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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Bob Dylan has previewed his first "Theme Time Radio Hour" episode in 11 years in three new clips. Re-introducing the show in one clip, Dylan said: "I'm your host, Bob Dylan. To paraphrase Alexandre Dumas in The Count of Monte Cristo, I'm so delighted to see you again, it makes me forget for the moment that all happiness is fleeting." In two other clips, he shared some history about Charlie Poole's 1920s song "If The River Was Whiskey" and spoke about the Great Molasses Flood that occurred in Boston in 1919. Dylan's began hosting the show on SiriusXM in 2006, with it running for 100 shows until April 2009. - New Musical Express, 9/20/20...... Marvin GayeMarvin Gaye's landmark 1971 album What's Going On has dethroned the Beatles' 1967 LP Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on Rolling Stone magazine's "500 Greatest Albums of All-Time" list. The Beatles classic, which led the countdown when it was last published in 2003, was moved from number one to 26. Announcing their pick, the RS editors called What's Going On, which was a respectable No. 6 on the 2003 countdown, "one of the most important and influential LPs ever made." "After What's Going On, black musicians... felt a new freedom to push the musical and political boundaries of their art," they added. The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds comes in at two on the new list, ahead of Joni Mitchell's Blue, Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life and the Beatles' Abbey Road. Nirvana's Nevermind, Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, Prince's Purple Rain, Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks, and Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill complete the new "500 Greatest Albums" top 10. - WENN/, 9/22/20...... According to newly released transcripts of John Lennon's killer Mark David Chapman's August parole hearing, Chapman said in the interview that he was seeking glory and deserved the death penalty for a "despicable" act. In the transcripts, which were made available after an open records request, the now 65-year-old inmate expressed remorse for gunning down the former Beatle outside the musician's Dakota apartment building in Manhattan in December 1980. "I assassinated him... because he was very, very, very famous and that's the only reason and I was very, very, very, very much seeking self-glory. Very selfish," Chapman is quoted as saying. Chapman said that in retrospect his actions were "creepy" and "despicable," and that he thinks all the time about the pain he inflicted on Lennon's wife, Yoko Ono. "I just want her to know that she knows her husband like no one else and knows the kind of man he was. I didn't," he said. In denying him parole for an 11th time, the board said Chapman committed an "evil act" and said they found his statement that "infamy brings you glory" disturbing. Chapman, serving a 20-years-to-life sentence at Wende Correctional Facility, east of Buffalo, will be up for parole again in Aug. 2022. He told the board he would have "no complaint whatsoever" if they chose to leave him in prison for the rest of his life. - AP, 9/22/20...... In other Lennon-related news, a pair of John's famous round Windsor glasses that he gifted to his housekeeper in the 1960s and are thought to predate his first public outing of the eyewear are expected to fetch anywhere between £30,000 -- £40,000 during a new auction of Beatles memorabilia conducted by Sotheby's beginning Sept. 23. Also up for sale during the auction, which marks 50 years since the iconic band broke up, will be a detention sheet from John's Quarry Bank Grammar School teachers in the 1950s (they criticize his "complete idleness" and "continuous silly behaviour in class"), and one of his report cards, which is estimated to be worth between £3,000 -- £5,000. A copy of the Beatles's debut single, "Love Me Do," signed by all four members the day after it was released, is expected to fetch between £15,000 -- £20,000. The auction runs from Sept. 23 to Oct. 1 on the Sotheby's website. Meanwhile, John's son Sean Lennon is set to interview Paul McCartney for a new special two-part radio show for the BBC to mark what would have been his late father's 80th birthday. McCartney reflects on his earliest days of making music with Lennon -- admitting that "there were a few songs that weren't very good." He said: "Eventually, we started to write slightly better songs and then enjoyed the process of learning together so much that it really took off. When asked on their final meeting, he revealed: "I look back on it now like a fan, how lucky was I to meet this strange Teddy Boy off the bus, who played music like I did and we get together and boy, we complemented each other!" Other interviewees for the new show include Lennon's oldest son, Julian Lennon, and Elton John -- who was a close friend of John's. And speaking of Julian Lennon, the musician was named a UNESCO Center for Peace 2020 Cross-Cultural and Peace Crafter Award Laureate on Sept. 21, the International Day of Peace, to recognize Julian's "efforts towards the promotion of culture and peace everywhere." His contribution to peace includes his continued work through The White Feather Foundation, which aims to raise funds for "the betterment of all life." In a statement posted to the foundation's website,, Lennon expressed his "deepest gratitude upon receiving the award." "To be recognised for charity efforts on the International Day of Peace means the world to me," he said. - New Musical Express, 9/23/20...... YusufAppearing on the UK early morning talk sow Lorraine on Sept. 22, Yusuf/Cat Stevens says although he's enjoyed performing for his fans from the comfort of his home amid the coronavirus pandemic, he's looking forward to 2021 when he hopes to put on some "scaled-back" gigs to coincide with the release of his upcoming autobiography. "Lockdown changed everything. But I'm getting used to Zooming, to be honest, it's very comfortable to sit in your own kitchen or living room and put on a concert," the 72-year-old singer/songwriter legend said. "We will probably go out and do something when everything is clear and perhaps it will be scaled-down a little bit. But I've also got a few projects in the pipeline, like my autobiography. It might be a combination of 'Tillerman' and my autobiography," he added. Yusuf re-recorded his 1970 classic Tea for the Tillerman earlier in 2020 to mark its 50th anniversary, and on Sept. 21 he and his son Jesse Royal contributed to Peace One Day's Live Global Digital Experience, which is also the UN International Day of Peace. The event, produced by Jude Law and Jeremy Gilley and was broadcast live across the world. It marked Yusuf's third contribution to Peace One Day, having previously performed in 2007 and 2011. Yusuf's Tea For The Tillerman 2 is currently at the No. 3 spot on the UK's Official Albums Chart Update. -, 9/22/20...... Jimmy Buffett, the late B.B. King, and Mac McAnally are among the latest inductees into the Mississippi Songwriters Hall of Fame, in was announced during a virtual ceremony on Sept. 17. Pascagoula, Miss., Mayor Steve Demetropoulos congratulated the Parrothead-In-Chief, noting: "It's been said that Mississippi is the birth place of America's music. Well, Jimmy Buffett is America's music." In a recorded message, Buffett said: "It's a long way from the Pascagoula run and my early days growing up in Mississippi certainly had an impact on the way I wrote songs and what I wrote about. So, thank you Mississippi for that." The Mississippi Songwriters Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Mississippi Songwriters Alliance. - AP, 9/22/20...... On Sept. 21 Neil Young announced a massive new The Archives Vol. II: 1972-1976 box set will drop on Nov. 20. The sequel to his 8-disc 2009 The Archives Vol. 1: 1963-1972, the new 10-disc collection will include a vintage live album recorded in London and Japan with all previously unheard versions of classic songs. Arranged chronologically, it will stretch from songs tracked after the 1972 release of landmark album Harvest, stretching through an early 1976 European/Japanese tour with his longtime band Crazy Horse. According to the Neil Young Archives site, the set -- with 12 previously unreleased songs and 50 unreleased versions of songs -- will be available only on the NYA site, with pre-orders beginning on Oct. 16. The full track listing for Archives Vol. II can be viewed on the NYA site. - Billboard, 9/21/20...... Speaking of archives, Bruce Springsteen has told Rolling Stone magazine that his upcoming projects includes a follow-up to his 1998 box set Tracks that will feature full-length pieces from his own archives, and that he has full-length "lost albums" which he plans to release in the future. Springsteen, who will release a new 12-song album called Letter to You on Oct. 23, says he has "a lot of projects that are in the planning," including recording songs that were written long ago. "There's a lot of really good music left. You just go back there. It's not that hard. If I pull out something from 1980, or 1985, or 1970, it's amazing how you can slip into that voice. It's just sort of a headspace. All of those voices remain available to me, if I want to go to them," he said. Meanwhile, Springsteen has shared an official video for Letter to You's title track on YouTube. - New Musical Express, 9/21/20...... Elvis Costello says his upcoming studio album Hey Clockface has songs that alternate between withering and whimsical. "It's much closer to the approach of a jazz ensemble, playing like that without scoring every note," says the 66-year-old musician. In Feb. 2020, after recording three songs by himself in Helsinki, he immediately traveled to Paris to record a dozen more with a small ensemble of musicians who "came recommended as people who liked adventure," Costello says. Hey Clockface also explores a comforting past (the title track sounds like something out of the American Songbook) and the disturbing present. On "Hetty O'Hara Confidential," Costello -- who sang about the creepiness of mass media on songs like "Radio Radio" and "Watching the Detectives" -- now turns on new media. In it, he tells the story of a vindictive gossip columnist undone by a mistake and a world in which everyone has the power she did. "It's one of the great dangers of the speed of communication, being faster than the ability to reason," says Costello. Even before the release of Hey Clockface on Oct. 30, Costello says he's already preparing to reissue some of his previous albums with bonus material. - Billboard, 9/18/20...... Daryl HallJohn OatesHall & Oates are celebrating one billion streams of their 1980 hit "You Make My Dreams," which has become of the most one of their most recognizable songs, ubiquitous in films such as 500 Days of Summer, The Wedding Singer, Dumb & Dumberer and Despicable Me 2. "It's amazing, right?," says John Oates. "What really gets me about this is when 'You Make My Dreams' was released as a single in 1981, it wasn't a massive Number One hit -- it reached Number Five in the US. We couldn't have predicted the impact it would have. Over the years, it's taken on a life of its own. It's become this anthemic feel-good thing. A lot of it started with its use in the movie 500 Days of Summer and the dance sequence they created around that song. From there on, it took on this life of its own. It's the gift that keeps on giving. It's an amazing feel-good groove and it has a great timeless appeal." Oates adds that "Daryl [Hall] and I were set to do some recording [in 2020] and when everything broke down, we had exchanged ideas... sending each other tracks and we were starting to formulate [a record]. But when COVID broke everything down, it put the brakes on it. So I think he and I will probably do our best work when we're physically together and because we're not, we'll just put it on hold for a while and see what happens." To add to "You Make My Dreams"' massive streaming count, fans can head to YouTube. - NME, 9/23/20...... Patti Smith, R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe and many other artists have teamed up for a group rendition of Smith's 1988 song "People Have The Power." The video of the performance was released by climate action non-profit Pathway to Paris -- co-founded by Patti Smith's daughter, Jesse Paris Smith -- on its sixth anniversary. The video's release also coincides with Climate Week NYC, which takes place between September 21-27. The video, which can be viewed on, was released by climate action non-profit Pathway to Paris -- co-founded by Patti Smith's daughter, Jesse Paris Smith -- on its sixth anniversary. It has been performed at every Pathway To Paris event since 2014. The video's release also coincides with Climate Week NYC, which takes place between Sept. 21-27. The clip also encourages Americans to vote in the upcoming November election. "Vote to choose something, vote to reject something," a statement from PTP read. - NME, 9/23/20...... Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford says he thinks his band deserves to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and feels it needs more heavy metal acts. "I've always admired it," Halford said of the Cleveland-based hall and museum. "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame isn't any different from those other institutions they have in America, like the one for football, where you'll always get some people complaining one player deserves to be there over another." He continued: "Emotions always run high whenever these awards take place. But I've always supported it -- only because of the company we'd be in. I think if any metal band deserves to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it's Priest and beyond that, there needs to be more metal there because there's not enough." Elsewhere in the interview, Halford commented on the band's iconic song "Breaking The Law" being played over stolen police radios during protests in New York earlier in 2020 in the wake of George Floyd's death. "It's mad over here in America right now and that was a horrible thing that happened to that guy [George Floyd] and I can understand the anger and why that [song] was chosen," he said. "When we wrote that song in the "80s in the UK, there was a lot of unrest, rioting and pushback to the Margaret] Thatcher government. There was a lot of divisiveness going on, much like is happening in many parts of the world now. History tends to repeat itself unfortunately." - NME, 9/22/20...... In other heavy metal news, AC/DC have seemingly confirmed their return with singer Brian Johnson and drummer Phil Rudd in a series of photos which were posted online. According to a Brazilian AC/DC fansite, photos showing the band's returning line-up were briefly posted on the AC/DC website earlier in September before quickly being removed. They appear to have been taken during a video shoot and show Rudd playing with guitarist Stevie Young for the first time -- with the fan site claiming that the footage was shot in the Netherlands earlier in 2020. But the most interesting detail for fans is the return of Johnson, after he departed the group in 2016 following extensive hearing loss. He was subsequently replaced on the band's "Rock or Bust" tour by Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose. The new look at the band comes after it was claimed that they have already recorded their next album. - NME, 9/21/20...... Noddy HolderFormer Slade frontman Noddy Holder says he's been "playing guitar again" and is thinking about a big comeback. Holder, 74, told the UK's Daily Star's "Wired" column that while he has been working on new material "over the years," he wouldn't want to go back to a full time schedule. "I have a stockpile written over the years. I didn't just stop, bang, and that was the end of the story. I still have moments when I get the inspiration. But I couldn't do it night after night, year after year," he says. Holder, who quit Slade in 1992, hasn't made a solo record or hit the road since, but isn't ruling out a return to the stage. "Well, never say never -- I might do it now. If they ever let me out of the house. I'm brushing up on my guitar technique, going back to my roots." In 2019, Holder said he meets with some of his former Slade bandmates, including Don Powell and Dave Hill, occasionally, but played down the idea of ever reuniting with his old mates. "When I left the band, we weren't getting on. We did get together in the same room about 10 years ago but we were arguing again within five minutes," he says. -, 9/23/20...... ABBA members Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Faltskog and Frida Lyndstad have reportedly reunited at Ealing Studios in West London to resume working on their avatar show after facing technical delays and then the coronavirus pandemic halting their plans. The Swedish quartet are said to be now looking to 2022 to launch the tour as part of their 50th anniversary. "ABBA have kept everything about their reunion shrouded in mystery but this has really been a long time coming," a friend of the group told The Sun paper. "They announced the tour in 2016 and although it's been a slog to get to this point, it is now full steam ahead and the show is taking shape. Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Frida have all recorded bits and pieces and they have enjoyed taking a trip down memory lane with it all. They are all getting a nice cheque out of it, so it will be worthwhile, but they've got more than enough money from their music, so it's not about that. All four of them just wanted to give back to their fans, so they have done everything in their power to fly into London for the filming, despite the travel restrictions," the source added. ABBA, who parted ways in 1982, performed together for the first time in decades in 2016 at a private event, which marked the 50th anniversary of the first meeting between songwriters Bjorn and Benny. -, 9/22/20...... A new David Bowie photography exhibition is set to open on Oct. 17 at the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery. "Rock "n' Roll with Me Bowie/MacCormack 1973-76" features images captured by Geoff MacCormack, a childhood friend of Bowie who, in the early 19070s, was asked to join the expanding lineup of his band, the Spiders From Mars. MacCormack's exhibit will feature 60 shots he took as he travelled with Bowie around the world, including some taken on the Trans-Siberian Express. "Those holiday snaps, as I call them, are sometimes even better than the one where he looks wonderful and heroic, which in a lot of them he does. They're holiday snaps really," MacCormack told The Guardian. The exhibit is set to run through June 6. - NME, 9/20/20...... Steve Miller has unearthed his tribute to Jimi Hendrix -- a rendition of his band's "Peppa Sauce" recorded live on Sept. 18, 1970, the day the legendary guitarist died, and shared it on YouTube to mark the 50th anniversary of Hendrix's death. The tribute was recorded at San Rafael, California's Pepperland. "The next song is in memory of Jimi Hendrix," Miller told the crowd before before launching into an epic seven-minute long rendition of "Peppa Sauce" filled with guitar licks inspired by the late guitar god. Miller and Hendrix were friends for years who would occasionally jam together. However, after sharing the bill at 1967's Monterey Pop -- where Hendrix famously burned his Fender Stratocaster onstage -- Miller admitted to not being a fan of the stunt. "I thought that was pathetic," Miller told the Washington Post in 2019. "When I saw Jimi Hendrix stop playing the music he was playing and get down on his knees and pull out a can of lighter fluid and squirt it on the thing and light it, I went, "Boy, this really f---ing sucks." - NME, 9/19/20...... Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann has criticised Van Morrison's recent decision to release three anti-lockdown protest songs in a new op-ed. "There's a real feeling of disappointment -- we expected better from him," Swann said in a guest op-editorial for Rolling Stone magazine. "It's entirely right and proper to debate and question policies. It's legitimate to ask if the right balance is being found in what is being done; if the right steps are being taken. None of this is easy or straightforward," Swann said. "But Van Morrison is going way beyond raising questions. He is singing about "fascist bullies' and claiming governments are deceiving people and wanting to 'enslave'." Swann also pointed out a 2017 interview with Morrison, during which the Celtic crooner said he was apolitical. "He's changed his tune big time since then. He could have chosen to sing about how we all can help save lives. He could have written a tribute to our health and social care workers on the frontline," Swann said. - NME, 9/22/20...... Pamela HutchinsonPamela Hutchinson, a member of influential '70s R&B group The Emotions, passed away on Sept. 18 at the age of 61. "In loving memory, we are saddened to announce the passing of our sister, Pamela Rose Hutchinson, on Friday, September 18, 2020," the group confirmed on their Facebook page. "Pam succumbed to health challenges that she'd been battling for several years. Now our beautiful sister will sing amongst the angels in heaven in perfect peace," the statement added. The group signed off the post by writing "Thank you and as always, You Got The Best of Our Love," referencing the band's massive 1977 hit "Best Of My Love". Along with "Best Of My Love," The Emotions are also remembered for their collaboration with Earth, Wind & Fire on "Boogie Wonderland." - NME, 9/21/20...... Drummer Lee Kerslake, a former member of Uriah Heep who also played with Ozzy Osbourne, has died at 73 after a long battle with prostate cancer. Uriah Heep announced the sad news on their Facebook page, with Heep member Bernie Shaw describing him as "one of the most revered yet under rated drummers in the world... Lee was also one of the main voices in Uriah Heep. Never dropped a note in all the years I worked with him." Kerslake served two stints in Uriah Heep from 1971-1979 and then again from 1981-2007, drumming and singing backing vocals on the albums Demons and Wizards (1972), The Magician's Birthday (1972), Sweet Freedom (1973), Wonderworld (1974), Return to Fantasy (1975), High and Mighty (1976), Firefly (1977), Innocent Victim (1977) and Fallen Angel (1978). He rejoined Uriah Heep for their 14th studio album, Abominog, playing on six more studio efforts before leaving again in 2007 due to health issues. - Billboard, 9/21/20...... Tommy DeVito, a founding member of The Four Seasons, died at a hospital in Las Vegas on Sept. 18 after he contracted COVID-19. He was 92. Mr. DeVito joined forces with bandmate Frankie Valli in 1956, before they formed the Four Seasons in 1960 alongside Bob Gaudio and Nick Massi. They went on to become one of America's most popular doo-wop groups of the 1960s -- with hits such as "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," and "December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night)". The band's story was later immortalised in the Tony award-winning musical "Jersey Boys," which was adapted for the big screen by Clint Eastwood in 2014. Confirming DeVito's passing, Gaudio and Valli wrote: "It is with great sadness that we report that Tommy DeVito, a founding member of The Four Seasons, has passed. We send our love to his family during this most difficult time. He will be missed by all who loved him." DeVito was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, along with the rest of the Four Seasons. - NME, 9/23/20...... Gale SayersPro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers died on Sept. 23 at the age of 77. David Baker, president and CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, issued a statement on Sayers' death: "All those who love the game of football mourn the loss of one of the greatest to ever play this game with the passing of Chicago Bears legend Gale Sayers. He was the very essence of a team player -- quiet, unassuming and always ready to compliment a teammate for a key block. Gale was an extraordinary man who overcame a great deal of adversity during his NFL career and life." Sayers spent his entire seven-year NFL career with the Chicago Bears from 1965 to 1971. He was named to the All-Pro first team in each of his first five seasons, won the NFL Rookie of the Year Award in 1965 and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection. A knee injury suffered during the 1968 season limited Sayers to just nine games. He led the NFL in rushing yards (1,032) and was named Comeback Player of the Year in 1969, but knee problems plagued him for the subsequent two years before he was forced to retire during the preseason in 1972. Sayers was portrayed by Billy Dee Williams in the acclaimed 1970 made for TV movie Brian's Song, which told the story of Sayers' relationship with fellow Bears player and cancer victim Brian Piccolo. - AP, 9/23/20...... Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the demure firebrand who in her 80s became a legal, cultural and feminist icon, died on Sept. 18. She was 87. The Supreme Court announced her death, saying the cause was complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas. Architect of the legal fight for women's rights in the 1970s, Ms. Ginsburg subsequently served 27 years on the nation's highest court, becoming its most prominent member. Stevie Nicks posted a heartfelt tribute to the late Supreme Court icon on her social media page on Sept. 20, calling Ms. Ginsberg "my hero." "She fought for me, and all women," the Fleetwood Mac frontwoman penned. "I feel today very much like I felt on the night my own mother died. I feel like someone punched me in the stomach. I so believed that she would live for a few more years... As with all legends, you think they will live forever, so you will get there in time." Cher also tweeted praise to Ms. Ginsberg, calling her "1 OF GREATEST WOMEN IN (American) HISTORY." -, 9/18/20.

Friday, September 18, 2020

The BBC is reporting that Van Morrison has recorded three new songs in which he lashes out at what he calls "crooked facts" told by the UK government concerning the coronavirus lockdown. On one track, Morrison sings, "The new normal, is not normal. We were born to be free," however the BBC says his anger reaches a peak on "No More Lockdown" -- which sees him likening the government to "fascist bullies." "No more lockdown/ No more government overreach," Morrison reportedly sings in the track's chorus. Another track is said to reference a widely-shared Facebook post which states that "Covid-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious disease (HCID) in the UK." While Covid-19 is not classed as a "HCID" -- which typically boasts a high fatality rate -- the disease is still considered highly infectious with cases rising across the UK. Morrison, who has yet to announce a release date for the new songs, posted an open letter to fans on his official website in late August, criticizing the "pseudo-science" of socially distanced gigs. - New Musical Express, 9/18/20...... Nick MasonSyd BarrettPink Floyd drummer Nick Mason says his side project Saucerful of Secrets, in which he has spent the last few years reinventing early Floyd material on stage, gives a needed edge to late Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett's music. "Syd had a strange way of writing, which made it sound like a 'normal' pop song, and then it would lurch into something else," says Mason of Barrett, the band's original singer whose mental health struggles led to his departure during their second album, 1968's A Saucerful of Secrets. "The best review was our first review," adds SOS guitarist Gary Kemp (formerly of Spandau Ballet). "[Critic] Neil McCormick called it 'Punk Floyd', which I loved, because there is that energy Floyd had before they became posh. When we got the band together, it wasn't like, 'Well, let's try and emulate those records.' Also, we're not trying to be a tribute band. Nick is the genuine article, so we agreed, 'Let's make this band as fresh as we possibly can.'" Earlier in 2020, Mason and SOS released Live at the Roundhouse, live album and concert film that captures a 2019 show at London's fabled Roundhouse, where the Syd Barrett-era Floyd also performed around the time of their 1967 debut, Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Mason, 76, says SOS is his sole focus now, and he's having "the time of his life" with no plans to hang up his drumsticks soon. "...If at some point somebody brought in new music to work on, great. That, I think, would be the greatest tribute we could pay to Syd, in a way," he says. - Billboard, 9/17/20...... David Byrne announced a new edition of his online magazine Reasons to be Cheerful, which focuses on tackling division within society, on his Twitter page on Sept. 17. "This series is hopeful at a time when that is in short supply," Byrne said. "I realise the title might come as a shock. Not divided? Are you kidding me? What world are you living in?," he adds. Running through Nov. 2, the latest Reasons to be Cheerful edition is titled "We Are Not Divided" and tells the stories of places and institutions that are succeeding in overcoming division via a multimedia presentation of dozens of written features, infographics, video content and interactive storytelling. It also features a collection of original illustrations hand-drawn by Byrne. "I am more than a little aware of what's happening, but the truth is there is evidence that we can find ways to come together -- I have to believe that or I would sink into despair," the former Talking Heads frontman says. "Luckily, there are people and initiatives out there that we can look to for inspiration, and boy do we need it." - New Musical Express, 9/17/20...... Movie studio Trafalgar Releasing announced on Sept. 16 that Stevie Nicks will debut her new concert film 24 Karat Gold for two nights only on Oct. 21 & 25 at select cinemas, drive-ins and exhibition spaces around the world. Directed and produced by Joe Thomas during the singer/songwriter's fabled 67-city sold out "24 Karat Gold Tour," the filming and recording took place in Indianapolis and Pittsburgh in 2017. "The 24 Karat Gold Tour was my all-time favorite tour," Nicks said in a statement. "I not only got to sing my songs but I was able to tell their stories for the first time. I love having the opportunity to share this concert with my fans. From me to you - 24 Karat Gold." 24 Karat Gold features a set of fan favorites from Nicks' solo career and as a member of Fleetwood Mac, including "Rhiannon," "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," "Edge of Seventeen," "Landslide," and more as well as rare gems from her platinum-selling catalog. The film also features intimate storytelling and inspirations for some of the artist's most famous and timeless songs and lyrics. Tickets go on-sale beginning Sept. 23 at, where fans can find the most up-to-date information regarding participating theaters and event alerts. Also, a 2-CD & digital/streaming release will be available on Oct. 30 via BMG, featuring 17 tracks of Stevie's greatest hits live; including "Stand Back," "Gypsy," and "Edge of Seventeen," as well as the first ever live recording of "Crying In The Night," and other live rarities. Also, a 2-CD & digital/streaming release will be available on Oct. 30 via BMG, featuring 17 tracks of Stevie's greatest hits live. The release will be available exclusively at Target stores on Oct. 30, and the digital release will be available everywhere on the same day. A limited-edition 2-LP 180-gram version will be available on crystal clear vinyl exclusively at Barnes & Noble, while a 180-gram black vinyl version will be available everywhere. - Billboard, 9/16/20...... The BeatlesThe Beatles' Apple Corps. announced on Instagram on Sept. 16 that an expansive coffee table book, The Beatles: Get Back, will be released on Aug. 31, 2021, as a companion to director Peter Jackson's upcoming 2021 Beatles documentary The Beatles: Get Back. The 240-page hardcover book with "hundreds of previously unpublished images" from the 1969 studio sessions for the Let It Be album will hit stores just days after the rescheduled release of the film, which was postponed earlier in 2020 until Aug. 27, 2021, due to the coronavirus. In a press release, the book is described as the "definitive volume" of the Let It Be sessions and will "present an exclusive, in-their-own-words account" of the recordings, "illustrated with hundreds of previously unpublished images, including photos by Ethan A. Russell and Linda McCartney." The book, according to the statement, "will feature transcribed conversations between the four Beatles culled from more than 120 recorded hours of the studio sessions over three weeks... (an) intimate, riveting book invites us to travel back in time to January 1969, the beginning of the Beatles' last year as a band." Meanwhile, Jackson's anticipated film will look back at the sessions for Let It Be using more than 55 hours of unreleased original 16-mm footage filmed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg in 1969. A video announcement for the book, which retails for $60, can be viewed on YouTube. - Billboard, 9/16/20...... In other Beatles-related news, a new John Lennon documentary, Lennon's Last Weekend, is coming to BritBox in December. Directed by Brian Grant ("Video Killed the Radio Star"), the film will focus on the musician's final interview with the BBC Radio's Andy Peebles before his death in Dec. 1980. John discusses the break-up of the Beatles, his new Double Fantasy LP with wife Yoko Ono, his relationship with Paul McCartney, and his own solo albums. Lennon's Last Weekend will premiere in December to honour the 40th anniversary of John's death, and will include a number of new interviews about the iconic musician. - New Musical Express, 9/16/20...... Speaking of 40th anniversary releases, Ozzy Osbourne released an expanded edition of his solo debut Blizzard of Ozz on Sept. 18. Originally released on Sept. 20, 1980, Blizzard of Ozz marked the metal icon's first foray on his own after splitting with Black Sabbath, and launched him into the stratosphere with the hit "Crazy Train." That classic, as well as "Mr Crowley," feature late guitarist Randy Rhoads. The extended version will hit streaming platforms with a number of rare bonus tracks and 7 live songs recorded during his "Blizzard" tour that are currently unavailable digitally, according to a press release announcing the set. Also being released digitally are two of Osbourne's beloved live DVD's, Live at Budokan and Live & Loud, the latter containing guest appearances from Ozzy's former Black Sabbath bandmates Geezer Butler, Bill Ward and Tony Iommi. Ozzy is continuing the celebration on with a trove of "Blizzard" merch on his official store, including puzzles, vintage tour t-shirts, pins and a track jacket. - Billboard, 9/16/20...... Meanwhile, Osbourne has addressed allegations in a 1986 lawsuit brought by the parents of a 19-year-old suicide victim, John McCallum, who alleged Ozzy's song "Suicide Solution" was responsible for their son's death. Osbourne told SiriusXM radio's Billy Morrison in a YouTube clip previewing his forthcoming Blizzard of Ozz anniversary special that the song's lyric, "Where to hide, suicide is the way out/ Don't you know what it's really about?" was wrongly read into. "Well, that was all taken out of perspective," he explained. "We were all doing some serious pounding of the booze back then. I'd been drinking heavily for a long, long time. And it's, like, 'Suicide Solution' means solution being liquid -- not a way out. People get the f---ing thing wrong." A California court dismissed the McCollums' lawsuit in 1988, ruling that their son's suicide was not a foreseeable result of "Suicide Solution." 40 Years Of Ozzy Osbourne's 'Blizzard Of Ozz' premieres on Sept. 18 at 5:00 pm ET and 11:00 pm ET on SiriusXF in the US, and will be rebroadcast throughout the weekend. - NME, 9/17/20...... Elton JohnOn Sept. 17 Elton John announced a special 50th-anniversary boxset titled Jewel Box on YouTube containing over 60 previously unreleased tracks. Set for release on Nov. 13 via UMC/EMI, Jewel Box will be split into four parts -- "Deep Cuts," "Rarities," "B-sides," "And This Is Me" -- and will be available across a range of formats, with 81 songs coming to digital platforms for the first time. John has provided a track-by-track commentary for the "Deep Cuts" discs, which he personally curated. Elsewhere in the collection is a hardback book featuring new interviews and archival graphics. "To delve back through every period of my career in such detail for Jewel Box has been an absolute pleasure," John explained in the announcement. "Hearing these long lost tracks again, I find it hard to comprehend just how prolific Bernie [Taupin] and I were during the early days." Vinyl editions of the "Deep Cuts," "Rarities," "B-sides," and "And This Is Me" parts will also be available. - NME, 9/17/20...... In other Elton news, the Rocket Man and his ex-wife Renate Blauel have reportedly halted their bitter divorce battle amid ongoing peace talks. On Sept. 16, Britain's The Sun newspaper reported that the legal fight is currently on hold, as lawyers for the singer and his former spouse have been given until Oct. 13 to reach a deal. If the pair agree on a settlement, it will mean they will avoid an ugly court fight in which further details about their relationship would likely emerge. In July, Blauel announced she was suing Elton after he wrote about their four-year marriage in his memoir Me, which she alleged breached their 1988 divorce deal. Blauel claimed that the details he wrote about in the book, and the references in 2019 biopic Rocketman, had seriously damaged her health, and sued the pop superstar for a reported $3.8 million. John is presently married to movie producer David Furnish and has two sons; Zachary, nine and seven-year-old Elijah. -, 9/16/20...... Iggy Pop has gifted his song "Free" to help the non-profit People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to spread the message about the horrors monkeys that used in lab experiments face. "Anyone can see the pain and terror in these monkeys' eyes," Pop told Billboard on Sept. 14. "No one should have to suffer like this." The song, the title track off Pop's 18th studio album, soundtracks a new PETA video that shows terrified monkeys caged, being held down for experiments and more. In the haunting tune, Pop repeats the simple lyric "I want to be free" twice. The PETA video, which contains disturbing imagery and may not be suitable for all viewers, has been shared on YouTube. - Billboard, 9/14/20...... The music of late country icon Johnny Cash has been reimagined by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for an upcoming album set to arrive on Nov. 13. The RPO recorded their own take on 12 legendary hits by Cash for Johnny Cash and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which sees Cash's original vocals being complimented by the orchestra in sessions recorded at London's legendary Abbey Road Studio 2. As well as new takes on hits such as "Man In Black' and "Ring of Fire, the album also features lesser-known tracks such as "Farther Along," "Flesh and Blood' and "Girl From The North Country," his beloved collaboration with Bob Dylan. Don Reedman, who produced the album alongside Nick Patrick, said: "I believe we have captured the emotion, sensitivity and genuine honesty of Johnny Cash through his story telling and his touching and captivating vocal performances." - NME, 9/14/20...... Bill WymanA bass guitar once belonging to former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman sold at auction for a record-breaking $384,000 over the second weekend of September. The 1969 Fender Mustang Bass, with a competition orange finish, was used by Wyman for Stones concerts and recordings in 1969 and 1970, and was one of over 1,000 items from his archive that went under the hammer, including musical instruments, amplifiers, stage-worn ensembles, awards and personal items. The collection contained pieces from Wyman's three-decade stint in the Stones as well as from his solo career, and was sold at a Julien's Auctions event in Beverly Hills. The top-selling item was a 1968 Gibson Les Paul Standard Model Gold Top guitar and case used by late Stones co-founder Brian Jones in the band's Rock And Roll Circus concert in 1968, which sold for $704,000 -- more than three times its pre-auction estimate. Wyman, 83, who played with the band from 1962 to 1993, said he will donate some of the proceeds to a group of his favourite charities. Speaking about the sale, Wyman said: 'Collecting and archiving has been one of the great pleasures of my life and will undoubtedly be one of my legacies. It feels like the right time to share my archive with the world and I hope people will get as much joy from my collections as I have. It is easier to let these items go knowing that a portion of the proceeds from this sale will support three causes that are close to my heart." A portion of the proceeds from the auction will benefit the Prince's Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support and CCMI (Central Caribbean Marine Institute). -, 9/15/20.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

John Fogerty has taken to Facebook to question why Pres. Donald Trump would want to use the classic Creedence Clearwater Revival song "Fortunate Son" during a recent campaign rally on Sept. 10 in Freeland, Mich. In a video posted on Sept. 11, Fogerty, 75, says he wrote the song in 1969 at the height of the Vietnam War to express his frustration about wealthy people using their power and influence to avoid being drafted. "It's a song I could've written now, so I find it confusing, I would say, that the president has chosen to use my song for his political rallies, when in fact it seems like he is probably the 'Fortunate Son,'" said Fogerty, who was drafted and served in the military. Fogerty also recited the opening lines from the song in reference to Pres. Trump using federal troops in early June to clear protestors at Washington, D.C.'s Lafayette Park for a photo-op at St. John's Church. "That's exactly what happened recently in Lafayette Park when the president decided to take a walk across the park," Fogerty said. "He cleared out the area using federal troops so that he could stand in front of St. John's church with a Bible." - Billboard, 9/12/20...... Bruce SpringsteenBruce Springsteen made a surprise release of a heartbreaking rocker titled "Letter to You" on YouTube on Sept. 10 which will be the title track to his upcoming 12-song album with the E Street Band. Hitting stores on Oct. 23, Letter to You is described in a press release as a "rock album fueled by the band's heart-stopping, house-rocking signature sound." "I love the emotional nature of Letter To You," Springsteen said in the statement. "And I love the sound of the E Street Band playing completely live in the studio, in a way we've never done before, and with no overdubs. We made the album in only five days, and it turned out to be one of the greatest recording experiences I've ever had." The album, recorded in Springsteen's home studio, includes nine songs recently written by the musicians and three new versions of previously unreleased tracks from the 1970s: "Janey Needs a Shooter," "If I Was the Priest" and and "Song for Orphans." It will be the follow-up to his July release of a live 1999 Streets of Philadelphia album and 2019's solo album/movie Western Stars. - Billboard, 9/10/20...... The estate of Jimi Hendrix and Legacy Recordings announced on Sept. 10 that a new Hendrix documentary titled Music, Money, Madness... Jimi Hendrix In Maui and an accompanying live album called Jimi Hendrix - Live in Maui is being prepared for release. Jimi Hendrix in Maui will spotlight the Hendrix and his band the Jimi Hendrix Experience's famous visit to the Hawaiian city in 1970, and the ill-fated Rainbow Bridge film about the visit. As Hendrix was working on the follow-up to his Electric Ladyland LP and building his Electric Lady Studios in New York City's Greenwich Village, the completion of the recording facility proved to be quite expensive, so Hendrix's controversial manager Michael Jeffery procured a $500,000 advance from Warner Bros. to fund the remaining construction, and to finance the Rainbow Bridge film in exchange for rights to its soundtrack. However, the shoot began diminishing to an unorganized assemblage of hippie life, and when Jeffrey grew concerned that his investment was in jeopardy, he became desperate to feature Hendrix in the film. The Experience were already booked to perform a concert in Honolulu at the H.I.C. Arena on Aug. 1, 1970 and Wein came up with a plan to film a free "color/sound vibratory experiment" on the lower slope of the dormant Haleakala volcano. A few hundred Maui locals gathered for a successful performance, and Hendrix soon returned to New York and his work at Electric Lady Studios before he tragically died in London on Sept. 18, 1970. Jeffery prepared Rainbow Bridge and its accompanying soundtrack to follow up to acclaimed posthumous The Cry of Love. The film was a commercial flop as moviegoers were under the impression they were going to see a Jimi Hendrix concert film, but only 17 minutes of heavily edited Hendrix concert footage was used in the final cut. The Music, Money, Madness... Jimi Hendrix In Maui Blu-ray will include the full documentary as well as bonus features featuring all of the existing 16mm color film shot of the two performances that afternoon mixed in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound. - Billboard, 9/10/20...... Robert Plant says one of his fondest memories from his recent tour with Willie Nelson was watching the 87-year-old country music icon giving away free weed from his touring bus. "We were invited to play with Willie Nelson a couple of months ago and he was travelling through his tour with his big bus giving away weed to everybody," Plant, 72, said in an interview with the "Digging Deep" podcast. "The most cherished moment of my career was staying up for a couple of days. Not going home, just going to the next place. Finding that I was in transit forever," he added. Asked how Willie goes about giving weed to other bands, the former Led Zeppelin frontman said: "He just gives it away. It's a truckload from here to the... mirrorball and beyond. Free. With doors to go in, get your little hit and go out the other side." -, 9/13/20...... Joni MitchellJoni Mitchell has announced a new series of archival releases from across her 50+ year career that will feature 29 songs that have never been released with the legendary singer/songwriter's vocal. The first edition, Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963 -- 1967) will drop on Oct. 30 and feature recordings prior to the release of Joni's 1968 debut album, Song to a Seagull. It will be a five-disc set containing over six hours of unreleased material, and come with 40-page liner notes, comprised of Mitchell's conversations with former Rolling Stone journalist Cameron Crowe discussing the archives. Crowe has interviewed Mitchell throughout her career, and will purportedly continue to contribute to subsequent entries into the series. Ahead of Archives Vol. 1's release, the first known recording by Mitchell as a 19-year-old performing a cover of the Animals' hit "House of the Rising Son" has been shared on YouTube. Joni performed the song at the Saskatoon radio station CFQC AM. Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963 -- 1967) is now available to pre-order on Mitchell's official website in a variety of editions. - NME, 9/11/20...... The Rolling Stones officially opened their first flagship shop at 9 Carnaby Street in Soho in central London on Sept. 9. 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 customization station. Inside the shop, fans will find many of the band's lyrics daubed on the glass floor, while the fitting rooms are adorned with the artwork from several of the band's iconic albums including Exile on Main Street (1972) and Some Girls (1978). While the band acknowledges that, given the current social distancing climate, it's " bold time to launch a permanent retail space in London," they still hope that RS No.9 Carnaby Street will "provide a major long-term boost to music tourism in London." "We are confident this exciting project that our friends at Bravado have created will be an unrivalled experience for everyone to come to London and enjoy," their statement added. In addition to the opening of the physical retail outlent, the band also has an online version that has gone live at the same time. Meanwhile, the Stones have broken a UK chart record and beaten rising singer Declan McKenna to the Number One spot on the UK charts. The band was in a tight race for the top with McKenna's new album Zeros after their 1973 album Goats Head Soup was reissued on Sept. 4. Goats Head Soup rise to the top of the charts means the band has now set a new record as the first band in UK chart history to hit the top of the charts with an album across six different decades. They are also now tied with Elvis Presley and Robbie Williams for most Number One albums, with only the Beatles having achieved more with 15. - NME, 9/11/20...... Speaking of Elvis, the new Baz Luhrmann-directed Presley biopic will soon resume filming in Australia after production was halted back in March after star Tom Hanks, who portrays Presley's manager Col. Tom Parker in the film, and his wife Rita Wilson both tested positive for coronavirus. Production on Elvis is now set to resume in Queensland, Australia on Sept. 23. In a statement, Luhrmann (Romeo + Juliet, The Great Gatsby) confirmed his excitement about returning to work on the movie. "We're back to, as Elvis liked to say, "taking care of business!," the filmmaker said. "It is a real privilege in this unprecedented global moment that Tom Hanks has been able to return to Australia to join Austin Butler (who plays Elvis in the film) and all of our extraordinary cast and crew to commence production on Elvis.," he added. - NME, 9/10/20...... Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Joan Jett stopped by CBS' The Late Late Show with James Corden on Sept. 10 to perform a cover of the T. Rex classic "Jeepster." Jett's reworking of the song, which was also featured on the recent Marc Bolan/T. Rex tribute album AngelHeaded Hipster: The Songs Of Marc Bolan And T-Rex, can be viewed on YouTube. - New Musical Express, 9/12/20...... Ace FrehleyFormer KISS guitarist Ace Frehley hailed US Pres. Donald Trump as "the strongest leader that we've got" in a new interview on Cassius Morris' radio show in support of his forthcoming new covers album, Origins Vol. 2. "I don"t think politics and rock 'n' roll mix - in my opinion," said Frehley when one of his covers, Cream's 1967 track "Politician," came up in conversation. "And I try to stay away from [politics] as much as I can. I mean, once in a while, I'll make a crack. I will say I'm a Trump supporter. All the politicians have had skeletons in the closet. But I think Trump is the strongest leader that we've got on the table," he added. Frehley's comments, which can be viewed on YouTube, come after KISS frontman Paul Stanley hit out at the president in August for suggesting his opponents may rig November"s election to secure victory. - NME, 9/10/20...... Elton John will feature on a song on the cartoon band Gorillaz' upcoming album Song Machine, Season One: Strange Times. John features on the track "The Pink Phantom" with rapper 6LACK. Posting on Instagram, Elton said: "I am so excited to be a part of @gorillaz Song Machine Season One. The Pink Phantom, coming soon..." The album, also featuring contributions from St. Vincent and Beck, hits stores on Oct. 23. -, 9/10/20...... Pop sensation Miley Cyrus said during a recent appearance on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon that she reached out to one of her biggest musical heroes, Stevie Nicks, to ask permission to sample Nicks' 1981 solo hit "Edge of Seventeen" in her new single "Midnight Sky," and received a lot more than she bargained for with the rock icon's reply. "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,'" Cyrus recalled, adding that Nicks responded: "You can borrow from me anytime." Cyrus has previously saluted Nicks and Fleetwood Mac at the 2018 MusiCares' Person of the Year ceremony, where she performed a cover of their classic hit "Landslide." -, 9/12/20...... A previously unreleased Tom Petty song called "Confusion Wheel" has been shared on Spotify and other streaming services ahead of the release of a new deluxe box set edition of Petty's 1994 solo album Wildflowers. Petty recorded "Confusion Wheel" in 1994 during the sessions for Wildflowers, and follows the release of three other unreleased songs from the same sessions earlier in 2020: "There Goes Angela (Dream Away)", "You Don"t Know How It Feels" and "Wildflowers." Set for release on Oct. 16, Wildflowers and All the Rest will also feature a 15-track disc comprised purely of home recordings. Many of these were precursors to tracks that ended up on Wildflowers, including "A Higher Place" "To Find A Friend" and "Wake Up Time." - NME, 9/11/20...... German electro-pop pioneers Kraftwerk have announced that Parlophone Records will be reissuing their 2009-released 12345678 remasters catalogue on colour vinyl for the first time this fall. Set for limited release on Oct. 9, each remaster in the 2009 catalogue will be made available as an individual and limited-edition heavyweight LP -- most of which have never been pressed on coloured vinyl before. The UK LPs to be reissued include are Autobahn, Radio-Activity, Trans Europe Express, The Man-Machine, Computer World, Techno Pop, The Mix and Tour De France. Six German Kraftwerk LPs -- five of which are the German language versions, with the other being "Radio-Activt" (which features German song titles on the artwork but the same audio as the UK pressing) -- are also being reissued. - NME, 9/8/20...... Ronald BellRonald "Khalis" Bell, a founding member of Kool & The Gang who produced some of the group's biggest hits including "Celebration" and "Jungle Boogie," died of as yet undisclosed causes at his home in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Sept. 9. He was 68. Born on Nov. 1, 1951, Bell formed a band in 1964 initially called the Jazziacs, with his brother Robert "Kool" Bell and friends Spike Mickens, Dennis Thomas, Ricky Westfield, George Brown and Charles Smith. They settled on the name Kool & The Gang in 1969. Ronald Bell was a driving force behind the band's distinct blend of funk, soul and R&B, and was co-writer for much of their material, including the classic hits "Celebration," "Jungle Boogie," "Cherish," "Summer Madness" and "Open Sesame." In 1979, Bell and Kool & The Gang achieved international success with their disco crossover smash "Ladies Night," with the group going on to rack up seven Top 10 and 18 Top 40 singles in the UK alone. Bell is survived by his wife Tian Sinclair Bell who was at his side when he passed, 10 children, grandchildren, two brothers including Robert "Kool" Bell, and a sister. - NME, 9/10/20...... Toots and the Maytals leader Toots Hibbert has died from complications of the coronavirus at age 77, the band confirmed on Sept. 12. "It is with the heaviest of hearts to announce that Frederick Nathaniel "Toots" Hibbert passed away peacefully tonight, surrounded by his family at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica," the band posted to Twitter. "The family and management would like to thank the medical teams and professionals for their care and diligence, and ask that you respect their privacy during their time of grief," the statement added. Hibbert grew up singing in church, and formed the Maytals in the 1960s. He was a contemporary of his Island Records labelmate Bob Marley, and would go on to appear on stage with the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Earlier in September, Hibbert was hospitalized after testing positive for the coronavirus. Tributes pouring in online following the news of his death include those from Ziggy Marley, who wrote: "He was a father figure to me his spirit is w/us his music fills us w/his energy i will never forget him," as well as Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood, Willie Nelson, Debbie Harry, The Who and Echo & the Bunnymen. - NME, 9/12/20...... Actor Kevin Dobson who starred as Telly Savalas' eager young partner Bobby Crocker on the '70s series Kojak and as Michele Lee's husband, Mack MacKenzie, on Knots Landing, died on Sept. 6 of as yet undisclosed causes. He was 77. The curly-haired Dobson burst to stardom in 1973 with his turn as Crocker opposite Savalas on the CBS crime show Kojak, working on the New York-set series for five seasons before it was canceled. He then returned for the 1990 TV movie, Kojak: It's Always Something, his character having graduated to assistant district attorney. Dobson appeared on such TV shows as The Mod Squad, Emergency!, Ironside and Police Story before auditioning three times for Kojak. He also starred on the shortlived 1981-82 CBS series Shannon and on the Canadian series F/X: The Series in 1996-97. Dobson joined CBS' Knots Landing at the start of its fourth season as federal prosecutor/detective MacKenzie, who eventually elopes with Lee's Karen Fairgate. He remained with the primetime soap opera until the end of the 14th season in May 1993. He also worked on the daytime soaps Days of Our Lives, The Bold and the Beautiful and One Life to Live. On the big screen, he appeared in the 1976 war movie Midway opposite Henry Fonda and played Barbra Streisand's husband in All Night Long (1981). A veteran and former military policeman, Dobson was a onetime chairman of the nonprofit organization United Veterans Council of San Joaquin County, which announced his death on Facebook. - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/7/20...... Diana RiggEnglish actress Dame Diana Rigg, best known as the indomitable Mrs. Peel in the 1961 cult British spy-fi television series The Avengers, died on Sept. 10 following a short battle with cancer. She was 82. Dame Diana, who had a long career both in film and on stage, died peacefully at home with her family, her agent confirmed. Her daughter, Tipping the Velvet actress Rachael Stirling, said she died of cancer that was diagnosed in March. Born in Doncaster on July 20, 1938, Ms. Rigg trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1959, and the British beauty has been described as an actress who "swept all before her." In 1969, the Yorkshire-born actress became only the second Bond girl to marry 007 in the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and more recently starred as the cutthroat matriarch Lady Olenna Tyrell in HBO's Game of Thrones. In 2019, Ms. Rigg, who was made a dame in 1994 for services to drama, revealed that she "suffered a #MeToo moment" early in her career at the hands of a "powerful" film director. Speaking on the UK program Newsnight, the actress said she welcomed the rise of the #MeToo movement, following her own experience as a young actress and revealed she felt like a "lone voice" after she discovered she was being paid less than her male co-stars. Her film roles also included 2006 romantic drama The Painted Veil and Andy Serkis' 2017 romance Breathe, and she also played a role in Edgar Wright's upcoming feature Last Night In Soho, which is scheduled for release on Apr. 23, 2021. Posting on Twitter, Wright said it was "beyond a thrill to work with her on her final film." Ms. Rigg was a regular recipient of award nominations for her work both on stage and on screen. In 1994 she won the "Best Actress in a Play" Tony for "Medea," while she was Golden Globe nominated for The Hospital in 1972, won an Emmy for Rebecca in 1997, a BAFTA TV award in 1990, and received several Olivier award nominations. She was married twice, to the Israeli painter Menachem Gueffen from 1973-1976, and to theater producer Archibald Stirling 1982-1990. With the latter she had a daughter, Rachael Stirling, the two-time Olivier Award nominated actress. - DailyMailUK/, 9/10/20.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Billy Joel announced on Sept. 4 that he is pushing his postponed Madison Square Garden monthly shows to start again in the fall of 2021. Joel had initially postponed his spring MSG residency dates to start in the fall of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, however with the pandemic still making indoor concerts impossible the Piano Man has pushed the dates 14 months into the future. The first postponed gig, Mar. 19, 2020, which was initially moved to Sept. 26, 2020, will now take place Nov. 5, 2021; while the Apr. 2020 gig is now Dec. 20, 2021; the May 2020 concert arrives on Jan. 14, 2022; other 2022 dates will be Mar. 24 and Apr. 8. "Tickets for the original show dates and initial rescheduled show dates will be valid for the corresponding new rescheduled dates in 2021 and 2022," Joel's site says. "Ticketholders can request a refund over the next 30 days, beginning today, if they cannot commit to the new rescheduled show date." It's unclear whether Joel plans on resuming his MSG residency prior to November 2021 with new dates, or if those rescheduled dates mark the return of his monthly MSG gigs. - Rolling Stone, 9/5/20...... Eric BurdonThe Animals' lurid No. 1 1964 hit "House of the Rising Sun" might have been a curious selection for Pres. Donald Trump to play over the loudspeakers as he arrived at an airport in Wilmington, N.C., for a rally on Sept. 2, but former Animals frontman Eric Burdon says he didn't appreciate his former band's signature song being used without his permission nonetheless. "Even though nobody asked my permission, I wasn't surprised to learn that #Trump #864511320 used #Houseof theRisingSun for his rally the other day," Burdon captioned a photo of himself on Twitter wearing a black face mask with the word "vote" printed across the mouth. "A tale of sin and misery set in a brothel suits him so perfectly!," the one time Eric Burdon and War frontman explained. "Far more appropriate for this time in our history might be." Burdon also made his support for the Joe Biden/Kamala Harris ticket apparent, adding "This is my answer #vote #saveourdemocracy #bidenharris2020." Burdon follows the likes of Tom Petty's estate, Neil Young, Steven Tyler, R.E.M., Rihanna and Guns N' Roses in calling out the president for using their songs without permission. - Billboard, 9/7/20...... In a new interview with Rolling Stone, the Rolling Stones say they have no plans to retire anytime soon and are planning a huge gig to celebrate their 60th anniversary in 2022. "You might call it a habit. I mean, that's what we do," guitarist Keith Richards told the magazine. "And also there's that thing between us, like, 'Who's going to be first to get off the bus?' You have to be kicked off or drop off, right? So it's like that. I really can't imagine doing anything else... I hope we're all there, man. It's something to look forward to," he added. The Stones, who were forced to axe their most recent tour due to the Covid-19 pandemic, say they hope to return to touring in the future. "Even though we might have sold tickets, we might not be able to play to them all at once [due to social distancing measures]," frontman Mick Jagger said, adding "I don't know when we're gonna get together at the moment. We don't know when we're going to get together and record. It's got to be in safe circumstances and all that stuff." Richards says he's staying safe at his home in Connecticut during the pandemic, revealing that he even wears a mask to bed. "Oh yeah, I'm a masked man. I mean, it's what you have to do. I wear mine in bed," he said. The Stones are promoting the recent release of an expanded edition of their 1973 LP, Goats Head Soup. -, 9/6/20...... Steve HoweA new live set from prog-rock icons Yes, The Royal Affair Tour: Live from Las Vegas, will drop Oct. 30. Recorded July 26, 2019 at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, the set is billed as "an unforgettable and historic night of British rock" and mixes the band's own classics such as "I've Seen All Good People" and "Roundabout" with their famous covers of songs by the likes of Simon & Garfunkel ("America"), Richie Havens ("No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed") and John Lennon ("Imagine"). In a press release Yes guitarist Steve Howe said: "Having the opportunity to bring together the band members in the development of a well-refined set of songs that captures the band's true potential is simply an honour for me." Yes's 2019 Royal Affair tour united Yes with fellow prog acts Asia, Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy and John Lodge of the Moody Blues. Howe, Palmer and Yes keyboardist Geoff Downes pulled double duty every night by performing in their own bands along with Asia, the prog-rock supergroup they founded in 1982. - Rolling Stone, 9/2/20...... Pattie LaBelle released a new digital EP on Sept. 4 featuring an unreleased track produced by the Brooklyn production unit Full Force, "Ain't Nuthin' But a Feelin." The track was recorded during LaBelle's studio sessions for her 1989 LP Be Yourself, and the EP features both the radio edit and extended versions of the unearthed title track, as well as the "Cleaning House Mix" and "The Ozone Layer Mix" by DJ Geenius. LaBelle has shared several mixes of "Ain't Nuthin' But a Feelin'" on - Rolling Stone, 9/3/20...... Rhino Records has announced a box set of late Americana singer/songwriter John Prine's first seven albums will be released this fall. Crooked Piece of Time collects Prine's albums recorded between 1971 and 1980 and hits stores on Oct. 23. - Rolling Stone, 9/3/20...... The latest installment in Bob Marley's Legacy series, which celebrates 2020 being what would have been the late reggae legend's 75th birthday, spotlights his influence on surfing and skateboarding. The latest episode, "Ride Natty Ride," sees a number of Jamaicans discuss how they started surfing and skateboarding, as well as the reggae icon's musical ties to the pastimes. The episode, which has been shared on YouTube, features interviews with Shama "Superman" Beckford, Ivah Wilmot, and skateboarders Froggboss WellRaggedy and Kaya Wheeler. "Ride Natty Ride" is one of 12 episodes that will explore Marley's impact on music and pop culture. - New Musical Express, 9/6/20...... David BowieTo commemorate its 50th anniversary, David Bowie's third studio album The Man Who Sold the World is set to be reissued on Nov. 5 via Parlophone Records with new artwork and a new title, Metrobolist. The Man Who Sold the World was released by Bowie in 1970 and includes the title track, "All The Madmen" and "Running Gun Blues." Bowie initially wanted to release the album under the name Metrobolist as a tribute to the 1927 film of the same name by Fritz Lang. However, Mercury Records changed the name of the record at the last minute without seeking Bowie's approval first. Metrobolist has been re-mixed by Bowie's longtime producer Tony Visconti. - NME, 9/4/20...... Rob Halford of Judas Priest has revealed during a new interview with Darren Paltrowitz in his podcast Paltrocast that he's currently working on a blues album. Halford says the album will be recorded with the same team he collaborated with for his 2019 Christmas LP Celestial, including his brother Nigel Halford and the son of bassist Ian Hill. "I've been working on this blues album with my brother and my nephew and friends that I worked with together on the Celestial album," Halford says. "We had such a great time, and they're so talented. And that blues thing has never left me -- it's just part of rock and roll." Meanwhile, the metal icon will release his autobiography, Confess, on Sept. 29 via Hachette Books. - NME, 9/6/20...... In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Ozzy Osbourne says he's ruled out any further shows with his former band Black Sabbath. "Not for me. It's done," Osbourne said when asked about a reunion, however he admits he regrets not getting to play one last time with Sabbath drummer Bill Ward. "The only thing I do regret is not doing the last farewell show in Birmingham with Bill Ward. I felt really bad about that. It would have been so nice. I don't know what the circumstances behind it were, but it would have been nice. I've talked to him a few times, but I don't have any of the slightest interest in [doing another gig]," Ozzy said. Ward was set to reunite with Sabbath in 2015, but opted out of the reunion over what he called an "unsignable" contract. -, 9/7/20...... Publisher Omnibus Books has announced a new John Lennon biography, John Lennon 1980: The Last Days In The Life, will be released on Sept. 15 and delve into what it describes as the "powerful, life affirming story" of the Beatles legend's comeback in 1980 after five years of self-imposed retirement. The book is authored by music historian Kenneth Womack, who says the book is "the result of my effort to tell the story of John's final year as a recording artist in the context of his life and not, pointedly, in terms of how he died." "The former Beatle's last episode of greatness is an inspirational story unto itself -- and I am proud to give it the treatment and fullness it deserves," Womack added. -, 9/5/20...... Marc BolanElton JohnElton John has told the UK's The Guardian newspaper that late T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan was "a great role model" as he was developing his stage persona. "He was the perfect pop star," says Elton, who can been seen banging away at the piano in a vintage video of T. Rex performing their hit "Bang a Gong (Get It On)". "His songs were great, his records rocked, he had attitude, he had performing skills, he looked fabulous, he dressed the part," says Elton, adding "I thought: 'This guy doesn't give a f***, he's just being who he is and he's loving every single minute of it.' And that had a great effect on me." Earlier in 2020, Elton teamed up with U2 on a cover of "Bang a Gong" for a new Bolan/T. Rex tribute album Angelheaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan & T. Rex. John says Bolan also had an influence on those that came after himself, including the late Prince who passed away in 2016. "When I met Prince, I thought he was like Marc: ethereal, very androgynous," Elton said. -, 9/5/20...... Bruce Williamson, best known as one of the former frontmen of the legendary soul group The Temptations, died on Sept. 6 at his home in Las Vegas after battling the coronavirus. He was 49. Born on Sept. 28, 1970, in Compton, California, Williamson joined The Tempts in 2006 and performed with the group until 2015, singing lead on their albums Back To The Front and Still Here. Williamson was also a member of the group when former Pres. George W. Bush invited them to perform at the White House for a celebration of Black History Month in Feb. 2008. Williamson's son Bruce paid tribute to his father on Facebook: "There's no words in the world that can express how I feel right now. I love you Daddy thank you for being awesome thank you for being loving thank you for being Who You Are I pray to God and we will meet again. I love you Daddy. R.I.H KING WILLIAMSON." - New Musical Express, 9/7/20.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Elton John has come in at #14 on Forbes magazine's annual "Celebrity 100: The World's Highest Paid Celebrities" list, with $82.5 million in pretax earnings from June 2019 through May 2020 before deducting fees for managers, lawyers and agents. Other '70s artists making the list include the Rolling Stones at #32 with $59 million, the Eagles at #75 with $41 million, Paul McCartney at #91 with $37 million, and KISS at #95 with $36.5 million. Nailing down the top spot on the list was Kylie Jenner with a whopping $560 million, followed by Kayne West ($170 million), Roger Federer ($106.3 million), Cristiano Ronaldo ($105 million), and Lionel Messi ($104 million). Figures are based on information from Nielsen Music/MRC Data, Pollstar, IMDB, NPD BookScan and ComScore as well as interviews with industry experts and many of the stars themselves. -, 9/1/20...... Jimi HendrixA pink feather boa famously worn by Jimi Hendrix during his legendary performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in California in 1967 is expected to bring up to £15,000 when it's auction during the second week of September. Following the show and his return to London, Hendrix gave the fashion accessory to photographer Karl Ferris, who says he is now selling the boa to mark the 50th anniversary of Hendrix's death on Sept. 18, 1970 at the age of 27. "Jimi called it his 'Magic Boa' because it brought him much luck and as he wore it on [the cover for his debut album] Are You Experienced and at his best ever concert, Monterey Pop," Ferris said. "As a tribute to the great man I thought it would be the right time to offer the 'Magic Boa' along with a selection of the photographs of Jimi I took back in 1967," he added. The boa will be on the auction block in the UK at Merseyside's Omega Auctions on Sept. 8 as part of their music memorabilia sale, with the full catalogue and other info available at In August, Hendrix's Japanese sunburst electric guitar that he used in the early 1960s sold for more than £160,000 at auction. - New Musical Express, 9/2/20...... David Byrne is apologizing for what he describes as a "major mistake in judgement" for making himself up in blackface in a 1984 promo piece for the Talking Heads' concert film Stop Making Sense. Posting to Twitter in a series of tweets, Byrne said: "Recently a journalist pointed out something I did in a promo video skit in 1984 for the Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense. In the piece I appear as a number of different characters interviewing myself, and some of the characters portrayed are people of color. I'd just about forgotten about this skit and I'm grateful that it has been brought to my attention. To watch myself in the various characters, including black and brown face, I acknowledge it was a major mistake in judgement that showed a lack of real understanding. It's like looking in a mirror and seeing someone else -- you're not, or were not, the person you thought you were. (sic)" Byrne added: "We have huge blind spots about ourselves -- well, I certainly do. I'd like to think I am beyond making mistakes like this, but clearly at the time I was not. Like I say at the end of our Broadway show American Utopia "I need to change too".. and I believe I have changed since then." Ending the thread of tweets by addressing his fans, the 68-year-old singer wrote: "One hopes that folks have the grace and understanding to allow that someone like me, anyone really, can grow and change, and that the past can be examined with honesty and accountability." -, 9/3/20...... Also taking to Twitter in early September is Cher, who is slamming the people behind Britney Spears' controversial conservatorship. Accusing them of treating her fellow pop superstar like a "cash cow," Cher questioned if those in charge of her money actually want her to be well. "She worked hard, was the golden goose, made lots of $$, got sick, now she's the CASH COW. Does anyone who's making (money) off her being sick want her well?," the 74-year-old Cher asked, ending her post with three duck emojis and a question: "Is it a duck?" Following a court hearing in the first week of September, Spears' legal arrangement with her family was formally extended into 2021 after first being ordered back in 2008 when Spears suffered a headline-grabbing meltdown. This is not the first time Cher has questioned the conservatorship -- in January,she wondered why Britney is allowed to work when she is considered legally unfit to run her own finances. "Why is a woman being worked if it's known she's not well enough to care for herself?" she asked. The conservatorship has also proved unpopular among Spears' legion of fans, who have taken to social media with the "Free Britney" campaign, demanding the legal arrangement be scrapped. -, 8/31/20...... Mark MothersbaughIn a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, Devo frontman Mark Mothersbaugh has shared his experience with coronavirus, saying he nearly died from the disease. Mothersbaugh, 70, said he contracted the virus earlier this summer and spent 10 days on a ventilator in hospital in Los Angeles in June, initially believing his symptoms were from exhaustion, until his temperature registered at 103F. "A nurse came over the next morning and said, 'You should be in ICU'. 'I said, 'That's ridiculous'. She replied that she'd been a nurse for three decades: 'You need an ambulance right now'." Mark said he went from not feeling very good on a Tuesday to being in an ambulance on the way to hospital on Saturday: "It was terrifying." He also recalled suffering from vivid delusions: "I felt blood from being hit. I was handcuffed to a parking deck downtown. I had this whole elaborate story of how these kids sold me to an ambulance company that then got some sort of payment for delivering Covid patients to their ICUs. I totally believed it." Speaking of the world's response to the coronavirus, he said: "Everything's become more devolved than I would have imagined possible. For anybody that's doubting whether the coronavirus and Covid-19 is real, it's really real." It was reported in the last week of August that Mothersbaugh had been one of a number of neighbors to complain about parties held by TikTok stars at the Sway House in Hollywood as he attempts to recover from the disease. - NME, 8/31/20...... While the coronavirus pandemic has been a disastrous event for the live music industry, it's proven to be a boon to the sales of physical music. Online music marketplace Discogs says global sales on its platform in the first half of 2020 have increased dramatically during lockdown, with vinyl, CD and cassette sales seeing a surge. Discogs reports physical sales on their marketplace rose 29.69% -- 4,228,270 orders -- between January and June of 2020, compared to the same period last year. A dramatic spike in sales can be seen from April, shortly after the coronavirus pandemic forced many record stores to shut their physical shopfronts. The most substantial year-over-year improvement came via vinyl record sales, which increased 33.72% with over 5.8 million units sold. CD and cassette sales weren't far behind, demonstrating a 31.03% (1.6 million units sold) and 30.52% (over 137,000 units) increase respectively. Vinyl sales accounted for over 75% of transactions on the Discogs platform in the first half of the year. Overall, more than 7.6 million pieces of physical music were sold by independent sellers around the world throughout the first six months of the year -- an overall 33.83 per cent increase over the same period last year. - NME, 9/1/20...... As Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones continue their press availability to promote the new expanded edition of the 1973 Stones studio album Goats Head Soup, Jagger told the London Sunday Times on Aug. 30 that he initially thought the three previously unreleased band tracks that will feature on the reissue were "terrible." Jagger said when Universal Music Group execs first told him they had discovered the tracks in the band's archives, he admitted he was against the idea. "They said, "We've found these three tracks'. I said, "They're all terrible.' That's always my initial reaction, 'They're all useless!' I mean, actually, I always liked the songs, but they weren't finished." Jagger says he eventually changed his mind when he realized the group could iron out the imperfections and bring the tracks up to scratch. "Sonically they still sound like they were recorded then, even if they weren't perfect. You can make them sound a little better than they did. But I think these three songs are all up there with the rest of the songs on this record," he said. The tracks, including "Criss Cross," "All the Rage" and the Jimmy Page-featuring "Scarlet," were initially recorded during sessions for Goats Head Soup, but never featured on the full release. - NME, 9/1/20...... Employees of Elvis Presley's Graceland Mansion in Memphis, Tenn., arrived at work on Sept. 1 to find messages supporting Black Lives Matter and defunding the police scrawled across a stone wall outside the mansion. The graffiti also featured references to Breonna Taylor and the phrases "No Justice, No Peace," "Defund MPD" and "F--k Trump." Also tagged with similar messages was Levitt Shell in nearby Overton Park where Presley performed his first paid concert in July 1954. A local paper reported that officials at Levitt Shell have filed a police report, noting that because of the pandemic, the venue run by a nonprofit organization has been shuttered and is looking at a $700,000 shortfall this year. Tennessee Rep. London Lamar tweeted a theory that the vandalism to Graceland and Levitt Shell was not done by Black Lives Matter activists, but by "individuals trying to make this movement look bad." A spokesperson for Graceland has yet to comment on the incident. - Billboard, 9/2/20...... Bette MidlerBette Midler heads a cast of five Americans who team up at a safe distance to star in the new HBO series Coastal Elites. The Paul Rudinick-penned, Jay Roach-directed satire is about a teacher (Midler), an activist, an actor, a nurse, and a meditation guru who are scattered across the country during our politicized pandemic. Issa Rae, Dan Levy, Kaitylin Dever, and Sarah Paulson also star as different people with different goals, all with the same hope to survive these trying, traumatic times. Coastal Elites premieres on HBO on Sept. 12 at 8:00 p.m. EDT. - Entertainment Weekly, 9/20...... In an early draft of the 1966 Beatles' classic "In My Life," John Lennon referred to the Abbey Cinema in Liverpool as one of the song's "places I'll remember all my life." "In the circle of the Abbey, I have seen some happy hours," John wrote, before deciding to scratch that line for the final version. Now that same cinema frequently visited by John and his fellow Beatle George Harrison in their youth is under threat of being rebuilt by the UK supermarket chain Lidl, which says they are "considering all options for the site, which include the potential for a new building of high quality design and that their preference was 'to erect purpose-built food stores' -- but added that they have 'preserved original structures in the past'. Fans concerned about the venue's Beatles heritage have submitted an application for the Abbey Cinema, which hasn't shown a film since 1979, to be listed to Historic England for its preservation. A petition calling for the preservation has attracted over 2500 signatures, while a "Save the Abbey" Twitter account has been set up to support the appeal as well. - New Musical Express, 8/30/20...... Director Spike Lee has shared a new version of the video for Michael Jackson's "They Don't Care About Us" on YouTube to mark what would have been the pop superstar's 62nd birthday on Aug. 29. Lee was behind the camera for the two original videos for the track -- one shot in Brazil and another set in a prison. The new visuals for the HIStory: Past, Present and Future track incorporate footage from 2020's Black Lives Matter protests from locations around the world, including Rio De Janeiro, Helsinki, Atlanta, Cape Town, and more. In between those scenes, it shows clips from the original videos. In a statement, Lee said: "Great protest songs can't get old, stale or non-relevant because the struggle still continues. That's why THEY DON'T REALLY CARE ABOUT US is the anthem during this chaotic, pandemic world we are all living in. To celebrate Michael Jackson's born day, we have made the THEY DON'T REALLY CARE ABOUT US 2020 short film to continue the struggle for equality for all. That's the truth, Ruth. Be safe." - NME, 8/29/20...... Veteran pop music composer Burt Bacharach, who recently released five-track EP called Blue Umbrella with Nashville singer/songwriter Daniel Tashian, says recording new music during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a "lifesaver" for him. Bacharach, 92, admits getting to work with Tashian felt like "therapy" for him during as he isolated at his home in Pacific Palisades, Calif., with his wife Jane Hansen. "In these times it's like a lifesaver, while being terrified at what's happening outside. It's a form of therapy," Bacharach told the Texarkana Gazette. Speaking to the same paper, Tashian said: "They say when the student is ready, the teacher appears. It's a great thrill. There is a whole world of sound in his head that is so pleasing to be able to collaborate with." Although the two Grammy-winning musicians finished the EP before lockdown started, the duo continued to work on more songs, including one track titled "Quiet Place," as the coronavirus disease spread across the US. -, 9/2/20...... The A&E cable network will debut a new installment in their venerable Biography series focusing on Ozzy Osbourne on Sept. 7 at 9:00 p.m. EDT. Biography: The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne references a cat which has, you know, nine lives. Which is an animal the Prince of Darkness has not bitten the head off of. - Entertainment Weekly, 9/20...... Tom SeaverFormer Major League Baseball pitcher Tom Seaver, a baseball legend who became a pop culture icon after helping the New York Mets win the team's first World Series in 1969, died peacefully in his sleep on Aug. 31 of complications of Lewy body dementia and COVID-19. He was 75. Known as "Tom Terrific," Seaver won 311 games and had a 2.86 earned-run average over a 20-year major league career that spanned from 1967-1986. Seaver, a 1992 inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame, was also a three-time Cy Young Award winner and 12-time all-star player. He also played for the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox. "I am deeply saddened by the death of Tom Seaver, one of the greatest pitchers of all-time," MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "Tom was a gentleman who represented the best of our National Pastime. He was synonymous with the New York Mets and their unforgettable 1969 season. After their improbable World Series Championship, Tom became a household name to baseball fans -- a responsibility he carried out with distinction throughout his life. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my condolences to Tom's family, his admirers throughout our game, Mets fans, and the many people he touched." Lewy body dementia is the same life-changing disease that devasted Robin Williams before the comedian/actor committed suicide. - CNN, 9/3/20...... Ian Mitchell, a bassist for the Scottish '70s pop band the Bay City Rollers, has died of as yet undisclosed causes at age 62. The group confirmed Mitchell's passing via a statement posted on their official Facebook page: "We are deeply saddened by the news of Ian Mitchell's death. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Wendy, their family and friends. Rest In Peace, Ian." Mitchell replaced bassist Alan Longmuir in 1976 when he was just 17, and was the first non-Scottish member of the group. With Mitchell on bass, the group released their album Dedication and reached No. 12 in the US charts with their cover of Dusty Springfield's hit "I Only Want To Be With You." Mitchell was later replaced by Pat McGlynn, before Longmuir, who died in 2018, made his eventual return in 1978. - NME, 9/2/20.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

