Smith will be among the headliners at a concert to fight climate change set for Nov. 5 at New York's Carnegie Hall. The concert, also featuring Cat Power and R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe among others, comes two months after Pres. Donald Trump vowed to pull the U.S. out of the landmark global initiative to combat climate change. All proceeds from the event will benefit 350.org, Pathway to Paris and the UNDP. - Stereogum.com, 8/9/17...... A new mugshot of Phil Spector taken in June by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows the 76-year-old music producer smiling broadly and wearing hearing aids on both ears. Previous mugs of Spector, who was convicted in 2009 of killing actress Lana Clarkson and is serving a sentence of 19 years to life, have shown him bald on top but with long, stringy hair in the back. Spector is now completely bald, a far cry from the bizarre huge wigs he wore at his two trials. - AP, 8/8/17...... In a newly surfaced letter written by John Lennon on Nov. 15, 1976 to his former wife Cynthia Lennon, the former Beatle disputes that Yoko Ono was responsible for ending his first marriage. "As you and I well know, our marriage was over long before the advent of L.S.D. or Yoko Ono | and that's reality!," Lennon wrote, then recalled the time she asked him to remarry her and have another child ("I politely told you no") while he was temporarily separated from Ono. He then said that he didn't blame her for trying to cut herself away from the Beatles, but suggested she "should try to avoid talking to and posing for magazines and newspapers!" The letter, and another one written by Lennon as an open letter to magazine editors in response to the British tabloid News of the World publishing advance excerpts of Cynthia's book A Twist of Lennon, are being auctioned online by RR Auctions. Also being sold separately by the auction house in the auction is a book signed by Lennon called Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall by British comic Spike Milligan, which was originally gifted to his friend, Harry Nilsson. - Billboard, 8/8/17...... Bonnie_RaittAs Bonnie Raitt nears the end of her summer road trip with James Taylor, the veteran singer and blues guitarist says it's one of the more satisfying adventures in her long and highly collaborative career. "We're having such a great time," Raitt told Billboard. "The two bands love each other, and James and I have known each other since I was 20 and he was not much older and I opened for him at Harvard University. And of course we've worked together on a lot of different environmental shows. I don't get to see him that much -- at the Grammys, and occasionally we'll run into each other at benefits. This is the first time we've toured together. We've been talking about doing this for a long time, and it just worked out in my schedule." Raitt and Taylor wrap up their trek on Aug. 11 at Boston's iconic Fenway Park, where both have musical roots. "There's a lot of love and appreciation" of each other, according to Raitt, who joins Taylor for a rendition of "Close Your Eyes" to close each night. "We did Fenway together in 2015, and it was so special. It never gets old. It's been really warm, and the audiences have been incredible. To hear that many people hushed quiet on the ballads is really an extraordinary thing for me. I could keep doing this for a very long time." Raitt, a longtime supporter of environmentalism, nuclear anti-proliferation and other liberal causes, also weighed in U.S. Pres. Donald Trump: "Things have gotten more absurd and more difficult and more scary and depressing than I ever even expected. Every day is a challenge. We just have to try to stay in the positive solutions and to try be active and promote what I can to make a change happen... I have to figure out what times of the day I'm strong enough to take it but not look away too much, either." - Billboard, 8/7/17...... In related news, founding Journey guitarist Neal Schon is feuding with his bandmates over the controversial 45th American president, recently tweeting up a storm about his anger over a White House visit and meeting with Pres. Trump last week by Journey members, singer Arnel Pineda, keyboardist Jonathan Cain and bassist Ross Valory. "I will remain strong and consistent with the belief we've always shared and agreed upon -- Journey should never be used and exploited by anyone, especially band members for politics or any one religion," Schon posted on Aug. 3. "I've been here since 1972 and this has always been our belief. This was with intent to exploit the brand and use the name. Journey was not there -- 3 individual members were Cain Valory and Pineda whom I found ... Tours are done all the time but it could have been privately," he added. In a tweet on Aug. 7, Schon denied that he's leaving the group over growing tensions, although he hinted that those tensions have been running high for "close to 2 years." Keyboardist Cain is married to Trump's spiritual advisor, Pastor Paula White, one of the religious leaders who participated in Trump's January inauguration. Schon did hint that he might be forming a new version of Journey, and denied that the rift is about Trump or politics, telling one skeptical fan that the group had been invited to the White House several times, including during the Obama administration. - Billboard, 8/7/17...... Michael JacksonA long-rumored 3D version of Michael Jackson's famous short for his 1983 hit "Thriller" is set to make its world premiere at the 74th annual Venice Film Festival in Italy, which runs from Aug. 30 through Sept. 9. In making the announcement on Aug. 7, the Jackson estate also said the accompanying The Making of Michael Jackson's Thriller documentary -- originally available on VHS between 1983-1990 and not available for purchase in any format since then -- will be screened at the festival. With its nearly 14-minute running time and feature film aesthetics, Thriller redefined the traditional video when it opened at the Avco Theatre in Los Angeles in 1983 for a sold-out three-week run. The short film was directed by John Landis (Animal House, Trading Places), who also co-wrote the script with Jackson after Michael was inspired by Landis' 1981 film An American Werewolf in London. This will mark the first time the Thriller short is ever screened in a cinema, something Landis says he and Jackson always intended. "But we didn't just restore Thriller," Landis added. "We enhanced it -- like in that scene in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy and the others are being buffed and polished inside Emerald City." Thriller remains the only music video to be inducted into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. - Billboard, 8/7/17...... In a recent interview with DJ John Perry of Chicago's 95 WIIL Rock, Ozzy Osbourne responded to claims that rock is dead with a simple denial -- "I'm still alive." "I'm still alive," he said, "[But] I never thought in my lifetime I'd see the demise of records. I never use the computer. It's totally changed. A lot of people steal music now, so a lot of people can't afford to do it anymore." When asked about his ongoing career, Ozzy confirmed that he has no plans to retire soon. "I think I'll do this till the day I die," he continues. "It's not a job; it's a passion. It's great. It pays well." Ozzy and Black Sabbath played their final show in February of this year, at the NEC Arena in their hometown of Birmingham, UK. - New Musical Express, 8/7/17...... In an interview with the London Daily Mail on Aug. 6, Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood revealed he refused to undergo chemotherapy after a recent cancer scare because he did not want to lose his hair. Wood said that the possibility of chemotherapy had been discussed but that he decided against it. "It's more I wasn't going to lose my hair," he said. "This hair wasn't going anywhere. I said, 'No way.' And I just kept the faith it would be all right." Wood, who underwent a five hour operation to have a growth in part of his lung removed earlier in 2017, added that he'd been surprised that he hadn't fallen ill sooner after his life of hedonism. "I had this thought at the back of my mind after I gave up smoking a year ago: 'How can I have got through 50 years of chain-smoking -- and all the rest of my bad habits -- without something going on in there?'" the guitarist said. Wood also told the mag that he's kicked cigarettes by using the "heavy duty" nicotine inhibitor Champix and he's fine now, and will be going for regular check-ups. Meanwhile, the Stones will kick off their upcoming 13-date No Filter Tour of Europe on Sept. 9 in Hamburg, Germany, wrapping on Oct. 22 in Paris. - New Musical Express, 8/7/17.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Beloved American singer Glen Campbell, whose perfect blend of country and pop on such hits as "Gentle on My Mind," "Rhinestone Cowboy," "Wichita Lineman" and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" made him one of the most popular musicians of the late '60s and beyond, died on Aug. 8 at a private care facility near Nashville after losing his public battle with Alzheimer's disease for several years. He was 81. Born Glen Travis Campbell on April 22, 1936, in Delight, Ark., to poverty-stricken parents Wesley and Carrie Dell, who picked cotton on a farm, Campbell was the seventh son, one of 12 siblings. Glen CampbellHe moved to Los Angeles in the late 1950s, where he began to write songs and record demos, and he became a sought-after session guitarist, playing for Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, The Beach Boys (he played guitar on the Pet Sounds album and toured with the band for several months following the breakdown of Brian Wilson), Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and The Monkees, to name a few. He became part of Phil Spector's The Wrecking Crew, the famed session band that played on many of the world's biggest hits at L.A.'s Gold Star Studios, creating the producer's legendary "Wall of Sound." In 1962, Campbell was signed to Capitol Records after releasing the single "Turn Around, Look at Me" on Crest Records a year earlier. His career had only minor success until he partnered with producer Al De Lory and songwriters Jimmy Webb and John Hartford. Campbell's distinctive fingerpicking style and indelible guitar riffs were the perfect foundation that allowed his warm, personable vocals to shine, and the title track to his Burning Bridges album became a No. 18 hit on the Country chart. His cover of Hartford's "Gentle on My Mind" became a top 40 hit on both the Country and Pop charts that year. His biggest accomplishments came when he partnered with Jimmy Webb in the late 60s -- interpreting and singing his songs with a striking intimacy that made them his own. On certain songs, the magic is undeniable: "'Wichita Lineman' and 'By the Time I Get to Phoenix'... it's almost as though the song was waiting for the singer and the singer was waiting for the song," Webb once said. On The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour -- which began as a summer replacement for The Smothers Brothers Show -- the clean-cut Campbell engaged in comedy skits when he wasn't performing and featured many of his friends as musical guests, including Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Neil Diamond, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Linda Ronstadt. Glen CampbellCampbell hosted his Goodtime Hour from 1969-1972, and in 1969 he starred as young Texas Ranger La Boeuf in True Grit after being handpicked by John Wayne to star opposite him in his lone Oscar-winning role. He also sang the Oscar-nominated title track. A year later, he starred as the title character in the film comedy Norwood, playing opposite NFL quarterback Joe Namath as Vietnam veterans returning home to Texas. Campbell played himself in Clint Eastwood's 1980 romp Any Which Way You Can, and also did guest stints on such TV series as The F.B.I. and, three decades later, Players -- which also was about FBI agents and was his last acting credit. In 1975, Campbell's rendition of Larry Weiss' "Rhinestone Cowboy" made it to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, as did his cover of Allen Toussant's "Southern Nights," two years later. Campbell released more than 60 studio albums -- selling 45 million