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Monday, Sept. 13, 2021

Billy Joel paid tribute to late Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts during his concert in Cincinnati on Sept. 10. Joel included a partial cover of the band's 1971 single "Brown Sugar" during his show at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park, and a fan captured the moment and shared it on YouTube. "That's for Charlie," Joel told the crowd before launching into his own track "Big Shot." At the same gig, Joel also dedicated a version of his classic "New York State Of Mind" to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack, which was memorialized in NYC the day after the show. - NME, 9/12/21...... The state of Georgia has honored its late native son Otis Redding in a special way by declaring Sept. 9 -- what would have been Redding's 80th birthday -- "Otis Redding Day." Redding, the hitmaker behind 29 Billboard Hot 100 songs including the posthumous U.S. No. 1 "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay," was a Georgia native, born in the city of Dawson. He died tragically in a plane crash on Dec. 10, 1967, at just 26 years old. On that evening, DJ D-Nice also hosted a virtual Club Quarantine party in honor of Redding, who was popularly known as the King of Soul. The virtual fundraiser benefited the Otis Redding Foundation. The philanthropic organization, established by Redding's widow Zelma in 2007, will honor D-Nice with the Award of Respect. - Billboard, 9/9/21...... Bruce SpringsteenHe may be a New Jersey native son but Bruce Springsteen has close ties to New York City, and on Sept. 11 the rock icon honored the victims of the 9/11/01 terrorist attack on the city with an emotional acoustic performance of his song "I'll See You in My Dreams" during a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the event. The Boss's unannounced appearance on that day, which has been shared on YouTube, followed a moment of silence at the NYC World Trade Center memorial plaza. The event was attended by dignitaries and family members of people killed in the 2001 attacks. After his performance, relatives of the 9/11 victims read out the names of those who died in the attacks, which has served as a tradition in Sept. 11 memorial services over the years. "I'll See You in My Dreams" is the final track on Springsteen's 20th studio album, Letter to You, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart in Nov. 2020, also topping the Top Rock Albums chart. - Billboard, 9/11/21...... In related news, Stevie Nicks has reflected on the 9/11 attacks in an open letter on Twitter. In the lengthy essay, Nicks remembers arriving in New York on that day in the early hours of the morning. It was 2:30 a.m. when we landed," she wrote. "By the time I went to bed it was almost 7:30 a.m. I sat in the window for a minute and looked dawn on a glorious day. The whole city was up. I actually thought about just not going to bed and going out to have breakfast and then out to walk the streets. Well, I'm too old to do that now, so, I laughed and went to bed," she added. Nicks then spoke about the attacks themselves and how her assistant woke her up right when the second plane hit the twin towers. "We had been attacked," she said. "It couldn't have been an accident. Not two accidents in a row... I walked over to the window where I had been sitting (it seemed like minutes ago) and looked down. Everything was grey. There were no cars. There were no yellow cabs. There were no people. It looked like death. It looked like the end of the world." Reflecting on the aftermath of the attacks she added: "I am so sorry, so broken hearted for all that we lost that day. But I would not have wanted to be anywhere else but there in New York with the people of New York. I became a New Yorker on that day. I was honoured." - New Musical Express, 9/13/21...... In other Fleetwood Mac-related news, former band guitarist/vocalist and Nicks partner Lindsey Buckingham has opened up about his contentious firing from the band in 2018. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Buckingham said the battle began when he finished his seventh solo album, the self-titled Lindsey Buckingham (due out Sept. 17), almost four years ago and asked his former longtime bandmates if they'd agree to delay their upcoming tour to give him time to promote the 10-song LP. Even though Fleetwood Mac's 2018 tour dates were already on the books most of the group, with the exception of Nicks, were reportedly flexible especially after he offered to book his solo gigs for Mac's off nights to fill in their three-show-a-week schedule. Months of what Buckingham said were unanswered emails and calls to the other members led up to the testy evening in Jan. 2018 when the band accepted their MusiCares Person of the Year award. Buckingham -- who joined the band in 1975 along with Nicks -- complained when he felt the Nicks-written song "Rhiannon" that played them on had "undermined" the impact of their entrance, and then Nicks was reportedly angered by what she felt was Buckingham's smirking mockery of her long speech on behalf of the band. It was less than a week later that Buckingham, 71, was booted from the group. He sued the band for what he estimated to be $12 million to $14 million in lost wages from the tour -- a suit that has since been settled -- and told the magazine that stories about his smirking causing the rift were "bulls---," and that it was the new album that really caused the split. "I think she wanted to shape the band in her own image, a more mellow thing, and if you look at the last tour, I think that's true," Buckingham said of his former life and music partner Nicks. The band carried on with Crowded House's Neil Finn and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell filling out the lineup for a tour Buckingham said he didn't see, but based on the set list he called "somewhat generic and perhaps bordering on being a cover band." Nicks has responded to Buckingham's claims, telling Rolling Stone in a statement: "It's unfortunate that Lindsey has chosen to tell a revisionist history of what transpired in 2018 with Fleetwood Mac. His version of events is factually inaccurate, and while I've never spoken publicly on the matter, preferring to not air dirty laundry, certainly it feels the time has come to shine a light on the truth." She added that following an "exceedingly difficult time" with Buckingham at the MusiCares event, she decided that she was no longer willing to work with him. Nicks insisted that she "did not demand he be fired... Frankly, I fired myself... I proactively removed myself from the band and a situation I considered to be toxic to my well-being" but "after many lengthy group discussions, Fleetwood Mac, a band whose legacy is rooted in evolution and change, found a new path forward with two hugely talented new members." - Billboard, 9/9/21...... Rod StewartOn Sept. 9 a Florida judge canceled the trial for Rod Stewart and his son Sean over an altercation the two had on New Year's Eve 2019 with a hotel security guard. Judge August Bonavita set a hearing for Oct. 22 regarding a plea agreement to close the case without them needing to appear in court for a trial, which had been set to begin on Sept. 14. Stewart and his son are accused of pushing and shoving security guard Jessie Dixon at the upscale The Breakers Hotel on Dec. 31, 2019, because he wouldn't let them into a New Year's Eve party. Dixon told Palm Beach police officers that Stewart's group was at the check-in table for a private party they weren't authorized to attend, according to the police report. Dixon said the group became loud and began causing a scene, and told investigators he put his hand on the younger Stewart's chest and told him to back up and make space. That's when Sean Stewart allegedly got "nose to nose" with Dixon. Sean, now 41, then shoved Dixon backwards. Rod Stewart, now 76, then punched Dixon in his "left rib cage area" with a closed fist, prosecutors allege. The arresting officer said he viewed security footage at the hotel and determined that the Stewarts were the "primary aggressors." If convicted, the Stewarts were facing a year in jail, or probation and a $1,000 fine. The terms of the plea agreement are not clear yet, and their attorney Guy Fronstin did not respond to the AP for comment. The Stewarts' battery charges have taken long to resolve because of the Covid-19 pandemic and settlement negotiations. - AP, 9/12/21...... Judas Priest kicked off their belated 50th-anniversary tour (delayed a year because the pandemic) on Sept. 8 in Reading, Pa. Dubbed "50 Heavy Metal Years," Priest's North American leg runs through Nov. 5. The English metal icons played their first concert in nearly 25 months on Aug. 15 before 20,000 metalheads at the U.K.'s annual Bloodstock Open Air festival, and judging from that setlist, fans in the U.S. can expect to hear some vintage songs resurrected for this trek (1974's "Rocka Rolla," 1978's "Exciter" and 1988's "Blood Red Skies" among them), plus tunes that have never been played live, specifically "Invader" from 1978's Stained Class, and "One Shot at Glory" from 1990's Grammy-nominated Painkiller. Meanwhile, Sony Legacy has announced the release of a Judas Priest - 50 Heavy Metal Years of Music limited-edition box set on Oct. 15. Along with new artwork, memorabilia, collectible items and a photo book, the massive, 40-plus CD package also contains remastered versions of every official live and studio album the group has released -- including from when singer Tim "Ripper" Owens replaced Rob Halford from 1996 to 2003, and the recent studio works with guitarist Richie Faulkner, who replaced K.K. Downing 10 years ago. - Billboard, 9/8/21...... As Metallica appeared on Howard Stern's SiriusXM radio show on Sept. 9 to promote their new covers album The Metallica Blacklist, Elton John made a guest appearance via Zoom and moved Metallica frontman James Hetfield to tears after calling the band's track "Nothing Else Matters" "one of the best songs ever written." "Listen, this is one of the best songs ever written," the Rocket Man said. "It's a song that never gets old. And playing on this track, I just couldn't wait. The chord structure, the melodies, the time changes, it's got drama written all over it." John continued: "They're not a heavy metal band. They're a musical band. Their songs aren't just heavy metal. They're beautiful songs. This is such a melodic song -- it's f---ing great, actually." Hetfield became visibly moved by Elton's sentiments, putting a hand to his face in shock and subtly wiping a tear from his eye. The heartwarming exchange between the two has been shared on YouTube. Metallica was joined on the program by Miley Cyrus for a performance of "Nothing Else Matters," which she, John, Yo-Yo Ma, Robert Trujillo, WATT and Red Hot Chili Peppers' drummer Chad Smith covered for the record. - NME, 9/11/21...... In a new interview with Goldmine magazine, Queen's Brian May said if he decides to release another solo effort it could be an album of instrumentals. "I do think about it," May said of the possibility of getting back into the studio. "And strangely enough, I think it probably would be instrumental this time. Because I have enough ideas. And I have lots of unfinished business," he added. However, May said if he does another LP it would be after he fulfills his touring commitments with Queen + Adam Lambert. "We have a big world of touring to do. And we've been postponing and postponing the Queen tour, which we started just before COVID happened," May noted. "Next May we will be doing a bunch of touring. Once that's done, I think I will have the opportunity to sit down, and if I'm spared -- as my mum used to say - and still functional, I think I might make the album," he added. May said he's never really thought about doing an instrumental album before because he has always written his songs with a vocalist in mind: "I don't have the dazzling technical expertise of a Joe Satriani or a Steve Vai or Al Di Meola or Eddie Van Halen. But I just might My guitar is very much my voice. I can't play faster than I think. I've always been obsessed with songs and songs to me are about singers, and about the vocals." - NME, 9/11/21...... Phil CollinsIn a rare interview, Phil Collins has updated fans on his ongoing health battles and their effect on his ability to perform. Collins, who has been suffering from nerve damage since a spinal injury in 2007 in which he damaged vertebrae in his upper neck, told the BBC Breakfast program that he is "kind of physically challenged a bit which is very frustrating because I'd love to be playing up there with my son," referring to his son Nic Collins who will be taking his dad's place behind the kit during Genesis' forthcoming reunion tour. When asked if he's still able to play, Phil said: "No. No, I would love to but, you know, I mean I can barely hold a stick with this hand, so there are certain physical things that get in the way." First announced in Mar. 2020 but delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the North American leg of the reunion tour will kick off on Nov. 15 in Chicago. It will see Collins reunite with Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks, who last performed together in 2007 to mark Genesis' 40th anniversary. While Collins will sing, his son has been confirmed to take over on drums. "He plays a bit like me when he wants to," Collins said when the tour was first announced. - NME, 9/11/21...... Co-founding Jefferson Airplane member Jorma Kaukanen has reacted to the first trailer for the upcoming latest Keanu Reeves-starred The Matrix series installment The Matrix Resurrections, which features the JA's iconic 1967 hit single "White Rabbit" and has been shared on YouTube. Fans have reacted enthusiastically to the use of the iconic psychedelic song, noting how certain lines synchronized creatively with events in the trailer (the line "Go ask Alice" syncs up with Priyanka Chopra-Jonas' character reading a copy of Alice in Wonderland), and the song's title became a trending topic on Twitter upon the trailer's release. Another line -- "And if you go chasing rabbits" -- is sung while a shot highlights a rabbit tattoo on the arm of Jessica Henwick's character. "We started in the Matrix," Kaukanen told Rolling Stone. "Glad to be there again!" Of the song, JA members Grace Slick and Jack Casady recently told the UK paper The Guardian that it's been "bringing in royalties for over 50 years." "I still get to pay my bills off that one song. Now that's a good song!," Slick said. Over the decades, the song has been used in several film and television productions, including The Sopranos, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Handmaids Tale and The Simpsons. The Matrix Resurrections is the fourth in the series of sci-fi films and will be released in U.K. cinemas on Dec. 22, and receive a same-day release on HBO Max in the U.S. - NME, 9/11/21...... A cover of the Velvet Underground's "European Son" by Iggy Pop and Matt Sweeney that will be featured in the upcoming VU tribute album I'll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute to the Velvet Underground & Nico has been shared on YouTube. Set for release on Sept. 24, the album also features contributions from Michael Stipe, Matt Berninger, St. Vincent and Fontaines D.C.. - NME, 9/10/21...... Alternative faves Green Day have released a live cover of KISS's "Rock and Roll All Nite" from their recently completed US "Hella Mega Tour." Green Day regularly covered "Rock And Roll All Nite," which was originally released by KISS back in 1975, during their sets on the tour, and the band have now released a live recording of the cover on streaming platforms, including "Even though the 'Hella Mega Tour' is over (for now), we want to keep partying every day, which is why we're dropping our live version of 'Rock And Roll All Nite' right here, right now!!," according to a statement by Green Day, which is set to continue the tour in the U.K. and Europe in the summer of 2022. - NME, 9/10/21...... Michael ConstantineMichael Constantine, an Emmy-winning actor best known as the genial school principal on the popular '70s TV series Room 222 and, 30 years later, as the genially dyspeptic patriarch in the hit film My Big Fat Greek Wedding, died on Aug. 31 at his home in Reading, Pa. He was 94. Endowed with fierce eyebrows and a personal warmth that belied his perennial hangdog look, Mr. Constantine was routinely cast by Hollywood to portray a number of ethnicities, including several Jewish and Greek characters. He won an Emmy in 1970 for the role of Seymour Kaufman, who presided with grumpy humanity over a fictional Los Angeles school on Room 222. Broadcast on ABC from 1969 to 1974, the show centered on an idealistic Black history teacher, played by Lloyd Haynes, who contended with a variety of issues, social and otherwise, at the racially diverse Walt Whitman High School. Possessed of a gravitas that often led to him being cast as lawyers or heavies, he also played the title role, the night-court judge Matthew Sirota, on Sirota's Court, a short-lived sitcom shown on NBC in the 1976-77 season, and had guest roles on scores of other shows, including Naked City, Perry Mason, Ironside and Gunsmoke in the 1960s, and Remington Steele, Murder, She Wrote and Law & Order in the '80s and '90s. In 1966-67, he had a recurring role on the sitcom Hey, Landlord. On film, he appeared in The Last Mile (1959), a prison picture starring Mickey Rooney; The Hustler (1961), starring Paul Newman; the 1969 comedies If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium and Don't Drink the Water; and Voyage of the Damned (1976). Mr. Constantine became known to an even wider, younger audience as Gus Portokalos, the combustible, tradition-bound father whose daughter is engaged to a patrician white Anglo-Saxon Protestant, in the hit 2002 comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The son of Andromache (Fotiadou) and Theoharis Ioannides Efstratiou, Mr. Constantine was born in Reading on May 22, 1927. His parents were Greek immigrants, and his father was a steelworker. He settled on an acting career early, an idea reinforced after a youthful visit to a friend who was studying acting in New York. Mr. Constantine's first marriage, to the actress Julianna McCarthy, ended in divorce, as did his second, to Kathleen Christopher. His survivors include two sisters, Patricia Gordon and Chris Dobbs. - The New York Times, 9/8/21...... English folk singer-songwriter Michael Chapman has died at the age of 80, it was announced on his Instagram page on Sept. 11. No cause of death was revealed, but the social media post stated that Mr. Chapman died in his home. Born in Leeds in 1941, Mr. Chapman released his debut album, Rainmaker, in 1969. Since then, he has issued over 40 full-length albums. His final recorded effort, True North, was released in 2019. In his work, Mr. Chapman explored roots music, such as blues and folk, through acoustic and electric instruments, issuing multiple instrumental efforts and collaborations over the decades. His work has also been influential to various artists ever since, including Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore. U.S. label Light in the Attic, who reissued his first four albums in the 2010s, called Mr. Chapman "a rare human." - NME, 9/11/21...... Harry J. Coombs, a veteran music industry executive who was best known for his 30-year tenure at Philadelphia International Records, died on Sept. 3 of pulmonary fibrosis/acute pulmonary hypertension in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He was 85. Born Sept. 19, 1935 in Washington, D.C., Mr. Coombs joined PIR -- then distributed by CBS Records (now Sony Music) -- as a national promotion manager in 1972. He earned his first gold record that year for The O'Jays hit "Backstabbers". Promoted to PIR's executive vp internal operations and promotion in 1974, Mr. Coombs continued to play an integral role in building the label's iconic "Philly Sound" legacy as he oversaw projects released by hit-making acts such as The Stylistics, Teddy Pendergrass, Lou Rawls, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Billy Paul and Phyllis Hyman in addition to The O'Jays. An alumnus of the Modern School of Music in Washington, D.C. and an Army veteran, Mr. Coombs was presented with the Living Legends Foundation Award in 1999. He is survived by his wife Sandy Coombs and a daughter, Ashley Coombs-Cox (Malik). - Billboard, 9/10/21.

Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021

ABBA is on track to return to the U.K. Top 10 for the first ime in almost 40 years with their new singles "I Still Have Faith In You" and "Don't Shut Me Down." Released earlier in September, both songs have been streamed over 500,000 times during the first weekend of the month, and the releases are poised to enter the U.K.'s singles chart at No. 6 and No. 7, respectively. Should they hold their momentum, the songs will mark ABBA's first U.K. Top 10 singles since "One Of Us," which peaked at No. 3 in Dec. 1981. The tracks are culled from the forthcoming ABBA album Voyage, the Swedish pop quartet's first new album in 39 years, which is due out Nov. 5. ABBA has announced they will support the LP with a virtual concert event beginning on May 27, 2022, featuring avatars of Benny Andersson, Anni-Frid (Frida) Lyngstad, Agnetha Flaskog and Bjorn Ulvaeus, accompanied by a 10-piece live band, in a custom-built arena at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, East London. "We don't want to give all the surprises away because we want everyone to come and enjoy it, but there will be lots of hidden surprises, hopefully a bit of stage banter and 100 minutes of pure ABBA euphoria," said event producer Svana Gisla. Voyage has also set a pre-order sales record for its label Polydor in the U.K., with more than 80,000 pre-orders in just three days. Britain has a deep connection with ABBA. It was in Brighton, the southern resort town, where the four musicians announced themselves to the music world in 1974, with the winning performance of "Waterloo" at the Eurovision Song Contest. Moreover, ABBA's hits collection Gold is the only album to log more than 1,000 weeks on the U.K.'s Official Albums Chart and is the second best-selling album of all time in the U.K., with 5.61 million copies sold as of Aug. 2021. Currently, ABBA has nine U.K. No. 1 singles, 19 Top 10 singles, and nine No. 1 singles in the country. - Billboard, 9/6/21...... Jimmy PageLed Zeppelin mastermind Jimmy Page attended the 78th Venice International Film Festival on Sept. 4 in Venice, Italy, for that evening's premiere of the eagerly anticipated Led Zep doc Becoming Led Zeppelin. Producers Bernard MacMahon and Allison McGourty, both avowed LZ fans, obtained never-before-seen footage of some of the band's early U.S. and British concerts for the film, as well as an astonishing audio interview that drummer John Bonham gave to an Australian journalist before he died in 1980. The interview, concert footage and other archive material are spliced into contemporary interviews with the three surviving band members -- Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones -- to create a montage that maps the frenetic first two years of the band's existence and its early musical influences. Page says he turned down a lot of "pretty miserable" pitches over the years to make a documentary about his pioneering heavy metal band, but he finally consented when he received MacMahon and McGourty's deeply-researched proposal which focuses almost exclusively on the band's music and chronicling its birth in 1968 and its meteoric early rise. "When we first met we were probably a little nervous of each other. But the conduit was the storyboard," Page said. "And I thought they've really got it, they really understand what it was about. This one, it's everything about the music, and what made the music tick. It's not just a sample of it with a talking head. This is something in a totally different genre," he added. A teaser clip for the new documentary has been shared on YouTube. - AP, 9/4/21...... In other Zeppelin-related news, singer Robert Plant says that heritage rock bands who stay together are "hanging onto a life raft" in a new interview with the British music mag MOJO about the release of his latest collaboration with country singer Alison Krauss, Raise the Roof. "The good thing about Alison and I is that we're a couple of kindred spirits. Most musicians form a band, then they stay in the band until it's over -- 20 years, 30 years, 50 years, whatever it is -- and it starts to look sadly decrepit. It's like people hanging onto a life raft, or staying in a comfortable place," said Plant, who added that he and Krauss had "nothing written in blood." "We were ready to do something new, and we knew how good it was before, so we can just join up again and see where we go. We've got nothing to lose," Plant said. Raise the Roof is the pair's second collaborative record and will hit stores on Nov. 19. The 12-track album was produced by T Bone Burnett and features covers of the likes of Merle Haggard, Allen Toussaint, The Everly Brothers and Bert Jansch, as well as the original song "High And Lonesome," which was penned by Plant and Burnett. - New Musical Express, 9/5/21...... Patti Smith will give fans around the world access to her recent performance at the legendary recording facility Electric Lady Studios in New York with a special streaming session on on Sept. 9. Earlier in 2021, Smith released an EP, Live At Electric Lady, on The 35-minute set includes renditions of "April Fool," "Blame It on the Sun," and more. The session, part of a series launched in July by Electric Lady Studios partner/GM Lee Foster, will now be streamed on on Sept. 9 for a global audience. - Billboard, 9/3/21...... Roger DaltreyOn Sept. 8 Roger Daltrey announced a new set of solo U.K. tour dates this winter. The Who frontman's latest live show will consist of "a unique mix of music and conversation that is built around Roger's musical journey," according to a press release, with the singer performing a selection of tracks from across his nine solo albums on each night of the tour, alongside cuts from his 2014 album with Wilko Johnson and reinterpretations of Who classics and rarities. "The truth is singers need to sing. Use it or lose it," Daltrey said in the statement. "Throughout my life I have sung with so many great musicians, from the heavy rock of The Who and Wilko Jonson, to the Irish lilt of The Chieftains. On this tour I want to take the audience on a musical journey through my career as a singer, with a show of songs and sounds that explores and surprises. I look forward to having closer contact with my audience than festivals and arenas allow. Leaving time to chat," he added, noting that "it's important to get our road crew working again -- without these guys the halls would go silent." Daltrey's tour will launch on Nov. 7 in Birmingham, also visiting Manchester (11/9), Nottingham (11/11), London (11/15), Brighton (11/17), Southend (11/19), Oxford (11/21), Glasgow (11/24), Newcastle (11/26), Liverpool (11/29) and Portsmouth (12/1) before wrapping on Dec. 2 in Bournemouth. - NME, 9/8/21...... Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook have responded to their former bandmate John Lydon's comments following a recent lawsuit against his bandmates. Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, lost his legal battle against his former bandmates last month. Lydon was sued after refusing to license the group's music for inclusion in Danny Boyle's upcoming biopic series, Pistol. Following the verdict, Lydon issued a lengthy statement claiming that he didn't know about the proposed use of Sex Pistols music in the new series until "just a few hours" before it was announced, and he had no idea how the band would be portrayed in it. Now Jones and Cook have told "despite Lydon's comments on his website, we reiterate that he was informed of the Pistol TV series, offered meetings with the director and to be involved in the show months before principal photography began." "He refused these offers and we were saddened he would not engage and at least have a conversation with the director Danny Boyle and co-showrunner Craig Pearce," they added. On Sept. 7, Lydon hit back at his former bandmates' statement during an appearance on Good Morning Britain, branding the pair "filthy liars" over their claim that he was informed about the Pistol series. "When they say I was 'informed', they don't certify a date... Two-faced hypocrites," he added. "How are you gonna do a documentary on punk without, hate to be pretentious about this, without Mr. Rotten?" - NME, 9/7/21...... After KISS recently postponed a run of shows when Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons tested positive for the Covid-19 virus, Stanley has been spotted in public without a mask. Stanley was seen walking inside of a West Hollywood Hotel on Aug. 31 minus a face covering, and his photo was published in the U.K. paper The Daily Mail. Aside from the fact that California has imposed a mask mandate, the Los Angeles Department of Public Health has said that Covid-positive individuals should self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days. The band announced on Aug. 26 that Stanley had tested positive for the disease, and added that "everyone on the entire tour, both band and crew, are fully vaccinated." "The band and their crew have operated in a bubble independently to safeguard everyone as much as possible at each show and in between shows. The tour also has a COVID safety protocol officer on staff full-time that is ensuring everyone is closely following all CDC guidelines," the statement added. The day after his hotel appearance, Stanley took to Twitter to state that he was "staying clear of people for a few more days." He added, "Do I think my 'freedom' ever includes jeopardizing other people's health?... No, I don't." - NME, 9/7/21...... The FacesThe recently reunited The Faces have recorded 14 new songs together since reforming this summer, according to a new interview by Faces drummer Kenney Jones with BANG Showbiz. "We've done about 14 songs, it's a mixture of stuff we never released which is worthy of releasing and there's some new stuff which is really wonderful," Jones said. "Rod [Stewart] is writing the lyrics and he's really keen on it," he added. Jones then went on to tease the prospect of forthcoming arena shows from the band. "Whether or not we're going to go on a big extended tour remains to be seen. What we have decided is to do some really big gigs like [London's] The O2, Madison Square Garden, some other big venues in America." The surviving Faces members -- Jones, Stewart and Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood -- announced in July that they would be reuniting to write new music after over 40 years apart. The Faces' last reunion performance was at the 2020 BRIT Awards, where Stewart, Wood and Jones closed the ceremony with a live rendition of "Stay With Me." Faces' founding keyboardist Ian McLagan died of a stroke in 2014, and bassist Ronnie Lane passed award more than a decade earlier in 1997. - NME, 9/5/21...... David Crosby has unleashed on his former Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young bandmate Neil Young in a scathing new interview with the UK's The Guardian. According to Crosby, the quartet are being kept apart by some "petty-assed bullshit" that started when Crosby referred to Young's current girlfriend Daryl Hannah as a "predator." "Neil has got a genuine beef. I did say something bad about his girlfriend. I said I thought she was a predator. OK, he can be mad at me. That's all right." Despite admitting his mistake, Crosby went on to call Young "probably the most self-centered, self-obsessed, selfish person I know. "He only thinks about Neil, period. That's the only person he'll consider... We haven't talked for a couple of years. And I'm not going to talk to him. I don't want to talk to him. I'm not happy with him at all. To me, that's all ancient history, man," he added. Crosby also had some select words for CSN&Y member Graham Nash. "Graham just changed from the guy I thought was my best friend to being a guy that is definitely my enemy, so I don't see any future there at all," Crosby told the paper. - NME, 9/5/21...... The iconic Dodge Charger "General Lee" featured in the '70s series The Dukes of Hazzard was pulverized in the monster storm created by Hurricane Ida on Aug. 29. Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider shared an image of the damage on Facebook with the picture showing one of the General Lee cars from the show smashed by a tree. Schneider's photo was accompanied by the caption, "Well... When something like this happens you have two choices: Tears and laughter. I choose laughter. So... What's your caption? Here's mine: 'Miss Ida stopped by to see the General at Miss Shirley's last night...'" The New York-born Schneider, 61, played Bo Duke on the show during its 6-year run on CBS. Schneider, who is also a country singer, was seen in a clip published by TMZ on Aug. 29, in which he implored his fans to assist with the aftermath of the natural disaster by donating via his website. The actor wrote: 'My request is that if you know somebody that's going through something like this, then you help them - go out and help them... If you don't, I'd very much like you to help us by going to the store -- and I would very much appreciate it." Four people have died as result of the storm in the southern states of Louisiana and Mississippi, according to the AP, which has left more than a million residences and businesses without power amid the severe weather conditions. - TheDailyMailUK, 9/1/21...... Freddie MercuryFreddie Mercury's legion of fans paid tribute to late Queen frontman on what would have been his 75th birthday on Sept. 5. The charismatic Mercury, who died of bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS in 1991, was born Farrokh Bulsara on Sept. 5, 1946, in Stone Town, Tanzania, and his seismic impact on music and pop culture has long been felt since his death. Fans have flocked to social media to share stories, tributes, photographs and more to mark the the singer's birthday. "Happy heavenly birthday dear beautiful angel, the beautiful songs and moments you shared with us will always speak of a great person that you were, you will never be forgotten I love you," one fan wrote on Twitter. "'Who Wants To Live Forever?' No one can do that, but you will always live forever in our hearts. Happy 75th birthday, Freddie Mercury!," another fan posted. Elsewhere, a classic rock picture account shared a photograph of Mercury as a baby with his mother, Jer Bulsara: "Today is an entirely special date. on a day like this one, but back in 1946, the legend himself& freddie mercury, was born. to shine, to entertain, and to love. the singer will then forever remain in our memory. know that we all still love you." - NME, 9/5/21...... Arnold "Arnie" Pustilnik, a disciple of legendary concert promoter Bill Graham who managed the likes of Santana and Train and produced the Rolling Stones' massive 1982 stadium tour of Europe, died on Aug. 20 after a long struggle with cancer, his family announced on Sept. 3. He was 75. Over three decades, Pustilink worked alongside Graham to transform the promoter's namesake company into the premier rock concert promotion outfit of the 1970s and '80s. He eventually rose to co-head of the management division alongside Mick Bridgen, and, following Graham's death in a helicopter crash in 1991, helped keep the promoter's legacy alive by continuing to steward the company's management clients into the next decade. He is survived by wife Susan Pustilnik; daughter Sarah and son Samuel Pustilnik; and sisters Iris Kozac and Lynne Tauber. - Billboard, 9/3/21...... Longtime NBC weatherman Willard Scott, the portly, toupee-sporting TV personality who spent 35 years enlivening the Today show as its weatherman and resident merrymaker, died on Sept. 4. He was 87. Mr. Scott's death was announced by NBC News via a statement by his successor, Al Roker. Mr. Scott debuted on Today in 1980 and immediately made his presence known, draping his 6-foot-3 frame in outrageous costumes. He once dressed up as Carmen Miranda, the Brazilian entertainer known for her fruit-covered hats and garish dresses. On Groundhog Day, he appeared as the rodent. His tomfoolery drew private scorn from Today show contemporaries and predecessors such as Hugh Downs, but Mr. Scott was unapologetic. "People said I was a buffoon to do it," he told the New York Times. "Well, all my life I've been a buffoon. That's my act." Mr. Scott's centenarian birthday wishes segment began soon after he joined the show, when a friend asked him to wish a happy 100th birthday, "live and in color," to his uncle. NBC bosses didn't like the idea, but Mr. Scott went ahead with it. He was soon fielding about 200 requests a week. With his sunny disposition and jovial personality, he became a favorite of Madison Avenue and the lecture circuit, reaping a small fortune giving upbeat talks to trade associations and promoting products from Diet Coke to Florida oranges. Mr. Scott went into semiretirement in 1996 and retired fully in 2015. His final show drew a chorus of good-natured protests, including a message from former first lady Barbara Bush. Mr. Scott is survived by his second wife, the former Paris Keena, and two daughters from his first marriage to Mary Dwyer, who died in 2002. - The Washington Post, 9/4/21.