After a parole hearing on Aug. 26, the convicted murderer of John Lennon was denied parole for the 11th time. Mark David Chapman, 65, will remain in custody in the Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo for at least another two years for murdering Lennon outside The Dakota apartment building on Manhattan's Upper West Side in Dec. 1980. Chapman, who is currently serving a 20-years-to-life sentence after pleading guilty to second-degree murder, was first eligible for parole in 2000. His next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 2022. In 2018, the parole board said that Chapman himself was safer in prison than on the outside, where someone may want to kill him for notoriety or to avenge Lennon. During that hearing, Chapman told the parole board that he had "found Jesus" and was ashamed of himself, adding he was willing to be in jail "for as long as it took." Chapman was 25 when he shot the famous former Beatle dead outside the apartment building on Dec. 8, 1980. When police arrived to arrest him, he was flicking through pages of The Catcher in the Rye. He later said he was angry at the time about the immense fame that Lennon had amassed. Lennon's widow Yoko Ono has previously argued against Chapman's release, saying he remains a risk to her and her son with Lennon. It's unclear if she wrote to the parole board this year, as she has done in the past. Details of the latest hearing have not yet emerged, aside from the fact Chapman was turned down for release. -, 8/26/20...... John LennonIn other John Lennon news, what would have been his 80th birthday this October will be commemorated with the release of a new remix album called Gimme Some Truth - The Ultimate Mixes. Executive produced by the late Beatle's widow Yoko Ono and produced by his son Sean Ono Lennon, the special collection will arrive via Capitol/UMe on Oct. 9, the same day he would have turned 80 years old. Gimme Some Truth will be comprised of 36 classic Lennon songs which Capitol says were "completely remixed from scratch, radically upgrading their sonic quality and presenting them as a never-before-heard Ultimate Listening Experience." One of the remixed tracks from the release, "Instant Karma (We All Shine On)," has been shared on YouTube. Other remixes include "Come Together," "Mind Games," "Jealous Guy," "Dear Yoko" and "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)." Gimme Some Truth will be available in the following formats: 1CD, 2CD, 2LP, 4LP and streaming/download. A deluxe edition will include 36 tracks, a Blu-ray audio disc and an exclusive 124-page book. - New Musical Express, 8/26/20...... As Mick Jagger's first film role in 20 years comes to Blu-ray, DVD and Digital on Aug. 25, the Rolling Stones frontman has spoken about his part in the neo-noir thriller film The Burnt Orange Heresy. The film follows a washed-up European art critic James Figueras (Claes Bang) and his American tourist lover (Elizabeth Debicki) who travel to the lavish Lake Como, where a greedy art dealer Cassidy (Jagger) requests Figueras to steal a painting from the legendary reclusive artist Jerome Debney (Donald Sutherland). It's Jagger's first acting role since starring in the 2001 drama The Man from Elysian Fields. Jagger says his familiarity with the art world helped him connect to the overall mold of his character. "I thought the Cassidy character kind of suited me, and he was a kind of charming rather malignant person," the 77-year-old rock superstar said with a laugh. "He's quite a bit crooked, he's very invasive of other people." The Burnt Orange Heresy, directed by Giuseppe Capotondi, is based on Charles Willeford's 1971 noir novel and closed the Venice International Film Festival in 2019. - Billboard, 8/24/20...... In an interview with the U.K. paper The Mirror, Ozzy Osbourne has once again stated that he will never retire from music. "You know the time when I will retire? When I can hear them nail a lid on my box. And then I'll f---ing do an encore. I'm the Prince Of Darkness," the 71-year-old heavy metal legend says. "When you feel that audience jumping, it's a better feeling than orgasm. It is the best love affair of my life. The party is on, man. I feel honoured people still want to see me," he adds. Ozzy released his 12th solo album, Ordinary Man, in February 2020. - NME, 8/29/20...... Elton JohnIn a new interview with BBC Radio 6 Music, Elton John has criticized modern pop music, claiming that "proper songs" have become "too sophisticated" for the UK charts. "I like people who write songs," Sir Elton says. "And 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." John said he was a big fan of Father John Misty and Conan Gray because they write their own songs. "(Misty) reminds me a little bit of me the way he writes songs. Conan's from America and he's the only person in the American Spotify Top 50 to actually write the song without anybody else," said Elton, adding "Everybody else there's four or five writers on (a track). You look at most of the records in the charts -- they're not real songs. They're bits and pieces and it's nice to hear someone write a proper song." John also confirmed that he will resume on his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour" once the coronavirus pandemic subsides. "Oh of course I'm going straight out there again. When and where, I don't know. I mean know where -- but I don't know when. I'll definitely be out there, yes," he said. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Elton's iconic performance at the Troubadour in L.A. in 1970, limited-edition release of the pop superstar's debut self-titled U.K. album Elton John will be issued as a Record Store Day exclusive on Aug. 29. The 2-LP reissue will be pressed on transparent purple vinyl, with the second disc featuring a selection of bonus tracks off the 2008 Deluxe CD edition, which have never been released on vinyl until now. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of his Troubadour performance, Elton has shared footage from the concert on YouTube. - NME, 8/27/20...... Representatives of Leonard Cohen's estate have issued a statement saying they "specifically declined" requests for the late Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member's song "Hallelujah" to be played at a recent Republican National Convention, and were "surprised and dismayed" when it was played twice at the convention on Aug. 27, during the fireworks that followed Pres. Donald Trump's presidential acceptance speech. "We are surprised and dismayed that the RNC would proceed knowing that the Cohen Estate had specifically declined the RNC's use request, and their rather brazen attempt to politicise and exploit in such an egregious manner 'Hallelujah,' one of the most important songs in the Cohen song catalogue. We are exploring our legal options," says Cohen estate attorney Michelle Rice. Rice also quipped that "Had the RNC requested another song, 'You Want it Darker,' for which Leonard won a posthumous Grammy in 2017, we might have considered approval of that song." Cohen died in 2016 at age 82 after a late-career revival. "Hallelujah," first released in 1984, has become his most-performed song. Meanwhile, Pres. Trump is now using the Village People's 1979 hit "Y.M.C.A." at his rallies after the Rolling Stones threatened legal action against his campaign for using the Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want." "Now that I have seen it a few times at various events, clearly The Village People's 'YMCA' is now the walk-off song for the president replacing the Rolling Stones' 'You can't always get what you want'," Kelly O'Donnell of NBC News tweeted on Aug 24. However Village People leader Victor Willis has echoed the Stones' feelings about Trump using his band's music. In June, Willis posted a message to the president on his Facebook page: "I ask that you no longer use any of my music at your rallies, especially 'Y.M.C.A.' and 'Macho Man', following the George Floyd protests and Black Lives Matter marches. Sorry, but I can no longer look the other way." Queen is also saying they are in an "uphill battle" to prevent Pres. Trump from using their songs in his re-election campaign. It comes after Trump recently used their 1977 hit "We Will Rock You" on his new account on social media platform Triller. The band have ordered it to be pulled from the service, which is seen as a rival to TikTok. The clip has gone on to clock up over one million views, according to BBC News. A Queen spokesperson said it's an "uphill battle" and the band have "repeatedly taken issue with the Trump campaign... Queen continues to oppose and try to block usage of their songs." - NME, 8/29/20...... In related news, Paul Stanley of KISS has lashed out at the president for suggesting his opponents may "rig" November's presidential election to secure victory. Posting on Twitter on Aug. 27, Stanley said: "REGARDLESS of who you support, it is incendiary & abhorrent for ANY candidate to say 'If I lose, the election is rigged'. It's an insult to those who have fought for the free, safe elections we have and dangerously implies that citizens who don't share your views are the enemy. Stanley's latest message comes after he previously encouraged KISS fans to vote in November, warning that "we have a responsibility to our past and to our future." In other KISS-related news, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister has taken aim at Stanley and Gene Simmons for letting replacement members of the band use the signature stage makeup worn by co-founding KISS members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. Snider, who also donned makeup for Twisted Sister's videos and shows, insists that Stanley and Simmons should have retired the look when they kicked Criss and Frehley out of the band. "I hate what Kiss is doing with the guys with Ace and Peter's makeup on," the singer told the Appetite for Distortion podcast. "I'm not a fan." - NME/WENN/, 8/28/20...... Ian AndersonJethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson has shared a post on his official website in which he suggests solutions to the issue of hosting concerts safely amid the coronavirus pandemic. Anderson says that outdoors gigs are by far the better option to pursue. "My personal belief is that outdoor concerts are safe right now at the current level of national infections with minimum 1m lateral seat spacing for single seat positioning and EVERYONE wearing a mask -- at least a 50p 3-layer surgical mask -- not a flimsy single layer home-made cosmetic face covering," he wrote, adding that indoor venues pose a greater risk since it's easier to catch contaminated air droplets in a confined space where there are more hard surfaces. "Any resumption of performances in indoor spaces should include detailed analysis of the venue-specific risk from persistent airborne particles of down to 1 micron size and, very importantly, mandatory real face mask wearing," Anderson says. He continued: "I suggest that environmental health assessments are carried out for theatres and concert halls and they can be granted (or not granted) an interim COVID license to operate with restricted seating and and all the other obvious sanitary and entry/exit/toilet protocols in place. That will take many weeks to carry out but I really think that we have, realistically, until next spring to to do this when, hopefully, infection rates are down to a safer level." Anderson said he sent his proposals to two separate UK government officials and did not receive a response. "Hard to make any progress with this muddled, uninformed and lacklustre UK Government," added Anderson, who revealed earlier this year that he is suffering from incurable, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). - NME, 8/28/20...... Meanwhile, Van Morrison has criticized the "pseudo-science" of socially distanced gigs in a new open letter to fans. Posting on his official website, Morrison said: "As you know, we are doing socially distanced gigs at Newcastle Upon Tyne's Gosforth Park, Electric Ballroom and The London Palladium. This is not a sign of compliance or acceptance of the current state of affairs, this is to get my band up and running and out of the doldrums. This is also not the answer going forward. We need to be playing to full capacity audiences going forward. I call on my fellow singers, musicians, writers, producers, promoters and others in the industry to fight with me on this." The Celtic crooner went on, calling on fans and musicians to "fight the pseudo-science" of socially distanced gigs, and to "speak up." "Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and myself appear to be the only people in the music business trying to get it back up and running again," he said. "Come forward. "It's not economically viable to do socially distanced gigs. Come forward now, the future is now." - NME, 8/25/20...... A star-studded trailer for a new documentary about former US Pres. Jimmy Carter's relationship with some of rock's biggest stars, Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President, has been shared on YouTube. The documentary, which highlights Carter's friendships with some of rock'n'roll's biggest names, features the likes of Bob Dylan, Nile Rodgers, Bono, Willie Nelson and others. "The one thing that has held America together is the music we share and love," Pres. Carter says at the start of the new trailer, while revealing that Dylan and Nelson are among his "closest friends." Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President is set to open in US cinemas on Sept. 9. On Oct. 9, it will be available for streaming and will also get a physical release. Carter, who is now 95 years old, served as the 39th President of the US between 1977 and 1981. - NME, 8/28/20...... Rick WakemanRick Wakeman says he's willing to perform his new album The Red Planet on Mars if he has to. Wakeman's new LP is a concept record about the planet and though he's looking forward to performing it at the upcoming Starmus festival hosted by Brian May of Queen and scientist Garik Israelian in June 2021, "we've got a plan if the social-distancing situation gets worse -- we'll do the gig on Mars." "It's a fascinating place -- it even has a rock'n'roll element to it," the 71-year-old Yes rocker says. "It rains, but it rains dry ice. And there's nothing more prog rock than dry ice, is there?" Wakeman addes he isn't impressed by the current possibilities available for live performance because of the coronavirus pandemic. "People in music thrive on bouncing off each other, it's what makes the whole thing tick. And the clock has stopped. And the online concert thing... I'm sorry, no," Wakeman says. "The essence of a live performance is when a performer and an audience become one. Everyone's vibing off everyone else. I mean, A for effort and all that. I know someone who went to one of those drive-in concerts and he said, 'I might as well have put the radio on'," he adds. -, 8/26/20...... Mark Mothersbaugh, leader of the '70s New Wave band Devo, was left fighting for his life in a hospital intensive care unit in June after testing positive for COVID-19, according to his wife Anita. Anita has revealed her husband's health scare while raising concerns about the couple's Hollywood Hills neighbors, TikTok stars Bryce Hall, Noah Beck and Blake Gray, who have come under fire for ignoring coronavirus concerns by throwing huge house parties at their rented mansion. "This virus is no joke," Anita told the UK paper The Daily Mail. "I've experienced it first-hand. There was a week where my daughters thought (Mark) would die," she divulged. Describing scenes from the house, Anita said: "There are people in the pool screaming, they're blasting music and there are cars parked all down the street. They don't seem to care about public health." Anita's comments emerged a week after Los Angeles authorities shut off water and electricity to the trio's home after violating coronavirus restrictions by hosting a massive gathering for Hall's 21st birthday on Aug. 14. -, 8/27/20...... Neil Young has announced that he's set to release a new 7-track EP on Sept. 18. The EP, entitled The Times They Are A-Changin' after the famous Bob Dylan song, features a cover of that song as well as "Lookin' For A Leader 20202" -- a re-working of Young's track "Lookin' For A Leader," in which he takes aim once again at US Pres. Donald Trump. The Times will be released exclusively via Amazon Music, which Young says "delivers better sound to the masses" than any other streaming platform. The tracklist for the EP can be viewed on - NME, 8/28/20...... Richie BlackmoreWilliam ShatnerVeteran Star Trek actor William Shatner has teamed up with Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore for a cover of B.B. King's 1970 blues classic "The Thrill Is Gone." The track is the second single from Shatner's upcoming album The Blues, which hits stores on Oct. 2 via Cleopatra Records, following his take on the Canned Heat hit "Let's Work Together." Shatner's "The Thrill Is Gone" opens in sultry fashion, with Blackmore showcasing the musical dynamism for which he is renowned. Shatner then takes the reigns, repeatedly bemoaning that the thrill has, in fact, gone. "'The Thrill is Gone' is the title of the song, but the thrill is there with Richie Blackmore and his great guitar!," Shatner joked in a press release. The track can be previewed on Comprised almost exclusively of blues and R&B covers, Shatner's 14-track The Blues sees him rip through classics such as "Sweet Home Chicago," "Route 66" and "Sunshine Of Your Love." - NME, 8/27/20...... Joe Ruby, co-creator of the Scooby-Doo animated cartoon character, passed away from natural causes in Westlake Village, Calif., on Aug. 26. He was 87. Mr. Ruby and his partner, Ken Spears, were the brains behind the beloved animated children's series, titled Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, which premiered in the U.S. in 1969. The main characters of Scooby-Doo, Fred, Shaggy, Daphne, and Velma were brought to life onscreen by Iwao Takamoto, and the original show aired until 1976. The franchise continued with a string of spin-offs and movies, all focused on the goofy Great Dane and his four teenage pals as they solved various mysteries. The brand spawned two live-action theatrical releases, 2002's Scooby-Doo and its 2004 sequel, Monsters Unleashed, both starring Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini, Isla Fisher and Rowan Atkinson. "He never stopped writing and creating, even as he aged," his grandson, Benjamin Ruby, told Other Hanna-Barbera Productions created by Ruby and Spears include Dynomutt, Dog Wonder and Jabberjaw. - WENN/, 8/27/20.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Queen + Adam Lambert announced on Aug. 20 they'll be releasing a live album this fall, their first LP as a unit since Lambert took the stage with co-founding Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor in 2009 while still an American Idol contestant. Live Around the World, dropping on Oct. 2, will arrive in CD, CD+DVD, CD+Blu-ray and vinyl formats, collecting hand-picked concert highlights captured around the world from over 200 shows including the band's 22-minute Fire Fight Australia benefit show from Feb. 16. Fire Fight Australia was one of the band's last live shows before COVID-19 forced them to postpone their UK and European "Rhapsody Tour" until 2021 and recreates Queen's historic 1985 Live Aid set in its entirety. In a statement, Brian May noted that "in a world dominated by a formidable viral enemy, it seemed the perfect time for us to create a collection of hand-picked live highlights from our Queen shows over the last 7 years with our brother Adam Lambert." Lambert adds that Queen "have had a lot of fun putting it together, picking out favorite performances over the past seven years." The band has also shared a trailer for the new release on YouTube. Queen and Lambert's postponed 27-date UK and European Rhapsody Tour has been rescheduled to start on May 23, 2021, in Bologna, Italy, including a 10-day residency at London's The O2 Arena in June and ending on July 7 for a final concert in Madrid, Spain. - Billboard, 8/20/20...... The Rolling StonesThe Rolling Stones are planning to launch a flagship store with all the Stones merch you'll ever need on Carnaby Street, the spiritual center of London's fashion world in the swinging '60s. Set to debut on Sept. 9, the Rolling Stones Store will blast non-stop Stones tunes, a glass floor with Stones lyrics, and fitting rooms splashed with some of the band's iconic album covers. Its racks will carry fashion and merchandise lines, exclusive product and music, among other goodies. Just a "stone's throw" from the Oxford Circus Underground station, the new store says Mick Jagger and Co. in a statement is curated by the band in partnership with Bravado, Universal Music Group's merchandise and brand management business. "We are confident this exciting project that our friends at Bravado have created will be an unrivaled experience for everyone to come to London and enjoy," the band added. Fans can take a virtual tour of the new RS No. 9 Carnaby store in advance of its opening on Instagram. Meanwhile in other Stones-related news, Ronnie Wood raged about Covid-19 pandemic and governments' failures to take control of it in the UK paper The Times on Aug. 22. "This Covid is not a joke," the guitarist fumed. "It's really p--sing me off. Nobody seems to know about it, nobody seems to be its boss, everyone seems lost. You could go to a restaurant and it was packed and yet you weren't allowed to go to a concert. What's that about? I've lost faith in not having any direction from people who should know. So yes, I'm impatient to get going." Discussing how the pandemic has delayed the Stones' new album, he adds, "It's just on the front burner, it was almost there when lockdown happened," going on to say that the group miss being together in the studio and touring as they do not see much of each other socially. "We are a touring band. And we miss it. We miss being together as a band... but right now, until we can get going again, we are staying in contact and just hanging in there doing our own things." In another interview with Sky News, Wood said although the band is working on new material, he doesn't envisage them touring until next summer after coronavirus halted live music across the globe. "We're not holding our breath, otherwise we'd have collapsed. But we are happily carrying on day by day & chores, and enjoying our families," he said. - Billboard/, 8/20/20...... Liam Gallagher of the popular alternative band Oasis has revealed that John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono once told him she thought it was "silly" of him to name his son "Lennon" in tribute to her late husband. Gallagher says he met with Yoko in New York in 1999, the same year his son was born, and Ono siad, "I've heard you've called your son Lennon... Why? Do you not think it's a bit of a silly name?" "No, it's a bit silly being called Yoko isn't it? So Lennon it is," Gallagher says he said in response, to which Yoko questioned him if his son would "get picked on in school?" "Nah man, he'll be buzzing with that name," Gallagher said he told Ono. Gallagher then remembered that Yoko "made us a nice cup of tea... asked me if I wanted a go on the piano (to which he declined)... and showed us around" her New York apartment. In 2018, Gallagher revealed how listening to Lennon's music helps him to battle his inner demons. "I do not need therapy. John Lennon is my thing," he said. - New Musical Express, 8/24/20...... The DoorsA 2-CD/LP 50th anniversary edition of The Doors' acclaimed 1970 album Morrison Hotel will drop on Oct. 9 with a newly remastered record by the band's longtime engineer and mixer Bruce Botnick. Morrison Hotel - 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition will also include over 60 minutes of unreleased studio outtakes of the band's fifth studio LP. "There are many takes, different arrangements, false starts, and insightful studio conversations between the band and producer Paul Rothchild who was in the control room," Botnick says. "It's like being a fly on the wall." The Doors have shared previously unreleased takes of the Morrison Hotel tracks "Peace Frog" and "Blue Sunday" on YouTube. - NME, 8/22/20...... In a new interview with the UK's Uncut magazine, Patti Smith says she admires the people who can combine "poetic elements" with melodies that find the formula to mainstream pop success, and that she doesn't think she's "that good" at writing songs. "I've written only a couple of songs that have been popular. I'm not a hit maker," says the 73-year-old punk poetess. "I would have loved to be somebody who could do that." Smith also revealed she is a big fan of many popular female chart stars, even though their music is very different to her own. "I love pop music. I like the same songs everybody else likes. I like Adele, I like Rihanna, I like Billie Eilish. I loved R&B songs when I was young. I loved Amy Winehouse. But for myself, I gravitate toward a different kind of expression," Smith added. "Almost all of my records have an homage to an artist, poet or friend. It comes naturally," says Smith, who has written songs in tribute to the likes of Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix. "I've seen a lot of people die in my life, from a childhood friend to my brother, my husband, my best friend, my pianist, my parents, Sam Shepard. So many people I thought I would know forever. I'm very familiar with having to find a way to walk with people who have passed away." -, 8/23/20...... In the latest episode of his SiriusXM radio channel "From His Home to Yours," Bruce Springsteen called rising singer Lana Del Rey "simply one of the best songwriters in the US." After playing Del Rey's 2012 song "American" in which she sings "Springsteen is the kind, don't you think?/I was like, hell yeah that guy can sing," Springsteen quipped: "She's, uh, name-checking some guy from New Jersey in there. I'm not sure who." He then called her "simply one of the best songwriters in the country, as we speak... She just creates a world of her own and invites you in. So a big favorite of mine, the lovely Lana Del Rey." - New Musical Express, 8/16/20...... CherCher says she has been snubbed on her offer to help the United States Postal Service because her local post office in Malibu, Calif. said she wasn't qualified to be a volunteer. Cher tweeted on Aug. 19 that she felt the need to perform a little community service for her own post office: "NO, IM NO (not) KIDDING...COULD I VOLUNTEER AT MY POST OFFICE (sic)," followed by another tweet imploring: "IS NO ONE GOING TO HELP ME WITH POST OFFICE (sic)." She went on to explain the supervisor said no, as she was told all potential employees need to submit fingerprints ahead of a background check. "I Called & Said Hi This is Cher Do U Accept volunteers. NO, Need Fingerprints & Background Check (sic)," she posted. Cher's offer to help the USPS comes as Pres. Donald Trump has attempted to streamline the agency in the run up to the presidential elections when many voters will rely on the mail service to cast their votes as they shelter from COVID-19. -, 8/20/20...... In a new interview with Rolling Stone magazine, the normally apolitical Ozzy Osbourne charges U.S. Pres. Donald Trump with "acting like a fool with coronavirus response." "In my lifetime, I've never known anything like this," Osbourne says of Trump's response to the pandemic. "It's getting worse, not better. And this guy's acting like a fool. I don't really like to talk politics that much, but I've got to say what I feel with this guy. There's not much hope left. Maybe he's got a trick up his sleeve and he's going to surprise us all, and I hope he has." Ozzy also questioned why Trump ran for president in 2016: "If I was running for president, I would try and find out a little bit about politics. Because the f---ing guy you've got in there now doesn't know that much about it, I don't think. It's not like anyone could be a fucking heart surgeon and just go in with a scalpel. You have to know what you're fucking doing." Also in the interview Osbourne confirmed that he and wife Sharon Osbourne are set to be the subject of a new biopic. "From what I understand, it's about Sharon and I and our relationship. It's how we met, fell in love, and how we married. She's my other half. She grew up a lot with me, and I grew up a lot with her." - NME, 8/22/20...... Iconic '70s TV comedian Carol Burnett has filed legal documents asking the court to allow her to raise her grandson Dylan Hamilton due to substance abuse issues. According to court documents obtained by The, Carol and her husband Brian Miller have filed a petition for the appointment of a temporary guardian. Dylan is the son of Carol's daughter Erin Hamilton. In the brief, the comedian says,"Dylan's living environment has long been unstable, unpredictable, and unhealthy for a child. This culminated in a Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) investigation and juvenile dependency proceedings in 2018 and 2019." The document also states that Dylan's mother Erin "has suffered from severe substance abuse and addiction issues throughout her adult life" and "has been in and out of rehabilitation centers and has been institutionalized a total of eight times for a minimum of 30 days each time." -, 8/19/20...... Cameron CroweIt has been revealed by director Cameron Crowe that Neil Young almost made an appearance in Crowe's iconic '70s-themed 2000 movie Almost Famous. Crowe tells Rolling Stone that he had intended Young to appear as Harry Hammond, the estranged father of aspiring rock journalist Russell Hammond (played by Billy Crudup). "Neil was going to come backstage in Cleveland with a young wife," Crowe remembers. "They're complimenting the show, but the young bride is looking at Crudup and he's looking at her; and he realizes that the father is being played and is piggybacking on his [son's] success. It's a heartbreaking moment about what success does to an estranged parent." However Crowe says Young cancelled on the morning of the shoot, although "he went through his archives to find the perfect take (of 'Cortez the Killer', for use in the film), mixed it and gave it to us. So he giveth and he taketh." Almost Famous will mark its 20th anniversary in September. - NME, 8/21/20...... Drummer Frankie Banali, best known for his tenure with the hard rock band Quiet Riot, died on Aug. 20 in Los Angeles following a bout with pancreatic cancer. He was 68. Banali's wife, Regina, wrote in a statement that the longtime heavy metal drummer -- who also played with W.A.S.P., Billy Idol and Faster Pussycat, among many others -- had been fighting stage 4 pancreatic cancer since Apr. 2019. "He put up an inspiringly brave and courageous 16-month battle to the end and continued playing live as long as he could," she wrote. "He lived for playing live and performed for millions of fans around the world throughout his career. His wish for everyone is that you be your own health advocate for early detection so you may live long and rescue many animals." Upon learning of Banali's death, Billy Idol tweeted: "Sad news about #frankiebanali RIP he played the drums on my first version of Mony Mony recorded in 1981 he did a fantastic job!," while Paul Stanley of KISS posted that Banali "was so open in his reports of his illness and seemed to live through his treatments and setbacks bravely and with grace." - Billboard, 8/23/20.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Bette Midler and trailblazing '70s TV producer Norman Lear are among those speaking out against the Pres. Donald Trump-appointed new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy who many observers feel is doing his best to dismantle the USPS to discourage mail in voting in advance of the Nov. 3 presidential election. "What's Trump's vision for his second term? Revenge, plain and simple. He'll be ramping up his smearing, he'll find a way to jail the disloyal, he will defund #SocialSecurity, #Medicaid; he will sell off the #PostOffice for parts," Bette Midler tweeted, while Norman Lear posted: "In my 98 years, I never thought I would see a president trying to eliminate the U.S. Postal Service. Please watch this beautiful video and join me in taking action to save it." The purported "cost saving" managerial actions of DeJoy, who was also a major Trump fundraiser in the 2016 campaign, is now the object of lawsuits filed by six states in Federal District Court in Manhattan. It asks the court to declare that Pres. Trump and DeJoy have violated voters' rights by seriously dialing back Post Office services and asking that the administration ensures that the U.S.P.S. is adequately funded. - Billboard, 8/18/20...... Bruce SpringsteenSales of Bruce Springsteen's 2002 song "The Rising" have surged after it was used in the first night of the Democratic National Convention to soundtrack a segment of the program that was dubbed "Rise Up." "The Rising," first released in July of 2002, sold 1,000 downloads on Aug. 17 -- up from a negligible sales figure on Aug. 16 -- and has already captured its best sales week since the week ending Sept. 11, 2011, when it sold 2,000 downloads. That week marked the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and "The Rising" was written as a reaction to 9/11. In 2002, Springsteen's The Rising album debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 200 album chart for the week of Aug. 17. Springsteen, who appears briefly in the new DNC video with his wife Pattie Scialfa, shared the clip on his Twitter and Instagram accounts with the caption "Come on up for #therising" The video, which draws a parallel between the current COVID-19 pandemic and the pain of 9/11, is also on the front page of Springsteen's official website, with the same caption, and a link for his fans to register to vote in the November presidential election. Springsteen was only one of the celebrities with a progressive bent who posted enthusiastic tweets about the DNC convention's opening night, with Cher and Bette Midler also tweeting favorable reviews. "This was an astonishing moment tonight at the Democratic Convention. #Unforgettable...Loved it!," Bette Midler tweeted on Aug. 18. - Billboard, 8/18/20...... In other Bruce Springsteen news, the New Jersey rocker is among such musicians as Josh Homme, Albert Hammond Jr, Tom Morello, Bob Weir and Dhani Harrison who are set to perform on a special live-stream in tribute to late The Clash frontman Joe Strummer, which will also benefit the #SaveOurStages campaign. Billed as "A Song For Joe," the two-hour event will air on YouTube on Aug. 21 at 8:00 p.m. UK time and 2:00 p.m. EST to commemorate what would have been Strummer's 68th birthday. Hosted by Jesse Malin, the event will also reportedly feature "never before seen live Joe Strummer footage." A promo video announcing the full-line up has been shared on YouTube. Strummer's widow Lucinda Tait says that Strummer "was always focused on bringing people together... I cannot think of a better way for us all to feel united. Joe would have loved this." While the stream is free to view, fans are invited to donate to #SaveOurStages -- the NIVA movement aiming to save independent music venues across the US in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. - New Musical Express, 8/18/20...... Drummer Chris Slade, who began touring with AC/DC in 2014 after he replaced Phil Rudd who was arrested for drug possession, says that in his "absolutely honest opinion," he is still the drummer of the band. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Slade says that "to my absolute knowledge... I am the current drummer of AC/DC." He added: "Nobody has ever called me and said, "By the way, you're not the current drummer' or, "By the way, Phil's been in the band for three years'. Nobody has ever said that. As far as I'm concerned... I'm philosophical enough to realise that Phil may well be back in the band. I have no idea. I had no idea last time when they called me before 'Rock Or Bust'. I'm open to all possibilities. That's the way people should be, open-minded." Reports also emerged recently that AC/DC has finished recording a new album, and Slade was spotted behind the drum kit in the studio. Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, who has been providing a series of updates on the band's activity in recent months, says the band will be reuniting for one more album. "Because nothing goes on forever. But this is the ultimate 'one more time'," Snider said. - NME, 8/16/20...... Led ZeppelinA trustee representing late Spirit member Randy "California" Wolfe has petitioned the Supreme Court of the United States to review the Wolfe estate's legal case against Led Zeppelin for allegedly lifting the opening structure of the Spirit song "Taurus" for their rock classic "Stairway to Heaven". The petitioner, Michael Skidmore, says he believes he lost at trial in 2016 because the jury didn't get to appreciate the true "Taurus." That's because the trial judge held that only what was deposited with the U.S. Copyright Office had the benefit of protection under the 1909 Copyright Act. Skidmore says he thinks this is wrong, and that the scope of copyright isn't defined by any deposited sheet music. In other words, the recording may be good evidence of what was protected, and the jury should have heard the original "Taurus" recording. (Only in the mid-1970s did Congress change the law and allow sound recordings to fall under copyright. That's one of the big reasons this is the sort of precise legal controversy that has mainly come up for older songs including Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give It Up.") Skidmore also believes he lost at trial because the jury wasn't properly instructed about originality. Notes of music can't be protected, and oft-used combination of notes belong to the public domain. But when there's something unique about the selection and arrangement of these notes, that can be copyrighted. Skidmore, who says the jury wasn't told this by the judge before they began deliberating, is hardly being subtle in the opening of his petition: "It is fitting, perhaps, that the future of music copyright law be decided by a case about rock 'n' roll's most iconic song, "Stairway to Heaven.'" - The Hollywood Reporter, 8/17/20...... In a vintage hour-long video tour of his Hog Hill Mill Studios in east Sussex, UK, which is included in the deluxe re-release of his 1997 solo album Flaming Pie, Paul McCartney reveals that he still uses an amplifier that he bought when he was a lad aged 14. Sir Paul showed off his "Little Green Amp" -- the Elpico A55 -- that was seen on stage with The Beatles throughout their trailblazing career and become part of Beatles folklore in its own right. Macca says in the 1997 clip: "This is my very first amp I ever had when I was 14, it was called an Elpico. As you can see it is very 50s, it looks like a piece of 50s furniture. Instead of putting guitars into it, it says Mic1, Mic2, Gramophone, anything but guitars really. In those days amps were used more for putting your records through or microphones, for little PAs. That was the first thing and I have kept it ever since. I have now had it fixed up because it is so old. When you put an electric guitar through it now it sounds a bit like a fuzz guitar so it is quite a funky sound that I use sometimes. It is a dear little thing from many years ago." the Elpico A55 was first manufactured by British company Lee Products around 1956, and went on to become a favourite of rock legends such as The Kinks' Dave Davies. - NME, 8/19/20...... In a new interview with the UK music mag Uncut, the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards says the band are considering "working differently" due to coronavirus pandemic. Richards says the Stones may need to scrap the idea of making new albums for the time being and instead focus their attention on just releasing individual tracks. "If this thing goes on much longer we might try and put out another track," he says. "Work differently, instead of making an 'album' album, just release tracks." Stones frontman Mick Jagger also revealed in the interview that the band is already working on more new material. "I was working on this ballad. The reading of it is quite difficult to do. It's not technically difficult, but it's not an easy song to interpret," Jagger noted. "I'm very aware I've got to get it over in the right way. It's got to come out like you mean it." -, 8/17/20...... Brian MayDoes Queen have something new up their sleeve? Queen frontman Brian May teased in a video posted to Instagram on Aug. 19 that the band will make a major announcement soon. While the video, which sees Queen founding members May and Roger Taylor performing alongside current vocalist Adam Lambert before thousands of fans, stopped short of revealing what's in store for Queen fans, it confirmed that the announcement will arrive at 12 a.m. BST on Aug. 21. Responding to the announcement, one fan wrote: "I can't wait!!! I hope it's another US tour!" Queen had been set to head out on a huge UK and European tour this summer, but it was rescheduled to 2021 due to coronavirus. - New Musical Express, 8/19/20...... Bassist Pete Way, who performed with UFO, Ozzy Osbourne, and a number of other bands, died on Aug. 14 after sustaining life threatening injuries in an accident in June. He was 69. According to a post on his official Facebook page, Way "fought hard until finally succumbing to those injuries at 11.35am BST today (Aug. 14). His wife, Jenny, was at his side." Way co-founded UFO with singer Phil Mogg, guitarist Mick Bolton and drummer Andy Parker in 1968, remaining in the band until 1982, before rejoining in 1988 for a brief stint, and then properly in 1991. Health issues then forced him to retire from UFO in 2008. Elsewhere in his career, Way, co-founded Waysted and Fastway with former Motörhead guitarist 'Fast' Eddie Clarke, played bass for Michael Schenker Group and Ozzy Osbourne, and started his own band, The Pete Way Band. Osbourne was among those paying tribute to Way on Twitter: "Such sad news about @PeteWayOfficial. Haven't seen him for years but will always have great memories & such unbelievable stories of what we'd get up to. Rest In Peace. Love & Respect to his Family, Friends and Fans." - NME, 8/15/20...... Speaking of Ozzy Osbourne, the 71-year-old music star has told the Daily Star paper that the coronavirus pandemic might stop him from ever performing another gig. "If we do not get this thing under control we ain't ever going to do a gig," says Ozzy, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2019 and is desperate to finish his postponed "No More Tours II" dates. "Even if I could, I cannot work anyway because of the f****** pandemic. Ozzy has been at home in Los Angeles throughout the pandemic, but he's still terrified of getting the disease. "I was sitting in the kitchen and I suddenly broke out into a cold sweat and I thought: 'This is the first sign.' In 30 seconds I was like: 'I have the coronavirus, I'm going to die, my family is going to die and the dogs will end up with everything.'" -, 8/18/20...... Actor Ben Cross, best known for his role as British Olympic athlete Harold Abrahams in the film Chariots of Fire, has died at age 72. Born Harry Bernard Cross in London in 1947, Cross's role in Chariots of Fire earned him a Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts Performance of the Year award. He also appeared as Sarak in the 2009 Star Trek reboot, and had notable credits in BBC's The Citadel, the HBO spy film Steal The Sky, TV mini-series Twist Of Fate, and he played the villain, opposite Richard Gere and Sean Connery, in First Knight. Cross had just wrapped his final role, as Cardinal Mathews in the horror film The Devil's Light, earlier in August. - WENN/, 8/18/20...... Frank ZappaThe plot of land that was once the site of Frank Zappa legendary log cabin home on Laurel Canyon Blvd. in the heart of the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles is currently up for sale for a cool $999,000 (£755,000). Realtors Redfin, which listed the property in June, describes on its site that the now vacant "Zappawood" as being "rich in history and development potential," while boasting "sprawling park-like grounds and three separate entrances." It's said that the property was the premier gathering place of LA rock 'n' roll legends back in the 1960s and '70s, owing to Zappa's former residence being located there. Zappa, who passed away in 1993 at age 52, is said to have lived in a log cabin on the property with his family for a couple of years in the '60s, however they moved after the house became a hotspot for eccentric gatecrashers. It was destroyed by a fire in the 1980s. Images and further info about Zappawood can be found on the Redfin website. - NME, 8/17/20...... Actress Linda Manz, who as an androgynous teen captivated many with her performances in the films Days of Heaven and Out of the Blue, died on Aug. 14 after a battle with pneumonia and lung cancer. She was 58. Born in NYC on Aug. 20, 1961, Manz was cast at 15 to appear as the narrator of Terrence Malick's period film Days of Heaven, which was released in 1978 after an arduous shoot. Initially received with mixed reviews, the movie has gone on to overwhelming critical acclaim. Manz's improvised narration is widely considered an essential aspect of what makes the film -- which is preserved in the United States Film Registry -- an artistic success. In 1979, Manz had the fondly remembered supporting role of Peewee in the hit film The Wanderers. One of its stars, Ken Wahl, wrote on Facebook that Manz "was great to work with and I'm glad I got to speak with her before she passed." Her last starring role wa in 1980's Out of the Blue, in which she was directed by, and acted alongside, the late Dennis Hopper. The influential film competed at Cannes, and Manz's performance inspired a generation of actresses. In 1997, Manz -- who rarely acted past the '80s, appearing in a small role in that year's Gummo -- told Time Out New York: "There was a whole bunch of new young actors out there, and I was kind of getting lost in the shuffle. So I laid back and had three kids. Now I enjoy just staying home and cooking soup." A GoFundMe has been set up for Manz, who is survived by her husband and their two sons, to help cover final expenses. -, 8/14/20.