and accumulating 12 gold, four platinum and one double-platinum album -- during his half-century in show business. He collected six Grammy Awards and 20 Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year in 1968 for By the Time I Get to Phoenix, and was the recipient of the organization's Lifetime Achievement honor in 2012. Campbell saw something of a career resurgence in 2008 with the release of Meet Glen Campbell, a cheekily titled covers album -- a la Johnny Cash's American Recordings discs -- featuring songs by the likes of U2, the Velvet Underground, Tom Petty and Green Day. He did a brief club tour to promote it that included a well-received stop at the Troubadour in West Hollywood. Campbell also played host to the Los Angeles Open, the PGA Tours stop at Riviera Country Club, from 1971-83, and in 1994 he opened the 2,200-seat Glen Campbell Goodtime Theatre in Branson, Missouri. Campbell was married four times, the last to Kim Woollen, a Radio City Rockette whom he wed in 1982 when he was 46 and she was 24. She survives him. His earlier marriages included one to singer Mac Davis' second wife, Sarah Barg. He also dated fellow country star Tanya Tucker before meeting Kim, which became tabloid fodder as the two feuded and Campbell battled alcohol and drug addiction, which he later overcame. Campbell had five sons and three daughters. Glen CampbellHis youngest children Cal, Shannon and Ashley joined him as his backup band on his last series of concerts, dubbed The Goodbye Tour, which launched in Los Angeles in late 2011. Earlier that same year, Campbell announced he was struggling with Alzheimer's disease and was moved to a private care facility for Alzheimers and dementia patients near Nashville in April 2014, where he passed away with his family at his side. His personal struggle with the disease was chronicled in the documentary I'll Be Me, directed by his friend James Keach, which premiered at the 2014 Nashville Film Festival and followed the singer on his farewell tour in the U.S., Australia and Europe as he dealt with his illness. Campbell released the "farewell" albums Ghost on the Canvas in 2012 and See You There in 2013, the latter featuring stripped-down versions of such hits as "Rhinestone Cowboy." Earlier in 2017, he released his final album, Adiós, which was recorded in 2012. "It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and legendary singer and guitarist, Glen Travis Campbell, at the age of 81, following his long and courageous battle with Alzheimer's disease," the family said in a statement, adding "In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Glen Campbell Memorial Fund at Bright Focus Foundation through the CareLiving.org donation page. A personal statement from Kim Campbell will follow. The family appreciates your prayers and respect for their privacy at this time." - Billboard/Deadline.com, 8/9/17.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Brad Serling, the curator of Bruce Springsteen's official live archive, has announced the archive will soon add 25 new recordings for fans to download, beginning with a composite from two shows on his little-heard 1977 tour. On Aug. 4, the archive released the 1977 recordings, which were made by Springsteen's mid-'70s sound engineer Chas Gerber from shows in Rochester and Albany, N.Y. The recordings are in mono, and comprise about two hours and 45 minutes of music all together. According to the Springsteen fansite Backstreets.com, they are the first '77 Springsteen recordings made directly from the soundboard that have ever been made available to fans, either as a bootleg or an official release. The remaining 24 recordings will be released to the archive on the first Friday of each upcoming month. - Spin.com, 8/4/17...... Neil YoungOn one drug-fueled night in August 1976, Neil Young recorded a solo acoustic album called Hitchhiker in a single session at Malibu's Indigo Ranch Studios. Although Hitchhiker's title track appeared in a drastically different form on Young's 2010 album Le Noise and most of the other 10 tracks eventually saw the light of day in some form, the original Hitchhiker album was never released because Young was unsatisfied with his performances -- until now. Reprise Records announced on Aug. 4 that Hitchhiker will be released on Sept. 8, and released Hitchhiker's original title track the same day. Along with Homegrown and Chrome Dreams, Hitchhiker is one of Young's so-called "lost albums" he made during an ultra-productive period in the '70s and decided against releasing. In his 2014 memoir Special Deluxe, Young recalled the night when he recorded Hitchhiker with his producer David Briggs and his friend, actor Dean Stockwell also present: "Dean Stockwell, my friend and a great actor who I later worked on Human Highway as a co-director, was with us that night, sitting in the room with me as I laid down all the songs in a row, pausing only for weed, beer, or coke. Briggs was in the control room, mixing live on his favorite console." The album includes familiar gems from albums like "Rust Never Sleeps" and "American Stars 'n Bars" as well as two songs that were never released in any form, "Hawaii," and "Give Me Strength." - Spin.com, 8/4/17...... Gene Simmons of Kiss has weighed in on the decision by Justin Bieber to cancel his World Purpose Tour with 14 dates to go because he has "rededicated his life to Christ." Although Bieber posted a lengthy statement on Instagram explaining the move and telling fans he had done it in order to stay "sustainable," Simmons says he isn't convinced by the explanation. Asked by TMZ.com what he thought about the tour cancellation, Simmons said Bieber needs to "get a life." "You don't have to worry about anything," Simmons said. "You're rich. In case you didn't notice, you're white. You've got white privilege b----... You have nothing to complain about." - WENN.com, 8/4/17...... In an interview with CNN on Aug. 3, Roger Waters addressed the negative reaction to his current Us + Them Tour, which exhibits an overt anti-Pres. Donald Trump sentiment that has caused several people to walk out of the show, especially in largely conservative "red" states. "I find it slightly surprising that anybody could have been listening to my songs for 50 years without understanding," Waters said. When asked what he'd say to fans who wanted escapism and not politics from their concerts, he replied, "Go see Katy Perry or watch the Kardashians. I don't care." - Stereogum.com, 8/3/17...... Marc BolanSony Pictures and other principals behind the current critical and commercial hit movie Baby Driver are being sued by Roland Feld, the son of late T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan, for failing to clear the use of the T. Rex song "Debora" in the movie. In Feld's complaint, he charges that Sony, along with Media Rights Capital, Bambino Films, and others, "failed to obtain -- or even seek -- the permission of the composition's U.S. copyright holder Rolan Feld," and that in the six weeks since Feld brought the infringement to Sony's attention, "Defendants have done little more than point fingers at one another -- and they have neither apologized nor offered to pay Feld a reasonable license fee." Feld is seeking "disgorgement of profits and punitive damages," and demanding" an order that Sony be permanently enjoined from engaging in improper exploitation." In 2014, Feld brought another lawsuit to reclaim the song rights of his father, who died in a 1977 car accident when Feld was still an infant. Feld won that lawsuit, which gave him the rights to 144 works by Marc Bolan. - The Hollywood Reporter, 8/3/17...... In July, Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters revealed to BBC Radio 1 that the new Foo Fighters album which is due in September will feature "the biggest pop star in the world," and after later carifying to Rolling Stone magazine that it "isn't Adele or Taylor Swift, Grohl told ET Canada on Aug. 2 that the star is indeed his old pal -- Paul McCartney. "[Paul] hadn't even heard of the song," Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins added. "He comes in and Dave picked up an acoustic and showed him real quick. He sat on his special drum set that his tech set up for him. I sat there with a drumstick conducting. He did two takes." The new Foo Fighters album, Concrete and Gold, drops Sept. 15. - Spin.com, 8/2/17...... After performing in Fleetwood Mac proper in recent weeks at the Classic West and Classic East festivals, band members Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie brought their summer tour behind their new self-titled joint album to The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on Aug. 2. Buckingham and McVie's 19-song show features 8 songs from their new LP, including "Too Far Gone," "Lay Down for Free," "Sleeping Around the Corner" and the sparkling "Love Is Here to Stay," which hold their own against the formidable Fleetwood Mac material. The pair also treated fans to a shimmering version of the Mac's "Hold Me," which the band has not played in concert since its Mirage tour 35 years ago. - Billboard, 8/3/17...... Donald FagenDonald Fagen of Steely Dan says that his longtime music partner Walter Becker is "recovering from a procedure and hopefully he'll be fine very soon," but did not elaborate on Becker's surgery or prognosis. Becker missed both of Steely Dan's performances during the recent Classic West and Classic East concerts in Los Angeles and New York, and Fagen admitted the shows, which also featured such classic rock acts as the Eagles and the Doobie Brothers, were a bit odd, and not only because of the absence of his musical partner. "They were fun," Fagen says. "I think it's been a long time since we opened for another band, and that was stranger than I thought it would be because I realized that a lot of the audience, probably a majority fo the audience, was there to see the Eagles, and although we have certain things in common I don't think it's a perfect fit. I'm used to the audience being mainly interested in Steely Dan, so that was a little different. But they were good." Fagen and his new band the Nightflyers -- named after his 1982 solo album The Nightfly -- will kicked off a summer tour with two nights on Aug. 3 and 4 in Port Chester, N.Y., wrapping up the 26-date run Sept. 23-24 at the Yokohama Blue Note Jazz Fest in Japan. Fagen says he's particularly looking forward to giving an airing to songs from his four solo albums, which have taken a back seat since Steely Dan reactivated and began touring extensively in 1993. Fagen added he's also begun writing material with his Nightflyers guitarist Connor Kennedy, which may surface as part of his fifth solo album. "I'd love to go into the studio with these guys," he said. "I've got some new material. We haven't had a chance to work up too many things but on the road I'm hoping to show the guys some of the new stuff I've been writing, and it'll be fun developing that with a band 'cause generally speaking in recent years the way I work is usually alone and doing arrangements by myself, or with Walter. It'll be fun actually having a band to try this stuff out on. I don't think I've done that since the early '70s, probably." - Billboard, 8/2/17...... Founding Queen member Freddie Mercury is among the 100,000 AIDS victims who are memorialized in a 54-ton AIDS memorial quilt, an enormous community art project launched in 1987 to stitch together the story of people who have died from AIDS, to educate the public about the epidemic and to raise funds for prevention, and research efforts to find a cure. The quilt spans more than 30 football fields, making it impossible to move as one unit, so The NAMES AIDS Project unstitches individual sections in order to put parts of the quilt on display at museums, government buildings, churches and schools across the United States. The quilt features other singers and musicians aside from Mercury, who notably has 29 fan-submitted panels dedicated to him. Disco legend Sylvester, rapper Eazy-E from N.W.A., and guitarist Ricky Wilson from the B-52's are also represented on the quilt. Because of the NAMES organization's efforts, the quilt has been nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, declared an American Treasure by Congress in 2005 and inspired books, songs and even a musical called "Quilt, A Musical Celebration." - Billboard, 