Friday, Sept. 3, 2021

Lindsey Buckingham shared a new single called "Scream" on YouTube on Sept. 1. The track is the latest to be taken from the former Fleetwood Mac guitarist's upcoming self-titled solo album -- his first since 2011's Seeds We Sow -- and follows his recent tracks "I Don't Mind" and "On The Wrong Side." "Many of the songs on this album are about the work and discipline it takes in maintaining a long-term relationship. Some of them are more about the discipline and some of them are more about the perks," Buckingham said. "'Scream' is about the perks. It felt very celebratory and it was also very, very simple and short. To the point." The new album, Lindsey Buckingham, drops on Sept. 17. Buckingham launched fall 2021 US tour behind the new album in Milwaukee on Sept. 1. Buckingham, 71, will kick off his first ever solo tour of Europe in Dublin on May 17, 2022. The tour will also visit venues in Belgium, France, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Tickets can be purchased via - NME/, 9/1/21...... ABBAABBA announced on Sept. 2 the will be releasing their ninth studio album and first studio album in 40 years on Nov. 5. Titled Voyage, the record will be the followup to the Swedish pop quartet's 1981 LP, The Visitors. Group members Benny Andersson, Anni-Frid (Frida) Lyngstad, Agnetha Flaskog and Bjorn Ulvaeus also said they will perform a run of shows as avatars in a specially built arena in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London beginning on May 27, 2022. "We are on our way back! Thank you for waiting. #ABBAVoyage is the concert we've always wanted to perform for our fans. The journey is about to begin!," the group posted on Twitter. During a press conference, Andersson noted that "at first it was just two songs, and then we said, 'Well, maybe we should do a few others," before Ulvaeus referred to the inspiration behind the first track on the 10-song album, "I Still Have Faith in You." "When Benny played the melody, I just knew it had to be about us. It's about realising that it's inconceivable to be where we are. No imagination could dream up that, to release an album after 40 years and still be the best of friends, and still be enjoying each other's company, and have a total loyalty. Who has experienced that? Nobody." The 10-track album was recorded by all four members at Andersson's Riksmixningsverket studio in Stockholm. ABBA, who famously turned down millions to reunite, most recently sang the song "Me and I" at a private gala in 2016. "It's been a while since we made music together," the group said in a statement. "Almost 40 years, actually. We took a break in the spring of 1982 and now we've decided it's time to end it. They say it's foolhardy to wait more than 40 years between albums, so we've recorded a follow-up to The Visitors." The avatar versions of the group will take the stage with a live 10-piece band for the shows, with tickets for the shows in the 3,000-capacity arena going on sale to the general public on Sept. 7 on "Agnetha, Frida, Benny and Bjorn got on stage in front of 160 cameras and almost as many VFX geniuses, and they performed every song in this show, to perfection, over five weeks," producer Ludvig Andersson said about the digital versions of the group during a press conference. Also helping out was an 850-person team from Star Wars creator George Lucas' famed Industrial Light & Magic effects shop in the company's first dip into music. Tickets for the shows in the 3,000-capacity arena will go on sale to the general public on Sept. 7 on A spokesperson confirmed that the Voyage experience will be a residency-like run of shows, and the length of the run will be announced at a later date. Two songs from Voyage -- the sweeping ballad "I Still Have Faith In You" and the bouncy "Don't Shut Me Down" -- are available for streaming on, and a video of "I Still Have Faith in You" can be viewed on YouTube. Meanwhile, ABBA has officially joined the TikTok video platform, months after TikTok users created a "#DancingQueenChallenge." According to a press release from TikTok, ABBA's music was the most requested from an act without an official TikTok presence, a situation the service remedied on Aug. 29 with the upload of a piano version of "Dancing Queen". With just a set of hands playing the song's instantly recognizable refrain on the keyboard, although it is unclear who is performing the song in the clip. - Billboard/, 9/2/21...... Elton JohnElton John has made a return to Billboard's Pop Airplay chart with his imaginative new mash-up with Dua Lipa, "Cold Heart (Pnau Remix)." The song has entered the chart at No. 39, the Rocket Man's first appearance there since the chart dated Jan. 31, 1998, when "Something About the Way You Look Tonight" wrapped its run. In "Cold Heart," released on Aug. 13 via Mercury/EMI/Interscope Records, John sings part of his No. 18-peaking 1990 hit "Sacrifice" and Lipa reprises Elton's No. 6 1972 classic "Rocket Man." The song sports co-writing and co-production credit for the Australian trio Pnau. Over its first two weeks, "Cold Heart" has drawn 6.2 million U.S. streams and sold 13,300 downloads, according to MRC Data. As announced Sept. 1, the cut is set to appear on John's album The Lockdown Sessions due Oct. 22 via Interscope. Elton took to Instagram on Sept. 1 to announce the launch of The Lockdown Sessions, and revealed that the record includes collaborations with the likes of Dua Lipa, Nicki Minaj, Charlie Puth, Miley Cyrus, Brandi Carlile, Lil Nas X, Eddie Vedder, Stevie Wonder, Stevie Nicks and Glen Campbell. "The last thing I expected to do during lockdown was make an album. But, as the pandemic went on, one-off projects kept cropping up and I've ended with a selection of really interesting and diverse stuff that was completely different to anything I'm known for, stuff that took me out of my comfort zone into completely new territory," he wrote in the caption. "And I realised there was something weirdly familiar about working like this. At the start of my career, in the late '60s, I worked as a session musician. Working with different artists during lockdown reminded me of that. I'd come full circle: I was a session musician again. And it was still a blast. I can't wait for you all to hear the album," he added. Meanwhile, at has been announced on Twitter that John will headline the UK's BST Hyde Park festival in 2022 as part of his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour -- his final ever series of live shows. Elton will headline the event on June 24, 2022 on what could be his final ever London tour date. Fans who pre-order John's new album before midnight on Sept. 5 will receive access to a pre-sale from September 6-8. Customers who book for BST in the pre-sale window will be guaranteed tickets to Elton's show at BST Hyde Park. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 9/2/21...... John Lennon and Yoko Ono's iconic peace anthem "Imagine" will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a special global party, Yoko announced on Sept. 2. Lennon released the song -- as well as an album and a film by the same name -- in 1971 with the help of his wife Yoko, who co-produced the record. As "Imagine" approaches its 50th birthday on Sept. 9, Yoko and her son Sean Ono Lennon as well as the Lennon Estate and Universal Music Group are hosting a global party. Speaking about the iconic track, Yoko said: "John and I were both artists and we were living together, so we inspired each other. The song 'Imagine' embodied what we believed together at the time... We have this oneness and 'the whole world would eventually become one' is the sense that we will all be very happy together. All these instructions are for people for how to spend eternity, because we have lots of time." Among the events taking place to mark the anniversary is a watch party for the 1971 film Imagine, which was one of the first full-length conceptual music films and contains all the songs from John's Imagine album as well as four songs from Yoko's FLY LP. In 2018, under the supervision of Yoko, the film was completely reassembled in HD from the original 16mm negative reels and cleaned and digitally restored frame-by-frame with the audio completely remixed. The watch party will begin at 7:30 pm BST on Sept. 9, and people can tune in either online, or in person at participating venues for free. On Sept. 10, Capitol and Universal Music Group will release a limited collector's edition pressing of Imagine as a double LP on white vinyl. The unique and expanded edition, Imagine - The Ultimate Mixes & Out-takes, includes the original demo for "Imagine" alongside a host of outtakes that demonstrate the writing and recording process and showcase the evolution of the songs. Three-dimensional Dolby Atmos mixes and full-length Stereo versions of the content in Imagine - The Ultimate Collection will be made available on streaming services to celebrate John Lennon's birthday this year, on Oct. 9. -, 9/2/21...... During an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Mötley Crüe member Nikki Sixx revealed that his band once offered former Van Halen vocalist David Lee Roth a spot as the opener on their joint tour with Def Leppard, but Roth turned it down. Sixx revealed that when Mötley Crüe offered Roth the opening slot on the tour, he responded in the negative, reportedly saying: "I don't open for bands that I influenced." Sixx's comments come after KISS member Gene Simmons publicly apologized after Roth took offense to comments Simmons made about the VH frontman in a recent interview. - NME, 9/2/21...... Gene SimmonsSpeaking of Gene Simmons, the bassist/vocalist has become the second member of KISS to contract the Covid-19 virus. KISS announced on Twitter on Aug. 31 that Simmons has tested positive for the coronavirus, and that their next four dates of their "End of the Road" tour would be delayed. The dates affected are a Sept. 1 show in Clarkston, Mich.; a Sept. 2 date in Dayton, Oh.; a Sept. 4 concert on Tinley Park, Ill.; and a Sept. 5 show in Milwaukee. "Gene Simmons has now tested positive and is experiencing mild symptoms," the shock-rockers shared in a statement on social media. "The band and crew will remain at home and isolate for the next 10 days and doctors have indicated the tour should be able to resume on September 9th at FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, CA." Just days earlier, on Aug. 26, KISS announced that frontman Paul Stanley had tested positive, and canceled the evening's show. That announcement also indicated that the entire band and crew was fully vaccinated. The vocalist tweeted Monday that he has since recovered. "My Covid symptoms were MILD compared to many others and let me tell you... It kicked my ass," Stanley shared. "It's over now." Meanwhile, Gene Simmons shared some blistering thoughts on politicians in Texas and Florida who are spreading misinformation during the Covid pandemic and banning mask mandates. "Always listen to the CDC and the doctors -- not stupid politicians," he told 95.5 KLOS before adding some clarity on his opinion. "Not all politicians -- evil, self-serving politicians of a certain party who are more interested in getting re-elected than actually saving lives ... The politicians in Texas and Florida -- evil, self-serving, just moronic." The full interview can be heard on the website. In a separate interview with US Weekly, the 72-year-old rock veteran took aim at illegal downloaders for "robbing" new artists of the chance to make a proper living from their music. Simmons said he blames fans for killing the music business, also the record companies "for not suing that first putz who dared break into the henhouse and steal some eggs and a chicken for free." - Billboard/, 8/31/21...... Barbra Streisand is among a host of female music artists who are criticizing lawmakers in Texas after its legislature recently passed the U.S.'s most restrictive abortion law -- and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to step in to block the measure on Sept. 1. "Have we gone backwards in time?" asked Streisand on Twitter about the law that prohibits abortions after around six weeks -- at which time many women are not even aware they are pregnant. "Isn't it interesting how putting on a mask is 'violating their body' but abortion rights is not?" Abortion rights advocates fear that the new Texas law is the most significant effort to date by anti-abortion advocates to reverse the landmark 1973 Roe V. Wade decision that legalized abortion. The law, which does not make any exceptions for rape or incest and very few for health reasons, basically means that abortion is effectively banned in the second most-populous state in the country. Other musicians sharing their thoughts on the issue include St. Vincent and P!nk, who both included the trending hashtag #BansOffOurBodies in tweets. - Billboard, 9/2/21...... Former The Commodores member and '80s solo superstar Lionel Richie says he's excited to return for the new season of American Idol, and is looking forward to seeing contestants in-person once again, after two years of virtual auditions and performances. With Season 20 on the horizon -- expected to air in the spring -- Richie says it'll be good to see people again, if Covid restrictions for filming begin to ease. "Idol is a fabulous experience for the people trying out and for the judges," he says. "Having said that, the hardest thing to do is to judge somebody when you're not in the same room. So it's great to be back face to face. We get a chance to hear and feel these young talented people." Richie has a lot of other projects he's excited about right now -- in addition to his American Idol gig, the singer/songwriter has teamed up with Tyra Banks' ice cream brand, SMiZE Cream, on a new flavor dubbed "All Night Love." Inspired by his classic anthem, "All Night Long," the new flavor incorporates some of Richie's favorite childhood flavors -- think salted caramel, chocolate fudge and cookie crumble -- into a creamy vanilla ice cream base. The Lionel Richie x Tyra Banks "All Night Love" ice cream is available now for purchase on - Billboard, 9/1/21...... Bob MarleyA new Bob Marley and The Wailers LP and DVD, The Capitol Session '73, was released on Sept. 3 via Tuff Gong and Mercury Studios. Seven hours of a Marley and the Wailers' session at the Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood has been edited into a cohesive 60-minute presentation. "For over two decades I have been tending, researching and gently waving the banner for prepping the seven hours of Capitol footage for the release it so richly deserves," said British filmmaker, archivist and historian Martin Disney, who has worked on almost every film made about Marley as a researcher, producer, or consultant. "As we were editing, we felt like no time had passed, it sounds so fresh. In a way the film made itself, we just pushed it, to get that feeling right and show how raw, ad hoc, and relaxed it all was." The Capitol Session '73 will also be released on single CD, 2-LP colored vinyl, and digital audio formats; it will stream exclusively via the Amazon Prime hosted music documentary channel, The Coda Collection. - Billboard, 9/1/21...... A new book on recently deceased Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has soared onto the bestsellers charts after Watts' passing on Aug. 24. Sympathy for the Drummer: Why Charlie Watts Matters has entered the Top 10 of's Bestsellers List for music criticism and history, and into the Top 30 of Amazon's musician memoirs and biographies chart. The 264-page book was written by author and musician Mike Edison, and was released on Aug. 1 -- just three weeks before Watts passed away in a London hospital at the age of 80. Watts is the sole subject of "Sympathy for the Drummer," which tracks the artist's career from his beginnings in London's jazz and R&B scene, to meeting his future bandmates Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and original group leader, Brian Jones. Subsequent chapters explore everything from Watts' unique -- and at-times frenetic -- drumming style, to his contributions as a producer and composer, to the lasting brotherhood he forged with his beloved group members. - Billboard, 8/30/21...... Former The Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon [aka Johnny Rotten] has responded to a recent lawsuit verdict against his former Sex Pistols bandmates. Lydo lost his legal battle against his former bandmates on Aug. 23, having been sued after refusing to license the group's music for inclusion in director Danny Boyle's upcoming biopic series, Pistols. Edmund Cullen, the lawyer for Sex Pistols members Steve Jones and Paul Cook, said a band agreement made in 1998 stated that decisions about licensing requests could be determined on a "majority rules basis." However, Lydon lost the case in a court ruling handed down by the High Court. Sir Anthony Mann found Cook and Jones were entitled to involve the "majority voting rules" against their bandmate. Now, in a new statement on his website, Lydon has responded claiming that he didn't know about the proposed use of Sex Pistols music in the new series until "just a few hours" before it was announced. The statement said: "Understandably, John, as the creative force of the Sex Pistols wanted to know how he was going to be portrayed and his musical works were going to be used to lend credibility to the series. Despite asking for details of the script or screenplay, John still does not know these details. John Lydon did not ask for the recent proceedings. He was asked to allow the Sex Pistols works to be used without any prior consultation or involvement in the project. He took a stand on principle for what he sees as the integrity of the Sex Pistols legacy and fought for what he believed and continues to believe was right." The lengthy statement concluded with a direct statement from Lydon himself which read: "I am the lead singer and songwriter, front man, image, the lot, you name it. I put it there. How is that not relevant? It is dumbfounding to me. It is so destructive to what the band is and so I fear that the whole project might be extremely negative.... I don't think there are even words that I can put forward to explain quite how disingenuous this is. As I said in the lyrics of 'The Order of Death', This is what you want, this is what you get..." - NME, 8/31/21...... Lee "Scratch" Perry, the legendary Jamaican producer and a pioneer of dub, died on Aug. 29 at he Noel Holmes Hospital in western Jamaica, according to the Jamaican Observer. He was 85. Mr. Perry, whose real name was Rainford Hugh Perry, was born in rural Jamaica in 1936. His career in music began in the late 1950s when he was hired by Clement "Coxsone" Dodd at Jamaica's famed Studio One, where he got his start in producing music. By the early 1970s, Mr. Perry had built his legendary Black Ark studio in Kingston, which became the birthplace for many classic reggae and dub recordings by Bob Marley & The Wailers, The Congos, Max Romeo and Junior Murvin. With his backing band The Upsetters, Mr. Perry also released such influential albums as Blackboard Jungle (1973) and Super Ape (1976), as well as his solo release, Roast Fish Collie Weed & Corn Bread (1978). In 2003, he won a best reggae album Grammy Award for Jamaican E.T. Later in life, after suffering a mental breakdown and allegedly burning down Black Ark Studio studio in 1983, Mr. Perry moved to England and the U.S. before settling with his family in Switzerland. Over the next several decades, he continued releasing music and collaborating with artists like the Beastie Boys, Mad Professor, The Orb and Adrian Sherwood. - Billboard, 8/29/21...... Ron BushyRon Bushy, the drummer with the psychedelic rock band Iron Butterfly, died on Aug. 29 after a bout of ill health. He was 79. Bushy "passed away peacefully," surrounded by his wife Nancy and three daughters, reads a statement from the band's official social accounts. "He was a real fighter," the message continues. "He will be deeply missed." Born in Dec. 23, 1941 in Santa Monica, Calif., Bushy was the only member of Iron Butterfly to perform on all six of its studio albums, from 1968's Heavy to 1975's Sun and Steel. He made his mark with an extended drum solo on the band's epic hit "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," from 1968, the full cut of which runs to 17 minutes. "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" peaked at No. 30 on the Billboard Hot 100, one of four IB titles to impact the chart. Its parent album hit No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart, while 1969's Ball went to No. 3. Co-founding IB bassist Lee Dorman (2012) and lead guitarist Erik Brann (2003) have also passed. In recent months, Bushy agreed to donate his iconic clear drum kit to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The custom set, built by Bill Zickos, was well-traveled, hitting the road with the likes of The Doors, Cream and The Who. Iron Butterfly is scheduled to perform three nights in Park City, Utah, Oct. 22-24. - Billboard, 8/30/21...... Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, best known for the captivating score for the 1960's film Zorba the Greek, died on Sep. 2. He was 96. A towering man with a brooding presence and a shock of wavy hair, Mr. Theodorakis's work evoked a progressive, democratic vision of the world, though his political struggles reflected a darker side of Greece rarely seen by visitors. As news of his death at home in Athens at the age of 96 swept across the country of 11 million, authorities declared three days of mourning and tributes poured in from across the political spectrum. "Today we lost a part of Greece's soul. Mikis Theodorakis, Mikis the teacher, the intellectual, the radical, our Mikis has gone," said Culture Minister Lina Mendoni. Praising a man he dubbed the "Universal Greek," Greece Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said: "We had all forgotten that he was a mere mortal. But his legacy of music, his political activism and his service to the nation in times of crisis lives on." - Reuters, 9/2/21.

Monday, Aug. 30, 2021

Ed AsnerTV and movie legend Ed Asner, best known as the gruff TV newsroom manager in the classic '70s sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show and later as a newspaper editor in the drama Lou Grant, died on Aug. 29 surrounded by loved ones, his family confirmed. He was 91. "We are sorry to say that our beloved patriarch passed away this morning peacefully. Words cannot express the sadness we feel. With a kiss on your head - Goodnight dad. We love you," his family posted on Twitter. A self-described Hollywood lefty known for his liberal politics and his stint as Screen Actors Guild president in the 1980s when he criticized U.S. involvement in Central America during the administration of a previous head of the actors' union, Pres. Ronald Reagan, Mr. Asner's career was one of remarkable longevity and prolificness, and he acted into his 90s. Born in 1929 in Kansas City, Kan., Mr. Asner began acting in college dramatics and later appeared in stock, off-Broadway, and with Shakespearean companies before becoming a regular on television and later the movies starting in the 1950s. Although he had minor roles in such films as The Slender Thread (1965), and The Venetian Affair, El Dorado and Gunn (all 1967), his big break came in 1969 when cast as a policeman in the Elvis Presley vehicle Change of Habit, which co-starred Mary Tyler Moore, and a year later he appeared in the film They Call Me Mister Tibbs! with Sidney Poiter. He was integral to the success of Mary Tyler Moore, which ran on CBS from 1970 to 1977 and boasted one of the best assemblages of actors and writers in American TV history. Moore starred as Mary Richards, an associate producer for a local TV news operation in Minneapolis, and the short, barrel-shaped Mr. Asner played her brusque and irascible boss, Lou Grant. He was not known as a comic actor before landing the role but demonstrated deft comic timing in working with a cast that included Ted Knight, Betty White, Valerie Harper, Gavin MacLeod and Cloris Leachman. When he saw the script for the show, he said, "I knew it was a winner. This was gold." He said he drew on various people he knew, including his brother, to play the demanding and often-exasperated Grant, who had to manage a newsroom that included Moore and a wacky group of coworkers. Ed AsnerThe series ran for seven years and won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series three straight years starting in 1975. Mr. Asner won three Emmys for his work on the show. After the show ended, Mr. Asner brought his Lou Grant character to one of the many Mary Tyler Moore Show spinoffs, Lou Grant, a drama with his character relocated to Los Angeles to become city editor of a daily newspaper. The series ran from 1977 to 1982 as Mr. Asner became the first actor to win an Emmy -- two of them, in fact -- playing the same character in both a comedy and a drama. Mr. Asner asserted that Lou Grant was cancelled by CBS due to his outspoken political views, not due to ratings. "I have no proof. But most insiders seem to think that the show would not have been cancelled had it not been for the controversy that arose over my stand on El Salvador," he said in an interview for the Archive of American Television. As head of the actors' union from 1981 to 1985, Mr. Asner also clashed with conservative actor Charlton Heston. He also won Emmys for his work in two miniseries -- Roots in 1977 and Rich Man, Poor Man in 1976 -- and his total of seven was more than any other male actor. He was nominated for an Emmy a total of 20 times. Later in his career, Mr. Asner became a successful voice actor for animated TV shows and films and played Santa Claus in several projects, including the 2003 Will Ferrell comedy Elf. He remained a busy actor into his 90s with appearances in such series as Dead to Me and Cobra Kai, and had more than a dozen upcoming projects in various forms of production when he died. Mr. Asner also was instrumental in the 2017 creation of the Ed Asner Family Center, founded by his son and his daughter in law, to help children with special needs and their families. Mr. Asner was married to Nancy Sykes from 1959 to 1988, with whom he had three children. They divorced after it was revealed Mr. Asner had another child in 1987 with Carol Jean Vogelman. He married Cindy Gilmore in 1998 and they divorced in 2007. He is survived by four children. - Reuters/NY Daily News, 8/29/21.

Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021

The surviving members of the current incarnation of the Rolling Stones have honored Stones drummer Charlie Watts in a touching tribute video three days after Watts died on Aug. 24 at the age of 80. In a two-minute video posted to the band's official Twitter account on Aug. 27, the band presented vintage footage of Watts in action behind the kit, with the first verse of their 1974 track "If You Can't Rock Me" (from their It's Only Rock 'n Roll album) perfectly setting the scene: "The band's on stage and it's one of those nights, oh yeah/ The drummer thinks that he is dynamite, oh yeah." Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood have also posted individual tributes to Watts on social media. Frontman Jagger tweeted a photo of an ecstatic Watts smiling with his whole body while seated at a drum kit, while guitarist Richards tweeted an even more poignant image: Watts' simple drum kit featured a "Closed, Please Call Again" sign hanging off the snare drum. The Rolling StonesGuitarist Wood also tweeted a picture to sum up his feelings about his late bandmate, offering up an image of the two men smiling side by side with the caption, "I love you my fellow Gemini -- I will dearly miss you -- you are the best," followed by praying hands, heart and sun emoji. Bill Wyman, the former Stones bassist played alongside Watts for nearly 30 years, also shared his feelings about Watts on Instagram, sharing a picture of Charlie with the caption: "Charlie, you were like a brother to me. In the band and in life. Rest in peace." Paul McCartney, whose former band the Beatles spearheaded the "British Invasion" of America in the mid-Sixties along with the Rolling Stones, also tweeted a heartfelt video to Watts on Twitter on Aug. 24. Meanwhile, Stones promoter Concerts West announced on Aug. 26 that the band's 12-date U.S. "No Filter" tour is "moving ahead as planned" after the band announced earlier in August that Watts would not be joining them due to recuperation required after an unspecified medical procedure. The "No Filter" tour was originally scheduled to hit U.S. stadiums in 2020 before being postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now the outing is slated to resume on Sept. 26 with a show at the Dome of America's Center in St. Louis and run through a Nov. 20 gig at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Tex. - Billboard, 8/27/21...... Eric Clapton dropped a new song titled "This Has Gotta Stop" on YouTube on Aug. 27 that seemingly addresses what he feels are overly strict Covid-19 policies. "This has gotta stop, enough is enough/ I can't take this BS any longer/ It's gone far enough, you wanna claim my soul/ You'll have to come and break down this door," Clapton sings in the opening lines of the bluesy track. In the accompanying animated music video, faceless figures gather in protest holding signs emblazoned with such messages as "Liberty," "Enough is Enough" and "Stop." Elsewhere, the clip features socially charged references to the over consumption of media and concerns about climate change. Clapton, 76, recently said he's refusing to play live shows that require attendees to provide proof they've been vaccinated for Covid, and in 2020, he also made his thoughts about regulations around the virus known with his anti-lockdown track "Stand and Deliver" with Van Morrison, who has also come out against the Covid policies of government and concert promoters. - Billboard, 8/28/21...... While Slowhand continues his campaign against Covid rules, his fellow classic rocker Neil Young says the concert business needs to let its money-making efforts take a back seat to help stop the spread of Covid. In a new post titled "Concerts and Covid" on his website "Neil Young Archives Times-Contrarian," the 75-year-old folk rock icon called concerts "super-spreader events" and claimed their promoters are responsible. Young explained that he pulled out of Willie Nelson's 2021 Farm Aid festival that's scheduled for September "for fear that unprotected children may become infected with Covid by folks who went to the show, caught the virus, had no symptoms and returned home to hug their kids or someone else's kids." Young also commended fellow musician Garth Brooks for recently canceling his live performances, citing the recent surge of Covid cases. Young also wondered why other musicians haven't followed suit, especially when one or multiple people from his crew have tested positive for Covid, which has also been the case for other rock acts. - Billboard, 8/27/21...... Paul StanleyKISS, one of the bands whose roadies have tested positive for Covid-19, announced on the evening of Aug. 26 that their concert scheduled just outside Pittsburgh the same night had been canceled after lead vocalist Paul Stanley tested positive for Covid. While a new date is yet to be announced, the band said the show has been postponed. "Tonight's #KISS show at The Pavilion at Star Lake in Burgettstown, PA is unfortunately postponed due to Paul Stanley testing positive for COVID. More information about show dates will be made available ASAP," the band tweeted alongside a full statement." The statement also noted that "everyone on the entire tour, both band and crew, are fully vaccinated." Ahead of the band's announcement, Stanley took to Twitter to shoot down rumors about how severe his symptoms were. "PEOPLE!!! I am fine! I am not in ICU!" Stanley tweeted. "My heart allows me to do 26 miles a day on my bike! I don't know where this came from but it's absolute nonsense," he added. In a subsequent tweet, he wrote, "I had been sick with flu-like symptoms and was tested repeatedly and was negative. As of late this afternoon I tested positive. The crew, staff and band have all tested negative once again. More to follow." KISS are currently on their End of the Road Tour, billed as their final trek ever, which kicked off in January 2019 and then had to reschedule dozens of 2020 dates due to the coronavirus pandemic. They resumed touring in mid-August in Massachusetts and have U.S. dates scheduled through October in Florida, followed by a December stint in Las Vegas and international dates booked through July 2022. - Billboard, 8/26/21...... In other KISS-related news, Gene Simmons has publicly apologized after David Lee Roth took offense to comments Simmons made about the former Van Halen frontman in a recent interview. In 2020, Roth opened for KISS on their "End of the Road" farewell tour before it was called off due to the pandemic. When the tour recommenced earlier this month, Roth was not present, and Simmons went on to confirm he was no longer on support duties in an interview with Rolling Stone, praising Roth in his VH heyday but saying he didn't think "modern-day Dave" was currently up to scratch. Roth responded via Instagram a short time later, sharing the same black-and-white image of a child with their middle finger up 18 times alongside the caption "Roth to Simmons." Now, in a new interview with Us Weekly, Simmons has apologized for his remarks, attributing the incident to his "stream of consciousness" talking style. "I don't mean to hurt people's feelings, and every once in a while, diarrhoea of the mouth comes out," Simmons explained. "I read that quote, and somehow, the way they put it together, I think I said something like, 'Nobody touched David in his prime. Not Robert Plant, not [Mick] Jagger. He was the king.' Then somehow, there was a segue to, 'Elvis, bloated on the ground, fat and naked,' and 'I don't want to see that.'" "I wasn't talking about David, but that doesn't matter," Simmons said. "What matters is I hurt David's feelings, and that's more important than the intent. So, I sincerely apologise for that. I didn't mean to hurt his feelings. It reminds me of the guy that gets out of a truck and says, 'Hey I'm sorry, buddy, I didn't mean to run you over.' Well, what the f---'s the difference? You've been run over," he added. Simmons' full interview with People can be viewed on YouTube. - New Musical Express, 8/26/21...... In an interview with the UK paper The Sun, the siblings of Michael Jackson have revealed they are trying to record new music featuring unreleased work from the King of Pop. Michael's brother Tito Jackson said "there is more music to release" and that Michael "left a few things behind" after his death in 2009. "It would be so pleasing to be on a record with Michael once again. Anything that would work we would be willing to give a try and see what happens," he said. "It's beyond our control but they always try and get our participation and we're always happy to offer," Tito added. Also during the interview, Tito said plans are in motion for The Jacksons' first studio release since 1989. Two posthumous Michael Jackson albums have been released since his death in 2009 -- Michael in 2010 and Xscape in 2014. Michael's vocals have also featured on singles by Drake and Lenny Kravitz, among others, following his death. In other Michael Jackson news, the singer's classic Thriller LP has now been certified 34x platinum. According to data collected by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the 1982 album has moved 34 million copies in the US alone. Thriller was Jackson's sixth studio effort and is also the second-best album in the US ever, behind the Eagles' Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975), which remains at the RIAA's top spot with 38 million copies. The RIAA also certified Michael's 1987 diamond-certified album Bad to 11x platinum, upgrading it from 10x platinum. His Number Ones album also now has a fifth platinum certification. - NME, 8/29/21...... The BeatlesThe Beatles have announced a new special edition re-release of their 1970 album Let It Be will be released on Oct. 15 in a series of special edition packages, including a Super Deluxe 5 CD/Blue-ray box set, a Super Deluxe 4 LP + 12" EP vinyl box set, a Deluxe 2-CD edition, and a Special Edition vinyl LP. The expanded edition will feature never-before-released session recordings, rehearsals and studio jams, as well as a previously unreleased 1969 Get Back LP mix by producer/engineer Glyn Johns. Three songs from the revamped collection -- "Let It Be" - 2021 Mix, "Don't Let Me Down" - First Rooftop Performance, and "For You Blue" - 1969 Glyn Johns Mix -- were made available on on Aug. 26 to mark the new releases. The Let It Be revamp follows previously released anniversary Special Editions' of the band's Sgt. Peppers, "White Album", and Abbey Road albums in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively, and like those releases, has been mixed by producer Giles Martin and engineer Sam Okell. The physical and digital Super Deluxe collections will feature 27 previously unreleased session recordings, a four-track "Let It Be" EP, and the never before released 14-track Get Back stereo LP mix compiled by engineer Glyn Johns in May 1969. An official trailer for the Let It Be reissues has been shared on YouTube. - Billboard, 8/26/21...... Sotheby's auctioneers announced on Aug. 25 that several Grateful Dead-related items will be auctioned during an online auction from Oct. 7-14. Among the items up for bid culled from the collections of Grateful Dead Productions and the group's inner circle are late lead singer-guitarist Jerry Garcia's stage-used 12-string Guild Starfire guitar (estimate $50,000-$70,000), as well as 1990s-era stage racks used by Garcia and fellow singer-guitarist Bob Weir (estimated $10,000-$15,000 each) and Garcia's beloved McIntosh 2300 amplifier with "Budman" sticker ($5,000-$7,000). A public preview of the items will be on display at Sotheby's York Avenue galleries from Aug. 19-30, and the full sale contents will be revealed in a public exhibition at York Avenue Oct. 9-13. There will also be personal items from GD crew members "Big" Steve Parish and Lawrence "Ram Rod" Shurtliff, including the latter's psychedelic jumpsuit (estimated $20,000-$30,000). Meanwhile, the GD spinoff band The Dead and Rhino Records announced on Aug. 25 that they've teamed with the Coda Collection website to host a series of exclusive archival content, kicking off with the streaming debuts of three concert films from one of the band's most beloved eras (1989-1991). The shows include Live in Foxboro 7/2/89, the group's summer tour opener from Foxboro, Mass., which premiered on the Coda Collection channel on Aug. 25. - Billboard, 8/25/21...... In other Grateful Dead news, Dead & Company -- which consists of former GD members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann -- took to the stage in Bethel Woods, N.Y. on Aug. 23 as part of their current 2021 tour and recreated the GD's 1969 Woodstock set. Completed by John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti, Dead & Company played an 18-song set that incorporated GD's five-song Woodstock '69 setlist, beginning with "St. Stephen" followed by "Mama Tried," a cover of late country artist Merle Haggard. The group then performed "Dark Star," "High Time" and a version of Bobby 'Blue' Bland 's 1969 song "Turn On Your Love Light." "Fifty years ago, right here, we tried this little sequence," Bob Weir told the crowd. "And it didn't work so well for us, so we're going to try again," referring to the extreme weather conditions during their set. "It was raining toads when we played," he explained. "The rain was part of our nightmare. The other part was our sound man, who decided that the ground situation on stage was all wrong. It took him about two hours to change it, which held up the show." Dead & Company's current US tour is due to end in October with a trio of sold-out shows at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. - NME, 8/25/21...... ABBAABBA posted a cryptic message on Twitter on Aug. 26 that appears to tease their long-awaited return with new music. The post features new black-and-gold official glowing rings artwork for their new project "Voyage," which presents the date "02.09.21" (Sept. 2, 2021). In the caption, fans are directed to sign up at a new website "to be the first in line to hear more about ABBA Voyage." The post comes amid reports that ABBA are set to release new music imminently. According to the group's former session guitarist Janne Schaffer, a full ABBA album will arrive "this autumn." The UK paper The Sun cites a source who claims that the first taste of the record will arrive on Sept. 3 -- the day after news on "Voyage" is due to be revealed. However, the paper also claims that "Voyage" will be a live hologram show featuring a documentary-style film that follows ABBA's comeback. Reports of a potential "virtual" tour first emerged back in 2019. The Swedish pop icons announced back in 2018 that they were set to release their first new material in 35 years, and the group's Bjorn Ulvaeus promised earlier in 2021 that they would "definitely" drop music at some point in 2021. - NME, 8/26/21...... Joni Mitchell has been named Billboard's 2022 MusiCares Person of the Year and will receive the honor at the annual MusiCares gala on Jan. 29, 2022. "I'm honored to be chosen as person of the year by this great charity," Mitchell said in a statement. "I look forward to being part of this gala that will help MusiCares continue their inspired work in providing a support system for those in need," she added. The legendary singer/songwriter will be the first person of the year honoree since Aerosmith two years ago, after the event was put on hold in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and replaced by the Music on a Mission fundraiser. Since 1991, money raised from the gala has gone toward MusiCares programs and services that assist the music community. Mitchell is also set to be feted at the annual Kennedy Center Honors on Dec. 5, about seven weeks before the MusiCares event. - Billboard, 8/25/21...... On Aug. 26 Patti Smith shared a new 7-track EP entitled "Live at Electric Lady" on that was created in partnership with the online service. The EP features five new performances of Smith's songs, as well as two previously-unreleased covers: One of Bob Dylan's "One Too Many Mornings," and another of Stevie Wonder's "Blame It on the Sun." Smith has previously performed several Dylan covers -- among them "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" and "Boots of Spanish Leather" -- and has also previously recorded a cover of Wonder's "Pastime Paradise." Coincidentally, the original version of "Blame It on the Sun"' was recorded by Wonder at Electric Lady Studios, as part of his 1972 album Talking Book. Smith described Electric Lady Studios as her "favourite recording studio" in a press statement. "It was a unique challenge, and offered us an exciting and innovative platform. We are grateful to Spotify for their generous support and willingness to present a live performance with all its possibilities of risk and revelation," she added. Smith is the latest artist to participate in Spotify's "Live at Electric Lady" EP series, following the Bleachers, Japanese Breakfast and Jon Batiste. - NME, 8/26/21...... CherCher has opened up about her lasting friendship with ex-boyfriend actor Val Kilmer. In a touching essay for People magazine, the 75-year-old diva discussed falling "madly in love" with Kilmer after they met in the '80s. "He's like nobody I've ever known," she began. "He is exasperating and hysterical. Thrilling and funny, and doesn't do what anyone else does. I don't know how we stayed friends, we just did. We didn't try. We just were." Writing about when they met at a party hosted by mutual friend Meryl Streep, Cher reflected on how their 14-year age difference was a big deal at the time. "He was so young. Was he 22? What was I? I don't know. Thirty-something. It was a bigger deal back then," she recalled. "The truth was if I hadn't gone out with younger men, I would have never had a date. Younger men weren't intimidated by older women. But older men in my age category, they weren't having it," she added. The "Believe" singer also wrote about how their sense of humor was key to maintaining their relationship, romantic or not. She revealed how the couple used nicknames for each other -- "Valus Maximus" and "Cherus Reprimandus" -- and that Kilmer always put an effort in with her kids. Val, the recently released documentary on the actor's life, delves into Kilmer's six-year battle with throat cancer. Cher shared the message she sent to him after she'd finished watching the film: "I said, 'Valus Maximus, I'm sorry if I did anything to p--s you off or hurt your feelings. I love you and your documentary was all things... I love the things that p--sed me off, the things that made me hysterical, amazed, hurt, astonished, etc. You are brave and beyond brilliant.'" The singer concluded by calling Kilmer a "Renaissance man," noting that the new documentary shows "even the worst things" about his life and diagnosis because "he wanted to show you who he was." -, 8/27/21.

Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021

Charlie WattsLegendary Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts died at age 80 on Aug. 24, it was confirmed by his London publicist in a statement provided to the media and reposted on the Stones' Twitter page. He was 80. "It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Charlie Watts. He passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today surrounded by his family," the statement reads, adding that Charlie was "a cherished husband, father and grandfather" and "one of the greatest drummers of his generation." The statement continued: "We kindly request that the privacy of his family, band members and close friends is respected at this difficult time. The cause of death of Watts, who was previously treated for throat cancer in 2004, has not yet been announced. Born on June 2, 1941 in Islington, England, Watts grew up in the Wembley area of northwest London and attended Harrow School of Art. He worked as an ad agency designer while drumming part time in the London blues bands Blues Inc. (led by Alexis Korner) and then Blues By Six, which made less demands on his time, before finally being persuaded by Mick Jagger, Brian Jones and Keith Richards to replace drummer Tony Chapman in the Rolling Stones. After auditioning and hiring bassist Bill Wyman, the quintet went out on the club circuit with a repertoire of Chuck Berry/Bo Diddley material and some of the wildest R&B material yet heard in London, and the band became among the first British groups to crack the American market. Watts made his first appearance with the Stones in Jan. 1963 at the Flamingo club in London's Soho. Even then Watts, a cautious man, refused to give up his day job and it was not until the summer of that year -- after the Stones had signed to Decca Records -- that he turned fully professional. Watts, who played drums on all of the Stones' 30 albums and on every tour, has said his first and most enduring passion was jazz -- and when he wasn't touring with the Stones he enjoyed gigging with his own jazz combo, appreciating the low-key informality in stark contrast to the extravagance that surrounded a Stones tour. Watts left the hell-raising that defined the Rolling Stones in the 1960s and '70s to the other members, but provided the heartbeat of the band, and with Wyman was considered one of rock's greatest rhythm sections. Charlie WattsAway from the Rolling Stones, Watts found the time to play jazz with several groups including a 32-piece band, the Charlie Watts Orchestra, as well as to work with pianist Ian Stewart in the band Rocket 88 during the 1980s. In the 1990s, the Charlie Watts Quintet released several albums, including a tribute to jazz great Charlie Parker. Watts married Shirley Ann Shepherd in 1964 and they remained together until his death -- the first regular member of the band to pass away since Jones in 1969. Members of the band showed their support for Charlie on Aug. 4 after he pulled out of their upcoming "No Filter" US tour to "rest and recuperate" following an unspecified emergency medical procedure. Watts joked following the announcement that he would miss the imminent dates that "for once my timing has been a little off." Bandmates had expected Watts to rejoin the band, with Jagger tweeting "We really look forward to welcoming Charlie back as soon as he is fully recovered" and that their "friend Steve Jordan" would be filling in for Watts for the time being. Tributes have started to pour in for Watts, including Paul McCartney who posted a tribute video on Twitter. In the clip he gives his condolences, saying the he was aware that Watts was unwell but "didn't know he was this ill." He then goes on to say: "Charlie was a rock and a fantastic drummer -- steady as a rock." McCartney's fellow ex-Beatles bandmate Ringo Starr added on Twitter: "God bless Charlie Watts we're going to miss you man peace and love to the family Ringo." The Kinks' Dave Davies wrote that he was "in total shock, Charlie Watts was a lovely guy... He will be sorely missed. Deepest sympathy to his wife, the band and all his family and friends," while Elton John posted it's a "very sad day": "Charlie Watts was the ultimate drummer. The most stylish of men, and such brilliant company. My deepest condolences to Shirley, Seraphina and Charlotte," he added." Other musicians posting tributes include Pete Townshend, Nile Rogers, Brian Wilson, Debbie Harry and Liam Gallagher. - New Musical Express/, 8/24/21.

Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021

Universal Music Group announced on Aug. 23 it has signed a new global alliance with Aerosmith that span's the legendary classic rockers' recorded music, merchandise and assorted audio-video projects. Under the deal, UMG will become the home of the band's entire recorded music catalog ahead of their 50th anniversary in 2022. UMG will also release Aerosmith's future music projects and work with the band to develop, produce and distribute new film, TV and other A/V content projects celebrating their history and cultural impact, details of which will be announced soon. Also, UMG will be given access to the band's "Vindaloo Vaults" and the personal archives of band members Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Joey Kramer and Brad Whitford, who will help curate their collections. Material from these archives will be utilized in future releases to provide fans access to never-before-seen-and-heard music, photos, video footage, artwork, journals, set lists and memorabilia. Aerosmith released some of their most successful albums through UMG's Geffen Records in the '80s and '90s, including 1987's 5x platinum Permanent Vacation,1989's Pump and 1993's Get a Grip (both 7x platinum). However, the majority of their albums were released by Sony's Columbia Records, including such multi-platinum sellers as their 1973 self-titled debut, 1974's Get Your Wings, 1975's Toys in the Attic, 1976's Rocks, 1977's Draw the Line and 1997's Nine Lives. Under this new deal, that lucrative catalog is now wholly controlled by UMG. - Billboard, 8/23/21...... Barry ManilowInclement weather in the form of an approaching thunderstorm brought on by Hurricane Henri forced the "We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert" in New York's Central Park to be canceled halfway through its planned five hours, and also during Barry Manilow's set as the Brooklyn-born crooner gleefully sang his hit "Can't Smile Without You." After leaving the stage as a concerned voice over the loudspeaker urged the thousands of attendees to exit the premises over safety concerns, Manilow hopped on the phone with CNN's Anderson Cooper to give his reaction to the sudden cancellation. "When I was in the wings, I saw it start to drizzle but I had no idea it was going this far," the 78-year-old "Mandy" singer told Cooper before serenading the TV personality with a snippet of his 1981 hit "I Made It Through the Rain." "Maybe one of these days we can do this again and it won't rain," added Manilow, who also shared a video clip of the downpour on Instagram. A video of Manilow reacting to his interrupted performance can also be viewed on the website. The all-star Homecoming Concert launched earlier in the day with performances by Journey, Carlos Santana and Earth, Wind & Fire, among others, before being called off. Other artists in the lineup scheduled to perform after Manilow included Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, The Killers and Elvis Costello. - Billboard, 8/22/21...... Speaking of canceled concerts, the surging Covid-19 pandemic has taken its toll on an already-struggling industry with near-daily announcements of concert cancellations and postponements. On Aug. 20, Grammy-winning prog rocker Alan Parsons announced that his fall U.S. tour would be postponed due to the surge in COVID-19 cases. "This has been a very difficult and devastating decision -- we were so thrilled to be returning to the stage for the first time in over a year and a half," Parsons said in a statement. "The world could use more music right now, however, it just isn't safe yet for us to come together indoors for events like concerts," he added. Fleetwood Mac star Stevie Nicks announced Aug. 10 that she will no longer tour for the rest of 2021 due to rising Covid-19 cases across the U.S. Nicks was previously slated to perform at the Jazz Aspen Festival in Colorado and BottleRock Napa Valley in California over Labor Day weekend (Sept. 3-5) and both weekends of Austin City Limits in Texas (Oct. 1-3 and Oct. 8-10). Lynyrd Skynyrd was forced to pull out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame concert set for Aug. 9 after guitarist Rickey Medlocke tested positive for Covid. The band also suspended shows in Jackson, Mississippi; Atlanta; and Cullman, Alabama, with the Aug. 13 show in Atlanta rescheduled for Oct. 23. Acts who announced in the spring they were rescheduling their 2021 tours for next year, even before the extremely contagious "Delta variant" surge occurred, include Roger Waters and Aerosmith. - Billboard, 8/20/21...... A new Motörhead tribute album dubbed Löve Me Förever: A Tribute to Motörhead has been announced for release on a new in-house label, Psycho Waxx, created by the founders of Psycho Las Vegas Festival. The album will be recorded by the artists who are billed on the 2021 line-up of Psycho Festival, which took place on the third weekend of August. Sixteen hard rocking outfits have been lined up to record songs by the Birmingham rock greats at National Southeastern Recording in downtown Vegas. The tribute release is set to drop in the summer of 2022, the first on Psycho Waxx, whose focus will be exclusive live albums and studio records. - NME, 8/21/21...... The Rolling StonesThe Rolling Stones announced on Twitter on Aug. 19 that a 40th anniversary reissue of their 1981 album Tattoo You will arrive on Oct. 22 featuring a number of previously unreleased tracks. The newly remastered and expanded 4-CD reissue will include nine extra songs as part of a Lost & Found: Rarities disc, recorded during the same era as the original 11-track album. Also available on five vinyl LP's, the 40th anniversary edition will also come with Still Life: Wembley Stadium 1982, a 26-track live album from the band's London show in June 1981 on the band's "Tattoo You" tour. For more modest budgets, paired down 2-CD and 2-LP vinyl editions will also be released the same day. - NME, 8/19/21...... On Aug. 23 Paul McCartney revealed the names of the 154 songs that are featured in his forthcoming career-spanning biography, The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present. First announced in February for a Nov. 2 release, the book recount the iconic musician's life through his earliest boyhood compositions, songs by the Beatles, Wings and from his lengthy solo career. Arranged alphabetically to provide a kaleidoscopic rather than chronological account, The Lyrics establishes definitive texts of the songs' lyrics for the first time and describes the circumstances in which they were written, the people and places that inspired them, and what Paul thinks of them now. Co-authored with Pulitzer Prize winning writer Paul Muldoon, the book will also be presented with previously unseen drafts, letters and pictures from the musician's personal archive. An official trailer for The Lyrics has been made available on YouTube. What's more, Macca has also teamed up with the British Library, which will host a free display, entitled "Paul McCartney: The Lyrics," between Nov. 5, 2021, and Mar. 12, 2022. Spanning his storied six-decade career, the exhibit will feature previously unseen lyrics from his personal archive from his time in the Beatles, Wings and his solo career. - New Musical Express, 8/23/21...... In other McCartney-related news, a new study claims one in three meat-eaters who follow the "Meat Free Monday" (MFM) program for five years and beyond turn vegetarian. Research by the UK's Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) and MFM has found that more than 30% of those who engaged with the programme for five years or more stopped eating meat, with 20% of those who engaged for three to five-years. The MFM campaign, which was founded by McCartney and his daughters Mary and Stella McCartney in 2009, encourages people to eat a plant-based diet once a week. The idea is to help reduce their meat consumption in order to slow climate change, conserve precious natural resources and improve their health. - NME, 8/23/21...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, an official trailer for Under the Volcano, the new documentary about legendary Beatles producer George Martin's Air Studios in Montserrat, has been shared on YouTube. The untold story of the magical recording studio, which operated from 1979 to 1989, is presented through archival and fresh interviews. The new Universal Pictures documentary is available now on Amazon, Apple TV and YouTube -- as well as on demand via all major cable carriers -- for either $5.99 or $6.99. The studio on the isolated island paradise in Montserrat is responsible for birthing such classic albums as Paul McCartney's Tug of War, Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms, The Police's Synchronicity, and Jimmy Buffett's Volcano. The Rolling Stones' Steel Wheels was the last album recorded at Montserrat in 1989. Later that year, Hurricane Hugo hit, leaving 11,000 of the 12,000 people on the island without their homes, according to the documentary. Then, in 1995, a volcano erupted, leaving the island looking like a nuclear winter. "You bring something out of nothing and it always goes back to nothing again," Martin says in the film. But as the documentary attests, the music and stories remain. - Billboard, 8/20/21...... Neil YoungNeil Young announced on Twitter on Aug. 21 he'll be releasing Carnegie Hall 1970, the first release in his upcoming "official bootleg" series, this fall. Carnegie Hall 1970 was recorded on original analogue multitrack from an early Young show on Dec. 4, 1970, and it was the first time the Canadian folk rocker had ever performed at the legendary venue. Young performed two shows at Carnegie Hall, one on the 4th and another at midnight the next morning. Bootleggers were unable to capture this first show, which according to Young was "by far, a much superior show." The show's setlist covers one of the most revered eras of Young's career, with stripped-down versions of "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere," "Down By The River," "Helpless" and "Sugar Mountain," plus the title track of the After The Goldrush album, which was released only nine weeks prior to the Carnegie Hall show. Young also performed the songs "Bad Fog Of Loneliness," "Old Man" and "See The Sky About To Rain" before they were recorded and released. The 2-disc release is set to drop on Oct. 1, and five more releases from Young's official bootleg series are planned for release in 2022. - NME, 8/21/21...... Neil Young's one-time song subject, Johnny Rotten (aka John Lydon), has lost a court battle in the UK to stop the Sex Pistols' music from being used in an upcoming FX TV drama series about the legendary British punk group. Former Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook and guitarist Steve Jones had both given permission for the band's songs to feature in the forthcoming biopic Pistol, based on a memoir by Jones, but Lydon tried to block it. Lydon, 65, argued that he along with the group's other founders have the right to veto how their music is exploited, but he was sued by Cook and Jones, who cited a "Band Member Agreement" (BMA) signed by all parties in 1998 that says licensing decisions can be taken on a majority-vote basis. Their claim was supported by the band's original bassist Glen Matlock and the estate of Sid Vicious, who replaced Matlock in 1977. On Aug. 23, a ruling by Judge Sir Anthony Mann in the High Court of Justice found that the terms of the BMA stood and the claimants (Cook and Jones) "were entitled to invoke the majority voting rules" in relation to the use of Sex Pistols' material. The judge also noted that Lydon had "actually signed away his power to control the use of music rights" referring to historic deals he had previously signed with publishing and music companies Warner Chappell Music and BMG. In a joint statement, Cook and Jones welcomed the court ruling, which follows a week-long hearing in London, saying it "brings clarity to our decision-making" and upholds the band members' agreement on collective decision-making. "It has not been a pleasant experience," said the musicians, "but we believe it was necessary to allow us to move forward and hopefully work together in the future with better relations." Lydon, who gave evidence in the trial, likening the 1998 band member agreement to "becoming a prisoner of a hostile majority" and "some kind of slave labor," has yet to respond. Pistol, directed by Oscar winner Danny Boyle, is a 6-part series produced by Disney and due to be broadcast in 2022. - Billboard, 8/23/21...... Former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth has responded to negative comments about his current performing abilities by KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons. Speaking to Rolling Stone, Simmons confirmed that Roth would no longer be supporting KISS on their farewell tour... "But it bears noting that during Dave's heyday, nobody did what he did." Simmons went on to say that Roth, who opened for KISS on their February and March, 2020 North American dates on their "End Of The Road" trek, was "past his prime." "I don't know what happened to him... something. And you get modern-day Dave," Simmons added. Taking to Instagram on Aug. 20, Roth shared a black-and-white image of a child flipping the bird. A message on the black-and-white photo, which he shared 18 times on his profile, reads: "Roth to Simmons:". - NME, 8/21/21...... A New York man in his 40s fell to his death at a concert by the Grateful Dead spinoff band Dead & Company at Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets, on Aug. 20. Police said the man plunged somewhere between 30 and 50 feet during the show's intermission around 9:00 p.m., while trying to do a flip on a balcony during the intermission of the band's show. Shocked witnesses said the man was possibly under the influence and landed head first on the concrete, and was taken to New York's Presbyterian Queens Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Dead & Company is comprised of former members of the Grateful Dead, along with John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti. They kicked off a 31-date tour in mid-August. - NME, 8/21/21...... In a recent interview with MOJO magazine, Robert Plant admitted while he doesn't think Led Zeppelin will ever get back together, he finds it "charming" that people still care enough to ask. "Talking to me somewhere along the line, everything goes back to the biggest thing that ever happened to me," Plant said. "From your angle, you have to see it like that, but there ain't nothing really there about from speculation. We're 41 years into it now. It's a very charming question, and it comes in all languages! but the conversation doesn't really go now, because that spaceship has [departed]," he added. Plant co-founded Led Zeppelin in 1968 alongside Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and late drummer John Bonham, and they split in 1980 after Bonham's tragic death before later reuniting in 1985, 1998, 1995 and 2007. Plant recently announced a sequel to his 2007 collaboration with Alison Krauss, Raising Sand, will be called Raise the Roof and be released on Nov. 19. "It's obvious that [Raising Sand] is so different, and also has its own huge power and intensity - and good-will, that's the key. It's the thing that carries joy, and that's what makes it tenable," Plant said. "Pro-rota, with the amount of time I've got left, however long that is, every day is like 10 days for all I know, so I can't waste, I can't tarry, with anything that isn't the proper ticket. Otherwise, I shouldn't be doing it at all... There's no going back, no going forward, it's just, 'This is it, today!' that's such a relief for me, and for Alison, too," he added. -, 8/21/21...... Carlos SantanaSpeaking of sequels to successful collaborations, Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas have reunited on record for the first time in 22 years on a song titled "Move," which has been shared on YouTube. The duo's first collaboration was their 1999 smash hit "Smooth," which topped the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for 12 weeks and bagged the pair three Grammys: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. Now, Santana and Thomas, along with American Authors, have come together once again for "Move," the first single from Santana's forthcoming album, Blessings And Miracles, which is due on Oct. 16. "'Move' came about was very much like how 'Smooth' happened. It was like divine intelligence behind the scenes," Santana said in a statement. "I just knew I had to record it with Rob." He continued: "The song is about awakening your molecules. Ignite and activate yourself -- you know, move. When Rob and I work together, we have a sound that's splendiferous." - NME, 8/19/21...... In a new interview with Sorted magazine, Alice Cooper says his 2021 album Detroit Stories "was always meant to be reflective and respectful to that era and the people who shared it." The era Alice is referring to was the guitar and metal music that came his hometown of Detroit in the early 1970s. "It was a special time and I've found that the older I become, the more I think about the past," he added. Cooper, 73, also stressed that he is only looking to the future and that "sentimentality" in music should be confined to the chords. "I think sentimentality in music should begin and end in the chords. You can't bring back the past and you shouldn't want to. Talk about it, sing about it, but live in the present!," he noted. Cooper is set to kick off a fall tour on Sept. 18 in Atlantic City's Ovation Hall at Ocean Resort Casino, wrapping on Oct. 11 at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa, Fla. -, 8/21/21...... Queen's Roger Taylor has just released "We're All Just Trying To Get By," the first single from his forthcoming new studio album, Outsider. The song, which features KT Tunstall, is the first taste of the Queen drummer's first new album in eight years. Taylor says the song was written during "the dark depths of lockdown" but looks at the positives of being human and our need to survive. "I tried to highlight the great things in life. It's the simplest statement really. It's what every life force on Earth is doing: just trying to get by and proliferate and exist," Taylor says. "That's all we are trying to do, from plants to animals to humans, trying to survive. For all our troubles and everything, every sort of life is all just trying to get by. Also, of course, we are in the middle of a bloody pandemic... I mean, even the coronavirus is just trying to get by too!," he adds. Outsider will drop on Oct. 1 on CD, vinyl, cassette, and digital download formats. Taylor is set to play cuts from his new record alongside Queen classics on a 14-date UK tour this autumn. The tour kicks off on Oct. 2 at Newcastle's O2 Academy before wrapping up at London's O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire on October 22. - NME, 8/19/21...... Don EverlyDon Everly, half of the legendary Rock & Roll duo The Everly Brothers, died at his home in Nashville on Aug. 22 of as yet undisclosed causes. He was 84. "Don lived by what he felt in his heart," read a statement given to The Los Angeles Times. "Don expressed his appreciation for the ability to live his dreams... with his soulmate and wife, Adela, and sharing the music that made him an Everly Brother," the statement added. Born on Feb. 1, 1937 in Kentucky, Don and brother Phil Everly were the sons of Ike Everly, a coal miner turned musician. After discovering the melodic harmonies of his two sons, the family started making music together. They started a radio show in the 1940s which gained them much attention and after the success of the show, Ike took his two sons to Nashville where the brothers eventually signed a record deal. The brothers officially formed The Everly Brothers in 1957 and the duo were quickly famed for their soaring harmonies. The pair released their self-titled album in 1957 before signing with Warner Bros. Records in 1960. They went on to achieve 15 Top 10 hits from 1957 to 1962 such as "Bye Bye Love," "All I Have to Do is Dream," "Cathy's Clown," "Bird Dog," "When Will I Be l Loved," and "Problems," which have been covered numerous times by artists they influenced. The duo released a total of 21 studio albums in addition to numerous live and compilation albums, while Don Everly released several solo records including Sunset Towers and Brother Jukebox. The Everly Brothers were inducted into the inaugural class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 alongside Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry, while Don Everly was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2019. Phil Everly died of pulmonary disease in 2014 at the age of 74. Don Everly is survived by his mother, Margaret; his wife Adela; his son, Edan, and his daughters Venetia, Stacy and Erin. Among those paying tribute to the late musician were Jerry Lee Lewis (who now becomes the sole surviving member of the inaugural Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class), and Beatles legend Ringo Starr. "The Everly Brothers are integral to the fabric of American music. With my friend Don's passing, I am reflective... reflective on a life full of wonderful friends, spectacular music and fond memories," said the 84-year-old Lewis. Ringo Starr, 81, tweeted: "God bless Don and Phil the Everly brothers we loved them peace and love." - The Hollywood Reporter/, 8/22/21...... Tom T. HallCountry singer/songwriter Tom T. Hall, best known for penning hits including Jeannie C. Riley's massive 1968 pop/country crossover smash "Harper Valley P.T.A.", as well as his own crossover hit "I Love," died on Aug. 20. He was 85. Nicknamed "The Storyteller, Mr. Hall, who was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2019, was renowned for his songs' rich narratives, vivid descriptions and homespun observations. Born May 25, 1936, in Olive Hill, Ky., Mr. Hall had joined his first bluegrass band, The Kentucky Travelers, by the time he was a teenager, also working as a DJ before joining the Army in 1957. When he returned to Virginia following his military service, he impressed Nashville publisher Jimmy Key, and Key placed Mr. Hall's "D.J. for a Day" with Jimmy C. Newman, who earned a Hot Country Songs top 10 hit with it in 1963-64. Mr. Hall moved to Nashville on New Year's Day 1964 from Virginia, with a publishing deal in hand. He earned his first No. 1 as a songwriter in 1965 when "Hello Vietnam," recorded by Johnny Wright, topped the Hot Country Songs chart. Cuts by dozens of artists followed, including by Johnny Cash, Bobby Bare, Loretta Lynn,Waylon Jennings and, more recently, Alan Jackson's Hot Country Songs No. 1 "Little Bitty" in 1996. Mercury Records Nashville signed Mr. Hall to his own recording contract, though he doubted being an artist was his strength. He was wrong, and fans and radio gravitated toward his conversational delivery. As an artist, Mr. Hall amassed 50 songs on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, including seven No. 1 hits: "A Week in Country Jail, "The Year That Clayton Delaney Died," "(Old Dogs-Children And) Watermelon Wine," "I Love, "Country Is, "I Care" and "Faster Horses (The Cowboy and the Poet)." Mr. Hall landed seven top 10 albums on the Top Country Albums chart, including reaching No. 1 on that chart with "The Rhymer and Other Five and Dimers" in June 1973. He received seven CMA Awards nominations over the course of his career, including five in 1973 alone, though he never took home an award. He was nominated that year for entertainer, male vocalist and album, single and song of the year. He garnered six Grammy nods, including song of the year (1968) for writing "Harper Valley, P.T.A.," but he won his only Grammy in an unlikely category: Best Album Notes for writing the liner notes for his 1972 album Tom T. Hall's Greatest Hits. Mr. Hall's beloved wife of 50 years, Dixie -- a songwriter herself, whom he met at the BMI Country Awards in 1964 -- died in 2015. He is survived by his son, Dean. - Billboard, 8/20/21.

Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021

Billy Joel was joined by Goo Goo Dolls' John Rzeznik at an Aug. 14 Buffalo show at the Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park to a crowd of vaccinated fans. "Welcome to my hometown," Rzeznik told Joel before the duo ran through a thunderous rendition of the Goo Goo's 1998 hit "Iris," with Joel playing piano and Rzeznik on acoustic guitar. Footage of the performance can be viewed on YouTube. - NME, 8/16/21...... Seventies artists Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Barry Manilow, Patti Smith, Journey and Earth, Wind & Fire are among the co-headliners of the "WE LOVE NYC: The Homecoming Concert" set for Aug. 21. The concert will be aired live on cable channel CNN beginning at 5:00 p.m. EDT. - CNN...... Seventies artists Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Carlos Santana, Elvis Costello, Barry Manilow, Patti Smith, Journey and Earth, Wind & Fire are among the co-headliners of the "WE LOVE NYC: The Homecoming Concert" set for Aug. 21. The concert will be simulcast on cable channel CNN beginning at 5:00 p.m. EDT. - CNN...... Michael JacksonIf you think you've heard every weird Michael Jackson story imagineable, hang on to your hat. A self-described medium named Kathleen Roberts is claiming to be married to the ghost of the King of Pop, and that his ghost "clairvoyantly" proposed to her with a pink engagement ring. Roberts, an American who also claims she is the reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe, told the Daily Star paper that Jackson uses her body through possession -- "or channelling, if you refer to it professionally," she said -- in order to live a happy marriage to her. He sings, dances and eats food via Roberts' body, and "stays in me all the time." "He comes to the restroom with me and calls these special bonding moments 'toiletries'. He loves cookies. He cusses a lot more to I'd expect him to... He talks to me a lot, which is not what I expected from the shy man I saw on TV all of those years I was a fan," Roberts said. She added that she believes Jackson chose her because of her apparent resemblance to the late Hollywood icon Monroe. "I feel special that he chose me for a wife (though not on paper) we treat our relationship as though we are married. We have our ups and downs but Michael, the truth is, I just can't stop loving you," she said. Roberts also noted that she and Michael, who died in 2009 aged 50, haven't yet consummated their marriage. "He doesn't like being touched back. He scares me with spider visions and dead corpse visions if I kiss him or try to initiate romance physically," said Roberts. "He is very bossy and points things out like flaws and mistakes I make. I assume he got that from his father, so I try to overlook that because I love him and I am not perfect either," she added. - New Musical Express, 8/19/21...... George Harrison has notched his first No. 1 album on Billboard's 15-year-old Top Rock Albums chart as a solo artist with the 50th anniversary reissue of his 1970 triple album All Things Must Pass. The release moved 32,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in the week ending Aug. 12, according to MRC Data. All Things Must Pass has also re-entered the all-genre Billboard Hot 200 chart at No. 7, its first appearance within the chart's top 10 since March 1971. It reached No. 1 on the Hot 200 on Jan. 2, 1971, and ruled the ranking for seven weeks. Meanwhile, the cover art for All Things Must Pass has been recreated in the form of a large gnome installation at Duke Of York Square in Chelsea, London, as part of the celebration of the album's 50th birthday. Harrison's widow Olivia and son Dhani Harrison have contributed to a new mini-documentary, which has been shared on YouTube, that documents the process of how they brought the cover to life with floral artist Ruth Davis. "We knew we wanted to recreate the album cover, but we also loved the idea of having some naughty gnomes roaming about London," Davis explained in the clip. "It was almost a bit like a treasure hunt -- so one will be at Abbey Road, which will lead people to the main one." She added that the aim of the project was "to recreate the story in a really fun but poignant way." Dhani, meanwhile, reflected on his late father's "connection with nature" and fondness for gardening. Upon the finished product being unveiled towards the end of the clip, Olivia described the piece as "the most joyous thing I've ever seen," adding that George would be "over the moon." The giant gnome installation is on display to the public at Duke Of York Square until Aug. 20. - Billboard/NME, 8/18/21...... Barbra StreisandWith the success of her latest album Release Me 2, Barbra Streisand has made Billboard chart history by becoming the first woman with top 20-charting albums on the Billboard Hot 200 in every decade from the '60s through the '20s. Release Me 2, a rarities compilation that includes archival recordings from Streisand's vault including duets with the likes of Willie Nelson, Barry Gibb and even Kermit the Frog, debuted at No. 15 on the Hot 200 for the week dated Aug. 21, making the singing legend the only woman with new top 20 -- or even top 40 -- albums in every decade from the 1960s through the 2020s. Release Me 2 dropped via Columbia/Legacy on Aug. 6 and launched with 22,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending Aug. 12, according to MRC Data. It's the sequel to her 2012 album Release Me, which debuted and peaked at No. 7. The only other act with a new top 20, or top 40, set in the '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, 2000s, '10s and '20s is Bob Dylan, who most recently visited the region with the No. 2-peaking Rough and Rowdy Ways on the July 4, 2020-dated chart. Streisand, who is also the woman with the most No. 1 albums on the Billboard Hot 200 (11), made her debut on the same chart 58 years ago on the Aug. 17, 1963-dated chart, when The Barbra Streisand Album bowed at No. 17. It later peaked at No. 9 on the Nov. 8, 1963-dated chart. Meanwhile, Streisand says she isn't a fan of the latest version of A Star Is Born starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper because she thought the 2018 musical romantic drama was too similar to her 1976 version that co-starred her and Kris Kristofferson. "At first, when I heard it was going to be done again, it was supposed to be Will Smith and Beyoncé, and I thought, 'That's interesting. Really make it different again -- different kind of music, integrated actors.' I thought that was a great idea," she said in the new interview with The Project. "So I was surprised when I saw how alike it was to the version that I did in 1976.... I can't argue with success, but I don't care so much about success as I do originality," she added. - Billboard, 8/18/21...... Foreigner dropped a video on Aug. 18 urging Americans to get vaccinated amid the latest Covid-19 Delta variant surge. The 5:31 video, which is available on YouTube and features current Foreigner lead singer Kelly Hansen and Nashvillian M.D. Alex Jahangir, coincided with Foreigner's Aug. 18 show at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium and features some very pertinent questions about what it's going to take to get the country out of the once-again raging pandemic. In the clip, Hansen notes he understands that getting vaccinated against the highly transmissible virus is a personal choice, but hopes the information provided by Dr. Jahangir might help persuade the unvaxxed. In a press release, Foreigner said they "were proud to be part of the Ad Council & COVID Collaborative's Vaccine Education Initiative, 'It's Up to You.' As a band, we want to continue bringing our music live to all our friends and fans across the country, but we want to do it safely... Let's all stay healthy! Hope to see you rockin' down the road!" - Billboard, 8/18/21...... Saying that "my soul tells me it would be wrong to risk having anyone die," Neil Young has pulled out of the 2021 edition of the Farm Aid concert set for Sept. 25 in Connecticut. Young, who is a co-founder and board member of Farm Aid, was set to play the festival alongside Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, Margo Price, Sturgill Simpson and others, but in a recent post on his Neil Young Archives site says "I find myself wondering whether Farmaid will be safe for everyone with the Covid pandemic surging... I don't want to let anybody down, but still can't shake the feeling that it might not be safe for everyone." Young continued: "My soul tells me it would be wrong to risk having anyone die because they wanted to hear music and be with friends. While I respect Willie, John and Dave's decisions to stick with it and play, I am not of the same mind. It is a tough call." The September gig would have been the singer-songwriter's first public performance since the 2019 edition of Farm Aid in Wisconsin. Meanwhile, in June Young provided an on his upcoming new album with Crazy Horse saying that "the Horse is back in the barn, shaking off the rust" and that he and the band already have five songs "ready for the next album." - NME, 8/19/21...... Bob DylanAn unnamed woman who identifies herself only by the initials "J.C." has accused Bob Dylan of sexually abusing her in 1965 when she was just 12 years old, according to a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court on Aug. 13. "J.C." claims that Dylan abused her over a six-week period in April and May 1965 by providing her with drugs and alcohol and threatening physical violence, "leaving her emotionally scarred and psychologically damaged to this day." She says Dylan facilitated the abuse by establishing an "emotional connection" and grooming her using his status as a hugely-famous musician. The complaint includes few specifics of the alleged abuse, but claims it resulted in economic losses, including medical costs related to his conduct -- some of which she alleges occurred in his apartment at the Hotel Chelsea, where rock legend famously wrote lyrics for his 1966 album Blonde on Blonde. "J.C." is suing Dylan for assault and battery, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress and seeking compensatory, punitive and exemplary damages. A spokesperson for Dylan categorically denied the accusations, saying "the 56-year-old claim is untrue and will be vigorously defended." Filed by attorneys Daniel Isaacs and Peter Gleason, the suit was made possible by the 2019 New York's Child Victims Act, which suspended NY's ordinary statute of limitations for child sexual abuse claims for a two-year period that ended on Aug. 14 -- just a day after the Dylan complaint was filed. Isaacs said the complaint "speaks for itself" and declined to comment on why his client was mounting the allegations so many years later. A British Bob Dylan biographer, Clinton Heylin, says the allegations made against Dylan are "not possible" due to the claimant's timeline of events. Heylin, the author of a new Dylan biography called The Double Life of Bob Dylan: A Restless, Hungry Feeling, 1941-1966, says that Dylan was touring England during that time, and was in Los Angeles for two of those weeks, plus a day or two at Woodstock. "The tour was 10 days, but Bob flew into London on April 26 and arrived back in New York on June 3," Heylin says. "If Dylan was in New York in mid-April, it was for no more than a day or two. Woodstock was where he spent most of his time when not touring." Heylin adds that if Dylan was in New York City, the singer "invariably stayed at his manager's apartment in Gramercy, not the Chelsea." - Billboard/NME, 8/16/21...... An acoustic guitar owned by Keith Richards that he once shot in frustration after an argument with his Rolling Stones bandmate Ronnie Wood has gone up for auction. Richards reportedly blew a hole in the Gibson 1952 SJ Southern Jumbo Sunburst Acoustic Guitar in 1995 after a row with Wood as the band was relaxing in a Memphis hotel room after a show. According to the memoirs of Ronnie's ex-wife Jo Wood, Richards became so incensed after walking in the room to find Wood jamming on the guitar that he decided to shoot a hole in it. An official listing statement claims: "Richards asked where Wood got the guitar from, and Wood said he borrowed it from Mick Jagger. "Richards was so mad that they took his guitar that he grabbed it, sandwiched it between two pillows, took out a gun and shot it. The guitar not only still has the hole, but also has remnants from one of the foam pillows used to silence it." Despite the hole, New Jersey auction house Gotta Have Rock and Roll has received an opening bid of $150,000 for the unique piece of rock history and estimates that the guitar will bring in $250,000. The listing adds: "Richards owned and frequently played this acoustic guitar on stage during the Rolling Stones' 1995 Totally Stripped tour. - NME, 8/18/21...... A collection of classic cars, known as the "Silver Surfers," belonging to the late Rush drummer-lyricist Neil Peart, sold for $3.9 million during an auction conducted by Gooding & Company at the Pebble Beach Auctions on Aug. 13-14. The auction of Peart's seven cars saw the top sale of the collection go to his 1970 Lamborghini Miura P400 S, which sold for a whopping $1.32 million after being predicted to sell for more than $1 million. Only one car from the collection, an 1964 Aston Martin DB5, did not reach its reserve price (estimated beforehand to reach between $650,000-$725,000) and failed to sell. Peart, who died on Jan. 7, 2020 after bravely battling brain cancer for three and a half years, said previously he named his cars his "Silver Surfers" for the feeling he had while driving them on the California coast. "The title 'Silver Surfers' for my collection of cars occurred to me while driving the DB5 up and down the Pacific Ocean," he once explained. "Because it felt right to me, I guess -- the idea that I was just one of the wave riders." -, 8/18/21......
Gene SimmonsDavid Lee Roth
On Aug. 16 KISS officially announced the details of their second Las Vegas residency on Twitter after recently confirming they would be taking to the stage at the Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Resort & Casino from late December until February. KISS will perform at the Zappos on Dec. 29 and 31, 2021, and across January 1, 19, 21, 22, 26, 28, 29, and February 2, 4, 5 in 2022. It will mark the band's second residency in Vegas, having embarked on a nine-date run at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel And Casino in 2014. That stint was released as the Kiss Rocks Vegas concert film in 2016. Meanwhile, KISS has dropped David Lee Roth as the support act for the U.S. leg of their farewell tour, saying the former Van Halen frontman is "past his prime." Roth opened for Gene Simmons and Co. on the February and March, 2020 North American dates on their "End Of The Road" trek, but Simmons has confirmed he won't be back when the tour resumes on Aug. 18 in Mansfield, Mass. "It bears noting that during Dave's heyday, nobody did what he did," Simmons told Rolling Stone. "He was the ultimate frontman... He took being a frontman way beyond anything. And then, I don't know what happened to him... something. And you get modern-day Dave. I prefer to remember Elvis Presley in his prime. Sneering lips, back in Memphis, you know, doing all that. I don't want to think of bloated naked Elvis on the bathroom floor." Simmons is not the only rock star who has taken aim at Diamond Dave in recent months. Sammy Hagar, who replaced Roth in Van Halen, claimed his voice "hasn't aged well" in an explosive interview. "I can't imagine how he feels when he looks at some of them old videos, the way he was dancing and moving, and the way he was singing live sometimes," Hagar said. "I don't know how he feels about all that, but I don't think he cares... He's all show." In still more KISS news, Paul Stanley has revealed in a new post on Twitter that Joni Mitchell owns a KISS-branded pinball machine. "I spent a few minutes last night catching up with Joni Mitchell at a restaurant," Stanley posted. "I'm always in awe of her artistic journeys & spirit. Even through the devastation of an aneurysm she shines. Joni reminded me that she has a KISS pinball machine. What an incredible woman. Love her," he added. - NME/WENN/, 8/17/21...... Elton John surprised a crowd at the La Gurite Beach restaurant in Cannes, France on Aug. 14 with an impromptu performance of "Cold Heart (PNAU Remix)," his new collaboration with Dua Lipa that was released a day earlier. John got behind the restaurant's decks where a DJ cued up the track and let the Rocket Man sing along. "During lockdown I made this single and it came out yesterday with Dua Lipa," Elton told diners. "I want you all to dance on the table and wave your hands." "Cold Heart LIVE performance," John wrote on Instagram, although the clip is no longer visible on his Story. "Thought I'd surprise the people at La Gurite beach restaurant with a performance of the new track," he added. Footage of the performance can be watched on YouTube. The original track seamlessly blends together some of John's past releases, including "Sacrifice," "Kiss The Bride" and "Rocket Man." It is the singer and PNAU's second collaboration following the 2012 album Good Morning To The Night, which also sampled some of the icon's older tracks. - NME, 8/15/21......
Joe PerrySammy Hagar
Aerosmith's Joe Perry says his band once considered replacing co-founding vocalist Steven Tyler with Sammy Hagar, a.k.a. "The Red Rocker." In an interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, Perry said the incident took place around a decade ago, when Tyler was appearing as a judge on American Idol among a number of other non-Aerosmith activities, moves which led Perry to believe the singer was distancing himself from the band. He went on to say that Hagar came close to accepting the role, before Tyler ended up continuing to sing with the band. "It was really another one of those times, you don't keep a band together without a lot of bumps," Perry said. "But anyway, over the years, everybody has to bust out and do what they want. And I remember Steven doing that TV show, I thought that was great. I just knew he had to do something like that, and doing that solo record that he did. So the band wasn't that tight, there was talk and there were so many people involved -- lawyers, different managers. I thought Steven wants maybe to take four years off, do what he wants to do. And so the whole looking around for another lead singer thing, just as soon as that happened, that raised its head," he added. Meanwhile, Aerosmith's Brad Whitford has said he's not sure Aerosmith's upcoming UK and European tour will go ahead because of visa issues relating to Brexit. The band's European tour was originally scheduled to take place in 2020 but was pushed back to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was later rescheduled again and is now set to take place in 2022. - NME, 8/15/21.

Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021

A special one-off screening of David Byrne's American Utopia concert film is scheduled for Sept. 15 in US cinemas. Director Spike Lee's acclaimed film will also feature a new introduction from Byrne along with a presentation of a never-before-seen conversation between Byrne and Lee. American Utopia, whose official trailer can be viewed on YouTube, is a concert film documenting Byrne's Broadway show of the same name. Meanwhile, a new stage version of "American Utopia" has been confirmed to return to Broadway in 2021 after an initial 17-week return schedule was postponed in 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis. The production, which is based on Byrne's 2018 album of the same name, will this time see a longer, 6-month run in New York City's theatre district, moving from The Hudson to the larger St. James Theatre on 44th St. The former Talking Heads frontman and solo artist is joined by an 11-piece mobile ensemble playing songs from Byrne's 2018 American Utopia album as well as other tracks from his solo catalog and Talking Heads material. - New Musical Express, 8/14/21...... The EaglesThe Eagles' current record company Rhino Entertainment has licensed the iconic L.A. rockers' first six albums to the audiophile label Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab that will release each of them as 2-disc 45rpm box sets for $125. The band's first, self-titled album drops on Aug. 15, followed by Desperado on Sept. 15 and then later On the Border, One of These Nights, Hotel California, and The Long Run. "We are incredibly honored to be doing these Eagles records," says Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab vp Josh Bizar. The label, which has the approval of the band as well as Rhino, is working with Eagles catalog curator Richard F. W. Davis. As far as the price, which is typical for Mobile Fidelity's "Ultradisc One-Step" products, "people will pay more for a quality product," Bizar says. The label generally presses limited amounts of records -- the first two Eagles releases are limited to 7,500 copies each -- which tend to sell out. Over the past decade, as vinyl grew into a substantial business, MFSL has been selling reissues on vinyl and audiophile SACDs - mostly of classic rock acts like Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Dire Straits, and others. More info on the releases can be found on the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab website. - Billboard, 8/13/21...... Ringo Starr took to Twitter on Aug. 14 to announce the upcoming release of a new EP, called Change the World. As with Sir Ringo's March-released Zoom In EP, the new songs were recorded at his Roccabella West studio, with the famous drummer revealing he's invited some "new friends" to be involved with the new EP's release. "I've been saying I only want to release EPs at this point and this is the next one," Starr said. "What a blessing it's been during this year to have a studio here at home and be able to collaborate with so many great musicians, some I've worked with before and some new friends," he added. The EP's lead off track, "Let's Change the World," can be streamed on YouTube and was written by Toto members Joseph Williams and Steve Lukather, who also perform on the track. Starr also worked on the new EP with hitmaker Linda Perry for the first time, who wrote and performs on "Coming Undone," also featuring Trombone Shorty. Another highlight is Ringo's take on the 1955 Rock 'n' Roll classic "Rock Around the Clock," which features guitarist Joe Walsh. Though Starr has released 20 solo studio albums in his career, Change the World is only his third EP, the first being 1995's 4-Starr Collection. Change the World will drop on Sept. 24 in CD, vinyl, cassette and digital formats. - NME, 8/14/21...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney has shared a video on YouTube unveiling how the ultra-trippy film clip for his track "Find My Way" came to life. The colorful, disco-inspired clip, which has also been shared on YouTube, was released in July and features a digitally de-aged McCartney (played by Jordan Johnson) dancing down the halls of a hotel before being teleported to a variety of other locations. "In the same way the track has these seamless transitions from one section to the next, we wanted to do the same thing visually," director Andrew Donaho said in the making-of video. "So we created this oner... It's not a oner, it's a handful of takes stitched together, but it has the feeling of a neverending shot," he added. Upon the original film clip's release, Hyperreal Digital's CEO Remington Scott said: "The technology to de-age talent and have them perform in creative environments like this is now fully-realised, even with one of the most recognised faces in the world." Featuring alternative star Beck, "Find My Way" serves as the opening track to McCartney's most recent album, McCartney III Imagined, itself a reworking of 2020's McCartney III. The album's digital version was released back in April, with its physical edition released in July. - NME, 8/13/21...... In other Fab Four-related news, a new documentary titled Rock & Roll Revival will feature rare footage of John Lennon playing a 1969 solo concert, just days before he left the Beatles. Lennon performed at the Toronto Rock & Roll Revival in Canada, with a hastily assembled Plastic Ono Band which featured his wife Yoko Ono, guitarist Eric Clapton, Yes drummer Alan White and bassist Klaus Voorman. The one-day event, held at the University of Toronto, was the brainchild of young music fan John Brower, who also managed to sign up The Doors and Alice Cooper, as well as such classic rock 'n' rollers as Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley and Gene Vincent. Lennon reportedly had cold feet about his performance and tried to cancel, leaving organizers unsure whether to yank the entire gathering because of poor ticket sales. But once reports reached Toronto that John and Yoko were safely in flight and on their way, fans raced to snap up the remaining tickets -- and the festival went ahead. Rock & Roll Revival will be directed by Ron Chapman and produced by Pennebaker Hegedus Films and Screen Siren Pictures bosses, among others. The 90-minute documentary is expected to hit the film festival circuit in the spring of 2022. - WENN/, 8/11/21...... London's world-famous Abbey Road Studios where the likes of the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Kanye West, Adele and Ed Sheeran laid down some of their most iconic tracks is running an open house event until Aug. 15 as part of its 90th birthday celebrations. "Abbey Road: Open House" gives visitors the opportunity to explore all three of the original recording rooms made famous by the above mentioned artists, and visitors will be able to access the control rooms and the famous Studio Two Echo Chamber, which have existed since 1931. - NME, 8/10/21...... Elton JohnElton John and fellow Brit Lipa have joined forces on a new mashup called "Cold Heart," which has been expertly created by Pnau, the Australian electronic music outfit of Peter Mayes and brothers Nick and Sam Littlemore. The new cut has a slinky vibe, introduced into the mix by Pnau, and features a nuggety bassline and house beat. Over the top, John performs lyrics from his 1989 single "Sacrifice" and Lipa drops in with lines from Elton's signature song from 1972, "Rocket Man." The video for "Cold Heart" can be streamed on YouTube. Meanwhile, Elton has been namechecked in K-pop phenomenons BTS's latest Billboard Hot 100 single, "Permission to Dance. The love spread late in early August, when BTS member RM shared a snippet of himself lip-syncing to the song on Twitter, and tagging Elton's Twitter handle. The Rocket Man himself responded by laying down his own vocals. "When the nights get colder, And the rhythms got you falling behind," he sings in a post shared on Twitter, before thanking RM and ARMY. "Permission to Dance" debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July. - Billboard, 8/13/21...... A third release of the Grateful Dead's long running "Dave's Picks" series has hit No. 1 on Billboard's Top Rock Albums chart dated Aug. 14. Dave's Picks, Volume 39 debuts at No. 1 on the Top Rock Albums tally with 22,000 equivalent album units, all from album sales, according to MRC Data. The album was recorded at the band's Apr. 26, 1983, concert at The Spectrum in Philadelphia. GD's three No. 1's on Top Rock Albums, which began in 2006, are all from the Dave's Picks series. Volume 32 (also recorded at The Spectrum, on March 24, 1973) led in Nov. 2019, followed by Volume 34 (recorded at Miami's Jai-Alai Fronton on June 23, 1974) in May 2020. - Billboard, 8/13/21...... Prince's new archival studio album Welcome 2 America has debuted on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart dated Aug. 14 in the No. 4 position, garnering the late funk/rock legend his 20th Top 10 album. With the bow, Prince is now among only a dozen artists (led by the Rolling Stones, Barbra Streisand and the Beatles) to reach the milestone since the chart began in 1956. Welcome 2 America was recorded in 2010 but not released until this July 30. It marks his first newly-released album to reach the Billboard Hot 200's Top 10 since his death on Apr. 21, 2016, at age 57. Welcome 2 America marks Prince's first debut in the Hot 200's Top 10 since 2014 and his highest entrance since 2009, when Lotus Flow3r/MPLSound/Elix3r debuted at its No. 2 peak. - Billboard, 8/13/21...... Eddie Van Halen's son Wolfgang Van Halen opened up about his dad's October 2020 death on Instagram on Aug. 12. Wolfgang admitted that he is still trying to come to terms with the passing of his beloved father. "I've had so many dreams lately where Pop and I are just doing normal things and then I realise it's a dream, stop whatever I'm doing and hug him for as long as I can until I wake up," he wrote." I miss the f--- out of him. I can't believe he's not here anymore. Still doesn't feel real. I'm doing my best, Pop (sic)," he added. It comes after the musician said back in June that if it wasn't for the coronavirus pandemic then his late father could have received more treatment and still might be alive. "In the summer of 2020, instead of standing outside the window of his father's house to say hello, and instead of sitting by a hospital bed as he slips away, they are on the road together, one last time," he told the Washington Post. "The way we figured it, if I were to open for Van Halen, he would come out and play a solo for a song. That would have been the end-all dream. I will forever loathe COVID and how it was handled because they stole that moment from me," he added. The bassist is currently supporting Guns N' Roses on their US summer tour. - NME, 8/13/21...... Earth Wind and FireEarth, Wind & Fire have teamed up with acclaimed producer Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds and singer-songwriter Lucky Dave for a new version of the EW&F hit "You Want My Love" to mark its 45th anniversary. The tune blends the music of the Grammy-winning troupe with contemporary stars and will be released on Aug. 20. "You Want My Love" was released on the album Gratitude in 1975 and would earn a Grammy nomination for Best Arrangement For Voices two years later. "I am super hyped about this all-star collaboration -- Earth, Wind & Fire, Lucky Daye, and Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds producing. It was an honour to join forces with these two superstars, and I truly believe we've created a winner all the way," said EW&F member Philip Bailey. EW&F are also set to perform the track on stage in New York City for the "WE LOVE NYC: The Homecoming Concert" on Aug. 21 to celebrate the Big Apple's reopening as the coronavirus pandemic subsides. The concert will be aired live on cable channel CNN. EW&F will launch a fall concert tour of the US on Sept. 16 in San Antonio, Tex., that wraps on Nov. 13 in Las Vegas. -, 8/14/21...... Stevie Wonder and Commonwill perform together for the seventh Stand Up to Cancer telethon, with Anthony Anderson, Sofia Vergara and husband-and-wife Ken Jeong and Tran Ho as hosts. The Aug. 21 hourlong special, which raises money for cancer research, is held every other year and will also be co-headlined by Brittany Howard. It will be carried simultaneously and commercial-free on 60-plus U.S. and Canadian broadcast, cable and streaming outlets, including ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. Families who have been affected by the disease, including that of an 11-year-old boy with leukemia, will share their stories. Since its founding in 2008, Stand Up to Cancer said it has raised more than $600 million for research that has contributed to federal approvals for nine new cancer therapies and 258 clinical trials. - AP, 8/12/21...... Several classic tracks by ZZ Top have climbed Billboard's Hard Rock Digital Song Sales chart after the July 28 death of longtime bassist Dusty Hill. 1974's "La Grange," one of the band's signature songs, ascends 2-1 on the chart with 1,600 sold in the July 30-Aug. 5 tracking period, according to MRC Data, becoming ZZ Top's first leader on the list. A week earlier, the song sold 1,300, up 252%. 1983's "Sharp Dressed Man" (No. 2; 1,600 sold), 1975's "Tush" (No. 5; 1,100) and 1983's "Gimme All Your Lovin' " (No. 6; 1,100) also climb Hard Rock Digital Song Sales. The four tracks additionally appear on Rock Digital Song Sales, led by "La Grange" at No. 6. Meanwhile, the Texas trio's "Rough Boy" gained by 2,423% in U.S. lyric usages/searches following Hill's passing (as reflected on the Aug. 7 U.S. chart), followed by "Tush" at No. 4, up 1,847%, according to Hill died July 28 at age 72, with the cause not yet announced. He had recently bowed out of ZZ Top's current tour to pursue physical therapy for chronic bursitis. - Billboard, 8/12/21...... Iggy Pop has been named the face of high-end electric scooter company Unagi Electric Scooters. The company's inaugural ad campaign features the Godfather of Punk extolling the virtues of the zipping around on two carbon-emission-free wheels. "Unagi... I'd steal one... if I could," Pop says in his instantly recognizable baritone in a slick 30-second spot shot, which can be viewed on YouTube, at the rocker's Miami home cued to his band The Stooges' "Down on the Street" that dropped on Aug. 12. Dressed in a black skinny jeans and a leather motorcycle jacket with no shirt, the 74 year-old ageless wonder walks around his house unfolding the scooter as he runs his hand along it and flicks on the headlight while the words "tough," "timeless" and "road ready" flash on the screen -- words that could easily apply to both. "Maybe they should re-name it Un-Iggy," he says at the end of the clip. In another promotional short also shared on YouTube, Pop says, "Unagi, experience euphoria without the psychedelics." - Billboard, 8/12/21......
Robert PlantAlison Krauss
Fourteen years after their Grammy-winning collaboration Raising Sand, Led Zeppelin icon Robert Plant and country singer Alison Krauss have announced a sequel, Raise the Roof, which is out Nov. 19. Like the 2007 effort, the new set will be released via Rounder Records. Also like its predecessor, it will consist of covers made famous by acts such as Merle Haggard, the Everly Brothers and Allen Toussaint. The one original on the set is co-written by Plant and returning producer T Bone Burnett. The first track, which was released on Aug. 12 and shared on, is "Can't Let Go," originally recorded by Lucinda Williams. Like the other songs on the album, the swampy, surf-influenced "Can't Let Go" features a driving beat. "We wanted it to move," Krauss said of the album in a statement. "We brought other people in, other personalities within the band, and coming back together again in the studio brought a new intimacy to the harmonies." Added Plant: "You hear something and you go, 'Man, listen to that song, we got to sing that song!' It's a vacation, really -- the perfect place to go that you least expected to find." Raising Sand swept the Grammys in early 2009, nabbing several awards including Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and both Best Pop and Country Collaboration with Vocals. Plant and Krauss are also planning a 2022 tour behind the new LP. - Billboard, 8/12/21...... Dolly Parton has teamed up with best-selling author James Patterson for her first novel. Parton announced on Twitter on Aug. 11 that the book, Run Rose Run, is "a new thriller about a young singer/songwriter on the rise and on the run... and determined to do whatever it takes to survive!" Run Rose Run will be published by Little, Brown and Company on Mar. 7, 2022, and a companion album of the same title will be released simultaneously, featuring 12 original songs inspired by the book that Parton wrote, performed and produced. The Run Rose Run LP will be released on Parton's Butterfly Records in partnership with another to-be-determined label. - Billboard, 8/11/21...... Gene Simmons has confirmed rumours that KISS will be returning to Las Vegas for another residency this winter. The hard rock vets will perform at the Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Resort & Casino from Dec. 27 until February, according to Simmons. It will mark the second time the band have taken up residence in the city. KISS's 9-date run in 2014 at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel And Casino was released as the Kiss Rocks Vegas concert film two years later. Simmons added that the residency will take place in between legs of the band's mammoth "farewell" world tour "The End Of The Road." They're currently set to take a break after a Dec. 4 gig in Townsville, Australia, before resuming on Apr. 20 in Santiago, Chile. - NME, 8/12/21...... Stevie NicksStevie Nicks announced on Aug. 10 that she will no longer tour for the rest of 2021 due to rising Covid-19 cases across the U.S. Nicks revealed she canceled her live performances this year in a short note on her Twitter account. She was previously slated to perform at the Jazz Aspen Festival in Colorado and BottleRock Napa Valley in California over Labor Day weekend (Sept. 3-5) and both weekends of Austin City Limits in Texas (Oct. 1-3 and Oct. 8-10). She was also on the lineup for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in Louisiana (Oct. 8-17), which announced on Aug. 8 it was canceling its 2021 event. "These are challenging times with challenging decisions that have to be made," Nicks posted. "I want everyone to be safe and healthy and the rising Covid cases should be of concern to all of us. While I'm vaccinated, at my age, I am still being extremely cautious and for that reason have decided to skip the 5 performances I had planned for 2021," the 73-year-old performer wrote. "Because singing and performing have been my whole life, my primary goal is to keep healthy so I can continue singing for the next decade or longer. I'm devastated and I know the fans are disappointed, but we will look towards a brighter 2022," she added. - Billboard, 8/10/21...... Dionne Warwick has been announced as the first-ever headliner for Dogepalooza, an entire festival dedicated to the cryptocurrency Dogecoin backed by billionaire Elon Musk. Described on its website as "an authentic, community-driven" event that organizers aim to launch in "multiple cities and countries around the globe," the inaugural event is set to take place on Oct. 9 at the Constellation Field in Sugar Land, Tex. "I'm so looking forward to [being] a part of this meaningful festival, which supports so many vital causes," Warwick said in a press release. Tickets to the all-ages event are on sale now from its website - NME, 8/13/21...... Record company mogul Walter Yetnikoff, the kingpin of CBS Records from 1975 to 1990 who is credited for guiding the careers of such megastars as Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan and Billy Joel, died on Aug. 8. He would have turned 88 years old on Aug. 11. Brash, colorful and self-aggrandizing, with very public addictions to alcohol, cocaine and extramarital affairs, Mr. Yetnikoff ushered CBS into selling to Japanese electronics giant Sony in 1987 and was, depending on whose story you believe, the catalyst for breaking MTV's color line with Michael Jackson's video "Billie Jean." He was a workaholic, chain-smoking while working two phones simultaneously, and charmed stars with his humor and intellect: He once impressed Mick Jagger at a Paris wine bar by calculating the Value Added Tax in France on a napkin. "Bruce [Springsteen] and I worked with Walter during his entire CBS/Sony tenure," said Jon Landau, Springsteen's longtime manager. "We couldn't have had a greater or more effective champion." Born in Brooklyn to a hospital-painter father and a bookkeeper mother, Mr. Yetnikoff attended Brooklyn College and worked as a garbage collector and a deliveryman to pay for his books. He attended Columbia Law, which led to his first job as a lawyer, with the firm Rosenman and Colin, where he befriended Harvard-trained attorney Clive Davis. When Davis joined CBS' legal department, he brought in Mr. Yetnikoff as a junior lawyer, "learning the complex contractual lessons of the music business," as he wrote in his memoir. Mr. Yetnikoff is survived by his wife Lynda Kady Yetnikoff, and sons Michael and Daniel. When CBS president Goddard Lieberson departed the label in 1975, CBS made Yetnikoff president and CEO. "The appointment went to my head, went to my dick, and over a period of years turned me into a madman," Yetnikoff once wrote. "The more powerful I became, the greater my rewards, the deeper my lunacy." In 1996, Yetnikoff formed Velvel Records -- named after an old nickname given to him by his grandmother -- with a musically diverse roster and an eye towards independent operations, but the label failed to find its footing and sold to Koch Entertainment in 1999. He also focused on getting clean and sober, first with transcendental meditation, then via 12-step programs, which prompted him to work on making amends. "When he got sober, he was as passionate, generous , funny and kind as when he wasn't sober, it was a remarkable recovery. He was the same guy with the bad stuff gone," CBS Records Nashville executive Mary Ann McCready said. "He was just a beautiful person on the other side of it. I really believe that with all my heart." Mr. Yetnikoff is survived by his wife Lynda Kady Yetnikoff, and sons Michael and Daniel. - Billboard, 8/10/21...... Nanci GriffithFolk singer/songwriter Nanci Griffith, best known for the classic hit "From a Distance," died on Aug. 13 of as yet unspecified causes, according to her managment. She was 68. "It was Nanci's wish that no further formal statement or press release happen for a week following her passing," Gold Mountain Entertainment added in a statement. Griffith, who came of age in the mid-70s folk scene in and around Austin, Tex., was renowned for classics such as "Love At The Five And Dime" and "Outbound Plane." She was also known for her recording of "From A Distance," from her 1987 album Lone Star State Of Mind, which went on to become a popular Bette Midler cover. Griffith's fellow folk-rock icon Don McLean was one of the first to pay tribute to the late singer describing her as "a lovely person." "I worked with her on a TV special we did for PBS TV and on that show, we sang two duets. They were 'And I Love You So' and 'Raining In My Heart'. I never heard anyone sing harmony in a more beautiful way. We should have done an album together. At this taping in Austin, Texas she brought her father to see it. I really loved her spirit it was warm and loving and I'm really sorry to hear she has gone," he added. Griffith's work became increasingly political with age, openly criticizing former Pres. George W. Bush and supporting former Pres. Barack Obama. Griffith described her 2012 record Intersection as "a protest album." It was her last album before she retired in 2013. - NME, 8/13/21...... Actor Alex Cord, best known for co-starring with Jan-Michael Vincent and Ernest Borgnine in the 1980s attack-helicopter series Airwolf, died on the morning of Aug. 9 at his home in Valley View, Tex. He was 88. Mr. Cord had been working in films and TV for more than 20 years before he landed his signature role as the mysterious, eyepatch-sporting Archangel on Airwolf. The CBS drama debuted in 1984 -- the year all three broadcast networks bowed helicopter dramas following the theatrical success of Blue Thunder. While that would be Cord's signature role, he had scores of others -- ranging from guest slots on such classic series as Route 66, Night Gallery, Gunsmoke, Mission: Impossible, Police Story and The Six Million Dollar Man to a lead role in the short-lived 1978 NBC primetime soap W.E.B. He also was a regular on Cassie & Company, Angie Dickinson's follow-up series to Police Story. The Long Island, N.Y., native also appeared in films, starring alongside Ann-Margret, Mike Connors, Bing Crosby and others in 1966's Stagecoach. Other film roles included Synanon, The Last Grenade The Brotherhood, Stiletto and The Dead Are Alive! Mr. Cord continued to work onscreen throughout the 1980s and '90s, guesting on such hit dramas as Murder, She Wrote, Simon & Simon, Jake and the Fatman and Walker, Texas Ranger. -, 8/10/21.

Monday, Aug. 9, 2021

Fleetwood Mac member Christine McVie sold her back catalog of songs including such huge hits as "Don't Stop," "Everywhere, "You Make Loving Fun," "Songbird" and "Little Lies" to the London investment company Hipgnosis on Aug. 9. Financial terms were not disclosed for the catalog, which includes 115 songs, 11 No. 1's, and two Grammy-winning singles. "In the last 46 years [Fleetwood Mac] have had three distinct writers and vocalists but Christine's importance is amply demonstrated by the fact that eight of the 16 songs on the band's Greatest Hits albums are from Christine," Hipgnosis founder and CEO Merck Mercuridis said, adding the company now owns the rights to 48 of 68 tracks on the band's most successful albums. In the past few years Hipgnosis has spent more than $2 billion buying the rights to hits from iconic artists such as McVie's former Fleetwood Mac bandmate Lindsey Buckingham, Neil Young and Blondie. In a statement, McVie said: "I am so excited to belong to the Hipgnosis family, and thrilled that you all regard my songs worthy of merit." - New Musical Express, 8/9/21...... Brian MayIn a new Instagram chat, Queen's Brian May confirmed that a sequel to the massively successful Queen/Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody is definitely in the works. "We are looking at it," May said. "Yeah, we have been looking at ideas. It's going to be hard to follow that one (first film) as none of us could have predicted how massive that was going to be. We put a lot of heart and soul into making it and no one could have predicted as it was bigger than Gone With The Wind," he added. May's comments contradict recent comments by himself and Queen drummer Roger Taylor that a Bohemian Rhapsody sequel was unlikely. "We don't really think there's another movie there. I think we should look somewhere else. There are other ideas that we had, but I don't think a sequel will happen. But we have looked at it pretty seriously," May told Rolling Stone in 2020. Taylor expressed similar sentiments to the magazine, saying "I really do think we need to sit back for a year or two and look at things and see if that is a believable or credible thing to do. The movie was a great hit. We were delighted, obviously. But I think I wouldn't want to be seen as cashing in again. I'd have to have a very, very good script and scenario to make that work. Right now, I can't think of a way of doing a sequel." Meanwhile, May has also shared his thoughts about Eric Clapton's stance on receiving a Covid-19 vaccine, who in July told the UK's The Independent paper that he won't grace "any stage where there is a discriminated audience present. Unless there is provision made for all people to attend, I reserve the right to cancel the show." "I love Eric Clapton," May said in an interview with The Independent on Aug. 7. "He's my hero, but he has very different views from me in many ways. He's a person who thinks it's OK to shoot animals for fun, so we have our disagreements, but I would never stop respecting the man," May noted. May went on to say he thinks anti-vax people "are fruitcakes" and he's confident the vaccines "are safe." "There's always going to be some side effect in any drug you take, but to go around saying vaccines are a plot to kill you, I'm sorry, that goes in the fruitcake jar for me," he said. In July, the UK government declared that it will be making proof of vaccination a legal requirement at venues from the end of September. In the same interview, May said he now wants to move away from his hometown of London after a torrential rain in the capital recently caused his basement to flood. The basement, where he and his wife, Anita Dobson, kept their memorabilia was hit worse. "It's made us feel violated... It's what it does to your soul to lose your possessions, to see them swimming about in it. I had to tear up all my old photograph albums, the very first ones I ever had when I was eight years old, to try to save the photographs." May, who was born in the outer London suburbs, and has had a home in the city all his life. May also said he once considered suicide while struggling to cope with his bandmate Freddie Mercury's death from an AIDS-related illness in 1991. "I felt like life was over. I was very close to driving off the bridge several times. Very close. It was Hammersmith Bridge," he said. - WENN/, 8/8/21...... Paul McCartney has scored his second No. 1 on Billboard's Top Rock Albums chart of 2021 as his latest effort McCartney III Imagined debuted atop the weekly survey for the week of Aug. 7 following its physical release on July 23. McCartney III Imagined starts with 21,000 equivalent album units earned in the July 23-29 tracking week, according to MRC Data, with nearly all its units via album sales. The LP follows the success of its parent album, McCartney III, which topped the Jan. 2 Rock Albums chart with 101,000 units. The two LPs have swelled McCartney's total to four Top Rock Albums No. 1s (dating to the chart's 2006 start). He also led with Memory Almost Full (2007) and Egypt Station (2018). Concurrently, Imagined leads the all-genre Top Album Sales chart, marking McCartney's third No. 1, after Egypt Station and McCartney III, and starts at No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 200. Imagined was initially released Apr. 16 on digital platforms (and dented Top Album Sales for a week at No. 60). The 12-song album features re-dos and remixes of songs from McCartney III by artists including Beck, Josh Homme and St. Vincent. - Billboard, 8/6/21......
Dhani HarrisonGeorge Harrison
In other Beatles-related news, George Harrison's son Dhani Harrison has spoken out about John Lennon past comments regarding his father's 1970 iconic triple-LP All Things Must Pass. Publicly at least, Lennon was dismissive of the album, telling Rolling Stone in 1970: "I don't know... I think it's all right, you know. Personally, at home, I wouldn't play that kind of music, I don't want to hurt George's feelings, I don't know what to say about it." Now in a new interview with Matt Wilkinson on the Apple Music Hits podcast, Dhani responded to John's comments about the record after Wilkinson pointed to a later interview with session musician Bobby Whitlock saying: "I remember Lennon coming to the studio during the recording sessions quite friendly and being played it, and he was visibly blown away." "Yeah, I mean, how could you not be, especially for The Beatles, I think, to be like... There might've been an oops moment. Like, 'Oops. Shit. Maybe that song was good,'" Dhani responded. "But I think they were all just very happy for each other. How could you not be happy if you had a bandmate who left your band and then went and did that? How could you not be happy for them?," he added. A huge "Uber Deluxe" boxset reissue of Harrison's third post-Beatles solo album was released as an eight LP or five CD plus one Blu-ray set, and as more modest triple vinyl and double CD versions, on Aug. 6. - NME, 8/6/21...... Speaking of John Lennon, '60s British hitmaker Petula Clark has told The London Times newspaper that she sang on John and Yoko Ono's 1969 hit "Give Peace a Chance" by accident. Clark said that she had been going through a difficult time while on tour in Montreal during 1969, and decided to visit John Lennon after discovering that John was in town with his wife Yoko. Recalling the lack of security as she approached the late legend's room, Petula said: "John Lennon looks at me and says, 'Is that you, Petula? Come in.' He was lovely. I told him the whole sad story and he was very funny about it, but I said, 'What am I going to do?' He said, 'Oh, f*** 'em.' I said, 'Oh, that's a thought.' In other words, so what, what will be will be." Clark went on to detail how she found other guests singing a "simple little tune," and decided to join in -- although she had no idea that it was John and Yoko's anti-war song, which was released that same year. "And it was all being recorded, I didn't know," the 88-year-old singer said. Petula said she is unable to hear her voice on the Plastic Ono Band song but felt it helped during her tough time in Canada. She said: "[I was] lost in the mix. But I guess it was what I needed at that moment." The "Don't Sleep in the Subway" singer also recalled her friendship with the late Karen Carpenter but admitted she could never match her singing style. "We all have to do it our way. It's no good imitating other singers. Karen, Dusty Springfield too, they were born with this amazing sound in their voice, which I don't have. They were blessed," she said. -, 8/6/21...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, two handwritten setlists from the early days of the Beatles are going under the hammer in a Bonhams auction on Oct. 28. The setlists, among only eight believed to still be in existence, are from gigs the band played in 1960 and 1963 respectively. The former was written by Paul McCartney, and is from when the band played at Liscard's Grosvenor Ballroom shortly before changing their name from The Silver Beetles to simply The Beatles. McCartney was the band's drummer at the time. The setlists are expected to fetch anywhere between $150,000 and $250,000. - NME, 8/5/21...... Elton John has critisized the UK government's latest announcement on post-Brexit touring rules, calling it a "rehash of what we already know." On Aug. 4, the government announced that "short-term" visa-free travel without work permits will be allowed for musicians and performers in 19 European countries. Talks are also ongoing with the remaining countries in the EU. In a statement posted to Twitter, John said his excitement about the Department of Culture, Media & Sport's latest declaration had "soon turned to disappointment after realising it seems to be just a rehash of what we already know." "There needs to be far more clarity on exactly what progress has been made," John said. "There is a small window of opportunity to get this right to ensure the next generation of musicians and emerging artists have the ability to tour. Speed is of the utmost importance. We need to sustain momentum to enforce change. There must be solutions, short and long term, or we risk losing future generations of world-beating talent," he added. Elton recently postponed part of the German leg of his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour due to ongoing capacity restrictions. - NME, 8/5/21...... Lynyrd Skynyrd have announced they have been forced to cancel a string of upcoming US concerts after their guitarist Rickey Medlocke has tested positive for Covid-19. In a statement on Facebook, the band wrote: "Skynyrd Nation, Due to unforseen circumstances, Lynyrd Skynyrd is unable to perform the next four shows in Canton, OH, Jackson, MI, Atlanta, GA and Cullman, AL. Longtime band member Rickey Medlocke has tested positive for COVID-19. Rickey is home resting and responding well to treatment." The band confirmed they will no longer be playing their forthcoming shows in Ohio, Missouri and Alabama. Their scheduled show in Atlanta, Ga. on Aug. 13 has been postponed to Oct. 23. Medlocke's diagnosis is the latest setback in the health of Lynyrd Skynyrd members, with guitarist Gary Rossington having to undergo an emergency heart procedure in July. During a performance in Minnesota, vocalist Johnny Van Zant told the crowd that Rossington had to have an "emergency stent put in his heart", a procedure used to prevent arteries from closing. Rossington, the sole surviving member of the original band, is expected to make a full recovery. Skynyrd are currently on their "Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour," an extensive run of shows that began in 2018, and was set to run through late 2020, with Covid-19 causing a large portion of their 2020 shows to be postponed to 2021. - NME, 8/9/21...... The Doobie BrothersThe Doobie Brothers announced on Aug. 6 that they'll release their 15th studio album, titled Libert, on Oct. 1. Produced and co-written by John Shanks (Sheryl Crow, Bon Jovi), Libert features 12 new songs from co-founding Doobie members Tom Johnston, Pat Simmons and John McFee. In addition to the new LP, a special four-track EP, The Doobie Brothers EP, is currently streaming, featuring the Libert songs "Oh Mexico," "Cannonball," "Don't Ya Mess With Me" and "Better Days." Fan who bought a ticket/album bundle and redeemed a copy of the EP between Dec. 2019 and Nov. 2020 will get their physical CD starting Sept. 17. The band also revealed dates for an ambitious 50th anniversary, 49-city North American tour featuring Johnston, Simmons, McFee and singer Michael McDonald performing on the road together for the first time in nearly 25 years. The trek gets underway on Aug. 22 at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines and is set to wrap on June 30, 2022 in London, Ontario. - Billboard, 8/6/21...... Barbra Streisand released Release Me 2, a sequel to her acclaimed 2012 rarities compilation Release Me, on Aug. 6 via Columbia/Legacy Recordings. The 10-track album includes a selection of delightful duets (Willie Nelson, Barry Gibb and even Kermit the Frog), selections from some of the greatest songwriters ever (Burt Bacharach/Hal David, Randy Newman, Carole King), and a never-before-heard recording from a pre-fame session in 1962. Teaming with her trusted studio collaborators such as Jochem van der Saag and Walter Afanasieff, Streisand retooled a number of shelved recordings for Release Me 2, oftentimes reworking "limp" or "flat" orchestrations that hampered otherwise lovely vocal performances spanning the decades. Streisand told Billboard that if more people get vaccinated for Covid-19, she can go back into the studio to record new material. "They're dragging their feet for no good reason. It's just common sense," Streisand said. "Science is real. Climate change is real, it's not fake news or a hoax. Too many people have died by thinking science is a hoax. I want everybody, for their own health and their family's health, to get vaccinated. Please?," she added. - Billboard, 8/6/21...... Black Sabbath announced on Aug. 5 that they'll mark the 45th anniversary of their 1976 album Technical Ecstasy with the release of a huge new box set on Oct. 1. Technical Ecstasy - Super Deluxe Edition will be repackaged in a 4-CD or 5-LP box set, featuring remastered and alternate mixes of the album from producer Steven Wilson, as well as a host of outtakes and live versions. The package will also include a booklet, recreated tour program and poster. Released in Sept. 1976 to mixed reviews, Technical Ecstasy was a commercial success, and backed with a tour that saw the band supported by AC/DC. The fractious tour saw singer Ozzy Osbourne at one point leave the band to be replaced by Savoy Brown's Dave Walker. Osbourne would return for 1978's Never Say Die, but was afterwards replaced permanently by Ronnie James Dio. Earlier in 2021, Sabbath put out a deluxe reissue of their fourth album Vol. 4 containing 20 previously unreleased tracks. - NME, 8/5/21...... The U.S. equestrian jumping team which includes Bruce Springsteen's daughter Jessica Springsteen in its ranks have won a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics. The US team team came up just short of Olympic gold, falling to Sweden in a jump off on the evening of Aug. 7 that still left the Americans with a record 10th medal in the event. It's the first for the 29-year-old Springsteen, the daughter Springsteen and wife Patti Scialfa, who made her Olympic debut in Tokyo. Riding powerful stallion Don Juan van de Donkhoeve, Jessica clipped one rail in the primary round, as did her teammate McLain Ward, leaving the U.S in a tie with the Swedes for first with eight penalty points. "I was happy we were able to pull it together and fight for the rest of the course," said Jessica, who noted that her parents have been watching from home, as athletes weren't allowed to bring family into Japan for these pandemic-beleaguered games. - AP, 8/7/21...... Charlie WattsThe Rolling Stones announced on Aug. 5 that their co-founding drummer Charlie Watts will not join the band's forthcoming US tour as he recuperates from a medical procedure. According to a statement from the band's spokesperson, Watts recently underwent an unspecified medical procedure that was "completely successful." "Charlie has had a procedure which was completely successful, but I gather his doctors this week concluded that he now needs proper rest and recuperation. With rehearsals starting in a couple of weeks it's very disappointing to say the least, but it's also fair to say no one saw this coming," the spokesperson said. Steve Jordan, a member of Stones guitarist Keith Richards' side-project The X-Pensive Winos, will fill in for Watts on the tour. Watts, who has served in the band since its inception in 1962 and turned 80 in June, joked that "for once my timing has been a little off." "I am working hard to get fully fit but I have today accepted on the advice of the experts that this will take a while," he continued. "After all the fans' suffering caused by Covid I really do not want the many RS fans who have been holding tickets for this Tour to be disappointed by another postponement or cancellation. I have therefore asked my great friend Steve Jordan to stand in for me," he added. Jagger, Richards and Ronnie Wood have all shared subsequent messages of support for Watts on social media, while also welcoming Jordan temporarily to the fold. The Stones "No Filter" tour will run from late September to November and visit 13 major US markets, kicking off in St. Louis, Mo. on Sept. 26 and ending in Austin, Tex., on Nov. 20. The tour was originally scheduled for the summer of 2020. - NME, 8/5/21...... Carlos Santana announced on Aug. 4 that his next studio album will be titled Blessings and Miracles and be his first release for a new record deal with BMG Records. "I would like to thank everyone at BMG for sharing our collective commonality -- vision to touch people's hearts with energy, conviction and integrity," Santana said in a statement. "Now more than ever, we need songs and melodies to remind us that we are significant, meaningful and that life is full of blessings and miracles," he added. A debut single is expected later in August. Santana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Although his band has yet to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Grammy's Recording Academy, the 8-Grammy sweep of his Supernatural album in 2000 was seen by many as, in effect, a lifetime achievement award. - Billboard, 8/4/21...... A trailer for director Sacha Jenkins' upcoming Rick James Showtime documentary Bitchin': The Sound and Fury has been shared on YouTube. The trailer teases a portrait of a singular artist with a complicated legacy who died in 2004 of cardiac failure at age 56 and best known for such indelible funk jams as "Super Freak" and "Give It To Me Baby," as well as his songwriting/producing duties for everyone from Eddie Murphy to Teena Marie to Smokey Robinson. Bitchin' is slated to premiere on Sept. 3 and promises to focus on James' iconic funky sound and legendarily brash public persona, while also hinting at the "demon" of drug use that dogged his personal life. - Billboard, 8/4/21...... Saturday Night Fever star John Travolta has sold the Florida home he shared with late wife Kelly Preston for $4 million. Kelly passed away in the home in 2020, after a long battle with breast cancer. Travolta bought the five-bedroom mansion, which is situated on Clearwater Harbor, in 2017. Property records show he paid $3 million at the time. Fellow Scientologists Tom Cruise and Kirstie Alley also own property in the area, which is near a major Scientology centre. Earlier in 2021, the Pulp Fiction star sold another longtime residence -- a waterfront pad in Maine -- for $5 million. And in Jan. 2020, he offloaded his $18 million Spanish-style Los Angeles estate. Travolta currently owns a $2.65 million six-bedroom home in a gated community in Calabasas, Calif. He and Preston, who wed in 1991, bought the house in 2019. - WENN/, 8/8/21...... Dennis ThomasDennis "Dee Tee" Thomas, a co-founding member of the Grammy-winning troupe Kool & The Gang, passed away "peacefully" in his sleep in New Jersey on Aug. 7 of as yet unannounced causes, according to a statement from the band. In a statement, the "Get Down On It" hitmakers hailed their late alto saxophonist, flutist, percussionist, and master of ceremonies, for his showmanship and unique style. They said: "An original member of Kool & the Gang, Dennis was known as the quintessential cool cat in the group, loved for his hip clothes and hats, and his laid-back demeanor. A huge personality while also an extremely private person, Dennis was the alto saxophone player, flutist, percussionist as well as master of ceremonies at the band's shows." Thomas, they added, "was the group's wardrobe stylist who made sure they always looked fresh... In the band's early days, Dennis also served as the 'budget hawk', carrying the group's earnings in a paper bag in the bell of his horn." Thomas last played with the band in a July 4th concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. He is survived by his wife Phynjuar Saunders Thomas and his three children, Tuesday Rankin, David Thomas and Devin Thomas. Kool & The Gang was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015. -, 8/8/21...... Former child star Jane Withers passed away on Aug. 7 in Burbank, Calif. at the age of 95. An official cause of death has yet to be revealed for the actress, who was a child star in Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s. Her first big break came in 1934 movie Bright Eyes, in which she appeared opposite Shirley Temple, and the star went on to play the titular role in Ginger a year later when she was just nine years old. In the same year, Ms. Withers appeared opposite Henry Fonda in The Farmer Takes a Wife. Ms. Withers also starred in several motion pictures in her teens, including My Best Gal and Johnny Doughboy, but she later retired from acting in 1947 aged just 21. However, the actress was tempted back to the big screen when director George Stevens cast her in his 1956 film Giant alongside Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean. She starred in a few movies afterwards and most recently lent her voice to 1996 animated film The Hunchback of Notre Dame and 2002 sequel The Hunchback of Notre Dame II -- her final movie role. Ms. Withers was also no stranger to the small screen, appearing in a few episodes of Murder, She Wrote, and she starred in an episode of The Munsters. Her biggest prominence, however, came in the 1960s by portraying "Josephine the Plumber" in TV commercials for Comet cleanser for 12 years. "Oh, the money is nice, all right," she told the Los Angeles Times in 1963. "I got five figures for eight of those commercials, and I'm doing four more." - WENN/, 8/9/21.

Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021

Willie Nelson led more than a thousand spectators in singing "vote them out" on July 31 from the steps of the Texas Capitol in Austin during a rally that wrapped a 4-day march in support of Democratic state legislators who bolted for Washington two weeks ago to block new GOP-backed voting restrictions. The special session that the exodus by Texas Democrats halted is set to expire in mid-August, but Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has pledged to schedule a new one as soon as the lawmakers return to the state. "If you don't like who's in there, vote them out," Nelson sang, inviting the crowd to join him in singing lyrics he'd previously written about taking a stand at the ballot box. Families with lawn chairs spread out across the sprawling Capitol greens in Austin as Nelson and other musicians as well as members of the clergy, politicians and constituents all spoke out about the proposals to impose voter ID requirements, limit ballot drop boxes and mail voting, and strip local officials of their election authority. The march began on July 28 and ended July 31 when participants walked up to the doors of the Texas Capitol building in a rally sponsored by activist group Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. It was led, in part, by Beto O'Rourke, the former Texas Democratic congressman and 2020 presidential candidate who has not ruled out a run for Texas governor in 2022. - AP, 7/31/21...... Led ZeppelinA new documentary about the early days of Led Zeppelin has become a last minute addition to the 78th Venice International Film Festival, which will run for 11 days beginning Sept. 1. Director Bernard MacMahon's Becoming Led Zeppelin follows Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham as they move through the '60s British music scene, gigging at small clubs to a fateful rehearsal in 1968 that changes their lives forever. The film culminates in Led Zepp's 1970 tour of America, where they became the biggest rock band in the world from 1970-75. MacMahon, who also co-wrote and produced the film with Allison McGourty, says "my goal was to make a documentary that looks and feels like a musical." "I used only original prints and negatives, with over 70,000 frames of footage manually restored, and devised fantasia sequences, inspired by Singin' In The Rain, layering unseen performance footage with montages of posters, tickets and travel to create a visual sense of the freneticism of their early career," he said in a statement, adding it is "a film that no one thought could be made... The band's meteoric rise to stardom was swift and virtually undocumented. Through an intense search across the globe and years of restoration of the visual and audio archive found, this story is finally able to be told." He said fans can expect "unprecedented access" to the band, in what marks "the first and only time they have participated in a documentary in 50 years." MacMahon is best known for his American Epic, series for the BBC and PBS, where he looked at some of the first recordings of roots music in the US and their impact on the culture. - The Hollywood Reporter, 8/3/21...... A recent post on Instagram shows somebody named Paul McCartney getting vaccinated for Covid-19 and encouraging his fans to do the same with a simple message: "BE COOL. GET VAX'D." Wearing a beanie and a face-mask, the 79-year-old rocker posted the message to Instagram on Aug. 2, signing off as "Paul." The Beatles legend told the UK paper The Sun in Dec. 2020 that he was eager to get the jab when the top-priority groups -- citizens over the age of 50 and those in high-risk categories -- were eligible toward the beginning of 2021. "The vaccine will get us out of this. I think we'll come through it, I know we'll come through, and it's great news about the vaccine," he said in the interview. "I'll have it as soon as I'm allowed." Meanwhile, Sir Paul's recently released McCartney III Imagined has hit No. 1 on Billboard Top Album Sales Chart for the week dated Aug. 7 after previously only being available via digital retail and streaming services. McCartney III Imagined sold 21,000 copies in the U.S. in the week ending July 29 (up from a negligible figure in the week previous), according to MRC Data, thanks to its release on CD, vinyl LP and cassette tape. The album is a collection of remixed songs from McCartney's last studio album, the Dec. 2020 release McCartney III, and was initially released via digital download and streaming services on Apr. 16, 2021. The Imagined set spent one week previously on the Top Album Sales chart, debuting at No. 60 on the May 1-dated chart with 2,200 downloads sold. Imagined is McCartney's third No. 1 on the 30-year-old Top Album Sales chart, following McCartney III (Jan. 2-dated chart) and Egypt Station (Sept. 22, 2018). Imagined's tracklist boasts an eclectic lineup of guests, including Beck, Dominic Fike, St. Vincent, Blood Orange, Phoebe Bridgers, Damon Albarn and Josh Homme. - Billboard, 8/2/21...... The Who's Pete Townshend has sold his home in the London district of Richmond. Constructed on Richmond Hill in 1775, the mansion was previously owned by Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, as well as stage and screen actor John Mills and record industry executive Derek Leahy. A property listing for the Grade I listed Georgian house, which looks out over the River Thames, details how the four-storey residence includes a heated swimming pool on the upper terrace, a studio/office suite, four cloakrooms, numerous bedrooms and a "dogs' room." "The views have been immortalised in paintings and drawings by numerous artists including Reynolds, Gainsborough and Turner," Pered's listing states. Pereds' website now lists Townshend's property as "sold," with "offers in excess of £15,000,000" having been invited. - NME, 8/3/21...... Michael JacksonIt has been revealed that Michael Jackson once pitched a collaboration with British pop-rockers Duran Duran in the mid-1980's, when Jackson was the biggest solo pop star on the planet, and Duran Duran was the No. 1 band. During an interview on What Happens Live with Andy Cohen on Aug. 2, Duran Duran's founding keyboardist Nick Rhodes confirmed the late King of Pop once reached out to his band to work together, but they blew it off. Rhodes said Jackson came calling while they were enjoying the success of their monster 1984 hit "The Reflex," and when he passed the offer on to his bandmates, they passed. "I go to everyone, 'hey Michael Jackson called last night. Do you fancy maybe doing a song with him?," he said. "And they all went, 'nah.'" Duran Duran, who are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their self-titled debut album, will drop their 15th studio album, Future Past, on Oct. 22 via BMG. - Billboard, 8/3/21...... In other MJ news, a recent series of important legal victories have given Jackson's estate hope for a kind of comeback in the months ahead. One of Jackson's accusers' lawsuit was dismissed in October 2020, and another was tossed out in April of 2021. In May, a ruling in a tax case slashed their debt to the IRS dramatically. The estate suddenly stands nearly clear of a dozen years of disputes, and entertainment attorney and Jackson estate co-executor John Branca says he expects that in the next 18 months it can finally be taken out of probate court and turned into a trust for Jackson's three children, who are all now adults. "I was always optimistic," Branca told the AP. "Michael inspired the planet and his music still does. There was never any doubt about that." Branca says the first priority is the revival of the Cirque du Soleil show "Michael Jackson: One at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas." It is slated to reopen Aug. 19 after a coronavirus closure of nearly a year and a half, in time for a major celebration there planned for Jackson's Aug. 29 birthday. Then the Broadway show "MJ: The Musical" will follow quickly on its heels, the first of several planned projects. Although Branca and his associates have brought in $2.5 billion in revenue for the Jackson estate in the 11 years since Michael passed and Jackson has remained the top earning deceased celebrity every year since his death at age 50 from a lethal dose of the anesthetic propofol, Branca says the way Jackson's musical legacy echoes through modern artists may be his most impressive legacy. "Kanye West, Drake, Beyonc, Usher, Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande -- they all point back to Michael," Branca said. "His influence is really enormous." - AP, 7/31/21...... ZZ Top played its first concert since the recent death of its longtime bassist Dusty Hill in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on July 30. Elwood Francis, the group's guitar tech of 20 years, filled in for Hill, and during the show, frontman Billy Gibbons expressed the late bass player's desire for the band to continue on after his passing. "We're gonna have a good time in here tonight. Got a new guy up here, as you know. Dusty gave me the directive. My friend, your pal, Elwood Francis is gonna hold it down behind me," Gibbons told the crowd. Later in the concert, Gibbons added, "How about that Elwood? Tearing up that bottom there for Dusty." The band announced in a statement on July 28 that Hill had died at age 72. In an interview with, Gibbons revealed that Hill had requested dismissing himself from ZZ Top's current tour. He said, 'Yeah, let me go check this out'," Gibbons said. "And of course I said, 'Hey, man, health is number one. Go do your thing.' And I could tell through those first two valiant attempts, if he's not giving it 110 per cent, he was the first one to kind of say, 'Gee whiz. Let's go take care of this.'" Gibbons continued: "It's no secret that over the past few years he had a pretty rough go with a broken shoulder, followed with a broken hip. And he had some problems with some ulcers. So he's been kind of tiptoeing through keeping himself ship-shape, best he could. But I think that this was a real challenge. And by throwing in the towel, it might've caught up with him. Who knows? I'm just glad he's in a good spot." Gibbons said all that can be determined so far is that the musician died in his sleep. "Let's face it, you don't necessarily pass away from a broken shoulder or broken hip," he said. "Although the attending physician had earlier warned him that bursitis was not uncommon, even arthritis, and they said it's not a very comfortable place to be. And I could tell that he was moving a little slow. He said, 'Boy, this shoulder and hip are really starting to become a problem.' But, as of this juncture, yeah, it was off to dreamland and beyond." - Billboard/New Musical Express, 8/1/21...... Aretha FranklinAs the new Aretha Franklin biopic Aretha is being readied for a US release on Aug. 13, the Queen of Soul's handprints were unveiled outside Legends Plaza in her hometown of Detroit of Aug. 1. The unveiling at the Detroit Historical Society Museum coincided with the opening of a new, temporary museum exhibit on Franklin, who died Aug. 16, 2018 of pancreatic cancer at age 76 in her Detroit home. Franklin cast her handprints in concrete for installation on the plaza in 2017 at the Detroit Music Hall's celebration of the dedication of Aretha Franklin Way in the Motor City, according to the historical society. They last were seen as part of the museum's commemorative exhibit following Franklin's death and are being placed on permanent display in conjunction with the upcoming release of Respect. The new museum exhibition formally opened on Aug. 1, and will feature costumes from Respect, along with other artifacts. Meanwhile, L.A.'s Grammy Museum will host a panel discussion keyed to Respect on Aug. 12. The discussion will feature the film's star, Jennifer Hudson, as well as Stephen Bray and Jason Michael Webb. Variety's Chris Willman will moderate. Respect is scheduled to be theatrically released in the US on Aug. 13, a full year after its original scheduled release date. The release date was bumped a few times because of the Covid-19 pandemic. - AP/Billboard, 8/1/21...... The BBC is reporting that Van Morrison has ended his legal challenge against the Northern Irish government over its ban on live music. The 75-year-old has been an outspoken critic of pandemic lockdown measures, criticizing what he calls the "pseudo-science" of socially distanced gigs in August and writing multiple songs denouncing lockdowns which were met with significant backlash. In January, the Celtic crooner announced that he was planning a legal challenge after Northern Ireland banned live performances in an attempt to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Now, following the Stormont's Executive's recent decision to allow live music to return, Morrison has dropped the challenge. He was forced to cancel a run of shows at Belfast's Ulster Hall due to begin in late July. After the release of Morrison's anti-lockdown songs, Northern Ireland's Health Minister Robin Swann criticized the longstanding singer, who he accused of delivering a "smear on all those involved in the public health response." Meanwhile, Eric Clapton -- who appeared on one of Morrison's anti-lockdown songs "Stand And Deliver" -- recently declared that he will not perform concerts that require proof of vaccination. - NME, 8/3/21...... Bob Dylan will release a new 7-inch vinyl single featuring a previously unheard version of "Blind Willie McTell" on Aug. 20 via Jack White's Third Man Records. Dylan's original track, which can be viewed on YouTube, initially emerged from the sessions for his 1983 album Infidels, but didn't make the final album cut and a first version didn't arrive until 1991, when it featured on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1 - 3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961-1991. While the original track featured a stripped-back acoustic piano-guitar rendition led by Dylan and Mark Knopfler, the new seven-inch features two full-band takes featuring Dylan, Knopfler, Mick Taylor, Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. Only the A-side of the single ('take 1') will only be available on the seven-inch, but the B-side ('take 5') will also appear on the forthcoming upcoming Springtime In New York: The Bootleg Series Vol. 16 , which arrives on Sept. 17. Meanwhile in other Dylan-related news, the estate of the co-writer of Dylan's chart-topping 1976 album Desire was handed a defeat on July 30 in a lawsuit against Dylan and Universal Music Group which hoped to establish co-ownership of the songs that he had a hand in. Late songwriter Jacques Levy's widow Claudia filed the lawsuit back in January after Dylan sold his publishing catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group in December 2020, arguing that the estate should receive a portion of the overall amount that Dylan took home from the reported $300 million sale. Dylan and UMG's lawyers contended that the original agreement drafted between Dylan and Levy in 1975 made it clear that he would not own any of the material, and that his profit participation would consist of a share of songwriting royalties, which Judge Barry Ostrager of the Supreme Court of New York agreed with. "Upon review of the 1975 Agreement and the competing arguments, the Court finds the Agreement is clear and unambiguous on its face when read as a whole," Judge Ostrager said in his 18-page decision. Dylan's lawyer Orin Snyder said he and his client were pleased with the decision. "As we said when the case was filed, this lawsuit was a sad attempt to profit off the recent catalog sale. We're glad it's now over," he said. - NME, 8/3/21...... During a new interview with Marc Maron on his WTF With Marc Maron podcast, former Fleetwood Mac singer/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham opened up on his 2018 firing from the band, while boldly admitting that "pretty much everyone would love to see me come back." Buckingham revealed that he is still in contact with "soul mate" Mick Fleetwood, the drummer and co-founder of the band. "We love each other and we reinforced each others sensibilities in the band," said Buckingham, before adding: "it's my sense that pretty much everyone would love to see me come back." However Buckingham also expressed doubt that his re-joining the group is actually "doable." Meanwhile, Buckingham is set to release his new self-titled solo album on Sept. 17 and will launch a fall 2021 US tour behind the new album in Milwaukee on Sept. 1. - NME, 8/3/21...... The Beach Boys have shared two unreleased songs including an unreleased a capella version of their 1971 track "Surf's Up." The two tracks are taken from the band's huge recently released box set, Feel Flows - The Sunflower & Surf's Up Sessions 1969-1971. After sharing a new recording of the Surf's Up track "Big Sur" in June, the band have now shared an a capella version of its title track as well as a reimagined mix of the Sunflower track "This Whole World" on The band's new 5-disc and digital release includes newly remastered versions of both albums together with 108 unreleased tracks and live recordings. It also includes alternate versions and mixes, a cappella recordings, radio promotions from the album sessions as well as isolated backing vocal tracks. The release, which dropped on July 30, also comes with a new 48-page book featuring archival interviews with the group and a new set of linear notes. The box set is available as a limited edition translucent gold and translucent blue 4-vinyl edition or as a two-vinyl/two-CD option. - NME, 8/2/21...... Bruce Springsteen's daughter Jessica Springsteen has failed to qualify for the Equestrian Park individual jumping finals at the Olympics 2020 in Tokyo. As previously reported, 29-year-old Jessica -- the daughter of The Boss and Patti Scialfa -- competed as the youngest member of the US showjumping team at the Tokyo games on Aug. 3. She is ranked in the world's top 15 and was vying for glory in the team event, alongside team members Kent Farrington and Laura Kraut. She had to secure a top 30 finish in the individual class to confirm her place in the Aug. 4 final. Per ESPN, however, her horse ran into trouble at the 14-jump course's 11th obstacle. The pair earned four penalty points after knocking down a rail, although Jessica's score was high enough to keep her on the bubble. She was eliminated approximately one hour after riding. Despite the elimination, Jessica will compete in the jumping team event on Aug. 6. "All in all, I'm thrilled with the round, and I'm excited for the rest of the week," she said following the jumping finals. Jessica has been riding her 12-year-old horse, Don Juan van de Donkhoeve, for around two years. She was an alternate for the London Summer Olympics in 2012 but did not participate. - New Musical Express, 8/3/21...... Alice CooperAn Alice Cooper-themed coloring book officially endorsed by the shock-rocker himself is due out on Aug. 27. Titled Welcome 2 My Nightmare, features a selection of images to colour in associated with Cooper, including album artwork and other notable iconography. In an Instagram preview given by Eyesore Merch, fans will apparently be able to color in an image of the Coop as Medusa as well as an image inspired by 1972's School's Out. Welcome 2 My Nightmare is the latest installment in a string of books made by the UK company Rock N Roll Colouring, with each one celebrating the art of a different act. They released their first instalments, themed around Judas Priest and Motörhead respectively, in late 2020. - NME, 8/2/21...... In other shock-rocker news, Ozzy Osbourne announced on Twitter on July 29 he plans to release a 30th anniversary reissue of his 1991 solo album, No More Tears on Sept. 17. The new version of the LP includes 12 new rare tracks that will be hitting streaming services for the very first time. The reissue will be available as both an upgraded digital release and an LP edition which will come as a two-disc set on black vinyl. Considered one of Ozzy's best-loved albums, it's not just fans who have a lot of love for the rocker's sixth LP. "I have a lot of great memories of making the album," Osbourne said in a statement. In addition to the original album and a handful of demos, hits such as "I Don't Want To Change The World," "Mama, I'm Coming Home," "Road To Nowhere," and the title track will all appear on the expanded edition as live recordings from Osbourne's No More Tours tour in 1992. - NME, 8/1/21...... The estate of late funk-rock icon Prince has sold a controlling stake in the rights to his intellectual property. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune paper, the three youngest of Prince's six siblings have each agreed to sell their inheritance in the estate to New York independent music publisher and talent management company Primary Wave. The report reveals that Primary Wave, which also owns a music catalogue that includes Nirvana and Ray Charles, in July bought 100% of Prince's youngest sibling Omarr Baker's interest in the estate. Previously, the company bought 90 per cent of Tyka Nelson's stake and 100 per cent of the late Alfred Jackson's interest. The intellectual property sold includes Prince's name and likeness, royalties from his masters, and publishing rights, as well as his renowned Paisley Park studios, as per Rolling Stone. Prince's oldest three siblings -- Sharon, Norrine, and John Nelson -- said they have no plans to sell their stakes in the rights to the singer's estate, and Sharon told the paper that Nelson and Baker "didn't have the patience to wait." rince Rogers Nelson died of an accidental fentanyl overdose in 2016. Due to the absence of a will, and being he had no legal partner or children, sorting out his estate has been a complicated affair. - NME, 8/1/21...... Elton John has postponed part of the German leg of his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour due to ongoing capacity restrictions. The tour initially commenced in 2018, and is expected to resume later this year. However, venues in Germany are not expected to be at full capacity in time, meaning his Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Mannheim and Cologne shows in the country will be postponed to 2023. "As we begin to exit this terrible global pandemic, we are all faced with regulations and restrictions that we must adhere to," John said in a statement. "As such it has been necessary to once again review my Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour and make some difficult decisions. I hope you can appreciate that these decisions are not ones we have taken lightly, but with due consideration for the situation in each country and the safety of our fans and everyone involved with this amazing show. Based on the information we have received, venues in Germany will not be allowed to reopen to 100 per cent capacity in the near future, and as we have sold 100 per cent of the tickets to my show we have taken the decision to reschedule," he added. John's shows in the UK are still expected to take place beginning in Oct. 2021, kicking off at AO Arena in Manchester. - NME, 8/1/21...... Elvis PresleyAn Elvis Presley biographer has claimed that the rock'n'roll legend died not because he was a drug abuser, but because he had bad genes. In her book Elvis: Destined To Die Young, author Sally Hoedel claims the singer's long-documented health problems -- which were often written off as the consequences of addiction -- could have been caused by Presley's maternal grandparents, who were first cousins. Hoedel, a historian, has said Presley's mother's family -- including three uncles -- were cursed by early death, and she doesn't think it was a coincidence that Presley's mother, Gladys, died at 46 and Presley at 42. "They had a similar four-year period of degenerative health, and that's interesting because she did not take the same medication as he took," Hoedel writes in the book. Presley's health problems were intertwined with his life story, she writes, adding that he suffered from disease in nine of 11 bodily systems. Five of those disease processes, she claims, were present from birth. She believes examining them is a way to "humanize" the mythical figure of Presley. "Elvis is seen as less or more than human, like an image, and he's been reduced to this rock'n'roll guy who died in his bathroom from taking too many pills," she told The Observer paper. "That's not enough for a man who culturally shifted our universe. It's not accurate and it's not enough. Elvis was a sick man who hid a lot of his weakness to fill concert venues and support his family. By examining his flaws and health issues, maybe we can start to see his humanity again," she added. Meanwhile in other Elvis-related news, the mother of Presley's widow Priscilla Presley has died at age 95. Priscilla, 76, told her followers on Instagram that she's been left "heartbroken" following the passing of her mother, Anna Lillian Iversen. "I am heartbroken. My beautiful mother passed today. She was the light of our lives," Priscilla said. "She never wanted any attention on herself. Her children were her everything. May you Rest In Peace. You will always be with us," she added. - NME, 8/1/21...... Charles Connor, known for being the drummer in Little Richard's band as well as performing with other greats including James Brown and Sam Cooke, died peacefully in his sleep on July 31 while under hospice care at his home in Glendale, Calif. He was 86. Mr. Connor's daughter, Queenie Connor Sonnefeld, said her father had been diagnosed with normal pressure hydrocephalus, a brain disorder that causes fluid buildup. She called the drummer a "great father" who was always positive and a person who never gave up on his dreams. "He was one of those drummers that was a bricklayer of creating that rock 'n' roll genre," she said. "He played behind so many legendary musicians in the 1950s. He was a loving grandfather and was very proud of his family and took a lot of pride in his contributions to rock 'n' roll," she added. Mr. Connor began playing drums at age 12 and during his career toured with various musicians such as Brown, Jackie Wilson and the original Coasters. He also received a certificate of special recognition from Rep. Maxine Waters in 1994. Mr. Connor released his motivational book Don't Give Up Your Dreams: You Can Be a Winner Too! in 2008, and was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame two years later. In 2013, Mr. Connor released his EP album Still Knockin'. At the time of his death, he was working on his autobiographical documentary. - AP, 8/1/21.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Dusty Hill, ZZ Top's bassist for more than 50 years, died on July 28 according to a statement on from the band on Instagram. He was 72. In the statement, Hill's bandmates Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard said that "We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, TX. We, along with legions of ZZ Top fans around the world, will miss your steadfast presence, your good nature and enduring commitment to providing that monumental bottom to the 'Top'. Dusty HillWe will forever be connected to that 'Blues Shuffle in C'. You will be missed greatly, amigo." Earlier in July, Gibbons and Beard played their first performances without Hill in more than 50 years, stating that the bassist had been forced to seek medical attention "to address a hip issue," according to a statement on Facebook, although his ailment was apparently more serious than they let on. "Per Dusty's request the show must go on!," the statement continued, and the band's longtime guitar tech, Elwood Francis, filled in. Hill's cause of death has not yet been determined, and it is unclear if it is related to the hip injury. Born in Joseph Hill in Dallas in 1949, Dusty played cello in high school, which made for an easy transition to electric bass. He, his guitarist brother Rocky and future fellow ZZ Top bandmate Beard, a drummer, played in local bands such as the Warlocks, the Cellar Dwellers and American Blues, working the same Texas touring circuits as ace guitarist Billy Gibbons' band, the Moving Sidewalks. The brothers parted company in 1968 over musical differences, and Hill and Beard moved to Houston, where they eventually united with Gibbons in ZZ Top. Gibbons had formed the band in 1969 and recorded a one-off independent single produced by manager Bill Ham, who would remain with them for decades. The act's original bassist introduced the guitarist to Beard; Hill would join Gibbons and Beard for a gig in Beaumont, Tex., on Feb. 10, 1970. The lineup remained the same for more than five decades: They celebrated their 50th anniversary at a San Antonio concert in February 2020. Launched on London Records in 1971, the Houston-bred threesome secured its first major hit with the No. 8 LP Tres Hombres in 1973; the set included the raunchy single "La Grange," a homage to the notorious bordello The Chicken Ranch in the like-named Texas city. Another top 10 album, Fandango!, followed in 1975, powered by the FM-staple single "Tush." Half of that album was recorded live in New Orleans, and captured the band's powerful blues-rock groove. By the end of the '70s, the band's potent brand of gutsy, no-frills blues 'n' boogie had made it one of America's top concert attractions, and its elaborate 1976 Worldwide Texas Tour featured actual livestock on stage. Dusty HillZZ Top moved from London Records to Warner Bros. in 1979 for Deguello, which sold 1 million copies. ZZ Top then moved to another level of popularity with 1983's Eliminator, which achieved "diamond" status (10 million records sold) and found Gibbons and his band mates experimenting with new technologies -- guitar loops, manipulated vocals and synthesized bass and drums -- that refreshed their sound. In the wake of the follow-up, Recycler, the band was cast as themselves in director Bob Zemeckis' 1990 movie Back to the Future III. In 1994, ZZ Top exited Warner Bros. for a highly publicized $35 million pact with RCA Records, and released a platinum-selling album Antenna, which was followed by XXX (1999), Mescolero (2003) and La Futura (2012). ZZ Top was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, and the group charted a total of seven albums in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 200 album chart. Those paying tributes to Hill on social media include John Fogerty, who noted "the show we did together just last week would be his last... So heartbreaking," Ozzy Osbourne ("My thoughts go out to @BillyfGibbons and Frank Beard and all the #ZZTop fans around the world"), Paul Stanley ("What an icon. @ZZTop's bassist forever. So unique." and Bootsy Collins ("Danggit! We lost another loving Giant legend of the Rock & Roll Empire, Mr. Dusty Hill."). The contemporary rock band Foo Fighters also included a ZZ Top medley in their July 28 concert at Madison Square Garden in tribute to Hill. Billy Gibbons has reportedly said that ZZ Top will go on in a July 29 interview with SiriusXM radio host Eddie Trunk. "As Dusty said upon his departure, 'Let the show go on!' And... with respect, we'll do well to get beyond this and honor his wishes," he was quoted as saying. The band's U.S. tour is currently scheduled to run through the end of the year, with the final show set for Dec. 12 in Midland, Tex. -, 7/28/21.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Queen's Brian May has shared a new reworked version of his 1992 single "Too Much Love Will Kill You" on YouTube. The track originally appeared on May's debut solo album Back To The Light, which is being reissued on Aug. 6, and May calls it "in a way, the most important song I ever wrote." "'Too Much Love Will Kill You' is a big, long story and the version that you hear on Back to the Light is the original," May explained in a statement. "It has the original keyboard that I played when we were writing the song. Me and Frank Musker, and his lady friend at the time, were in a room and it was like a therapy session for me. I was just pouring out all these words because I felt like I was trapped. I was in a place that I could never, ever get out of. All I could do is write about it. This is the only song I wrote in that probably nine months or a year period." A number of bonus tracks will also be released on a second disc of the reissue titled Out of the Light. - New Musical Express, 7/30/21...... Bruce SpringsteenBruce Springsteen has "respectfully declined" to allow his name to be used for a New Jersey rest stop in his honor. The state has announced plans to honor a number of its famous native sons, including Jon Bon Jovi, Frank Sinatra, Whitney Houston, Toni Morrison, James Gandofini and Toni Morrison, along the Garden State Parkway as part of Gov. Phil Murphy's plan to expand the New Jersey Hall Of Fame. Springsteen, however, is reported to have declined the proposal according to a statement by NJHOF spokeswoman Natasha Alagarasan. "Bruce Springsteen respectfully declined to have a service area named after him," she said in a statement. The rest stops will also feature a display curated by the New Jersey Hall Of Fame, including exhibits, artefacts and a video monitor that screens vignettes on the inductees as well as posters designed by New Jersey architect Michael Grave. - NME, 7/29/21...... In other Springsteen-related news, a mega-concert in Central Park co-headlined by Springsteen, Paul Simon, Journey, Jennifer Hudson, The Killers and LL Cool J will go ahead as planned on Aug. 21 despite new concern over the Covid-19 Delta variant. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joined music industry legend Clive Davis, who is co-producing the concert, for a press conference on July 27, unveiling details of what de Blasio promised will be a "historic," "blockbuster" event. Officially titled "We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert," the event is set for Aug. 21 at 5 p.m., and the concert will be broadcast live globally on CNN with 80% of tickets free. While de Blasio initially proposed having vaccinated and unvaccinated sections, he said that attendees will be required to present proof of vaccination. "New York City is back. You can see it, you can feel it, and it's time to celebrate on the Great Lawn," de Blasio said. His office has been rolling out media campaigns to encourage vaccination among residents who are reluctant to get the shot, and the mayor continued to urge New Yorkers to get vaccinated at the press conference, calling the vaccine "the number-one savior." "If you want to go to this concert," he said, "get vaccinated." - Billboard, 7/27/21..... Elton John has debunked recent claims concerning HIV and AIDS made by rapper DaBaby after DaBaby launched into a headline-making homophobic tirade about the disease during his set at Rolling Loud Miami. During his set, DaBaby shouted to his fans, "If you didn t show up today with HIV, AIDS, or any of them deadly sexually transmitted diseases, that ll make you die in two to three weeks, then put your cellphone lighter up! Ladies, if your p---y smell like water, put your cellphone lighter up! Fellas, if you ain t sucking d--- in the parking lot, put your cellphone lighter up!" In the caption of his July 28 Instagram post, Elton laid out a series of important facts, including that HIV has affected more than 70 million people globally, and that gay Black men in America have a 50% chance of contracting the virus in their lifetime due largely to "stigma and shame around HIV and homosexuality." Perhaps in the most poignant critique of DaBaby's comments, John also stressed the importance of understanding how HIV treatment has evolved to the point of being able to effectively bring a person's viral load to undetectable levels, meaning the virus can no longer be transmitted to others. "You can live a long and healthy life with HIV," John wrote. "Treatment is so advanced that with one pill a day, HIV can become undetectable in your body so you can t pass it onto other people. DaBaby walked back his comments about HIV and AIDS on July 27, though firmly held his ground on the remainder of his comments. "Anybody who done ever been effected by AIDS/HIV, y'all got the right to be upset, what I said was insensitive even though I have no intentions on offending anybody. So my apologies. But the LGBT community... I ain't trippin on y'all, do you. Y'all business is y'all business," he wrote. - Billboard, 7/28/21...... Stevie NicksStevie Nicks has reflected on the 40th anniversary of her hit 1981 solo debut Bella Donna in a lengthy message on Twitter, noting the album "did not break up Fleetwood Mac." In the July 27 post, Nicks revealed the album's title track "was written about my boyfriend's mother who was involved with a man in Chile during the coup that happened there in 1973." "The man she loved was banished to France. Banished -- or imprisoned, that was the choice. The love story never really ended, but she never saw him again. I was so touched by this story of lost love that I wrote 'Bella Donna'," she added. Nicks revealed that the moment she finished the song was the moment she knew she had the basis for her first solo record, which she believed in "from the bottom of my heart." The story of her boyfriend's mother changed the way she looked at love, a concept she would explore later throughout her first album. "It defined how I would feel about love forever," she said of "Bella Donna." "It broke my heart and gave me the strength to fight for it." She added that "Bella Donna" "opened the doors" for her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist, as well as other female artists, "the thing I am most proud of." Nicks was inducted into the Rock Hall as a solo artist in Mar. 2019, and 1998 with Fleetwood Mac. - Billboard, 7/28/21...... In other Fleetwood Mac-related news, former band member Lindsey Buckingham said he thinks his firing from Fleetwood Mac in 2018 "has harmed the band's legacy" during a new interview on the WTF With Marc Maron podcast which became available on July 29. Buckingham, who was replaced by Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers' Mike Campbell and Crowded House's Neil Finn, told host Marc Maron that he'd asked the band for "an extra three months" to put out a solo album and take it on tour in the US before resuming his duties with FM. "There was certainly one person who did not want to bestow that on me," Buckingham said, before confirming that the individual in question was Stevie Nicks. "To be fair, everyone was anxious to get on the road but we've all made time for each other's [side-projects]. I've been in the band for 43 years for God's sake... Jesus! That sort of led to other things that kind of built up around that. And then it just got to the point where someone [Nicks] just didn't want to work with me anymore. And other people [in the group] were perhaps not feeling empowered enough to stand up for me when possibly they should have or could have." Buckingham continued: "I'm not saying that I can't be hard to get along with sometimes, but if you put it in a larger context of all the things that Fleetwood Mac has been through and what we've risen above in order to keep our eye on the larger picture and in order to fulfil our destiny over and over again... What was most disappointing about it to me was not, 'Oh, I'm not gonna get to do this tour'. What it was [is] again, we spent 43 years building this legacy which was about rising above things -- it stood for more than the music. And by allowing this to happen through some levels of weakness -- my own weakness included -- I think we did some harm to that legacy. And that's a shame." Buckingham went on to say that he has not been in contact with Nicks since his departure, apart from when she sent him a letter following his heart attack in 2019. - NME, 7/29/21...... The Grateful Dead has teamed up with iconic clothing manufacture Levi's to unveil a new capsule collection of t-shirts, denim jackets, sweatshirts and more -- all complete with hints of tie dye, iconic Grateful Dead graphics and tour dates. "Tune in, turn on, rock out. Our collab with the Grateful Dead features iconic graphics, special denim pieces, customizations -- and an immortal concert tee," the company posted on Twitter. "We wanted to do something that felt authentically rooted in the Grateful Dead's incredibly rich and unique history, so we dug deep into some of their more nuanced graphics and storytelling," Levi's exec Karyn Hillman said in a statement. "It's a deep dive into Grateful Dead's storied narrative and devoted fan base, only remixed through a contemporary lens," she added. The Levi's GD line is the latest in a string of officially licensed GD items recently made available online, including an officially licensed "Terrapin Station bobblehead" currently available on - Billboard, 7/27/21...... Linda RonstadtThe CNN-produced Linda Ronstadt documentary Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice has been nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Arts and Culture Documentary category. Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, the documentary looks at the singer's career peaks in the '70s and '80s, and the grace that she has shown in dealing with the degenerative condition (progressive supranuclear palsy) that has stilled her remarkable singing voice. The film also brought Ronstadt her 11th competitive Grammy win in Mar. 2021 (she also received a lifetime achievement award in 2016). The other nominees in the Emmy category include the Miles Davis PBS documentary Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, along with docs on Harry Belafonte and Walter Mercado broadcast on Peacock and Netflix, respectively. The Emmy awards will be presented in two ceremonies in late September. - Billboard, 7/27/21...... Joni Mitchell is set to release the recordings of two sets at a Canadian coffee shop that were recorded by none other than Jimi Hendrix. Mitchell's performances at Ottawa's Le Hibou Coffee House were captured by Hendrix in March 1968 during a two week residency by Mitchell ahead of the release of her debut album, Song To A Seagull. Hendrix had performed at the nearby Capitol Theatre earlier that evening, and even noted plans to record her performance in his diary. "Talked with Joni Mitchell on the phone. I think I'll record her tonight with my excellent tape recorder (knock on wood)... hmmm... can't find any wood... everything's plastic," he wrote. The recording, which will feature on Mitchell's upcoming collection Joni Mitchell Archives - Vol. 2: The Reprise Years (1968-1971), was captured while Hendrix sat on the floor at the front of the stage. Recalling the performance in the new collection's sleeve notes, Mitchell said: "They came and told me, 'Jimi Hendrix is here, and he's at the front door.' I went to meet him. He had a large box. He said to me, 'My name is Jimi Hendrix. I'm on the same label as you. Reprise Records.' We were both signed about the same time. He said, 'I'd like to record your show. Do you mind?' I said, 'no, not at all.' There was a large reel-to-reel tape recorder in the box. The stage was only about a foot off the ground. He knelt at edge of the stage, with a microphone, at my feet. All during the show, he kept twisting knobs. He was engineering it, I don't know what he was controlling, volume? He was watching the needles or something, messing with knobs. He beautifully recorded this tape. Of course I played part of the show to him. He was right below me." Hendrix's tape was stolen a few days later and presumed to be lost, but it recently resurfaced in a private collection donated to the Library and Archives Canada (LAC), and returned to Mitchell. Mitchell's performance of one of the songs from the set, "The Dawntreader," has been shared on YouTube. - NME, 7/29/21...... Willie NelsonThe life and career of country/pop legend Willie Nelson will be the focus of the multi-part docuseries Willie Nelson and Family from Blackbird Presents and Sight Unseen, it was announced on July 27. Nelson, 88, will participate in the docuseries, as will many of his family and friends. With the aim of making the "definitive docuseries" of the entertainer's career, the project's filmmakers will also benefit from access to Nelson's archives from his seven decades in music. Filmmakers Thom Zimny (Springsteen on Broadway, Elvis Presley: The Searcher, The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash) and Oren Moverman (The Messenger) will co-direct the docuseries, with production already underway in Austin, Los Angeles, Maui, Nashville, and New York. Sight Unseen, Moverman's production company, serves as producing and financing partner. - Billboard, 7/27/21...... Blondie have announced a new NFT collaboration with Hackatao to celebrate the 93rd birthday of legendary pop artist Andy Warhol. The "crypto art series," dubbed "Hack The Borders," will be be released through digital art online auction platform Nifty Gateway in August. The artwork is based upon Warhol's first ever digital portrait of Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry, shot in 1985 and currently available for viewing on Twitter. The one-of-a-kind artwork, which Blondie have called "a present day manifestation of the punk rock movement," will land on Aug. 6 via Nifty Gateway, to celebrate what would've been Warhol's 93rd birthday. - NME, 7/28/21...... Whitesnake and Foreigner have announced a co-headlining UK and Ireland tour with special guests Europe next year to kick off on May 10, 2022 in Dublin. "I pray every day we can all make this happen and once again, share unforgettable evenings together and celebrate the amazing journey we have been on for almost 50 years!" said Whitesnake's David Coverdale in a statement. Mick Jones of Foreigner added: "We can't wait to kick off the summer in the UK and Ireland with a massive tour alongside our friends Whitesnake and Europe. We're looking forward to playing all our biggest hits for our fans, and rocking across the country." The tour will also visit Glasgow (5/12/22), Newcastle Upon Tyne (5/14/22), London (5/16/22), Manchester (5/18/22), Nottingham (5/20/22), Birmingham (5/22/22) and Cardiff (5/25/22). - NME, 7/27/21...... Bob Marley's widow Rita Marley has announced a new scholarship to be awarded to three Jamaican women each year, aiming to empower "women from the lower socio-economic stratum of Jamaica's society." In a statement given to Billboard, Sharon Marley, Rita's daughter and ex-member of Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, said, "Providing scholarships for young women needing assistance to complete their educational goals -- thus maintaining and bringing high standards to their communities -- is a big part of Dr. Rita Marley's vision." In addition to the scholarship announcement, Rita Marley celebrated her 75th birthday on July 24 with a livestream tribute concert on her official YouTube channel. - NME, 7/26/21...... John Hutchinson, an early collaborator of David Bowie's who played guitar on an early demo of Bowie's iconic track "Space Oddity," passed away in a UK hospital on July 24 following a long period of illness. "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of John Hutchinson who passed in hospital yesterday after a long illness," a post on the official David Bowie Twitter page reads. Hutchinson was described as "a semi-retiered and little-known jazz guitarist and a veteran of three important David Bowie bands for seven years between 1966 and 1973." Perhaps Hutchinson's most notable contribution to Bowie's legacy is his involvement in the creation of "Space Oddity," playing guitar on multiple early versions. In February of 1969, Bowie and Hutchinson recorded the earliest version of "Space Oddity," with Hutchinson playing guitar and Bowie playing the Stylophone. The official studio version of "Space Oddity," which appears on Bowie's self-titled 1969 album, does not include Hutchinson. However, the demo later featured on both a 2009 reissue of the album, along with a 73 single collection titled the Clareville Grove Demos in 2019. It can also be heard on YouTube. In 1973, Bowie asked Hutchinson to join the Spiders from Mars as a touring member, performing 12-string guitar on Bowie's Aladdin Sane tours in the US, UK and Japan. - NME, 7/27/21...... Tom JonesTom Jones has announced a new set of UK tour dates in 2021 in support of his recent UK chart-topping album Surrounded By Time. Sir Tom is now set to tour in the UK in December, launching on Dec. 5 in Glasgow, then hitting Manchester (12/6), Birmingham (12/8) and London (12/9). "We're delighted to have Tom Jones, one of the UK's most seminal artists, join the roster of our "Welcome Back Show" series, and we can't wait for what promises to be a special evening," Marc Saunders, Programming Manager at London's The O2, said in a statement. - NME, 7/26/21...... In an Instagram post on July 25, Lynyrd Skynyrd said its co-founding guitarist Gary Rossington is expected to make a full recovery following an emergency heart surgery earlier in July. Rossington, who is 69 and the band's sole surviving original member, is currently at "home resting and recovering with his family" and wants fans to know that he "expects a full recovery," the group wrote on July 23 on Facebook. Earlier in the week, Skynyrd singer Johnny Van Zant told the crowd at Minnesota's Twin Cities Summer Jam that Rossington had to undergo an "emergency stent put in his heart." He also noted that guitarist Damon Johnson would fill in for Rossington while he recovers from surgery. "After this past year, the country being shut down and everything we have all been thru, The Rossington's encouraged the band to go perform in his absence," Skynyrd continued on Facebook. "Music is a powerful healer! We all felt playing the shows and bringing the music to y'all was a better option than cancelling the performances." Lynyrd Skynyrd currently has tour dates scheduled through late November. This isn't the first time Rossington -- who formed Lynyrd Skynyrd with Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, Larry Junstrom and Bob Burns in 1964 -- has experienced heart problems. The guitarist suffered a heart attack in Oct. 2015 and had to undergo emergency heart surgery the following year. The band was also forced to postpone shows in 2019 while he had a heart valve repaired. - Billboard, 7/25/21...... Clarence "Mac" McDonald, a keyboardist, producer, songwriter and arranger who collaborated with the likes of Ray Charles, Bill Withers, James Taylor and Cheech & Chong, died on July 21 in Las Vegas after a long battle with cancer. He was 76. In the 1960s, The L.A.-born McDonald served as the musical director and pianist for The Vocals -- an opening act for Ray Charles that was a forerunner of The 5th Dimension -- and later played keyboards on "Moving on Up", the theme song to the 1975-85 CBS sitcom The Jeffersons that was performed by actress Ja'Net DuBois and a gospel choir. He made songwriting contributions to Deniece Williams' 1976 debut album This Is Niecy, and played on songs including James Taylor's 1975 classic "How Sweet It Is" and Ray Charles and Gladys Knight's "Heaven Help Us All," from Charles' final album, 2004's Genius Loves Company. He was also the only musician heard on Cheech & Chong's seminal 1972 comedy album Big Bambu. McDonald went on to work with such other acclaimed artists as The Temptations, Carole King, The Jackson 5, Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, Hall & Oates, Nancy Wilson and Tina Turner during his 50-plus-year career. Survivors include his wife, Susan. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/27/21...... Ron PopeilRon Popeil, an inventor and the face of infomercials for "as-seen-on-TV" products like Showtime Rotisserie and Pocket Fisherman, died on July 27 surrounded by family after undergoing a medical emergency at Los Angeles Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He was 86. Mr. Popeil was best known for the "Set it and forget it" catchphrase used to sell Showtime Rotisserie in late-night infomercials. Long before air fryers became the kitchen appliance du jour, the countertop rotisserie appliance took the home cooking world by storm, having sold over $1 billion worth, according to The mogul is also credited with coining the oft-used infomercial phrase, "But wait, there's more!" Following in the footsteps of his father, Ronco president Samuel "S.J." Popeil who invented the Chop-o-Matic and Veg-o-Matic, Mr. Popeil went on to create products himself including the Mr. Microphone (the first Karaoke machine), the Popeil Pocket Fisherman, the Buttoneer, the Smokeless Ashtray, Popeil's Electric Food Dehydrator, the Inside-the-Egg Scrambler, GLH-9 (Great Looking Hair Formula #9) Hair in a Can Spray, the Rhinestone Stud Setter (Later called the Bedazzler), the Cap Snaffler, the Popeil Automatic Pasta Maker and the Ronco Electric Food Dehydrator. His products can be seen in the Smithsonian Museum today. Perhaps due to the catchiness of his infomercials, Popeil was a hot figure himself, having been portrayed by Dan Aykroyd on a 1976 episode of Saturday Night Live. The SNL skit, which can be viewed on YouTube, saw Aykroyd poking fun of the infomercial style with a fictional "Bat-O-Matic" product. A celebrity in his own right, Mr. Popeil also made appearances on the likes of The X-Files, King of the Hill, The Simpsons, Old School and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. - The New York Post, 7/28/21.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Former Fleetwood Mac member Lindsey Buckingham shared a new single, "On The Wrong Side," on YouTube on July 23. The Fleetwood Mac-inspired song is the latest track shared by Buckingham from his forthcoming self-titled solo album, which will be his first studio effort since 2011's Seeds We Sow, and follows a previous single from the new album released in June, "I Don't Mind." In a statement, Buckingham said "On The Wrong Side" is "not a happy song, subject-matter wise, but it was an ebullient song musically. This was sort of the same idea." Interestingly, Buckingham released a separate track also titled "On The Wrong Side" in 1994 with featured on the soundtrack of the film With Honors. Buckingham has said his new LP "is one I've been intending to get out for a couple of years now, but on more than one occasion, unforeseen circumstances necessitated a postponement of plans." "Now that we're back in gear, I'm thrilled to finally be sharing new music with my listeners!," he added. Lindsey Buckingham is due to arrive on Sept. 17, and Buckingham will launch a fall 2021 US tour behind the new album in Milwaukee on Sept. 1. - New Musical Express, 7/23/21......
CherBritney Spears
Cher has offered to take beleaguered pop star Britney Spears on a tropical island vacation after Spears name-checked the legendary diva in a lengthy Instagram post on July 22. "Maybe I'll just be nice and plant here and keep my dreams alive by thinking about visiting St. Tropez with @cher and eating ice cream. She was one of my favorite singers as a kid and I loved to dress up as her," wrote Spears, who is currently embroiled in a headline-grabbing conservatorship battle with her father. Responding to Britney's post, Cher said in a "#FreeBritney" Twitter post: "When #FreeBritney is FINALLY FREE, I'm Taking her to San Tropez & We'll Eat Ice Cream To Her Hearts Content." The kind words from Cher were just the latest show of support from Britney Nation and the singer's cadre of superstar supporters like Cher, and it came as the pop star mused about who she can trust these days and her current "shoe crisis." - Billboard, 7/23/21...... As the 1-year-delayed Olympics games kicks off Tokyo, Yoko Ono has reacted to her late husband's peace anthem "Imagine" being used during the opening ceremony on July 23. After the athlete parade at Tokyo'snew Olympic Stadium, a number of drones formed a globe above the venue, after which John Legend and Keith Urban joined Spanish performer Alejandro Sanz, Beninese singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo and the Suginami Children's Choir for a moving virtual rendition of "Imagine." Following the performance Ono, who also shares a songwriting credit on the song with John, reacted with a Twitter post where she shared her thoughts on what the song embodied to her and Lennon. "IMAGINE. John and I were both artists and we were living together, so we inspired each other," she wrote. "The song 'Imagine' embodied what we believed together at the time. John and I met -- he comes from the West and I come from the East -- and still we are together." Meanwhile the mini-documentary 24 Hours: The World of John and Yoko was made available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video in May. - NME, 7/23/21...... In other Beatles-related news, isolated audio of Paul McCartney chomping on celery and carrot has been released by the Welsh rock band Super Furry Animals. The band teamed up with Sir Paul on their 2001 track "Receptacle For The Respectable," which will feature on the upcoming 20th-anniversary re-issue of SFA's album Rings Around The World. Band member Gruff Rhys bumped into McCartney at the New Musical Express Awards in 2000, where he accepted the bizarre request to play "carrot and celery" percussion on the song. SFA keyboard player Cian Ciaran commented: "He was going to come to the studio and then decided not to for some reason. So, we sent him stereo backing tracks so he could keep time, then he sent the tape back with a message that started with a really dodgy Welsh accent. Then he goes 'I hope you like it' -- the next thing you know you just hear this chewing sound!" Now fans can get their ears around the full 60-second "Macapella" cameo on YouTube. -, 7/22/21...... The Rolling Stones announced on July 22 that their Covid-19-postponed "No Filter" tour will return to the U.S. this fall, beginning in St. Louis on Sept. 26. The 13-date stadium outing follows on the first leg of the tour in 2019, with rescheduled stops in Charlotte (9/30), Pittsburgh (10/4), Nashville (10/9), Minneapolis (10/24), Tampa (10/29), Dallas (11/2), Atlanta (11/11), and Detroit (11/15) before wrapping in Austin, Tex. on Nov. 20. The band also added new dates in Los Angeles (10/17) and Las Vegas (11/6), as well as their first-ever trip to perform at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Oct. 13, 2021. The band was not, however, able to reschedule previously announced dates in Vancouver, Louisville, Cleveland and Buffalo; ticketholders in those markets will be contacted by Ticketmaster directly with more information about possibly attending nearby shows. All previously purchased tickets will be honored at the rescheduled performances. "I'm so excited to get back on the stage again and want to thank everyone for their patience. See you soon!," Stones frontman Mick Jagger said in a statement, with guitarist Keith Richards adding, "We're back on the road! See you there!" - Billboard, 7/22/21...... James BrownAfter 15 years of legal wrangling, the family of James Brown appears to have finally settled a feud over his estate, which has been valued at anywhere from $5 million to $100 per year. Six years before his death on Christmas Day 2006 at age 73, Brown had specified in a will that he would bequeath little to his heirs, other than a $2 million scholarship fund for his grandchildren. But his daughters Deanna Brown-Thomas and Yamma Brown, among others, found a way to inherit potentially millions of dollars. Although details of the July 9 settlement have not been mad public, several of the late Godfather of Soul's are likely to split up termination rights on the copyrights to Brown's 900 compositions, which according to U.S. law cannot be bequeathed as part of a will. The rights are potentially incredibly valuable -- the publisher portion of Brown's songs, including classics like "I Got You (I Feel Good)" and "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" -- are due to "terminate" and revert to Brown's control under U.S. copyright law starting in the next few years. That allows the Brown heirs to license them to commercials, TV shows, movies and video games or sell them outright. Marc Toberoff, a lawyer for nine of Brown's heirs, says that "all matters" had been settled between the parties and that his clients were "very happy." The deal also paves way for Brown's dying wish to fund scholarships for disadvantaged children to finally be realized. It comes one year after a judge ruled Brown's longtime girlfriend Tommie Rae Hynie was not his legal wife so has no right to Brown's fortune. - Billboard, 7/22/21...... The Boss and a former POTUS are teaming up to release a new book entitled Renegades: Born in the U.S.A. Bruce Springsteen and former Pres. Barack Obama teamed up in February for an 8-part podcast conversation back in February, and now the two are coming together again to tell tales on a literary counterpart. Spanning 320 pages, Renegades: Born in the U.S.A. captures those conversations between the rock legend and the 44th U.S president, and features more than 350 color photos, illustrations, and never-before-seen archival content, according to a press release. "There were serious conversations about the fate of the country, the fortune of its citizens, and the destructive, ugly, corrupt forces at play that would like to take it all down," writes Springsteen in his introduction for the forthcoming book. "This is a time of vigilance when who we are is being seriously tested. Hard conversations about who we are and who we want to become can perhaps serve as a small guiding map for some of our fellow citizens," he continues. "This is a time for serious consideration of who we want to be and what kind of country we will leave our children." Springsteen and Obama first met back in 2008, and went on to form a deep friendship. Renegades: Born in The U.S.A. will arrive Oct. 26 via Penguin Random House in partnership with Higher Ground, the production company established by Barack and Michelle Obama. A trailer for the new book has been shared on YouTube. - Billboard, 7/22/21...... In other Springsteen news, The Boss' famous performances from the legendary 1979 "No Nukes" concert series is being compiled and remastered for release later in 2021. Two of Springsteen and the E Street Band's performances, long touted as among their finest early shows, will be released as The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts. The film features remixed and remastered audio and was edited from the original 16mm film by longtime Springsteen collaborator Thom Zimny. A final release date is still to be confirmed. In Sept. 1979, MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy) organized a series of five "No Nukes" concerts at Madison Square Garden, followed by a rally of almost 200,000 people. As well as performances from MUSE organizers Jackson Browne, Graham Nash and Bonnie Raitt, the shows included performances from Springsteen, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Chaka Khan, Tom Petty and more. Meanwhile, Springsteen has curated a "frat rock" playlist for the latest episode of his SiriusXM show From My Home To Yours. Springsteen introduces the songs by saying, "I just want you to drink beer and go apeshit listening to this music." Among the bands featured were the Swingin' Medallions, The Trashmen, Flamin' Groovies, Fleshtones and The Romantics. - NME, 7/20/21...... Eric ClaptonOn July 21 Eric Clapton was quoted as saying he will not play any live shows that require attendees to show proof that they've received the Covid-19 vaccine. The 76-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, who feared he would "never play again" after receiving both doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, made his statement after U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a press conference on July 19 stating, "We're planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather" by the end of September in England, where 35% of 18- to 30-year-olds have not had their first shot. Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said that nightclubs can be classified as "potential super spreading events" because of attendees being in close contact. Italian architect and film producer Robin Monotti Graziadei shared Clapton's announcement on Instagram's Telegram messaging app. "Following the PM's announcement on Monday the 19th of July 2021 I feel honour bound to make an announcement of my own: I wish to say that I will not perform on any stage where there is a discriminated audience present," the message read, which was signed off by Eric Clapton. "Unless there is provision made for all people to attend, I reserve the right to cancel the show." Clapton previously made his thoughts about Covid loud and clear in 2020 with his anti-lockdown track "Stand and Deliver" with Van Morrison, which he wrote in an earlier Telegram message is "when I found my voice, and even though I was singing his words, they echoed in my heart." - Billboard, 7/21/21...... Dionne Warwick has slammed founderJeff Bezos after the multi-billionaire and a crew of three others blasted off into space on July 20, then in a post-flight news conference thanked his Amazon employees for customers for "paying for the flight." Warwick caught one of Bezos' rather tone-deaf remarks from the press conference: "I also want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all of this," said Bezos, who's worth more than $200 billion and whose company's workers have earned notoriously low wages and unfair treatment. Warwick was not a fan of his comment and shared her disdain for it on Twitter. "Why did he make a truly dumb statement like this? I don't get what he expected from those employed at Amazon! I know it couldn't have been a YAY!! Shame on you, Mr. Bezos...," the multiple Grammy-winner wrote while adding a clown emoji to her tweet. - Billboard, 7/21/21...... '70s artists Joni Mitchell and Bette Midler will be among the 2021 recipients of the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors this December at the Opera House in Washington, D.C. Also receiving the Kennedy Center Honors will be Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr. and Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels. If it seems like the Kennedy Center Honors just aired on CBS, well, they did. The show that would have normally been held in Dec. 2020 was finally held in May (and aired on CBS on June 6), delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Kennedy Center announced that this year's show will return to the famed Opera House after the most recent show was taped all over the Kennedy Center campus to allow for greater social distancing. "I'm grateful to the Kennedy Center for bestowing this honor on my work and I look forward to being a part of this prestigious celebration of the arts. I wish my mother and father were alive to see this. It's a long way from Saskatoon," said Joni Mitchell in a statement, while Bette Midler said she was "profoundly touched by this honor, in fact, I am stunned and grateful beyond words." "For many years I have watched this broadcast celebrating the best talent in the performing arts that America has to offer, and I truly never imagined that I would find myself among these swans. Thank you to the Kennedy Center for recognizing me, and my heartfelt thanks to everyone who put me here," she added. - Billboard, 7/21/21...... Dolly PartonDolly Parton has recreated her 1978 Playboy magazine cover in honor of her husband Carl Dean's 79th birthday. "Today is July 20th," Parton said in a Twitter video commemorating her husband Carl Dean's 79th. "It's my husband Carl's birthday and you're probably wondering why I'm dressed like this. Remember some time back I said I was going to pose for Playboy magazine when I was 75? Well, I'm 75 and they don't have a magazine anymore but my husband always loved the original cover of Playboy, so I was trying to think of something to do to make him happy. He still thinks I'm a hot chick after 57 years -- and I'm not going to try to talk him out of that." Wearing the iconic Playboy bunny ears, a black bodysuit with long black gloves, a pink bowtie and some mesh across her chest, Parton revealed that she did "a little photoshoot" in the outfit and had a new cover made just for him. "The first one, remember this? I was kind of a little butterball in that one," she said of her original shoot. "Well, I'm string cheese now. But he'll probably think I'm cream cheese... I hope." - Billboard, 7/21/21...... Actor/musician Johnny Depp is reportedly teaming up with guitar legend Jeff Beck to record material for Becks upcoming new album. "They've been collaborating on material for Jeff's next album," a source told the UK paper The Daily Mail. "It's been great for Johnny to get back to his first true love, which is music. Jeff has been a great friend to Johnny during a very difficult time, and being away from Hollywood has been exactly what Johnny needed." The news comes after Depp lost his libel case against another UK news outlet, The Sun, in 2020. The actor had been suing the British company News Group Newspapers (NGN) and The Sun's executive editor Dan Wootton over an Apr. 2018 article which referred to him as a "wife beater" in relation to allegations from ex-wife Amber Heard, claims that Depp has strongly denied. Following the judge's verdict that found the story to be "substantially true," in June 2021 Depp was denied permission to appeal his libel case against NGN, with his lawyers saying he is "looking forward to presenting the complete, irrefutable evidence of the truth" in another libel case in the US. Depp, who in 2015 formed the supergroup, Hollywood Vampires, with Alice Cooper and Joe Perry, now wants to "take a step back from everything and focus on a comeback through music." - NME, 7/24/21...... In the latest edition of his YouTube podcast Digging Deep, Robert Plant revealed how he's been dreaming about hanging out with his late Led Zeppelin bandmate John Bonham, describing his visions as "magnificent moments of great relief." Plant explained how the restrictiveness of the Covid-19 lockdown has led him to experience lucid dreams filled with "amazing landscapes" and visions of the legendary drummer, who died in 1980. Other figures in his dreams included his son Karac, who died aged five in 1977 from a stomach virus. "I've dreamt that I've been back with old friends, quite a lot, like John Bonham, like my father, my son who left when he was five. And they've been magnificent moments of great relief," Plant explained. Explaining his own experiences of lockdown, Plant said he was "really lucky because my next-door neighbour, who lives 100 feet from me -- who played with me and Bonzo [John Bonham] in the 1960s -- he's there. We're part of a pod. And the farmer who was born in my place, whose family owned my place, he's over the road and we've turned into the greatest pals -- the card schools that go on for ever!" Meanwhile, the first ever John Bonham biography, Beast: John Bonham And The Rise Of Led Zeppelin by journalist C.M. Kushins with a foreword by Dave Grohl, will be released on Sept. 7. - NME, 7/20/21...... Dr JohnThe estate of Dr. John issued a statement on July 22 saying a forthcoming Dr. John documentary directed by The Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach is unauthorized. Auerbach and Dr. John, who died in 2019, collaborated multiple times in the last decade of the latter's life, with Auerbach producing and playing guitar on John's Grammy Award-winning 2012 album Locked Down. Earlier in July, Auerbach announced he would make his directorial debut with a documentary about the singer-songwriter, in partnership with Radical Media and Impact Artist Productions. But in a new statement, Dr. John's estate announced the project does not have its blessing. "The Official Estate of Malcolm John Rebennack, Jr., p/k/a Dr. John, clarifies that the Estate has not authorized the recently announced documentary on the life of Dr. John purportedly to be produced by Impact Artist Productions (and Management) and Radical Media," the statement reads. "For clarity, Impact Artist Productions (and Management) does not manage or speak for the Estate, which has its own team with, as Mac would say, a gang and a half of legalizers. The Estate thanks Mac's fans for their support and assures that the Estate will 'Walk On Guilded Splinters' to deliver new music and an officially authorized documentary, to be announced In The Right Place at the right time," it continued. When announcing the project, Auerbach said he was honoured to be directing the film, describing it as "a tale of true Americana." "[Dr. John] was such a unique individual and a shining example of the great melting pot of American music," he said. - NME, 7/22/21...... On July 21 Columbia/Legacy Records announced that the next edition of Bob Dylan's ongoing bootleg series, Springtime In New York: The Bootleg Series Vol. 16 , will be released later on Sept. 17 and feature rarities, unheard gems and more from 1980-1985. 54 previously unreleased recordings will appear on the 5-CD set of the new bootleg series, including outtakes from the sessions for Dylan's early '80s studio albums Shot Of Love, Infidels and Empire Burlesque. Also available will be a "highlights" package of the mammoth new series, available on 2-LP and CD. The first preview from the upcoming collection, "Too Late ('Band Version')," has been shared on YouTube. - NME, 7/21/21...... Martin Kahan a renowned music video director best known for his work with such legenary rock acts as KISS, Rush, Bon Jovi and Motley Crue, died in Lakewood, N.J. on July 18 following a battle with cancer. He was 74. A New York native born in 1947, Kahan cut his teeth working on promotional videos for Rush, editing live clips for "Tom Sawyer," "Freewill" and "Limelight." It was 1983 when Columbia Records offered him a breakthrough opportunity with the video for Scandal's single "Love's Got A Line On You." That same year, he scored an MTV Video Music Award nomination with the video for Ian Hunter's "All Of The Good Ones Are Taken." Kahan went on to crank out a pair of iconic clips with Bon Jovi ("In And Out Of Love" and "She Don't Know Me'", the first videos to feature KISS sans makeup ("Lick It Up" and "All Hell's Breakin' Loose") and the Motley Crue fan-favourite "Too Young To Fall In Love." - NME, 7/21/21...... Lithofayne "Faye" Pridgon, a long-term girlfriend of Jimi Hendrix and the presumed inspiration for his classic song "Foxy Lady" died at her home in Las Vegas on Apr. 22, it has recently been publicly announced. She was 80. "We are saddened at the passingof Lithofayne "Faye" Pridgon. Jimi and Faye met each otherin Harlem in 1964 and enjoyed an immediate connection with the two sharing a love for each other and music. Faye had a beautiful spirit. She will be missed," reads a post on the official Jimi Hendrix Twitter page. Experience Hendrix catalogue manager John McDermott described Faye as "an extraordinary lady" and that the two "began a friendship more than 30 years ago which continued right up to her recent passing... Her contribution to the Hear My Train A Comin' documentary was immensely important, providing first-hand accounts of Jimi Hendrix history from a vantage point that no one else had." - WENN/, 7/24/21...... Jackie MasonThe famously politically-incorrect comedy legend Jackie Mason died on July 24 at the age of 93. Mr. Mason (real name Yacov Moshe Maza) began his career in the mid-1950s, appearing at New York City nightclubs. He also worked resorts in the Catskills region of New York state, known as the "Borscht Belt," that fostered such comics as Rodney Dangerfield, Jerry Lewis, Don Rickles and Phyllis Diller. In 1987, he received a special Tony Award for his solo show, "Jackie Mason's The World According to Me!," which ran for 573 performances. The self-titled show also netted him an Emmy award when it aired on television in 1988. Mr. Mason won a second Emmy for voicing Rabbi Hyman Krustofsky, the father of Krusty the Clown, on The Simpsons in 1992. His film roles included 1979's The Jerk with Steve Martin, Mel Brooks' 1981 comedy, The History of the World: Part I, and 1988's Caddyshack II. The comedian's 1992 series, The Jackie Mason Show, featured a panel discussion format about the topics of the day, very much along the lines of Bill Maher's show Politically Incorrect, which premiered the following year and ran through 2002. When the comedian launched a one-man show in 1994, called Jackie Mason: Politically Incorrect, the cable network Comedy Central, which hosted the Maher show, unsuccessfully sued the veteran comic over the name. Mr. Mason retired from show business in 2012 and is survived by his wife, Jyll Rosenfeld, who he married in 1991, and a daughter. - Variety, 7/24/21.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