Friday, August 14, 2020

On Aug. 13 KISS announced the remaining dates of their "End of The Road" tour, which was delayed until 2021 earlier this year due amid the coronavirus pandemic. The tour will now resume on Aug. 8, 2021, in Mansfield, Mass., then hit 22 cities including Atlantic City, N.J. (8/21), Pittsburgh (8/26), Atlanta (8/29), Milwaukee (9/5), Boise, Ida. (9/21), Phoenix (9/26), Austin, Tex. (9/29), and Ft. Worth, Tex. (10/1). KISS will play what they say will be their final concert ever on Oct. 21, 2021. The End of the Road Tour, which began in Jan. 2019, will feature opening act David Lee Roth on most dates. KISS announced on Instagram that tickets for the postponed 2020 shows will be honored for the 2021 dates, and their KISS Kruise, which was also postponed, will now take place on Oct. 29-Nov. 3, 2021. - Billboard, 8/13/20...... Phil CollinsPhil Collins' 1981 solo hit "In the Air Tonight" has experienced a huge spike in sales after a YouTube video made by Tim and Fred Williams in July went viral earlier in August. The Williams brothers filmed themselves listening to the track for the very first time, causing the song to go viral and nab 6,000 downloads, up 1,516% from the previous three days, and it's now on track to make the top 10 of Billboard's Digital Song Sales. The song has also risen to No. 2 on the iTunes chart, making it the fourth biggest selling song of the week ending Aug. 8 -- up from No. 185 the week before. The video was posted to the YouTube channel "TwinsthenewTrend" on July 27 by 22-year-old twins Tim and Fred Williams, and features their delighted response to hearing Collins' iconic drum fill in the song. Other tracks from Collins' solo catalog also experienced sales and streaming gains, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Collins' solo songs discography drew 11,000 digital downloads for the week ending Aug. 9, a 602% jump over the previous three days prior to the video going viral on Aug. 7. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 8/12/20...... On Aug. 14 Elvis Costello shared a new track entitled "We Are All Cowards Now" from his upcoming album Hey Clockface, which will drop on Oct. 30 via Concord Records. "We Are All Cowards Now" follows the release of two other new songs from the album, "No Flag" and "Hetty O'Hara Confidential," earlier in 2020, which were all recorded by Costello at Suomenlinnan Studio in Helsinki, Finland, in February. Costello then went to Paris and later New York to finish the rest of the record, which he says he wanted to "be vivid, whether the songs demanded playing that was loud and jagged or intimate and beautiful." The 14-track Hey Clockface will also feature such songs as "Revolution #49," "The Last Confession of Vivian Whip," and "What Is It That I Need That I Don't Already Have?" -, 8/14/20......A limited edition vinyl release of David Bowie's 1975 R&B influenced LP Young Americans is set to be released on Sept. 19 in celebration of the album's 45th anniversary. The reissue of Bowie's self-described "plastic soul" album, which went gold in both the US and UK, will be pressed on "brick and mortar gold-coloured vinyl," and is the latest in a string of Bowie archival titles to be released this year. On Aug. 14, Something in the Air (Live Paris 1999), a 15-track LP capturing Bowie's 1999 performance in France as part of his "Hours Tour," was released. David Bowie: Inside 1969-72, a new Bowie DVD featuring footage of himself and his band The Spiders from Mars, will drop on Sept. 22. - NME, 8/13/20...... After posting a similar message to Twitter on July 29, Stevie Nicks took to her Facebook page on Aug. 11 to plead with fans to wear masks amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. "A lot of people still aren't taking the wearing of a simple mask seriously... or, just trying to be aware of how close you are to others," the Fleetwood Mac frontwoman said. "Are you aware, everyone, that if you survive this virus... you will be fighting the after effects for the rest of your life. Micro-blood clots... in all your organs; in your brain... neurological problems; a cough that rips your throat apart and keeps coming back," she added. Nicks also pointed out the serious ramifications for her own health to fans, should she contract the virus. "If I get it, I will probably never sing again. Put me on a ventilator and I will be hoarse for the rest of my life... I don't have much time... I am 72 years old...," she added, then compared the current health crisis to an American Horror Story episode from 2013 in which she appeared. "This is like the season of American Horror Story I was in. It had turned into an apocalypse above ground. A serious 'shelter in place'," she shared before concluding, "Call it Armageddon[,] Call it a Pandemic[,] Call it the Apocalypse... This is a real American Horror Story... It is not a mini-series... It is a tragedy." - Billboard, 8/12/20...... Lindsey BuckinghamMeanwhile, Nicks' former flame and Fleetwood Mac bandmate Lindsey Buckingham performed a four-song acoustic set on Aug. 7 for the first time since suffering a heart attack and undergoing emergency open heart surgery in 2019. Appearing via Zoom for tech company Nutanix, Buckingham played the Fleetwood Mac songs "Never Going Back Again" and "Big Love," along with his solo cuts "Trouble" and "Shut Us Down." "This [pandemic] has been like a couple of years previous in which things occurred that I did not see coming," Buckingham said during the Zoom call. "One was my split from Fleetwood Mac. Another one was having a bypass operation, which I did not expect to happen. You could say that this makes it a trifecta of events that were completely off the charts," he added. Buckingham's wife, Kristen, reported in 2019 that the guitarist had suffered "vocal cord damage... following the surgery," which meant he was forced to postpone all of his upcoming tour dates. Lindsey then announced a solo tour in Feb. 2020 set to take place in April and May, but then had to cancel due to the coronavirus pandemic. He was reportedly fired from Fleetwood Mac in 2018 after an ongoing battle with Stevie Nicks and replaced with Mike Campbell of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers and Neil Finn of Crowded House. - New Musical Express, 8/10/20...... The estate of Prince has shared the previously unreleased Prince recording "Witness 4 The Prosecution (Version 2)" on, which will feature on the upcoming expanded reissue of Prince's 1987 album Sign o' the Times, set for release on Sept. 25. According to a press release from the estate, Prince decided to rework his song "Witness 4 The Prosecution (Version 2)" when Country artist Debora Allen asked Prince if he could write a song for her. But after being pleased with his new version, he "decided to keep the song" and instead offered Allen his song "Telepathy," which had been recorded and mixed on the same date. - New Musical Express, 8/14/20...... On Aug. 14 Neil Young announced the release of three archival projects later in 2020, the most notable for Young fans being the long-awaited release of Neil Young Archives - Volume 2, which was initially promised after the first volume arrived back in 2009. The new archives set will feature material from around 1973 to 1982, with Young previously claiming that Vol. 2 would be "full of albums that weren't there before -- stuff I did that I never put out." While the exact contents of Vol. 2 are yet to be revealed, Young previously said that records such as 1976's "Chrome Dreams" and 1977's "Oceanside Countryside" would be included. The release will drop on Nov. 6, the same day the folk-rocker will also release Return to Greendale, a live set from his tour with Crazy Horse to support 2003's Greendale. The year of releases will then round off on Dec. 6 with Way Down in the Rust Bucket, a Nov. 1990 concert recorded with Crazy Horse at Santa Cruz's Catalyst Club. Meanwhile, Young is reportedly planning to spend approximately $20,000 to remove the Facebook and Google login functionality on his Neil Young Archives site, citing the conglomerates' policies regarding the forthcoming US presidential election as the reason for the move. "Facebook knowingly allows untruths and lies in its political ads to circulate on the platform, while bots sow discord among users," Young recently posted on the site. "Sowing dissent and chaos in our country via political disinformation is something we cannot condone. Simply put, Facebook is screwing with our election," he added. The statement on the news section of the website continues, in part, to say: "If you use Facebook or Google for login, we are going to ask you to run through a quick process the next time you log in -- it's just a few extra clicks. At the end of the process, your account will be transitioned to use your email address and a password for login. Goodbye Facebook and Google buttons." No explanation was offered as to why Google is also a target and it is unclear why disabling logins using those platforms will cost the reported amount. - NME, 8/14/20...... Eric ClaptonEric Clapton has been busy lately selling off his collection of supercars, with his Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano F1 up for grabs on the UK digital marketplace Auto Trader website for £89,900 from car dealer GVE of London, and his Lamborghini Superleggera already having been snapped up for a rumoured £125,000. The legendary blues guitarist, who has the ironic stage name of "Slowhand," is rumoured to have a particular penchant for Ferraris and has owned more than 10 of them over the years, with many of them used as inspiration for his songs, and some even gifted to him by his late friend and fellow musician, the Beatles' George Harrison. With a beautiful contrasting black exterior and light brown interior, Clapton's Ferrari 599 F1 is one of his most desirable cars, although he has said in the past he prefers the 612 Ferrari Scagliett (an opinion many Ferrari enthusiasts would disagree with). The car can go 0-60 in 3.5 seconds and has a top speed of 205 mph. "This particular Ferrari 599 is stunning and so well-maintained," says Auto Trader's director of YouTube operations, Rory Reid. "The fact it received Eric Clapton's seal of approval before being sold on makes it that much more special. For a blues lover, who also has the money for it, this is a perfect buy on Auto Trader," he adds -, 8/14/20...... The Rolling Stones have shared a new version of their recent track "Scarlet," remixed by The War on Drugs. Spearheaded by TWOD singer Adam Granduciel, the new version, which has been shared on YouTube, adds tempo to the track alongside a selection of new instrumentation. "Scarlet," which features guitars from Jimmy Page, will be included on the Stones' forthcoming expanded edition of their 1973 studio album Goats Head Soup. - NME, 8/14/20...... Ozzy Osbourne and his wife Sharon Osbourne have announced a new biopic about the couple is in the works, and according to them, "it won't be squeaky clean like the [Queen biopic] Bohemian Rhapsody. The Osbournes tell Rolling Stone magazine that their new film will skip Ozzy's original tenure in Black Sabbath and jump to his solo career in the late 1970's when he began dating Sharon. "We have a writer," Ozzy's son Jack Osbourne said about the progress on the film. "We said to go from 1979 to 1996. I can't say too much, but the film is in active development." "From what I understand, it's about Sharon and I and our relationship" Ozzy added. "It's how we met, fell in love, and how we married. She's my other half. She grew up a lot with me, and I grew up a lot with her." Sharon then said their new movie won't be like Bohemian Rhapsody, which she says she didn't "think was a great movie." "They changed the timing [of the story] and everything in it. That's why it was, like, made 'nice' and that's what made it a Hallmark movie. Our film will be a lot more real. We don't want it to be squeaky, shiny clean and all of that. We're not making it for kids. It's an adult movie for adults," Sharon says. Meanwhile, it was announced earlier in August that another film about Ozzy, a documentary called Biography: The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne, is set to premiere on cable channel A&E on Sept. 7. - NME, 8/13/20...... Queen guitarist Brian May is thanking firefighters for combatting a forest fire which threatened his home in Surrey, UK, over the second weekend of August. In a lengthy post on Instagram on Aug. 10, May recounted how he was forced to evacuate his home and studio property after the wildfire broke out and spread through Chobham Common home on Aug. 7. "I never imagined it could happen here in leafy, and normally damp, Surrey, England," May wrote in a caption to accompany a series of images showing the aftermath of the wildfire. "We supported the fight against the immense fires in Australia, and watched sadly as fires ravaged California, but to see this happen in my own home county has been shocking and traumatic... Today my prayers were answered -- the fire is under control, but the danger is not over. While this dry heatwave lasts there is still a massive risk of a flare-up leading to disaster." May went on to thank the firefighters of Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire and called for more funding and support for the force. "Just as the Government cuts sent the NHS into battle hideously crippled by lack of funding, the same lack of vision has rendered this country vulnerable to fires - with a fire fighting service criminally cut back in manpower and resources," May wrote. "Something has gone terribly wrong with our leaders' decision-making process. - NME, 8/11/20...... Dolly PartonDolly Parton has expressed her support for the Black Lives Matter anti-racism movement in a new interview. "I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen," Parton said, referring to the recent protests that have taken place worldwide following the death of George Floyd. "And of course, Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!," she added. Parton also discussed the renaming of her "Dixie Stampede" dinner attraction at her Dollywood resort in Tennessee to "Dolly Parton's Stampede" in 2018 after being informed that its title was offensive. "When they said 'Dixie' was an offensive word, I thought, 'Well, I don't want to offend anybody. This is a business. We'll just call it The Stampede. As soon as you realize that [something] is a problem, you should fix it. Don't be a dumbass. That's where my heart is. I would never dream of hurting anybody on purpose," the Country legend added. Meanwhile, Parton has announced she'll release her first Christmas album in 30 years, A Holly Dolly Christmas, on Oct. 2, some two months before the holiday season begins. A Holly Dolly Christmas follows her 1990 yuletide LP Home for Christmas and features several well known Christmas songs, as well as five original tracks written solely by the 72-year-old country icon. The album also features guest contributions from some of Dolly's dearest friends, including Willie Nelson, Michael Bubl, Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley Cyrus and Jimmy Fallon, plus a special song with her brother, Randy Parton. "I figured since everybody probably wouldn't get to celebrate Christmas as usual this year, I wanted to be creative instead of sitting around at the house this summer," Dolly said in a press release. "So I put on my mask, gloves and practiced social distancing, as well as all of the wonderful musicians and singers, and we proceeded to put together what I think is some of the best work that I've ever done," she added. - Billboard/, 8/13/20...... Guitars signed by the likes of Robert Plant and Carlos Santana are set to be auctioned in September to benefit the musicians charity MusiCares, which provides aid to artists and music community professionals in times of need. Taking place on Sept. 9 live in Beverly Hills and online at, with advance online bidding starting on Aug. 17, some of the items up for grabs include a Gibson SG Standard '61 guitar in vintage cherry signed by Plant and Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, and a Paul Reed Smith limited edition Carlos Santana Abraxas SE limited edition guitar signed by Santana himself. Eric Clapton, Joan Jett, Ozzy Osbourne, Cher, Willie Nelson, Elton John, Tom Jones, Rascal Flatts, Bono, and a number of others also have items in the auction, which can be viewed on the site. - NME, 8/10/20...... Ringo Starr is among the collaborators on a new cover of the Bob Marley classic "Three Little Birds" by Toots and the Maytals. Also featuring Marley's son Ziggy Marley, the cover will appear on the forthcoming Toots and the Maytals album Got to Be Tough, their first new record in over a decade. The LP will drop on Aug. 28 via Trojan Jamaica/BMG. Marley's original version of the song was released in 1977 and appeared on his album Exodus. The new version of "Three Little Birds," which has been transformed into into an upbeat, horn-laced track, has been shared on Starr provides percussion on the song, while Ziggy Marley and Frederick "Toots" Hibbert swap vocals. - NME, 8/9/20...... Speaking of Ringo, his former bandmate Paul McCartney has revealed how ELO's Jeff Lynne convinced him to secure Ringo to perform on Paul's 1997 solo album Flaming Pie. "I'd been saying to Ringo for years it'd be great to do something," McCartney explained to the UK paper The Sun. "We'd never really done that much outside the Beatles. One night, Jeff suggested, 'Why don't you get Ringo in?' and I said, 'OK!'" McCartney added the pair were "very comfortable making music together again, joining with Lynne to jam on what would become 'Really Love You'." A remastered deluxe re-release of Flaming Pie was released on June 12. - NME, 8/10/20...... Blues-rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa is set to perform a special livestream pay-per-view concert from the legendary Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. on Sept. 20. The concert will feature the songs from Bonamassa's new album Royal Tea before the official release on Oct. 23. Along with Royal Tea he'll perform classic remixes from his 20th anniversary album A New Day Now. The evening will continue with a one hour "After-Party Showcase" featuring several live performances from an array of some of the hottest rising stars in blues-rock music. The livestream tickets and packages for Joe Bonamassa Live in Concert Worldwide are available for purchase at The one-of-a-kind concert is presented by Bonamassa's non-profit, Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation, and each ticket purchase will include a $1 donation to Joe's Fueling Musicians Program, which to date has raised over $300,000 and has supported more than 163 musicians in need due to the COVID-19 pandemic. - Noble PR, 8/14/20...... Andrew Lloyd WebberJesus Christ Superstar composer Andrew Lloyd Webber says he's set to receive an experimental coronavirus vaccine as part of an Oxford trial as he says he'll "do anything to prove theatres can re-open safely." On Aug. 5, the 72-year-old renowned composer took to social media and talked a about the motives behind his decision to take part in the vaccine trial. "I am excited that tomorrow I am going to be vaccinated for the Oxford Covid 19 trial," Webber wrote. "I'll do anything to prove that theatres can re-open safely." The University of Oxford and the drug company AstraZeneca are working on the development of the experimental vaccine called "ChAdOx1 nCoV-19." Thousands of people the UK, United States, Brazil and South Africa have volunteered to take part in clinical trials. As recently as July 20, researchers announced the initial results of 1,077 people were promising, suggesting that the vaccine is both safe and triggers an immune response, according to the BBC. The next step in the study involves expanding the trial at a higher dose to thousands more people, which is likely where Webber will come into the play. A slew of people took to Twitter to applaud the "Cats" composer's willingness to get involved in finding a cure or treatment for the virus. "Bravo," "Godspeed to you sir" and "Thank you for your dedication" were among the many sentiments from followers and fans. Webber has also been trialling measures at the London Palladium that could allow the theatre business to get back up and running after Webber's "Phantom Of The Opera" continued in South Korea with strict hygiene measures and no social distancing. He hosted a pilot performance by Beverley Knight at the famous London venue, which had strict social distancing measures in place and was at 30 per cent capacity. -, 8/13/20...... Martin Birch, a legendary producer for Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden, has died of as yet unnanounced causes at the age of 71. Birch's death was confirmed by former Deep Purple and Whitesnake singer David Coverdale, who tweeted: "It is with a very heavy heart I've just had verified my very dear friend and producer Martin Birch has passed away. Martin was a huge part of my life & helping me from the first time we met through until Slide It In.... My thoughts and prayers to his family, friends and fans." Born in 1948, Birch was known for his lengthy production stints with a number of legnedary bands, having produced the first six Whitesnake albums. also masterminded every Iron Maiden album from 1981's Killers to 1992's Fear of the Dark -- which marked his final work before retriement. Elsewhere, he produced Black Sabbath's Heaven and Hell -- which saw Ronnie James Dio replacing Ozzy Osbourne on vocals -- and notable efforts from the likes of Rainbow and Deep Purple. Also paying tribute, Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler wrote on Twitter: "Really sad to hear of the passing of Martin Birch. Brilliant producer. Had the pleasure of working with him on the Black Sabbath albums #HeavenandHell and #MobRules. Condolences to Vera and family. #RIPMartin Birch also worked with Fleetwood Mac, engineering and producing five early albums from 1969's Then Play On to 1973's Mystery To Me. - NME, 8/10/20.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Jimi Hendrix's Japanese sunburst electric guitar that he used in the early 1960s has sold for more than £160,000 at auction. The late guitar god used the instrument after he was discharged from the U.S. Army in 1962 and played it during his time in New York as a musician for the likes of The Isley Brothers, Wilson Pickett, Slim Harpo and Ike and Tina Turner. The guitar was estimated to be worth $50,000 (£38k) before the auction, but was bought for a winning bid of $180,000 (£138k). When auction fees were added to that price, its total became $216,000 (£165k). Hendrix left the guitar with his friend Mike Quashie when he moved to London in 1966 and Quashie provided a signed and notarised letter of provenance before he died in 2019. The guitar was said to be "in well-loved condition" but had no strings on it as auction house GWS Auctions wanted to "keep it in its original state." - NME, 8/9/20...... Roger WatersOn Aug. 7 Roger Waters shared a video on YouTube of a socially distanced performance of two cuts from Pink Floyd's 1979 album The Wall. Waters paid tribute to the inspiration of the song "Vera," the famous British World War II singer Vera Lynn, who passed away in June. In a statement, he said: "The Vera in question is Vera Lynn. She was an English singer, songwriter, very popular during the Second World War. Her biggest hit was 'We'll Meet Again'. She was widely known as the 'Forces' Sweetheart'. Our Vera, who is very fondly remembered back in Blighty, died six weeks ago aged 103. So she had a bloody good innings, bless her." The song then transistions into a grand orchestral rendition of "Bring the Boys Back Home." During a break, Waters spoke to the camera to address Pres. Donald Trump on recent events in the US. Referencing the controversial deployment of federal officers in Portland he said: "Yeah, bring the boys back home, particularly from Portland, you big f---ing brick." In June, Waters announced he'll be releasing his Us + Them concert film on Amazon video later in 2020. - New Musical Express, 8/7/20...... Just a few days after announcing the purchase of Barry Manilow's song catalogue, Hipgnosis Songs has continued its spending spree with the the acquisition of Blondie's catalog. The company founded by Merck Mercuriadis and its investment advisor The Family said in a letter to the London Stock Exchange on Aug. 5 that it will buy 100% of Blondie principals Debbie Harry and Chris Stein's writer's share and neighboring rights (Sound Exchange) royalties in their Blondie catalogs, a total of 197 songs. "We are so happy to be working with a progressive company," say Harry and Stein in a joint statement. "We are looking forward to the future with Hipgnosis' forward thinking team." Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Hipgnosis Songs has previously acquired the catalogs of the likes of Bon Jovi, Chainsmokers and Mark Ronson. - Billboard, 8/5/20...... Fans of The Clash can celebrate the famous '70s punk band with two new Clash jigsaw puzzles this fall. Zee Productions will release two 500-piece puzzles depicting the album cover for the band's 1978 album Give 'Em Enough Rope and the cover of their 1979 single, "English Civil War," on Oct. 9. "Punk Legends The Clash Come To Rock Saws!," Zee Productions posted on Instagram. "All The Young Punks take note! The punk rock revolutionaries The Clash are coming to Rocksaws with a pair of awesome 500 piece puzzles," it added. They added that "both puzzles are currently on pre-order, and supplies are very limited so act fast!" - NME, 8/5/20...... Black SabbathOn May 6 Black Sabbath announced they'll be releasing a 50th anniversary edition of their classic 1970 album Paranoid. The 5-LP/4CD edition Paranoid re-release arrives on Oct. 9 and will also feature the vinyl debut of two of the band's concerts from 1970 as well as a rare 1974 Quad Mix of the album. The 5-LP set also comes with a hardbound book, extensive new linear notes featuring interviews with all four band members as well as rare photos, a poster and a replica of the tour book sold during the tour. The Paranoid Super Deluxe 5-LP set can be pre-ordered on Black Sabbath's website. - NME, 8/6/20...... In related news, Ozzy Osbourne's eldest daughter Aimee Osbourne has spoken of her decision to not take part in her family's hit MTV reality show, The Osbournes. Speaking to New York's Q104.3 radio station, musician Aimee said: "To me, I'd grown up around having a pretty well-known dad anyway, and I always really valued my privacy within that family. For me personally, for who I am, as far as morally, and also just to give myself a chance to actually develop into a human being as opposed to just being remembered for being a teenager, it didn't really line up with what I saw my future as." Aimee went on to say that The Osbournes "definitely worked great for the rest of my family," but explained she "just knew it was never something that I would have been able to consider realistically." Aimee recently released her first new music in four years with "Shared Something With The Night," which was released under her ARO moniker. Meanwhile, Ozzy's other daughter, Kelly Osbourne, has lashed out at an insenstive troll who applauded her father's Parkinson's disease diagnosis. "Heard your father is dying that's great now we can get ridden of another a**hole (sic)," the callous user wrote anonymously on Instagram. Kelly, who has 2.1 million followers on Instagram, shot back at the poster: "Seems like you need some attention???" adding, "So here you go you disgusting mother f*****!!!!! I won't be praying for you!!!!!!" - NME/, 8/5/20...... Patti Smith announced on Aug. 8 that she'll perform a special show at the Murmrr Theatre in New York on Sept. 4 featuring excerpts from her 2019 book, Year of the Monkey. The punk poetess will also perform a handful of songs with longtime bandmate Tony Shanahan. The event, billed as Smith's only worldwide staged program of 2020, will also be filmed by cinematographer Matthew Schroeder, and, according to the show's description, will "be a high-end multi-camera visual and sonic experience." Tickets went on sale on Aug. 7 and cost $30. Each come with a new paperback copy of Year Of The Monkey. In July, Smith and backing band Sidewalk Collective announced they'll release a third and final album in their "Perfect Vision" trilogy. Peradam shine a light on French writer Ren Daumal, whose most famous book compares the meaning of life to an alpine ascent. - New Musical Express, 8/8/20...... Paul McCartneyIn a new lengthy interview with the UK's GQ magazine, Paul McCartney dismissed the idea of following such rock icons as Aerosmith for a Las Vegas residency, and right now he isn't crazy about following the likes of Bruce Springsteen for a Broadway show either. "That's something I've been trying to avoid my whole life," McCartney said of a Vegas residency. "Definitely nothing attracts me about the idea. Vegas is where you go to die, isn't it? It's the elephant's graveyard. As for Broadway, the Sir Paul says he's "not really" sold on that idea either. "Some people would like me to do it, as they say I've got plenty of stories and plenty of songs, but one of the things that's holding me back at the moment is that Bruce has just done it, you know?," McCartney said. "It feels a bit like, "Oh, suddenly I'll do it now then!' So I think that's made me a little reluctant to follow in his footsteps or follow a trend," he added. While he's not completely against a Broadway stint, McCartney explained that he would "just prefer to play with the band to a bigger audience, or even smaller... I don't mind little clubs." Elsewhere in the interview, Macca opened up about the time he sued the Beatles in order to "save their music and company, Apple." "The only way for me to save The Beatles and Apple -- and to release Get Back by [director] Peter Jackson and which allowed us to release Anthology and all these great remasters of all the great Beatles records -- was to sue the band," he explained. "If I hadn't done that, it would have all belonged to Allen Klein. The only way I was given to get us out of that was to do what I did. "I said, 'Well, I'll sue Allen Klein' and I was told I couldn't because he wasn't party to it. 'You've got to sue the Beatles.'" Paul also commented on John Lennon's 1971 solo song "How Do You Sleep?," saying he found the lyrics criticizing him "hurtful": "But then you hear the stories from various angles and apparently people who were in the room when John was writing that, he was getting suggestions for the lyrics off Allan Klein. So, you see the atmosphere of 'Let's get Paul. Let's nail him in a song...' And those things were pretty hurtful." - NME/, 8/5/20...... Neil Young made it official on Aug. 4 -- he'll definitely bring a copyright lawsuit against Pres. Donald Trump after announcing in late July that he was "reconsidering" the move. Young's suit, filed on Aug. 4 in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, claims the Trump campaign has used such songs as "Rockin' in the Free World" and "Devil's Sidewalk" "as a theme song" for "a divisive, un-American campaign of ignorance and hate." "The complaint is not intended to disrespect the rights and opinions of American citizens, who are free to support the candidate of their choosing," according to the complaint, but noted Young could not "good conscience cannot allow his music to be used" in this way. His complaint states the Trump campaign had played both of these songs numerous times at rallies and political events including as recently as the Tulsa rally on June 20. "Trump did so without neither a license nor Young's permission to play those two songs at any public political event," the lawsuit notes. Young's complaint states that Trump's campaign has willfully ignored his wishes to not play those songs and has proceeded to play them despite not having the required licenses. The complaint is asking Trump's campaign be permanently stopped from publicly performing those songs, as well as any other Neil Young songs. He is also asking the Trump campaign be ordered to pay his statutory damages between $750-$150,000 for each infringement as well as reasonable attorney fees. Young has been critical of Trump since the 45th president used "Rockin' in the Free World" to announce his candidacy for president back in 2016. The Trump campaign has yet to publicly respond to the lawsuit. - Billboard, 8/4/20...... Lester BangsCreem: America's Only Rock 'N' Roll Magazine, a new documentary on the legendary '70s and '80s rock magazine Creem, opened on Virtual Cinema on Aug. 7 and is available for free streaming on YouTube. Founded in 1969 by Detroit headshop mogul Barry Kramer, the magazine epitomized the wild excess of rock and roll in the early 1970s and its pages were packed with the sex and debauchery of the biggest stars of the era. Creem's writers, who included Lester Bangs, Jaan Uhelszki, Nick Tosches, Charles Bukowski and future director Cameron Crowe, also participated in rock excess: Bangs once wrote a review of the J. Geills Band while they were still playing, then smashed his typewriter at the end; Uhelszki convinced KISS to let her on the stage, in full makeup, and the writer even performed on the band's seminal number "Rock and Roll All-Nite." After Barry Kramer OD'd on nitrous oxide with a dry-cleaning bag over his head in 1981, ownership of the famed rock journal was left to his then 4-year-old son, JJ Kramer. JJ says he now has plans for a Creem TV channel, a website, and maybe even a relaunch of the magazine. - WENN/, 8/7/20...... A 1999 David Bowie concert in Paris will be available for streaming beginning on Aug. 14. Something in the Air (Live Paris 99) was originally recorded on Oct. 14 1999 at Paris' Elyse Montmartre and features a 15-track setlist packed with 12 previously unreleased recordings and three tracks used as B-sides for singles from Bowie's "Hours" album. Before the concert, Bowie received France's highest artistic order -- the Commandeurs of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Footage from the performance can be viewed on YouTube. In May, another previously unreleased 1999 live album from Bowie,, was made available digitally. Originally available on the now-defunct BowieNet, the record never received a commercial release after it was shared on the online platform 19 years ago. - New Musical Express, 8/6/20...... The estate of Tom Petty has shared "There Goes Angela (Dream Away)," a previously unheard recording from the late rocker's 1994 Wildflower sessions, on YouTube. The new recording follows a previous release from the Wildflower sessions back in June, "You Don't Know How It Feels." The former track was discovered by his daughter, Adria Petty, after sorting through his music following his death in 2017. - NME, 8/6/20...... Bruce Springsteen is featured on a new single called "AUATC" (Ate Up All Their Cake) from Bon Iver's latest album, Season 5. The band have also released an accompanying music video for the song and shared it on YouTube. "Bon Iver acknowledges our position within and use of capitalistic practices. We recognize our privilege and commit to using our platform to challenge capitalism everywhere," the band posted on Twitter. - NME, 8/6/20...... Wayne FontanaWayne Fontana, the lead singer of the '60s pop group The Mindbenders, passed away on Aug. 7 at Steppinghill Hospital, Stockport, U.K., after what was described as a "long illness." He was 74. Fontana and The Mindbenders scored a big hit with "The Game of Love" in 1965. The Manchester, U.K. native, whose real name was Glyn Geoffrey Ellis, formed the band in 1963 and derived his stage name from Elvis Presley's legendary original drummer, D.J. Fontana. After scoring a hit with "Game of Love," Fontana left the group that same year and tried his hand as a solo act. His only notable chart success was with the 1967 song "Pamela, Pamela," one of several songs written for him by iconic British songwriter and 10cc member Graham Gouldman, a bandmate of Mindbenders guitarist Eric Stewart. His final single, "The Last Bus Home," was released by UK Polydor in 1976, after which he mostly walked away from the music business. - Billboard, 8/7/20...... Founding Molly Hatchet guitarist Steve Holland has died at the age of 66. No cause of death was given for the guitarist born in 1954, who appeared on the Southern Rock band's first five albums, including 1979's breakthrough Flirtin' With Disaster. Holland left Molly Hatchet in 1984 and later formed a group called Gator Country, named after the second track on Hatchet's 1978 self-titled debut album. In February, the band posted an image of Holland, seated in a wheelchair and looking frail, on the Gator Country Facebook page thanking fans for their support over the years. He was said to be suffering from an "extremely low" red blood cell count and was scheduled to receive a transfusion. - Billboard, 8/3/20.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Indie music publishing company Mojo Music & Media announced on Aug. 4 it has acquired 50% of Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen's music publishing catalog which consists of more than 400 songs, which includes such hits as "I Want You To Want Me," "Surrender" and "Dream Police." Nielsen wrote or co-wrote the vast majority of the Cheap Trick catalog, and as the songwriter he retains full ownership of the writer's share. Nielsen sold half of his publishing stake in his own songs to Mojo, and half of a co-publishing deal that covered about 10 songs. "I'd almost given up on the chance of finding a publisher who actually knew all my songs and had a vision for how to keep them alive for another 1,000 years or so," Nielsen said in a statement. "Turns out, [Mojo CEO] Mark [Fried] & The Mojo's are it! I'm looking forward to all the noise we're gonna make together." - Billboard, 8/4/20...... Van MorrisonVan Morrison announced on Aug. 4 that he's signed on to play two "socially distanced" shows with reduced limited capacity in London at Camden's Electric Ballroom on Sept. 5 and 6. Tickets for the event are on sale now with a maximum of 10 tickets for two households or "bubbles." In July, the Irish crooner was confirmed a headliner at the UK's first socially-distanced venue, The Virgin Money Unity Arena at Newcastle Racecourse, on Sept. 3. Morrison will also play several dates at the Electric Ballroom in London this fall, and be the final headliner for the 2021 Kew the Music event on July 6 next year. - New Musical Express, 8/4/20...... Bette Midler is encouraging her fans to support the costume designers who are facing indefinite unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic. "Timelines for reopening of entertainment venues continue to shift; shutdown could last anywhere from eight to eighteen months. Members know their survival is in jeopardy; their orders have largely been cancelled or delayed indefinitely," the Divine Miss M posted on Twitter on Aug. 2, and linked to the Costume Industry Coalition (CIC) site for more information. "Collectively, the CIC Members are facing a $4.5 million shortfall between July 1 and December 31, when they calculate rent, employee health insurance, liability insurance and utilities. Visit the AGA (Artisans Guild of America) website to learn how you can get involved," she added. - Billboard, 8/3/20...... Meanwhile, Bette Midler's erstwhile piano player Barry Manilow has had his song catalogue acquired by Hipgnosis Songs Fund. "Barry Manilow is an international treasure. He's an incomparable artist, songwriter, arranger, musician and performer," Hipgnosis Songs founder Merck Mercuriadis said in a statement. Financial terms of the deal, which includes such hits as "Mandy," "Can't Smile Without You," "Copacabana (At the Copa)" and "I Write the Songs," were not disclosed. "Merck has created a new type of music company and I'm looking forward to being part of the family at The Family Music and Hipgnosis Songs," Manilow said in a statement. - Billboard, 8/3/20...... Elton John took to social media on July 30 to celebrate 30 years of being sober. John, 73, shared snaps of his Alcoholics Anonymous coin and a celebratory cake as he marked the milestone, and in the accompanying caption, he reflected on what could have happened had he not made a positive change to his life. "Reflecting on the most magical day having celebrated my 30th Sobriety Birthday," Sir Elton wrote. "So many lovely cards, flowers and chips from my sons, David, friends in the Program, staff at the office and in our homes. I'm truly a blessed man. If I hadn't finally taken the big step of asking for help 30 years ago, I'd be dead. Thank-you from the bottom of my heart to all the people who have inspired and supported me along the way," he added, besides heart, praying hands, and halo emojis. -, 7/30/20...... The Rolling Stones are expected to release a video for their previously unreleased song "Scarlet," a collaboration with Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, on Aug. 6 at 7pm BST on their official YouTube channel. Featuring Paul Mescal, the video will also contain a special introduction from Stones frontman Mick Jagger. The band tweeted that "you won't want to miss & set a reminder here:" "Scarlet" will feature on the band's forthcoming expanded edition of their 1973 album Goats Head Soup, which arrives on Sept. 4 and will feature 10 previously unreleased tracks and a full Stones concert from 1973. - New Musical Express, 8/3/20...... Ozzy OsbourneCable TV's A&E network has announced a premiere date for an Ozzy Osbourne episode of their venerable series Biography. Biography: The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne was first announced back in January with a teaser trailer and was initially scheduled to make its premiere at the SXSW Festival in Texas in March before the festival was cancelled due to the explosion of the coronavirus pandemic. A&E now says the documentary, which chronicles the heavy metal icon's life and career, will debut on Sept. 7 in the U.S., though it is not yet known when and where it will be available for the rest of the world. A trailer for the documentary can be viewed at - New Musical Express, 8/2/20...... The BBC announced on Aug. 3 that a new Bob Marley documentary titled When Bob Marley Came to Britain is coming to the BCC2 later in August. In a press release, the BBC said the doc will "reveal how [Marley's] presence helped influence British politics, culture and identity, during a time of massive social and civil unrest in the UK -- and how his universal message of One Love and unity helped inspire a generation of Black British youth... It was in Britain that Marley established himself as an international artist, recorded some of his most successful albums and performed some of his most memorable concerts." When Bob Marley Came to Britain is narrated by Obaro Ejimiwe and include rare archive footage and interviews with several Brits who knew the reggae legend personally. - NME, 8/3/20...... Rod Stewart's wife Penny Lancaster revealed on the U.K. TV show Loose Women on Aug. 3 that Rod has been helping her cope with menopause symptoms that began during the coronavirus lockdown. Lancaster, 49, said she has found the past few months tough because of her side effects, but gushed that Rod and their two sons, Alastair, 14, and Aiden, nine, have been extremely helpful. Lancaster recounted one incident when everything went wrong while cooking dinner and "I ended up throwing the dinner across the kitchen." "I just screamed and burst into tears. The boys came and hugged me. Rod said, 'Just give mummy a minute.' So, we're lucky that we've got that open discussion," she said. The ex-model added: "What's really confusing for me, I'm trying to explain to my husband and the boys what's going on, but I don't really know myself... I don't know what's happening." In June, Stewart and Lancaster celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary with a socially distanced takeaway meal in London's Hyde Park. -, 8/4/20...... Michael Eavis, the founder of the U.K.'s legendary Glastonbury Festival, has said he is "uncertain if next year's festival will go ahead, but that he is "moving heaven and earth to make it happen." Speaking to ITV News, Eavis said fans might have to wait until 2022 for the return of the festival, which was due to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year with Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar headlining. Speaking about the difficulty of ensuring social distancing, Eavis said: "500 people is ok isn't it. But my job, 250,000 altogether is too many people I suppose isn't it really. I'm still hoping I'm going to be running next year and I'm going to be moving heaven and earth to make sure that we do. But that doesn't mean it will necessarily happen. That is just wishful thinking really." In related news, organizers of the 2021 edition of the U.K.'s Download Festival have announced KISS will top the bill for next year's event, which will occur on the weekend of June 4-6 at Donington Park, Leicestershire. KISS, Iron Maiden and System Of A Down had been scheduled to headline the metal festival in 2020 but it was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of staging this year's event, a virtual Download Festival was screened with hours of footage from previous events. - New Musical Express, 8/3/20...... It has been revealed that Michael Jackson performed an "elaborate presentation" while auditioning for the first X-Men movie. The film's producers say the late pop icon tried out for the role of mutants boss Charles Xavier, and according to Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter, the King of Pop was one of three A-list hopefuls for the comic book adaptation. Mariah Carey and basketball star Shaquille O'Neal were also among those who came in to read for various roles in the 2000 blockbuster but it was Jackson's "elaborate presentation" that really impressed the film bosses. Donner says Jackson played them his 1996 short film Ghosts, in which he played a "60-something white mayor." "I said to him, 'Do you know Xavier is an older white guy?'," said Donner. "And Michael said, 'Oh yeah. You know, I can wear make-up.'" Donner revealed Jackson was "never seriously considered" for the part, which ultimately went to Sir Patrick Stewart. - Hollywood Reporter, 8/4/20...... The StoogesThe final live performance of Fun House by The Stooges' original lineup has been released and shared on YouTube. The performance is set to appear on a new live Stooges album called Live at Goose Lake: Aug. 8 1970 which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Aug. 8, 1970, concert. The Stooges performed their 1970 album, Fun House, in full at the concert, and the recording features the Stooges' founding members Iggy Pop (vocals), Ron Asheton (guitar), Scott Asheton (drums) and Dave Alexander (bass). Alexander was allegedly fired after the gig for turning up too drunk to play. Live at Goose Lake will be available on CD and vinyl. Two limited-edition coloured vinyl variants, a purple and a cream-coloured press, will also be available. - NME, 8/1/20...... A Year With Swollen Appendices, a diary and essay collection first released in 1996 by Brian Eno, is being reissued in a special 25th anniversary hardcover and e-book re-issue via publisher Faber and Faber. The reissue, which will be available in the U.K. on Nov. 19 and in the U.S. on Feb. 9, 2021, will contain a new introduction by Eno alongside essays he penned on working with David Bowie, U2 and more. Faber and Faber editorial Director Alexa von Hirschberg says her company is "thrilled to be bringing Brian Eno's 1995 diary and "appendices' back into print. [It] is an intimate time capsule of the mind and working practices of a formidable thinker and creator at a pivotal point in history. It is an indispensable read." - NME, 8/1/20...... David Byrne launched a new monthly radio show, Here Comes Everybody, on Aug. 1 on the Sonos Sound System Station in the Sonos App and will made available online on Aug. 2 via Mixcloud. Subsequent episodes will air on the first day of each month. Speaking about the new show, the former Talking Heads frontman said: "I make a new playlist every month! I try not to repeat songs, but sometimes one can't help going back to something one loves. The playlists for this radio show are very often thematic -- movie scores, current releases, South Indian surprises, Turkish pop. You may not like them all, but then come back next month and there it will be & the music you have been waiting for your whole life." - NME, 8/1/20...... Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, a close friend of AC/DC, says the Aussie hard rockers have recorded their next album, but its release has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. "This is gonna be a miracle of technology," Snider said of AC/DC's new LP. "What will be achieved, the reuniting of the band that we know for one more album, is gonna be uplifting and heartbreaking at the same time. Because nothing goes on forever. But this is the ultimate 'one more time'," he added in the interview with ABC Audio. Snider previously claimed that AC/DC have joined forces once more with their former members, vocalist Brian Johnson and drummer Phil Rudd, on a new record. An AC/DC reunion was first rumoured in 2018 amid claims that the band were working on a new album that would feature the work of their late rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young on "every track." - New Musical Express, 7/30/20...... A new statue honoring Prince has been installed at the funk-rocker's Paisley Park compound in Minnesota. The statue, which is a copy of the Prince's iconic "Love Symbol," stands over 3 metres high and almost 2 metres wide, and can be viewed on Instagram. Honouring Prince's famous "Purple Rain' song, the statue is purple and is positioned at the entrance to Paisley Park where fans can take photos and pay further tribute. Prince debuted the "Love Symbol' -- which combined traditional male and female symbols -- in 1992 with an album of the same name. In 1993, he famously changed his legal name to the symbol and was referred to as "The Artist Formerly Known As Prince." "With the challenges that our world is currently facing, we are happy to share a piece that showcases this expression of creativity and freedom," said Paisley Park's Executive Director, Alan Seiffert. - NME, 8/1/20...... Ian GillanIn a new interview with Mojo magazine, Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan revealed he makes his own furniture, including an oak table and mahogany desk. "I've built quite a bit of furniture," said Gillan. "I once made a mahogany desk for my daughter, and an oak table when I was ill with hepatitis and had three months off. I did it with planks of Japanese oak, a handsaw, sandpaper and glue." Deep Purple's latest album, Whoosh!, was released in June with studio wizard Bob Ezrin producing the band's 21st LP, his third effort for the band. On working with Ezrin for a third time, Purple guitarist Steve Morse said: "We've included everything that made the whole band smile, including Bob Ezrin. We've always enjoyed making music and having the incredible luxury of a loyal audience." -, 8/3/20...... Stevie Nicks shared a new entry in her "journal" on Twitter on July 29 in which she asked people to become "spiritual warriors in the coronavirus age," imploring others to "wear a mask and stay in as much as possible." Dated July 17, the journal entry references both Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's "Our House" and the Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses" as Nicks begins by saying that she is "just happy to be awake, immersed in music." "Feeling slightly euphoric and inspired to be alive and still be able to feel young and safe here," she writes. "Right here in this moment, I feel hope. I feel happy. I feel safe.... If everyone could just wear a mask and stay in as much as possible -- you might be able to find this magical place I have found, in the early morning when everyone sleeps. And when you wake up, make it your mission to do all that you can to stop the virus before someone you know falls really ill. Because then, you will be too late. Your life will be forever changed," she added, before writing "in order for us all to get back to our former lives -- we must all change into spiritual warriors. We must make it our mission to fight the virus; otherwise there is nothing left. If we don't get ahead of this now, we will live with such guilt and regret that that it will destroy us. You can't go back. You can't push rewind. Nicks closed by saying, "I want to go back on the road. I want to sing for you again. I want to put on those high black suede platform boots and dance for you again. I want you to forget the world and sing with me. Please don't throw this world away. Please don't give up on humanity and let this virus win this war. It's up to us now -- because nobody is helping us. Nobody is coming to our rescue. No one." - NME, 7/30/20...... Neil Young has shared a new live performance of his 2006 song, "Lookin' for a Leader," with edited lyrics that criticise Donald Trump's presidency and reflect on Young's support for the Black Lives Matter movement. The full performance, which include the lyrics "Yeah, we had Barack Obama/ And we really need him now/ The man who stood behind him/ Has to take his place somehow," was uploaded to Young's website "Lookin' for a Leader" originally appeared on Young's 2006 album Living With War. - NME, 7/30/20...... Director Alan Parker, who helmed such movies as Midnight Express, Evita and Bugsy Malone, died on the morning of July 31 following a long illness. He was 76. Parker rose to prominence in the 1970s and made a splash with his first feature film, 1976 gangster musical Bugsy Malone. He went on to earn his first Oscar nomination for best director for 1978's Midnight Express, which won Oliver Stone the Best Screenplay prize. He frequently revisited his penchant for musical movies with hits such as Fame, The Commitments and Evita, starring Madonna, while he was also the man behind the camera for 1982's Pink Floyd - The Wall, based on the rock band's album of the same name. His other credits included Angela's Ashes, Shoot the Moon, Angel Heart and 2003 thriller The Life of David Gale, which became his final movie. Parker was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to the film industry in 1995, and was knighted in 2002. - WENN/, 7/31/20...... Wilford BrimleyActor Wilford Brimley, who had a lengthy career on camera dating back to the 1970s with over 70 acting credits, passed away on the morning of Aug. 1 at his home in Utah. He was 85. Sources with direct knowledge of Mr. Brimley's health say he was in an ICU wing of a hospital on dialysis, and very sick for days. Mr. Brimley started out as mostly a TV actor, landing one-time roles on TV series like How the West Was Won, Kung Fu, The Oregon Trail and then eventually had a recurring part on The Waltons. He went on to star in a bunch of TV movies, including The Wild Wild West Revisited, Amber Waves, Roughnecks, Rodeo Girl and The Big Black Pill. In the 1980s, Mr. Brimely started breaking out into more traditional films, appearing in flicks like The Stone Boy, Country, High Road to China, 10 to Midnight, Tough Enough, Jackals, End of the Line and several other B-movies where he'd often play an authority figure or a grandfatherly figure with his deep, comforting Southern accent. He was perhaps most known for roles in cult classic films like Cocoon, The Natural, The Thing and Hard Target. He went on to star in countless other movies and shows, notably on Our House, in which he starred in over 40 episodes, as well one-off appearances in hit series like Walker, Texas Ranger, Seinfeld, and many others. The iconic actor was also the face of Quaker Oats cereal throughout the '80s and '90s, and -- maybe even more memorable -- his classic diabetes ads for Liberty Medical, which was often spoofed, but also beloved. Mr. Brimley was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus in 1979, and managed the disease ever since then, with the American Diabetes Association honoring him for his lifetime of advocacy in 2008. He is survived by his wife, Beverly, and his three children. -, 8/1/20.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry are just a few of the musicians demanding politicians seek approval from artists before playing their songs at campaign rallies. In an open letter penned posted on by the Artists Rights Alliance (ARA) ahead of the US elections, those rockers along with the likes of Blondie, Elvis Costello, REM, Lionel Richie, Green Day, Pearl Jam, Sheryl Crow, Courtney Love and Panic! At the Disco demand that the major US national political party committees "establish clear policies requiring campaigns to seek the consent of featured recording artists, songwriters, and copyright owners before publicly using their music in a political or campaign setting." The letter continues: "This is the only way to effectively protect your candidates from legal risk, unnecessary public controversy and the moral quagmire that comes from falsely claiming or implying an artist's support or distorting an artists' (sic) expression in such a high stakes public way." The ARA says that political campaigns are obliged to seek permission to use music for their rallies, while music creators hold the ultimate decision over who can use their music. "We've seen so many artists and estates dragged into politics against their will and forced to take aggressive action to prohibit the use of their music usually songs that are broadcast during political rallies. It can confuse and disappoint fans and even undermine an artists' long term income and mostly it's just not right," the letter reads. -, 7/29/20...... Neil YoungIn related news, Neil Young posted on his Neil Young Archives site on July 26 that he is "reconsidering" suing US Pres. Donald Trump over the president's use of Young's music at his rallies. "I am changing my mind about suing President Trump. Reconsidering," wrote the Canadian born folk-rock star, who said earlier in July that he didn't want a lawsuit to distract Trump from properly responding to the coronavirus pandemic. "I'm looking at it again," he added. "There is a long history to consider and I originally considered it, deciding not to pursue. But then President Trump ordered thugs in uniform onto our streets. His idea... This is all DJT." Young, who became a US citizen in Jan. 2020 after living here for more than five decades, recently criticized Trump for playing his song "Rockin' in the Free World" during the Independence Day celebration at Mount Rushmore. "This is NOT ok with me," he tweeted along with a video of the event at the time. Trump has also used the song previously during his presidential campaign. - Billboard, 7/27/20...... Meanwhile, Barbra Streisand lashed out at the president during a virtual fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on July 28. "Let's face it, Trump is unfit, mentally and morally, to hold this distinguished office," said Streisand, who didn't perform but was given eight minutes to deliver the event's closing remarks. The diva continued: "A few weeks ago, Trump called out the troops against peaceful protesters. That is what cowards do when they are scared. Donald Trump has failed us. And we cannot survive four more years of his incompetence we're feeling right now. (Biden) will listen to people rather than greeting them with guns. All they want is justice. It's as simple as that." The "Celebration for Change" fundraiser reportedly raked in $760,000 (£583,000) for the campaign of Joe Biden, who Streisand said is "the leader we need now." - New Musical Express, 7/28/20...... The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has shared more classic performances to its YouTube archive to help fans in lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic. A number of live outings from past ceremonies have recently been added to the archive, including those from such '70s superstars as Rush, Pink Floyd and Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. There are currently more 200 videos on the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame YouTube channel, with new performances being added on a weekly basis. The Rock Hall's 2020 ceremony was due to be held on May 2, but will now take place on Nov. 7 at Cleveland's Public Auditorium. The event will be broadcast live on HBO and will begin at 8:00 pm EST (1:00 am GMT). - New Musical Express, 7/29/20...... Robert PlantRobert Plant announced on July 29 that he's releasing a career-spanning anthology CD set titled Digging Deep: Subterranea on Oct. 2 via his own Es Paranza label. The 2-CD set, which will accompany the third season of his podcast Digging Deep With Robert Plant, will include 30 tracks from across Plant's 11 solo albums, with guest appearances by his Led Zeppelin bandmate Jimmy Page as well as the likes of Phil Collins, Buddy Miller, Nigel Kennedy, Richard Thompson and more. The album is slated for release on Oct. 2 via Plant's own label, Es Paranza. In February 2020, Plant released an 8-record box set of his 7" singles also called Digging Deep. The third season of his Digging Deep With Robert Plant podcast began on July 27. Five new episodes will be released fortnightly over Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube. - NME, 7/29/20...... Actor Sam Rockwell is reportedly in talks to star as late country music legend Merle Haggard in an upcoming biography about Haggard's life. To be directed by Robin BIssell, who directed Rockwell in The Best of Enemies, the project will be co-written by Bissell and Haggard's widow, Theresa Haggard, based on the Haggard' memoir Sing Me Back Home. Rockwell will do his own singing of Haggard's songs, recorded during the '60s when the picture is set. The film will focus not only on Haggard's three years in prison at San Quentin, but also heavily on his complicated love affair, which played out on-stage and off, with singer Bonnie Owens -- his singing partner who eventually became his wife. Haggard, who scored 9 number one Country hits from 1966 to 1970, died on Apr. 6, 2016 -- his 79th birthday -- at his ranch in Shasta County, Calif., having recently suffered from double pneumonia. - New Musical Express, 7/28/20...... Van Morrison and The Bootleg Beatles have joined the summer line-up for the UK's first distanced music venue. The Virgin Money Unity Arena, which is set to open at Newcastle Racecourse in August, will allow music fans across the North East to enjoy live music for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began. Morrison will play the venue on Sept. 3, while The Bootleg Beatles will play an earlier show on Aug. 16. Taking place until Sept. 13, fans can also expect sets from the likes of The Libertines, Two Door Cinema Club, Tom Grennan and Maximo Park as well as comedy shows from Bill Bailey and Jason Manford. - NME, 7/27/20...... Rolling Stone magazine's website is currently sharing a previously unreleased version of Paul McCartney and Steve Miller's collaborative track "Broomstick" in conjunction with the remastered deluxe re-release of McCartney's 1997 album Flaming Pie. "Broomstick," which features on the album, is a tune McCartney cut with Miller, who played guitar on most of the well-received album. It was released as a B side to the single "Young Boy" (which Miller also sang and played guitar on) but has since faded into obscurity. "As long as we're together, it's gonna be just fine/ Well, I heard it on the broomstick, dashing through the middle of the night," Sir Paul sings on the smooth track that hears Miller play a bluesy solo. Although it won't appear on the boxset, a previously unreleased all-acoustic instrumental jam version of "Broomstick" has been shared by Rolling Stone. - Rolling Stone/NME, 7/25/20...... Peter GreenPeter Green, the influential blues rock guitarist and co-founder of Fleetwood Mac, died in his sleep over the fourth weekend of July according to a statement shared by his family members to the BBC. He was 73. "It is with great sadness that the family of Peter Green announce his death this weekend, peacefully in his sleep. A further statement will be provided in the coming days," the statement reads. Born in London in 1946, Green began his career as a teenager in 1965 as the guitarist for John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, where he replaced Eric Clapton. In 1966, Green teamed up with drummer Mick Fleetwood to form Fleetwood Mac. The two later recruited John McVie on bass. The first incarnation of Fleetwood Mac, under Green's direction, released Fleetwood Mac (1968), Mr. Wonderful (1968) and Then Play On (1969). During his time in the group, Green penned such popular songs as "Albatross," "Man of the World," "Oh Well" and "Black Magic Woman," which later became a huge hit for Santana. Green left Fleetwood Mac in 1970 and was later diagnosed with schizophrenia, forcing him to seek treatment in psychiatric hospitals, however he continued to release music, including his 1970 solo debut, The End of the Game. Because of his mental illness, however, the guitarist wouldn't release another solo album until 1979, and his last solo release was 1983's Kolors. During the 1990s, Green teamed up with guitarist Nigel Watson and drummer Cozy Powell to form Peter Green Splinter Group, releasing numerous albums in the late '90s and early 2000s. In 1998, Green was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with seven other past and present other members of Fleetwood Mac, who after Green's departure later went on to achieve major success with the new lineup of Fleetwood, McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. In Feb. 2020, Mick Fleetwood organized an all-star tribute to the early years of Fleetwood Mac with Green, featuring performances by Billy Gibbons, David Gilmour, Steven Tyler and others. In a statement, Mick Fleetwood called the loss of his former bandmate as "monumental." "No one has ever stepped into the ranks of Fleetwood Mac without a reverence for Peter Green and his talent, and to the fact that music should shine bright and always be delivered with uncompromising passio ... Peter, I will miss you, but rest easy your music lives on," he said. Stevie Nicks tweeted that Green's guitar playing "was one of the reasons I was excited to join Fleetwood Mac" and "my biggest regret is that I never got to share the stage with him." Green is survived by his daughter, Rosebud, who he had with ex-wife Jane Samuels. - Billboard/, 7/25/20...... Miss Mercy, a member of the Frank Zappa-associated band The GTOs (Girls Together Outrageously, died on July 28 at age 71, as confirmed on Instagram by Pamela Des Barres (aka GTOS' Miss Pamela), and later the author of the memoir I'm With The Band. "My beloved sister for most of my life, Miss Mercy has just passed. Words don't work for me at this moment. I can't imagine my world without her in it," she wrote. Born Judith Edna Peters on Feb. 16, 1949 in California, Miss Mercy met Zappa in the '60s, who would go on to encourage Peters and future bandmates Miss Christine and Cinderella to form The GTOs. The GTOs, which at first numbered seven members, then five, were only active between 1968 and 1970. They recorded one studio album, 'Permanent Damage', through now-defunct label Straight. The record, which featured musical contributions from Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart, was produced by Zappa. Following their separation, The GTOs joined forces again four years later for a reunion. Mercy would go on to marry American musician Shuggie Otis, with whom she had a son, before they separated. - New Musical Express, 7/29/20...... John Saxon, the ruggedly handsome actor and close friend of the late Bruce Lee who appeared in Lee's classic Enter the Dragon as well as three Nightmare on Elm Street movies for director Wes Craven,, died of pneumonia in Murfreesboro, Tenn., on July 25, according to his wife Gloria. He was 83. An Italian-American from Brooklyn, Mr. Saxon played characters of various ethnicities during his long career. His portrayal of a brutal Mexican bandit opposite Marlon Brando in The Appaloosa (1966) earned him a Golden Globe, and he had a recurring role on ABC's Dynasty as Rashid Ahmed, a powerful Middle East tycoon who romanced Alexis Colby (Joan Collins). On another 1980s primetime soap, CBS' Falcon Crest, he played the father of Lorenzo Lamas' character. Years earlier, Mr. Saxon starred from 1969-72 as the surgeon Theodore Stuart on The New Doctors' rotating segment of the NBC drama series The Bold Ones. Discovered by the same agent who launched the careers of Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter, Mr. Saxon first gained notice for his performance as a disturbed high school football star who taunts Esther Williams in The Unguarded Moment (1956). Other big screen credits include Rock, Pretty Baby (1956), Summer Love (1958), The Reluctant Debutante (1958), Cry Tough (1959), Joe Kidd (1972), The Swiss Conspiracy (1976), Beverly Hills Cop III (1994) and God's Ears (2008). He was married three times, to screenwriter Mary Ann Murphy, airline attendant turned actress Elizabeth Saxon and, since 2008, cosmetician Gloria Martel. Survivors also include his son, Antonio, and his sister, Dolores. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/25/20...... Regis PhilbinBeloved U.S. TV personality Regis Philbin, the Emmy-winning host of such popular television shows as Live! With Regis & Kathie Lee and Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, passed away on July 24 of a myocardial infarction, commonly known as a heart attack, due to coronary artery disease and hypertension (high blood pressure). He was 88. Over the years, Mr. Philbin also hosted Miss America pageants and was nominated for 37 Daytime Emmy Awards throughout his career and won six. He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 and two years later was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the Television Academy Hall of Fame. He also holds the world record for most hours on US television, according to Guinness World Records, with more than 16,700 hours on air. Regis Francis Xavier Philbin was born in New York on Aug. 25, 1931, Mr. Philbin got his start in show business as a page on NBC's The Tonight Show. He later hosted The Regis Philbin Show out of San Diego before joining The Joey Bishop Show as Bishop's sidekick. After a stint as the host of a local Los Angeles TV talk show, Philbin became the co-host in 1983 of The Morning Show on WABC. Kathie Lee Gifford became Philbin's co-host in 1985, and in 1988 the show was syndicated and renamed. The duo continued hosting together until 2000, at which point Philbin hosted the show alone -- then dubbed Live with Regis -- until he was joined by Kelly Ripa in 2001. He finally left the show in November 2011. In a tribute posted to Instagram, Gifford said there were "no words to fully express the love I have for my precious friend, Regis." "I smile knowing somewhere in Heaven, at this very moment, he's making someone laugh," she wrote. "It brings me great comfort knowing that he had a personal relationship with his Lord that brought him great peace. "There has never been anyone like him," Gifford said. "And there never will be." - CNN, 7/25/20...... Legendary actress Olivia de Havilland, a cast member of the 1939 film Gone With the Wind and considered to be one of the last remaining stars of Old Hollywood, died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Paris, France, on July 25. She was 104. The British-American Dame was the sister of actress Joan Fontaine and enjoyed a remarkable life and career, evening winning two Best Actress Oscars for To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1949) respectively. Born in Tokyo in 1916, Ms. De Havilland, Fontaine and their actress-mother Lillian moved to California in 1919 after their father Walter, a British patent attorney, left them to pursue a relationship with their housekeeper. She went on to make her on-screen debut in Max Reinhardt's elaborate 1935 adaptation of the Shakespeare comedy, "A Midsummer Night's Dream." In 2018, Ms. de Havilland famously took legal action against the cable TV network FX and director Ryan Murphy, after she alleged Murphy never sought her permission to depict her or use her name in the drama Feud: Bette & Joan. The eight-episode series about Joan Crawford and Bette Davis saw Olivia played by fellow Oscar-winner Catherine Zeta-Jones, however, the lawsuit was later dismissed. - Variety, 7/26/20...... Fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto, who worked closely with David Bowie during his career, died on July 21 due to acute myeloid leukemia. He was 76. Mr. Yamamoto was the first Japanese designer to host a fashion show in London in 1971, and he soon established friendships with the likes of Bowie, Elton John and Stevie Wonder. Mr. Yamamoto formed a creative partnership with Bowie during the early 1970s, with the designer producing numerous stage outfits for the late musician. Their collaboration was particularly notable during Bowie's 1973 Aladdin Sane tour, with Yamamoto's outfit designs helping bring Bowie's various stage personas, such as Ziggy Stardust, to life. David Bowie's official Twitter account paid tribute to Yamamoto after learning of his passing. - New Musical Express, 7/27/20.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Ted Nugent's Facebook Live video clip "Ted Nugent was Live", which the outspoken conservative rocker first uploaded to Facebook on June 26, has reached the top of Billboard's Top Facebook Live Videos chart for the month of June. The clip, which sees Nugent expounding on a number of topics, including his "Spirit Campfire" podcast, the upcoming U.S. presidential election and more, is top in first-seven-days views (1.6 million views), shares (28,000), and reactions (86,000), according to media analytics company Shareablee. Nugent also topped the same chart with another video in November 2019. - Billboard, 7/24/20...... Christine McVieMick FleetwoodBob WelchJohn McVieDanny KirwanFleetwood Mac announced on July 23 that a new mammoth multi-CD box set documenting the band's early years between 1969 and 1974 will drop on Sept. 4. Fleetwood Mac 1969-1974 will be comprised of 8 CDs, starting with the group's 1969 third album Then Play On through to 1974's Live From the Record Plant 12-15-74, a live set recorded shortly before US musicians Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined the British band. The Rhino Records collection also includes the studio albums Kiln House (1970), Future Games (1971), Bare Trees (1972), Penguin (1973), Mystery to Me (1973) and Heroes Are Hard to Find (1974) -- all with bonus tracks. A four-LP vinyl edition of the box set (pressed on 180-gram vinyl), consisting of Penguin, Mystery To Me, Heroes Are Hard to Find, and the live album is also due the same day. - New Musical Express, 7/23/20...... Organizers of the 2020 virtual Toronto Film Festival announced on July 22 that HBO's Spike Lee-directed movie version of David Byrne's America Utopia of the former Talking Heads frontman's Broadway stage play will open the festival on Sept. 10. American Utopia sees Byrne and 11 musical artists from around the world performing songs from Byrne's 2018 solo album American Utopia, as well as songs from Byrne's solo and Talking Heads catalogs. The "American Utopia" Broadway show ran from Oct. 2019 to Feb. 2020, and HBO will air the Spike Lee-helmed film this fall. Organizers of the Toronto festival have yet to name a venue for American Utopia's first-night premiere, which traditionally has been Roy Thomson Hall. In other Talking Heads-related news, the band's drummer Chris Frantz has released a new memoir entitled Remain in Love in which he claims David Byrne yelled "You should be calling me an asshole" during their final meeting before splitting. Byrne was allegedly so exasperated that the other members kept their cool when he announced their split that he made the comment. It's believed that Byrne had been telling the other members for years that he wanted the band to break up, but they ignored him for their own purposes. "We had heard this before, so we thought, "If we keep our cool, this will blow over and we'll get to do another Talking Heads record', Frantz told the UK paper The Guardian. Despite their plan, Talking Heads never made another album and have only played together once since, for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 2002. - The Hollywood Reporter/NME, 7/22/20...... According to Geoff Lloyd, co-host of the "Reasons to Be Cheerful" podcast, ABBA will release five new tracks in 2021 as part of their long-awaited reunion, which was postponed from 2020 to 2021 due to "technical difficulties" as well as the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Lloyd said in the podcast that "I got to spend an hour with Bjorn Ulvaeus from ABBA via Zoom. He's quarantining -- he's got an island in the Stockholm archipelago. They've recorded five new songs. They should have been out at the end of last year... Because of technical difficulties and the pandemic, it's delayed things. But he promised me that the new ABBA music will be out in 2021." Announcing their first foray into the studio in 35 years in 2018, Abba said in their initial statement: "We all four felt that, after some 35 years, it could be fun to join forces again and go into the recording studio. So we did. And it was like time had stood still and that we only had been away on a short holiday. An extremely joyful experience!" - NME, 7/22/20...... GenesisGenesis confirmed on July 24 that their much-anticipated reunion tour, set to take place across the UK and Ireland this November and December, has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Genesis members Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks announced in March that their "The Last Domino" tour would commence this fall, their first live shows in 13 years. Now due to coronavirus restrictions, the trio has postponed the tour until Apr. 2021. It kicks off on Apr. 1 in Glasgow, also hitting Birmingham, Newcastle, Manchester, Dublin, Belfast, Leeds, and Liverpool before wrapping with three shows at London's O2 Arena in late April. Two additional dates were added at Birmingham's Utilita Arena and London's O2 Arena on Apr. 7 and Apr. 30, respectively. Meanwhile, the band has spent the coronavirus lockdown uploading a series of classic gigs, streaming one new show every weekend. - New Musical Express, 7/24/20...... Barbra Streisand will be among the co-headliners of a Joe Biden presidential campaign fundraiser on July 26 at 8:00 p.m. EDT. The "Celebration for Change" virtual event will be hosted by comedian Jay Leno and also feature appearances by John Legend, Sara Bareilles, Kristin Chenowith, Julianne Moore, Rob Reiner, Pete Buttigieg, and more. - Billboard, 7/23/20...... A new exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the legendary UK music festival Isle of Wight will open at west London's Masterpiece Art gallery beginning July 27. "Wight Spirit, 1968-70" will display pictures and associated artwork from the festival, including unseen photos from its iconic 1970 edition, the year from which 50 years is marked, when 600,000 people watched Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Doors, Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell play what has become known as "Europe's answer to Woodstock." Sculptures by Guy Portelli and a selection of photos taken by the late Charles Everest -- some of which have never been publicly seen before -- will be displayed until Sept. 5. Some as yet unnannounced musicians who played at the festival from 1968-70 will also stage live performances at the gallery as well as at the showroom of guitar brand Gibson beginning in August. The Masterpiece Art gallery will also stage a one-day exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix's death on Sept. 19, 1970. Meanwhile, the 2020 edition of Isle of Wight was recently cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The 50th anniversary festival now takes place on June 17-20, 2021, with sets from Lionel Ritchie, Lewis Capaldi, Duran Duran, Snow Patrol, and others. - New Musical Express, 7/23/20...... KISS guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley has called for compassion over rapper Kayne West's mental health after West's wife Kim Kardashian recently spoke out about her husband's mental struggles with bipolar disorder. Writing on her Instagram feed, Kardashian West said that "those who are close with Kanye know his heart and understand his words sometimes do not align with his intentions." This came after West posted a series of now deleted Tweets which claimed he had been trying to divorce Karda shian and that she had tried to "lock me up." This prompted Kardashian West to issue a response in which she wrote: "As many of you know, Kanye has bipolar disorder. Anyone who has this or has a loved one in their life who does, knows how incredibly complicated and painful it is to understand... I feel like I should comment on it because of the stigma and misconceptions about mental health." This prompted Paul Stanley to retweet her post with his own message: "Let's have compassion and commend this. So many struggle with mental illness and depression and we can all make a difference." - NME, 7/23/20...... David Bowie"I Do Believe I Love You," a rare unreleased David Bowie demo, is set to be auctioned on July 23 and is expected to fetch up to £5,000. The demo was recorded when Bowie signed as a songwriter to Orbit Music in 1966, and was discovered by a London-based music seller who found it in their back catalog collection. It is amongst several other rare Bowie items being sold at the auction at Wessex Auction Rooms, including a signed copy of the singer's 1970 LP The Man Who Sold The World. "As one of only a few people in the world who have heard the recording, I am still amazed that this musical treasure has been uncovered after all of these years," says Auctioneer Martin Hughes. "David Bowie is one of the most iconic artists of all time, and I am sure that this item is going to create a buzz around the globe amongst fans of Bowie as well as collectors of pop culture," he added. - NME, 7/21/20...... As first reported in late June, Elton John's ex-wife Renate Blauel confirmed she was suing her former rock superstar husband by filing documents at London's high court on July 22. According to the documents, comments made by Elton in his 2018 memoir Me broke the terms of an agreement the couple made when they divorced 32 years ago. The documents state that John allegedly agreed to remove certain passages before publication of the book, but Blauel claims that they triggered existing mental health problems. Blauel, a German-born sound engineer, married Elton in Australia in 1984, but they split in 1988, around the same time the singer came out as gay. Describing the pain of their split, John wrote in his book: "I'd broken the heart of someone I loved and who loved me unconditionally, someone I couldn't fault in any way. Despite all the pain, there was no acrimony involved at all. For years afterwards, whenever something happened to me, the press would turn up on her doorstep, looking for her to dish the dirt, and she never, ever has." He also wrote about having very limited contact with Blauel following their separation, but had invited her to meet his children because he "wanted her to be part of our lives, and us part of hers, in some way." ut she didn't want to," he said. "And I didn't push the issue. I have to respect how she feels." Blauel had initially filed an injunction against John but that has now resulted in a civil case. He is yet to respond to Blauel's latest legal action. - New Musical Express, 7/23/20...... A release date for a 40th anniversary edition of Motörhead's landmark 1980 album Ace of Spades has been set for this fall. The reissue of Ace of Spades is due Oct. 30 and will come in various deluxe editions that include hardback book-packs in 2-CD and 3-LP formats, and a collector's edition Ace Of Spades' box set will contain "a bevvy of era-specific treasures and 42 previously unreleased tracks," according to a press release. Ace of Spades was led by its classic title track, which went on to become one of the band's signature songs during their career. - NME, 7/22/20...... In an interview with the BBC's Zoe Ball Breakfast Show radio program on July 22, Mick Jagger gave a progress update on the next fresh Rolling Stones music as he marked the release of "Scarlet," the Stones' previously unreleased collaboration with Jimmy Page. When asked about how the Stones' next set of songs are progressing, Jagger said: "I don't know and don't hold you breath! We recorded a bunch of tracks at the same time we did (Living In a) Ghost Town, (a standalone track released by the band in April) so actually I've been finishing off the vocals and some other instruments on them, and doing some mixes. So I'm working on it." Jagger continued: "We've got to get together and do a couple more sessions on them. But we're not really gonna get together right now. But it sounds good, what we've already done -- [it] sounds pretty good to me." About the "Scarlet" track, which will feature on the band's September-released expanded edition of their 1973 album Goats Head Soup, Jagger said: "I remember first jamming this with Jimmy and Keith [Richards] in Ronnie's basement studio. It was a great session." The Stones have shared the previously unreleased "Scarlet" track on YouTube. - NME, 7/22/20...... Jimmy PageSpeaking of Jimmy Page, the Led Zeppelin mastermind has has reiterated that it's "really unlikely" that Led Zeppelin will ever reunite to go on tour again in the future. During an interview on the BBC's Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on July 22, Ball asked Page if Zeppelin could ever return to go back on tour, referencing Mick Jagger's comments in their earlier interview in which he said he was "so disappointed" that the band didn't go on tour after their one-off 2007 reunion show at The O2 in London. "At the time of the O2, we thought -- myself, John Paul Jones and Jason [Bonham] -- that there was going to; it was said that there were gonna be some more dates," Page said. "It would've been really good to have done that after the O2, 'cos we'd put a lot of work into The O2 and we were really on it, y'know? But it didn't come off." Page added: "It seems really unlikely that there would be a tour in the future. Unlike the Rolling Stones, they do sort of know that the fans love that -- also I know that with Led Zeppelin [fans too]. But it doesn't look as though there's anything in the future, unfortunately. We're talking about a concert that was gigantic at the time, but that was 2007: time passes, y'know?" - NME, 7/22/20...... Eddie Van Halen's son and newest Van Halen member Wolfgang Van Halen has given VH fans some hope that a future VH tour could still happen, despite recent comments by VH singer David Lee Roth to the New York Times that the band wouldn't reunite anytime soon. In the interview, Roth said: "I don't know that Eddie is ever really going to rally for the rigours of the road again. I don't even want to say I've waited -- I've supported for five years. Because what I do is physical as well as musical and spiritual -- you can't take five years off from the ring. But I did. And I do not regret a second of it. He's a band mate. We had a colleague down. And he's down now for enough time that I don't know that he's going to be coming back out on the road. You want to hear the classics? You're talking to him." After seeing Roth's comments, VH bassist Wolfgang retweeted them and added: "Yeah I don't really think that's up for him to decide," giving hope to fans that a future tour could still happen yet. - NME, 7/20/20.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Many Seventies artists including Paul McCartney, Stevie Van Zandt, Paul Stanley and Bette Midler have posted tributes to U.S. congressman Rep. John Lewis after the civil rights icon died on July 17 at age 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. "Sad to hear the news that civil rights legend John Lewis died yesterday. He was such a great leader who fought with honesty and bravery for civil rights in America. Long may his memory remain in our hearts. How about renaming the famous Pettus Bridge...," Paul McCartney posted on Twitter, accompanied by a photo of Rep. Lewis standing before the bridge that was the scene of a famous standoff between protesters and authorities in the 1960s. "Hopefully the Edmund Pettus Bridge will be renamed the John Lewis Bridge. It should have happened while he was alive. Why we would have anything named after the grand dragon of the ku klux klan is way beyond me," E Street Band member Stevie Van Zandt noted in his Twitter post. "Icons cut from this cloth seem to be of another time but they remain timeless. We need more. Rest In Power John Lewis," Paul Stanley's Twitter post read, while Bette Midler's Twitter post said, "Goodbye to the Honorable, in all senses of the word, #JohnLewis Few of us will make as much difference in the world as he." - Billboard, 7/18/20...... Paul McCartneySpeaking of Paul McCartney, the former Beatle has released new EP featuring a remastered version of his 1997 song "Beautiful Night" with Ringo Starr. Currently available for streaming on, the EP is part of Sir Paul's forthcoming remastered deluxe re-release of his acclaimed 1997 LP Flaming Pie. The EP also features a 1995 demo of the track, an alternate "run through" recording, and "Oobu Joobu Part 5" -- a medley of Beautiful Night-themed chat, alternate mixes and interview recordings of McCartney and Starr speaking about the song. McCartney will also release a newly remastered video for "Beautiful Night," originally filmed in 1997. - New Musical Express, 7/17/20...... The German concert promoter CTS Eventim has acquired 49% of the production of the ABBA-themed dinner theater franchise "Mamma Mia! The Party" from the previous minority shareholders, leaving ABBA's Bjorn Ulvaeus with a majority 51% share. CTS Eventim CEO Klaus-Peter Schulenberg says he hopes his company will help take "Mamma Mia! The Party" to "a new international level as soon as the restrictions of COVID-19 are relaxed... Even if the Corona crisis is a major setback for the entire event industry, we firmly believe in this project, which has already proven its potential." Launched in Stockholm in 2016 where it staged sold-out show for four years running, "Mamma Mia! The Party" combines dining and the classic songs of ABBA with inspiration from the "Mamma Mia!" musical and movies. In Sept. 2019, it opened at the O2 in London and ran successfully for six months, until it had to pause due to the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. - Billboard, 7/17/20...... In an interview on July 16 with Jackass star Steve-O on his podcast "Wild Ride!," Ozzy Osbourne's wife Sharon Osbourne said her husband has started work on his second album with producer Andrew Watt. "He's been hit by so much medically, but he's doing good. He's getting stronger every day. And you can't stop him. He's doing it," Sharon said. Referencing a fall Ozzy suffered at home in February 2019, Sharon added: "Ozzy says that as far as performing goes, he has to end it his way because it was his farewell tour that he was on, but he still had a year to do of that tour, and there were seats sold for the next year, but the accident stopped it all. But he said it's not gonna end just like that -- it's gonna end his way. And he's gonna go back out. And even if it's just one huge show to say goodbye, he's going to do it." Ozzy had been scheduled to complete a farewell tour prior to the onset of coronavirus but was forced to cancel in order to undertake Parkinson's treatment in Switzerland. - NME, 7/18/20...... Billy JoelIn a video shot in June and has since gone viral, Billy Joel is seen stopping in front of an unloved upright piano on a sidewalk in Huntington, Long Island, to play an impromptu version of Shelton Brooks' 1917 ragtime tune "Darktown Strutters' Ball." Wearing a black jacket and pants and sporting a motorcycle helmet, the Piano Man opines, "Not bad, the action is good... Just needs tuning, and the finish is beat. It's a perfectly good piano." Joel then said, "It's a shame to throw it out" before suggesting "someone should donate it to St. Vincent de Paul." He also checked out the pedals and the finish on the keys and again praises the action on the piano. According to Newsday, Joel was on a motorcycle ride when he spotted the instrument and felt compelled to stop and give it a try. The video can be viewed on YouTube. - Billboard, 7/17/20...... Queen's Greatest Hits album has just passed 900 weeks on the U.K.'s Official Albums Chart Top 100 tally, and is just the third album to do so. First released in 1981, the LP is just behind Bob Marley & The Wailers' 1984 hits album Legend (933 weeks) and ABBA's Gold compilation, the longest-running U.K. Top 100 album ever, with 949 weeks. But Queen's Greatest Hits reigns supreme in the UK's all time best-selling album category, with more than 6 million copies sold, according to the OCC. The album is currently at No. 16 on the chart and should notch-up week no. 902 when the next OCC weekly survey is published. - Billboard, 7/16/20...... Speaking of Bob Marley, his son Ziggy Marley held a livestream concert on July 19 honoring what would have been his dad's 75th birthday on Feb. 6. Available for streaming on YouTube, the online gig was the latest event to be held by the Marley family to celebrate the reggae icon's 75th birthday. The hour-long setlist, which was held in accordance with social distancing regulations including musicians wearing face masks, included such Marley and The Wailers classics as "Redemption Song," "One Love," "Rastaman Vibration" and "Exodus," among eight others. Ziggy Marley also took part in a Q&A during the livestream, which was filmed at Miami's CEEK VR studio. In more Bob Marley news, the late musician is among several famous rock acts including Queen, Michael Jackson, Beastie Boys and Coldplay who will get their own SiriusXM radio stations this summer. Marley will be honoured on Tuff Gong Radio, which began airing on July 16 and will remain on the air until Aug. 13. The Queen channel, meanwhile will see guest DJ sets from Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins. - New Musical Express, 7/19/20...... U.K. fans of Bruce Springsteen will be soon be treated with The Boss's popular "Bruce Springsteen: From My Home To Yours" radio show on SiriusXM when the broadcast begins airing on the BBC's Radio 2 from midnight to 1:00 a.m. on July 25, and also be available on "BBC Sounds." According to a press release, the first Radio 2 show will feature Springsteen "picking tracks from Roy Orbison, Don Henley, Lucinda Williams, Bob Dylan, Wyclef Jean, Morrissey and many more." Helen Thomas of the BBC said the broadcaster was "especially delighted that we're able to introduce 'Bruce Springsteen: From My Home To Yours' to the Radio 2 airwaves and BBC Sounds." - New Musical Express, 7/17/20...... The Grateful DeadSneaker manufacturer Nike has just unveiled a new line of trainers inspired by the Grateful Dead, replete with a pouch on the inside of the tongue for storing weed. The shoes, dubbed "Nike SB Dunk Low Grateful Dead," were inspired by the legendary San Francisco band's iconic bears, first seen on the back cover of the 1973 GD live album History of the Grateful Dead, Volume 1 (Bear's Choice). The shoes sport a faux-fur and suede exterior, and an image of the bear on the tongue, with a pouch on the inside of the tongue for storing weed. Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux notes: "As the band's benefactor, Bear was an incredibly huge part of the Grateful Dead's ability to become who they were. They were talented musicians, but they would not have had the financial freedom to forgo jobs, move to Los Angeles and practice for 14 hours a day. The band wouldn't become what it is today without Bear's innovations and contributions. The shoes come in three different colors and cost $110 (£87). The orange version will be available beginning July 18 via FTC Skateshop, with the green and yellow versions arriving July 24 via Nike's app SNKRS. Meanwhile, the GD recently announced their own USDA-certified organic deodorant, handmade in small batches from 100% natural vegan ingredients. The five fragrances include "Skull and Roses" (lavender and rose), "Sunshine" (blood orange and bergamot), "Timber" (Douglas fir and sage), "Workingman's" (cedarwood and juniper), and unscented. - New Musical Express, 7/16/20...... In conjunction with the forthcoming 40th anniversary re-release of their 1981 album Back in Black, AC/DC have shared rare footage of the band performing "What Do You Do For Money Honey" in 1981. Viewable on YouTube, the footage was filmed at a show in Tokyo on the group's 1980-81 world tour and was the Aussie headbangers' first international tour with Brian Johnson, who had taken over vocal duties following the death of Bon Scott. Earlier in July, AC/DC premiered the inaugural episode of a new documentary series which chronicles the creation of Back In Black. - NME, 7/16/20...... L.A. County Superior Court Judge Mark A. Young ruled on July 14 that Michael Jackson's former manager Tohme R. Tohme should be awarded a $3 million (£2.39million) settlement from the late singer's estate. Tohme is to be given the money he claimed he was originally promised in a 2019 settlement but where the deal was never finalised in writing. He first sued the estate in 2012 for $20million (£15.9million) after alleging he was owed a 15% commission on compensation Jackson received during the last year of his life, plus a cut of the Jackson concert film This Is It. He also sued on the basis of not receiving a finder's fee for securing a loan that prevented foreclosure of Jackson's Neverland Ranch. Judge Young declared the settlement should "irrevocably, unconditionally, release, acquit and forever discharge any and all claims against each other, meaning that should Tohme receive his $3 million, he wouldn't open any further lawsuits." - NME, 7/17/20...... Emitt RhodesAmerican pop singer/songwriter Emitt Rhodes, known for his contributions to power pop and psychedelic pop in the 1970s and 1980s, has died at age 70, according to his reps and collaborators. Rhodes, a former member of such bands as Palace Guard and The Merry Go Round before going on to release five solo records including his classic 1971 eponymous debut for ABC/Dunhill Records, is said to have passed away in his sleep overnight on July 19. Rhodes' last solo studio album was 2016's Rainbow Ends, released through Omnivore Records. It marked 43 years since his previous album, Farewell To Paradise, due in part to legal battles between Rhodes and his label for not fulfilling contractual obligations. It featured contributions from the Bangles' Susanna Hoffs, Aimee Mann and Jon Brion, among others. Among the music industry figures mourning Rhodes' death on Twitter were Hoffs, his label Omnivore, and Sadie Depuis, who said Rhodes' home studio work "is a reason I started both Speedy Ortiz & later Sad13." Director Tony Blass, who created a documentary based on Rhodes' career, also celebrated the late singer's life with a Twitter post that said, "I feel honored and blessed to have worked and spent time with him for the past 12 years. I tried my best to tell his story, share his music and spend some quality time with him. We usually got completely drunk together." - New Musical Express, 7/20/20...... Phil Ashley, a former keyboardist for KISS who also worked with Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck and Aerosmith, died on July 10 of as yet undisclosed causes. He was 65. Ashley performed on KISS's 1987 hit "Crazy Nights," their 1988 single "Let's Put the X in Sex" and two tracks from 1989's Hot in the Shade. His other credits include Billy Idol's 1986 LP, Whiplash Smile, the Aerosmith's singles "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" and "Rag Doll," and Jagger's 1987 LP, Primitive Cool. KISS frontman Paul Stanley was among the first to pay tributes to Ashley on Twitter, posting "I am at a loss for words. My dear friend Phil Ashley has died suddenly. He was a no bullshit, warm and kind soul who I shared so many hours talking with about the value of life, family and music. He played keyboards for many of the greats. The times we won't have leaves me empty." Guitarist Joe Satriani also said: "Our dear friend Phil Ashley passed away last week. He was a magnificent musician and human being. My deepest condolences to his family. R.I.P Phil, we will all miss you." Ashley's family said they "hope to honor his life next year with a memorial service - details to come." - NME, 7/17/20.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

