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Sunday, Apr. 11, 2021

A 69 cent price discount promotion on iTunes has sparked a surge of downloads of several Classic Rock hits including "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac and "Summer of '69" by Bryan Adams. The promotion caused sizable gains in many of iTunes' featured songs listed on its front page a category dubbed "69 Cent Rock Hits." In all, 12 titles from the 1970s-2000s reached Billboard's sales-, airplay- and streaming-based Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart aided by the week's pricing. - Billboard, 4/8/21...... Roger WatersRoger Waters, Brian Eno and Tom Morello were among the artists performing a special livestream fundraiser on Apr. 10 for musicians in the Gaza Strip in Palestine. Proceeds from the "Live for Gaza" gig will go to the Delia Arts Center, a Gaza-based organization that helps local musicians with training, equipment and community. Waters performed his 1992 track "The Bravery of Being Out of Range," while Eno has created a special audiovisual piece specifically for the concert. The piece, titled "Celeste," was created with his brother Roger. "For decades now, in my bands Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave and in my solo work and as a radio broadcaster, I've been promoting freedom and justice through music," Tom Morello said in a statement. "A way to connect people across the globe, a way to have a shared, common experience of enjoying music and playing music together like we're gonna do," he added. Meanwhile, Roger Waters has revealed his rescheduled dates for his "This Is Not a Drill" summer 2022 tour, which was originally set to launch in July 2020 but postponed due to the global pandemic. Waters will launch the 36-date trek on July 6, 2022, in Pittsburgh at PPG Paints Arena. The 36-date/31-city show will tour throughout North America, hitting major markets such as Toronto (7-8, 9), Chicago (7-26), Atlanta (8-20), Nashville (8-27), Denver (9-6) and Los Angeles (9-27, 28). Dates are currently scheduled to close out on Oct. 8, 2022, at American Airlines Center in Dallas. Waters said in a Twitter post that the show will be a "stunning indictment of the corporate dystopia in which we all struggle to survive" and include "a dozen great songs from PINK FLOYD'S GOLDEN ERA alongside several new ones" which could be his "last hurrah." Tickets purchased in 2020 will be valid for 2022 shows. - Billboard/NME, 4/8/21...... Dylan Revisited, a 14-track CD of cover versions of Bob Dylan choicest cuts, will be included in the June issue of the UK's Uncut magazine to help celebrate the rock bard turning 80 on May 24. Flaming Lips, Cowboy Junkies, Low, Weyes Blood and Richard Thompson are among the names contributing to the release, which also features a previously unreleased track from Dylan himself. Dylan Revisited and the June issue of Uncut will drop on Apr. 15. Dylan's birthday will also be celebrated in May with a special tribute concert in New York City led by Patti Smith. - Billboard, 4/9/21...... Brian MayIn a new interview with Guitar Player magazine, Queen guitarist Brian May revealed that Queen have been in the studio working on new music -- although so far nothing good has come out of the sessions. May says he, Roger Taylor and Adam Lambert have actually tried to lay a few things down but that so far it hasn't gone quite according to plan. When asked if the band had any plans to release new music, May responded: "I always say, 'I don't know.' It would have to be a very spontaneous moment. Actually, Adam, Roger and myself have been in the studio trying things out, just because things came up. But up to this point we haven't felt that anything we've done has hit the button in the right way. So it's not like we're closed to the idea, it's just that it hasn't happened yet." May added that the cooronavirus pandemic has also made it a lot harder to think about making a record. "And to be honest, life has now taken a turn in which it's very difficult to explore an avenue like that," he said. "Things may change, but I don't think they're going to change very fast." - NME, 4/10/21...... The '70s L.A. pop-rock duo Sparks has revealed that they're working on new music in the studio in a new Instagram post. Brothers Ron and Russell Mael shared a picture from the studio with the caption "#newsparksalbum", an in an accompanying picture they can be seen inside the studio wearing masks whilst Russell can be seen holding up a sign that reads: "SHHH! SPARKS RECORDING!" Russell Mael said in 2020 about the duo's last album, A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip, that "the only battle plan was to try to do something that would sounds as compelling and urgent and provocative as anything we've ever done, even to someone who had never heard Sparks before. We don't want people saying, 'Oh you should have heard the band during this period in the past'. We don't want to sound like a band that has 24 albums -- what we're doing doesn't sound like it's a band that has that long a history. That it stands on its own today is the most important thing." A new Sparks documentary from director Edgar Wright, The Sparks Brothers, will be released in North America on June 18 and in the UK on July 30. - NME, 4/10/21...... Motörhead have shared a live clip from their archive on YouTube which shows the group playing "Rock It" live in 2012 ahead of the release of a new Motörhead concert film. The clip is from their Dec. 5, 2012 concert at the Berlin Velodrom. Motörhead - Louder Than Noise... Live in Berlin, will be released on CD/DVD, vinyl and digital formats on Apr. 23. - NME, 4/10/21...... Joni MitchellIn conjunction with the announcement of a new box set collating four of her iconic albums from the late 1960s and early '70s, Joni Mitchell has shared a 2021 remastered version of one of her album Blue's most beloved tracks, "A Case of You," on YouTube. Joni Mitchell - The Reprise Albums, due on June 25, will include 1968's Song to a Seagull,1969's Clouds, 1970's Ladies of the Canyon, and 1971's Blue -- and all have received full remasters for the release, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the acclaimed Blue LP. Speaking in a statement of her work to remaster Song to a Seagull, Mitchell said: "The original mix was atrocious. It sounded like it was recorded under a jello bowl, so I fixed it!" The Reprise Albums is limited to 10,000 copies, and also comes in vinyl and digital versions. It will also include previously unseen self-portrait Mitchell drew during the time period and includes an essay by Grammy winning singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile. In 2020, Mitchel released Vol. 1 of her current archive series, The Early Years (1963-1967), which is composed of material before her 1968 debut Song to a Seagull. The second volume of that series will arrive later in 2021. - NME, 4/10/21...... Cher says she's prepared to reprise her role in the Mamma Mia! movie series after being encouraged by Mama Mia! stage and cinematic series producer Judy Cramer. According to Cramer, the 74-year-old music legend told her "No one wants to see us old people on the screen," to which Cramer responded she wanted Cher to star in Mamma Mia! 3 and that she would love to see Cher singing "Slipping Through My Fingers" with her on-screen daughter Donna Sheridan-Carmichael (Meryl Streep). Cramer says this prompted a change of heart from Cher, who told her "I'm there! When do we start shooting?" Cramer admits that the scene would have to be in the form of a flashback after Meryl's character was killed off in Mamma Mia! 2. "Oh well, you can do anything these days in a film," she told the UK's Daily Mail newspaper. Meanwhile, a clip of Cher's new Paramount+ documentary, Cher & the Loneliest Elephant, has been shared on YouTube. The film will debut on the streaming channel on Apr. 22. -, 4/9/21...... Ronnie WoodRolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood has been honored with a Freedom of the City award by the city of London. Wood confirmed the award in a handwritten note that he shared on his website on Apr. 7, in which he said that he was "humbled and honoured" to receive the award, before going on to reminisce about his London upbringing: "As a child, I saw the city from the canals and over the years I've seen it from many different perspectives. Despite my career in music and art taking me all over the world, I am never happier than when coming home to this great city where I was born. It is a lovely surprise to be recognised with this award and it has made me, Sally [Humphreys, his wife] and my twin girls Alice and Gracie very proud." The Rolling Stones offered their congrats to Wood on their official Twitter feed on Apr. 7. - NME, 4/7/21...... Tom Jones has announced he'll perform a one-off concert of his upcoming covers album Surrounded By Time at London's O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire on July 27. Jones has re-imagined tracks by the likes of Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and Michael Kiwanuka for the collection, which hits stores on Apr. 23. "Super excited to announce a very special intimate 'Surrounded By Time' album show @o2sbe...," Sir Tom tweeted ahead of the release. According to a press release, he was particularly moved by Todd Snider's "Talking Reality Television Blues," which he released as the lead single. Commenting on the song, he said: "I was there when TV started -- didn't know I'd become part of it -- but it could be that its power is to remind us how wonderful, crazy and inventive we are, but also how scary the reality it reflects can be." Tickets for the Surrounded by Time show will go on sale Apr. 16 at, 4/9/21...... Ozzy Osbourne was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on Apr. 6 during a ceremony broadcast on the streaming channel Peacock and the WWE Network channel. The event was filmed the previous week, with Osbourne appearing via a video message to accept the accolade. While the Prince of Darkness's induction had not been announced prior to the ceremony, he does feature on the WWE Hall Of Fame T-shirt for 2020/2021. Osbourne has made a number of cameos on WWE over the years, most notably at "WrestleMania 2" in 1986 when he appeared alongside Captain Lou Albano, an image of which can be viewed on his official Instagram page. He also performed during 2007's "Smackdown" before featuring as a guest host for Raw in 2009. - NME, 4/6/21...... Rod Stewart has gifted his wife Penny Lancaster with a new narroboat for her 50th birthday. Lancaster developed a love for the boats that float past the pair's country estate during coronavirus lockdown and started researching them, giving Rod the idea to treat the photographer to her own river barge for her special day. "In the first (Covid) lockdown, I enjoyed slowing down and having a more simple life," Penny told Loose Women. "Second lockdown was a little tougher and I thought I need to think of a hobby. There's a lovely river near us and there's narrowboats," Lancaster said of the waterway. "I thought, 'My dream would be to get an old narrowboat to do it up'. And that's what Rod got me," she shared. Stewart also helped organise a surprise Zoom party for Penny, inviting all her best friends. Lancaster is Stewart's third wife. The pair have been married since 2007. -, 4/9/21...... PrinceIt was announced on Prince's official Twitter page on Apr. 8 that the late pop/funk legend's notorious "lost" album Welcome 2 America will finally be released on July 30 via Legacy Recordings. Recorded in 2010, the album which ruminates on race relations, political division and social justice, was due to be released the following year alongside Prince's US tour of the same name, which went ahead even without the album. In 2010, Prince said of the album that "the world is fraught with misin4mation. George Orwell's vision of the future is here. We need 2 remain steadfast in faith in the trying times ahead." Welcome 2 America's title track, first performed live in December 2010 during a show at Madison Square Garden in New York City, has been shared on The release of Welcome 2 America is set to be previewed on Apr. 11 in a segment on the top-rated CBS show 60 Minutes, chronicling its creation and the decade-long wait for its release. The deluxe box set version of the new album is set to feature the regular 12-track album on vinyl and CD, alongside a previously unreleased full-length concert film from Prince's show at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. on Apr. 28, 2011. - NME, 4/8/21...... Prince Philip, who was Queen Elizabeth II's husband for more than seven decades and helped to modernize the British monarchy and steer the Royal Family through repeated crises, died on Apr. 9. He was 99. The Duke of Edinburgh, as he was officially known, had been by his wife's side throughout her 69-year reign, the longest in British history. During that time he earned a reputation for a tough, no-nonsense attitude and a propensity for occasional gaffes. "It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh," the palace said in a statement. "His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss." Flags at Buckingham Palace and at government buildings across Britain were lowered to half-mast and members of the public laid flowers outside Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace. A Greek prince, Philip married Elizabeth in 1947. He went on to play a key role helping the monarchy adapt to a changing world in the post-World War Two period, and behind the walls of Buckingham Palace was the one key figure the queen could trust and turn to, knowing he could tell her exactly what he thought. "He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years," Elizabeth, 94, said in a rare personal tribute to Philip in a speech marking their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997. "I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know." Buckingham Palace said modified funeral and ceremonial arrangements were being considered by the queen in light of Covid-19 restrictions in England which put a limit of 30 on the number of mourners. - Reuters, 4/9/21.

Tuesday, Apr. 6, 2021

In an interview with the UK's The Guardian on Apr. 5, Michael Jackson's brother Marlon Jackson and other Jackson brothers revealed that the late king of pop would deploy a plethora of unusual disguises to avoid being recognized in public, even dressing as a homeless man sometimes. "Michael had painted himself into a box. And it was difficult for him," said Marlon, who noted superstardom made it "very difficult" for his brother to lead a public life. " It's mind-boggling. If Michael just stepped outside, in a couple of seconds people would stop doing what they are doing. That's why he started wearing disguises." Marlon recalled the time he spotted Michael in a record store, "dressed as a bum. "His clothes were dirty, he had bucked teeth, he had an afro, his shoes were dirty, his shirt was torn, but he's buying all these excellent records." However according to Marlon, Michael still wore the same loafers he wore on stage," something that "gave him away." The Jackson brothers also opened up about Jackson's death aged 50 in 2009 from cardiac arrest after a drug overdose. "Every time I go into Vegas on the bus I see Michael next to me," Jackie Jackson recalled. "His whole face is parked next to me on a billboard. I stop at a light and I say: 'What's going on, brother?'" - New Musical Express, 4/6/21...... CherCher is apologizing for a tweet she made about Minneapolis native George Floyd on Apr. 2 in which she suggested she could have prevented his death. Cher posted a tweet about a conversation she'd had with her mother about the legal proceedings. "Was talking with Mom & She Said 'I Watched Trial Of Policeman Who Killed George Floyd, & Cried," she wrote in the now-deleted tweet. "I Said 'Mom, I Know This Is Gonna Sound CRAZY, But.. I Kept Thinking .....Maybe If I'd Been There,...I Could've Helped." Cher was immediately criticized by Twitter users for making Floyd's death about her and having a "white saviour complex." "If the fire fighter EMS who tried to intervene didn't succeed, you sure had no chance," one Twitter user said. "What a post!! Mindboggling. Do you think you have some kind of magical power? Police would not allow anyone to interfere in their business." Responding on her Twitter page on Apr. 3, Cher initially addressed the controversy around the tweet, but did not immediately apologize. "Wrestled With This Twt, Because I Thought some ppl wouldn't understand, Or Believe an Entertainer Could have Honest emotions about a human Being, suffering & Dying, even if It's Only Shown On tv," she wrote, adding "You Don't Know What I've Done,Who I Am,Or What I Believe. I CAN, I HAVE, & I WILL..HELP." Later, Cher tweeted again, apologizing for her earlier words. "I Just got off phone With Friend Karen," she posted. "Told her what Happened,& Realized,You Can Piss Ppl Off,& Hurt Them By Not Knowing Everything That's "NOT Appropriate" To Say.I know Ppl Apologize When They're In a Jam,BUT TO GOD,IM TRULY SORRY If I Upset AnyOne In Blk Community.I Know My [heart]." Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis last May when one officer pinned him to the ground by placing his knee on his neck for over nine minutes. Derek Chauvin, the former officer accused of killing Floyd, is currently on trial for his murder. Meanwhile, Cher's legion of fans can catch the diva in the new documentary Cher & the Loneliest Elephant, streaming on Paramount+ beginning Apr. 22. Cameras follow the do-gooding singer and actress to Pakistan as she helps free a malnourished captive pachyderm named Kaavan. - NME/TV Guide, 4/4/21...... According to the former tour manager of late Small Faces frontman Steve Marriott, Rod Stewart used mayonnaise to create his iconic spiky hairstyle. Stewart, 76, is known for his iconic barnet and according to former tour manage Elliot Saltzman, he shared its secret to Marriott prior to Marriott's death in 1991. In an interview with Britain's The Sun paper, Saltzman said Marriott's own hair "...was created by putting mayonnaise on his hair and rubbing a towel on his head really fast. And he said he got this from Rod Stewart." The oily condiment has long been used as a DIY hair mask as it's packed with nourishing properties. Rod has yet to confirm his apparent beauty secret. - WENN/, 4/5/21...... Speaking with Ralph Sutton and Big Jay Oakerson on their The SDR Show, Alice Cooper revealed that his first experience using drugs was alongside Jimi Hendrix. "Weed was the first drug, and it was [with] Jimi Hendrix," Cooper says in the interview which has been shared on YouTube. "I'm sitting there after the show. I went to see them. And we were just a little high school band. But they said, 'Hey, come on up to the hotel room.' And we were sitting on his bed, and Jimi goes, 'Here, man,' [and he passed me the joint]. And I went, 'Okay.' And then he goes and puts a quarter in the bed -- you know, the vibrating bed. There was, like, eight people sitting on the bed. And he goes, 'We're on a spaceship.' And I went, 'Okay.'" Cooper, who has been sober since 1983 when he was diagnosed with cirrhosis, also recalled his worst drug experience. "It was Detroit, and I think it was crystal THC," he said. "It was, like, four in the morning. I regained consciousness. And I thought it [was] a Jim Jones thing. And I got up. I remember it was about 20 degrees below outside. And I walked outside just in my shirt on, just to wake up. And when I came back in, everybody was just kind of coming up. It was weird; it was like a [Federico] Fellini thing. It was so strange that I really did believe that everybody was dead, and I was the only one that survived it." Cooper released his latest album, Detroit Stories, on Feb. 26. - NME, 4/4/21...... A new graphic novel featuring Elvis Presley covering his career from his Memphis roots to the triumphs and tribulations later in his career is set to be released later in 2021 by Z2 Comics. Written by Chris Miskiewicz and illustrated by Michael Shelfer, Elvis: The Graphic Novel can be pre-ordered on Z2 Comics' website or on It will be released in August and be available in both softcover and hardcover editions. Z2 Comics has shared an excerpt from the novel on their Twitter page which focuses on King's adolescence, starting with a scene in a record store where he and a friend listen to the song "Rocket '88," written by Ike Turner and widely regarded as the first rock & roll song ever recorded. - NME, 4/4/21...... Tom JonesSpeaking of Elvis, Tom Jones has said he picked up tips from both Elvis and Frank Sinatra early in his career, however they contradicted each other. "Elvis was always buying my records and he would pass comment on them. I did an album called 'From The Heart' that was all old standards and he said, 'Tom, we don't do that. You leave that to Frank Sinatra...'" Sir Tom continued in his interview with Music Week: "But then at the same time, I'd go to a bar and Frank Sinatra would be there and I'd have a drink with him and he'd go, 'Tom, you need to do more standards, f--- that rock and roll stuff... So I had Elvis Presley pulling on me to do more rock and roll tunes and Sinatra telling me to do 'Fly Me To The Moon'! As a singer it's not a bad position to be in, is it?" Jones also described Elvis, Sinatra and others including Sammy Davis Jr. as "real people." "All the people I've met, the bigger they are the nicer they are. Elvis Presley was one of the nicest fellas you could ever wish to meet... You'd meet these people like Jerry Lee Lewis, he was crazy but he was great. We had a night out together and became really great friends," Jones added. -, 4/5/21...... The Sex Pistols co-founding bassist Glen Matlock has said he thinks his former iconic punk band would've made more than one album if they had stayed together. Matlock, 64, who formed the Sex Pistols with Johnny Rotten, Steve Jones and Paul Cook -- left in 1977 and was replaced by Sid Vicious before the release of their one and only album Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols. Appearing on Gary Kemp and Guy Pratt's Rockonteurs podcast, Matlock said: "I think we would never have done 10 albums... It was never gonna happen, but we could have made another two or three albums I think." Opening up on his departure, Glen has discussed his issues with the band's manager Malcolm McLaren, and suggested he never realized the musicians were actually talented. "...I don't think Malcolm ever understood that we were any good," Matlock said. "He really thought we was rubbish and he thought he was the bloke who was selling London Bridge -- but we could play." -, 4/5/21...... Late AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young can be seem slamming the original AC/DC singer who was replaced by the late Bon Scott. In the interview which is included on The Coda Collection, Young spoke about the reaction to when their first singer left in the context of Scott joining the group. "Bon basically took charge... He was older and he'd been around in another band. He was the man of experience. We'd written one or two songs, and he encouraged us to write more...When he came in, we had the voice of experience. We kept our ears wide open. He pushed us a little further. The first singer [Dave Evans], people cheered when he left, so we could jam. He was so bad. Bon was in a week later. He had songs, ideas, motivation. He's serious. We were happy to be with someone like that. We were just happy to be playing. He had bigger plans." - NME, 4/1/21...... Iggy Pop is set to star in Canadian director Jeremy LaLonde's upcoming dark comedy film Blue Iguana. Pop, whose first band happened to be called The Iguanas (which led to his nickname "Iggy"), will star as Edward, the wealthy patriarch whose death kicks off a chain of unfortunate events for son Daniel whose plan to reconnect with his siblings hits a snag when he discovers they all want to kill him for his inheritance. Other names set to star in the film include Bob Saget, Joel David Moore, Jason Jones, Carly Chaikin and Mary Lynn Rajskub. The dark comedy is currently being shot in the Cayman Islands. "We are beyond ecstatic to have the legendary Iggy Pop join the cast of Blue Iguana," co-producer Productivity Media said in a statement. "While purely coincidental to his casting, his name is derived from the word iguana so it couldn't be more fitting that Iggy joins our already stellar cast. We can't wait to work with him in the beautiful Cayman Islands." - NME, 4/2/21...... The BeatlesLetters and memorabilia from the storied days the Beatles spent in Hamburg, Germany before rising to international fame in 1963 are set to go up for auction in London in May. The Fab Four played over 250 shows in Hamburg between Aug. 1960-Dec. 1962, with the heavy experience they gained gigging and some of the relationships they formed there helping to propel them to fame the following year. The new auction lot will include previously unseen letters, work permits, photos, drawings, poems and more. Some of the items were sent by the band to late photographer Astrid Kirchherr, who was engaged to former Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe after meeting them in Hamburg. The Beatles remained close to Kirchherr and wrote her after they returned to the UK. In one letter that is going up for auction, George Harrison invited her to visit him and Ringo Starr in their new flat and instructed her not to put his name on the envelope when she wrote back. In another, John Lennon told her: "I'm really sorry you are so sad and uncertain about yourself. You must know that Cyn [Lennon's first wife Cynthia], I and the other Beatles will always feel the same about you. You will always be Stuart's Astrid to us." In that letter, John also shared the news that Cynthia was pregnant with "this little John inside her" -- aka his first son Julian. The items will go under the hammer at Bonhams auction house in London on May 5. "The Beatles' time in Hamburg was absolutely crucial to them," Bonham's head of entertainment memorabilia Katherine Schofield told the UK paper The Guardian. "It's fair to say that they came to Germany as boys and left as men." Astrid Kirchherr died in May 2020, a few days before her 82nd birthday. She had taken the Beatles' first-ever known photograph when they were still a five-piece. She also was the person who first suggested the band cut their hair into their iconic mop-top style. - NME, 4/4/21...... In other Beatles-related news, a new video for John Lennon's 1970 song "Look at Me" from his LP John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band has been released ahead of a 50th anniversary Ultimate Collection edition of the album dropping on Apr. 23. Shared on YouTube by the John Lennon Estate, the black and white and colour video, shot on 8 mm film, features never-before-seen footage of Lennon and wife Yoko Ono Lennon from 1968, captured in their home in Weybridge, Surrey. Yoko Ono personally oversaw the production and creative direction of the new reissue, which includes rare demos, rehearsals, outtakes, jams and studio conversations as well as 87 never-before-heard recordings. The full live recording session of her 1970 companion LP, Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band, is also included, presenting the songs in their full, unedited lengths and speed for the first time. Originally released in Dec. 1970, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band was recorded shortly after the demise of the Beatles and once described by Lennon as "the best thing I've ever done." - NME, 4/2/21...... After performing a virtual concert on Apr. 4 to celebrate Easter Sunday, Dionne Warwick has announced she will perform another one on Mother's Day (May 9). Dubbed "Dionne At Home With You," Warwick is performing her first-ever virtual concerts via live-streaming platform Warwick has promised to perform "all the hits" for both performances, with a matinee and evening show available to watch on each date. A 48-hour replay of the shows will also be available. "During the pandemic Dionne experienced many new ways of communicating with her fanbase and audience either via Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or Twitter," a statement on Mandolin's website reads. "The next natural step was to stream Dionne in concert and make it available across the globe." Tickets can be purchased at's official site. - NME, 4/3/21...... B.B. DickersonMorris "B.B." Dickerson, a founding member of War, died peacefully at a Long Beach, Calif., hospital on Apr. 2 after a long, undisclosed illness. He was 71. Dickerson, who was born in 1949 in Torrance, Calif., and got his start on the bass guitar at the age of 12, helped develop War's signature sound co-writing and playing on tunes like "Low Rider", "The Cisco Kid," "Why Can't We Be Friends," "Summer" and more. He also sang for the band, and his lead vocal can be heard on War's hit "The World Is a Ghetto." War peaked on the charts in 1973 with the No. 1 Billboard album The World Is a Ghetto and the single "The Cisco Kid" (No. 2). Before forming War, Dickerson had performed in a group called The Creators along with his uncle Howard E. Scott. That group split during the Vietnam War, and while Dickerson was away in Hawaii, his uncle played with a band that became known as The Nightshift. Dickerson joined them upon his return. That group eventually morphed into the original lineup of War with Eric Burdon, with the track "Spill the Wine" launching War's career. Notably, Dickerson was onstage in London in 1970 when Jimi Hendrix joined War for what would end up being his last public performance before he died. Dickerson is survived by his mother, his uncle and his children. Donations in his name can be made to MusiCares. - Billboard, 4/3/21.

Thursday, Apr. 1, 2021

"Enter Rocketman"? Elton John teased during his latest Apple Music "Rocket Hour" podcast that he's "just done something with Metallica during this lockdown period" as well as other artists including "Gorillaz and people like that." "I haven't been doing any Elton stuff, I've been doing great stuff with other people. So I'll get you my email, email me and let's get together and do something, okay?," the pop/rock icon added. It is unknown what project Elton is working on with Metallica, though Miley Cyrus recently told England's Capital FM that John will appear on her planned Metallica covers album, revealing that he will play piano on her version of "Nothing Else Matters." "I did a Metallica cover of 'Nothing Else Matters' featuring Elton John on the piano," Cyrus said in a January interview. "I've got Yo-Yo Ma, Chad Smith. So many all-stars [are] in this band," she added. - Billboard, 3/29/21...... Paul SimonSony Music Publishing, the publishing arm of music label giant Sony, announced on Mar. 31 they have acquired Paul Simon's entire song catalog for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition give SMP the rights to six decades of Paul Simon classics including "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "Graceland," "The Boxer" and "The Sound of Silence." Covering his work with Simon & Garfunkel as well as his solo material, the deal follows several recent similar agreements by such other established artists as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, David Crosby, Stevie Nicks, Lindsay Buckingham and Blondie -- all of whom have sold rights to their catalogues, in part or full, to various labels' publishing arms and companies. SMP president Jon Platt noted in a statement that Simon's "remarkable body of work has generated an enduring influence on our culture and consciousness [whose] music resonates deeply as a cultural touchstone for people all over the world" and that it was an "incredible honor" to represent him. Before the deal, the Grammy-winning singer/songwriter had an administration deal with Universal Music Publishing Group, in which an artist still retains ownership over copyright. His recorded music contract remains with Sony Music Entertainment. It has been estimated that Simon's recorded music catalog generated $945,000 in 2020 in music publishing performance and mechanical revenue from streams, sales and radio play. Simon performed the last concert of his career in 2018 in Queens, playing a 26-song set close to his childhood home. - Billboard/NME, 3/31/21...... A federal judge has once again dismissed a class action lawsuit against Universal Music Group filed by Tom Petty's widow Jane Petty over a June 1, 2008, warehouse fire on the Universal City backlot in L.A. that destroyed up to 500,000 master recordings in the record company's archive vaults. On Mar. 29, U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt tossed out Jane Petty's amended lawsuit against UMG and barred her from refiling the case. Her second lawsuit hinged on her late husband's 1984 exclusive artist recording agreement signed with MCA, a predecessor in interest to UMG, and whether that contract required the label to share the insurance settlement funds. UMG had previously argued that Tom Petty's artist contract only required the company to share money generated when the artist's works were licensed. The judge's latest decision hinged on a marital settlement agreement signed in 1998 by Tom and Jane Petty, the chief plaintiff in the case. - Billboard, 3/29/21...... Elvis Costello has shared a new six-track EP of French-speaking tracks featuring Iggy Pop and more on La Face de Pendule Coucou features French adaptations of songs from Costello's 2020 album Hey Clockface. The EP was first previewed back in December with Iggy Pop's version of "No Flag." Speaking on the difficulty of translating the lyrics into French, Iggy said: "There's a uniqueness to the French language. No other language has vowels that sound like that. Learning a song that's as quick as 'No Flag' took a month of practice because my lips weren't used to those combinations... I [worked on it] for 40 minutes a day for about five weeks. You don't want to do too much work on it at once or it's not fun anymore." - NME, 3/28/21...... Speaking of Elvises, the flaming red Hagstrom Viking II guitar famously played by Elvis Presley during his iconic 1968 comeback special has sold for $450,000 at auction. US-based GWS Auctions said the guitar had been sold after not being seen in public for the past 52 years. Presley reportedly "fell in love" with the instrument, which belonged to his session musician Al Casey at the time, and borrowed it for his TV concert broadcast in Dec. 1968, marking the King of Rock & Roll's comeback after 7 years of moviemaking in Hollywood. The special relaunched his career and he played the guitar for live performances in Las Vegas the following year. It is also the guitar Elvis is seen holding on the front cover of his 1969 studio album From Elvis in Memphis, and it was returned to Mr Casey who later sold it to a collector of music memorabilia. Apart from a 12-month period in the 1990s when it was exhibited at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the guitar had not been seen in public for 52 years prior to its sale. -, 3/30/21...... The Grateful DeadThe Grateful Dead announced on Mar. 30 they're honoring their 1977 album Terrapin Station with an officially licensed Grateful Dead Dancing Terrapin Bobblehead. To make it particularly appealing to the Dead fans, the band is releasing a limited number of 1,977 bobbleheads worldwide to represent the year the album was released, and each item is individually numbered. The hand-painted bobbleheads from Kollectico, which feature two terrapin turtles playing instruments on a red stand, are currently available on or the arts & crafts site The GD's ninth studio LP, Terrapin Station featured such songs as "Estimated Prophet" and "Samson and Delilah." - Billboard, 3/30/21...... In a new interview with Naomi Campbell for her "No Filter" YouTube series, Michael Jackson's daughter Paris Jackson spoke about the time she spent growing up with her late dad during her childhood. Paris, who was 11 when Michael died in 2009, praised how he shaped her and her siblings' worldview from an early age. "My dad was really good about making sure we were cultured, making sure we were educated and not just showing us, like, the glitz and glam -- like hotel-hopping, five-star places," she said. "It was also like we saw everything: we saw third world countries. We saw every part of the spectrum." Paris added that, looking back, it was "a blessing and a privilege to be able to experience so much at a young age." Paris Jackson released her debut solo album, Wilted, in Nov. 2020. Other topics touched on during the interview were her activity in acting, modelling, activism and work in global sustainability. - New Musical Express, 4/1/21...... Ozzy Osbourne has taken to Instagram to share his support for his wife Sharon Osbourne after the latter left her job as co-host of the US chat show The Talk after 11 years amid a controversy over alleged racism. Ozzy shared a photo of the pair on the social media site with his hand cupped to his ear, along with the caption: "I can't f---ing hear you! #TeamSharon." According to The Talk's network CBS, Sharon decided to leave the show after a review into the Mar. 10 episode, which found in part that her behavior towards her co-hosts "did not align with our values for a respectful workplace." Her co-host Sheryl Underwood accused her of giving "validation" to "racist views" in her support of Piers Morgan after the former Good Morning Britain host said he did not believe Meghan Markle's revelation in a recent high-profile Oprah Winfrey interview that she once had suicidal thoughts. Osbourne reacted strongly to Underwood's accusations, saying that she felt she was "about to be put in the electric chair." - NME, 4/1/21...... In other Ozzy-related news, the guitarist of his former heavy metal band Black Sabbath has waded into the "rock is dead" argument first kicked off by KISS bassist Gene Simmons and also drawing criticism from Alice Cooper. Sabbath guitarist Toni Iommi has told that "I don't think rock is going to die. That's been said for years. I mean, how many times I've heard that statement over the past 50-odd years? It's quite a lot, really." He continued: "I think good music is not going to go. There's always going to be a market for it. There are going to be an amount of bands that fall by the wayside -- as there always is, there always will be. But there are certain bands that are going to stick out and going to be there. You've got Metallica, up there -- they're not going to go away. They've got a lot of fans and they've got a great fanbase. There are a lot of bands out there. No, the music is not going to go away." - NME, 3/31/21...... Patti Smith has announced on Instagram that she's launching a new online newsletter to be distributed through email subscription platform The punk poetess said her new project will be sent to inboxes weekly and contain original musings, poetry, music, commentary and more. "Writing is what I do, and have since twelve, imagining myself Jo March. Meditations, crime novels, and poetry, hidden in stacks of notebooks, written in every stage of life. Now, in the time of the pandemic, isolated from family, friends, and fellow workers, we are reinventing our processes," she said on her newsletter on Substack. "Through Substack I plan to form an inter-connective body of work for a responsive community," Smith added. "Each week I will post my weekly ruminations, shards of poetry, music, and musings on whatever subject finds its way from thought to pen, news of the mind, pieces of this world, free to all." A paid tier will also be available, titled "The Melting," an unpublished serial started on Apr. 7 last year and written over the course of the pandemic. Instalments of "The Melting" will be delivered to paid subscribers on Tuesdays. Smith recently announced she'll perform alongside her long-time bandmate Tony Shanahan in New York's outdoor Spring Festival to celebrate Bob Dylan's 80th birthday at the Kaatsbaan Cultural Park on May 22. - NME, 4/1/21...... Mark MothersbaughAkron, Oh. Mayor Dan Horrigan has proclamed Apr. 1 "DEVO Day" in the New Wave icons' hometown in an to whip Mark Mothersbaugh & co.'s fans into shape and vote for them in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame race. "The City of Akron has an unbelievable sense of pride, especially when it involves the success of our people," Mayor Horrigan posted on Mar. 31 on Instagram. "We are, and will continue to be, immensely proud to be the home of DEVO and will be rallying this great community to help them achieve the recognition they deserve," he added. To help with the campaign, the mayor says there will be 50 DEVO-themed sculptures "mysteriously appearing" throughout Akron, made out of tiered tyres and painted red to resemble the band's iconic headwear. Each sculpture will feature a QR code that fans can scan which will lead to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's voting website. In addition, according to the city's website, the "Downtown Akron corridor will become a location for fans to interact with life-size cutouts of DEVO." DEVO are currently coming eighth in the race in fan voting, with Tina Turner and Fela Kuti sitting in the top two spots. The deadline for fan voting is on Apr. 30. Other nominees eligible for this year's class include Jay-Z, Foo Fighters, Kate Bush, Chaka Khan and more. - NME, 4/1/21...... Fender Guitars has announced two new Joe Strummer signature guitar models, the Joe Strummer Campfire and the Joe Strummer Esquire, are being released on Mar. 30 "as a tribute to the diversity" of the late The Clash frontman. "The Joe Strummer Campfire acoustic guitar (£449) is named after the series of campfires he regularly hosted at Glastonbury Festival, a tradition continued in his wake with its popular Strummerville section," Fender said in a press statemen. "The Joe Strummer Esquire (£14,149)," they added, "is a "faithful reincarnation" of the guitar Strummer used in The Clash, during the eras in which 'London Calling' and 'Combat Rock' were released. This edition of the Esquire was crafted by Fender's boutique manufacturing brand, Fender Custom Shop. Only 70 units have been made available globally." Alongside the guitars, Fender has released a line of Joe Strummer accessories, including a replica of his favourite guitar strap, a signature cable, a "Know Your Rights" strap, and a "Know Your Rights" pick tin. Strummer's solo works were recently compiled in the greatest hits album Assembly released on Mar. 26, which was a curated collection of singles, fan favourites, and rarities. - NME, 3/31/21...... Queen's Brian May has teamed up with his regular collaborator Kerry Ellis once again for a new track called "Panic Attack 2021 (It's Gonna Be All Right)," a pandemic-inspired "bold reimagining" of the two artists' 2017 collaboration "It's Gonna Be All Right (The Panic Attack Song)." "Panic Attack 2021," which has been shared on YouTube, is described as a "relentlessly positive new track" that May says he and Ellis hope will give "a whole new meaning [of the song] to literally millions of people around the world who felt a growing sense of panic. In the UK, there was definitely a feeling that we had all been cheated of our Happy New Year. So we wanted to mark the occasion in a completely real and transparent way." "I hope this song and video gives people as much hope and joy as it did for me and Brian making it," Ellis said in a statement. "We have all had quite a tough year but remember: 'It's gonna be all right!'" May and Ellis have worked together on music on a number of occasions over the years, such as their Apr. 2017 joint album Golden Days. - NME, 3/29/21...... Paul McCartneyPaul McCartney's Twitter account announced on Mar. 31 that a deluxe 50th anniversary version of his and wife Linda McCartney's 1971 LP Ram will be reissued on May 14 as a limited edition, half-speed mastered vinyl pressing via UMe. "Happy RAM-iversary!," reads the message. "To celebrate 50 years since the release of Paul and Lina McCartney's 1971 fan-favourite album, 'RAM' will be reissued on 14th May 2021 as a limited edition half-speed mastered vinyl pressing." The 50th anniversary edition can be pre-ordered at, and its release comes one week before a "reimagined" Ram 50th tribute by original session musicians Dave Spinozza and Marvin Stamm, Ram On: 50th Anniversary Tribute To Paul & Linda McCartney's Ram, hits stores. Originally released in May 1971, Ram served as the follow-up Paul's 1970 debut solo album McCartney, and was also the only McCartney album to be credited to both Paul and his late wife Linda. - NME, 3/31/21...... In other McCartney-related news, a letter handwritten by the former Beatle in 1959 that jovially settled a long-standing "debt" over a blanket is going up for auction. The letter was written by Paul in Sept. 1989 in response to Irene Brierley, whose farmhouse in Harlech, north Wales, McCartney and his late Beatles bandmate George Harrison stayed in during two occasions in 1958 and 1959 when they went on a pair of hitchhiking holidays. McCartney and Harrison became friendly with Irene's son John during their first stay in 1958, with John recalling, as the Beatles memorabilia auction site Tracks notes, how he and the Beatles musicians played snooker and listened to Elvis Presley during their time together. The following summer, McCartney and Harrison returned to the Brierley farmhouse to spend more time with the family. At the end of their 1959 stay, the pair surreptitiously made off with one of the Brierleys' blankets. Some years later, Irene wrote to McCartney to remind him of the blanket "debt" and she received a handwritten reply from McCartney in Sept. 1989. "Dear Mrs Brierley (Irene)," McCartney's letter reads. "Your letter reached me, eventually, and I was sorry to hear about my 'debt'! I remember well the time we had in Harlech, and hope the enclosed cheque will settle our money differences! Excuse the scrawl as I'm trying to write this on a bouncing express train!! I was very sorry to hear about your hubby -- he was a very nice man. Please give my best to your boys. Kindest Regards, Paul McCartney." Tracks has set an opening bid of £3,000 for the letter, with more info available on their website. - NME, 3/30/21...... In still more Macca news, the Beatles legend has teamed up with his daughters Mary and Stella McCartney to launch Linda McCartney's Family Kitchen: Over 90 Plant-Based Recipes to Save the Planet and Nourish the Soul. The trio has updated singer Linda's best-loved vegetarian meals, such as shepherd's pie, chili non-carne, "sausage" rolls, and "American-style" pancakes, and has shared stories and personal photos from the family kitchen alongside the recipes. In a press release, Paul notes: "Years ago, before anyone had woken up to the idea of environmental and health and animal welfare issues, Linda was blazing the trail with vegetarianism, telling people about it and promoting it. At home, she would cook for the family and these recipes have been now brought up to date for a modern audience, so they're all now plant-based and fabulous... I hope this book inspires conversations about sustainability and about modern living amongst people besides also just giving them some great recipes to eat." -, 3/28/21...... Sylvester Stallone says he's planning to take his Rocky franchise to TV by writing a treatment for a potential prequel series. Stallone gave fans a glimpse at his latest project on Mar. 29 by sharing pages of his handwritten notes for the show, which he is eager to pitch to online platform bosses. "I started out this morning by writing a treatment for a Rocky prequel for streaming. Ideally 10 episodes for a few seasons to really get to the heart of the Characters in there younger years," Stallone captioned the image. "Here is a small portion of how my creative writing Process starts... Hope it happens." The notes, titled "Treatment for Rocky prequel series," begin with the scenario set-up: "Imagine a time machine that will simply transport us back to the origins of Rocky, a cinematic world brimming with characters that have been beloved by people around the world for nearly five decades!" Stallone explains the origin story would take fans back to the 1960s and "the most transformative generation in modern history," citing the events of the moon landing, the civil rights movement, the assassinations of U.S. Pres. John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Cold War, among many other milestones. "Needless to say the 60s was a dynamic time," he wrote. "Yet among all this Social Seismic Activity, we drop in on the rather plain life of 17-year-old Robert 'Rocky' Balboa. When we first met Rocky in 1976, he was a very lost soul... We now see this young man struggling like all young people trying to find their place." The original Oscar-nominated Rocky, written by and starred in by Stallone in 1976, has since spawned five franchise sequels, as well as a spin-off movie series in Creed, starring Michael B. Jordan as the son of Rocky's old rival, Apollo Creed. Stallone reprised his role as Rocky in 2015's Creed, which earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nod. - WENN/, 3/30/21...... G. Gordon LiddyG. Gordon Liddy, the undercover operative whose bungling of the Watergate break-in triggered one of the gravest constitutional crises in American history and led to the resignation of Pres. Richard M. Nixon in 1974, died Mar. 30 at his daughter's home in Fairfax County, Va. He was 90. His son Thomas P. Liddy confirmed the death but did not give a cause, saying only that it was unrelated to the coronavirus. Mr. Liddy, a former FBI agent and Army veteran, was convicted of conspiracy, burglary and illegal wiretapping for his role in the Watergate burglary, and spent four years and four months in prison, including more than 100 days in solitary confinement. "I'd do it again for my president," the loyal Nixon operative said years later. After his release, Mr. Liddy became a popular, often provocative radio talk show host. He also worked as a security consultant, writer and actor. The Hoboken, N.J.-born Mr. Liddy was outspoken and controversial, both as a political operative under Nixon and as a radio personality. Mr. Liddy recommended assassinating political enemies, bombing a left-leaning think tank and kidnapping war protesters, however his White House colleagues ignored such suggestions. After his release, Liddy -- with his piercing dark eyes, bushy moustache and shaved head -- became a popular, provocative and controversial radio talk show host. He also worked as a security consultant, writer and actor. On air, he offered tips on how to kill federal firearms agents, rode around with car tags saying "H20GATE" (Watergate) and scorned people who cooperated with prosecutors. Mr. Liddy learned to market his reputation as a fearless, if sometimes overzealous, advocate of conservative causes. His syndicated radio talk show, broadcast from Virginia-based WJFK, was long one of the most popular in the country. He wrote best-selling books, acted in TV shows like Miami Vice, was a frequent guest lecturer on college campuses, started a private eye franchise and worked as a security consultant. For a time, he teamed on the lecture circuit with an unlikely partner, 1960s LSD guru Timothy Leary. In the mid-1990s, Mr. Liddy told gun-toting radio listeners to aim for the head when encountered by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. "Head shots, head shots," he stressed, explaining that most agents wear bullet-resistant vests under their jackets. Mr. Liddy said later he wasn't encouraging people to hunt agents, but added that if an agent comes at someone with deadly force, "you should defend yourself and your rights with deadly force." Mr. Liddy, who always took pride in his role in Watergate, once said: "I am proud of the fact that I am the guy who did not talk." His wife Frances, whom he wed in 1957, died in 2010. Survivors include five children and a sister. - USA Today, 3/30/21.

Saturday, Mar. 27, 2021

In episode seven of the new Renagades vs. Home Life Spotify podcast with former Pres. Barack Obama, Bruce Springsteen revealed he had to cut back on the amount of time he spent on the road after becoming a father, because his absence proved to be "poison" to his home life. "You are the chauffeur! You are the short order cook in the morning," he told Obama, adding: "And the thing is, you've got to be in the place in your life where you love it." Springsteen, who shares three kids with his wife, E Street Band member Patti Scialfa, admitted it took him some time to find the right balance between his life as a rock star and as a husband and dad, and his role at home couldn't have been more different than when he was on tour: "You get up when you want to. You go in the studio when you want to. You put your record out when you want to." But he realized he couldn't continue living that way once they had sons Evan and Sam, and daughter Jessica, who are now all grown up. "You can say, 'I'm going to go away for three days, I'm going to go away for three months'," he explained. "But if you know, 'When I go away for three months, it's bad when I come back... When I go away for three days, it's OK when I come back,' I better start going away for three days!" "All we knew was that when we passed a certain point, it wasn't good for our relationship," he shared of how he and Scialfa eventually settled on the ideal touring schedule to suit their family, but added "we slowly figured all this out together." Episode seven of Renegades: Road vs. Home Life debuts on on Mar. 29. -, 3/27/21...... B.J. Thomas'60s and '70s pop star B.J. Thomas, who topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks in 1970 with "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head", has revealed he has been given a stage four lung cancer diagnosis. According to, the 78-year-old Thomas has confirmed via representatives that he is currently receiving treatment in a Texas health care facility. "I just wanted to take this unique opportunity to share my gratitude to Gloria, my wonderful wife and my rock for over 53 years, my family, friends, and fans," he said in a statement issued through his publicist. "I'm so blessed to have had the opportunity to record and perform beautiful songs in pop, country, and gospel music, and to share those wonderful songs and memories around the world with millions of you. I ask all of you for your prayers during this time and that my music can live on with you." His 1969 recording of "Raindrops," written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for the hit film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, went on to win an Oscar for Best Original Song. It spent four weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1970, and was nominated for a Grammy the same year. In addition to "Raindrops," he had a slew of other hits, starting with his cover of Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" in 1966, "Hooked on a Feeling" in 1968, "I Just Can't Help Believing" in 1970, "Rock and Roll Lullaby"' in 1972 and "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" in 1975. Between 1977 and 1981, the Born Again singer, who struggled with substance abuse problems for many years, won a Grammy Award each consecutive year, including for his album Home Where I Belong and recordings of hymns like "Amazing Grace." His voice can be heard in classic movies and TV shows such as Forrest Gump and Spider-Man 2 to Family Guy, and as recent as 2020's Mrs. America. - NME, 3/24/21...... The new Tina Turner documentary Tina from Oscar-winning documentary directors Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin premieres on cable channel HBO at 8:00 p.m. ET on Mar. 27 and will stream on HBO Max. Linsday says one touchy subject during his interviews with the rock/soul legend was the emotional and physical abuse she suffered while married to her ex-husband Ike Turner. "She doesn't like doing press because she always feels people are asking her the same thing," Lindsay told Billboard. "But she'll talk about it. She's very aware there are consequences of that, and she would rather not do it because of the consequences. We went to go meet Tina the first time and we didn't ask her a single question about Ike. And yet if there was a recording of that conversation, the amount of times she brought him up is revealing. It's still obviously on her mind. I just think she would rather not be triggered into talking about it all the time," he added. Meanwhile, HBO has teamed with NTS Radio four a five hour/six part multimedia virtual experience dubbed "Tina Turner: Rulebreaker." It will celebrate Turner's influential musical career and pay homage to her energetic on-stage presence and trailblazing power as a Black woman in the rock genre beginning on Mar. 26. - Billboard, 3/25/21...... A previously unreleased recording by late The Clash frontman Joe Strummer has been released for a new version of the song's music video as part of Joe Strummer's Assembly, a posthumous compilation of his career-best work. The 15-track best-of album was released on Mar. 26 includes Clash rarities and re-mastered tracks, along with a live performance of "Rudie Can't Fail" from Strummer and his backing band The Mescaleros at London's Brixton Academy on Nov. 24, 2001. A video of that performance has been shared on YouTube. Strummer, who died in 2002, fronted The Clash from 1976 until their disbandment in 1986. He then went on to perform as a solo artist and with The Mescaleros. Assembly is being released on George Harrison's Dark Horse Records, which is now run by the late Beatle's son Dhani Harrison and manager David Zonshine. - New Musical Express, 3/27/21...... Neil Young has released a new live album and concert film, Young Shakespeare, recorded at the Shakespeare Theater in Stratford, Connecticut on Jan. 22, 1971, one of the earliest recorded gigs of his career. Filmed by a German TV crew who never released the footage but kept it in their vaults for 50 years, only snippets of the show have been circulated amongst fans before, with Young saying he felt the gig was "superior" to his performance three days later at Toronto's Massey Hall. "A more calm performance, without the celebratory atmosphere of Massey Hall, captured live on 16mm film," Young wrote on his Neil Young Archives website in 2020. "'Young Shakespeare' is a very special event. To my fans, I say this is the best ever. 'Young Shakespeare' is the performance of that era. Personal and emotional, for me, it defines that time," he noted. In a trailer which has been shared on YouTube, Young can bee seen performing clips of songs including "Cowgirl In The Sand," "A Man Needs A Maid" and "Down By The River." Young Shakespeare is now available on all major streaming platforms and available to purchase in physical formats, including a deluxe box set edition. The DVD is available exclusively from Young's own store. - NME, 3/26/21...... In a new interview by the Los Angeles Times, Mick Fleetwood said he desires a Fleetwood Mac reunion and "everyone who's ever played in Fleetwood Mac would be welcome." Asked who he thinks will be a part of Fleetwood Mac when the band next tours, the drummer said: "I hope the whole fucking lot of them! I'm not done. And if I can get [Fleetwood Mac bassist] John McVie off his boat, he's not done either!" He added: "My English pipe dream, sitting on top of a mushroom, would be that everyone who's ever played in Fleetwood Mac would be welcome. That's what would drive me, because this is all about a collective." Fleetwood's statement comes after an interview a few days earlier when he revealed that he has reconciled with former bandmate Lindsey Buckingham -- and would like to think a reunion could happen. Meanwhile, Buckingham has performed a reworked rendition of Fleetwood Mac's "Never Going Back Again" on Fender's new American Acoustasonic Jazzmaster guitar. Buckingham, who was ousted from the band in Jan. 2018 -- appeared in the first episode of an all-new series by the famous guitar brand called Re-Creation showcasing the instrument. Lindsey showed off the impressive stringed instrument -- which boasts a larger body shape, a Tim Shaw-designed Humbucking Pickup, and four new acoustic voicings -- by performing a version of the hit he penned for their seminal 1977 LP Rumours and famously composed in the wake of the breakup of his relationship with frontwoman Stevie Nicks. The performance can be viewed on Fender's official YouTube channel. - NME/, 3/26/21...... The Village PeopleThe Village People have spoken out about their recent Grammy Hall Of Fame induction, claiming the Recording Academy doesn't pay enough attention to classic artists. The '70s disco stars' classic anthem "Y.M.C.A." was among 28 songs and albums inducted into the Hall in Dec. 2020, however frontman Victor Willis (who wears the police uniform), told he is unhappy with the Academy's nod to the band. Willis was seemingly upset with the lack of fanfare the inductees receive, with no mention during the annual telecast and no proper induction ceremony. He says the Village People have told Grammy Interim president Harvey Mason that they're declining the induction because the Hall is "lacking" and "not taken seriously by the recording academy." "The Grammys should show respect for classic artists who built the recording business," he said, adding that the Village People are also unlikely to submit their new album which is due later in 2021 for contention at the next Grammys. - NME, 3/25/21...... Speaking of classic anthems, Queen have become the first ever UK band to have a song certified "diamond," reaching the 10 million in U.S. sales or streaming equivalents milestone compiled by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for their iconic 1975 hit "Bohemian Rhapsody." Reflecting on the achievement in a statement, Queen guitarist Brian May said: "This is incredible news. At times like this I have to pinch myself to be sure it's real. All those wild dreams we had -- this is beyond any of them. Huge thanks to all who have believed in us over the years." Queen drummer Roger Taylor added: "It's a wonderful and gratifying thought to know the song has reached out and connected with so many people!" "Bohemian Rhapsody" spent nine weeks at the top of the UK charts upon its release in 1975, and a further five upon Freddie Mercury's death in 1991. In the US, it climbed to No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart in early 1976 and remained on the chart for 17 weeks. A Queen biopic named after the song, starring Rami Malek as the late frontman Mercury, has made nearly $1 billion (£760 million) worldwide since its release in Oct. 2018. Queen, who perform live with Adam Lambert on vocals, are set to head out on a "Rhapsody Tour" across the UK in 2022. - NME, 3/25/21...... Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne is giving his fellow New Yorkers the chance to rave again after helping to curated a socially distanced dance club. Byrne has joined forces with Broadway set designer Christine Jones and choreographer Steven Hoggett to launch SOCIAL!, a new experimental club at the Park Avenue Armory. 100 attendees will be invited to the venue's Wade Thompson Drill Hall at a time to enjoy their own dance moves, or to take in a spoken choreography voiceover from Byrne himself. The event, which was specially commissioned for the Armory's new launched Social Distance Hall, also features a playlist that has been personally curated by Byrne himself, Jones and Hoggett, and mixed by DJ Natasha Diggs. Byrne invited his "Utopian" fans to check out the announcement by Park Avenue Armory by retweeting their post on his American Utopia Twitter page on Mar. 24. - NME, 3/26/21...... The UK paper The Sun is reporting that the Sex Pistols are "over once and for all" after reportedly becoming locked in a fresh lawsuit over royalties. According to the story, guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook have launched a lawsuit against former bandmates John Lydon [aka Johnny Rotten] and Glen Matlock for breach of contract, as the pair believe they are owed money. The former bandmates are now no longer on speaking terms and will only communicate through their lawyers, and according to a source "The guys have always had a pretty fiery relationship, but sadly things are at an all-time low now." "None of them are speaking -- only through lawyers -- and each reckons the other is to blame for various things over the decades," the source said. "As with most rows, money is the major factor here -- Steve and Paul believe they have been denied royalties dating back years, whereas Glen and John think, if anything, they're owed more money. They could counter-sue if needs be. There were chats about a reunion a while ago -- but this is now off the table. The Sex Pistols are over once and for all," the source added. While the reunion seemingly isn't forthcoming, the iconic band's story is soon set to be immortalized on the small screen in director Danny Boyle's upcoming biopic about the punk rock legends. - NME, 3/25/21...... Fans of late soul/pop icon Prince will be able to mark the fifth anniversary of his death with a visit to the suburban Minnesota compound the singer-songwriter called home where Prince's ashes will be on display again. "We celebrate his life and legacy every day at Paisley Park, a place that Prince wanted to share with the world," Paisley Park Executive Director Alan Seiffert said in a statement. "So, on this day especially, we acknowledge the incredible force and inspiration Prince is in people's lives and open up our doors for them to pay their respects." A custom-made ceramic urn containing Prince's remains was originally located in the middle of the atrium when the 65,000-square-foot studio in Chanhassen first opened to the public in Oct. 2016. But at the request of the singer's family, Prince's ashes were eventually removed entirely from public view. The free event will take place on Apr. 21 and will accommodate 1,400 people. Prince passed away on Apr. 21, 2016, of a fentanyl overdose at his Paisley Park estate. - WENN/, 3/24/21...... Meat LoafMeat Loaf announced on Mar. 22 he is launching a new reality competition series called I'd Do Anything For Love... But I Won't Do That. The show is based on the Texas rocker's 1993 hit single of the same name, which appeared on his sixth studio album Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell. According to, the relationship-based program is being produced by Nobody's Hero -- the production company of Christopher Potts and Jonty Nash, who are two of the people behind Netflix's Nailed It!. Meat Loaf, whose real name is Marvin Lee Aday, will serve as an executive producer on the project. The musician previously dabbled in the world of reality TV when he appeared as a contestant on the US version of The Apprentice in 2011. - NME, 3/22/21...... A suit once worn by David Bowie is expected to reach between £10,000-£15,000 when it is auctioned in March. The two-piece suit was worn by the rock legend on a single night out at historic New Romantic hang-out The Blitz Club, and was claimed by legendary promoter Steve Strange after it became left in London club's cloak room. Bowie left the Issey Miyake-designed suit behind after noticing several cigarette burns on it, and changed into a fresh outfit. It eventually made its way into the hands of musician Jayce Lewis, who is auctioning the suit. Specialist Stephen Ferguson at Auction Antiques said: "Unusual items with a famous history are always the best and as a lifelong Bowie fan, this piece ticks all the boxes, as it will with other Bowie fans." - NME, 3/23/21...... Elton John has recruited rising singer Dua Lipa and actor Neil Patrick Harris to help celebrate the 2021 Oscars with a livestreamed pre-party special. John has been hosting his annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards event for the last 29 years, but with ongoing COVID concerns, he has decided to mark the run-up to Hollywood's big show on Apr. 25 with a virtual countdown bash. Harris will co-host the one-hour party with Elton and his husband, producer David Furnish, while Dua will be among the performers, with others set to be announced in the coming weeks. "This year, we are bringing our Oscar Party into people's homes for the first time virtually for an unforgettable evening with David, myself, our dear friend Neil Patrick Harris, and the incredible Dua Lipa plus many fabulous surprise names," Elton said in a statement. The event will stream at four different times to line up with each region's Oscars broadcast, with North America's taking place live at 7:00 pm EDT on Apr. 25 -- just before the awards take place in Los Angeles. -, 3/23/21...... The ashes of late Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister were placed in bullets and given to his closest friends, it has been revealed by Riki Rachtman, former host of the MTV show Headbangers Ball. Sharing his Lemmy-engraved bullet on Twitter and Instagram on Mar. 22, Rachtman wrote: "Before his death #Lemmy asked for his ashes to be put in some bullets & handed out to his closest friends. Today, I received a bullet & was literally brought to tears." In the wake of Rachtman's post, another photo of a Lemmy bullet shared last year by former tennis star Pat Cash is also being re-shared. - NME, 3/23/21...... Hollywood Vampires -- the "supergroup" comprised of Alice Cooper, Joe Perry and Johnny Depp -- have announced they have scrapped their summer European tour due to Covid-19 concerns. The band had previously rescheduled dates to August and September, but because of safety concerns surrounding the pandemic, the tour has now been cancelled. "We are beyond disappointed to announce that the Hollywood Vampires must cancel our rescheduled UK/European tour this Summer," the band said in a statement. "We kept trying to make it happen, but unfortunately due to the uncertainty of Covid-19 travel restrictions, it is just not possible... Thank you for understanding, and we WILL be back rocking with you once the world returns to normal!," they added. When the tour was first announced, Cooper promised the shows would have "something for everyone" and insisted the group was a serious rock band not "just some novelty." -, 3/23/21...... Ted NugentControversial conservative rocker Ted Nugent has responded to allegations of racism, denying the claims and calling himself "the anti-racist." Nugent's remarks came after it was recently revealed that he lost a sponsor for his TV show Spirit Of The Wild due to allegations of racism made against him. Saying he "paid homage and reverence to the black heroes of music" for his entire life in a Facebook Live video, Nugent added: "Everybody who pays attention -- not the ones who call me a racist, but the people who are actually honest and pay attention know that I have paid homage and reverence to the black heroes of music all my life, which means I'm the anti-racist. So if you find somebody who calls Ted Nugent a racist, you are looking at a subhuman piece of shit who lives a lie." He added: "I'm a living, walking, breathing passionate music lover that was in the eye of the music storm at the most important time in the history of music, coming right out of the electrification of the guitar by Les Paul. And how Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley and The Ventures and Duane Eddy and Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley took that black music, and we celebrated it in song." Nugent, a vocal supporter of former US Pres. Donald Trump, has attracted severe criticism over his alleged racist views over the years, calling then-Pres. Barack Obama a "subhuman mongrel" in 2014 before apologizing for the comment. - NME, 3/22/21...... In related news, Ozzy Osbourne's wife Sharon Osbourne has announced she won't be returning to her US daytime talk show The Talk when it resumes production in April, following an on-air controversy and allegations of racism. The outspoken Brit has decided to quit The Talk panel after coming under fire for her defense of newsman pal Piers Morgan's verbal attack on Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex on the Mar. 10 episode of the series. During the segment, co-host Sheryl Underwood attempted to suggest Morgan's comments about the royal's tabloid torment, made on Good Morning Britain, were racist, but Osbourne became upset, claiming the outburst inferred that the rock matriarch was a racist for stating Morgan was paid to have an opinion. "I feel like I'm about to be put in the electric chair because I have a friend who many people think is racist, so that makes me a racist," Osbourne grumbled, although she subsequently apologized for the exchange the next day on Twitter. Sharon came under further attack as former The Talk co-hosts Holly Robinson Peete and Leah Remini accused her of using racially-insensitive and homophobic language behind the scenes of the show -- allegations she blasted as a "setup." Network bosses at CBS put The Talk on hiatus days later, as they launched an investigation into the whole drama, and now they have announced Osbourne has chosen to exit the program after 11 seasons. The Talk is set to return to the air on Apr. 12. - WENN/, 3/26/21...... Emmy-winning screen and stage actress Jessica Walter, best known for her work as the stalker in Clint Eastwood's 1972 thriller Play Misty for Me, and for the TV series Arrested Development and Archer, passed away in her sleep on Mar. 24 in New York City. She was 80. Confirming the sad news of Walter's death, her daughter, Brooke Bowman, said in a statement: "It is with a heavy heart that I confirm the passing of my beloved mom, Jessica. A working actor for over six decades, her greatest pleasure was bringing joy to others through her storytelling both on screen and off." Ms. Walter won an Emmy for playing the title role in 1970s detective series Amy Prentiss, portrayed Lucille Bluth in the cult TV hit Arrested Development, and also voiced the role of Malory Archer in animated series Archer. Away from the screen, she served as the Screen Actors Guild's second national vice president. She began her career on Broadway in productions like "Advise and Consent," "A Severed Head," "Anything Goes", and "Photo Finish," moving into TV in the early 1960s and landed regular roles in hits like For The People, The F.B.I., Bare Essence, Three's A Crowd, Dinosaurs, and a recurring role in the 1979-85 CBS medical drama Trapper John, M.D. Her final credit came this year, on an episode of ABC comedy American Housewife. Ms. Walter was twice married, the first time to Ross Bowman from 1966 until their divorce in 1978. She married Leibman, who died in 2019, in 1983. She is survived by a daughter, Brooke Bowman, a television executive. - Variety/, 3/26/21...... George SegalVeteran actor George Segal, known for his everyman quality, often playing an unlucky-in-love professional or writer who gets in over his head in such films as Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Bye Bye Braverman, A Touch of Class, The Hot Rock, The Owl and the Pussycat, and Fun With Dick and Jane, passed away due to complications from bypass surgery on Mar. 23. He was 87. "The family is devastated to announce that this morning George Segal passed away due to complications from bypass surgery," his wife Sonia Segal said in a statement the same day. Charming and witty, Mr. Segal excelled in both dramatic and comedic roles, most recently playing laid-back widower Albert "Pops" Solomon on the comedy series The Goldbergs. Born in Great Neck, Long Island in New York on Feb. 13, 1934, Mr. Segal studied at the Actor's Studio and appeared on Broadway in shows including "Gideon" and "Rattle of a Simple Man." After being signed by Columbia Pictures, he had his first film role in The Young Doctors. After several television appearances, he won his first major film role in Stanley Kramer's Ship of Fools, playing an artist in the star-studded ensemble drama. In 1965, he played a scheming, wily American corporal in a World War II prisoner-of-war camp in King Rat. Two years later he earned an Academy Award nomination as best supporting actor in director Mike Nichols' harrowing, marital drama Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. "Elizabeth and Richard were the king and queen of the world at that moment and there was a lot of buzz about it," Mr. Segal told in 2016. "For me, there was a great satisfaction of being involved with it." But it was in comedies that Mr. Segal cemented his star status in a string of films in the 1970s with A-list directors and co-stars such as Glenda Jackson, who won an Oscar for her performance in A Touch of Class. He also starred in several acclaimed films for television, including Of Mice and Men, Death of a Salesman and The Desperate Hours. Also on the small screen, he had recurring roles on Just Shoot Me!, Murphy's Law and Take Five. Mr. Segal also enjoyed playing the ukulele and the banjo, making an album of banjo music and performing on TV talk shows. "Today we lost a legend," Adam F. Goldberg, who created the The Goldbergs TV series that was based on his own life, posted on Twitter on Mar. 23. - Reuters/Variety, 3/23/21.