A lyric controversy in the first line of Bruce Springsteen's 1975 song "Thunder Road" has been settled, some 46 years after the song was released. "Thunder Road," which is the lead off track on Springsteen's classic Born to Run album, has been the subject of scrutiny in regards to its first line, which in official versions of its original vinyl release and a version on Springsteen's official website posted in 2021, have the first line reading: "The screen door slams, Mary's dress waves." Over the last few weeks though, a debate has begun to rage online from those who believe that Mary's dress in fact "sways" rather than "waves." It prompted The New Yorker magazine to reach out to Springsteen's manager, Jon Landau, who said that "The word is 'sways'" and that "any typos in official Bruce material will be corrected." Now the official "Thunder Road" lyrics on Springsteen's website have since been changed from "waves" to "sways." Discussing the matter further, Landau said: "That's the way he wrote it in his original notebooks, that's the way he sang it on Born to Run, in 1975, that's the way he has always sung it at thousands of shows, and that's the way he sings it right now on Broadway. And, by the way, 'dresses' do not know how to 'wave'." - New Musical Express, 7/18/21...... Jerry GarciaDigital art made by the late Grateful Dead leader Jerry Garcia in his final days are being put up for sale on the NFT (non-fungible tokens) cryptocurrency marketplace YellowHeart. Garcia, when he wasn't busy penning jams for the Dead as its principal songwriter, lead guitarist and vocalist, was an early adapter of digital artwork. Now a partnership between Garcia's family and YellowHeart is selling a three-part collection titled "An Odd Little Place: The Digital Works of Jerry Garcia (1992-1995)." It includes 20 digital art pieces as well as tickets to a corresponding art exhibit of the same title at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The first drop kicked off on July 19 and included NFT tickets for an exclusive preview event with the Garcia family at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Aug. 5, the day before the exhibit opens to the public. On Aug. 1 -- what would have been Garcia's 79th birthday -- the first 17 pieces of limited-edition art will go on sale, priced between $400 and $2,500, and collectors will also have the option to acquire a physical, framed digital screen displaying their purchase. On Aug. 5, the three works created in Garcia's final hours will go up for auction as one-of-ones, with a physical, framed screen of the work included with each purchase. More info can be found on the YellowHeart site. - Billboard, 7/19/21...... Bob Dylan returned to a concert stage on July 18 for a virtual concert, a year and a half since the folk rock icon last performed live. The rock bard performed for fans who paid $25 to watch online through the live-streaming platform It was actually less a concert than a stylized black-and-white film, with the 80-year-old musician fronting a four-piece band in a juke joint before audience members who smoked a lot and paid little attention to him, never applauding. Dylan, who hasn't performed live since Dec. 2019 when he completed his so-called "Never Ending Tour," performed with a band that included an accordion player and, for many songs, an upright bass player. There was no drummer, with the performances more folk, blues and country instead of rock 'n' roll. Dylan didn't speak to his online audience and performed for less than an hour, wrapping the show with a stark version of "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue." Dylan hasn't announced any further appearances on, and hasn't said when he is returning to the road. - AP, 7/19/21...... Former members of the Sex Pistols have filed a lawsuit against their one time bandmate Johnny Rotten after Rotten (real name John Lydon) refused to grant permission for Sex Pistols songs to be used in an upcoming TV series about the anarchic punk rock icons. Former Sex Pistols Steve Jones and Paul Cook want the songs to appear in Pistol, a television memoir based on a memoir by Jones, but the outspoken Lydon has slammed the project as "disrespectful." During a hearing at the High Court in London on July 15, a lawyer for Jones and Cook argued that under the terms of a 1998 band agreement, decisions regarding licensing requests could be determined on a "majority rules basis." Lydon, however, contends that licenses to use the music can't be granted without his consent. Cullen said both the band's original bassist, Glen Matlock, and the estate of Matlock's replacement, Sid Vicious, supported the position of Cook and Jones. Vicious died in 1979 at age 21. Lydon's lawyer, Mark Cunningham, said in written arguments that Jones's memoir depicted the singer "in a hostile and unflattering light," at one point describing Lydon as "the annoying little brat with the great bone structure who's always asking for more." The court case is due to continue in July. With their controversial songs "God Save the Queen" and "Anarchy in the U.K.," the Sex Pistols scandalized the British music scene for a year before splitting up in 1978 after releasing one album. The band split up in 1978 after releasing one album, but surviving members have reunited for several concerts since. Pistol is due to be broadcast next year and is directed by Danny Boyle, the Academy Award-winning director of Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire. - AP, 7/16/21......
Marilyn McCooBilly Davis Jr
The 5th Dimension veterans Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. have found themselves back in the limelight with their inclusion in the new concert film Summer of Soul, which includes never-released concert footage from the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. "What's so beautiful is that the timing is so perfect," says McCoo of Summer of Soul. "Fifty years ago, the film might not have had the tremendous impact that it's having today. People are being blown away by all the iconic talent featured in the film," she added. McCoo and Davis are also working on Blackbird, their first album in 30 years, and are also among the 38 new Hollywood Walk of Fame honorees announced in June. "Now, all of a sudden, we're being noticed like we were years ago," says Davis of the Grammy-winning husband-and-wife duo. "It's a blessing." In tandem with the social justice and equality movement that reached a boiling point in the summer of 2020, McCoo and Davis weaved those themes into their latest project, Blackbird: Lennon-McCartney Icons. Using the famous Beatles tune and album title track as a catalyst, the duo recorded nine more Lennon/McCartney compositions threaded in the same vein, among them "Help!," "The Long and Winding Road" and "The Fool on the Hill." Their cover of "Blackbird" has since been chosen by the Social Justice Learning Institute ( as its "Summer of Equity" anthem. - Billboard, 7/15/21...... Elvis Costello has announced he is re-releasing his classic 1978 album This Year's Model, but as a new Spanish version that erases his vocals and replaces him with Spanish-language singers. Producer Sebastian Krys kept, and remixed, the original instrumental tracks recorded by Costello and his backing band, the Attractions. In a press release, Costello said he was inspired by television producer David Simon's request that he record his song "This Year's Girl" as a duet with singer Natalie Bergman for his show The Deuce. He said he had a dream where he heard This Year's Model sung in Spanish, and wanted to rerecord the album with hispanic singer Juanes. A video of Costello and the Attractions playing "Pump It Up" with Juanes has been shared on YouTube. The full version of the new Spanish Model album will drop on Sept. 10. - AP, 7/16/21...... A prequel series of the hit 1978 movie Grease has been announced by the Paramount+ streaming service. Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies will be a 10-episode show that takes place four years before the original Grease. According to Paramount+'s description, the series will be set in a period "before rock 'n' roll ruled, before the T-Birds were the coolest in the school, four fed-up, outcast girls dare to have fun on their own terms, sparking a moral panic that will change Rydell High forever." Stockard Channing, Didi Conn, Dinah Manoff and Jamie Donnelly played the Pink Ladies in the 1978 feature film version of Grease. Paramount, Temple Hill and Picturestart are also behind another feature-film prequel to Grease titled Summer Lovin', with Brett Haley directing. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/16/21...... Disney+ has confirmed that the new Paul McCartney docuseries McCartney 3,2,1 will air in the UK on the streaming service in August 2021. McCartney 3,2,1, a six-episode series that sees the legendary musician break down his music career in depth with acclaimed producer Rick Rubin, premiered in the US on Hulu on July 16, and viewers in the UK will get to see the first episode on Aug. 25. The pair are seen dissecting Beatles songs including "Come Together," "All My Loving," "With A Little Help From My Friends" and "In My Life" in the trailer, which can be viewed on YouTube. - NME, 7/20/21...... During a recent YouTube livestream Ted Nugent insisted that American doesn't have a "gun problem," and launched a diatribe against allowing violent criminals to re-enter society. The controversial hard rocker said that "bad guys need to be locked up," adding that they won't be able to commit other crimes if they're never let out of jail. "If they shoot or stab people, I don't care if they even miss, that's a dangerous, vicious, evil act. We don't want people capable of dangerous, vicious, evil acts walking our streets. We want them either dead or in a cage -- forever," he added. Nugent then said that the US is living in "engineered recidivism" due to a "failed court system" that too easily allows for criminals to be released. "Ninety-six per cent of violent crimes are committed by people that were let out for violent crimes," he claimed, before adding: "Here's a little guitar player idea: don't let 'em out." "There isn't a gun problem in America," Nugent added. "There is an intentional engineered recidivism problem in America. You wanna stop ninety-six per cent of the violent crimes. Don't let 'em out." Nugent's statements come as recent statistics show homicides in the US rose by 30% in 2020 over the previous year. - NME, 7/20/21...... The FacesThe surviving members of The Faces -- singer Rod Stewart, guitarist Ronnie Wood and drummer Kenney Jones -- are reportedly recording their first new music in four decades. In a new interview with the London Times, Wood said he met up with Stewart and Jones recently, in addition to catching up with his Rolling Stones bandmate Mick Jagger for a separate project. "I saw Mick [Jagger] here last week and Rod [Stewart] and Kenney [Jones] were here yesterday," Wood told the paper. "Me and Mick have done nine new tracks for the [40th anniversary] re-release of Tattoo You, and me, Rod and Kenney have been recording some new Faces music. I've had a front-row seat on some amazing rock'n'roll projects these past couple of weeks," Wood revealed. The Faces, who formed in 1969 from the ashes of The Small Faces, formally disbanded in 1975 after Stewart left the group. Around the same time, Wood began playing with the Rolling Stones. The Faces recorded four studio albums in their time, the last being 1973's Ooh La La. The band's last reunion performance was at the 2020 BRIT Awards, where Stewart, Wood and Jones closed the ceremony with a live rendition of "Stay With Me." Faces' founding keyboardist Ian McLagan died of a stroke in 2014, and bassist Ronnie Lane passed award more than a decade earlier in 1997. Wood, 74, is also involved in yet another new project -- a tribute to blues legend Jimmy Reed with former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor. - NME, 7/19/21...... In the latest episode of Queen's retrospective series Queen: The Greatest, surviving Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor revealed that late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury wrote "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" in the bath in 10 minutes as a rockabilly tribute to Elvis Presley. After May noted that Queen "got into this rather indulgent way of just bowling into the studio with no ideas, or very few ideas, and just doing it from scratch" and were trying to find a new tact after recording seven albums, May added that "The first thing we did was 'Crazy Little Thing...', and Fred did write the song in the bath in about 10 minutes." Speaking about Mercury's love of Presley, May said: "He was very fond of Elvis, and of Cliff [Richard], I have to say. Yeah, Freddie wrote it very quickly and rushed in and put it down with the boys. By the time I got there, it was almost done." "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" went onto be Queen's first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979, and reached No. 2 on the Official UK Singles Chart. - NME, 7/17/21...... AC/DC has authorized two new craft beers that are set to be released on the fourth weekend of July. A joint venture between KnuckleBonz, Inc. and Calicraft Brewing Co., the beer is set to be launched at a series of events in California on July 23-25. "We are excited to announce this is the first in a series of AC/DC branded beers to be featured in this unique collaboration to bring quality beverages to the music superfan," KnuckleBonz and Calicraft said in a statement, with KnuckleBonz also announcing the beer on its Instagram page. The two beers -- named "AC/DC PWR UP Juicy IPA" and "AC/DC TNT Double IPA" -- will be available in a 16 oz. collector's edition can and can be pre-ordered now from the Calicraft website, with the limited first batch shipping from July 26. The AC/DC PWR UP Juicy IPA -- named after the band's recent PWR UP album -- is a 6.6% "modern take" on a juicy/hazy IPA that is, according to a press release, "designed to be an all-day session IPA -- perfect for at the show or at the after-party." The AC/DC TNT Double IPA, meanwhile, is an 8.2% "modern take on a classic style." "We blend a mix of Australian Cascade, American Cascade and Simcoe to create a big, bold 8.2% Double IPA," a description explains. "Flavours of fresh-cut grapefruit, sweet mango and fresh pine explode out of the glass. Inspired by the first international AC/DC album, AC/DC TNT Double IPA proves that classics never go out of style." - NME, 7/15/21...... Robby SteinhardtRobert E. "Robby" Steinhardt, a violinist and co-lead vocalist with the American prog-rock band Kansas, died on July 19 due to complications from pancreatitis. He was 71. Steinhardt's wife Cindy posted on Facebook that Robby had just recorded his first solo album and had been looking forward to being back on stage and going on tour. A native of Lawrence, Kansas, Steinhardt co-founded the group with his Topeka West High School classmates Kerry Livgren, Rich Williams, Phil Ehart and Dave Hope and with Steve Walsh, who grew up in St. Joseph, Mo. Steinhardt joined Kansas shortly after their original formation in 1971, when the band was performing under the name White Clover, and performed with Kansas from 1973 to 1982 and 1997 to 2006, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal. Kansas sold more than 15 million records and notched seven top 40 hits, including "Dust in the Wind," which peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, and "Carry on Wayward Son," which hit No. 11. The band, which now makes its home in Atlanta, continues to perform with Williams and Ehart as the only original remaining members. "We are beyond devastated as our lives were about to start a new adventure," Cindy wrote on Facebook, revealing her husband's plans for new music and a tour. "Robby just recorded his first solo album with the talented music producer Michael Franklin at Solar Studios. A tour to start in August, Robby was so looking forward to being back on stage doing what he loved," she added. Kansas also paid tribute to Steinhardt on Facebook, writing "We love him and will miss him always Robby will always be in our souls, in our minds, and in our music." - AP/NME, 7/19/21.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

In an interview with BBC Radio 2's Zoe Ball on July 14, Bruce Springsteen revealed he's hoping to restart touring in 2022. "We'll be touring next year if everything goes well," he told Ball. "The E Street Band will be back on the road -- you know, depending, of course, on the virus and what's opening up." Springsteen, who is currently continuing his solo Broadway residency at the St. James Theatre in New York although has ruled out any touring in 2021, also took time during the interview to praise his fans in the UK, saying: "I'd like to take one moment to thank my UK fans, particularly for the support they've continued to give to my new music." Springsteen and the E Street Band's last live performance was an appearance on NBC's Saturday Night Live in Dec. 2020, marking their first live performance together since 2017. He's also set to co-headline a "homecoming" concert at New York City's Central Park this summer alongside the likes of Paul Simon and Jennifer Hudson. - New Musical Express, 7/14/21...... Ian AndersonOn July 13 Jethro Tull announced they'll be releasing their first studio album in 20 years soon. Dubbed The Zealot Gene, the LP will mark the prog-rock legends' first release as part of a new record deal with InsideOutMusic/Sony Music. "After 54 years in the world of music recording, it is with great pleasure that I now sign Jethro Tull to a record company which reminds me, in many ways, of the old Chrysalis label -- both as an independent and in its later years in partnership with EMI," frontman Ian Anderson said of the new signing. "Here are real music guys with a passion for the best and most creative in rock music. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship and more releases to come," he added. While a release date for The Zealot Gene has not been announced, the album has been completed, according to a press release. News of a new Tull album comes after Anderson revealed in 2020 that he is suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), blaming his exposure to smoke machines during live performances of Jethro Tull in the 1970s. The current Jethro Tull line-up consists of Anderson, guitarist Joe Parrish-James, drummer Scott Hammond, pianist John O'Hara, and bassist David Goodier. Guitarist Florian Opahle also contributed The Zealot Gene, but is not a part of the core line-up. - NME, 7/13/21...... Paul McCartney has told the British music mag Uncut that he still has unreleased "story songs" that were written in the style of the Beatles' 1966 track "Eleanor Rigby," although they're unlikely to see the light of day. "I've still got a few that I haven't released," Sir Paul said. "Because I don't think they're that good. It's quite a fun thing to do, to just dream up a name of a character and try and write the story of that character and then make it fit with another character. 'Eleanor Rigby', I did it with just the few. Father McKenzie and Eleanor." He went on to say that the darker tone of "Eleanor Rigby" is the reason it is more popular than some of the more lighthearted "story songs" in his collection. "With my story songs, a lot of them, besides 'Eleanor Rigby', tend to be comedy," he said. "It's me doing the tongue-in-cheek thing, whereas 'Eleanor Rigby' was more serious. I think that's why it was more successful." Meanwhile, Macca will break down his music career in-depth with acclaimed producer Rick Rubin for a new documentary series called McCartney 3,2,1. The show premieres on July 16 on the streaming platform Hulu. - NME, 7/14/21...... In other Beatles-related news, a rare demo the Fab Four recorded at Abbey Road Studios is being put on the auction block. The unheard collection -- which contains early versions of "I am the Walrus," "Fool on the Hill" and "I Me Mine" -- was left behind by the Beatles after a session in he 1960s. The tape went on sale on July 14 at Sworders Auctioneers, and it's expected to fetch up to £700. The listing reads: "Gifted to the vendor, a bass player in a rock band that has sold over 20 million albums. Presented in 1971 while recording their first LP at Abbey Road Studios by a sound technician, the demo itself recorded in the 1960s." It's said the four Beatles left the tape behind after a recording session. -, 7/14/21...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, director Peter Jackson has explained why Beatles fans are likely to be surprised by his new docuseries Get Back. Discussing the format of the documentary, which focuses more on conversations than music, Jackson told GQ magazine taht the series will be very "intimate." "I think people will be surprised by the series for two reasons," Jackson said. "One, it'll be far more intimate than they imagined it to be, because everyone is used to seeing music documentaries being a bit kind of MTV-ish, sort of together in a poppy kind of way and it's just the music, music, music, you know? The music isn't at the forefront of this film: weirdly, it's what goes on behind the music at the forefront." He continued: "I mean, even in the rooftop concert, we have the concept that we're inter-cutting all the time to the street and to the policeman and everything else. And that's really true of the whole series -- it's not a sequence of MTV video clips of them doing songs. There's probably more conversations with The Beatles in the films than there is actual singing." The Beatles: Get Back will air on Disney+ between Nov. 25-27. - NME, 7/12/21...... Robby KriegerSurviving The Doors guitarist Robby Krieger has announced his first-ever memoir, Set The Night On Fire: Living, Dying, And Playing Guitar With The Doors, will be released on Oct. 12 via publisher Little, Brown & Co. Set the Night On Fire, which will also be released in Kindle and Audio CD versions, promises to reveal new aspects about the band's mythological career, and a description of the 300+ page book says readers can expect to learn about "never-before-told stories from The Doors' vital years" as well as new perspectives on the band's iconic moments. "Through a series of vignettes, Krieger takes readers back to where it all happened: the pawnshop where he bought his first guitar; the jail cell he was tossed into after a teenage drug bust; his parents' living room, where his first songwriting sessions with Jim Morrison took place; the empty bars and backyard parties where The Doors played their first awkward gigs; the studios where their iconic songs were recorded; and the many venues where concerts erupted into historic riots," reads part of the memoir's description. In other Doors-related news, a new documentary detailing Jim Morrison's multi-disciplined career, from being the frontman of The Doors to stints in poetry and filmmaking, is being developed by the Morrison estate and Jampol Artist Management (JAM Inc.), who oversees the legacies of The Doors and Janis Joplin. - NME, 7/12/21...... An apartment in a Manhattan high-rise that once belonged to David Bowie has sold for $16.8 million after less than a month on the market, approximately four times the cost of what Bowie himself bought it for in the late 90s. The apartment, which was reportedly put on sale by real estate group Corcoran in mid-June, sold on July 11 and was one of several apartments that Bowie owned and lived between with his wife, model Iman, whom he married in 1992. The couple also resided in Bowie's native London, in Sydney and on a private island in the Grenadines. Bowie and Iman moved to New York circa 1999, shortly before the birth of their only daughter Lexi. The selling of the apartment comes just weeks after one of the singer's original paintings sold at an auction in Canada for $108,120. The collector, Rob Cowley, originally bought the painting for a paltry $5. - NME, 7/13/21...... Queen guitarist Brian May has reportedly been left "heartbroken" after sewage flooded his London home and destroyed many of his treasured possessions on July 12. May took to Instagram to document the damage from the sewage overflow, which he blamed on members of the local council, who he alleged approved basements with "ineffective" drainage in the west London area. According to May, he returned from a day at London's Royal Holloway College to find the devastation, which had destroyed photo albums, carpets, rugs, and furniture belonging to himself and wife Anita Dobson. "The whole bottom floor had been inundated with a sewage overflow -- which has covered our carpets, rugs and all kinds of precious things in a stinking sludge," he wrote alongside a video. "It's disgusting, and actually quite heartbreaking. It feels like we have been invaded, desecrated (sic). Anita had a lifetime of memorabilia on the floor of our basement - and most of it is sodden and ruined." Brian went on to explain that he had moved many of his treasured photo albums to the property from another house because it was "threatened with a forest fire." May also questioned why Kensington has never before been flooded due to rainwater, at least in the past 150 years. "Why did this happen? It's almost certainly the result of all the basement building that has been plaguing this area for the past 10 years. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council was warned years ago that sinking so many deep basement extensions would obstruct the aquifers underneath our living space and render the drainage system ineffective," he said. -, 7/14/21...... James TaylorJames Taylor has announced details of a 2022 tour of the United Kingdom, which will get underway in Leeds on Jan. 27, 2022. With his All Star Band in tow, Taylor will also visit Manchester (1/29), Glasgow (1/30), Brighton (2/1), and Birmingham (2/2), before wrapping with two nights at the London Hammersmith Apollo on Feb. 4 and 5. Taylor released his 20th studio album American Standard in Feb. 2020, with the album going on to win Best Tradition Pop Vocal Album at the Grammys. Live music with no restrictions is set to return to the UK on July 19 as the country prepares to drop all Coved-19 rules. Despite this, over half of the UK's festivals set for this summer have already been cancelled. - NME, 7/12/21...... Elton John has responded to the Korean teen pop group BTS making reference to him on their latest track "Permission To Dance," which was released on July 9. In the first verse of "Permission To Dance," leader and rapper RM sings: "When it all feels like it's wrong/ Just sing along to Elton John/ And to that feeling, we're just getting started." Responding on Twitter the next day, the Rocket Man put his own spin on the lyrics. "When it all seems like it's right, I sing along to @bts_bighit," he tweeted, adding the song's title in the form of a hashtag. BTS performed "Permission To Dance" live for the first time yesterday during a special broadcast called A Butterful Getaway. They will also appear on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon in the third week of July for a "two-day takeover event," where they will perform the new track and their No. 1 hit "Butter." - NME, 7/10/21...... Gene Simmons has spoken out about some of his former KISS bandmates and he says that "they continue to make really bad choices." In a new interview, Simmons discussed the lack of involvement of Peter Criss and Ace Frehley in KISS' new A&E documentary Biography: KISStory. "God love 'em, both Ace and Peter, in the beginning of the band, were just the best thing that ever happened to us," Simmons said on Talking Wax With Adika Live! "But they made such horrible choices in their life. And they continue to do that -- they continue to make really bad choices, not just in terms of their health and what you ingest, but career choices." The bassist/vocalist went on to say, "We just had this documentary that came out that's a headlining thing at the Tribeca Film Festival, and, of course, without even thinking twice about it, we reached out to both Ace and Peter, 'Hey, come and be part of this thing. You helped create the band. No question about it.' And they refused." Simmons claimed that Frehley had a number of demands in order to participate in the documentary including editing rights. "God love him, that wasn't gonna happen," Simmons said. "I didn't get those rights and didn't want them; I just wanted to throw caution to the wind and get the thing done. So they barely appear in it." Simmons' full interview can be viewed on YouTube. Meanwhile, KISS's Paul Stanley has revealed that the band are likely to release some NFTs (non-fungible tokens) "in the foreseeable future." Speaking in a new interview, Stanley discussed the prospect of KISS getting into world of NFTs and cryptocurrency. "Well, we certainly are on the edge of the diving board into NFTs," he told SiriusXM's Jim Norton and Sam Roberts. "That's obviously a natural, and we're flexing our muscles just before we dive in. But that's in the foreseeable future." You can watch Stanley's interview with SiriusXM on YouTube. - NME, 7/10/21...... Iggy PopPunk rock icon Iggy Pop may not be the first thing that pops to mind when one thinks of the discovery and exhibition of Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun, but Pop will lend his voice to a new documentary focused on King Tut. The documentary, Tutankhamun: The Last Exhibition, was produced by Nexo Digital and Italian cultural agency Laboratoriorosso. It follows the tomb's discovery in 1922 and the subsequent touring exhibition, "King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh," which launched in Los Angeles in 2019. The film was expected to be released in 2020, but the pandemic has delayed its arrival to 2022. The tour contained more than 150 artefacts from King Tut's grave, and was expected to run until 2023 before the pandemic cut it short. The Egyptian government has since declared that the artefacts will never leave the country again. Speaking to Variety, Nexus Digital's Rosella Gioffr said they were looking for "somebody that could give a different appeal to the narration of the movie." "And we thought of [Pop] and he accepted." Meanwhile, earlier in 2021 it was announced Pop had accepted a role in director Jeremy LaLonde's upcoming comedy fllm Blue Iguana, which will also star Bob Saget and Joel David Moore. - NME, 7/12/21...... Actor William Smith, best known for starring as Texas Ranger Joe Riley in both seasons of the NBC Western Laredo from 1965 to 1967, has died at age 88. Mr. Smith's wife, Joanne Cervelli Smith, said the actor with over 300 roles to his credite in the 1960s, '70s and '80s died on July 5 at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in the Woodland Hills section of Los Angeles. She declined to give the cause of death. With his chiseled, mustachioed face and bulging biceps, Mr. Smith was a constant, rugged presence on screen, also playing bareknuckle boxer Jack Wilson, who grappled with Clint Eastwood in an epic brawl in Any Which Way You Can, one of the top-grossing movies of 1980. The Columbia, Mo.-born Mr. Smith also played Anthony Falconetti, the menacing nemesis of the central family in the 1976 ABC miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man, and returned for its sequel. And he played Detective James "Kimo" Carew in the final season of the original Hawaii Five-O series on CBS in 1979 and 1980. He would also play Arnold Schwarzenegger's father in 1982's Conan the Barbarian, after being considered for the title role, and a Soviet general in 1984's Red Dawn. In addition to his wife of 31 years, he is survived by a son, William E. Smith III, and a daughter, Sherri Anne Cervelli. - Fox News, 7/10/21...... TV and film actor Charlie Robinson, known for playing Mac the court clerk in the 1980s and '90s sitcom Night Court, died on July 11 in Los Angeles due to cardiac arrest and cancer. He was 75. Throughout his 50-year career, Robinson also appeared in movies such as Secret Santa, The River, Set It Off, Antwone Fisher, Jackson, Even Money and Miss Lettie and Me, and TV series including Buffalo Bill, Home Improvement, Mom, Hart of Dixie, NCIS and The Guestbook. The Houston-born actor also won awards for his theatrical work, including the Image Theatre Award and FRED Award for portraying Simon in "The Whipping Man" and Best Actor Ovation Award for playing Troy in "Fences." His last performance was as 82-year-old Donald Jones in James Tyler's "Some Old Black Man." Throughout his career, he guest starred in television shows including The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Key and Peele, This Is Us, Malcolm & Eddie and In The House. Robinson is survived by his wife Dolorita; his children Luca, Charlie, Christian and Byron; and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. - Variety, 7/13/21.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Under the Volcano, the untold story about the studio that changed the world from an isolated island paradise in Montserrat, will be available on DVD and Blu-ray and digital release on July 26. Directed by Gracie Otto (The Last Impresario), Under the Volcano charts the rise and fall of AIR Studios Montserrat, the recording studio at the center of the pop universe in the 1980s which was built by Beatles' producer Sir George Martin in 1979. In the shadow of an active volcano, the studio not only attracted the biggest musical talent on the planet, including Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Elton John and The Police, but was the birthplace of mega-hits such as The Police's "Every Breath You Take" and Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing." -, 7/8/21...... If, as the Rod Stewart song says, "Every picture tells a story," then the shots captured in PBS' new documentary series Icon: Music Through the Lens spin unbelievable yarns. Each hour of the six-episode tour of rock photography focuses on a different aspect of the job, from shooting concert and backstage footage, record art and magazine covers to the collectible value of the form and the place of these images in social media. Icon: Music Through the Lens premieres on many PBS stations on July 16 at 9:00 p.m. EDT/8:00 CDT (check local listings at - TV Guide, 7/5/21......
John CaleLou Reed
Director Todd Haynes' new documentary about the '70s art-rock band The Velvet Underground debuted at the Cannes Film Festival on July 8. The two-hour film plumbs little-seen footage and features a host of rare interviews, including founding member John Cale (who describes the band as striving for "how to be elegant and how to be brutal"), Jonathan Richman of the Modern Lovers and an early disciple, and Jonas Mekas, the late pioneering filmmaker who filmed the VU's first ever live performance in 1964 and to whom the film is dedicated. Laurie Anderson, the widow of late VU frontman Lou Reed, endorsed Haynes directing the film, and other estates, like Andy Warhol's (who famously designed the cover art for the band's debut album), were supportive. The Velvet Underground, which also resurrects the 1960s downtown New York art scene that birthed and fermented the group, will be released by Apple in theaters and on its streaming platform on Oct. 15. - AP, 7/9/21...... In related news, a new feature-length documentary focusing on the totality of the artistry of legendary late The Doors frontman Jim Morrison has been announced by the Morrison estate and JAM, Inc. "Jim Morrison has been known as the leather trousers-clad Dionysian rock star, the Greek god handsome, amazing singer, shaman and performer," says JAM, Inc. CEO Jeff Jampol. "But Jim was a polymath. Jim was a poet and a writer and a filmmaker long before he ever thought about music. All these decades everybody talked about Jim Morrison the rock star, which he certainly was. But we really felt it was time to even the playing field and talk about these other aspects of Jim, which were either not as known or celebrated or discussed," he added. In addition to the Doors, JAM, Inc. oversees the legacies of such acts as Janis Joplin and John Lee Hooker. While there have been documentaries on Morrison and the Doors before, and, of course, Oliver Stone's 1991 biopic on the band, the new film is the first documentary devoted solely to Morrison sanctioned by the estate -- with full access to all Morrison's music, poetry and art. - Billboard, 7/9/21...... Ringo Starr celebrated his 81st birthday on July 7 in Beverly Hills, Calif., with his annual "Peace and Love" event just off Santa Monica Boulevard. Ringo was surrounded by friends, collaborators like Joe Walsh, and family including wife Barbara Bach to celebrate his birthday. "Peace and love. Peace and love," proclaimed Starr, clad in black Adidas track pants and sneakers paired with a denim jacket and a black T-shirt emblazoned with a rainbow-colored hand flashing the peace sign. "Even Joe Walsh got out of bed for it," he quipped. Ringo shared his enthusiasm for being able to attend such an event after an extended period of Covid-19 lockdowns, which forced him to cancel several tours. But the famous drummer still managed to release a five-track EP in March, Zoom In, and has another one ready to debut in September. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/7/21...... In other Beatles-related news, an unreleased acoustic George Harrison demo called "Cosmic Empire" was released on July 9 and has been shared on YouTube. "Cosmic Empire" will appear on Harrison's recently announced 50th anniversary box set of his classic 1970 album All Things Must Pass, which is due out Aug. 6. As part of the new release, demos of 30 tracks from the All Things Must Pass sessions, including a handful of songs that didn't make the album, are set to be released for the first time. The album has been completely remixed from the original tapes, with Harrison's son Dhani Harrison serving as executive producer and remixing by engineer Paul Hicks, who has done recent re-workings of the Rolling Stones and John Lennon reissues. "The new mix transforms the album by sonically upgrading it -- making it sound brighter, fuller and better than ever before," a press release for the new version reads. The reissue will also be released as an eight LP or five CD plus one Blu-ray set, as well as in triple vinyl and double CD versions. - New Musical Express, 7/9/21...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, an official trailer for the new in-depth Paul McCartney series McCartney 3, 2, 1 has been shared on YouTube. The upcoming six-episode Hulu documentary series will see the legendary musician break down his music career in depth with acclaimed producer Rick Rubin. McCartney and Rubin are seen dissecting such Beatles tunes as "Come Together," "All My Loving," "With a Little Help From My Friends" and "In My Life" in the trailer. - NME, 7/8/21...... Pete TownshendThe Who's Pete Townshend has said he's reluctant to make a new album with the band, because of the "old fashioned way that [the band] work." Speaking to Guitar Player, Townshend said: "As far as a new record, it does take quite a lot of time to put together the 20 or 30 songs that are needed for both Roger and I and any producer that we might be working with to cherry-pick the ones that fit the times. Because you write the songs, and then two years later you're putting them all out, and you just hope that you're going to hit the mood of the moment. A lot of artists now are writing songs at home, recording them at home and putting them out within weeks. But our process is the old-fashioned way, and it does take a lot of time. So I don't know, but I am optimistic. And I'm certainly full of ideas." In February, Townshend said he had "pages and pages of draft lyrics" for a potential new Who album to be released post-lockdown. "If the moment comes, I'll go in and start," he said. Townshend's comments come after frontman Roger Daltrey recently said he's reluctant to make another Who album because "there's no record market any more." The band, who released their last album WHO in 2019, recently cancelled their upcoming UK and Ireland tour due to ongoing coronavirus concerns. - NME, 7/10/21...... In a new interview with Simon Mayo on his podcast Greatest Hits Radio, Queen guitarist Brian May said he believes late frontman Freddie Mercury would still be playing with the legendary English art-rockers if he was still alive today. In the interview which has been shared on YouTube, May insisted that Mercury, who died of bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS in 1991, would still be a part of the Queen family had he not passed away. "He would still be saying 'Oh I need to do my solo stuff', but he would be coming back to the family to do what we do," May said, before adding: "The funny thing is I feel more and more that he is kind of with us in a way, maybe I'm getting to be an old romantic, but Freddie is in my day every day." He continued: "He's always in my thoughts and I can always feel what he'd say in a certain situation, oh what would Freddie think, ah he'd like this, he'd laugh at this or whatever. He's so much part of the legacy we created, that will always be the case." Meanwhile, Queen's Greatest Hits album is on track to return to the UK Number One spot on the Official Albums Chart for the second week of July for the first time in 40 years. A special 40th anniversary edition of the compilation album released in early June is the reason for the original 1981 record's current surge to the top, with 86% of the new special edition record's sales so far coming from physical formats. - NME, 7/8/21...... ABBA's iconic greatest hits compilation album ABBA Gold has made history in the UK, becoming the first album to spend 1,000 weeks on the UK charts. To date, the album has sold 5.61million copies in the UK, per Official Charts, making it the second highest-selling album of all time in the country, behind Queen's Greatest Hits. As reported by the BBC, this means the album has been on the charts for 19 years and 12 weeks, having not dropped out of the charts since its debut release in Sept. 1992. "Not bad for four old turnips," ABBA's Benny Andersson said in a press statement upon hearing the news. - NME, 7/6/21...... Cliff Richard is inviting fans to celebrate his 80th birthday by attending a screening of his The Great 80 Tour performance. Sir Cliff celebrated the milestone birthday last year and the tour was scheduled for 2020, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the run had to be postponed. However, on Oct.27, fans can enjoy the music legend's special performance of his greatest hits live from London's legendary Royal Albert Hall at cinemas nationwide. The broadcast Presented by CinemaLive will include "exclusive footage of Sir Cliff, recorded especially for cinema audiences." The screenings are for fans who didn't get a ticket to the four sold-out shows at the Albert Hall. For more information and to find UK cinema locations visit -, 7/8/21...... Jessica Springsteen, the daughter of Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa, has been selected to participate in the US Olympic equestrian team in Tokyo for the 2020 games. Jessica, who is ranked 27th in the world, began riding at the age of four at her parent's farm in Colts Neck, N.J. She was named as an alternate rider for the 2012 Olympics, but failed to make the cut in 2016. "Been dreaming of this since I can remember!" Jessica wrote on Instagram. "Endless gratitude for my team, friends and family for helping me make this a reality. We are Tokyo bound!!" she added. - NME, 7/7/21...... Bon ScottThe family of late AC/DC singer Bon Scott are remembering the musician on what would have been his 75th birthday on July 9 with the launch of a new fan-focused website. Fans can contribute testimonials about seeing or meeting the rocker who fronted the Australian band between 1974-1980, with tributes to Scott from renowned rock stars as well as a store with newly available merchandise also included. "On the occasion of what would have been his 75th birthday, the Bon Scott Estate (Ron's two brothers and his nephew) are proud to launch the new website and take this important step toward elevating Bon's legend and tending to his legacy. Bon was a unique singer, songwriter and character that the world should never forget," a press release reads. Scott sang on the band's first six albums: High Voltage (1975), T.N.T., Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1976), Let There Be Rock (1977), Powerage (1978) and Highway to Hell (1979). He died in February 1980 at the age of 33 from acute alcohol poisoning. - NME, 7/8/21...... Elton John is vowing to help new artists tour Europe despite the UK government's "disastrous" Brexit trade agreement. Sir Elton has been very vocal recently about the government jeopardising the future of touring for UK artists, after its Brexit deal with the EU failed to negotiate visa-free travel and Europe-wide work permits for musicians and crew, even calling the UK government "philistines" and accused them of "crucifying" the careers of young artists. On July 6, John and his husband David Furnish took part in a virtual meeting with Michael Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, and a number of others, to discuss free movement and visa-free arrangements for artists. "Very happy to meet & discuss today with @eltonofficial, who despite #Brexit, is fighting for free movement and visa-free arrangements for artists," Barnier tweeted, sharing a screenshot from the meeting. "Citizens, artists, students are the first to lose out from #Brexit. It didn't have to be this way." John then shared Barnier's tweet on his Twitter page, writing: "David & I will continue to fight for all artists, especially those at the start of their career, who are losing out because of the gaping holes in the UK Government's disastrous trade agreement with Europe." - NME, 7/6/21...... Rick Laird, best known as a founding member of the jazz fusion band Mahavishnu Orchestra, has reportedly passed away at the age of 80. News of the bassist's death has been confirmed by multiple former bandmates, including Mahavishu Orchestra guitarist John McLaughlin and drummer Billy Cobham, who eulogised Laird in a post on his Facebook page on July 5. "To all who were close to the M.O. you knew that the most dependable person in that band was the bass player. He played what was necessary to keep the rest of us from going off our musical rails. He was my rock and allowed me to play and explore musical regions that I would not have been able to navigate without him having my back," Cobham wrote. Mr. Laird performed on the MO's 1971 debut album The Inner Mounting Flame along with its 1973 follow-up, Birds of Fire. He also appears on the band's 1973 live album Between Nothingness & Eternity. The original lineup played their final gig in December of 1973, and Mr. Laird never returned to the group. After leaving Mahavishnu Orchestra, Laird released one album as a bandleader, 1979's Soft Focus. He also performed with the likes of Stan Getz, Buddy Rich, Sonny Rollins and Chick Corea. Mr. Laird retired from performing music in 1982, going on to become a photographer and bass guitar instructor. - NME, 7/6/21...... John LawtonJohn Lawton, a former frontman of the English rock band Uriah Heep, died unexpectedly on June 29. He was 74. Lawton's death was confirmed by Uriah Heep, who shared a statement on social media revealing that Lawton passed away. "It is with deep regret that we share the devastating and tragic news of the sudden and totally unexpected passing of John Lawton on 29. June 2021," the band wrote on Facebook. "Contrary to reports, there was no illness involved, which makes his passing incomprehensible. He went peacefully with his wife at his side. John will be greatly missed." They added that a "private funeral service to celebrate John's life will be held following his wishes, with only family and close friends attending." Lawton was Uriah Heep's singer from 1976 to 1979, appearing on three of the band's studio albums Firefly (1977), Innocent Victim (1977) and Fallen Angel (1978). In 2013, he rejoined the group for some European tour dates to cover for current UH vocalist Bernie Shaw, who required some time off for a routine medical procedure. Aside from Uriah Heep in 1976, Lawton sang with legendary German cult rock band Lucifer's Friend (1969-1976, 1979-1995) and recorded nine studio albums during his time with the band. - NME, 7/6/21...... Director-producer Richard Donner, best known for helming the Lethal Weapon film series, The Goonies and the original 1978 Superman film, died on July 5. He was 91. Born Richard Donald Schwartzberg in the Bronx, he attended Parker Junior College and then NYU, where he majored in business and theater. Mr. Donner, who began his career as on the other side of the camera as an actor, soon graduated to television directing, honing his craft through work on such series as Wanted: Dead or Alive, The Twilight Zone, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The Fugitive. Though not his first bigscreen effort, his big feature break came with 1976's The Omen, starring Gregory Peck and Lee Remick. Thereafter, he brought his craftsmanship to the first Superman.He also branched out into producing (Free Willy, The Lost Boys), usually with his wife Lauren Shuler Donner -- he executive produced the huge 2000 success X-Men and later the prequel X-Men Origins: Wolverine. But his career was highlighted by the Lethal Weapon series, starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, which elevated him to the ranks of directors generating more than a billion dollars in box office. He is survived by Shuler Donner, whom he married in 1986. - Variety, 7/5/21.