AC/DC announced on July 14 they're marking the upcoming 40th anniversary of their 1980 album Back in Black with a new documentary series that chronicles the creation of the classic LP. In the first episode, which has been shared on YouTube, the band discusses the creation of "You Shook Me All Night Long," their first single with Brian Johnson after the death of former frontman Bon Scott in Feb. 1980. Compiled from vintage footage, the clip shows Johnson discussing how late AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young played an integral role in determining the final lyrics and guitar lines of the track. More episodes are expected to follow ahead of Back In Black's 40th anniversary on July 25. - New Musical Express, 7/14/20...... Don McLeanThe original handwritten lyrics of the Don McLean song "Vincent," a tribute to painter Vincent van Gogh and the most famous of the American singer/songwriter's songs after his epic No. 1 hit "American Pie," are going up for sale with an asking price of $1.5 million. The L.A.-based rare documents dealer Moments in Time said on July 15 that the lyrics, scrawled in pencil over 14 pages with deletions and additions, are being sold by a person who acquired them directly from McLean. "They are written in pencil. There are some corrections. They differ very slightly from the final lyrics, which show he really had the song well thought out in his head when he wrote it," said Moments in Time owner Gary Zimet. Zimet said he hopes the lyrics end up at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which houses the largest collection of artworks by the 19th-century painter as well as hundreds of drawings and letters. McLean's "Vincent" is also played at the museum. "I am hoping they buy it. They should have it. That would be ideal," Zimet said. First released in 1971, "Vincent" opens with the words "Starry, starry night" and was inspired by the painter's famous work "The Starry Night." McLean, 74, has said he was inspired to write it after reading a biography of van Gogh. His "Vincent" lyrics were most recently seen in public when he lent them to the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville for a 2018 exhibit. In 2015, McClean's "American Pie" lyrics fetched $1.2 million at auction. He said at the time he felt it was time to sell them. - Reuters, 7/15/20...... Guitarist Robby Krieger of the Doors will release his seventh solo album, The Ritual Begins at Sundown, on Aug. 14. The album, comprised of all instrumental songs, was produced by ex-Frank Zappa bassist Arthur Barrow, who has produced all but one of Krieger's solo albums. Although Krieger's previous solo effort, Singularity, was also instrumental, he the new one is more energized by the xperimental jazz and progressive excursions of artists like Zappa. "If you had to categorize it, I guess it's a jazz album," says Krieger. "The progressions are jazz, but there's a little Zappa in there and a little Doors. Hopefully, it's not just a straight jazz album. I think it's more unique than that." The Doors and Zappa's band The Mothers of Invention played numerous gigs together in the 1960s, and Krieger says he met Barrow through Zappa keyboardist Don Preston, who played on Krieger's second solo album, Versions, in 1982. "I've been doing stuff with Arthur on and off for 20 years now," says Krieger. "Musically, we get along good together. He loves the Doors. He always wants to write stuff that's like the Doors, but I don't. So we let a little Doors creep in once in a while." Krieger also spoke of the 1971 death of Doors frontman Jim Morrison at age 27: "It was so sad," he said. "If that hadn't happened, I think we could have gone on to make even better records in the vein of L.A. Woman. But we had a wild ride. I don't regret any of it. And now I'm having fun working with Arthur Barrow and making new music. I've got no complaints." - Billboard, 7/14/20...... Speaking to the New York Times, original Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth says he fears the iconic classic rock band's touring days are over because Eddie Van Halen is still recovering from a series of health woes and doesn't want to hit the road again. "I don't know that Eddie is ever really going to rally for the rigours of the road again...," Roth says. "He's (been) down now for enough time that I don't know that he's going to be coming back out on the road. You want to hear the classics? You're talking to him." In 2019, news emerged that a VH tour featuring the band's classic line-up was in the works, but online reports have since suggested Eddie's health may have nixed the plans. Van Halen last toured in 2015. Meanwhile, Roth also told the Times that he has turned to painting to relieve the boredom of the extended coronavirus lockdown, which cut short his 2020 solo tour in March. "My hand has always been in wardrobe, background sets, stage sets, album covers, video direction," he explains. "This is part of it." Roth added that he fears he may have picked up "a little COVID-19" while he was on tour as KISS' support act at the beginning of 2020, adding, "I'm not so unconvinced I didn't have the corona. Man, they gave me enough prednisone to put boots on the moon!" - WENN/, 7/13/20...... Tina TurnerTina Turner is returning from retirement by teaming up with Norwegian producer Kygo on a remix of her iconic track "What's Love Got To Do With It?." Kygo shared a picture of himself and the 80-year-old rock/soul icon on his Twitter feed on July 14, and confirmed that the remix will be available on July 17. "'What's Love Got To Do With It?' is one of my all time favourite songs and it feels surreal to get the opportunity to work with such a legendary artists. Can't wait for you all to hear it!," Kygo posted with the photo. Kygo previously debuted his remix of the late Whitney Houston's "Higher Love," which gave the singer her first posthumous hit on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart in 2019. - New Musical Express, 7/14/20...... Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes will return to live performing on the evening of July 11 for their biggest concert since the COVID-19 pandemic, performing a drive-in concert at Monmouth Racetrack in Oceanport, N.J., not far from their longtime home on the Jersey Shore. Led by John Lyon, the band will perform in front of more than 1,000 cars holding up to four passengers each for what is being billed as one of the largest drive-in concerts in the U.S. to date. The concert is presented by the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, N.J., and is being built out to include a full stage with four large screens for enhanced viewing and sound delivered from a PA system as well as FM signal for vehicles. Tickets went on sale on June 5 and sold out within a few hours for the hometown show, which benefits the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund. Lyon, known as the "Grandfather of the Jersey Shore Sound," rose out of the 1970s Ashbury Park scene, playing venues like the Stone Pony alongside the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Steve Van Zandt and later Jon Bon Jovi. - Billboard, 7/11/20...... Elton John is among many stars who have signed an open letter to the British Government calling for a ban on conversion therapy, a practice used to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a person. The letter, addressed to Liz Truss -- the Minister for Women And Equalities, urges her to "introduce a truly effective ban" on conversion therapy, which campaign sponsor The Trevor Project claims "uses a variety of shaming, emotionally traumatic or physically painful stimuli to make their victims associate those stimuli with their LGBTQ identities. (They think) LGBTQ is a mental illness that should be cured." Meanwhile, the Elton recently opened up about smoking marijuana during a creative music session in which he says he went to a "higher place" and "saw God." Speaking during his online Apple Music series "Rocket Hour," John says he once tripped out after smoking the drug while listening to electronic dance music. According to the 73-year-old hitmaker, the combination of the weed in his system and the music beats running through his mind left the singer in a state of bliss, which resulted in him seeing God before his eyes. John credited Kraftwerk's 1977 dance album Trans-Europe Express for really heightening the trip, saying: "I love that because it was the first record I ever heard that really sounded German as far as pop music went. I remember smoking a joint and listening to it on really loud speakers and I thought I saw God during that album." -, 7/12/20...... Alice CooperIn a new interview with Hawaii Public Radio, Alice Cooper discussed the Black Lives Matter movement and police reform, saying that he believes that police in America who are racist need to be "weeded out." Discussing the violent protests of the 1960s and civil rights marches, Cooper said: "Well, isn't it amazing that that was 50, 60 years ago, or something like that, and we're still dealing with the same problem? You would have thought that that solved the problem. But there's always that five percent of people that are racist." He continued: "To be honest with you, I know a lot of cops. I don't know one racist cop. But I guarantee you that five percent of the police force in every city have got a racial problem.... You don't have a full police department of racists in there; you have maybe a small percentage, and those are the guys that need to be weeded out. I can't see why we don't spend the money on getting a committee in every city to weed out the bad guys." Meanwhile, the Coop is teaming up with the Arizona-based dairy company Danzeisen Dairy to release his own chocolate milk bottle. The news first became public earlier in July in an Instagram post by Ideas Collide, an Arizona-based marketing agency. The post included pictures from a product photo shoot, featuring Alice himself. "We are rocking it for chocolate filming AZ rock legend @alicecooper!," Ideas Collide wrote in the caption. Proceeds from sales of Cooper's chocolate milk bottle will benefit his non-profit organization Solid Rock, which he founded in 1995 to provide free music, film, dance and art classes for youths in Arizona. Cooper and Danzeisen Dairy have not yet announced a release date for the milk bottle, but it is expected to hit shelves later in 2020. The beverage will be available for home delivery and at grocery stores across Arizona. - New Musical Express, 7/14/20...... Laura Lian, a British sculptor who has created a six-foot bronze statue of John Lennon, says she would like the statue to go on a tour of Liverpool to mark what would have been Lennon's 80th birthday this October. The likeness of Lennon, which can be seen on Lian's Twitter page, has been displayed at London's Hard Rock Cafe since Lian completed work on it in 2018. But Lian is now calling for the statue to tour all of the boroughs in Merseyside over the next two years. "With all the trouble in the world about statues & the pandemic and the strife, it's so right that Lennon can go back to where he belongs," she told the UK paper The Guardian. "For my generation growing up amid protests against the Vietnam war and the threat of nuclear war, Lennon was an inspiration in the way he inspired us to dream of peace," Lian says. "I had always intended for the statue to have a permanent home up on Merseyside and at one stage it looked like the Lennon statue was going to be erected in the Strawberry Fields area of Liverpool. That project fell through but when the metropolitan mayor of Merseyside, Steve Rotheram, suggested it should go up in the borough of Sefton, I thought that was a great idea," she adds. Every year a borough on Merseyside is nominated as the borough of culture and this year it's Sefton's turn. Lian says she thought it was appropriate that the statue "comes home to Liverpool" ahead of the 40th anniversary of his tragic death in December. - New Musical Express, 7/13/20...... Residents at a nursing hime in Edgware, U.K., have found a creative way to keep themselves entertained during the coronavirus lockdown -- and it involves some of rock music's most iconic album covers. Covers undertaken for the challenge include Bruce Springsteen's Born In The U.S.A, Michael Jackson's Bad, Queen's Queen II, and David Bowie's 1973 album Aladdin Sane. Robert Speker, the entertainment manager at Sydmar Lodge Care Home, says he encouraged the home's residents to recreate some of the most famous classic album covers, and he shared some of the results on his Twitter feed. The residents also recreated more recent album covers by the likes of Adele, Taylor Swift and Blink-182. - NME, 7/12/20...... John TravoltaKelly PrestonActress Kelly Preston, who appeared in the films Jerry Maguire, Twins and Mischief and was the wife of Saturday Night Fever star John Travolta, died on July 13 after a two-year battle with breast cancer. She was 57. Travolta, who had been married to Preston for 29 years, confirmed her death on his Instagram account. "It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my beautiful wife Kelly has lost her two-year battle with breast cancer," Travolta wrote. "She fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many. ...I will be taking some time to be there for my children who have lost their mother, so forgive me in advance if you don't hear from us for a while. All my love, JT," he added. Born Kelly Kamalelehua Smith in Honolulu, she changed her name to Kelly Preston before securing her first film role in the 1985 romcom Mischief, then appeared in another teen comedy, Secret Admirer. She went on to appear in SpaceCamp and then Twins with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito. In Jerry Maguire, she played Tom Cruise's fiancee Avery Bishop, then co-starred opposite Kevin Costner in For Love of the Game. Travolta and Preston met on the set of the 1987 movie The Experts. The duo would later marry in Paris in 1991. Preston has said in interviews that she had a premonition when she saw the poster for Grease at age 16 that she would marry Travolta. In the 2000s, Preston appeared on TV in Medium and Fat Actress and in films including What a Girl Wants, Sky High and Casino Jack. Her final film role was as mobster's wife Victoria Gotti alongside Travolta as John Gotti in Gotti. The actress and philanthropist is survived by her husband and two children. Her son Jett died in 2009. -, 7/13/20...... Benjamin Keough, the son of Lisa Marie Presley and grandson of Elvis Presley, died on July 12 in Calabasas, Calif., from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in what has been officially ruled a suicide. He was 27. Keough also was the brother of actress Riley Keough and son of musician Danny Keough. (Lisa Marie Presley and Danny Keough divorced in 1994.) His maternal grandmother is Priscilla Presley. Lisa Marie, according to her rep, is "completely heartbroken, inconsolable and beyond devastated" over the death of her son, "but trying to stay strong for her 11-year-old twins and her oldest daughter, Riley. She adored that boy. He was the love of her life." In 2013, Lisa Marie told the Huffington Post that she was letting Benjamin do "his own thing." "He's doing his own thing right now. I'm going to let him decide when he wants to go out and do what he wants to do," she said. In 2012, Keough and his siblings all were featured in the video for Lisa Marie's "duet" with Elvis of his 1954 song "I Love You Because" through archival footage. Lisa Marie also posted a family photo in June 2019 with all her children, which include his twin sisters Finley and Harper Lockwood (whose father is Lisa Marie's ex-husband Michael Lockwood) with the caption: "Mama Lion with cubs." Benjamin at one point tried to follow in his famous grandfather's footsteps, reportedly signing a $5 million record deal with Universal in 2009 to record up to five albums. However, the label denied at the time that any such deal had been struck. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/12/20...... Judy DybleFolk singer and songwriter Judy Dyble, known for her work with the UK band Fairport Convention, died on the morning of July 12 after suffering from a long-term illness. She was 71. "It is with great sadness that we announce that English singer-songwriter Judy Dyble passed away on 12th July 2020 following a long illness borne with great courage," a press release said. "We wish to express our deepest sympathies to Judy's family, friends and many associates from her musical career at this time. Judy's family would like to thank her fans for their messages and good wishes on social media over the last few weeks, but at this time ask that they avoid contacting them for now as they would just like some quiet time," the release continued. Rising to prominence in the 1960s, most notably as a founding member of Fairport Convention and vocalist with cult band Trader Horne, Dyble largely withdrew from the music scene in the early 1970s to concentrate on her family before being invited back to perform with Fairport Convention in 1997 for the 30th anniversary reunion at Cropredy. In 2017, she contributed to "The Ivy Gate," a song on the progressive rock band Big Big Train's tenth studio album Grimspound. She went on to form a close working relationship with Big Big Train's multi-instrumentalist frontman David Longdon and the pair were scheduled to release an album, Between a Breath and a Breath, on Sept. 25. Prog-rock greats King Crimson were among those paying tribute to Dyble on Twitter, along with the band Hand of Glory who described her as "just instantly one of the loveliest people you could ever meet, and managed to achieve the near impossible in making records in recent years that were at least as good as her old ones... She'll be missed." - New Musical Express, 7/12/20.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Aerosmith announced on July 9 that they're rescheduling their 50th anniversary concert at Boston's Fenway Park to Sept. 14, 2021 "out of an abundance of love and caution" amid the coronavirus pandemic. "It's better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret, for the safety of our families, for our crews, for the fans and for the Blue Army," read the statement posted on Facebook. "All tickets will be honored for the new date so hold onto yours! Or if you are unable to make it, you'll be able to request a refund. Ticket holders will be emailed with all details. Until then, stay safe and stay healthy. Big love from the Bad Boys of Boston... Aerosmith," it continued. Aerosmith had planned the 50th anniversary blowout for Sept. 18 at Fenway, with support from opening act Extreme. - Billboard, 7/10/20...... Ozzy OsbourneOzzy Osbourne, his wife Sharon Osbourne, and their son Jack Osbourne will launch a new 8-part paranormal series on cable TV's Travel Channel on Aug. 2. The series, entitled The Osbournes Want to Believe, will find Jack trying to make believers out of his parents, who are, of course, natural skeptics. According to a press release, each hour-long episode will find Jack screening clips of unexplainable events, from Bigfoot and UFO sightings to poltergeists, creepy dolls and other unexplainable phenomenon to his mom and dad. "My parents have always lived on the edge, even when it comes to believing in the supernatural... My biggest challenge may be keeping their comments family friendly. It will be a classic Osbourne gathering!," Jack said in a statement. Ozzy and Sharon will check out Jack's videos and critique them and the series premiere promises to include "their outrageously funny reactions" including "Ozzy's historical digressions on Greeks, Romans and the berserkers and a copious amount of swearing." Meanwhile, possibly taking a cue from rapper Kayne West, Ozzy has just launched a new merchandise line featuring the slogan "Ozzy for President." Osbourne's presidential merch will include t-shirts, buttons, hoodies and bumper stickers. Captioning a link to the merch on Twitter, Ozzy posted "It's time for a new candidate." His presidential merch can be ordered now via his online store on - Billboard/New Musical Express, 7/10/20...... In other Black Sabbath-related news, Queen guitarist Brian May has spoken about his long-rumored collaboration with Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, telling Guitar World magazine that fans' hopes shouldn't be dashed just yet. May said he and his good pal Iommi have spent many hours chatting and listening to riffs Iommi has written but never used. "I think there is a chance. We do more talking than anything else, but we do a lot of talking," May said. "[Iommi] is really my dearest friend in the business and has been for so many years. I could write books about Tony because he's just the most... I don't even know how to put it into words. You know, he's a luminous human being... with a wonderful, kind nature and an incredibly baffling sense of humour," added. Iommi has said the two first talked of collaborating shortly after Iommi was diagnosed with cancer in 2013. May has had his own health problems of late, revealing in late May that he suffered a "small heart-attack" and also tore a muscle while gardening and was unable to walk "for a while." Queen drummer Roger Taylor told Rolling Stone that the band's European tour was probably doomed before the coronavirus pandemic shut it down due to May's health. "We cancelled the tour and then Brian got really sick," Taylor said. "We may have had to cancel it anyway, which is the irony," he added. But Taylor added that May is "very much on the mend" and the pair are in "daily contact." Taylor also recently told the UK's Daily Express paper that a sequel to Queen's successful Bohemian Rhapsody biopic is unlikely. "I don't think it's particularly a good idea. Just because something's been successful, I don't think one should necessarily have part two," he said. Released in Nov. 2018, Bohemian Rhapsody became the highest-grossing musical biopic of all time, raking in more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office. - New Musical Express/, 7/9/20...... The Rolling StonesThe Rolling Stones announced on July 9 they're reissuing their classic 1973 No. 1 album Goats Head Soup as multiple-disc standard and deluxe CD and vinyl sets on Sept. 4 via Polydor/Interscope/UME. All rereleased packages will feature 10 bonus tracks with alternate versions, outtakes and at least three previously unreleased tracks, including "All The Rage" and "Scarlet" featuring Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page on guitar and Blind Faith's Rick Grech on bass. The first never-before-heard track from the rerelease, "Criss Cross," was shared on YouTube and other streaming services along with the music video on July 9. The box set editions will include a 15-track live album Brussels Affair from their memorable 1973 Belgium show, videos of "Dancing With Mr. D," "Silver Train" and "Angie," and an exclusive 100-page photo essay book. - Billboard, 7/9/20...... Celebrating his big 8-0 birthday online on July 7 due to social distancing, Ringo Starr took some time to note how influential Black music was to creating the Beatles' sound. "There's no greater act than any others can make than to stand up and be counted when you see injustice," he said during the livestream. "I don't have to tell you that the Beatles' early set had a lot to do with the influence we found in American artists. We loved listening to Ray Charles, Little Richard is my hero, Stevie Wonder, Sister Rosetta Tharpe -- I saw her live at the cabin --and my stepdad's favorite, Billy Eckstine. The list goes on and on," he said. The show also had a number of throwback onstage moments, including a dynamic "Helter Skelter" performance with Ringo's former bandmate Paul McCartney, who took to social media earlier in the day to wish his pal a happy birthday. "Happy birthday SIR RICHARD alias RINGO. Have a great day my long time buddy!," Sir Paul posted to Twitter. Joe Walsh, Gary Clark Jr., Sheryl Crow, Sheila E., Dave Grohl and Ben Harper also took part in the event, performing Beatles covers at home. Ringo's full "Big Birthday Show" has been shared on YouTube. Meanwhile, Ringo told Britain's Sunday Mirror paper on July 6 that the Beatles once walked away from a multi-million dollar offer to reunite for a one-off concert because the opening act was "a guy biting a shark." Starr says the Beatles were offered $62.4 million (£50 million) -- worth around $250 million (£200 million) in today's money -- back in 1976 to stage the comeback show, just six years after they parted ways, and "we called each other to see what we think." "We decided not to do it because the opening act was a guy biting a shark," referring to showman Bill Sargent's deal of an odd-warm up act which involved a man wrestling an 18-foot long Great White. "So we thought, 'No'," he said. According to Ringo, it was the only offer the band had seriously considered before John Lennon was shot and killed outside his New York home in 1980. Billboard/, 7/7/20...... Yoko OnoElsewhere on the Fab Four front, insiders say 87-year-old Yoko Ono is "slowing down" after she was last spotted in Jan. 2019 at a women's march in a wheelchair and has not been spotted in public since. In 2017, Yoko was presented with a Centennial Song Award by the National Music Publishers Association and was pushed onstage in a wheelchair by her son Sean Lennon, shocking some who didn't realize the formidable avant-garde artist was incapacitated. She began her short acceptance speech by "addressing the elephant in the room. While it's not clear what "illness" she was referring to, Ono is reportedly still ailing, and requires round-the-clock care and rarely leaves her sprawling apartment in The Dakota, a source close to her staff recently told The New York Post. Ono, who has reported assets of $700 million, recently donated $50,000 to the West Side Campaign Against Hunger, which during the coronavirus pandemic has provided thousands of meals to out-of-work and needy residents in her Upper West Side neighborhood. - The New York Post, 7/4/20...... Bruce Springsteen has made a surprise release of a live Streets of Philadelphia album recorded on Sept. 25, 1999, at Philly's First Union Center. The longtime fan favorite bootleg, featuring his classic E Street Band lineup, has never been officially available before. The 22-song show, newly mixed from multitrack masters, opens with "Incident on 57th Street" and "The Ties That Bind," and includes such favorites as "Prove it All Night," "Atlantic City," "Point Blank," "Badlands" and "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out" and encores of "Jungleland," "Born to Run," "Thunder Road" and "Land of Hope and Dreams." The album's title comes from the song Springsteen wrote for the 1993 Tom Hanks/Denzel Washington AIDS drama Philadelphia. Streets of Philadelphia can be streamed on YouTube. In May, Springsteen released a July 1981 live concert recorded at the Brendan Byrne Arena in New Jersey with proceeds earmarked for the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund. - Billboard, 7/7/20...... Elvis Costello has shared his second single of 2020, "Hetty O'Hara Confidential," along with an animated lyric video, on YouTube. The track, with similarly furious synthetic percussion to his previous single "No Flag," is described pithily by Costello in a statement as "the tale of a tattler who outlives her time." The dual singles are the first new material since Costello and his band The Imposters released a 2019 EP entitled Purse. They released their last studio album, Look Now, in 2018. - New Musical Express, 7/10/20...... Iggy Pop's classic 1977 track "The Passenger" has finally been given an official music video 43 years after its release. Pop shared the video on YouTube on July 9 and announced it on Instagram with a message: "So 'The Passenger' finally has an official video. Thank you @simontayl0r for your talent and thank you #EstherFriedman and @paulmcalpinerr for sharing images from the times of The Passenger." In the description of the video on YouTube, Pop added another thank you "for those beautifully captured shots that make this video truly encapsulate the period." Meanwhile, a live recording of the last concert performed by Pop's former band the Stooges' in its original lineup will drop on Aug. 7. - NME, 7/9/20...... The Eagles and Guns N' Roses are reportedly among the musicians who have received financial support during the COVID-19 crisis. Data released by America's Small Business Administration and Treasury Department and obtained by the publication showed the Eagles, Pearl Jam and Disturbed took out loans of between $350,000 (£280,000) and $1 million (£800,000). The loans are for the artists' touring companies, with the Eagles helping retain 50 jobs while they are unable to perform during the pandemic. -, 7/9/20...... Bob MarleyThe family of reggae legend Bob Marley have reimagined Marley's iconic song "One Love" to raise money for Unicef's coronavirus fund. Originally recorded in 1977 by Marley and his band The Wailers, the new take on "One Love" sees vocals from Marley's son Stephen, daughter Cedella and grandson Skip. The song, which has been shared on YouTube, also features a host of children living in vulnerable environments and musicians from conflict zones. All proceeds from the song will go to Reimagine, Unicef's global campaign which aims to prevent the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for children. - NME, 7/9/20...... The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced on July 9 that its 2020 induction ceremony has been cancelled due to coronavirus and will now be broadcast as an HBO special. The traditional live ceremony, originally set to take place on May 2 but was pushed back due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, and though a new date in November was announced soon afterwards, that has also now been scrapped. Instead, the ceremony will be broadcast as a pre-recorded HBO special, airing on the same planned date of Nov. 7. "To protect the health and safety of our Inductees, their families, crews and our attendees, we've made the decision that the scheduled live event is not possible, John Sykes, Chairman of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, said in a statement. Whitney Houston, The Notorious B.I.G., Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, T Rex and the Doobie Brothers are among the artists to be inducted into the RRHOF class of 2020 for its 35th annual celebration. Also the 2021 edition of the ceremony has been pushed back from spring to autumn, and take place in the organization's home base of Cleveland, Oh. - New Musical Express, 7/9/20...... KISS vocalist/guitarist Paul Stanley took to Twitter on July 8 to urge fans to wear face masks in order to help stop the spread of coronavirus as several US states have begun ordering citizens to wear face masks in public. Stanley posted a photo of himself with his daughter, Emily, and wrote: "Sunset at the beach with Emily. WEAR YOUR MASK! Don't listen to conspiracy theorists or graduates of The Internet University Of Medicine. While the credible authorities and experts continue to learn more about Covid 19 they remain in agreement about safety protocols. End of story," he wrote. Stanley's post comes after his fellow KISS bandmate Gene Simmons made similar pleas to Twitter users earlier in 2020. - NME, 7/8/20...... Elton John has become the latest artist to be honoured by Britain's Royal Mint's series of commemorative coins. Sir Elton is featured on the coin, which can be viewed on the Reuters Twitter page, in his trademark straw boater hat, a Union Jack and a pair of quaver notes. The coin is available in gold, silver and brilliant uncirculated editions, beginning July 6. "It really is a fabulous honour to be recognised in this way. The last few years have contained some of the most memorable moments of my career, and this is another truly humbling milestone on my journey," John said in a statement. Meanwhile, Elton has postponed the homecoming U.K. leg of his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The concerts were set to run from Nov. 2 to Dec. 17, 2020, but have now been pushed back until Oct. 30 through Dec. 14, 2021. "Rescheduling my concerts is never a decision taken lightly, but my priority is always the safety of all parties including my tour crew, the venue staff and of course you, my amazing fans," John said in a statement. - NME/WENN/, 7/6/20...... Chris FrantzIn a new interview with Rolling Stone, Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz said it "would be nice" if his iconic New Wave band reunited. Frantz, speaking about his new biopic Remain in Love, said he hasn't seen Talking Heads frontman David Byrne since a 2003 meeting at a restaurant on New York's Lower East Side, and wasn't invited to see Byrne's "American Utopia" stage show on Broadway, which ran across 2019. Frantz said Byrne told him that evening that he would "think about" a reunion, but three days later he received a blunt email from Byrne saying, "I will never reunite with the Talking Heads. Please don't bring this up again." Frantz admits that he would like to reunite with the band, though, saying: "It would be nice if it could happen because unlike many of our contemporaries, we're all still alive." 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. In late 2019, fans believed that a potential Talking Heads reunion was finally in the works, after the band appeared to launch an official Instagram account. The account hasn't shared a single post, and isn't verified as of yet. - New Musical Express, 7/7/20...... British photographer Fiona Adams, who took several memorable snaps of the Beatles including the iconic pic of the Fab Four jumping off a Brick Wall on London's Euston Road which adorned the cover of their 1963 "Twist and Show" UK EP, has died at the age of 84. Ms. Adams, who graduated from the Ealing College of Art and Technology in 1952, also went on to photograph some of the Sixties' other defining icons too -- including Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan. In 2009 the National Portrait Gallery featured her Sixties work, in their exhibition "Beatles to Bowie: The 60s Exposed." She was hailed as "an unsung heroine of the decade now retired and living in the Channel Islands." Her death follows that of fellow Beatles collaborator/photographer Astrid Kirchherr earlier in 2020. - NME, 7/10/20...... Legendary Italian composer Ennio Morricone, who is best known for scoring The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, has died in Rome following complications from a fall. He was 91. Mr. Morricone, who scored more than 500 films, is widely regarded as one of cinema's greatest composers and won a long-overdue Oscar for his work on Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight in 2015. He also received nominations for Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven (1978), Roland Joffe's The Mission (1986), Brian De Palma's The Untouchables (1987), Barry Levinson's Bugsy (1991) and Giuseppe Tornatore's Malena (2000). But it was Mr. Morricone's collaboration with director Sergio Leone on the "Dollars" spaghetti Western trilogy featuring Clint Eastwood that arguably spawned his best known work -- the iconic theme to The Good, The Bad & The Ugly. Affectionally known as "The Maestro," Mr. Morricone was handed an honorary Oscar by astwood in 2007, with the Academy hailing his "magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music." - New Musical Express, 7/6/20.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Charlie DanielsSouthern rock/country music legend Charlie Daniels, who worked his way up to platinum album sales through heavy touring with an eclectic repertoire that touched on several genres including boogie, bluegrass, country, blues, hard rock and even a bit of Tex-Mex, died at a hospital in Hermitage, Tenn., on the morning of July 6 from hemorrhagic stroke, his publicist confirmed. He was 83. Born on Oct. 28, 1936, in Wilmington, NC, Daniels was the son of a lumberman and began his professional career at 21 when he formed the Jaguars. From the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, he played in Southern bars and roadhouses, and in 1964 he co-penned "It Hurts Me" with friend Bob Johnston, a B-side for Elvis Presley on his double-sided Top 30 hit "Kissin' Cousins." In 1967, he disbanded the Jaguars and settled in Nashville , where he became an in demand studio musician playing guitar, fiddle, bass, and banjo on albums for such major rock acts as Bob Dylan (on his Nashville Skyline album), Ringo Starr (on Beaucoups of Blues), Leonard Cohen and Pete Seeger, also contributing to numerous country sessions. He wrote songs that were recorded by the likes of Tammy Wynette, Gary Stewart and others, and also worked as a producer, most notably on four albums by the Youngbloods. After an eponymous debut LP for Capitol Records in 1970, he switched to Kama Sutra for another solo effort, Te John, Grease, and Wolfman. In 1971, he formed the Charlie Daniels Band, modeled after the Allman Brothers Band with its two drummers and twin lead guitars. In 1972, the CDB's LP Honey in the Rock featured the talking-bluegrass novelty hit "Uneasy Rider," which became a Top 10 hit in 1973. The band built a loyal following in the South and West by touring relentlessly, playing nearly 200 shows a year. In 1973, his Fire on the Mountain album featured the rollicking "Trudy" and made him a national star, and 1975's Nightrider included the rebel rouser "The South's Gonna Do It Again," a Top 30 hit. In 1974, he began his annual Volunteer Jam concerts in Nashville, several of which were recorded for live albums from 1976 through 1981. Signing with Epic Records in 1975 for a reported $3 million, Daniels recorded Saddle Tramp and added three new members to his band. In 1976, he performed benefits for presidential candidate Jimmy Carter, and later performed at Pres. Carter's inauguration. Charlie DanielsIn 1979, he scored a multi-million selling breakthrough with Million Mile Reflections, which yieled his No. 3 hit, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" and earned him a Grammy for Best Country Vocal. The increasing political edge of his music was demonstrated with the 1980 No. 11 hit "In America," and in 1982 his version of Dan Daley's "Still in Saigon" concerned the traumas of a Vietnam vet. In 1993, he switched to Liberty Nashville Records, with another patriotic anthem in the title cut of America, I Believe in You. In 1994, he recorded his first gospel LP for Sparrow Records, The Door, which featured a songwriting collaboration between himself and Steven Curtis Chapman. Although his edgy, early music which celebrated pot smoking and poking fun at rednecks raised eyebrows in Nashville, he softened some verses in the 1990s and in 2008 joined the epitome of Nashville's music establishment, the Grand Ole Opry, and eight years later was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Daniels had suffered what was described as a mild stroke in Jan. 2010 and had a heart pacemaker implanted in 2013 but continued to perform. In 2017 he published his memoir, Never Look at the Empty Seats, and followed up in 2018 with Let's All Make the Day Count: The Everyday Wisdom of Charlie Daniels. In March, despite the coronavirus pandemic putting many events on hold, Daniels confirmed the lineup for a 2020 Volunteer Jam concert on Sept. 15, naming performers such as Trace Adkins, Justin Moore, The Marshall Tucker Band and Charley Pride, among others. Accolades to Daniels on Twitter from several country acts include Brad Paisley, who posted "A tale of hard work, musical discovery, and faith, Charlie Daniels's journey has been one of a kind. Equal parts rebel rouser and apostle, it's no small coincidence he launched his career by beating the Devil with a fiddle in hand. I love this man, the things he stands for, and his music. What a story." Daniels is survived by his wife Hazel, who he married in 1964, and son Charlie Jr. - Billboard/The Daily Mail UK/Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock, 7/6/20.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

As the US turned 244 years old on July 4 but remains under quarantine advisory during the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, '70s artists including Pattie LaBelle, John Fogerty, The Temptations, Don McLean, Barry Manilow and Kenny Loggins gave virtual performances during prime time specials on that evening. LaBelle, standing next to the storied Liberty Bell at Philadelphia's Independence National Historical Park, delivered a powerful rendition of the Wizard of Oz classic "Over the Rainbow" during PBS' A Capitol Fourth special, while The Temptations performed such classics as "My Girl" live in the studio, and later Fogerty, backed by his sons and daughter, performed "Centerfield" and "Proud Mary" direct from their home. Meanwhile, CNN's patriotic special The Forth in America featured performances by the likes of McLean, who performed his 1972 classic "American Pie," Manilow and Loggins. - Billboard, 7/5/20...... The EaglesThe cable sports network ESPN has announced it will air the Eagles' "Live From The Forum MMXVIII" concert on July 5 at 8:00 p.m. EDT. Joined by special guest artists Vince Gill and late Eagles member Glenn Frey's son Deacon Frey, the L.A.-based rockers performed 26 songs at The Forum on Sept. 12, 14 and 15, 2018. Each of those nights that have now been compiled into a Live From The Forum MMXVIII live album and concert film, which are currently available for pre-order on the Eagles' official website and in conjunction with the ESPN broadcast. The concert, featuring the iconic hits "Hotel California," "Take It Easy," "Life In The Fast Lane," and "Desperado," will be available on Oct. 16 through Rhino in various audio and video formats, such as Blu-ray, CD, vinyl and streaming. - Billboard, 7/1/20...... Neil Young has slammed US Pres. Donald Trump for the president's use of Young's classic numbers "Rockin' in the Free World" and "Like a Hurricane" during Trump's Independence Day celebration at the foot of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota on July 3. "This is NOT ok with me...," Young wrote in response to a video of "Rockin' in the Free World" playing in the background at the event. The 74-year-old Canadian born rocker, who became an American citizen earlier in 2020, also responded to a second clip showing "Like a Hurricane" playing, writing, "I stand in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux & this is NOT ok with me." Young has been battling with Trump over the use of "Rockin' in the Free World" for the past five years. Trump, whose campaign purchased a license for the song, first played "Rockin' in the Free World" after announcing his plans to run for president in 2015. In other Neil Young news, the artist has brought back his Fireside Sessions series for a sixth episode, sharing a deeply political new episode. In a video posted on his Neil Young Archives site, Young shared a number of protest songs from across his career, as well as a cover of Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'." During the set, Young performed his Harvest track "Alabama," before sharing a version of his own track "Lookin' For A Leader," editing the lyrics to criticize the President and his reaction to the recent Black Lives Matter protests. "Yeah, we had Barack Obama, and we really need him now," he sung. "The man who stood behind him has to take his place somehow/ America has a leader building walls around our house/ Who don't know Black lives matter, and it's time to vote him out." Neil Young released Homegrown, his long-anticipated "lost album from the mid-1970s, in June. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 7/4/20...... Elton John launched a weekly archival concert series called the "Classic Concert Series," featuring a different archival concert of his every week, on July 3. The series premiered exclusively on the superstar's YouTube channel, kicking off with a Sept. 1976 performance of "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting" at Edinburgh's Playhouse Theatre. The performance has been shared on YouTube as a teaser to the series. Following the July 3 premiere, new archival footage will be shared on the channel every Saturday for six weeks. The series was created in order to raise funds for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, in support of Covid-19 relief efforts. "My Foundation's COVID-19 Emergency Fund helps frontline partners prepare for and respond to the pandemic and its effects on HIV prevention and care for the most marginalized communities," Elton said in a statement. "We cannot jeopardize HIV testing and care during this time or else the results could be disastrous for the 37.5 million people living with HIV. So, I'm really happy to connect this YouTube Concert series to benefit our Foundation's urgent COVID response," he added. - New Musical Express, 7/2/20...... Peter FramptonIn related news, Peter Frampton has launched a new coronavirus-themed T-shirt on his merch store which plays on the title of his classic 1976 live double-album Frampton Comes Alive!. "I'm helping raise money for Second Harvest Food Bank with this fun tee! Available at - link in stories," Frampton posted on his Instagram feed. The new T-shirt displays a doctored version of the live album's original artwork -- now showing the guitarist wearing a blue face mask -- and bears the words "Frampton Stays Inside!." On the back of the shirt the words "Shelter In Place House Tour 2020" are printed in the style of a normal tour t-shirt, with a monthly schedule of rooms to visit in the home -- February: Living Room, March: Kitchen, April: Laundry Room, May: Backyard -- also included. The rocker was forced to cancel a tour in his native UK and Europe in May due to the coronavirus pandemic. - New Musical Express, 7/1/20...... Willie Nelson presented a virtual edition of his annual "Fourth of July Picnic" on July 4 via his website, and on The nearly 50-year-old event, in addition to Willie's set, featured performances by Sheryl Crow, Ziggy Marley, Steve Earle and Nelson's fellow Texas-based singers Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen and Kinky Friedman, from Nelson's Luck Ranch in Spicewood, northwest of Austin, Tex. Meanwhile, the 87-year-old music legend released his 70th album, First Rose of Spring, on July 3. - AP,...... Cher has voiced her support for the U.K.'s live music scene amid calls for the British government to offer financial assistance to industry workers amid the Covid-19 crisis. Cher took to Twitter on July 2 to support the U.K.'s #LetTheMusicPlay campaign, with her warning that the future is "bleak" for hundreds of thousands of workers in the sector, which remains on shutdown during the pandemic. Cher named several British acts, including The Beatles, Elton John, David Bowie and George Michael as some of her favourite musicians, adding her late partner Sonny [Bono] and my career couldn't have happened without UK's Live Music Industry... When no one 'got us' England did." Cher is among more than 1,500 artists, including Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Coldplay and Liam Gallagher, who haves signed a joint letter to U.K. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden calling on the British government to offer financial assistance to industry workers amid the Covid-19 crisis. -, 7/2/20...... Ringo StarrRingo Starr has big plans to celebrate his milestone 80th birthday on July 7 with an "all-Starr" broadcast benefit called "Ringo's Big Birthday Show." This year Starr, who traditionally spreads peace and love outside of Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood, Calif. for his birthday, has recruited his fellow surviving Beatles member Paul McCartney along with his All-Starr Band guitarist Joe Walsh, Gary Clark Jr., Sheryl Crow, Sheila E. and Ben Harper for at-home livestream performances, as well as never-before-seen concert footage. Proceeds raised during "Ringo's Big Birthday Show" will benefit the Black Lives Matter Global Network, the David Lynch Foundation, MusiCares and WaterAid. "As everyone knows I love gathering with fans for peace and love on my birthday," Ringo said in a press release. "But this year, I want everyone to be safe at home -- so I called up a few friends and we put this Big Birthday Show together so we could still celebrate my birthday with you all, with some great music for some great charities. I hope you will all join me! Peace and Love, Ringo." The bash will also premiere a guest star version of Starr's "Give More Love" featuring Willie Nelson, Jeff Bridges, Jackson Browne, T Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Peter Frampton, Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald. "Ringo's Big Birthday Show" will air on his YouTube channel at 8:00 p.m. EDT on July 7. An update on the event has been shared on YouTube. - Billboard, 6/30/20...... Bob Dylan has bowed atop Billboard's Top Rock Albums chart for the week of July 4 with his latest album, Rough and Rowdy Ways. The LP moved 53,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending June 25, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Neil Young's Homegrown has also moved to the No. 3 spot on the same chart, selling 26,000 units. - Billboard, 6/30/20...... In a new interview with BBC Radio 6 Music, Queen drummer Roger Taylor said that his band would still be making music today if Queen frontman Freddie Mercury was still alive. "I do believe that. Me and Freddie -- he was my closest friend and we were very, very close. We came up together and we literally lived in each other's pockets and clothes some of the time! I do believe we would still being doing stuff together because it was a great collaboration. I don't know if [Queen bassist] John Deacon would allow -- of course John wasn't quite mentally suited for it, the other three were," he said, adding "I would like to think we were still doing stuff together, whatever it might be. I think [Queen guitarist] Brian May and I with Adam Lambert, we just loved doing the show, just seemed to get better and better, while we still can do it, we still will do it." - NME, 7/1/20...... David GilmourPink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour released "Yes, I Have Ghosts," his first new song in five years, on YouTube on July 3. On the gentle, acoustic number with flourishes of strings, Gilmour sings, "Yes, I have ghosts, not all of them dead/ Making dust of my dreams, spinning round and around, around in my head." "Yes, I Have Ghosts" accompanies the release of Gilmour's wife Holly Samson's audiobook for her coming-of-age novel A Theatre for Dreamers, and features their daughter Romany on vocals. "I am surprised more musicians have not creatively collaborated with authors, narrators and audiobook producers in this way before," Gilmour said in a statement. "The two worlds seem to seamlessly link, and music can really help to bring audiobooks to life in unexpected new ways," he added. "Yes, I Have Ghosts" is Gilmour's first new music since his No. 1 UK and No. 5 UK LP, Rattle that Lock, in 2015. - Billboard, 7/3/20...... Late Americana singer/songwriter John Prine has been named as Illinois' first honorary poet laureate, following his death from coronavirus earlier this year. Announcing the unprecedented honour, on his Twitter account on June 30, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said: "John Prine leaves behind an unparalleled musical legacy and was beloved by family and millions of fans who hope that in Heaven he finds Paradise waitin' just as he longed for." Prine's widow, Fiona Whelan Prine, posted a response to the honor: "It is such an honor for me, our sons, and the entire Prine family to acknowledge that our beloved John will be named an Honorary Poet Laureate of the State of Illinois. Thank you, Gov. Pritzker, for this wonderful recognition." - NME, 7/1/20...... It has been confirmed that late The Pointer Sisters singer Bonnie Pointer died from going into cardiac arrest after her death certificate was made public on July 3. Bonnie Pointer, who co-founded the family group with younger sisters June in 1969, died on June 8 and, in papers obtained by, it's been confirmed she died of a heart attack. The document also indicates that the singer had been suffering from liver disease for about a decade prior to her passing, as well as cirrhosis of the liver. Bonnie left the group in the mid-1970s to pursue a successful solo career with hits like "Heaven Must Have Sent You." She released three albums as a Motown Records artist and found love at the label, marrying executive Jeffrey Bowen. Bonnie is the second Pointer sister to pass away -- June Pointer lost her battle with cancer in 2006. - WENN/, 7/5/20...... Filmmaker/actor Rob Reiner led tributes to his comedy icon father Carl Reiner after the elder Reiner passed away on June 29 from natural causes at the age of 98. "Last night my dad passed away," Rob posted on Twitter on June 30. "As I write this my heart is hurting. He was my guiding light." Rob's tweet came as a host of well-wishes from the likes of Dick Van Dyke, Bette Midler, Alan Alda, George Clooney, William Shatner, John Cusack, Mia Farrow and Sarah Silverman also paid tribute to Carl. - WENN/, 7/1/20...... Hugh DownsVeteran Emmy-winning TV personality Hugh Downs, whose career stretched back to the birth of television, died at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, on July 1. He was 99. Mr. Downs' long TV run encompassed both news and entertainment. He hosted NBC's Today show from 1962 to 1971, was late-night host Jack Paar's longtime announcer/sidekick on The Tonight Show, appeared in dozens of commercials and even hosted the daytime quiz show Concentration for over a decade. Mr. Downs was perhaps best known as the co-host of ABCs newsmagazine 20/20, teaming with Barbara Walters, with whom he'd worked at Today. They also co-hosted the short-lived syndicated daytime show Not for Women Only. Mr. Downs began his TV career in 1950 as an announcer for the NBC soap Hawkins Falls and never seemed to stop until he retired in 1999. In 1985, Mr. Downs was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as holding the record for the most hours on network commercial television (over 15,000) -- a record that stood until it was broken by Regis Philbin in 2004. His wife, Ruth Shaheen Downs, died in 2017 at the age of 95. They were married for 73 years. Mr. Downs is survived by his daughter, Deirdre; his son, Hugh R. "H.R." Downs; two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. - The New York Post, 7/2/20.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