8/2/17...... Tom WopatActor Tom Wopat, best known as portraying Luke Duke on the 1979-1985 CBS show The Dukes of Hazzard, pleaded not guilty on Aug. 3 to groping a female member of the cast of a musical he was supposed to appear in. Wopat, 65, was released on $1,000 bail and was told to stay away from the woman after pleading not guilty to indecent assault and battery and possession of cocaine charges. He refused to comment outside court before driving away from the courthouse. He was arrested by Waltham police on the evening of Aug. 2 on a warrant on the indecent assault charge. Police said that during a search of Wopat and his vehicle they found "two bags of white powder believed to be cocaine." Wopat denied touching anyone inappropriately, according to court documents, and said he flirts but did "nothing that could be considered inappropriate." The Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston, where a presentation of "42nd Street" is being staged, issued a statement saying a different actor would play the role of Julian Marsh. Wopat, who is also a Tony Award-nominated stage actor and is a recording artist, said he had played the role of Marsh about 500 times. - AP, 8/4/17...... Keyboardist Goldy McJohn, whose roaring organ solos and big hair helped Steppenwolf become a classic rock staple in the late '60s and early '70s, died on Aug. 1 of a heart attack, according to a post on his official Facebook page. He was 72. McJohn's given name was John Goadsby, but he picked up the nickname "Goldy" in the late 60s and decided to stick with it. He added Mc to his surname to honor his late mother (whose maiden name was McIntyre). McJohn and Toronto-raised lead singer John Kay were among the founding members of Steppenwolf. Steppenwolf had been considered for induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier in 2017, but was ultimately not selected. The band continues to tour -- now under the name John Kay & Steppenwolf -- with a mix of original and new members. McJohn's wife Sonja said her husband "died at home, that's all I can say," adding they had been together for 30 years. A funeral service has been scheduled for Aug. 11 in Seattle. - 8/5/17...... Australian songwriter Geoff Mack, best known for writing "I've Been Everywhere," died July 21 in Australia at age 94. Mr. Mack wrote "I've Been Everywhere" in 1959. With the Australian town names replaced by American ones, Country star Hank Snow brought the song to No. 1 on the Country charts in 1962. According to Taste of Country, the song has been recorded more than 130 times since then, most famously by Johnny Cash and Lynn Anderson. Mr. Mack was inducted into the International Songwriters Hall of Fame in Nashville in 1963. - 8/4/17...... Actor Ty Hardin, who appeared in the TV western Bronco, has died at the age of 87. Bronco was one of four successful TV westerns produced by Warner Bros., which also included Cheyenne and Maverick, with the stars of each crossing over occasionally to each other's shows. Mr. Hardin also starred in the 1969 series Riptide, a one-seasoner about a guy who operated a charter boat and solved mysteries on the side. - 8/4/17.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

After picture of a calf born on July 28 in Texas that has a striking resemblance to the black-and-white face markings of Gene Simmons was posted on Twitter, the Kiss frontman tweeted back his admiration. Heather Taccetta, who lives at a ranch in Kerrville, Tex., near San Antonio with her family, said the calf belongs to her grandmother, and she decided to name it Genie, in honor of Simmons. Taccetta says the calf and its mother are doing fine and that Genie is a family favorite and won't be sold for slaughter. After seeing the pic of the calf, Simmons tweeted back on July 31, saying, "This is real, folks! Calf called Genie is born on Texas ranch and looks EXACTLY like Kiss rocker Gene Simmons." - AP, 8/1/17...... David Crosby has shared a new song called "Sell Me a Diamond" from his upcoming album Sky Trails. In a throatier, conversational cadence reminiscent of Steely Dan's Donald Fagen instead of his normal CSN tenor, Crosby sings about trying to negotiate the perfect, "conflict-free" diamond sale, and then gifting it to worthy, pure "souls." Sky Trails is out Sept. 29 via BMG. - Spin.com, 8/1/17...... Steve HoweProg-rock legends Yes will kick off its Yestival tour during the first week of August with openers Todd Rundgren and Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy. After doing a few years of full-album shows, Yes guitarist Steve Howe says this time out Yes will be mining the group's first nine albums -- 1969's Yes through 1978's Tormato, with at least one song from each. "We're stopping on the first album, but also we're doing two songs from one of the albums, and one of them's going to be a surprise sort of acoustic song that just Jon [Anderson] and I will perform," Howe says. "We're bringing the focus to the songs rather than the albums, and I think we've got a good balance here with things that we're bringing forth that have never been played," he added. Howe says he's also excited about having his son, Dylan -- who's worked with him on many of his solo albums -- be part of Yes this summer. "Part of his education over the last 10 years has been to learn every Yes piece, and he knows virtually every one... because to him it was as good as learning Count Basie or Art Blakey -- partly because he's grown up with it, it's in his blood," Howe says. Howe added that Yes is starting to consider making some new music, which would be the followup to its last LP, 2014's Heaven & Earth. Before then, he will release Anthology 2: Groups and Collaborations on Aug. 11, focusing on his work in bands such as Yes and Asia and with other musicians. He's also started work on a two-part memoir, which he hopes will be published in 2018. - Billboard, 7/31/17...... Lionel Richie performed at the Hollywood Bowl on July 31 as his 22-date co-headlining tour with Mariah Carey hit Los Angeles. Celebrating the 40th anniverasary of the Commodores staple "Easy," Richie kicked off his set at the piano singing the song. The two-hour set, which also featured such solo hits as "You Are," "My Love," "Dancing On The Ceiling" and "Stuck on You" as well as Commodores catalog smashes "Three Times A Lady" and "Brick House," was closed with the night's most anticipated classic, "All Night Long (All Night)." - Billboard, 8/1/17...... AC/DC singer Brian Johnson was involved in a car crash on July 29 in a qualifying heat for the UK's Silverstone Classic celebrity car race. Johnson walked away from the crash unscathed after his vintage Austin A35 flipped over on the track. Johnson, a renowned car buff, was reportedly attended to by medical personnel at the scene, and was taken out of the running for the Celebrity Challenge Trophy, whose prize benefits the Prostate Cancer UK chairty. - Billboard, 8/1/17...... Stevie Wonder will be the headliner at the upcoming Global Citizen Festival 2017 set for the Great Lawn in New York's Central Park on Sept. 23. The annual charity concert will also include performances by Green Day, The Killers, The Lumineers, The Chainsmokers, Pharrell Williams and Big Sean, among others. Global Citizen is a social action platform dedicated to ending extreme poverty and other world issues. Fans can earn tickets to the event by taking part in the Global Citizen movement and completing advocacy tasks at GlobalCitizenFestival.com. Ticket draws will occur throughout the summer leading up to the event. - Billboard, 8/1/17...... Bruce SpringsteenBruce Springsteen has signed a worldwide administration deal with Universal Music Publishing Group, bringing his catalog under a single global roof for the first time in his career. Previously, Springsteen's catalog was split between Downtown Music Publishing in the United States and Sony/ATV in the United Kingdom, among others. The new deal covers all of the Boss' future work as well as his back catalog, including albums like Born To Run, Born In the U.S.A. and The River, as well as the songs he's written that were famously covered by others such as Rage Against the Machine ("The Ghost of Tom Joad"), Mary J. Blige ("American Skin (41 Shots)") and David Bowie ("It's Hard To Be a Saint In the City"), among others. "During a career spanning more than 40 years, Bruce Springsteen has amassed one of the most iconic catalogs of songs in the history of music," said UMPG chairman/CEO Jody Gerson in a statement announcing the news. "We are thrilled to put the entire global resources of our company into expanding the popularity of his music and creating exciting new fan experiences," he added. Springsteen's catalog, recorded over a 40-plus-year period for Columbia Records beginning with his 1973 debut Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., still sells well, and it helped land the rock icon at No. 3 on Billboard's annual Money Makers list for 2017. - Billboard, 7/31/17...... In other Springsteen-related news, the New Jersey-based minor league baseball team Lakewood BlueClaws paid homage to the rocker who grew up in Freehold, about 30 minutes from their stadium, on July 29 with "Bruce Springsteen Appreciation Night." Festivities included a pre-game concert by the E-Street Shuffle, a Springsteen tribute band, and the first "Born to Run Beer Mile" race, in which participating fans got a beer for each lap they completed around the field's warning track. The first runner to finish three laps and three beers was declared the winner. The BlueClaws played the game in jerseys bearing the "BruceClaws" name and planned to auction off the game-worn shirts after the game, with all the money raised going to its charities fund. "I've only met a handful of people who don't like him, and that's usually because they don't like his strong political views," said one attendee. "But I always tell them you can appreciate his musical talent without agreeing with his opinions." - AP, 7/30/17...... The Liverpool Echo newspaper is reporting that during a visit to to students at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts in late July, Paul McCartney told the students, "Sometimes the situation in the world is so crazy, that you've got to address it," and that the former Beatle has written a song pertaining to US Pres. Donald Trump. A rep for McCartney had no comment. Sir Paul is also a co-founder of the institute, also called LIPA, and was a student there when it was known as Liverpool Institute High School For Boys. The high school closed in 1985 and reopened as LIPA after an extensive renovation. McCartney is the school's Lead Patron. Earlier in July, McCartney told Australian newspaper reporter Cameron Adams that he's "not a fan at all" of the current American president. "He's unleashed a kind of violent prejudice that is sometimes latent among people," Macca said. "He's unleashed the ugly side of America. People feel like they have got a free pass to be, if not violent, at least antagonistic towards people of a different color or a different race. I think we all thought we'd got past that a long time ago." During the 2016 campaign, McCartney openly expressed his support for Democratic contender Hillary Clinton and the two posed for a picture together before a Paul concert in Cleveland. - Billboard, 7/30/17...... Don HenleyThe Eagles headlined Day 1 of the The Classic East Festival on July 29 in New York City, after appearing at the concert's West Coast incarnation two week earlier. The concert kicked off with the Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan and then the Eagles -- the latter making their second appearance with Deacon Frey, who replaced his father, late Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey. The Eagles provided a couple of well-selected deep cuts -- the sweeping Hotel California closer "The Last Resort" and funky The Long Run talkbox exercise "Those Shoes" -- but their set mainly consisted of some of their biggest hits, including "Take It Easy" to "One of These Nights." Unlike at Classic West, when Don Henley & Co. seemed to hint that the two Classic concerts could represent the Eagles' last flight, there were fewer moments of finality at Classic East -- mostly just gratitude to the fans. On Day 2 of the Classic East Festival on July 30, Fleetwood Mac climaxed the event by playing 8 of the 11 songs off their classic 1977 album Rumours that came to define their strengths as a band (and their personal weaknesses as bandmates). Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham also played a solo version of his 1987 top 5 hit "Big Love," that included his own lightning-speed acoustic finger-picking. Also performing that night were Earth, Wind & Fire and Journey. - Billboard, 7/31/17...... Sam Shepard, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Oscar-nominated actor and celebrated author whose plays chronicled the explosive fault lines of family and masculinity in the American West, died on July 27 at his home in Kentucky from complications related to Lou Gehrig's disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He was 73. The taciturn Shepard, who grew up on a California ranch, was a man of few words who nevertheless produced 44 plays and numerous books, memoirs and short stories. He was one of the most influential playwrights of his generation: a plain-spoken poet of the modern frontier, both lyrical and rugged.S hepard's movie career began in the late '70s. While making the 1982 Frances Farmer biopic Frances, he met Jessica Lange and the two remained together for nearly 30 years. They had two children, Hannah Jane and Samuel Walker. They separated in 2009. Lange once said of Shepard: "No man I've ever met compares to Sam in terms of maleness." Shepard worked occasionally in movies, but took acting gigs more frequently as he grew older. Besides his plays, Shepard wrote short stories and a full-length work of fiction, The One Inside, which came out earlier in 2017. Shepard also joined Bob Dylan on the 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue tour of 1975, and co-wrote the song "Brownsville Girl" with him. Shepard and Patti Smith were one-time lovers but lifetime friends. "We're just the same," Smith once said. "When Sam and I are together, it's like no particular time." Smith published a beautifully poetic remembrance of her late friend titled "My Buddy" in The New Yorker on Aug. 1. - AP, 8/1/17...... Nasally comedienne Patti Deutsch, known for her appearances on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In and game shows like Match Game and Tattletales, died on July 26 after a long battle with cancer. She was 73. Deutsch came to fame as a member of the 1960s-'70s improvisational comedy group Ace Trucking Company, which also featured Fred Willard, Bill "You Can Call Me Ray" Saluga, Michael Mislove and George Memmoli. She and the troupe appeared dozens of times on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson, on other talk shows, and on ABC's This Is Tom Jones, and they recorded an album of improvised sketches for RCA. The Pittsburgh-born Deutsch joined NBC's Laugh-In for its sixth and final season (1972-73) and had a regular role on the short-lived NBC comedy Grandpa Goes to Washington, starring Jack Albertson. Her other credits include Mr. Mom (1983) and the TV shows She's the Sheriff and Don't Trust the B-- in Apartment 23, and she was also a prolific voiceover artist and appeared in dozens of TV commercials, including Charmin and Folgers. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/28/17...... Famed French actress Jeanne Moreau reportedly died in her home on July 31 at the age of 89. Moreau was considered one of the greatest actresses of her time, and is perhaps best known for her role in Francois Truffaut's new wave film Jules et Jim. Ms. Moreau's personal life included a brief marriage to The Exorcist director William Friedkin, and a relationship with designer Pierre Cardin, who she called her "true love." Ms. Moreau eventually starred in over 100 films, and also recorded albums, as she had a beautiful singing voice. - Jezebel.com, 7/31/17...... Martin "Marty" Sklar, a pioneering Walt Disney Co. imagineer who played an instrumental role in the design of Disney theme parks, died on July 27 at the age of 83. During his 54 years at Disney, Mr. Sklar led the creative development of the Burbank company's parks, attractions and resorts around the world, including its ventures in TV, the cruise business, housing development and the redesign of Times Square in New York. - The Los Angeles Times, 7/28/17.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Veteran music producer/mogul Quincy Jones was awarded $9.4 million in his royalty trial against the estate of Michael Jackson by a Los Angeles jury on July 26. Jones, dressed in a gray suit and wearing a lavender dress shirt, looked at a verdict form and paid close attention during the verdict reading, said later in a statement that "this lawsuit was never about Michael, it was about protecting the integrity of the work we all did in the recording studio and the legacy of what we created... Although this judgement is not the full amount that I was seeking, I am very grateful that the jury decided in our favor in this matter. I view it not only as a victory for myself personally, but for artists' rights overall." Jones had claimed he was cheated out of royalties after the King of Pop died in 2009, and had originally asked for $30 million in damages. Prior to the verdict, the Jackson estate had already conceded Jones was owed royalties of less than $400,000 due to accounting errors, but argued that the producer was not entitled to $30 million. Since Jackson's death, Jones has received about $18 million in royalties, according to court testimony given during the trial. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/26/17...... Alice CooperAn original Andy Warhol artwork owned by Alice Cooper has been rediscovered after it was rolled up in a tube and placed in a storage locker for over 40 years. The piece is a red silkscreen from Warhol's "Little Electric Chair" series, and it was rediscovered after being placed into storage alongside artefacts from Cooper's 1970 stage show -- including a mock electric chair. Cooper's former girlfriend, Cindy Lang, orginally purchased the artwork for Cooper as a gift, but it soon entered the singer's touring collection and he, by his own admission, forgot about it in a "swirl of drugs and drinking." But it was Cooper's manager, Shep Gordon, who eventually rediscovered the painting after he had dinner with an art dealer who told him of the huge sums that Warhol works regularly attract at auction. "Alice's mother remembered it going into storage. So we went and found it rolled up in a tube," said Gordon, who took the painting to Richard Polsky, a Warhol expert who is assured of its authenticity and dated the artwork back to 1964 or 1965. Cooper says he is planning to hang the painting in his home when he finishes touring at the end of the year. "You should have seen Alice's face when Richard Polsky's estimate came in. His jaw dropped and he looked at me", Gordon added. "'Are you serious? I own that!'" Although another Little Electric Chair work by the artist sold in 2015 for $11.6 million, Alice's is unlikely to sell for that sum because it is unsigned and experts at the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts stopped authenticating works in 2011. Cooper says he has not decided whether he plans to eventually sell the painting. - New Musical Express, 7/25/17...... On July 26 a New York federal judge ruled that the Beatles are the legitimate owners of footage of their famous August 1965 concert at New York's Shea Stadium, rejecting the contention that the company of the late promoter of the concert, Sid Bernstein, was the owner. A movie of the Aug. 15, 1965 concert was broadcast on ABC in 1967, then footage from the concert was used in the mid-1990s documentary series called The Beatles Anthology. Most recently, Ron Howard used footage for his own film, Eight Days a Week -- The Touring Years. Around the time that Apple Corps -- the company established by Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr -- announced the release of Howard's film, those controlling Bernstein's company after the promoter's death in 2013 submitted an application to register ownership of the copyrights in the "master tapes" of the 1965 concert. However, the registration conflicted with a 1988 one from Subafilms, an entity associated with Brian Epstein and the Beatles. Rejection by the U.S. Copyright Office didn't stop the Sid Bernstein company from then suing Apple Corps and Subafilms in 2016 upon the theatrical debut of Eight Days a Week. The plaintiff asserted ownership and claimed that the ABC movie, The Beatles Anthology, and Howard's film were infringing derivative works. On the motion to dismiss, the defendants pointed to the acknowledgment that once the concert began, Bernstein just "observed" and had no control or input into the filming of the concert. "By zeroing in on Bernstein's contributions to the filming of the concert rather than his efforts as a producer and promoter of the event, it is obvious that he is not an 'author' of any fixed works," the judge ruled. Sid Bernstein died in 2013 at the age of 95. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/27/17...... In other Beatles-related news, Ringo Starr has teamed with Paul McCartney and members of the Eagles and Toto for a track on his upcoming album, Give Me Love, that drops on Sept. 15. "We're on the Road Again," which features bass guitar and backing vocals from McCartney, also features keyboardist Edgar Winter, Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, and Eagles vocalist-guitarist Joe Walsh. - Billboard, 7/27/17...... Ronnie James DioA hologram image of legendary heavy metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio will be going on a world tour with live musicians from the Dio tribute band Dio Disciples. The European leg of the Dio Returns Tour is set to kick off in Helsinki on Nov. 30, and it'll arrive in the U.S. by the spring of 2018. The tour is also expected to make an appearance at select festivals in 2018. Dio's widow, Wendy Dio, and his estate worked on the project with the hologram company Eyellusion. The tour will use audio from some of Dio's live performances, and the hologram will supposedly take you back to the singer's Sacred Heart and Dream Evil tours. "In 1986, for the Sacred Heart Tour, Ronnie and I created the Crystal Ball with Ronnie filmed and speaking in a suspended crystal ball effect, done with back projection, which was the closest we could get to a hologram," Wendy told Rolling Stone magazine. "[The tour] gives the fans that saw Ronnie perform an opportunity to see him again and new fans that never got to see him a chance to see him for the first time. We hope everyone will enjoy the show that we have all worked so hard to put together," she added. - Stereogum.com, 7/26/17...... Rock poetess Patti Smith joined U2 as the Irish rockers stopped in Paris on their Joshua Tree Tour for an motional performance of the album's closing track, "Mothers of the Disappeared." U2's Joshua Tree Tour will return to North America in September. - Billboard, 7/26/17...... Rounder Records announced on July 26 that Gregg Allman's final studio album, Southern Blood, will be released on Sept. 8. The posthumous LP will be the first new recording from Allman, who died on May 27 of complications from liver cancer at age 69, since 2011's Low Country Blues, and feature songs composed by the likes of Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Jerry Garcia and Willie Dixon, among others. Before his death, Allman spent his last years working on the project, collaborating on it with his friend and manager Michael Lehman, and producer Don Was. In making the announcement, Rounder Records shared a new track composed by Allman, "My Only True Friend," which Was says was "Gregg's attempt to contextualize the course of his life." "He's addressing a woman and explaining that, although he loves her and doesn't want to face living his life alone, being away on the road and performing every night is his lifeblood. If you understand this about Gregg Allman, every other aspect of his life makes complete sense," Was added. - Billboard, 7/26/17...... A new music video for the title track of Adiós Glen Campbell's final album, has been released and features the country/pop crossover star's guitar traveling across the US in the hands of loved ones and fans. His daughter Ashley is the first one to see it off, and his grandson Jeremy is the last one to hold it before a Viking funeral for the instrument in California. Adiós