Monday, Mar. 22, 2021

A new Tom Petty documentary, Somewhere You Feel Free, debuted at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Tex., on Mar. 18. Directed by Mary Wharton, the documentary features an unearthed trove of 16mm studio footage from 1994's Wildflowers recording sessions and new interviews with Petty's daughter (and documentary executive producer) Adria Petty, Wildflowers co-producer Rick Rubin, and Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench and Steve Ferrone of Petty's band the Heartbreakers. Among the revelations in the rock doc are Petty's favorite album of his was Wildflowers and he decided to make it a solo LP "because I wanted to be free of the democratic process." Another interesting tidbit is "Mary Jane's Last Dance," one of his most enduring hits, was recorded while on a short break from the Wildflowers sessions, in a separate studio as one of two tracks to fill out a contract with his former label, MCA Records, and his final LP for them, 1993's Greatest Hits. - Billboard, 3/18/21...... Paul StanleyIn a new interview with USA Today, KISS vocalist/guitarist Paul Stanley said he doesn't "really see a reason" for KISS to deliver any new music before they finally call it a day when their current "End Of The Road" farewell tour comes to a close. "I don't really see a reason for it, to be quite honest," Stanley said. "For the most part, when classic bands put out new albums, they're looked at and listened to and thrown away because they don't have the gravitas, they don't have the age that comes with something being a time capsule or being attached to a certain period of your life." Stanley continued: "I'm not alone in that. When you see any classic bands on TV or if there's a concert video, turn off the sound and I'll tell you every time they're playing a new song because the audience sits down. So it's odd to me that people always want you to do a new album, but then they go, 'That's great. Now play your hits.' So honestly, at this point, there isn't a real reward in it. There's much more of a reward in changing lanes -- I'm still going forward." Instead of new KISS music, Stanley says he's busy on recording the debut album from his Soul Station side project. The last KISS album was 2012's Monster. In other KISS-related news, bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons has taken to Twitter again to blast people who are skeptical of wearing face masks amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. "You must stop at a red light, and you must put on your seatbelt, and you can't drive over the speed limit. Your rights stop if you effect others. So why should you have a say in not wearing a mask in public?," Simmons posted on his Twitter account on Mar. 20. A few hours later, he made a comparison with why surgeons wear masks in operating rooms, saying, "Why is it ALL surgeons, without exception... anywhere in the world, wear masks during surgery!!! Do you think they do that for political reasons, or could it be you are delusional and are hanging out with losers?". While many users agreed with Simmons' sentiments, others argued that his comparison was moot, saying, "I'm not sure that being required to wear a mask in a sterile environment is the same as wearing one in public" and "this is a bad argument." In Dec. 2020, Simmons appealed to everyone to wear a face mask, sharing a photo of KISS donning masks ahead of a virtual concert. "Wear your masks. Even if it's only as a courtesy. If you yawn, or sneeze, you don't think twice about covering your mouth. Do the rest of us a favor! Mask Up!... Besides, it looks cool," he said. Paul Stanley also urged the wearing of masks in July: "Don't listen to conspiracy theorists or graduates of The Internet University Of Medicine," he posted to Twitter. - New Musical Express, 3/20/21...... Aretha FranklinAs the new Aretha Franklin biopic Genius debuts on Mar. 21 on the National Geographic cable channel, the Queen of Soul's family has spoken out against the series, saying they "do not support it." Franklin's granddaughter Grace recently posted on TikTok about the show, which stars Cynthia Erivo as the late soul singer, and her family's feelings on it. "As the immediate family, we feel that it's important to be involved with any biopic of my grandma's life, as it's hard to get any accurate depiction of anyone's life without speaking to the ones closest to them," Grace said. Grace's father -- and Franklin's son -- Kecalf has also spoken to Rolling Stone about Genius, who said any communication between the family and National Geographic ended when his cousin Sabrina Garrett-Owens stepped down as the representative of Franklin's personal estate. Kecalf said the Franklin family's lawyers reached out to NatGeo to "see the film and say what we like and what we didn't like about it" but they responded that it was "too late, production had already wrapped up and that they didn't want to work with us." He added that the family's issues with Genius were not related to money. "This is about common, decent respect for our family. If I was to do a movie on your family, I would try and speak with you, your sons, daughters, grandchildren and people like that. And we just never felt like we got a shot to speak to them freely from my heart about our family member," he said. A spokesperson for NatGeo said in a statement that both parties had the same goal -- "to honour and celebrate the life and legacy of Aretha Franklin" and they "worked with many people who knew Ms. Franklin -- from Clive Davis to members of her family's estate -- to make sure we told her story in an honest and authentic way." Meanwhile, another Aretha biopic with Jennifer Hudson in the lead role, Respect, is currently set to premiere in the US on Aug. 13, 2021, after being delayed several times due to the coronavirus pandemic. - NME, 3/21/21...... In other soul music news, expanded digital editions of The Jacksons' last three studio albums will drop on Apr. 30, Epic Records and Sony's Legacy Recordings has announced. The three LP's, 1980's Triumph, 1984's Victory and 1989's 2300 Jackson Street, will be reissued with bonus tracks. On Mar. 21, a new remix of their song "Can You Feel It" featuring spoken word recordings from the late Martin Luther King's acclaimed "The Drum Major Instinct" speech at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta in 1968 was released. It also features excerpts from former Pres. Barack Obama's first inauguration speech. On Mar. 26, a 2-LP 12" vinyl edition of The Jacksons Live! from their 1981 North American "Triumph Tour" will be released. In February, extended editions of 1977's The Jacksons LP, 1977's Goin' Places and 1978's Destiny were released. The Jacksons last toured in 2019, when Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon Jackson embarked on a World Tour. -, 3/19/21...... StingIn an interview in the new Reader's Digest, former Police frontman Sting said he regrets reuniting with the Police in 2007, labeling it "an exercise in nostalgia." Bassist/vocalist Sting, guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stuart Copeland reunited in 2007, 19 years after they split, and then embarked on a global tour the year after. Sting said the reunion didn't leave him feeling the way he hoped it would. "At the time I labelled the tour an exercise in nostalgia. That was simply how I felt and is still how I feel today," he said. "I think it's OK to be honest about your feelings and that was the way it went for me. That's not a slight on the people I was with or the way things panned out, it's just how I saw it by the end, and let s be honest, that's not how I wanted to remember it. If I thought that would be the emotion I'd be leaving with, I wouldn't have done it in the first place," he added. Meanwhile, Sting, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, and Sleater-Kinney are among the special guests who will feature on the upcoming new series of Audible's Words + Music. - NME, 3/21/21...... Nathan Apodaca, the man who went viral in 2020 for miming along to Fleetwood Mac while drinking Ocean Spray on a skateboard, is selling the original video as a non-fungible token (NFT). Apodaca's TikTok video caught the attention of millions last September, including Fleetwood Mac themselves, with bandmembers even re-creating the skater's ode to "Dreams." The feel-good video also secured him a virtual spot at Pres. Joe Biden's inauguration in January. On Mar. 19, Apodaca put his 23-second clip on auction as an NFT with a reported starting bid of $500,000 (£358,437), according to They added that Apodaca sees giving someone else ownership as a way to spread his success around, since he has made lucrative gains from it. The video, however, will not include the original audio snippet of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" because he does not own the copyright. The viral star reportedly plans to use the money earned from the auction to buy his parents a house and open an event center in his hometown of Idaho Falls. - NME, 3/18/21...... In a new interview with, former Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler announced that he is working on his autobiography. Butler says he's halfway through writing the book, in order to give his grandchildren a look back at his illustrious career. "I started out because when my parents died, I always wished I'd asked them a lot more things than I knew about," Butler said. "I don't really know much about my mum and dad, 'cause they were always just there. So, I started writing a memoir for my grandkids to read, and that's been fun going through stuff -- old times and growing up in Birmingham, and all that. I'm right in the middle of doing that at the moment." Meanwhile, former Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne's wife Sharon Osbourne is under attack from another former co-host of her talk show The Talk as she battles back from an awkward stand-off on the daytime show and racism allegations. A day after Leah Remini told the New York Post she heard Sharon call a former Asian-American sidekick "slanty eyes" and "wonton," actress Holly Robinson Peete has blasted Sharon for the way she handled the controversy. Peete took to social media and wrote: "If your only response to a disgusting allegation of racist behavior is to tell 'little people' to 'f--- off' you're clearly not holding yourself accountable." Sharon shocked many with a denial statement on Mar. 17, when she repeated the word "wonton" twice and told her critics to "f--- off." Osbourne's war of words began on an episode of The Talk in the third week of March, when she was challenged over comments she made during the live show defending her longtime friend Piers Morgan following his controversial take on Prince Harry and Megan Markle's interview with Oprah Winfrey. An exchange between Osbourne and co-host Sheryl Underwood became heated when the comedian suggested Morgan's comments were racist. CBS network bosses put The Talk on hold while they investigate the incident and Osbourne is considering whether she will return to the show when it re-airs the following week. - NME/, 3/18/21...... Ringo StarrDuring a Zoom Q&A session on Mar. 18 to promote his new EP Zoom In, Ringo Starr criticized the original Beatles documentary Let It Be for being "too miserable." Director Michael Lindsay-Hogg oversaw the film which documented the Fab Four during recording sessions for their 12th studio album and drew particular attention to heated exchanges between Paul McCartney and George Harrison. Starr said he was delighted that Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson took over 56 hours of footage from that era and made it into the forthcoming The Beatles: Get Back documentary. "I didn't feel any joy in the original documentary, it was all focused on one moment which went down between two of the lads [McCartney and Harrison]," said Starr. "The rooftop concert [unannounced Beatles gig from the Apple Corps rooftop in 1969] was also only about seven to eight minutes long. With Peter's [documentary] it's 43 minutes long [laughs]. It's about the music and a lot of joy." Ringo continued: "I had several talks with Peter about how I felt. I thought it was miserable. I said, 'There was lots of laughter, I was there, we were laughing, we were having fun. We were playing and doing what we do'. So Peter kept coming into LA with his iPad and he'd show me sections. He said, 'Look what I've found here' and he showed us laughing and having fun as a band. There was a lot of joy in making those records, those tracks so I'm certainly looking forward to seeing the whole thing. Even if you saw that little trailer that came out late last year, it's full of fun." The Beatles: Get Back is due on Aug. 27, after the original release date was moved due to the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Starr's new EP "Zoom In" was released on Mar. 19. The five track EP was recorded at Starr's home studio between April and October in 2020, featuring contributions from McCartney, Dave Grohl, Sheryl Crow, Lenny Kravitz, Chris Stapleton and Corinne Bailey Rae. - NME, 3/18/21...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney has announced his second children's picture book, Grandude's Green Submarine, will be released on Sept. 2 and continue the adventure of his best-selling 2019 Hey Grandude. Grandude's Green Submarine will continue the adventure of the eponymous grandfather and his grandchildren as they set off on a quest to find their music-loving grandmother, Nandude. McCartney previously explained that the lead character's name is taken directly from the nickname that his grandchildren are known to call him. 'I'm really happy with how Hey Grandude! was received as this was a very personal story for me, celebrating Grandudes everywhere and their relationships and adventures with their grandchildren," he said. "I love that it has become a book read to grandkids at bedtime all around the world. I always said if people liked the first book and there was an appetite for more I would write some further adventures for Grandude -- so he's back and this time with his special invention, Grandude's green submarine!," he added. - NME, 3/18/21...... SparksDirector Edgar Wright's new documentary on the '70s L.A. pop-rock duo Sparks will be released in US and Canadian cinemas later in 2021. The Sparks Brothers will investigate the careers of brothers Ron and Russell Mael over five decades, complete with an archive of TV and concert clips. A string of musical guests were interviewed for the documentary, including Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, Alex Kaprano of Franz Ferdinand, and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Sparks Brothers premiered at Sundance Film Festival earlier in 2021. Now, Edgar Wright has confirmed on Instagram that the film will arrive in North American theaters on June 18, with international release dates to be announced later. An official clip of the documentary has also been shared on YouTube. Sparks' combination of witty lyrics with ever-changing pop styles on such albums as 1975's Propaganda has long perplexed and fascinated critics and audiences. - NME, 3/21/21...... Responding to a fan question sent into Metal Hammer, Alice Cooper has revealed his theatrical rock shows were a major inspiration for David Bowie, who once told the rocker it was what his own band "should be doing." "David used to come to the show when he was a mime artist, he was Davy Jones back then. I remember at one of our 'Welcome To My Nightmare' shows, he brought his band the Spiders From Mars and he was saying, 'This is what we should be doing.' But he never did it the way we did it," Cooper recalled. "Bowie and I talked all the time, we'd compliment each other," he added. "There was a whole thing about Bowie and Lou Reed talking about my androgynous thing being fake and they were right -- of course, it's fake. It's a dark vaudeville show and I play a character. Lou and David knew me and knew I couldn't be more down-the-middle American but I just happened to tap into this character and the image -- I knew how to make that character scary, sexy, revolting and funny at the same time!" he said. Cooper said he never saw Bowie as competition but instead "encouraged" him. - NME, 3/18/21.

Wednesday, Mar. 17, 2021

An undergarments company called Stance unveiled a new line of Grateful Dead-inspired socks in the third week of March. Featuring five unique designs -- ranging from a red, white and blue skull logo and grey tie-dye "dancing Dead" pattern to a blue tie-dye band signature "American Beauty" rose logo -- the collection ranges in price from $16.99 to $29.99, with the unisex socks available in men's sizes 3-13 and women's sizes 5-14. All the socks can be viewed on the website. Stance is also offering a reversible Grateful Dead face masks in support of their Stance for Scrubs campaign, an initiative that donates a pair of socks to healthcare workers for every mask sold. The adjustable mask features a blue tie-dye and a sleek black design to choose from. - Billboard, 3/16/21...... Black SabbathAs Black Sabbath recently reissued deluxe editions of three of its titles -- including 1972's Vol. 4, 1980's Heaven and Hell, and 1981's Mob Rules, co-founding bassist Geezer Butler says he has fond memories of the recording of all three albums -- particularly the Vol. 4 session in Los Angeles when the band was all living together in the same house. "It was mental. Completely mental!" Butler told "We used to have bucketloads of cocaine there, and we had this big bowl in the middle of the table, full of cocaine. One day Ozzy [Osbourne] noticed this button below one of the windows; He kept pressing it, 'I wonder what this does?' The next thing, the police turned up -- it was a panic button. And there was us with this great big bowl of cocaine in the middle. So we dumped all the cocaine down the toilet and ran upstairs to get rid of our own stashes. The coppers went, 'What's the problem?' 'Oh, nothing...' 'OK, see ya...' And we'd dumped about five grams of cocaine down the bog!" Meanwhile, co-founding Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has revealed that a Black Sabbath biopic has been discussed, following in the footsteps of such hit rock biopics showcasing Queen and Elton John. "Yes, there was talk of it, and I don't know what happened," Iommi told Spin magazine.. "It sort of went out the window when all this thing [coronavirus pandemic] started. But we were talking about probably 18 months ago, about doing the biopic. I haven't heard much else." Talking to SiriusXM radio show host Eddie Trunk in another interview, Iommi said he was "not at all happy" about the leak of a previously unheard Black Sabbath song called "Slapback," which was uploaded to YouTube earlier in March. "I'm not at all happy with it at all," Iommi told Trunk when asked about the track. "And it's left a really bad taste in my mouth," he added about the song, which features the late Ronnie James Dio on vocals and reportedly dates from the sessions for 1979's Heaven and Hell. "That is actually Ronnie playing bass on that. And that was just in the lounge recorded on a cassette," Iommi said. xplaining why the track was not previously released, he said: "We had one or two things that we'd jam around on and play on and stuff, but it wasn't right for the album, so we didn't put it into shape; we didn't record it or anything," he explained. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 3/15/21...... In other Sabbath-related news, Ozzy Osbourne's wife Sharon Osbourne has clarified her stance following accusations of racism on the weekday The Talk program, which she co-hosts. Osbourne was among those who publicly defended combative UK television host Piers Morgan following his remarks about Meghan Markle and subsequent exit from ITV's Good Morning Britain. Osbourne had tweeted earlier: "After some reflection, after sitting with your comments & sitting with my heart I would like to address the discussion on 'The Talk' this past Wednesday. I have always been embraced with so much love & support from the Black community & I have deep respect & love for the Black community. To anyone of color that I offended and/or to anyone that feels confused or let down by what I said, I am truly sorry. I panicked, felt blindsided, got defensive & allowed my fear & horror of being accused of being racist take over. There are very few things that hurt my heart more than racism so to feel associated with that spun me fast! I am not perfect, I am still learning like the rest of us & will continue to learn, listen and do better." Morgan then sprung to Sharon's defense on Twitter and demanded an apology from Sharon's "bullies": "Sharon's been shamed & bullied into apologizing for defending me against colleagues accusing me of racism because I don't believe Meghan Markle's bullsh--," he tweeted. "This is where we've reached. I demand an apology from those @TheTalkCBS bullies for their disgraceful slurs against ME." Morgan and Osbourne served together as judges on America's Got Talent. - Reuters/, 3/12/21...... John LydonA rare master Betacam digital tape of a documentary which told the story of the Sex Pistols' rise to fame (or infamy) in the 1970s is expected to reach up to £10,000 at auction. The tape contains footage of Julien Temple's 2000 Sex Pistols documentary The Filth & The Fury: A Sex Pistols Film, which is readily available on DVD but without the master tape's 12-minutes of videos made for the songs "God Save the Queen," "Pretty Vacant" and "Holidays in the Sun," interspersed with interviews with Johnny Rotten [John Lydon] and co. and the band's management. Claire Howell, a music memorabilia consultant at Hansons, described the tape as "an exceptionally rare piece of musical history celebrating an iconic group who smashed their way to fame in the mid-70s and broke the mould when it came to music, fashion, style and attitude. The vendor firmly believes it is a one-off master tape as it came directly from the production company, Resolution Studios. The 'rockumentary' was made in 2000 but it was actually released on DVD on September 24, 2007 which is why the tape coming up for auction is dated 2007." Howell added that the tape is being sold by a private memorabilia collector who previously discovered it at an auction in Retford, Nottinghamshire. It is now set to go under the hammer on Mar. 23, with initial estimates placing it between £5000 - £10,000. Meanwhile, shooting began earlier in March in London on the Danny Boyle-directed Sex Pistols documentary Pistol which is slated to air in 2022 on FX on Hulu. - NME, 3/16/21...... In a new interview with OK! magazine, Cliff Richard admitted that it used to "bother" him that he never had a big fanbase in the US but lately he's thankful for that because it means he can go unrecognized when he's traveling in the States. "I never broke America -- when I was young that used to bother me but now I'm glad that I never did because I can walk around there in peace and quiet," Sir Cliff noted. "My US label weren't bothered about releasing I'm Nearly Famous [in 1975], so Elton [John] put it out in the US on his Rocket label and 'Devil Woman', the single taken from it, went top 10 there," he added. Elton's decision to release Richard's album on his record label and Richard's disire to see it do well saw the Christian crooner tagged with a new nickname from Sir Elton. "Elton likes calling his male friends by female names -- he always calls Rod Stewart 'Phyllis' and he called me 'Silvia Disc' because he said I was always ringing his management office to ask if my record had gone silver yet," Richard said, adding "Is that true? I couldn't possibly comment." -, 3/14/21...... Eddie Van Halen's son Wolf Van Halen has revealed that he passed on the opportunity to perform a tribute to his late father at the 2021 Grammys. While the Mar. 14 awards ceremony featured performances honouring the late John Prine, Little Richard, Kenny Rogers and Gerry Marsden, pundits and VH fans were left scratching their heads when rock guitar virtuoso Eddie Van Halen, who passed away in October 2020 following a battle with throat cancer, was not given the same kind of tribute. Wolf took to Twitter to clarify his decision not to perform a tribute to his father at the Grammys, who he says had approached him to perform VH's classic "Eruption." I declined. I don't think anyone could have lived up to what my father did for music but himself," Van Halen explained in an extended Twitter post. Wolf said in declining, he presumed that another tribute would be organized. Instead, the Grammys included a short clip of Eddie Van Halen in its "In Memoriam" section and only briefly displayed his guitar on stage. "I didn't realize that they would only show Pop for 15 seconds in the middle of 4 full performances for others we had lost. What hurt the most was that he wasn't even mentioned when they talked about artists we lost in the beginning of the show. I know Pop would probably just laugh it off and say 'Ehh who gives a shit?' He was only about the music anyway. The rest didn't matter," Wolf said, adding that he hoped he would have "the opportunity to speak with The Recording Academy not only about the legacy of my father, but the legacy of the rock genre moving forward." - NME, 3/16/21...... '80s rocker Jon Bon Jovi has recalled the time when Mick Jagger once pretended to be in a band with Bon Jovi before the New Jersey rocker skyrocketed to fame. Appearing on Gary Kemp and Guy Pratt's Rockonteurs podcast, Bon Jovi recalled the time he spent working at The Power Station recording studio in New York when he was just 18 years old: "I'll never forget this, I was outside paying my cabby... and The [Rolling] Stones got out of whatever car it was they were getting out of," he explained. "At the same time, they were going into the studio and a photographer jumps out of a trash bin and the paparazzi starts taking pictures. I swear to god this is true. The Stones, they open up the door of the studio... [Bill] Wyman, Mick and Keith [Richards]. They go into the studio." He continued: "The photographer is screaming, 'Mick, Mick, Mick! Give us a picture!' and I swear to you, he grabs me and these kids and he says, 'Here's my new band, The Frogs' And we took a f----ing picture." Bon Jovi also recalled witnessing the famous collaboration of David Bowie and Queen's Freddie Mercury at the same studio. He said he spotted the pair at the studios one night as they recorded their 1981 collaboration "Under Pressure." "No one believes what I saw," he said. - NME, 3/15/21...... Speaking of Queen, a new set of collectible statues of the band are set to be released later in 2021. Limited edition statues of Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon are currently in production by KnuckleBonz. The hand-crafted pieces are modelled on the band from their 1981 concert in Montreal. Officially licensed and approved by Queen, each statue is hand-painted, numbered and comes with a certificate of authenticity on the base. Limited to 3000, the Rock Iconz series celebrates the world's greatest music performers in a limited-edition collector series. The statues can be pre-ordered on the site. - NME, 3/14/21...... Elton JohnOn Mar. 16, Elton John criticised the Vatican over its decision not to allow gay marriage in the Catholic church. Replying to a question on whether Catholic priests could bless homosexual couples, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) said the day earlier that same-sex nuptials "cannot be considered licit." The formal response from the Vatican's orthodoxy office, which has been approved by Pope Francis, claimed that "God does not and cannot bless sin". In 2020, the pope endorsed gay civil unions during a documentary interview. Taking to Instagram, John shared screenshots of news articles on the Vatican's response while highlighting its apparent "hypocrisy." "How can the Vatican refuse to bless gay marriages because they 'are sin', yet happily make a profit from investing millions in Rocketman - a film which celebrates [me] finding happiness from my marriage to David [Furnish]??," Elton wrote. The Rocketman signed off with the hashtag "#hypocrisy" before tagging the accounts of his husband, Vatican News, Pope Francis and the Catholic Church. John, who has long been an advocate for LGBTQ rights, tied the knot to his partner Furnish in 2014 -- the year that same-sex marriage became legal in England and Wales. The pair had previously been in a civil partnership since 2005. - NME, 3/15/21...... The guitar famously played by Elvis Presley during his 1968 "Comeback Special" will go under the hammer during live bidding on Mar. 27. Presley's flaming red Hagstrom Viking II guitar, which was also featured on the cover of his From Elvis in Memphis LP in 1969, is being auctioned by Kruse GWS Auctions. The eye-catching instrument was used by the king of rock 'n' roll during his nationally televised 1968 NBC special after the star had devoted much of the previous seven years to his movie career. The guitar first belonged to American guitarist Al Casey, who was asked by producers to let Elvis use it during his TV special because of the guitar's flashy and fiery appeal. According to the auctioneers, it has not been offered for auction since the 1990s. It will have a starting bid of $250,000 in the auction, which will also sell such collectables as Michael Jackson's crystal-studded glove, Elizabeth Taylor's blue pearl drop earrings, and a 1950 Cadillac Fleetwood featured in the 1972 movie The Godfather. -, 3/14/21...... Sally Grossman, the wife of Bob Dylan's former manager Albert Grossman and who was immortalized on the sleeve of Dylan's 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home, has died aged 81. Ms. Grossman's niece Anna Buehler confirmed to Rolling Stone magazine that that she died in her sleep at home in Woodstock, N.Y., on Mar. 10. Few knew who Ms. Grossman was when she appeared next to Dylan on the striking cover of the Bringing It All Back Home LP, but it was revealed in time that she was the wife of Dylan's then-manager Albert Grossman. The Grossmans both had a significant impact on Dylan's career and also worked with Janis Joplin, The Band and Todd Rundgren, among others. After her husband's death from's heart attack on a flight from the U.S. to Europe in 1986, Ms. Grossman carried on his legacy by overseeing his legendary studio Bearsville and associated record label Bearsville Records. A tribute to Ms. Grossman has been shared on Twitter by author Neil Gaiman, who wrote: "I'm sad to hear that Sally Grossman has passed away. She was funny, salty, sometimes grumpy (but I think she liked me) a smart businesswoman and a fount of stories. No more lunches at the Little Bear. The couch (her wedding present from Mary Travers) is empty now." - NME, 3/15/21...... Yaphet KottoVeteran actor Yaphet Kotto, most famous for starring as a villainous kingpin in the 1973 James Bond movie Live And Let Die, has passed away at age 81 at his home in the Phillipines. The news was broken by Mr. Kotto's wife Tessie Sinahon on Facebook on Mar. 15. "I'm saddened and still in shocked of the passing of my husband Yaphet of 24 years," she posted. "He died last night around 10:30pm Philippine time... You played a villain on some of your movies but for me you're a real hero and to a lot of people also. A good man, a good father, a good husband and a decent human being, very rare to find. One of the best actor in Hollywood a Legend. Rest in Peace Honey, I'm gonna miss you everyday, my best friend, my rock," she added. As well as starring in Live and Let Die -- in which he pulled double duty playing dictator Dr. Kananga and his alter ego Mr. Big -- Mr. Kotto famously played technician Dennis Parker in 1979 movie Alien, and appeared opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1987 action film The Running Man. He also enjoyed success on the small screen, starring as Al Giardello in the series Homicide: Life on the Street from 1993 to 1999. Mr. Kotto's final role before his death saw him voice the character of Parker once again for the "Alien: Isolation" video game. He is survived by his wife and six children. - WENN/, 3/16/21...... It has been announced that UK actress Nicola Pagett, best known for playing the rebellious and thoroughly spoiled Elizabeth Bellamy on the beloved British television series Upstairs, Downstairs, died on Mar. 3 at a hospice center in suburban London. She was 75. Pagett's daughter, Eve Swannell, says her mother's cause of death was a brain tumor. Although Pagett once said she preferred the stage, she won praise for her work in Upstairs, Downstairs as well as the title role in an acclaimed BBC version of Anna Karenina. - The New York Times, 3/17/21.

Friday, Mar. 12, 2021

Paul McCartney announced on Mar. 11 that he'll release a "reimagined" version of his 2020 album McCartney III with collaborations from the likes of alternative fave Beck and such rising artists as St Vincent, Damon Albarn, Phoebe Bridgers, Josh Homme and many more. Due on Apr. 16 in digital and July 23 on CD and vinyl, McCartney III Imagined will also feature Dominic Fike's hypnotic cover of McCartney III's "The Kiss of Venus," a video of which Fike has shared on YouTube. Confirmation of McCartney III Imagined came after Macca took to Instagram on Mar. 10 to share a short video clip that sees handfuls of multi-coloured dice rolled into different positions. In addition to the number three, the dice also featured the names of the artists taking part. - New Musical Express, 3/11/21...... Roger WatersDavid GilmourIn a new interview with Guitar Player magazine, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd quashed a potential Floyd reunion, admitting he "absolutely" doesn't want to perform stadium gigs again and is enjoying his freedom. "It has run its course, we are done," Gilmour told the magazine. "I'm all for Roger [Waters] doing whatever he wants to do and enjoying himself. But I absolutely don't want to go back. I don't want to go and play stadiums. I'm free to do exactly what I want to do and how I want to do it," he added. Gilmour's comments come after Waters revealed in a 2020 interview that he unsuccessfully attempted to make peace with Gilmour and their bandmate Nick Mason. "About a year ago, I convened a sort of Camp David for the surviving members of Pink Floyd at a hotel at an airport in London, where I proposed all kinds of measures to get past this awful impasse that we have and the predicament we find ourselves in," said Waters, who went on to criticize Gilmour and accuse him of "banning" him from the official Pink Floyd website. Waters added that Gilmour "thinks he owns" Pink Floyd and that "it seems to me that it would be fair and correct if we should have equal access to you all and share our projects." "I think he thinks that because I left the band in 1985, that he owns Pink Floyd, that he is Pink Floyd and I'm irrelevant and I should just keep my mouth shut," Waters said. While a reunion might not be forthcoming, Pink Floyd fans can at least take comfort in listening to the band's hallowed 1990 gig at Knebworth which is being released as a full live album in April. Pink Floyd - Live At Knebworth 1990 will be released via Warner Music on CD, double vinyl and digital versions on Apr. 30. The band headlined the Silver Clef Award Winners concert at Knebworth House, Hertfordshire in June 1990, which also featured live performances from the likes of Paul McCartney, Dire Straits and Phil Collins with Genesis. - NME, 3/11/21...... Kenneth Branagh, the Oscar-nominated director of such acclaimed films as Dunkirk, Wallander and Henry V, has been tapped to direct the upcoming Bee Gees biopic, it was reported on Mar. 11. A deal for the as-yet-untitled film was made back in 2019 when it was announced that Graham King -- who produced the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody -- had teamed up with Paramount Pictures to create the project. Producing the project will be Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, alongside GK Films and the production company Sister. Sole surviving Bee Gees member Barry Gibb, who participated in the 2020 Bee Gees documentary How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, will serve as an executive producer. Paramount has also acquired the rights to Bee Gees songs from the Gibb estate on behalf of King, allowing the trio's extensive back catalogue to be used in the movie. Casting and a release date for the film have yet to be announced. - NME, 3/11/21...... Rod StewartIn an act of unity and support, New Zealand's tourism arm 100% Pure New Zealand has invited Rod Stewart to surprise America's Cup teams with a "dock out" serenade of his 1975 hit song "Sailing" at the upcoming 36th America's Cup competition. The "Rock the Dock" event will see Sir Rod perform a powerful and emotive rendition of "Sailing" from London, with the recorded performance beamed onto the Te Wero big screen in Auckland's America's Cup Village, and broadcast by official programming partner, TVNZ. The performance will take place on Mar. 13 at 1:30 a.m. GMT. With the event being one of few global events to currently take place during the current coronavirus lockdown, it is expected that thousands of people around the world will watch this special message from New Zealand. "We think Rod performing 'Sailing' really captures this notion with its poignant and fitting lyrics, as well as Rod's connection to New Zealand," says Tourism New Zealand's Ren de Monchy. The iconic rocker had a message for kiwis, rallying them to singalong with him wherever they are in a show of unity and support for the teams and their fans around the world. "I'm excited to be performing for the America's Cup in New Zealand and 'Sailing' is the perfect fit. With fans being unable to travel, I'm hoping that this special performance will remind us that we re all in this together," Stewart said in a statement. -, 3/11/21...... Alice Cooper's latest studio LP Detroit Stories has debuted atop Billboard's Top Album Sales chart for the week dated Mar. 13, the shock-rocker's first chart-topper in the 29-year history of that chart. Detroit Stories sold 13,000 copies across all available formats (CD, vinyl LP, digital download) in the week ending Mar. 4, according to MRC Data. Of that starting sum, 9,500 were sold via CD and 2,000 came via vinyl LP. The remaining 1,500 were digital albums. It also bowed at No. 1 on the Tastemaker Albums chart, which ranks the top-selling albums at independent and small chain music stores. On the all-genre Billboard Hot 200 albums chart, Detroit Stories entered at No. 47, marking Cooper's 27th chart entry, stretching back to 1969's Pretties for You. (From 1969 through 1973, Alice Cooper charted six albums as a band. Then, from 1975 onwards, Cooper charted as a soloist.) Detroit Stories has also debuted at No. 2 on the Hard Rock Albums chart, No. 5 on the Top Rock Albums chart and No. 18 on the Vinyl Albums chart. Meanwhile, Cooper has revealed the identity of his only fellow rocker calls him by his birthname of Vincent Damon Furnier. In an interview with the UK paper The Sun, "The only person who calls me Vince is Keith Richards. He'll say, 'Vinnie, Vinnie, how long has it been since you had a drink? And I'll reply, 'More than 30 years.' And he goes, 'Ah, begs the question, why?'" says Cooper, who has been sober for 38 years. Cooper also recently hit back at Gene Simmons after the KISS bassist recently claimed that rock music is "dead." "There's a bunch of 18-year-kids in there with guitars and drums and they're learning hard rock," Alice told the UK's New Musical Express. "It's the same with the United States: there's all these young bands that want to resurge that whole area of hard rock." Simmons has recently clarified his comments in a new interview: "The point is, yeah, rock is dead because if we play the game from 1958 until 1988, which is 30 years, you had Elvis, The Beatles, The Stones, Pink Floyd, and on and on and on," Simmons said. "And then from 1988 until today, who's the new Beatles?" - Billboard/NME, 3/9/21...... Tina TurnerThe latest trailer for the upcoming Tina Turner documentary Tina has been shared on YouTube. In it, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member sits down to discuss her past abusive relationship with then-husband and other half of the Ike & Tina Turner duo and how she struggled to make a name for herself. "I had an abusive life. There's no other way to tell the story," Turner says in the clip. "The divorce, I got nothing. No money, no house. So I said, 'I'll just take my name.'" Tina later explains in a voiceover that her dream was to become "the first Black rock 'n' roll singer to pack places like the [Rolling] Stones." And she made it happen: The eight-time Grammy winning-artist's final 90-show tour, the "Tina!: 50th Anniversary Tour," is one of the highest grossing tours of all time and was the No. 9 top-grossing tour of 2009. Tina will premiere on Mar. 27 at 8 ET on HBO, and will be available to stream on HBO Max. - Billboard, 3/10/21...... The '70s UK ska group Madness will be the subject of a new three-part AMC documentary Before We Was We: Madness By Madness. The documentary -- adapted from the 2019 memoir of the same name -- will chronicle the rise of the Camden ska legends, who have released 12 studio albums since forming in 1976. According to a press release, each hour-long episode features original footage as well as new interviews with band members past and present -- including Chris Foreman, Mike Barson, Lee Thompson, Graham McPherson, Daniel Woodgate, Mark Bedford and Carl Smyth. The musicians will recount stories from across Madness' 40-plus-year career, with the film also capturing the cultural and political upheaval of the times. Before We Was We... will air exclusively on BT TV at 9:00 p.m. on May 1. Fans will also be able to watch on-demand via the BT Player. - NME, 3/11/21...... Rising artist Phoebe Bridgers has teamed up with Jackson Browne for a new, "sadder" version of her song "Kyoto." The collaborative reworking of the track -- the original of which appears on Bridgers' second album Punisher -- is available for streaming on The new "Kyoto" features an intimate acoustic guitar instrumental, with Browne contributing backing vocals in its hushed chorus. - NME, 3/9/21...... Michael Stanley, a Cleveland-based rocker and radio personality who with his namesake band reached the Top 40 in the 1980s with the hits "He Can't Love You" and "My Town" before going on to a long career as a radio disc jockey," died on Mar. 4 after a seven-month battle with lung cancer. He was 72. The Cleveland legend released his first album while still in college and formed the Michael Stanley Band in 1974. After a brief period of national popularity in the early '80s, sales fell off and the band broke up in 1987. Stanley, also a songwriter, continued to record and tour, and remained beloved in his hometown as a radio and television personality, performer and recording artist. "He was so emblematic of that raging heart that doesn't care that it's gonna lose -- it's still gonna leave everything on the field. And when he wrote those songs, those kids in a city where the river caught on fire and the lake died, they felt like their lives mattered," music critic and author Holly Gleason told "If you were a kid coming of age in Cleveland in the '70s or the '80s, he was our hand on the brass ring," she added. A private funeral for Stanley, who worked at Cleveland's WNCX radio station for 30 years, has been planned. - Associated Press, 3/8/21...... Dutch engineer Lou Ottens, who is credited with the invention of the audio cassette tape, has died aged 94. Mr. Ottens started working for electronics manufacturer Phillips in 1952, and by 1960 had been promoted to head of product development. It was there, along with his team, that he developed the world's first portable tape recorder. In 1963, he introduced the first cassette tape at the Berlin Radio Show electronics fair, which superseded the cumbersome reel to reel systems used until that time. The following year, the name "Compact Cassette" was trademarked. After making a deal with Sony, Mr. Ottens' design then became the standard cassette used across the globe despite competition from imitators. An estimated 100 billion have since been sold. Later in his career, while technical director of Phillips Audio, Mr. Ottens played a key role in Phillips and Sony's joint development of the compact disc in 1979. At least 200 billion CDs have been sold since they were made available to the public in 1982. - NME, 3/10/21...... Roger MuddRoger Mudd, the CBS newsman whose political reporting and substitute anchoring on The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite made him a familiar and respected face to tens of millions of Americans in the 1960s and 1970s, died on Mar. 9 of complications from kidney failure at his home in McLean, Va. He was 93. On Nov.4, 1979, Mr. Mudd had perhaps his single biggest political interview and one of the most famous in presidential politics when he anchored and reported CBS REPORTS: Teddy, an hour-long look at Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Mr. Mudd, with his concise interviewing style, homed in on a very basic question Sen. Kennedy was caught unprepared for: "Senator, why do you want to be president?" Kennedy rambled on awkwardly in a public moment of weakness that stopped his political momentum -- he would go on to lose the Democratic nomination to Jimmy Carter. In another singular moment with a Kennedy, Mr. Mudd was covering the 1968 presidential campaign of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, and was one of the last to interview him at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, minutes before aspiring presidential candidate was murdered on June 5, 1968. Other big events he anchored or reported on included the triple Emmy-winning coverage of the resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew; Emmy-winning coverage of the shooting of George Wallace; Memphis in the aftermath of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; and the resignation speech of Pres. Richard Nixon. Mr. Mudd also anchored The CBS Evening News with Roger Mudd on Saturdays from Feb. 1966 to July 1973 and on Sundays from Jan. 1970 to Sept. 1971. "Roger was a hero in the CBS News Washington bureau," said Susan Zirinsky, president and senior executive producer of CBS News. He was a journalist of enormous integrity and character. He would not budge if he believed he was right and would not compromise his ethical standards. He was an inspiration to all of us in the bureau." Mr. Mudd was pre-deceased by his wife of 54 years, Emma Jeanne Spears Mudd, with whom he had four children, all of whom survive him. -, 3/10/21.

Sunday, Mar. 7, 2021

Bruce Springsteen has posted a thoughtful essay on the late Australian concert promoter Bruce Gudinski on Twitter and dedicated a song to his good friend who died on Mar. 1 at his home in Melbourne. Springsteen dedicated his song "I'll See You In My Dreams" from his 2020 No. 1 album Letter To You to the powerhouse Mushroom Group chief whose passing sent shockwaves not only through the Australian music community but also around the globe. Opening with the graphic "In Memory of Michael Gudinski," the post features a video of the Boss singing the lyrics "The road is long and seeming without end/ The days go on, I remember you my friend/ And though you're gone And my heart's been emptied it seems I'll see you in my dream." "I've toured the world for the last fifty years and never met a better promoter," Springsteen writes in the message, later adding "he will be remembered by artists, including this one, from all over the world every time they set foot on Australian soil." - Billboard, 3/3/21...... John LennonCapitol Records/UMC and John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono Lennon have announced a deluxe 50th anniversary edition of John and his Plastic Ono Band's 1970 album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band will be released on Apr. 16. The 6-CD/2-Blu ray deluxe set, dubbed John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band - The Ultimate Collection, will feature rare demos, rehearsals, outtakes, jams and studio conversations as well as 87 never-before-heard recordings. Furthermore, the full live recording session of Ono's 1970 companion LP, Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band, is also included, presenting the songs in their full, unedited lengths and speed for the first time. A special "unboxing video" for the box set, which was personally overseen by Yoko, has also been shared on YouTube. Originally released in Dec. 1970, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band was recorded shortly after the demise of the Beatles. It was co-produced by John and Phil Spector, and Lennon once described it as "the best thing I've ever done." The album featured Ringo Starr on drums and Klaus Voormann on bass and included the songs "Working Class Hero," "Isolation," "God" and opening track "Mother," with a new "ultimate mix" of the latter song also shared on YouTube. - NME, 3/5/21...... As The Who prepare to release a super deluxe edition box set of their 1967 album The Who Sell Out on Apr. 23, frontman Roger Daltrey has reflected on how the LP was recorded in what was a "very vulnerable" time for him. "I was on probation [with The Who] and having to be a very good boy, because I'd had a row with Keith Moon and been thrown out of the band," Daltrey tells the UK's Uncut mag. "We'd just come back from Hawaii, from touring with Herman's Hermits and being in each other's laps for three months on the road. The good things was that the ego problems were starting to disappear and we were all starting to get on again," he added. The 77-year-old singer also says he has "fond memories" of making the album's legendary artwork, which features all four members posing with various products. "I didn't give a f*** what they wanted me to do. I just thought that getting into a bath of Heinz Baked Beans would make a great cover," Daltry recalled. "The only problem was they were f****** freezing, so someone had to stick an electric figre round the back. But they put it so close to the tin bath that the bloody things started to cook!" Daltrey also opened up about the special relationship he has with bandmate Pete Townshend and how he is hesitant to "overanalyze" it. "I can't put my finger on why the chemistry works between me and Pete. I think too much analyzing has the potential to destroy it. But I've never had a brother, and if anyone was going to be considered my brother it would have to be him," he said. -, 3/7/21...... In a new interview with Total Guitar magazine, Queen guitarist Brian May says he regrets losing a cassette of all the band's guitar solos that was made by late frontman Freddie Mercury. "One day Freddie had a big smile on his face when I came into the studio and he popped a cassette into the player and said, 'Listen to this, darling. This is going to surprise you.' And what he'd done was spend the whole morning putting together all the guitar solos that he could find in the work that we'd done, and he'd strung them all together," May said, calling the tape "quite amazing." He says one of his biggest regrets is that now he can't track the cassette down. "I never throw anything away. I'm a bit of a hoarder. So it ought to be somewhere. But Freddie was very proud of the stuff that I'd done and that we'd done together," May said. Queen will head out on their rescheduled UK tour in 2022. - NME, 3/4/21...... David CrosbyDavid Crosby and US entertainment exec Irving Azoff's newly-launched venture Iconic Artists Group released a joint announcement on Mar. 3 saying the two parties are partnering on a wide-ranging deal to monetize Crosby's music in the digital era. Under the agreement, Iconic Artists has purchased the publishing and recorded music rights to California singer/songwriter's catalog, which includes his solo work as well as his output as a member of The Byrds, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and the later Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The deal which was reached for an undisclosed sum also includes Crosby's songs as a duo with Graham Nash. "I've known David as a friend and have admired him as a great artist since our earliest days at Geffen Roberts Management shortly after I moved to Los Angeles," Azoff noted adding that Crosby is "truly one of music's most prolific songwriters and artists and I'm honored he has made Iconic the steward of his timeless musical legacy." In December, Crosby first alluded to the upcoming sale of his music rights, putting the blame on low fees from streaming services. "I can't work... and streaming stole my record money... I have a family and a mortgage and I have to take care of them so it's my only option... I'm sure the others feel the same," he said on Twitter. Crosby follows the likes of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and other artists who recently sold the rights to their music catalogs. - Billboard/NME, 3/3/21...... The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced the date and venue of is 2021 induction ceremony date, which will see the induction from a diverse field of nominees that includes Mary J. Blige, Kate Bush, Devo, Foo Fighters, The Go-Go's, Iron Maiden, Jay-Z, Chaka Khan, Carole King, Fela Kuti, LL Cool J, New York Dolls, Rage Against the Machine, Todd Rundgren, Tina Turner and Dionne Warwick. The 36th annual celebration of inductees will take place in Cleveland on Oct. 30, 2021, at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse (formerly the Quicken Loans Arena) for the first time. A $185 million refurbishment of the arena has recently been completed and the RRHOF said in a press release that the venue will provide "health and safety and offers increased space and flexibility to host the Induction Ceremony in Cleveland as part of a multi-year partnership." In 2020, the RRHOF ceremony was postponed from May to November with a virtual event at Cleveland's Public Hall that was broadcast on cable channel HBO due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Over the past three decades, the ceremony has bounced back and forth between New York and the site of the museum in Cleveland. - Billboard, 3/2/21...... Phil Collins' ex-wife Orianne Cevey is hoping to strike it rich once more by auctioning off another bundle of her former hubby's possessions, including one of his music awards. Cevey banked over $2.1 million (£1.5 million) at Kodner Galleries in Florida in early February, with Phil's gold records and other accolades fetching $22,000 (£15,750). Now, she is selling off another of his honors, a gold record awarded for his 2002 album, Testify. The award was given a maximum value of $1,000 (£700) by auctioneers at Kodner Galleries, but had already surpassed that figure shortly after the sale went live on Mar. 3. Cevey is also offloading a variety of designer purses, shoes, watches, and jewelry, including a Tiffany & Co. engagement ring, which a representative insists is "not her wedding ring" from Collins. The whole sale is expected to bring in more than $1 million (£716,000) for Cevey, with a portion of proceeds donated to her charity, the Never Give Up Foundation, to benefit people with spinal cord injuries. Collins and Cevey were previously married for nine years until 2008, but reconciled in 2015, until parting ways again in early 2020. She went on to marry businessman Thomas Bates, but became embroiled in bitter legal proceedings with Collins after he sued to evict the new couple from his Miami, Fla. mansion. The divorcées eventually reached a partial settlement for Cevey and Bates to vacate the home in January. -, 3/4/21...... Alice CooperAlice Cooper has pushed back on his fellow shock-rocker Gene Simmons' recent claim that rock music is "dead." "Rock is dead. And that's because new bands haven't taken the time to create glamour, excitement and epic stuff," Simmons told Gulf News in February. "I mean, Foo Fighters is a terrific band, but that's a 20-year-old band. So you can go back to 1958 until 1988. That's 30 years. During that time, we had Elvis [Presley], The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones, on and on." Simmons went on to suggest that popular bands exist, but that doesn't mean they're "iconic and legacy and for all-time." Speaking to New Musical Express, Cooper says he feels a new generation of rock stars are currently preparing for greatness in their own homes. "Gene Simmons -- I would like him to do my taxes because he's a businessman and that's valid, but I guarantee you right now that in London somewhere, in garages, they're learning Aerosmith and Guns 'N' Roses," Alice said. "There's a bunch of 18-year-kids in there with guitars and drums and they're learning hard rock. It's the same with the United States: there's all these young bands that want to resurge that whole area of hard rock." Discussing the state of rock music at large, Cooper said the genre is "where it should be right now." "We're not at the Grammys; we're not in the mainstream. Rock'n'roll is outside looking in right now, and that gives us that outlaw attitude," Cooper said. He also praised the longevity of the genre and claimed it will still exist "some thirty or forty years from now." Meanwhile in another interviews with Classic Rock magazine, Cooper noted that his longtime producer Bob Ezrin is the only other person that understands the Alice Cooper character, and "even when I'm doing albums with other producers, I run the songs past Bob." Cooper released his latest album, Detroit Stories, on Feb. 26. - NME, 3/3/21...... Dolly Parton has finally received the Covid-19 vaccine that she helped to fund, getting a jab of the Moderna vaccine and then singing a customized version of one of her most famous hits, "Jolene." "Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, I'm begging of you, please don't hesitate. Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, because once you're dead, then that's a bit too late," the 75-year-old country/pop icon warbled during the procedure on Mar. 3. Dolly was previously praised for helping to fund the Moderna vaccine after she donated $1m (£716,000) to Nashville's Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Addressing fans before receiving the jab in a video which has been posted on YouTube, Parton said: "I'm so excited. I've been waiting a while. I'm old enough to get it and I'm smart enough to get it. I'm trying to be funny now, but I'm dead serious about the vaccine. I think we all want to get back to normal, whatever that is. And that would be a great shot in the arm, wouldn't it, if we could get back to that?" - NME, 3/3/21...... Patti SmithRolling Stone is reporting that Patti Smith will celebrate the 80th birthday of Bob Dylan on May 22 -- two days before the iconic rocker's milestone birthday -- with a special outdoor performance during the Kaatsbaan Cultural Park festival to be held at a 153-acre campus in Tivoli, N.Y. across the last two weekends in May (20-23 and 27-30). Smith will perform "original songs and poetry as well as works by Dylan" to a limited, socially distanced audience alongside her longtime bandmate, Tony Shanahan. Kaatsbaan members are able to purchase pre-sale tickets now, and a general sale begins on Mar. 8 with digital tickets following on May 1. - Rolling Stone, 3/2/21...... Principal photography has begun in London on Pistol, the six-episode FX limited series about the legendary Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones. Based on Jones' memoir Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol, the series is executive produced and directed by Danny Boyle and stars Toby Wallace (Babyteeth, Acute Misfortune) as Jones, Anson Boon (Crawl, 1917, Blackbird) as John "Johnny Rotten" Lydon, Louis Partridge (Enola Homes, Medici) as Sid Vicious and Jacob Slater as Paul Cook. Produced by FX Productions, the series is slated to air in 2022 on FX on Hulu. -, 3/3/21...... Bhaskar Menon, the former boss of EMI and Capitol Records who worked with the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and David Bowie, among others, died at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Mar. 4 of as yet undisclosed causes. He was 86. Mr. Menon was the founding chairman of EMI Music Worldwide who worked at the label for 34 years, and also ran Capitol Records for a time. Recruited to EMI in 1956 directly after graduating from Oxford University, Mr. Menon went on to join the label's Indian division, Gramophone Company of India, in 1957, before eventually being named chairman in 1969. That same year, he was hired as the head of EMI International, before taking over at Capitol in 1971. Tributes to Mr. Menon, who is widely credited with breaking Pink Floyd in the US, included one from Universal Music Group chairman Lucian Grainge, who wrote on Twitter: "Determined to achieve excellence, Bhaskar Menon built EMI into a music powerhouse and one of our most iconic, global institutions. Music and the world have lost a special one. Our hearts go out to his loved ones." In Pink Floyd's 2003 documentary The Making of the Dark Side of the Moon, the band's drummer Nick Mason credited Mr. Menon with a huge portion of the album's overwhelming success. "The story in America was a disaster, in that we really hadn't sold records," Mason said of the band's success prior to that album. "And so they brought in a man called Bhaskar Menon who was absolutely terrific. He decided he was going to make this work, and make the American company sell [Dark Side of the Moon]. And he did." - NME, 3/7/21.

Tuesday, Mar. 2, 2021

Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale says he and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page may release a 30th anniversary edition of their 1993 collaboration Coverdale-Page that could include unreleased material. "I was talking to Jimmy about maybe doing something," says the former Deep Purple singer, who's been quarantining at home in Lake Tahoe. Although Coverdale-Page debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart and became a platinum seller, there was always a sense that it didn't live up to its potential, without a follow-up or extensive touring. Coverdale blames that on shifts within the label, Geffen Records. "Geffen was going through a transition," he recalls. "We did very well with it, but it was a great disappointment that the new faces of Geffen weren't behind it more." Coverdale adds there are "four, I think, unreleased songs and studio jams" from the sessions, and that he "documented the whole making of the album on video." Coverdale predicts some new material from the pair might be possible as well. "Maybe we can try to write on FaceTime or Zoom or something. I have a couple of ideas I may throw to (Page) to see what he can make of them," Coverdale says. - Billboard, 3/1/21...... QueenQueen has launched their first-ever official mobile rhythm game, "Queen: Rock Tour," which allows fans to play along to their favorite songs on Android and iOS devices and play along with the entire band by tapping the tiles in time to the rhythm. While fully immersed in the Queen universe, players can progress and score points by playing guitar, drums, bass or singing vocals as Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor or John Deacon along to such iconic Queen hits as "Bohemian Rhapsody," "We Will Rock You," "Radio Ga Ga," "I Want to Break Free" and "We Are The Champions," and 15 others, while rocking stages at 10 historic concert venues around the world. High scores in the game can unlock more than 40 official and classic costumes, trivia and exclusive images from the official Queen archives. "We devoted enormous attention to the details of Queen's history, authenticity and artistry to craft a fitting tribute to one of the most significant bands in rock history," notes Cedric Ratajczak, creative director at mobile gaming director Gamesloft who created the mobile experience with Universal Music Group and Hollywood Records. A trailer for "Queen: Rock Tour" has been shared on YouTube. - Billboard, 3/1/21...... In other Queen-related news, Brian May has told Gardeners' World Magazine that he believes his gardening hobby has helped to keep him in a positive frame of mind over recent months as he recovers from the heart attack and stomach haemorrhage he suffered in 2020. "I thought I'd got sciatica after some tree pruning and heavy lifting, but I think I actually got COVID-19 on tour in the Far East, just ahead of the pandemic reaching the UK," May said. "I then had a heart attack and the medication for that gave me a stomach haemorrhage, which was the closest I've come to death." May said although he considers himself to be a "naturally depressive person," getting outside and in his garden has helped him in the past year. "It's central to life... I'm conscious that I'm so lucky to have greenery around me -- without it I think my brain would explode. It helps me balance," he said. -, 2/27/21...... It appears founding Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood has had a change of heart about his former bandmate Lindsey Buckingham after the guitarist/vocalist was fired by the band in 2018. The pair are apparently on good terms after they started talking following the death of Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green. "I've really enjoyed being re-connected with Lindsey, which has been gracious and open," Fleetwood said in a new interview with Rolling Stone. "And both of us have been beautifully honest about who we are and how we got to where we were." Asked whether or not Buckingham would rejoin Fleetwood Mac for a hypothetical farewell tour, Fleetwood responded: "Strange things can happen. I look at Fleetwood Mac as a huge family. Everyone plays an important role in our history, even someone like [early '70s] guitarist Bob Welch, who was huge and sometimes gets forgotten. Lindsey's position in Fleetwood Mac will, for obvious reasons, never been forgotten, as it should never be forgotten." Fleetwood went on to say that he'd "love to think that all of us could be healed, and also respect the people who are in the band, Neil Finn and Michael Campbell," referring to the former Crowded House and Tom Petty's Heartbreakers musicians who were hired as Buckingham's replacements. Until now Fleetwood has been adamant that Buckingham would never be allowed to rejoin the band, even maintaining his stance as recently as 2020. - NME, 3/1/21...... The Bee GeesBarry Gibb has given an update on the long-awaited Bee Gees biopic, which will follow the recent HBO documentary The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart. Gibb recently told the Daily Star paper's "Wired" column that a brothers Gibb biopic "could be about two years away." "You shall see how I saw the world through my eyes, and there are a lot of things that nobody ever knew about," Gibb, 74, said of the biopic. "It is a million moments, you know -- a million moments that change your life in one day." Gibb also has an autobiography in the works with his son Ashley, 43, and teased that the tome contains content not suitable for the screen. "There are things in the book that could never be in the film," Gibb said. The biopic and book news comes after it was previously reported that Bradley Cooper was approached by producers over the possibility of playing Barry, the eldest of the Gibb brothers, who enjoyed global chart-topping success with younger brothers Robin and Maurice Gibb, in an upcoming flick. The as yet untitled film is to follow the group from the time they arrived in London from Australia and had their first number one hit with "Massachusetts" in 1967. The Bee Gees unravelled in subsequent years with substances, pills and booze involved, before Barry led a revival in the 1970s when the trio embraced a disco sound. Barry is the last surviving member of the group, as Maurice died in 2003 and Robin passed away in 2012. A director for the biopic has yet to be named, but it will be produced by Graham King, who worked on the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, and be distributed by Paramount Pictures, which has purchased the rights to use the Bee Gees' classic songs and also was involved in Bohemian Rhapsody as well as the Elton John biopic Rocketman. It is also being scripted by Bohemian Rhapsody writer Anthony McCarten. -, 3/1/21...... Alice Cooper says he "never noticed that streak" in Marilyn Manson, who in February was been accused of sexual abuse, grooming and manipulation by his ex-girlfriend actress Evan Rachel Wood and four other women. "It's funny about Marilyn, in that I know Marilyn -- when we toured together we got along very well," said Cooper, who co-headlined a US tour with Manson in 2013. "I never noticed that streak in him, if it's there. I always believe in the word, allegations are still allegations," Cooper added, comparing them to similar unproven allegations of domestic violence against his close friend and Hollywood Vampires bandmate Johnny Depp. "I know the guy -- I'm with the guy on tour all the time," Cooper said of Depp. "He's one of the most gentle, harmless people I've ever met." Since Wood's statement, more women have come forward with allegations about Manson, including actor Bianca Allaine, who said the FBI are involved with her case. Manson has always denied the claims, saying that all of his "intimate relationships have always been entirely consensual with like-minded partners." In the wake of the allegations, Manson has been dropped by his record label and manager, and been axed from his TV projects and will no longer appear in American Gods or the Creepshow anthology. - New Musical Express, 3/2/21...... In related news, folk singer Peter Yarrow of the legendary '60s trio Peter, Paul and Mary was accused in a lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court on Feb. 24 of raping an underage girl in a Manhattan hotel room back in 1969. The suit, which was brought under the Child Victims Act, says before the alleged rape, Yarrow met his accuser, who was a fan of his music, several times at his band's performances. She eventually ran away from her Minnesota home and met Yarrow at a Lower East Side hotel, where he allegedly raped her, the suit claims. Yarrow, 82, has a past criminal conviction of "taking indecent liberties" with a 14-year-old girl in a Washington, DC, hotel room in 1970. Peter, Paul and Mary scored twelve Top 40 hits from 1962 through 1969, including the No. 1 "Leaving on a Jet Plane" in Nov. 1969. - New York Post, 2/25/21...... StingSting has launched an interactive website as a visual companion piece to his new studio album Duets, which drops on Mar. 19. The site, at, expands on every detail behind each track with photo-visual content and new video commentary from Sting. Fans across the globe can view the content in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Polish and Japanese, and the former Police frontman's musical journey is documented from 1992 to now. "My Funny Valentine," the first single from Duets featuring Herbie Hancock, is set for release on Mar. 11. Other highlights of the 17-track Duets include "It's Probably Me" with Eric Clapton, "Whenever I Say Your Name" with Mary J. Blige, "We'll Be Together" with Annie Lennox, and "Fragile" with Julio Iglesias. -, 3/2/21...... KISS will be among the headliners of the UK's 2022 Download Festival, organizers announced on Mar. 1. The event at Donington Park had been scheduled to take place from June 4-6, but those dates unfortunately fall a few weeks before large-scale outdoors events are provisionally allowed once more, according to England's planned roadmap out of coronavirus lockdown. Now, it's been confirmed that Download will return from June 10-12 2022, with KISS and Biffy Clyro both returning for headline sets after they were originally set to play this year. However, System Of A Down will no longer play and have been replaced by Iron Maiden. The announcement comes after the UK government outlined plans for England to gradually exit lockdown by the end of June. - NME, 3/1/21...... "Chained Uptight," an explosive soul/rock mashup of Van Halen's "Unchained" and Stevie Wonder's "Uptight," has been shared on YouTube by a user named Bill McClintock. The mashup, which features Wonder singing over the top of the chugging Van Halen riff, can be streamed on YouTube. "Unchained" initially appeared on Van Halen's fourth studio album, Fair Warning in 1981, while "Uptight" first appeared on "Little Stevie" Wonder's 1966 album Up-Tight. In other Van Halen-related news, in February Eddie's son Wolfgang Van Halen performed his debut solo single "Distance" in tribute to his late father Eddie Van Halen. The track is set to appear on Wolfgang's debut album, which will be released under the name Mammoth WVH. "Distance" has since risen to No. 1 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Airplay chart dated Feb. 27. - NME/Billboard, 2/27/21...... The WhoThe Who have announced that they're releasing a super deluxe edition box set version of their 1967 album The Who Sell Out. Due on Apr. 23 via UMC/Polydor, the massive 7-disc reissue will feature 112 tracks in total, including 46 that have never been released. The release will also contains an 80-page color book full of rare photos, memorabilia, track by track annotation and new liner notes by Pete Townshend, along with replica posters, inserts and newsletters from the year of the record's release. The album will also be available as a double LP deluxe stereo vinyl version, featuring the original album as well as highlights from the box set; a double LP mono version on coloured vinyl; double CD edition; and digitally. A full tracklist can be viewed on the Who's official website. Ahead of the box set, a three-track EP of Townshend's previously unreleased demos has been released on all streaming services. The EP features a new remix of "Pictures Of Lily," which can be heard on YouTube, "Kids! Do You Want Kids?" and "Odorono." Meanwhile in other Who news, singer Roger Daltrey has told the UK's Uncut magazine that it's doubtful that the Who will make another album because it "costs too much money." Daltrey says he and Townshend are proud of how well-received their 2019 LP WHO was but they made a loss on the record and there was tension between the two of them, so they are reluctant to do it again. "Will there be another Who album? I don't know," Daltrey said. He continued: "There's no record market any more. Everybody talks about streaming, but have you seen what artists get from that? It's a joke. It was great to have an album out there, something that the fans liked, and I was really proud of it. But far too much money was spent making it. It went out of control completely and ended up costing me money. I can't go on doing that." Also talking to Uncut, Pete Townshend said he's been working on new music during the pandemic and "wants to make another" record after lockdown if it makes financial sense. "There's pages and pages of draft lyrics," he said, adding: "If the moment comes, I'll go in and start." - NME/, 2/27/21...... Ringo Starr will be the subject of a new virtual exhibit at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles beginning on Mar. 4. Starr will be celebrated through new and archival interviews, as well as a virtual version of the 2013 exhibit "Peace & Love." That exhibition was the first to be dedicated to Starr and profiled his whole life, from his childhood in Liverpool, through his pre-Beatles bands, joining the Fab Four and beyond. The digital display will feature images of items from "Peace & Love," including rare and never-before-seen photos, documents and personal letters, alongside other artefacts. On Mar. 4, the Grammy Museum will share an interview with Starr from 2010 as part of its Live From the Vault series. It will be followed by a new interview with the museum's founding executive director Bob Santelli on March 18. During the latter, Ringo will talk about his forthcoming EP Zoom In, as well as the new book Ringo Rocks: 30 Years Of The All Starrs 1989-2019. The virtual exhibition and interviews will be premiered on the Grammy Museum's "COLLECTION:live" streaming service and will be presented in partnership with Iron Mountain Entertainment Services. - NME, 2/26/21...... Bunny WailerLegendary reggae singer and percussionist Bunny Wailer, who performed in the '70s and '80s reggae band The Wailers alongside reggae icon Bob Marley, passed away in hospital on Mar. 2 after having suffered a stroke in 2020. He was 73. Throughout his lengthy career, in which he contributed to such classic reggae tracks such as "Simmer Down" and "Stir It Up" and to such acclaimed Wailers albums as Catch a Fire, the Kingston-born musician won three Grammys and has also been honored with Jamaica's Order Of Merit, which he was awarded in 2017. Wailer's passing was confirmed by his manager Maxine Stowe, as well as Jamaica's Culture Minister, Olivia Grange. In a statement, Grange said: "At the request of the family, I announce with deepest sadness, the passing of patriarch, brother, friend and Jamaican music icon, the great Bunny Wailer. Bunny Wailer, whose given name is Neville O'Riley Livingstone, passed away at 9am today at Andrew's Memorial Hospital in Kingston. We mourn the passing of this outstanding singer, songwriter and percussionist and celebrate his life and many accomplishments... We remember with great pride how Bunny, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, took Reggae music to the four corners of the earth. Today, the last surviving Wailer has passed. His son Abijah said to me this morning that 'Bunny Wailer cannot die, he has transitioned'. What Bunny Wailer has done for Reggae, as one of the pioneers and standard-bearers of our country's music, lives on. Let us hold dear Bunny's music, his memory and his family." Bob Marley died on May 11, 1981, in Miami, Fla., after being diagnosed with brain, lung and liver cancer eight months earlier. -, 3/2/21.

Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021

Blondie have shared details of a new graphic novel, Blondie: Against the Odds, that the band is set to appear in. Described as "an imaginative take on an oral history of the band, interspersed with artistic interpretations of 10 songs from their catalogue," the graphic novel is being distributed by Z2 Comics and will be written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, who are credited with bringing the Harley Quinn character back to prominence with their 2013 series for DC Comics. The cover artwork for Blondie: Against the Odds has been shared on Z2 Comics' Instagram page, which encourages Blondie fans to "immerse yourself in the grit and friction of New York City as Blondie fights for prominence -- among beautiful pages filled with artistic takes on 10 of their iconic songs." Z2 Comics has previously published graphic novels focusing on such other music acts as The Doors, Cypress Hill and Machine Gun Kelly. Blondie recently announced a run of UK arena shows with Garbage. Their 10-city "Against the Odds" tour is due to begin in Liverpool in Nov. 2021. - New Musical Expess, 2/25/21...... Bruce SpringsteenBruce Springsteen pleaded guilty to one of the three charges related to his November arrest at Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, N.J. According to his attorney Mitchell Ansell of the Ansell, Grimm & Aaron law firm, the musician "voluntarily plead[ed] guilty to a violation of consuming an alcoholic beverage in a closed area, agreeing to a fine of $500." Ansell added that the charges of driving under the influence and reckless driving were dropped because the prosecutor was "unable to provide the necessary evidence." Ansell said his client was "pleased with the outcome of today's court appearance," also noting that Springsteen had no previous criminal record. When news of Springsteen's arrest broke on Feb. 10, a spokesperson for the National Park Service said he was "cooperative throughout the process." According to New Jersey's Asbury Park Press paper, Springsteen's blood alcohol content at the time of his arrest was .02, a quarter of the legal limit of .08. A court filing noted that Springsteen had told an officer that he did two shots in 20 minutes, and declined to take a breath test, and it was also reported that the officer wrote in the report that he saw Springsteen take a shot of tequila before getting on his motorcycle. News of the arrest caused Jeep to pause their new ad featuring the New Jersey rocker, which aired during the Super Bowl on Feb. 7. "As we stated previously, we paused the commercial until the facts were established. Now, that the matter has been resolved, we are unpausing the film," Jeep said in a statement. Meanwhile, the first two installments of an 8-part podcast conversation between The Boss and Pres. Barack Obama were shared on on Feb. 22. In a trailer for the Renegades: Born In the USA podcast, Obama noted: "On the surface, Bruce and I don't have a lot in common. He's a white guy from a small town in Jersey. I'm a black guy of mixed race, born in Hawaii. He's a rock 'n' roll icon. I'm... not as cool." However Pres. Obama added that the pair had been on "parallel journeys, looking for a way to connect our own individual searches for meaning, truth, and community with the larger story of America." In the podcast trailer, Obama and Springsteen are seen talking about a variety of subjects, from their relationships with their fathers and masculinity, to the rock star's beginnings in music. Springsteen and the 44th president first met while the latter was on the campaign trail ahead of his 2008 election victory and became friends. In 2017, they went on a yachting holiday together, along with Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks. The remaining six installments of the podcast will arrive in the coming weeks. - NME, 2/22/21...... Pete Townshend of The Who has teased a new Who album could be ready for release in a post-lockdown world. Speaking to Uncut magazine, Townshend said he's been working on new music during the pandemic and "wants to make another" record after lockdown if it makes financial sense. "There's pages and pages of draft lyrics," he said, adding: "If the moment comes, I'll go in and start." The Who released their last album, WHO, in 2019, and recently cancelled their upcoming UK and Ireland tour due to ongoing coronavirus concerns. Cancelling their upcoming 10-date jaunt around the UK and Ireland, which was due to kick off in Dublin on Mar. 5 and end in Manchester on Mar. 29, Townshend and Who vocalist Roger Daltrey said: "We are very sorry that we have to cancel our planned March 2021 UK and Ireland shows. Please excuse the delay but we wanted to wait as long as possible to see if we could indeed play them. However, as you can see the current situation makes this impossible. Thanks for all your wonderful support and we hope to see you in the future when conditions allow." - NME, 2/22/21...... Paul McCartneyOn Feb. 24 Paul McCartney announced a career-spanning biography titled The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present will be released on Nov. 2. Featuring 154 songs from his back catalog, The Lyrics will recount the iconic musician's life through his earliest boyhood compositions, songs by the Beatles, Wings and from his lengthy solo career, and feature previously unseen drafts, letters and pictures from his personal archive. Arranged alphabetically to provide a kaleidoscopic rather than chronological account, The Lyrics was co-authored with Pulitzer Prize winning writer Paul Muldoon and establishes definitive texts of McCartney's song lyrics for the first time and describes the circumstances in which they were written, the people and places that inspired them, and what he thinks of them now. "More often than I can count, I've been asked if I would write an autobiography, but the time has never been right," said McCartney in a statement. "The one thing I've always managed to do, whether at home or on the road, is to write new songs. I know that some people, when they get to a certain age, like to go to a diary to recall day-to-day events from the past, but I have no such notebooks. What I do have are my songs, hundreds of them, which I've learned serve much the same purpose. And these songs span my entire life. I hope that what I've written will show people something about my songs and my life which they haven't seen before. I've tried to say something about how the music happens and what it means to me and I hope what it may mean to others too," he added. A trailer for The Lyrics has been shared on YouTube. - NME, 2/24/21...... The first trailer for the upcoming Tina Turner documentary Tina has been shared on YouTube. First announced at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, Tina will premiere exclusively on HBO on Mar. 27 from 8 to 10 p.m. ET and be available to stream on HBO Max the same day. It will offer a revealing look at the life and career of the musical icon, from her early success in the '60s to her resurgence as a global phenomenon in the '80s. After divorcing from her then-husband and the other half of the Ike & Tina Turner duo in 1978, the singer launched one of the greatest comebacks in music history and landed her first and only No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, "What's Love Got to Do With It," in 1984. Tina will present intimate interviews with Turner herself in her current hometown of Zurich, Switzerland, as well as the Turner biopic What's Love Got to Do With It star Angela Bassett, Oprah Winfrey, journalist and former MTV veejay Kurt Loder. Turner's husband, Erwin Bach, will also be featured in the doc alongside never-before-seen footage, audio tapes and personal photos. - Billboard, 2/23/21...... Iggy Pop has shared a new video for his 2019 song "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night," which sees the punk rock icon reading the famous Dylan Thomas poem over music composed by Noveller. The simple but effective new visuals, directed by Simon Taylor, feature an intense close-up shot of Pop reciting the lyrics, and can be streamed on YouTube. "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" originally appeared on Pop's album Free, which one reviewer described as "contemplative and eerie" [and] "finds the middle-ground between the avant-garde, which Iggy is prone to explore, and the grimy garage-rock that made his name." - NME, 2/24/21...... Mick JaggerTurner's occasional collaborator Mick Jagger has narrated an emotional tribute to London's Royal Albert Hall to celebrate the iconic venue's 50th birthday. The short film, which can be viewed on YouTube, finds Jagger reading a portion of English poet W.H. Auden's 1964 ode to friendships past and present at a time when the building that has hosted everyone from Bob Dylan to Jimi Hendrix to Led Zeppelin to Foo Fighters over the years but currently sits in silence a year into the Covid-19 pandemic. "Distance and duties divide us But absence will not seem an evil/ If it make our re-meeting/ A real occasion. Come when you can:/ Your room will be ready," Jagger says over footage of performances by the above musicians, as well as the likes of Jethro Tull, Adele, George Michael, Diana Ross, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Queen's Freddie Mercury, Eric Clapton and The Who. While it was unknown at press time when the RAH might re-open, under new recently released guidelines limited capacity indoor shows may begin in the UK on May 17 with a possible wider opening after June 21. - Billboard, 2/23/21...... Queen drummer Roger Taylor is pushing back on long-established rumors that '80s star George Michael turned down the chance to become the band's new frontman after Freddie Mercury's death. Michael fronted Queen for three songs during 1992's Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium, leading to speculation that he would become the band's full-time vocalist. Now Taylor tells Classic Rock magazine that Michael was never offered the gig and that the late singer "wouldn't have suited the group" as a long-term replacement. Queen instead joined forces with former Bad Company frontman Paul Rodgers, who provided vocals for Queen between 2004 to 2009. Queen then selected American Idol contestant Adam Lambert in 2011, who remains their current vocalist. Roger Taylor's comments arrived a few days after he became the latest high-profile name to criticize the UK government's Brexit deal, after it failed to secure visa-free touring for musicians. He described it as a "dreadful retrograde step" during a recent appearance on BBC Radio 4's The World This Weekend. "Borders are a dreadful invention of mankind, and so we are just putting up another one, and I think it's a dreadful retrograde step," he said. Taylor also revealed the effect it could potentially have on Queen's road crews -- who have already faced a financial hit after coronavirus forced the band to postpone their European tour. "I know our road crew, all the guys that make our touring work, they are the one that have suffered," he said. Taylor's comments come after the UK government admitted that they are currently not negotiating with EU member states over touring arrangements for artists and crew, despite hearing that the music industry was "in crisis" and in urgent need of action. Meanwhile, Queen are set to head out on their rescheduled UK tour in 2022. - NME, 2/24/21...... In related news, Aerosmith have rescheduled their upcoming UK and European tour dates to 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Boston-based rockers had been hoping to tour in June of 2021 after their initial 2020 live plans were scrapped due to the worldwide health crisis. Now their forthcoming live dates in the UK and Europe have been moved for a second time, with the band now set to complete a series of gigs in June and July 2022 -- on June 22 at London's O2 Arena; June 28 at the Manchester Arena; and July 1 at Sheffield's FlyDSA Arena. "Due to current conditions and for the safety of our fans, the 2021 European Tour has been rescheduled to 2022," the band said in a statement. "Please stay tuned for more information regarding the new dates or contact your point of purchase. All tickets will be valid for new dates." Other rescheduled Aerosmith tour dates can be viewed at - NME, 2/23/21...... Rick Springfield80's pop rocker Rick Springfield, who first hit the US charts in Sept. 1972 with the No. 14 "Speak to the Sky," has reflected on his 1981 breakthrough LP, Working Class Dog, on the 40th anniversary of its release, Feb. 24. Springfield tells Billboard he only has "all good feelings" about the album and he "had great times recording it" in the wee hours of the morning at the same studio where Tom Petty had been recording earlier. Springfield says he hopes to reissue the album, which he produced with Bill Drescher and Keith Olsen, to include demos of the songs that didn't make it onto the finished set, which shot to No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart and spawned three Top 20 hits including the No. 1 "Jessie's Girl." Though the coronavirus pandemic has pushed back a 40th anniversary tour Springfield had planned for Working Class Dog, he says he plans to play the album in its entirety when he's able to return to the road and has been relearning the tracks. "When I first started, they were the only songs that I had so I played everything," he says. "But I haven't played the whole record since '81." - Billboard, 2/24/21...... British husband and wife blues rock duo When Rivers Meet released their new single "Walking on the Wire" on Feb. 26. "Walking On The Wire" is the third single taken from their debut album We Fly Free and follows hot on the heels of their previous singles "Battleground" and "Did I Break The Law." The new single is by a music video filmed in the Essex countryside utilizing stunning aerial drone footage. In Nov. 2020, the band released their debut album We Fly Free which attracted rave reviews from Classic Rock and several other music mags. "When Rivers Meet are heavy enough to get your attention and quirky enough to hold it, with songs that kick at you, but leave a boot-print on your heart," Classic Rock wrote. A music video trailer for "Walking On The Wire" can be viewed on YouTube. - Noble PR, 2/23/21.

Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021

Dave Grohl and his band Foo Fighters have recorded a cover of the Bee Gees' 1976 hit "You Should Be Dancing" which he shared in a recent interview with BBC Radio 2's Sofa Session with Jo Whiley. Grohl says the cover, in which he sticks pretty closely to Barry Gibb's falsetto although the Foo Fighters do add a touch of rock to it, came about when they were in the studio with a to-do list that included recording a cover song for Whiley and one of guys asked Grohl if he had seen the recent HBO Bee Gees documentary How Can You Mend a Broken Heart. "I was like the last person on Earth -- the only person -- that hadn't seen it," Grohl says. "So I was just like, 'Why don't we do a Bee Gees song? Someone was like, 'How do you want to do it?' And I said, 'Well, let's do it like the Bee Gees.'" Grohl added that he "didn't realize that my voice could [sings in a high voice like Gibbs']. I sang the song -- and it was like six minutes -- and I was done. I should have been singing like this for the last 25 years!" A clip of the cover can be streamed on Twitter, and the entire song and interview can be heard on the BBC's website. The Foo Fighters, who have recently been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, released their 10th album, Medicine at Midnight, on Feb. 5. - Billboard, 2/18/21...... Elton JohnDavid FurnishIn an interview with Good Morning Britain on Feb. 19, Elton John's husband David Furnish said Sir Elton has embarked on a fitness and diet regime to help him shed the pounds during the Covid-19 lockdown. "(Elton) has embarked on a fitness regime and a diet, he's been losing weight, he's been looking after himself really, really well," Furnish told host Richard Arnold. "We've been really busy, happy and fulfilled and also, more important than anything, spending more time together as a family and loving it," he added. Furnish also detailed how the time has drawn the couple closer together. "We work together at home, we produce his radio show, we get on really well, we just enjoy each other's company and we're happy as a family. I want my kids to go back to school," Furnish shared. Asked if their children have experienced any negativity for having two dads, Furnish explained: "We've been very fortunate within their school and within their community everybody's been really warm, really welcoming to us, treated us the same as any other family, so they've not witnessed any of that." John recently appeared in a UK public service ad filmed at London's Chelsea and Westminster Hospital encouraging people to get the Covid-19 vaccine. -, 2/20/21...... In related news, KISS member Paul Stanley has revealed he just got his second Covid-19 shot in a Twitter post on Feb. 16. "I got my SECOND COVID SHOT this morning! So grateful and THRILLED. PLEASE, let's ALL stay safe as possible and continue to watch out for each other," Stanley wrote. The 69-year-old rocker recently told Variety he's been keeping in shape during the Covid-19 downtime. "The best way to be in shape is to be in shape, and once you get there, stay there," he said. "Once you have that momentum, it's much easier to maintain than to create." - Billboard, 2/18/21...... Fleetwood Mac keyboardist/vocalist Christine McVie has clarified the comments she made in a recent radio interview with BBC Radio 2 in which suggested Fleetwood Mac would never tour again. Earlier in February, McVie told Sounds of the 70s host Johnnie Walker that her ex-husband John McVie and fellow bandmate Stevie Nicks had made it clear they wouldn't be up for another band trek. She also stated she was "getting a bit too old for it now" and Mick Fleetwood was the only band member keen to tour. Now Christine has addressed the fall-out from her comments in a new Rolling Stone interview, telling the magazine she's "thrilled" to see so many people are interested in Fleetwood Mac's future. "I'm thrilled to see that everyone still cares so much about Fleetwood Mac, how humbling to know what a lasting impact this band has had," she said. "To clarify my recent comments, I was specifically asked if Fleetwood Mac would tour again. I gave a cheeky answer indicating that the band might be 'done with that' or 'you just never know'. I always intended to convey that, particularly after the last year, we just don't know what the future holds." McVie added that "in no way" are any members of the band "done" with being part of the legendary group. "If anyone took that from my statement, that was a misperception and not intended. Fleetwood Mac is part of the DNA of who I am, and I know the same is true for Stevie, Mick and John. As for future touring... Who knows. We continue to hope for the best," she said. Fleetwood Mac has been on hiatus since the conclusion of their "An Evening With Fleetwood Mac" tour in Nov. 2019 -- the group's first tour since parting ways with Lindsey Buckingham and replacing him with Neil Finn and guitarist Mike Campbell. -, 2/18/21...... Sly StoneAmerican musician and journalist Questlove has announced he's working on the follow-up to his acclaimed recent directorial debut, Summer of Soul, and it will be a documentary about musician/producer Sly Stone. Questlove says his as-yet-untitled rockdoc will capture the rise of Sly as a forerunner of funk as the vocalist of Sly and the Family Stone to his legacy as a fashion icon. "It goes beyond saying that Sly's creative legacy is in my DNA... it's a Black musician's blueprint. To be given the honor [sic] to explore his history and legacy is beyond a dream for me," Questlove told Consequence of Sound. Questlove's Summer of Soul documentary chronicled the events of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, which welcomed the likes of Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone and The Staple Singers for a musical celebration of African-American culture. It recently won this year's Grand Jury prize at Sundance Film Festival, and is set to premiere on Hulu later in 2021. - New Musical Express, 2/20/21...... Clothing manufacturer Happy Socks has just unveiled a new David Bowie sock collection that includes two limited-edition designs based on iconic moments in the late rock star's career. The Silver Lining socks -- matte black wrapped in silver foil --- are based on the silver zebra outfit that Bowie wore on his 1976 Station to Station album. According to Happy Socks, the Ziggy Special is inspired by the Japanese concept Basara, which is "characterized by colorful attention-grabbing garments." The collection launched on Feb. 16 and will be sold on the Happy Socks website and its retail stores as well as some other retail outlets. Images from the collection can be viewed on the Happy Socks Twitter page. - Billboard, 2/16/21...... Motörhead has announced a new live album and concert film, Louder Than Noise... Live in Berlin, will be released on CD/DVD, vinyl and digital formats on Apr. 23. The album was recorded on Dec. 5, 2012 at the Berlin Velodrom during the band's "Kings of The Road Tour" and is "a crowning, definitive statement as to the power the trio had long held" according to a press release. "Theirs was a line-up (Ian 'Lemmy' Kilmister, Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee) which had spent decades cracking sound barriers, bending ears and decimating lawns worldwide, consistently delivering the Motörgospel to hundreds of thousands of fans, and this line-up was Motörhead's longest serving by a considerable distance," it added. A preview of Louder Than Noise in the form of "Over the Top" has been shared on YouTube. - NME, 2/17/21...... Publisher Permuted Press has announced the autobiography of late heavy metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio will be officially released in July, 11 years after his death. Dio, who was considered to be one of the genre's greatest vocalists, had been working on his memoir Rainbow in the Dark before he died from stomach cancer in 2010. The book has now been completed by music writer Mick Wall and will finally arrive on July 27th. Permuted Press said the memoir will tell the story behind Dio's 50-year career fronting some of metal's most influential bands, including Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath and Heaven & Hell. In 2020, Dio's widow Wendy confirmed that a new documentary on her late husband is in production. Directed by Don Argott and Damian Fenton, the upcoming film will include "never-before-seen archival footage and photos from his personal archives" and feature "scenes with his closest peers, friends and family." - NME, 2/17/21...... The Beach BoysThe Beach Boys have announced they've sold the rights to their intellectual property to music industry veteran Irving Azoff's Iconic Artists Group. The amount Azoff has paid in the deal has not yet been made public, but in return, he now owns the group's master recordings, the rights to the Beach Boys' name, their likenesses, a share of their publishing rights and all memorabilia. As part of the deal, the band will still own an interest in their assets, but Iconic Artists has the power in their business decisions. "The Beach Boys, in a sense, are not just a band. They're a lifestyle. They're a consumer brand. And they've never really exploited that," Iconic Artists CEO Oliver Chastan told Rolling Stone. Chastan added that Iconic was keen to explore technological avenues. "That includes VR, AR, 3D, CGI, natural language processing, et cetera," he said. He also suggested the band could be digitally replicated and de-aged, like the actors in Martin Scorsese's 2020 film, The Irishman. In recent months, the likes of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham have all sold off the rights to their back catalogues. - NME, 2/18/21...... Dolly Parton has nixed plans to erect a statue of her outside the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville because she doesn't think it's a good idea for right now. Tennessee House of Representatives member John Mark Windle first proposed the statue plan in January, and the measure passed in the Naming & Designating Committee. It was headed to the State Government Committee for further approval when Parton herself put the brakes on the idea. In a statement on Feb. 18, Parton said although she was "honored and humbled by their intention... given all that is going on in the world, I don't think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time." "I hope, though, that somewhere down the road, several years from now or perhaps after I'm gone, if you still feel I deserve it, then I'm certain I will stand proud in our great State Capitol as a grateful Tennessean," she continued, adding: "In the meantime I'll continue to try to do good work to make this great state proud." Windle wanted to honor Dolly with a statue to mark her 75th birthday and all the singer's contributions to her home state, including the Imagination Library, theme park Dollywood, and a recent $1 million (£720,000) donation to Vanderbilt University's COVID-19 research that assisted in the development of the Moderna vaccine. -, 2/19/21...... Brian MayRising singer Arielle's new album features a new guitar designed by Brian May of Queen exclusively for Arielle. "This is the very first guitar that Brian May guitars has ever offered that is not based on my original Red Special," says Brian May about the guitar, the BMG Arielle. "Designed by, and named after Arielle, it's a new dimension. To understand why this guitar was irresistible to me, you have to hold her in your hands. The guitar is light, smooth and agile. She sings like a bird," May added. Arielle is described as "a 21st century classic rock artist who recorded half of the new album in digital, and the other half in tape, to try and capture the impact the music of the 60's and 70's had on her." Arielle has premiered the music video on her official site for her new single, "Peace Of Mind," from her new album, Analog Girl in a Digital World, which drops on May 7. The BMG Arielle guitar is being released Mar. 2021 and can be pre-ordered from Brian May Guitars. - Noble PR, 2/12/21...... The death certificate of Cloris Leachman, who was best known as the nosy neighbor Phyllis on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and died in January at the age of 94, has revealed that a stroke, a.k.a. a cerebrovascular accident, ended her life. Ms. Leachman's death certificate as released by the County Of San Diego also said that although she had suffered from Covid-19 and it was a factor in her death, it was not the cause of her stroke. In the wake of her cremation on Feb. 7 her ashes have been with her daughter Dinah Englund whom reported was also with Cloris when she died. The Oscar and Emmy-winning actress was adamant about not retiring and remained so busy until the end that she has two movies lined up to be released posthumously -- High Holiday and Not To Forget. -, 2/19/21.

Monday, Feb. 15, 2021

Former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett says his latest album Under a Mediterranean Sky is a "travelogue" and an "imaginary journey that recalls all the other actual journeys that I had made." "It's a travelogue, a musical diary perhaps, but it's also a dream til we're able to fully engage with the world again," the 70-year-old English musician recently told Prog magazine, adding Mediterranean locales he's often toured include Italy, France, Spain and Greece where he's travelled to more in recent years. "I haven't played there, but I've shot a video or two there. It's a hugely mystical place. Pompeii, which I've visited many times, was the inspiration for the track 'Casa Del Fauno'," Hackett says. -, 2/13/21...... Todd RundgrenAs Todd Rundgren kicks off his "Clearly Human Virtual Tour" on Feb. 14, the pop star and studio wizard says he doesn't care as to whether his third time being nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will be a charm. "It's no secret that I don't care about it," Rundgren told Billboard during a break from rehearsals in Chicago, where the tour concerts will be emanating from. "It doesn't matter how many times they nominate me. It's not gonna make me care." Rundgren says the RRHOF is an "industry invention" and that "true halls of fame are for retirees and dead people, because your legacy has been established... I'm too busy working to worry about my legacy -- and plan to continue working until whenever." Todd adds that he finds the makeup of the nominee list and inductee classes veering too far from what he considers appropriate. "I'm a big Dionne Warwick fan, but name me one Dionne Warwick rock 'n' roll song," he explains. "While I'm aware of Fela Kuti, I can't name a single musician who's ever cited him as a principal influence." His chief complaint, however, stems from how he feels his own fans were "duped" when he was first nominated during 2019. "They run this scam called the fan pool... but most fans don't realize that their votes count for absolutely nothing," Rundgren said. The top five nominees from the fan votes are turned into one additional ballot that's counted in addition to the 1,000-plus by artists and music industry professionals. "So the first time I got nominated all my fans, who all these years have been like, 'Geez, you've got to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!," they all stepped up and bumped me up to No. 3 in the fan pool -- by a pretty wide margin. And then when the actual inductees were 1, 2, 4, 5, 6... they essentially hosed my fans. So that made me angry, and I had to tell them that it was pointless casting votes, 'cause it really doesn't count for anything." Tickets for Rundgren's virtual concerts start at $35 via Meanwhile, the artist has also been releasing singles from his next album, Space Force -- a collaborative set similar to 2017's White Knight -- with the full set expected to be released some time later in 2021. - Billboard, 2/12/21...... Speaking of Dionne Warwick, a new TV series based on the pop songstress's life is reportedly in the works with rising singer Teyana Taylor in the title role. Warwick revealed to Entertainment Weekly magazine that the project is "in the works," adding that Taylor may also direct. "Teyana is certainly a talented young lady with whom I've had the pleasure of interfacing," said Warwick, who also noted that Taylor is "very excited about the prospect of being involved and she's also going to be very, very much involved in directing it and putting together parts and parcel of how we see this going." Warwick first teased the project via Twitter in December, asking fans if they'd "really watch" a series about her life, adding: "This is a case for @netflix. Please don't ask who I would cast to play me as it would obviously be @TEYANATAYLOR. -, 2/11/21...... Alice CooperAlice Cooper has joined the list of rock stars who have rolled up their sleeves for the Covid-19 vaccine. The Coop visited the Abrazo West Campus hospital in Goodyear, Ariz., a suburb of his hometown of Phoenix, on Feb. 11 for his vaccination, after being admitted to the hospital several weeks ago with a case of Covid. In a video message, Alice admitted he and his wife Sheryl have recovered from the novel coronavirus, but they're now covered against another bout. "We're out here getting vaccinated," he says. "We've already had COVID but we got vaccinated anyways... if you haven't been vaccinated come on out." During his visit to the hospital, Cooper signed autographs and thanked the volunteers and hospital staff for their good work, AZ Central reports. Meanwhile, in an interview with Britain's The Independent Cooper says the shock rock schtick that propelled him to fame wouldn't work today because modern audiences are "shockproof." "You could cut off your arm and eat it on stage and it wouldn't matter... The audience is shockproof," Alice says of how his act would go down in 2021. Alice will release his latest album, Detroit Stories, on Feb. 26. It's the follow-up to his 2017 LP Paranormal and features a cover of Velvet Underground's "Rock n' Roll" and the recently-released "Social Debris." - Billboard/NME, 2/11/21...... In related news, Ozzy Osbourne has followed up on his intent to receive a coronavirus vaccine, admitting it was a "relief" to get the jab. Appearing on the UK's Loose Women show with wife Sharon Osbourne, Ozzy replied "of course" when asked if he had finally received the jab. "It was like being stabbed. No, my arm was a bit sore yesterday but I'm glad I got it, you know," Osbourne said. Asked if he was relieved to receive the vaccine, he replied: "Absolutely. As soon as I got it I felt relieved." The rock icon, who confirmed his Parkinson's diagnosis in 2020, previously said he feared he would die if he was to contract the virus before he received the vaccination. He had previously explained how he suffers from the lung condition emphysema -- which puts him at a heightened risk of death if he was to develop Covid-19. Meanwhile, Ozzy recently shared the animated video for "It's A Raid," his collaboration with Post Malone. The track originally featured on Osbourne's 2020 album Ordinary Man, which also included the two artists' 2019 collaboration with Travis Scott, "Take What You Want." - New Musical Express, 2/12/21...... Further details of the November arrest of Bruce Springsteen for driving while intoxicated were released on Feb. 11. Instead of the one shot of tequila the rock icon was alleged to have taken from a fan while posing for pictures in New Jersey's sprawling Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, during his arrest The Boss told an officer he had taken two shots in a 20-minute period before getting on his motorcycle, but refused to take a breath test. The officer also wrote that the rocker "smelt strongly of alcohol" and had "glassy eyes" and that there was a bottle of Patron brand tequila that was "completely empty" at the scene. The report described the 71-year-old as "visibly swaying back and forth" during a field sobriety test and said he declined to provide a sample on an initial in-field breath test. Additionally, the report said Springsteen "took 45 total steps during the walk and turn instead of the instructed 18," and caused the officer to deliver a statement of probable cause. Although Springsteen reportedly blew a .02 on the breathalyzer test, which is one-quarter of New Jersey's .08 legal limit for driving while intoxicated, one local legal expert says that unlike other states -- unless there was an injury or fatality -- a DWI is typically a motor vehicle offense, not a crime in Jersey. That quirk results in the driver being taken into custody, but no official arrest record because no fingerprints are taken. Springsteen was cited for DWI, reckless driving and consuming alcohol in a closed area, and will appear in court sometime in the coming weeks. A DWI in a national park is a misdemeanor federal offense, carrying a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a fines up to $5,000. Probation can also be up to five years, according to Freeburg Law. It's not immediately clear why Springsteen's first known arrest for DWI took almost three months to come to light. In the aftermath of his arrest Jeep has pulled its "The Middle ft Bruce Springsteen" Super Bowl ad from YouTube which was viewed during the game by some 96.4 million viewers. "It would be inappropriate for us to comment on the details of a matter we have only read about and we cannot substantiate," a spokesperson for Jeep told Rolling Stone. The commercial has also been pulled from Jeep's Twitter account. - Billboard/NME, 2/12/21...... The WhoThe Who announced on Twitter on Feb. 15 that they have decided to cancel their UK and Ireland tour which had been set to launch on March 5 in Dublin due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. In a statement, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend said: "We are very sorry that we have to cancel our planned March 2021 UK and Ireland shows. Please excuse the delay but we wanted to wait as long as possible to see if we could indeed play them. However, as you can see the current situation makes this impossible. Thanks for all your wonderful support and we hope to see you in the future when conditions allow." The band has already postponed the original tour from last March to March 2021 when the pandemic originally caused hundreds of acts to cancel their shows. Customers can contact their point of purchase for refunds to The Who's UK and Ireland tour, which currently has no rescheduled dates. Also being cancelled due to the pandemic are The Who's 2021 Teenage Cancer Trust gigs. Two Teenage Cancer Trust performances, also featuring headliners Nile Rodgers & Chic, were rescheduled for March 2021 after the pandemic forced the charity to previously cancel their annual week of charity performances at London's Royal Albert Hall in 2020. "We're sad to announce that due to the ongoing coronavirus situation the Teenage Cancer Trust gigs at the Royal Albert Hall in March 2021 are not able to go ahead," a statement on Twitter from a Teenage Cancer Trust exec says. "Both The Who and Nile Rodgers & CHIC kindly rescheduled their 2020 performances for 2021, but regrettably these are now cancelled. Your ticket provider will be in touch directly regarding the refund process soon," the statement added. - NME, 2/15/21...... Legendary songwriter Diane Warren has told Rolling Stone that she originally intended her song "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" to be sung by a woman for the 1998 natural disaster film Armageddon, but changed her mind when she heard Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler in the studio. "I was shown the end of the movie. So I went back and wrote the song... and never in a million years thought Aerosmith would do it," she said. "I kind of thought a female vocalist would end up doing it, but it's so much more powerful with Steven Tyler -- him being that vulnerable in the song really worked." Warren adds she remembers hearing Aerosmith's version for the first time and was "knocked off my chair with how great that was." "That should have won Record of the Year (at the Grammys). That was a great record," she said of the song, which is the band's sole US No. 1 record to date. Meanwhile, Aerosmith is prepping a UK and European tour for summer 2021. - NME, 2/15/21...... Fleetwood MacFleetwood Mac have announced details of a new deluxe edition of their classic 1980 live album Fleetwood Mac Live, which is comprised of live recordings that were largely made during a number of the band's live shows between 1979 and 1980. Rhino Records will re-release Fleetwood Mac Live in a 14-track "super deluxe" format on Apr. 9. The album is set to be presented in a new 3xCD/2xLP collection, featuring a remastered version of the original release on both 180-gram vinyl and CD and more than an hour of unreleased Fleetwood Mac live music on the third CD that was recorded between 1977 and 1982. The set also includes a bonus 7-inch single which features previously unreleased demos for "Fireflies" and "One More Night." To accompany the announcement, the band has shared a previously unreleased live recording of "The Chain" that was recorded in Cleveland in 1980 on YouTube. - NME, 2/11/21...... In an interview on Howard Stern SiriusXM radio show on Feb. 12, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl revealed that he turned down the chance to become Tom Petty's drummer because it would have been too "sad" to sit behind the kit so soon after his late Nirvana bandmate Kurt Cobain's death. Recalling his performance with Petty and his band The Heartbreakers on an episode of Saturday Night Live in 1994 -- just months after Cobain died -- Grohl said: "We had so much fun and we all got along so well" and said he was confused as to why he'd been asked to join Petty's ground as as Petty "could get a world-class drummer -- like any dude." However, Grohl explained that he had just started out with Foo Fighters at that time, "and I just felt weird about going right back to the drums, because it would have just reminded me of being in Nirvana." He added: "It would have been sad, for me personally. It would have been an emotional thing to be behind the drumset every night and not have Kurt there." - NME, 2/14/21...... Neil Young announced on Feb. 12 that he plans on releasing a "lost" live album and its accompanying concert film Young Shakespeare on Mar. 26. The gig took place at the Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, Conn. on Jan. 22, 1971, with Young's setlist containing early versions of songs that would go on to appear on his acclaimed 1972 album Harvest. The footage, the earliest known to exist of Young performing onstage solo, was originally filmed for a German television broadcast but was never made publicly available. Both the film and audio have been painstakingly restored by Young's team. "'Young Shakespeare' is a very special event [...] Personal and emotional, for me, it defines that time," Young said of the new release, which was recorded just days after his performance at Massey Hall in Toronto, also released as a live album in 2007. On Feb. 26, Young will release another live album and film, Way Down in the Rust Bucket, with his band Crazy Horse. - NME, 2/12/21...... Appearing on The Drew Barrymore Show, former Commodores member and '80s solo star Lionel Richie recalled the time he was a "nervous wreck" when writing charity hit "We Are the World" with Michael Jackson because the King of Pop had misplaced his pet python somewhere in his bedroom. "We're writing the lyrics, and all of a sudden the albums fall over, 'cause he put his albums against the wall, and I'm lying on the floor and I hear this little sound," Richie recalled. "I look over my shoulder, and there's this albino python head looking at me... I was screaming like the last horror movie that you've ever seen in your whole life (sic)! And (Michael) kept saying, 'Lionel, he loves you, he just wants to say he loves you!'," he added. "So, to make a long story short, right after that, we put the snake away, I'm a nervous wreck, and we write the lyrics to 'We Are the World'," he smiled, adding: "writing the song was just glorious, but that (snake scare) was the thing that was happening while we were writing the song." -, 2/11/21...... Chick CoreaChick Corea, a legendary Grammy-winning jazz fusion musician who played in Miles Davis' band, passed away on Feb. 9 after suffering from "a rare form of cancer which was only discovered very recently." He was 79. Born in Massachusetts in 1941, Corea joined Davis' band in the late 1960s and contributed to a number of his albums, including A Tribute To Jack Johnson, On The Corner, In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew. Corea left Davis' group in 1970 to form his own band. He won 23 Grammy awards over the course of his career, receiving a total of 67 nominations from the Recording Academy. "Throughout his life and career, Chick relished in the freedom and the fun to be had in creating something new, and in playing the games that artists do," a post on Corea's offical Facebook page said. "He was a beloved husband, father and grandfather, and a great mentor and friend to so many. Through his body of work and the decades he spent touring the world, he touched and inspired the lives of millions." - NME, 2/11/21...... Elliot Mazer, a producer and engineer who worked on albums including Neil Young's 1972 classic Harvest, died after suffering a heart attack on Feb. 10. He was 79. Mazer began his career after being hired by his neighbor Bob Weinstock, owner of the jazz label Prestige Records, to organize tapes and deliver records to radio stations. After producing Harvest, for which he also assembled the band of session players, Mazer went on to work with Young on a number of subsequent records including Tonight's The Night, American Stars And Bars, Hawks And Doves, and the "lost" album Homegrown which was recorded in 1975 but released in 2020. Mazer's daughter, Allison, said her father had also been battling dementia for several years. Mazer's sister, Bonnie Murray, said that Elliot "loved music... He loved what he did; he was a perfectionist. Everybody has so much respect for him, and he's been suffering for a couple years." Mazer's family have asked that donations in his memory be made to MusicCares, a charity run by The Grammys in aid of artists affected by the pandemic. - NME, 2/10/21...... Legendary audio equipment inventor Rupert Neve, whose mixing consoles and preamplifiers shaped the sound of recorded music in the 20th century, has died at age 94. Mr. Neve's mixing boards defined the sound of classic rock in the 1970s, and his Neve 8028 console was used on recordings by the likes of Fleetwood Mac, the Grateful Dead, Santana, Tom Petty and many more. His Neve 1073 preamplifier is arguably the most influential of his inventions. Used to shape the gain and sound of microphones during the recording, it is regarded by many audio engineers as one of the best preamps of all time. His death was confirmed in a statement posted to his official website, with the cause of death being "non-Covid pneumonia and heart failure." "He remained in great spirits to the end, enjoying his life in Wimberley, Texas, where he and his wife Evelyn have lived for 27 years," the statement noted. - NME, 2/14/21...... Larry FlyntHustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, the self-described "smut peddler" who used his pornography empire and flair for the outrageous to push the limits of free speech and good taste, died on Feb. 10. He was 78. Flynt, suffering from a variety of health problems since a 1978 assassination attempt that left him a paraplegic, died "from the recent onset of a sudden illness," according to Minda Gowen, spokeswoman for Larry Flynt Publications, which runs the adult entertainment business he founded. Celebrated by some as a free-speech provocateur and reviled by others as a profiteer of sexual exploitation and misogyny, Flynt was renowned for taunting critics with such outlandish stunts as appearing in court wearing a diaper made from an American flag. In the most famous of numerous legal battles in which he was embroiled, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered a landmark ruling in favor of Flynt in a libel lawsuit brought against him by evangelist Jerry Falwell. Flynt had published a fake ad in Hustler which depicted Falwell saying his first sexual encounter had been with his mother in an outhouse. Falwell sued for $50 million and won a lower-court ruling, but in 1988 the Supreme Court held that the ad was a parody and protected by the First Amendment. In his heyday, Flynt lived a lifestyle that could have made Caligula blush. He wrote in his autobiography that his first sexual experience was with a chicken and told of having sex every four or five hours during a workday. Flynt was convicted in 1977 in Cincinnati on obscenity and organized crime charges, but the verdict was overturned. After he was paralyzed from the waist down in 1978 after being shot by a white supremacist named Joseph Paul Franklin who upset by Hustler's photographs of interracial sex, Flynt had penile implant surgery so he could continue to have sex. Flynt created a business with an estimated turnover of $150 million at one point. As Hustler's circulation slipped, he stayed ahead of trends by investing in adult-oriented television channels, a casino, film distribution and merchandise. Flynt said he never objected to being labeled a smut peddler as long as he was considered a First Amendment crusader, too. "Just because I publish pornography does not mean that I am not concerned about the social ills that all of us are," he once told an interviewer. Flynt's life was the basis of the 1996 movie The People vs. Larry Flynt, starring Woody Harrelson and focused in part on Flynt's Supreme Court case. In 1977, he converted to evangelical Christianity at the urging of Ruth Carter Stapleton, sister of then-President Jimmy Carter, but renounced those beliefs the following year after the Georgia shooting. Flynt's 1996 autobiography was titled An Unseemly Man: My Life as a Pornographer, Pundit and Social Outcast. Flynt, who died in his sleep at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, with his wife, Liz, and daughter, Theresa, at his bedside, was married five times and had four surviving children. - Reuters, 2/11/21.

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021

Universal announced on Feb. 10 that a new Tina Turner documentary, Tina, will debut in March in the U.S. exclusively on HBO and be available to stream on HBO Max, and the studio plans a theatrical release in multiple territories in early summer before it hits home entertainment platforms. First announced at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, Tina comes from Oscar-winning directors Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin (Undefeated, LA 92), Oscar-winning producer Simon Chinn (Man on Wire, Searching for Sugar Man, Whitney), and Emmy-winning producer Jonathan Chinn (LA 92, Whitney), together with Emmy-nominated producer Diane Becker (The Final Year, Belushi). Billed as a revealing and intimate look at the life and career of a music icon from her improbable rise to early fame, personal and professional struggles throughout her life and her even more improbable resurgence as a global phenomenon in the 1980s, Tina will feature interviews with Turner herself, conducted in her hometown of Zurich, Switzerland, and with those closest to her, along with never-before-seen footage, audio tapes and personal photos. - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/10/21...... Tina TurnerCarole KingDionne WarwickChaka KhanThe Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced its ballot for its class of 2021 inductions into the Cleveland-based hall and museum, with one of its most gender-inclusive ballots in its 35-year history. Seventies artists Tina Turner, Carole King, Dionne Warwick and Chaka Khan are among the seven female acts of 16 total nominations, which also include Todd Rundgren, Devo, New York Dolls, Mary J. Blige, Kate Bush, Foo Fighters, The Go-Go's, Iron Maiden, Jay-Z, Fela Kuti, LL Cool J and Rage Against The Machine. King's '70s era-defining songwriting already earned her Rock Hall entry in the non-performer category, and Turner was previously inducted as part of the duo Ike & Tina Turner. Chaka Khan sees her seventh nomination to the Rock Hall in some form (this is her third solo nom; she was also nominated as part of Rufus & Chaka Khan four times). Fans can cast their votes at which contribute to the induction process, but don't guarantee entry. In 2020, the Rock Hall inducted Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, the Notorious B.I.G., Whitney Houston, T. Rex and the Doobie Brothers into its ranks during a virtual ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic. - Billboard, 2/10/21...... In a new interview with SiriusXM radio, Ozzy Osbourne says he's planning on getting the Covid-19 vaccine because "If I don't get the shot, there's a good chance I ain't going to be here." Osbourne, who has battled his fair share of health issues in recent years, didn't elaborate further but has previously explained how he suffers from the lung condition emphysema -- which puts him at a heightened risk of death if he was to develop Covid-19. Asked how his health is more generally at the moment, the heavy metal icon responded: "The surgery I had knocked the crap out of me. But I broke my neck in a quad bike accident [in 2003] and when that healed it squeezed my spinal column, so I was getting all kinds of weird things happening to me. I'd be on stage and I'd suddenly get a sharp shock down one side of my body." Ozzy also said he's hard at work on the follow-up to his 2020 album Ordinary Man, with contributions from the likes of members of Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Metallica. In October, Osbourne announced details of the newly rescheduled UK and European live dates of his "No More Tours 2" tour, which has already been postponed a number of times due to his ill health and, more recently, the pandemic. - New Musical Express, 2/10/21...... A virtual tribute to late New York Dolls guitarist Sylvain Sylvain, who died on Jan. 13 following a battle with cancer, will be held on Valentine's Day with headliners including his former band mate David Johansen, Blondie's Debbie Harry, Henry Rollins and more. The "Celebration of the Musical Life" of Sylvain will kick off from 7:00 pm EST on Feb. 14, with tickets available from and Also announced for the online-stream are Earl Slick, Mara Hennessey, Thurston Moore and Glen Matlock, among many more. - Billboard, 2/10/21...... David CrosbyFormer Crosby, Stills and Nash member David Crosby has found himself in the midst of another controversy after he called rising singer Phoebe Bridgers' guitar-smashing performance on the Feb. 6 episode of NBC's Saturday Night Live "pathetic." It all started when someone asked the outspoken 79-year-old rock icon what he thought of the thrashing Bridgers gave her Danelectro Dano '56 guitar after her primal scream performance of "I Know the End" on the show, which included her repeatedly smashing the instrument onto a spark-throwing stage monitor. "Pathetic," tweeted Crosby, who recently caused another online row after referring to late Eddie Van Halen's music as not for him, but "good." After a swell of commenters noted that plenty of Crosby's fellow 1960s-70s male contemporaries such as The Who's Pete Townshend and Jimi Hendrix -- not to mention Nirvana's Kurt Cobain -- made a habit of busting up, burning and otherwise trashing guitars on stage, Cros responded on his Twitter account, "Guitars are for playing... making music... not stupidly bashing them on a fake monitor for childish stage drama... I really do NOT give a flying F if others have done it before. It's still... STUPID." Crosby still wasn't through, posting other Tweets that included, "I am told that wasn't a very good night for her and she's really quite good ...I could not see it or hear it then ...the skeleton costumes were kind of distracting as well ....the guitar thing was old , wrong , copy cat, looks angry , destructive , wasteful , pointless." Bridgers, who later revealed that the destruction was totally premeditated stagecraft, took the criticism in stride, tagging Crosby and writing simply, "little b--ch." - Billboard, 2/9/21...... Bruce Springsteen appeared in his first ever product commercial during the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 for Jeep vehicles. According to his manager Jon Landau, Springsteen agreed to become the subject of a TV ad after being chased by Jeep's head of marketing Olivier Francois for a decade. The commercial, named "The Middle," is soundtracked by an ambient score created by Springsteen and his producer Rob Aniello, and tackles the theme of a need for unity, similar to that which Pres. Joe Biden preached in his inauguration speech when becoming US president in January. "Fear has never been the best of who we are," Springsteen says in the ad, which is created at a Kansas chapel that, in a symbolic move, claims to be in the very center of the United States. "When [Francois] showed us the outline for 'The Middle', our immediate reaction was, 'Let's do it'," Landau said, adding "the excellent original script was by Mike Stelmaszek and substantially revised by Bruce." Meanwhile, celebrity gossip site is reporting that Springsteen was cited for a DUI, reckless driving and consuming alcohol in a closed area in November 2020. The Boss was reportedly arrested at the Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, N.J., and will have a court appearance in the coming weeks. "Springsteen was cooperative throughout the process," a National Park Service spokesperson told People magazine. - NME/WENN/, 2/7/21...... Keith Richards teased new Rolling Stones material with his latest Stones-in-the-studio update on Twitter on Feb. 5. Richards revealed that he is back working in the studio with a picture on Twitter of him playing his guitar. "About last night!" he captioned the in-the-studio pic. "New music on the horizon!" The Rolling Stones then retweeted the post on their official Twitter account, fuelling speculation that Richards is currently working on new music for the band. The Stones released a standalone single in the form of "Living In A Ghost Town" in 2020, and frontman Mick Jagger said in September that the band wanted to record more but would only do so "in safe circumstances." - NME, 2/9/21...... QueenQueen + Adam Lambert have rescheduled their forthcoming UK tour yet again and added new dates. Queen had been scheduled to kick off a huge UK and European tour in summer 2020, but the trek was rescheduled to May-July 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The dates have now been rescheduled to 2022 kicking off with two shows at the AO Arena Manchester on May 30 and 31. They have also added two extra UK shows at The SSE Hydro, Glasgow on June 2 and 3. "Under continuing Europe-wide Covid restrictions there's no possible way the tour can go ahead as planned for this year," the band said in a statement on Feb. 10. "The prospect of again not being able to look forward to performingand getting to experience those wonderful audiences is just heartbreaking," they added. All previously purchased tickets continue to be valid for the corresponding rescheduled shows. The band's new 16-date tour will commence May 30, 2022 with the first of two nights in Manchester, then play Glasgow on June 2 and 3, London's O2 on June 5, 6, 8 and 9, Birmingham on June 11 and 12, then return to London's O2 for dates on June 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20 and 21. In other Queen news, guitarist Brian May says the band is considering releasing a recording of one of their first gigs at Imperial College London after he recently heard a recording he didn't know existed. "We're debating what to do with it. A few years ago we'd have felt very protective and thought, 'Nobody should hear this because we're very rough'," May said, adding "But now, in the position that we are in our lives, we feel forgiving. We're not ashamed of where we were at that time. It was us against the world." May noted he is reluctant to release the recording because he feels protective over late frontman Freddie Mercury and the fact the singer's voice wasn't as powerful as it was in his prime. "But strangely, if he were alive and sitting here at this moment, he'd probably be the same as me, 'Oh darling, we were kids'," May explained. - NME/, 2/10/21...... Elton John and veteran actor Michael Caine have teamed up to star in a new UK commercial for the government's NHS to help persuade people to get their Covid-19 vaccination. In the 90-second clip which can be viewed on YouTube, 73-year-old John and 87-year-old Caine reassure the public that the vaccines are perfectly safe, while also providing a comic edge. John is seen pretending to audition for a part to promote the vaccination, and acts out having a jab before he eventually sings his seminal 1983 hit "I'm Still Standing." But after several takes, an unimpressed casting director tells him: "Thanks, Elton, we will let you know." Elton replies: "Well at this short notice you won't find anyone bigger." The video then shows Caine having the vaccine, telling fans that it "didn't hurt." Elton then says: "I wanted to take part in this film to help show people the benefits of getting vaccinated and how it helps protect ourselves and the people we love. The more people in society who get vaccinated, the more chance there is of eradicating the national Covid pandemic. It's really important to know that the vaccines have all been thorough and met the necessary safety and quality standards." Meanwhile, Elton recently called for the government to implement a "short-term fix" as the post-Brexit touring debacle continues. In an opinion piece for The Guardian, John spoke of his own experiences playing shows on the continent when he was starting out. "Getting your music across to crowds from a different culture to your own, who don't necessarily speak the same language as you, just makes you a better musician.... You have to have that visual contact with other human beings," then went on to call the current situation "ridiculous." - NME, 2/10/21...... In a new interview with BBC Radio 2, Fleetwood Mac keyboardist/vocalist Christine McVie said that she doesn't expect the band will tour with Stevie Nicks again in the near future. "If we do, it will be without John [McVie] and without Stevie, I think," McVie said. "I think I'm getting a bit too old for it now, especially having had a year off. I don't know if I can get myself back into it again. I know Mick [Fleetwood] would do it in a lightning strike," the 77-year-old musician added. "But I couldn't possibly say. We're certainly not touring this year either." Christine also said that John McVie is feeling "frail" after he battled cancer. "He's fine, but he just hasn't got the heart for it any more," she said. The group last toured from 2018-2019 with their "An Evening with Fleetwood Mac" shows with a lineup that included new members Mike Campbell and Neil Finn. - NME, 2/9/21...... Joe StrummerAssembly, a new greatest hits album by late The Clash member Joe Strummer, will be released in March, featuring three previously unreleased versions of classic Clash tracks. Made up of carefully curated singles, fan favorites and rarities, Assembly will drop Mar. 26 via George Harrison's Dark Horse Records, which is now run by Harrison's son Dhani Harrison and manager David Zonshine. The 15-track best of collection will contain live performances of "Rudie Can't Fail" and "'I Fought The Law," which were recorded by Strummer and his later backing band the Mescaleros at London's Brixton Academy on Nov. 24, 2001, among other tracks including three unreleased versions of classic Clash tracks. - NME, 2/5/21...... The new cable TV channel Paramount+ has announced it will stream a new series based on a new and different character made famous by David Bowie's film The Man Who Fell To Earth. The original cult 1976 sci-fi film, directed by Nicholas Roeg, follows an alien (David Bowie) called Thomas Jerome Newton who poses as a human on Earth and tries to save his home planet -- and is itself based on a 1963 novel by Walter Tevis. The new series will star Oscar-nominated actor Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) in the lead extraterrestrial role, a new and different character from that made famous by Bowie. - NME, 2/8/21...... Actor Christopher Plummer, the sophisticated star who in 2012 became the oldest actor to ever win a competitive Oscar, died on the morning of Feb. 5 at his home in Connecticut. He was 91. An imposing theatrical presence with a well-cultivated, resonant voice, Mr. Plummer was best known for playing Captain von Trapp in the Oscar-winning musical The Sound of Music. He also won an Oscar in 2012 for his supporting turn in the film Beginners, becoming the oldest actor ever to win the Academy Award for supporting actor. Mr. Plummer had a long and acclaimed career on stage, with two Tony Awards. In films, he was also known for The Insider, 12 Monkeys, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and A Beautiful Mind, and he contributed voices for the animated films Up and An American Tale and the Madeline TV series. The Toronto-born and Montreal-raised Mr. Plummer won his first Tony Award in 1974 for the musical "Cyrano" and a second in 1996 for "Barrymore," based on the life of actor John Barrymore. In his later years, he scored in character and supporting roles, including his well-regarded portrayal of 60 Minutes newsman Mike Wallace in Michael Mann's film The Insider and as Franklin Delano Roosevelt in HBO telepic Winchell, directed by Paul Mazursky. He picked up an Emmy for miniseries The Moneychangers and another for his narration of the children's special Madeline. Mr. Plummer most recently appeared in Rian Johnson's 2019 whodunit Knives Out and Peacock's Canadian import series Departure. He was married three times, the first to actress Tammy Grimes, the second to journalist Patricia Audrey Lewis. - Variety, 2/5/21...... Mary WilsonMary Wilson, a co-founder of the iconic '60s Motown girl group The Supremes, died suddenly at her home in Henderson, Nev., on Feb. 8. She was 76. Her death was confirmed by her longtime publicist Jay Schwartz, who did not elaborate on a cause. Wilson was among the original members of The Supremes alongside Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Barbara Martin when they assumed the Supremes name in 1961 after forming in Detroit as The Primettes in 1959. After signing with Motown Records on Jan. 21, 1961, The Supremes went on to become one of the biggest-selling groups of all time, releasing such hit songs as "You Can t Hurry Love," "Baby Love" and "Come See About Me." Wilson remained with the group, who became a trio following Martin's departure in 1962, until their split in 1977. In a statement, Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr. said that he was "extremely shocked and saddened to hear of Wilson's death." In a post on its official Twitter account, Motown Records honored "a female trailblazer and forever Sweetheart of Motown, who brought many timeless records for generations to come - Thank You. Your art and your legacy will forever live on in the Motown story. From our Motown family, rest in paradise." Wilson had uploaded a video to YouTube on Feb. 6 in which she spoke about releasing new solo material, including the unreleased album Red Hot which she recorded with Elton John's producer Gus Dudgeon in the 1970s. The singer released two solo albums during her career, her self-titled 1979 debut and 1992's Walk The Line. Her final single, "Time to Move On," was released in 2015, and her 1986 autobiography, Dreamgirl: My Life As a Supreme, became a New York Times best-seller. "I just woke up to the news, my condolences to you, Mary's family," Diana Ross wrote on her Twitter account after learning of Wilson's passing. "I have so many wonderful memories of our time together. 'The Supremes' will live on in our hearts." - NME, 2/9/21...... Former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks Jr. died on the evening of Feb. 5 after battling prostate and other cancers. He was 67. Spinks won gold at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. But he rose in prominence when he beat Muhammed Ali for the heavyweight title in 1978. Spinks had only seven professional fights under his belt when he got into the ring with Ali. His wife, Brenda Glur Spinks, and a few close friends and other family members were reportedly by his side when he passed away. - NY Daily News, 2/6/21.

Friday, Feb. 5, 2021

After announcing earlier in February he'll release a new live album and concert film from 1990, Way Down in the Rust Bucket, on Feb. 26, Neil Young has revealed on his Neil Young Archives site that a long-lost 1982 album called Johnny's Island will be "coming to you soon." Describing it as a "complete album" featuring unreleased tracks like "Big Pearl," "Island in the Sun" and "Love Hotel," along with "others you may have heard before," Young posted on Jan. 31 that the set is "being prepared for release," though a specific release date was not provided. Johnny's Island was recorded shortly after his innovative 1982 album, Trans, and was recorded at Commercial Recorders in Honolulu, Hawaii. A representative for Young told Billboard that "due to demand from fans, we do have a very aggressive release schedule from Neil this year." In the summer of 2020, Young released another "lost" album, Homegrown, which he described as "the unheard bridge between Harvest and Comes a Time." - Billboard, 1/31/21...... Mick FleetwoodIn a new interview with Classic Rock magazine, Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood says he can't remember two years of his life, after previously battling a heavy cocaine habit. Fleetwood shared that there was a period after his band made their iconic 1977 album Rumours when he didn't work for two years and has no recollection of his life during the period. "There's no doubt we were well equipped with the marching powder. That's a well-worn fairytale that gets more like a war story, that gets more and more aggrandised. I'm not minimalising the fact that we were definitely partaking in that lifestyle. But these weren't a bunch of people crawling across the floor with green froth coming out of their mouths, we were working, you know?," he explained, adding that Fleetwood Mac frontwoman Stevie Nicks has also addressed the band's drug problem, "so I'm not divulging anything that she hasn't spoken about." "It got out of hand way after the making of 'Rumours'. I remember not working for two years. I can't even remember what I did," he said. Mick went on to confirm that he was the "party animal" in the band, but described Nicks as "a close second." Nicks has admitted to spending "millions" on cocaine and the band would often indulge in cocaine binges before they went onstage. - New Musical Express, 2/5/21...... A female white dove named Divinity that once belonged to Prince has passed away at the age of 28. According to a post on Prince's OfficialPaisleyPark Instagram account, Divinity died peacefully on Feb. 2 after a decline in health due to her advancing years. "She was one of the enduring links to Prince for thousands of fans. She will be missed," said Alan Seiffert, the executive director of Prince's estate. The funk-rocker famously recorded "When Doves Cry" in 1984 and went on to adopt Divinity and a male counterpart named Majesty in the 1990s, with the pair residing in the atrium of Prince's Paisley Park mansion. Majesty, who passed away in 2017, previously made a cameo in the 1992 video for Prince's "Seven," and was seen sitting in the hands of Prince's then-wife, Mayte Garcia. Both Majesty and Divinity subsequently received credits for providing "ambient singing" on the 2002 song "Arboretum." In the wake of Divinity's death, legacy preservationist Mitch Maguire has said that visitors to Paisley Park will be greeted by "a new generation of doves that will continue to grace Prince's home." - NME, 2/5/21...... Chic's Nile Rodgers recently told the Crisis What Crisis podcast that he has been unable to bury his late mom due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Beverly Goodman, 82, passed away on Dec. 27 after a battle with Alzheimer's disease, but the coronavirus chaos has meant Nile has been unable to give her a proper farewell. He says the situation has been extremely difficult for him and his loved ones, but he realizes many other families are also dealing with the same circumstances. "It's horrible, breaking our hearts," Rodgers explained. "When you go there and you see something that's so graphic like that, it really reminds you of images of people thrown into mass graves." Niles had shared his heartache at losing his mother with his Instagram followers just after Christmas, confessing her loss had left him feeling "numb." -, 2/2/21...... Alice CooperAlice Cooper allowed fans to stream his new single "Social Debris" for free on YouTube on Feb. 4 to mark his 73rd birthday the same day. "Social Debris" will be included on Cooper's upcoming album, Detroit Stories, which the Coop says celebrates the "golden era of Detroit rock" and his hometown. "The single "Social Debris" is a gift to Detroit, to my fans and to myself," Cooper said in a press release. "The track was written by the original Alice Cooper band. We never thought that we would ever fit in; the Alice Cooper band didn't fit in with anybody, because we were doing things that no other band did. We didn't fit in with the folk scene, we didn't fit in with the metal scene, we really didn't fit in with anything that was going on at that time. We just always felt like we were outsiders... in our own little world. So 'Social Debris' was just the original band writing a song about us, essentially. And it came out sounding like it belonged into 1971. That's just the original band -- you can't change that, it's great." Detroit Stories will drop via earMUSIC on Feb. 26 and also features a cover of the Velvet Underground's "Rock & Rol"' and as well as a new Cooper composition, "Our Love Will Change The World," among others. Cooper recently described the latter as "one of the oddest songs I've ever done." - NME, 2/4/21...... Queen drummer Roger Taylor says he still has a statue of his late bandmate Freddie Mercury in the garden of his Puttenham, Surrey estate after it was removed from outside the Dominion Theatre at Tottenham Court Road in London, where the Queen musical "We Will Rock You" was held, in 2014. "I have a statue of Freddie in the garden, which I love, it's great, it's very big," Taylor told the UK paper The Daily Star. "I also thought it would be very funny to have the statue there and I think Freddie would have found it hilarious. He would have found it really funny," Taylor said of Mercury, who died at age 45 in 1991 due to complications of AIDS. Taylor, who lives at Puttenham Priory with his wife Sarina Potgeiter, recently gave fans a tour around his pad, as he promoted Queen + Adam Lambert's Live Around the World concert DVD and CD. In the Instagram clip, Roger said: "Hi everybody, it's Roger here, I'm deep in the heart of Covid, God help us all, eh? "Now look, our DVD is gonna be downloadable at the end of the month... Like Adam said, put on some glitter, make some cocktails and have some fun." -, 2/3/21...... In a new interview with the BBC's Will Gompertz, Elton John said he has met with UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden over the ongoing visa-free travel controversy in Europe. Elton said he had "very positive" talks with Mr. Dowden about EU travel for UK musicians, but said visa-free touring is not currently "on the cards." "It's much more difficult for young artists to get this together because of all the red tape. Every country has these different rules, there's so much procedure to go through," Elton explained. "People like myself are not really affected by it, we have a foundation of people who can look after it, it still has to be done but it's much easier. [But] we find ourselves in the situation because of Brexit, this has arisen. How do we fix this? How can we fix this? I want the situation to be resolved, so that young people don't have the difficulties of trying to tour in Europe, because it will affect their careers, it will stunt their growth and their creativity," he added. Secretary Dowden later tweeted to say he had "a very positive call" with John and husband David Furnish, and that there was "lots of work going on in Govt on this." Elton was among a host of musicians who all signed an open letter in January which criticised the UK Government's Brexit deal, which has shunned the chance for touring musicians to enjoy visa-free travel in Europe. Meanwhile, John has praised a new BBC Channel 4 drama titled It's a Sin for providing "an incredibly moving account" of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. The drama, which stars Years & Years singer Olly Alexander, follows the lives of four friends living together as the HIV/AIDS crisis begins to emerge in the UK. "Watching it, so many sad and devastating memories came flooding back. Many people were callous, ignorant and cruel. Thank God we have come so far since then," John posted on Instagram. - NME, 2/3/21...... Dolly PartonA new version of Dolly Parton's classic single "9 to 5" will air in a commercial for during Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 7). "A lot of people through the years have wanted to change the lyrics to fit certain things they're doing," Parton told the AP of the reworking. "I really thought that was a wonderful thing, especially for Squarespace. They're so into people, new entrepreneurs working after hours to start their own businesses. '5 to 9' seemed to be a perfect thing when they pitched it," she said. Parton also said she had been asked "several times" to perform at the Super Bowl, but had "always kind of chickened out." In another recent interview, the country/pop icon revealed that she had turned down the Presidential Medal of Freedom twice after it was offered by former president Donald Trump's administration, but she couldn't accept it either time. "I couldn't accept it because my husband was ill, and then they asked me again about it and I wouldn't travel because of the COVID," Dolly explained. Parton said during the same interview that she is putting off getting her Covid-19 vaccine shot until "some more people get theirs." The 75-year-old singer, who donated $1 million (£730,000) to vaccine development at Vanderbilt University in her native Tennessee, is eligible to receive the vaccine but feels there are more at-risk people than her. "I'm not going to get mine until some more people get theirs. I don't want it to look like I'm jumping the line just because I donated money. I'm very funny about that. I'm going to get mine though, but I'm going to wait." Meanwhile, Parton was recently announced as one of the guest hosts of the Apple Watch's new Time To Walk series. The feature is being billed by Apple as "an inspiring new audio walking experience" which has been "created to encourage users to walk more often and reap the benefits from one of the healthiest activities." - NME, 2/2/21...... Nancy Sinatra has told the UK paper The Independent that Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks once "gave me the cold shoulder" when the two crossed paths during an event held at the White House during Bill Clinton's presidency. "I met Sheryl Crow and Stevie Nicks, and they gave me a cold shoulder. That was painful for me. It's like they didn't want to be friends," said Sinatra, who is the eldest child of Frank Sinatra. "I don't think they knew what to make of me and my so-called career," she added. "They shunned me a little bit, which I found hurtful. And I didn't quite understand why they did." Sinatra went on to claim that the pair of artists didn't want to speak to her following their introduction. "I tried to make an effort to shake hands, 'So nice to meet you' kind of thing, but they weren't interested," she recalled, adding that Nicks and Crow could have not seen her as an "authentic" musician. "I don't want to put words in their mouths. But yeah, I think there was definitely some of that. I felt like an interloper," she said. Sinatra released a new greatest hits compilation, Start Walkin' 1965-1976, on Feb. 5. - NME, 2/1/21...... In a new interview with radio station The Horn 104.9, Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford recalled seeing the 1984 heavy metal mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap with his bandmate Glenn Tipton for the first time. "I love satire. Glenn loves satire. The thing about satire, you can only make satire from great things that have happened in the real world. To us, that was just what Spinal Tap was all about. We could see ourselves in that movie time and time again, whether it was in hotels or losing the way to the stage or things going wrong on stage with the props and the accessories. It was like watching ourselves from the outside looking in," Halford said of the film, which was recognized in 2002 by the Library of Congress as a culturally, historically or aesthetically significant film. Halford added to The Horn: "We roared through the whole thing. It was kind of a miscommunication, I think, that this is about a real band called Spinal Tap and this is a documentary about their life. So some of the people that were in the movie theatre that afternoon that Glenn and I went to see the movie, they were very upset. They made their feelings known as they stormed out of the movie theatre." - NME, 2/1/21...... Elvis PresleyWarner Bros. Pictures has announced that director Baz Lurhmann's forthcoming Elvis Presley biopic will be delayed from its originally scheduled Nov. 2021 release until June 3, 2022. Sources report that Warner's decision to delay the film, which was originally set to be one of its large slate of films to debut in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously, spawns from the film still being in production in Australia with another five weeks of material left to shoot, making it highly unlikely to have made its November release on time without a rushed post-production. Austin Butler (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, The Dead Don't Die) will star in the lead role as Elvis alongside Oscar winner Tom Hanks, who is playing Presley's manager Colonel Tom Parker, and Olivia DeJonge (The Visit), will play Presley's only wife Priscilla Presley. The film recently saw the additions of newcomer Alton Mason as Little Richard and Gary Clark Jr. as Big Boy Crudup. -, 1/30/21...... Legendary crooner Tony Bennett has revealed that he has been privately battling Alzheimer's disease in a new article published in AARP Magazine. "Life is a gift -- even with Alzheimer's. Thank you to Susan and my family for their support, and AARP The Magazine for telling my story," Bennet wrote on Twitter. The 94-year-old, who has won 19 Grammy Awards in a career spanning more than 75 years, was first diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2016. Despite battling the condition, AARP reports that the singer has continued work on the follow-up to 2014's Cheek to Cheek, his collaborative album of jazz standards recorded with Lady Gaga. Bennett is best known for hits such as "Rags To Riches" and "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." A release date for the album is yet to be confirmed. - NME, 2/1/21...... Former Three's Company star Suzanne Somers is packing up hundreds of thousands worth of old clothes to give to charity after listing the home she's lived in since 1977 for $8.5 million. Somers' Palm Springs, Calif., compound with five villas was just put up for sale, but, "We've been giving stuff to [local charity thrift shop] Revivals for the past two months," her producer husband Alan Hamel told The New York Post's "Page Six" column. Sales at the local shop will go to benefit the Desert AIDS Project. "Never in my life did I ever think I'd let go of this house, and this property... We've had Thanksgivings here for 43 years. But, all of a sudden it's just a good idea," Somers said of her 7,279-square-foot home which sits on over 28 acres. Somers -- whose wellness books include the recent A New Way to Age -- has been recovering after a spill down the stairs at her home in 2020, but says "the good news about my having to be on my back [is that] two more books popped into my head. They're both vibrating as best sellers, I don't know which to do next." -, 1/31/21...... Hal HolbrookHal Holbrook, an award-winning actor acclaimed for his one-man portrayal of American literary legend Mark Twain and whose film work included portraying the mysterious "Deep Throat" in All the President's Men, died on Jan. 23 at his home in Beverly Hills. Mr. Holbrook's death was confirmed late on Feb. 1 by his assistant, Joyce Cohen. Born on Feb. 17, 1925, in Cleveland, Oh., Mr. Holbrook served in the Army in Newfoundland during World War Two and then attended Denison University in the mid-1950s where he first portrayed Twain, who died in 1910 at age 75. Mr. Holbrook enrolled in an honors program about the writer at the university, which lead him to create a one-man show entitled "Mark Twain Tonight," with his first big exposure coming when he took the act to the popular The Ed Sullivan Show. He went on to star in the show well into his 90s for 63 years, before announcing his retirement in Sept. 2017. "Mark Twain is something precious to me. It's my side arm through life," Mr. Holbrook told NPR in 2007. Tall, with an air of dignified reserve, Mr. Holbrook also gave distinguished portrayals of Abraham Lincoln, winning an Emmy for lead actor in a limited series in 1976 for specials based on Carl Sandburg's biography of the president. He also won Emmys for a television special playing Captain Lloyd Bucher in 1973's Pueblo and as lead actor in a dramatic series in 1970 for the series The Bold Ones: The Senator. Other significant roles were as "the major" in the original Broadway production of Arthur Miller's "Incident at Vichy," as Martin Sheen's partner in That Certain Summer, the first TV-movie to give a sympathetic portrayal of homosexuality, and as "Deep Throat," the key source in the Watergate scandal that brought down Richard Nixon's presidency, in the 1976 movie All the President's Men. His other films included The Group (1966), Wild in the Streets (1968), Magnum Force (1973), The Star Chamber and Wall Street (1987), The Firm (1993), That Evening Sun (2009) with his third wife Dixie Carter, and Steven Spielberg's Lincoln (2012). Mr. Holbrook also had a recurring role with Carter, a star of the sitcom Designing Women, who died in Apr. 2010 at age 70. He also had multi-episode roles in other popular TV shows, including ER, The West Wing, Bones and Gray's Anatomy. In 2008, at age 82, Mr. Holbrook became the oldest male performer ever nominated for an Academy Award for his supporting role in Into the Wild. He is survived by his children, Victoria, David and Eve. - Reuters, 2/2/21.

Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021

A legal dispute between the ill-fated Woodstock 50 music festival and its financial backer Dentsu has been settled out of court, according to court documents. Woodstock 50, an anniversary event celebrating half a century of the iconic New York festival, was cancelled in July 2019 after months of controversy and changing plans. The festival had been beleaguered by problems in the six months leading up to its planned Aug. 2019 date, mainly related to finding a new location for the event. After it seemingly finally found a home in the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland, organizers which included Michael Lang, one of the organizers of the original legendary 1969 event, then announced that the three-day festival would no longer be taking place. After a host of artists including Santana, The Black Keys, Jay-Z and Miley Cyrus pulled out of performing at the show, Lang announced he was releasing the performers from their contracts. Now Variety is reporting a court filing from Woodstock 50 against Japanese advertising firm and the festival's financial backer Dentsu last summer has been settled as of Dec. 15, 2020 with the Supreme Court of New York State. "The parties have settled this matter on confidential terms," the document reads, adding that "the Complaint is dismissed with prejudice, and without fees or costs to any party." The suit reportedly sought tens of millions of dollars from Dentsu, alleging that the company "sabotaged" plans for the 50th anniversary festival. A separate report by Billboard says that Dentsu "has agreed to pay an undisclosed settlement sum covering damages but not unrealized profits." - NME, 1/30/21...... Peter FramptonPeter Frampton and his Peter Frampton Band have shared a new cover of Radiohead's "Reckoner" on YouTube, which appears on Frampton's forthcoming covers album Frampton Forgets the Words. The LP, due out on Apr. 23, sees Frampton and his band covering songs by the likes of David Bowie, George Harrison, Stevie Wonder, Roxy Music, and others. The English-born rock legend recorded the album in his Studio Phenix in his adapted home of Nashville, and says it's "a collection of ten of my favorite pieces of music." "My guitar is also a voice and I have always enjoyed playing my favorite vocal lines that we all know and love," Frampton said in a press release. "These tracks are my great band and me paying tribute to the original creators of this wonderful music. So much fun to do and I really hope you enjoy it too." - New Musical Express, 1/30/21...... A rare demo of Black Sabbath's "Heaven and Hell" recorded during a rehearsal session in 1979 with new Sabbath frontman Ronnie James Dio has surfaced online to commemorate the fourth anniversary of late Sabbath bassist Geoff Nicholls' death. The demo, which can be heard on YouTube, was posted by Nicholls' estate with the description "I recently found this SONY C-90 tape cassette amongst the thousands in Geoff Nicholls' archive. On the inlay card is written 'ON & ON HEAVEN & HELL ORIGINAL VERSION GEOFF PLAYING BASS'.... Nowhere does it say that this is Black Sabbath on the cassette. On And On Heaven And Hell may have been the original working title." The page noted that, on the chance that it isn't Black Sabbath playing on the tape, then it was "a good cover version." - NME, 1/29/21...... Paul McCartney has photobombed a TikTok user who failed to clock her close encounter with the rock icon until she returned home. In late January TikTok user Mae Archie (@maebe.later) shared a Queen-soundtracked clip in which she looked back at images she had snapped on her phone during a past visit to New York City. The image in question, taken at E 42nd Street, is then revealed on-screen in the closing split second. McCartney is seen crossing the street in the opposite direction to Archie, who is turning back to the camera. "So I just left the MET [The Metropolitan Museum of Art] to see the Play It Loud exhibit and was legit looking at the Beatles set and everything [because] I love music," Archie explained. "I wanted to take a cute photo and so I took it on the crosswalk but I was facing my mom so I never actually saw Paul until I turned around." However, Macca's true identity failed to register during the brief crossing of paths. At the time of writing, the TikTok upload has registered over 28,000 likes. Meanwhile, UK fans won't have the opportunity to see the former Beatles member headline the legendary Glastonbury festival after it was announced on Jan. 21 that Glastonbury has been cancelled for a second year running because of the Covid-19 pandemic. "With great regret, we must announce that this year's Glastonbury Festival will not take place, and that this will be another enforced fallow year for us," founder Michael Eavis and his daughter Emily said in a statement on Twitter. - NME, 1/29/21...... In other Beatles related news, a new streaming music TV channel called the Coda Collection is set to launch in February backed by the likes of John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and Janie Hendrix, who heads Experience Hendrix, the estate of Jimi Hendrix. The venture also has the backing of Sony Music Entertainment, with Coda Collection set to screen a number of new documentaries, music film premieres and rare concert footage by a host of much-loved artists including Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. "The Coda Collection tells the stories of the most iconic moments in music with fresh perspectives, unique editorial and exclusive video content," a statement about the channel says. The Coda Collection will launch in the US on Feb. 18 via Amazon Prime Video, with a global roll-out planned for later on 2021. It will cost $4.99 per month, with a free seven-day trial for Prime members. More info can be found at, and a trailer has been uploaded to YouTube. - NME, 1/28/21...... Kris KristoffersonIconic country/pop singer-songwriter-actor Kris Kristofferson has announced his retirement after more than five decades in the entertainment industry. Though the 84-year-old officially retired in 2020, the public was unaware of his decision until it was mentioned in a press release on Jan. 27, issued to announce a change of management of Kristofferson's estate from his longtime manager Tamara Soviano to Morris Higham Management. It was also stated that Kristofferson's son, John, has stepped in to oversee his father's business dealings, including his record label, KK Records. "Kris is ageing; Kris is 84. It didn't feel like such big news to us," Saviano told Variety. "That's why there was no announcement: It was just sort of a slow changing of the guard thing." Kristofferson had remained active, touring solo and with members of Merle Haggard's band The Strangers, until February of 2020. Kristofferson gave his last full concert in Jan. 2020 as part of the fifth annual Outlaw Country Cruise, which can be viewed on YouTube. - NME, 1/30/21...... The surviving members of The Doors have shared an excerpt from their forthcoming graphic novel Morrison Hotel via Rolling Stone magazine. Published by Z2 Comics, the biographical adaptation is a collaboration between writer Leah Moore, daughter of comic book legend Alan Moore, and surviving band members guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore.The graphic novel, part of a celebration of the band's fifth album's 50th anniversary, will be officially released on Mar. 16 and is available to pre-order at the Doors' website. - NME, 1/28/21...... Tom Jones has shared a cover of Malvina Reynolds' "No Hole In My Head" ahead of the release of his new album of covers entitled Surrounded By Time. "No Hole In My Head" is the second single from the album, and has been reimagined by Jones as an upbeat pop-rock piece. Also including covers by the likes of Cat Stevens and Bob Dylan, it will be the Welsh crooner's first album since 2015's Long Lost Suitcase, and is due out Apr. 23 through EMI. - NME, 1/28/21...... Phil Collins' ex-wife Orianne Cevey has announced she'll be auctioning off several of her former husband's gold records, some with an asking price of as little as $100. Cevey hopes to raise millions of dollars from the sale which includes gold discs featuring Collins drumming on Robert Plant's 1982 album Pictures at Eleven and two gold records from Plant's 1983 recording The Principle of Moments. Each of the albums has an estimated value of $100 to $1,000. The auction at Kodner, based in Florida, is scheduled to be held on Feb. 3. A representative said that Cevey was organizing her belongings as she prepares to move to a smaller property, and she is finding the process "cathartic." The auction states that 10% of the proceeds from some items, including the Collins memorabilia, will be donated to the Never Give Up Foundation for help for children and adults with spinal cord injuries as a result of accidents or medical problems. The former couple have undergone a bitter public split since she married her boyfriend Thomas Bates, 31, last August after saying she was going away "on business." Cevey initially refused to move out of the couple's Miami mansion before relenting under threat of legal action and Collins, 69, has now sold the estate. -, 1/27/21...... Hilton Valentine, the guitarist and a founding member of the '60 British Invasion group The Animals, passed away on Jan. 29 of as yet undisclosed causes, according to The Animals record label Abkco Records. Valentine, who was recruited by his fellow Animals members Eric Burdon, Chas Chandler and Alan Price, was responsible for the riff on one of the band's most well-known songs, "The House Of The Rising Sun." The song reached Number 1 in the UK, US and Canada in 1964. Other hits included "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," "It's My Life" and "We Gotta Get Out of This Place." Valentine left The Animals in 1966 and continued to work as both a solo artist and as part of a number of other groups. Abkco paid an emotive tribute to the "pioneering" musician. "Our deepest sympathies go out to Hilton Valentine's family and friends on his passing this morning, at the age of 77," they wrote. "A founding member and original guitarist of The Animals, Valentine was a pioneering guitar player influencing the sound of rock and roll for decades to come. We at Abkco have been privileged to serve as stewards of The Animals catalog and his passing is felt in a truly profound way by the entire Abkco family." - NME, 1/30/21...... Cloris LeachmanOscar and Emmy-winning veteran actress Cloris Leachman, perhaps best known as the delightfully neurotic Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and her own subsequent sitcom Phyllis, died of natural causes on Jan. 26 in Encinitas, Calif. She was 94. Ms. Leachman also won a supporting actress Oscar in the early part of the decade for a far different character, an embittered small-town housewife in Peter Bogdanovich's elegiac The Last Picture Show; she would later reprise the role in the film's less successful sequel Texasville. Both films were based on the writings of Larry McMurtry. Overnight success for the actress, however, came only after two decades of hard work in theater, television and some films. Ms. Leachman, born on Apr. 30, 1930 in Des Moines, Ia., was in her 40s when stardom finally hit. She won a total of eight primetime Emmys, both for drama and comedy, and one daytime Emmy. Ms. Leachman's TV credits also included Malcolm in the Middle, Touched by and Angel, Diagnosis Murder, Joan of Arcadia, Two and a Half Men, The Office, Phineas and Ferb, Hawthorne and Blue Mountain State. In 2010-14, she was a series regular on Fox's Raising Hope, drawing her 19th Emmy nomination. In 2003, she played the grandmother on the bigscreen in the romantic comedy Alex and Emma and in the darker comedy Bad Santa. Other movie credits include Lovers and Other Strangers, The People Next Door, and WUSA. She was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2011, and her memoir, Cloris: My Autobiography, was published in 2009. She penned the bestseller with George Englund, whom she divorced in 1979. Survivors include sons Adam, George Jr. and Morgan, an actor; and a daughter, Dinah. -, 1/27/21...... It has just been reported that Sheridan Peterson, a chief suspect as the hijacker who parachuted from a plane in 1971 in the legendary DB Cooper hijacking case, died in California on Jan. 8 at age 94. Peterson was thought to possibly be the "Dan Cooper" who hijacked Northwest Orient Flight 305 on Thanksgiving eve 1971. Cooper handed a flight attendant a note saying that he had a bomb and then demanded $200,000 in $20 bills and four parachutes. When the flight landed in Seattle, the hijacker exchanged the flight's 36 passengers for the money and parachutes and ordered the flight crew to take off and head for Mexico City. Somewhere between Seattle and Reno, Nevada, Cooper jumped from the rear door of the aircraft with a parachute and the ransom money. The pilots landed the plane safely, but the identity of the hijacker and what happened next remains a mystery to this day. Peterson was considered a chief suspect due to his experience as a smokejumper -- a firefighter that parachutes into remote areas to tackle wildfires -- and love of skydiving. He served as a marine during the Second World War and later worked as a technical editor at Seattle-based Boeing. Peterson is by no means the only person identified as DB Cooper. An HBO documentary released in 2020 called The Mystery of DB Cooper profiled several contenders. -, 1/30/21...... Cicely TysonAcclaimed African-American actress Cicely Tyson, who specialized in portraying strong Black women caught up in life's struggles during a 60-year career that earned her three Emmys and a Tony Award, died on Jan. 28, her manager announced in a statement. She was 96. No cause of death was given. Ms. Tyson had recently completed a memoir, Just As I Am, which had been just released in January. Ms. Tyson's most-lauded performances came in historical works such as the 1972 movie Sounder in which she played a Louisiana sharecropper's wife. That film earned Ms. Tyson her only Academy Award nomination, but she received an honorary Oscar in Nov. 2018. She also won two Emmys for the same TV movie, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman -- one for best actress in a miniseries or movie and one for actress of the year. The 1974 movie covered a woman's life from slavery to the 1960s. Ms. Tyson picked up another Emmy 20 years later for Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All. Her nine other Emmy nominations included playing Binta, the mother of the slave Kunta Kinte in the groundbreaking 1977 miniseries Roots, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s wife, Coretta, in King, and the inspirational educator in The Marva Collins Story. Born in Dec. 1924 in New York and growing up in Harlem, Ms. Tyson was a secretary and model before taking acting jobs in the 1950s. In the early 1960s, she became one of the first Black actors to appear regularly on U.S. television, playing George C. Scott's secretary on the series East Side, West Side. Tributes to the actress poured in on social media by the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Rihanna, LeVar Burton, Dan Rather and actress Viola Davis, who said "You made me feel loved and seen and valued in a world where there is still a cloak of invisibility for us dark chocolate girls." - Reuters, 1/29/21.

Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021

A new mural honoring Eddie Van Halen is set to be unveiled on Jan. 26 in honor of what would've been the late guitarist's 66th birthday. L.A. artist Robert Vargas, the creator of the mural, posted on Instagram that he is "beyond excited to create this mural of one of my all-time creative heroes, @eddievanhalen.... This mural is truly for the fans and a celebration of my favourite rock band, @vanhalen's legacy." Vargas is set to officially unveil his Eddie Van Halen tribute, "Long Live The King," on Jan. 26 on the outside wall of Guitar Center's Sunset Boulevard store in Hollywood. Van Halen passed away in October following a battle with throat cancer. - NME, 1/26/21...... John LennonA recently discovered letter written by John Lennon's aunt Mimi Smith reveals the former Beatles member was "bubbling over" with excitement about returning to the UK in a phone call the night before he was shot dead in Manhattan on Dec. 8, 1980. A month later his aunt Mimi replied in a letter to Daily Express journalist Judith Simons, who had written a letter of condolence following the death of Mimi's famous nephew. "Dear Judith, Thank you for your letter, kind thoughts," Smith wrote. "I'm trying to accept this terrible thing which has happened, but finding it very hard. He had such faith himself, I'm trying to do the same. He phoned the night before, witty, funny, bubbling over with excitement, coming over very soon. Couldn't wait to see me. So I'm glad of that. If I'm in London, I'll get in touch with you. Kind thoughts to you too. Mimi." The letter from Judith Simons' estate was recently discovered by Tracks Ltd, which provides valuations of music memorabilia. According to Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn, it provides "solid confirmation that, but for his murder, Lennon would have returned to Britain during 1981 for the first time in 10 years." - New Musical Express, 1/26/21...... Appearing on Apple Music's radio show hosted by Zane Lowe on Jan. 25, Elvis Costello said he wanted to be remembered for his iconic 1977 Saturday Night Live performance in which he made an abrupt decision to switch up his setlist. "I'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but there's no reason to do this song here," Costello announced during his performance, which can be viewed on YouTube, before launching into "Radio, Radio." Failure to communicate the change to "Radio, Radio," which criticized the commercialization of broadcasting, to SNL producer Lorne Michaels led Costello to be banned from the sketch comedy series until 1989. "We did end up on Saturday Night Live," Costello told Lowe. "And I just wanted them to remember us. I didn't really have anything against the show. I was more pissed off at being told what to play by the record company than I was NBC, truthfully. I can't remember whether I said what I was going to do, but I think I just said, 'Watch me.'" In previous interviews, Costello has said he copied the onstage stunt from Jimi Hendrix's 1969 setlist during a tribute to Cream on British pop singer Lulu's show. Hendrix halted his band midway through their performance of "Hey Joe" to play a surprise rendition of Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love." Costello has added "Watching the Detectives" and "Radio, Radio" to his Apple Music Alternative Essentials playlist, and his interview with Lowe can be streamed on YouTube. - Billboard, 1/25/21...... An acoustic guitar used by Prince during the recording of his 1991 album Diamonds And Pearls is being sold at auction by two fans this spring. The Fender Gemini II guitar, which was in the possession of Diamonds And Pearls studio engineer Sylvia Massy before being acquired by two fans, is now being auctioned off. The guitar was given directly from Massy to two unnamed brothers, who live in Frome, Somerset, UK. A recent move to Spain for one of the brothers is the reason they decided to put it up for auction. The auction will be held at Gardiner Houlgate in Corsham, Wiltshire on Mar. 10. The guitar is expected to fetch between £40,000 and £80,000, and more info can be found at - NME, 1/25/21...... A rare Marvin Gaye instrumental album is being made available as a standalone LP for the first time. Recorded during the summer of 1971, Funky Nation: The Detroit Instrumentals is the result of some downtime Gaye had after refusing to tour in support of his classic album, What's Going On. Released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the title track from What's Going On, the 14-track, funk-driven collection of instrumentals hears Gaye joined by the late Hamilton Bohannon on drums, Ray Parker Jr. (17-years-old at the time,) Wah Wah Watson, and Leroy Emmanuel on guitars, as well as a 20-year-old Michael Henderson on bass. While some of the tracks have been heard on prior special editions of Gaye albums -- and the full collection was featured in the Super Deluxe 40th-anniversary edition of What's Going On -- this is the first time Funky Nation has been released digitally as a standalone. The album is available for streaming on There are currently several biopics on the Motown legend in the planning stages, with Cameron Crowe, Jamie Foxx, Scott Rudin and Dr. Dre all attached to projects about Gaye, although none have materialized as yet. - NME, 1/25/21...... Al JardineIn an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Beach Boys co-founder Al Jardine says a TV special to mark the 60th anniversary of the iconic American band could soon be in the works. Although Jardine says a full commemorative tour to mark the 60th anniversary of the formation of the band in 2021 isn't likely, the band is considering "10 or 20 areas of the world... Who knows, maybe we'll get lucky and have a renaissance, and present some of this great material again." Asked about a TV special, Jardine responded: "We'd like to explore that possibility." "It's always good to be able to look forward to something positive now, especially coming out of this horrendous year, to bring some beautiful, fresh, positive music to the world again," he said. Jardine says the band have taken on advisors to help them explore all options in terms of their career. However Jardine's former bandmate Brian Wilson is seemingly unaware of any 60th anniversary projects. "There is nothing on the table at this point," Jean Sievers, Wilson's manager, stated, adding: "No one has spoken to us about it or reached out." -, 1/24/21...... The Kinks have announced a livestream event called "The Moneygoround" to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their recently reissued 1970 album Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part One. Expanding on the anniversary celebrations, frontman Ray Davies has collaborated with dramatist Paul Sirett on a new 45-minute play, based on the themes and lyrics of the record itself, featuring poet/actor Ben Norris in the central role. "'The Moneygoround' is a one-man show documenting a character facing the challenging circumstances of making an album under extreme pressure," Davies said in a statement. "This play, similar to a psychodrama, follows the ups and downs of the character as he plays out events in his life. He confronts the dark forces surrounding him after falling into an emotional and financial 'hole' eventually he is saved by a song after confiding in his friend, Lola." The special is set to be broadcast as part of a one-off livestream show on Jan. 29 at 8:00 pm GMT/3:00 pm EST on the Kinks' YouTube channel. A trailer for "The Moneygoround" has also been shared on YouTube. - NME, 1/23/21...... Kiss member Gene Simmons has recalled the time late Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek agreed to dress up in a Kiss costume and wear make-up in the style made famous by the shock rockers. Speaking to Consequence of Sound in a new interview, Simmons recalled the time he met Trebeck backstage in Oct. 2018 during a taping of Jeopardy!. The pair then filmed an online clip together with Trebek in full Kiss make-up and costume -- Trebek's transformation can be seen in a clip on YouTube. "People only knew Trebek from television, but when the cameras weren't rolling, the guy had a potty mouth," Simmons recalled. "We traded lots of, as they used to say in the 1800s, off-colour jokes. He was a funny guy, and very kind and brave. I said: 'You're going to be putting on KISS makeup.' [He said:] 'Okay, let's go.'" Trebeck passed away in November following a battle with pancreatic cancer. - NME, 1/22/21...... GenesisGenesis have announced a series of rescheduled tour dates along with a new video from their rehearsals, which has been shared on Twitter. Genesis members Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks were due to hit the road this April to play a long awaited reunion alongside longtime live guitarist and bassist Daryl Stuermer and Phil Collins' son Nic Collins on drums, however those original dates for their "The Last Domino" tour have now been postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. "'The Last Domino Tour' 2021 will now start in Dublin on 15th September," the band posted. Genesis also plans to hit Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Liverpool, Glasgow and London on the 9-city, 19-date tour, which wraps with a three-night stand at the O2 Arena. In 2020 during lockdown, Genesis also began uploading a series of classic gigs to YouTube, streaming one new show from across their career every weekend. - NME, 1/23/21...... Patti Smith has held a 30-minute inaugural presentation in honor of Pres. Joe Biden's recent inauguration, where she performed her classic "People Have The Power." Smith performed the song while a montage played of people who the punk poetess says have "used their voice to create a better future," including environmental activist Greta Thunberg, the late Shirley Chisholm, and Vice President Kamala Harris. The montage, which opens with a tribute to all of the NHS frontline workers who have died fighting the coronavirus pandemic, can be viewed on YouTube. Smith has taken to performing "People Have The Power" quite a bit recently, as part of her support of various political causes. In Nov. 2020, she teamed up with guitarist Lenny Kaye to perform the song for New York City voters ahead of the presidential election. - NME, 1/22/21...... The complete recordings of the 1970s Australian progressive rock band Fraternity featuring future AC/DC singer Bon Scott were released in a special remastered edition on Jan. 22 via Cherry Records. Seasons of Change - The Complete Recordings, 1970-1974 includes the band's two original albums -- Livestock and Flaming Galah -- along with their singles, remastered from their manager Hamish Henry's original tapes. Both feature Scott on lead vocals as well as recorder. Also included is an entire, previously unreleased album, titled Second Chance, also featuring vocal and songwriting contributions from Scott. Scott was Fraternity's lead vocalist between 1971-1973, joining AC/DC on vocals the following year until his death in 1980. The Adelaide-based Fraternity went through various lineups and names in their time, before disbanding in 1981 under their final moniker Mickey Finn. - NME, 1/22/21...... Perry Botkin Jr., a Grammy-winning and Oscar-nominated TV and film composer perhaps best known for composing the Grammy-winning "Nadia's Theme" for the CBS soap The Young and the Restless, died on Jan. 18 after a battle with Covid-19. He was 87. Across a career spanning four decades, Mr. Botkin worked with an extraordinary range of artists including Barbra Streisand, Peggy Lee, Bobby Darin, Sammy Davis Jr., Jack Jones and Paul Williams. He was also an arranger on Glen Campbell's "Wichita Lineman" and The Cascades' "Rhythm of the Rain." Known as a prolific film and television composer in the 1970s and 1980s, Mr. Botkin most recently worked on the soundtrack of the 2017 film Baby Driver. Mr. Botkin began his career in music as a trombone player in a high school jazz quartet that included film composer John Williams on piano. Mr. Botkin was the son of composer Perry Botkin, Sr., who famously composed the underscore for 1960s sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies. He is survived by his wife Liza, son David, and grandson Daniel Tyler Botkin. - NME, 1/24/21...... Larry KingEmmy-winning veteran talk show host Larry King died on the morning of Jan. 23 after having been hospitalized with Covid-19 since late December. He was 87. "With profound sadness, Ora Media announces the death of our co-founder, host and friend Larry King, who passed away this morning at age 87 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles," Mr. King's official Twitter account read. "For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry's many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster." Called "the master of the mic" by Time magazine, Mr. King was a mainstay on the CNN cable news channel, with his genial style, trademark suspenders and black eyeglasses. Larry King Live, which ran for 25 years until 2010, featured interviews with newsmakers and celebrities, as well as calls and emails from viewers. Mr. King's show was mostly based out of CNN's studios in Los Angeles, but at times he traveled with the show to CNN outposts in New York, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. With ratings beginning to suffer, Mr. King left the program in 2010 but continued to host specials for CNN. Mr. King also made cameos in numerous films, including Ghostbusters (1984), Dave (1993), Primary Colors (1998), Enemy of the State (1998), America's Sweethearts (2001), Shrek 2 (2004) and Shrek the Third (2007). His TV appearances included Murphy Brown, Spin City, The Practice, Everybody Loves Raymond, Ugly Betty, The Closer, Big Love, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, The Simpsons and 30 Rock. Mr. King also wrote a newspaper column in USA Today for 20 years, and when it ended, he took to Twitter, amassing 2.8 million followers with his folksy observations. Born Lawrence Harvey Zeigler, Mr. King grew up in Brooklyn. He started his career as a media personality in Miami Beach, first as a disc jockey, then as host of interview shows and as a color commentator for sportscasts. In addition to his Lifetime Achievement Emmy, Mr. King also nabbed two Peabody Awards and 10 CableACE awards. He is survived by his eighth wife, singer and actress Shawn Southwick-King, and children Cannon, Chance and Larry Jr. -, 1/24/21...... Baseball Hall of Famer and one-time home run king Hank Aaron passed away on the morning of Jan. 22. He was 86. A cause of death has not been reported, but the Atlanta Braves confirmed that he died in his sleep. Born Henry Louis Aaron in Mobile, Ala. in 1934, Mr. Aaron played in sandlots and started his pro career in the Negro Leagues' Indianapolis Clowns in 1951. He made his way through the minor leagues until age 20, then made his Major League debut and started his 23-year-career with the then-Milwaukee Braves. He recorded his first of 755 home runs on Apr. 23, 1954, in a game against the St. Louis Cardinals. His first season saw him finish fourth in the rookie of the year voting as he hit .280 with 13 home runs and 69 RBIs. It was just the start of what became one of the most legendary careers in baseball history. Without ever reaching the 50-home run mark in any season, Mr. Aaron surpassed Babe Ruth with his 715th home run as a member of the Atlanta Braves in 1974. Mr. Aaron would play a few more seasons before calling it a career on Oct. 3, 1976. He immediately transitioned into a role with the Braves as director of player development, a position he held until 1989. He then became a senior vice president for the Braves, a title he held for decade. "We are absolutely devastated by the passing of our beloved Hank," Atlanta Braves chairman Terry McGuirk said in a statement. "He was a beacon for our organization first as a player, then with player development, and always with our community efforts. His incredible talent and resolve helped him achieve the highest accomplishments, yet he never lost his humble nature." -, 1/22/21.

Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021

The Rolling Stones are reportedly preparing to launch their own line of chocolate bars before the end of January. According to the U.K. paper The Daily Star's "Wired" column, a milk chocolate bar (called "Brown Sugar"') and a dark chocolate bar ("Cherry Red," inspired by the lyric "my favourite flavour, cherry red" from "You Can't Always Get What You Want") will both go on sale on the Stones' merch website beginning on Jan. 25. The paper also claims that each chocolate bar will cost £5.95, plus postage. In November, the Stones launched an online e-store to tie in with their flagship shop in London. - NME, 1/20/21...... Bob DylanBob Dylan is being sued by the wife of his late former songwriting collaborator Jacque Levy after Levy's estate claim that they had not been sufficiently compensated for his songwriting credits, particularly for Dylan's 1976 No. 1 album Desire on which Levy is credited as co-writing most of the album's tracks. In December, Dylan sold his entire songwriting catalogue to Universal Music Group for $300 million (£225 million), however Levy's wife Claudia is now suing bith Dylan and Universal for $7.25 million (£5.25 million). According to documents submitted in Manhattan Supreme Court by the plaintiffs, the Levy estate claims it is entitled to 35% "of any and all income earned by the compositions" including "35% of the purchase price paid to the Dylan defendants." "The Dylan defendants have engaged in a civilly wrong pattern and history of intentionally and maliciously ignoring and disregarding plaintiff's rights, including those to income and any and all revenue generated by the compositions, including the subject buy-out of the catalogue sale," the suit claims. An attorney representing Dylan is denying the claims made by the Levy estate and described the suit as "a sad attempt to unfairly profit off of the recent catalogue sale." "The plaintiffs have been paid everything they are owed. We are confident that we will prevail. And when we do, we will hold plaintiffs and their counsel responsible for bringing this meritless case," says Dylan's lawyer, Orin Snyder. Levy -- whose publishing company Jackelope is listed as a co-plaintiff -- co-wrote seven of Desire's nine songs with Dylan, including "Hurricane," "Isis" and "Mozambique." He died in 2004, having worked as a songwriter, theatre director and clinical psychologist during his lifetime, and never held ownership of any of Desire's songs. Dylan seldom worked with other writers and Levy's co-writing on Desire is arguably his most famous songwriting collaboration. - New Musical Express, 1/21/21...... Bruce Springsteen was among the performers participating in a Jan. 20 Celebrating America TV special to honor Joe Biden's swearing in as the 46th President of the United States earlier in the day. Springsteen opened the event by playing his 1999 song "Land Of Hope and Dreams" in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. "I'm proud to be here in cold Washington D.C. tonight," Springsteen said ahead of his performance, which has been shared on YouTube. "I wanna offer this small prayer for our country." The Tom Hanks-hosted special was broadcast across five US TV networks and was streamed on YouTube, Amazon Prime, and several social media channels. Also performing during the broadcast were Foo Fighters, Jon Bon Jovi, Justin Timberlake, John Legend and Katy Perry, among others. Meanwhile, an official Joe Biden/Kamala Harris inauguration playlist has been released, an eclectic 46-song "America United" roster curated by D-Nice and Raedio. Available on Spotify and other major streaming services, it kicks off with "Lupitas Interlude" by Brooklyn rapper Kota the Friend and includes Bruce Springsteen's stirring "We Take Care of Our Own," Kendrick and Mary J Blige's "Now or Never," The O'Jays' "Give the People What They Want," Mac Miller's "Blue World," Marley's "Could You Be Loved," recently-deceased MC MF Doom's "Coffin Nails" and Led Zeppelin's "Fool in the Rain." - NME/Billboard, 1/21/21...... Stevie WonderIn related news, Stevie Wonder has called on the Biden administration to launch a commission on racial inequality. The Motown legend shone a light on Martin Luther King Day on Jan. 18, which Wonder helped champion during its passage, and reminiscesd about meeting Dr. King when he was 14 years old, hailing him a "true hero and inspiration." But in the four-minute video which has been shared on his Twitter account, the musician says that the "needle has not moved one iota" for racial equality. He tells an imagined King that "you would not believe the lack of progress; it makes me physically sick." Wonder continues: "I am sick that truth is struggling to be heard and defended. Those who promote lies and false truth must be held accountable. It is the only way we can move forward." The iconic musician then asks for the Biden-Harris administration to launch a formal investigation to "establish the truth of inequality in this country" and recommend conciliation. "Without truth, we cannot have accountability. Without accountability, we cannot have forgiveness. Without forgiveness, we cannot heal," he says. - NME, 1/18/21...... In one of the more wackier memes relating to the Joe Biden inauguration, a photo of unsuccessful 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been photoshopped into various album covers of famous rock stars including the Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, and Blondie's eponymous 1978 debut album. Sen. Sanders, who took the "very difficult" decision to suspend his presidential campaign last April, was among the limited crowd at the US Capitol as former Vice-President Biden was officially sworn in as the 46th President. Donning a coat, a pair of mittens and a protective face mask, a shivering Sanders soon became meme fodder across social media owing to his unimpressed demeanour. Set up and run by Tatiana Tenreyro, the @theberniealbums Instagram account has currently paused requests from fans but will resume taking suggestions on Jan. 22. - NME, 1/21/21...... Former Pres. Donald Trump has followed through on a previous pledge to build a "Garden of American Heroes" featuring 250 statues to be constructed honoring the likes of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Johnny Cash, Nat King Cole and Billie Holiday. In one of his final executive orders before leaving office on Jan. 20, Pres. Trump said that "The National Garden will be built to reflect the awesome splendour of our country's timeless exceptionalism," and also described the garden as "America's answer" to "reckless" vandalism of statues of American historical figures during widespread protests for racial equality in 2020. Bizarrely, Trump's list of American Heroes contains a number of non-Americans. Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman, British director Alfred Hitchcock, and Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, a Canadian, are all to have statues in the garden. Trump first announced plans for The National Garden during his ill-fated re-election campaign in the summer, and includes Frank Sinatra even though Sinatra's daughter Nancy Sinatra has said her late dad had "loathed" Donald Trump. Victor WillisMeanwhile, '70s disco stars The Village People have issued a statement after the outgoing president played their late '70s smash "Y.M.C.A." once again after giving his farewell speech at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on the morning of Jan. 20 ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration in Washington D.C. Speaking to TMZ, the Village People and their longtime member Victor Willis explained that they asked Trump "to cease and desist long ago" from using "Y.M.C.A." at his public appearances "However, since he's a bully, our request was ignored." "Thankfully he's now out of office, so it would seem his abusive use of our music has finally ended," the group said. "We hope to spearhead a change in copyright law that will give artists and publishers more control over who can and cannot use our music in the public space. Currently there is no limit to blanket licensing," they added. Following confirmation of Biden's win over Trump in November's presidential election, crowds of Biden supporters gathered outside The White House to celebrate by playing "Y.M.C.A." from speakers to mock the former president. - NME, 1/18/21...... "Tico the Parrot," a bird who has achieved viral Internet fame for singing along to its owner's renditions of classic songs by the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Guns N' Roses, Coldplay and U2, has achieved renewed fame after former NBA player Rex Chapman shared a clip of Tico singing along to Led Zepp's "Stairway to Heaven" with his 1.1 million followers on his Twitter account. While Tico doesn't sing any of the actual words of the songs it "covers," its ability to accurately replicate each track's vocal melody has earned the parrot and its owner, a guitar-playing Frank Maglio, a small slice of internet fame. Speaking to Kelly Clarkson on her talk show back in October, Maglio explained how he came across his pet's vocal talents. "One day I was playing guitar back in March, during the second week of lockdown," he said. "And Tico started screaming like he wanted attention, so instead of throwing the towel in, I grabbed my guitar... and sat down by him and started playing, and I was like, 'I think he's singing.'" - NME, 1/20/21...... Recently deceased producer Phil Spector's frequent collaborator Darlene Love has recalled warning the producer about his destructive behavior, telling him that "one of these days you're gonna hurt somebody." In a new interview with the London Times, Love spoke about Spector's legacy as both a producer and a murderer, asking: "Is he going to be remembered for that or will he be remembered for murdering Lana Clarkson? It is unimaginable to me that someone so talented could not see through life and kept on making the same mistake until it got worse and worse." Love, who worked with Spector in the early '60s on such hit singles as "He's A Rebel," "(Today I Met) The Boy I'm Gonna Marry" and the Christmas classic "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," then spoke of the times she called Spector out on his behavior after he brandished a gun in a studio in 1965. Speaking of the incident, Love said: "[The musicians in the studio] shouted, 'Phil is waving a gun around. He's gone crazy'. I ain't gonna bother with that. I'm going home. Then I get a phone call from Phil. 'Oh, come on, Darl, the guns are gone. We've got business to take care of.' I told him, 'You know what, man? One of these days you're gonna hurt somebody.' He said he was just fooling around. 'Yeah, fooling around with guns. That's how people get shot.'" Meanwhile, Spector's four children are expected to be in line to receive shares of his estimated $50 million fortune following his death in prison from coronavirus on Jan. 16. Spector was father to three adopted sons -- Donte, and twins Gary and Lewis -- with second wife singer Ronnie Spector, who has claimed that Phil adopted Gary and Lewis without her knowledge and surprised her with them as a "Christmas present." The twins, now in their fifties, have since accused the legendary producer of abusing them, and Donte claims he would lock them in their rooms like "caged animals to be let out for dad's amusement." Ronnie Spector later had a twin son and a daughter with a woman called Janis Zavala. Their son Phillip Spector Jr. died of leukemia in 1991 and their daughter Nicole is a 34-year-old writer and freelance journalist. The whereabouts of his three adopted sons with Ronnie is unknown, while Nicole is a journalist whose work has appeared in The New Yorker and The Atlantic. Although Spector's net worth at the time of his death was estimated to be around $50million, experts say this figure will be higher depending on how much he owns of "one of the most valuable song royalty catalogues in the world." The royalties could be worth tens of millions of dollars a year because Spector still owned the rights or partial rights to hits including "River Deep Mountain High" -- recorded by Ike and Tina Turner in 1966. - NME/, 1/21/21...... Nick DrakeThe estate of late enigmatic English singer-songwriter Nick Drake has signed a new, global publishing deal with the U.K.-based Blue Raincoat Music Publishing, a joint venture between Blue Raincoat Music and Reservoir Media. Under the agreement announced on Jan. 18, Blue Raincoat Music Publishing will represent Drake's entire back catalogue of songs in conjunction with Reservoir, including the three albums he released on Island Records before his untimely death in 1974 at age 26: Five Leaves Left (1969), Bryter Layter (1971) and Pink Moon (1972). "There are very, very few song collections that have meant more to me over the years, and my sentiments are clearly widely shared both within and without the artistic community," Blue Raincoat Music CEO Jeremy Lascelles said. "It is no mean feat to have written songs that are era-defining but remain utterly timeless, but that is what Nick has left behind for us all." Upon his death due to an overdose of a prescribed antidepressant, Drake was relatively unknown in the music world. However, his work -- characterized by acoustic, guitar-based melodies and emotive lyrics -- spread posthumously, thanks in part to press, multiple documentaries about his life and a pivotal 1999 Volkswagen television ad which used his song "Pink Moon." Radiohead, R.E.M. and Beck are among many artists who have cited Drake's work as an artistic influence. - Billboard, 1/19/21...... The Who frontman Roger Daltrey has responded after his decision to sign an open letter to the U.K. government supporting visa-free travel for U.K. musicians has caused a stir online. Daltrey's letter calls on the U.K. to "urgently do what it said it would do and negotiate paperwork-free travel in Europe for British artists and their equipment" and argued that otherwise "many tours [will be] unviable, especially for young emerging musicians who are already struggling to keep their heads above water owing to the Covid ban on live music." Daltrey previously spoke out in support of Brexit and claimed that it wouldn't have any impact on music. Now, Daltrey has issued a response regarding his decision to sign his letter and lend his support to the visa-free touring campaign. "I have not changed my opinion on the EU. I'm glad to be free of Brussels, not Europe," he told NME in a statement. "I would have preferred reform, which was asked for by us before the referendum and was turned down by the then president of the EU." Elton John and Sting are also among the 110 musicians who have signed the open letter to the UK government. Meanwhile, Van Morrison is reportedly planning a legal challenge in response to Northern Ireland's ban on live music to fight the coronavirus. Morrison's lawyers have confirmed that the singer filed a pre-action protocol letter with Northern Ireland's Department of Health on Jan. 12. In it, he challenged regulations that prohibit live music in indoor licensed venues in Northern Ireland, which is in the midst of a six-week lockdown that began on Boxing Day. Hospitality and entertainment venues are currently closed. Rolling Stone is reporting that Morrison has given authorities 21 days to respond, and should the Department of Health not respond within that time frame, Morrison will "issue proceedings immediately to the High Court," his legal representatives said. - NME, 1/20/21...... Beatallica, the Beatles and Metallica mash-up band, is set to release their first album in eight years. The satirical four-piece group shared their first published record in 2007 with Sgt. Hetfield's Motorbreath Pub Band, which was followed up by Masterful Mystery Tour (2009) and Abbey Load (2013). According to, Beatallica will return with another full-length in 2021 having signed to Metal Assault Records. The label has also released the band's aforementioned first three albums via On Jan. 19, an in-studio image was uploaded to Beatallica's official Instagram page. "Another creative and successful weekend in the books," its caption reads. "Continuing to write material for an album to be hopefully released later on this year!" Blabbermouth notes that Beatallica were embroiled in a dispute with Sony Music back in 2005 over the "unlawful use" of Metallica's music "without authorization or license." Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich subsequently helped the tribute act get back online after their website was shut down. - NME, 1/19/21...... David Bowie's ex-wife Angie Bowie has criticized the new Bowie biopic Stardust, calling it "a total waste of time." In a new interview with The Mirror Angie, who was married to David between 1970 and 1980, shared her dislike for the film and said "David would have never watched it." "It should be called the Ron Oberman Whingeing and Whining story," Angie said, adding: "It was boring. I didn't find it entertaining at all. It's more dreary than a one-star documentary. It was too neutral and bland and without the music, there is nothing." Commenting on the fact that Stardust doesn't feature any of the artist's music, she continued: "The only people who would watch it are people who are obsessed with celebrities. Bowie was a musician. And where was the music?" She also noted several inaccuracies in the film, including an argument between her and David when he returned to London after trying to make it in the US. "That's not how it was at all," she said. Our marriage wasn't at breaking point then. That came much later. I wasn't worried about anything, I was in an extremely good mood. I was having a fabulous time in London. I wasn't on call 24 hours a day. The character who plays me says that I wanted David and I to be king and queen but that's not true." - NME, 1/19/21...... Roger WatersFormer Pink Floyd principal Roger Waters has shared a new studio version of the Pink Floyd track "The Gunner's Dream" on YouTube. Originally appearing on 1983's The Final Cut -- the final Pink Floyd album to feature Waters -- the new version was shared on Jan. 18 to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States. Accompanied by a black-and-white video, it opens with the ominous statement, "I had a dream" -- a phrase which is repeated throughout the almost six-minute clip. "If I ruled the world, I would heed the words of the wise," Waters said in a statement. "I would get rid of nuclear weapons first thing tomorrow morning. On Dr. King's name day. Of course no-one can rule the world. The world cannot be ruled. It can only be loved and respected and shared. If we're still here in the morning." - NME, 1/19/21...... Veteran pop songstress and recent Internet personality Dionne Warwick has just joined the popular social media platform TikTok. "Who knows what I'll create," the singer joked on Jan. 16 in a Twitter post announcing her TikTok membership. "I am told that the possibilities are endless." Warwick then revealed that she's been made aware of the viral "buss it" challenge on the platform, in which users record two videos of themselves, one in regular clothes and one dressed up. "I just asked my team what the 'buss it' challenge was," Warwick tweeted after she was asked to enter the challenge by her Twitter followers. "Why are you asking me to do that? Don't make me delete TikTok before I even start." Warwick has become notorious on Twitter in recent months due to her humorous comments on pop culture and a new generation of stars, including Chance The Rapper, Cardi B and Billie Eilish. - NME, 1/18/21...... Cher says she's mulling her first ever virtual concert, but fears she will never be able to narrow down her setlist for a potential virtual concert because she simply has "too many songs." "Was thinking of doing virtual Concert.. Some Of My favorites that were Never Hits & Some that were....only Problem ... BEEN SINGING 50+ YRS... TOO MANY SONGS (sic)," she posted on Twitter on Jan. 18. Cher may have been inspired to take the virtual plunge after participating in the "We The People" fundraising concert on Jan. 17, held to kick off the celebrations leading up to the Jan. 20 inauguration of Pres. Joe Biden. The 74-year-old singer recorded a video message hailing President-elect Biden, saying, "I'm so happy. I can't tell you how happy I am." -, 1/19/21...... Former That '70s Show star Danny Masterson has pleaded not guilty to charges of rape. Masterson was slapped with the criminal counts in June 2020, amid allegations suggesting he forced himself upon three women at his Hollywood Hills home between 2001 and 2003. Masterson has repeatedly denied the claims, and his attorney, Tom Mesereau, tried unsuccessfully to have the case dismissed in October, citing the statute of limitations. The actor was not required to attend his arraignment hearing in person on Jan. 20, and instead, Mesereau entered a not guilty plea on his client's behalf. The case, which has been repeatedly delayed since last summer, will now move on to pretrial motions on Mar. 24. If convicted, Masterson faces a maximum sentence of 45 years to life behind bars. The rape and sexual assault allegations against Masterson have been hanging over him for years, and the scandal prompted TV bosses to write his character out of Netflix comedy The Ranch in 2018. - WENN/, 1/20/21.

Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021

Phil SpectorLegendary music producer Phil Spector, whose eccentric and revolutionary "Wall of Sound" production technique transformed rock music and who was later convicted of murdering aspiring actress Lana Clarkson inside his Los Angeles mansion, died on Jan. 16 at the California state prison where he was serving a 19-year to life sentence for murder. He was 81. Spector reportedly contracted Covid-19 in December, had been hospitalized but returned to prison in mid-January. On Jan. 16 he was readmitted to the hospital, where he died from complications of Covid. Born in Phillip Harvey Spector in The Bronx on Christmas Day 1940, Spector was taken by his widowed mother to Los Angeles at age 12. Learning the piano and guitar while in high school, Spector was influenced by the emergent R&B songwriting of writer/producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and began hanging out during their L.A. studio sessions. Spector started his own career in 1958 when he formed a singing trio with Annette Bard and Marshall Lieb called The Teddy Bears, and the group enjoyed massive international success with his song "To Know Him Is To Love Him," the title coming from an inscription on his father's tombstone who had died in 1950. When The Teddy Bears failed to consolidate on their initial success, Spector turned to production first on the West Coast (under Duane Eddy's producer Lester Sills), then returning to New York to become an understudy of Leiber and Stoller at Atlantic Records. During this period Spector co-wrote the Ben E. King hit "Spanish Harlem" and played the guitar break on The Drifters' "Under the Boardwalk." His first self-produced New York hit was Ray Peterson's "Corinna, Corinna" in 1960, and other Spector-produced hits included Curtis Lee's "Pretty Little Angel Eyes" and Gene Pitney's "Every Breath I Take." Around this time he became known as a bizarre figure on Manhatten boulevards with his long flowing hair, black cloak and wraparound dark glasses, however New York apparently became too overpowering for him and he returned to L.A. to form his own label Philles Records with Lester Sill. His first signing was The Crystals, who he found in New York and intended to groom as his own version of the city's then topselling girl group, The Shirelles ("Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?"). The Crystals' first hit was a song Spector had co-written, "There's No Other (Like My Baby)," an international hit in Oct. 1961 and gave the first hints of his "Wall of Sound" production techniques he later employed. Assuming full ownership of Phillies Records in 1962, Spector recorded The Crystals' second smash single, the stunningly innovative teen anthem "He's a Rebel," using studio support from the likes of Leon Russell and Sonny Bono. Also present was Jack Nitzsche, who became the regular Phillies arranger and later became a member of Neil Young's Crazy Horse. Spector then signed another New York girl group, The Ronettes who included two sisters, one of them being Veronica "Ronnie" Bennett whom Spector later married. The Ronettes' first hit was the Spector/Ellie Greenwich/Jeff Barry composition "Be My Baby," and later hits included "Baby I Love You" and "The Best Part of Breakin' Up." Phil SpectorMeanwhile The Crystals continued to burn up the charts with such pop classics as "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me," and other successful acts signed and prodced by Spector included Bob B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans and Darlene Love, helping "The Tycoon of Teen" as he became known to become a millionaire by age 21. In 1963, Spector signed The Righteous Brothers and produced what many have hailed as the ultimate pop record, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," the zenith of his "Wall of Sound" technique that became an international hit in January 1965. The following year Spector pulled off a comparable production classic for Ike and Tina Turner, "River Deep, Mountain High," however this time the American public failed to accord him the attention his new masterpiece deserved after white radio stations declared the record too black, and black stations declared it too white. From that point Spector became ever more the eccentric, returning to L.A. to take up residence in his closely-guarded Hollywood home, drinking heavily and sometimes threatening the artists in his studio with a gun. He made a cameo in the 1969 counterculture movie classic Easy Rider, and lost money on a single by his new find The Checkmates, "Proud Mary," for which he reportedly used some 300 musicians. He finally resurfaced in the company of the Beatles, longtime aficionados of his work, first brought in by John Lennon to produce "Instant Karma," and later to doctor the Beatles' controversial Let It Be album, much to the chagrin of Paul McCartney. However, he stayed to work with other solo Beatles, producing George Harrison's epic All Things Must Pass LP and The Concert for Bangla Desh album, and successive albums for Lennon and his Plastic Ono Band. Rarely giving interviews, Spector's life became shrouded in rumor and mystique. He survived two near-fatal car crashes in early 1975, and continued producing on the West Coast for such acts as Cher, Dion, Darlene Love and Harry Nillson. After 1981, Spector was largely inactive in the music industry, working on projects from time to time. The last record he worked on was Starsailor's "Silence Is Easy" in 2003, but only produced two tracks. He was fired over personal and creative differences. That same year, actress Lana Clarkson was shot dead in Spector's mansion in Alhambra, Calif., two hours after first meeting the producer. Phil SpectorSpector claimed that Clarkson's death was an "accidental suicide" and that she had "kissed the gun." However, his driver claimed Spector had told him: "I think I've killed someone." Spector's first trial in 2007 ended in a mistrial, but a subsequent retrial in 2009 found him guilty of murder in the second degree. He was given a sentence of 19 years to life in prison, from which he would have been up for parole in 2024. During the prosecution, several women gave testimony that Spector had pointed a gun at them when they had spurned his advances, illustrating his history of domestic abuse. Sharing a photo of herself with her former husband in the studio on Instagram, Spector's ex-wife Ronnie Spector wrote: "It's a sad day for music and a sad day for me. When I was working with Phil Spector, watching him create in the recording studio, I knew I was working with the very best. He was in complete control, directing everyone. So much to love about those days." Ronnie went on to say that meeting and falling in love with him "was like a fairytale" and that the "magical music" they made together was "inspired by our love." "As I said many times while he was alive, he was a brilliant producer, but a lousy husband. Unfortunately Phil was not able to live and function outside of the recording studio. Darkness set in, many lives were damaged," she added. - The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock/New Musical Express, 1/17/21.

Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021

Bruce Springsteen has been added to the all-star lineup of musicians who will help celebrate the Jan. 20 inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden and VP-elect Sen. Kamala Harris in a 90-minute "Celebrating America" concert set later that evening at 8:30-10:00 p.m. EST which will be aired on NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and MSNBC, as well as on the Biden Inaugural Committee's social media feeds, Amazon Prime Video, Twitch and Fox's NewsNOW. Springsteen, whose participation was announced in a post on his Twitter page on Jan. 15, will join a list previously announced list of artists that includes Foo Fighters, Jon Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga, John Legend, Justin Timberlake and Demi Lovato in the Tom Hanks-hosted event. Meanwhile a Jan. 17 "We The People" concert will feature performances and appearances from the likes of James Taylor, Carole King, Ben Harper, Will.I.Am and Sophia Bush, among others. Access to that show can be obtained at the website for $5. The two concerts are part of five nights of announced Biden inaugural events that begin on Jan. 16 under the banner of "America United." - Billboard, 1/15/21...... Neil YoungOn Jan. 12 Neil Young shared a statement on his Neil Young Archives site about the Jan. 6 armed insurrection at the US Capitol building, saying he feels "empathy for the people who have been so manipulated." In the post entitled "A Message from Neil," Young mentioned the rioter known as "Elizabeth from Knoxville" who was filmed crying, saying she had been maced. Young said he believed "she was crying because she had been attacked and all she was doing was trying to have her voice heard in the Revolution." Young then continued by blaming Pres. Donald Trump for having "exaggerated and amplified the truth to foment hatred." "We need discussion and solutions. Respect for one another's beliefs. Not hatred," he said. In addition to Trump, Young also blamed "internet news" and social media for "crippling our belief system" and added he was "devastated to see the double standard" in the way the insurrectionists were treated compared to the BLM activists earlier in 2020. "There is no place here for White Supremacy. People need each other to be truly free. Hatred will never find Freedom," he wrote. He also said that social media "is crippling our belief system, turning us against one another. We are not enemies. We must find a way home." In other Neil Young news, the musician has announced a new live album and concert film called Way Down In The Rust Bucket culled from a 1990 show he played with Crazy Horse in Santa Cruz, Calif. shortly after the arrival of his 18th studio album Ragged Glory. Set for release on Feb. 26 via Reprise Records, Way Down In The Rust Bucket captures the debut performances of tracks from that album, which came out in Sept. 1990. The release will come in a 4-LP box set, 2-CD set, and Deluxe Edition Box Set including a DVD, four LPs and two CDs. A trailer for the film has been shared on YouTube, as well as an audio live cut of one of the set's songs, "Country Home". - New Musical Express, 1/16/21...... Speaking on a forthcoming installment of The Harry Redknapp Show podcast to be made available beginning Jan. 19, Rod Stewart says he's ended his longtime feud with Elton John after admitting it didn't seem fair for him to tell his eight children to apologize to people without following his own advice. "I say to my kids, 'A man apologizes, go and apologize to your mother'," Stewart said. "We've just made up as friends again, me and Elton. We've always been fierce enemies, as you know, through the years, but it's always been at a playful level. But we had the worst row, like a married couple. It went on forever," he added. The two rock icons had been at loggerheads since Rod criticized his old friend's plans for a retirement tour, branding it "not rock 'n' roll" and insisting he wouldn't do the same. But now Stewart says he regrets lashing out at Elton for his tour. "I was a bit spiteful when he announced his tour. I regret it, I really do regret it. So we're mates again now. I do love him," Rod said. Meanwhile, Elton also recently said he "bears no grudges" toward Rod, as he confirmed the pair are friends again. "Rod and I have always had this kind of rivalry but it's always been very friendly and it's always been funny and I love him to death," he previously stated. "We've had this rivalry for a long time and it's been very, very funny, and I love him dearly, and if I saw him in the street I'd give him the biggest hug. There's no point in carrying on vendettas in this world. Life's too short. You can't erase all those years of great friendship by just one thing that happened, and I'm not going to do that. As far as I'm concerned he's a brilliant artist who's had a great career, and he's such good fun," John said. - WENN/, 1/16/21...... Mick FleetwoodBMG Music announced on Jan. 14 that it has acquired Fleetwood Mac co-founder and drummer Mick Fleetwood's interest in the band's recordings. The deal gives the company Fleetwood's royalty interest in over 300 recordings, including Fleetwood Mac hits including "Dreams," "The Chain," "Go Your Own Way" and "Landslide." It excludes the band's recorded work from their first two albums. The deal is particularly lucrative following the recent viral success of "Dreams" on TikTok, where the song racked up 2.8 billion views and led to a streaming and sales bonanza for the 40+-year-old hit and its attendant album Rumours. In the wake of the viral TikTok clip, "Dreams" racked up 182 million streams and sold 126,000 downloads, while Rumours moved over 86,000 albums in the U.S. in 2020 and was propelled back into the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart. In the process, the band garnered a legion of new, younger fans. In a statement Fleetwood said the deal was "a wonderfully inspiring marriage between two creative partners that understand all aspects of the business." BMG already owns the rights to the theatrical, record and mediabook release of the 2020 all-star concert event "Mick Fleetwood & Friends," which celebrated Fleetwood Mac founding guitarist Peter Green and the band's early years. In December, Fleetwood Mac frontwoman Stevie Nicks struck a wide-ranging partnership with Primary Wave that included a joint venture deal and the sale of a majority stake in her publishing copyrights. Earlier in 2021, Lindsey Buckingham sold 100% of his writer's and publisher's share of his 161-song catalog to Hipgnosis. - Billboard, 1/14/21...... Many fans in the Kiss Army know singer/guitarist Paul Stanley is a huge soul and Motown fan; now the musician has shared the first taste of his debut album Now and Then he recorded with his side project, Soul Station. Stanley's cover of the Five Stairsteps' 1970 hit "O-o-h Child" is available for streaming on YouTube, and appears as one of nine Soul covers of such soul greats as The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, The Stylistics and The Spinners on Now and Then, which hits stores on Mar. 5 via UMe. Stanley's Soul Station is a 15-piece ensemble band led by Stanley on vocals. They've been active on the live circuit since 2015 but haven't yet released an album. "Long before I ever heard the great British bands, I grew up listening to Philly Soul, Motown, and so much more," Stanley recently told Rolling Stone. "The great classics of that era are magical medicine for most and I felt myself drawn back to that era for some sorcery I think we could all use," he added. - NME, 1/16/21...... Jimi Hendrix's brother Leon Hendrix and niece Tina Hendrix were found in contempt of court for violating a permanent injunction against infringing on the iconic guitarist's protected trademarks in a Jan. 11 ruling by U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer of the Southern District of New York. Judge Engelmayer ordered Leon and his daughter Tina, along with their tuition-free Hendrix Music Academy, to recall and destroy all apparel and merchandise bearing any Jimi Hendrix name, to change the name of the school to make it clear it is not affiliated with Jimi Hendrix, and to "cease and desist" infringing on the late rocker's trademark. The contempt ruling against Leon and Tina Hendrix follows a lengthy court battle that began in 2017 when Experience Hendrix LLC and Authentic Hendrix LLC sued Leon Hendrix and a business associate for trademark infringement, deceptive acts and false advertising, among other claims. Tina Hendrix says that her family is "devastated and disappointed about the judge's decision and I strongly feel that it was incorrect and unjust for several reasons." "I only seek to educate kids about Jimi and use his name for non-profit purposes," Tina told Billboard. "My grandfather gave us that right in 1988. Everything that we received from Jimi's fans went to the students and their families. We have proudly served many needy families in honor of Jimi over the past decade. This work has never interfered with Experience Hendrix's business or profits, it only interfered with their lies. We are desperately seeking pro Bono legal advice at this time and we intend to fight this until the end," she added. - Billboard, 1/12/21...... Willie NelsonHe's "on the road again," this time to receive his first dose of coronavirus vaccine. Willie Nelson was given a jab of the Moderna variety vaccine at a drive-through clinic in Cedar Park, Tex. on Jan. 13, according to his his wife Annie. "We're lucky," Annie says. "We made sure that [he] wasn't cutting anybody -- in fact, the healthcare workers were kind of angry that we had waited so long because he is 87 years old and has COPD." A series of photos posted to Family Hospital Systems' official Facebook page shows a masked Willie being administered the vaccine in his car at the drive-through center. "Getting your COVID vaccine is Willie cool!" an accompanying message reads. "Thank you Willie Nelson for helping Family Hospital Systems slow the spread of COVID-19!" Annie said her octogenarian husband "was bragging yesterday after he got it that he didn't even have a sore arm," adding: "Now, today, of course his arm is sore." Meanwhile Nelson is set to release his second album of Frank Sinatra covers, That's Life, on Feb. 26. - NME, 1/16/21...... Tom Jones has announced a new album of covers entitled Surrounded By Time, the follow-up to his 2015 album Long Lost Suitcase. Jones' Radiohead-style cover of Todd Snider's "Talking Reality Blues" will be the first single from the new LP, which also features reimagined versions of songs written by Cat Stevens/Yusuf, Bob Dylan, Bobby Cole and Tony Jo White, among others. Surrounded By Time will drop on Apr. 23. - NME, 1/15/21...... AC/DC have shared the innovative new video for "Realize," the latest single from their 2020 comeback album Power Up. In the black-and-white video which has been posted on YouTube, directors Clemens Habicht and Josh Cheuse (who serves as the band's creative director) were able to present the impression of the five members of the band performing the song in the same room together despite the fact that each member filmed their part individually in five separate locations, presumably due to the pandemic. The "Realize" video follows on from the band's recently released clips for their songs "Demon Fire" and "Shot In The Dark." Meanwhile AC/DC guitarist Angus Young has confirmed that Axl Rose didn't write any music with the band while serving as Brian Johnson's live stand-in. "Nothing really came out solid," Young recently told Rolling Stone. "I know that he has a lot of things he's involved in. I don't even know if you would say it was music. But he had a lot of things that he was involved in." When asked if they worked on any songs, Young replied: "No, no. That never happened." This clarification comes after Rose seemingly hinted that they were recording together at the time. "I feel protective; I feel I do not want to let this guy down -- more than almost anybody I've ever known -- and I don't know why," he said. - NME, 1/13/21...... Robert FrippKing Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp and his wife Toyah Willcox delivered a cover of Metallica's classic "Enter Sandman" during a recent lockdown performance, and posted the performance on YouTube. The couple launched their "Sunday Lockdown Lunch" video series in 2020 via Willcox's official YouTube channel, sharing renditions of tracks by the likes of Nirvana, David Bowie and the Sex Pistols recorded at their home. The Jan. 10 performance of "Enter Sandman" sees Fripp playing the iconic song's riff as Wilcox provides vocals while riding an exercise bike. At the end of the video, Fripp laughs as he wishes his fans a happy new year. "Happy lockdown lunch, everybody!" Willcox shouts. Fripp and Wilcox performed Led Zeppelin's 1971 classic "Black Dog" for the Jan. 3 edition of Sunday Lockdown Lunch. - NME, 1/12/21...... Paul McCartney's photographer/filmmaker daughter Mary McCartney has been tapped to direct If These Walls Could Sing, the first feature-length documentary about London's iconic Abbey Road Studios. Mary speaks of her "personal perspective" in a press release describing the film, set to be produced by John Battsek (Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars). "Some of my earliest memories as a young child come from time spent at Abbey Road," she said. "I've long wanted to tell the story of this historic place and I couldn't be collaborating with a better team than John and Mercury Studios to make this creative ambition a reality." If These Walls Could Sing is set to be part of the 90th anniversary celebrations of Abbey Road Studios, beginning in November 2021. - NME, 1/12/21...... Late guitar god Eddie Van Halen will be honored with a new range of nine guitars made by the company he helped found and hame, EVH. The reimagined "5150" series, set to be released in early 2021, comprises guitars that have been designed for speed and comfort, supporting Eddie's signature "tapping" technique. They'll arrive in a bright set of colors, including neon pink, and at a range of prices. In a statement announcing the new guitars, EVH spoke of Van Halen's influence: "The industry saw record guitar-playing interest in 2020 but also sadly said goodbye to one of the most innovative and influential players of its time. Eddie Van Halen's singularly inventive style inspired an entire generation of players. He innovated not only in how he played but what he played and what he played through by creating some of the greatest guitars and amps the world has seen and heard." The nine guitars have Stratocaster-style basswood bodies with a deeper upper body curve, featuring specifications made by Van Halen himself: bolt-on quarter-sawn carved maple necks, and a 12- to 16-inch compound radius fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets. All are powered by direct-mount EVH Wolfgang bridge and neck humbucking pickups. Two "Wolfgang Special" guitar models and four Wolf WG Standard variants will also be released as part of the 2021 EVH range. - NME, 1/12/21...... The "Page Six" gossip column in The New York Post is reporting that Phil Collins' ex-wife Orianne Cevey is being lined up for a potential reboot of TV's Bravo channel series Real Housewives of Miami. Bravo is reportedly considering bringing back some former cast members for the show which initially ran from 2011-2013, as well as adding some new faces -- with Cevey among those in the running. Cevey has hit headlines in recent months due to her and Collins' split turning increasingly bitter. The former couple originally parted ways in 2006 after seven years of marriage but reconciled in 2015, until parting ways again in 2020. The former Genesis frontman is suing Cevey, his third wife, and her current husband Thomas Bates to try and evict them from the Miami property he claims he still owns. -, 1/14/21...... Betty WhiteAs The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Golden Girls star Betty White prepares to turn 99 years old on Jan. 17, the actress has revealed her birthday plans involve another one of her iconic shows, The Pet Set. "What am I doing for my birthday? Running a mile each morning has been curtailed by COVID, so I am working on getting The Pet Set re-released," she revealed, referencing the 1970s pet-themed series she hosted. "And feeding the two ducks who come to visit me every day," Betty also shared, adding "The Pet Set is one of my favorite shows. I'm thrilled it's going to be seen again after all these years." The Pet Set focused on White's life long love for animals and included many memorable celebrity guests of the day including legends Mary Tyler Moore, Doris Day, Burt Reynolds and more. While there were plenty of dogs and cats, more exotic animals like tigers, elephants, lions, gorillas, cougars, zebras and bears also would appear in-studio. The Pet Set is being released on streaming platforms and DVD on Feb. 23 to mark its 50th anniversary. The actress regularly posts about her love of animals on her social media accounts -- including a snuggle with a bear in 2018. Betty -- who is a Guinness World Record holder for the longest running career television career for any woman in history -- has previously shared her tips for living into your 90s. While she confessed to still indulging in hot dogs and vodka (her drink of choice is a vodka tonic), she cites a positive attitude as the most important. "I know it sounds corny, but I try to see the funny side and the upside, not the downside," she told Parade magazine in 2017, ahead of turning 96. "I get bored with people who complain about this or that. It's such a waste of time... Accentuate the positive, not the negative," she added. -, 1/14/21...... Rock bassist Tim Bogert, known for his stints in such bands as Vanilla Fudge, Cactus, The Jeff Beck Group and the super-group Beck, Bogert & Appice, passed away on Jan. 13 of what has been described as a "serious illness." He was 76. Bogert's passing was announced on the official Facebook page of Carmine Appice. "Tim was a one of a kind bass player. He inspired many, many bass players worldwide. He was as masterful at shredding as he was holding down a groove, and Tim introduced a new level of virtuosity into rock bass playing," Appice wrote. "No one played like Tim... I loved Tim like a brother. He will be missed very much in my life. I will miss calling him, cracking jokes together, talking music and remembering the great times we had together, and how we created kick-ass music together." At the time of his death, Bogert had been working on a forthcoming live Beck, Bogert & Appice album. He was recognized by the Hollywood Rock Hall of Fame in 1999. - WENN/, 1/14/21...... Sylvain SylvainSylvain Sylvain, the founding guitarist and songwriter with the 1970s punk band New York Dolls, died on Jan. 13 following a battle with cancer. He was 69. The New York Dolls formed in 1971, years before the punk movement and glam-rock set charts alight on both sides of the Atlantic. Born Sylvain Mizrahi in Cairo, Egypt, Sylvain and his family moved to France then settled in New York. It was in the Big Apple where the guitarist would join forces with David Johansen, Johnny Thunders, Jerry Nolan and Arthur Kane to form the New York Dolls, and set the standard for punk rock swagger and style. The band flirted with mass-scale commercial success, but such albums as The New York Dolls and Too Much Too Soon were critically acclaimed, and their influence runs deep, with bands from Sex Pistols to the Ramones, Guns N' Roses, the Damned and the Smiths all said to take inspiration from the NY outfit. Sylvain and the Dolls cut five studio sets, the final Dancing Backward in High Heels dropping in 2011. To this day, they're regarded by rock music aficionados and historians as one of the great snubs of the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. A statement at Sylvain's official Facebook page reads, "As most of you know, Sylvain battled cancer for the past two and 1/2 years. Though he fought it valiantly, yesterday he passed away from this disease. While we grieve his loss, we know that he is finally at peace and out of pain. Please crank up his music, light a candle, say a prayer and let's send this beautiful doll on his way." In an Instagram post on Jan. 15, David Johansen who is now the sole surviving member of the original NY Dolls lineup, said: "My best friend for so many years, I can still remember the first time I saw him bop into the rehearsal space/bicycle shop with his carpetbag and guitar straight from the plane after having been deported from Amsterdam, I instantly loved him. I'm gonna miss you old pal. I'll keep the home fires burning." - Billboard, 1/14/21...... TV and stage actor Peter Mark Richman, perhaps best known as the reverend father of Suzanne Somers' character Chrissy Snow on the hit '70s series Three's Company, died on Jan. 14 of natural causes. He was 93. "Comedy is musical," Somers said in an interview with Fox News. "Peter Mark Richman and I understood the music from the very first time we appeared together on Three's Company. He knew his 'stuff.' We lost a good one. Rest In Peace Peter Mark Richman." As well as starring in Three's Company, Mr. Richman appeared in shows such as Dynasty, Murder, She Wrote, Cain's Hundred, Agent for H.A.R.M. and the film Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan in 1989. In total, he had 159 acting roles on screen. Mr. Richman also appeared on Broadway, in the plays "A Hatful of Rain" and "Masquerade," as well as writing his own play "4 Faces" -- which was adapted for the screen in 1999. He is survived by Helen Richman, his wife of 67 years, five children, and six grandchildren. - WENN/, 1/15/21...... Siegfried And Roy magician, Siegfried Fischbacher, died at his Las Vegas home on Jan. 13 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 81. Mr. Fischbacher was suffering from a malignant tumour that was initially removed during a 12-hour operation. However, it was later found that it had already spread through his body. Following the operation and diagnosis, Siegfried left the hospital and returned home where he was cared for by two nurses up until his death. His partner, Roy, died from complications following a COVID-19 battle in 2020. At the time, Siegfried said: "I have lost my best friend. From the moment we met, I knew Roy and I, together, would change the world. There could be no Siegfried without Roy, and no Roy without Siegfried." Siegfried and Roy, real name Uwe Ludwig Horn, met while working on a cruise ship in 1957. - WENN/, 1/14/21.

Monday, Jan. 11, 2021

Former Bee Gees member Barry Gibb is on track for his very first UK No. 1 LP as a solo artist with his latest effort Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers Songbook Vol. 1. Gibb's album currently sits atop the UK's Official Albums Chart Update with his collection of country reinterpretations of he and his brothers' classic hits, all of which are collaborations with some of the genre's biggest names such as Dolly Parton, Keith Urban, Olivia Newton-John and Brandi Carlile. Gibb's highest-charting UK album as a solo artist until now was 2016's In The Now, which peaked at No. 3 on the chart. As part of Bee Gees, Barry claimed 5 UK No. 1 singles and 16 UK Top 10 albums. Meanwhile, David Bowie's hits collection Legacy has rocketed 21 places to No. 10 on the same chart, with fans revisiting his iconic hits following what would have marked his 74th birthday on Jan. 8. -, 1/11/21...... The Sex PistolsCable channel FX has announced a six-episode limited series on the Sex Pistols based on a memoir from Sex Pistols guitarist, Steve Jones. Pistols will be directed and executive produced by Danny Boyle, who helmed the acclaimed movies Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire. "It's great to be back in business with Danny Boyle, an exceptional artist responsible for so many great feature films and TV series," said Nick Grad, president original programming at FX. "Steve Jones was at the center of the storm that shook the rock establishment and we're thrilled to have Danny and the rest of the creative team tell his story as a member of one of music's most notorious bands -- the Sex Pistols." The movie will center on Sex Pistols co-founder Jones and follow his life from West London's council estates to Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren's boutique, Sex -- one of the early centers of punk culture in London -- and the band's meteoric rise and fall. Production on the series is slated to begin in March. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/11/21...... David Bowie's son Duncan Jones remembered his late dad and the 5th anniversary of his death on Jan. 10 with a Twitter post. "Today marks 5 years since dad died," writes Jones, a celebrated filmmaker in his own right. "We are all a little sad, coping individually in our own ways. But it's both remarkable & delightful that dad is still so clearly loved by so many. Yes, he's missed... but with so much of "him in the work he made, he's clearly still here," he added. The post also features the artwork from what turned out to be Bowie's final studio album, Blackstar, a gift to his fans which dropped Jan. 10, 2016, just two days after his 69th birthday. Meanwhile, Bowie's legacy was celebrated on Jan. 9 with an evening full of virtual performances of his music by some of his biggest all-star fans. "A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day!" had been set for his Jan. 8, what would've been his 74th birthday, but was delayed 24 hours "due to technical difficulties and COVID-19 restrictions," according to organizers. Duran Duran opened the concert with a spine-tingling cover of "Five Years," the opening track from Bowie's classic 1972 album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Dust and the Spiders from Mars. Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins also contributed with an emotional cover of the Bowie classic "Space Oddity," with Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, who toured and recorded with Bowie in the mid 1990s, also making an appearance for two dazzling songs, "Fantastic Voyage" and "Fashion." The one-night-only paid event also featured Bowie's longtime producer Tony Visconti and members of his final touring band, with other stellar covers of Bowie's catalog by the likes of Peter Frampton, Boy George, Adam Lambert, Perry Farrell and Corey Taylor. Proceeds from the concert will be donated to Save the Children, which Bowie supported with ticket sales from his 50th birthday concert at Madison Square Garden in 1997. Bowie's official Instagram page has also announced some of the artist's biggest hits are now available on TikTok to celebrate his birthday. The popular social media app now features tracks including "Modern Love," "'Heroes'," "Starman," "Rebel Rebel," "Under Pressure" and more. Two previously-unreleased Bowie covers of songs by John Lennon and Bob Dylan have also arrived on streaming services. "Tryin' to Get To Heaven" and "Mother" can be streamed on - Billboard/New Musical Express, 1/11/21...... John FogertyJohn Fogerty's new single, "Weeping In the Promised Land," was released on Jan. 6, coincidentally the same day that pro-Donald Trump rioters broke into the U.S. Capitol and temporarily disrupted the peaceful transfer of democratic power. A minimalist recording that finds the former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman at the ivories backed by a subdued but strong chorus of female voices, "Weeping In the Promised Land" touches on the pandemic, the deaths of Black Americans at the hands of police officers and political divisions fracturing the country in a way not seen since the '60s. "This song, for me, scraped off a lot of barnacles," Fogerty says. Fogerty adds that he wrote the title in a little song book that he started in 1967. "I wrote this title in that book somewhere between 25-30 years ago. It was compelling. I understood that it had a lot of meaning, but I didn't know specifically where it would go. I wrote a song using that title maybe two years ago and actually recorded it with some musicians; it was not this song, it was a different song, and it wasn't focused in its intent like this. It was kind of generic, I would say, therefore I was dissatisfied with it. I thought the title was better than the song, so I shelved it." He adds that he seriously started working on it as a song last July. "The idea that the water in the well has been poisoned with lies -- once I had that as a reference point with obvious cultural ties to the present that would be well understood, that was my beginning, where the song took off. I must say it was by far the most difficult song I've ever written. But I also think it's one of the best. It really made me fight for it." "Weeping In the Promised Land," which has been shared on YouTube, will also be featured on Fogerty's first album of original material since 2007's Revival, which he promises is coming in later in 2021. - Billboard, 1/8/21...... The unlikely pairing of a gay rock star icon, a former Disney Channel star, and a renowned Chinese-American classical cellist is rumoured to be about to happen when Elton John collaborates with Miley Cyrus with a contribution from Yo-Yo Ma on Cyrus' upcoming cover of the Metallica song "Nothing Else Matters." Miley Cyrus teased the upcoming collaboration, which will also feature Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith in a new interview with the UK radio station Capital FM. "I did a Metallica cover of 'Nothing Else Matters' featuring Elton John on piano, I've got Yo-Yo Ma, Chad Smith; so many all-stars in this band," the pop star said. "I'm so excited about this collaboration." Cyris went on to say she understands that the concept of the song may not make sense to some fans -- which is why she loves it even more. "I mean, having Elton John and Metallica and me ... I love when ingredients don't quite fit," she said. "Or it seems like a concoction that no one would ever put together, and you gotta have someone like [the song's producer Andrew] Watt that will take that risk." Cyrus' full interview can be streamed on YouTube. - Billboard, 1/6/21...... Brian MayQueen guitarist and animal rights activist Brian May has launched a fresh new fragrance called "Save Me" as a fund-raiser for the protection of wildlife. May has joined forces with Sergio Momo, founder and creative manager of Italian luxury goods brand Xerjoff, to launch the new scent. Named after Queen's 1980 hit, the new cologne is said to smell of "sandalwood and badger," an animal that's close to May's heart. "SCENT FROM HEAVEN!!! Wild Animal Rescue never smelled so good!," May posted on his Instagram account brianmayforreal. "This amazing man is doing something wonderful for animal welfare," he wrote of Momo. "This amazing man is doing something wonderful for animal welfare," May wrote of Momo. For superfans, May and Xerjoff are stocking an autographed 50ml bottle priced at £410 ($500), and the standard bottle is priced at £197 ($240). May is a long-time advocate for wild animals and co-founder of the Save Me Trust, which has battled the U.K. government on badger culls, among other issues. - Billboard, 1/11/21...... Speaking to The Irish News, Ringo Starr says whenever he performs with his former Beatles bandmate Paul McCartney "it lifts everything, in a joyous way." "I love that, getting up with him," said Ringo, who has shared the stage with Paul twice in the past few years. "We did it at the O2 in England [in 2018]. And then he called me and he said, 'I'm doing Dodger Stadium, if you want to do a few numbers'." Ringo continued: "The audience is like, 'Oh, there's two of them! Wow'. It lifts everything, in a joyous way. So, yeah, I had a great time." Speaking of the pair's current friendship, Starr added: "We're still pals. We don't hang out with each other a lot. But if we're in the same country, and if we're in the same town we always have a dinner, and we say hi or he comes over here or I go over to his house." McCartney is among the contributors to Starr's upcoming EP, "Zoom In", which is set for release in March. Meanwhile in another interview with the UK's Daily Mirror, Ringo said he "has a little guest house here and it's now my studio... It's been my studio for the last 10 years, actually" as he spends his time during the Covid-19 lockdown recording music, painting and keeping fit at the Los Angeles home he shares with his wife, former Bond girl Barbara Bach, 73. "This time it was a little awkward because people were getting tested to come and play. Or, if they had a studio, they could play in their own place. So that took the pressure off the lockdown a little because I was drumming and singing and hanging out with musicians. I do go to the gym quite a lot. And also I took half of the gym, now that's where my paint studio is. So I can make a mess without Barbara getting crazy," Ringo adds. Ringo and his All-Starr Band are due to hit the road in June, though it's uncertain if those gigs will go ahead amid the global coronavirus pandemic. - NME/, 1/9/21...... In a new interview with Rolling Stone, the bandmates and family of late Rush drummer discussed the death of the famous sticksman on the one year anniversary of his Jan. 7, 2020, death. Rush member Alex Lifeson said that Peart "asked us not to discuss [the illness] with anyone," adding: "He just wanted to be in control of it. The last thing in the world he would want is people sitting on his sidewalk or driveway singing 'Closer to the Heart' or something. That was a great fear of his. He didn't want that attention at all. And it was definitely difficult to lie to people or to sidestep or deflect somehow. It was really difficult." Geddy Lee added that Peart "didn't want to waste his remaining time talking about shit like that... He wanted to have fun with us. And he wanted to talk about real things right up to the very end." Elsewhere in the interview, Lifeson spoke of how Peart spent his final days revisiting Rush's material, and reflecting on his life in music. "It was interesting to see him smile and feel really good about that. And when he still could write to us, he wrote about how he was reviewing some of our older music and how it stood up for him." - NME, 1/8/21...... Michael Fonfara, the longtime keyboardist for Lou Reed, died in a a Toronto hospital on Jan. 8 after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 74. A native of Stevensville, Ontario, Fanfara is best known for his decade-long run performing with Lou Reed on the albums Rock and Roll Heart (1976), Street Hassle (1978), Live: Take No Prisoners (1978), The Bells (1979) and 1980's Growing Up in Public, which he co-wrote and co-produced with Reed. In a lengthy, eclectic career that spanned more than 50 years, Fonfara performed with the 1960s rock bands The Electric Flag, Rhinoceros, Blackstone and Rough Trade, as well as adding "keyboard textures" on Foreigner's multi-platinum 1981 album 4 on the No. 4 hit "Urgent" and the track "Girl on the Moon." Fonfara also recorded with the Everly Brothers, Grievous Angels, Cameo Blues Band and many others in a lauded career that included a 2000 Maple Blues Award honor for piano/keyboard player of the year. His final recording was The Downchild Blues Band's Live at the Toronto Jazz Festival 50th anniversary performance in 2019. "He was an incredible musician, a gentle soul and we were honoured to share the stage with him every time we performed," one of his former bandmates in Downchild said in a statement. "He will be deeply missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. There will be a celebration of life once we are all safely able to get together." - Billboard, 1/11/20...... Gene SimmonsGene Simmons has announced he's partnering with Gibson Guitars to launch a series of new electric guitars and basses. Under the name G², the collaboration will introduce new collections of left-handed electric guitars and basses across Gibson's "Gibson", "Epiphone" and "Kramer" brands, as well as develop new entertainment content to be streamed globally. G² will release the first instrument, the new G² Thunderbird Bass later in 2021, which made its worldwide debut on stage with Simmons recently during Kiss' New Year's Eve concert in Dubai. Following that release, Simmons and Gibson have plans to release a Flying V bass and Flying V guitar. "I have been designing and trademarking bass guitars for decades, and when I heard Gibson's vision and learned about their creative process, it just made sense for us to join forces to take things to the next level, Simmons said in a statement. "Gibson is an outstanding company and has earned its place as a leading guitar brand with fans around the world. These guitars and basses will all be handmade, with a sound that is off the charts. The design is so beautiful and collectible that they are simply works of art," he added. Simmons and Gibson exec Mark Agnesi will be discussing the new series on Jan. 18 at 4:00 p.m. GMT on Gibson TV, it can be streamed on Gibson's YouTube channel. - NME, 1/9/21...... Country musician/songwriter/actor Ed Bruce, perhaps best known for co-writing the 1978 Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings hit "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" with his then-wife, Patsy, died of natural causes on Jan. 8. He was 81. The song would go on to become a classic of the country genre, with Nelson and Jennings recording the most notable version of it. The track earned the pair a Grammy in 1978 and the song spent several weeks in the Billboard charts. Bruce later found chart success of his own, scoring six Top 10 hits during the 1980s, including "After All' and "You're The Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had." The latter, released in 1981, was the sole No. 1 of Bruce's recording career. Bruce also found success as a film and television actor. At the height of his recording career, he starred as ex-policeman Tom Guthrie in the short-lived Western television series, Bret Maverick, lending his dulcet tones to the series' theme song as well. He was frequently cast as lawmen throughout his acting career, including in the 1997 Steven Seagal film, Fire Down Below, and in the biographical crime film Public Enemies, alongside Johnny Depp and Christian Bale. - NME, 1/9/21...... Actress Marion Ramsey, known for acting in the Police Academy films and gracing the Broadway stage in 1978's "Eubie!," died on Jan. 7 at her home in Los Angeles of as yet undetermined causes. She was 73. Though many may know Ramsey for her role as Officer Laverne Hooks in the Police Academy films, her career began much early. In 1964, she appeared in "Hello, Dolly!," and in the 1970s she established herself as a theatre, film and television talent. On stage, she acted in "Miss Moffat," and on screen she took part in the variety show Keep On Truckin' on ABC and held a regular role on Cos. An active advocate for HIV and AIDS awareness, Ramsey also portrayed one-off roles in Beverly Hills, 90210 and MacGyver,while voicing D.I. Holler in the animated The Addams Family from 1992 to 1993. -, 1/7/21...... William Jellett, a UK music fan who was known for attending music festivals naked during the '70s and '80s, died on Jan. 8 after a bout of poor health in recent years. He was 72. Jellett, who was also known by the nickname "Jesus," attended hundreds of UK festivals and shows, and appeared in a number of concert footage over the years. He can be seen in the Rolling Stones' Rock And Roll Circus and was filmed at Cream's farewell show at the Royal Albert Hall in 1968. Many years later, he would go on to be the inspiration for the artwork for the Chemical Brothers' single "Surrender," which was based on a 1976 photo of him. The music fan was also known for his speeches at Speaker's Corner in London, where he would talk about the importance of music while highlighting the dangers of drugs. He also set up a "Jesus tent" at the Glastonbury festival in 1973 and claimed to be the reincarnation of the biblical figure. "He was at every gig I ever went to in the 70s, doing his groovy dancing and blessing us all with his happy presence," Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet posted on social media. "We'd call his name from the bleachers. He was validation that the artist was worth seeing." - NME, 1/11/21.

Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021

The new year has rang in a slew of music licensing acquisitions of the catalogs of some of rock music's biggest stars, including Neil Young, Lindsey Buckingham and producer Jimmy Iovine. Neil Young, who for years has refused to "sell out" his songs by licensing them for use in commercials, has signed a deal to sell his 50% of his song catalog to Hipgnosis Songs for what is thought to be a record amount according to the standard industry measure. Young's deal, which was announced on Jan. 6, is rumoured to have valued the catalog at between $90 million and $105 million, though terms were not disclosed. His catalog includes some 1,180 songs, according to a statement announcing the deal, which he wrote over the course of a 50-plus year career that in addition to his prolific solo efforts includes stints with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The Young acquisition is the second big deal of the new year for Hipgnosis, which has been on an acquisition binge of late, after its Jan. 5 announcement that it bought 100% of the catalog of former Fleetwood Mac frontman Lindsey Buckingham, including the songs he wrote or co-wrote for the band, including "Go Your Own Way," "The Chain," "Big Love," "Never Going Back Again" and "Tusk," among others. Fleetwood Mac classics written or co-written by Buckingham include "Go Your Own Way," "The Chain," "Big Love," "Never Going Back Again" and "Tusk," among others. Since 1991, the band's catalog has moved nearly 26 million album consumption units in the U.S., with the vast majority of that number from Buckingham's time in the band, while his solo catalog, which produced songs like "Holiday Road" and "Trouble," has accumulated 550,000 album consumption units. On Jan. 4, Hipgnosis Songs announced that it purchased Jimmy Iovine's royalties as a producer. While Iovine is best known today as a music executive who co-founded Interscope Records and Beats Electronics, he first rose to prominence in the 1970s as a music engineer, working with such icons as Tom Petty, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straits, Stevie Nicks, U2 and Patti Smith. Iovine's deal gives Hipgnosis 100% of his worldwide producer royalties across 259 songs, as well as his film production royalties for two films he co-produced: 8 Mile starring Eminem and Get Rich or Die Tryin' starring 50 Cent. - Billboard, 1/6/21...... ImanDavid BowieAs the fifth anniversary of the 2016 death of David Bowie approaches on Jan. 10, his widow Iman has given an interview to Harper's Bazaar UK magazine about how she keeps his memory alive. "David is in our hearts and minds on a daily basis, for all of us," the 65-year-old model said of herself and her family. "You know, this was my true love. My daughter once asked me if I would ever marry again and I said, 'never'." Bowie and Iman met in 1990, and Iman once said the attraction was "immediate and all-encompassing. I couldn't sleep for the excitement of our first date." The couple were married in 1992, and remained husband and wife until his death from liver cancer 24 years later. Iman says she currently spends her time in lockdown at her upstate New York country home, where she's been hiking, cooking, reading and painting, another tribute to her late love. "David was a painter; my daughter is a painter. I never painted in my life, so I've taken it up. I learnt that I don't have to be good at something to start doing it," she said. Iman added that Bowie is still all around, whether you know it or not. She said the anniversary of his death is always the "saddest time," but she finds hope in the idea that he is "hiding in plain sight... His fans are still around. His music is still relevant." Meanwhile, two big virtual celebrations will occur on what would've been his 74th birthday on Jan. 8. "A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day!" will be streamed globally beginning at 9:00 p.m. EST. Trent Reznor, Billie Corgan, Boy George, Peter Frampton, Rick Wakeman and Perry Farrell will be among the many musicians are participating in the 3-hour concert. More info can be found at On Jan. 8-10, the London production of "Lazarus," which was captured live on stage and starred Michael C. Hall, will stream in celebration of the birthday. the show features music from Bowie's catalog, and is available to stream in multiple time zones. info can be found at - Billboard, 1/5/21...... During a call to his SiriusXM channel "E Street Radio" on Dec. 31, Bruce Springsteen teased that he's working on a "big surprise" that will be revealed later in 2021. While the Boss confirmed that he wouldn't attempt a new tour this year in the light of the Covid pandemic, he said he had some more projects underway that would be shared over the course of 2021. "2022 -- if you want to talk about that -- as far as what I know and if things go as according to what Dr. Fauci is projecting, as soon as we can, we'll be out there," he said. "And that might be 2022, you know, somewhere in the New Year of 2022. "So -- and I'm completely projecting because no one really knows -- that's what I think, according to all the information that's available at this moment, will be able to happen. You know, I have some projects coming up this year that I won't tell cos it's going to be a secret and then a big surprise [laughs]. But I do have things to keep me busy this year that I'll be doing that should give the fans something to bide their time with." Listen to Springsteen speak about his plans for 2021 above." The full interview can be heard on YouTube. - NME, 1/5/21...... The Internal Revenue Service has valued Prince's estate at 50 per cent higher than proposed by the administrator, causing more legal trouble for the estate's settlement. As reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the IRS has valued Prince's estate at $163.2 million, significantly higher than the $82.3 million valuation from Commercial Bank & Trust, the estate's administrator. Because of this new valuation, the IRS has claimed the estate owes an additional $32.4 million in taxes, approximately doubling the tax bill. The government agency has also issued a $6.4 million "accuracy-related penalty" on Prince's estate, according to court documents. Prince died in 2016 from an overdose, leaving behind no will. In the years since his death, the exact valuation of the singer's estate remains up for debate. In 2018 the Associated Press reported that while the singer's heirs have yet to benefit from the estate, bankers, consultants and lawyers have earned millions from it. - NME, 1/4/21...... A new documentary about Elton John is reportedly in the works, featuring behind-the-scenes footage that didn't fit in the 2019 Elton biopic Rocketman. According to sources, the follow-up to the film will be titled The Pillars of Hercules (after John's middle name) and would come in a documentary format. According to the UK paper The Sun, it will cover tours across the 1970s, and never-before-seen footage of the singer and John Lennon. The film has been the long-time project of Elton's longtime guitarist Davey Johnstone, who has been working on the project for years. Johnstone reportedly has the blessing of the Rocket Man himself and his husband, David Furnish. Regarding a potential release date for the new film, Johnstone says: "There are two more interviews we are looking to get and we will probably be finished with all the recording by late January and then we will go into editing and we will be ready about Easter." - NME, 1/4/21...... Barry GibbSurviving Bee Gees member Barry Gibb says he's unable to watch the new Bee Gees documentary How Can You Mend A Broken Heart? which recently premiered on premium cable channel HBO because it's subject matter is too painful. Appearing on CBS Sunday Morning on Jan. 3, Gibb says the Frank Marshall-directed film would reignite his grief over the loss of his late brothers Maurice and Robin Gibb, who passed away in 2003 and 2012 respectively. "I can't handle watching the rest of my family. I just can't handle it," Barry said in the interview, which can be viewed on YouTube. He added: "Who would? I think it's perfectly normal to not want to see how each brother was lost, you know? And I don't want to address it. I'm past it." Meanwhile, Gibb says he was "terrified" when he heard his recent collaborator, country music star Keith Urban, would be bringing his actress wife and Aussie native Nicole Kidman to the studio for a new rendition of the Bee Gees' "I've Gotta Get a Message to You" for Gibb's new country duets album, Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers Songbook Vol. 1. "He gave us a great gift because he brought Nicole with him, and that was such a thrill," Barry told Billboard. "I'm freaking out, you know." Barry also reteamed with Dolly Parton, who recorded his "Islands in the Stream" song as a duet with Kenny Rogers 40 years ago, revealing he had never met her since. "Dolly was a great thrill, and as incredible as she always is," he added. "She's such a humble person. I just don't understand how people of that stature remain calm and humble and ready to have a laugh, you know?" - New Musical Express/, 1/5/21...... Appearing on a recent episode of "Coffee Talk with AKIKA Live," the YouTube live show hosted by former Rolling Stone writer Corey Levitan and bassist Stefan Adika, Alice Cooper surprised late singer Harry Nilsson's son Zak Nilsson with a sweet new tune in a bid to cheer him up as Zak continues to suffer from end-stage colon cancer. A bright piano melody carries Cooper's croon, as he sings cheery lines like "So Zak, your doc could be a quack, considering all that, tomorrow morning you'll see the sun!" Cooper's performance, which was arranged through his daughter Calico, has been shared on YouTube. - NME, 1/5/21...... Kiss frontman Paul Stanley has lashed out at Pres. Donald Trump after explosive newly-released audio footage revealed the moment the President pressured Georgia's Secretary Of State to "find" votes that would overturn his election loss to President-elect Joe Biden. Sharing a link to the Washington Post article on Twitter, he wrote: "This is ABHORRENT. A true danger to our democracy. The issue isn't that it WON'T work. It's Mob Boss behavior and politicians putting party over audits, investigations, court rulings & COUNTRY in an effort to overrule the will of American voters". Stanley continued: "Republican politicians who now cower before this president are the same ones that ridiculed & dismissed him in the 2016 primaries. Their silence IS a choice & not sharing their opinion IS a coward's way out. It feeds the mistrust that eats at the core of this country I love." The recording of the Jan. 2 call was obtained by the Post and showed Trump repeating baseless claims of electoral fraud as he criticized Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for refusing to say he won the election. In other Kiss-related news, bassist Gene Simmons has doubled down on previous comments he made back in 2014 about the state of rock music in which he declared the rock music genre to be "finally dead." "Rock is dead. And that's because new bands haven't taken the time to create glamour, excitement and epic stuff," Simmons recently told Gulf News. "I mean, Foo Fighters is a terrific band, but that's a 20-year-old band. So you can go back to 1958 until 1988. That's 30 years. During that time, we had Elvis [Presley], The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones, on and on. In disco, you had Madonna, and then you had your hard rock, you had AC/DC, maybe us, a few others. Motown, all that great music. From 1988, until today, that's more than 30 years. Tell me who the new Beatles is. You can't. There are popular bands. BTS is very popular. All kinds of bands are very popular. That doesn't mean iconic and legacy and for all-time. It's different." - NME, 1/4/21...... Joe ElliottDef Leppard has announced an "unlocking date" for a new online collection of the band's artifacts, stories and rarities, curated by band members Joe Elliott, Rick Savage, Rick Allen, Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell. The "Def Leppard Vault," which will debut on Jan. 13 at the Def Leppard website., is set to gather the band's history in a digital museum, including special installations covering the band's history from 1977 up to the present day. Fans can sign up at website, after which they will receive a special code to access the various curiosities upon its opening. Def Leppard has described the concept of the vault in a new video on YouTube. - NME, 1/3/21...... Tom Jones has revealed he has been finishing a new record during the Covid-19 lockdown and he is looking forward to releasing it in 2021. Speaking on "Jools Holland's Annual Hootenanny" show, the 80-year-old Sir Tom said: "I recorded an album just before the lockdown, at the beginning of the year. During lockdown, we've been mixing it and putting it together. That's what I'll be looking forward to." -, 1/2/21...... Journey guitarist Neal Schon says his band has signed on to headline the Lollapalooza 2021 festival in Chicago. "I'm dying to get on stage again," Schon told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" show on Dec. 30, before going on to seemingly reveal that the festival -- usually held in late July or early August -- would be being held in April. "We have our first date booked for Lollapalooza, and we're headlining in Chicago. And that's supposedly in April. Hopefully that'll not get pushed back, because the vaccine is finally here," Schon added. "And hopefully they start dispersing it very quickly so everybody can get back on their feet and can get out and hear music, 'cause that's what heals the world, I think," he continued. The annual festival is held at Grant Park in Chicago, Ill, and its 2020 event was cancelled due to Covid-19 concerns. - NME, 1/2/21...... Elvis Costello is ringing in 2021 with a new experimental, disconcerting track titled "Farewell, OK 2020" that he shared on YouTube on Jan. 1. Costello first teased something called "Farewell, OK" on Dec. 27 which -- judging by one fan's reaction to the singer's "Farewell, OK 2020" tweet -- sounded markedly different from the finished product. "Wait wtf happened to the original version lol," the person wrote on Twitter. Costello had shared a version of the song on Dec. 31 containing the lyrics: "Farewell, OK/ You'll be on way/ You'll be on your own now/ Much to my dismay" and "I can't go on/ After what you've done." However these lyrics do not appear to feature, or are at least not obviously discernible, on the "Farewell, OK 2020" version shared by Costello on Jan. 1. Judging by broken video links, the original version has now been wiped from record with no explanation as to why. Costello released his 31st studio album, Hey Clockface, in Oct. 2020. - NME, 1/2/21...... It was announced on Jan. 5 that Grammy Award-winning British songwriter Geoff Stephens passed away after a battle with pneumonia on Dec. 24. He was 86. Born in 1934 in London, Stephens kicked off his songwriting career in musical theatre, before eventually moving into pop music. He made his big break in the pop world with his 1964 single for The Applejacks, "Tell Me When," co-written with Les Reed, which landed in the UK Top Ten. One of his most notable successes, however, was when he formed The New Vaudeville Band to record his song "Winchester Cathedral." The song went on to earn him a Grammy Award in 1967 for Best Contemporary (R&R) Recording. The track was subsequently covered by Frank Sinatra. Stephens also wrote "There's a Kind of Hush" for The New Vaudeville Band, which was later covered by Herman's Hermits and The Carpenters in later years. In addition to his group, Stephens also wrote or co-wrote successful songs for other high-profile artists including Tom Jones ('Daughter of Darkness'), Elvis Presley ("Heart of Rome") and The Hollies ("Sorry Suzanne"). Upon hearing of his death, fellow lyricist Sir Tim Rice celebrated Stephens' life on Twitter, describing him as a "major talent and lovely chap." - NME, 1/5/21...... Gerry MarsdenEnglish pop singer/composer Gerry Marsden, the frontman of the British '60s Invasion band Gerry and the Pacemakers, died on Jan. 3 after a short illness related to a heart infection. He was 78. Marsden's friend Pete Price announced the news on Instagram after speaking to Marsden's family. "I'm sending all the love in the world to (his wife) Pauline and his family," Price said. "You'll Never Walk Alone," referring to how Marsden turned a song from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "Carousel" into one of the great anthems of soccer. Marsden was the lead singer of Gerry and the Pacemakers, who found fame in the Merseybeat scene in the 1960s. Though another Liverpool band -- the Beatles -- reached superstardom, Gerry and the Pacemakers will always have a place in the city's consciousness because of "You'll Never Walk Alone". "I thought what a beautiful song. I'm going to tell my band we're going to play that song," Marsden told the Associated Press in 2018 when recalling the first time he heard the song at the cinema. "So I went back and told my buddies we're doing a ballad called 'You'll Never Walk Alone.'" The Pacemakers' cover version was released in Oct. 1963 and became the band's third No. 1 hit on the British singles chart. It was adopted by fans of the soccer club Liverpool and is sung with spine-tingling passion before each home game of the 19-time English champion -- before coronavirus restrictions have meant that many matches have been played in empty stadiums. In 1962, Beatles manager Brian Epstein signed up the band and their first three releases reached No. 1 in 1963 -- "How Do You Do It?" and "I Like It" as well as "You'll Never Walk Alone." Later hits included "Ferry Cross the Mersey," and "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying." The group split in 1967 and Marsden pursued a solo career before reforming the bank a few years later. Frankie Goes To Hollywood singer Holly Johnson, who is from Liverpool and covered "Ferry Across The Mersey" tweeted that Marsden was a "Liverpool legend." The Cavern Club in Liverpool, the music venue which was the venue for many of the Beatles' early gigs, described Marsden as a "legend" and a "very good friend." Beatles legend Paul McCartney tweeted that Gerry was "a mate from our early days in Liverpool." "He and his group were our biggest rivals on the local scene. His unforgettable performances of You'll Never Walk Alone and Ferry Cross the Mersey remain in many people's hearts as reminders of a joyful time in British music. My sympathies go to his wife Pauline and family. See ya, Gerry. I'll always remember you with a smile," McCartney added. Marsden is survived by his wife Pauline, whom he married in 1965, and two daughters. - AP, 1/3/21...... Former Mott the Hoople keyboardist Mick Bolton passed away in the early hours of Jan. 1 of as yet undisclosed causes. He was 72. Bolton pursued his passion for music in the late 1960s, joining his first band, White Myth, in 1969, but left in 1971 to become a member of blues group Blind Eye, a support act for the likes of Slade, Queen, and Supertramp. In 1973, he auditioned to play piano for glam rockers Mott The Hoople, but missed out on the gig when Morgan Fisher was hired. Instead, Bolton was invited to play the Hammond organ, touring the U.S. with support from REO Speedwagon and Joe Walsh, and later hitting the road around the U.K., with Queen as their opening act. Bolton bowed out of the group in late 1973, and later briefly joined pop group Dexys Midnight Runners from 1985 to 1986. He also taught Linda McCartney how to play the keyboard, and co-wrote her song "Endless Days", which featured on her posthumous compilation album Wide Prairie in 1998. "One of the sweetest of men, and a fine musician. Sorry I have no more information yet other than he passed away suddenly in his sleep, earlier today. Our hearts go out to his wife Carol, his son, and all friends and family," Morgan Fisher posted on Facebook. - WENN/, 1/2/21...... Tanya RobertsActress Tanya Roberts, best known for roles in the James Bond film A View to a Kill and the TV series Charlie's Angels and That '70s Show, died on the evening of Jan. 4 in Los Angeles, a day after her publicist mistakenly announced her death. She was 65. Roberts died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she had been hospitalized since Christmas Eve after collapsing in her home, her partner Lance O'Brien told The New York Times and Her spokesperson, Mike Pingel, said her death was from "a urinary tract infection, which spread to her kidney, gallbladder, liver and then bloodstream." Roberts appeared in various TV pilots, series and cult films before going on to star in the fifth season of ABC's Charlie's Angels. She joined Cheryl Ladd and Jaclyn Smith as Julie Rogers, a character that replaced Shelley Hack's Tiffany Welles. Roberts then starred in the film The Beastmaster and other projects before landing the role as Bond girl Stacey Sutton in 1985's A View to a Kill, opposite Roger Moore's Agent 007. Roberts is also known for playing Midge Pinciotti, the mother of Laura Prepon's Donna, on That 70's Show from 1998 to 2004. Her other TV credits include The Love Boat, Silk Stalkings, Fantasy Island and The Blues Brothers Animated Series. She most recently appeared on television in Showtime's Barbershop: The Series in 2005. The actress, who is survived by her partner Lance O'Brien, was married to Barry Roberts from 1974 until his death in 2006. She had been hosting a series of live chats with fans during the Covid-19 pandemic up until her death. -, 1/3/21.

Friday, Jan. 1, 2021

"My New Year's resolution is to appreciate each moment of life as the treasure it is, to have a more joyful heart each day, and to contribute to a more peaceful world," says Tina Turner, 81, who just released her book Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good. The legendary singer adds: "During this time when so many of us are facing adversity, let's choose hope over despair, help our human family grow wiser, and change our world by changing ourselves." - Entertainment Weekly, 1/21...... CNN will premiere a new Jimmy Carter documentary, Rock & Roll President, on Jan. 3 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern/7:00 p.m. Central. The documentary features intimate interviews that reveal how Pres. Carter's friendships with artists like The Allman Brothers Band, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and Aretha Franklin shaped and propelled the 39th president's life of service. - TV Guide, 12/21/20...... Patti SmithPatti Smith took over London's Piccadilly Circus billboards on New Year's Eve as part of a virtual performance that was streamed around the world on the YouTube channel of digital art platform Circa. The punk poetess paid tribute to Britain's NHS and healthcare workers who have died from COVID-19 in 2020. "It's just so sad when we lose people who work so hard to rebuild our world," Smith told the UK paper The Guardian. She also read a new poem dedicated to the environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg, who will turn 18 in January. Thunberg first came to global prominence in 2018, after her first United Nations address warning of the dangers of global warming. Smith also shared her feelings about outgoing U.S. president Donald Trump and how she felt relieved about the victory of former vice-president Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris. "It's been a terrible atmosphere to live in," Smith said of Trump's tenure. "You try to do your work and not let [politics] permeate your consciousness daily but it does. It's very insidious." Going on to note that she's about the same age as 74-year-old Trump, Smith added: "I have encountered him in New York through the years and found him a horrible, narcissistic person and just a bad businessman. I've seen the debris of his deals." - NME, 12/29/20...... Appearing in a new documentary about Scottish soccer star Denis Law, Rod Stewart revealed he once conned his way out of massive hotel phone bills by convincing staff they must have made a mistake. Stewart recalled one phone bill he was handed as he checked out of a U.S. hotel in late 1973 during his tenure with the Faces. "To get to the 1974 World Cup in Germany, we had to beat Czechoslovakia," Stewart, 75, recalled. "This was another game I didn't see, because I was working with the Faces, but I remember it like it was yesterday... I used to phone up, and my dad would put the phone by the television and I would listen for the whole game," he went on, adding: "Then they would send me a bill for hundreds of quid (pounds)." He continued: "I would say, 'What person in his right mind would be on a phone call for 90-odd minutes?' and they would say, 'Oh, yes, I suppose it is a mistake, Mr. Stewart', and I would get a bill for 10 quid." Stewart proved to be the Scottish team's good luck charm in 1973 -- they beat Czechoslovakia and made it to the 1974 World Cup, but despite only giving up a goal in the first round in a 1-1 draw with Yugoslavia, they didn't move on. -, 12/31/20...... Elton JohnElton John has made an appearance on the first episode of Prince Harry and Megan Markle's new podcast, Archewell Audio. The royal couple launched their streaming service in the final week of 2020, and their first episode sees them reflecting on the events of 2020 alongside "a few friends and a lot of other folks" that the pair "admire," aiming to "get their thoughts on what they learned from 2020." In his segment, Elton alled 2020 "the worst year I've ever known," while hoping that the pandemic means "that we have become better people" and shared a "hope for healing" in the following years. The first episode can be streamed on Meanwhile, in an interview with Record Collector magazine, John complained that he'd "kill [himself]" if he ever has to play his No. 1 1973 hit "Crocodile Rock" again. "I'm lucky to have so many great songs to play every night. But there is a point in time where you think, 'I don't really want to play this anymore'," Sir Elton said. "There are things like 'Original Sin' or '(Gotta Get A) Meal Ticket' that I haven't really played before -- not enough anyway. But if I have to go back and play 'Crocodile Rock' again, it's like, 'I'm gonna kill myself. So, after I've finished this tour, I don't want to play some of these songs any more. I'd like to do something like Kate Bush, where I can do a show and play some of these songs that are deep cuts." John's "Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour" began the 2020 chart year with 10 shows in North America, however it was derailed in March by the coronavirus pandemic. In September, he announced the tour would go on hiatus until January 2022. - New Musical Express/, 12/30/20...... With his new release McCartney III debuting at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Album Sales Chart dated Jan. 2, Paul McCartney has scored his third chart-topping LP as a solo artist, and the vinyl edition of McCartney III has scored the third-largest sales week for a vinyl album since Nielsen Music/MRC Data began tracking music sales in 1991. McCartney III arrived with 107,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Dec. 24 following its Dec. 18 release, according to Nielsen Music. It follows his previous No. 1 albums Memory Almost Full (June 2007) and Egypt Station (Sept. 2018). Billboard's Top Album Sales chart, which was started in 1991, ranks the top-selling albums of the week based only on traditional album sales. - Billboard, 12/30/20...... In a new interview with, Sammy Hagar opened up about his final phone call with Eddie Van Halen before the guitarist died at age 65 in October 2020 following a long battle with cancer. "Poor Eddie, broke my heart, but thank God we connected before [he died]," said the 73-year-old Hagar. "I heard he was in bad shape and I wanted to reach out; I finally said, 'I'm just calling him.'" Hagar said he called Eddie's brother, manager, and other friends in an attempt to "be his friend [and] bury the hatchet, but they never got it done." Hagar says he was eventually connected to Eddie through their mutual friend, comedian George Lopez. "George is a dear friend and he was Eddie's friend and he said, 'Sammy, Eddie's in bad shape, he loves you brother, you need to reach out.' I said, 'Give me his f---ing number and I'll make sure I call him,'" Hagar said. After finally connecting, the former bandmates instantly restored their bond and had a meaningful conversation. "I said, 'Why don't you respond? I've been reaching out,' and Ed said, 'Why didn't you call me? Don't f---ing call my brother, f---ing call me!'" Hagar recalled. "And I said, 'I love you man,' and it was like, boom, we were good. It was a beautiful thing." Hagar joined Van Halen in 1985, and the band enjoyed its most successful period with multiplatinum hit albums such as 5150, OU812, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge and Balance. After band tension forced him out, he returned for a brief two-year stint from 2003-2005. - Variety/Billboard, 12/27/20...... Billy JoelElton's former touring co-headliner Billy Joel took to Instagram on Dec. 29 to share a video clip of his 5-year-old daughter Della belting out "Happy Birthday" to her singer sister Alexa Ray Joel in honor of her 35th birthday, proving she, too, has the potential to follow in her family's showbiz footsteps. Joel captioned the video "Happy Birthday to our big sister @alexarayjoel. You have been singing us lullabies since we were born. We are so excited to finally get to sing to you on your birthday. We love you more than words can say!," and the message was signed from Della and her 3-year-old sister Remy, who Joel shares with his wife of five years, Alexis Roderick. Responding to the sweet surprise, the birthday girl replied, "Aww My Little Diva...! love you rosebud, thanks for serenading me." Joel shares Alexa Ray with his second wife, Christie Brinkley, with whom he was married from 1985 to 1994, and before tying the knot with the model, the music icon was wed to Elizabeth Weber from 1973 to 1982. The 71-year-old Piano Man also posted a clip of his young daughters sweetly dancing to Taylor Swift's hit "You Need to Calm Down." "Merry Christmas from the Joels. Billy, Alexis, Della and Remy," he wrote. "Rockin' Out to @taylorswift on Christmas morning." -, 12/31/20...... Alice Cooper and Guns 'N Roses guitarist Slash are among some of the biggest rock stars to appear in the trailer for forthcoming documentary film Rock Camp, which documents the famous "Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp" which for more than two decades has given people the chance to jam with and learn from rock stars. Started by producer David Fishof in 1996, the camp sees the rockers teach and inspire campers over the course of four days, concluding with attendees and counsellors performing alongside one another in a huge concert. In the trailer for Rock Camp, former camp counsellor Cooper can be seen giving an interview in which he reflects on the people and the nature of the camp, saying, "You would have a 15-year-old kid playing drums, and a dentist on guitar. If this band were a real band it would be the weirdest band ever, but cool!" The film chronicles the experiences of four campers as they learn to perform from some of rock's greatest artists, and its trailer has been shared on YouTube. It will receive a virtual cinema release on Jan. 15, 2021, before being made available on demand on Feb. 16, 2021. - NME, 12/30/20...... The creators of the rock 'n' roll "mockumentary" This Is Spinal Tap have set up a licensing body to exclusively manage the cult film's rights. Rob Reiner, Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest and Michael McKean have set up a wholly-owned entity to manage the licensing of the film and all rights related to it that will take effect on Jan. 1, 2021. It comes after the film's creators settled their rights dispute with French media group Vivendi and its StudioCanal division, in which Harry Shearer alleged in a 2016 suit that despite decades of cult success, the creators had received just $81 in merchandising income and $98 in musical sales income to show for their work on the iconic 1984 film. In 2019, the creators settled their legal dispute with Universal Music over the film's soundtrack recordings, and the cast of the film reunited for a special screening and live performance to celebrate its 35th anniversary, with Elvis Costello even making a surprise appearance. - NME, 12/29/20...... Petula Clark1960s hitmaker Petula Clark says she's not happy that the man responsible for the Christmas morning explosion in downtown Nashville, Tenn., played her No. 1 1964 hit "Downtown" ahead of the detonation, in which 63-year-old local resident Anthony Quinn Warner apparently perished in the blast. "I feel the need to express my shock and disbelief at the Christmas Day explosion in our beloved Music City. I love Nashville and its people. Why this violent act -- leaving behind it such devastation?," Clark said in a Facebook post. The English songstress continued: "A few hours later -- I was told that the music in the background of that strange announcement -- was me -- singing 'Downtown!' Of all the thousands of songs -- why this one?." She added that "millions of people all over the world have been uplifted by this joyful song," the original version of which can be heard on YouTube. The singer cited the opening line of the 1964 hit tune -- "When you're alone and life is making you lonely you can always go, downtown" -- before adding: "Perhaps you can read something else into these words -- depending on your state of mind. It's possible." Clark ended her post by saying, "I would like to wrap my arms around Nashville -- give you all a hug -- and wish you Love, a Happy and Health New Year. And, as we say sometimes in the U., steady the Buffs! (Look it up!)." Warner's motive in the bombing, which injured three people, is still unclear and officials have said it is too early for it to be discussed publicly. - NME, 12/30/20...... Kiss bassist Gene Simmons has shared a photo of his band wearing face masks on Twitter and a message urging Kiss fans to do the same. Simmons posted the picture of the band without their conventional face paint before they travelled to Dubai for their Dec. 31 "Kiss Off 2020" livestreamed concert spectacular. "Wear your masks. Even if it's only as a courtesy. If you yawn, or sneeze, you don't think twice about covering your mouth. Do the rest of us a favor! Mask Up!... Besides, it looks cool," he wrote. His post comes after he recently called on people to stop complaining about being in lockdown during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. "Right now, the pandemic is not fun," Simmons told Canada's K-97 radio station. "It is devastating for families who've lost loved ones." He also criticized those choosing not to wear a mask during the pandemic: "Be kind to each other... I know the nerves are up, 'cause we're all scared -- what's gonna happen and all that stuff. It's okay... It's all gonna get better. And just be kind to each other. That doesn't take much effort. And wear your goddamn masks. It ain't about you." Meanwhile, former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley shot down rumours that he might be rejoining his former bandmates for their New Year's Eve concert in Dubai. "Contrary to online statements, Ace Frehley was not asked to and will not be appearing with KISS at their New Year's Eve concert in Dubai," a statement posted on Frehley's Facebook page read. "Ace is currently in Nashville, TN recording his new studio album of all original material. Ace wishes all of his fans a happy and prosperous New Year!" Frehley has stated that he might be open to a reunion with Kiss at some point -- if the price was right. "....Everything is delayed at this juncture, so who knows...? Unless they come forward and the price is right, you're not gonna see me anywhere close by," he told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation" with Eddie Trunk. - NME/, 12/29/20...... It has been reported that sales of vinyl LP's had their biggest sales week in history in the US, with a pre-Christmas rush of vinyl albums seeing nearly 2 million LPs sold across the country. 1.842 million vinyl LPs were purchased in the US in the week leading up to Christmas, which ended on Dec. 24, according to Billboard. It broke the record set just one week before (Dec. 10-17), where 1.445 million were sold. The new record is the biggest weekly sales of vinyl in the country since records began in 1991. Meanwhile in the UK, sales of vinyl look set to hit a new three-decade high as fans appear to be using their time in lockdown to beef up their record collections. Sales of vinyl there have gone up almost 10% this year, which puts it on track to break the £100 million mark by the end of 2020, making for the best year since 1990. - NME, 12/29/20...... Alto ReedAlto Reed, the longtime saxophonist for Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, died on Dec. 30 after a long battle with colon cancer. He was 72. Born Thomas Neal Cartmell on May 16, 1948, the gifted Detroit musician began playing with Seger in 1971 before joining the Silver Bullet Band three years later. He's widely recognized for his saxophone solo in "Turn the Page" from the band's Back in '72 album, and "Old Time Rock and Roll" from Stranger in Town, the latter of which became a top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979 and soundtracked an iconic scene in Tom Cruise's 1983 film Risky Business. As a member of the Silver Bullet Band, Reed won a 1980 Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for Against the Wind, the group's fourth studio album which topped the album charts for six weeks in the spring of 1980. It was their only No. 1 album. Aside from his work with the Silver Bullet Band, Reed performed alongside Grand Funk Railroad, Ted Nugent, Little Feat, Foghat, Dave Mason, Spencer Davis, the Blues Brothers, George Thorogood, Robin Gibb and the Motor City Horns. He also co-led the Reed & Dickinson Band with Steve Dickinson and the pair released an album together titled Tonight We Ride. "Whether it was 'Turn the Page,' 'Mainstreet,' or 'Old Time Rock and Roll,' audiences roared every time he played his part. In our band, Alto was the rock star," Bob Seger said upon learning of Reed's passing. - Billboard, 12/30/20...... Bluegrass guitarist Tony Rice, regarded as one of the all-time greats of the genre, died suddenly on Christmas day. He was 69. Rice was widely celebrated for his skill as a flatpicker, a fast-paced style of guitar playing, as well as his highly influential style which was itself indebted to jazz. Rice, who grew up in California before moving to Kentucky, released his first album Guitar in 1973, later writing and recording as a band with the Tony Rice Unit and the Bluegrass Album Band. His collaborations over the years ranged from the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia to guitarist Norman Blake and mandolin player David Grisman. Rice was diagnosed with dysphonia in 1994, which prevented him from singing for most of the rest of his life. The musician made his last ever public guitar performance at the 2013 International Bluegrass Music Association's Hall of Fame. - NME, 12/27/20...... Phyllis McGuire, the lead singer and last remaining member of the 1950s trio known as The McGuire Sisters, died in her Las Vegas home on Dec. 29 of as yet undisclosed causes. She was 89. Her path to fame began when she and her two sisters, Christine and Dorothy McGuire, appeared on Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts in 1952, winning the contest. Following their competition success, the three vocalists began to perform on variety shows and travel the country as their records rose in popularity. -, 12/31/20...... Dawn WellsActress Dawn Wells, best known for parlaying her girl-next-door charm and wholesome beauty into enduring TV fame as the sweet-natured desert island castaway Mary Ann on the classic 1960s sitcom Gilligan's Island, died on Dec. 30 after losing a battle with COVID-19. She was 82. Born in Reno, Nev. on Oct. 18, 1938, Wells studied theater at the University of Washington, and headed to Hollywood after her beauty pageant success. Wells beat out several actresses including 1960s bombshell Raquel Welch for her role in Gilligan's Island, in which she played Kansas farm girl Mary Ann Summers, one of seven castaways stranded after their boat, the S.S. Minnow, became battered in a storm during what was supposed to be a three-hour tour from Hawaii. The series ran for three seasons from 1964-1967 and its 98 episodes invariably involved their efforts in vain to get off the island, even as a parade of guest stars dropped in and had no trouble getting out. The show, which also starred Bob Denver as the zany Gilligan, Alan Hale Jr. as "The Skipper," Jim Backus as millionaire Thurston Howell III, Natalie Schafer as his posh wife, Russell Johnson as "The Professor," and Tina Louise as movie star Ginger, drew the wrath of critics but its innocent fun caught on with viewers at a time of tumult in America after the assassination of a president and during the rise of the civil rights movement and the escalation of the Vietnam War. Wells, playing a cheerful brunette Midwestern farm girl, appeared in the series wearing short shorts, midriff tops and pigtails. Louise, playing a buxom red-headed sensation akin to Marilyn Monroe, wore slinky, form-fitting dresses. The two inspired what became an enduring pop culture question for men: "Ginger or Mary Ann?" In an interview with Forbes magazine, Wells said she was paid $750 for her work on the show and "didn't really get a dime" in residuals, adding, "Sherwood Schwartz, our producer, reportedly made $90 million on the reruns alone." Like some of her co-stars, she suffered from typecasting in Hollywood in the years after the series ended, appearing in TV guest spots and stage work before taking roles in B-movies. Wells also appeared in three made-for-TV movies based on the Gilligan's Island concept, and lent her voice to the animated Gilligan's Planet (1982) in which the castaways become stranded on a far-away planet. She also capitalized on her fame by writing, Mary Ann's Gilligan's Island Cookbook, and later, for the 50th anniversary of the series in 2014, the book, What Would Mary Ann Do? A Guide to Life. Following her death, Tina Louise, who at age 86 is now the sole survivor of the cast members, said in a statement to CNN: "I was sad to learn of Dawn's passing, I will always remember her kindness to me. We shared in creating a cultural landmark that has continued to bring comfort and smiles to people during this difficult time. I hope that people will remember her the way that I do -- always with a smile on her face." - WENN/, 12/30/20.

Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020

Foreigner has announced they will be heading back to the stage in March to perform as part of the first socially-distanced music festival in America, The Frontyard Festival at the outdoor Dr. Phillips Center in Orlando, Fla. "We are so happy to be able to perform live again because we and our fans really miss the experience," current lead singer Kelly Hansen shared in a statement. "We saw how the team at Dr. Phillips Center cared about the health of their audiences and innovated socially-distant concerts, and that's why we chose it as our first show for 2021," he added. Kelly continued: "There's nothing like it anywhere else in the country. We are so excited to connect with our fans in a safe manner, and can't wait to play live again at the Frontyard Festival." Foreigner will play both nights of the festival, on Mar. 23 and 24. The specially-designed event is aimed at reigniting the live entertainment scene after the Covid shutdowns and will take place over six months at the spacious, purpose-built Dr Phillips Center. Attendees at the venue will be able to enjoy the shows in hundreds of private, elevated boxes, located six feet apart from one another. Guests will be required to undergo temperature checks to enter the arena and wear face masks whenever they step outside their boxes. -, 12/22/20...... KissA coffee company known as Dead Sled Coffee announced on Instagram on Dec. 24 that it is teaming up with Kiss for a unique Kiss coffee flavor that is set to arrive in 2021. Dead Sled Coffee, which describes itself as "an independent business born from a desire to bridge the gap between coffee elite," did not share much else about the new venture other than to say the coffee is "the Officially Licensed @kissonline coffee... coming in 2021." Dead Sled has previously teamed up with Pennsylvania hardcore band Wisdom In Chains, New York ska group The Toasters, and also a number of TV and film characters for custom coffee products. Meanwhile, Kiss are set to "Kiss 2020 Goodbye" with a special livestreamed gig on New Year's Eve at the Atlantis hotel and resort in Dubai. Promising "the biggest & baddest concert event and pyrotechnics show of the year," Kiss will take the stage at 5:00 p.m. BST on the last day of the year with tickets ranging from $40 (£30) for a standard ticket, all the way up to $1,000 (£750) for deluxe tickets which includes all manner of Kiss merchandise and memorabilia. "To send off 2020 in their larger-than-life style on New Year's Eve, the iconic Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, multi-platinum selling band is reigniting the FIRE and roaring back to life!...The massive stage production and FREE pre-show will be brought directly into your living room at 9 pm LIVE from Atlantis Dubai on December 31st!," a statement announcing the gig said. The statement added: "Filmed with more than 50 cameras and 360-degree views, this show produced by Landmarks Live can be seen globally with ticketing technology and livestream powered by TIXR and experienced like no other virtual concert before. You're invited to spend New Year's Eve with The Demon, The Starchild, The Spaceman, and The Catman as they rock out of 2020 and roll into 2021... all night!" In still more Kiss-related news, Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford revealed in a new interview that the best piece of advice he's ever received was from Kiss bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons. "Priest were out on this big tour -- we were invited to open up for Kiss -- and I was just talking to Gene about the music business, and he goes, 'Let me just say this: It doesn't matter what they say about you, as long as they've got your picture and they spell your name right'," Halford told Twisted Sister member Jay Jay French his "The French Connection" podcast. - NME, 12/24/20...... In an interview with Total Guitar magazine, Queen's Brian May has opened up about the time he worked on a sci-fi themed EP called "Star Fleet Project" with the late Eddie Van Halen in 1983. "A couple of days after I heard the news about Eddie, I went back to 'Star Fleet'," May said. "I started revisiting all the feelings I had when we were in the studio doing that, and it sort of healed my soul a bit. I thought, 'Yeah, this is what I should be doing at this time.'" The three-song project, which was released under the Brian May + Friends moniker, features a heavy blues rock sound, with REO Speedwagon drummer Alan Gratzer and session musicians Phil Chen and Fred Mandel. During the recording sessions for the "Star Fleet Project" EP, May and Van Halen switched guitars, but as May explained, "It's basically all in the fingers at the end of the day. No matter what guitar Eddie picked up, it sounded like him." The lead track was a rearranged cover of the theme song to the children's TV show Star Fleet, and the other two songs on the EP, which has been shared on YouTube, were the originals "Blues Breaker" and "Let Me Out." - NME, 12/22/20...... Michael JacksonThe famous and sometimes infamous Neverland Ranch in Los Olivos, Calif., near Santa Barbara that once belonged to Michael Jackson has sold to a billionaire for $22 million (£16m), which is $78 million (£57m) less than its 2016 asking price. Ronald Burkle, a billionaire businessman specializing in the mergers and acquisitions of American supermarkets, paid $22 million for the 2,700-acre property according to the Wall Street Journal, a significantly less amount than previous asking prices for the ranch which was first put up for sale for $100 million (£73m) in 2016. A year later, its price had dropped to $67 million (£49m), then the following year, the asking price had fallen even further to $31 million (£22m). The buyer reportedly views Neverland as a "land banking opportunity, having chosen not to open up a new branch of the private members club Soho House, of which is is the majority shareholder, near an adjoining lake to the ranch. Jackson purchased the property in 1988 for $19.5 million (£15m), naming it "Neverland" after the magical kingdom in Peter Pan, and turning it into his own private amusement park, building three ailroads on the property, an electric train with 100 feet of track, and a ferris wheel. Other highlights included a pirate ship, a roller coaster, bumper cars and an arcade. When Jackson died in 2009, rides and many of the exotic animals that lived on the ranch were removed. -, 12/25/20...... Speaking in his new The Public Image Is Rotten documentary, John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) says during his Sex Pistols days he was terrified of falling asleep and then not being able to remember anything when he woke up the next day after losing his memory after a serious case of meningitis when he was just seven-years-old. "There was just too much temptation. There was a lot of that cocaine floating around which can screw up a lot of things. That was a hard one to walk away from," Lyon said. "For me, it's things that keep me awake which are the things I'm interested in. The longer I'm awake the less chance of waking up from a sleep not knowing who I am. I never, ever want to go through that period of being in the hospital and not knowing who I was again," he added. Lydon has previously shared how he is now a full-time caretaker for his wife who is afficted with dementia. "Nora has Alzheimer' ... I am her full-time carer and I won't let anyone mess up with her head. For me the real person is still there. That person I love is still there every minute of every day and that is my life. It's unfortunate that she forgets things, well, don't we all?," he said. -, 12/23/20...... Seventies New Wave pioneers Talking Heads are among the acts tapped to receive a special Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2021 Grammys. The Recording Academy announced its 2021 Special Merit Awards on Dec. 22, with other Lifetime Achievement honorees to include Salt-N-Pepa, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Lionel Hampton, Marilyn Horne and Selena. The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards takes place on Jan. 31, 2021, with details on exactly how it will be presented in the coronavirus era to be announced soon. - NME, 12/22/20...... Neil DiamondIn the fourth week of December Neil Diamond shared a new "global singalong" video for his beloved hit "Sweet Caroline" on YouTube. Compiled from footage of thousands of fans who submitted videos of themselves singing along to the karaoke classic, the new video follows Diamond's latest album with the London Symphony Orchestra, Classic Diamonds, which is in the running for the UK's Christmas number one album. In March, the award-winning musician and composer shared a comedic public service announcement to those in lockdown during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, using the lyrics for "Sweet Caroline" to urge people to wash their hands thoroughly. Performing in front of the fire at home along with his dog, Diamond began: "I know we're going through a rough time right now, but I love you, and I think maybe if we sing together we might feel a little bit better." He then sang a version of "Sweet Caroline," which featured the adapted lyrics: "Hands, washing hands, reaching out, don't touch me, I won't touch you." In 2018, Diamond announced "with great reluctance and disappointment" he was retiring from touring after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease although he would "continue his writing, recording and development of new projects." - NME, 12/22/20...... In an interview with Apple Music's Zane Lowe to promote his new album McCartney III, Paul McCartney said one of his favorite Beatles track was the obscure B-side to "Let It Be," "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)." "[It's] a zany, zany little B-side that nobody knows, but we had so much fun making it," McCartney said. "But there's a lot of songs that I love of the Beatles. I think 'Strawberry Fields' is a great song, I think, 'Hey Jude' worked out great. I've got a lot of favorite songs. 'Blackbird' I love. 'Eleanor Rigby' I love," he added. Sir Paul says that "Let It Be" is probably the Beatles track he's listened to most throughout his life. "It's the most ubiquitous. It sort of got everywhere. Ubiquitous from the Latin, ubi quo, meaning 'everywhere.' Come on, give it up," he said in the interview, which can be viewed in full on YouTube. Meanwhile, a Cort-made acoustic guitar played by Macca and actor Idris Elba during a recent BBC special to mark the release of McCartney III has gone up for auction to benefit the S.T.O.R.M charity, which provides support and shelter to those suffering from domestic abuse especially during the tumultuous coronavirus-enforced lockdown. S.T.O.R.M will receive 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the guitar, which already has bids that well exceed its initial £500 - £1,000 estimate. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 12/22/20...... In other Beatles-related news, as Ringo Starr prepares for the release of a new EP called "Zoom In" on Mar. 19 featuring contributions from Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Ben Harper, Dave Grohl and Sheryl Crow among others, a French Ringo and Beatles fan has compiled a database of Starr's many decades of work with his All-Starr Band. Webmaster Victor Baissait's Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band website features info on each All-Starr Band concert from 1989 to present, the personnel on each tour and song, setlists, tour maps, and even bootlegs info. Baissait, who also runs the popular French Paul McCartney site, is asking Ringo fans to contribute any concert video, audio, setlist, review, etc. they might have to help complete his already impressive All-Starr Band database. - 12/23/20.

Leslie WestLeslie West, the singer and guitarist for Mountain who were among the acts to play the legendary Woodstock festival in 1969, died on Dec. 23 after a brief illness. He was 75. West's brother Larry West Weinstein had shared news of his brother's rapidly declining health in a Facebook post on Dec. 20. "I am asking for all your prayers. Jenni [Leslie's wife] is by his side in Florida but it's not looking good. Thanks Jenni, he wouldn't have made it this far without you. His heart gave out and he's on a ventilator. May not make it through the night," Weinstein posted. West reportedly entered cardiac arrest on Dec. 21 and was rushed to a hospital near his home in Daytona, Fla. He reportedly did not regain consciousness. Born Leslie Weinstein in Queens, N.Y., on Oct. 22, 1945, West founded Mountain in 1969, alongside Cream associate and producer Felix Pappalardi, N.D. Smart and Steve Knight. Mountain are perhaps best known for their Southern-rock hit "Mississippi Queen," co-written by West, which appeared on Mountain's 1970 debut album, Climbing!. The song was the group's biggest chart hit in the U.S., peaking at No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. More recently "Mississippi Queen" was covered by Dave Grohl and Greg Kurstin as part of their "Hanukkah Cover Song Series," which celebrated the religious holiday by paying tribute to Jewish artists. Mountain also had the distinguished honour of performing at Woodstock in 1969. In one of their earliest appearances as a band, the group joined a legendary lineup which featured Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin and more. "Woodstock was just our third job, and it was quite a thrill," West once told Rolling Stone magazine. "Mountain got on the show because our booking agent also handled Jimi Hendrix... I think I had the most amplifiers of anybody there. It was paralyzing because that stage, that setting, was some kind of natural amphitheater. The sound was so loud and shocking that I got scared. But once I started playing, I just kept going because I was afraid to stop." Leslie WestAlthough Mountain's 11-song set went unrepresented in the original film documentary and soundtrack album, it did figure into the Woodstock II album and the extended home-video cut of the movie. Mountain disbanded for the first time in 1972, before reforming periodically in the years that followed. During one of Mountain's hiatuses, West formed a supergroup with Cream bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Corky Laing called West, Bruce and Laing. West was often cited as one of the all-time great rock guitarists, but he downplayed his ability in a 1987 interview with Guitar World magazine. "I'm no great guitarist technically," he said. "I only play with these two fingers [index and ring]. But you wanna know why people remember me? If you take a hundred players and put them in a room, 98 or 99 of 'em are gonna sound the same; the one who plays different, has some of his own, that's the one you're gonna remember." West had appeared almost unrecognizably thin in recent years, after being big enough at the outset of Mountain's career that the band was said to have been named after his hefty size. He even named his second solo album in 1975 The Great Fatsby. In 2011, he had part of his right leg amputated as a result of complications from type II diabetes. "I lost my leg, but at least it wasn't one of my arms," West said in a 2016 interview. "Otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation right now." The last studio album under the Mountain name, Masters of War, which consisted of Bob Dylan covers, was released in 2007. West continued doing live shows under his own name as recently as the fall of 2019, and also became known to new generations via his appearances on Howard Stern's radio show. Paul Stanley, Tom Morello, Slash and Twisted Sister's Dee Snider are among those to have paid tribute to West following news of his passing. "So very sad. Leslie's tone could stop a rhino in a full charge. Mountain sound was massive. Leslie was a warm and lovely guy. Sad," Paul Stanley tweeted. -, 12/23/20.

Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020

Iggy Pop is kissing off a worldly disastrous 2020 with a track called "Dirty Little Virus," an ode to the rapidly spreading pandemic. The song, which can be streamed on YouTube, features lyrics like "Grandfather's dead/Got Trump instead," and "She's only 19, but she can kill you/ She ain't my type/ But it is what it is." Iggy also explained what motivated him to write "Dirty Little Virus": "I was moved to write a direct lyric, not something too emotional or deep, more like journalism. If there was still a Man of the Year, it would be the virus, so I wrote the lyric," he said. - Billboard, 12/21/20...... In related news, Van Morrison is continuing his campaign against what he feels are harsh Covid restrictions with a new song called "Stand & Deliver," and has recruited Eric Clapton to contribute. "Do you wanna wear these chains/ Until you're lying in the grave?," Morrison and Clapton sing on the track released on Dec. 18. The song supports Morrison's Save Live Music campaign, and all proceeds will benefit the Celtic crooner's Lockdown Financial Hardship Fund, which aims to assist musicians who are struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic. Morrison has also shared "Stand And Deliver" on YouTube. - Billboard, 12/18/20...... Frank ZappaA San Diego-based indie brewing company named Duckfoot Brewery Co. has teamed up with the estate of Frank Zappa to create a new tribute beer, hilariously named "Why Does It Hurt When IPA?," a play on the 1979 Zappa Joe's Garage track "Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?" Described as containing "notes of passion fruit, spice and the rocker's favorite, grapefruit," Why Does It Hurt When IPA? features never-before-published photos of Frank on the cans and was launched on Dec. 21 to mark Zappa's birthday. Duckfoot's co-founder, Matt DelVecchio, says he's a Zappa fan from childhood and also a longtime friend of a member of the Zappa Plays Zappa touring band fronted by Frank's son, Ahmet Zappa. "Stay home, be safe and enjoy Why Does It Hurt When IPA? responsibly," Ahmet said in a press release. "All the Zappa Trust proceeds from this batch will go to support the music community in need. Music is the Best!," he added. U.S. residents can purchase the beer at - Billboard, 12/21/20...... As he embarks on a promotional campaign for his new album McCartney III, Paul McCartney appeared on the CBS show Sunday Morning on Dec. 20 and reminisced about the lasting legacy of the Beatles and whether the Fab Four might've eventually set aside their differences and reunited. "[John Lennon] was showing no signs of slowing up. You know, he was still making great music," McCartney said of Lennon's newly re-energized solo career. "The question is: Would we have ever got back together again? I don't know. We don't know." McCartney also discussed how he recorded McCartney III in isolation at his Sussex studio earlier in 2020. "It's not like working with the band, because I know what I want to hear, and I don't even have to tell anyone," he said. "I just said, 'Let's do some drums.' I'll sit on the drums and I'll think, 'OK, I wanted doo doo doo ... doo doo dah.' So, it's all in my head," he added. The full interview can be viewed on YouTube. Meanwhile, Macca has just shared a video for "Find My Way," a track from McCartney III, on YouTube. Directed by Roman Coppola, the video shows Paul playing every instrument on the song -- including guitar, drums and piano -- in a collage of footage taken by a staggering 46 cameras. Much like 1970's McCartney and 1980's McCartney II, the former Beatle is at the helm of every instrument on every one of McCartney III's songs. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 12/20/20...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, director Peter Jackson has shared a preview clip of his upcoming documentary The Beatles: Get Back on YouTube. Announced on the Beatles' official Twitter account, the film aims to "take audiences back in time to The Beatles' intimate recording sessions during a pivotal moment in music history" and has already had its release date moved from 2020 to August 27, 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Jackson says that he and the producers "wanted to give the fans of The Beatles all over the world a holiday treat, so we put together this five-minute sneak peek at our upcoming theatrical film The Beatles: Get Back... We hope it will bring a smile to everyone's faces and some much-needed joy at this difficult time." - NME, 12/21/20...... Neil Young returned to his hometown of Omemee, Ont. recently for a new performance of his classic "Comes a Time" in an empty theatre. "Coronation Hall in Omemee, Ontario, is a wonderful old theater," Young wrote on his Neil Young Archives website. "It holds memories of my family, all together in that little town. My dad played Coronation Hall once in a local show as my mother, my brother, and I sat in the audience... I know this time of year is going to be hard for a lot of us as we long to be with our loved ones. Our hearts go out to all of you. We send much love and a Coronation Hall quarantine 'Comes a Time'," he added. The "Comes a Time" performance, one of a host of new and archived footage of Young on his website that's free to watch until the end of the year, can be watched on his Archives site. - NME, 12/22/20...... Eddie Van Halen has been posthumously honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the U.K.'s National GUITAR Museum. "Several of the people we've honoured over the past decade have left us in the years since we presented them with the award," a statement reads from the museum, which has previously honoured the likes of B.B. King, Tony Iommi and Glen Campbell. "In this case, however, the sadness of Eddie Van Halen's passing is somehow harder to accept. Several of the people we've honoured over the past decade have left us in the years since we presented them with the award. In this case, however, the sadness of Eddie Van Halen's passing is somehow harder to accept. Thanks, Eddie. We only wish we could deliver this in person," it added. Meanwhile, Eddie's son Wolfgang Van Halen has said the iconic hard rock VH band will never return without his father, who passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer in October. Replying to a since-deleted Tweet on Dec. 17 from one of many people asking whether he would reform the band, Wolfgang said: "I can confidently say I will NEVER replace my father in Van Halen and tour around the world disrespecting my father's memory. No EVH = No VH. Get the f--- over it, but if you can't, just quit bothering me about it and demanding I do it when I've made it very clear how I feel." -, 12/21/20...... Al GreenSoul singer Al Green has just released his first new recording in a decade, a cover of Freddy Fender's 1975 hit "Before the Next Teardrop Falls". Green recorded the song with Matt Ross-Spang in 2018, a decade after his last LP release, 2008's Lay It Down. "As a lifelong Memphian, I've always been a massive fan of Al Green and his Producer Willie Mitchell," Ross-Spang said at the time. "Together they created some of the most enduring soul music. Sonically speaking, Willie and Al also really invented a distinct sound that separated them from Stax or Motown." The cover was released in 2018 as part of Amazon Music's "Produced By" series, and two years on, is now available on other music platforms. Green's cover of "Teardrop" can be heard at YouTube. Although Green is currently on an extended hiatus, he has kept up an active presence on social media, regularly posting on Twitter and Facebook. - NME, 12/21/20...... Bruce Springsteen has announced on Instagram the details of a mammoth new 24-disc box set from his Darkness on the Edge of Town era. "Eight of the finest performances from Bruce Springsteen's 1978 tour are now available in a limited, collectible box set," the announcement aid of the new release, which is due on Feb. 1, 2021. "This 24-CD set contains all five of the legendary radio broadcasts on the Darkness tour: The Roxy in L.A., The Agora in Cleveland, The Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ, Fox Theatre in Atlanta and Winterland in San Francisco. Rounding out the collection are the second shows in Passaic and San Francisco, plus the December 8 show in Houston, Texas. A limited number of empty boxes are also available to hold previously purchased CDs," it added. - NME, 12/19/20...... Bob Dylan has announced a new box set of material recorded in 1970 with George Harrison to celebrate its 50 year anniversary. 1970 (50th Anniversary Collection), a 3-disc set, is due on Feb. 26, 2021 via Columbia/Legacy and features outtakes from Dylan's sessions for studio albums New Morning and Self Portrait, as well as his infamous 1970 studio session with Harrison. Artwork and a full tracklisting can be viewed on Instagram. - NME, 12/19/20...... Appearing on cable news channel CNN on Dec. 17, Cher candidly discussed the difficulty surrounding her son Chaz Bono's transition from female to male in 2009. Cher, 74, remembered the extremely difficult moment when she called his answering machine and heard his old voice. She also looked back on the light-bulb moment when she realised she hadn't "lost" her only child -- previously known as Chastity -- but that he had simply changed "shape." "It was very unlike me to, in the beginning, have a problem with Chaz being gay, and it disappeared like that, Cher said of her initial struggle to accept Chaz's transition. "But it wasn't easy. I remember calling, and the old [voicemail] message was on the phone, and that was very difficult," she added. Chaz, a successful writer and actor, was also the first transgender star to appear on Dancing With The Stars in 2011. He is currently in a relationship with former child star, Shara Blue Mathes, and is "unbelievably happy," according to his mom. Cher is now a staunch supporter of transgender rights and recently spoke out following a report that Pres. Donald Trump's administration is considering implementing a policy which would eliminate the recognition of transgender individuals. -, 12/19/20...... Former Talking Heads frontman has told England's New Musical Express that he is hopeful about an America after the presidency of Donald Trump, though he adds its "too early to celebrate. "For me Trump was not so much a shock; we knew who he is," Byrne told NME. "He was around New York before that, in the reality show [The Apprentice], we knew what kind of character he was. What shocked me was how quickly the Republican party all fell into line behind him, behind this guy who's obviously a racist, misogynist liar and everything else. But it's kind of encouraging -- although it's taken four years and with some it's only with the prospect of him being gone -- that quite a few have been breaking ranks. There are some possibilities of bridge building being held out." Byrne then warned that it is "too early to celebrate" following Trump's loss to former vice-president Joe Biden the election, discussing the current Republican control of the Senate. "[This] is what happened with [Pres.] Obama..." Byrne said. "I want to see real change happen," and added that "climate change absolutely needs to be a priority." - NME, 12/21/20...... Keith RichardsAs Keith Richards celebrated his 77th birthday on Dec. 18, the Rolling Stones frontman has been honoured with a cockroach named after. Officials at the Children's Museum in West Hartford, Conn. have decided to name a Madagascar hissing cockroach after the Rolling Stones icon -- and have even given the insect its very own custom miniature guitar to crawl all over. The news was revealed to acknowledge the fact that both Keith Richards and cockroaches have great survival rates, according to the celebrity gossip site TMZ. "Keith the Cockroach" has been adopted by Denver, Colorado's classic rock radio station 103.5 The Fox, although it will permanently remain at the museum's wildlife sanctuary -- not far from the town of Weston, where Richards has a home -- and it will be cared for by staff at the museum, noting that "all of his rider demands will be met" thanks to a generous contribution from 103.5 The Fox. "It is said the only two things to survive a nuclear war would be cockroaches and Keith Richards," the museum wrote in a press release. "Chances are the real Keith will outlive the newly named, oval-shaped invertebrate whose life span is two to five years," it added. The museum said it was inspired to name the nightcrawler after Richards, who himself has notoriously cheated death on several occasions, including when he fell out of a coconut tree in 2006, and in 1978, when someone laced his dope with strychnine, which landed him in a coma. Stones fans can visit Keith the Cockroach by getting tickets on the website of the Children's Museum in West Hartford. Admission is $8 for both adults and children. - The New York Post, 12/18/20...... Ozzy Osbourne is reportedly "about halfway through" his next studio album, according to producer/guitarist Andrew Watt, and it includes contributions from members of Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Metallica. The new band, Watt explained in a new interview, features Ozzy on vocals, himself on guitar, Metallica's Robert Trujillo on bass, and Taylor Hawkins and Chad Smith sharing drumming duties. "There's a bunch of people involved," Watt told Guitar World magazine. "I can't say for sure until the end, but I started doing a bunch of basic tracks with Chad and Robert Trujillo, who used to play in Ozzy's band. Osbourne released his well-received last studio album, Ordinary Man, earlier in 2020, just before the pandemic hit. - NME, 12/18/20...... John Prine has been honoured posthumously with an Artist of the Year prize at the 19th annual Americana Honors and Awards. Prine, a 2003 Americana Lifetime Achievement Award winner, becomes the first artist in Honors & Awards history to be posthumously nominated in this category. There will be no in-person awards ceremony this year due to the COVID crisis and the winners were announced via social media on Dec. 15. Prine lost his battle with the coronavirus in April. - WENN/, 12/15/20...... Actor Jeremy Bulloch, best known for playing Boba Fett in the original Star Wars trilogy, died on Dec. 17 from health complications after living with Parkinson's disease for many years, according to his agent. He was 75. Bulloch played bounty hunter Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and the character has since featured in the second season of Star Wars spin-off series, The Mandalorian. Bulloch also appeared in James Bond film Octopussy in 1983, and the BBC TV series Doctor Who in the 1970s. Born in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, Bulloch's first major role was in the musical film Summer Holiday in 1963, aged 17, when he starred alongside pop star Sir Cliff Richard. His death follows the passing of fellow Star Wars actor David Prowse, the actor behind the menacing black mask of Darth Vader, on Nov. 29. -, 12/18/20...... Chad StuartBritish '60s pop singer Chad Stuart, one half of '60s hitmaking folk-pop duo Chad & Jeremy, has died at age 79, according to a post on the duo's Facebook page on Dec. 20. Born David Stuart Chadwick, Stuart met Jeremy Clyde at London's Central School For Speech and Drama, and the pair started performing together as a folk duo in the early '60s. After briefly attempting a side rock band and separating after graduation, they reassembled as Chad & Jeremy -- both members singing and playing guitar -- and released their debut single, the upbeat-but-melancholy "Yesterday's Gone," in 1963. The song became a No. 37 hit in their home country, but was more successful on U.S. shores, where it peaked at No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100, as part of a growing wave of popular post-Beatles U.K. acts collectively known as the British Invasion. The group would score two more Stateside hits off their eventual 1964 album, also titled Yesterday's Gone: "A Summer Song" (No. 7) and "Willow Weep For Me" (No. 15). Stuart continued to find work in entertainment after Chad & Jeremy's split in 1968, becoming the musical director for The Smothers Brothers' variety TV show, and later working as a staff producer for A&M Records. Chad & Jeremy informally reunited in the late '70s, and eventually began to record and tour again, releasing the Chad Stuart & Jeremy Clyde album in 1983. They separated again from 1987 to 2002, but resumed touring for much of the 21st century, playing at a number of '60s and British Invasion-themed gigs and on such package tours, before Stuart officially retired to Sun Valley, Idaho in the late '10s. "He just loves being at home and puttering about," Clyde said about Stuart in 2019. "He has a shed and he does all sorts of woodwork, and feeds the birds and watches and identifies them, and has a lovely time." According to the Facebook post, Stuart contracted pneumonia in the fall, after having been admitted to the hospital for non-COVID-related reasons. "The family would like to thank his fans from around the world for the outpouring of birthday wishes and gifts he received every year," his family noted. "Chad took the time to read each and every card. The world has lost a legend today, but his voice will continue to touch our lives through his music," they added. - Billboard, 12/21/20...... Country star K.T. Oslin, a three-time Grammy-winning country singer and songwriter, died on Dec. 21 after battling Parkinson's Disease and being diagnosed with COVID-19 the previous week. She was 78. The Crosssett, Ark., native won a trio of Grammys in the late 1980s for her songs "80s Ladies" and "Hold Me." She took home best country vocal performance by a female for "80s Ladies" in 1988, then won the same award and best country song for "Hold Me" in 1989. The singer-songwriter also topped the charts with her 1990 song "Come Next Monday." At the Country Music Association awards, Oslin was named the 1988 female vocalist of the year, and "80s Ladies" earned the song of the year award. It was the first time a female songwriter took home the prestigious honour. Oslin would go on to influence several of today's songwriters, including Grammy-nominated country music singer Brandy Clark, who remembered her in a Twitter thread as "Larger than life, smart, funny, elegant, beautiful...the list could go on and on." -, 12/21/20.

Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band delivered energetic performances of two tracks on Springsteen's latest album Letter To You -- "Ghosts" and "I'll See You In My Dreams" -- as the musical guests on the Dec. 12 episode of NBC's Saturday Night Live. Available for viewing on YouTube, the performance was the 71-year-old New Jersey rocker and his band's first appearance on the popular late night comedy show since 2015, however two E Street Band members -- bassist Garry Tallent and violinist Soozie Tyrell -- decided not to participate because of COVID-19 precautions." "Garry and his family are fine as is Soozie, but we thank Jack Daley of the Disciples of Soul for sitting in," Springsteen posted on Twitter earlier in the week. Letter To You, Springsteen's 20th studio album, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Rock Albums chart in early November and is the follow-up to his 2019 LP Western Stars. - Billboard, 12/13/20...... Bruce SpringsteenIn other Springsteen news, the Boss has recalled his reaction to hearing the finished version of his 1975 iconic album Born To Run as that album marked its 45th anniversary on Aug. 25. Appearing on The Tonight Show, Springsteen told host Jimmy Fallon that he threw the album itself in the pool and not its cover, as Fallon said he had once heard. "No, I threw the album in the pool, that was different," Springsteen replied in the interview that has been shared on YouTube. "When you first start you're not used to hearing yourself, even two, three records in. I just couldn't get used to the sound of my voice and very often it sounds terrible to you. You're making all these choices you end up not comfortable with. I recorded that when I was a 24-year-old kid, you know?" He continued to explain that Jimmy Iovine was working as the engineer on the record and brought the mastered version to Springsteen in Richmond, Va. After finding a record player in a local music store, the pair had their first listen in the shop. "So I'm listening to the mastering of Born To Run, the two of us are standing in the back of the record store down south and Jimmy is trying to get me to say 'It's OK, we can release it'," Springsteen explained. "I'm there and I'm like, '[makes uncertain noises] Into the pool at the hotel it goes!' At any rate, we did release it and it worked out alright." - New Musical Express, 12/13/20...... A filmed version of the David Bowie musical "Lazarus" will be live-streamed on Jan. 8, 2021 -- what would have been Bowie's 74th birthday -- to mark the five-year anniversary of Bowie's death. A second broadcast of "Lazarus" will also take place the following evening (Jan. 9) before a final virtual outing on Jan. 10, which is the fifth anniversary of Bowie's death. The performance will be available for the aforementioned three airings only across the following time zones -- GMT, AEDT, EST, PST, CST -- and tickets for a viewing can be purchased at "Lazarus" made its debut at The New York Theatre Workshop in 2015, arriving in the UK for a sold-out run at London's Kings Cross Theatre the following year. The filmed version of the show was screened at Brooklyn, New York's Kings Theatre in May 2018. Meanwhile, it has been announced that Bowie's covers of John Lennon's "Mother" and Bob Dylan's "Tryin' to Get to Heaven" will be released as a special 7" single to mark the late rock legend's birthday. Two previously unreleased versions of Bowie's covers of the classics will arrive on vinyl on Jan. 8. A cream record (exclusive to Bowie's official store and Dig!) will be limited to just 1000 copies, with the remaining 7,147 numbered vinyl being black. Fans will also be able to listen to the tracks via streaming services. The five-year anniversary of Bowie's passing is also set to be marked with a BBC Radio series titled Bowie Five Years On, which begins on Jan. 8, 2021. The series will explore "the impact of David Bowie on their lives and how he always managed to be ahead of the curve," according to a BBC post on Twitter. - NME, 12/17/20...... Elton John is set to be honored at the upcoming annual Global Citizen Prize ceremony on Dec. 19, which recognizes individuals or groups who use their platforms to promote awareness and positive change. Sir Elton will be recognized for his work with his AIDS Foundation, which he founded in 1993. He is also being honored for his fundraising efforts to help with the response to coronavirus. John shared the news on his Instagram Stories account, reposting the official announcement from the Global Citizen account. Hosted by singer John Legend and featuring appearances by Oprah Winfrey, Nick Jonas and Miley Cyrus, the event will also feature performances from Gwen Stefani, Carrie Underwood and Common. -, 12/16/20...... Universal has announced a new TV series based on the life of late funk-rock singer Rick James. Superfreak is described as "a funkadelic mix of music biopic and true crime, chronicling James' plans for a comeback in the early 1990's amidst a heated trial that threatened to destroy his legacy." The series will be written and executive produced by Randy McKinnon with James' daughter Ty James also on board as an executive producer. Casting for the show has yet to be announced. - NME, 12/17/20...... Paul McCartneyWith his new album McCartney III set for release on Dec. 18, Paul McCartney has confirmed he will dissect the latest addition to his trilogy of self-titled efforts with a Twitter "Listening Party" series appearance on Dec. 21. "Hey @PaulMcCartney," Tim Burgess tweeted in November. "Just wondering if you fancy doing a [listening party] for 'McCartney III'. Give us a shout if you do." On Dec. 17, Sir Paul McCartney gave Burgess said shout, tweeting him back with a simple thumbs up, indicating that the listening party is on its way. After the run-through of McCartney III, Macca will then host a special encore, talking through his Christmas classic "Wonderful Christmas Time." Launched back in March as the UK went into coronavirus-enforced lockdown, Burgess's "Listening Parties" are listen-and-tweet-along online events that see bands and artists tweeting through a playback of one of their classic albums and interacting with fans. Meanwhile, McCartney has revealed that Taylor Swift moved the release date of her new album Evermore so as not to clash with the Beatle's upcoming album. Talking on Howard Stern's syndicated radio show, McCartney said that he and Swift had a conversation about release dates, and that Swift decided out of courtesy to "keep out of each other's way" and would agree to release her album on Dec. 10 instead of Dec. 18, which happens to be her birthday. Paul's full interview with Stern can be heard on YouTube. In still more McCartney news, the former Beatle has shared a teaser for for his new documentary with producer Rick Rubin on YouTube. On Dec. 16 he posted a 96-second black-and-white preview of the film to his official YouTube channel with a description that reads "Paul McCartney x Rick Rubin. A forthcoming documentary event. Coming Soon." In the video, we see Macca and the acclaimed producer behind a studio desk as they listen to the Beatles classic track 'Come Together'. "You can actually control the band with the bass," McCartney explains. A release date for the six-part documentary has not yet been confirmed. - NME, 12/17/20...... In other Beatles-related news, Ringo Starr has announced a new EP called "Zoom In" featuring contributions from McCartney, Dave Grohl and Finneas. Starr recorded the five-song collection at his home studio between April and October of 2020. Ringo shared a taste of the forthcoming EP, "Here's to Nights," on YouTube on Dec. 15. Ringo collaborates with LA songwriter Diane Warren on the track. "When Diane presented this song to me I loved the sentiment of it," Starr explained. "This is the kind of song we all want to sing along to, and it was so great how many wonderful musicians joined in. I wanted it out in time for New Years because it feels like a good song to end a tough year on. So here's to the nights we won't remember and the friends we won't forget -- and I am wishing everyone peace and love for 2021," he added. - NME, 12/16/20...... Ozzy Osbourne's wife Sharon Osbourne has shared details of her recent diagnosis of testing positive for COVID-19 and being briefly hospitalized for the disease. "I wanted to share I've tested positive for Covid 19," Osbourne wrote on Twitter. "After a brief hospitalization, I'm now recuperating at a location away from Ozzy (who has tested negative) while 'The Talk' is on scheduled hiatus. Everyone please stay safe and healthy," she added. The Twitter account for The Talk, the talk show Osbourne has co-hosted since 2010, replied to Sharon's tweet saying "Wishing you a speedy recovery, Mrs. O, we love you." - NME, 12/15/20...... On Dec. 14 it was announced that Michael Jackson's estate has won an appeal that allows it to pursue arbitration after claiming the creators of the Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland violated a non-disparagement clause. The estate had sued HBO for $100 million, arguing that its 2019 documentary, which details accounts by Jackson's alleged victims of child sex abuse, breaks a 27-year-old confidentiality clause. By contrast, HBO accuses the Jackson estate of seeking to silence victims of sexual abuse. HBO argued that the non-disparagement clause from a 1992 concert film from Jackson's "Dangerous" tour is irrelevant to the present dispute, and appealed a decision by a lower court that granted he Jackson estate's motion to take the dispute to arbitration, as provided by the contract. HBO appealed, and on Dec. 14 a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal upheld the lower court ruling. The judges said the suit may be "frivolous," as HBO has claimed, but concluded that it would be for an arbitrator to decide. Now, HBO is left with the option of appealing the panel's ruling to the full 9th Circuit or bring its case before an arbitrator. - Variety, 12/14/20...... Dionne WarwickAs Dionne Warwick celebrated her milestone 80th birthday on Dec. 12, the Grammy-winning pop singer took to her Twitter page on Dec. 17 to share a video pitch for a new Netflix project based on her life and career, and she singled out rising singer Teyana Taylor as the perfect person to portray her on screen. "This is a case for @netflix," Dionne wrote alongside a video, in which she asked if fans would really want to tune in. "Please don't ask who I would cast to play me as it would obviously be @TEYANATAYLOR." Taylor was quick to share her gratitude for the honor, replying with clapping hand emojis, while Netflix admitted they were "taking notes." "I'll call ya!," Dionne replied to Netflix. Although she recently turned 80, the "I Say a Little Prayer" singer shows no signs of retiring. She's currently working with Chance the Rapper on an initiative to feed homeless people, with The Weeknd joining them too. Warwick's upcoming charity single "Nothing Is Impossible" -- penned by her son Dionne Damon Elliott -- will benefit the non-profit charity Hunger Not Impossible, whose aim is to fight hunger by connecting American families in need with nutritious meals provided by local restaurants. - Music-News/NME, 12/17/20...... In a recent interview with the UK paper The Guardian, Cher shared both her hopes and fears for the end of Pres. Donald Trump's term in January and said she hopes Trump will be prosecuted once he's out of office. Cher argued that Trump had turned US culture "toxic" during his time in office, adding: "People who just disagreed with each other before are now enemies. I hate to even call him a president because all he does is watch TV." She also related her fear that "if Trump can't be in the White House, he's going to burn it down." "He's trying to block [Pres. Elect] Joe [Biden] at every moment," she said. "He's the most vindictive person I've ever witnessed. I think he's fighting so hard because he's going to be prosecuted when he gets out of the White House." Asked if she thinks Trump could end up going to prison in the future, Cher replied: "Oh, I hope so. I'll be dancing around." - NME, 12/14/20...... An official cause of death of guitar legend Eddie Van Halen has been revealed as a copy of the 65-year-old's death certificate was obtained by the celebrity gossip site on Dec. 13. Van Halen's immediate cause of death on Oct. 6 was as a cerebrovascular accident, or a stroke, according to the certificate. He also had several underlying causes, including pneumonia, the bone marrow disorder myelodysplastic syndrome and lung cancer. The certificate also listed a number of "other significant conditions," including skin cancer on his head and neck and an irregular heart rate. Van Halen's body was cremated 22 days after his death and his ashes have been given to his son, Wolfgang Van Halen. - NME, 12/13/20...... A Slingerland drum kit played by Rush drummer Neil Peart between 1974-1977 has sold at a Bonhams' Music Memorabilia auction for just over $500,000 (£379,000) that ended on Dec. 10. The coveted kit, which features dual blue heads printed with Rush's logo and Neil Peart's name, as well as chrome-wrapped Tom-toms with an original head signed by Peart himself, was expected to fetch somewhere between $104,000 (£77,695) and $157,000 (£117,290). That estimation, however, was shattered as the drummer's hardware was sold for just over half a million dollars -- $500,312, to be exact. As the Bonhams listing explained, the kit was purchased by Peart in 1974 from Toronto's Long & McQuade music store shortly after he joined the iconic band. Peart used the kit for his first performance with the band on Aug. 14, 1974 and it acted as his main drum set until 1977. - NME, 12/12/20...... Charley PrideTrailblazing African-American country musician Charley Pride, the first African-American to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, passed away in Dallas, Tex., on Dec. 12 due to COVID-19 complications. He was 86. Born in Sledge, Miss., on Mar. 18, 1934 to a sharecropper, Mr. Pride enlisted in the Army as a young man and later worked at a Missouri smelting plant. Mr. Pride then played for the Memphis Red Sox and Birmingham Black Barons in the Negro League before heading in 1963 to Nashville where he made demonstration recordings. Four years later, his recording of "Just Between You and Me" broke into country's Top Ten. He went on to score 52 Top Ten hits on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. "Kiss An Angel Good Mornin'," "Why Baby Why" and "Night Games" were among Mr. Pride's 29 songs to reach No. 1 on that chart, and he also earned four Grammy Awards throughout his career, including three Grammys for his gospel songs "Let Me Live" and" Did You Think to Pray," and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. He was also a distinguished advocate for African-American rights. "We're not color blind yet, but we've advanced a few paces along the path and I like to think I've contributed something to that process," Mr. Pride wrote in his memoir, 2017's Pride: The Charley Pride Story. Mr. Pride was also a talented baseball player in his youth, earning professional contracts during the 1950s. Mr. Pride gave his final public performance at the Country Music Association Awards on Nov. 11. Following claims that Mr. Pride may have been exposed to COVID-19 at the indoor event, the CMA Awards issued a statement. "Everyone affiliated with the CMA Awards followed strict testing protocols outlined by the city health department and unions," the statement read. "Charley was tested prior to traveling to Nashville. He was tested upon landing in Nashville, and again on show day, with all tests coming back negative. After returning to Texas following the CMA Awards, Charley again tested negative multiple times," the statement added. Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire and Billy Ray Cyris are among the musicians to have paid tribute to Pride following his passing. "I'm so heartbroken that one of my dearest and oldest friends, Charley Pride, has passed away. It's even worse to know that he passed away from COVID-19," Dolly Parton posted to Twitter. "What a horrible, horrible virus. Charley, we will always love you...Rest in Peace. My love and thoughts go out to his family and all of his fans." - NME/Reuters, 12/13/20.

Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020

The Rolling Stones have tapped BMG to represent them globally in pursuing collections of master recording performance rights royalties when their songs are played on radio and television, also known as "neighboring rights." The signing gives a big boost to BMG's neighboring rights service, which was launched in June. "If you are in the business of selling services to artists and songwriters, these are the kinds of client you dream of attracting," BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch said in a statement. "We are immensely grateful to Sir Mick [Jagger], Keith [Richards], Charlie [Watts] and Ronnie [Wood] for putting their faith in us." According to BMG, the neighboring rights deal covers all of the Stones' music from their first single "Come On," released in 1963, to "Living In A Ghost Town," released in 2020. At the same time BMG announced that the band had reached a deal extending BMG's representation of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards' music publishing rights, in a deal first signed back in 2013. Meanwhile, a scripted series about the beginnings of "the world's greatest rock & roll band" has been announced by the FX cable network. FX CEO John Landgraf confirmed the news at Disney's Investor Day on Dec. 11, saying the network is in "advanced talks" for the series. The story would follow the band during their formative years, specifically mapping the 1960s through to 1972. - Billboard/The Hollywood Reporter, 12/10/20...... Neil YoungNeil Young announced on his Neil Young Archives site on Dec. 12 that he's offering free access to his online archive through the end of 2020. "We are doing well here and feeling good. We hope you are well, too," he posted. "If you are locked down, we are here for you with hours of listening and cruising around through the years in movies. We want you to enjoy what we have to share at NYA... It's my music and our lives. Peace," he added. Fans will have access through Dec. 31 to more than 50 years of Young's music and videos, including the recent Archives Volume II: 1972-1976 boxset. Also included are the Fireside Sessions, which received a staggered release during the summer of 2020. His forthcoming concert film, Timeless Orpheum, will also be streaming for free. Meanwhile, Young has reportedly dropped his lawsuit against Pres. Donald Trump for the Trump campaign's unauthorized use of his music at rallies. New York Times reporter Ben Sisario screenshotted a legal document to his Twitter account which appears to be a notice of dismissal in which Young "voluntarily dismissed all claims against "Donal [sic] J. Trump for President, Inc. with prejudice, with each party to bear its own costs, fees, and expenses." A dismissal with prejudice means that claims cannot be renewed. Both parties' lawyers have not released an official statement regarding the status of Young's lawsuit. Young first announced he was suing Trump in August and was seeking "statutory damages in the maximum amount allowed for willful copyright infringement." - NME, 12/12/20...... John Lennon's former bandmates Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with his widow Yoko Ono and sons Sean and Julian Lennon, were among those honoring the late rock legend on the 40th anniversary of his death on Dec. 8. "A sad sad day but remembering my friend John with the great joy he brought to the world. I will always be proud and happy to have known and worked with this incredible Scouser! X love Paul," McCartney posted on Twitter on Dec. 8, along with a touching picture of the duo snapped by McCartney's late wife, Linda McCartney. Ringo Starr, meanwhile, took to Twitter to urge radio stations across the globe to play "Strawberry Fields Forever" in honour of his former bandmate: "Tuesday, 8 December 1980 we all had to say goodbye to John peace and love John. I'm asking Every music radio station in the world sometime today to play Strawberry Fields Forever. Peace and love." Yoko Ono, meanwhile, used used the opportunity to campaign against gun violence in the U.S. with her Twitter post. "The death of a loved one is a hollowing experience. After 40 years, Sean, Julian and I still miss him," she wrote. Sharing the lyrics to John's peace anthem "Imagine," she added: 'Imagine all the people living life in peace," and accompanied the post with a graphic that highlighted the seriousness of gun violence in the U.S. Lennon's eldest son, Julian, shared a picture of his father and wrote, "As time goes by." Lennon, 40, was fatally shot in front of his New York City apartment on the evening of Dec. 8, 1980, by Mark David Chapman. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 12/8/20...... In related news, James Taylor has shared a chilling story about meeting Mark Chapman the day before he fatally shot John Lennon. In an interview with the U.K. paper The Telegraph, Taylor said he encountered Chapman approximately a 25-minute walk away from where Chapman shot John in front of his Dakota apartment building on Dec. 7. According to Taylor, Chapman was "glistening with sweat" and "his eyes were dating all over the place... dilated like crazy," and "seemed either drugged or in a manic break of some sort." He also remembered that Chapman mentioned Lennon in conversation and said he was "going to show him" something. "He was just talking a mile a minute about something he was going to show John Lennon," said Taylor, who was once signed to the Beatles' Apple Records early in his career. "He was just someone who knew me who I didn't know; someone who had an agenda that I knew I couldn't deal with. I just knew that I needed to get away from him," Taylor added. - NME, 12/8/20...... Willie NelsonWillie Nelson has announced he'll release That's Life, his second album of Frank Sinatra covers, on Feb. 26 via Legacy Recordings. Ahead of its release Nelson has shared a cover of "A Cottage For Sale" on YouTube. That's Life follows Nelson's first Sinatra covers album, My Way, released in 2018. He released his 70th studio album, First Rose of Spring, earlier in 2020. - NME, 12/12/20...... In other Country news, Dolly Parton has announced she'll embark on a global stadium tour in 2021 to mark her 75th birthday on Jan. 19. Parton's agent Neil Warnock says the "Dolly Fest" will visit 15 stadiums and will be "very Dolly." Parton has a number of other projects in store for 2021, including the launch of a Broadway show, another book publication, more film features and a new album following signing with 12Tone. In 2020 she released the festive album A Holly Dolly Christmas, the Netflix movie Christmas On The Square, and her book Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life In Lyrics. Meanwhile Parton has said that she's considering selling the rights to her entire back catalogue of songs, in what would be a hugely lucrative deal. "I've owned my own publishing company for years and years," Parton told Music Week magazine. "It's very possible that, for business reasons, estate planning, and family things, I might sell the catalogue I have now. I've often thought about it and I'm sure that I could get a lot of money for it," she added. Parton and Cher are also set to join the star-studded lineup of '80s hitmaker Cyndi Lauper's 10th annual "Cyndi Lauper & Friends" gig, which raises funds for True Colors United, the non-profit organization the singer founded in 2008, which addresses the issue of youth homelessness in the US, particularly among the LGBTQ+ community. The event will be live-streamed on TikTok on Dec. 11, and YouTube and Facebook on Dec. 13. - NME/, 12/12/20...... Alice Cooper has shared a new song called "Our Love Will Change the World" on YouTube which he describes as "one of the oddest songs I've ever done." "It was one that came to us by somebody else, another Detroit writer," Cooper said of the new track, which will appear on Coop's upcoming studio album Detroit Stories. "And it was so strange, because it was happy and what it was saying was anything but happy - it was simply a great juxtaposition. And I got it immediately and said "okay, this is going to be great". The music saying one thing and the lyrics saying something else, I love that song. It is totally different from anything else on the album." Detroit Stories will drop on Feb. 26, 2021. - NME, 12/12/20...... Jimmy BuffettAppearing recently on the NBC morning show Today, Jimmy Buffett said he had to do some homework before recording his new album of old songs, Songs You Don't Know By Heart, because he'd forgotten the lyrics to so many of his lesser known tunes. "There were a lot of them that I had to go back and learn...!," Buffett, 73, mused. "I'm old, and I've been doing this for 40 years!," he added. Buffett said the album was initially an idea for a video performance series online during the coronavirus shutdown, and t's all thanks to his daughter Delaney, and her pal. "Delaney and a friend of hers from high school, who had been working for us for a little while, came up with the idea to go to fans and ask them, 'Hey, he's not doing shows, what songs would you like to hear that he hasn't played in 20 years?' so that became Songs You Don't Know By Heart," he explained. "(Delaney and her friend) got like 10,000 setlists (suggested by fans) in a short period of time, and so we collected 50 of the most voted on songs, and went to 15 which we could do, and that was the video (series). And then we started getting mail back from people saying, 'Why doesn't your dad go in the studio and do an acoustic album?' So as a person who hadn't made an album in seven years, I made two in three months!," he added. -, 12/11/20...... Jimmy Page is joining a growing list of musicians who are calling for fairer payments from streaming services including Spotify and Apple Music. "Having recently viewed the Select Committee for Music Streaming on 24 November 2020 I feel compelled to write this letter," the Led Zeppelin guitarist posted on Instagram." I fully appreciate the dilemma surrounding streaming royalties that should be rightfully paid to all musicians and writers who made the music. The sooner the streaming companies can make fair payments to all musicians whose music is played on or viewed via the internet, and to pay fair royalties to those who give us great pleasure from those who are exploiting it, the better," he added. - NME, 12/10/20...... In related news, David Crosby took to Twitter on Dec. 8 to announce he intends to sell his catalogue of work, saying "streaming stole my record money." "I can't work... and streaming stole my record money... I have a family and a mortgage and I have to take care of them so it's my only option... I'm sure the others feel the same," Crosby posted. Crosby's tweet was responding to a thread regarding the recent news that Bob Dylan has sold his complete catalogue to Universal in a "landmark agreement" with the global publishing group to sell his catalogue of more than 600 songs spanning 60 years. - NME, 12/9/20...... AC/DC have shared a a new video for their second single from their chart-topping album Power Up. "Demon Fire," which can be viewed on YouTube, features a car driving down a dimly lit motorway, with billboards of the band members flashing by periodically. At one point, the car drives under a bridge with graffiti paying tribute to late AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young. "This one's for Mal," it reads. AC/DC's Angus Young recently said that Power Up is an album "for Malcolm," adding: "His death was a huge blow to us, but I still think he's there when I'm playing." - NME, 12/9/20...... Elton John has told Record Collector magazine that he's holding off on recording another album because "no one needs another Elton John record out at the moment." "I have no idea what the f--- I'm going to do next, and that feels great," Sir Elton said. "I just don't think this is a time for me to think about recording. I'm a dad and I love being a dad. I will get in the mood to record again -- and I'll get in the mood to write," added John, whose "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour was derailed by the coronavirus pandemic. - NME, 12/9/20...... Olivia Newton-JohnOlivia Newton-John has announced she's shifting her new cancer foundation to America for tax reasons after launching it in Australia in Oct. 2020. Newton-John, who is currently battling stage-four metastatic breast cancer, posted on Instagram that she has chosen to voluntarily deregister the NJ Foundation Down Under in Australia and she and husband John Easterling "will now focus on our ONJ Foundation Fund in the USA. We're excited to be supporting plant medicine research, specifically for cancer, through a simple Donor Advised fund with CAF America!." "The ONJ Foundation received significant and positive public support after a soft-launch in October 2020, primarily from USA residents, and Olivia is keen to make sure these donors receive maximum tax benefits and support," according to the singer/actress's publicist, Michael Caprico. -, 12/10/20...... Appearing on the MSNBC show The Beat on Dec. 8, David Byrne said that "reunion tours have become an exercise in nostalgia" when host Ari Melber asked why many fans can't accept that his former band Talking Heads won't make a comeback. "There's a period where music really is essential to you kind of defining who you are and what your place is in the world, and you can never let go of that moment," Byrne said. "But then again, you could never could never recreate and replace that moment either. There's plenty of reunion tours and things like that and it's become an exercise in nostalgia. You can never recreate that moment when people hear things like that for the first time. It has to do with the moment that they heard this music in their life, where they were in their life, when this happened -- more than it was us." Talking Heads broke up in 1991, and have only played together once since, for their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2002. - NME, 12/8/20...... Aerosmith have added an additional concert at Sheffield Arena on July 2, 2021 to their upcoming European tour. Aerosmith had been due to hit the road this summer, before they were forced to postpone the shows due to the coronavirus crisis. Other U.K. dates include previously announced shows in London and Manchester on June 23 and 29, respectively, and the band will also visit Switzerland, Spain, France, Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, and Hungary before wrapping in Austria on July 15. - NME, 12/8/20...... In an interview with The Oakland Press, Eddie Van Halen's son Wolfgang Van Halen told fans "not hold their breath" over the release of archived songs of his late father's. "That's not gonna happen for a long time," Wolfgang said. "I have no idea what's in there that would be worth releasing. To a certain extent, my dad released all the good stuff. Even without the intention to release, I want to archive it properly and digitize it, so everything is safe for years to come. It's going to be an incredibly difficult process and a very long process to do properly," he added, noting "you usually see right away the compilations of unreleased music that maybe should have stayed unreleased, and it just seems like a cash grab to take hold of the moment." Eddie Van Halen passed away from cancer on Oct. 6 at age 65. - NME, 12/8/20...... Bruce Springsteen recently teamed up with the rock band Bleachers to perform a song titled "Chinatown" together. Bleachers, led by frontman Jack Antonoff, filmed the performance on the roof of Electric Lady Studios in New York City and have shared it on YouTube. Bleachers and Springsteen released the collaborative single in November. A B-side titled "45," which doesn't feature Springsteen, also arrived at the same time. - NME, 12/8/20...... Chuck YeagerLegendary American airman Gen. Chuck Yeager, the first pilot in history confirmed to break the sound barrier, died on Dec. 7 at age 97, according to a post on his verified Twitter account. A World War II ace, Gen. Yeager's place in history was secured in 1947 when he became the first pilot to blow past the speed of sound. Gen. Yeager's daring and understated swagger personified "The Right Stuff" associated with the test pilots who followed in his footsteps to become the first astronauts in the American space program. While stationed in England during the war, Gen. Yeager flew P-51 mustangs but was shot down over France on his eighth mission. He escaped and returned to the air. On Oct. 12, 1944, Gen. Yeager downed five enemy aircraft in a single mission and finished the war credited with shooting down at least 12 German planes. In all, Gen. Yeager flew 64 combat missions. After the war, he remained in the military and became a test pilot at Muroc Army Air Field, now called Edwards Air Force Base. He was selected to fly a rocket-powered Bell XS-1 to research high-speed flight, and broke the sound barrier on Oct. 14, 1947, flying his X-1 plane at 700 miles an hour, Mach 1.06, at an altitude of 45,000 feet. Because of the top-secret nature of the mission, Gen. Yeager's feat was not announced to the public until months later in June, 1948. Now, the X-1 he flew that day is on permanent display at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum. His feat put Gen. Yeager in the headlines for a time, but he truly became a national celebrity only after the publication of Tom Wolfe's book The Right Stuff in 1979, about the early days of the space program, and the release of the movie based on it four years later, in which Gen. Yeager was played by Sam Shepard. He was depicted breaking the sound barrier in the opening scene. Gen. Yeager continued sound barrier-breaking flights well into his life. On Oct. 14, 1997, on the 50th anniversary of his historic flight, he broke the sound barrier again, flying an F-15D Eagle. Then as a co-pilot at age 89 on Oct. 14, 2012, on the 65th anniversary of breaking the sound barrier, Gen. Yeager did it again in an McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle. His death was announced in a heartfelt statement by his wife of 17 years, Victoria Yeager. "It is w/ profound sorrow, I must tell you that my life love General Chuck Yeager passed just before 9pm ET," she wrote on his account. "An incredible life well lived, Americas greatest Pilot, & a legacy of strength, adventure, & patriotism will be remembered forever." - AP, 12/8/20.

Monday, Dec. 7, 2020

Three classic guitars designed and played by Eddie Van Halen sold for $422,000 at a two-day Julien's Auction on Dec. 4 and 5. The instruments include one of Van Halen's famous Kramer "Frankenstrat" models with the signature white and black stripes on a red body, which went for $231,250. Eddie's 2004 Charvel Art Series ax went for $140,800 and the guitar and costume that EVH used in the "Hot For Teacher" video brought in $50,000. The auction was part of Juliens' annual "Icons & Idols Trilogy: Rock 'N' Roll" event and also included items from the likes of Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Lady Gaga and Kurt Cobain. Meanwhile, Eddie's son Wolfgang Van Halen is criticizing the auction, claiming that the auctioneers are "just taking advantage of my father's passing." "I had nothing to do with this. I don't EVER plan on selling any of my father's iconic guitars," Wolf posted on Twitter on Dec. 3. He added that one of the guitars was a gift from his dad, and called the sale's timing a "little fishy" following his dad's death in October. After learning the auction was not for charity a few hours later, he was a little more blunt, saying, "They're just taking advantage of my father's passing. What a surprise. F--- 'em." - Billboard/New Musical Express, 12/3/20...... Bob DylanUniversal Music Publishing Group announced on Dec. 7 that it had purchased the entire catalog of over 600 Bob Dylan songs written by the iconic folk rock musician over six decades, including such classics as "Blowin' in the Wind," "The Times They Are A-Changin,'" "Like A Rolling Stone," "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," and "Tangled Up in Blue." Said to be one of the biggest deals ever for a single songwriter, the acquisition includes both publishing rights and Dylan's "writer's share," which together would be worth at least $100 million and perhaps several times that, based on the value of other songwriters' catalogs. The publishing rights for Dylan, whose influence in the rock era is rivaled only by the Beatles, is currently administered in the U.S. by the Bob Dylan Music Company and elsewhere by Sony/ATV Music Publishing. "To represent the body of work of one of the greatest songwriters of all time -- whose cultural importance can't be overstated -- is both a privilege and a responsibility," said UMPG chairman & CEO Jody Gerson in a press release. In the early 1960s, Dylan, 79, become one of the first popular artists to consistently write his own material, in the process overturning the dominant music publishing model of the time, which involved professional songwriters composing tunes to pitch to singers. The boom in streaming among the coronavirus pandemic is reportedly fueling the market for publishing deals, as well as the possibility that incoming president Joe Biden may raise the capital gains tax. Another factor, industry sources say, is that the generation of singer-songwriters who came of age in the '60s and '70s is at a point where they're thinking about their legacies, as well as estate planning. On Dec. 4, talent management company Primary Wave Music Publishing announced that it had acquired a majority stake in the catalog of Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks. Primary Wave didn't share financial details of the sale, but Nicks reportedly sold an 80% stake in her catalog, valuing the deal at about $100 million, according to The Wall Street Journal. Nicks's deal includes several of her biggest hits as a solo artist and member of Fleetwood Mac including "Landslide," "Edge of Seventeen" and "Dreams," the last of which returned the charts for the first time in 40 years this summer after resurfacing on TikTok. - Billboard, 12/7/20...... With a $114.1 million haul in ticket sales, Elton John is finishing 2020 with the year's top-grossing tour, according to the concert trade publication Billboard Boxscore. After performing 47 shows with nearly 800,000 tickets sold despite an abbreviated touring schedule due to the pandemic, the Rocket Man leads the pack including his fellow established superstars and genre-blurring newcomers that came to an abrupt halt on Mar. 12 amid the rapidly rising threat of COVID-19. John's "Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour" began the 2020 chart year with 10 shows in North America, kicking off the new decade with $21 million in domestic grosses. He then went to Australia for a 37-show sweep that added $93.1 million before wrapping, as scheduled, on Mar. 7. Ultimately, Sir Elton crowns 2020's Top Tours chart with a $114.1 million haul, after being No. 4 in 2019 ($194.1 million) and No. 22 in 2018 ($55.4 million). In all, his tour has earned $358.6 million and sold 2.63 million tickets in 178 shows, now within $50 million of Billboard's all-time Top 10 tours list. In other Elton news, he and his husband David Furnish have revealed that they have a "one gift rule" for each other at Christmas. Appearing on the British talk show Loose Women on Dec. 1, Furnish said he and Elton have "a one gift rule because we don't need anything, we are very blessed in life. The thing I am most looking forward to is Christmas with our sons, because there is nothing like Christmas with children. All the magic for us with Christmas has just gone off the charts since we had our boys." The couple have raised sons Zachary, nine, and Elijah, seven, to be "grounded" in life, Furnish said. "It is daddy up on stage. They are very proud of him obviously and they love his songs but when he comes home he leaves Elton John behind," he added. - Billboard/, 12/3/20...... John LennonOne of the most tragic anniversaries in rock history will occur on Dec. 8, which will be the 40th anniversary of the murder of John Lennon as he was walking into his residence at the Dakota apartment building with his wife Yoko Ono on the evening of Dec. 8, 1980. Unbelievably, Lennon, who was 40 when he was killed, has now been gone for as long as he lived. "It was a dark day," says British-born, Toronto-based author Piers Hemmingsen, 65, who penned 2016's The Beatles in Canada: The Origins of Beatlemania. "And I just remember the winter of 1980-81 was kind of all about feeling sad about that." Almost everyone remembers where they were when they heard the shocking news that Liverpool-born Lennon had been murdered by Mark David Chapman who waited for police to arrive and arrest him while reading a copy of The Catcher in the Rye. "I didn't find out about it until I turned my little Panasonic TV on at 6:30 in the morning (the day after) and I was shocked," said Hemmingsen, who was a computer programmer working overnight at the time. "A vigil was held at Nathan Phillips Square on the evening of Dec. 10. So I felt compelled to go. I felt something. Everybody felt something. We all felt a loss. It had to be 10-15 Celsius below zero. There were 35,000 people. It was jammed." Among those in attendance were musicians Ronnie Hawkins and Long John Baldry, the latter in a fur coat. "They all said things, great things, about John Lennon. But the power of it was that everybody just felt connected," said Hemmingsen. "We needed to be somewhere and we needed to share the emotion." On Dec. 12, 1980, Lennon's ashes were given to Ono, who requested 10 minutes of silence around the world instead of holding a funeral, and two days later over 225,000 converged on Central Park, close to the scene of the shooting. Five years later, New York City dedicated an area of the park, directly across from the Dakota, as Strawberry Fields. - WENN/, 12/6/20...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney has hailed director Peter Jackson's upcoming Fab Four documentary Get Back for providing confirmation in his own mind that he wasn't responsible for splitting up the band. McCartney has previously been accused of orchestrating their split, after he announced his departure from the band in Ap. 1970 and later that year filed a law suit which called for the group's formal dissolution. While he previously said that he undertook the move to protect their music, McCartney explained that seeing footage from Jackson's film confirms that he isn't to blame for their split. "It was so reaffirming for me," McCartney told The Sunday Times on Dec. 6. "Because it proves that my main memory of the Beatles was the joy and the skill." He went on: "The proof is the footage. I bought into the dark side of the Beatles breaking up and thought, 'Oh God, I'm to blame.' I knew I wasn't, but it's easy when the climate is that way to start thinking so. But at the back of my mind there was always this idea that it wasn't like that, but I needed to see proof. There's a great photo [late wife] Linda [McCartney] took, which is my favourite, of me and John working on a song, glowing with joy. This footage is the same. All four of us having a ball." Paul has previously hailed the documentary for providing an authentic portrait of the Beatles' final years together. "I love it, I must say because it's how it was. It just reminds me of -- even though we had arguments, like any family -- we loved each other, you know, and it shows in the film," he said. The Beatles: Get Back covers the making of the band's 1970 album Let It Be and features recut material originally captured in director Michael Lindsay-Hogg's 1970 documentary of the album recording process. - NME, 12/7/20...... David BowieEngland's Royal Mint has announced a series of David Bowie coins will be released as part of its music collection, which has previously honoured such music legends as Queen and Elton John. In true Bowie fashion, one of the coins orbited the Earth's atmosphere for 45 minutes after launch before its eventual return, and it is now being offered as a prize on the Royal Mint's Facebook page. The coin celebrates the music icon's career with a design inspired by his formative years spent living and recording in Berlin, as well as featuring the iconic lightning bolt design from Aladdin Sane. Fans can purchase the coins from the Royal Mint's website, which range from £13 for a uncirculated £5 coin, all the way to an "out of this world" which costs a staggering £72,195 for a kilo gold coin in a denomination of £1,000. Eleven of the gold coins will be minted. The Aladdin Sane lightning bolt design has also employed technology to create a glitter effect, giving the impression that it is sprinkled with stardust. "We are thrilled to unveil the third coin in the Royal Mint's music legends series, honouring the intergalactic legacy and career of David Bowie," said Royal Mint director Clare Maclennan. "We are thrilled to unveil the third coin in the Royal Mint's music legends series, honouring the intergalactic legacy and career of David Bowie," she added. - NME, 12/7/20...... In a new interview with the UK paper The Independent, David Byrne says he thinks it's "surprising" how many Americans still support Pres. Donald Trump. "We've all had our dystopian fantasies of what could go wrong, and there's plenty of books and TV shows that represent that," the former Talking Heads frontman responded when asked if he could imagine the political events of the last five years. "But then to see this happen... Trump was not a surprise. He is what he is. What is surprising is how many people still support him," Byrne said, referring to the amount of support Trump has post-election. He continued: "When you see the coronavirus exploding across the United States, and how many dead there are, and how many people just don't care about that or think it's a conspiracy, you just go, 'Wow, the country I'm living in isn't the country I thought it was.'" Meanwhile, Universal will be releasing the Spike Lee-directed movie version of Byrne's acclaimed stage show "American Utopia" on VOD services and on DVD on Dec. 14, in light of the coronavirus restrictions facing cinemas at the moment. - NME, 12/6/20...... Yusuf/Cat Stevens hosted a virtual event called "CatSong Festival" on Dec. 5, which saw famous fans covering several of his classic tracks. The special live YouTube broadcast celebrated the 50th anniversary of Stevens 1970 albums Tea For The Tillerman and Mona Bone Jakon and saw the likes of Jack Johnson, HAIM, Brandon Boyd of Incubus, Passenger and many more performing songs from across Stevens' discography. "It's great to see and hear these covers of my songs given new life," Yusuf said in announcing the event. "There's no better honour for a songwriter than to have his songs performed by talented musicians with such love and sincerity. Thank you," he added. The full CatSong Festival broadcast can be viewed on YouTube. - NME, 12/5/20...... In a new interview with Total Guitar magazine, Jimmy Page revealed he's been playing his guitar every day during the COVID-19 lockdown. "Under the circumstances of having a lockdown and isolating, I picked up the guitar and made a point of playing the guitar every day," the Led Zeppelin mastermind said. He continued: "Whereas before the lockdown, it had gotten to the point where I was always complaining that I didn't have enough time to play the guitar because there was all this other stuff that was going on. It's surprising how many things there are, even with Led Zeppelin, so I was not finding enough time to play the guitar as much as I would like. It was there, but not being played. I thought, that's not going to be the case. I'm now going to play it. I don't want to make it sound like I'd locked the guitars away. That wasn't the case. But there were so many things that kept getting in the way of playing -- or playing the way that you need to if you're exploring the instrument still." When asked whether or not people would see him play in public again, Page said: "That was the idea before we locked down. But... there'll be a time when we'll be able to play, so the thing to do is to think how you'd do it if you did do it, and have some surprises up your sleeve, you know?" - NME, 12/5/20...... Joe PerrySteven TylerAerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry joined comedians Mike Myers and Dana Carvey for a virtual Wayne's World reunion on Dec. 7 as part of actor Josh Gad's "Reunited Apart" YouTube series, which benefits the First Responder's Children's Foundation. "'Sibilance... Sibilance' Surprise... We were 'worthy enough' to reunite with our friends Wayne and Garth!," Aerosmith wrote on Instagram as they announced their participation. The first Wayne's World film, released in 1991, was the second film based on a Saturday Night Live sketch, following The Blues Brothers in 1980. It starred Myers and Carvey as rock music knuckleheads Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar respectively. Although Aerosmith appeared in one of the SNL sketches, they originally opted not to appear in the first movie. However, they joined the cast for Wayne's World 2 in 1993, in which they performed "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)" and "Shut Up and Dance" during an onstage appearance. Josh Gad has been hosting virtual reunions for classic films throughout the coronavirus lockdown, previously bringing together the cast of Ferris Bueller's Day Off in June. - NME, 12/6/20...... '70s artists Patti Smith and Nile Rodgers of Chic will be among the participants in the Royal Albert Hall's 150th anniversary celebration which kicks off on Mar. 29, 2021. Smith and Jon Hopkins will put on headline shows, while Rodgers will compose a pop anthem for the anniversary using a full orchestra and singers from across the community. Other performances will come from Brian Wilson, Gregory Porter, Jonas Kaufmann, Bryn Terfel and Alfie Boe. The Royal Albert Hall was opened by Queen Victoria in 1871 and was named in memory of her husband, Prince Albert, whose founding vision was for a venue that would both democratise and promote the arts and sciences. - NME, 12/3/20...... Kiss has announced it will play a show at what they described as "the coldest place on Earth" during the "150 shows left" on their farewell tour, which began in Jan. 2019 but forced to go on hiatus earlier in 2020 due to the pandemic. Speaking to Marci Wiser on radio station 95.5 KLOS, frontman Gene Simmons confirmed that the band will return in 2021 with some of their most ambitious shows to date. "We've already booked Europe outdoors. Most of the shows have already sold out. We start in summer," said Simmons. "The vaccines are gonna be out there for everybody, oh, by January, February, March at the latest, but we're gonna be out there a few months after that. And we've literally got a 150 cities booked," he added. Revealing plans to play the icy location, which remains nameless, Simmons revealed: "There's one place that's the coldest place on earth. And if you can imagine us playing there with even larger pyro than you've ever seen, 'cause there's nothing around there. But that's all I'll say about it." The latest update comes after Kiss announced plans for a special livestreamed gig on New Year's Eve. The band will take the virtual stage at the Atlantis hotel in Dubai on Dec. 31 for what they promise will be "the biggest & baddest concert event and pyrotechnics show of the year." Kiss are also set to co-headline the UK's Download Festival in 2021. - NME, 12/4/20...... Eight-time Grammy-winner Tina Turner reflects on her life in her latest memoir Happiness Becomes You: A Guide To Changing Your Life For Good that reveals her greatest untold life lessons and deepest realizations. Turner, 80, admits to overcoming a lifetime of adversity that includes an unhappy childhood, abandonment by her parents, an abusive marriage, a stalled career and financial ruin as well as the premature death of family members and multiple illnesses. In the book, she details how she overcame her setbacks through her faith in Buddhism and chanting that began five decades ago. Now in her 80s, Turner says she is fulfilling a long-held dream to teach with the writing of her new book and hopes it inspires readers to pursue Buddhism. -, 12/3/20...... Black SabbathIn other heavy metal news, Black Sabbath have announced a reissue of their fourth album Vol. 4 containing 20 previously unreleased tracks. Vol 4: Super Deluxe Edition will be an expanded version of the 1972 classic and will drop on Feb. 12, 2021. The release will feature 20 unreleased studio and live recordings on the 4-CD and 5-LP formats, and both comes with extensive booklets of liner notes with quotes from band members Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward. The band announced the reissue, which will also include a poster and rare photographs as well as an early, previously unpublished draft of the album artwork, which boasts the working title "Snowblind," on Twitter on Dec. 3. - NME, 12/3/20...... Actor David Lander, best known as Squiggy on the hit '70s ABC sitcom Laverne & Shirley, died on the evening of Dec. 4 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, his family confirms. He was 73. Lander died of complications related to multiple sclerosis, which he battled for 37 years. Since he went public with his diagnosis in 1999, Lander has worked closely with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, speaking out about his experience at related conferences. In Laverne & Shirley, Lander starred in opposite Michael McKean, who portrayed Lenny. The characters were developed by the longtime friends and collaborators while they were students at Carnegie Mellon University. Lander also made appearances in several TV shows, including The Bob Newhart Show, Barney Miller, Happy Days, Twin Peaks and The Drew Carey Show, and played smaller yet memorable parts in movies like A League of Their Own and Say It Isn't So. As a voice actor, Lander was the voice behind Smart Ass in the 1988 Disney movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He also voiced Ch'p in the DC Comics animated movie, Green Lantern: First Flight in 2009. He most recently voiced Rumpelstiltskin in Disney's children's show, Goldie & Bear, and Donnie the Shark in an episode of SpongeBob Squarepants in 2016. He is survived by his wife, Kathy Fields Lander, and daughter, Natalie Lander. - Variety, 12/6/20.

Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020

Van Morrison and Eric Clapton have teamed up for a new anti-lockdown song called "Stand and Deliver." Written by Morrison and performed by Clapton, the will be available for download and streaming on Dec. 4 and support Morrison's ongoing "Save Live Music" campaign. In recent months, Morrison has released three songs -- "Born To Be Free," "As I Walked Out" and "No More Lockdown" -- protesting the U.K. government's lockdown as a result of COVID-19, also campaigning for a re-opening of performance venues at full capacity because he feels that the ongoing lockdown presents an existential threat to the future of live music venues. The U.K. has allowed some socially distanced gigs since Aug. 1, but, as in the U.S., there have been few other shows since the pandemic caused a worldwide lockdown in March. Proceeds from downloads of the song will benefit Morrison's Lockdown Financial Hardship Fund, which aims to assist musicians who are struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic. "There are many of us who support Van and his endeavors to save live music; he is an inspiration," Eric Clapton told "We must stand up and be counted because we need to find a way out of this mess. The alternative is not worth thinking about. Live music might never recover," he added. In a tweet dated Nov. 27, Morrison announced that the song would be "Available on @AppleMusic @AmazonMusicUK @Deezer and @Spotify" beginning Dec. 4. - Billboard, 11/28/20...... Nancy WilsonAnn WilsonIn a new interview with the SiriusXM show Volume West Heart's Ann Wilson revealed that a Heart biopic is in development with Carrie Brownstein of the band Sleater-Kinney writing the project. "Yeah, there's one in the works," Wilson told host Lyndsey Parker, with her sister and bandmate Nancy Wilson weighing in, "I saw the first draft of the script, it's really cool... The script started in childhood and ended up in the '90s." Ann added that she doesn't have any particular actresses in mind to portray herself and Nancy in the Amazon Studios produced project, but she said she thought the one actress who's expressed interest in playing her in the film, Anne Hathaway, "isn't exactly right for it." Wilson said the search for the lead roles is ongoing and it's not known yet if whoever gets cast will sing Heart's hits themselves or lip synch. - Billboard, 11/30/20...... Co-founding Van Halen singer David Lee Roth has seemingly attacked his fellow former VH singer Sammy Hagar in a new cartoon posted on his Twitter page. Roth has regularly been posting illustrations that depict a fictional newspaper called "The Daily Catastrophe," with the latest appearing to attack Hagar, who replaced Roth as Van Halen frontman beginning in 1985 for 11 years. In the new cartoon, a figure pilots a worn-out airplane, surrounded by quotes including "Sam the man will be giving his life for rock and roll, but plans to be buried in his recently acquired jet," and "Red Rocker refuses to fly 55 in afterlife." As well as Hagar's track "I Can't Drive 55," the quotes appear to reference an interview he gave in June, where he said that he was willing to "get sick and die" to return to touring amid the coronavirus pandemic. Roth and Hagar's relationship following their respective tenures in VH has long been acrimonious. They did both front Van Halen on the same tour in the early 2000s, taking turns to headline the show, but reportedly squabbled throughout. - New Musical Express, 12/1/20...... In other Van Halen-related news, a newly unearthed cover of Jimi Hendrix's "If 6 Was 9" by the late Eddie Van Halen has been remastered by keyboardist David Garfield, and appears on Garfield's new EP "Guitar Heros OTB, Vol. 1." According to Garfield, he and Eddie met at a cigar bar and Garfield asked the late guitarist if he wanted to contribute to a tribute he was putting together for Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro, with Van Halen responding with a "resounding yes." Eddie's cover of "If 6 Was 9" can be streamed on the website. Speaking of Van Halen's death, Garfield added: "I'm sure sorry we lost him way too soon; I was hoping to collaborate with him again. Rest in peace, my brother Ed." - NME, 11/28/20...... Yusuf/Cat Stevens has announced a virtual event called "CatSong Festival" set to take place on Dec. 5. Posting on Twitter, Yusuf said the special live YouTube broadcast will feature "over 40 fantastic musical artists" covering his songs and celebrate the 50th anniversary of his 1970 albums Tea For The Tillerman and Mona Bone Jakon. Artists participating include HAIM, Brandon Boyd of Incubus, Jack Johnson, James Morrison, Passenger and many more and will perform songs from across the Yusuf/Stevens discography. Yusuf says he sincerely hopes that this event "will give the participating artists a chance to share their talents with his and each other's audiences." "At all levels of the industry, it is imperative that we find ways to allow musicians to connect with new audiences to keep the flame of live music burning," according to a press release. To watch the Yusuf/Cat Stevens "Catsong Festival," tune into the singer's YouTube channel on Dec. 5 at 8:00 pm GMT/12:00 pm PT. - NME, 11/30/20...... Kiss member Paul Stanley has criticized members of the Republican party for not speaking out against Pres. Donald Trump, branding them as "cowards." Stanley's comments come after the president continued to make unsubstantiated claims of fraud in the November election. "Republican politicians who now cower before this president are the same ones that ridiculed & dismissed him in the 2016 primaries," Stanley wrote on his Twitter account. "Their silence IS a choice & not sharing their opinion IS a coward's way out. It feeds the mistrust that eats at the core of this country I love," he added. Trump recently said he'll "certainly" leave the White House when the Electoral College confirms President Elect Joe Biden's election win, though called on Biden to substantiate that a "ridiculous 80,000,000 votes were not fraudulently or illegally obtained." - NME, 11/30/20...... CherCher traveled to Pakistan on the fourth weekend of November to celebrate the departure of Kaavan, dubbed the "world's loneliest elephant," who will soon leave a Pakistani zoo for better conditions after years of lobbying by animal rights groups and activists. The 36-year-old bull elephant has languished in the zoo for 35 years, and lost his partner in 2012. He was diagnosed by veterinarians as both overweight and malnourished earlier in 2020, and also suffers behavioral issues. He was set to leave for a sanctuary in Cambodia on Nov. 29. Cher took up Kaavan's cause and has been a loud voice advocating for his resettlement. Animal rescue organization Four Paws has provided the medical treatment needed before Kaavan can travel. The battle for his relocation began in 2016. Free the Wild, an international charity co-founded by Cher, worked in collaboration with Four Paws and others to orchestrate Kaavan's move, which cost roughly $400,000 in total. Cher traveled to Pakistan to meet with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and visit Kaavan's exhibit to provide moral support. "My wishes have finally come true," Cher told The Guardian paper. "We have been counting down to this moment and dreaming of it for so long and to finally see Kaavan transported out of [the Islamabad] zoo will remain with us forever. And while I know everyone's first day can be nerve-wracking, I think Kaavan will make lots of new friends where he's going. What wholesome news to come out of this trash fire of a year," she added. - AP, 11/27/20...... Dolly Parton has revealed she "cried all night long" after turning down Elvis Presley's request to record a cover of her song "I Will Always Love You." Parton released the song in 1974, before it received a famous 1992 cover by Whitney Houston for the romantic thriller flick The Bodyguard. Parton revealed that Elvis also wanted to record a version of her hit, but she turned him down over the money. Writing in The Big Issue's "Letter To My Younger Self," she explained: "I'd been invited down to the studio to meet Elvis and be there when he sang my song. That was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to me. Who doesn't love Elvis? But then Colonel (Tom Parker, Presley's manager) called me the afternoon before the session and said 'You do know we have to have at least half the publishing on any song that Elvis records?' And I said 'No, I did not know that'. He said 'Well, it's just a rule'. So I said 'Well, it's not my rule'." Dolly said she then "cried all night long, 'cause I was so disappointed." "It wasn't Elvis, I loved Elvis. And I'm sure he was as disappointed as I was because he had it all worked up and ready to go. I know he loved the song," she said. Speaking about Presley's wife of six years, Priscilla Presley, Parton said: "Priscilla told me later that he sang that song to her when they were coming down the steps of the courthouse after they divorced. That really touched me and I thought 'Oh well, I can only imagine'. But it wasn't his fault." - NME, 11/30/20...... Details of the accompanying soundtrack album to the new Frank Zappa biopic Zappa have been announced. The 3CD/5LP release of Zappa - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack spans 68 tracks, ranging from the Mothers of Invention's "Freak Out" to the musician's final orchestral work "The Yellow Shark." The deluxe version of the soundtrack also includes offerings from Zappa's Bizarre Records, as well as pieces by Edgard Varese and Igor Stravinsky and 26 original Zappa score cues by John Frizzell. Zappa had been due to premiere at the since-cancelled South By Southwest Festival earlier in 2020, and its official trailer was shared in October. The 5-LP version of the soundtrack, available on both 180-gram black vinyl as well as limited edition 180-gram smoke vinyl, is due out May 7, 2021, with the 3-CD version expected Jan. 19, 2021. A 2-LP edition on 180-gram clear vinyl will also be available. - NME, 11/29/20...... In a new interview with Goldmine magazine, Elton John says he owns more than 120,000 CDs and 15,000 vinyl records and that the entirety of his vast collection of music remains in his house, rather than in storage, so that he can maintain regular access to it at all times. "I have over 120,000 CDs and 15,000 pieces of vinyl," Elton said. "They are stored in my home shelves so I can access whatever I want, whenever I want." When asked about his music format of choice, John said he "definitely prefer[s] LPs." Elton also touched on the move from a lifetime of touring to spending more time with his family, saying he felt "lucky to have had the opportunity to continue doing what I love so much for the last 50 years." "But looking at my life now, it is without a doubt one of the very best times of my life and really, it all changed when [his husband] David [Furnish] and I had our boys," John continued. "With children, you can't help but look retrospectively at how we got here today and the beauty of where my life is now. They have helped me focus on the present and surely make me appreciate my past." - NME, 11/29/20...... George HarrisonThe estate of George Harrison has marked the 50th anniversary of his seminal album All Things Must Pass by sharing a new stereo mix of the stunning title track on YouTube. The new mix of the 1970 track was led by Grammy-winning producer Paul Hicks, who previously worked on recent reissues of the Rolling Stones' Goat's Head Soup and John Lennon's Gimme Some Truth. "The new stereo mix of the album's title track is just a taste of more things to come in 2021 as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of my father's legendary All Things Must Pass album," said George's son, Dhani Harrison. "We've been digging through mountains of tapes, and they just kept coming -- boxes and boxes of them. Making this album sound clearer was always one of my dad's greatest wishes and it was something we were working on together right up until he passed. But with the help of new technology and the work of Paul Hicks on this project, we are now able to make that happen. We can't wait for you all to hear everything we've been working on and your patience will be rewarded next year," Dhani added. Originally released on Nov. 27, 1970, the triple LP was produced by Phil Spector and went on to become one of the most influential rock albums of all time. As well as the new stereo mix of "All Things Must Pass," the Harrisons are also set to release George's "My Sweet Lord" on a 7" Milky Clear Single, individually numbered, exclusive to Record Store Day. - NME, 11/27/20...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney has revealed that he has his own yoga group with movie actor Alec Baldwin and Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels. Sir Paul also says he's adopted Baldwin's "polite but firm" response whenever someone approaches him for a photo in public, because the rocker's always hated posing for pictures when he's not working. "I don't like to take pictures," he shared on the Smartless podcast with actors Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes. "When people say, 'Can I have a picture?' 'cause everyone's got a camera (on their phone)..., I say, 'I'm sorry, I don't do pictures.' It's a line I got from watching Alec Baldwin once." - WENN/, 11/26/20...... Ozzy Osbourne's childhood home at 14 Lodge Road in Aston, Birmingham, UK, is now available to rent for a night. In a recent interview with GQ magazine, Ozzy revealed the person currently occupying his pre-fame family home is charging people to sleep in his old room. "He charges £400 a night," Osbourne said when asked about the alleged for-rent room. "The f---ing house weren't worth £300! They must be doing an expensive extension on the bathroom." He continued: "I tell you what was really weird: I went back to that house many years after I left. When you're little everything seems massive. But that house was me, my mum and dad and my five sisters and brothers -- eight of us in this house. It's so tiny, I'm going, 'How the hell did we do this?'" - NME, 11/29/20...... Actor Johnny Flynn says some David Bowie fans may think the idea of the new Bowie biopic in which he stars is "offensive" and will "potentially going to get a lot of flak." "It's pretty much as I as I expected. I mean, there's the Bowie fans, who don't want you to f--- with their idea of David," Flynn says. "But there's also generally -- rather unhelpfully, in this day and age, as you know -- there's such a kind of cancel culture on the internet, and the safety of tiny nine-inch devices, whatever they are, brings out the worst in people .I feel like there's an energy that people can't help but be swept up and in terms of condemning things or being offended by things. It provokes interesting dialogue around ideas, but also I think it's kind of sad that people would condemn something without seeing it." Flynn added: "Most of the the shit that we've been getting has been from people seeing the trailers, just the idea of the film that's offensive to them. When people see the film, they seem to really like it. And we get great reviews. But I think, if anything, it will provoke some interesting debate. And I don't mind there being a backlash to the film, because I know what our intention was, which was certainly not to be disrespectful." Stardust was released in the US on Nov. 25, and will be released in UK theaters by the end of 2020. - NME, 11/28/20...... David ProwseDavid Prowse, the British actor behind the menacing black mask of Star Wars villain Darth Vader, died on Nov. 29 following a battle with COVID-19. He was 85. Mr. Prowse passed away following a bout of the killer virus, after previously being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, according to his daughter Rachel. She revealed that Mr. Prowse spent two weeks in hospital before his death, and amid the pandemic, the family were unfortunately unable to see him in his final days and his funeral will only be a small gathering. "He died of coronavirus. It's horrible to have not got to see him on the ward and say goodbye, it makes it even harder," she said. "We would have had a big celebration of his life, but now we are not going to be able to do the send off we would have wanted for him." Rachel, 50, paid tribute to her father, confessing that although he was known for mainly portraying villains on the big screen, in real life he was a gentle giant. "He was a really nice, kind, gentle man," she explained of the former bodybuilder. "He might have looked quite scary and was known for playing villains and lots of different monsters in films, but as a person he was a sweet, kind and generous man. He would have loved all this -- people tweeting and commenting about him," she added of the outpouring of tributes following his death over the weekend. "He would have loved to see himself trending on Twitter. It's lovely to see how much he was loved and what an impact he had on people's lives." Among those honouring Prowse was Star Wars creator George Lucas, who remembered him as being "up for anything," noting he "contributed to the success of what would become a memorable, tragic figure" in his role as the iconic Sith Lord. "He made Vader leap off the page and on to the big screen," Lucas wrote in a tribute on Twitter, which concluded with the words: "May he rest in peace." - WENN/, 11/30/20.

Friday, Nov. 27, 2020

After becoming perched atop the UK's top album chart, AC/DC's new album Power Up has debuted at No. 1 in the US on Billboard's Top Rock Albums chart and Hard Rock Albums chart for the week ending Nov. 28. In its debut tracking week (Nov. 13-19), the set earned 117,000 equivalent album units, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Of that sum, 111,000 are from album sales. The band now has a total of four No. 1 albums on the Top Rock Albums chart, which began in 2006, also including Black Ice (2008); Iron Man 2 soundtrack (2010), and Rock or Bust (2014-2015). AC/DC has the same amount of No. 1's on the Hard Rock Albums chart, which began in 2007. - Billboard, 11/25/20...... In a new interview with GQ magazine, Ozzy Osbourne said that catching COVID-19 would be particularly risky for him because his respiratory health is weak . "I've got emphysema, so if I get this virus, I'm f---ed," the 71-year-old heavy metal legend says. He added that being older does not help things. "Once you're 70, the floodgates open and everything goes downhill. Mind you, I've got away with it for a long time." To protect himself during the pandemic, Osbourne said he is trying his "hardest" to stay shielded. "If I go out, I wear a mask, but I don't like wearing a mask, so I don't go out much," he said. - NME, 11/27/20...... Bobby ColombyDavid Clayton-ThomasEver wonder what the hell happened to Blood, Sweat & Tears, the band with David Clayton-Thomas' soulful vocals and a boisterous horn section behind such hits as "You've Made Me So Very Happy," "Spinning Wheel" and "And When I Die"? So does award-winning director John Scheinfeld (The U.S. vs. John Lennon, Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary and 2020's Herb Alpert Is...) who will write, produce and direct a BS&T documentary called What the Hell Happened to Blood, Sweat & Tears? that could premiere as early as the end of 2021. The rockdoc will feature highlights from the more than 65 hours' worth of found footage, including a 1970 U.S. State Department-sponsored tour behind the communist-controlled Iron Curtain, including Yugoslavia, Romania and Poland. A crew chronicled that tour with the intent of releasing a live film, but the footage allegedly disappeared and the movie was never released. Although BS&T continued recording, they eventually faded away from the charts. What the Hell Happened to Blood, Sweat & Tears? will examine the politics surrounding the tour, the story of a band caught as a tool between the political Right and Left, a corrupt U.S. president, and even the intrigue that ultimately involved the FBI and CIA. "John Scheinfeld is a unique combination of filmmaker, historian and detective," says BS&T's Bobby Colomby, who went on to a career as a Columbia Records A&R executive. "He asked me a simple question: 'What the hell happened to Blood Sweat & Tears?' My convoluted answer somehow ignited an engine inside of John that was the beginning of an unexpected adventure: creating a documentary film to reveal the answer to this decades old question. This won't be your typical music doc, in any way, shape or form." Producers are looking for photos and memorabilia of the band from 1968 through 1971. To submit, go to - Billboard, 11/23/20...... Actor Idris Elba will sit down with Paul McCartney for a new one-off BBC One special, it was announced on McCartney's Twitter account on Nov. 27. "This December, @BBCOne and @BBCRadio2 will air a world exclusive special featuring Paul in conversation with @IdrisElba. Find out more: #IdrisMeetsPaul," the post states. The special will see the Beatles legend discussing his writing process, while Idris will seek to understand what continues to inspire the singer some 50 years into his career. "I am a massive fan of Paul s! His work has inspired and driven me as a musician, and once I get through the shock of sharing the stage with him, I m excited to talk about his music and craft. What an honour! Looking forward to sitting with you Paul," Elba posted, with Sir Paul responding "I'm looking forward to sitting down to a chat with the mighty Idris!" Also in the works is a release of Paul's "secret" 2018 show at Liverpool's Cavern Club, where Macca performed a 28-song set to 250 lucky gig-goers. The release date is to be confirmed. Meanwhile, McCartney has revealed he uses a teleprompter at his live shows in case he forgets the lyrics to the Beatles' songs. In an interview on a recent edition of the SmartLess podcast, the 78-year-old said: "Sometimes I'll be doing a song, like 'Eleanor Rigby' [released in 1966] or something, and I'm on autopilot. And I'm starting to think, 'Oh, what am I gonna have for dinner? Maybe you won't have the soup but maybe you'll just go for the main course'. Then I go, 'Stop!' because I'm singing 'Eleanor Rigby'! I've separated myself not only from Paul and fame, but a couple of bits in my head are going in different places. Sometimes that breaks down and I forget the song. I have a teleprompter." McCartney has also reflected on the 80th anniversary of the birth of his former bandmate John Lennon on Oct. 9 in an interview with Uncut magazine. McCartney explained how Lennon's birthday had sparked a mixture of emotions from him. "That was happy sad. It reminds me he was murdered -- but it also reminds me of the fantastic times we had. I tend to think back to early times," he said. He added that he still mentally consults Lennon while writing. "We collaborated for so long, I think, 'OK, what would he think of this? What would be say now?' We'd both agree that this new song I'm taking about is going nowhere," he explained. "So instead of sitting around, we'd destroy it and remake it. I started that process yesterday in the studio. I took the vocal off it and decided to write a new vocal. I think it's heading in a better direction now." - NME, 11/27/20...... QueenThanks to a $15 sale on all vinyl albums at Walmart, Queen's 1981 Greatest Hits LP has finally entered the Top 10 in the US, ranking at No. 8 on Billboard's Hot 200 Album Chart for the week ending Nov. 28. Greatest Hits was first released in Oct. 1981 and has been reissued multiple times over the ensuing decades, however until now a 1992 edition of the album came closest to the Top 10, peaking at No. 11 on Oct. 10, 1992. In the week ending Nov. 19, Greatest Hits sold 24,000 copies across all formats, with vinyl LPs accounting for 23,000 of that sum. Other artists who took more than 10 years to reach the Hot 200's Top 10 include greatest hits albums by Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Prince, Phil Collins and David Bowie. - Billboard, 11/25/20...... In other Queen news, guitarist Brian May has paid an emotional tribute to Freddie Mercury on the 29th anniversary of the legendary singer's 1991 death. Posting on Instagram, May shared two mirrored images of Mercury relaxing in a dressing room before a performance with the caption "Missing you Freddie, on this day. Rest in Peace. Rock in Eternity. Bri." Mercury passed away at his home in Kensington, UK on Nov. 24, 1991, only 24 hours after he had confirmed his battle with HIV/AIDS. Tributes also came from an official Twitter account run by Mercury s management, which shared a photo of the singer in full flight during a Queen performance. - New Musical Express, 11/24/20...... Keith Richards says he's taken up gardening during the COVID-19 pandemic after finding some unexpected downtime. "I spent the whole summer actually admiring the garden and also doing a bit of gardening myself -- watering the veggies and the stuff. I got into a more normal way of life, which is un-normal," the Rolling Stones guitarist recently told Goldmine magazine. Richards, who recently quit cigarettes and alcohol, explained how he sheltered from the virus at his home in America with his wife Patti. When asked if he feared contracting the virus, he said: "Oh yeah. In this particular area, New York and Connecticut, it was very heavy at the beginning. It's been pretty well controlled since but this is about the only place in the whole country where it is... I've been in hiding, basically. Hunkering down with the family and a few friends because we have to stay in a bubble you know. I've been out to a restaurant with outdoor seating a couple times but now it's getting a bit chilly so we're eating in. Thank God the wife's a good cook, bless her heart!" - NME, 11/26/20...... In other Rolling Stones news, the band has just launched a new global e-commerce shop following the opening of their London flagship store, RS No.9 Carnaby. Complete with a fully immersive, 360-degree virtual shopping experience, the online version of their Soho store allows customers to step inside the shop from anywhere in the world. Situated at 9 Carnaby Street in London, the shop stocks a wide range of Stones records and memorabilia, including "an exclusive mix of collections and collaborations for fans of all ages" and a bespoke T-shirt customisation station. Fans can visit the new e-shop at the RS No.9 Carnaby's official website. - NME, 11/26/20...... Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and Elton John are among the musical guests who have been confirmed to appear on NBC's Saturday Night Live during the month of December. Springsteen and his band, who previously appeared on the late night comedy show in 2015, will appear in an episode airing Dec. 12 hosted by Timothe Chalamet. - NME, 11/25/20...... Helen ReddyAn all-star lineup of Australian artists performed a tribute to late pop singer Helen Reddy at the 2020 ARIA Awards. Tones and I, Amy Shark, Marcia Hines, Christine Anu, Montaigne, the McClymonts and host Delta Goodrem were among those who covered Reddy's iconic feminist anthem "I Am Woman" live from the ceremony at The Star in Sydney. Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard introduced the performance, honouring the legendary singer-songwriter's continued dedication to her activism throughout her life. "I was carried away by her power and potential," Gillard said, reflecting on first hearing Reddy sing "I Am Woman" as a child. The powerful tribute has been shared on YouTube. Reddy passed away in September, aged 78, following a lengthy battle with dementia. Her life was immortalised in 2019 in the biopic I Am Woman, directed by Unjoo Moon and starring Tilda Cobham-Hervey. - NME, 11/25/20...... It has been announced that a documentary of Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood's live tribute to the late Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green will be shown in UK cinemas on Mar. 23 and 28, 2021. In February, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, a concert was held at the London Palladium to celebrate the music of Green, who passed away at age 73 in July, and the original incarnation of Fleetwood Mac. A physical copy of the accomanying album will also arrive on Apr. 30 and will include event photos and quotes from each artist who performed on the night as well as photographs of the concert, rehearsals and behind the scenes shots. A Blu-Ray of the concert film and the full recording on double CD and quadruple vinyl will also be released. - NME, 11/24/20...... As the new Frank Zappa documentary Zappa was released for sale and rent on Nov. 27, director Alex Winter has shared his thoughts on the influential late musician. "He was much more than this groovy, mustachioed rock guitar guy," said Winter. "He was a political satirist and he was an artist and a filmmaker. ... I really wanted to just tell what I considered to be an extraordinary life story of somebody engaged in a very interesting period of American history." Winter says much of the material comes from Zappa himself. "He would hang out with his friends in his basement and he would slap on a film camera or a video camera, and they would talk for hours about all the things that interested them. "From a documentary standpoint, it's like dying and going to heaven but it's also a curse, right?" Winter said. "I looked at it and I thought, 'There's the next six years of my life,' and it was." Asked what he thought Zappa would make of the documentary, Winter quipped that he would likely loathe it. "If you're Frank Zappa, the last thing you'd want is your whole life put together and tied with a neat little bow... He'd be like 'please, please don't do this for me." - WENN/, 11/25/20...... Neil PeartA drum kit played by late Rush drummer Neil Peart between 1974 and 1977 is expected to fetch more than $100,000 (£75,000) at Bonhams' Music Memorabilia auction set for Nov. 23-Dec. 9. The coveted Slingerland kit features dual blue heads printed with Rush's logo and Neil Peart's name, as well as chrome-wrapped Tom-toms with an original head signed by Peart himself. Bonhams says it expects the drum kit, which Peart used for his first performance with Rush on Aug. 12, 1974 and used as his main drum set until 1977, will sell for approximately $104,000 (£77,695) to $157,000 (£117,290). Peart, who was widely considered to be one of the greatest drummers of all time, passed away in January 2020 after a lengthy battle with brain cancer. - NME, 11/23/20...... In related news, the silver trousers that Iggy Pop wore during The Stooges Raw Power era are going up for auction. The metallic, studded trousers were worn by the frontman on the sleeve of the 1973 album, as well as at several performances at the time. The item will go up for auction on Dec. 2 at 10:00 am PT ia Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills as part of the auction house's "Icons & Idols: Trilogy Rock 'N' Roll"' sale. An online catalog lists the guide price for the trousers as $800-$1,200 (£602-£904). - NME, 11/22/20...... Dena Dietrich, a veteran actress who gained pop-culture renown for her turn as a hoodwinked Mother Nature in a decade-long series of margarine commercials, died on Nov. 21 at a health-care facility in Los Angeles. She was 91. From 1971 until about 1981, the lanky Ms. Dietrich appeared as Mother Nature in commercials for Chiffon margarine, a substitute for butter that came in a soft tub and was made out of hydrogenated cottonseed oil. Her pleasant character would taste the product and think it was real butter, only to be informed by the narrator that it wasn't. "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature," she would say with a scowl before unleashing Zeus-like thunder and lightning. The commercials closed with the melodic line, "If you think it's butter but it's not, it's Chiffon." Ms. Dietrich also starred opposite Peter Falk and Lee Grant in the original 1971-73 Broadway production of "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" and played the sister of Bea Arthur's Dorothy on a 1991 episode of NBC's The Golden Girls. - The Hollywood Reporter, 11/24/20.

Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020

The first trailer for the upcoming Bee Gees documentary How Can You Mend a Broken Heart has been shared on YouTube. The first feature-length film about the three famous siblings from Oz, Broken Heart will chronicle the stratospheric rise of Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb and screen in UK cinemas for one night only on Dec. 3. Meanwhile, a narrative biopic based on the life and career of the Bee Gees is also in the works, courtesy of Bohemian Rhapsody producer Graham King and screenwriter Anthony McCarten. Bradley Cooper is reportedly in line to play Barry Gibb in the film, which will be produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment and Paramount Pictures. - NME, 11/20/20...... In related news, rapper Nelly has been cast as the late Chuck Berry in a forthcoming biopic about rock & roll pioneer Buddy Holly named Clear Lake. Nelly will portray Berry, who died in 2017, in the film, with Ruairi O'Connor cast as Holly. The film will "tell the story of how Holly and other famous musicians of the late 1950s gave birth to rock & roll while changing the trajectory of civil rights in America," according to - NME, 11/19/20...... Dolly PartonA recently published article in the New England Journal of Medicine has revealed that country superstar Dolly Parton played a key role in funding the research that aided the development of a major vaccine for Covid-19. Parton reportedly chipped in $1 million of her own money to aid research by the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville since the start of the pandemic. The Vanderbilt research has subsequently played a key role in the development of a vaccine from U.S. biotechnology firm Moderna, which was announced on Nov. 16. The Moderna vaccine boasts nearly 95% protection against the disease, and follows the announcement of a separate immunization from pharmaceutical firm Pfizer a week earlier. In the footnotes of the medicine journal, it is confirmed that the funding came from the "Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund." Announcing the gesture back in April, the Grammy-winning singer wrote on Instagram: "My longtime friend Dr. Naji Abumrad, who's been involved in research at Vanderbilt for many years, informed me that they were making some exciting advancements towards that research of the coronavirus for a cure. I am making a donation of $1 million to Vanderbilt towards that research and to encourage people that can afford it to make donations." It's believed that Dolly and Dr. Abumrad became friends after the singer was involved in a car accident and underwent treatment at Vanderbilt in 2014. Parton can currently be seen in Netflix's latest yuletide offering, Christmas on the Square, which features 14 of her original songs and will make its worldwide debut on Nov. 22. - New Musical Express, 11/17/20...... "Distance," a tribute to late guitar god Eddie Van Halen by his 29-year-old son Wolfgang Van Halen, is on track to debut in the Top 5 of Billboard's Rock Digital Song Sales chart for the week ending Nov. 28. In a press release, Wolfgang said "As my pop continued to struggle with various health issues, I was imagining what my life would be like without him and how terribly I'd miss him. While the song is incredibly personal, I think anyone can relate to the idea of having a profound loss in their life." Wolfgang says he finished the song before Eddie's death, and the track became a "favorite" of his dad's. "Distance," which has been shared on YouTube, is also garnering immediate airplay across mainstream rock radio and could debut on the next Mainstream Rock Songs airplay chart after drawing spins on 30 reporting stations to the ranking in its first two days of release. Meanwhile, Wolfgang is pushing back at rumours he'll "replace his dad" in Van Halen. During a Nov. 16 interview on Howard Stern's Sirius XM radio show (which can be viewed on YouTube), Wolfgang said those rumors were "f---ing stupid." "You can't have Van Halen without Eddie Van Halen. I'm not my dad. I'm not going to replace him... I've spent my life making sure I'm not like him and I'm my own person.... outside of maybe a tribute show at some point down the line and archival releases further down the line, it's done." Wolfgang continued: "I don't have a dad anymore and I'm coming to terms with that. So, I think fans can come to the terms with the fact that we're not going to have Van Halen anymore. The music is going to live on forever but you can't continue without Eddie Van Halen." - NME, 11/18/20...... Bob DylanAn anonymous buyer paid $495,000 at auction on Nov. 19 for a trove of Bob Dylan documents including the rock icon's musings about anti-Semitism and unpublished song lyrics. Boston-based R.R. Auction says the collection was privately held by the late American blues artist Tony Glover, a longtime Dylan friend and confidante. A majority of the key pieces went to a bidder whose identity was not made public. The collection included transcripts of Glover's 1971 interviews with Dylan and letters the pair exchanged, revealing that Dylan had anti-Semitism on his mind when he changed his name from Robert Zimmerman, and that he wrote "Lay Lady Lay" for Barbra Streisand. Glover, who died in 2019 and whose widow Cynthia Nadler put the items up for auction, and Dylan broke into music in the same Minneapolis coffeehouse scene and remained close throughout the years. Meanwhile, former president Barack Obama called Bob Dylan "one of the greatest examples" of social consciousness in music during a surprise appearance on YouTubers Fred and Tim Williams' TwinsthenewTrend channel. The 44th president recalled how Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'" earned its place on the playlist for both his presidency and his best-selling new memoir, A Promised Land. "I've been a Bob Dylan fan for a long time, partly 'cause I'm just older," Obama told the Williams twins. "He was part of that kind of social conscience that was in rock music, and then later in hip-hop music. Look, I'm like everybody else, I like music about girls and cars and, you know, rock and roll and hip-hop. But whenever you can find some musicians that really have a message about how America might be, how the world might be, that always is something that I pay attention to. And he's one of the greatest examples of that." - AP/Billboard, 11/21/20...... Bruce Springsteen performed three acoustic tracks at the 2020 "Stand Up For Heroes" virtual benefit concert on Nov. 19. The Boss, accompanied by his wife and E Street Band bandmate Patti Scialfa, performed "House Of A Thousand Guitars" from his new Letter To You album in an empty New Jersey bar. The New Jersey rocker also played a solo-acoustic version of "Long Walk Home" from his 2007 album Magic before teaming up with Scialfa again for a rendition of "I'll See You In My Dreams" from his new album. The performance, along with songs by the likes of Sheryl Crow and Brad Paisley has been shared on YouTube. - NME, 11/20/20...... AC/DC's new album Power Up has become the Aussie rockers' fourth No. 1 album in the UK according to, selling 62,000 copies and becoming the fastest-selling album in the UK to date. AC/DC's Angus Young thanked fans for their support. "A very big thank you to everyone who put in their time, effort and creativity to get PWR/UP to Number 1! Also a big shoutout to all our fans, old and new. You are, and always have been, our guiding inspiration," he told Power Up is AC/DC's first No. 1 album in the UK since 2010's Iron Man 2 soundtrack. - NME, 11/20/20...... John LennonWhat is probably the most infamous souvenir of the tragic assassination of John Lennon on Dec. 8, 1980 in front of his New York City apartment building is being put up for auction. The copy of John and Yoko Ono's then new LP Double Fantasy signed by John at the request of Mark Chapman five hours before he was slain by Chapman is being put up for sale by Goldin Auctions, with bidding opening on Nov. 23 at 2:00 am EST (5:00 am GMT). Police markings from the investigation appear on both the front and back of the record sleeve. The album will have an opening bid of $400,000 (£301k). Earlier this year, Chapman apologized to Yoko "for the pain that I caused to her." "I think about it all of the time," he said at a hearing in New York, where the 65-year-old inmate was denied parole for the 11th time. - NME, 11/21/20...... In other Beatles-related news, the release of Paul McCartney's forthcoming album McCartney III has been delayed one week to Dec. 18 due to what Sir Paul describes as "unforeseeable production delays." A post on Macca's Facebook on Nov. 19 says that "Unforeseeable production delays have forced the release date of Paul's all-new all-Paul album 'McCartney III' to be moved back one week to December 18, 2020. Thank you to everyone for your patience, support and excitement for the album. We can't wait for you to hear it!" McCartney III is the long-awaited final part of his McCartney solo album trilogy, following 1970's McCartney and 1980's McCartney II. - NME, 11/20/20...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, the 19-year-old grandson of Ringo Starr and Gene Gallagher, the 19-year-old son of Oasis member Liam Gallagher, have pleaded guilty after being charged with attacking an Indian security guard in a convenience store in May 2019. The pair, along with model Noah Ponte, 20, pleaded not guilty on Nov. 20 to an assortment of charges stemming from a fight at a Tesco Express shop in north London. Gallagher allegedly stole a can of beer at around midnight after the shop had stopped selling alcohol. Officials at Wood Green Magistrates Court heard he then told a South Asian worker: "You bloody Indians. Go back to where you came from. You're not wanted here." The trio is then claimed to have attacked members of staff before leaving the store. Gallagher and Ponte are also accused of racially aggravated assault, while Sonny is facing two charges of assault by beating two Tesco workers. All three only spoke to plead not guilty to the charges. - WENN/, 11/22/20...... Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne's eldest daughter Aimée Osbourne has confirmed that casting is set to begin on the forthcoming Ozzy and Sharon biopic. "Yes, it's still happening, and I've been helping them with that as well," Aimée said of the film that was first announced in the summer. "I think we're getting ready to start casting too, which is really exciting. Finding the right kind of actors to portray them is going to be challenging, but we're looking forward to finding some newcomers," she said. "I think authenticity, vulnerability, charisma, all those kinds of things will needed to play them, because they're just both so unique. It's definitely going to be challenging, and as excited as I am, it's going to be intense to find someone who can embody a challenging mix of characteristics for both of them. But I have faith we will find the right people," she added. The film is said to skip Ozzy's original tenure in Black Sabbath and fast forward to when he left the band in the late 1970s and began dating Sharon. Sharon previously discussed how she doesn't want the film to be "squeaky, shiny clean" like Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Sharon also recently announced she is self-quarantining again after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19. "We're all on lockdown," Sharon said from home at the top of her daytime talk show The Talk, and that one of her assistants who she works with at home had tested positive for the disease. "She's (my assistant) doing OK, but can you believe it? This is my second lockdown." - NME/, 11/20/20...... KissKiss are set to close out 2020 with a "Kiss 2020 Goodbye" virtual special on Dec. 31 at the Atlantis in Dubai. Kiss is promising "the biggest & baddest concert event and pyrotechnics show of the year" when they take the stage at 5:00 p.m. BST, with tickets ranging from $40 (£30) for a standard ticket, all the way up to $1,000 (£750) for deluxe tickets which includes all manner of Kiss merchandise and memorabilia. "In true KISS fashion, they are bringing the biggest & baddest concert event and pyrotechnics show of the year, proving once again, that KISS never does anything small," according to a press release. "The massive stage production and FREE pre-show will be brought directly into your living room at 9 pm LIVE from Atlantis Dubai on December 31st!" - NME, 11/21/20...... The music of Queen is now officially available on the popular social media app TikTok. Up to 10 of the band's classic hits -- including "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Another One Bites The Dust," "Don't Stop Me Now" and "We Will Rock You" -- have been made available on the app for fans worldwide to use in their video creations. Other hits from their back catalog on TikTok include "Under Pressure," "We Are The Champions," "I Want To Break Free," "Somebody To Love," "Killer Queen" and 'Radio Ga Ga." The account was launched in partnership with the band and its label partners Universal Music Group and Hollywood Records. To commemorate the band's music arriving on TikTok, a hashtag challenge has been launched globally, encouraging fans to #SingWithQueen. The Queen TikTok page can be viewed at - NME, 11/19/20...... In a new interview with BBC News, Keith Richards joked that he "might get a new wheelchair" to celebrate the Rolling Stones' 60th anniversary two years from now. "I don't know [how I plan to celebrate]. I might get a new wheelchair," he said, then reflected wistfully that "this particular life" has "been pretty exceptional." "I'm really at a loss sometimes to sort of figure out how the hell I got here," he admitted. "But the music is the thing that keeps you going, so that's what I try and concentrate on." The Rolling Stones, who formed in 1962, are set to celebrate 60 years together in 2022. - NME, 11/19/20...... The Who's Roger Daltrey has branded Elton John "arsey" as he reignited the row between the two over Elton's alleged snub of the Daltrey-organised Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) gigs in 2018. Daltrey said at the time that John "should answer his bloody emails" in regards to the annual charity gigs, claiming that he had played at events organised by John's charity "three times," but a rep for Elton says that they were "slightly perplexed by his claims" because "each time prior commitments meant Elton was unfortunately unable to take part." "No one here has any recollection of Roger performing at any Elton John AIDS Foundation events 'three times' either, which makes it all the stranger," the rep added. In a recent inteview with the UK's Daily Mirror paper, Daltrey recalled the incident by claiming that he "wasn't making a big deal out of it, but then Elton got arsey about it." Daltrey also claimed that Elton remains hard to get hold of. "I've had the same number 40 years. But when you get to Elton's status as a monstrous, massive star... it's not easy to get hold of these guys." Daltrey did add that he was still holding out hope that John would one day join the line-up for his TCT gigs, adding: "I've done a couple for his AIDS charities and foundation." Daltrey is among the artists who will perform at the Nordoff Robbins-organised charity livestream event "The Stars Come Out To Sing At Christmas" on Dec. 15. - NME, 11/18/20...... Jimi HendrixGibson Guitars has recreated two classic guitars based on instruments once played by Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix's 1969 Flying V and 1967 SG Custom are being made available for fans to buy, with both models looking and sounding like the guitars Hendrix actually played. Both also come with official photos of the late guitar legend and a collection of anecdotes and personal images from the archives of Eddie Kramer, his renowned engineer, producer, and collaborator. Hendrix played the Flying V throughout the Band of Gypsys era and during his legendary set at the Isle of Wight Festival on Aug. 31, 1970. He was seen performing with the 1967 SG Custom on his national television debut on The Dick Cavett Show on July 7, 1969. The guitars, which will retail for $9,999 (£7,548) each, can be viewed on YouTube. - NME, 11/19/20...... Bruce Swedien, the longtime engineer for Michael Jackson and who has also worked with the likes of Paul McCartney, Jennifer Lopez and Donna Summer, passed away on Nov. 16, according to his daughter Roberta Swedien. "My dad, Bruce Swedien, passed away peacefully last night, November 16th. He was 86," Roberta posted on Facebook on Nov. 17. "A legend in the music industry for over 65 years and 5-time Grammy winner, he was known for his work with Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson and many more. He had a long life full of love, great music, big boats and beautiful marriage. We will celebrate that life. He was loved by everyone. Rest in peace dear sweet Daddy-ji. We will love you forever, Bea and Roberta." Mr. Swedien worked with Quincy Jones on Jackson's 1979 album Off The Wall, along with his classic albums Thriller and Bad. Over the years, he also worked with Mick Jagger, Diana Ross, Chaka Khan and Barbra Streisand. - NME, 11/17/20...... British football agent and music publicist Eric Hall, who organized the Sex Pistols' infamous 1976 expletive-filled interview on The Today Show with Bill Grundy, has died at age 73. The flamboyant Hall, known for his trademark catchphrase "Monster Monster," first cut his teeth as a publicist for EMI Records in the 1970s. It was at EMI that Hall first met Queen's Freddie Mercury, claiming in later years that the band's 1974 hit "Killer Queen" was written about him. Hall, who was born in Bethnal Green in 1947, also worked as Elton John's tea boy in his formative years and went on to promote the likes of Frank Sinatra, Queen and T. Rex. - NME, 11/17/20.

Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020

A joint interview with Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift in the new issue of Rolling Stone magazine reveals that the former Beatle had planned to jam with the pop sensation on her massive hit "Shake It Off" at the ill-fated 2020 Glastonbury Festival in the UK. The two were set to headline the Glastonbury's Pyramid Stage, before the festival was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic. "Wow, it would've been so fun to play Glastonbury for the 50th anniversary together," Swift said, to which McCartney replied: "It would've been great, wouldn't it? And I was going to be asking you to play with me." "Were you going to invite me?" Swift said. "I was hoping that you would. I was going to ask you." "I would've done 'Shake It Off'," McCartney revealed, which Swift then said "would have been amazing." The interview took place in McCartney's London office in October, and opens with Swift describing the 78-year-old music legend dancing around and singing to Motown hits during the shoot and indulging her request that he hand-write her favorite lyric of his and sign it, which she promises to "cherish forever." The pair then fall into easy conversation about recording their recent albums, their shared love of numerology, performing under pseudonyms, and their reluctance to jump up and perform at celeb-packed parties. McCartney and Swift may get the chance to perform together at Glastobury 2021, which is currently set to go ahead. "The plan would be to rebook the 2020 bill, it will move everything, including our 50th-anniversary celebration to 2021," according to the festival's lawyer Ben Challis. - Billboard/New Musical Expess, 11/13/20...... The Grateful DeadA deluxe 50th anniversary reissue of the Grateful Dead's classic 1970 album American Beauty has debuted at No. 3 on Billboard's Album Sales Chart for the week ending Nov. 5, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. The Grateful Dead/Warner/Rhino release sold 21,000 copies in the U.S. and marks the band's biggest sales week for any album in nearly 25 years. American Beauty also sold particularly well on vinyl, with 9,000 copies sold and debuted at No. 1 on the Vinyl Albums Chart. The release is one rung ahead of another debuting Grateful Dead title, the live from-the-vaults album Dave's Picks Vol. 36: Hartford Civic Center, Hartford CT - 3/26 & 3/37/87, which bowed at No. 4 with 20,000 copies sold. The reissue of American Beauty is the second Dead album in 2020 to get a 50th anniversary reissue from Rhino, following Workingman's Dead. "We are incredibly proud of the Grateful Dead's chart success this week," says Rhino/Warner exec Mark Pinku. (American Beauty) remains my personal favorite and continues to serve as a perfect entry to the Dead's unparalleled catalog to many new fans as it did for me back in 1983." - Billboard, 11/12/20...... A 30-minute, 8 song soundboard recording of Van Halen in 1975 before they shot to fame three years later with their eponymous debut album has resurfaced and been shared on YouTube. Featuring founding members Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony, the gig saw Roth engaging in some of his patented stage patter in between VH covers of ZZ Top ("Chevrolet"), Deep Purple ("Maybe I'm a Leo"), the Edgar Winter Group ("And We All Had a Real Good Time"), the Rolling Stones ("Brown Sugar"), the James Gang ("Walk Away"), Johnny Winter ("Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo") and Sugarloaf ("Don't Call Us, We'll Call You"). The set also includes an early version of VH's Women and Children First album track "Fools," then called "I Live With Fools." - Billbaord, 11/13/20...... In related news, Eddie Van Halen's son Wolfgang Van Halen recently told Howard Stern during an interview on his Sirius XM radio show that towards the end of 2017, his dad was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. "The doctors were like, 'You have six weeks'," Wolfgang told Stern, adding that his father went to Germany to receive treatment and "whatever the f--- they do over there, it's amazing, because I got three more years with him." He goes on to say that things took a turn for the worse for his father in early 2019, when Eddie was involved in a motorcycle accident. Eddie was later diagnosed with a brain tumour, and received gamma knife radiosurgery to treat the illness. "But as time went on, shit kept stacking up and stacking up. It just never let up," Wolfgang added. He also confirmed that his dad was serious about embarking on a Van Halen "classic line-up" reunion tour before he became too ill to perform. "That's important, to let people know, that yeah, that was real, and we were so excited about it," Van Halen told Stern. "It just didn't pan out." Wolfgang's interview with Stern can be streamed on YouTube. - NME, 11/17/20...... The contemporary rock band Bleachers has shared a new collaboration with Bruce Springsteen on YouTube called "Chinatown" which sees Bleachers frontman Jack Antonoff and The Boss taking turns to sing the song's chorus. Speaking about "Chinatown," Antonoff said: "It starts in NYC and travels to New Jersey. That pull back to the place I am from mixed with terror of falling in love again. Having to show your cards to someone and the shock when you see them for yourself. Thinking you know yourself and where you are from.... Having to see yourself through somebody who you want to stay..." Antonoff added that "it's the honour of a lifetime to be joined by him." "He is the artist who showed me that the sound of the place I am from has value and that there is a spirit here that needs to be taken all over the world," he said. - NME, 11/16/20...... A newly remastered video of alternative fave Morrisey and David Bowie performing T. Rex's "Cosmic Dancer" has been shared on YouTube. Filmed at the Inglewood Forum in Los Angeles on Feb. 6, 1991, the "Cosmic Dancer" cover was officially released on streaming services on Nov. 13. A 7" double A-side single featuring this version of "Cosmic Dancer," as well as Morrissey's 2020-recorded cover of The Jam's "That's Entertainment," will be released on Feb. 19, 2021. The front and back of the sleeve for the single features photographs of Bowie with Morrissey that were taken in New York City by Linder Sterling. Meanwhile, a new Bowie live album called called No Trendy Rchauff hits stores on Nov. 20. - NME, 11/16/20...... Jimmy PageIn the December issue of Britain's GQ magazine, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page says that the coronavirus pandemic made him think about making a return to performing live. Page said that being in lockdown inspired him to think about getting back out on the road. "When we first went into lockdown I thought, 'Right, now's the time to start thinking about coming back at some point and being able to perform'," adding that the cancellation of concerts all over the world in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 has strengthened his belief that "music means nothing" without live shows. Page added that he's "worried" about the future of the arts and the lack of opportunities for new artists on the rise to perform live. "It's such a very sad and desperate time and what this virus has done internationally to families, to the arts, and everything we love and hold dear and the whole concert situation, it does worry me," he said. "I will never be one of those people who'll record alone and send someone a file. I never went into music in the first place to do that, it was for playing together and this is what it means. We need to play with people, we need gigs and we need community. Because without that, music means nothing." - NME, 11/14/20...... Alice Cooper has shared a cover of the Velvet Underground's "Rock & Roll" from his upcoming album Detroit Stories on YouTube. In 1971, the band Detroit recorded their own version of "Rock & Roll," which was produced by Cooper's longtime producer Bob Ezrin. Cooper's bright, raw take on "Rock & Roll" was -- like the rest of Detroit Stories -- also produced by Ezrin and features Detroit's Steve Hunter on guitar and Johnny "Bee" Badanjek on drums. Cooper will release the 15-track Detroit Stories on Feb. 26, 2021, via earMUSIC. - NME, 11/13/20...... In a new interview with Eon Music, Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler says there "definitely" won't be any more Sabbath shows, and that his Deadland Ritual "supergroup" may also be finished. "There will definitely be no more Sabbath -- it's done," he said. Butler added that Deadland Ritual "had an album worth of songs to record, then COVID struck, which put an end to recording, so I'm not sure if Deadland Ritual will ever carry on." Black Sabbath performed their farewell concert in 2017 with a string of arena concerts, which concluded with a two-night homecoming in Birmingham, however fans have hoped of a potential reunion ever since. - NME, 11/12/20...... Jack Furnish, the father of Elton John's husband David Furnish, has died at age 90. Elton and David Furnish announced the passing in an emotional post on Instagram on Nov. 15, alongside two old pictures of his dad when he was younger, and two of Jack holding his grandchildren -- Elton and David's sons Zachary, nine, and Elijah, seven -- when they were newborn babies. "My father passed away peacefully last night at the age of 90. Dad overcame the traumas of his own family being torn apart by both World Wars," David wrote in the accompanying caption. "He sought solace and comfort in the loving arms of my mother, and built a platform of solid and loving familial stability in which we could all flourish... Thank you for all that did for me Dad. You encouraged me to be independent and strong. To believe that I could achieve my goals in life through hard work and kindness. Lessons that I pass on to my own sons every day." -, 11/16/20...... Des O'ConnorDes O'Connor, a beloved British entertainer, TV presenter and singer died on Nov. 14 after a fall at his home in Buckinghamshire a few days prior. He was 88. Mr. O'Connor was known for his decades-long prime-time TV career, including shows such as Des O'Connor Tonight and Today With Des And Mel. He was also a successful pop singer, having recorded 36 albums and achieved four top 10 singles across a career spanning several decades. In 2008, Mr. O'Connor was made a CBE for his services to entertainment and broadcasting in the Queen's birthday honours. "Des, who was 88, was so well-loved by absolutely everyone. He was a joy to work with -- he was talented, fun, positive, enthusiastic, kind and a total professional," his longtime agent and family friend Pat Lake-Smith said in a statement. "He loved life, and considered enthusiasm almost as important as oxygen. He adored his family -- they were everything to him. He is survived by his wife, Jodie, their son, Adam, and his four daughters, Karin, TJ, Samantha and Kristina." Kim Wilde also paid tribute to Mr. O'Connor on Twitter, recalling "gorgeous memories of singing 'Something Stupid' with Des O'Connor" and an accompanying picture of the pair performing. "Thanks for the memories you lovely man," she added. - NME, 11/15/20.

Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020

Bruce Springsteen, his wife Pattie Scialfa, Sheryl Crow and country star Brad Paisley will be among the performers at the "Stand Up For Heroes" night to honor the nation's veterans and their families on Nov. 18. The annual event, which is going virtual for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic, will highlight inspiring moments, surprises and stories of resilience from those who have served in the United States military. Hosted by Jon Stewart, the 14th annual "Stand Up for Heroes" event airs on Nov. 18 at 9 p.m. EST on ABC News Live, TikTok, Facebook Watch, Cheddar, Twitch and Armed Forces Network. - Billboard, 11/10/20...... Ringo StarrMarc BolanRingo Starr inducted his late friend and fellow musician Marc Bolan of T. Rex into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during a virtual ceremony on Nov. 7. "People knew him as a great musician, a songwriter, a guitarist, but he was also a poet," Starr said of his glam rock friend, who died in a car crash in 1977. "And he was really proud of that. He was always telling me that he was the Number One selling poet in Britain. In fact, his poetry was as important to him as his music. He had great style and was really unlike anyone else I have ever met." Ringo added: "He was a great performer, just incredible. And that's why I called the film we did together Born to Boogie, because he really was. I told Marc, I'll bring the camera and everything else, you just bring yourself. We had a lot of fun together. I remember lots of laughter. We lost him way too young, but in his short life, he made over 12 albums that are as far out and ahead of their time as he was. With the help of [producer] Tony Visconti and his band T. Rex, Marc's style started a lot of trends. They called it glam rock with singles such as 'Get It On', 'Children of the Revolution', and, of course, 'Born to Boogie'." Starr's speech concluded: "But it was always just great music to me. And that's why people are still listening to T. Rex today. There's no doubt they believe in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- finally. And I'm very proud to welcome them in right now. Peace and love to [T. Rex members] Marc, Mickey, Steve, and Bill, and peace and love to all the fans from me and T. Rex. Peace and Love." Alongside Bolan, Nine Inch Nails were also inducted, with Iggy Pop giving a speech to welcome Trent Reznor and co., while Depeche Mode also joined the revered list. The Doobie Brothers and Whitney Houston were also among the 2020 inductees. - New Musical Express, 11/8/20...... In other Rock and Roll Hall of Fame news, president and CEO Joel Peresman has announced the annual event is permanently changing its ceremony schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic. The news comes after it was announced earlier in 2019 that the 2020 ceremony, which was originally set to take place in May, would move to November and take place in virtual form following the global crisis. For years, the people behind the Hall Of Fame would announce in the autumn the nominations for the next year's inclusions. At the beginning of the year they would then unveil the list of artists being inducted before the grand all-star induction ceremony. However, Peresman has now announced that the Hall Of Fame's whole schedule has permanently changed. "We moved the timing of the ceremony," he said of this year's event. "We're going to move the ceremony permanently so it's in the fall of each year because of COVID." He continued: "We're also moving the nomination process. Normally, the nomination process starts in September, we announce the nominees in October, and then we announce the inductees in January. This time the nomination meetings will happen in January, so we'll announce the nominees in February and start that voting process then." While it's not clear whether next year's ceremony will be held in person, Peresman said it is "hopeful by next fall in some form that we'll be able to get together again." - NME, 11/3/20...... Alice CooperOn Nov. 11 Alice Cooper announced that his next album will spotlight his early roots in his hometown of Detroit. Cooper says Detroit Stories will drop in Feb. 2021 and explore how the Motor City helped to popularize "angry hard rock" in the US. "Los Angeles had its sound with The Doors, Love and Buffalo Springfield," said Cooper. "San Francisco had the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. New York had The Rascals and The Velvet Underground. But Detroit was the epicentre for angry hard rock. After not fitting in anywhere in the US (musically or image-wise) Detroit was the only place that recognized the Alice Cooper guitar-driven, hard rock sound." Produced by his longtime producer Bob Ezrin, Detroit Stories will also be available in vinyl and digital formats and feature a number of veteran musicians from the Detroit scene, including MC5's Wayne Kramer, Detroit Wheels drummer Johnny 'Bee' Badanjek and bassist Paul Randolph. Cooper will release the first single from his 21st solo LP, a cover of Velvet Underground's "Rock and Roll," on Nov. 13. - NME, 11/11/20...... AC/DC shared the raucous track "Realize," the second single from their upcoming 17th studio album Power Up, on on Nov. 11. Written by guitarist Angus Young and late brother rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, "Realize" features singer Brian Johnson singing typically unsubtle AC/DC lyrics "Those moments just pass you by/ Gonna take you to paradise/ Move it/ Make you prove it, yeah/ Breakin' out/ Break it down/ Feel the chill, feel the chill/ Movin' down your spine." Due out on Nov. 13, the Brendan O'Brien-produced Power Up is the veteran Aussie rockers' first new music since 2014. Brian Johnson recently teased that they have more than enough new material in their archives to record another album after Power Up. "Most of Power Up came from ideas before [2008's] Black Ice, when Malcolm and Angus would sit together for five days a week and run through ideas," Johnson explained. "Malcolm was meticulous, he'd write down everything and when exactly they'd done it; categorise it. There's more than enough for another album, probably two." In other AC/DC-related news, a YouTuber named Lars von Retriever has shared a clip that mashes up the band's "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" with various speeches by US Pres. Donald Trump. The upload fuses the title track of AC/DC's 1976 album with some of Trump's recent rants -- including his recent accusations of "voter fraud" in regards to Pres. Elect Joe Biden's election victory. Earlier in 2020, Lars von Retriever shared a video in which Trump delivered the lyrics to Iron Maiden's "Run To The Hills." His latest video has registered over 22,600 views and almost 3,000 "likes" on the site so far. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 11/11/20...... In a new interview with the UK music mag Uncut, Paul McCartney shared his admiration for fellow legendary rock veteran Bob Dylan, and says that he "wishes he could be a bit more like him." When asked about his reaction to Dylan's latest acclaimed LP Rough and Rowdy Ways, Sir Paul said: "I always like what he does. Sometimes I wish I was a bit more like Bob. He's legendary... and doesn't give a shit! But I'm not like that. His new album? I thought it was really good. He writes really well. I love his singing -- he came through the standards albums like a total crooner. But, yeah, I like his new stuff. People ask me who I'm a fan of and Bob Dylan and Neil Young always make the list." McCartney is currently giving interviews promoting his upcoming album McCartney III, which drops on Dec. 11. - NME, 11/11/20...... In other Beatles-related news, crowds of New Yorkers came together to sing John Lennon's "Imagine" to celebrate former Vice President Joe Biden being formally called the winner of the 2020 US Presidential election on Nov. 7. In videos posted to social media, crowds at the city's Washington Square Park are seen singing "Imagine" in the park to toast Biden's victory. The footage was then retweeted by Lennon's official Twitter account, along with the hashtag: "#IMAGINE". The song also became an unofficial anthem in the global struggle against the coronavirus earlier in 2020. - NME, 11/7/20...... In related news, the relatives of late rocker Tom Petty say they were "touched" after Petty's "I Won't Back Down" was featured during a celebration of the Biden victory at a rally held at his home base of Wilmington, Del., on Nov. 8. During the event, Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris walked out to "Work That" by Mary J. Bliges, while Biden chose Bruce Springsteens track "We Take Care Of Our Own" as his entry song. Then, together, they marked the historic occasion by joining hands as Petty's "I Won't Back Down" was blasted through the speakers and confetti released into the air. A representative for Petty's family has since taken to Twitter to share their elation at the politicians' choice of music for the victory event. "We were all so touched to see Tom included on such an important night in America," they posted. "Congratulations @joebiden and @kamalaharris." In June, Petty's estate issued a cease and desist order to the Trump campaign after the same song was played at a Trump rally in Oklahoma. "Trump was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind," Petty's loved ones wrote. -, 11/8/20...... Meanwhile, Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger celebrated the Joe Biden victory with a post on his Twitter account on Nov. 7. "I'm so looking forward to coming back to an America free of harsh words and name calling and be amongst people who I know have common ground and harmony," Jagger wrote to his 2.2 million followers. "It's a challenge but it can be done!" Like the Tom Petty estate, Jagger has previously objected to the Trump campaign playing his band's songs at their rallies, specifially "You Can't Always Get What You Want." - Billboard, 11/7/20...... Keith RichardsIn other Rolling Stones news, guitarist Keith Richards has spoken about the band's upcoming 60th anniversary in 2022, saying that "the plans are to still actually all be alive" by the time the milestone comes around. In an interview with GQ magazine, the 76-year-old Richards said "Well, the plans are to still actually all be alive" when asked about their 60th anniversary. Apart from that, at our age, I don't know. I haven't heard of any plans, but I'm sure there are things being made. First off, I'm going to get through this year and see how we handle next year. Because I think at the moment, there are more problems than a Rolling Stones celebration. Although I'm very glad that we're all here, but I'll leave it at that if I can." Richards further confirmed that the Stones have been working on a new album, which he says was "halfway in the works before [the] shit hit the fan" -- a reference to the coronavirus pandemic. "I was trying to progress a few things along, but there's not a lot one can really do except wait for the vaccine," the guitarist said. Richards also reflected on his own mortality in the interview, saying that "every day is a pleasure." "I mean, I don't wish to defy anybody's predictions and I'm really not interested in them," he added in reference to the interviewer's observation that "people have been wondering in interviews when you're going to die for the last 50 years." "But I'll croak when I croak and everybody will know," Richards added. - NME, 11/10/20...... In an interview with the website on Nov. 10, Queen guitarist Brian May revealed how Queen initially thought their Live Aid performance was "kind of ok," failing to realize that they had delivered one of the most iconic performances of all time. "It was so strange kind of reliving it for the movie," May said, referring to the smash 2018 Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. "They recreated it so incredibly faithfully, and to be there on that set was really spine chilling; it brought it all back. And at the time, we weren't aware of what an epoch-making thing it was, really. We came off [thinking], 'Well, that went kind of OK.' But we didn't realise that it had made such a lasting impression on the ether... It sort of lives on, doesn't it?" Hailing the talents of the late Queen vocalist Freddie Mercury, he added: "He had a great spatial awareness, and that's something very important. "If you're working with people on a stage, you need to have musical contact, but you also need the kind of physical chemistry going on -- the awareness of where you are and where you're aiming your energy. Freddie was wonderful for that, and we just clicked from the very beginning." - NME, 11/11/20...... Genesis member Phil Collins is disputing his ex-wife Orianne Cevey's "scurrilous" and "grossly exaggerated" claims that he refused to shower and lived in squalor after becoming a recluse after the former couple split for the second time earlier in 2020. In the latest development in a court battle over Cevey and her new husband Thomas Bates being evicted by Collins from a beachfront Miami compoind she once shared with Collins, Cevey claimed Collins became a recluse in 2019, refusing to socialize, turning his back on music and reportedly abusing painkillers, all while also failing to take care of his personal hygiene for months as he allegedly started living in squalor. "Philip's stench became so pervasive that he became a hermit, refusing to interact personally with any people," Cevey declared in the legal documents. However, Collins has disputed his ex's version of events in a response filed to court by his lawyers, calling her allegations "immaterial and impertinent" to the case and even going as far as likening her claims to a means of "extortion." "They are scandalous, scurrilous, unethical and, for the most part, patently false or grossly exaggerated," Collins' attorneys wrote. "These false and scandalous allegations are again included only so that they can be delivered by defendants to the media to try to damage Phil Collins' reputation in an effort to extort money." -, 11/10/20...... On Nov. 10 a new David Bowie album called No Trendy Rchauff was announced on the Bowie Instagram page. The album will arrive via Parlophone on Nov. 20 as part of the rock icon's posthumous "Brilliant Live Adventures" series, which comprises six previously unreleased live Bowie recordings from between 1995 and 1999. No Trendy Rchauff, the second release in the series, was recorded at the Birmingham NEC in Dec. 1995, and follows Ouvrez Le Chien, which dropped on Oct. 30. The 15-track No Trendy Rchauff features rare live performances of "Jump They Say" and "Strangers When We Meet" as well as two versions of "Hallo Spaceboy." The third installment in the "Brilliant Live Adventures"' series is due to arrive by the end of 2020, with the remaining three records set for release at some point in early 2021. Meanwhile, distributors of the new Bowie biopic Stardust have confirmed it will be released in UK theaters by the end of 2020. British distributor Vertigo Releasing has secured the rights to the film in the UK, which is set for release in the US on Nov. 25. The first screening recently took place at a socially-distanced opening night gala in London, with the film's director Gabriel Range in attendance. Stardust stars actor/musician Johnny Flynn as Bowie as he travels across the US in 1971, shortly before he saw widespread acclaim by reinventing himself as Ziggy Stardust. - NME, 11/10/20...... Alex TrebekAlex Trebek, the beloved longtime host of the TV game show Jeopardy!, died at home on Nov. 8 after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80. Mr. Trebek, who started out in radio and on shows in his native Canada before becoming a fixture of American TV for 36 years as the steady hand of the juggernaut Jeopardy!, reportedly passed away peacefully surrounded by family and friends. Born George Alexander Trebek on July 22, 1940 and growing up in Sudbury, Ontario, Mr. Trebek's father immigrated from Ukraine; his mother was French Canadian. Mr. Trebek grew up working class with his sister Barbara in the nickel-mining town, and after working his way through college and graduating with a degree in philosophy, he worked in radio and TV for 12 years in his native Canada. He made the move to Los Angeles in 1973 for The Wizard of Odds, and hosted many game shows, including High Rollers and Double Dare, before landing Jeopardy! in 1984. For 36 years, Mr. Trebek, with his wit, pronunciation panache and steady hand, and the quiz show became "part of the fabric of American life," with him hosting nearly 8,000 episodes and the show winning 35 Emmys. Mr. Trebek announced that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2019 and fans showered him with support. Mr. Trebek is survived by his wife of 30 years, Jean Currivan, and their two children, Matthew and Emily, and Nicky, his first wife Elaine Callei's daughter. Among those paying tribute to Mr. Trebek after learning of his passing was "American Pie" hitmaker Don McLean, who was requested to attend a 2019 Christmas party hosted by Mr. Trebek. "There was not the slightest hint of self-pity or weakness in this man. He was elegant and dignified as you saw him on television," said McClean of Trebek's demeanor at the Dec. 18 party for 150 in Studio City, Calif., where Trebek said having the singer perform would be the realization of a "longtime dream" of his. "Old school for sure and someone who we all can learn from," McLean added. "I thought of him often afterward and I'll think of him in the future and maybe try to be a little more like him." -, 11/8/20.

Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020

With his Oct. 23 release Letter To You, Bruce Springsteen has tied John Mayer for the most No. 1 albums ever on Billboard's Top Rock Albums Chart. Debuting atop the tally for the week ending Nov. 7, Letter To You sold 97,000 equivalent album units according to Nielsen Music/MRC, with 92,000 units comprised of album sales. The album becomes Springsteen's seventh No. 1 album on the Top Rock Albums survey, which was started in 2006. Meanwhile, the album has shot to the No. 2 position on the Americana/Folk Album Chart, and its lead single and title track is spending its second week at No. 2 on the Adult Alternative Songs airplay chart. Should it top the list, which appears likely, it will mark Springsteen's first Adult Alternative Songs No. 1 since 2002's "The Rising." Following Springsteen and Mayer on the list are Tom Petty and Dave Matthews, both with six No. 1's each on the chart. - Billboard, 11/6/20...... James TaylorJames Taylor shared a special performance of "America the Beautiful" on Election Day (Nov. 3) on YouTube to mark the 2020 election. The singer-songwriter performed the patriotic track, which was written and composed in the late 1800s, from his home, strumming his acoustic guitar in front of a fireplace. Sharing the performance on Twitter, Taylor wrote: "Inspiration for an important day." Previously an active supporter of Pres. Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign, Taylor previously performed "America The Beautiful" at Obama's second inauguration in 2013. More recently, Taylor has shown his support for former Vice President Joe Biden's Democratic ticket with Kamala Harris, sending emails and asking for donations while posting content on social media. "Joe Biden knows that, as President, he has to fight for every American, not just the ones who voted for him," Taylor wrote in a recent email. "He'll work with scientific and medical experts to forge a fact-based plan to approach this virus, and then he'll get to work building our country back better than it was before," he added. - NME, 11/3/20...... In other election news, Patti Smith and her guitarist friend Lenny Kaye delivered an impromptu performance of "People Have The Power" on Nov. 3 for voters heading to the polls in New York City. The pair performed a low-key version of the 1988 track on the streets, and were joined at one point by a selection of fans who started singing the track's chorus. "Don't forget it, use your voice! Vote!," Smith told the assembled fans. The clip was posted on Instagram by election organization Joy To The Polls, who wrote: "Singing to voters in the streets is so punk!... We love @thisispattismith bringing people power to the polls with this impromptu performance in NYC earlier this week. You don't have to be the Godmother of Punk to surprise and delight voters in long voting lines!" - NME, 11/3/20...... Queen + Adam Lambert have shared a stunning live performance of their 1976 track "Somebody to Love" on YouTube. The performance, which is included on Queen's new live album Live Around the World, is from Queen and Lambert's first UK festival appearance together at the Isle of Wight in 2016, a milestone Lambert has called "a really special night." Queen + Adam Lambert, whose planned summer 2020 UK and European tour was rescheduled to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, decided to compile Live Around the World after overwhelming fan response to their hour-long online "Queen + Adam Lambert Watch Party," which highlighted live highlights from previous tours. - New Musical Express, 11/7/20...... AC/DC have teamed up with US clothing company DCShoes for a new collection of T-shirts, footwear and accessories that pays tribute to classic albums such as Highway to Hell and Back in Black. The line, which can be purchased at the DCShoes website, includes a longsleeved sweater and T-shirt boasting the cover art to Highway To Hell, a pair of black skater shoes adorned with the iconic AC/DC logo, and a pair of loafers. The Back In Black collection, meanwhile, consists of a snapback cap, an "Access All Areas" T-shirt, and black sneakers. AC/DC will release its latest album, Power Up, on Nov. 13. - NME, 11/7/20...... Daryl HallHall & Oates principal Daryl Hall has shared his thoughts on the 1980 H&O hit "You Make My Dreams" recemt;u passing the landmark of one billion total streams. "The song is certainly an antidote to the uncertainty of the world we live in now," Hall told the UK paper The Sun. "It still feels very current to me because I've been playing the song for all these years. Time really doesn't play a big factor in the way I look at anything really, but especially music," says Hall, who adds the song "wrote itself." "I remember writing the song, sitting in my apartment in New York City. I had a Yamaha CP 30 piano, which is a very distinctive sounding electric piano. And I started playing that riff, it just spoke to me... I wondered if it was too happy? Could I think of something a little more complicated? And I tried but it is what it is. It really just wrote itself." -, 11/6/20...... In an episode of Oprah Winfrey's new Apple TV+ series The Oprah Conversation, Stevie Wonder said he thinks America is "so close" to not being "the land of the free." Winfrey asked the Motown legend if he thought America was in a "fragile decade" right now. "Without question," Wonder replied. "Most importantly, we are so close to not being the nation that people talk about. We can talk about being the land of the free and the home of the brave, 'give me your tired' and all of that. And then there are people who hate." He continued: "I don't care what ethnicity you are, what color you are. The great thing about being blind, for me, is that I don't see color but I do see the spirit. If your spirit's not right, I can just feel it." - NME, 11/6/20...... Jimmy Page confirmed on his Facebook page on Nov. 5 that his former wife Patricia Ecker passed away in October. "It is with great sadness that I learned of the tragic death of Patricia," the Led Zeppelin guitarist wrote in a short statement. "My thoughts are with her family through this difficult time." Page was married to Ecker, who was born in Louisiana in May 1962 and worked as a model and waitress, between 1986 and 1995. Ecker gave birth to their only son, James Patrick Page III, in Apr. 1988. "My son James is a strong, brave, intelligent man and he has all my love," Page added about the couple's son. "I ask that you respect us all at this incredibly hard time." A cause of death for Ecker has yet to be revealed. - NME, 11/6/20...... Pop sensation Miley Cyrus and Stevie Nicks have teamed up for a new track which mashes up Cyrus' "Midnight Sky" with Nick's seminal track "Edge of Seventeen." The new collaboration from the pair, which has been shared on YouTube, comes after Cyrus sampled Nicks' classic on "Midnight Sky" when it arrived in August. It sees Cyrus delivering the track's verse, before she's joined by Nicks on the powerful chorus -- which heavily samples her own offering. Cyrus previously explained how she sought approval from one of her biggest musical influences to provide a new spin on "Edge of Seventeen." "I sent her the song and I said, 'I have an alternate melody, if you don't want me to kind of like pay tribute to you and your greatness and how much you've inspired me,'" Miley recalled. "And she said, 'You can borrow from me anytime.'" "Midnight Sky" is the lead single from Cyrus' upcoming album Plastic Hearts, which drops on Nov. 27. - NME, 11/6/20...... In other Fleetwood Mac-related news, music publishing company Hipgnosis Song Fund has just purchased the catalog of Kobalt Music Copyrights, which includes the rights to such Fleetwood Mac hits as "Go Your Own Way" and "The Chain." Hipgnosis Song Fund paid a reported $322.9 million for the catalog, which also includes songs by Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, 50 Cent, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, and many others. The Kobalt catalog follows other acquisitions by Hipgnosis which includes catalogs by Blondie, L.A. Reid and RZA, among others. - NME, 11/3/20...... London's Daily Mirror newspaper is reporting that the Beatles' company Apple Corps Limited earned over $50 million in 2019, the equivalent of $137,657 a day, despite the group having gone their separate ways more than 50 years ago. Of the total, surviving members Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Ringo Starr, along with John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and George Harrison's widow Olivia Harrison, received $6.1 million each. A large chunk of the money comes from Las Vegas stage show "Love," a joint venture with Cirque du Soleil. The figures are a huge growth on the previous year, when turnover was $36.5 million with a pre-tax profit of $5.5 million -- about $3 million less than 2019 -- and shares to Paul, Ringo, Yoko and Olivia were $3,685,000. -, 11/6/20...... Elton JohnBernie TaupinIn a new interview with Rolling Stone, Elton John's songwriting partner Bernie Taupin says he "continually encourages" Sir Elton to work on a new album. Taupin says John was planning on working on some of the songs he had sent him during his downtime in Australia when he was due to be touring there. "I did send him probably close to 16 or 18 things when he was in Australia. The original plan was that he was going to write when he was in Australia because he had so much free time down there because he was going to stay there for the duration of the Australian and New Zealand tour." However, Taupin added that: "(Elton) felt that he wanted to write... (but) that didn't happen." Taupin says that when Elton finally does "put digits to piano" he believes the tunes he sent him will turn out to be "very special": "I think we might come up with something very special. Being that he's not going to hit the road potentially until the end of next year, that gives him plenty of time. I would love to see him start to do some work. As I say, I continually encourage him to do so. How we would do it, I'm not sure. I've got some ideas in my head that he might be interested in. But I really, really would love to get back on track and back in the game." John's last studio LP was 2016's Wonderful Crazy Night. -, 11/5/20...... The new David Byrne film American Utopia, which is based on Byrne's smash Broadway hit of the same name and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September before screening at the London Film Festival in October, has been given a UK release date. Universal announced it will be releasing the Spike Lee-directed American Utopia on VOD services and on DVD from Dec.14, in light of the coronavirus restrictions facing UK cinemas at the moment. The Broadway show played at New York City's Hudson Theatre from Oct. 2019 to Feb. 2020, and also toured the UK between Oct. and Nov. 2018. Byrne is joined by 11 musicians from around the world onstage, while Lee films the production with 11 camera operators. The show performs a number of songs from Byrne's album of the same name, but also features a number of hits by Byrne's former band Talking Heads including "Burning Down The House" and "This Must Be The Place." - NME, 11/5/20...... A new 2021 charity calendar being marketed to fans of The Clash will help raise funds for The Joe Strummer Foundation, an organization set up in the singer's memory to develop new music talent in the U.K. and overseas. The calendar allows Clash fans to delve into iconic imagery from Strummer's solo career, and features around 123 record sleeves from Strummer's solo career. Fans looking to spread a bit of holiday cheer can also purchase a set of Joe Strummer Christmas cards too, with a new design created for 2021. Both items can be purchased on the Joe Strummer Foundation website. - NME, 11/4/20...... In a bizarre rant during an appearance on the UK talk show Good Morning Britain from his home in Los Angeles on Nov. 4, former The Sex Pistols singer John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) doubled down on his support for US Pres. Donald Trump. "I'm working-class English, it makes complete sense to me to vote for a person who actually talks about my kind of people," Lydon said. "Trump's not a politician. He's never claimed to be. How unusually, exceptionally wonderful is that for people like me? We're bored with your intellectual left-wing ideas. We can't take more of ya. You talk twaddle. Everything you do, you just miss the point of who the general population are... they now support him so loyally because he is the only hope." Lydon's comments came shortly after the president claimed he had won the 2020 election and confirmed he would seek Supreme Court action to prevent the further counting of votes. - NME, 11/4/20...... Wolfgang Van HalenIn an emotional post on Twitter, Eddie Van Halen's son Wolfgang Van Halen has blasted the celebrity gossip mag US Weekly for turning his dad's death into "entertainment." Wolfgang, 29, has used social media only sporadically since Eddie passed away from cancer on Oct. 6 at age 65, however he took exception to the magazine's recent cover story which features his mother and Eddie's ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli alongside the headline, "Love, Loss & Staying Strong." "F--- this, and f--- you US Weekly," Wolfgang wrote. "The only thing printed in this piece of toilet paper that's true is that we all loved my father. This is not a new interview. My mother did not speak to them for this. That is all." His post continues: "I know what a lot of you are going to say. 'Just ignore it, bro!' I'm not going to stand by and let people publish lies and make my family's tragedy someone else's entertainment." Wolfgang, who has been a member of Van Halen since replacing founding bassist Michael Anthony, also made a heartbreaking post to Instagram on Nov. 6, writing: "1 month. Not a second goes by where you're not on my mind. I miss talking with you. I miss laughing with you. I miss listening to music with you. I miss making music with you. I just miss everything. I love you so much, Pop. It's really hard being here without you." - Billboard, 11/6/20...... In other Van Halen-related news, former lead vocalist David Lee Roth has dedicated a previously-unreleased song to his late friend and bandmate. Roth has posted the audio for "Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bar and Grill" on YouTube, accompanied by an illustration of the sun and clouds, and features the message, "Hey Ed I'm gonna miss ya (sic). See you on the other side." The tune was reportedly intended for an album Roth had planned to release years ago with guitarist John 5, but it has yet to come to fruition. Meanwhile according to several published reports, Eddie Van Halen will be the object of a special salute during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2020 induction ceremony on Nov. 7. - WENN/, 11/3/20...... In a new interview with Iowa radio station Lazer 103.3, Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford updated fans on the status of the band's upcoming 19th studio album. "We've already started work on it," Halford said of the follow up to the band's 2018 set Firepower. "We had some great writing sessions in the early part of this year until the world came to a stop in late March. I came back here [home] to Phoenix just to chill and relax for a bit and get ready for another writing session. 'Cause that's what we need to do as a band. You make a bunch of work and then you walk away from it and then you go back to it later and re-analyse it and continue the growth of the record," Halford said. He continued: "That's what we were doing then, and we're still doing it now -- we're still putting bits and pieces together. It's an unusual way of making a record, but we're not the only band that's going through this situation in terms of creativity. You can't let this pandemic stop you; you've gotta try and still get as much out of life as you can." Halford has also recently confirmed he's currently working on a solo blues album. - NME, 11/3/20...... On Nov. 3 Neil Young shared a previously unreleased version of "Powderfinger" from his 1979 album Rust Never Sleeeps on Instagram. Although the song was released in the late '70s, the version Young has since shared was recorded on June 12, 1975 in Point Dume, Calif. Produced by Young and David Briggs, the song -- one of Young's most popular -- has been covered by the likes of Cowboy Junkies, Drive-by Truckers and more, and features Frank "Poncho" Sampedro on guitar, Billy Talbot on bass, and Ralph Molina on drums. Subscribers to the Neil Young Archives can also listen to the entire track or through the site's mobile app. Young recently announced he'll release a special 50th anniversary reissue of his 1970 album After the Goldrush on Dec. 11. - NME, 11/3/20...... The planned Bob Dylan biopic Going Electric has officially been put on hold indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic. Director of photography Phedon Papamichael revealed that while he doesn't believe the drama centered on the 12-time Grammy winner is "dead," but rather is "a tough one to pull off in a COVID era because it's all in small clubs with lots of extras in period costumes, so you've got lots of hair and makeup." Despite this, however, Papamichael hasn't confirmed whether talks are ongoing to outright cancel the project. Going Electric will chronicle Dylan's rise in folk music and sudden transition to rock 'n' roll. The film will also see the rock icon's interaction with 1960s' music legends which include Joan Baez and Pete Seeger. The Fox Searchlight-produced film includes the rights to the singer/songwriter's music rights and to author Elijah Wald's book titled Dylan Goes Electric. -, 10/27/20...... Ken HensleySongwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ken Hensley, a former member of the '70s hard rock band Uriah Heep, died on Nov. 5. He was 75. "I received devastating news this morning from Ken's manager Steve Weltman that Ken Hensley has passed away," Hensley's former bandmate Mick Box posted to Twitter on Nov. 5. "My sincere condolences go to his family and wife Monica and may he rest in peace." Box added he was in "deep shock" and hailed his "musical legacy that will be in people's hearts forever." During his time with the band, Hensley played a major role in popularizing the role of keyboards in heavy rock, as well as masterminding one of the band's biggest hits -- the folk-rock epic "Lady In Black." Hensley also composed "Easy Livin"" from the band's 1972 album Demons and Wizards, which became a major European hit in 1972, and a string of other hits for the band. Born in the UK on Aug. 24, 1945, Hensley began his career with the group in 1969 when they were known as Spice, before renaming themselves Uriah Heep, taking the name from a character in Charles Dickens' seminal novel David Copperfield. Hensley recorded 13 albums with the band, before leaving in 1980. Their biggest album in the UK was 1975's Return to Fantasy, which reached No 7 in the UK album charts. Hensley departed the group after growing unhappy with the band's direction, before doing stints in such heavy rock bands as Blackfoot and Cinderella. While occasional live reunions with Uriah Heep followed, he focused on solo work in the decades that followed, including 2007's Blood on the Highway, an autobiographical rock opera. Hensley recently finished a new album, My Book of Answers, which was due for release in February. His death comes only two months after that of Lee Kerslake, the band's long-time drummer, who died at age 73 after a long battle with prostate cancer. - NME, 11/5/20.

Monday, Nov. 2, 2020

There's no all-star jam that concludes the 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductions at Cleveland's Rock & Roll Hall of fame museum this year. Rather than the traditional live ceremony, where presenters give speeches and perform with (or in honor of) inductees, the taped special on cable's HBO on Nov. 7 at 8:00 p.m. EDT/7:00 Central plays more like a fascinating two-hour VH1 Behind the Music. We see deper into the artists' rise and influence with archival interview and performance clips, and get even more testimonials from famous fans. Among the highlights: Ringo Starr leads a colorful tribute to his late good friend Marc Bolan, the English glam rockers T. Rex's trailblazing frontman. "You see [clips of] David Bowie talking about how he and Marc were coming up at the same time, and Marc did what he wanted to do first," says special producer and Hall of Fame CEO Joel Peresman. "He influenced Bowie... it's crazy!" Also, country star Luke Bryan kicks off a lovefest to the Doobie Brothers, which features member Michael McDonald discussing the group's 50-year run as one of the most recognizable sounds of the '70s California rock scene. Other class of 2020 inductees featured include Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, The Notorious B.I.G. and Whitney Houston. - TV Guide, 10/26/20...... The EaglesThe Eagles have soared to their best Billboard chart sales week in over a decade with their new concert LP, Live From The Forum MMXVIII. Debuting with 24,000 copies sold in the U.S. in the week ending Oct. 22, Live From The Forum MMXVIII's arrival markes the largest sales week for any album by the California folk-rock group since its studio set Long Road Out of Eden sold 38,000 copies in the week ending Feb. 17, 2008. Live From The Forum MMXVIII also scores the Eagles their highest charting effort on the Hot 200 album sales chart since former No. 1 Eden placed at No. 4 in its eighth week on the list (on the Jan. 5, 2008-dated chart). Live From The Forum MMXVII is the group's first new album release since the 2016 death of co-founder Glenn Frey (and which features his son Deacon Frey and country star Vince Gill). It was available in a variety of deluxe formats, including a set with four vinyl LPs, two CDs and a blu-ray disc for $149.98. Featuring many of their favorites, the album was recorded over three nights at The Forum in Los Angeles in Sept. of 2018. - Billboard, 10/29/20...... Bruce Springsteen has set a new Billboard chart record with his new album Letter To You -- the first act with new Top 5-charting albums in each of the last six decades (1970s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s and the '20s). Bowing with 96,000 equivalent album units, Letter To You also debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 200 album sales chart for the week ending Oct. 29 for the Boss's biggest sales week for any album since 2014. All told, Letter to You is the New Jersey rocker's 21st Top 10 and Top 5-charting album on the Billboard 200. Letter to You sold well on vinyl, with 18,000 of its sales coming from the format -- the second-largest sales week for a vinyl album in 2020. Meanwhile, Springsteen has lent his voice to a campaign commercial for Democratic presidential contenter Joe Biden. "Scranton, Pennsylvania. Here, success isn't handed down. It's forged in sweat, grit and determination," Springsteen says in the ad which has been shared on YouTube. "This is his hometown. In Scranton, good times aren't promised. But here, and in towns across America, times are harder than they ought to be. Lives are on pause, dreams on hold, futures in doubt." Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. track "My Hometown" also appears in the minute-long ad, which premiered on Oct. 30 on YouTube and aired on network TV the following night during the Penn State/Ohio State football game. On Oct. 28, Springsteen took to Twitter to call on his fellow Americans to vote Pres. Donald Trump out of office on Nov. 3. "We are lost. We've lost so much in so short a time. On November 3rd, vote them out," he captioned an audio clip explaining the damage he thinks Trump has done during his four years in office. He continued: "Where did that country go? Where did all the fun, the joy and expression of love and happiness go? We used to have a president who calmed and soothed the nation instead of dividing it. We are rudderless and joyless." - Billboard/New Musical Express, 11/2/20...... Also taking aim at Pres. Trump -- this time for his constant use of Twitter -- is Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger. In a Twitter clip titled "Pride Before a Fall" and performed in a studio, the rock icon sings: "I see the preening, it's overweening, over eating, too much tweeting, and when my back is turned somebody will Push you off the wall. And just remember that pride, it comes before a fall." Jagger's jab at Trump comes after the Stones warned the president several times in 2020 to stop using their music at his rallies and events or face a lawsuit, having already served his campaign with multiple cease and desist directives after he began playing their songs including "You Can't Always Get What You Want" at events on his 2016 campaign. It was subsequently claimed that Trump adhered to the order, instead choosing to close his rallies with The Village People's "Y.M.C.A.", whose leader Victor Willis recently told the BBC News that his group has also asked Trump to quit playing their songs at political rallies. "I don't endorse Trump, I've never endorsed Trump, nor has the Village People," Willis said. "Donald Trump does what Donald Trump does. I've never seen him actually put his hands up and make the Y.M.C.A. He's changed it to M-A-G-A or something." The footage of Trump entering his rally to "Y.M.C.A." has become so widely ridiculed, it was recently lampooned by NBC's Saturday Night Live during a "Weekend Update" segment in which cast member Keenan Thompson played Willis, singing a version of "Y.M.C.A." that demanded he stops playing the song. - New Musical Express/WENN/, 10/30/20...... Stevie Wonder came out in support of the Joe Biden and Kamal Harris presidential ticket with a short set at a Biden campaign rally in Detroit on Oct. 31. The R&B icon kicked off his four-song set with "Higher Ground'," before heading straight into new tracks "Can't Put It In The Hands of Fate" and "Where Is Our Love Song," which were both released in late October and his first new songs in 15 years. "The only way we're going to win this fight, a fight against injustice, is by voting," Wonder told the crowd. "We must vote justice in and injustice out." Stevie went on to describe the Nov. 3 election as "the most important one of my lifetime." "When I'm in California hearing about a group of people that are trying to kidnap and murder the governor of this state, excuse my language, but that's some bullshit. Unacceptable," he said, referring to the foiled plans from a right-wing militia who are accused of attempting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. A clip of the rally, which also featured former president Barack Obama, has been shared on YouTube. - NME, 11/2/20...... David BowieA live cover of the T. Rex classic "Cosmic Dancer" by David Bowie and alternative rocker Morrissey is set to be released as a digital download and streaming on Nov. 13. A vinyl version of the single will then be released on Feb.19, 2021. On the other side of the single will be a cover of The Jam's "That's Entertainment," though as Morrissey's official website points out, it is not the same version of the track as the 1993 version available on the internet. Bowie and Morrissey paired up for the cover during a Morrissey concert at The Forum in Los Angeles in 1991, and it has been widely circulated online in the two decades since. A clip of the "Cosmic Dancer" collaboration has been shared on YouTube. In other Bowie news, the first official trailer for the upcoming Bowie biopic Stardust has been made available on YouTube. The film, which premiered on Oct. 28 at Raindance Film Festival, stars actor and musician Johnny Flynn, follows the musical chameleon as he travels across the US in 1971, shortly before he saw widespread acclaim by reinventing himself as Ziggy Stardust. With the film not containing any original Bowie songs, Flynn recently told the UK paper The Guardian that "we're potentially going to get a lot of flak from the Bowie army." Bowie's family have also previously distanced themselves entirely from the upcoming project. His son and Moon director Duncan Jones has confirmed that Stardust is unauthorised and won't feature any of his father's music in it. After seeing the film several Bowie fans took to Twitter to share their less than enthusiastic reactions, with one fan posting: "You can't have an accent that bad, a film that looks like an American soap opera and you certainly can't have a Bowie film without his music. Probs shouldn't have bothered guys." - NME, 11/1/20...... The Rolling Stones' former label ABCKO Records has shared archival footage of the band's 1968 classic "Sympathy for the Devil" for the first time. Landing on ABCKO's YouTube channel in late October, the video is a previously unreleased cut from the band's 1996 Rock and Roll Circus concert film that didn't make it into the final version. The footage features the outfit's original lineup as it was when the performance was initially filmed in 1968, comprising Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, Ian Stewart and Brian Jones. There's also a brief cameo from John Lennon at the 4:54 mark, having also performed as part of The Dirty Mac supergroup along with Eric Clapton, Richards and Mitch Mitchell during the show. The concert film was initially conceived as a BBC special and directed by Michael Lindsey-Hogg. In addition to the Stones and Dirty Mac performances, there were also sets from Yoko Ono, Marianne Faithfull, Jethro Tull, Taj Mahal and The Who. - NME, 11/1/20...... Jimmy Page has told Rolling Stone magazine that he has only seen "a handful" of people since Britain's Covid-19 lockdown began in March as he is "very cautious" about his health. Page, 76, lives in an historic home in west London with his partner, poet and performer Scarlett Sabet. Page said he and Sabet have been following the UK's restrictions issued to prevent the spread of the virus and shelter elderly people and they take their risk extremely seriously. "The place has a garden, and you don't feel quite so under home arrest," he said. "But we've been very, very, very cautious about who we see and who we don't see, and it's been just a handful of people in the last six, seven months," he added. Instead, Page said he has kept busy by working on a new edition of his Anthology book, organising his record collection, and playing the guitar each morning. "The minute I'd locked down, I knew I didn't want to look back on my period and say, 'Oh, I wish I'd done this or that,'" he mused of his routine, adding: "I wanted to make sure I did it all." One project the star hasn't been working on is XYZ, the abortive supergroup he formed with former Yes members Chris Squire and Alan White in 1980 -- despite rumours recordings are being prepared for release. "Unfortunately, we've lost Chris now," Jimmy reflected, revealing Squire's passing in 2015 has made a release unlikely. "It was something that I always hoped to do, as some sort of project, to get hold of him and Alan. It's not even worth talking about, because it's all speculation," he added. -, 10/31/20...... Neil YoungNeil Young has shared details of the upcoming 50th anniversary reissue of his classic 1970 set After the Goldrush, which was originally released on Sept. 19, 1970. Due on Dec. 11 via Reprise Records, After the Goldrush - 50th Anniversary Edition will also be released as a deluxe vinyl box set edition on Mar. 19, 2021. Ahead of the new reissue, Young has shared a previously unreleased version of "Wonderin'" on YouTube. Meanwhile, the Canadian born singer/songwriter is set to release a new live album on Nov. 6 called Return to Greendale alongside an accompanying concert film. The project chronicles the tour behind Young and Crazy Horse's 2003 rock opera, "Greendale." Following on Nov. 20 will be his long-awaited Archives Volume II: 1972-1976 box set, which features 12 previously unreleased songs, alongside 50 new versions of old tracks. In other Neil Young-related news, the musician's 78-year-old brother Bob Young has just released his debut single "Hey America." Bob, the older sibling of Neil, says he felt inspired to release the track after watching Donald Trump on TV several years ago and "wrote down a few lines." "It took a while to be able to play and sing the song from start to finish. When I could finally accomplish that, it was a victory. The recording process all happened at once," Bob explained in a press release. A clip of "Hey America" can be viewed on YouTube. - NME, 10/31/20...... Tom Petty has returned to the top of Billboard's Top Rock Albums chart with his recent reissue Wildflowers and All the Rest. Debuting on Oct. 16, Wildflowers and All the Rest has re-entered the rock albums chart at No. 1 with 44,000 equivalent album units (38,000 via album sales) earned in the week ending Oct. 22, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Initially intended as a double album, Petty released Wildflowers in 1994 with a 15-song tracklist. The album debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 200 dated Nov. 19, 1994. With six Top Rock Albums Chart rulers, Petty is tied for the second-most No. 1's in the chart's history. The original Wildflowers album has also re-entered the Hot 200 at No. 5, its highest rank ever, following its No. 8 debut and prior peak in 1994. - Billboard, 10/28/20...... Actors Ethan and Maya Hawke will both star in a film entitled Revolver in which Maya will portray a teen who's determined to lose her virginity to Beatles legend George Harrison. Revolver, which is being helmed by Finding Nemo co-director Andrew Stanton, will see Ethan and Maya portray father and daughter in the '60s-set romantic comedy. Maya will play Jane, a teenager resident of Anchorage, Alaska. The film is set in 1966 when a flight to Japan carrying the Beatles is forced to make an unexpected stop at the city. Jane then dreams up a plan to lose her virginity to the Fab Four guitarist. Revolver will make its world premiere in November at the American Film Market festival - NME, 10/30/20...... The Bee GeesA U.K. release date for the upcoming Bee Gees documentary How Can You Mend A Broken Heart has been announced. The first feature-length documentary about the band is set to screen in UK cinemas for one night only on Dec. 3. Directed by Frank Marshall (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), the rockdoc promises an intimate look at the lives and careers of Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb. "Like so many people around the world, I've loved the Bee Gees' music all my life," Marshall said in a statement. "But it wasn't until I did my first interview with Barry, almost 3 years ago, that I began to discover their uncanny creative instincts, their musical gifts, their humor, and the brotherhood and family that made them so unique." He added: "It's been such an honor to be involved in this movie and celebrate the massive impact The Bee Gee's have had on popular music." Meanwhile, it was recently announced a narrative biopic based on the life and career of the Bee Gees is also in the works, courtesy of Bohemian Rhapsody producer Graham King and screenwriter Anthony McCarten. - NME, 10/29/20...... Appearing on her chat show The Talk, Ozzy Osbourne wife Sharon Osbourne revealed that her and Ozzy's credit cards were recently "maxed out" by a fraudster. Sharon said she was first made aware of the crime when attempting to buy a birthday present for daughter Kelly Osbourne. "I give my credit card and they come back and say, 'Do you have another credit card? It didn't go through.' I say, 'Just try it again'... still didn't go through.... I hand them Ozzy's." She added: "Then, they come back and go, 'Do you have another one? It didn't go through.' Someone rang up charges and maxed out Ozzy's card and my card. I called through to the credit card company and they go, 'No, no, no, you're maxed out, so is Ozzy.' I'm like, 'I don't go to that store, or to that store.'" When asked if it was fraud, Sharon confirmed the crime, before adding that all of the fraudulent transactions on her card are currently being processed. - NME, 10/29/20...... Phil Collins will take back control of his beachfront Miami mansion from ex-wife Orianne Cevey in January, 2021, according to his attorney. The former Genesis frontman has been fighting for the property which Cevey is allegedly occupying with her new husband, according to a Miami newspaper. According to attorney Collins' attorney Jeffrey D. Fisher, Cevey and her new husband have now agreed to leave by mid-January 2021, claiming in a statement to the New York Post's gossip column "Page Six" that: "Mr. and Mrs. Bates' plan to hold Phil Collins' house as hostage to leverage a settlement during a protracted court case was upended by the new judge's bold decision to complete the injunction hearing next week." Fisher also said Collins' memorabilia, such as Collins' extensive The Alamo artefacts and music collection, will be removed from the residence, and she will maintain a 50% interest in the mansion, according to the Post. The warring ex-couple, who have two teenage sons, were married for nine years before splitting in 2008, a divorce that cost the rocker more than $46 million (£35 million). However, they reconciled in 2016 before separating again earlier this year, after which Cevey married businessman Bates in August. -, 11/1/20...... Frank ZappaThe official trailer for the forthcoming Frank Zappa documentary Zappa has been shared on YouTube. Due on Nov. 27 via Magnolia Films, the Alex Winter-directed doc showcases the life and work of the inimitable composer and guitar icon using never-before-seen home films, live footage and interviews from the Zappa archives. The trailer opens with Zappa introducing a song at a live show, embodying the nature of the eccentric musician. "This is a number we always play when people ask us to play more, because we know that after we play this they couldn't possibly ever want to hear us again," he says. - NME, 10/29/20...... Country music singer-songwriter Billy Joe Shaver, whom Willie Nelson once called "the greatest living songwriter," died on Oct. 28 in his native Texas. He was 81. Mr. Shaver is reported to suffered a massive stroke at Ascension Providence Hospital in Waco, Tex. Mr. Shaver rose to acclaim in 1973 with his debut album, Old Five and Dimers Like Me, and was often referred to as part of the "outlaw country" movement of the 1970s along with figures like Nelson and Waylon Jennings, both of whom recorded his songs. Jennings, in fact, recorded 10 songs of Shaver's on one album alone, Honky Tonk Heroes, released the same year as Mr. Shaver's debut. His own recording career encompassed 17 studio albums, the last of which was 2014's Long in the Tooth. "Shaver's always been a tough guy making trouble on the edges of a Nashville that values slickness," Q magazine wrote at the time. Mr. Shaver made an appearance in Robert Duvall's 1996 film The Apostle. In 2004, a documentary about Shaver, A Portrait of Billy Joe, was released. His personal live was the stuff of lore and legend. He wed and divorced the same woman, Brenda Tindell, three times, and once had a heart attack on stage. In 2007, he was involved in a news-making shooting incident outside a bar in Lorena, Tex. He was acquitted after claiming self-defense and later said of the incident, "Hit him right between the mother and the f-er. Fixed him right up." Mr. Shaver was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006. The following year he received his lone Grammy nomination, in the best Southern, country or bluegrass gospel album category for Everybody's Brother. - Reuters/Variety, 10/28/20.

Sean ConnerySean Connery, the Scottish-born actor who rocketed to fame as James Bond and became one of the franchise's most popular and enduring international stars, died in his sleep while in the Bahamas on Oct. 31. He was 90 years old. Born of Irish ancestry in the slums of Edinburgh on Aug. 25, 1930, Thomas Sean Connery was robbed of an education by poverty, and and by his teens he'd left school and was working as an unskilled laborer. At 17, he was drafted into the Royal Navy, but he was discharged three years later due to a serious case of ulcers. He returned to Edinburgh and worked a variety of jobs, including as a lifeguard. He took up bodybuilding and placed third in the 1950 Mr. Universe competition. After moving to London, Mr. Connery learned of an opening in the chorus of "South Pacific." He took a crash dancing and singing course and, surprisingly, landed the role, in which he stayed for 18 months. He was "hooked," he said, but spent several years paying his dues in small repertory companies in and around London before anyone else became hooked on him .In his early career, his physique was his main asset as he modeled and picked up acting jobs where he could. In 1956, he landed the role of a battered prizefighter in the BBC production of Requiem for a Heavyweight. Mr. Connery was a bodybuilder, model, and milkman before he found fame as an actor, making his movie debut in 1954's Lilacs in the Spring. He went on to appear in a series of British TV roles and films until his big break in the Disney musical Darby O' Gill & the Little People in 1959. Good notices brought him to the attention of the entertainment community, and his first film was No Road Back, a B crime movie in 1956. He seemed doomed to play the hunk to ageing leading ladies, as he did opposite Lana Turner in Another Time, Another Place, or roles that stressed his looks such as Tarzan's Great Adventure in 1959. Sean ConneryIn 1962, Mr. Connery made his debut in the first Bond film, Dr. No. His stature grew with the ever more popular Bond sequels From Russia With Love, Goldfinger and Thunderball, which arrived over the next four years. Bond gave Mr. Connery a license to earn; he was paid only $30,000 for Dr. No but $400,000 for Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie and was soon getting $750,000 a film. His initial efforts to break out of the Bond mold, however, proved fruitless. Films like A Fine Madness, Shalako and The Molly Maguires were well-intentioned attempts that did nothing to shake Mr. Connery as Bond from the public consciousness. After 1967's You Only Live Twice, he left the Bond franchise, but he was coaxed back for 1971's Diamonds Are Forever. He looked old for the role, and the series seemed tired, so with that, he left Bond behind -- though money would tempt him back once last time in 1983 for Never Say Never Again. He took a major misstep with sci-fi film Zardoz, and his career seemed to be foundering, but he bounced back in 1974 with a supporting role in Murder on the Orient Express and the following year with The Wind and the Lion and The Man Who Would Be King, two bold adventures featuring a mature, salt-and-pepper-bearded Mr. Connery. In 1987, his turn as a tough Irish cop in Depression-era Chicago in Brian De Palma's The Untouchables brought him a Best Supporting actor Oscar. Pairing Mr. Connery and Harrison Ford as father and son in the third Indiana Jones film was an inspired move, and the film grossed almost half a billion dollars worldwide. Meanwhile, The Hunt for Red October, in which Mr. Connery played a defecting Soviet sub captain, was also a major hit in 1990. By the 1990s, he was so popular that his uncredited cameo as King Richard in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves became one of the film's highlights. An audience favorite for more than 40 years and one of the screen's most reliable and distinctive leading men, Mr. Connery was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000 and was recently voted the best James Bond actor in an August 2020 Radio Times poll in the U.K. More than 14,000 voted and Connery claimed 56% of the vote. Global tributes poured in for Mr. Connery following news of his death, including current 007 Daniel Craig, who posted: "Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and so much more. He defined an era and a style. The wit and charm he portrayed on screen could be measured in mega watts; he helped create the modern blockbuster. He will continue to influence actors and film-makers alike for years to come. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones. Wherever he is, I hope there is a golf course." Mr. Connery, who was married to actress Diane Cilento from 1962-73, is survived by his second wife, painter Micheline Roquebrune, whom he married in 1975; his son by Cilento, actor Jason Connery; and a grandson from Jason's marriage to actress Mia Sara. -, 10/31/20.

Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020

The Addams Family of rock music goes ghostbusting in the new two-hour Travel Channel documentary The Osbournes: Night of Terror, which sends Jack and Kelly Osbourne off to explore paranormal activity at an allegedly haunted spot in Los Angeles while parents Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne monitor the investigation remotely. "None of us realized how insane and freaky this was going to be," says Jack, who has had the most experience working with the weird as cohost of Portals to Hell, "but [everyone] certainly held their own." Night of Terror premieres on the Travel Channel on Oct. 30 at 9:00 p.m. EDT, 8:00 Central. - TV Guide, 10/26/20...... In related news, Alice Cooper announced his new Halloween-themed party game called "HorrorBox" on YouTube on Oct. 27. HorrorBox sees players mix and match question and answer cards, scoring points for funny combinations. The base game comes with 420 cards but several expansion packs have already been released, including a "Slasher Pack," "Monsters Pack," "Aliens Pack" and "R-Rated Pack." "Minions, you know me. I've never played games with you, until now. This is a horror-themed card game with questions, answers and dares," Alice said in the launch video, while a press release warns that "player discretion is advised" and "all wimps easily scared, beware." - New Musical Express, 10/28/20...... Eddie Van HalenEddie Van Halen's hometown of Pasadena, Calif., has announced plans to memorialize the late guitar legend, but the City Council hasn't yet decided what form the tribute would take. On Oct. 26, the council directed officials to come up with ideas and report back on how to best remember Van Halen, who died of cancer Oct. 6 at age 65. According to a local paper, one idea could be renaming a street or alley near one of Van Halen's 1970s rehearsal spaces, while building a statue, installing a plaque or rechristening a city building also could be considered. Meanwhile, a memorial has grown outside Eddie and brother Alex Van Halen's boyhood home northeast of Los Angeles, where some fans are lobbying to make the house designated as a historic landmark. The Van Halen family moved to Pasadena after emigrating to the U.S. from the Netherlands in 1962. Eddie and Alex formed Van Halen about a decade later with singer David Lee Roth and bassist Michael Anthony, who all grew up in the Pasadena area. - AP,...... In other Van Halen-related news, Eddie's son Wolfgang Van Halen is pushing back on rumours that he's replacing his father as the guitarist in a new incarnation of Van Halen, calling the speculation "a shitty lie." Wolfgang took to social media on Oct. 26 to refute claims being made in a Wolfgang Van Halen Fan Page on Facebook, which were shared to Twitter by user @MetalSludge. The Facebook post claimed that "there is a good strong possibility" that Wolfgang would be swapping his current role as Van Halen's bassist for his late father's position of lead guitarist, with "Van Hagar" era vocalist Sammy Hagar handling vocals and former VH bassist Michael Anthony handling duties on bass. Drummer Alex Van Halen would continue his position as drummer in the imagined lineup. The post claimed that the information came from "the VH camp", with Eddie Van Halen allegedly telling "his son and his brother, I give you my blessing." But Wolfgang says the rumour just isn't true. "This is just a shitty lie attempting to capitalize on these awful times," he tweeted in response to @MetalSludge sharing the post. "Please stop with this. Anyone peddling this shit is not only hurting the fans, but hurting me and my family." - NME, 10/26/20...... In related news, KISS bassist Gene Simmons said that he was "scared to death" one time after getting a lift with Eddie after a Metallica gig in Long Beach in the 1980s. Talking with Dennis Miller on his Options podcast, Simmons said Eddie offered him a ride in his Jeep... "this old jalopy thing with no doors" as seen in the M*A*S*H TV series. "And Edward's smoking away like a chimney and driving what I thought was a hundred miles an hour up the 405 [freeway]," Simmons recalled. "And I'm holding on for dear life and trying to pretend that I'm a guy without fear and all that. [I was] scared to death. And I said, 'Eddie, Eddie, slow down.' And a cigarette was hanging out of his mouth, and he said, 'Why?' I didn't quite know what to answer," he added. Meanwhile, Ozzy Osbourne revealed on his Sirius XM radio show Ozzy's Boneyard that Eddie once asked him to join Van Halen. Although Osbourne didn't specify an exact year when Eddie extended the invite, he did say it was "way after Sammy [Hagar]" was in the line-up. The guitarist left the band in 1996. Ozzy added that he thought Eddie might have been "a bit drunk" when he made the phone call. "We've all done one of them calls at four o'clock in the morning... I've got a great idea!," he said. - NME, 10/26/20...... On Oct. 23, Elton John unveiled a new Barbie doll modelled on the rock superstar. Part of a collaboration with Mattel, the doll, costing $50 (£38), will be available in Walmart in the US, and can be ordered through the Walmart website. Speaking to Rolling Stone about the new doll, John said: "Barbie is an icon in her own right, so having her pay tribute to my work and personal style is a real honour. I hope that she inspires fans everywhere to fearlessly pursue their own dreams and limitless potential." - NME, 10/23/20...... Jimmy PageOn Oct. 20 Jimmy Page released his new book The Anthology, which documents hundreds of items from the Led Zeppelin guitarist's personal collection of instruments, outfits and memorabilia from throughout his career. In a trailer for The Anthology, which has been posted on YouTube, the musician explains: "The reason for doing this book and behind the detail of everything is just basically because I did have the material to be able to do it, I actually had the idea to be able to do it and that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to make the book really fascinating so people could just really get right into what is being shown. With the guitars, I really wanted to get close up and personal with them, with the angles that were taken." In The Anthology, Page guides the reader through hundreds of rare items, many of which are previously unseen, and others of mythic status, such as his Gibson double-neck guitar, dragon-emblazoned suit, white embroidered poppy suit, and the outfit worn in the concert film The Song Remains The Same. The Anthology also features hand-written diaries, rare vinyl pressings, previously unpublished photographs and more. - NME, 10/23/20...... In an interview on CBS Sunday Morning on Oct. 25, Stevie Nicks said she couldn't be happier about the newfound popularity of Fleetwood Mac's 1977 classic "Dreams" after the song was featured in a viral TikTok video. "This TikTok thing has kind of blown my mind," Nicks said. "I'm happy about it because it seems to have made so many people happy." "Dreams" has surged thanks to the viral TikTok video featuring the track, in which Idaho native Nathan Apodaca rides his longboard while drinking a large bottle of Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry juice. Nicks and Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood has since created their own tributes to Apodaca's viral hit. Nicks is currently promoting her new song "Show Them the Way," a call for action ahead of the November presidential election. The track features Dave Grohl on drums and Dave Stewart on guitar. Nicks said she's also excited about her new concert film, 24 Karat Gold, which recently hit select theaters, drive-ins and exhibition spaces. The film features a set of fan favorites from Nicks' solo career and as a member of Fleetwood Mac. "It's as close to a really big rock 'n' roll concert in a big venue as you're gonna get," she said. The companion album of the concert will arrive Oct. 30. Her full CBS Sunday Morning can be viewed on YouTube. - Billboard, 10/25/20...... Alternative rock musicians Trent Reznor and Billy Corgan are among those who will mark what would have been David Bowie's 74th birthday on Jan. 8 with a special tribute livestream. "A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day!" has been organized by long-time Bowie pianist Mike Garson, and is set to see Bowie's collaborators from across his career cover and interpret his songs. Garson said of the event: "What we're planning is an amazing show with the most talented musicians from every period of David's career, as well as phenomenal artists from many different genres. Also set to star in the livestream are Bowie's producer Tony Visconti and his final touring band, along with such stars as Gary Oldman, Macy Gray and Perry Farrell. - NME, 10/27/20...... AC/DC have shared the official video for "Shot in the Dark," the first single from their new album Power Up, on YouTube. The clip features the band performing live and was shot by longtime AC/DC video director David Mallet. Describing "Shot In The Dark," AC/DC guitarist Angus Young said: "It's a strong single from a powerful rock album. You'll be able to hear it and know straight away that it's AC/DC. That's what we've always strived for." Power Up will drop on Nov. 13. It sees frontman Brian Johnson returning to the group after Axl Rose's stint as singer, with drummer Phil Rudd and bassist Cliff Williams also returning to the fold. Williams has warned fans he won't be with the band for long, because he isn't healthy enough for a gruelling world tour. "For my health (I'll do a few shows)," Williams recently said on the band's "Let Their Be Talk" podcast. "I definitely have some physical issues... it's tough. I'm very grateful for everything. It's been fantastic. But I just don't wanna do that (tour) anymore." Williams said he'll only be around for a few gigs after recording the new album with his bandmates. He recently revealed that a bout with vertigo contributed to his decision to leave the band in 2016. - NME/WENN/, 10/26/20...... GenesisA recently reunited Genesis have begun rehearsals in London for their massive 2021 UK reunion tour. Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks will head out on "The Last Domino? Tour" in April 2021, with dates having been pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic. The trio, playing together for the first time since 2017, are set to be joined on the tour by Collins' son Nic Collins on drums, and guitarist/bassist Daryl Stuermer. Genesis recently announced the 19-date UK tour will kick off on Apr. 1 in Glasgow and wrap over three nights at London's O2 arena on Apr. 27, 29 and 30. Meanwhile, Phil Collins has issued a second cease and desist letter to Pres. Donald Trump's re-election campaign over the use of his hit "In the Air Tonight" at Trump rallies. Trump's campaign apparently ignored a previous legal letter over the use of the song, and again blasted the 1981 hit over the speakers at a gathering in Des Moines, Iowa on Oct. 14. At the time, Collins' representatives noted that Trump's aides had already been warned against violating the musician's copyright, and now his lawyers at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP are demanding an assurance it won't happen again, because Collins, 69, says he doesn't support Trump at all. Collins' lawyers state in the letter than their client takes particular offense that the song "was apparently intended as a satirical reference to COVID-19." "That reference was made at a time when Iowa was suffering from an acceleration of COVID-19 infection. Mr. Collins does not condone the apparent trivialization of COVID-19," the missive states. In other Phil Collins news, the singer may have to wait up to three years to have his ex-wife Orianne Cevey evicted from his mansion because of a backlog of trials due to COVID-19. Collins recently sought an injunction to have Cevey and her husband kicked out of his palatial waterfront home in Miami Beach, Fla., but suffered a major setback when Cevey made a counterclaim for $20 million. A county judge decided the explosive case should be heard in circuit court because of the huge sums at stake. It puts Collins' filling at the back of a long line of pending cases with court closures and pandemic restrictions expected to delay trials by a year or longer. Collins -- worth an estimated $300 million -- will now have to choose between paying his ex-wife off for the second time or facing off in court. - NME/WENN/, 10/27/20...... Music publishers Primary Wave announced on Oct. 23 that they've struck a 10-year strategic partnership with The Four Seasons. The marketing and administration deal is with the band's lead singer Frankie Valli and keyboardist Bob Gaudio, the two surviving members of the band's founding four; which also included bassist Nick Massi, who died of cancer in 2000, and guitarist Tommy DeVito, who died in Sept. 2020 from the coronavirus. Under the agreement, Primary Wave will work Valli and Gaudio to market the band's name and likeness, manage all daily digital marketing activities and administer their iconic catalog, which includes hits like "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "December 1963 (O What A Night)", "Workin' My Way Back To You" and "Can't Take Me Eyes Off Of You," the oft-covered track that made Valli a solo superstar. The deal also gives Primary Wave an option to acquire a partnership interest in the band's works. The Four Seasons were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and their story is chronicled in Tony-winning Broadway musical favorite "Jersey Boys," which opened in 2005 and was later made into a feature film. - Billboard, 10/23/20...... Joni MitchellSpeaking to the UK paper The Guardian, Joni Mitchell says she's "still struggling to walk" following her 2015 brain aneurysm in a rare new interview. "I haven't been writing recently. I haven't been playing my guitar or the piano or anything," said Mitchell. Instead, she's "just concentrating on getting my health back... You know what? I came back from polio, so here I am again, and struggling back." Mitchell was hospitalised in Los Angeles in March 2015, after being found unconscious at her home. Later that year she was said to be "making good progress." Mitchell also described to the paper that the five years since her aneurysm as "inching my way along," adding: "I'm showing slow improvement but moving forward." "Once again I couldn't walk. I had to learn how again. I couldn't talk," she added. "Polio didn't grab me like that, but the aneurysm took away a lot more, really. Took away my speech and my ability to walk. And, you know, I got my speech back quickly, but the walking I'm still struggling with. But I mean, I'm a fighter. I've got Irish blood! So you know, I knew, 'Here I go again, another battle.'" Mitchell is set to release a new archival album, Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963 -- 1967), on Oct. 30. - NME, 10/27/20...... In an interview on the UK talk show Good Morning Britain, Queen guitarist Brian May said he feels "grateful to be alive" after a number of health issues including a heart attack and exploding stomach. "I had a wonderful, wonderful surgeon, and I'm so grateful to be alive. I had three stents in me, which are working just fine, and I feel good," May said. In May 2020, Brian revealed that he had been "very near death" when he was hospitalised after doctors discovered that three arteries in his heart "were congested and in danger of blocking the supply of blood" to his heart. In September, he also revealed that the drugs he was on to aid his recovery had caused "a stomach explosion that nearly killed me." Calling the stomach explosion "shocking," he added: "That was the point where I nearly lost my life, not the heart attack, strangely enough. You have to be so careful with the medication that they give you, because it's great for the stents, it's great for the heart, but it's not very good for the rest of your body and you can really go down. It's a tightrope." In other Queen-related news, the art-rockers' classic "Bohemian Rhapsody" has been voted "the best song of all time" in a poll completed by 2,000 Brits to mark the launch of the new Sony Walkman player. The 1975 hit was named as the nation's favourite song by 43%, followed closely behind in second place by Queen's 1978 hit "Don't Stop Me Now" (37%). Behind those two songs were the Beatles' "Hey Jude" (31%), John Lennon's "Imagine" (30%), Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" (28%), and Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence" (27%). - NME/, 10/28/20...... In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards hit out at the use of synths in rock music, calling them "cheap and corny." "There's great musicians and some great singers and stuff. Unfortunately, to me, in music, it's been synthesised to death. Once you start synthesising things, you're not getting the real thing," said Richards, who complained that "there is no new rock 'n' roll. It's pointless." He added: "I don't want to go into a long discourse on what's wrong with synthesisers and music these days, except to say they're cheap and corny." Keith also backed the recent Black Lives Matter protests and said "it's about bloody time" and that "black music is the reason I'm here." The Stones are now believed to be back in the studio recording their next album. - NME, 10/28/20...... Debbie HarryBlondie frontwoman Debbie Harry is labelling Van Morrison "insane" for his stance on the COVID-19 crisis. While Harry says she thinks Morrison, who has recently slammed safety measures designed to stop the spread of the virus at concerts and other venues, is a "creative genius," but also noted he is "completely mad." "I mean, he has a history of very strange behaviour so it doesn't really surprise me. And after all, everyone's entitled to their own opinion," Harry recently told New Musical Express. "As far as conspiracy goes... huh! If this is a conspiracy, then the biggest f---ing genius in the world has created it! I mean, that is insane. Totally insane!," Harry exclaimed. She then went on to attack Pres. Donald Trump, insisting: "When it comes to our president, white supremacists respect him not necessarily for himself but because he's achieved the presidency. There's a lot of kudos that hangs on the word 'president'... A lot of people fall for him, but this is not a good guy." -, 10/25/20...... Paul McCartney recently told the BBC that his new album McCartney III is "just me having fun during lockdown." The rock icon explained that most of the LP is "new stuff" that he worked on during lockdown, but some of the tracks had been set aside because they "just didn't cut it" in their original form. "I thought 'OK, wait a minute, what about that one?'," he pondered. "So I'd get it out and think, 'Ugh, oh dear.' And you'd try to figure out what was wrong with it, or why you didn't like it," he went on. Sir Paul said his creative process sometimes involved rebuilding a track entirely. "In some cases the vocal or the words just didn't cut it, so you'd strip it all down and go 'OK, let's just make it completely different'," he recalled. McCartney III, slated for release on Dec. 11, comes 50 years after the debut of his self-titled first solo venture, and 40 years after the follow-up. Meanwhile, Macca says that director Peter Jackson's upcoming Beatles documentary Get Back is an authentic portrait of the band's final years together. "I love it," he said of the new film from the Lord of the Rings director which captures the making of the band's final album, 1970's Let It Be. Get Back is set to challenge the popular narrative that the group constantly clashed during their later years. "Even though we had arguments, like any family -- we loved each other, you know, and it shows in the film," McCartney said. "It's a very warm feeling, And it's amazing just being backstage with these people, making this music that turned out to be good." -, 10/27/20...... '70s musicians Diana Ross, Gloria Gaynor and Lionel Richie will be among the headliners for the 2021 UK Lytham Festival, which will take place at Lytham Green on the Lancashire Coast from June 30 - July 4, 2021. The five-day event, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2019, was cancelled in 2020 following the COVID-19 pandemic. Tickets are on sale now and day tickets will go on sale on Oct. 30. - NME, 10/26/20...... Olivia Newton-John recently told the UK paper The Guardian that she sees cancer as a "gift" rather than a disease she has to fight. Newton-John, 72, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and has twice received the news the disease has metastasised to other organs in her body, most recently in 2017. However, the Grease star, who has used plant-based remedies including medicinal cannabis alongside traditional treatments like surgery, chemo, and radiotherapy, to keep her cancer at bay, views her illness as an experience that his improved her as a person. "I don't know what I would be without it now. I see it as my life's journey. It gave me purpose and intention and taught me a lot about compassion. It has been a gift. I don't wish it on anyone else. But for me, it's been important in my life," she explained. The "Physical" singer also says she resists talking about fighting her cancer, as she's averse to combative metaphors. "I don't think of myself as sick with cancer. I choose not to see it as a fight either because I don't like war. I don't like fighting wherever it is -- whether it's outside or an actual war inside my body," she elaborated. Olivia added she doesn't want to know if doctors believe the cancer is terminal: "I don't believe them anyway. I mean, no one can tell you that." -, 10/27/20...... Don McLeanIn a new interview with the Irish Times, Don McLean branded his ex-wife of 30 years Patrisha McLean "the worst person I ever know" despite pleading guilty to domestic violence against his spouse. The 75-year-old "American Pie" singer, who is now based in Palm Desert, Calif., said it took him four years to get over his relationship with Patrisha, who he was married to for 29 years and shares two children with. McLean that the love letters she sent every month for 30 years "immediately turned to salt" when their relationship crumbled, following the accusations of domestic violence made against him. Having divorced in 2016, McLean said he hasn't met anyone who compares to Patrisha, and added: "I can truly say that my ex-wife is the worst person I ever knew." He added it's only now that their 2016 split is sinking in, despite the fact he moved on with Playboy model Paris Dylan, 25, months after his divorce finalized. Since the breakdown of their marriage, Patrisha has spoken about her relationship with Don in a travelling exhibit called "Finding Our Voices," and has established a domestic violence non-profit organization of the same name. She filed for divorce two months after Don was arrested for domestic violence on the grounds of "adultery, cruel and abusive treatment, and irreconcilable differences." She filed for a protection order after her husband's arrest, but withdrew the request only days later. In a statement supporting her request for the restraining order, she alleged that her husband had "terrorized" her "for four hours" on the night before he was arrested. His relationship with Paris Dylan quickly flourished when she was hired to manage his social media accounts in 2016. He revealed that he doesn't read any media coverage about him regardless if it's good or bad, describing it as "all a bunch of bull---." McLean said he plans to auction most of his possessions before he dies -- including song lyrics, weapons and guitars -- because he doesn't want to leave them for someone else to "figure out what to do" with them. McLean is set to mark the anniversary of his hit song with new documentary The Day the Music Died, and a Broadway show has also been planned for 2022, alongside a children's book. He describes "American Pie" as "a fusion of folk, rock 'n' roll and old-fashioned popular music," and refuses to elaborate on the mysteries of the 1972 song. "I've never said that to anybody in 50 years," he said. -, 10/27/20...... Lawyers representing both parties in Rod Stewart's 2019 New Year's Eve assault case have told the court that the case is unlikely to go to trial. The incident took place at the on New Year's Eve in Dec. 2019, with Stewart charged with simple battery after allegedly punching security guard Jesse Dixon in the chest. Stewart's son Sean faces the same charge for his involvement in the confrontation at the Breaker's Hotel in Palm Beach, Fla. Both have pleaded not guilty. Dixon brought a civil suit against them in January, however a pre-trial hearing has only just taken place via Zoom, having been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Neither Stewart or his son were present. Stewart's lawyer Guy Fronstin, who is representing both defendants, told Judge August Bonavita at the hearing that he has been in touch with prosecutors and the case is likely to be resolved before it reaches the trial stage. "We have been in communication with the state. We are asking for one more rollover for pre-trial," he said. "All indications are this is going to resolve without a trial but there's still some work to be done on it." A second pre-trial hearing is now scheduled for Dec. 4. - NME, 10/23/20...... Jerry Jeff WalkerCountry singer/songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker, best known for penning the 1971 hit "Mr. Bojangles" for The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, has died following a battle with cancer. He was 78. Growing up and beginning his music career in New York in the 1960s, Walker moved to Austin, Tex. the following decade and is considered to be a pivotal figure in the development of the now-world-famous music scene in the city. In addition to The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, his 1968 composition "Mr. Bojangles" has been covered by some of the biggest artists on earth, including Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, Neil Diamond, Nina Simone, King Curtis, Sammy Davis Jr. and more. Walker was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2017 and released his final album, About Time, the following year. A host of musicians have taken to social media to pay tribute to Walker following news of his death including Jason Isbell, who wrote: "One day I'd like to be an old man who dances onstage like John Prine and Jerry Jeff Walker." Prine, another country legend, died in April from coronavirus complications. American showrunner Brian Koppelman added: "I know that 90% of the people reading this never heard of Guy Clark or Jerry Jeff Walker. Go listen to JJW's version of LA Freeway to get why they matter so much to the other 10%. Then dive deep into their cataloged. Rip JJW." Walker is survived by his wife Susan Streit and their two children. - NME, 10/24/20.

Friday, Oct. 23, 2020

Lindsey Buckingham may no longer be a member of Fleetwood Mac, but he has followed current Mac members Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks with his own video of "Dreams" after a video by a TikTok user soundtracked with the song went viral in late September. "Made this with my girls this weekend," Buckingham posted to Twitter on Oct. 21 alongside a video of himself taking part in the challenge. In the clip, the camera focuses on a close-up of his hand holding a small bottle of Ocean Spray cranberry juice cocktail before panning out to reveal him riding a horse as the band's iconic 1977 hit plays in the background. The video by skateboarder Nathan Apodaca sparked a remarkable chart resurgence of "Dreams" in October, with the song experiencing its largest streaming week ever. "Dreams"' parent album Rumours has even climbed to No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart, some 42 years after it hit No. 1 on the chart in late 1977 and early 1978. - Billboard, 10/22/20...... Bruce SpringsteenBruce Springsteen made his latest album Letter To You available for streaming on on Oct. 23. With 12 tracks and a healthy, almost one-hour running time, Letter To You is Springsteen's 20th studio album and his first reunion with the E Street Band since their 2016 "The River" tour. The LP, the follow-up to his 2019 release Western Stars, features nine songs written recently by The Boss, plus new versions of previously-unreleased compositions from the 1970s, "Janey Needs a Shooter," "If I Was the Priest," and "Song for Orphans," a video for the latter which has been shared on YouTube. Letter to You was co-produced by Springsteen and Ron Aniello at Springteen's home studio in New Jersey, and features the previously-released songs "Ghosts" and the LP's title track. The album is accompanied by a Thom Zimny-directed documentary, titled Bruce Springsteen's Letter To You, an exclusive through Apple TV+. - Billboard, 10/23/20...... Ozzy Osbourne announced newly rescheduled UK and European dates of his "No More Tours 2" jaunt on Instagram on Oct. 22. The gigs in question, which were originally announced back in Sept. 2018, have already been postponed a number of times due to Osbourne's ill health and, more recently, the coronavirus pandemic. Ozzy now says the UK and European legs will kick off in early 2022, beginning with a Jan. 22 date in Berlin and hitting several other cities in Germany, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Hungary, Spain, Italy, Finland and the UK through Mar. 14, 2022. "I really want to thank my fans for their loyalty and for waiting for me. Believe me, I can't wait to see you all again," Osbourne said in a statement. "Please stay safe in these uncertain times. God Bless you All! Love Ozzy." Judas Priest will open for Ozzy on all dates, except in Budapest, Hungary. - New Musical Express, 10/22/20...... On Oct. 21 a lawsuit filed against one of Michael Jackson's companies by one of the men who accused the King of Pop of sexual abuse was dismissed by a California judge. James Safechuck, now 42, who featured in the 2019 Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland, sought damages from MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures, who he accused of "facilitating" the singer's alleged sexual abuse of children. Safechuck filed his suit against the two companies in 2014, claiming that both companies "were created to, and did, facilitate Jackson's sexual abuse of children." In his ruling, Judge Mark Young said that Jackson controlled the companies and their employees, meaning that they were not able to control the star's alleged actions. Safechuck, who along with Wade Robinson says he was molested as a child in the early 1990s by Jackson, reportedly plans to appeal the decision. Dan Reed, who directed the 2019 documentary, is said to be filming a sequel to Leaving Neverland which will focus on the fallout from the first film and the intense backlash it attracted from some of Jackson's biggest fans. He has reportedly faced legal challenges over the sequel from both MJJ productions and MJJ Ventures. - NME, 10/22/20...... Elton John, who is featured in a new promo video by rising R&B singer Teyana Taylor for her song "Lose Each Other," says he's fond of the "classy" video and called for less "racy" and more "empowering" music videos. In an Instagram chat with Teyana, Sir Elton said: "What you did in the video was so beautiful and empowering. Normal videos have people shaking their booties and this was a piece of art. You weren't shaking anything. It means a lot. There really aren't many classy videos out there. They are what they are. This one is the Rolls-Royce of videos." John, 73, also said he isn't a fan of songs made on the computer. ""There's plenty of people that do but a lot of them don't get played on the radio because they're too sophisticated and we get songs made by a computer all the time and I'm not interested in that," he said. - Music-News, 10/22/20...... Paul McCartneyPaul McCartney announced on Oct. 21 that he will release the third album in his 50-year-spanning "McCartney" series, McCartney III, on Dec. 11. In a statement, Sir Paul said he hadn't intended to release a new album in 2020, but during the "isolation of 'Rockdown', he soon found himself fleshing out some existing musical sketches and creating even more new ones." The COVID-19 quarantine resulted in what Macca described as a "stripped back, self-produced and, quite literally, solo work marking the opening of a new decade." Paul says he recorded McCartney III earlier in 2020 at his home in Sussex, England, and like it's predecessors McCartney (1970) and McCartney II (1980), it's built from mostly live takes of himself on vocals, guitar and piano, with overdubbed bass and drumming. The session found him revisiting an unreleased track from the 1990s, "When Winter Comes," which was transformed into album opener "Long Tailed Winter Bird." In addition to CD and digital releases, McCartney III will be issued on vinyl, limited edition (3,000) hand-numbered red vinyl manufactured by Third Man Pressing, as well as standard 180g and a "333" Edition available only at the Third Man Records online store in a limited run of 333 copies on yellow-with-black-dots vinyl created using 33 recycled vinyl copies of McCartney and McCartney II; a 4,000-run, hand-numbered white vinyl version will be available at U.S. indie record stores. Paul has shared a preview video of the new album on Instagram. - Billboard, 10/21/20...... In other Beatles-related news, a letter written by the Fab Four's manager Brian Epstein following the sacking of the band's drummer Pete Best is going up for sale at auction. A letter written by Epstein to the "secret Beatle" Joe Flannery, who served as the Beatles' booking manager between 1962 and 1963, has been put up for sale by the latter's family following his death in 2019. Written and sent on Sept. 8, 1962, Epstein wrote to Flannery: "I read from the Mersey Beat Pete Best has now joined THE ALL STARS and I though [sic] I'd let you know that I have sent today, to him a certificate of release from his obligations under contract to myself. I would like to add, incidentally, our sincere wishes for Pete's and the group's continued success." The letter had been kept by Flannery's family in the years since but is now being sold via Omega Auctions. The sale will be conducted on Oct. 27, and it is estimated that the lot will reach between £650 and £1000. Pete Best was originally signed with the three long-standing members of The Fab Four -- John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison -- but he was let go by Epstein and replaced by Ringo Starr in Aug. 1962. - NME, 10/19/20...... Director Todd Haynes, known for such theatrical dramas as Far From Heaven (2003) and the music documentaries Velvet Goldmine (1998) and I'm Not There (2007), will helm a new documentary about the acclaimed late '60s/early '70s band The Velvet Underground. Directed and co-produced by Haynes, The Velvet Underground will premiere on Apple TV+ and, according to a press release, contain conversations with "key players" who were around Lou Reed and co. at the time, while offering up "a treasure trove of never-before-seen performances and a rich collection of recordings, Warhol films, and other experimental art." Haynes, who first revealed the project in 2017, told Variety at the time that the VU documentary would be "an intensely visual experience." - NME, 10/21/20...... Julien's Auctions announced on Oct. 19 that two guitars belonging to the late Eddie Van Halen -- including his legendary 2004 EVH Charvel Art Series instrument with the red, white and black stripes on the body and headstock -- will be going on the auction block in early December as part of its two-day "Icons & Idols Trilogy: Rock 'N' Roll" live auction event in Beverly Hills and online. The auction will also spotlight another custom-designed electric guitar built by Van Halen with his guitar tech Matt Bruck at the guitarist's 5150 home studio, according to a release announcing the event. The auction, which takes place on Dec. 4 and 5, will also feature artifacts and memorabilia owned and used by Kurt Cobain, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Lady Gaga, David Bowie, Aerosmith and more. - Billboard, 10/19/20...... Christopher CrossGrammy-winning pop singer/songwriter Christopher Cross is seeing huge gains with his song sales after being featured on the CBS morning show CBS Sunday Morning in a segment entitled "Christopher Cross on Surviving COVID." Cross, who was diagnosed with the novel Coronavirus in April, said he had just as he began to feel like he had recovered from COVID when he learned that he had also contracted Guillain-Barre syndrome, likely brought on by his COVID sickness. "It was the worst 10 days of my life," Cross said in the segment. "I couldn't walk, could barely move." Cross, who says he's now recovering from the illness albeit with some lingering after-effects, is enjoying a combined 6,000 downloads of his catalog of songs on Oct. 18-19 in the U.S. after the appearance, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. That's up 979% compared to their sales of just over 500 on Oct. 16-17. Cross' best selling songs for the period include his No. 1 hit "Sailing," (2,000; up 823%), his No. 2 single "Ride Like the Wind" (1,000; up 757%), the No. 1 "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" (1,000; up 1,309%), the No. 15 hit "Never Be the Same" (a little under 1,000; up 1,386%) and the No. 9 hit "Think of Laura" (nearly 500 sold; up 3,238%). After his illness forced him to scrap a planned 2020 tour, Cross said that he does expect to return to the stage following his recovery. "I don't know whether I'll walk out with my cane and I'll sit down on a stool," he explained. "But I've gotta tell you -- and it's hard to, you know, keep it together here -- but, you know my fans, I know them. And they love me. I really feel in my heart, at least, that the fans are gonna be with me." - Billboard, 10/21/20...... On Oct. 19 Neil Young announced more details about his long-awaited Archives Volume II: 1972-1976 box set. Young says the set will feature 131 tracks, including 12 that have never been released before, and also contain 49 previously unheard versions of classics from the rock icon's archives, as well as a 252-page hardbound book. The sequel to 2009's massive The Archives Volume 1: 1963-1972, Archives Volume II: 1972-1976 will cover the years when Young released some of his most beloved albums, including Time Fades Away, On the Beach, Tonight's the Night, Zuma, Long May You Run and the recently issued "lost" 1975 album Homegrown. A deluxe 10-CD edition (only 3,000 available) of the set includes hundreds of previously unseen photos, a tape database, a full-length archives poster, detailed descriptions of the songs and a fold-out timeline of Young's activity during that period. Young also released a teaser video for the album on YouTube as well as a 1972 recording of "Come Along and Say You Will", recorded with his side band The Stray Gators. - Billboard, 10/19/20...... To help promote their new album Power Up, AC/DC have launched a new online program which allows users to display their initials in the style of the band's iconic lightning bolt logo. Users of the generator, which can be found at you/, are asked to enter their name. Their initials are then displayed as neon signs in the band's famous font either side of a lightning bolt, matching the cover of Power Up. The classic logo was first used on AC/DC's 1977 album Let There Be Rock and has appeared on every one of the band's albums since, apart from the following year's Powerage. - NME, 10/19/20...... In other heavy metal news, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page recently revealed to Classic Rock magazine that Zeppelin originally planned a whole tour after reuniting for a one-off show in 2007, but they never came to fruition. After lauding late LZ drummer John Bonham's son Jason Bonham as a "damn good drummer" [who] "should be sitting in that seat" and not just because he was John's son, Page said: "It had been said that there was going to be a tour. There weren't any dates put in, but obviously we had honed ourselves to the point where we were ready." But after the dates failed to materialize, Page says he has put the idea of a reunion firmly to bed. "But then there has not been any discussion about any tour ever since -- nor will there be. So there you go. It's just one of those weird, odd things in the world of Led Zeppelin, really, another part of the Led Zeppelin phenomenon," he said. - NME, 10/19/20...... Brian WilsonAl JardineMike LoveFormer Beach Boys Brian Wilson and Al Jardine are denying involvement in a presidential fundraiser for Pres. Donald Trump on Oct. 18 in Orange County, Calif., that was headlined by a band fronted by BB Mike Love, Mike Love's Beach Boys. According to the Los Angeles Times, the fundraiser was attended by various Republican supporters in the area and headlined by Love with his touring band. But Wilson and Jardine say they had "absolutely nothing to do with the Trump benefit today in Newport Beach, zero.... We didn't even know about it and were very surprised to read about it in the Los Angeles Times." Mike Love won the rights to continue performing under the group's moniker in 1998, after a series of lawsuits. Wilson and Jardine have toured together under Wilson's name, often performing Beach Boys material. This isn't the first time the duo have opposed Love -- earlier in 2020 the pair joined a petition supporting a boycott of a Beach Boys concert at the Safari Club International Convention, where Donald Trump Jr. was the keynote speaker. Wilson openly denounced the event, saying, "this organization supports trophy hunting, which Both Al [Jardine] and I are emphatically opposed to." Love defended the decision to play the show at the time by responding, "We look forward to a night of great music in Reno and, as always, support freedom of thought and expression as a fundamental tenet of our rights as Americans." - NME, 10/19/20...... Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry is praising pop sensation Miley Cyrus for making Blondie's huge 1978 hit "Heart of Glass" "uniquely hers." Cyrus delivered a raw live rendition of the 1978 hit during a performance at the virtual iHeartRadio Festival 2020 in September, which was then uploaded to Spotify. "We think Miley Cyrus nailed it. Check it out:," Harry posted to Twitter on Oct. 21 with a link to the video. Harry also complemented Cyrus' "Heart of Glass" in a recent interview with New Musical Express: "I thought she did a great job and I liked the way the performance looked and she's a force to be reckoned with. I'm really proud of the fact she did our song and made it uniquely hers." Meanwhile, Blondie have announced a run of UK arena shows with alternative band Garbage opening. The band's "Against The Odds" tour is due to begin in Liverpool on Nov. 6, then visit Birmingham, Manchester, Hull, Nottingham, Brighton, Cardiff, London and Glasgow before wrapping in Leeds on Nov. 21. Blondie will release their 12th studio album to coincide with the tour in 2021. "The tour is called Against All Odds because really it is -- we're trying to stay optimistic that it will happen," Blondie drummer Clem Burke recently told the UK's The Sun paper. - NME, 10/21/20...... A clip from the new Harry Chapin documentary Harry Chapin: When in Doubt, Do Something has been shared on The documentary is the inspiring story of the Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter/activist who sold over 16 million albums and spent his fame and fortune trying to end world hunger before his tragic passing. Featuring such stars as Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Pete Seeger, Bob Geldof, Kenny Rogers, Graham Nash and Pat Benatar, the documentary opened in theaters and virtual cinemas on Oct.16, World Food Day. A portion of the proceeds goes to both WhyHunger and The Harry Chapin Foundation. -, 10/14/20...... It has been revealed that a new TV series based on the hit 1977 movie Smokey and the Bandit is in early development. The road action comedy will be a modern take on the Southern-set classic, according to writer/director Gordon Green. "Growing up in the south, Smokey and the Bandit was an iconic franchise for me. The legacy of these characters is a playground of swagger and sass that I'm excited to dig into," Green, who was born in Little Rock, Ak., and raised in Texas, said in a statement. In addition to penning the script, Green is set to step behind the camera and direct the potential pilot, which currently has no network attached to the series. Released in 1977, the Burt Reynolds and Sally Field-starring film became a major hit for Universal Studios, grossing over $300 million on its $4.3 million budget, becoming the second-largest domestic grossing film of the year behind Star Wars and spawned a franchise that included two feature-length sequels and made-for-TV spinoff films. -, 10/22/20...... Former King Crimson bassist and singer Gordon Haskell died on Oct. 15 following a year-long battle with lung cancer. He was 74. Though Haskell never performed live with the long-running prog rock band, his short tenure included playing on the band's third studio album, 1970's Lizard, as well as on the song "Cadence and Cascade" from their second album, that same year's In the Wake of Poseidon. The multi-talented musician was recruited to join Crimson by his former grammar school classmate and band founder/guitarist Robert Fripp; the two formerly played together in a band called The League of Gentlemen. Haskell went on to join the psychedelic British bands The Quotations, Rupert's People, Cupid's Inspiration and The Fleur de Lys, the latter best known for their Jimmy Page-produced 1965 cover of Norman Petty's "Moondreams." He also released a couple of solo singles, "Boat Trip" and "Oh-La-Di-Doo-Da-Day," and the album, Sail on My Boat, in 1969. Haskell released 13 solo albums between 1969-2020, with his most recent effort, The Cat Who's Got the Cream, dropping in January of 2020. - Billboard, 10/19/20...... Spencer DavisLegendary "British Invasion" musician Spencer Davis of The Spencer Davis Group, which had hits with "Gimme Some Lovin'," "I'm a Man" and "Keep on Running," died in hospital on Oct. 19 while being treated for pneumonia, his agent Bob Birk confirmed. He was 81. Born on July 17, 1939, in Swansea, Wales, Mr. Davis formed The Spencer Davis Group in Birmingham in 1963 with Steve Winwood (organ/vocals), Muff Winwood (bass) and Pete York (drums). The band, who originally went by the name The Rhythm & Blues Quartet, became renowned for such hits as "Keep On Running" (a cover of a song written by Jackie Edwards), "Gimme Some Lovin" and "I'm A Man." The band was part of the "British Invasion" of the 1960s in the US, and toured with the likes of The Who and The Rolling Stones. The Winwood brothers left the group in 1967 -- Steve to form Traffic; Muff to become a successful record executive -- and they disbanded in July 1969 (although they briefly reformed from 1973-74) with Mr. Davis moving to the US the following year to pursue a solo career. Mr. Davis also worked as an executive at Island Records in the 1970s, with his official website stating that the Welsh musician helped "further the profiles of artists like Robert Palmer and Bob Marley" through his work at Island. Mr. Davis was a prolific touring musician, and he played under The Spencer Davis Group banner without the Winwoods during the 90s, 2000s and 2010s. The band last played together in 2017, with two touring line-ups -- one for Europe and one for the US -- in operation and Mr. Davis still at the helm. Tributes to Davis have been pouring in after news of his passing, with Steve Winwood remembering his former bandmate as "definitely a man with a vision, and one of the pioneers of the 'British Invasion' of America in the '60s. I never went to the US with Spencer, but he later embraced America and America embraced him. I feel that he was influential in setting me on the road to becoming a professional musician, and I thank him for that." - NME, 10/20/20...... James Redford, the filmmaker son of Hollywood legend Robert Redford, passed away at his home in Marin County, Calif., on Oct. 16 after losing his battle with liver cancer. He was 58. James Redford was revered for his documentaries, including The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia and 2020's Playing for Keeps, which explored the health benefits of play time for children and adults. "He lived a beautiful, impactful life & was loved by many," his widow, Kyle, wrote on social media. "He will be deeply missed." - WENN/, 10/19/20.

Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020

On Oct. 17 Elvis Costello shared a chilling new song from his upcoming studio album Hey Clockface. "Newspaper Pane," accompanied by an animated lyric video that has been shared on YouTube, tells the story of a woman cooped up in a room where the windows are covered with old newspapers, which she put up to allow herself to immerse herself in the details of an unattainable life. Hey Clockface, due Oct. 30, was recorded by the iconic New Wave musician after he was separated from his regular collaborators by the coronavirus pandemic earlier in 2020. Meanwhile, a new box set collection of Costello's classic 1979 set Armed Forces is being reissued on Nov. 6. - New Musical Express, 10/17/20...... Tom PettyRod Stewart"Leave Virginia Alone," a new Tom Petty single culled from his newly released Wildflowers and All the Rest box set, has debuted at No. 23 on Billboard's Adult Alternative Songs chart for the week ending Oct. 23. "Leave Virginia Alone" also has the distinction of being covered by Rod Stewart in 1995 for his A Spanner in the Works LP and rose to No. 10 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary airplay chart and No. 34 on the Pop Songs chart that July. At the time, Stewart explained that the song "was for Tom Petty's album, and he took it off because it was too close lyrically to something that was a hit beforehand, and his manager couldn't persuade him to put it on the album. So his manager, who's a friend of my manager, said, 'Would Rod listen to the song?'" Stewart, who confessed that he "wasn't really a Tom Petty fan" but he thought Petter was "a good performer though," also revealed that "Leave Virginia Alone" "absolutely went by me" the first time he heard it. "It took me two or three good listens. I had to be persuaded to do it, in other words. But now I'm glad we did," Stewart noted. Petty's version of "Leave Virginia Alone," which he solely wrote and didn't make the final Wildflowers album, can be streamed on YouTube. 1994's Wildflowers was the second solo album from Petty, who died at age 66 in 2017. - Billboard, 10/16/20...... Speaking of Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks recently told Forbes magazine that listening to the late Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member has helped her through the grief of losing her rocker pal. "He spent a lot of time on [Petty's Sirius XM] radio station to the point where the rest of the Heartbreakers were like, 'So you missed your calling. You just really wanted to be a disc jockey'," mused Nicks, who enjoyed a longstanding personal and professional relationship with Petty, and the pair duetted at London's Hyde Park just months before his Oct. 2017. "He did so much work on it they've been able to totally keep the Tom Petty radio station alive and I'm so happy about that because to me I hear him and it's like I'm talking to him while he's talking to us... I forget that he's gone because of that station," she added. Nicks also lamented the loss of several other of her rocker friends in the past few years, including Prince, Glenn Frey and Eddie Van Halen. "In the last couple of years of [my dad's] life, at one point he said to me, 'All my friends are dead'," she remembered. "The people that live to be really old, like hopefully me, there will be a time where a lot of people will be gone. And I certainly never expected for Prince and Tom Petty to be gone in 2020." -, 10/17/20...... A new action figure of late Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister has been unveiled for the 40th anniversary of Motörhead's classic Ace of Spades album. The 3.753 "Lemmy ReAction figurine" is designed by Super7, who announced the news on Instagram on Oct. 17. "To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Ace Of Spades album, Super7 is proud to present the man, the myth, the legend," reads the caption. Led by designer Brian Flynn, the San Francisco-based company have previously released Iron Maiden and Misfits paraphernalia, as well as covering Star Wars, Alien and Planet Of The Apes. The 40th anniversary Ace Of Spades reissue box set drops on Oct. 30 with 42 previously unreleased tracks. - NME, 10/17/20...... Ray DaviesThe Kinks are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their classic 1970 album Lola Versus Powerman and The Moneygoround, Part One with a special set of reissues, including a limited edition deluxe 10 slipcased book pack (containing a 60-page book, 3 CDs, 2 7" singles and four color prints), digital exclusives, and a 2xCD hardback book. Commonly abbreviated to either Lola Versus Powerman or Lola, the band's eighth studio album was released in Nov. 1970 and included such songs as "Lola" and "Apeman." Speaking about the album, Kinks frontman Ray Davies said: "The album is a celebration of artistic freedom (including my own) and the right for anyone to be gender free if one wishes. The secret is to be a good and trusting person and friend. A brand new Davies-helmed remix/medley of the Kinks track "Any Time" titled "The Follower/Any Time 20202" was released on Oct. 14 and can be streamed on YouTube. - NME, 10/15/20...... Fleetwood Mac's 1977 No. 1 single "Dreams" has re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart for the week of Oct. 17 sparked by a viral TikTok video featuring the song. Landing at No. 21, it's the first time the song has landed on the Hot 100 since its original run No. 1. "Dreams" garnered 13.4 million streams (up 54%) and 22,000 downloads sold (up 197%) in the tracking week ending Oct. 8, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. In the TikTok clip, Idahoan Nathan Apodaca rides his longboard while drinking a large bottle of Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry juice, backed by "Dreams." The video became so popular that the band's own Mick Fleetwood recreated the clip. Ocean Spray even gifted Apodaca a red pickup truck (filled with bottles of Ocean Spray juice). "Dreams" originally debuted on the Hot 100 dated Apr. 16, 1977, and spent a week at No. 1 (June 18). Fleetwood Mac last appeared in the Hot 100's Top 40 on May 19, 1990, with "Save Me." Stevie Nicks has also just posted her own "Dreams" response to Apodaca's TikTok clip on Twitter, tagging Apodaca's TikTok account alongside the caption "Afternoon vibe. Lace 'em up!". - Billboard/NME, 10/13/20...... AC/DC's lead single "Shot in the Dark" from the band's upcoming album Power Up has debuted at No. 5 on Billboard Best Mainstream Rock Songs chart for the week of Oct. 17. "Shot in the Dark" is the most popular Mainstream Rock Songs song in over 12 years, since Disturbed's "Inside the Fire" also ignited at No. 5 on the ranking dated Apr.12, 2008. In other AC/DC news, a former bassist for the group who briefly played with the Aussie headbangers in 1975 has died. Paul Matters joined AC/DC after the release of 1975's High Voltage, replacing original bassist Larry Van Kriedt. Matters was fired only weeks later, reportedly by then AC/DC lead singer Bon Scott, with Mark Evans taking his place in the band. Matters' passing was announced on Facebook by friend Rod Wescombe, who said he had led a "reclusive life" after his dismissal from the band. - Billboard/NME, 10/15/20...... Van Halen songs are dominating Billboard's Hot Hard Rock Songs chart in mid-October following the death of founding guitarist Eddie Van Halen on Oct. 6 after his lengthy battle with throat cancer. In the tracking week running Oct. 2-8, Van Halen's discography earned 49.3 million U.S. on-demand streams, a jump of 463%, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Additionally, the band's album sales spiked 1,442% to 27,000 in sales, while its digital song sales rose 2,522% to 88,000. Multiple classic albums and songs by the band have also reached the Oct. 17-dated charts. Leading the way, "Jump" becomes the first catalog song in the streaming/airplay/sales-based Hot Hard Rock Songs chart's four-month history to reach No. 1, debuting atop the list, ahead of five other Van Halen songs. - Billboard, 10/14/20...... Bob DylanBob Dylan's Grey Water Park Productions is teaming up with George Clooney for a movie adaptation of John Grisham's baseball-themed novel Calico Joe. The story is set in the world of Major League Baseball and tells a tale about fathers and sons, and forgiveness and redemption. The film is being directed by Clooney's Smokehouse Pictures partner Grant Heslov, who with Clooney said in a joint statment that "John has written a beautiful story and the chance to collaborate with Bob to bring it to the screen is just fantastic." Bob Dylan added: "George and Grant see in this book what I see in it -- a powerful story that will resonate with young and old alike. People in all walks of life will be able relate to it." -, 10/16/20...... In a new interview with the UK paper The Guardian, Peter Frampton revealed that The Who's Pete Townsend once asked him to join The Who as his replacement. Frampton says that during a creative and financial low point in his career, Townshend contacted him to say he was leaving the band and wanted the "Baby, I Love Your Way" singer to fill in on guitar and vocals for him. "It was the most bizarre thing I ever heard... Three men couldn't fill his shoes!," Frampton recalled. Frampton says he declined the offer initially, but says he called back a few days later due to his own financial struggles -- only to discover that Townshend appeared to have no recollection of the conversation. Frampton, 70, also spoke about firing his manager Dee Anthony, who died in 2009, with Frampton claiming that he was shielded from financial issues. "I was kept away from those things," he said. "I was kept high. If I needed weed, he made sure I had weed. If I needed cocaine, he made sure I had cocaine. He didn't want me thinking about what was going on," Frampton added. "It was criminal. I could have put him in jail." - NME, 10/17/20....... Elton John has shared another song from his upcoming career retrospective box set Jewel Box, due Nov. 13 from UMC/EMI. "Here's to the Next Time," which has been shared on YouTube, was recorded at London's DJM Studio in late 1967 when John was still known as Reg Dwight, with the complete version appearing in 1968 as the B-side to John's first single, "I've Been Loving You." "Here's to the Next Time" follows two other rare Elton songs, "Regimental Sgt. Zippo" and "Sing Me Sad Song," which will also feature on Jewel Box. The 50th anniversary box set is split into four parts -- "Deep Cuts," "Rarities," "B-sides," "And This Is Me" -- and will be released in 4xLP, 8xCD, 3xLP and 2xLP formats. - NME, 10/17/20...... In other Elton John news, the Rocket Man has just settled a £3million court dispute with his ex-wife, Renate Blauel. The settlement comes after Blauel sought compensation from John over the summer after he mentioned her in several sections in his autobiography Me, allegedly breaking the terms of an agreement the couple made when they divorced 32 years ago. In papers filed in his defense at the time, the Elton's legal team denied breaching the agreement, arguing the details in the book were public knowledge and that the contract "applies only to private and confidential matters." Now, according to Sky News, a rep for Blauel says "the couple are happy to announce that they have resolved this case, in a way that acknowledges Renate's need for privacy." "For her part, Renate acknowledges that Elton has acted in a dignified and respectful way towards her in the last 30 years and has been always happy to help her," according to the rep. John has also reacted to his his fallout with Rod Stewart in a new chapter of Me, which has been recently published. In 2018, Rod criticized Elton's decision to head out on his extensive "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" farewell tour, branding it "money-grabbing." John now writes that Stewart had a "f---ing cheek" lecturing him about "rock and roll." He wrote: "I certainly didn't feel like I needed a lecture on the feral spirit of rock and roll from someone who'd spent most of the last decade crooning his way through the Great American Songbook and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas." - NME, 10/14/20...... Phil CollinsPhil Collins has issued a ceast and desist order to the Pres. Donald Trump re-election campaign over the use of Collins' iconic 1981 single "In The Air Tonight" at a Trump campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa on Oct. 14. Collins' reps confirmed in a statement to the Consequence of Sound website that have issued the order, following the likes of the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Linkin Park, the estate of Tom Petty and more in objecting to their music being used at Trump events. "Yes we are well aware of the Trump campaign's use of this song and we have already issued a 'cease and desist' letter via our lawyers who continue to monitor the situation," a rep for Collins said. Meanwhile, John Fogerty says he's issuing his own cease and desist order to the Trump campaign over use of the 1969 Creedence Clearwater Revival hit "Fortunate Son" at Trump rallies. Posting on Twitter on Oct. 16, Fogerty said: "He is using my words and my voice to portray a message that I do not endorse." Sharing the statement along with a photograph of himself in uniform, Fogerty explained that "Fortunate Son"' came about "because, as a veteran, I was disgusted that some people were allowed to be excluded from serving our country because they had access to political and financial privilege... I also wrote about wealthy people not paying their fair share of taxes. Mr. Trump is a prime example of both of these issues. "The fact that Mr. Trump also fans the flames of hatred, racism, and fear while rewriting ancient history, is even more reason to be troubled by his use of my song," he added. - NME, 10/17/20...... In related news, Bruce Springsteen told Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper on Oct. 15 that he's considering moving down under should Pres. Trump win a second term in the Nov. 3 election. "If Trump is re-elected -- which he will not be; I'm predicting right now he's gonna lose -- if by some happenstance he should be, I'll see you on the next plane [to Australia]," Springsteen told the paper. The New Jersey rocker has a long history of speaking out against Trump, having previously labelled him "a threat to our democracy" and criticizing his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, telling him to "put on a f---ing mask." Meanwhile, the first full trailer of Springsteen's new documentary, Bruce Springsteen's Letter To You, has been shared on YouTube. The Apple Original Films documentary is set to arrive on Apple TV+ on Oct. 23, coinciding with the release of Springsteen's new album with the E Street Band, also called Letter To You. Written by Springsteen and directed by his frequent collaborator Thom Zimny (Western Stars, The Gift: The Journey Of Johnny Cash, Springsteen On Broadway), the film is described as "a tribute to the E Street Band, to rock music itself and to the role it has played in Springsteen's life." - NME, 10/17/20...... Stevie WonderOn Oct. 13, Stevie Wonder shared two new songs, "Where Is Our Love Song" and "Can't Put It in The Hands Of Fate" on YouTube, and announced he was leaving Motown Records after nearly 60 years to start his own label, So What The Fuss Music to be distributed by Republic Records. "I had a great conversation with Monte Lipman, the (Republic) president, and I spoke with India.Arie, who had signed with Republic," said Wonder, who had been on the Motown roster for his entire career, first signing with them as an 11-year-old prodigy in 1961. "Even though I have left Motown, I never leave Motown. That's Detroit," Wonder said. "So I'm sure that we can figure out how we can do some things at Motown. Maybe I'll do my 'Gospel Inspired by Lula' with Motown. We'll work it out," he added, referring to a gospel project named after his late mother he announced in 2013. Of the two new tracks, he said of "Where Is Our Love Song": "It is a song that really I started working on when I was 18, not even knowing what the song was going to be about, but I had the melody. Then this year came all the confusion and all the hate and all the east versus west, left versus right... I'm watching all this and say, 'Hold up, how can you be talking about God and there be hate in your spirit?'." Of the latter track, 'Can't Put It In The Hands Of Fate', Wonder added: "I was thinking about where we are in the world. And I was thinking about how this is most crucial time. Not just Black people or people of color but young people everywhere are going, 'This is not acceptable.' Change is right now. We can't put it in the hands of fate. Ain't nobody got time to wait." - NME, 10/13/20...... Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne has told the UK paper The Guardian that he hasn't read his former bandmate Chris Frantz new memoir Remain in Love. "Noooo," Byrne said when asked about the book, before adding: "I knew that if I read it I would get asked about it. So I've avoided it." In the memoir, Frantz documented the band's final meeting and said Byrne was so exasperated that the other members kept their cool when he announced their split, that he yelled: "You should be calling me an asshole." Byrne has dampened speculation about a Talking Heads reunion on many occasions -- in 2017, he said that the prospect of getting the band back together would "probably be [taking] quite a number of steps backwards." Meanwhile, it has been announced that Byrne's acclaimed "American Utopia" live show is set to return to Broadway in New York City in Sept. 2021. Byrne's stage show/rock spectacle is a live adaptation of the artist's 2018 solo album American Utopia, which one critic called "the best musical experience on the planet." A Spike Lee-directed HBO film release of American Utopia premiered on the premium cable channel in October after opening the Toronto Film Festival on Sept. 10. - NME, 10/15/20...... Alice Cooper has shared a new video for his 1972 single "Elected" on YouTube. Cooper has also revamped his official website in time for Halloween, with slogans including: "I can do nothing as well as they can do nothing" and "I have absolutely no idea what to do." Alice is also offering up a host of new presidential merchandise including T-shirts, stickers, and pins that show the shock-rocker holding his own severed head, emblazoned with phrases such as, "A Sickman for a Sick Nation / Wild Party Forever." Cooper previously confirmed he has partnered with AirBnB for a new event where he will read scary stories to fans ahead of this year's Halloween. Spooky Story Time with Alice Cooper will take place on Oct. 21 at 4:00 pm PT (12:00 am BST). Cooper says that 100% of proceeds from the event, which costs around £80 per person, will go to childrens' charity North Star Reach. - NME, 10/15/20...... Rhonda FlemingActress Rhonda Fleming, whose long career embraced filmdom's Golden Age and the early days of television, died on Oct. 14 in Santa Monica, Calif. at age 97. No cause was given, but her death was confirmed by her secretary. Ms. Fleming was known as the "Queen of Technicolor" for her stunning red hair and green eyes, which lit up appearances in such films as Out of the Past and Spellbound. Overall, she appeared in more than 40 films, working with directors Alfed Hitchcock, Jacques Tourneur and Robert Siodmak, among other film greats. Her best-known films included the 1948 musical fantasy A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court with Bing Crosby, the 1957 Western Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and the noir Slightly Scarlet, alongside John Payne. The Hollywood-born actress was also the costar to some of Hollywood's biggest names, including four films with Ronald Reagan before he entered politics. She also worked with Glenn Ford, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Bob Hope, and Rock Hudson, among others. In television, Ms. Fleming guest-starred in Wagon Train, Police Woman, The Love Boat, was in a special of McMillan & Wife. Later in life, Ms. Fleming became a philanthropist, supporting Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., where she established the Rhonda Fleming Carlson Inspiration Garden in 2014. Ms. Fleming is survived by her son, Kent Lane, two granddaughters, and five great-grandchildren. -, 10/16/20.

Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020

Bruce Springsteen will be among the artists appearing in a 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame special, which premieres on Nov. 7 on HBO and HBO Max. The 2020 RRHOF ceremony was originally set to go ahead in May, though it was pushed back to November due to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, as a way to make sure the event could go ahead, the ceremony will be pre-recorded and air the same date as the induction. Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Nine Inch Nails, The Notorious B.I.G. and T. Rex will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. Other artists set to feature at the event are Miley Cyrus, St. Vincent, Dave Grohl, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Ringo Starr, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Gwen Stefani and more. - NME, 10/9/20...... Alice CooperAlice Cooper has partnered with home rental website Airbnb for a new event where he will read scary stories to fans ahead of Halloween 2020. Spooky Story Time with Alice Cooper will take place on Oct. 21 at 4:00 pm PT (12:00 am BST). Speaking of the new event on Twitter, Cooper says he will "take my penchant for terror to the scariest place I know -- the internet." Inviting fans to "join me for a kid-friendly spooky story hour," Cooper added that "100% of proceeds from the event, which costs around £80 per person, will go to childrens' charity North Star Reach." Cooper added that the event will be "suitable for children ages 6+ with an appetite for fright." - NME, 10/10/20...... Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood participated in a Zoom interview with TikTok user Nathan Apodaca (@420doggface208) on Oct. 8 to thank him for making the Fleetwood Mac song "Dreams" a viral hit. "One, we owe you," Fleetwood told Apodaca, whose serene video of himself lip-syncing to the 1977 hit while while riding a skateboard and drinking straight from a bottle of cranberry juice has been viewed on TikTok over 34 million times. "It's such a great story, and it's so needed," Fleetwood continued. "In days that are really challenging... it makes people smile, and I'm so happy to be part of it. Congratulations on a wild, wild skateboard journey that has led us to talking today," Fleetwood concluded, before adding, "I hope Stevie [Nicks]'s watching. She's going to be overjoyed." Fleetwood also revealed how his own recreation of Apodaca's viral video came together, saying, "I was just led right into it. People around me were going like, 'Dad, you've got to do this, it's so cool.' So we did it, and now here we are, talking." In other Fleetwood Mac news, Stevie Nicks has shared her new single, "Show Them the Way," on YouTube. Nicks recently told the Associated Press that the song was inspired by a dream she had in 2008 where she played at a political benefit attended by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John Lennon, John Lewis, John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy. "Everything was timeless, even me/ I wasn't old, I wasn't young, I was just part of their dream/ A shadow walked with me down the hall, it was Martin Luther King," Nicks sings on the track, which features Dave Grohl on drums. A music video of "Show Them the Way" directed by Oscar-winning director Cameron Crowe will be released soon. Nicks will release a live album and concert film, 24 Karat Gold - Songs from the Vault, on vinyl, CD and to stream from Oct. 30 through BMG. The film will be screened in select cinemas for two nights only, on Oct. 21 and Oct. 25. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 10/9/20...... Gimme Some Truth: The Ultimate Mixes, a new John Lennon hits collection produced in collaboration with Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and John and Yoko's son Sean Lennon, could surpass Scottish group Travis's new LP 10 Songs to become the top selling album in the UK, according to the Official U.K. Singles and Albums Charts survey. On Oct. 12, Gimme Some Truth had risen to No. 3 on the midweek chart, just 364 combined sales behind the Travis album. Lennon has three No. 1's as a solo artist on the chart, and a whopping 16 with the Beatles, more than any act in Official Chart history. Gimme Some Truth: The Ultimate Mixes was executive produced by Yoko and produced by Sean, and contains 36 of Lennon's best-loved songs from his solo career. Sean Lennon recently told interviewer George Stroumboulopoulos on his Apple Music Hits show "STROMBO" that his dad returning his MBE to Queen Elizabeth II in 1966 was "maybe more punk than anything the punks did." "It was a big deal to return the Member of the British Empire thingamajig that he was given. To the Queen, that was very irreverent," Sean said. All four Beatles were given the honour in 1965, but Lennon returned his award a year later in protest against the Vietnam War and Britain's involvement in the conflict in Biafra. - Billboard/NME, 10/12/20...... Willie NelsonMeanwhile, country-pop music icon Willie Nelson and the band Promise of the Real lead by his sons Lukas and Micah Nelson, have paid tribute Lennon on what would have been his 80th birthday on Oct. 9 with a cover of Lennon's 1981 posthumous hit "Watching the Wheels." In the video tribute, which has been shared on YouTube, Lukas and Micah can be seen trading off lines in the first verse, while Willie takes the second: "Well they shake their heads and they look at me/ As if I've lost my mind/ I tell them there's no hurry/ I'm just sitting here doing time." - NME, 10/10/20...... In other Lennon news, John Lennon 1980: The Last Days in the Life author Kenneth Womack says that if Lennon was still alive "he'd be giving Pres. Donald Trump hell." "I think in a lot of ways he would have been like David Bowie, very moved by the internet," Womack told the U.K. paper The Mirror. "He would be an influencer in that way... he'd be right there on Twitter giving Trump hell." Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, Liverpool's Cavern Club where the Beatles famously gigged before rising to international fame in the early 1960s, is among the venues which have received a lifeline from the U.K. government to survive the financial impact of coronavirus. The Cavern has been given £525,000 to fund the recording of performances from local musicians. They will be streamed online to provide employment opportunities for technical staff and artists from across Merseyside. - NME, 10/12/20...... Eddie Van Halen's brother and bandmate Alex Van Halen paid tribute to his younger brother Eddie, who died on Oct. 6 following a lengthy battle with cancer, with a touching message posted on Twitter on Oct. 8. "Hey Ed. Love you. See you on the other side. Your brother, Al," Alex posted, and accompanied the message with a cute black and white photo of the pair as young boys. Following Eddie's death, at the age of 65, Alex, 67, is the only member who has been with the band throughout its existence, and played on all 12 studio albums. Meanwhile, former VH frontman Sammy Hagar and former VH bassist Mike Anthony recorded a video tribute to Eddie during a recent public rehearsal of their band Sammy Hagar and the Circle on Catalina Island, Calif. During the show, Hagar invited the audience to take a moment of silence to remember Eddie, after which they launched into the anthemic "Right Now," a single from the 1991 album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. "I'll tell you, a Van Halen song never felt so hard to sing and play in my life," Hagar says in the clip, which has been shared on YouTube. "After the unfortunate thing that happened yesterday with Eddie Van Halen, for Mike and I, it was just like getting hit by a freaking Mack truck," Hagar shared. "Kind of took the wind out of the sails." The video is captioned by a comment from the two former VH rockers: "We love you Eddie. The music will live forever." - Billboard, 10/9/20...... David CrosbyIn related news, David Crosby is explaining a comment he made about Eddie Van Halen after the guitar god's death. On Oct. 10, a fan tweeted to Crosby asking his opinion of Eddie, to which Crosby replied with a one-word answer: "Meh & . ." Crosby's curt post drew backlash from Tracii Guns of the U.S. rock band L.A. Guns who called the remark "very disrespectful" and Dee Snider of Twisted Sister who said he "always hated [Crosby] AND his mustache." But Crosby doubled down on his comments when fans began to voice their ire. "Sorry & just meant he does not move me much," Crosby wrote in another tweet. On Oct. 12, Crosby added that "[Jimi] Hendrix changed the world of guitar. Nobody else really & look I get it ..many of you loved Van Halen & .and the one time I met he was nice & .and he was talented & meh to me means I don't care that much & .and I don't & doesn't mean he wasn't good, he was but not for me." - NME, 10/12/20...... Ozzy Osbourne's wife Sharon Osbourne has confirmed that Ozzy's twice-postponed tour has been rebooked for 2022. Osbourne's 'No More Tours II' tour was first announced in Nov. 2017, and a number of dates throughout 2018 were completed. However, a run of U.K. dates have been delayed twice. The first postponement was due to Ozzy's ill health, and second due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ozzy and Sharon appeared on Planet Rock Radio on Oct. 11 and were asked about the difficulties of booking venues for shows after the pandemic has subsided. "Everybody's booking their tours again for like 2022, and to find availabilities right now, it's crazy," Sharon said. "Agents and facilities are going nuts, trying to get everybody back. It will be exciting. I think it will be a very exciting time when bands do go back and it'll be joyous." She then confirmed: "Ozzy's tour has been rebooked. The British tour, he'll be back in '22. You know, we just carry on as normal. We've been doing loads of TV shows here and you've got to just keep going until Ozzy can go back live." - NME, 10/12/20...... Elton John unveiled a previously unreleased song, "Regimental Sgt. Zippo," on YouTube on Oct. 12. John recorded the psychedelic track back in 1968, with lyrics from his longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin. Posting on Twitter, Elton said the song was originally intended "to be the title track of his unreleased debut album in 1969" and "can be found on my upcoming 'Jewel Box'!" Jewel Box, due Nov. 13 from UMC/EMI, will feature 60 unreleased tracks, including rarities and B-sides. "To delve back through every period of my career in such detail for 'Jewel Box' has been an absolute pleasure," Elton said in September as he announced the release. "Hearing these long lost tracks again, I find it hard to comprehend just how prolific Bernie [Taupin] and I were during the early days." - NME, 10/12/20...... John LydonFormer The Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten) has told the U.K.'s The Observer paper that he plans on voting for Pres. Donald Trump in the upcoming presidential election because he feels Trump's Democratic challenger, former Vice-President Joe Biden, is "incapable" of leading America. Lydon, who previously backed Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, said he supports Trump because of the economy. "I'd be daft as a brush not to," Lydon said. "He's the only sensible choice now that Biden is up -- he's incapable of being the man at the helm." According to the article, Lydon started supporting the US president after Trump was accused of racism. "I've been accused of the very same thing, so I'm offended for anybody who's called that," he explained. In 2008, Lydon and his entourage were involved in a backstage altercation with Kele Okereke, after the Bloc Party frontman asked Lydon at Spain's Summercase festival if he would ever consider reforming Public Image Ltd. It was alleged that Lydon responded with a racist tirade including the statement, "Your problem is your black attitude," followed by what Okereke called an "unprovoked racist attack" that resulted in him suffering severe facial bruising, cuts to his face and body and a split lip. He later referred to Lydon as "the devil in my eyes." - NME, 10/11/20...... Queen + Adam Lambert recently landed their first U.K. No. 1 album together after their new live collection Live Around the World was released on Oct. 2. Live Around the World secured the top spot on the Official Albums Chart with the most CD and download sales for the first week of October following a late challenge from K-pop girl group, Blackpink. Live Around The World is Queen's 10th No. 1 album in the U.K., and first for almost 25 years since Made in Heaven in Nov. 1995, the group's final studio album featuring the last recorded vocals from Freddie Mercury. It also marks nearly 45 years since the band's very first No. 1 album A Night at the Opera in Dec. 1975. "Thank you folks for making us Number 1 after all these years. So Queen + Adam Lambert's very first release is Number 1... amazing. God bless you all," Queen guitarist Brian May said in a video shared on YouTube. -, 10/9/20...... A new remix of David Bowie's 1970 song "The Man Who Sold the World" has been shared on by longtime Bowie producer Tony Visconti. Visconti's "2020 remix" is lifted from the forthcoming Man Who Sold the World 50th anniversary reissue Metrobolist (the album's original title) which drops on Nov. 6. Visconti has remixed the entire album, which will also be released as a limited edition, numbered gold and white vinyl LP, for the new project. - NME, 10/9/10...... MotorheadMotörhead have announced they're launching a new podcast to mark the 40th anniversary of their 1980 LP, Ace of Spades. "The Motörcast" lands on streaming platforms in mid-October, detailing the "warts and all stories of life on the road, behind the scenes, in the studio and more importantly, down the pub," according to a preview posted on Subsequent instalments of "The Motörcast" will arrive every two weeks. Motörhead's forthcoming Ace Of Spades reissue, meanwhile, hits stores on Oct. 30 and will boast a previously unheard show from the "Ace Up Your Sleeve" tour, the story of the album, previously unseen photos and 42 unreleased tracks. - NME, 10/8/20...... Major League Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Whitey Ford, who finished his career with a record of 236-106, setting the franchise mark for most-ever wins by a New York Yankee, died on Oct. 9 at the age of 91, the team has announced. During his tenure as a Yankee, Mr. Ford helped lead New York to 11 American League pennants and six World Series titles. His 10 World Series victories still stand as a Major League Baseball record, and his .690 career winning percentage is the highest among pitchers with at least 300 career decisions. Mr. Ford earned his "Chairman of the Board" nickname in part for his role as a reliable ace for one of the most successful teams of its time. A left-handed hurler who pitched from 1950 through 1967, Mr. Ford captured the 1961 Cy Young Award, and was a 10-time All-Star and 1974 MLB Hall of Fame inductee. "Whitey loved the Hall of Fame, Cooperstown and the legacy that he and his teammates built during the game's golden era," said National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Jane Forbes Clark in a statement. "We extend our deepest condolences to his family and we will celebrate his life in Cooperstown forever." -, 10/9/20...... Tom Kennedy, best known for hosting such TV game shows as You Don't Say! and Name That Tune, died on Oct. 7 in Oxnard, Calif. He was 93. Born in Louisville, Ky., on Feb. 26, 1927, Mr. Kennedy began hosting game shows as they rose to popularity in the '50s. He went on to host various game shows for nearly three decades, with his biggest successes being You Don't Say!" on NBC from 1963 to 1969, Split Second from 1972 to 1975, Name That Tune from 1974 to 1981 and Password Plus from 1980 to 1982. His other hosting credits include The Big Game, Dr. I.Q., It's Your Bet, Break the Bank, 50 Grand Slam, To Say the Least, Whew! and Body Language (1984-86). Mr. Kennedy also hosted a nighttime, syndicated edition of The Price Is Right from 1985 to 1986, and briefly had his own talk show, The Real Tom Kennedy Show. Mr. Kennedy retired in 1989. In 2005, Mr. Kennedy and his brother, Narz, both received the Game Show Congress' Bill Cullen award for lifetime achievement. He is survived by his three children and a daughter-in-law. -, 10/8/20.

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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, New Musical Express, Associated Press, The Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly, CNN, Rolling,,, Miles High Productions, and Noble PR.

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