After the US Supreme Court struck down a new abortion law in Louisiana on June 29 that banned doctors from performing the procedure unless they had admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, several female stars including Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler reacted on Twitter about the ruling. Streisand referred to the confirmation hearing of the newest justice, Brett Kavanaugh, who told Maine Sen. Susan Collins that he would respect a woman's right to choose, however Kavanaugh cast a dissenting vote on the latest ruling. "Senator Collins that he would respect precedence about a woman's right to choose. He was lying," Streisand wrote. The decision to strike down the Louisana law came after Chief Justice John Roberts sided with liberal justices in the final vote. - Billboard, 6/29/20...... Willie Nelson was among the entertainers participating in a virtual fundraiser for Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden on June 29. Nelson, 87, posted about the event on his Instagram the previous day, tagging #TeamJoe to show his support for the former vice-president in his race against Pres. Donald Trump in November's election. - Billboard, 6/29/20...... Renate BlauelElton JohnElton John's ex-wife Renate Blauel has announced she is seeking an injunction against her former husband after he mentioned her during several sections of his 2018 autobiography Me. It is thought that Blauel and John had agreed on what would be detailed in Me after she reminded him of a non-disclosure agreement signed by the pair after their split in 1988 and their lawyers had reportedly came to an agreement, but now Blauel is now seeking a High Court ruling against the singer in the UK. In Me, Elton wrote that "I'd broken the heart of someone I loved and who loved me unconditionally, someone I couldn't fault in any way. Despite all the pain, there was no acrimony involved at all.... For years afterwards, whenever something happened to me, the press would turn up on her doorstep, looking for her to dish the dirt, and she never, ever has." Blauel's lawyer says his client hopes her current legal action against the pop star can be resolved "amicably." Meanwhile, John has recently participated in a "Project Angel Food" COVID-19 fundraiser in Los Angeles with the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Annie Lennox, CeeLo Green, Billy Idol and others which raised more than $700,000 for the charity. Elton and his husband David Furnish also provided a fundraising message in which they said, "We have always worked to make sure the most vulnerable people in the world are protected and cared for with love and compassion... We have supported Project Angel Food through the (Elton John AIDS) foundation before, and we are proud to support Lead With Love. For those watching from home, Project Angel Food needs your help urgently to keep doing what they do: serve others." Project Angel Food was first launched in 1989 in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and is continuing to serve medically-tailored meals to those with life-threatening illnesses who are shielding during the COVID-19 pandemic. - New Musical Express/, 6/26/20...... The family of Tom Petty shared a previously unreleased home recording of Petty's song "You Don't Know How it Feels" from his 1994 solo album Wildflowers YouTube on June 26. Discovered by one of Petty's daughters as she was going through his archives, the song has slightly different lyrics from the released version, according to a post on Petty's Instagram account. "It shows an insight to Tom's writing process and introduces a line from another favorite Wildflowers track 'Crawling Back To You' stating, 'most things I worry about never happen anyway'," the post reads. "You Don't Know How It Feels," well known for the lyric "Let's get to the point, and let's roll another joint," reached No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, and served as the final Top 40 hit of the deceased rocker's illustrious career. - Billboard, 6/29/20...... With his new release Rough and Rowdy Ways, Bob Dylan has become the first artist with a Top 40 album in every decade since the 1960s on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart. Debuting at No. 2 with 53,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending June 25, Rough and Rowdy Ways is Dylan's highest charting album in the US in over a decade, and makes the rock legend the first act to have achieved at least one new top 40-charting album in every decade from the 1960s through the 2020s. Dylan's 2009 LP, Together Through Life, debuted and peaked at No. 1 on the chart for the week of May 16, 2009. It is also Dylan's 23rd Top 10 album and 50th Top 40 set. - Billboard, 6/28/20...... Dion DiMucciDion Dimucci, a rock & roll pioneer known for such classics as "The Wanderer" and "Runaround Sue," dropped a new solo album, Blues With Friends, on June 5. The album, which features contributions from such stars as Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Van Morrison, Billy Gibbons and Brian Setzer on its 14 original tracks, has debuted atop Billboard's Blues Albums chart, and one of the tracks, "Song for Sam Cooke (Here in America)," has can be streamed on YouTube. DiMucci says that Bruce Springsteen's wife Patti Scialfa arranged the track "Hymn to Him." "She has that soul voice," DiMucci says. "I thought, 'Man, if she does some harmonies with me on this, this is going to be dynamite.' She said, 'Let me try something' and started stacking vocals on it and she captured the sound like the mesmerizing holy spirit. Bruce came into the room and wanted to play a solo and he comes in with his gravitas guitar solo." DiMucci, 80, says he's currently quarantining on a lake in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with "kids roller-skating with their scooters and their bicycles," and that he's in good health. "I am, yes, thank God. One day at a time. I'm doing the deal, you know, like everybody," he says. - Billboard, 6/25/20...... One week after the family of Tom Petty filed a cease and desist notice to Pres. Donald Trump's campaign after one of his songs was played at a Trump campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla., on June 20, the Rolling Stones have announced they are "taking further steps" to prevent the President from playing their music at his rallies after their 1969 Let It Bleed track "You Can't Always Get What You Want" was also played at the same rally. In a press release on June 27, a rep from the Stones' legal team said it is working with performing rights organization BMI, who notified the president's campaign that the use of their songs is unauthorized and would "constitute a breach of its licensing agreement." Further use "would face a lawsuit for breaking the embargo and playing music that has not been licensed." "This could be the last time Trump uses any Jagger/Richards songs on his campaigns," the statement read. The band has objected to Trump's use of their music since he made use of several of their songs beginning with his 2016 presidental campaign. - Billboard, 6/27/20...... The first episode of a new Lockumentary series by Queen + Adam Lambert was shared on YouTube on June 26. In the five-minute clip, we learn that Queen's crew celebrates Hawaiian Shirt Fridays and can watch soundchecks by Queen's roadies for concerts in Australia, South Korea and Japan. "Every time I'm on tour with Queen I really enjoy it - it's a fun tour to do. They are such lovely people and we have an amazing crew and we are surrounded by a lot of nice people," stage manager Andy Bews says in the clip. "It's a really well-oiled machine. It's a good thing to be a part of." - Billboard, 6/26/20...... Sammy HagarOn June 26, Sammy Hagar took to Facebook to clarify what he meant by the controversial "we all gotta die" coronavirus comments he made in a recent Rolling Stone interview. Hagar, 72, made headlines after speaking to the publication about how he'd feel touring during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which he said: "I'd rather personally get sick and even die, if that's what it takes... There may be a time where we have to sacrifice. I mean, how many people die on the Earth every day? I have no idea. I'm sorry to say it, but we all gotta die, man." Now, "the Red Rocker" has set the record straight on his Facebook page: "I did that interview May 8th when we were already several weeks into the stay-at-home, which my family and I took very seriously, and things were starting to look up, the curve was beginning flattening. So when I was asked if I'd be comfortable enough to get back on stage before a vaccine was out, I was cautiously optimistic. I said, 'Yeah, not too soon. I want to make sure it's not escalating. When it's declining and seems to be going away. Big picture, it's about getting back to work in a safe and responsible way and getting this economy rolling again. I will do my part. I stand by that. I employ 200 people directly and when we tour even more. Like everything today, it's a watch and see over the next few months but we remain cautiously optimistic that with the right improvements and safety measures in place, we might be able to play shows this year. That said, as things change, for the better or worse, we will appropriately adjust our plans." - WENN/, 6/26/20...... On June 26, it was announced that a new live album recorded by David Bowie in 1995 in Dallas, Tex., Ouvrez Le Chien (Live Dallas 95), will be released in July. "Ouvrez Le Chien" -- French for "open the dog" -- was recorded during a performance at the Starplex Amphitheatre in Dallas, Tex., on Oct. 13, 1995. The show was part of Bowie's Outside tour with Nine Inch Nails in support. Ahead of the album's release, "Teenage Wildlife (Live Dallas 95)" from the album has been made available for streaming on - NME, 6/26/20...... The legendary British blues rock band Savoy Brown has announced it will release Ain't Done Yet, a followup to its 2019 album City Night, on Aug. 28 via Quarto Valley Records. "The new album continues the approach I've been taking with the band this past decade," says founding member and guitarist/singer/songwriter Kim Simmonds, who formed the band in 1965 in London, England, and is one of the longest running blues rock bands in existence. "The big difference with the new album is the multi-layer approach I took to recording the guitar parts. It's all blues-based rock music. I try to find new and progressive ways to write and play the music I've loved since I was a young teenager," he adds. Savoy Brown helped spawn the 1968 UK blues rock boom and through the year has headlined concerts at many prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, the Fillmore East, the Fillmore West, and London's prestigious Royal Albert Hall. - Noble PR, 6/29/20...... Benny MardonesRock and soul singer/songwriter Benny Mardones, best known for the 1980s hit "Into the Night", died at his home in Menfee, Calif., on June 29 after a long struggle with Parkinson's disease. He was 73. Born in Cleveland, Oh., Mardones was in the Navy during the Vietnam War and following his discharge became a staff writer for stars like Brenda Lee and Tommy James. Various other credits followed, and in the late '70s Mardones also became a performing artist, opening for folk-rocker Richie Havens on tour in 1977 and releasing his debut album, Thank God For Girls, the year after. Despite contributions from David Bowie sideman Mick Ronson and production from Rolling Stones go-to collaborator Andrew Loog Oldham, the album failed to produce a hit. But Mardones' next effort, 1980's Never Run, Never Hide, spawned what would quickly become his signature song: the mega-ballad "Into the Night." Co-penned with Robert Tepper (later a hitmaker on his own with the Rocky IV anthem "No Easy Way Out"), "Into the Night" was a soaring love song with an absolute wallop of a chorus. Though the opening lines ("She's just 16 years old/ 'Leave her alone,' they said") made many listeners uncomfortable coming from the then-33-year-old Mardones, he would later explain the song was inspired by his platonic relationship with a teenage neighbor of his whose father had left her. (The first line was supposedly meant as a rejoinder to his co-writer, who got a little leery when meeting her for the first time.) Elevated by Mardones' powerhouse vocal performance, "Into the Night" peaked at No. 11 on the pop chart in Sept. of 1980. But issues with his record label Polydor and with his own substance abuse took their toll on the singer-songwriter, who had largely washed out of the music industry within a couple years. In 1989, Mardones re-recorded a version of "Into the Night," influential L.A. radio personality Scott Shannon, put the song back into rotation, and the song became a hit again, reaching No. 20 and becoming one of just a handful of songs in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 to have two separate top 20 runs. In the early '00s, Mardones scored three Top 30 hits, and in 2000 he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. He still performed regularly until the mid-'10s, when his condition started to become more unmanageable, and in 2017, he announced that a performance of "Into the Night" at a New York nightclub would be his final time performing the song. He is survived by his wife Jane, as well as his son Michael and sister Louise. - Billboard, 6/29/20...... Milton GlaserMilton Glaser, the groundbreaking graphic designer famous for designing the "I Love NY" logo, the "psychedelic hair" poster of Bob Dylan included in one of Dylan's greatest hits albums, and numerous other posters, logos, advertisements and book covers, died on June 26, his 91st birthday, of a stroke and renal failure. The bold "I (HEART) NY" logo -- cleverly using typewriter-style letters as the typeface -- was dreamed up as part of an ad campaign begun in 1977 to boost the state's image when crime and budget troubles dominated the headlines. Mr. Glaser did the design free of charge. Nearly a quarter-century later, just days after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, he revised it, adding a dark scar to the red heart and "more than ever" to the message. His 1966 illustration of Bob Dylan, his face a simple black silhouette but his hair sprouting in a riot of colors in curvilinear fashion, put in graphic form the 1960s philosophy that letting your hair fly free was a way to free your mind. (For him, though, it wasn't a drug-inspired image: He said he borrowed from Marcel Duchamp and Islamic art.) The poster was inserted in Dylan's Greatest Hits album, and made its way into the hands of millions of fans. "It was a new use of the poster -- a giveaway that was supposed to encourage people to buy the album," Mr. Glaser told The New York Times in 2001. "Then it took on a life of its own, showing up in films, magazines, whatever. It did not die, as such forms of ephemera usually do." Mr. Glaser was born in 1929 in the Bronx and studied at New York's Cooper Union art school and in Italy. In 1954, he co-founded the innovative graphic design firm Push Pin Studios with Seymour Chwast and others. He stayed with it 20 years before founding his own firm. The Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum awarded Mr. Glaser a lifetime achievement award in 2004. In 2009, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. Mr. Glaser's pictorial sense was so profound, and his designs so influential, that his works in later years were preserved by collectors and studied as fine art. "I just like to do everything, and I was always interested in seeing how far I could go in stretching the boundaries," he once said. He is survived by his wife, Shirley Glaser. - AP, 6/28/20...... Carl ReinerCarl Reiner an American comedy legend who came on the scene as a writer for television pioneer Sid Caesar, partner of Mel Brooks, and creator and co-star of the classic sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show, died at age 98 of natural causes on June 29 at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. Mr. Reiner's career spanned seven decades and every medium from theater and recordings to television and movies, including directing Oh, God!, three collaborations with Steve Martin and a role as an elderly con man in the revived Ocean's Eleven series. Mr. Reiner was still taking voice roles in his 90s and had a key role in If You're Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast, a documentary about people who keep busy into their 90s. Encouraged by his wife to develop a TV show as his own, Mr. Reiner began work on a sitcom pilot loosely based on his experiences with the Caesar shows, titled Head of the Family, casting himself as a TV writer with a wife and two kids. After network executives were unhappy with Reiner as the lead character, CBS ultimately picked up the series in 1961, after it was recast with Dick Van Dyke and retitled for its new star, The Dick Van Dyke Show. Mr. Reiner, who earned several Emmys writing and producing the hit series, played the recurring role of Petrie's boss, the temperamental variety show host Alan Brady. Besides helping transform its creator and star into household names, The Dick Van Dyke Show launched the career of Mary Tyler Moore, who played Rob Petrie's wife. The series, considered a TV sitcom classic, ended its run in 1966. A reprisal of his Alan Brady role three decades later, for a guest spot on the 1990s sitcom Mad About You, earned Reiner yet another Emmy. Starting in 2001, Mr. Reiner made a big-screen comeback playing elder con artist Saul Bloom in the Oceans Eleven movie series. Mr. Reiner continued to make guest appearances on various shows such as Two and a Half Men and Hot in Cleveland well into his 90s, as well as keeping up a busy Twitter account. A 9-time Emmy winner, he was also the author of four volumes of memoirs, including I Just Remembered, in 2014, as well as children's books. Mr. Reiner is survived by three children, including Rob Reiner, director of several hit movies and known for playing Archie Bunker's son-in-law "Meathead" in the hit TV comedy All in the Family. Mr. Reiner's wife of 64 years, Estelle, died in 2008. - Reuters, 6/30/20.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Late singer/songwriter John Prine has scored his first No. 1 song on a Billboard chart as "I Remember Everything" debuted on the top spot on the Rock Digital Song Sales tally for the week ending June 27. After being released on June 11, "I Remember Everything" moved 4,000 downloads, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Co-written by Prine and Pat McLaughlin, the song was the last recording done by Prine (in his living room) and tops Prine's prior best chart appearance, "In Spite of Ourselves" which went to No. 2 on the same chart for the week of Apr. 18. Prine died on Apr. 7 at age 73 of complications from COVID-19. - Billboard, 6/25/20...... Bob Dylan's latest album Rough and Rowdy Ways has become the legendary musician's ninth No. 1 on the UK's Official Album Chart. Dylan's 39th studio album, Rough and Rowdy Ways outsold the rest of the Top 5 UK albums combined, and is his landmark 40th UK Top 10 album in a chart history spanning 56 years. -, 6/22/20...... Stevie WonderIn a new post on social media on June 23, Stevie Wonder opened up about systemic racism and the failings of Pres. Donald Trump. "This past Friday many of us celebrated Juneteenth," Wonder said about America's national holiday to celebrate the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the US. "I did. And yet, so many others didn't and haven't. As a matter of fact, there are three states that still do not recognize it: North Dakota, South Dakota, and Hawaii. How did it feel to celebrate freedom that we're still fighting for? It felt, and feels, too familiar." After noting that it took 18 years to declare Martin Luther King Jr. Day a holiday, Wonder quoted lyrics from his track "Visions' ("I'm not one who makes believe/I know that leaves are green ) to explain how change can come about. "If life can have an ending, all things can have an ending. Systemic racism can have an ending. Police brutality can have an ending," said Wonder. He also urged Americans to vote for the right candidate in the upcoming Presidential primaries if Trump is stand a chance of defeat at the ballot box come November. "I've heard the person in the highest place of this nation say there are fine people on both sides. That sounds noncommittal to me," Wonder noted. - New Musical Express, 6/24/20...... Surfaces, a rising pop duo, has unveiled a new collaboration with Elton John titled "Learn to Fly" on YouTube. In the upbeat single, recorded in quarantine and produced via Zoom, Surfaces and Elton share an optimistic message in the midst of the havoc wreaked on the world by the global pandemic. "All the broken people, put your hands up high/ If you lift them up, you might just touch the sky/ All the lonely people, put your hands up high/ If you loosen up, you might just learn to fly/ Learn to fly," Surfaces vocalists Forrest Frank and Colin Padalecki croon on the track's sunny chorus over piano by John, who also jumps in on the second verse. "Working with Elton felt like the idea of winning a Grammy," the two said in a statement. "He was so passionate and driven and we couldn't have wished for a more effortless collaboration. We hope this song will spread love in a time when the world could really use some and inspire people to open up their hearts," they added. - Billboard, 6/25/20...... Mick Jagger has paid tribute to movie producer Steve Bing on social media after Bing jumped to his death from a Century City apartment building on June 22. "It's so sad to hear of Steve Bing's passing. He was such a kind and generous friend and supported so many good and just causes. I will miss him very much," Jagger posted. The 55-year-old Bing, a producer, philanthropist and screenwriter, helped finance the Martin Scorcese-directed 2008 Rolling Stones concert film Shine a Light and was reportedly suffering from depression amid a lack of human contact during the coronavirus lockdown. Jagger's Rolling Stones bandmate, Ronnie Wood, and his wife Sally, also paid their respects to Bing on Instagram, posting a photo of the couple's twins with Bing. -, 6/24/20...... Roger WatersFormer Pink Floyd member Roger Waters has recorded a socially distanced take on Pink Floyd's "Two Suns in the Sunset," the closing track from the band's 1983 album The Final Cut, and posted the clip on YouTube. Before the performance, the black-and-white-video kicked off with a message: "We're at one hundred seconds to midnight on the doomsday clock. This is the the closest the Human Race has ever been to nuclear catastrophe." Waters continued: "I had an idea to make an album of all the songs we did as encores on the 'US and Them' tour. We did 'Mother' first. Had to do it remotely because of Covid 19. 'Two Suns in The Sunset is #2. Hope you like it. I love it," Waters added in the caption. As a footnote, he added, "PS. That we allow Nuclear Weapons to exist in a world controlled by deranged sociopaths is, in itself, a deranged arrangement. We are many they are few. We could just say no, to the whole MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) insanity. It makes zero sense and is potentially omnicidal." Meanwhile, Waters has been accused of anti-semitism due to recent comments he made about Jewish billionaire Sheldon Adelson while speaking with the Middle East Media Research Institute. During the interview, Waters called Adelson "the puppet master pulling the strings of Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, and what's his name... the Ambassador [to Israel]. "And Sheldon Adelson is a right-wing fascist racist bigot who doesn't understand the first thing about the idea that human beings might have rights. Sheldon Adelson believes that only Jews -- only Jewish people -- are completely human. That they are attached in some way." Continuing the rant, Waters said: "He is crazy. This is a crazy, crazy, crazy guy. Unfortunately. This crazy, crazy, crazy guy is also incredibly rich and has the tiny little -- I nearly said the P-word that is used to describe the male genitals -- prick of Donald Trump in his pocket." Elsewhere in the interview, Waters claimed that Israel should be held indirectly responsible for the recent death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minnesota last month, a killing that has sparked worldwide Black Lives Matter and anti-racism protests. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 6/25/20...... In a new interview with The Atlantic magazine, Bruce Springsteen said US Pres. Donald Trump is a "threat to our democracy" and painted a dire picture of what he feels could happen to the US if Pres. Trump gets re-elected in November. "I don't think anybody truly knows where we're going from here yet," Springsteen said in response to a question about whether he's feeling optimistic or pessimistic about the protests that have been going on for the past three weeks in the wake of George Floyd's killing at the hands of the Minneapolis police. "It depends on too many unknowns. We don't know where the COVID virus is going to take us. We don't know where Black Lives Matter is going to take us right now. Do we get a real practical conversation going about race and policing and ultimately about the economic inequality that's been a stain on our social contract?," he added. Asked about how he feels about the job the president is doing in the wake of the racial justice and COVID-19 outbreak, The Boss said: "I believe that our current president is a threat to our democracy. He simply makes any kind of reform that much harder. I don't know if our democracy could stand another four years of his custodianship. These are all existential threats to our democracy and our American way of life." The interview is accompanied by Springsteen's "Playlist for the Trump Era," which includes such landmark songs of protest and uplift as Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit," Patti Smith's "People Have the Power" and his own "That's What Makes Us Great." It can be streamed on - Billboard, 6/24/20...... Tom PettyThe family of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Tom Petty filed a cease and desist notice to Pres. Donald Trump's campaign after one of his songs, "I Won't Back Down," was played at the President's campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla., on June 20. In a statement issued on social media shortly after the rally, Petty's estate and rights holders -- daughters Adria and Annakim, ex-wife Jane, and widow Dana, issued a joint statement saying that Trump "was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind." The Petty family also expained that Pres. Trump's beliefs were far out of line from the late musician's. "Tom wrote this song for the underdog, for the common man and for EVERYONE," the family wrote. "We want to make it clear that we believe everyone is free to vote as they like, think as they like, but the Petty family doesn't stand for this. We believe in America and we believe in democracy. But Donald Trump is not representing the noble ideals of either. We would hate for fans that are marginalized by this administration to think we were complicit in this usage." Numerous other artists, including R.E.M., Guns N' Roses, The Rolling Stones, Steven Tyler and Rihanna, have previously called out the President for using their music without permission. - Billboard, 6/21/20...... Emily Eavis, organiser of the legendary Glastonbury festival in the UK, says she's planning to combine two festival line-ups for next year's Glastonbury and is "hoping" that Paul McCartney will return in 2021 for the festival's 50th anniversary celebration, which was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. "Logistically, it's a little bit complicated, because we'd already planned quite a few acts for 2021. It was one of those unusual years where you're quite far ahead on the line-up. So we're trying to work out how much we can fit in to next year," Eavis told BBC 6 Music. The festival's edition 2020 edition was set to kick off on June 24 with McCartney among the confirmed headliners, but was cancelled as a direct result of coronavirus. - New Musical Express, 6/25/20...... Michael Jackson's daughter Paris Jackson has shared unseen footage of her father Michael, as well as debuting her own music for the first time. The new footage comes as part of a trailer for Paris's new reality series Unfiltered: Paris Jackson and Gabriel Glenn, which is set to debut via Facebook Watch on June 30. Alongside the trailer on Facebook, Jackson has debuted new music as part of The Soundflowers, a duo with her boyfriend Gabriel Glenn. "When I met Gabe, I immediately just vibed and started making music, Paris says of the collaboration. "I feel like we're the same level of damaged. Gabe understands the pain I've gone through in my life and he's helped me realise this is what I was born to do," she added. The album can be streamed via - New Musical Express, 6/24/20...... QueenBritain's Royal Mail has announced that Queen will appear on the face of 13 postage stamps featuring eight of their album covers beginning on July 9. In addition to the album covers -- 1974's Queen II and Sheer Heart Attack, 1975's A Night at the Opera, 1977's News of the World, 1980's The Game, 1981's Greatest Hits, 1984's The Works and 1991's Innuendo -- the stamps will feature four live group shots and a classic group photo. "It's hard to put into words what I feel when looking at these beautiful stamps, Queen guitarist Brian May said in a press release. "Since we four precocious boys started out on our quest 50 years ago, our lives have been devoted to making our impossible dream come true. Sometimes it's strange to wake up and realise the position in which we are now held -- we have become a national institution!" Queen drummer Roger Taylor echoed May's sentiments: "We must be really part of the furniture now! Thanks Royal Mail for stamping on us! In gratitude." The stamps are available to pre-order now through Royal Mail's website in a variety of different collections. "The Presentation Pack," which includes the entire set of 13, will cost £16. - New Musical Express, 6/23/20...... In related news, Aussie headbangers AC/DC have authorized for of their album covers -- 1976's High Voltage, 1981's For Those About to Rock, 1987's Blow Up Your Video and 1995's Ballbreaker -- for release as 500-piece jigsaw puzzles. The puzzles will be released on Sept. 4 via the company Zee Productions' "Rock Saw" series and can be ordered on the Zee Productions website. Zee Productions has previously released puzzles for such rock bands as Iron Maiden, Slayer, Judas Priest, Motörhead, Metallica and Rush. - NME, 6/22/20...... Willie Nelson and his sister, Bobbie, have announced a co-written memoir, Me and Sister Bobbie: True Tales of the Family Band, will be published on Sept. 15. Detailing the siblings' relationship and musical collaborations, the book will "weave together Willie and Bobbie's journeys as they experienced them both side-by-side and apart, with powerful, emotional never-before-told recollections from their personal lives and careers," according to a press release. Bobbie is two years Willie's senior and is an accomplished pianist. She has featured on a handful of his albums, including The Troublemaker and Shotgun Willie. Meanwhile, rapper Snoop Dogg has announced that he will release another collaboration with Willie in the near future. The duo previously collaborated on the 2009 single "My Medicine." - NME, 6/23/20...... Johnny CarsonThere may never be another Johnny Carson to dominate the late night talk show field, but as CNN's new 6-part series The Story of Late Night reminds us, there will always be a place for after-hours conversation and comedy. Airing over six Sundays beginning June 28 at 9:00 EDT (barring breaking news), the series traces a trajectory that began with Steve Allen and matured with the prickly intelligence of his successor, Jack Paar. Famous feuds (Jay Leno vs. David Letterman, Leno vs. Conan O'Brien) reveal how much drama lurks withing these lucrative laugh factories. Although today's practioners walk a more precarious tightrope of humor in these politically polarized times, going to bed without them is unthinkable. - TV Guide, 6/22/20...... Director Joel Schumacher, best known for helming such hits as St. Elmo's Fire, The Lost Boys and Falling Down as well as two Batman films, died on New York City on June 22 after a year-long battle with cancer. He was 80. The costume designer-turned-director brought his fashion background to directing a run of stylish films throughout the 1980s and 1990s that were not always critically acclaimed, but continue to be well-loved by audiences for capturing the feel of the era. Mr. Schumacher was handed the reins of the Batman franchise when Tim Burton exited Warner Bros.' Caped Crusader series after two enormously successful films. The first movie by Mr. Schumacher, Batman Forever, starring Val Kilmer, Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carrey and Nicole Kidman, grossed more than $300 million worldwide. -, 6/23/20.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Elton John said on June 17 that he was "blown away" after watching a cover of his 1983 hit "I'm Still Standing" recorded by a group of British students in lockdown. Students at Telford Priory School in Shropshire have been creating remote videos together since March, and their cover of "I'm Still Standing" was sent to Elton by musician Ron Sexsmith. John then posted a video message on YouTube saying he "watched it three times in a row because I couldn't believe how good you sang and played it." "You did something brilliant and made a brilliant version of I'm Still Standing. I hope you all have a great career and music plays a big part in it because you have certainly got talent," he said. The Rocket Man also promised that the students would be guests at one of his future UK concerts when live music commences again. The students' teacher, Ben Millington, says he "just couldn't believe it when I received contact from Sir Elton... When I showed the students there was screaming, crying, hands over mouths. I had to mute the microphones so we could actually hear what Elton was saying!" Meanwhile, Elton recently participated in a chat with rising singer Rina Sawayama on FaceTime and said her debut album is "my favorite record of the year so far." - New Musical Express, 6/17/20...... Aretha FranklinA new version of Aretha Franklin's "Never Gonna Break My Faith" was shared on Juneteenth holiday (June 19), which celebrates the day in 1865 that all enslaved black people in the United States learned they had been freed from bondage. Sony's RCA Records, RCA Inspiration and Legacy Recordings released the song to YouTube, which features lyrics like: "You can lie to a child with a smiling face/Tell me that color ain't about a race." "The world is very different now. Change is everywhere and each of us, hopefully, is doing the best he or she can to move forward and make change as positive as possible," Clive Davis, Sony Music's chief creative officer and Franklin's close friend and collaborator, said in a statement. "Never Gonna Break My Faith" won best gospel performance at the 50th Grammy Awards in 2008, marking Franklin's 18th and final Grammy win. It was originally featured in the film Bobby, about U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 assassination, and features background vocals from The Boys Choir of Harlem. "This solo version has been sitting on my computer for years, and when I heard Clive was making a film on Aretha's life, I sent this version to him," says Grammy-winning singer Bryan Adams, who co-wrote the song. "The world hasn't heard her full performance and it really needed to be heard... I'm so glad it's being released, the world needs this right now," he added. Aretha Franklin died in 2018 at age 76. - AP, 6/19/20...... The artist-advocacy nonprofit organization Artist Rights Alliance Council has been joined by a group of 93 artists that include Bette Midler, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Sheryl Crow and T Bone Burnett. The artist-run council announced on June 18 that it will "provide perspective and advisory input" to ARA while helping to foster awareness of current issues facing content creators. The Artist Rights Alliance, founded in 2013, has been on the front lines of a host of recent issues, including passage of the Music Modernization Act and current efforts to reform the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The organization also unveiled its "Artists' Bill of Rights" which aims to help musicians to receive fair pay from streaming services and rein in tech platforms "that unfairly profit from music." - Billboard, 6/19/20...... German electronic pop pioneers Kraftwerk have announced a series of new digital reissues of five of their studio albums - Trans Europa Express, Die Mensch-Maschine, Computerwelt, Techno Pop and The Mix -- will be made available to stream and download for the first time beginning July 3. Kraftwerk fans will also be abel to experience the Dolby Atmos/HD Surround mix of the group's 2017 audio/video documentary 3-D The Catalogue, which will be available to stream for the first time through Amazon HD and Tidal. A stereo version of the documentary's German language original form will also be made available across the globe. The new releases follow the death of group co-founder Florian Schneider, who died in May aged 73. - New Musical Express, 6/18/20...... Queen + Adam Lambert announced on June 18 that it will host a "Tour Watch Party" on its YouTube channel on June 21 starting at 3:00 p.m. EDT that combines highlight moments from previous tours, festival gigs and intimate concerts. The all-day bash features standout performances spotlighting Queen's biggest hits, such as "Love Kills" and "I Was Born To Love You" at the Rock in Rio festivals in Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro and "Fat Bottomed Girls" at a Dallas, Texas show featuring the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. Earlier in 2020 Queen was forced to cancel the European leg of their Rhapsody Tour, which would have ended on June 21 at London's The O2 arena. - Billboard, 6/18/20...... Bob DylanOn June 19, Bob Dylan broke an 8-year-long drought of new material with the release of his latest album, Rough and Rowdy Ways. The 79-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's latest effort spans 10 tracks and includes the previously-shared songs "Murder Most Foul," "I Contain Multitudes" and "False Prophet." In a recent rare interview, Dylan told the New York Times that the songs came from a stream of consciousness. "Most of my recent songs are like that. The lyrics are the real thing, tangible, they're not metaphors," Dylan said. "The songs seem to know themselves and they know that I can sing them, vocally and rhythmically. They kind of write themselves and count on me to sing them," he added. Dylan also noted that he wished he had written the Rolling Stones' 1973 hit "Angie." Rough and Rowdy Ways can be streamed on - Billboard, 6/19/20...... Appearing on the morning show The Talk on June 17 via Zoom, Ozzy Osbourne said that he's feeling pretty good these days as he recovers from surgery in 2019 to repair an old injury he sustained during a 2003 ATV accident, and after a year of health issues and repeatedly postponed tour dates. "I'm getting better -- it's a slow process, but I'm getting there slowly but surely," said the 71-year-old heavy metal legend, who also described what it's been like living in quarantine during the pandemic. "It's been good actually, because I've been recovering from the surgery I had last year. I've never been at home this long in my whole career," said Ozzy, who had his arm slug over wife Sharon Osbourne's shoulder during the whole interview. "I've had the chance to see my wife's side of the fence more than me being on the road. It's had its moment though, I must confess," he added in the interview, which can be viewed on Ozzy had been slated to get medical treatment in Switzerland earlier this year for his Parkinson's disease, but that was postponed due to the coronavirus. For now, he's still scheduled to hit the UK and Europe on Oct. 23 in Newcastle, England, on a tour in support of his recent studio album, Ordinary Man. In other Ozzy-related news, Black Sabbath has officially put up a Black Lives Matter T-shirt with a logo in the style of the group's Master of Reality LP for sale after Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello was seen rocking out in a shirt just like it which received a huge fan response. Black Sabbath announced on Instagram that it will be donating 100% of the proceeds of the shirt, which will be available beginning in mid-July, to Black Lives Matter. - Billboard, 6/18/20...... Julien's Auctions announced on June 18 that it is teaming with the MusicCares Foundation for an online auction benefitting the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund on Sept. 9. The auction will feature one-of-a-kind items and memorabilia from the likes of Robert Plant, Bill Wyman, Barbra Streisand, Willie Nelson, Tony Iommi, Blake Shelton and Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne. "In this new world of social distancing and isolation, music and the arts has brought us together and given us hope and salvation from the despair and loss that we've all felt these last months," said Darren Julien, President/Chief Executive Officer of Julien's Auctions in a statement announcing the event, which will be held in Beverly Hills and online at Robert Plant has teased that he's offering up a guitar for the auction that he's used to practice in his bedroom for 55 years. - Billboard, 6/18/20...... In related news, former Police frontman Sting will be among a group of musicians that also includes Michael Copley, Clea Friend, Steven Osborne and Kathryn Tickell for a special event to help people grieve for their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic on June 21 over Zoom and Facebook beginning at 2:00 p.m. Although the "Saying Goodbye" event had started primarily for those in the N.E. of England, it has now spread organically across the UK with the organisers no longer being able to cover it just over Zoom but extending it over Facebook live, so others around the UK can join too at The event will be a non-religious ceremony (but multi-faith in spirit) and music. -, 6/18/20...... Bruce Springsteen once again blasted U.S. Pres. Donald Trump on the June 17 edition of his SiriusXM radio show "From My Home to Yours," this time for the president's stubborn refusal to wear a mask in public during the COVID-19 pandemic. After noting that "100,000-plus Americans" have died over the last few months and its "shamed response from our leaders," The Boss said "I'm simply pissed off." "Those lives deserve better than just being inconvenient statistics for our president's re-election efforts. It's a national disgrace," he said. Springsteen then went on to address Trump directly. "I'm going to start out with sending one to the man sitting behind the Resolute Desk," he said before throwing to the first song. "With all respect, sir, show some consideration for your countrymen and your country. Put on a f--king mask." - Billboard, 6/17/20...... David ByrnePremium cable channel HBO announced on June 17 that it will present a filmed version of former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne's acclaimed Broadway show "American Utopia" which will be directed by Spike Lee. "David Byrne's American Utopia is a uniquely transformative experience and a perfect example of how entertainment can bring us together during these challenging times," said HBO Programming executive vp Nina Rosenstein said in a statement. "Spike's brilliant direction adds a level of intimacy to this powerful performance, and we're so thrilled to share this groundbreaking show with our audience." The show features Byrne and 11 musical artists from around the world performing songs from the 2018 album of the same title, as well as songs from the Talking Heads and Byrne's solo catalog. "American Utopia" ran from Oct. 2019 to Feb. 2020, earning rave reviews, with The Hollywood Reporter calling it "pure bliss." The filmed American Utopia is set to premiere sometime later in 2020, with a specific date to be announced. - The Hollywood Reporter, 6/17/20...... An "angel cloud" guitar used by Prince on his Purple Rain tour fetched over £450,000 ($563,000) at a Juliens auction on June 19. The custom electric blue instrument was one of four "cloud" guitars used between 1984 and 1985 in support of the "When Doves Cry" hitmaker's seminal sixth studio album. The guitar was thought to be lost when it disappeared in the '90s until it was found in 2019. The owner was given it by Prince but was not aware of its exact history. A vintage Yamaha DX7 synthesizer used by Prince on his Purple Rain album is also being auctioned on the RR Auction website. - New Musical Express, 6/20/20...... Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl and Arcade Fire will perform as part of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band live-stream on June 20 beginning at 8 pm EST (1am BST), taking their "Midnight Preserves" festival jam sessions online in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The group will host a live-stream from their respective homes and are set to be joined by a number of special guests. McCartney, Grohl and Arcade Fire appeared alongside Elvis Costello, Dave Matthews, Beck, My Morning Jacket's Jim James, Nathaniel Rateliff and more. Fans can tune in on YouTube, Twitch, or Facebook. Some performances will be pre-recorded. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band was founded in 1961 as a way to promote New Orleans jazz. They often hold their own 'Midnight Preserves' sessions at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which sees them joined by a host of special guests. - New Musical Express, 6/19/20...... Production on director Baz Lurhmann's Elvis Presley biopic, featuring Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker, is expected to restart in Australia soon after it halted when the star and his wife Rita Wilson tested positive for COVID-19. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a press conference on June 18 she had met with Luhrmann to discuss the production's return, set to film at the Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast. "We want to ensure that this can happen as soon as possible while making sure that the cast and crew can operate safely," Palaszcuk said. Her comments refer to new guidelines in Australia, which require all film and television productions to draw up their own "COVID-Safe Risk Mitigation Program." The currently untitled biopic, with Austin Butler in the lead role, will chart Presley's rise to fame and examine his relationship with Parker. According to Warner Bros, the story will be set "against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and the loss of innocence in America." - NME, 6/18/20...... Fleetwood Mac announced on June 18 that it is reissuing its 1969 album Then Play On, the band's final release with co-founder and guitarist Peter Green. Then Play On was Fleetwood Mac's third studio album, and the first of the band's albums to feature Danny Kirwan, who passed away in 2018. The reissued record will be drop Sept. 18 via BMG and contain four bonus tracks, liner notes from the band's biographer Anthony Bozza, and a foreword from Mick Fleetwood. - NME, 6/18/20...... Roger Waters has released his Us + Them concert film on Amazon video, which captures the Pink Floyd co-founder's 2018 tour of the same name. Comprised of footage from the four nights Waters and his band played at Amsterdam's Ziggo Dome in June 2018, as well as footage shot on location in the U.K., the film also showcases the tour's state-of-the-art visual production and features a set list that spans Waters' entire career. You can also rent or buy the film on YouTube. - NME, 6/16/20...... Lemmy KilmisterA new biopic about late Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister is reportedly in the works. Kilmister's early, pre-Motörhead life as a Jimi Hendrix roadie as well as his time in Hawkwind will be explored in a film called Lemmy, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The project is set to be helmed by Greg Olliver, who directed a 2010 documentary of the same name. "We've been carefully developing this biopic since 2013, making sure to stay true to Lemmy, Motörhead band members Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee, and all the other folks that played important roles in Lemmy's life," Olliver said in a statement. Lemmy, whose real name was Ian Fraser Kilmister, passed away in Dec. 2015 at the age of 70. Meanwhile, the surviving members of Motrhead recently marked the 40th anniversary of their landmark album Ace Of Spades with a day of special celebrations. - NME, 6/16/20...... Judges at South Carolina's Supreme Court have ruled James Brown's final partner is not entitled to a share of his fortune because their marriage was not legally binding. Tomi Rae Hynie has been fighting for a cut of the Godfather of Soul's estate ever since his death on Christmas Day in 2006, even though it was his dying wish to leave nearly all of his assets to bosses at a children's education foundation to fund scholarships. Hynie, who had a son with Brown, maintained their 2001 nuptials were legal, even though she was still married to another man at the time. The South Carolina judge overseeing the estate battle previously decided she was the star's legal wife as her ex-husband had committed bigamy, therefore voiding the union and paving the way for her to lay claim to a chunk of the musician's riches, previously estimated to be around US $100 million. However, on June 17 Supreme Court justices issued a unanimous verdict, declaring Hynie has no right to the soul icon's money, because she failed to annul her previous marriage. "The ongoing litigation since Brown's passing has thwarted his expressed wish that his estate be used for educational purposes... a point we find both extraordinary and lamentable," the judges wrote in their ruling. The current value of Brown's estate is unknown, but finances are believed to have taken a huge hit as a result of the long-running legal drama. - WENN/, 6/18/20...... Former Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon (Johnny Rotten) is currently caring for his wife Nora Forster full-time as the 78-year-old battles Alzheimer's disease. Lydon, 64, married the German heiress in 1979, and first revealed she was suffering from dementia last year. In an intervew with Britain's Daily Mirror, Lydon said he is now caring for his wife full-time, as he feels love is the best way to care for her. "Nora has Alzheimer's... I am her full-time carer and I won't let anyone mess up with her head," the rocker explained. "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?" Detailing her condition, he added: "I suppose her condition is one of like a permanent hangover for her. It gets worse and worse, bits of the brain store less and less memory and then suddenly some bits completely vanish." - WENN/, 6/8/20...... Actor Danny Masterson, best known for his role on That '70s Show, was charged with three counts of rape, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced on June 17. Masterson was arrested and released shortly after on a $3.3 million bail, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's department. He is charged with forcibly raping three women in separate incidents occurring between 2001 and 2003, a press release from the District Attorney's Office said, with his arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 18, 2020. In a statement, Masterson's attorney Tom Mesereau said: "Mr. Masterson is innocent, and we're confident that he will be exonerated when all the evidence finally comes to light and witnesses have the opportunity to testify. Obviously, Mr. Masterson and his wife are in complete shock considering that these nearly 20-year old allegations are suddenly resulting in charges being filed, but they and their family are comforted knowing that ultimately the truth will come out." All of the alleged crimes took place at Masterson's Hollywood Hills home, authorities said. Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller of the Sex Crimes Division is prosecuting the case. If convicted, Masterson faces a possible sentence of up to 45 years to life in state prison. Masterson, who has been married to actress Bijou Phillips since 2011, was written out of the Netflix comedy series The Ranch in Dec. 2017 when a police investigation on the allegations against him first came to light. - CNN, 6/18/20...... Vera LynnBritish entertainment legend Dame Vera Lynn, who helped raise morale during the Second World War with such songs as "We'll Meet Again" and "The White Cliffs of Dover," has died at the age of 103, her family announced on June 18. "The family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of Britain's best-loved entertainers at the age of 103," they said in a statement. Dame Lynn earned the nickname "the Forces' Sweetheart" during the war for her regular visits to troops on the front line, while she also performed in countries such as India and Egypt as part of the Entertainments National Service Association. "We'll Meet Again" re-entered the UK charts in May as the song enjoyed a resurgence in popularity as part of the 75th anniversary celebrations of VE Day, while its enduring message of resilience also spoke to many people during the coronavirus lockdown. The singer, songwriter and actress also became the oldest singer to score a UK top 40 album last month when her greatest hits collection 100 re-entered the UK albums chart, beating the record she previously set back in 2017. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was among those to pay tribute to Lynn, saying her "charm and magical voice entranced and uplifted our country in some of our darkest hours." "Her voice will live on to lift the hearts of generations to come," he said. - New Musical Express, 6/18/20.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Paul McCartney announced on June 12 a special re-release of his 1997 solo album Flaming Pie as the 13th installment of his Archive Collection series, which he began back in 2010 with the purpose of remastering and reissuing all his solo records. Flaming Pie, co-produced by McCartney, Beatles producer George Martin, and ELO mastermind Jeff Lynne, was McCartney's 10th solo LP. It will be available in "Deluxe", "Collectors", and various regular CD and vinyl editions beginning July 31. A promo video for the reissue has been shared on YouTube. In addition two EP's, The World Tonight and Beautiful Night,, will arrive on June 26 and July 17, respectively. Meanwhile, Sir Paul is criticizing the Italian government for their "outrageous" decision to implement a policy that prevents music fans from receiving a full refund for concerts that have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Macca's "Freshen Up" tour had been scheduled to stop at a number of European cities this summer, including Naples on June 10 and Lucca on June 13 before they were scrubbed due to the virus. McCartney, in a post written in Italian (via The Guardian), said that "the Italian organiser of our shows and the Italian legislators must do the right thing in this case... We are extremely sorry that the shows cannot take place, but this is a real insult to fans." The concert promoters say they are working to reschedule almost all the cancelled shows for 2021. - New Musical Express, 6/12/20...... The BeatlesIn other Beatles-related news, Penny Lane in Liverpool is in danger of being renamed if links to slavery are discovered, the city's regional mayor says. Road signs at Penny Lane were vandalized earlier in June after it was claimed the location was named after the notorious 18th century slave trader James Penny. The mayor says the naming "needs to be investigated" and "I would say that sign and that road may well be in danger of being renamed," although he added there is no hard evidence that is the fact. The mayor said the road could instead have been associated with a toll that was once paid in pennies to cross the road. Meanwhile, the release of the Peter Jackson-directed documentary The Beatles: Get Back has been delayed for one year by its distributor Disney. On June 12, Disney announced Get Back will now arrive on Aug. 27, 2021 instead of its original scheduled date of Sept. 4. In still more Beatles news, a recording of a 1962 jam session by the Beatles at London's Abbey Road studios is at the center of a $6.3 million court battle that is set to begin on June 16. Songs recorded on the demo at the Beatles' very first Abbey Road session are believed to include their early hit "Love Me Do," and the tape was discovered in late Beatles sound engineer Geoff Emerick's home in a safe, after Emerick was ordered to destroy the tapes by EMI who deemed the recording to not be of good enough quality to be released. Emerick's estate is arguing that they are entitled to the recording under a "Finders Law," but Universal Music, which bought EMI in 2012, counter that law does not count in this case since Emerick was told he should destroy the recording by EMI. - Variety/WENN/, 6/12/20...... Jackson Browne was among the headliners at a virtual charity concert for Los Angeles' Saban Community Clinic on June 14. The clinic has supported L.A.'s low income residents and the homeless population since 1967 when it opened as the Los Angeles Free Clinic. Usually held in November, the gala was moved to June to raise money to fight the spread of COVID, which is taking a toll on areas of the homeless population. - Billboard, 6/12/20...... Carlos Santana has been tapped to deliever the 2020 commencement address at UCLA's Herb Alpert School of Music on June 19. In a statement, Santana said he feels "honored to be speaking to young musicians and a new generation of music scholars" and that "the class of 2020 is resilient and their voices are needed now more than ever... I want them to use their music as a platform to empower and unite as we seek justice and creative solutions during these challenging times." - Billboard, 6/9/20...... Growth Rings, a short film narrated and co-written by legendary late Rush drummer Neil Peart, has been shared on YouTube. Created in collaboration with drum manufacturer DW Drums, Growth Rings "honors the way in which music marks moments in our lives," according to a press release. Peart passed away on Jan. 7 in Santa Monica, Calif., after a three-year battle with brain cancer. - Billboard, 6/14/20...... Bob DylanOn June 12, Bob Dylan revealed the tracklist of his forthcoming new studio album, Rough and Rowdy Ways. Featuring 10 tracks, Rough and Rowdy Ways will be bookended by its first two singles, "I Contain Multitudes" and the 17-minute JFK assassination epic, "Murder Most Foul." Rough and Rowdy Ways, Dylan's first album of original material since 2012's Tempest, will drop June 19 via Columbia. Meanwhile, in a rare new interview with the New York Times, Dylan discussed his new album, as well as the impact of the coronavirus and the death of George Floyd. Dylan told the Times that "it sickened me to no end to see George tortured to death like that... it was beyond ugly... let's hope that justice comes swift for the Floyd family and for the nation." The rock bard also stated he believes the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is "a forerunner of something else to come," saying "Extreme arrogance can have some disastrous policies." - New Musical Express, 6/12/20...... Bruce Springsteen has shared a performance of his song "Reason to Believe," recorded at a show in Stockholm, Sweden in 2005, on YouTube. The performance comes from Springsteen's 2005 solo acoustic tour "Devils and Dust," and has been shared as a part of an ongoing series of archive performances the Boss is making available to fans during the coronavirus quarantien. The song originally appeared as the final track on Springsteen's 1982 album Nebraska, and the haunting Stockholm performance sees him performing into a bullet microphone to distort his vocals. - New Musical Express, 6/13/20...... Barbara Streisand has gifted shares of Disney stock to Gianna Floyd, the young daughter of the slain George Floyd. Streisand, 78, privately sent Gianna a letter and certificate notifying her of the gift, and also enclosed copes of her 1960s album Color Me Barbra and My Name Is Barbra. Gianna shared the news in a series of photos posted on Instagram on June 13, which she captioned, "Thank You barbrastreisand for my package, I am now a Disney stockholder thanks to you." The number of shares Streisand bought for Gianna has not been disclosed, but Disney stock is currently trading at around $115 per share. -, 6/15/20...... A "cloud" guitar used by the late Prince on his "Purple Rain" tour is expected to fetch over $1 million when it is auctioned by Julien's Auctions on June 19-20. The custom blue instrument was one of four "cloud" guitars used by the artist between 1984 and 1985 in support of his seminal Purple Rain LP. It was also used through his "Parade" tour in 1986, the "Sign 'o The Times" tour in 1987, and the "Lovesexy" tour in 1988 and 1989. The guitar is expected to fetch over $1 million when it goes to auction. As for the whereabouts of the other three "cloud" guitars, one was handed out in a prize competition, one is privately owned, and the other sits in the Smithsonian Institution in New York. - NME, 6/13/20..... Neil Young has shared a new song called "Vacancy" from his latest album Homegrown which can be streamed on YouTube. Homegrown, a previously unreleased album recorded in 1975, is due June 19 via Reprise Records. - NME, 6/13/20...... Ted NugentIn a new interview with a UK TV program, Ted Nugent explained why he loves Pres. Donald Trump, why "hard-earned tax dollars shouldn't be used for abortions," and called the director of the FBI "the biggest punk-ass crook in America." "Donald Trump was sent here by God," the outspoken conservative musician told LondonRealTV. "Because man was not created to live under the control of kings and emperors and tyrants.... They think they have authority over free people, and they're wrong... Donald Trump was sent here to prove that we the people identify the negativity of the status quo..." Nugent continued: "The taxation without representation, the refusal to be accountable with our hard-earned tax dollars, the open and glaring examples of giving it to Planned Parenthood. It's to pay for people's abortions that we don't believe in. If you want an abortion, buy one, but don't charge me." Nugent went on to call a few US government officials out, including CIA director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who have been critical of Trump recently. "They're liars and scammers and criminal punks," Nugent scoffed. He closed by saying "So we said, F--- you. I like this Donald Trump s----kicker. Let's put him in charge. Let him manage it like a business. That's what life is -- it's a business." - New Musical Express, 6/13/20...... Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour is set to release "Yes I Have Ghosts," his first new song in five years, as part of a new audiobook by his best-selling author wife Polly Samson. Gilmour and Samson collaborated for the audiobook version of Samson's A Theatre For Dreamers, which will be published by W.F. Howes on June 25 and feature original music written by Gilmour throughout. Set on the idyllic Greek island of Hydra in 1960, the book captures the hazy, sun-drenched days of a bohemian community of poets, painters and musicians. "Yes I Have Ghosts" will be released in June ahead of the arrival of the full A Theatre For Dreamers audiobook. - NME, 6/12/20...... A live recording of the last concert performed by The Stooges' original lineup will be released on Aug. 7 via Third Man Records. Live at Goose Lake: Aug. 8 1970 celebrates the 50th anniversary of the concert which happened on Aug. 8, 1970. Third Man Records, founded by Jack White of The White Stripes, says the recording was found buried in the basement of a Michigan farmhouse and restored by Vance Powell, best known for his work with The White Stripes and Chris Stapleton. "T.V. Eye," a song from the concert, has been shared on YouTube. The Stooges performed their 1970 album, Fun House, in its entirety during the concert and is said to be "the only known soundboard recording of The Stooges' original lineup." - NME, 6/11/20..... With June 14th marking the 25th anniversary of the passing of Irish rocker Rory Gallagher, the Irish music and culture magazine Hot Press is producing a special edition to honor Gallagher, and together with Fender Musical Instruments is producing a special edition of the magazine with contributions from many of Gallagher's admiring peers, including new interviews with Slash, Johnny Marr and others. 2020 has already been a successful year for Gallagher's legend, with the release of the Check Shirt Wizard album (a live collection of RoryŐs early 1977 UK performances), which saw the artist return to the album charts, notably, claiming the No.1 spot in Billboard's Blues chart for three consecutive weeks. "This is a crowning honour in celebrating my brother, in his anniversary year and especially an acknowledgement of his devoted following," said Dónal Gallagher, RoryŐs brother and manager. - Noble PR, 6/11/20...... Sharon OsbourneOzzy Osbourne's wife Sharon Osbourne says she "feels free" after deciding to ditch her famous red locks in February for a new platinum grey look. Osbourne says she decided to make the change when she realized she resented having her hair colored every week. "It'd just bleed. On my collars. On my pillow cases. Everywhere. And when you'd wash and dry it, it'd be a different shade of red," Sharon told People magazine. "I was really resenting being tied by a color of hair. But, when you dye your hair red, it's really hard to get the color out." So Sharon seeked out hair stylist Jack Martin, who working his magic on her formerly red hair, and after an eight-hour session, the transformation was complete. "I would pass a mirror and be like, 'Who is that? Oh, it's me!'," she laughed, adding she appreciates how simple it is to upkeep her new hair. "I love the freedom it has given me. I've got nothing to prove. It's not like I'm trying to look younger, I'm just trying to look my best." -, 6/7/20...... Singer Bobby Lewis, best known for the No. 1 1961 hit "Tossin' & Turnin'," died on Apr. 28 after contracting pneumonia, it was formally announced on June 13 by his granddaughter Sabreen LaRae Simmons on Facebook. He was 95. The R&B rave-up "Tossin' & Turnin'" with its restless lyrics of insomnia, exploded commercially in 1961, staying at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart for seven weeks. "Tossin' & Turnin'" also endured in the cultural memory in large part due to its prominent use in two hit comedy movies of the 1970s, American Graffiti (1973) and Animal House (1978). The song has also been covered by acts ranging from the the girl groups The Marvelettes and The Supremes to rockers Peter Criss and Joan Jett. Mr. Lewis, who scored one more Top 10 hit, "One Track Mind," continued to play live will into his 80s, though vision problems made performing a challenge. The Indianapolis-born Mr. Lewis spent the last four decades of his life in New Jersey, with his final years spent in a Newark healthcare center. He is survived by three children and 11 grandchildren. - Billboard, 6/13/20.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Jimmy Buffett's latest album Life on the Flip Side has debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart for the week ending June 13. The album sold around 75,000 equivalent album units and marks Buffett's third Top Country Albums No. 1, as well as his third No. 1 debut, behind 2004's License to Chill and 2006's Take the Weather With You. The LP's sales were helped by a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer tied to upcoming Buffett shows from mid-May through mid-October, but ome of those shows were ultimately canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, while the remaining dates were postponed and rescheduled to July 10 through Sept. 2, 2021. On Billboard's all-genre Hot 200 album chart, Life on the Flip Side bowed at No. 2, marking the "Margaritaville" singer's best rank since License to Chill became his first No. 1 in 2004. - Billboard, 6/9/20...... Paul McCartneyPaul McCartney took to social media on June 5 to share an encouraging message on the fight for social justice as protests over the death of George Floyd continue around the United States and other countries. "I know many of us want to know just what we can be doing to help. None of us have all the answers and there is no quick fix but we need change," Sir Paul posted on his official Twitter account. "We all need to work together to overcome racism in any form. We need to learn more, listen more, talk more, educate ourselves and, above all, take action." McCartney, 77, then recalled a 1964 incident with the Beatles refused to play a concert with a segregated audience in Jacksonville, Fla. "It felt wrong. We said 'We're not doing that!' and the concert we did do was to their first non-segregated audience," Macca wrote. "We then made sure this was in our contract. To us it seemed like common sense." Paul added that he is "sick and angry" that racial tension still exists after so many years. "I feel sick and angry that here we are almost 60 years later and the world is in shock at the horrific scenes of the senseless murder of George Floyd at the hands of police racism, along with the countless others that came before," he tweeted. McCartney also shared links to several organizations seeking to fight racism, including Black Lives Matter, Color of Change, the NAACP, Stand Up to Racism, and Campaign Zero. - Billboard, 6/6/20...... Meanwhile, the post-Beatles 1971 peace anthem by McCartney's late bandmate John Lennon, "Imagine," was referenced in a speech by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on June 3. Comparing calls to defund the New York Police Dept. to the lyrics of "Imagine," de Blasio said, "I think everyone who hears that song in its fullness thinks about, 'What about a world where people got along differently? What about a world where we didn't live with a lot of the restrictions that we live with now?' But we're not there yet." A cultural fixture in the almost 50 years since its 1971 release, "Imagine" was once described by Lennon as "the concept of positive prayer... without this my-God-is-bigger-than-your-God thing." "Imagine" has been covered by an endless list of notable musicians including Joan Baez, Diana Ross and Neil Young and become a kind of "go-to anthem for the detached," and some have criticized how it is too often "re-molded" by politicians and other public figures to fit certain political and social goals. - Billboard, 6/5/20...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, Ringo Starr has also shared his views on the current Black Lives Matter protests, saying he is sending "peace, love and continuous support" to them. In a June 5 tweet, Ringo referenced his bandmate Paul McCartney's own message: "As my brother Paul said The Beatles always stood for equal rights&justice and I've never stopped working for peace&love ever since," he wrote on his official Twitter account. "I send my peace love&continuous support to everyone marching & speaking up for justice & a better world." Starr also called for justice for George Floyd's family and "for all those who have died and suffered." "Saying nothing is not an option," he added. - New Musical Express, 6/6/20...... Victor WillisMeanwhile, '70s disco greats The Village People are ordering Pres. Trump to stop playing a couple of their biggest hits, "Y.M.C.A." and "Macho Man," at recent events. Posting on Facebook, VP leader Victor Willis said, "If Trump orders the U.S. military to fire on his own citizens (on U.S. soil), Americans will rise up in such numbers outside of the White House that he might be forced out of office prior to the election. Don't do it Mr. President!" Willis then requested the president "no longer use any of my music at your rallies especially 'Y.M.C.A.' and 'Macho Man'... Sorry, but I can no longer look the other way." Both songs have been a frequent feature of Trump's public appearances for several years, and were most recently played when he attended the SpaceX rocket launch alongside Vice President Mike Pence. Willis had previously said he had no problem with Trump using the songs because it was "not being used for a specific endorsement" which is "perfect[ly] legal." But he seemingly changed his stance after Trump's controversial tweet, which was flagged by Twitter for violating the site's rules against glorifying violence. "These thugs are dishonouring the memory of George Floyd, and I won't let that happen," Trump tweeted. - NME, 6/9/20...... On June 8, Neil Young doubled down on his criticism of US Pres. Donald Trump in a new letter of support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Starting out by saying he was hopeful in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, Young added that "although it could get a lot worse... I think we all learn together." "Some of us will get sick, especially those who protested, their families, those of us who care and feel. We know black lives matter," Young posted before turning his attention to the president. "Although I think our president is responsible for a lot of this unrest we feel today as he has fanned the flames and tried to turn us against one another for his political reasons, I am thankful that we are all standing for what we believe, and I think we will be a better country for this," Young said. "He is, in the end, just a poor leader who is building walls around our house. I believe he will be powerless soon and I wish him the best in his next life. That sorry man will not destroy the American Dream," he added. Young also confirmed that he would vote for former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, having previously backed Sen. Bernie Sanders before the Sanders withdrew from the race in April. - NME, 6/9/20...... Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson performed a rendition of his 1988 song "Love and Mercy" on the late night CBS talk show The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on June 4. "Hi, this is Brian Wilson everyone," Wilson says as he sat before his piano. "I just want you guys to know that we're all in this together." "Love and Mercy," a song that calls for peace and understanding in trying times, features such lyrics as "I was lying in my room / And the news came on TV / A lotta people out there hurtin' / And it really scares me", and: "Love and mercy, that's what you need tonight." The performance can be viewed at The Late Show's Twitter page. - NME, 6/5/20...... Carlos Santana will be the guest of honor during the 2020 commencement ceremony at the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA on June 19, delivering a commencement address to a virtual audience of aspiring musician graduates. "I feel honored to be speaking to young musicians and a new generation of music scholars," Santana said in a statement. "The class of 2020 is resilient and their voices are needed now more than ever. I want them to use their music as a platform to empower and unite as we seek justice and creative solutions during these challenging times." The 2020 commencement will take place online on June 19 at 4:00 p.m. PDT; it will also include music and remarks by graduating students and a performance by the Herbie Hancock Institute for Jazz Performance at UCLA. - Billboard, 6/9/20...... Elvis CostelloElvis Costello has shared a new song called "No Flag" on YouTube that he says was recorded in February but is fitting for the current world unrest. "No time for this kind of love" / "No flag waving high above," Costello sings. "No sign for the dark place that I live / No God for the damn that I don't give," he adds. Elvis said in a press released that "No Flag" as recorded over three days in Helsinki, Finland at Suomenlinnan Studio. "I wanted to go somewhere nobody knew me, so this is "The Helsinki Sound," he said. "No Flag" is the first new Costello material since he and his backing band The Imposters released their 2018 album Look Now. On June 11, Costello is scheduled to co-headline a "Present Perfect: Songs of Protest and Memory" concert with the likes of Rosanne Cash, Brandi Carlisle, Guy Clark, Jr. and Ry Cooder. - NME, 6/5/20...... In a magnanimous gesture, Elton John has covered the cost of a knee replacement for an old flame he was engaged to marry more than 50 years ago. Before shooting to international fame in the early '70s and a few years later coming out as gay, Elton once dated Linda Hannon, who paid many of the "Your Song" singer's bills as he was a struggling artist. John and Hannon were engaged to be married, but three weeks before the wedding at his bachelor party, John's songwriting partner Bernie Taupin and blues-rock singer Long John Baldry talked him out of it. Elton, 73, and Hannon, 76, had not been in contact since the split but, after being informed she would need a knee replacement operation entailing a five-week period off work, which she couldn't afford, Linda remembered all of the financial assistance she gave the star before he found fame and decided to call in a favour. Hannon attempted to email bosses at John's management company but, after she got no reply, she turned to the publication for help, and eventually managed to get in contact with the Rocketman himself. According to Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper, "When the Mirror related her story to Elton's team, they responded almost immediately -- saying he would be delighted to help." "When Elton heard about Linda's plight, he didn't hesitate for a second to help out," a source close to Elton also shared. "He remembers how good she was 50 years ago, when he and Bernie needed the support, and is really pleased to be able to help her in her hour of need." Hannon added, "I am so touched by Reg (Elton's birth name). After all these years, it's so kind. I am thrilled to bits that he is offering to help." - WENN/, 6/7/20...... Rock producer Rupert Hine, who put his stamp on classic albums dating back five decades by working alongside the likes of Rush, Tina Turner and Stevie Nicks and who later carved out an enduring recording career of his own, has died at age 72. The London born Hine started out in the music business in the mid-1960s as half of folk duo Rupert & David before launching a solo career in the early '70s and later stints with the bands Quantum Jump and Spin 1ne 2wo. As a solo artist he cut six albums under his name and three under the alias Thinkman, according to his website. While the 1970s were a busy time for Hine as he produced such acts as Camel, Anthony Phillips (ex-Genesis) and Kevin Ayers (ex-Soft Machine), he reached even bigger success during the New Wave '80s by becoming the go-to producer for such popular groups as The Fixx, Howard Jones and The Thompson Twins. Hine also had a hand in crafting Tina Turner's 1984 juggernaut Private Dancer, having produced the single "Better Be Good to Me," a Top 5 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 that earned a Grammy Award -- for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female -- in 1985. He also co-wrote and produced "Break Every Rule," the title track to Turner's 1986 album, and again collaborated with the rock legend on 1989's Foreign Affair. Other production credits include Stevie Nicks' The Other Side of the Mirror and albums by Underworld, Saga and Chris De Burgh. An early adopter of electronic music production techniques, Hine was a founding member of Music Producers Guild, the International MIDI Association and a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in the US. He is survived by his wife Fay and son Kingsley. - Billboard, 6/5/20...... Bonnie PointerBonnie Pointer, a founding member of the legendary Motown group The Pointer Sisters, died on June 8 after experiencing cardiac arrest. She was 69. "It is with great sadness that I have to announce to the fans of The Pointer Sisters that my sister, Bonnie died this morning," Anita Pointer said in a statement. "Our family is devastated, on behalf of my siblings and I and the entire Pointer family, we ask for your prayers at this time." Bonnie and June Pointer, who grew up singing gospel music in West Oakland, Calif., started their eponymous group in the late '60s, first performing as Pointers, A Pair. By 1972, both Anita and Ruth Pointer had also joined the fold, bringing the sibling group to a quartet. With a unique sound that blended jazz, soul, funk, rock and country, the group signed to Blue Thumb Records and released their self-titled debut album in 1973. The Pointer Sisters rose to No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 200 and spawned a pair of hits, the Allen Toussaint-penned "Yes We Can" (No. 11) and "Wang Dang Doodle" (No. 61). The group's 1974 sophomore effort spawned another top 20 hit in the country ballad "Fairytale" (penned by Bonnie and Anita and later covered by Elvis Presley), which also won the quartet their first Grammy, for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. Their third LP, Steppin' spawned their third Hot 100 top 20 hit (and first R&B Songs No. 1) "How Long (Betcha' Got a Chick on the Side)." In 1977, Bonnie left the group (along with June, who shortly rejoined) to start a solo career, signing with Motown -- where she met in-house producer and future husband Jeffrey Bowen, who she was married to from 1978 until the mid-'10s -- and scored a disco crossover hit in 1979 with the rapturous, No. 11-peaking The Elgins cover "Heaven Must Have Sent You," off her self-titled debut LP. Bonnie's solo success slowed down as the decade turned to the '80s, while the refortified Pointer Sisters experienced some of their biggest pop hits, but she still notched six entries on the Top R&B Songs chart between 1979 and 1985, and rejoined her sisters twice in the '90s -- when they received their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994, and for a Las Vegas live performance of '80s Pointer Sisters hit "Jump (For My Love) in 1996. Her fourth and final solo album, Like a Picasso, was released in 2011. "Bonnie was my best friend and we talked every day, we never had a fight in our life," Anita Pointer told of her sister. "I already miss her and I will see her again one day." - Billboard, 6/8/20.