was recorded in 2012, a year after it was announced the ailing star had Alzheimer's disease, and debuted in the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 200 LP chart earlier in 2017. - Billboard, 7/25/17...... Cyril JordanThe classic lineup of the '70s pop/rock band The Flamin' Groovies has reunited for a new album called Fantastic Planet. The album is the first album with the two founding members of the band, Cyril Jordan and Chris Wilson in 38 years. It comes after Wilson made a guest appearance with the group during 2013 in London, which led to him rejoining the band shortly thereafter. "We showed up at the gig and came in backstage and there was Chris; As soon as we saw each other it was hugs and kisses and we were back together," Jordan told Billboard. "We hadn't decided to put the band back together, but the word got out that we were friends again and all of a sudden the offers started coming in. It was a nice kick start, and we've been going ever since." Fantastic Plastic comes out Sept. 22, and Jordan considers the first single, "What The Hell's Going On," to be a slice of what most would consider classic Groovies sound. Jordan added that he painted the cover illustration for Fantastic Plastic as a homage to late Mad magazine artist Jack Davis. The Flamin' Groovies will kick off a tour behind the new album on Aug. 22 in Worcester, Mass., with two U.S. legs and a European tour. - Billboard, 7/25/17...... Rolling Stones guitarist has posted on his YouTube channel "Ask Keith Richards" that the band will be heading into the studio "very shortly" to record their first album of original material in 12 years. When asked, "Are you inspired to get back in the studio with the Stones and do some more recording?," Richards replied, "Yes, yes, we are -- very, very shortly." The Stones' last studio effort, A Bigger Bang, came out in 2005, then in 2016 they released a blues covers album, Blue & Lonesome. Meanwhile, frontman Mick Jagger has released two new surprise tracks he says are inspired by the current "changing political situation" in the UK. Jagger says he wrote "Gotta Get a Grip" and "England Lost" in April, and he wanted to record and releae them right away. Jagger says the two tracks were the result of "anxiety, unknowability of the changing political situation" in his native England. He said "England Lost," which features Skepta in an accompanying remix, is "ostensibly" about seeing England lose in the football, but the title gave it a wider importance. "It's about a feeling that we are in a difficult moment in our history," he explained. "Gotta Get A Grip" has, according to Jagger, the message of "despite all those things that are happening, you gotta get on with your own life, be yourself and attempt to create your own destiny." - New Musical Express, 7/27/17...... Legendary composer and conductor Lalo Schifrin, best known for writing the Mission: Impossible theme, will be honored on his 85th birthday with a concert Oct. 7 at the Alex Theater in Glendale, Calif. In addition to Mission: Impossible, the six-time Academy Award nominee has scored more than 100 films, including Bullitt, Cool Hand Luke, Dirty Harry, The Cincinnati Kid and The Competition. The five-time Grammy winner is expected to attend the tribute concert, which will feature conductor Chris Walden leading an all-star big band through Schifrin's best-known works. - Billboard, 7/27/17...... Kenny Shields, the lead singer of legendary Canadian rockers Streetheart, died on July 21 of heart failure in Winnipeg. He was 69. In Canada, Streetheart's hits included "Action," "Hollywood," "Draggin' You Down," "What Kind of Love is This," "One More Time," and covers of the Bert Berns-penned "Here Comes The Night," Small Faces' "Tin Soldier," and perhaps the best-ever cover of "Under My Thumb." Streetheart formed in Winnipeg in 1977 and originally included Paul Dean and Matt Frenette, who left to form Loverboy. Streetheart called it quits in 1983 after releasing six studio albums, plus a "best of, and a double live album. They reformed in 1999 and have been active ever since. A tribute to Shields at Winnipeg Classic RockFest is planned for Aug. 29 at Shaw Park. - Billboard, 7/22/17...... Michael JohnsonSinger/songwriter Michael Johnson, best known for the hit "Bluer Than Blue," passed away on July 25 after a long illness, according to his website, MJBlue.com. He was 72 years old. Born on Aug. 8, 1944 in Alamosa, Col., Johnson enjoyed a successful string of pop and country hits in the 1970s and 1980s, with his most notable numbers being "Bluer Than Blue," "Give Me Wings," and "The Moon Is Still Over Her Shoulder." After recording a pair of albums for indie label Sanskrit, Johnson hit the big time in 1978 with the ballad "Bluer Than Blue." The song would peak at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, and top the Adult Contemporary chart. He also hit the Top-40 with the follow-up "Almost Like Being In Love," and 1979's "This Night Won't Last Forever." He recorded five albums for EMI before signing with RCA in Nashville in 1985, giving country music a try. He was an immediate hit in the genre, and his first single was a collaboration with labelmate Sylvia on "I Know You By Heart," which peaked at No. 9 in the winter of 1985-86. He topped the country chart with both "Give Me Wings" and "The Moon Is Still Over Her Shoulder" in 1987, with the latter becoming the first major hit for Hugh Prestwood. He continued to release chart singles for the label through 1989, and his final album was 2012's Moonlit Deja Vu, released on Redhouse Records. - Billboard, 7/27/17...... Bobby Taylor, the veteran singer and producer who brought the Jackson 5 to Motown Records in the late Sixties, died on July 22 at a hospital in Hong Kong, where he'd been living for the last several years. He was 83. Although Motown and the Jacksons gave credit for years to superstar singer Diana Ross for discovering the family band that made "I Want You Back" and "ABC," it was Taylor who spotted them at Chicago's Regal Theatre in 1968. The still-unknown Jackson 5 had been opening for Taylor's Vancouvers. Taylor scored minor hits for Motown such as "I Am Your Man" and "Malinda" before encountering the Jackson 5. After the group moved on from Taylor, he put out "Taylor Made Soul" on Motown in 1969, but it sold little and the company didn't release the follow-up. He overcame throat cancer in the Seventies, then worked with various musicians, including Ian Levine on "Cloudy Day." He moved to Beijing for a job roughly 15 years ago, then relocated to Hong Kong, where he sang at friends' nightclubs. His last known recording was the unreleased "Humanity," a tribute to the late rock guitarist Dick Wagner. - 7/23/17...... Barbara Sinatra, the fourth wife of legendary singer Frank Sinatra and a prominent advocate and philanthropist for abused children, died of natural causes at her Rancho Mirage, Calif., home on July 25. She was 90. A former model and Las Vegas showgirl, Mrs. Sinatra was a prominent Palm Springs socialite in her own right before she married Sinatra in 1976. They remained wed until his death in 1998, and together founded the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center, for which she was the director. The nonprofit has provided therapy to more than 20,000 young victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse since opening in 1986. Mrs. Sinatra remained active at the center until recently, raising funds and visiting with the children. - Billboard, 7/25/17...... June Foray, the voice behind several classic cartoon characters including Rocky the Flying Squirrel from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show and How the Grinch Stole Christmas' Cindy Lou Who, died of natural causes on July 27. She was 99. Ms. Foray was also the original voice of the school teacher in Frosty the Snowman, before her voice was mysteriously re-dubbed by another actress. - Philly.com, 7/27/17.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

As Alice Cooper prepares to release his 27th album, Paranormal, on July 28, the rock legend told the UK's New Musical Express that he "hates politics with a passion" and he has no desire to use it for commentary on the current political climate. "I know people incorporate politics into rock n' roll -- and I think that the antithesis of rock n' roll is politics," Cooper said. "That would be like me singing the Dow Jones report. When my parents would talk about politics I'd go into my room and put The Yardbirds on as loud as I could, because I couldn't care less about it. And now politics and rock n' roll are in bed together." He continued: "I don't know if it's fair for a rock star to tell his fans for who he's voting for. I just don't think that's fair, because he's using his popularity. What he's saying is that his audiences are sheep and they don't have a brain of their own, so I refuse to do that. The only thing I got political in was doing 'Elected' and that was a total satire on Alice Cooper running against Richard Nixon.... But who wants that job? It doesn't pay very well and I wouldn't take the pay cut." In June, Cooper announced that he and his original Alice Cooper Band will kick off a tour of Ireland and the UK on Nov. 8 in Dublin. - New Musical Express, 7/21/17...... Randy NewmanSpeaking of rock and politics, Randy Newman says he wrote a song about Pres. Donald Trump for his upcoming album, Dark Matter, but it was too "vulgar" to include. Newman says that in addition to a hilarious song called "Putin" -- with lyrics about how Russian dictator Vladimir Putin puts his pants on one leg at a time (and can power a nuclear reactor with the left side of his brain) -- the album almost included a track about Trump. "I did write about him. But the language was too vulgar. It felt too easy," he said. "The song was 'My dick's bigger than your dick/ It ain't braggin' if it's tru / My dick's bigger than your dick/ I can prove it too/ There it is! There's my dick/ Isn't that a wonderful sight?/ Run to the village, to town, to the countryside/ Tell the people what you've seen here tonight.'" But Newman said it just didn't seem like the right call. "I just didn't want to add to the problem of how ugly the conversation we're all having is, so I didn't put it out." But the singer/songwriter says he still has faith in people. "I've found that if you sit next to somebody and start talking they'll be pretty good. I've had no reason to feel differently," he said. Newman has just released the second single from Dark Matter, which hits stores on Aug. 4, called "Sonny Boy," a tribute to Chicago Blues great "Sonny Boy" Williamson. Newman tells a true story of Williamson, tracing his ascent in the Chicago music scene to his untimely end at the age of 34, and becomes "the only bluesman in heaven." He has released the song in a lyric video, a format that works when coupled with his clever and verbose style. - Billboard/Spin.com, 7/20/17...... Veteran producer Quincy Jones took the stand in the Michael Jackson royalties trial on July 20 in Los Angeles, peppering his testimony about his producer agreements with Jackson with colorful bits of music history. Jones, 84, said he considered 800 songs for Jackson's masterpiece Thriller album, noting finding songs is a producer's number one job. "A great song can make the worst artist in the world a star," he said, adding that making music requires extreme love, respect and trust. "I've never in my life done a record for money or fame." Jones, who is suing MJJ Productions, a company controlled by Jackson's estate, says he's owed tens of millions, his share of posthumous profits resulting from the exploitation of songs he produced. Jones told the crowded courtroom he met the King of Pop while working on The Wiz, and went on two produce his first three solo albums, Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad. Jones' attorneys argue his written agreements with Jackson clearly state that he's entitled to a share of licensing revenue when the songs he produced are used in films and other projects, while attorneys for MJJ argue the contracts make it clear Jones is only entitled to a share of record sales and anything he was paid beyond that was an act of kindness by Jackson. Jones says that Jackson "absolutely" did right by him creatively, but whether he did financially is open to debate. When asked why