Friday, June 5, 2020

After Rush drummer Neil Peart died in January after a three year battle with brain cancer, his surviving bandmate Alex Lifeson says that he no longer feels motivated to play music. "After Neil passed in January, I've played very little guitar. I just don't feel inspired and motivated," Lifeson said on the sports radio program Talkin' Golf. "I don't know if the motivation is there for us to really do anything now. We' re certainly proud of our track record, and we still love music. But it's different now," the guitarist added. Lifeson said he had similar feelings of lack of motivation after the influential drummer's daughter died in a car crash in 1997, followed by the death of Peart's wife from cancer a few months afterwards. "I didn't really play for about a year [after that]," he said. "I just don't feel it in my heart right now. Every time I pick up a guitar, I just aimlessly mess around with it and put it down after 10 minutes." - Billboard, 6/4/20...... Bruce SpringsteenBruce Springsteen shared a powerful tribute to slain African-American citizen George Floyd during the latest installment of his home radio show From His Home to Yours on June 4 after the Minneapolis resident died following an altercation with police officers last month. Floyd, 46, was killed on May 26 when a white police officer appeared to kneel on his neck as he lay on the ground during an arrest, an incident which has caused outrage and sparked demonstrations both in the US and abroad. Opening his show with "American Skin (41 Shots)," an eight minute song he wrote in response to the 1999 killing of Amadou Diallo (an unarmed Guinean immigrant shot dead by four New York City police officers), Springsteen said the length of the song mirrored "how long it took George Floyd to die with a Minneapolis officer's knee buried into his neck." "That's a long time. That's how long he begged for help and said he couldn't breathe. The arresting officer's response was nothing but silence and weight. Then he had no pulse. And still it went on... May he rest in peace," Springsteen said. The Boss then brought up the White House's response to the George Floyd death as well as the coronavirus pandemic. "As we speak, 40 million people are unemployed. 100,000 plus citizens have died from COVID-19 with only the most tepid and unfeeling response from our White House. As of today, our black citizens continue to be killed unnecessarily by our police on the streets of America. As of this broadcast, the country is on fire and in chaos," he added. Other songs Springsteen played in the tribute included Childish Gambino's "This Is America," Kanye West's "Who Will Survive in America," Bob Dylan's "Murder Most Foul" and Bob Marley's "Burnin' and Lootin'." He also played a recording of a powerful 1963 speech delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. in Birmingham, Ala. - NME, 6/4/20...... In related news, former Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel has condemned the "racist murder" of George Floyd in a recent moving statement on Twitter. "This type of brutality needs to be confronted directly, with justice clearly seen to be done whenever & wherever it occurs," Gabriel posted, using the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. Gabriel, who co-founded the human rights non-profit WITNESS in 1992, noted that the organization has been "helping groups monitoring police violence." He continued, "I hope these protests will not only lead to the addressing of the problems at the root of this, but also encourage a worldwide look at how each country is dealing with racism and religious persecution within their own borders." He also cautioned that politicians are "trying to win support by fueling nationalism and racism for their own gain." "If we don't like the way things are going, we have to speak out and act. The world can only be what we choose to make it," he concluded. - Rolling Stone, 6/1/20...... One of KISS frontman Paul Stanley's side projects the last few hears is Soul Station, a 17-piece ensemble tribute group that performs R&B and soul classics. Until recently, Stanley and Soul Station have been performing their catalog at smaller venues and clubs, but after the coronavirus pandemic has effected the live music industry, Stanley and the other four band members have released their debut video on YouTube: a remote cover of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles' "Ooo Baby Baby." "Long before I ever heard the great British bands, I grew up listening to Philly Soul, Motown and so much more," Stanley said in a statement. "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. Stanley and the rest of KISS previously announced they were forced to postpone the last three dates on their North American tour due to the pandemic. - Rolling Stone, 5/29/20...... Don HenleyEagles co-founder and longtime musicians rights advocate Don Henley testified virtually before a US Senate Judiciary subcommittee on June 2 in which he urged Congress to strengthen anti-piracy rules online. As the government mulls possible changes to the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Henley spoke specifically on the need to update the DMCA's "notice and takedown" system. That process allows copyright holders to send a takedown notice to websites or services they believe have posted their content without permission. The offending party can either comply without any consequences or risk legal action. However Henley says that process is no longer suitable, describing it as "a relic of a MySpace era in a TikTok world." He argued in his remarks that the current deluge of content uploaded to the internet each day makes it practically impossible for artists to combat copyright infringement, and that for "each infringing link or file taken down, a dozen more pop up in its place." Henley added, "[D]ue to the antiquated procedures dictated by the DMCA, internet services with clear oversight and control of content posted on their websites are continuing to monetize and collect advertising revenue on videos containing music, even after that music has been flagged by the music creator as infringing. How is that a fair bargain?" However Jonathan Berroya, CEO of the tech lobbying group Internet Association, argued that the "overwhelming majority" of copyright infringement occurs on foreign tech platforms, and that tech companies and those in the entertainment industry should come together to find a solution. - Rolling Stone, 6/3/20...... Saying his 1970 song "Southern Man" is just as relevant in 2020 as it was in 1970, Neil Young shared a 2019 live version of "Southern Man" on his Neil Young Archives website on June 3. "Here's me as an old guy singin' this 50-year-old song that was written after countless years of racism in the USA," Young wrote of his After th Gold Rush track. "And look at us today! This has been going on for way too long. It's not just 'Southern Man' now. It's everywhere across the USA. It's time for real change, new laws, new rules for policing," he added, referring to mass protests against police brutality spreading across the nation and world in response to the police killing of George Floyd. Young's long-awaited "lost" Seventies album, Homegrown, has been scheduled for a June 19 release. - New Musical Express, 6/4/20...... Appearing on the TV show Good Morning Britain, the Who's Roger Daltrey said he misses human contact during the coronavirus lockdown, the kind of isolation that began when he became a global star in the 1960s and was distanced from his old pals. ""Human contact. That's what I didn't like about being a celebrity," Daltrey said after being asked what he misses most amid the lockdown. "It kind of distanced me from my mates and everyone treated me differently immediately after I became famous, I didn't like that. I never wanted to be different. I like to just chat to people and be treated normally. I just miss that human contact," he added. Daltrey says he and his wife Heather are lucky as they live on a farm in Sussex, South-East England, but the isolation has been a "nightmare." "It's like three months of Sundays. In that sense it's a nightmare. I live on a farm so it hasn't been too bad... it's not been completely isolating for myself and my wife." When asked for his favourite memory with the Who, the 76-year-old musician told host GMB Piers Morgan: "I suppose the sun coming up at Woodstock." "The sun pokes its head over the horizon. That moment, and it was very near to the end of the show, when I was so looking forward to coming up." -, 6/4/20...... Elton JohnAccording to a recent story in the UK paper The Mail, Elton John has reportedly been left "bereft" after taking a significant $75 million (£60 million) hit after the coronavirus outbreak forced him to cancel his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. John and his partner David Furnish had anticipated the cash would see the star into his retirement according to the article, and it is believed the "Bennie and the Jets" hitmaker is unlikely to receive any insurance payout for the losses. The cancellation of the tour has also resulted in his long-serving band -- including guitarist Davey Johnstone and drummer Nigel Olsson -- being laid off until it becomes clear if concerts scheduled for later this year will take place. A number of the domestic staff at the "Rocketman"'s $25 million (£20 million) home in Atlanta, Ga. have also been told they are not needed. Despite being worth an estimated $445 million (£360 million), Elton is also thought to be considering making further cuts to save expenses. "The tour was forecast to make over £60 million this year. That revenue has literally disappeared overnight," a source told the paper. "Nobody expected this." John had to postpone or cancel 34 U.S. dates from his tour, and it appears increasingly likely that the 48 fall leg gigs scheduled from September to December will also be affected. -, 5/31/20...... In related news, Diana Ross has moved her UK "Top of the World Tour" from this June to 2021 after the coronavirus pandemic forced their postponement. Ross will play arenas in Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, London and Birmingham between June 15 and July 15 on her 60th anniversary tour. Her shows in Cork and Dublin have not yet been rescheduled. Ross was also due to perform at UK festivals including the Eden Sessions and Glastonbury's Legends Slot in 2020. - NME, 6/1/20...... The popularity of Netflix's series Tiger King documentary and its exposure of mistreatment of big cats by private owners in the US has helped garner support for a petition calling for protection of the animals in Florida. Among those signing the petition are seminal punk rocker Iggy Pop, an animal rights champion who has previously worked with PETA. "The Big Cat Public Safety Act, which has bipartisan support in both the house and senate, is aimed at protecting big cats from abuse and neglect by prohibiting private possession of these wild animals, and banning risky public encounters with them," Pop said in a statement (via "Co-sponsoring this commonsense bill will show the Senators commitment to the safety of Floridians and respect for exotic wildlife." Pop and actors Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara are among the many celebrities urging Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott to co-sponsor the Big Cat Public Safety Act, which would prohibit private ownership, direct public contact, and dangerous interactions with tigers, lions and other such animals. - New Musical Express, 6/4/20...... Sammy HagarOne-time Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar has said that VH "will probably be on tour next year" following original VH singer David Lee Roth's pronouncement last year that the group is "finished" and that he's concentrating on his Las Vegas residency. Reports surfaced in 2019 that co-founder and lead guitarist Eddie Van Halen had been battling throat cancer for a number of years, but Hagar says his former bandmate is doing better. "Eddie had a lot of health issues, but I heard he got it together," Hagar said in the Rolling Stone interview. "I pray for the guy and I love the guy." Hagar joined VH in 1986 after Roth departed for a solo career that never took off. He continued with the group throughout the rest of the '80s and into the '90s completing three other studio albums as part of Van Halen. He departed in 1996 after Eddie recruited Roth for a track on the band's first hits package before reuniting with group in 2004 for a reunion tour. Roth returned to the band in 2007, but original bassist Michael Anthony was replaced by Eddie's son Wolfgang Van Halen. In 2018, Anthony revealed that he had spoken to Van Halen's manager about a reunion trek that never took place. "They were gonna try to plan a thing for this summer [of 2019]. The next thing I knew, the plug got pulled on it," Anthony said. Hagar says that he "knows that Eddie and I are not done." "If enough water goes under the bridge before we die, it'll happen. It has to. God is going to slap us both around if he has to." - WENN/, 5/21/20...... Terry Quirk, an renowned British album cover artist best known for painting the iconic psychedelic cover for The Zombies' acclamed 1968 album Odessey and Oracle, passed away suddenly on the morning of June 1 at his home in Salisbury, England. Born on June 22, 1941 in Hertfordshire, England, Quirk began his association with The Zombies long before the band's formation, meeting future singer Colin Blunstone and bassist Chris White in the local grammar school. Quirk and White went on to attend art school together, and they shared a North London flat with keyboardist Rod Argent in 1967 when Argent and White were writing the songs that would become Odessey and Oracle. The musicians asked Quirk to design their album cover, and brought the artist into their recording sessions at Abbey Road Studios for inspiration. Quirk's now infamous misspelling of 'odyssey' in the album title -- an error that went unnoticed until after the record had gone to print -- is as much a part of Rock legend as the artwork and songs themselves. Released by a CBS Records subsidiary in 1968, Odessey and Oracle was initially considered a commercial failure, but a year later spawned the world-wide hit "Time of the Season" and went on to be named in Top All-Time Album lists from the likes of Rolling Stone and Mojo magazines. Quirk's friendship and association with The Zombies continued over the next 5 decades, most recently painting the covers for the band's 2015 album Still Got That Hunger and the tabletop book The Odessey: The Zombies in Words and Images. Quirk also wrote and illustrated children's novels, penned books of poetry, and staged musical productions for local schools. At the time of his death, he was collaborating with White on a musical about The Zombies. -, 6/1/20...... Steve PriestSteve Priest, a founding member of the famous '70s glam rock band The Sweet, died on June 4 at age 72, the band confirmed on its Facebook page. "It is with a heavy heart that we announce at 8:25am PT today, Steve Priest, founding member of The Sweet, passed away," reads the post. "He is survived by his wife, Maureen, three daughters, Lisa, Danielle & Maggie and 3 grandchildren, Jordan, Jade & Hazel." His former bandmate, Andy Scott, posted that he is "in pieces right now." "His wife Maureen and I have kept in contact and though his health was failing I never envisaged this moment. Never. My thoughts are with his family," Scott said. Scot added that Priest was "the best bass player I ever played with." "The noise we made as a band was so powerful. From that moment in the summer of 1970 when set off on our Musical Odyssey the world opened up and the rollercoaster ride started! He eventually followed his heart and moved to the USA. First New York then LA. Rest in Peace brother. All my love," Scott added. Priest and Scott formed The Sweet in London in 1968, alongside lead singer Brian Connolly, who died in 1997, and drummer Mick Tucker who died in 2002. By 2020 there were two iterations of The Sweet: Steve Priest's Sweet who were based in the US and Andy Scott's Sweet in the UK, the latter led by the band's founding guitarist. The band scored 13 Top 20 hits in the 1970s, including number one U.K. single "Block Buster!" in 1973, "The Ballroom Blitz" that same year, and "Fox On The Run" in 1975, the latter two songs appearing on its classic album Desolation Boulevard. - New Musical Express, 6/4/20.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Led Zeppelin is making a free stream available of their 2012 concert film Celebration Day beginning May 30 on their YouTube channel, an event that is being billed as a "global watch party." Celebration Day was filmed at the legendary band's one-off reunion show at The O2 in London on Dec. 10, 2007. The stream will be available to watch for three days, ending June 2. The gig saw founding members Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones being joined by Jason Bonham, the son of the band's late drummer John Bonham, for a 16-song set. - New Musical Express, 5/27/20...... Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie and new recruit Neil Finn have shared a new charity song on YouTube to benefit the Auckland City Mission, which helps the homeless population in Finn's native country of New Zealand. "Find Your Way Back Home" was written by Finn about the city s homeless population after he was inspired by a personal encounter he had at the Mission. Finn, a former member of Crowded House, joined Fleetwood Mac in 2018 after the equally quirky Lindsey Buckingham left the band. - NME, 5/30/20...... YusufUniversal Music will release a "reimagining" of Yusuf/Cat Stevens' classic 1970 album Tea for the Tillerman on Sept. 19. The multi-platinum album, which included the classic "Wild World," as well as "Where Do the Children Play" and "Father and Son," catapulted the 22-year-old musician to global stardom and helped define the singer/songwriter era. On May 28, UMe released the first single from the upcoming Tea for the Tillerman 2, "Where Do the Children Play," the album's opening track. It can also be streamed on YouTube. With the world in turmoil, "Where Do the Children Play" seems more relevant than ever -- as it questions how we protect children in the face of rampant urban sprawl, poverty, pollution and climate change. The 71-year-old musician, who was interviewed from his home in Dubai by Billboard, says he came up with the idea to revisit Tea for the Tillerman on its 50th anniversary after being inspired by his son. "He inspires me in many ways to do things and to get out there," Yusuf said. "This challenge was one I couldn't refuse because it's my record, but not only that, it set such a standard for so many people as far as my music is concerned, I thought, 'C'mon.' Not that I'm going to try to beat it or compete with it, but at least make it relevant to me today so the people can hear me singing it all over, but with some very interesting and new novel arrangements on some of the songs at least. ...If you do a masterpiece, people always want to see you do it again. That's another reason why I'm doing it because I'm satisfying that part of the curiosity of people to see how would I approach it today," he added. Asked what he wants the new generation to get out of his classic album, Yusuf replied: "Explore yourself and explore life and realizing, you know what, it is a wild world. We have to live in it, but try to find that place of peace within it that you can make your home." - Billboard, 5/28/20...... Elton John hosted a watch party of his 2019 biopic Rocketman on May 29 shared several anecdotes and thoughts along the way. One included him commenting on the "Herculean effort" it took him to get noticed for cocaine use in '70s LA when such debauchery was widespread. "It took a fairly Herculean effort to get yourself noticed for taking too much cocaine in the music industry of 1970s LA, but I was clearly prepared to put the hours in," John wrote next to a pic of an inebriated Taron Egerton, who portrayed him in the film. Elton also opened up about how emotional he got when he first saw Rocketman. "I broke down the first time I saw this scene of me hugging Little Reggie. I'd spent most of my adult life running away from myself. It was time to re-embrace the real me," he wrote. John said he was also brought to tears during the scene where his longtime musical partner, Bernie Taupin, warned him about his excessive drug and drink problem. "Seeing this scene for the first time also set me off sobbing again," he wrote alongside a contemporary picture of the pair. Meanwhile, Elton has posted a tribute to AIDS activist Larry Kramer, who passed away on May 27 in New York at the age of 84 after a battle with pneumonia. John remembered Kramer, who was nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on Ken Russell's 1969 film Women In Love, as "a giant of a man who stood up for gay rights like a warrior." Kramer was also a co-founder of the Gay Men's Health Crisis organization in the early 1980s, the first organization of its kind to support HIV-positive people. - New Musical Express, 5/30/20...... ABBA member Bjorn Ulvaeus was named the named the president of CISAC, the global confederation of authors societies, on May 29. Known for his business-savvy, as well as his interest in technology, Ulvaeus steps into the role at a time when Internet companies and collecting societies are learning to live with one another but still have very different views on how streaming services should work and what they should pay creators. "I tend to think that creators get too little, of course, because I'm a songwriter, and I think that in the long run we have to take a closer look at how things are divided," Ulvaeus said. "It all starts with the song, as far as I'm concerned. What's more important -- 'Dancing Queen' [the song] or ABBA? And since you can't say, wouldn't it be more natural to split it down the middle?," he added. CISAC represents 232 societies in 120 countries around the world, and advocates for higher royalties and better terms for creators. - Billboard, 5/29/20...... Alice CooperAlice Cooper has shared what he's been doing lately during the coronavirus quarantine. "You know that Geico commercial with the whole family clogging? That's us," Cooper says. "We have a friend who's a great tap dancer, and every Wednesday night, he has an hour-long online class. So the whole family goes in the backyard where we have all this plywood on the ground, and everybody's got tap shoes on. My wife and daughters are professional dancers, so they're way ahead of me. But every Wednesday night is tap night," he added. Meanwhile, Cooper has told Yahoo! Entetainment that he would like his actor friend and Hollywood Vampires bandmate Johnny Depp to play him if a biopic were made about his life and times. "I hope it's not of those where we get to die first. Usually it's gonna happen with bands that were extremely commercially successful, whereas Alice was successful and we sold a lot of records, but I did not appeal to everybody," Alice said. "I was definitely on the darker side. And I think that it would make a great movie, myself. And if Johnny Depp were just better looking, he could play me," he quipped. "He knows me well enough now where he could imitate me pretty well, I'm pretty sure." - Billboard/NME, 5/29/20...... Bruce Springsteen wrapped a concert by the Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys by appearing on the jumbotron at Fenway Park in Boston on May 29, after Dropkick Murphys performed a charity concert in an empty ballpark. The two-hour "Streaming Outta Fenway" show marked the first time a musical performance has ever taken place at an empty major U.S. arena, stadium or ballpark, and benefitted the Boston Resiliency Fund, Habitat For Humanity and Feeding America. "You're making us all look old!" Dropkick Murphys frontman Ken Casey joked with The Boss, who laughed onscreen. "What are you, 15 years old?" The whole group went on to perform Dropkick Murphys' "Rose Tattoo" and Springsteen's "American Land." The concert can be streamed on YouTube, and encore performances will also be broadcast on Springsteen's exclusive SiriusXM radio channel E Street Radio starting May 30. - Billboard, 5/29/20...... Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden hosted a virtual fundraiser that featured conversations and performances from the likes of the Eagles' Joe Walsh, David Crosby, Jimmy Buffett and Sheryl Crow on the evening of May 28. The event was hosted by Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Whoopi Goldberg. In related news, Barbara Streisand and John Legend will be among the headliners of another virtual Biden fundraiser on June 11. Both Streisand and Legend have shown their support for Democratic presidential candidates in the past, each performing for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama during their respective presidential campaigns. Streisand has been an outspoken critic of Trump, and previously tweeted: "I wholeheartedly endorse Joe Biden for President. Trump must be beaten in November before he does more damage to our democracy, environment, health, safety and standing in the world." - Billboard/, 5/28/20...... The premium cable channel Epix premiered a two-part documentary on Los Angeles' Laurel Canyon neighborhood, which became one of the greatest hotbeds in popular music history in the mid-'60s and '70s, on May 31. The film features such rock/pop stars as Michelle Phillips, Micky Dolenz and Chris Hillman sharing their Laurel Canyon memories and is directed by Alison Elwood, who also helmed History of the Eagles and The Go-Go's, among other documentaries. "It's just the story about this sort of zeitgeist that happened in this place," says Elwood, who originally became interested in the neighborhood while researching a possible The Doors documentary. "It became a magnet for all these artists discovering who they were, what their places was in the world through their art. And it just got bigger and bigger and bigger," she added. An encore presentation of Laurel Canyon will be aired on Epix on June 7, and Episode 10 can be streamed on YouTube. - Billboard, 5/29/20...... Jimmy BuffetJimmy Buffett released his first album in seven years, Life on the Flip Side, on May 29. The lavishly packaged 14-song set was co-produced by Buffett and Michael Utley and Mac McAnally of his Coral Reefer Band, and features songs co-written by Irish singer-songwriter Paul Brady and Lukas Nelson. Currently quarantined with most of his family in Malibu, Buffett has been feeding the Parrothead flock with a Zoom chat, special weekly online performances for first responders, and vintage concerts on his Margaritaville TV. Buffett says the long wait in between albums was due to "a lot of creative stuff" that went into his Broadway musical "Escape to Margaritaville," and "the rewrites and writing songs that never got in the show." "Then the show went on the road, where it had a very successful two-year run until we had to shut it down because of the pandemic. So those two things really kind of kept a lot of writing time going," he added. Buffett says there's a streaming concert for Parrotheads in the future: "When the time comes we can play (the new album) for people, whether it's 10 or 10,000. We'll have a show. This will all calm eventually. I'd like a fresh new start in everything by next year -- we got back to work, this thing'll be done and we'll get rid of these foolish people who are making policies and stuff. That'd be the best end result." - Billboard, 5/28/20...... David Crosby performed a rendition of his song "What Are Their Names" from his 1971 solo debut LP, If I Could Only Remember My Name, on Stephen Colbert's A Late Show on May 27. The two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee (with the Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash Zoomed in for the special socially-distanced performance in which he ditched the instruments and sang the song a cappella. The performance can be viewed on YouTube. - Billboard, 5/28/20...... KISS will be among the headliners of a virtual Download Festival in the UK on the third weekend in June, which has been forced to change its format due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The virtual festival, set for June 12-14, will feature hours of exclusive footage, unseen performances and interactive content and "celebrate the spirit of Download Festival (with) 2 to 3 hours of tailor-made programming where Downloaders can tune in and rock out," according to the organizers' press release. June 12 will present a replay of 2015 headliners KISS' standout festival moments, with nostalgic performances from Iron Maiden on June 13 and System of a Down performances from 2005, 2011 and 2017 on June 14. Other interactive events will include live artist Q&A's, special lockdown performances, music tutorials and mindfulness sessions, according to organizers. "Downloaders are encouraged to put tents up in the garden, wear Download merch, dress as your favourite hero, send in photos and videos -- the weekend is about the fans and celebrating the Download community," the organizers said. In other KISS-related news, guitarist Bob Kulick who toured and worked with the band has died at the age of 70. "We are heartbroken. Our deepest condolences to the Kulick family in this difficult time," a message on KISS' Twitter account read. In addition to his work with KISS, Kulick also played with Lou Reed on Coney Island Baby, and was part of Meat Loaf's touring band. - New Musical Express/Billboard, 5/30/20...... Elvis PresleyA rhinestone-studded jockstrap said to have been worn by Elvis Presley is being offered for sale in Britain by Paul Fraser Collectibles for 30,000 pounds ($50,656.71). The piece was made for Elvis by a fan and later ended up in the collection of Jimmy Velvet, a singer who opened an Elvis museum in Memphis. Presley is believed to have worn the "family jewels" jockstrap several times in the 1970s. "It is extravagant. It is absurd. It is absolutely Elvis," said Daniel Wade of Paul Fraser Collectibles. Wade said the coronavirus crisis had increased interest in celebrity memorabilia, because buyers had more time on their hands and because people were seeking alternative investments at a time of turmoil in financial markets. "We are seeing more people coming to us with a view to sort of hedging the diversification for their portfolios," he said. - Reuters, 5/27/20...... Actor Alan Alda of M*A*S*H fame says he's been staying active during the coronavirus quarantine to stay healthy given his advanced age and underlying health conditions. "I began to exercise. A lot of people hear they have Parkinsons and get depressed and panicky and don't do anything, just hoping it'll go away. It's not going to, but you can hold off the worst symptoms," the 84-year-old star said in a new interview with AARP magazine. Alda continued: "Movement helps: walking, biking, treadmills. But also specific things: I move to music a lot. I take boxing lessons from a guy trained in Parkinsons therapy. I do a full workout specifically designed for this disease. It's not the end of the world when you get this diagnosis." While quarantining with his wife, Arlene, at their home on Long Island, Alda says the couple have also been going on socially distanced walks with their friends to keep moving. Alda announced in July 2018 that he was diagnosed with Parkinsons, a progressive disorder that affects the nervous system. There is no known cure for it. -, 5/27/20...... Emmy-nominated actress Marge Redmond, best known as the wry Sister Jacqueline in the 1967-1970 convent-based sitcom The Flying Nun, died of as yet undisclosed causes on Feb. 10, it was finally publicly announced in the last week of May in the latest quarterly SAG-AFTRA magazine. In addition to her role as Sister Jacqueline, she also had small roles in the films The Fortune Cookie, Woody Allen's Manhattan Murder Mystery and Alfred Hitchcock's final movie, Family Plot. Ms. Redmond also made appearances in the TV shows My Three Sons, Dr. Kildare, My Favorite Martian, The Munsters, The Rockford Files, Hunter, Columbo, Murphy Brown and Law & Order. Ms. Redmond was married to late actor Jack Weston from 1950 until their divorce in the 1980s. - WENN/, 5/29/20.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The Doobie Brothers have rescheduled their special 50th anniversary 2020 North American reunion tour for the summer of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Kicking off on July 21, 2021 in West Palm Beach, Fla., the tour will mark the first time founding members Tom Johnston, Pat Simmons, John McFee and later member Michael McDonald have toured together in nearly a quarter century. Originally a 53-date tour, seven dates from the 2020 schedule (Mount Pleasant, MI, Sioux City, IA, Boise, ID, Albuquerque, NM, Little Rock, AR, Bossier City, LA, and Memphis, TN) were forced to be canceled "due to scheduling conflicts," according to a statement from the band. The statement, which said the tour was being rescheduled "with the health and safety of The Doobie Brothers' fans, crew and local employees in mind," also encourages fans to hold on to their tickets, which will be valid for new dates although refunds are being offered. - Billboard, 5/26/20...... Brian MayQueen guitarist Brian May posted a video to Instagram on May 24 detailing the "saga" of events leading up to his recent "near death" heart attack, including a recent gardening accident that injured his buttock muscle. May says he was experiencing excruciating pain following the gardening incident, which he initially blamed on shredding his gluteus maximus. But an MRI of his lower spine revealed that May actually had a compressed sciatic nerve. During the process of treating his pain and torn muscle, May discovered that he had a "small heart attack." "I thought I was a very healthy guy. But I turned out to have three arteries that were congested and in danger of blocking the supply of blood to my heart," the 72-year-old musician said in the clip. May added that three stents were successfully put in after his doctor drove him to the hospital. "I walked out with a heart that's very strong now. I was very near death because of this," he noted, also recommending those in their "autumn years... get their heart checked from time to time." - Billboard, 5/25/20...... A Facebook page devoted to late rock & roll legend Little Richard has announced that a statue in his honor is expected to be installed outside his childhood home in Macon, Ga. The Little Richard House Resource Center Facebook page announced the tribute during a live Zoom meeting, which is being funded by Friends of the Little Richard House and the Community Foundation of Central Georgia. "Little Richard's contribution to music as a whole, to all the genres of music, was monumental and very instrumental in a lot of people's careers," said Friends of the Little Richard House board member Antonio Williams. Georgia State Rep. James Beverly said the fund will also be used to support organizations that provide music education to low to moderate-income students across Bibb County and Middle Georgia. The goal is to have the statue erected by Dec. 5, which would have been Little Richard's 88th birthday, and Macon Mayor Robert Reichert will proclaim that date as "Little Richard Penniman Day." Little Richard, also known as Richard Wayne Penniman, died of complications from bone cancer on May 9 in Nashville at the age of 87. Meanwhile, Little Richard's music has entered multiple Billboard song and album charts following his death. His catalog earned 7.1 million on-demand U.S. streams in the tracking week running May 8-14, a leap of 879%, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Additionally, downloads of his music jumped 2,271% to 14,000 sales, and his album catalog moved 4,000 in album sales, up 3,885%. - AP/Billboard, 5/26/20...... In a new interview with CNBC, ABBA's Bjorn Ulvaeus revealed that the Swedish supergroup will be releasing new music sometime later in 2020. Asked when fans could expect some new music, the producer-songwriter replied: "I think sometime this year. Yes, I think so." A new song titled "I Still Have Faith In You' was due to premiere on the BBC in December 2018, then followed up with the release of another new song, "Don't Shut Me Down," but so far neither has surfaced. It is unclear as to whether the new music Ulvaeus has mentioned includes these songs. In February, his bandmate Benny Andersson also said the quartet were hoping to release some new music in 2020, "I'm guessing after the summer." Ulvaeus also said that the "feeling between us was extraordinary" when he entered the studio with the band after 35 years. "It took half a minute and somehow we were back in time like we had been there yesterday as well. It was so strange," he said. - New Musical Express, 5/23/20...... Roger_DaltreyIn an interview with the Associated Press, the Who's Roger Daltrey said he worries that the coronavirus pandemic will have a devastating effect on a special group of people in need -- teens with cancer. "(The pandemic is) devastating for them because every treatment that they have for cancer compromises their immune system," said Daltrey, who along with bandmate Pete Townshend started the Teen Cancer America foundation in 2012 to deal with the specific needs of teenage cancer patients. TCA has funded specialized hospital wings and services for teens and their families, but with venues closed and touring postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the organization faces a potential shortfall in donations heading into June, which is National Cancer Survivors Month. "We pay for that space in the hospital. We equip it. We maintain it. And we provide specialist nursing. That's what we do," Daltrey says of TCA. "And you have to remember that a lot of these youngsters who get cancer don't live near a big city. They might be miles out in the sticks. So we are starting outreach programs where we send specialized nursing, setting up web links so that they can link patients up," he added. Asked about streaming possibly making up the loss of revenue from live performances, Daltrey says "there's no money" in streaming. "Ask any musician, man. The only ones making money are the streaming companies. You can have a billion streams and you'll get paid $5,000. Oh, man. It's cruel. It's crucifying. I don't know whether it would work for us, though. I mean, that music's very different," he said. The 76-year-old musician added that he has been "singing for myself just to keep my voice up" during the Who's downtime. "I don't want to go back and be half as good as I was last year. I want to be as good as I was last year because the Who was better than ever last year... But I'm going to continue. I don't know what else I would do, man," he said. - AP, 5/22/20...... Paul McCartney posted a series of Twitter posts on May 21 paying tribute to Beatles photographer Astrid Kirchherr, who died earlier in May at age 81 of as yet undisclosed causes. "Very sad news this week about Astrid Kirchherr," McCartney began. "Astrid was a dear friend from my Hamburg days with The Beatles. Another friend, Klaus Voormann, told me she had passed away and this brought back memories of our days in the clubs in Hamburg. She had a great sense of humour and later went on to marry Stuart (Sutcliffe) our bass player. I have so many fond memories of our time together in the club or her home or a trip to the nearby seaside resort, Lubeck. So sad for all of us who were her friends to lose such a lovely lady from our lives. I will miss her but will always remember her and her cheeky grin with great fondness. God bless you Astrid, see ya love!," McCartney added in his posts. Kirchherr, who was known for taking the first ever photo of the then-quintet in her native Hamburg, Germany in the early 1960s and helping to shape their trend-setting style before they shot to international superstardom, passed away on May 13, days before turning 82. -, 5/22/20...... Foreigner premiered a new performance of their 1984 power ballad "I Want To Know What Love Is" on YouTube on May 22 to celebrate the release of Netflix's new rom-com The Lovebirds. In the clip, Foreigner performs the song via Zoom, after being inspired by its use in the Michael Showalter-directed film's trailer. "I want to know what the lovebirds are doin' on Netflix. Check it out," current Foreigner frontman Kelly Hansen quips before launching into the track's first verse. "I want to know what love is/ I want you to show me/ I want to feel what love is/ I know you can show me," the band mates sing on the chorus, interspersed with clips from the movie. Starring Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae, The Lovebirds tells the story of a couple's magical first date, which takes a hilariously dark left turn after they accidentally witness a murder and get framed for the crime. Originally slated to premiere at South By Southwest this spring, the film's theatrical release was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and is instead available on Netflix starting May 22. - Billboard, 5/22/20...... CherCher celebrated her 74th birthday on May 20 with a socially distanced surprise party outside. Cher revealed details of her big day as she responded to a fan who tweeted her a picture of the chocolate cake she had made for the star's birthday. In her usual capital letters, Cher replied on Twitter that she'd been thrown a surprise party by her nearest and dearest, explaining: "We were outside, masks, gloves and social distancing. Hardest part, social distancing, not easy! Being outside helped." Cher added that there were 10 people present for the celebration, and concluded: "There was cake. Hope we did it right. It's not easy. A million things you're used to doing that you can't do." Cher also tweeted her gratitude to her legion of Twitter followers who inundated her with birthday messages. Calling her followers "the best", Cher added: "I can't believe I'm 'so' old and 'still crazy after all these years'. I can't find words to thank you for all you've (done) for me." -, 5/21/20...... A UK postman and rabid KISS fan on the Isle Of Sheppey who has been dressing up as KISS frontman Gene Simmons on his delivery rounds to boost morale during the coronavirus lockdown has drawn attention from Simmons himself. "Gary Underdown is keeping spirits up in the UK by delivering the mail as The Demon Gene Simmons during quarantine, KISS posted on their Twitter feed. "We love it!" Simmons simply responded, "Wow." According to a local paper, Underdown has dressed up as Simmons for at least four shifts. He told the paper: "I have been a KISS fan since I came out of the womb, revealing that he first donned Simmons'makeup around a month ago and "got a good reaction." "You get a few who are like, "Oh my God, that's fantastic,' and some people have been asking for a picture and I thought I would try and get everyone's mood up. Everyone's a bit down in the dumps with what's going on -- it just lifted them up again," he says. However Underdown says he nixed the idea of also wearing the band's iconic heavy footwear while on shift. "I couldn't walk 10 miles in the Destroyer boots -- but I have got a pair." - New Musical Express, 5/23/20...... Neil Young has shared a special performance of the title track from Homegrown, his long-unreleased 1975 album, during the fifth episode of his Fireside Sessions series from his Telluride, Col., home. Singing to an audience that included a handful of chickens and a mallard, the latest instalment of the 74-year-old's live-streamed series featured renditions of "Tumbleweed," "Harvest," "Old Man" and 1969's "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere." The set ends with a performance of "War of Man" from Harvest Moon. Homegrown will drop on June 19 on all formats via Reprise Records. - NME, 5/21/20..... Ronnie WoodRolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood says beating lung cancer was like being given a "get out of jail free card" in his new documentary, Somebody Up There Likes Me. Wood previously revealed he was diagnosed with the illness in 2017 after smoking "25 to 30 cigarettes a day at least for 50-odd years" and had prepared to say goodbye to his loved ones before he underwent five hours of surgery to remove cancer from one of his lungs. He announced that he was cancer-free in 2018 ."I got away with having it cut out of one lung, the cancer," he revealed in a preview for his first feature-length documentary, which can be viewed on YouTube. "Luckily it had just stayed there," he continued. "They said, "We got rid of that and while we there we got rid of the emphysema on the top lobe of your lung.' I went, "Oh great', and they went, 'Your lungs now are like you'd never smoked' and I went, 'How is that for a get out of jail free card?' Somebody up there likes me, somebody down here likes me too," Wood added. Sharing news of the documentary on Twitter, Wood wrote: "UK friends! My first feature length documentary, Somebody Up There Likes Me, by Mike Figgis is hitting your TV screens on Saturday 6th June at 9pm on Sky Arts." - NME, 5/21/20..... Former The Sex Pistols member John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) will host a virtual party and Q&A session on Facebook on the morning of June 7 at 5 AM EST/2 AM PST to celebrate the initial release of a documentary on his later band Public Image Ltd. (PiL), The Public Image is Rotten. Lydon, PiL manager Rambo Stevens and the film's director, Tabbert Fiiller, will ask questions from fans about the film. The Public Image Is Rotten launches on Vimeo and is available now in English and with Spanish subtitles. Until now, theatrical viewing has been the only opportunity to see the film. -, 5/23/20.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

ABBA's 1974 hit "Waterloo" has been crowned the UK's favourite Eurovision song of all-time after British TV viewers participated in a public vote on Eurovision performances from previous years on May 16. The one-off BBC special gave viewers the chance to vote on a shortlist compiled by experts and celebrity super fans, including Rylan Clark-Neal, Scott Mills, Ken Bruce, Adele Roberts and Mel Giedroyc, as well as former UK acts SuRie and Nicki French. "Waterloo" beat off competition from Bucks Fizz, Conchita and Gina G to claim the top spot this year. "Of course it's ABBA," said said host Graham Norton, as he announced the winner, "it was always going to be." ABBA famously won the Eurovision song contest with "Waterloo" back in 1974, which helped propel the Swedish pop quartet to international stardom. The 2020 Eurovision Song Contest was cancelled in March amid the coronavirus pandemic. - New Musical Express, 5/17/20...... Bruce SpringsteenIn April, organizers of a "Hungry Heart Club Night" in the UK raised over £32,000 for charity after spinning a virtual 24-hour DJ set of Bruce Springsteen songs. Now Hannah Summers and Jon Beck have announced details of their latest Springsteen DJ event which will raise money for Mental Health Awareness Week, after The Boss himself previously opened up on his own battles with depression -- with fans encouraged to submit their requests in advance. "To help support conversations about mental health, this Saturday we will be bringing you a Hungry Heart requests special. As @springsteen is someone who has spoken openly about his own mental health (and given how his music has helped us manage ours!), we wanted to do our bit in raising awareness," the duo wrote on Instagram. Fans who wish to take part in the latest Hungry Heart Club Night can log on to the Hungry Heart Events website from 8:00 PM London time on Apr. 23. Meanwhile, Springsteen and the American Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys have announced a live-streamed concert at Boston's Fenway Park on May 29 at 6:00 PM EDT. The "Straight Outta Fenway" concert, which takes place at an empty stadium, will feature a full set from Dropkick Murphys, while Springsteen will join remotely for a guest appearance. Together they will present a "double play," performing one song by each artist. The livestream is hosted by Boston tech company Pega, and will raise funds for three charities: Habitat For Humanity, Feeding America and The Boston Resiliency Fund. Springsteen headlined the first-ever headline rock gig at Fenway in 2003, while the Dropkick Murphys played a headline gig there in 2011. - New Musical Express, 5/18/20...... In more Springsteen news, the New Jersey rocker took over his SiriusXM channel, E Street Radio, on May 20 to pay tribute to late rock & roll pioneer Little Richard during his latest guest DJ session, which has been shared on YouTube. "And that is the purest rock 'n' roll voice of all time," Springsteen said of the Richard, who died May 9 at the age of 87. "He was one of the founding fathers of rock 'n' roll, and its preeminent vocal genius." Springsteen also spinned some of his favorite tracks by the likes of Glen Campbell, Tom Petty, Dion and more. Fans and SiriusXM subscribers can tune into all four editions of Springsteen's guest DJ segment, "Bruce Springsteen -- From His Home, To Yours...," until May 25 as part of E Street Radio's Memorial Day celebration. The broadcast kicks off on May 20 at 5 p.m. ET on SiriusXM channel 20, and runs at varying times throughout the fourth weekend of May. Meanwhile, it has been announced that Little Richard will be buried at the historically black Alabama college Oakwood University on May 20, the same college of which Little Richard is an alumnus. The service will be private and officiated by Richard's close friend Pastor Bill Minson. - Billboard/AP, 5/20/20...... Lionel Richie is remaking the 1985 charity single "We Are the World" with former American Idol contestants in place of the original's all-star line-up. In March, Richie suggested a third remake could be released to benefit coronavirus relief efforts. It was previously remade in 2010 following a catastrophic earthquake in Haiti. Co-written by Richie and Michael Jackson, the original "We Are the World" aided the non-profit USA For Africa charity which aims to "help ease the pain of poverty in Africa and the United States." The latest version of "We Are The World" will feature Richie and his fellow American Idol judges Katy Perry and Luke Bryan. They will be joined by former winners and contestants of the US talent show including Jordin Sparks, Lauren Alaina, Scotty McCreery, Fantasia, and more. The top 11 finalists from the current series also feature and the group performed the track for the first time on the May 17. - NME, 5/16/20...... Gerry BeckleyDewey BunnellSeventies popsters America have announced they'll be celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2019 by releasing a deluxe 8-disc career retrospective called Half Century on Aug. 21. The set kicks off with an unreleased version of "Children," which can be streamed on YouTube, from their classic 1972 eponymous debut LP. America's Dewey Bunnell says it's one of the first songs he ever wrote, and part of a 1970 session in London for famed British song publisher Dick James. "I started 'Children' and 'Riverside' around the same time," Bunnell says. "('Children') was the song that really locked into my brain how good our vocal harmonies were at that point. We really worked on those, and I give full credit to [his America bandmate] Gerry (Beckley) as a great arranger. The song itself had a little bit of that era, that '60s 'come on children, get your heads together,' but what stands out is really our (vocal) blend and how unique that was." Half Century also boasts a cornucopia of unreleased studio and live recordings, including demos, alternate mixes, rehearsals, interviews and video footage from a variety of sources ranging from 1970-89, along with one new track, aptly titled "Remembering." Other projects celebrating the group's golden anniversary include 2019's Live at the Palladium, and in the works is an authorized America biography by Jude Warne, with a foreword by Billy Bob Thornton. America's live shows have been suspended for the moment due to the coronavirus pandemic, while Beckley recently spent a couple of weeks quarantined in Australia, where his wife is from. Beckley says that he thinks with "the right guidance there could easily be another one or two America projects in the future," including the duo's first new music since their 2007 set Here & Now. - Billboard, 5/20/20...... '70s acts KISS and Devo are among the artists who have made branded COVID-19 PPE merchandise available to fans. KISS fans can keep their tongues nicely tucked in with decorative KISS everyday face maks featuring the legendary shock rockers. All the profits benefit Live Nation Entertainment's Global Relief Fund For Live Music Crews, and can be purchased at the KISS online shop. Devo has also launched their own unique PPE line, including an Energy Dome face shield that's attached to the members' idiosyncratic Energy Dome red hats and emblazoned with the rock band's logo. "Graphically bold design in aggressive, primary red it became the most iconic symbol of the band's multi-media mission to spread the idea of Devolution," according to the band's website. Devo's face shields can be bought at - Billboard, 5/20/20...... Joan Jett, Blue Oyster Cult, Pat Benatar, Kurtis Blow, The Vanilla Fudge, Dream Theater and Gary U.S. Bonds are among the artists slated to perform on an upcoming New York TV special supporting Long Island's "Health Care Heroes." Presented by the Long Island Music Hall of Fame, the event is set for broadcast on May 31 on News 12 Plus (Channel 61) and FIOS Channel 530. Each artist is contributing a performance, with most performed exclusively for the broadcast. - Billboard, 5/19/20...... Marianne Faithfull is thanking healthcare workers in the UK who aided her recovery from COVID-19, as well as her fans for offering their support. "I would like to say to all the people who cared for me and thought of me, who sent me love, people I know, people I have never met, thank you for helping me to get better," Faithfull posted on Facebook to her followers on May 20, along with an image of herself."I want to thank the doctors and nurses who were so good and basically saved my life! Thank you all again for all your care, love, thoughts, prayers and wishes. All my love, Marianne." The "As Tears Go By" singer, 73, was hospitalised back in March after developing symptoms of the coronavirus. In April, she was discharged after 22 days and returned to her London home. - New Musical Express, 5/20/20...... Elvis Presley's Graceland tourist attraction announced on May 17 that it will reopen on May 21 after it was forced to shut down its tours and exhibits due to the coronavirus outbreak. The popular Memphis tourist attraction says it has adjusted its tours, and restaurant and retail operations since it closed in March, with temperature checks for guests and employees to be implemented and hand sanitizing stations being installed. Presley's former home-turned-museum will also be reduced to 25% capacity, requiring employees and encouraging visitors to wear face masks, and limiting restaurant capacities to 50%. "We are helping Memphis and Tennessee to get back to some sense of normality," said Joel Weinshanker, managing partner of Graceland Holdings, in a statement. Graceland annually attracts about 500,000 visitors, including many international travelers. - AP, 5/17/20...... Roger WatersFormer Pink Floyd principal Roger Waters shared his thoughts about the coronavirus situation on his Twitter feed on May 17. "Social distancing is a necessary evil in Covid world. Watching 'Mother' reminds me just how irreplaceable the joy of being in a band is," posted Waters, who accompanied the post with a clip of a socially distanced performance of Pink Floyd's "Mother" off the band's 1979 double album, The Wall.The black-and-white video kicks off with the 76-year-old musician sitting alone in a studio and playing his guitar. As he plays, members of his touring band appear in clips from their own homes and studios to perform. Meanwhile, Rogers has slammed his former Pink Floyd bandmate David Gilmour for "banning" him from the group's website and social media accounts. In a video posted to social media on May 18, Waters initially thanked fans for their reaction to his new version "Mother," but then began his attack on Gilmour. "[It] does bring up the question of why is this video not available on a website that calls itself the Pink Floyd website? The answer to that is because nothing from me is on the website. I am banned by David Gilmour from the website. About a year ago, I convened a sort of Camp David for the surviving members of Pink Floyd at a hotel at the airport in London, where I proposed all kinds of measures to get past this awful impasse that we have and predicament that we find ourselves in. It bore no fruit, I'm sorry to say." Waters continued: "I suggested that because whoever the 30 million of you are who subscribe to the web page, that you do that because of the body of work that the five of us created. That's Syd (Barrett), me, Rick (Wright), Nick (Mason) and David, over a number of years. And in consequence, it seems to me that it would be fair and correct if we should have equal access to you all and share our projects." Aiming his criticism at Gilmour, Waters said: "David thinks he owns it. I think he thinks that because I left the band in 1985, that he owns Pink Floyd, that he is Pink Floyd, that I'm irrelevant and I should just keep my mouth shut. We're all welcome to our opinions... This is wrong. We should rise up. Or, just change the name of the band to Spinal Tap, and then everything will be hunky dory." Waters famously left Pink Floyd in the '80s and sued the remaining three members for continuing to use the name without him. He lost the case. Waters, Gilmour and Nick Mason last reunited as Pink Floyd to play Bob Geldof's Live 8 benefit concert in 2005. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 5/19/20...... An unreleased demo tape of "Angel in Disguise," Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr's only jointly written duet, sold for $9,900 at auction in the U.K. on May 19. The track was recorded for Starr's 1992 solo album Time Takes Time but did not make the cut -- with a cassette containing two versions of the song selling to an unnamed bidder after a sale at Omega Auctions in Cheshire, England. The tape is currently owned by former Radio Luxembourg DJ Tony Prince, and sold at less than half its top price estimate of $20,000. It features McCartney on vocals on one track and another with Starr singing. "Angel in Disguise" is thought to be the only song "co-written exclusively" by the duo without any other musician's involvement. - WENN/, 5/19/20...... The annual "birthday bash" for late The Ramones frontman Joey Ramone is returning in 2020, but this time swapping out a real-live concert for a digital livestream due to public gathering restrictions put in place from the coronavirus pandemic. Set for May 20, this year's concert includes performances from CJ Ramone, Richie Ramone, Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock and Blondie's Clem Burke, among others. All up, more than 25 artists will be performing. The concert is free to watch from Ramone's Facebook page, but audience members will be encouraged to donate to the Joey Ramone Foundation for Lymphoma Research. Joey Ramone passed away on Apr. 15, 2001 from lymphoma, one month before his 50th birthday. - NME, 5/18/20...... Rhys IfansRod StewartIn an interview with BBC Radio 2 on May 17, Rod Stewart has discussed the prospect of a movie about his life and career, following the success of recent Freddie Mercury and Elton John biopics Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman. The 74-year-old musician said he would be "flattered" if a similar film was to be made about his own career, and said he thought actor Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill, Harry Potter) would be a good choice to play him. "Rhys would be a very good idea. [But] he has got to do something with his barnet (Cockney rhyming slang for hair), Stewart said. Ifans, who previously dated Stewart's daughter Kimberley, also has musical experience of his own as a founding member of Welsh band Super Furry Animals. Stewart also said he'd like his fourteen year old son Alastair to play his younger self, as he believes they have a "remarkable similarity" in their looks. "If it does not happen it does not matter but I would be flattered if it did," Rod mused. "But I tell you what, the Freddie Mercury one was so good. It was rock and roll. It would be hard to get something better than that but I would give it a shot," he added. - NME, 5/17/20...... Guitarist Jorge Santana, the younger brother of Carlos Santana and whose guitar riffs on the band Malo's 1972 hit "Suavecito" transformed the song into a Chicano anthem, died on May 14 of natural causes. He was 68. "We take time to celebrate the magnificent spirit of our beloved brother, Jorge," Carlos Santana wrote on his Facebook page on May 15. "He transitioned unto the realm of light that cast no shadow the eyes of my heart clearly see him right in between our glorious and magnificent mother Josefina and our father Jose," Carlos added. Born in Jalisco, Mexico, Jorge Santana began playing guitar following his brother's footsteps. He joined a San Francisco-based band that would later become Malo, which means "bad" in Spanish. According to band legend, the group got its name after the mother of its lead signer told them, "todos ustedes son malos," translating into English, "all of you are bad." Their 1972 hit "Suavecito," a tune released during the apex of the Chicano Movement, became a staple for Mexican American cookouts, weddings and quinceaneras for generations throughout the American Southwest. - AP, 5/18/20...... Veteran comedic actor Fred Willard, who rose to fame in the late '70s with appearances on parody sitcoms like Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Fernwood 2 Night America 2-Night, and others like it throughout the 1980s, died on May 15 at the age of 86. In the '90s, Mr. Willard started appearing on a bunch of hit comedy shows on air at the time, including Sister, Sister, Roseanne, Access America and The Simpsons, among others. He later went on to star on The Weird Al Show, Maybe It's Me and a number of mockumentaries -- including The History of White People in America, This Is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, For Your Consideration, and Mascots. He is also known for his role as Ron Burgundy's news director in the Anchorman films. Mr. Willard was married to his wife Mary from 1968 to 2018, when she passed away. He is survived by his daughter, Hope. -, 5/16/20...... Pioneering female NFL sportscaster and Miss America-winner Phyllis George died on May 15 at a Lexington, Ky. hospital after a long fight with a blood disorder she'd had since she was in her 30s. She was 70. George became a female sportscasting pioneer on CBS's The NFL Today in the 1970s, and was the 50th contestant to be named Miss America in 1971. She is the mother of CNN White House correspondent Pamela Brown and a son, entrepreneur Lincoln Brown. -, 5/16/20...... Ken OsmondKen Osmond, best known as the sneaky troublemaker on the 1957-63 TV sitcom Leave It To Beaver, died on May 17, his manager has confirmed. He was 76. Osmond's Haskell character was a troublemaking friend of Wally Cleaver (Tony Dow), Beaver's (Jerry Mathers) older brother. His impact on pop culture can be measured by the fact that, for those of us of a certain age, if someone is described as an "Eddie Haskell"-type, we know exactly what is meant. Osmond revisited his most famous role frequently over the years in the many subsequent iterations of the show, most notably Still the Beaver, which ran from 1983-1989. He also guested on such series as Happy Days, Lassie, Petticoat Junction and The Munsters. After his acting career ended, he went on to become an LAPD Cop and reportedly took five bullets in the line of duty, reportedly growing a mustache to be less-recognizable on the job. "He was an incredibly kind and wonderful father," his son, Eric, said in a statement. "He had his family gathered around him when he passed. He was loved and will be very missed." -, 5/18/20...... Annie Glenn, wife of astronaut and former U.S. Sen. John Glenn, died at a nursing home of COVID-19 complications near family in St. Paul, Minn., on May 19. She was 100 years old. Annie, as everyone knew her, lived in the shadow of her husband's fame, but emerged in midlife to become an inspiration for people with disabilities around the world by overcoming the chronic stuttering that afflicted and limited her during the years her husband was becoming a household name. In 1983, Annie Glenn received the first national award of the American Speech and Hearing Association for her meritorious service to those with communicative disorders. In 1987, the National Association for Hearing and Speech Action awarded the first annual Annie Glenn Award for achieving distinction despite a communication disorder. In 2009, the Ohio State University awarded her an honorary Doctorate of Public Service to recognize her work on behalf of children and others. John Glenn died in 2016 at age 95 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. At the time of his death, the two had been married 73 years, after being high school sweethearts. -, 5/19/20.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Rock & roll legend Dion Dimucci has released a new single called "Bam Bang Boom" and shared a YouTube video of the track with Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top on lead guitar. "Bam Bang Boom" will be featured on Dion's upcoming album Blues With Friends on Joe Bonomassa's new label KTBA Records (Keeping The Blues Alive Records), which drops on June 5. "Billy Gibbons was a joy to work with on this," says the "Abraham, Martin and John" singer. "He's a true renaissance man. I love the way he communicates with a guitar and in conversation. There's nobody like him." Blues With Friends features 13 tracks with special guests including Gibbons, Bonomassa, Bruce Springsteen, Jeff Beck, Paul Simon, Van Morrison, Brian Setzer, Stevie Van Zandt and many more. More information can be found on Dion's official website. - Noble PR, 5/11/20...... Ian AndersonJethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson is reassuring fans he isn't at death's door after revealing that he had been diagnosed with an incurable lung disease and that his "days are numbered." In an interview with veteran newsman Dan Rather on the US TV channel AXS, Anderson said he had been diagnosed with the lung condition chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). "I'm going to tell you something I've never told anybody in public before -- I am suffering from an incurable lung disease which I was diagnosed with a couple of years back." Anderson said he "struggles" with the condition. "I have what are known as exacerbations: Periods when I get an infection, it turns into severe bronchitis and I have maybe two or three weeks of really a tough job to go out there onstage and play. Fingers crossed, I've gone 18 months now without an exacerbation." He said he believes one of the main factors in contracting the disease was his exposure to smoke machines during live performances with Jethro Tull. But Anderson has now clarified his "days are numbered" statement: "After all, I am 73 years old this August! But I should be OK for a few more years if COVID doesn't get me first." He says that the COPD "has no impact at all on my daily life as long as I don't catch a cold or flu virus and suffer the subsequent heavy bronchitis which, for me, historically follows since I was a young man." - WENN/, 5/14/20...... Alice Cooper has just written and recorded "Don't Give Up," a new single inspired by the COVID-19 lockdown. In a press release, Cooper says he penned the song from isolation at home, where he is recording his new album, before working with his longtime producer Bob Ezrin using remote technology to complete the record. "'Don't Give Up' is out today! It's a song about what we've all been going through right now and about keeping our heads up and fighting back together," Alice explains. "And whatever you do - Don't Give Up!" The song debuted on YouTube on May 15. Cooper also invited his fans to participate in the new video, with Alice and his band filming separately during quarantine. Over 20,000 responded, holding up signs and messages of unity featuring words from the lyrics. A strictly limited 7-inch vinyl single of the song will be released on Aug. 14. Meanwhile, Cooper is re-releasing his classic Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits LP on 140 Gram Vinyl on July 3. - WENN/, 5/15/20...... Queen announced on May 14 it will be hosting a stream of the "Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness" on their YouTube channel for 48 hours, beginning on May 16 at 7pm BST. The gig, which took place to 72,000 people at Wembley Stadium on Apr. 20, 1992, was in tribute to the band's late frontman, who had died from AIDS the previous November. Viewers of the stream are asked to donate the World Health Organisation in Mercury's honour, with Google pledging to match each a $2 donation as part of an ongoing Google/YouTube UN Foundation fundraiser. - NME, 5/14/20...... Neil YoungIn 1974 and early 1975, Neil Young recorded a 12-track album called Homegrown that he shelved in favor of his 1973-recorded Tonight's the Night album. Now the Canadian singer/songwriter is making the unheard LP, one of the great "Holy Grails" of his unreleased catalogue, available on June 19 on all formats via Reprise Records. "I apologize. This album Homegrown should have been there for you a couple of years after Harvest," Young posted on his Neil Young Archives site. "It's the sad side of a love affair. The damage done. The heartache. I just couldn't listen to it. I wanted to move on. So I kept it to myself, hidden away in the vault, on the shelf, in the back of my mind.... but I should have shared it." Young says Homegrown is "actually beautiful." "That's why I made it in the first place. Sometimes life hurts. You know what I mean. This is the one that got away," he says. Young says Homegrown is "the unheard bridge between Harvest and Comes A Time, featuring different mixes of songs that turned up on later albums, such as "Star of Bethlehem" (on 1977's American Stars 'n Bars), "Little Wing" and "This Old Homestead" (on 1980's Hawks & Doves), and "White Line" (on 1990's Ragged Glory). Homegrown is "coming your way in 2020," Young concludes, "the first release from our archive in this new decade. Come with us into 2020 as we bring you the past." - Billboard, 5/15/20...... Rod Stewart was so moved after seeing video of a Welsh student nurse named Natasha Jenkins reuniting with her three children following a five-week stay at a Cardiff, Wales hospital where she had spent 22 days on a ventilator, that he decided to get in touch with the COVID-19 survivor so he could send her a $6,000 (£5,000) cheque to help with expenses. "My house phone rang one day, and it was a lady saying, 'I'm calling on behalf of Rod Stewart,'" Jenkins, 35, told "She said, 'I'm from his PR company. He'd like to send you something.'" Jenkins was pleasantly surprised to receive the call, and two days later, she received an envelope containing a signed promotional picture of the "Maggie May" hitmaker -- and the generous gift. "I was like, 'Wow!' I was only expecting a card or something!" she exclaimed. Jenkins says she plans to hold on to the extra funds unless absolutely necessary. "The money is just going to be put away until I need it really," she said. "There's not too much I can do at the moment but it's just one less worry isn't it, the money issues and everything. It's just so sweet." The nurse also shared her story on Facebook showing off Stewart's personal, handwritten note, which read, "Hi Natasha, a small gift to help you through rough times." -, 5/16/20...... Streams of Little Richard's catalog of classic rock & roll hits have soared by 2,228% after the legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician died on May 9 from bone cancer at age 87. On May 9-10, songs by Richard drew 4.1 million on-demand U.S. streams, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. The sum represents a whopping 2,228% surge from the previous two days, May 7-8, during which his songs were streamed 175,000 times. Leading the pack was his 1955-56 hit "Tutti Frutti," which earned 412,000 streams on May 9-10, up 1,210% from 32,000 on May 7-8. His 1958 smash "Good Golly Miss Molly" also racked up 367,000 streams on May 9-10, up 985%, followed by 1956's "Long Tall Sally" (255,000 streams, up 1,056%). As for digital song sales, Little Richard's catalog sold 10,000 downloads on May 9-10, up 6,928% from a negligible amount on May 7-8. Lyrics to his songs are also in demand on LyricFind U.S., with "Good Golly Miss Molly" placing at No. 4 on its top lyrics searches, followed by "Long Tall Sally" (No. 6) and "Lucille" (No. 7). - Billboard, 5/13/20...... Michael McDonaldFormer The Doobie Brothers member Michael McDonald has released live covers of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" and the 1965 Burt Bacharach-Hal David penned Jackie DeShannon hit "What the World Needs Now Is Love," and McDonald says there's nothing random about his decision. "We always end our evening with one of those two songs, or both," says McDonald, who's slated to inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Doobie Brothers on Nov. 7. "We've tried to make our live shows leave people with a sense of community and a little something more important than just all of us getting together to hear some live music... And the mindfulness of being a community is always important -- especially now," he says from quarantine in his home near Santa Barbara, Calif. McDonald says he's also been working on a new studio album, the follow-up to 2017's Wide Open, and is also planning an EP of material he's been working on with local musicians in a converted barn studio on a ranch his friend owns north of Santa Barbara. A summer 2020 Doobies tour, with McDonald joining the existing lineup of the band, is slated to kick off July 9 in West Palm Beach, Fla., and has not yet been postponed or canceled, although he says "I can't imagine we'll go out this summer or any time soon." The Doobies Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction has been moved back six months and he says the band is "pretty geared up to go do it -- but such is everybody's fate these days." "I know I'm really looking forward to it, and I hope all the other guys are up for it come next year," he says. - Billboard, 5/13/20...... A YouTuber who goes by the moniker of Funk Turkey has created an AC/DC song using Artificial Intelligence called "Great Balls" and shared it on YouTube. Funk Turkey says he put all of the Aussie headbangers' lyrics through modelling software which then analyzed all the words across AC/DC s back catalogue. The software then picked out the most popular ones and the lyrics were generated on before instrumentation and vocals were added over the track. Funk Turkey also noted that "trying to sing like Brian Johnson is extremely hard." - New Musical Express, 5/16/20...... The companion live album to Prince's 1985 concert film Prince and the Revolution: Live has finally been released on major streaming platforms. Prince and his backing band were captured on film performing on Mar. 30, 1985 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y. during the Purple Rain tour. On May 15, the audio version of the album was made available to listen to on major streaming and download platforms. The film can be viewed on YouTube until 11:59 PM on May 17. The stream is aiming to raise funds for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organisation, and any viewer donations will include a matching component from Google. - NME, 5/15/20......, a rare live album from David Bowie, finally made its debut on major streaming services, including, on May 15. The record is one of three remastered live Bowie albums that are set to be released digitally over the coming months. was originally only available to listen to if you subscribed to Bowie's innovative but now defunct ISP BowieNet, and the record didn t receive a subsequent commercial release after it debuted on the online platform in Nov. 1999. The album is comprised of live recordings from Bowie's 1997 "Earthling Tour" featuring songs from his solo albums, including Outside and Earthling and features two new bonus tracks: "Pallas Athena" and "V-2 Schneider," the latter of which was named after the recently deceased Florian Schneider of Kraftwerk. - NME, 5/15/20...... AbbaABBA announced on May 14 it will be reissuing its entire back catalogue on colored vinyl for the very first time. All eight of the Swedish pop group's albums will be neatly collected in a box set titled ABBA: The Studio Albums, complete with replicas of each LP's original artwork. The deluxe box set arrives July 3. - New Musical Express, 5/14/20...... The Who's Roger Daltrey is asking fanse to support a new charity single from '80s hitmaker Bonnie Tyler to keep his Teenage Cancer Trust alive. Tyler and Lorraine Crosby have released an updated version of their 2005 duet "Through Thick And Thin (I'll Stand By You)" to raise funds for the organisation, for which The Who frontman is a patron. "We need a vital lifeline at the moment and we won't get it from the first round of charitable money coming out of the Government, because that's got to be tailored specific," Daltrey told a UK news outlet. "We deserve to survive this and to survive this we have to raise between five to seven million this year. So whatever you can give -- it doesn't matter what it is, it will really help us," he added. It is hoped proceeds will help fill the void left by the cancellation of the charity's 20th annual Royal Albert Hall in London in March, which has been rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic. -, 5/15/20...... After the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 2020 induction ceremonies was pushed back from May 2 to Nov. 7, the Cleveland-based hall and museum has been busy sharing footage from previous induction ceremonies on YouTube. Beginning by sharing clips from the class of 2019, the channel then included performances and acceptance speeches from the likes of Neil Young, Stevie Nicks, U2, Mick Jagger, The Pretenders, Roxy Music, The Stooges, Lauryn Hill and Prince. More than 200 clips are currently on the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame's YouTube channel. - NME, 5/14/20...... Paul Simon has praised the NHS staff of Wales after their stirring cover of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" went viral. Simon says the performance by construction workers, medics and council staff at a field hospital in Llandudno was "extraordinary," and praised workers as Ysbyty Enfys, which means "Rainbow Hospital" in Welsh, for their bravery. "Here is an extraordinary performance of 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' by the brave men and women from NHS in honour of the Llandudno's Venue Cymru, which has been turned into a temporary coronavirus hospital," Simon wrote on Facebook. "During this process, the facility has been renamed to Ysbyty Enfys, which is Welsh for Rainbow Hospital, as a symbol for hope," he added. The video has scored more than 80,000 views since Simon reposted it on his own Facebook page on May 13. - New Musical Express, 5/14/20...... Brian WilsonAl JardineMike LoveThe surviving members of the Beach Boys, who have been touring in two separate camps since completing their 50th anniversary tour in 2012, could all reunite in 2021 for a 60th anniversary tour. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Beach Boys co-founder Mike Love, who heads up one of the camps says he is "not against anything like that in terms of another proper Beach Boys reunion." "Anything that's creative and done for positive reasons is good with me," says Love. "We will continue thinking about stuff like that and see what we can do." In March, Al Jardine told a concert industry publication that a full BB reunion tour "will happen... we'll probably do about 20 or 30 [shows] together next year," although Love says he has not spoken with Jardine about a reunion "specifically." "Al's a really good singer, but he's been travelling and performing with Brian Wilson, [and] Brian has some serious health issues," Love said. "We are in a very fortunate and blessed position to be able to do music for a lifetime. It's pretty amazing. I can remember when my cousin Brian was a young boy. He sang "Danny Boy' sitting on my Grandma Wilson's lap. So that's how far back we go musically." Brian Wilson's manager, Jean Sievers, says no one has spoken to Brian about a 60th anniversary tour, however. In February, Wilson urged fans not to attend a Beach Boys show that had been organized by Love as it was taking place at the Safari Club International Convention, a group that supports trophy hunting. - NME, 5/14/20...... Elton John says he's "thrilled" to be the focus of an episode of the BBC television series Killing Eve, in which Villanelle's younger brother Bor'ka is revealed to be a superfan of the musician. In the episode "Are You From Pinner?," which is the name of John's English hometown, several references to Elton's music appear throughout the episode, as well as an inner table rendition of John's hit "Crocodile Rock," and a later scene which sees Bor'ka buy tickets to see the musician live. "#KillingEve is such a groundbreaking series and I was thrilled to be included in this week's episode," John said on Instagram, sharing a still from the episode which sees Villanelle wearing heart-shaped glasses just like John. "I think the glasses suit you @jodiemcomer! = the caption added. - NME, 5/13/20....... Pink Floyd guitarist/vocalist David Gilmour has paid tribute to his late former bandmate Syd Barrett by covering some of the singer-songwriter's solo songs during a lockdown performance, and sharing them on YouTube. Covering the Barrett tracks as part of his and his family's weekly "Von Trapped Family" livestream series, Gilmour also shared some personal anecdotes about Barrett and their time working together. Elsewhere in the livestream, Gilmour revealed that he was asked to proofread a forthcoming book of his late bandmate's lyrics. - NME, 5/11/20...... Astrid_Kirchherr.gifAstrid Kirchher, the legendary German Beatles photographer and collaborator who is renowned for taking the first ever photograph of the Beatles in her hometown of Hamburg, when they were an unknown five-piece combo, has died at age 81 of as yet undisclosed causes. Enjoying a lengthy collaborative relationship with the Beatles, Ms. Kirchherr is also known as the person who first suggested that the band cut their hair into what would become iconic "mop tops." She was also engaged to one-time Beatles guitarist Stuart Sutcliffe before his death in 1962. "Astrid was intelligent, inspirational, innovative, daring, artistic, awake, aware, beautiful, smart, loving and uplifting," Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn posted in tribute on Twitter. "Her gift to the Beatles was immeasurable." Also among the many fans paying tribute to Ms. Kirchherr on social media, where she was referred to as "the sixth Beatle," was George Harrison's widow Olivia Harrison. "Astrid is and was the sweetest woman, so thoughtful and kind and talented, with an eye to capture a soul. Our family loved her and none more than George. I am truly saddened but honoured to have known her," Olivia said. Ms. Kirchherr's photography of several iconic photos of the band was collated into a 2018 book, Astrid Kirchherr with the Beatles. - New Musical Express, 5/16/20...... Phil May, the frontman of the influential 1960's rock band The Pretty Things, died on the morning of May 15 at hospital in Kings Lynn, England, according to a rep for the band. He was 75 and died from complications after falling off his bicycle and undergoing emergency hip surgery. The Pretty Things, who formed in 1963, were peers of the Rolling Stones, and featured former Stones bassist Dick Taylor in their line-up on guitar. The band's 1968 album SF Sorrow has gone down in rock history as one of the first rock & roll concept albums, and The Pretty Things were publicly adored by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie, who covered one of their tracks on his 1973 album Pin-Ups. In 2014, May was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema, and while the band never officially broke up, May did take a break from touring following the diagnosis. The band played a "Final Bow" gig in Dec. 2018, at which they were joined on stage by Van Morrison, Pink Floyd's David Gilmour and more. The band continued to release iconic and influential recordings, right up to the present day, with a new album due for release this year. Among those paying tribute to May was Dave Davies of The Kinks, who called him "a very talented guy" who "will be sorely missed." - NME, 5/16/20.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Tributes to Little Richard continue to pour in after the rock & roll pioneer died in Tennessee on May 9 at age 87 of bone cancer. Elton John, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page and Ringo Starr are just a few of the artists who mourned the loss of Little Richard on Twitter and elsewhere. "Without a doubt -- musical, vocally and visually -- he was my biggest influence. Seeing him live in my teens was the most exciting event in my life at that point," Elton John began his Twitter tribute. Bob Dyan tweeted that he was "so grieved" about Richard's passing and that "He was my shining star and guiding light when I was only a little boy... His was the original spirit that moved me to do everything I would do." Mick Jagger posted that he was "so saddened to hear about the passing of Little Richard, he was the biggest inspiration of my early teens and his music still has the same raw electric energy when you play it now as it did when it first shot through the music scene in the mid 50's." Jimmy Page said his "thoughts are with (Little Richard's) loved ones... I got to hear him and his band at the Newport Lounge in Miami and boy were they good." Ringo Starr captioned a pic of Richard, himself and the other three Beatles while on tour with the rocker in the 1960s with "A night to remember... Little Richard... And the boys peace and love." Richard's fellow 1950s rock & roll legend, Jerry Lee Lewis, also paid his respects, calling the late icon "one of a kind." "He will live on always in my heart with his amazing talent and his friendship! He was one of a kind and I will miss him dearly," Lewis said. - Billboard, 5/9/20...... Bob DylanOn May 7, Bob Dylan released his third new track of 2020, "False Prophet," and announced on Twitter he'll release a new album, Rough and Rowdy Ways, on June 19. "False Prophet," which Dylan shared on YouTube, is accompanied with a sinister piece of artwork that could be an old poster from a 1940s horror movie. It features a skeleton in a sharp suit and top hat, carrying an old-school hypodermic in one hand, and a mystery present in another. His shadow is that of a man hanging from a noose. "False Prophet," along with Dylan's two other recently released singles, "Murder Most Foul" and "I Contain Multitudes," will all appear on Rough And Rowdy Ways. The LP will be Dylan's follow-up to his 2017 set Triplicate, a 30-song compilation of "classic American tunes." - Billboard, 5/8/20...... Queen guitarist Brian May is nursing an injury that caused him to tear a butt muscle that he attributes to "over-enthusiastic gardening." On May 6, May uploaded a video of himself to Instagram in the hospital wearing a protective mask, adding the caption: "Reality check! For me. No - the Virus didn't get me yet - thank God. Hope you're all keeping extra-safe out there. A decision to relax controls doesn't suddenly make the danger go away..." May, 72, promised that he'd be back soon after he takes a "complete break" to recover. "I managed to rip my Gluteus Maximus to shreds in a moment of over-enthusiastic gardening... So, folks... I need to go dark for a while, getting some complete rest, at home. Please, please don't send me sympathy - I just need some healing silence for a while." Meanwhile, May has told Rolling Stone magazine that there probably won't be a sequel to Queen's Academy Award-winning biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. May said he and the filmmakers "don't really think there's another movie there" despite having "looked at it pretty seriously." "I think we should look somewhere else. There are other ideas that we had, but I don't think a sequel will happen... Things could change, I suppose, but I think it would be difficult," he said. Althought Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek, who portrayed Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in the film, has suggested a sequel could delve deeper into Mercury's relationship with his longtime partner Jim Hutton, his upbringing, and his battle with Aids, May said "I don't think that would be an uplifting thing to do... there is a great story there, but we don't feel that's the story we want to tell at the moment." - WENN/, 5/8/20...... Led ZeppelinThe original Led Zeppelin debut album artwork designed by English graphic designer/illustrator George Hardie is scheduled to be auctioned off in June, with the iconic cover based on a famous Hindenburg disaster image by photographer Sam Shere expected to bring an estimated $20,000 to $30,000. "In terms of rarity, this is a unique object... I don't think you can get rarer than that," said senior specialist Peter Klarnet of Christie's Auctions, which will conduct the sale between June 2-18 in New York. "(The cover) marked a major turning point in the history of pop music, heralded by the debut of Led Zeppelin. It was louder, bolder than what had come before and would come to define the shape of hard rock for generations." George Hardie produced his take on the photo while studying at the Royal College of Art in London in 1969. His friend, photographer Stephen Goldblatt, had recommended his work to Led Zeppelin, with Jimmy Page later suggesting he use Shere's Hindenburg photo. Led Zeppelin reportedly paid Hardie only £60 for his efforts, though he is said to have discovered a note reading "George's pension fund upon finding the original tracing years later." - New Musical Express, 5/9/20...... The Rolling Stones' recent quarantine anthem "Living in a Ghost Town" has surged on the Billboard rock charts after being released on Apr. 23. It rose 3-1 on the Rock Digital Song Sales chart dated May 9, becoming the band's first No. 1 on that list and selling 16,000 downloads in its first full tracking frame (Apr. 24-30), according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. On the all-genre Rock Airplay Chart, it jumped 44-34 fueled by its No. 21 debut on Adult Alternative Songs and early airplay on mainstream rock stations. The song becomes the Stones' highest-ranking song on a Billboard airplay chart since "Doom and Gloom," which peaked at No. 10 on the Adult Alternative Songs chart in Nov. 2012. "Living in a Ghost Town" is expected to appear on the band's new album that the legendary rockers have been recording for several years, the follow-up to their 2016's covers set Blue & Lonesome and their first album of newly-written material since 2005's A Bigger Bang. - Billboard, 5/6/20...... In a new interview on Sirius XM/s "Trunk Nation" radio show, Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi says he's "not opposed to doing anything" with his iconic heavy metal band, which hasn't performed since Feb. 2017. "It was great to be able to go out and do a final tour," Iommi said. "I think that it would be good, if we could do [a one-off show]. The hard thing is, certainly with Sabbath, because it's such a big thing, you can't just do an occasional show, because of the crew, and you have the whole setup. It would have to be a year or an 18-month tour... I'm not opposed to doing anything; I just would do it in a different way." In April, Iommi revealed that he's been in touch with Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne on a daily basis during the coronavirus-enforced lockdown "and that people had been keeping an eye on him too." "Neighbours have dropped a note through the door asking if I want any shopping, the guitarist said of being stuck indoors at his home in Worcestershire. "They're looking out for the poor old sod!," he said. - New Musical Express, 5/6/20...... Ricky NelsonThe late Ricky Nelson's sons Matthew and Gunnar Nelson are marking what would have been the 80th anniversary of their dad's birthday on May 8 with a 2-hour documentary called Ricky Nelson Remembered that, according to Matthew, "tells the stories behind the songs, with videos playing behind us with people like Paul McCartney, John Fogerty and Kris Kristofferson talking about our pop, and words from the man himself." "He had this wonderful, silent strength, and a kindness and gentleness," Gunnar mused of his father, who died in a plane crash on Dec. 31, 1985. "We're doing this show not because we have to, but because we want to." The special can be streamed on the Nelson twins' website. - Billboard, 5/8/20...... Betty Wright, a legendary soul/R&B singer known for classics such as "Tonight Is the Night," "No Pain, (No Gain)" and "Clean Up Woman," died on May 10 from cancer at her home in Miami. She was 66. Wright earned a top 10 single in 1972 with "Clean Up Woman," which peaked at No. 6 on the pop chart, and would go on to be sampled by numerous artists, including Mary J. Blige, Afrika Bambaataa and Sublime. By the mid-'70s, Wright had scored big with songs "Tonight Is the Night" and "Where Is the Love," which earned her a Grammy for for best R&B song in 1975. In the 1980s, Wright founded her own record label, Ms. B Records, and released the album Mother Wit, featuring the popular song "No Pain (No Gain)." - Billboard, 5/10/20...... Brian Howe, lead singer in a later incarnation of the English hard rock band Bad Company, died on May 5 at his home in Lake Placid, Fla., from a cardiac arrest. He was 66. The Portsmouth, England native established his reputation as a powerhouse vocalist with bands such as Shy and White Spirit. He came to the U.S. and joined Ted Nugent's band in 1983, singing on Nugent's 1984 album Penetrator but leaving over business issues. Two years later, Howe was recruited by original Bad Company members Mick Ralphs and Simon Kirke to join a rejuvenated version of the band, replacing original frontman Paul Rodgers for an eight-year run that started with 1986's Fame and Fortune. Howe was with Bad Company through 1994, releasing five albums with the group -- one platinum and two gold. He went on to release three solo albums as well as a single, "Hot Tin Roof," in 2017. - Billboard, 5/7/20...... Florian SchneiderFlorian Schneider, co-founder of the German electronic pop band Kraftwerk, died after a short battle with cancer on May 6, just a few days after of his 73rd birthday. Schneider formed the influential group and multimedia project with Ralf Hütter in 1970. With its use of electronic instruments that included homemade and custom-built devices, Kraftwerk has been credited with pioneering the electronic music and influencing several music genres, including including hip-hop, synthpop and rock. Schneider -- who played the synthesizer, vocoder, flute, sax and more, as well as provided vocals -- left the band in 2008 after four decades. The late David Bowie once recognized Schneider and Kraftwerk's influence by titling his mostly instrumental track "V-2 Schneider" on his 1977 album "Heroes" after the musician. Though nominated for the Rock Hall of Fame six times, the influential electronic band has yet to be inducted. Prior to his death, Kraftwerk had announced that the band would be embarking on a summer tour of North America to celebrate the group's 50th anniversary, which unfortunately had to be canceled due to the global coronavirus pandemic. - Billboard, 5/6/20...... Actor/comedian Jerry Stiller, known for his role as cantakerous fathers on the TV sitcoms Seinfeld and The King of Queens, has died at age 92 of natural causes, his actor son Ben Stiller posted on Twitter on May 11. "He was a great dad and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband to Anne for about 62 years. He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad," Ben posted. Jerry Stiller was part of a 1960s comedy team Stiller and Meara with wife Anne Meara, who died in 2015 at age 85. Stiller and Meara worked together in the Compass Players comedy troupe before forming their own team. By the 1960s, they had become a popular comedy duo on U.S. television and appeared 36 times on The Ed Sullivan Show. Their act included skits such as an interview with the biblical Jonah after his encounter with the whale and parodies of TV commercials. Mr. Stiller later did some Broadway work and appeared in films including Airport 1975 and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. He was in his mid-60s when he got what would become his signature acting role -- Frank Costanza, father of ne'er-do-well George Costanza (played by Jason Alexander) on Seinfeld, a tense, bombastic man always on the verge of apoplexy. The show, one of the most highly regarded in U.S. TV history, was in its fourth season at the time but Mr. Stiller said he had never watched a minute of it and had to ask, "Who's Seinfeld?" Mr. Stiller also had roles in both the 1998 and 2007 versions of the movie Hairspray and appeared in films starring son Ben such as Zoolander and The Heartbreak Kid. He is also survived by a daughter, Amy Stiller, also is an actress. - Reuters, 5/11/20.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Little RichardLittle Richard, who became a seminal figure in the birth of rock & roll with his wild falsetto and no-holds-barred, piano-pounding style and embodied the new music's gleeful sexuality and spirit of rebellion, died on the morning of May 9 in Tullahoma, Tenn. of bone cancer. He was 87. Born Richard Wayne Penniman on Dec. 5, 1932, in Macon, Ga., Little Richard grew up in a devout Seventh Day Adventist family with two uncles and a grandfather who were preachers, though his father sold bootleg whiskey. Singing gospel and learning piano in his youth, though his parents never encouraged his musical interests, he was ejected from the house at age 13, which he later claimed was because of his homosexuality. He first performed professionally at Macon's Tick Tock Club, then in 1951 scored a contract with RCA Records after playing at an Atlanta radio audition. He recorded such songs as "Every Hour" and "Get Rich Quick" in the next two years which never made any commercial impression, and toured small black nightclubs playing mostly blues and where his rock numbers were not well received. As a last resort, he sent a demo tape to Art Rupe of Specialty Records, who had been looking for a hard-edged voice like his. With "Bumps" Blackwell producing, Little Richard entered the studio on Sept. 14, 1955, and an old between-songs filler piece called "Tutti Frutti," with its sexy-dumb lyrics and wild piano banging set the style for his future hits. Popular with both black and white fans, the influential single went to #17 on the pop chart sold over three million copies by 1968, and was followed by such memorable ravers as "Long Tall Sally" (#6) and "Rip It Up" (#17) in 1956; "Lucille" (#21), "Jenny, Jenny" (#10), in 1957; and "Good Golly, Miss Molly" (#10) in 1958. During this time he also appeared in three early rock & roll movies: "Don't Knock the Rock, The Girl Can't Help It (1956) and Mister Rock 'n' Roll (1957). However at the height of his success in 1957, he suddenly quit his rock career after claiming see a vision of the apocalypse in a dream while on tour in Australia. He later said several spooky events contributed to the decision, including a plane flight during which the overheated engines appeared in the darkness of night to be on fire, a glimpse of the Russian satellite Sputnik, and a plane in which he was scheduled to have flown in crashed. He interpreted these events as divine signs that he should change his ways, and became an ordained minister in the Seventh Day Adventist Church after receiving a B.A. degree from Oakwood College in Huntsville, Ala. Little RichardReturning to rock in 1964, Little Richard mounted tours in Europe with the likes of the Beatles, and he tried to resurrect his following with an unsuccessful single called "Bama Lama Bama Loo" after failing to gain a major audience on the evangelical circuit with his gospel recordings. In the early '70s, he signed with Reprise Records and recorded three R&B/rock LPs, which garnered some fair critical reviews and let to some recording sessions with Delaney and Bonnie and Canned Heat. He also performed at the Toronto Pop Festival, and his performance was included in director D.A. Pennebaker's documentary of the event, Toronto Pop. After appearing on some late night talk shows and doing club dates, by decade's end he once again stressed his attachment to the church, and renounced rock & roll, drugs, and his own homosexuality. In 1984, he co-authored his autobiography, The Life and Times of Little Richard, with rock writer Charles White and Blackwell, his longtime manager. The book contained some juicy anecdotes (including a threesome with a stripper and Buddy Holly), and ended with a chapter-long sermon from Richard. In 1985, he launched a formidable comeback with a fieatured role in the hit movie Down and Out in Beverly Hills, and made appearances on such popular TV series as Miami Vice, Martin and Full House. He also became a pitchman for a number of companies, including Taco Bell, McDonald's, and Charlie perfume. Little Richard was among the first ten inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, and in 1993 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammy organization, NARAS. He was invited to perform at Pres. Bill Clinton's inaugural in 1993, and his hometown of Macon named a street in his honor, Little Richard Penniman Boulevard. Richard stopped making albums after 1992, although he continued to tour extensively and contribute occasional tracks to tribute albums, including a memorable take on "I Feel Pretty" for 1996's The Songs of West Side Story. Hip surgery in 2009 left him confined to a wheelchair, and in 2013, he declared that he was "done" with performing. "I have been many things and I am many things," he told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin in 2003. "I am a creator, emancipator, inventor, the king, originator, a beauty, the Bronze Liberace, original Georgia peach, a human atom bomb, international treasure, living flame and a Southern child." - The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock/Billboard, 5/9/20.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Los Angeles' legendary The Troubadour nightclub, where the careers of such artists as Elton John, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and the Eagles were launched in America, could be in danger of shutting down permanently due to the coronavirus epidemic. The Troubadour's managment cites California Gov. Gavin Newsom's recent announcement that under Phase 4 of the state's plans for exiting the lockdown, concerts could be halted in the state until the middle of 2021. "That means the middle to the end of next year to potentially open, and maybe a 25% cap on crowd size," Troubadour general manager Christine Karayan says. "I can't foresee being able to ride this out like that." Karayan, whose father Ed founded the club with Doug Weston, added that "The more I think about it, it's just completely futile... At least a big seated venue has space where they can keep people apart. But I don't know how that works for a general admission venue. Are you going to stop them from using the restroom?" Since closing its doors in March, The Troubadour has set up a GoFundMe page to help its 20 hourly employees, so far raising $11,400 of its $30,000 goal. - The Los Angeles Times/New Musical Express, 5/6/20...... Stevie NicksIn an interview with Rolling Stone, Stevie Nicks says she's spending her time in lockdown working on a movie inspired by Fleetwood Mac's classic 1975 track "Rhiannon." "Last year, I made a pitch to everybody that when this Fleetwood Mac tour is over, I'm taking next year off because I want to work on my Rhiannon book/movie," says Nicks, who penned the song after being inspired by classic Welsh myths. "And I want to maybe work with some different producers... I don't know what I want to do! I just know that I don't want a tour!," she added. While Nicks says she's been unable so far to meet with producers to discuss the project, she says she's been recording music based on her poetry collection which dates back 30 years. "I have some Rhiannon poetry that I have written over the last 30 years that I've kept very quiet," she explained. "I'm thinking, 'Well here I have all this time and I have a recording setup.' And I'm thinking I'm going to start doing some recording. I'm going to start putting some of these really beautiful poems to music, and I have the ability to record them. So that's on my to-do list." - Rolling Stone/New Musical Express, 5/4/20...... Journey announced on May 4 that they're canceling their 2020 North American tour with openers the Pretenders due to the coronavirus pandemic. In a press release, the band said that restrictions regarding large gatherings "regretfully make it impossible" for the band to tour in 2020. "After carefully reviewing all options, the decision has been made to cancel the entire tour to make it possible for the band's legion of hardworking fans to immediately obtain access to refund options during these unforeseen and extremely challenging times," they said. Journey members Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain and Arnel Pineda also released a joint statement saying "not knowing what the rest of this year or 2021 will bring, we knew the right thing to do was to make sure our fans' health was not put in jeopardy," and also thanked "all doctors, nurses, police, other first responders and essential workers for their heroic efforts; as well as our fans for doing everything possible to stay safe." The Journey/Pretenders tour had been set to kick off May 15 in Ridgefield, Wash., hitting more than 60 U.S. cities before wrapping in Bethel, N.Y. on Sept. 12. - Billboard, 5/4/20...... '70s artists Billy Joel, Sting, Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler will be among the headliners of a "Rise Up New York!" citywide virtual telethon to raise awareness and funds to help New Yorkers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The event, organized by iHeartMedia and New York's largest poverty-fighting organization, Robin Hood, will take place on May 11 at 7 p.m. ET and feature a lineup of some of the city's biggest musicians, actors, comedians, chefs and other celebs including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Chris Rock, Robert DeNiro and Spike Lee. The special -- the latest in a growing list of one-off virtual all-star fundraising events for COVID-19 relief -- will be simultaneously broadcast on all New York City TV stations, iHeartMedia and Entercom broadcast radio stations, News 12, Spectrum News NY1, SiriusXM and nationally on CNBC. - Billboard, 5/4/20...... Bruce Springsteen has shared a surprise new 1981 live album to benefit coronavirus relief efforts. The new album was recorded on the final night of six at the Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, N.J., on July 9, 1981, as part of his The River Tour. All the money from the album, which is available for purchase on The Boss' live archive website for $9.95, or in lossless quality for $12.95, will go to the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund. The 28-song setlist, which includes such tracks as "Thunder Road," "The Promised Land," "Badlands" and "Born to Run," and only a few songs from the set have ever been released before. One of the tracks from the album, "Johnny Bye Bye," can be previewed on YouTube. - New Musical Express, 5/2/20...... An unheard demo by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr written for Ringo's 1992 album Time Takes Time is set to be auctioned on May 19, with the track expected to fetch as much as £20,000. A quarter of the profits from the song, owned by former Radio Luxembourg DJ Tony Prince, will go to the NHS Charities Together Covid-19. The demo tape features two versions of the track that did not make it onto the Time Takes Time album -- a demo with McCartney on vocals and a fuller take featuring Starr's vocals, alongside additional instruments and backing vocals. A demo of another Ringo track, called "Everyone Wins," also features on the cassette, which is being sold by Omega Auctions on May 19, alongside other memorabilia, including autographs by Paul and his late wife Linda McCartney. - New Musical Express, 5/4/20...... Gene SimmonsAfter KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons shared a photo on Twitter of a fan wearing a KISS bandana as a makeshift mask on May 2, a follower named David Watson replied in the comments that cloth masks "don't keep you safe" during the global coronavirus pandemic, a comment that the band's co-founder wasn't going to let slide. But Simmons wasn't about to let the fan get the last word. "You are incorrect and misinformed," Simmons firmly responded. "The idea of cloth masks or any other kind of mask, is not to protect you. It's to protect everybody else around you inn case you cough or talk. It's not about you, David. It's about protecting everybody else. From you." When another follower chimed in to claim that urging people to wear masks is "social pressuring" because masks don't prevent the spread of viruses, Simmons kindly wished them "good health" and urged, "Please wear a mask, to prevent your cough, sneeze or other, from infecting people. Be safe, not sorry." Simmons then kept the conversation going the following day, sharing a CNN video of how far coughs can travel, and reminded his followers to maintain social distancing to help reduce cases of COVID-19. To help keep fans safe, Simmons and KISS have launched a new line of face masks featuring images of the band members. Per the rockers' Instagram post, 100% of the proceeds will benefit Live Nation's Crew Nation, which is providing aid to touring and venue crews as concerts are canceled in the wake of the global health crisis. Meanwhile, Simmons revisited the Nazi concentration camp that once imprisoned his late mother on May 5 to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the camp by Allied forces. Gene's mother, Flora Klein, was the only member of her family to survive at the camp. She died in 2018, aged 93 ."She was strong," Simmons told reporters at the Mauthausen camp in Germany. "She fought all of this on her own... If somebody says that all of this was in the past -- that's not true. It was yesterday. It all happened just now." Simmons claims his mother survived the camp because she learned how to cut hair as a 12-year-old girl, and the SS commander's wife needed someone to do her hair. Simmons said she was also chosen to cut hair and avoid the gas chamber because she spoke little German. "When she was doing the hair, the commander's wife thought she wouldn't understand anything. But she did," he said. - Billboard/, 5/5/20...... Nearly two decades after gracing the stage of the 2001 Emmy Awards to sing Rodgers and Hammerstein's ballad "You'll Never Walk Alone" following the 9/11 tragedy, Barbra Streisand has shared a reworked version of the song to help raise funds for the coronavirus pandemic. "I sang this song almost 20 years ago after 9/11. Today we face another crisis, but I think the words still apply. With love and gratitude, Barbra," the 78-year-old diva posted. Streisand also intersperses archival footage of her Emmy Awards performance before a soothing video of burning candles shines a light on the information for the non-profit pandemic relief organization Direct Relief. The video can be viewed and donations can be made at - Billboard, 5/5/20...... CherCher, a longtime nemesis of Pres. Donald Trump, has told Billboard she always thought the 45th president was "an attention-seeking fool." Cher, who has often taken to social media to slam Trump, says her dislike for the former Manhattan real estate tycoon began years before he took office. "I had only heard about him when I lived in New York but I had a place in Aspen and we used go skiing there," Cher says. "I met him a couple of times at a restaurant called Mezzaluna. He was always so starved for attention. Everyone in there was rich or famous, but he kept getting up to get salt or tomato sauce or to go to the bathroom. He made a tour around that restaurant three or four times. And I was thinking, 'Oh my God, do you see yourself or have any awareness about what everyone in this room is thinking?' It's like when he used to call up magazines pretending to be his own press agent. He's a con artist that had a TV show." But Cher adds she'd be willing to tone down her criticism of the president if he only showing a little compassion or really stepped up his game amid the coronavirus crisis. "If his administration would start saving lives, I'd back off for a while," she says. Cher also said she's glad that her "Here We Go Again" ABBA-themed tour was shut down in March because she understood how dangerous the coronavirus outbreak was going to be. "I knew more than most Americans because I had friends in Italy who were doing live shows when it was there, and everybody had to just get out," she says. "We were lucky we didn't all come down with it because my dancers and I were literally two inches away from each other, breathing right into each other's mouths onstage." Cher then retreated to her Malibu home to self-isolate and shortly after began recording a rework of ABBA's classic "Chiquitita" as her first Spanish-language song. The new track will debut on May 8 and the video will premiere as part of UNICEF's COVID-19 Virtual Special. "It's such a beautiful, optimistic experience. It's great when you can see anything positive now because all of the turmoil we are in," she adds. -, 5/6/20...... On May 1, the Rolling Stones announced the launch of "Extra Licks," a six-part weekly series of special online featurettes featuring concert films from across their career. "Extra Licks" began its broadcast on the veteran rockers' official YouTube channel on May 3, and a teaser trailer has been shared on YouTube. "Extra Licks" is the first time any of the footage has been made available digitally, and it includes performances from the band's 1994 "Voodoo Lounge Tour" and 2016 "Latin America Ole! Tour." Meanwhile, Stones frontman Mick Jagger starred in a 1940's style black-and-white public service announcement on NBC's The Tonight Show on May 4 aimed at showing us all how to stay busy during the coronavirus lockdown. Following the advice of the narrator, Jagger does his chores, which include cooking, gardening, animal husbandry and light exercise. At the end, there was a plea to support Save the Children. "Coronavirus -- the biggest global health crisis of our lifetime -- threatens children in every way," read a card at the end of the sketch. "Your support today can help children in unsafe households, help protect and prepare doctors and health clinics in refugee camps and help support distance learning in the face of school closures." Jagger also participated in a 4-hour "iFor India" coronavirus relief concert on May 3, along with the likes of Bryan Adams, Nick Jonas and actor-musicians Jack Black and Will Smith. The concert was broadcast on Facebook and raised money for 100 groups providing food and other essential services in India. - New Musical Express/Billboard, 5/5/20...... In other Stones-related news, guitarist and accomplished artist Ronnie Wood has sent a poignant gift to St George's Hospital in Tooting, south London amidst the current coronavirus pandemic to praise all the NHS workers for their life saving work for the country. The 72-year-old rocker created a painting of a rainbow in the shape of a heart, with the NHS logo at its core. It was also adorned with a hand-painted thank you message. "The NHS are incredibly dedicated, and their commitment to giving support and saving lives is unbelievable. They deserve all the credit people can give them," Wood wrote. "This has all fallen into place since showing our thanks by clapping every Thursday, and our little twins love to see and paint rainbows. There's just so much appreciation from us ... Gratitude, Gratitude, Gratitude is the best prayer and messages for them all. THANK YOU," he added. - NME, 5/5/20...... MotorheadThe surviving members of the '70s cult hard rock band Motörhead are marking the 40th anniversary of their landmark album Ace of Spades with a special day of celebrations on May 8, including the worldwide premiere of a new lyric video of Ace of Spades' famous title track on their Motörhead Day Facebook page at 5:00 p.m. BST, a unique Facebook and Instagram filter to "Warpig your face," and the release of limited edition road crew merchandise, of which proceeds will go to Live Nation's Crew Nation Fund to provide financial support to touring crews affected by coronavirus. Fans can also raise a toast to the legendary rockers with the hashtag #8thofmay with their tipple of choice including late frontman Lemmy Kilmister's favorite drink, a Jack and coke. "We do hope you can join us as part of this celebration of all things Motrhead," surviving band members Mikkey Dee and Phil "Wizzo" Campbell said. "Lockdown may be going on all around us but the world is ours and we were born to raise hell! We look forward to celebrating 40 years of lawn killing, bastard rock'n'roll with you all." - NME, 5/4/20...... A $9.4 million judgement won by producer Quincy Jones in a 2017 royalty lawsuit against Michael Jackson's estate was reversed by a California appeals court on May 5. Jones originally sought $30 million for projects made after Jackson's death including remixes of hit songs as well as the licensing of masters for the This Is It movie. After a trial in 2017, the jury returned a verdict that Jones was entitled to nearly $1.6 million because he didn't get a right to participate in those remixes, an additional $5.3 million in joint venture profits, nearly $2 million more for This Is It and $180K for foreign public performance income. However the appeals court ruled that L.A. Superior Court Judge Michael Stern should never have even allowed the case to go to jury to begin with, and did not correctly interpret the meaning of Jones' contracts. The appeals court also concluded that the producers agreements did not entitle Jones to fees for remixing masters and, alternatively, the remix damages were too speculative. The case has been remanded to the trial judge, who will now need to sharply slash Jones' award based on the decision. - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/5/20...... In 2014, DJ Supermarkt (real name Marcus Liesenfeld) released Too Slow to Disco, a compilation of underappreciated dance floor gems of the '70s. Now DJ Supermarkt has released The Ladies of Too Slow to Disco 2, a 16-track assortment of tracks from 1974-82 that focuses on female musicians. "We released the first one, where there's more male-oriented stuff, and I just realized there's so much more to discover," the Berlin-based DJ Supermarkt says. "Most of the stuff that came to me after (the first one) was written by female musicians. I found that annoying about the situation at that time in L.A., that the recording industry was so macho. I thought it was really interesting to look into the (female) side of things," he adds. DJ Supermarkt estimates he spent four years gathering the tracks for The Ladies of Too Slow to Disco 2, making discoveries via YouTube, social media and fan recommendations. He says that the industry's chauvinism allowed many of the female performers to fly below the labels' radars, but it actually worked to their advantage since many were able to get the rights to their songs back from the major labels. "Maybe it's because they had to struggle so hard at the time, they knew how to fight and actually get their material back, so I could license directly from them," he says. DJ Supermarkt adds he is currently working on two more Too Slow to Disco compilations, though the themes, he says, "are still a secret... And I don't have enough songs yet... When I have them, I'll put (an album) out. It's really that simple." - Billboard, 5/5/20...... Don ShulaLegendary pro football coach Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history and the only one to lead a team to a perfect season, died at his South Florida home on May 4. He was 90. Though Mr. Shula spent several seasons in the NFL as a player -- for the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Colts and Washington Redskins -- and served as head coach of the Colts, he is best known for his quarter century at the helm of the Miami Dolphins. During his time coaching Miami, from 1970 to 1995, Mr. Shula won back-to-back Super Bowls in the 1970s. The first of those, after the 1972 season, set a bar that has yet to be reached by any other team. With the Dolphins' 14-7 win over the Redskins in Super Bowl VII, Shula's squad became the first and only team to go undefeated in a season. The Dolphins defended their title the following year, beating the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl VIII after finishing the regular season 12-2. Mr. Shula coached in six Super Bowls during his career. In addition to his two wins, his Colts lost Super Bowl III, while his Dolphins teams came up short in Super Bowls VI, XVII and XIX. Born in 1930 in Grand River, Oh., Mr. Shula played seven seasons in the NFL before beginning his pro coaching career as defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions. He was inducted by The Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997, and the Miami Dolphins have honored him with a bronze statue outside Hard Rock Stadium. "Don Shula was the patriarch of the Miami Dolphins for 50 years," the Dolphins said in a statement. "He brought the winning edge to our franchise and put the Dolphins and the city of Miami in the national sports scene." NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Mr. Shula's legacy will endure for generations: "He was a remarkable teacher and mentor who for decades inspired excellence and exemplified integrity." Mr. Shula had five children with is first wife, Dorothy, who died from breast cancer in 1991 at 57 years old. Mr. Shula established an eponymous foundation for breast cancer research that same year. -, 5/4/20.

Friday, May 1, 2020

A free exhibition in England on the Clash's 1979 acclaimed album London Calling that opened on Nov. 19 now has a new online film guide so that anyone who didn't manage to visit this acclaimed exhibition can now experience it from home. "The Clash: London Calling" was curated by Robert Gordon McHarg III with the Clash and Beatrice Behlen of the Museum of London. It features items from the Clash's personal archive including draft lyrics, stage clothes, photos and films that tell the story of the band's era-defining album, which features music and lyrics that remain as relevant today as they were on release. -, 5/1/20...... Ian GillanDeep Purple frontman Ian Gillan says his band didn't quite intend to put out a song that includes references to the grave danger to humanity caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, but "Man Alive," which has been shared on YouTube and taken from the band's upcoming Whoosh! album, certainly feels appropriate for its time. "It's an abstract concept," Gillan says. "It's a post-humanity scenario. And then all of a sudden something's washed up on the beach, and it turns out to be a man, and it's the only living man -- but it's just a man, so... That's the end of humanity, because what use is one man? That was the idea. If it was a painting, you'd call it impressionistic." The prog-rock flavored song also features passages of spoken narration from Gillan for the first time in his 50 year on-and-off tenure with Deep Purple. "Don (Airey, keyboardist) was experimenting with an oboe to do a haunting, repetitive little piece to illustrate the echoes of emptiness," says Gillan. "So I just started speaking at the microphone and it fit perfectly. It just had to be something that wasn't sung -- it was almost like a voice bubble attached to the song. It just seemed to be the right thing to do." Whoosh!, the follow up to Purple's 2017 set Infinite, drops June 12 and is the band's third consecutive collaboration with producer Bob Ezrin (Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd). As for the album title, Gillan says Whoosh! represents how he feels about the band's longevity. "I look back at the 1970s as if it was yesterday and, whoosh, here we are now." Though Purple's last tour was dubbed "The Long Goodbye," Gillan says the operative word is "long." "We were all a bit under the weather, physically, so we decided on a goodbye tour," he says. "(But) we've got a bit to go yet. I think things are gonna be on the shelf for a while, but then I think we'll be back for a bit of fun." - Billboard, 4/30/20...... The Rolling Stones have debuted a song on the Billboard Hot 200 pop chart for a mind-blowing seventh decade as their new single, "Living in a Ghost Town," enters several Billboard charts for the week ending May 2. "Living in a Ghost Town" debuted at No. 98 on the Hot 100, No. 30 on the streaming-, sales- and airplay-based Hot Rock Songs chart, and No. 3 on the Rock Digital Song Sales chart (marking the Stones' best rank in the chart's decade-long history). Released on Apr. 23, the song made the Hot 100 exactly 56 years after the band's first appearance on a Billboard survey, with "Not Fade Away." The song has been shared by the band on - Billboard, 4/29/20...... According to a death certificate acquired by the celebrity gossip site, soul star Bill Withers died on Mar. 30 at age 81 after suffering a cardiopulmonary arrest. The certificate shows the singer's immediate cause of death was a cardiopulmonary arrest, with underlying causes listed as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and bradyarrhythmia, or slow heart rate. His passing prompted several tributes by his pals and industry peers, including Brian Wilson, Nile Rodgers, Sheryl Crow, Lenny Kravitz, John Legend and Kid Rock, as well as a singalong to this classic "Lean on Me" by Justin Bieber, Avril Lavigne and Michael Buble as part of a Canadian COVID-19 relief fundraiser. -, 5/29/20...... Adam LambertRoger TaylorBrian MayQueen + Adam Lambert have shared a new version of their classic 1975 song "We Are The Champions" as a tribute to healthcare workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. Redone as "You Are the Champions" and shared on YouTube, the song features singer Adam Lambert, guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor performing the song in quarantine alongside footage of doctors and nurses fighting COVID-19. "We're putting the emphasis on the word 'you' in 'you are the champions', which is what they are," Roger Taylor said during a phone interview. "We're dedicating this song to the people on the front line putting themselves at risk. All the proceeds are going to the World Health Organization to get the right ventilators, PPE, et cetera to the healthcare workers... we're just trying to help a little bit," he added. Taylor noted his daughter is a doctor and he was "very worried" about her not having enough PPE. "We were very slow in this country getting people organized," he says. "Every day she's coming into contact with people with COVID-19 [in London] and I was very worried about her. We talk every day." While he admits some of her stories are "scary," he's proud of her nonetheless, and his daughter is one of the people holding up a "you are the champions" sign at the end of the video. Taylor says he "has his fingers crossed" that Queen can get back on the road in 2021, after being forced to cancel a summer tour and concerts in south America due to the pandemic. - Billboard, 4/30/20...... SiriusXM Radio has announced it is pulling out all the stops to entertain music fans during the virus pandemic lockdown with free access to exclusive content from the likes of David Bowie, the Eagles, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Guns N' Roses, Metallica and Prince. The personally curated channels from these superstar acts will roll out in coordination with SiriusXM's Stream Free period, which has been extended through May 31, allowing anyone to get free access to the streaming network's full lineup of streaming content on the SiriusXM app. On the David Bowie Channel, for example, Bowie fans will hear rare tracks and demo versions of some of Bowie's greatest songs as well as interpretations of his work from artists including Beck, Annie Lennox, Nirvana, Tears For Fears, Barbra Streisand, and more. SiriusXM's Eagles channel, will feature music from the band's extensive career, stories behind the making of their biggest hits, and the band's own "Eagles Pandemic Playlist." Led Zeppelin Radio will feature every song from the iconic band's music catalog, and exclusive access to the sounds and insights from Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones. - Billboard, 4/29/20...... In related news, Bruce Springsteen said during his latest DJ set on Sirius XM's "E Street Radio" channel that the coronavirus outbreak has highlighted the huge divide between the American Dream and the reality of life in the US. "There was an op-ed a while back in the New York Times that I would advise every American who cares about his country to read. It is called 'The America We Need'," Springsteen said. The Boss referred to former Franklin Roosevelt who strived to help every American make a decent living according to the standard of the time. "Now the current pandemic has laid bare the inequalities in wealth and in health that plague our nation... This pandemic has shown the great divide between our American dream and American reality, between current America versus the ideals enshrined in our founding documents... in Paterson and other New Jersey cities, in Michigan, in rural America, and all across the United States, this reality is so frustrating that, as the great Marvin Gaye said, we should want to holler," he added. After finishing the impassioned quote, Springsteen went on to play Gaye's "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)." Meanwhile, a virtual 24-hour DJ set of Springsteen songs has been announced to help raise money for charity. Hannah Summers and Jon Beck, the brains behind the "Hungry Heart Club Night," will spin 24 hours of nothing but The Boss on May 2 beginning at 1:00 p.m. London time. The duo will divide the event into a selection of festival-style sets, including Springsteen's best known hits, rarities and covers of his back catalogue. "We want everyone from around the world to get involved and join our Springsteen-athon. It doesn't matter what time it is, we will be live streaming our DJ set all day and all night, splitting the hours up into different themes!" the pair said. "We're so pleased that our Hungry Heart house parties have spread some joy at this difficult time -- now let's go one step further and raise what we can for the other people who need our help right now!" Fans who wish to take part can log on at - New Musical Express, 4/29/20...... Peter FramptonAn excerpt from Peter Frampton's forthcoming autobiography has been released in which Frampton reveals that David Bowie once saved him from a smoking plane. Frampton says Bowie helped save his life on two occasions after they met first at school in Bromley, south east London. The second life-saving moment came when Frampton was on tour with Bowie as his guitar player during Bowie's 1987 "Glass Spider" World Tour, as Frampton tried to launch a major career comeback. As the pair were awaiting take-off in the cabin of a private tour plane, Bowie noticed smoke billowing into the cabin. Frampton recalled that Bowie shouted "smoke, smoke" before springing into action and lifting Peter out of his seat and helping him down the rescue chute. "I will never forget that," Frampton said in an interview with The Sunday Mirror. "He coulda ran out but he wanted to make sure I was okay. That was the kind of guy he was with me, and in general. He was a lovely man." Frampton, who suffers from an incurable muscle disease called inclusion body myositis, is currently undergoing clinical trials for John Hopkins University in a bid to minimize the effects of the condition. He will release his new memoir later in 2020. - New Musical Express, 5/27/20...... In a new interview with Britain's MOJO magazine, Genesis members Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks say it would be "weird" to have former Genesis members Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett involved in their upcoming reunion tour. "I think a reunion with Steve and Pete would be uphill. Playing with Mike and Tony is the easy option," Collins told the magazine. Rutherford added: "I know people love the idea that the five of us will get together again, but the songs most people know and love are from the last 40 years. Peter left so long ago. I really don't know what we could do with him now." Banks added that "as much as I love those early albums, it would be weird to just do songs from that period." Genesis will be embarking on its first concert series since 2007, with Collins' 18-year-old son Nicholas covering for his dad on drums (as he did on Collins' 2018 solo tour) because Phil is no longer able to play because of a spinal condition. -, 4/27/20...... Patti Smith serenaded Johnny Depp on May 26 as the pair took part in a digital music festival to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Smith serenaded the actor/musician with "Nine," a song she wrote for his birthday, followed by renditions of "Grateful," "My Blakean Year," "Because the Night" and "People Have the Power." Depp himself covered John Lennon's "Working Class Hero" and was joined by Cat Power, who played her own version of the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and Bob Dylan's "Kingsport Town." The stream was set up by the nonprofit organization Pathway To Paris, which Smith has supported heavily in the past. - NME, 5/27/20...... Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" was covered by Miley Cyrus as the pop sensation appeared on Saturday Night Live's latest "At Home" episode on May 25. Cyrus performed from beside a campfire bathed in dramatic red lighting and was introduced by Brad Pitt, who also appeared in a sketch as infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci after Fauci once jokingly said he thought the handsome Hollywood "A-lister" would be the best actor to portray him. Pink Floyd, meanwhile, are regularly uploading full live performances from across their lengthy career to YouTube. They began with 1994's legendary show "Pulse," which appeared online on Apr. 17. - NME, 5/27/20...... During a virtual gay pride event on Apr. 26, Barbra Streisand shared a message of support to LGBTQ+ fans on GLAAD's "Together in Pride: You Are Not Alone" livestream. The Hollywood superstar made a point of highlighting the need for funds to operate local LGBTQ+ community centers during the coronavirus crisis. "Hi everyone, it's Barbra Streisand and I am so thrilled that GLAAD's 'Together in Pride: You Are Not Alone' event is happening tonight to raise much-needed funds to support local LGBTQ community centres all over the country who are being seriously affected by Covid-19," she said. "I know that times are tough but I really hope you'll help save these organizations... give as you can, every bit helps," the 78-year-old songstress went on to say. -, 4/28/20...... Melissa GilbertFans of the wholesome 1970s series Little House on the Prairie have noticed that two haunting episodes of the series chillingly foreshadow the current coronavirus crisis in the form of a typhus epidemic, a common occurrence in the mid- to late-19th century when the series was set. The fans say there are striking similarities between the storylines of episodes titled "Plague" and "Quarantine" and the grim reality of today's coronavirus pandemic, which has so far claimed more than 60,000 lives in the US. "I've been preparing for the #Coronavirus since watching the Little House on the Prairie episode "Quarantine" as a kid," one fan posted on Twitter. The social media reaction has been so prevalent that Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls Wilder on the show, says she's been thinking a lot about how the series tackled life in isolation while she herself is on lockdown in her converted hunting cabin in the Catskills. "I realized how prescient it was," says Gilbert, 55. "We can all learn something from what happens in that episode." Gilbert revealed she got goose bumps watching real life father and daughter Michael Landon and Etta Landon, the latter who appeared as sick Etta Plum in the "Plague" episode, tell Charles Ingalls she is not afraid to die. "I know I will go to heaven, especially when you die in church," says Etta. "It was beautiful and extraordinary that they got to film that together," Gilbert says. - The New York Post, 4/29/20...... Drummer Hamilton Bohannon, a Motown legend and also a prominent bandleader for such Motown acts as Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and The Supremes and The Four Tops, has died at age 78 of an as yet undisclosed cause. Bohannon became a drummer for Stevie Wonder after touring with such acts as Jimi Hendrix and Gorgeous George. Leaving Motown when it moved to Los Angeles at the start of the 1970s, Bohannon became a solo artist and producer in Detroit, landing him a legacy as one of the creators of disco. More recently, his work has been sampled by the likes of Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg. Musician Questlove paid tribute to Bohannon on social media: "A drummer with a unique sound of his own. Hamilton Bohannon's unmistakable 4 on the kick AND snare trademark made me think he hailed from Africa when he first started making records. Why his Dakar catalogue isn't available for the public to discover is beyond me." - NME, 5/27/20.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Several famous New Jersey performers including Bruce Springsteen, his wife Patti Scialfa, Fountains of Wayne, Halsey and SZA participated in a "Jersey 4 Jersey" benefit livestream on Apr. 22 to raise money for the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund. The Springsteens performed a version of "Land of Hope and Dreams," then returned later to play a cover of Tom Waits' "Jersey Girl." The event is the latest in a growing number of high profile livestreams aiming to raise money for frontline workers across the world as the coronavirus pandemic continues. - New Musical Express, 4/23/20...... Organizers of an Elvis Presley festival in Presley's hometown of Tupelo, Miss., announced on Apr. 22 that the Tupelo Elvis Festival music event slated to be held in June will now be a virtual gathering due to the coronavirus pandemic. The annual fest honors its most famous son and features performances from musicians, gospel groups, and includes a competition to qualify for the "Ultimate Elvis Tribute Contest" held in Memphis. Organizers are offering refunds for those who do not want to attend a virtual festival. - AP, 4/23/20...... Neil YoungNeil Young revealed on his website on Apr. 25 that he's working on a new archival album based around material from the mid-to-late 1980s. Road of Plenty will consist of music made with his band Crazy Horse during a 1986 US tour, along with tracks recorded in 1989 with the same band he performed with on Saturday Night Live during that time. Road of Plenty's title track is an early version of a song Young went on to release as "Eldorado" on his 1989 LP Freedom. In his website post, Young said "Road of Plenty" dates back to a private reunion in the late '80s with his 1960s group, Buffalo Springfield. "It was my fault that we didn't get together at the time and have a reunion, tour and album," Young wrote. He also noted he and Crazy Horse have a "monster take of the track, recorded at a show in Minneapolis in October 1986 which will be included on the album. "How this song escaped is hard for me to believe," he said. Young did not specify a release date for Road of Plenty, however several archival Young releases are on their way soon. His legendary "lost" 1975 LP Homegrown will finally see daylight after 45 years on June 19, and a 1970s-spanning compilation The Neil Young Archives Volume 2 will be released on Aug. 21, just to name two. Earlier in April, he reworked the video for his song "Shut It Down" from his latest album Colorado in a nod to the the coronavirus pandemic. - NME, 4/25/20...... After Paul McCartney appeared on Howard Stern's Sirius XM radio show earlier in April and agreed with Stern that the Beatles were "better" than the Rolling Stones, Stones frontman Mick Jagger has responded in an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music and shared on YouTube. "That's so funny. [Paul's] a sweetheart. There's obviously no competition," Jagger said, laughing when asked for his response. "The big difference, though, is and sort of slightly seriously, is that the Rolling Stones is a big concert band in other decades and other areas when the Beatles never even did an arena tour, Madison Square Garden with a decent sound system. They broke up before that business started, the touring business for real... we started doing stadium gigs in the '70s and [are] still doing them now. That's the real big difference between these two bands. One band is unbelievably luckily still playing in stadiums and then the other band doesn't exist." In McCartney's comments, he noted that the Stones "are rooted in the blues." "When they are writing stuff, it has to do with the blues. We had a little more influences. There's a lot of differences, and I love the Stones, but I'm with you. The Beatles were better," he said. Jagger was speaking to Lowe to promote the Stones' new single "Living In A Ghost Town," a four-minute bluesy and harmonica-driven song released by the band on Apr. 23. "I'm a ghost/ Living in a ghost town/ You can look for me/ But I can't be found," sings Jagger, who wrote it with guitarist Keith Richards. The band has shared the surprise track, its first proper studio single since 2016 and their cover album Blue and Lonesome, on - NME/AP, 4/24/20...... Billy JoelBilly Joel was sued for copyright infringement on Apr. 22 in Brooklyn federal court -- but not over one of his songs. A contractor is claiming the Piano Man ripped off his architectural designs for renovations of Joel's sprawling Long Island residence by handing them off to another builder. Home improvement contractor Paul Laruccia of Berry Hill Development Corp. claims his company was abruptly fired from renovating Joel's 12,000 square-foot Oyster Bay manse after he was told that a structural engineer found defects in his work. But Laruccia claims he already had architectural designs drawn up, which cost more than $126,700, and a portion of those costs have gone unpaid. Joel moved forward with a different contractor that submitted architectural drawings to the Centre Island Building Department -- which Laruccia alleges are "nearly identical" to the plans he had drawn up. Berry Hill is asking for unspecified damages, and a spokesperson for Joel said his LLC has "had to pay to fix Berry Hill's deficiencies" -- and that the price tag for that work was larger than the amount left on the contract with Laruccia. -, 4/23/20...... Paul McCartney is among 100 celebrity contributors to a new charity book titled Dear NHS: 100 Stories to Say Thank You, a book paying tribute to the UK's National Health Service. Dear NHS will be published on July 9, and includes personal stories from the likes of McCartney and Ricky Gervais which aim to highlight the outstanding work done by the NHS over the years. Meanwhile, Sir Paul reminded citizens of the world to celebrate Earth Day on Apr. 22 with a post on Twitter. "Take care of this beautiful place," McCartney urged. - NME, 4/17/20...... In other Beatles related news, a sing-a-long version of the Fab Four's animated film Yellow Submarine was hosted by the band on its official YouTube channel on Apr. 25. A remastered version of the 1968 film was released in cinemas in 2018 to celebrate its 50th anniversary, but the new premiere marked the first time it has been available online. Ringo Starr released an invitation for fans to join in the sing-a-long on YouTube on Apr. 22. "Share your photos and videos with us of you singing along at home and tag them #YellowSubLive. Following the film, we'll be sharing your images and videos on Instagram Stories," Ringo said. - NME, 4/22/20...... Ozzy Osbourne is offering fans the opportunity to buy a long-sleeve black T-shirt and matching cloth face mask with the elegant phrase "F--k Coronavirus" below an image of a bat wearing a white protective mask, a nod to Ozzy's legendary history with the creepy flying mammals. The $40 shirt, which Ozzy is promoting on his Instagram account, comes with the free mask, which, Ozzy notes is "not medical grade and are not meant to take the place of the N95 masks." In March, Ozzy announced that he was canceling a planned trip to Switzerland for treatment for Parkinson's disease due to the coronavirus outbreak. - Billboard, 4/23/20...... Eddie Van HalenFilmmaker and photographer Andrew Bennett has published a new book titled Eruption in the Canyon: 212 Days and Nights with the Genius of Eddie Van Halen in which he claims Eddie Van Halen once held a gun to the head of Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst following an ill-fated jam session. In the book, Bennett writes that Durst and Eddie were introduced to each other after Wes Borland had quit Limp Bizkit and the band were seeking a replacement guitarist. Bennett claims that a jam session took place at a house in Beverly Hills, but Eddie was unhappy that Durst was smoking marijuana and left without his guitar and amps, describing it as "like being a scholar amongst kindergartners." The next day, according to Bennett, after being unable to get in contact with Durst for 24 hours to retrieve his gear, Eddie decided to take matters into his own hands, driving to Durst's house in an assault vehicle he had bought at a military auction. "He got out wearing no shirt, his hair in a Samurai bun on top of his head, his jeans held up with a strand of rope and combat boots held together by duct tape. And he had a gun in his hand," Bennett writes. "Eddie Van Halen stood on the front lawn of a residential home in Beverly Hills in broad daylight, smoking a cigarette while holding a gun on Fred Durst as he went back and forth from the house to the assault vehicle, lugging amps and guitars," according to Bennett. Van Halen have previously expressed their dissatisfaction at Bennett's work, and ended up in court over an ownership dispute in 2018. - New Musical Express, 4/24/20...... The Grateful Dead are the latest band to cancel their upcoming live performances due to the pandemic. "Because of the global coronavirus outbreak and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have no choice but to cancel Dead & Company's Summer Tour 2020," the band wrote in a statement. "The well-being and safety of our Deadhead community, venue staff and the band's touring family is of the utmost importance. We also want to get refunds back to our fans while so many are hurting economically. All tickets will be fully refunded at point of purchase." The band added that they "look forward to the day when we can all be reunited... In the meantime, keep the faith and believe in the power of music. We will return. We will get by. We will survive." - Billboard, 4/21/20...... In related news, Queen's Brian May says he believes that live artists will have to face major ethical questions when touring commences once more after the coronavirus pandemic. "We've been able to reschedule our concerts, but I wonder whether we'll be asking the question about whether it's actually appropriate to be using up lots of the world's resources to rush around?," he told New Musical Expess. "And will it be safe to have thousands of fans in one place and take a risk of some kind, unless we have some way of dealing with an outbreak like this? I'm hoping things will be sorted and we'll have the antidote for this horrible disease and we can get back to some kind of normality, and playing live," he added. May's comments come after Queen were forced to push back their 2021 shows, which included a ten night stand at London's O2 Arena. May is currently promoting the release of "Get Up," a new track which sees him lending his talents to upcoming London band King's Daughters. - NME, 4/23/20...... Jeff Beck has announced rescheduled dates for his 2020 UK tour in May which he has been forced to postpone due to the coronavirus. Beck has moved the shows to 2021, beginning with an Apr. 21 gig in Sheffield, followed by shows that month in York, Manchester, Birmingham, Gateshead, Glasgow and Cardiff. On May 1 and 2, 2021, he'll play London's Royal Albert Hall. - NME, 4/23/20...... Michael JacksonLegendary R&B singer and producer Babyface (real name Kenneth Edmonds) offered up an intriguing anecdote concerning Michael Jackson during a recent Instagram "live music battle" with pal Teddy Riley on Apr. 20. "One time Michael called me," he began. "Michael said, 'Babyface...! Do you know who Halle Berry is? Do you know Halle Berry?' I said, 'Yeah, I know Halle Berry.' He said, 'Could you do me a favor? I want you to call her, 'cause I wanna take her out on a date.' I said, 'What?' He said, 'Call her -- I wanna take her out on a date.'" Babyface continued, "So I reached out through the agent, 'cause I didn't have Halle Berry's number. So, I called and get the message to her manager, and he said, 'What?' (I said), 'Yeah, he (Jackson) wants to take her out on a date.'" The "Tender Lover" star couldn't recall Berry's exact response, and did not reveal if the actress ever took Jackson up on the date. However, the revelation had MJ fans in awe and they flocked to social media to comment on the story. Berry has not yet commented on the story. -, 4/22/20...... Harold Reid, bass singer for the Grammy-winning country group The Statler Brothers, died on Apr. 24 after a long battle with kidney failure. He was 80. Mr. Reid was a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and also a comedian. The Statler Brothers frequently sang backup for country icon Johnny Cash, and some of their biggest hits included 1965's "Counting Flowers on the Wall" and 1970's "Bed of Rose's." "He is and will always be loved by his family, friends and millions of fans," a statement on the band's website said. "His singing, his songwriting and his comedy made generations happy. He has taken a piece of our hearts with him." The Statler Brothers originally sang mostly gospel music before switching to country music in 1964, after meeting Cash and joining his road show. Over the next two decades, the Statlers won three Grammy Awards and were named top vocal groups nine times by the Country Music Association. - AP, 4/25/20...... Ian Whitcomb, an English born entertainer, singer-songwriter, record producer, and actor whose song "You Turn Me On" reached number 8 on the Billboard pop chart in 1965, has died. He was 78 and an apparent victim of coronavirus. At Bryanston, a public school in Dorset, England, Whitcomb started a skiffle group in 1957 and then a rock and roll band in 1959. In the early 1960s, while studying history at Trinity College, Dublin, he became a founding member of Dublin's first rhythm and blues band, Bluesville. During his summer vacation in 1965, Whitcomb went to America to appear on such television programs as Shindig, Hollywood A Go-Go and American Bandstand. Whitcomb played the Hollywood Bowl with the Beach Boys in 1965 and then toured with the Rolling Stones, The Kinks and Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs. Whitcomb often performed at music festivals throughout America, and beginning in Nov. 2007, he hosted an internet radio program at He signed with Premiere Radio Networks in Sept. 2010 to launch The Ian Whitcomb Show on XM satellite radio, Channel 24. He was named as a BEST OF L.A. in 2008 by Los Angeles magazine. - 4/20/20.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