he didn't complain about his share of profits while the singer was alive Jones said, "I cared more about him as a human being than about the money." Closing arguments for the trial are expected to begin on July 24. Meanwhile, on July 21 Sony/ATV Music Publishing announced an extension of its worldwide administration pact with Mijac Music, the publishing company that owns all of the songs written by Michael Jackson. Founded by Jackson in 1980, the Mijac catalog also includes iconic songs written by funk icon Sly Stone and legendary soul hitmakers Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff. Terms of the deal extension were not disclosed. - The Hollywood Reporter/Billboard, 7/21/17...... Pete TownshendThe Who warmed up for their forthcoming residency in Las Vegas with a pair of performances on NBC's The Tonight Show on July 19. Surviving members Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey powered through a rendition of their 1967 classic "I Can See For Miles" and their early '80s number "You Better You Bet" as a web exclusive. Townshend even let rip with one of his trademark windmills. The Who's residency at Caesars Palace runs from July 29 to Aug. 11. - Billboard, 7/20/17...... After members of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church staged a protest outside his concert in Wichita, Kan., on July 19, Paul McCartney posted a meme on Twitter mocking the group, who brought with them signs and placards that said things like "MAN'S JOB: OBEY GOD" and "BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS." After the show, Macca tweeted a doctored image of some of the protestors, where someone had changed some of their signs to read "We can work it out," "I wanna be your MAN!" and "All you need is LOVE." "Thanks Westboro Baptist Church for the warm welcome!" read the post's caption. - NME, 7/20/17...... In other Beatles-related news, Ringo Starr turned 77 on July 7, and the famous drummer held a press conference at Capitol Records in L.A. where he held his annual celebrity-packed "Peace and Love"-themed birthday bash. Among other things, Ringo talked about how he almost recorded a country album in Nashville in 2016 with former Eurythmics star Dave Stewart. Starr said he and Stewart tried to knock together a few songs before they arrived in Nashville, but he shelved the idea when he had the opportunity to tour last year. One of the songs, "So Wrong for So Long," is featured on his forthcoming album Give More Love, which arrives on Sept. 15 via uME. Ringo also talked about his tweeting habits. "Twitter, that's the one I do myself," he said. "But I do it at a reasonable hour [laughs]. Sometime in the afternoon, when I've been up for a while. And I love the emojis. It started, like, thanking people for coming to the gig." Ringo added that he'll take his All-Starr Band back out on the road in October, starting with eight dates at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. - Billboard, 7/17/17...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, the infamous Mark Chapman-owned copy of John Lennon's Double Fantasy album is once again up for sale. Auctioneers Moments In Time have a firm $1.5 million starting bid for the LP that Lennon signed for Chapman minutes before he was murdered by Chapman in Dec. 1980. The album, which also features an enhanced Chapman fingerprint and NYPD crime evidence designation, first sold for $150,000 in 1998, and has had several other owners since. - 7/19/17..... Fleetwood Mac will be honored as the 2018 MusiCares Person of the Year, organizers announced on July 19. The two-time Grammy-winners are being honored "in recognition of their significant creative accomplishments and their longtime support of a number of charitable causes," including MusiCares, which offers health and human services to the music industry. Proceeds from the 28th annual benefit gala, which will be held at Radio City Music Hall in New York during two nights before the 60th annual Grammy Awards, will provide support for MusiCares. Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the MusiCares Foundation and the Recording Academy, described Fleetwood Mac as "a legendary and influential group of artists whose music has provided the soundtrack for music lovers around the world." Drummer Mick Fleetwood issued a statement saying that "it's a tremendous honor to be the first band to receive the MusiCares Person of the Year award.... We are very appreciative of this recognition." Meanwhile, Fleetwood Mac capped the Classic West festival at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on July 16 with a poignant closing set. Opening with "The Chain," the band then performed "You Make Loving Fun" and deeper cuts like "Dreams," "Second Hand News" and "Rhiannon," "Sara" and "Landslide." They closed the set with the rousing "Go Your Own Way" and "Don't Stop." - The Hollywood Reporter/Billboard, 7/19/17...... Rob HalfordJudas Priest has released a new mobile game, "Road to Valhalla," via the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The game players to use song stems from Priest's 2016 Battle Cry live album to create new songs to battle characters from Priest's songs and album art to advance through the game until they reach the mythical Valhalla. Priest favorites such as "You've Got Another Thing Comin'," "Breaking The Law," "Electric Eye," "Turbo Lover," "Painkiller" and, of course, "Halls Of Valhalla" are featured as part of the game, which was developed by Babaroga in partnership with the band, Trinifold Management LLC UK and Sony Music Entertainment. "It's like a little microcosm of that world we've created with the characters over these years that come to life in a very good way," frontman Rob Halford says. "The people that made it did a fantastic job, 'cause you don't want people to go, 'Oh, that's cheesy.' Halford adds the band has nearly finished its next album, the follow-up to 2014's Redeemer of Souls, and it's expected to hit stores in the spring of 2018. - Billboard, 7/19/17...... A limited edition picture disc of David Bowie's iconic song "Heroes" is set to be released on Sept. 22 to mark the song's 40th anniversary. "Heroes" is the latest in a long line of Bowie vinyl repressings, following the singer's death in Jan. 2016. Earlier in July, a huge new box-set of his 1977-1982 releases, New Career In a New Town, was unveiled. - NME, 7/19/17...... Kenny Rogers has invited his "Islands in the Stream" duet partner Dolly Parton to take part in his final performance onstage ever, a farewell show at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on Oct. 25. Rogers and Parton have been performing together for more than 30 years since "Islands in the Stream," written by the Bee Gees, became a pop crossover platinum hit in 1983. Rogers, 78, said it's been more than a decade since he performed with Parton for a CMT special. "I think we owe it to her to let her go on with her career, but we owe it to me to do it one more time, and we're going to do that," Rogers said after a July 18 press conference. Other performers for the farewell show are Little Big Town, Flaming Lips, Idina Menzel, Elle King, Jamey Johnson and Alison Krauss, with more names to be announced. In Sept. 2015, the Country Music Hall of Fame member announced his intention to retire from performing after one final tour. - AP, 7/18/17...... Eagles frontman Don Henley headlined the annual Oceana Backyard Benefit in L.A. on July 17 at the home of veteran manager Keith Addis, who moonlights as president of the eco-charity Oceana's board of directors. "I haven't done a backyard [concert] in a while. Two nights ago I was at Dodger Stadium. Careers go so fast in Hollywood," joked Henley. Henley performed an array of hits "spanning 42 years," he said from the stage. Others in attendance included Bill Murray, who also performed a selection of show tunes, Anjelica Houston, Mary Steenburgen, Ted Danson and Sam Waterston. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/18/17...... The favourite song of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been revealed and it is, suitably enough, ABBA's "Dancing Queen." BBC DJ Chris Evans made the claim as he recounted how a friend had been invited to a posh banquet at Windsor Castle. At one point, the DJ reportedly dropped "Dancing Queen" -- with a huge smile spreading across the monarch's face when she heard the track. Evans says she then immediately made her way to the dance floor, before telling guests: "I always try to dance when this song comes on, because I am the Queen, and I like to dance." Quite understandably, guests were taken back by the surreal occasion, with one reportedly remarking: "My goodness me, there is the Dancing Queen." - New Musical Express, 7/21/17...... Mike LoveBeach Boys member Mike Love has released a video of the classic BB tune "Do It Again." The music was recorded live during the band's performance on PBS' A Capitol Fourth on July 4 in Washington, D.C., while the video was filmed during the afternoon in the group's hotel. Featured on the harmony-heavy song are Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray, with John Stamos playing drums. Love says he considers the new "Do It Again" "a reincaration" of the original song. "It's been born again," he says. "I couldn't be happier. We just had the greatest time and neatest time together doing this whole thing." Love says that he and the band have known Pres. Donald Trump for decades, and that "he's been nothing but nice to us." 'We have fans and friends of all different political affiliations, so I don't use our stage as a place to deal with all that [political] stuff," Love says. Not that I don't care about things; I'm very much into the environment and against war. But the Beach Boys is about having fun and getting away from all of that for a while, so I don't use it as a pulpit to express my views." - Billboard, 7/18/17...... Actor John Heard, perhaps best known as the dad of Macaulay Culkin's character in the '90s Home Alone films, died on July 22 after undergoing back surgery recently. He was 72. Although his death is still under investigation, no foul play is suspected. Heard began his acting career on the stage in the 1970s before making the leap to the screen, and his breakthrough role came alongside Jeff Bridges in Cutter's Way. His other bigscreen credits include The Trip to Bountiful, Big, The Pelican Brief, Miami Vice and Modern Family, among many others. On TV, Heard earned an Emmy nomination for best guest star in a drama series in 1999 for his role as Detective Vin Makazian on HBO's The Sopranos, and recently, he appeared on WGN's TV drama Outsiders and CBS' MacGyver. Heard was briefly married to Superman actress Margot Kidder and later had a child with Oscar-winning actress Melissa Leo. He had two other children with second wife, Sharon Heard. He is survived by children John Matthew, Annika and Max Heard. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/22/17.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The first of the Eagles' "Classic West/East" summer festivals was held at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on July 15, with special guests Bob Seger, Vince Gill and late Eagles member Glenn Frey's son Deacon Frey helping the iconic '70s band through its two-and-a-half-hour set. The Eagles started their show as they had so many times before: standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a beautifully blended a cappella version of "Seven Bridges Road." Guitarist Joe Walsh then announced "We are the Eagles from Los Angeles," as if the band needed an intro, then said: "We're back, and we're back for our family, and you are part of our family. This one's for you, Glenn. You're in our hearts, and the music goes on. Let's give a warm Eagles family welcome to Deacon Frey." Frey and Gill traded off lead vocal duties on several of Glenn's biggest hits, including "Peaceful Easy Feeling," "Already Gone," "Lyin' Eyes," "Tequila Sunrise," "Take It to the Limit" and "New Kid in Town." Bob Seger, who met Frey as a backup singer in the 1960s in their native Detroit, surprised the crowd to perform a song he co-wrote with the band, 1979's "Heartache Tonight." "This is for Glenn!" Seger hollered after Henley introduced him as "one of the most beloved figures in American rock and roll music." The 23-song set also included "One of These Nights," "Life in the Fast Lane" and a two-part encore, "Hotel California" and "Desperado." Also performing on day one of the Classic West was Steely Dan, with longtime associate Larry Carlton filling in for guitarist Walter Becker, who fell ill before the show. Day two of the Classic West fest, held the following evening, featured performances by Fleetwood Mac, Journey and Earth, Wind & Fire. The Eagles will also headline the Classic East shows, set for July 29-30 at New York's Citi Field. - Billboard, 7/16/17...... John McFeeThe Doobie Brothers member John McFee, who was also once a member of the San Francisco band Clover which is best known as Elvis Costello's band on his 1977 debut album My Aim Is True and for also featuring Huey Lewis and several members of Lewis' future band, has announced he is re-recording songs from both of Clover's late '70s albums with help from his former bandmates as well as Costello. "It's cool for me. It's something I've always wanted to do," the multi-instrumentalist says. "We had done two albums for the Fantasy label that we were never happy with because we were too young to really know how to make records, and Fantasy assigned a producer to work with us who was a brilliant guy and a nice person and fun to work with but had never produced a record before. We felt like we had some good songs, some good ideas, but we weren't happy with the records. So this is a chance to do it again." Meanwhile, the Doobies are currently on tour with Chicago for the summer, and the group has also been in the studio starting work on a new album -- its first since the country-flavored Southbound in 2014. The group has recorded four songs so far -- two written by Tom Johnston, two by Pat Simmons -- with current keyboardist Bill Payne from Little Feat on board. "We're looking to get a new project going and hopefully get it out probably some time early next year," McFee says. "It sounds kinda like the Doobie Brothers; what's cool is from the inside sometimes it's hard to always judge exactly what's going on and everything, but I know that our family and stuff, when they heard it they went, 'Wow, this really sounds like classic Doobies.'" The Doobies also participated in the aforementioned Classic West concert in L.A. on July 15, and will play a Classic East show on July 29 in New York. - Billboard, 7/14/17...... The inaugural Loudwire Music Awards, sponsored by the hard rock/heavy metal website Loudwire.com, will take place on Oct. 24 at the Novo Theater in Los Angeles and pay tribute to Black Sabbath guitarist Toni Iommi. Iommi will be honored with the Courage Award, which recognizes both his musical output and his bravery in his battle with cancer. The guitarist was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2011, and is currently in remission. Going forward, the award will be called the Iommi and presented to future generations of courageous artists. Iommi's hand also served as the original mold for the official Hand of Doom trophy that will be presented to all winners and honorees. "Of all the funny things that I've done in my life, this was another one. I was asked if I would do a mold of my hand so that they could make it into an award," says Iommi. "I was very honored." Visitors to the Loudwire.com site will be able to vote for several award categories, including album and song of the year, beginning Aug. 15. - Billboard, 7/13/17...... Rusty YoungPoco founding member Rusty Young is preparing the release of his first ever solo album, Waitin' For the Sun, which includes a track called "My Friend" that pays tribute to his Poco bandmates. "That's about the band and 50 years and just talking to the guys that have been in that band," Young says about the track, which features Poco alumni Richie Furay and Timothy B. Schmit on backing vocals. "It's just an overview of the whole thing, looking back on this last 50 years -- not just for me, but for all of us. The guys have all done really well... We've been down a long road together, so I want to write about that." Waitin' For The Sun, due out Sept. 15, was produced by longtime Poco bassist Jack Sundrud and recorded in Nashville. Other members of Poco, including Jim Messina and George Grantham, also appear on the set. Young has also announced he'll be touring behind the album, as well as continuing to play Poco shows -- with details of a 50th anniversary Poco celebration to be announced soon. - Billboard, 7/14/17...... A former roadie who used to tour with Queen in the 1980s has revealed to the UK paper The Guardian that there is "other material Queen recorded with Bowie that never got released" and he was there in the studio when it happened. In June, Queen guitarist Brian May hinted that there were leftover tracks from their time in the studio around their 1981 collaboration "Under Pressure," saying "not all of what we did in those sessions has ever come to light, so there's a thought." Now roadie Peter Hince says that "they performed some original songs they did together and also covers... They were just jamming in the studio and it all got recorded -- 'All the Young Dudes', 'All the Way from Memphis' and various rock classics." Hince continued: "There's stuff with Freddie and David singing together -- proper full-length rock'n'roll tracks. Raw, but good." Queen, with Adam Lambert filling in for late frontman Freddie Mercury, will kick off a fall tour of the UK on Nov. 25 in Dublin. Meanwhile, Queen has posted on its official website that a long-in-the-works biopic of the band is "finally happening." Queen's Roger Taylor and Brian May, who are serving as executive music producers, said that Mr. Robot actor Rami Malek, who has been cast as Mercury, "has great presence and he's utterly dedicated to the project.... He's completely living and breathing Freddie already, which is wonderful." Director Bryan Singer will begin pre-production in late July, and principal photography will start in London as soon as mid-September. - New Musical Express/Stereogum.com, 7/14/17...... John LennonJohn Lennon's customized 1964 Rolls-Royce Phantom V, which is currently on display in the province of British Columbia, will return to the U.K. later in July for public display to help celebrate the 50th anniversary re-release of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. It will be part of an automotive design exhibition "The Great Eight Phantoms" coordinated by Rolls-Royce and Bonham's auction house, to celebrate the unveiling of Rolls-Royce's latest flagship, the Phantom VIII. It will join stellar examples of the unbroken series of Phantom automobiles dating back to the mid-1920s, the longest running model name in automotive history. Lennon bought the 6,600 lb. luxury car in Dec. 1964, and it was in this vehicle that the Beatles visited Buckingham Palace in 1965 to receive their Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) medals from Queen Elizabeth II. In 1967, the car was given a psychedelic paint job which included colorful bursts and swirls inspired by Romany gypsy caravan designs, as well as the zodiac. Lennon took the car to Buckingham Palace again in 1969, when he publicly returned his MBE to the Queen in protest over the British military's involvement in the civil war in Nigera and support of the American war in Vietnam. Lennon brought the car to the U.S. in 1970 and loaned it out to other stars including Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones, but tax issues caused him to donate it to the Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design for an exhibition. It was sold at auction in 1985, some years after his death, to the Canadian entrepreneur Jimmy Pattison, for $2.3 million. Pattison ran the chain of Ripley's Believe it or Not museums and displayed it there as the World's Most Expensive Car. He later donated it to the province of British Columbia for display. - Billboard, 7/12/17...... Country music legend Loretta Lynn, who was was hospitalized in May after she suffered a stroke, has announced she is canceling her summer tour and postponing a new album as she recovers from her illness. "My new album, Wouldn't It Be Great, was originally scheduled to come in August this year. I now want to wait to release it next year because this record is so special for me," Lynn said in a statement. "I'm just letting everybody know that Willie [Nelson] ain't dead yet and neither am I, and I can't wait to see all of you on the road!" - Stereogum.com, 7/12/17...... Jimmy Cliff'70s reggae legend Jimmy Cliff has premiered the video for "Life," his latest single. Shot in his native Kingston, Jamaica, the video includes residents of different ages singing, playing dominoes and celebrating "Life" with the ever-youthful Cliff. "Shooting the 'Life' video there was like walking back in time, I grew up in west Kingston and many of the producers from back when I started out were around those areas," Cliff says. "Going back there now, everybody knew me, everybody put their best into the video so there was a lot of excitement and I really felt great shooting the video there," he added. "Life" is taken from Cliff's forthcoming album, which he describes as "socio-political, inspirational or about relationships." "The album actually reminds me of The Harder They Come because these are the kinds of songs you either need to write a movie to or find a movie for," says Zoe K. Espitia of Zojak Worldwide Records. "I have never heard anything like it." - Billboard, 7/12/17...... A rare collection of unreleased Michael Jackson songs are set to be auctioned in a public sale of rock and pop memorabilia starting July 19. Jackson's unreleased songs, which are said to be of "master quality," will be part of the Gotta Have Rock and Roll online sale, which will also include items from Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, Beyonc, the Rolling Stones and U2. Lot #236 ("Michael Jackson Personally Owned Unreleased Last Album") promises that all the tracks are "master quality" and while the first three songs ("Monster," "Breaking News" and "Stay") have been released before with different mixes on the 2010 posthumous album Michael, the other nine songs are reported to be previously unreleased. According to Rolling Stone, organizers said they expect the final bid to potentially reach $1 million, though the owner will not have rights to the songs and cannot distribute or reproduce them. Other Jackson items in the auction include a stage worn and signed "Smooth Criminal" white fedora, an MJ-worn Trump Plaza baseball hat, one of the singer's teddy bears, his Star Wars sleeping bag, a "Best Daddy in the World" Oscar statuette gifted to MJ from his children, and a pair of the singer's worn colorful boxer shorts. - Rolling Stone, 7/12/17...... Actor Mark Hamill and his fellow late Star Wars cast member Carrie Fisher were named as Disney Legends during a ceremony on July 14 at the company's biannual fan convention, the D23 Expo in Anaheim, Calif. "I wish Carrie were here," Hamill said as he accepted the award. "She would be making me laugh and be off camera extending her middle finger -- one of her favorite gestures. But, she would also want us to be having a good time and not be sad." Hamill, 65, reprises his role as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which will be released December. Fisher also appears in the film as Skywalker's sister, Leia Organa, a princess-turned-general. Fisher died unexpectedly in December 2016. - AP, 7/15/17...... Martin LandauMartin Landau, the chameleon-like actor who gained fame as the crafty master of disguise in the 1960s TV show Mission: Impossible and later capped his long and versatile career with an Oscar for his poignant portrayal of aging horror movie star Bela Lugosi in 1994's Ed Wood, died on July 15 of unexpected complications during a short stay at UCLA Medical Center. He was 89. Mission: Impossible, which also starred Mr. Landau's wife, Barbara Bain, became an immediate hit upon its debut in 1966. It remained on the air until 1973, but Mr. Landau and Bain left at the end of the show's third season amid a financial dispute with the producers. The pair later starred in the British-made sci-fi series Space: 1999 from 1975 to 1977. Born in New York, Mr. Landau studied drawing at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and worked for a time as a New York Daily News cartoonist before switching careers at age 22. He had dabbled