In a split-screen clip posted to their Instagram account on Apr. 20, Queen + Adam Lambert performed a new take on their iconic 1977 rock anthem "We Are the Champions" from the comfort of their own homes. During the second chorus, Lambert changed the "we" to "you" as a heartfelt message of love and support to fans who are homebound during coronavirus quarantine. "#Youarethechampions," Queen guitarist Brian May captioned the post. "This version is for those of you who like things to be the right way up!" Meanwhile, in an interview with Sky News on Apr. 18, May spoke out on the deaths of the UK's NHS workers on the coronavirus frontline, calling them a "national tragedy and disgrace." "I just wish we were taking better care of them. I wish they had proper PPE (personal protective equipment) and I wish they'd been better equipped. Unfortunately, the NHS was run down for many years before this happened. And this is the price we pay. The actual lives of these wonderful people who are putting themselves at risk every day," said May, who added he "can't believe we've actually lost doctors and nurses, it's a national tragedy and disgrace. Thank God we've woken up and we can give them the proper support they need. I hope they get everything [they need]." Looking ahead to the future, May added: "And I hope at the end of this, they get a decent wage apart from anything else. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 4/20/20...... Robert PlantFormer Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant has made a "generous" donation towards frontline medical supplies during the coronavirus pandemic. Plant, 71, donated money to the Gofundme page of M.G. Sportswear, a small clothing manufacturer in Kidderminster, England, that makes scrubs for local hospitals. "We're all in our own vacuums within our own homes feeling relatively safe," Plant told the UK's The Shuttle paper. "I'm pleased to be able to support the work that these good people are doing for our frontline nurses, doctors, carers, in providing much-needed scrubs and masks." Kim Calder, M.G. Sportswear's organizer, said Plant's donation was much needed during the health crisis."We thought it was outrageous that these frontline workers should have to give financially as well as risking their lives every day to protect and preserve us all against coronavirus," she said. -, 4/21/20...... On Apr. 18, Tom Jones issued his own rallying plea to his fans, calling on them to heed government advice while also thanking Britain's National Health Service for their efforts during the current crisis. "...I would like to say thank you so much to the National Health for doing what they did for me then and what they're doing right now for everybody else and we have to do our best to stay home to help the National Health," the "She's a Lady" singer said during the One World: Together At Home charity telecast. "We should stay home and follow orders and go along with what we're being told to do. Stick with it, be together and we'll survive," Sir Tom added, after recalling the frightening experience of being isolated when he had tuberculosis as a child. "I thought that was bad then. But the National Health Service helped me then like they're helping all of us right now." Jones and Little Mix kicked off the UK version of the One World special. The Global Citizen-related concert was curated by Lady Gaga and she appeared alongside such artists as The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Taylor Swift in both transatlantic Together At Home specials. The Rolling Stones performed an acoustic rendition of their classic "You Can't Always Get What You Want," which was introduced by frontman Mick Jagger who simply said "Here's one I hope you know." Paul McCartney performed a solo rendition of the Beatles' classic "Lady Madonna" after prefacing it with an impassioned shout out to his mother Mary, a midwife and nurse after the second world war. "My mother, Mary, was a nurse and midwife before and during World War II. I have a lot of time for healthcare workers. We love you, thank you," he explained. Sir Paul's quarantined version of the song was virtually unrecognizable as the jaunty 1968 original, stripped down to just Macca and his electric piano, and performed at a slower, more tender pace. Stevie Wonder paid tribute to the late Bill Withers with an emotional cover of Withers' 1972 hit "Lean on Me," as well as his own Songs in the Key of Life cut "Love's in Need of Love Today." The World Health Organization and Global Citizen teamed up for the massive worldwide special to support and applaud healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19. A live album featuring all 79 performances from the eight-hour, at-home TV concert, which raised almost $128 million, has also been released. Proceeds from its streaming will go directly to support the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organisation. -, 4/21/20...... Steve PerryFormer Journey frontman Steve Perry has shared a YouTube video of himself singing a gorgeous a capella rendition of the Beach Boys' 1963 classic "In My My Room" as he self-quarantines during the pandemic. "When I was a teenager, isolating in my room, this song gave me comfort," Perry captioned his appropriately titled cover song video. "Stay safe," he added. Perry, who reunited with his former Journey bandmates on stage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2017 but he did not perform with the group, returned from a long hiatus from music in 2018 with the release of his solo album, Traces, his first new album in 25 years. - Billboard, 4/18/20...... Celebrated rock guitarist Jeff Beck and actor/musician Johnny Depp have teamed up for a cover of John Lennon's 1970 track "Isolation," a reimagining of the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band track that marks their first official release together on all streaming and digital download services. Beck says that he and Depp "have been working on music together for a while now and we recorded this track during our time in the studio last year." "We weren't expecting to release it so soon but given all the hard days and true 'isolation' that people are going through in these challenging times, we decided now might be the right time to let you all hear it," he added. Beck and Depp's "Isolation" can be streamed on Beck went on to say that "you'll be hearing more from Johnny and me in a little while but until then we hope you find some comfort and solidarity in our take on this Lennon classic." - New Musical Express, 4/17/20...... Fans of Bob Dylan who have over $4 million to invest could become the proud owner of the rock bard's original lyric manuscripts for three of his most famous songs -- "The Times They Are A-Changin'," "Subterranean Homesick Blues" and "Lay Lady Lay." Memorabilia company Moments In Time has acquired lyrics, which show Dylan's crossed out verses and words and instrumental notes. But the three handwritten lyric sheets won't come cheap: "The Times They Are A-Changin" is listed for $2.2 million (£1.8m), while "Subterranean Homesick Blues" has a $1.2 million (£961k) price tag. "Lay Lady Lay" is the cheapest of the three, priced at only $650,000 (£520k). Meanwhile, Dylan recently released two new songs, his first new, original material in eight years. "Murder Most Foul" tackled the 1963 assassination of Pres. John F. Kennedy in the form of a 17-minute ballad, while "I Contain Multitudes" referenced Walt Whitman, The Rolling Stones, Edgar Allen Poe and Frank Sinatra. - NME, 4/19/20...... Willie Nelson launched an online variety show titled "Come and Toke It" on Apr. 20 to mark the "4/20" holiday. The country musician and renowned marijuana advocate helped celebrate the unofficial weed holiday by fronting the live-streamed event, "all from the comfort of quarantine," which lasted for precisely 4 hours and 20 minutes. It saw Nelson hosting a show that aimed to "celebrate cannabis in an entertaining and educational environment" in partnership with Nelson's marijuana brand, Willie's Reserve, and Luck Reunion. A trailer for "Come and Toke It" was shared on YouTube and features Nelson, who added in a statement: "Come and toke it with me on 4/20 at 4:20. There will be music and good times. And, it's for a good cause." The live stream raised money for the Last Prisoner Project, which aims to "bring restorative justice to the cannabis industry." - New Musical Express, 4/17/20...... GenesisGenesis announced on Apr. 18 they are launching a new live stream series on YouTube. "Introducing the Genesis Film Festival, a celebration of live footage for you to enjoy at home during lockdown," the band announced on its Instagram page. "Over the coming 5 weeks, every Saturday from 12 p.m. PST / 3 p.m. EDT / 8 p.m. BST a new Genesis concert film will be made available to watch on the band's official YouTube channel for 7 days," the band added, with their Three Sides Live film from 1981 kicking off the series on Apr. 18. Upcoming streams include The Mama Tour from 1984 (4/25); Live at Wembley Stadium from 1987 (5/2); The Way We Walk from 1992 (5/9); and When In Rome from 2007 (5/16). Genesis is joining the likes of Pink Floyd in launching a new live stream series, with the Floyd announcing on Apr. 17 it will post unseen, rare and archival footage once a week on its YouTube channel, beginning the series with their 1994 "Pulse" concert in its entirety. The concert was recorded at the now-defunct Earls Court in London as part of a record-breaking 14-night residency in Oct. 1994 and first released as a concert film in 1995. The Grateful Dead also have announced similar plans with a weekly "Shakedown Stream," which will also feature the band's archivist David Lemieux and historian Gary Lambert holding a fan Q&A before each show is aired. - New Musical Express, 4/18/20...... Speaking of Pink Floyd, its former member Roger Waters said in a recent Rolling Stone interview that even though he'd held a "peace summit" with his former Floyd bandmates Nick Mason and David Gilmour, he thinks a Pink Floyd reunion would be "f---ing awful." Waters says that the summit failed and it made him even less keen on the idea of a band reunion. "I wrote out a sort of a plan because we'd come to sort of a 'I don't really want to talk about this' but my plan didn't bear fruit," Waters said. "This was just, 'Can we release the remastered vinyl version of Animals without it turning into the Third World War?' Wouldn't that be nice? I actually suggested going democratic. I said, 'Why don't we just have a vote? There's only three of us' No, no, they wouldn't have that. God knows why. Not that there is a God you know what I mean?," he added. When asked about a reunion, Waters said: "It wouldn't be nice. It would be f---ing awful. Obviously if you're a fan of those days of Pink Floyd, you would have a different point of view. But I had to live through it. That was my life. And I know in the wake of it, I've been cast as something of a villain by whoever, whatever, I can live with that. But would I trade my liberty for those chains? No f----ing way." - NME, 4/18/20...... Musician Matthew Seligman, best known for his tenure on bass for The Soft Boys, has died aged 64. As well as playing on The Soft Boys' 1980 masterpiece Underwater Moonlight, Seligman was briefly a member of 80s pop outfit The Thompson Twins, and played bass for David Bowie at Live Aid in 1985. After The Soft Boys disbanded, Seligman would go on to play with the band's frontman Robyn Hitchcock on his first two solo albums. Robyn Hitchcock announced the news via a lengthy tribute on social media. "I'm profoundly grateful to have played music with him -- you could really see his face light up like a full moon when he listened back to a take he enjoyed," Hitchcock wrote. - NME, 4/18/20...... Brian DennehySix-time Emmy nominated actor Brian Dennehy died on the evening of Apr. 15 of natural causes in New Haven, Conn. He was 81. The "regular-guy" actor whose bulldog build, good-guy demeanor and no-nonsense approach meshed in an array of memorable roles for film, television and the theater, including First Blood (1982), Gorky Park (1983), Silverado (1985), F/X (1986) and its sequel, Best Seller (1987), The Last of the Finest (1990) and Assault on Precinct 13 (2005). At 6 foot 3 and 250 pounds, the former college offensive lineman could also be a gentle giant, as when he portrayed the sympathetic bartender who counsels Dudley Moore in 10 (1979), the friendly alien leader Walter in Cocoon (1985) and Chris Farley's pop in Tommy Boy (1995). Mr. Dennehy won Tony Awards in 1999 and 2003 for playing Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman," and also starred on Broadway opposite Christopher Plummer in a 2007 revival of "Inherit the Wind." Born on July 9, 1938, in Bridgeport, Conn., Mr. Dennehy scored a big break when he was cast in David Rabe's off-Broadway Vietnam War play "Streamers" and won acclaim. After guest-starring roles on shows including Kojak, Police Woman and M*A*S*H, Mr. Dennehy fittingly made his movie debut in the Burt Reynolds comedy Semi-Tough (1977), playing a football player who dangles a woman over the ledge of a terrace. More recently, Mr. Dennehy had recurring TV roles as an Irish mob boss on Public Morals, a sheriff on Hap and Leonard and a KGB agent on The Blacklist. The latter NBC series is expected to pay tribute to Mr. Dennehy in the coming weeks with a card at the end of the show. Survivors include his second wife, a costume designer he wed in 1989, five children and seven grandchildren. "Larger than life, generous to a fault, a proud and devoted father and grandfather, he will be missed by his wife Jennifer, family and many friends," his daughter, actress Elizabeth Dennehy, wrote in tribute on Twitter. - The Hollywood Reporter, 4/16/20.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Bob Dylan has purportedly barred late night TV host Stephen Colbert from performing a TV parody of his famous 1965 song "Subterranean Homesick Blues." During the Apr. 14 episode of CBS's The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Colbert told guest Cate Blanchett, appearing remotely, that "I wanted to do a parody of the 'Subterranean Homesick Blues' in response to Bob Dylan putting out this new album, about the death of John F. Kennedy... and he will not let me do it." Colbert then asked Blanchett, who co-starred with Dylan in the 2007 movie I'm Not There, why she thought he wouldn't let him do it. "I think it's the word parody," the Oscar winner mused. "If you'd said you wanna inhabit... Words matter to Dylan!" "Damn poets and their words...!," Colbert responded. "I wanna personally mock you and your entire work!" Dylan recently scored his first-ever No. 1 song on the U.S. pop chart with "Murder Most Foul," a nearly 17-minute song about the assassination of JFK. -, 4/16/20...... Bruce SpringsteenBruce Springsteen has announced a star-studded benefit for The New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund with performances from himself and other famous current and former Garden State residents including Jon Bon Jovi, Halsey, SZA, Tony Bennett, Charlie Puth, Chris Rock, Danny Devito, Whoopi Goldberg, Chelsea Handler, Kelly Ripa and Jon Stewart. The virtual "JERSEY 4 JERSEY" concert, set for Apr. 22, will help raise funds for NJ residents whose lives have been impacted by the Covid-19 health crisis. Springsteen -- who still lives in New Jersey after relocating from California in the 1990s -- said in a video announcement on ABC's Good Morning America that "New Jersey has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic. And the people of New Jersey have always stepped up during difficult times... This is out effort to do everything we can for our folks here in The Garden State, and I hope you will join us." The show will be aired on ABC, via Apple Music and E Street Radio on SiriusXM on Apr. 22 from 7:00 p.m. EDT. -, 4/16/20...... As the ongoing coronavirus lockdown deprives music fans of live shows, one man in England has taken it upon himself to recreate late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury's legendary Live Aid performance. Standing on his roof and using a broomstick for a microphone, the unnamed man lip-synced Mercury's now-iconic "day-oh" sequence from Queen's 1985 show at Live Aid. Footage was first uploaded to a YouTube Channel under the name Felicity Griffiths, who captioned the video "This is what my husband has resorted to" during the crisis. Meanwhile, Queen guitarist Brian May said during an interview on Apr. 15 that he believes humanity will "learn some great lessons from the coronavirus pandemic." "If you want to get deep into it, I think we should be looking again at whether we should be eating animals," May said. "That's a central issue here, this pandemic seemed to come from people eating animals and it's becoming more well known that eating animals is not the greatest thing for our health." May went on to explain that he's gone completely vegan since the beginning of 2020, transitioning to a plant-based diet after years as an animal activist. "To go vegan was just a decision, and I haven't been preachy about it, but now we've seen more of the effects of how eating animals has brought us to our knees as a species," May added. "I think it's time to re-examine our world in a way that doesn't abuse other species." - New Musical Express/Billboard, 4/12/20...... In related news, a longtime vegan rock star has called for Chinese "wet markets," which got their name due to their frequently hosed-down floors, to be banned due to the current coronavirus pandemic. In an interview on Howard Stern's Sirius XM radio channel, Paul McCartney said: "I really hope that this will mean the Chinese government says, "OK guys, we have really got to get super hygienic around here. Let's face it, it is a little bit medieval eating bats." The Beatles icon went on to suggest that the unsanitary nature of the markets was responsible for more than just the coronavirus. "It seems like Sars, avian flu, all sorts of other stuff that has afflicted us -- and what's it for?" Macca said. "For these quite medieval practices. They need to clean up their act. This may lead to [change]. If this doesn't, I don't know what will." Paul McCartneySir Paul, who has been a vegetarian and animal rights activist for many years, added that the markets "might as well be letting off atomic bombs" in terms of the impact they were having on world safety. "I understand that part of it is going to be: people have done it for ever, this is the way we do things," he noted. "But they did slavery forever, too. You've got to change things at some point." McCartney also expressed sadness about the cancellation of the Glastonbury 2020 festival in England, which he was set to headline, due to the pandemic: "What's disappointing for me is the people who bought tickets, who were looking forward to this and thinking here's something groovy to do in the summer, and suddenly the plug is pulled, and we can't come around and play for them. It's sad for us, too...we were looking forward to that." - New Musical Express, 4/13/20...... In other Beatles-related news, a medley of the Fab Four's songs provided the soundtrack for a light show at New York's Empire State Building on Apr. 11. The display coincided with the 50th-anniversary of the band's split on Apr. 11, 1970, and is part of the famous tourist destination's continued run of special events while New York is under a stay-at-home order. The show, produced by iHeartMedia and Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT), featured songs including "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)" and "A Day In The Life." The medley was broadcast on New York radio station Q104.3 and synced to the light show at the Empire State Building by lighting artist Marc Brickman. - NME, 4/11/16...... Former Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel is doing his part to entertain fans on lockdown by offering up one of his classic concerts on the "Real World" Vimeo channel. Gabriel says he was recovering from a cold when he performed at the Arena di Verona in Italy with an orchestra in 2010, but he still considers the show one of his favorites, and he asked his daughter, Anna, to film it. Gabriel has now uploaded the rarely seen "Scratch My Back" concert film, urging fans who watch to consider donating to the Italian Red Cross and Italy's Civil Protection Department. "For almost fifty years I have loved Italy, the people, the culture, the food, the history and more recently the island of Sardinia," Gabriel said in a statement. "I speak some Italian -- really badly, but enough for it to feel like our home from home. It really hit us hard as a family, to watch the daily reports of deaths and devastation that this brutal virus has brought... Although I was recovering from a cold and not quite hitting the notes as I wanted, Anna did a wonderful job with her collaborator Andrew Gaston, and a great team, in capturing a very special night." Gabriel concluded by saying he's looking forward to performing for his fans again "when this genie is back in the bottle." -, 4/14/20...... Meanwhile, Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons of the Doobie Brothers have released a playlist of some of their favorite songs that are keeping them company through the coronavirus shutdown. Their list includes classic soul and blues and nods to two legends who just left us, John Prine ("When I Get to Heaven" and "Long Monday") and Bill Withers ("Lean on Me"). "When it comes to making a playlist for the 'times' we are all going through, I immediately think of sonic 'comfort food,'" Johnston says. "Music that brings out a physical and emotional reaction. We all need something to brighten our day and comfort our soul. These are just a few of the many tunes I would list to give a sampler of what I mean. Music is the one thing that everybody can relate to no matter what style you're into. Truly the international language!" The list also includes songs by Paul Simon ("Wristband"), Mountain ("Never in My Life"), Aretha Franklin ("A Change Is Gonna Come"), Stevie Wonder ("Signed, Sealed, Delivered"), Otis Redding ("Sittin on the Dock of the Bay") and the Eagles ("Life in the Fast Lane"). - Billboard, 4/13/20...... Todd RundgrenTodd Rundgren isn't just enjoying the environs at his home in Hawaii during the lockdown, he's also been busy with a couple of recording projects. Rundgren has been working on an all-star remake of "Just One Victory," the album-closing anthem from his 1973 LP A Wizard, A True Star. Slated to be offered for free use for Democratic candidates during the 2020 campaign, the video will feature the likes of Daryl Hall, Joe Walsh, Paul Shaffer and Don Was, with more joining on a daily basis. "I've been enduring the same three years that everybody else has, and just the opportunity to do something besides complain appeals," he says. "There's a lot of noise out there, so I wanted to figure out a way to participate without simply making more noise. Simply having an opinion, which of course I do, is not enough. We want to turn that opinion into something that's encouraging a lot of people to become involved," he added. Rundgren says he's planning to announce a full list of participants in May and he wants "very specifically want to defeat Republican candidates." "It used to be that you didn't have to watch (Pres. Trump) lie every day; Now it's like the daily lie or the daily pile of lies. It's mind-numbing in a way. But our real thrust is not even just him. He's the head of the snake, but it's a long snake and we need to chop that snake into little, tiny pieces." Like other musicians, Rundgren had to scrap spring tour plans and hopes to reschedule the shows for summer, but says he also likes the idea of performing separate shows for ticket buyers in different cities to create a virtual tour. "The show can come to your house instead of you having to leave your house and hang out in a crowd of people, which people may be leery about doing even after (concerts) start happening again," Rundgren says. "You can do it in a way that still makes people feel a little bit local and special." - Billboard, 4/15/20...... Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber of "Jesus Christ Superstar" fame joined the cast of NBC's Jesus Christ Superstar Live on Apr. 12 to raise money for The Actor's Fund's coronavirus relief program. Appearing on digital Broadway talk show Stars in the House, the legendary composer reflected on the unique origins of the Biblical musical. "When Tim Rice came up with the idea of writing about the last seven days of the life of Christ, nobody thought that it could remotely work as a theater show," Webber told host Seth Rudetsky. "So we had to record it as if it was kind of like a radio play with music, if you see what I mean. The whole point was that if you were listening to it at home, you had to be able to follow the story with no sets, no costumes, no anything... It never was in that form conceived for the theater." The virtual talk show also reunited cast members Jason Tam, Brandon Victor Dixon, Norm Lewis and Alice Cooper, who played Peter, Judas Iscariot, Caiaphas and King Herod, respectively, in the 2018 live concert special, which was rebroadcast on Easter by NBC. The full episode of Stars in the House can be streamed on YouTube. - Billboard, 4/13/20...... David BowieThe first footage from the upcoming David Bowie biopic Stardust has been shared on YouTube. Announced in early 2019, the film will follow Bowie (played by Johnny Flynn) on his first trip to the US in 1971, the same visit that is said to have inspired the creation of Bowie's Ziggy Stardust alter-ego. In the clip, Bowie and his publicist Ron Oberman (played by Marc Maron) discuss Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars album. "I think you're gonna be the biggest goddamn star in America," Oberman assures Bowie. "Seriously man, this is a great record." Also set to appear in Stardust is The Hunger Games' Jena Malone, who will play Bowie's first wife, Angie Bowie. It will be directed by Emmy winner Gabriel Range (Death Of A President), with Christopher Bell on scriptwriting duties. - New Musical Express, 4/16/20...... Ozzy Osbourne has announced he'll 10% of the sales from his remaining stock of tour merchandise to The Michael J. Fox Foundation, which funds research into Parkinson's disease. "Past tours exclusive merch last bits of remaining stock available until sold out!" Ozzy tweeted on Apr.15). "April is #ParkinsonsAwarenessMonth so 10% of ALL sales going directly to the @MichaelJFoxOrg for #Parkinsons Research. You can shop for the items now here (" Among the items for sale are a number of Black Sabbath and Ozzy t-shirts, as well as keychains, patches, seat cushions, hoodies, tote bags and polished aluminum drum sticks. - Billboard, 4/15/20...... Willie Nelson's virtual Farm Aid concert held during the second weekend in May raised more than $500,000 to support American family farmers and ranchers affected by the coronavirus crisis. Nelson performed at and hosted the hour-long live "At Home With Farm Aid" event on Apr. 11, along with his sons, Lukas and Micah Nelson. Thanks to a partnership with AXS TV, it featured at-home performances from Farm Aid co-founders Neil Young and John Mellencamp, and board member Dave Matthews. While the show itself was free to watch, Farm Aid says the event helped it cull relief fund donations from all 50 states, and 15 countries. It will use the dollars to offer family farmers and ranchers in need with emergency grants, as well as legal, financial and mental health support resources through its 1-800-FARM-AID hotline. - Billboard, 4/15/20...... The Grateful Dead have launched a new weekly livestream series where they'll stream some of their classic gigs. "Shakedown Stream" will share full concert recordings from the band's history every Friday, and began with a 1989 gig at the Rich Stadium in Orchard Park, New York, which was released in 2005 as live album Truckin' Up To Buffalo. Before every gig in the series, the band's archivist David Lemieux and historian Gary Lambert will hold a fan Q&A. "Shakedown Stream" will continue the following week with a showing of 1977's The Grateful Dead Movie, capturing the band's five-night residency in San Francisco in 1974, featuring never-seen-before footage. - NME, 4/12/20...... Don McLeanIn a new interview with Tim Cridland's YouTube series The Greatest Music of All Time, Don McLean revealed that he isn't a fan of a lot of today's music, and some of it "makes you want to hang yourself." "The music doesn't mean anything," the "American Pie" singer told Cridland. "The music reflects the spiritual nature of the society. We have a kind of a nihilistic society now," McLean told the host. "No one believes in anything, no one likes anything, no one has any respect for anything much. The music shows that." Asked about his thoughts on today's hits on the radio and whether he believes music as a whole has deteriorated, McLean said that it "doesn't exist as far as I can see." "Music is not on the radio," McLean continued. "There's some form of music like sound, but it's not music to me. There was a show called Name that Tune back in the 1950s, and by the fourth note, they would say, "Oh, that's "Strangers in the Night.' There's nothing on the radio you can name in 20 notes, almost." He added that he felt many of today's catchy songs involving notes and choruses "repeated over and over again" end up becoming "drummed into your head or makes you want to hang yourself." But McLean said he still had faith in such songwriters as Paul Simon and Paul McCartney, who are still writing melodies." However, he claimed today's musical groups don't know how to write a all. "They have a lot of riffs. They're very cool and the records are great but they're not melodies and the lyrics are not about anything," McLean explained. "It's very vague and vacant." The full interview can be viewed on YouTube. - New Musical Express, 4/14/20...... Lee Konitz, a celebrated jazz saxophonist and last surviving member of Miles Davis "Birth of the Cool" sessions, died on Apr. 15 due to complications with COVID-19. He was 92. Born 1927 in Chicago, Mr. Konitz studied clarinet early on, then switched to alto, an instrument he mastered like no other. During his seven-decade career, Mr. Konitz recorded for such labels as Atlantic, Prestige, Polydor and Verve. And he was one of the last active musicians to have played all three ever Birdland clubs in New York City. He was also the subject of a biography, written by Andy Hamilton and published in 2007. - Billboard, 4/16/20.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Sting participated in one of Jimmy Fallon's "classroom instrument concerts" on the Apr. 9 Tonight Show by playing guitar and shaker with Fallon, and members of Fallon's house band The Roots on a rendition of the Police's 1980 hit "Don't Stand So Close To Me." Sting took the center square in the virtual concert which also featured the sounds of hair picks, sneakers, wooden spoons and pot lids, along with some actual instruments (melodica, ukulele, bass and tuba) for the lively, totally unique version of the strangely prescient song. The "at home" version of "Don't Stand So Close to Me" has been shared on YouTube. - Billboard, 4/10/20...... Neil YoungNeil Young has reworked the video for his song "Shut It Down" from his latest album Colorado due to its poignancy during the coronavirus pandemic. "Shut It Down 2020" features clips from the original promo of Young and his backing band Crazy Horse performing the track at Colorado's Studio in the Clouds, interspersed with footage of people around the world in the midst of the health crisis. Among the scenes shown include hospital staff hard at work, people wearing face masks while venturing out in public, boxes of medical supplies being delivered in England, and empty New York City subway stations and streets -- cut together with footage of packed beaches in Florida. On the song, Young warns: "People tryin' to save this earth/from an ugly death/Have to shut the whole system down/all around the planet." In a statement accompanying the video, Young expressed his gratitude for those on the frontlines of the pandemic: "These are uncertain times. I wish you all the best as you care for our sick, the young and old who we love so much." Young says he was inspired by fans' messages requesting an updated video for the track, and was helped by actress wife Daryl Hannah. Young has been keeping busy while in self-isolation, serving up acoustic renditions of rare songs from his archives in his Fireside Sessions online series, shot by Hannah at their Telluride home. - WENN/, 4/10/20...... Songs by late revered singer/songwriter John Prine have been streamed more than 20 million times since his death due to coronavirus complications on Apr. 7, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. On Apr. 7-8, songs performed by Prine earned 20.8 million on-demand streams (audio and video) in the U.S., a surge of 1,297% compared to the previous two days. Prine's most-streamed song was "Angel From Montgomery," and on Apr. 8 his songs garnered more streams in one single day than they had in any other week previously. Interest in Prine's music had been on the rise since news of his hospitalization reached the masses on Mar. 29, when his streams began to log more than a million a day. Prine's songs and album sales have also surged with 57,000 copies, up 1,423% compared to the 4,000 sold April 4-6. Meanwhile, the entertainment website Consequence of Sound has announced a livestream tribute to Prine on Easter Sunday (Apr. 11). "Angel from Maywood: A Livestream Tribute to John Prine" will feature cover performances of Prine's catalogue from "friends, collaborators" including Norah Jones, Kevin Morby, Grace Potter and others. The tribute stream will begin at 6:00 pm GMT/2pm EDT on Consequence of Sound's Instagram page. On Apr. 8, Bruce Springsteen took over his SiriusXM E Street Radio show for one morning hour during which he played some of his favorite songs about hope, loneliness and solitude while sharing a few words of wisdom during our nationwide lockdown, also paying homage to the loss of Prine. "Over here on E Street we're devastated by the loss of John Prine," Springsteen said. "He was not only one of our country's greatest songwriters, a real national treasure, but a sweet and lovely man and I was proud to count him as my friend." His set also included some Jersey shore classics, including Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer," as well as Huey "Piano" Smith & the Clowns' "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu." The show ended with a song of remembrance and loss in honor of those who've passed during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers' "The Last Mile of the Way." During the coronavirus lockdown Sirius is offering free streaming of Springsteen's and other channels through May 15. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 4/10/20...... During a virtual auction of Beatles memorabilia on Apr. 10 conducted by Julien's Auctions, Paul McCartney's handwritten lyrics for the Beatles classic "Hey Jude" sold for a whopping $910,000, well over its $160,000 estimate. The lyrics were used in studio for the recording of the No. 1 hit at London's Trident Studios in July 1968. In addition, the Beatles' Cow Palace concert drumhead sold for $200,000, a "BAGISM" drawing by John Lennon and Yoko Ono sold for $93,750, a "Hello Goodbye" music video shoot script page sold for $83,200, Ringo Starr's Abbey Road ashtray sold for $32,500, and the stage of the group's first performance sold for $25,600. Julien's staff accepted digital real-time bids via phone and online from remote locations. Meanwhile, Paul McCartney will be among the performers at an "One World: Together at Home" coronavirus benefit concert curated by Lady Gaga and hosted by US talk show hosts Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert on Apr. 18. The concert will be broadcast live across US television networks ABC, CBS and NBC, as well as being streamed online. Also performing will be Billie Eilish, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Eddie Vedder, Billy Joe Armstrong, Keith Urban, John Legend, Lizzo and Alanis Morissette, among others. An adapted version of the concert will be broadcast on BBC One the following day featuring exclusive performances from UK artists and interviews with workers on the frontline. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 4/10/20...... Bob DylanBob Dylan has scored his first-ever No. 1 song on a Billboard chart with his new hit "Murder Most Foul," a nearly 17-minute chronicle of the 1963 assassination of Pres. John F. Kennedy. "Murder Most Foul," released on Mar. 27, debuted at No. 1 on the Rock Digital Song Sales survey dated Apr. 11, selling 10,000 downloads in its first tracking week ending Apr. 2. Previously, Dylan had reached as high as No. 2 on the Hot 100 pop chart with "Like a Rolling Stone" (Sept. 4, 1965) and "Rainy Day Women #12 and 35" (May 21, 1966), along with a No. 2 best on the Adult Alternative Songs airplay chart with "Things Have Changed" (May 13, 2000). He also hit No. 2 on the Mainstream Rock Songs airplay list three times as part of supergroup Traveling Wilburys in the late '80s and early '90s ("Handle With Care," "End of the Line" and "She's My Baby"). In announcing the release of the piano ballad, Dylan said it was an "unreleased song we recorded a while back." It's the rock icon's first music released since his 2017 covers album Triplicate and his first original material since 2012's Tempest. Radio stations around the country say they have no qualms about playing the song, despite its 16 minutes and 54 seconds length. "It's an instant Dylan epic. We had no concerns about playing it at all," says WXPN program director Bruce Warren. "We play a lot of Dylan, and if a song is great, in our opinions, we'll play it no matter how long it is." - Billboard, 4/8/20...... In a lengthy Facebook post on Apr. 3, '80s hitmaker Christopher Cross revealed has been diagnosed with the coronavirus. "I'm sorry to report that I am among the growing number of Americans who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus," the five-time Grammy winner wrote. "Although I am fortunate enough to be cared for at home, this is possibly the worst illness I've ever had," he added. Cross pleaded with his fans to take the virus seriously and urged them to "make every attempt to stall the spread of the virus." "Wherever you are in the world, let's all be kind to one another," the "Sailing" singer/songwriter wrote. "Only if we work together can we defeat COVID-19." - Billboard, 4/3/20...... Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has revealed that he's been in touch with his longtime bandmate Ozzy Osbourne on a daily basis during the coronavirus-enforced lockdown. Speaking to the Birmingham Mail, the 72-year-old musician discussed his personal experience in dealing with the current crisis. "Neighbours have dropped a note through the door asking if I want any shopping," Iommi said of being stuck indoors at his home in Worcestershire. "They're looking out for the poor old sod!" Iommi added that he believes the social restrictions implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19 have in fact brought us all closer together. "I m even in touch with Ozzy every day as he gets over his own health problems in LA," Iommi said. - New Musical Express, 4/11/20...... Original Creedence Clearwater Revival drummer Doug "Cosmo" Clifford is releasing a new -- albeit 35-year-old -- solo album called Magic Window he says he recorded with friends while living in Lake Tahoe in the 1980s. Clifford says he got busy with other projects, including the "Neighbors For Defensible Space" initiative to deal with a drought about the same time, and the tapes were put away and moved to his current residence in Reno -- where he unearthed them last year in his garage. "I found all these two-track masters, about 10 of them, probably 100 songs with different artists," Clifford says. "I'm using myself as the first guy out of the shoot 'cause (Magic Window) was my best performance as a singer and a songwriter. It was a complete project for me; I wasn't just the drummer in the band. I was the artist and producer and all those other things." Magic Window will drop Apr. 24 and will be the follow-up to his 1972 solo effort Cosmo (his nickname), which he says he considers "an album for the sake of art... an experiment." Clifford, whose voice has been impacted by cancer treatments, says he has no plans to play live in support of Magic Window, but he does plan to dip into his stash of other recordings he found for eventual release, including some with Bobby Whitlock from Derek and the Dominos on vocals. - Billboard, 4/9/20...... Kevin CroninThe new Netflix series Ozark has helped send four classic hits by REO Speedwagon back to Billboard's rock charts for the week ending Apr. 11. The songs include "Keep on Loving You" (No. 10); "Can't Fight this Feeling" (No. 13); "Time for Me to Fly" (No. 15); and "Take It on the Run" (No. 16). "We are big fans of Ozark here in the Cronin house, and have been waiting patiently for Season 3," REO frontman Kevin Cronin wrote in a post on REO Speedwagon's official website. "The family will be snuggling up and going on a major Ozark binge this weekend. Be safe and take care." Meanwhile, REO's 1988 collection The Hits, which includes all four songs, has entered the Top Rock Albums chart at No. 49, up 85% to 4,000 equivalent album units. - Billboard, 4/8/20...... Blondie's Debbie Harry and Chris Stein have announced details of their rescheduled "In Conversation" UK tour, after it was postponed due to coronavirus. Harry and Stein say they will now tour in November 2020 instead of April as originally planned. Harry and Stein's tour includes discussions chaired by artist Rob Roth about the five decades of Blondie and their lives as artists and creative partners promised. "Each presentation has its own surprises with new stories," Roth said of the tour. "Plus special guests and previously unseen visuals." - New Musical Express, 4/8/20...... Iggy Pop has shared a previously unreleased version of "China Girl" from his upcoming The Bowie Years deluxe box set. Iggy's version of "China Girl" was originally the second single from his LP The Idiot before it was taken on by Bowie for 1983's Let's Dance. To mark the announcement, an alternate mix of Pop's "China Girl" has been shared on YouTube. The song was originally the second single from The Idiot before it was taken on by Bowie for 1983's Let's Dance. The Idiot and Lust For Life will also be released as standalone 2-CD deluxe editions, which come with bonus live CDs. These performance discs are Live at The Rainbow Theatre and TV Eye Live respectively. - New Musical Express, 4/11/20...... Paul Stanley of KISS has paid tribute to his "awesome" dad who turned 100 years old recently. In identical Twitter and Instagram posts, Stanley wrote alongside a photo of the two of them together: "MY DAD IS ONE HUNDRED YEARS OLD TODAY! He Is An AWESOME Man And I Am So Proud To Be His Son. We Can't Be Together Since It's Not Safe. I Love Him Dearly And Am Asking EVERYONE PLEASE WISH HIM HAPPY BIRTHDAY ON THIS MILESTONE. Thank You. (sic)" Stanley, 68, also recently promised to share his songwriting process with fans as he was going "a little bit crazy" self-isolating at home. "My plan tomorrow is to sit here, get a guitar, maybe tell you some stories, maybe show you how I wrote a song -- show you how I wrote 'Love Gun.' That could be interesting 'cause I need to connect with you 'cause I'm going a little bit crazy," he posted. -, 4/9/20...... Randy Newman has shared a performance video of himself playing "Stay Away," a new song he s written about self-isolating during the coronavirus crisis, on YouTube. Newman introduces his performance video by speaking about social distancing, saying "apparently there s some disease that's going around before telling people to wash their hands, not touch their faces and practice safe distancing techniques." Newman is then seen in the clip performing the jaunty "Stay Away" on his piano in his home studio, with lyrics including "stay away from me/ keep your distance, please and I'm gonna be with you 24 hours a day/ What a lucky man I am." In January, Newman cancelled the Australian and New Zealand legs of his "An Evening With Randy Newman" tour, citing a longer than expected recovery period from a recent hip operation. - NME, 4/9/20...... Willie NelsonWillie Nelson will co-host the first ever online version of Farm Aid during the second weekend in April, featuring live-streamed performances by the likes of Nelson, Neil Young and Dave Matthews. "At Home With Farm Aid" will be streamed on Apr. 11 and hosted by Nelson and his sons, Lukas and Micah. Nelson, Young, Matthews and John Mellencamp will all perform remotely during the event, which is being staged as "a virtual show of support and solidarity for family farmers and ranchers." "Farm Aid is working hard to support farmers and ranchers in this difficult time," Nelson said in a statement. "We're making emergency grants to help with household and medical expenses. We're answering calls on our hotline. We're creating lists of resources and working with our partners to advocate for policies that build a more resilient food system for the future." The event will be available to watch as a free webcast stream on both the Farm Aid website and AXS. Meanwhile, Nelson is preparing to release his 70th solo album, First Rose of Spring, on July 3. - New Musical Express, 4/9/20...... British actress Honor Blackman, best known for playing the James Bond girl Pussy Galore in 1964's Goldfinger, has died at the age of 94, her family announced on Apr. 6. Ms. Blackman died of natural causes at her home in Sussex, southern England the family said in a statement to The Guardian newspaper. "As well as being a much-adored mother and grandmother, Honor was an actor of hugely prolific creative talent; with an extraordinary combination of beauty, brains and physical prowess, along with her unique voice and a dedicated work ethic," the statement said. "She achieved an unparalleled iconic status in the world of film and entertainment and with absolute commitment to her craft and total professionalism in all her endeavours she contributed to some of the great films and theater productions of our times," it added. In addition to her famous Goldfinger role, Ms. Blackman also appeared as Cathy Gale in The Avengers, a 1961 spy drama television series. Following news of her death, Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said Ms. Blackman was a "film icon." "Today we mark the passing of a film icon, Honor Blackman who shall forever be remembered as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger. She was an extraordinary talent and a beloved member of the Bond family. Our thoughts are with her family at this time," they said in a joint statement. - Reuters, 4/6/20...... Film and TV music producer Hal Willner, who worked many years on Saturday Night Live, has died apparently due to coronavirus complications, according to multiple reports. He was 64. Wilner worked on SNL as a music sketch music producer since 1981, and at the time of his death, he was working on a tribute album and documentary project on Marc Bolan and T. Rex, for which he enlisted contributions from U2, Elton John, Joan Jett and Foo Fighters, among others. - The Hollywood Reporter, 4/7/20...... Veteran actor Allen Garfield died on Apr. 7 due to coronavirus complications. He was 80. The New Jersey-born star appeared such famous '70s films as The Conversation, The Candidate, The Stunt Man and Nashville. "RIP Allen Garfield, the great actor who played my husband in Nashville, has died today of Covid; I hang my head in tears; condolences to family and friends; I will post more later; cast and crew, sending love," Mr. Garfield's Nashville co-star Ronee Blakley wrote on Facebook. Known for playing nervy characters, his most famous role came as Bernie Moran in Francis Ford Coppola's paranoid 1974 thriller The Conversation about a surveillance expert, played by Gene Hackman, who finds himself in the middle of a murderous conspiracy. Mr. Garfield suffered a stroke while preparing to appear in Roman Polanski's 1999 thriller The Ninth Gate, and suffered another one in 2004 that confined him to residing in the Motion Picture Country Home and Hospital in Woodland Hills, Calif. - WENN/, 4/8/20...... Willie Wilkerson, who was briefly engaged to Aretha Franklin during 2012 and was an integral part of her touring entourage, died on Apr. 8 in a suburban Detroit hospital from complications of COVID-19. He was 72. With Franklin, Wilkerson was a devoted companion who, in addition to their personal time, organized the sheet music for her orchestras, took care of side-stage and backstage operations such as outfit changes, and serving as a de facto backup bodyguard. He also made a cameo appearance in Franklin's video for "Jimmy Lee," a single from her 1986 album Aretha. - Billboard, 4/10/20.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

John PrineCritically acclaimed singer/songwriter John Prine, a legend in the Americana music scene and two-time Grammy winner, died on Apr. 7 in Nashville due to complications from coronavirus. He was 73. Prine's family first revealed his coronavirus diagnosis on Mar. 29, posting to social media that he had been hospitalized for several days and his condition was "critical." His wife, Fiona, gave an update April 2, stating that he was still "very ill," yet she remained "hopeful." Born on Oct. 10, 1946 in Maywood, Ill., Prine learned guitar from his father at an early age and played the Chicago coffeehouse circuit while employed at the post office. He graduated from the Chicago folk scene with the help of his friend and production cohort Steve Goodman (who penned Arlo Guthrie's hit "The City of New Orleans"), and Paul Anka helped him secure a recording contract after liking some of Prine's Hank Williams-influenced songs. Prine traveled to Memphis in 1971 to cut his self-titled debut LP which featured a memorable track called "Sam Stone," a bleak drug-addicted Vietnam vet's saga that aptly demonstrated the singer's laconic, drawling delivery. Though commercial success eluded him, other artists began recording his songs, including the Everly Brothers ("Paradise"), and Joan Baez and Bette Midler, who both covered "Hello in There." A 1975 album, Common Sense, shocked his folk-oriented fans with hard-rock rhythms and a gutteral singing style. The Goodman-produced Bruised Orange in 1978 returned him to a more acoustic style, and the 1979 album Pink Cadillac saw him experimenting with electric rockabilly and was produced by Memphis legend Sam Phillips and his son at Sun Studios. John PrineGerman Afternoons, Prine's second album for the Oh Boy Records label he formed in 1983, was more countryish and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Recording. Prine released a live album, John Prine Live, in 1988 and won a Best Contemporary Folk Grammy for his 1991 effort The Missing Years, which was produced by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers bassist Howie Epstein and featured contributions from Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and Bonnie Raitt, who had been covering Prine's "Angel from Montgomery" in concert for years. He made his movie acting debut in 1992 with a small role in John Mellencamp's Falling from Grace. In 1998, doctors removed a cancerous tumor from his throat, taking some of his neck which left him permanently slumped. Prine was honored by the Recording Academy as their 2020 lifetime achievement award recipient and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2019, where he and Raitt performed "Angel From Montgomery." Highly regarded within the Americana scene, he was named artist of the year by the Americana Music Association in 2017. His last release was 2018's The Tree of Forgiveness, his first set of new music since 2005Ős Grammy-winning Fair & Square. Prine is survived by his wife, Fiona Whelan Prine, and three sons, Jack, Tommy and Jody. Among those offering tributes to Prine was Bruce Springsteen, who posted to Twitter: "Over here on E Street, we are crushed by the loss of John Prine. John and I were 'New Dylans' together in the early 70s and he was never anything but the lovliest guy in the world. A true national treasure and a songwriter for the ages. We send our love and prayers to his family." - Billboard/Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock, 4/8/20.

Monday, April 6, 2020

A group of about 30 middle-aged Pink Floyd fans in New Jersey defied local police on Apr. 4 by holding an impromptu "corona street party" and playing hits by the famous prog-rock band on a front lawn in Rumson. Two guitarists on a lawn reportedly started up the show, which assembled about 30 aging fans of the classic British rock band in the middle of the street. "Some even brought lawn chairs," the police department said in a good natured account of the incident on Facebook, even though they were treated with obscenities from the fans. "As the old saying goes, in the midst of all this chaos, the band still played on, that is until they were advised in the middle of the 1975 classic 'Wish you were here', that they must stop the show," the department posted. The department even included the iconic cover of the band's Dark Side of the Moon album in its initial social media report. In a subsequent Facebook post, the department said it is "following up with an investigation and charges are pending." -, 4/5/20...... James TaylorJames Taylor will serve as the "mega mentor" on Season 18 of the reality talent series The Voice, it was revealed on Apr. 6. Taylor will join coaches Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Nick Jonas and Blake Shelton to mentor the artists remaining from the "Battle Rounds," and prepare each team for the Knockout Rounds, which will begin on Apr. 13 at 8 p.m. EST/PST. Taylor, who recently scored a Top 10 chart position with his latest album American Standard, will also help coach and rehearse with the four artists that were saved by their individual coaches during the Battle Rounds for the first-ever "Four-Way Knockout." - Billboard, 4/6/20...... Stevie Wonder is urging his fellow musicians to keep the legacy of late singer/songwriter Bill Withers alive by "recording one of his song on their projects." "Obviously, it's another heartbreak," Wonder told Billboard as he reflected on the death of Withers, who passed away on Mar. 30 of heart complications. "It seems like we're having them one after the other," referring to the recent deaths of such popular entertainers as Wallace Roney, Ellis Marsalis Jr., Alan Merrill, Adam Schlesinger and Joe Diffie, owing to the coronavirus. Wonder, who helped induct Withers into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2015, added that "we've got to show a lot of love to his wife and children and keep the legacy of what he left behind going ever strong... I think every artist at some point should record one of his songs on their projects. That's how you keep it going. He deserves that." - Billboard, 4/4/20...... Actress Rita Wilson will host a TV benefit special in honor of late country music star Kenny Rogers. CMT Giants Kenny Rogers: A Benefit For MusiCares will feature several of Rogers' friends and collaborators, including Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie, Vince Gill, Michael McDonald, Rascal Flattsand Lady Antebellum. The special will premiere on U.S. cable network CMT on Apr. 8, with "Hip Hop Hooray (Remix)" available on Apr. 10. Rogers died on Mar. 20 at the age of 81, and Wilson says it's "an honor to be hosting CMT GIANTS Kenny Rogers and to share in an evening of Kenny's songs with so many iconic artists...[his] impact has been indelible." Wilson, 63, appears to be on the road to recovery after she and husband Tom Hanks tested positive for coronavirus after traveling to Australia in March. On Mar. 4, Wilson sang the National Anthem during NASCAR's iRacing Pro Invitational Series Race in a pre-recorded video. -, 4/6/20...... Elton John announced on Apr. 5 that he's launching a new $1 million emergency fund to protect those who have HIV during the COVID-19 epidemic. The fund has been made available by Elton's nonprofit Elton John Aids Foundation, and is currently open to applications. "Today, I m proud to announce that my Foundation @EJAF is launching a $1million COVID-19 Emergency Fund to make sure that our frontline partners can respond to the effects of COVID-19 on HIV care for the most marginalised communities around the world," John posted to Twitter on Apr. 4. "For almost 30 years my foundation has prioritised the most vulnerable people to HIV, to end the AIDS epidemic and we re committed to this during the COVID-19 crisis too," he added. Meanwhile, Elton is also among a number of high-profile music stars taking part in a video posted on Twitter in which celebrities thanked Britain's National Health Service (NHS) frontline workers for their efforts battling the coronavirus. Superstar celebrities including John, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Kate Winslet and Jude Law joined the leaders of NHS England to thank the people fighting to keep Covid-19 victims alive in hospitals and care facilities. Elton kicked off the lovefest by stating, "You are our heroes and we salute each and every one of you. Thank you." There were also videotaped messages from the likes of Daniel Craig, David Beckham, Kylie Minogue, Bill Nighy, Chris Martin, Ray Winstone, Kit Harington, Robbie Williams, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Benedict Cumberbatch, Boy George, Ricky Gervais, Michael Caine and Eddie Redmayne, who all shot their personal salutes from self-isolation as the pandemic continues. - New Musical Express/, 4/5/20...... Marianne FaithfullSinger/actress Marianne Faithfull, who famously dated Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger from 1966 to 1970 after scoring her first breakout hit with the Keith Richards and Andrew Loog Oldham composition "As Tears Go By" in 1964, is currently hospitalized with the COVID-19 disease. "Marianne is being treated for COVID-19 in hospital in London. She is stable and responding to treatment, we all wish her well and a full and speedy recovery," her manager, Francois Ravard, told Billboard on Apr. 5. Faithfull's friend, Penny Arcade, says Marianne is "not on a ventilator," but in an earlier post, revealed she had been in contact with Faithfull's ex-husband, John DunbarL, who told the singer "can barely speak." "She has withstood and survived so much in her life - including being Marianne Faithful (sic), that to be taken down by a virus would be such a tragedy," Arcade wrote. "I spoke to her last week and she was hiding out from the virus but she has caregivers..." Faithfull, who was also close with the Beatles and sang backing vocals on their 1966 classic "Yellow Submarine," later suffered from anorexia and drug addictions, and was homeless for a time. She released her 22nd studio album, Negative Capagility, in 2018. - WENN/, 4/5/20...... Meanwhile, the wife of legendary singer/songwriter John Prine, who has been in intensive care for several days after contracting COVID-19, posted a new update on his condition on Apr. 3. "This is John's 8th day in ICU. He is receiving excellent medical care and being treated with kindness and compassion by the entire team looking after him day and night. I cannot be with him which makes this nightmare all the more distressing," Prine's wife Fiona posted. Prine, 73, is currently on a ventilator, has pneumonia in both lungs, and "still needs quite a bit of help with his breathing. He has also developed "peripheral issues that are being treated with meds, including antibiotics," according to Fiona. - New Musical Express, 4/4/20...... In a new intervew with Britain's ITV News that has been shared on YouTube, Queen guitarist Brian May said he believes humanity will learn some great lessons from the coronavirus pandemic. "It's a very hard time for everyone," he said. "This is a tragedy. But there are things to be grateful for. There's a lot of people who are in terrible times, and we're gonna lose a lot of people. It might be me, since I'm an elderly and vulnerable person. But, you know, it's not all bad -- there are good things to look forward to, and this is only for now." May added that "there are joys to be found in isolation... people are getting very creative" and that "When we come out of this, I think there will be some great lessons we have learned. I hope we remember the lessons that we've learned -- that we can work from home, the cars can stop, the planes can stop, the air can get clear. I mean, suddenly we can all breathe again. That's gonna save countless lives. There's no animals being knocked down on the roads anymore, and our wildlife rescue is experiencing a tremendous difference." - New Musical Express, 4/4/20...... In an interview with Entertainment Tonight Live, Ozzy Osbourne's daughter Kelly Osbourne revealed that she and the Osbourne clan almost made a return to television in 2020, but due to the coronavirus pandemic it was put on hold. "This year actually, this is the closest we've ever come, but due to this pandemic, everything is on hold," she told ET Live. "Asked why now would be a good time for the rock 'n' roll family to return, Kelly said: "Jack's got kids, we're grown up. There's another generation of us and I think it's just a retrospective showing where we are now, versus where we [were]. I think people really want to see it." The original series, which starred Ozzy and wife Sharon Osbourne, and children Jack and Kelly, aired from 2002-2005 and paved the way for personality-driven reality TV shows. In related news, Sharon Osbourne recently revealed on her show The Talk that her 36-year-old eldest daughter, Aimee, went under the knife on Mar. 29 to remove her appendix and, although the surgery was a success and she's now recuperating, Sharon was devastated she couldn't be with her because the current coronavirus pandemic prevented her from being able to visit her in hospital. "We've been fine. I mean, you know compared to a lot of people, we're doing just fine. But yesterday, Aimee was taken into hospital. She had an emergency operation to remove her appendix. So, just the worst time to be in a hospital. She's fine, she's fine now, thank God. She's out of pain, and she's recuperating." - NME, 4/3/20...... On Apr. 1, David Bowie's son Duncan Jones used an April Fool's Day to trick fans into thinking an animated series about his late father was in the works. The filmmaker took to Twitter to seemingly confirm that Aardman Animations, the studio behind Wallace and Gromit, had developed a new Bowie TV programme. "Incredibly excited today to be able to announce the release of the FIRST EPISODE of the @aardman animation& BOWIE TV SERIES!," Jones wrote on Twitter before linking to a YouTube video. Upon clicking the URL, his followers were met with the classic "RickRoll'd clip." Jones also attached a mock-up of the would-be plasticine Starman, which reimagines Aardman's Wallace as Bowie's Ziggy Stardust moniker. "This is a very bad and mean joke because THIS WOULD BE PERFECT," said one follower. Another added: "You are literally the only person who could get away with this. You git!" - New Musical Express, 4/1/20...... Debbie HarryBlondie frontwoman Debbie Harry tells ES magazine that she kicked her old drug habit that included heroin addiction without going to rehab to get clean because she simply got tired with the effort it took to source the narcotics. "Drugs are a funny thing. The thing that drove me away from taking them was having to acquire them and what a drag that was," Harry says. "It was kind of a full-time occupation and a waste of time. It became unpleasant. Luckily for me I was able to handle the withdrawal," she added. These days Harry, 74, says she's much more health-conscious, working out twice a week and eating a diet of "mainly raw foods" but she thinks getting older is "horrible." Asked if she's happier now than she was in her 20s, she said: "There's [still] some dissatisfaction and hopelessness. It varies by the day." Debbie has never married but she is still "very much" active on the dating scene, though she's struggling to find the "really chemical" attraction she's looking for. Asked if she dates, she said: "Very much so. There are less men around for people my age, though. They're all married with children. What's wrong with them? I think what's going on, there's more extra-marital relationships and maybe that is the right way. I'm looking for something really chemical." -, 4/2/20...... Veteran Canadian actress/activist Shirley Douglas, the mother of actor Kiefer Sutherland and daughter of Canadian medicare founder Tommy Douglas, died from complications surrounding pneumonia. She was 86. Kiefer Sutherland announced his mother's death on Twitter on Apr. 5, saying she succumbed to complications surrounding pneumonia -- but not related to COVID-19 -- on Sunday morning. "My mother was an extraordinary woman who led an extraordinary life," said Sutherland. "Sadly she had been battling for her health for quite some time and we, as a family, knew this day was coming." A native of Weyburn, Sask., Ms. Douglas worked with famed directors including Stanley Kubrick (Lolita) and David Cronenberg (Dead Ringers), and won a Gemini Award for her performance in the 1999 TV film Shadow Lake. Her other screen credits included the film Nellie McClung, in which she played the title role of the famed Canadian activist. Other TV series in which she appeared included Street Legal, Road to Avonlea, Corner Gas, Degrassi: The Next Generation and Robson Arms. She also tirelessly supported a variety of causes throughout her life, including the civil rights movement, the Black Panthers and the fight to save public health care, pioneered by her politician father. In the '60s and '70s, while living in California, Ms. Douglas campaigned against the Vietnam War and protested for various politicial and social causes, and helped to establish a fundraising group called Friends of the Black Panthers. In 1965, Ms. Douglas married Canadian actor Donald Sutherland, with whom she had two children before they divorced -- twins Rachel, a production manager, and Kiefer, who became a film and TV star in his own right. Ms. Douglas also had another son, Thomas, from a previous marriage. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among the dignitaries offering condolences on the news of her passing. "Shirley Douglas was a tremendous talent, a tireless advocate, and a fearless activist who never stopped fighting for what she believed in," he wrote on Twitter. "Her passing is a true loss for our country." - Canadian Press/, 4/5/20.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Bill WithersBill Withers, a Grammy-winning singer/songwriter who recorded a string of understated folk/soul hits in the '70s and '80, died on Mar. 30 in Los Angeles from heart complications. He was 81. Mr. Withers, somewhat of a late bloomer in the music scene, scored his first hit, "Ain't No Sunshine," at age 33, followed by other memorable classics including "Grandma's Hands," "Lean on Me," "Use Me," "Lovely Day" and "Just the Two of Us" with Grover Washington Jr. Born on the Fourth of July, 1938, in Slab Fork, W.V., Mr. Withers worked as a mechanic before moving to Los Angeles and taking a job in an aerospace factory. He wrote several demos which got no response and was considering giving up music until he met Memphis musician Booker T. Jones in 1970, who produced and played on Mr. Withers' debut LP on Sussex Records, Just As I Am, the following year using several members of Jones' Booker T. & the MGs as well as Stephen Stills. That album contained the Top 5 single "Ain't No Sunshine," which went gold in 1971 and was awarded a Grammy for Best R&B Song. Mr. Withers then made his performing debut in L.A. and released a followup single, "Grandma's Hands," which went to No. 42 pop/No. 18 R&B and has since been recorded by a number of singers. His 1972 album, Still Bill, was recorded with members of the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band and even more successful, containing the pop and R&B chart-topping "Lean on Me," "Use Me" (No. 2 pop & R&B), and "Kissing My Love" (No. 12 R&B). Mr. Withers released two more R&B chart hits, "Let Us Love" and "Friend of Mine," and recorded two more albums for Sussex before signing with Columbia Records in 1975, where he recorded six more albums with mixed success, although 1977's Menagerie became his second gold album and contained the No. 30 pop hit, "Lovely Day." Bill WithersMr. Withers sang on The Crusaders' Rhapsody in Blue album, then on Grover Washington Jr.'s 1980 LP Winelight, which featured the No. 2 pop/No. 3 R&B "Just the Two of Us," one of that year's most popular singles. That song won a Best R&B Song Grammy in 1982, and he took home his third Grammy in the same category in 1988 for Club Nouveau's cover of "Lean on Me." After recording another single, "U.S.A.," he basically retired form recording until releasing 1985's Watching You Watching Me, although he continued to tour occasionally. Mr. Withers was a staunch proponent of creative freedom, and at one point destroyed the masters for an album in a standoff with Sussex Records. His legacy only flourished since his '70s and '80s heyday, with the likes of Barbra Streisand, Mick Jagger, Aretha Franklin, Paul McCartney, Maroon 5, John Mayer, Tupac Shakur and John Legend either covering or sampling his songs. In 1985, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Roots drummer Questlove, who noted Mr. Withers was "the closest thing black people have to a Bruce Springsteen." His other honors include a Songwriters Hall of Fame induction in 2005, ASCAP's Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award in 2006. In 2009, he was the focal point for the critically acclaimed documentary Still Bill. A 9-album box set, The Complete Sussex and Columbia Albums, was released in 2012 and won a Grammy for Best Historical Recording. Mr. Withers was married twice, the first time to film and TV actress Denise Nicholas and his second wife, Marcia, who manages his publishing companies, and their two children, Todd and Kori. "We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father," his family said in a statement to AP. "A solitary man with a heart driven to connect to the world at large, with his poetry and music, he spoke honestly to people and connected them to each other." - Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock/Billboard, 4/2/20.

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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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