in acting before the switch, making his stage debut in 1951 at a Maine summer theatre in "Detective Story" and off-Broadway in "First Love." On Broadway, Mr. Landau won praise for his work in "Middle of the Night," which starred Edward G. Robinson. He toured with the play until it reached Los Angeles, where he began his film career. His big screen credits also include Cleopatra (1963), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), The Hallelujah Trail (1965), and Nevada Smith (1966). On TV, he appeared in episodes of The Twilight Zone, The Untouchables, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Maverick, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Wagon Train, I Spy and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Mr. Landau and Bain had two daughters, Susan and Juliet. They divorced in 1993. - AP, 7/16/17...... Director George Romero, known as the "Father of the Zombie film," died on July 16 after a battle with lung cancer. He was 77. The Pittsburgh-born Romero made the 1968 cult classic Night of the Living Dead for $114,000, thus spawning an unrelenting parade of zombie movies and TV shows. His 1978 sequel Dawn of the Dead was made for $1.5 million and grossed $55 million, and he followed that by writing and directing Day of the Dead (1985), Land of the Dead (2005), Diary of the Dead (2007) and Survival of the Dead (2009), a decomposing body of work that earned him the nickname Father of the Zombie Film. Night of the Living Dead, the story of seven strangers trapped in a farmhouse besieged by a lynch-mob posse of staggering zombies, premiered at the Fulton Theater in Pittsburgh on Oct. 1, 1968, and quickly caught on as a staple of midnight screenings around the country. But most of the profits eluded the investors because of a mistake by the distributor. "We lost the copyright on the film because we put it on the title," Romero said. "Our title was Night of the Flesh Eaters; they changed it to Night of the Living Dead." Glimpses of the man himself can be seen in many of his films, and he had a cameo as an FBI agent in Jonathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Thanks to Romero, Pittsburgh has been called the "Zombie Capital of the World" and each year hosts an event called Zombie Fest, complete with a brain-eating contest. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/17/17.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Jury selection and opening statements took place on July 11 in Los Angeles in the trial pitting Michael Jackson's company against Jackson's Thriller producer Quincy Jones. Two men and 10 women were chosen to decide how credit and money should be split for posthumous revenue as part of a royalty dispute between the legendary producer and the King of Pop's business. The fight began in 2013 when Jones sued Sony Entertainment and MJJ Productions, a song company controlled by Jackson's estate, claiming master recordings he produced were wrongfully edited and remixed to deprive him of backend profit participation. Jones also contends a 2009 joint venture between MJJ and Sony should have increased his royalties share, but didn't. The works at issue include songs from Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad and the This Is It film and soundtrack album, among others. Jones' attorney Mike McKool said two producer agreements, from 1978 and 1985, specified that Jones' royalty would come from Jackson's share of profits from their works -- and that any changes to the rate the performer received would be reflected in the producer's pay too. MJJ attorney Zia Modabber argued that Jackson wasn't obligated to tell Jones about royalty increases, let alone pass them on to the producer. The trial, which one potential juror who was dismissed described as a "tragedy," is expected to last approximately three weeks. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/11/17...... In other Michael Jackson news, a new one-hour animated adventure featuring the King of Pop's acclaimed music as its soundtrack will air sometime in the fall of 2017 on CBS. The network announced on July 11 that it's teaming up with Jackson's estate for an hour-long telecast called Michael Jackson's Halloween that will follow two millennials named Vincent and Victoria (MacGyver's Lucas Till and The Flash's Kiersey Clemons, respectively) who meet "accidentally" on Halloween night and find themselves at a mysterious hotel located at 777 Jackson Street called This Place Hotel. Other voice roles include Christine Baranski, Alan Cumming, Jim Parsons and Lucy Liu. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/11/17...... Roger WatersIconoclastic former Pink Floyd principal Roger Waters has been receiving a less than enthusiastic reception in some cities in the southern US as he displays unflattering images of US Pres. Donald Trump on his Is This the Life We Really Want? summer tour. On July 8 as the tour arrived in New Orleans -- Waters' first performance in the Crescent City since Pink Floyd played there in 1970 -- the musician was booed as a procession of profane images of Pres. Trump filled massive screens as he performed "Pigs (Three Different Ones)," including a baby with the face of Trump being held aloft by Russian president Vladimir Putin and Trump as a statue with an exceptionally small penis. The parade continued for several minutes, followed by examples of infamous Trump quotes, and even carried over into the next song, "Money." Some fans not only booed, but walked out of the show, which also happened the previous evening when Waters gave fans in Houston, Tex., a dose of his trademark anti-authoritarianism. Waters released Is This the Life We Really Want? via Columbia on June 2, and kicked off his two-hours-plus tour on May 26 in Kansas City. - Spin.com, 7/11/2017...... More details have been revealed on Ringo Starr's forthcoming solo effort Give More Love, which the former Beatle announced on his 77th birthday, July 7. "We're On the Road Again," the album's opener, was co-written by Starr and former Toto member Steve Lukather. It features vocal contributions from Paul McCartney (who also contributes bass), along with Edgar Winter and Joe Walsh, while a recently rediscovered version of "Back Off Boogaloo" features Jeff Lynne. Meanwhile, Ringo held his annual birthday Peace and Love event on July 7 in front of the Capitol Tower in Los Angeles. Friends on hand included Walsh, Winter and filmmaker David Lynch. - Billboard, 7/7/17...... Debby BoonePat BooneAs Debby Boone's record-setting Billboard chart hit "You Light Up My Life" celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2017, the 60-year-old singer and her equally famous dad, 83-year-old '50s pop crooner Pat Boone, will commemorate the occasion by performing a duet version of the song on Aug. 11 at an event dubbed "Icons of Aging." While performing with her dad is rare, Debby says she still sings "You Light Up My Life" regularly. "The lyrics are transcending," she says. "Couples use it as their wedding song, parents say it reminds them of their children and some say it has a religious meaning for them." Although the mellow love song from her first solo album helped her snag a Best New Artist Grammy in 1977 and topped the charts for 10 straight weeks, Boone says she doesn't relate to a lot of music that is racking up Grammy wins nowadays. "Times have changed. Songs that are hits now would never be hits in 1977. I remember driving my kids to school at 8 a.m. and hearing these really sexual lyrics," she says. "But I don't lament the good old days. I'm not a curmudgeon. My kids turned out great. Maybe I'll be horrified all over again when my grandkids listen to those lyrics." Boone and her octogenarian dad, who says he's "as healthy as I was at 20," will be performing in La Mirada, Calif., on Aug. 11 on behalf of the Season of Life Conference series founded by gerontologist Di Patterson. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/7/17...... Mick Jagger has recently been collaborating in the studio with musician Skepta, with the grime hero posting the photo of himself with the Rolling Stones' frontman to Instagram. There was no information as to whether it would be for Sketpa's own new material, a new Stones record, or a completely separate project entirely. - New Musical Express, 7/10/17...... Debbie HarryBlondie's summer co-headlining tour with the alternative band Garbage hit the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on July 9, with the iconic New Wave band playing a 13-song, 70-minute set that opened with the hits "One Way or Another" and "Hanging on the Telephone." Frontwoman Debbie Harry, who did those two songs wearing an elaborate bee mask (the tour is themed to their new album Pollinator), also sported a long-tailed robe with block letters instructing "STOP F----ING THE PLANET" and species-checked "our beautiful friends the bees." Blondie encored with the inspirational closer "Dreaming," Harry's paean to finding a path to love and stardom with Blondie guitarist Chris Stein. - Billboard, 7/10/17...... Court documents filed by late Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher on July 8 reveal that Fisher's daughter Billie Lourd will inherit her mother's $18 million estate, which includes her home, personal belongings, and money. The estate of Fisher, who died of sleep apnea after suffering a heart attack on Dec. 27, 2016, is currently up for auction. Lourd, 24, was named as the main benificiary of the estate, which also includes several bank accounts, a 2016 Tesla S automobile, full ownership of several LLCs and a life insurance policy. Lourd, also an actress, will also become the owner of her mother's personal and household items including jewellery, artwork and collectibles, and have full rights over any posthumous royalties from her late mother's books, trademarks and copyrights. Personal items of Fisher's will go under the hammer in September in an auction, which is being organized by Profiles in History in Hollywood. - WENN.com, 7/8/17...... Suzi QuatroA new 20-track digitally remastered compilation from '70s rocker Suzi Quatro, The Best of Suzi Quatro: Legend, will drop on Sept. 22 via Chrysalis Records. Personally curated by Quatro, the release will feature her four RAK studio albums originally released between 1975 and 1979, Your Momma Won't Like Me, Aggr-Phobia, If You Knew Suzi and Suzi and Other Four Letter Words. "I'm excited about my new compilation," Quatro said in a statement. "It's not just the hits, which I love, but it also features favourite and important tracks from my albums, with an extensive track by track on the liner notes. Enjoy one and all." The collection will also be available on gold-colored double vinyl and digital formats. - Noble PR, 7/12/17...... South African jazz musician Ray Phiri, best known to pop fans for performing on Paul Simon's Graceland tour in 1988, died of cancer on July 12. He was 70. Phiri, a vocalist and guitarist known for his versatility in jazz fusion, indigenous South African rhythms and other styles, received many music awards in his home country. His death was met with nationwide tributes. "He was a musical giant. This is indeed a huge loss for South Africa and the music industry as a whole," President Jacob Zuma said in a statement. Phiri also founded the band Stimela, which released the albums Fire, Passion and Ecstasy and Look, Listen and Decide, and contributed guitar work to Simon's Graceland album. The album evolved from Simon's interest in indigenous South African music. - AP, 7/12/17...... Jay Morgenstern, a longtime music publisher and former ASCAP board vice chairman, passed away of natural causes on July 4. He was 87. Before retiring, Mr. Morgenstern was executive VP/GM of Warner/Chappell Music, as well as CEO of Warner Bros. Publications. He was also a recipient of the Abe Olman Lifetime Achievement Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. "Jay was an incredible human being, kind, generous and simply one of the greatest publishers in the music business," ASCAP president Paul Williams said. - Billboard, 7/8/17.

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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, Jam! Music, Entertainment Weekly, E! Online, CNN Rolling Stone.com, The Hollywood Reporter, Stereogum.com, Spin.com, and Noble PR.






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