Monday, July 5, 2021

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Patti Smith and Jennifer Hudson will be headlining a "homecoming" concert for the city in Central Park sometime this summer. During a video press conference on July 1, de Blasio announced the event as part of a week-long celebration of the city's reopening. Dates and other details have yet to be confirmed, though the New York Times suggests a late August date for the concert. "This is going to be one of the greatest Central Park concerts in history," de Blasio said of the mammoth gig, which is being organized by veteran music mogul Clive Davis and will feature a duet between The Boss and Patti Smith, who had a hit with a cover of his "Because the Night." "This is something for the ages." Referencing Springsteen, de Blasio said the legendary singer-songwriter "is beloved in New York City in an extraordinary way," despite coming from New Jersey. "No one's perfect," he mused. Springsteen's Broadway show, "Springsteen on Broadway," reopened on June 26 and will run until early September. In June, Foo Fighters initially "reopened" New York City with a headline show at Madison Square Garden. Playing to a fully vaccinated audience, the gig marked the first full-capacity arena show in New York since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. - NME, 7/2/21...... Jim MorrisonLegendary late The Doors frontman Jim Morrison was honored by fans from around the world at the Pere-Lachaise cemetery in eastern Paris where the 27-year-old singer and poet was buried in 1971, 50 years after he was found dead in his bathtub on July 3, 1971. Year after year, the cemetery has become a pilgrimage for fans of Morrison, known for his dark lyrics, wavy locks, leather pants and charismatic stage presence. He propelled The Doors to several major hits between 1965 and 1967, including "Light My Fire," "Hello I Love You," "Touch Me" and "Riders on the Storm." One 21-year-old fan from the French Alps town of Domancy said it was "very emotional to be here, to remember Jim Morrison... to show that he's not forgotten." "We acknowledge his talent and the fact that he was a brilliant person, he was really a genius," said Colleen Amblard. Like many other fans, Amblard was planning to visit other sites Morrison spent time in while living in Paris, from his apartment to the former nightclub where some say he died of an heroin overdose. Morrison was one of several rock stars -- including Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and the Rolling Stones' Brian Jones -- to die at 27. He made his final album with The Doors, L.A. Woman, in 1971, and moved to Paris soon after being arrested for indecent exposure and profanity during a Miami concert. There, on July 3, 1971, he was found dead in a bathtub. No autopsy was performed and accounts of what caused his death are disputed. But his status as a mythic figure for rock fans has never waned, and on the 20th anniversary of his death in 1991, the Oliver Stone-directed biopic The Doors was released, starring Val Kilmer as Morrison. - AP, 7/3/21...... A writer who was commissioned to ghostwrite an autobiography of Mick Jagger back in 1983 has told the UK paper The Guardian that the experience was "simply dull and upsetting." Barry Coleman said he was given only two frantic weeks to write the book after the previous ghostwriter failed to finish the project, and that he "rather surreally I became Mick Jagger's ghostwriter's ghostwriter." "Two chapters were more or less presentable," Coleman said of what existed of the autobiography when he started work. "The rest was a pile of interview transcripts, and nothing related to recent years. Stitching everything together was an awful experience," he said. "All the big stuff was in there, there just wasn't anything interesting said about it," Coleman said about the material. "There was always this sense in the transcripts that Mick was holding back, or trying not to hurt anybody's feelings." While Coleman was able to finish the autobiography by the two-week deadline, Jagger had grown unsure about the project and ultimately decided to axe the plans to publish the memoir. "We'd talked a lot about whether he still wanted to go ahead, or whether we could do it again, but differently," Coleman said about those final discussions. "Mick didn't blame me. He just didn't want to do it." Jagger previously said in 2014 that anyone who wanted to read his memoir should "look it up on Wikipedia." - New Musical Express, 7/5/21...... In other Rolling Stones-related news, an underwear and sleepwear brand called MeUndies is releasing a new collaboration with the Stones, that sees the band's iconic lips and tongue logo printed on men's and women's underwear, socks, loungewear and more. The new collection includes MeUndies' popular briefs and boxers adorned with Rolling Stones logo, along with bralettes, thongs, bandanas and socks. Known for its inclusive sizing, MeUndies is offering the collection in sizes XS-4XL. Designed in 1970 by English artist John Pasche, the Rolling Stones logo is one of the most famous graphics in music history. The collection can be viewed and purchased at - Billboard, 6/30/21...... RushRush guitarist Alex Lifeson says there's "no way Rush will ever exist again" without late drummer Neil Peart, who died in January 2020 at the age of 67 following a battle with brain cancer. In an interview on the SiriusXM show Trunk Nation with Eddie Trunk, Lifeson said: "I know Rush fans are a unique bunch, and I love them. It was a really good two-way relationship. But I think, really, Rush ended in 2015. There's no way Rush will ever exist again because Neil's not here to be a part of it. And that's not to say that we can't do other things and we can't do things that benefit our communities and all of that. I have lots of plans for that sort of thing that don't necessarily include [bassist/vocalist] Geddy [Lee]." Meanwhile, the California funk metal band Primus are hoping to finally kick off their Rush tribute tour in August, which will feature a performance of the Rush's 1977 album A Farewell To Kings in its entirety. Primus has already had to reschedule the tour multiple times. - NME, 7/3/21...... Four previously unreleased Tom Petty tracks included on the Angel Dream 25th anniversary album of Petty and The Heartbreakers' soundtrack album for the 1996 film She's The One have been released and can be previewed on with all the other tracks on the album. The updated album is a remixed, remastered and reimagined version of the group's Songs And Music From The Motion Picture She's The One, and was released on July 2. The four unreleased tracks are "One Of Life's Little Mysteries," written by Petty; "Thirteen Days," a JJ Cale cover; "105 Degrees," another Petty original; and "French Disconnection," an instrumental in the same vein as those on the original album. An extended version of "Supernatural Radio" has also been included. Petty's long-term engineer and co-producer Ryan Ulyate remixed the audio for the reissue and worked with the late musician on the mixes before his passing, and the song selection was designed to work as a Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers album rather than a film soundtrack. - NME, 7/3/21...... Queen are reportedly making over £100,000 a day from the 2018 Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody according to new accounts reports from Customs House. In the year before the blockbuster's release, the band filed profits of £11.8m pre-tax, with a turnover of £21.9m. Following the film's release, though, Queen Productions registered a turnover of £42m in the 12 months dated to September 2020, making over £19m pre-tax. The film has also made over $900 million (£654m) at the box office. In the year following its release, Bohemian Rhapsody was also revealed to be the biggest-selling home video in the UK in 2019. In 2020, Queen's Brian May revealed he had discussed the potential of a Bohemian Rhapsody sequel, saying he and the filmmakers "don't really think there's another movie there" despite having "looked at it pretty seriously." Meanwhile, song title that gave the movie its title has become the first ever song from a UK band to be certified "diamond" in the United States. The certification, awarded by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), comes after a track reaches 10 million sales or streaming equivalents in the US. - NME, 7/2/21......
Earl SlickDavid Bowie
David Bowie's longtime guitarist Earl Slick has opened up about his last experiences of working with the rock icon before his untimely death in 2016. In an interview with the UK paper The Guardian, Slick revealed how Bowie made it immediately clear that there would be no tour to promote his 2013 album The Next Day, which marked Bowie's first album in a decade and was recorded under a veil of secrecy. "We were sitting in the control room of the studio, listening to '(You Will) Set the World on Fire', and David says: 'Man, that track would be great live'," said Slick. "I looked at him, but before I could even answer, he goes: 'Don't even think about it.'" Like many of Bowie's close collaborators, Slick also had no idea the rock icon was battling cancer in the months before his death. "We knew each other very well for a long time, but we didn't get into each other's personal shit. We were friends when we were working, but, in between, it wasn't like we'd call each other up and go out for a cup of coffee or something," Slick explained. Slick says their last exchange came when he sought permission to undertake a tour where he would play 1976's Station To Station album in full. "The last time I spoke to him was September or October 2015. I ran it past him, and he said: 'Great idea, Slicky. Have fun.'" - NME, 7/2/21...... Dionne Warwick has joined calls for the end of pop queen Britney Spears' conservatorship. Spears has been in a conservatorship since 2008, and on June 23 she gave landmark testimony in which she said she wanted the "abusive" arrangement to end without further evaluation. In a post on her Twitter account on June 30, Warwick urged that Britney be freed from, as she put it, "13 years of bondage." "My heart goes out to Britney Spears. It really does. I feel her pain. How in the world could anyone endure what she has been enduring?" Warwick said. During the court hearing about the conservatorship, which is managed by her father, Jamie, Britney claimed she was forced to tour in 2018 and then commit to a Las Vegas residency with no break in between. Additionally, the singer alleged that under the arrangement she is banned from getting married and hasn't been allowed to remove a contraceptive device (IUD). - NME, 7/2/21...... Paul McCartney has given his stamp of approval after the comedy rock duo Tenacious D shared a rendition of two songs from the medley that features on the Beatles' 1969 album Abbey Road on YouTube. Tenacious D begins their cover with the medley's opener, "You Never Give Me Your Money," with Jack Black and Kyle Gass' vocals harmonizing as the latter plays acoustic guitar. Towards the end of the track they transition into the medley's finale, "The End." Tenacious D are releasing their medley as a limited-edition vinyl, all proceeds from which will go to Doctors Without Borders. Shortly after the medley was released, McCartney gave it his stamp of approval, hailing it as "fantastic" and praising Tenacious D for their take on the classic songs. "It's so imaginative and so well performed," the Beatles singer posted on his Twitter page. "What a great tribute to the original. Guys - I love it," he added. Tenacious D's Beatles medley marks the latest in a string of classic songs the duo have shared their take on recently. In June, Gass released a cover of the Ramones classic "I Wanna Be Sedated," changing the lyrics to transform the song into a Covid vaccination anthem. - NME, 7/2/21...... Bob DylanA preview of Bob Dylan's exclusive livestream concert "Shadow Kingdom" has been shared on Dylan's Instagram page. The 30-second, black-and-white clip shows him performing his 1971 song "Watching the River Flow" onstage with an extensive backing band. The words "The Early Songs of Bob Dylan" appear onscreen, hinting that the digital concert may centre on the older material in the veteran singer-songwriter's back catalogue. A statement from the show's organizers said the event would see Dylan "in an intimate setting as he presents renditions of songs from his extensive and renowned body of work created especially for this event." The event will mark Dylan's first live performance since late 2019. It will also be his first appearance since releasing his latest album, 2020's hit LP Rough and Rowdy Ways. Meanwhile, a new museum dedicated to Dylan is set to open in Oklahoma in 2022. The Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa will open its doors on May 10, 2022, and promises fans the chance to "access and interact with more than 100,000 exclusive cultural treasures" from the legendary singer's archive. - NME, 7/2/21...... Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry has given an update on the progress of the band's next studio album. Blondie's last album, 2017's Pollinator, contained contributions from the likes of Johnny Marr, Sia, Charli XCX, Dev Hynes and The Strokes' Nick Valensi. Although Harry previously revealed that Blondie's 12th LP will feature another song by Marr, it is expected to be a more band-focused collection of tracks this time around. "We're in the process of setting up a period of time to lay down some tracks and rehearse," Harry says. "We're already looking at 10-12 songs, but it feels too early to talk about it." Blondie will embark on a 10-city UK tour with openers Garbage -- dubbed "Against The Odds" -- on Nov. 6 in Liverpool. - NME, 7/1/21...... Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who charted an impressive Washington career serving under four presidents but whose legacy largely was defined by his controversial tenure as defense secretary during the Iraq war, died on June 30 surrounded by his family in Taos, N.M. He was 88. Mr. Rumsfeld, a confident adviser to power with a trenchant style that made him admirers as well as enemies, had a long and winding career in public life that spanned five decades. He had been a congressman and a White House chief of staff, and had a successful corporate career, too. But it was his second term as secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006 -- during the most tumultuous period of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars -- for which he is most known. "We will remember his unwavering love for his wife Joyce, his family and friends, and the integrity he brought to a life dedicated to country," the family said in a statement. -, 6/30/21.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

'70s artists Chicago, Foreigner, Sammy Hagar, Kenny Loggins, Barry Manilow, Don McLean, The O'Jays, REO Speedwagon, and Carlos Santana will be among the many performers on CNN's The Fourth In America primetime Independence Day special, airing on the network on July 4 at 8:00 p.m. EDT. U.S. military bands and Broadway performers will also entertain during the Don Lemon and Dana Bash-hosted event, with fireworks shows in multiple U.S. cities including Washington, D.C., Jacksonville, Fla., Houston, Tex., and Nashville, Tenn. also highlighted throughout the night. The Fourth in America will also stream live for subscribers on's homepage and across mobile devices via CNN's apps for iOS and Android. It can also be viewed on the CNNgo app. -, 6/30/21...... Bruce SpringsteenBruce Springsteen ended Broadway's long Covid-19 shutdown which started in Mar. 2020 with the debut of his latest "Springsteen on Broadway" run of solo shows at New York's St. James Theatre on June 26. The residency, which first launched on Oct. 17, 2017, initially ran until Dec. 2018, and the current, sold-out run will for 30 shows. The June 26 performance was a benefit show for a collection of New York and New Jersey causes, including Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids, the Food Bank for New York City, NJ Pandemic Relief Fund, and The Actors Fund. "It's great to be here," the "Born to Run" rocker said as he took the stage. "No masks, sitting next to each other in one room." During the show, the New Jersey rocker opened up for the first time about his DWI (driving while intoxicated) arrest in November. "I was handcuffed and thrown in jail. That took some doing... I didn't wake up one morning, get on my motorcycle and say, 'I'll go to jail!'," he said. "And then I had to go to Zoom Court! My case was, 'The United States vs. Bruce Springsteen'. That's always comforting to hear -- the entire nation is against you!," he quipped. Springsteen agreed to pay a fine in exchange for prosecutors dropping charges after he was observed taking two shots of tequila and riding his motorbike through a state park in his native New Jersey before being taken into custody. Elsewhere during the reopening, Springsteen made three charges to the setlist heard during the initial run of the show. He added "Fire" in place of "Tougher Than The Rest," "American Skin (41 Shots)" in place of "The Ghost Of Tom Joad," and show-closer "I'll See You In My Dreams" in place of "Born To Run." -, 6/28/21...... Queen's Brian May revealed to Absolute Radio's Leona Graham podcast on June 29 that when his kids first saw the smash hit from the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody they actually thought his voice had been dubbed into the film. "Gwilym who played me even fooled my kids when they saw it," May said. "They said you must have done the voice dad, I went no, no he did that" added Brian, who joined Graham to chat about Queen's 50th anniversary year. Alongside chatting about Queen's Greatest Hits album Brian also talked candidly about Freddie Mercury and the complexities he had as a character, the problems they faced around the making of the film and how it has introduced a new generation of people to Queen. "On one level yes [Freddie] was always a rockstar... He behaved as if he was Robert Plant at the time and nobody minded because he just had that kind of aura about him but underneath it no, massive insecurities, massive shyness, it was always with him right until the end. He had a very private side to him Freddie and he faced up to his insecurities by building himself in the way he wanted to be. He's a very self-made creature is Freddie. And if you peeled of all the layers of the onion, you'd find a lot of complexity, a lot of it which he denied, which is smart I think really. People would say is your music important Freddie and he would say no no its just tomorrow fish n chips paper, no I don't think my songs are worth anything but underneath that yes of course he felt he had stuff to say... Freddie was always expressing himself in rather daring ways, inside is this rather insecure person and on the outside was a warrior that he was building himself into." The full interview can be heard on Absolute Classic Rock on July 6 at 10:00 p.m. May will also be on the Absolute Classic Rock Party -- networked on Absolute Radio and Absolute Classic Rock -- on July 3 from 7:00 p.m. -, 6/30/21......
Barry GibbDave Grohl
Popular contemporary rockers Foo Fighters have announced they will make their Bee Gees tribute album available in July beginning with the second day of the two-day Record Store Day 2021's two-day "drops" on July 17. Titled Hail Satin, the project began after Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl covered the Gibbs' brothers 1976 chart-topper "You Should Be Dancing" during an appearance on BBC Radio 2's Sofa Session in Feb. 2021. "Introducing...the Dee Gees!!! HAIL SATIN - coming to a local record store & dance party near your July 17th!!!," the band's Instagram account announced on June 17. Hail Satin will be divided into two parts: the first side featuring covers of Bee Gees classics and the B-side including live versions of songs from their 10th album, Medicine at Midnight, which earned the group its fifth No. 1 on the Top Rock Albums chart. - Billboard, 6/17/21...... launched a new subscription service that focuses on "the golden era of vinyl" from the 1960s and '70s. The new "Vinyl Of The Month" club offers music fans "must-haves" delivered to their door for $24.99 per month, handpicked by the Amazon Music team. "Start or grow an enviable collection with some of the greatest albums ever," a statement reads, adding that the new Amazon service is "a great gift for anyone who's just fallen in love with vinyl." The first two albums delivered as part of the service are Pink Floyd's The Wall and The Clash's London Calling, while Amazon has said that further "iconic classics" from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis and ABBA will also be included at some point. Subscribers can return their record for free if they don't like it, although it's not clear as to exactly how this works with the subscription model and payments this point. Once signed-up, subscribers will be able to see what album is lined up for them to receive next, and they can choose to skip the selection before it even arrives. There are no tie-ins either and the membership can be cancelled at any point. - NME, 6/30/21...... An offer from Michael Jackson to contribute to the soundtrack of the 1996 Disney movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame was reportedly rejected by Disney as Jackson was embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal and going through a divorce in 1995. Speaking to, the movie's composer Alan Menken recalled receiving a call from Jackson's assistant, saying Michael was looking to "change the subject" of his negative headlines at the time and wanted to produce and record some songs from the score "but it was like somebody dropped a hot poker into a fragile bowl with explosives." "Uh, we'll get back to you about that," Menken said was the response from Disney Animation. Menken added: "Finally, predictably, the word came back, 'Disney doesn't want to do this with Michael Jackson.' I go, 'OK, could someone tell him this?' You can hear a pin drop, no response, and nobody did [tell him]." Menken said it fell to his late manager, Scott Shukat to tell the Jackson camp that Disney wasn't interested. "In retrospect, it was the right decision. [But] Quasimodo is a character... if you look at his relationships with his family and his father, I would think there's a lot of identification there," Menken said. - NME, 6/23/21...... Sammy HagarIn a recent interview with Brazil's Inside With Paulo Baron podcast, Sammy Hagar apologized for showing the "dark side" of his late bandmate Eddie Van Halen in his 2011 memoir Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock. "Because of the untimely and tragic death of Eddie Van Halen, I apologise from the bottom of my heart for exposing his dark side to where I don't think anyone wants to hear that now, and, unfortunately, it's in the book," Hagar told Baron. He continued: "And it's true, it's all true. It's not like I have to say, 'Oh, I was lying.' If I wrote the book today, I would only put the good of Eddie Van Halen, because he was such a brilliant, genius guitar player and such a great friend and a great partner, until everything went wrong, like everything else." Hagar says that if he was writing it today he would instead focus on Van Halen's "genius" and the pair's close friendship. Eddie Van Halen passed away in October 2020 after a lengthy battle with cancer. - NME, 6/30/21...... On June 27 Elton John criticized the UK government for being "philistines" in their response to Brexit touring issues. Speaking with John Grant in the Observer New Review, John said he was "livid" about ministers' inaction to the numerous challenges touring artists are beginning to face. "They made no provision for the entertainment business, and not just for musicians, actors and film directors, but for the crews, the dancers, the people who earn a living by going to Europe," Elton said. "We've been talking to Lord Strasburger about it, and we've been talking to Lord Frost, but we didn't really get anywhere with him. It's a nightmare. To young people just starting a career, it's crucifying. The government are philistines. We've got used to governments -- especially the British government -- just telling us lies every day, and I don't feel OK with that," he added. Brexit negotiator Lord Frost used a government committee hearing on June 29 to hit back at Elton over his claims around the European touring fiasco, before coming under fire himself for his "inaction" over the situation. Frost told the hearing: "I can't help noticing that he had his first hits before the UK even became a member of the European Union, so I think there's probably more at play here than pure rules applying within the then European Community." On another subject, John confessed to Grant he "can't write lyrics" and would end up penning crude songs. " don't see myself as a gay artist, you see, as such because I don't write lyrics. I can't write lyrics. But I love what pop culture did for gay music, starting with Jimmy Somerville and Boy George. If I wrote something, it would be like: 'I'd like to suck your k*** behind the bike shed,' and there's just not a market for that!," Elton mused, adding it's better off for his longtime songwriter partner Bernie Taupin to write his lyrics. - NME/, 6/27/21...... Elvis Costello is defending rising singer Olivia Rodrigo against a claim she has plagiarised the rock musician's work. Rodrigo has recently been accused of copying the cover art of the alternative band Hole's album Live Through This to promote her forthcoming Sour Prom livestream event. Hole singer Courtney Love said she told Rodrigo "I await her flowers [and] note." "My cover was my original idea. A thing you maybe have to actually live life to acquire? I don't know. Anyway. Disney? Yes, it's rude," Love wrote on Facebook. Now, in response to a Twitter user claiming Rodrigo's song "Brutal"' is "pretty much a direct lift from Elvis Costello", the musician posted on Twitter that "this is fine by me". The user is presumably referring to the similarity between the guitar riff on "Brutal" and that of Costello's "Pump It Up." "It's how rock and roll works. You take the broken pieces of another thrill and make a brand new toy. That's what I did," Costello added. - NME, 6/29/21...... Ringo StarrRingo Starr is inviting everyone to help celebrate his 81st birthday on July 7 by "spreading peace and love." The invitation comes as part of his annual "Peace And Love" birthday initiative, a tradition he started on July 7, 2008, the date of his 68th birthday, after being asked by a journalist what he would like for his birthday. "Peace and love," was his answer. Since then Ringo has invited everyone everywhere to think, say or post #peaceandlove at noon their local time on July 7 "to fulfil his birthday wish and encircle the planet in a wave of Peace and Love." On June 28, Starr shared a video message on YouTube: "I'm inviting everyone who wants to join the peace and love celebration for my birthday at noon your time wherever you are, 7-7-21," he said. "You can post it, you can say it, you can even think it - but it would be really cool if you go 'Peace and Love' at noon on my birthday -- so let's spread peace and love on my birthday -- c'mon everybody!" Usually on his birthday, Starr meets with fans wherever he is in the world. It's a tradition that began on July 7, 2008 when he convened with fans and friends in front of the Hard Rock Café in Chicago, passing out cupcakes and joining the crowd for "Peace and Love" at exactly noon. - NME, 6/28/21...... In other Beatles-related news, a host of celebrities and influencers from the world of music, film, fashion and photography have joined forces with Paul McCartney's daughter Stella McCartney and global animal protection organisation Humane Society International to call for a global end to fur cruelty. Launched as part of McCartney's Autumn 2021 "Our time has come" campaign, which dropped earlier in June with a tongue-in-cheek nature mockumentary narrated by British comedian David Walliams, the celebrities posted fur-free video messages on Instagram wearing a variety of animal costumes featured in McCartney's short film. In the video messages, Stella McCartney, Sir Paul McCartney and Mary McCartney wearing animal head costumes (Paul also appears in Stella and Mary's videos), call for their audience to sign HSI's petition to end deadly fur globally. The latest phase of the campaign comes during the British government's Call for Evidence to consider the case for a UK fur import and sales ban, something Stella McCartney passionately supports. -, 6/28/21...... Dionne Warwicke is partnering with her son Damon to help her fans find inner peace by opening her own sound bath meditation center. Dionne and Damon has joined forces with Entourage actress Dania Ramirez to launch The Ohm Zone in Venice, California, where clients can undergo sound healing treatments, which can ease stress, anxiety, and depression. According to, the holistic business will be set up like a private spa and healing temple, offering people soothing sounds while relaxing in a bath. Dionne is said to have started learning all about the differences good vibrations can make after Damon suffered a heart attack in 2016. -, 6/29/21...... In an interview with Radio Bob's Rockcall podcast on June 22, Paul Stanley of KISS says he thinks KISS could continue even without him or his fellow founding member Gene Simmons. "I think that recasting KISS or KISS 2.0 is not what we have ever talked about. Can KISS continue and can it evolve without us in it? Well, yeah, because it's already 50 per cent there," said Stanley, referring to replacement members Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer. "In other words, there was a time where people said, 'Well, it can only be the original four.' [And then] it was, 'Well, it can only be the original three.' Well, things move on and circumstances change. Could I see KISS evolving with different personnel? Yeah, there's other people around who could pick up the torch," Stanley said in the interview, which is available on YouTube. KISS launched their farewell "End Of The Road" tour in 2019, which is now expected to finish up in late 2022. - NME/, 6/22/21...... In a post on his official website on June 21, Neil Young said that "the Horse is back in the barn, shaking off the rust" concerning the recording of his upcoming new album with his longtime backing band Crazy Horse. Young said recording on the album is "under way" and detailed some of the personnel who are working on the record, including Larry Cragg, Jeff Pinn, Bob Rice and Paul Davies. "It has been a long time since we have been together, and more than a few tears have been shed... We are so happy to be back in the barn, a barn built to replicate the 1850s barn that had collapsed in exactly the same place, high in the mountains of Colorado," he added, noting the barn is is an "exact replica of his Broken Arrow Ranch, where we did 'Ragged Glory', 'Freedom' and other albums." "These are new times, with new songs and feelings after what our world has been through and continues to face. The music we are making for our souls. It's like fresh water on a desert. Life is going on," Young wrote. - NME, 6/22/21...... A new graphic novel charting Motörhead's rise to fame is set for release in September. Titled Motörhead: The Rise Of The Loudest Band In The World, the book will cover the 40-year career of the band and its frontman, the late Lemmy Kilmister. Illustrated by animation studio Fantoons and written by David Calcano and Mark Irwin, the book is set for release Sept. 7 via Simon & Schuster. Meanwhile, a reissue of Motörhead's 1981 live album No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith was released on June 25 in CD, triple vinyl and collector's edition CD packages. - NME, 6/22/21...... David CoverdaleWhitesnake frontman and former Deep Purple vocalist David Coverdale has announced he plans to retire from touring after Whitesnake's 2022 world tour. Coverdale, 69, talked about his decision while accepting the inaugural Rocks Honours salute as part of the recent The Rocks 2021 awards ceremony. He told Planet Rock, "I've been very passionate about what I do. I try not to let my audience down. We've got a really loyal hardcore fanbase around the world. Last year, we were supposed to do what was gonna be my farewell tour, and it was sold out; it was amazing. Of course, everything was cancelled due to Covid. So, God willing, I'll be able to do it hopefully next year. I'm gonna show my appreciation and gratitude for the support that I've had, because you can't do it without an audience supporting you." But Coverdale insists he won't be retiring from music altogether, adding, "We've got a relatively long-term deal with Warners. We have a poopload of projects to do under the Whitesnake banner... I play guitar every day. The moment I start playing, I come up with ideas for songs. It's impossible for me not to (play music). It's like my hobby. It's something that I'm supposed to do." Before the pandemic, Whitesnake were forced to cancel their U.S. tour with Sammy Hagar & The Circle and Night Ranger to allow Coverdale to undergo surgery for a bilateral inguinal hernia. The concerts were eventually scrapped altogether due to the coronavirus lockdown. -, 6/22/21...... British synthesizer pioneer and composer Peter Zinovieff died on June 23 after suffering a fall at his home earlier in June and been in hospital for 10 days. He was 88. "With a heavy heart, I am sorry to confirm the death on Wednesday evening of Peter Zinovieff, composer, founder of EMS, and pioneer of computer music in the UK," composer James Gardner wrote on Twitter. Mr. Zinovieff's company Electronic Music Studios (EMS) was one of the first to make synthesizers publicly available, and he was said to have sold the instruments to the likes of the Beatles, David Bowie, Kraftwerk and Pink Floyd, even teaching many of them how to use his creations. In a 2015 interview with The Guardian, Mr. Zinovieff spoke of how he taught Ringo Starr how to use one of his bestselling synths, the VCS3. "I had a nice time teaching Ringo Starr how to use it," he said. "I would go to his house in Hampstead. He wasn't particularly good. But then neither was I." Mr. Zinovieff also collaborated with Paul McCartney in 1967 on the unreleased composition "Carnival of Light." "I'd like to get in touch with him about it," he told The Guardian, hinting that he would want the piece to see the light of day. "But I'm quite in awe -- how do you get in touch with God?" Mr. Zinovieff is survived by his fourth wife, Jenny Jardine, and six children. - NME, 6/26/21.

Friday, June 25, 2021

The 2021 "Once Upon A Time In LA" festival is set for this December and will be headlined by such old-school favorites as Al Green, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, The Isley Brothers, War, The Stylistics and The Chi Lites alongside such modern rap and hip-hop greats as Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, YG and Ice Cube. Spread across three stages, the all-ages festival is set for Dec. 18 at the city's Banc Of California & Exposition Park. More info can be found at - NME, 6/23/21...... David Byrne's "Amercan Utopia" Broadway show will be celebrated with a special award at the 2021 Tony Awards show, it was announced on June 24. "American Utopia" features the Talking Heads frontma 11 musicians performing many of the rock star's hits and a cover of Janelle Monae's "Hell You Talmbout." A filmed version of the show, directed by Spike Lee, also aired on U.S. cable channel HBO. The Broadway show closed its doors in the spring of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and is scheduled to reopen this autumn. The 74th Tony Awards will be held on Sept. 26. -, 6/24/21...... CherCher has become the popular social media site TikTok's latest celebrity user, introducing herself to TikTok users on June 23 with a variety of messages while donning an assortment of color wigs. "Hi, it's me, the great and powerful Cher. And I'm on TikTok," a blonde-haired Cher wearing a white fur-lined jacket and black pants posted in her first take. The diva then sported a brunette wig and black-and-white striped jacket for the message, "Hi, it's me, Cher, on TikTok." Cher then became a blonde again for her third take, "Guess who I am? I'm on TikTok," before her final take in which she wore the brunette wig." "Hi, of course you know who I am. I was gonna introduce myself, but no," she says, before sharing a PSA for Gay Pride Month. "Happy Pride Month to everybody in the community that I love, and that means you," she said. Meanwhile, in an interview with the Just for Variety podcast on June 23, Cher revealed she's keen on casting an unknown actress to play herself in a planned Cher biopic. "We (she and the film's producers) were talking about it yesterday, and we're just trying to think of (actors). I said, 'I don't think we know her yet,'" Cher noted. The "Believe" singer announced plans to turn her life story into a major movie project as she celebrated her 75th birthday in May, and although the casting process has yet to begin. Universal Pictures execs have recruited Oscar-winning screenwriter Eric Roth to pen the script for the biopic, which will be produced by Judy Craymer -- the brains behind the ABBA musical and movie "Mamma Mia!" -- and Gary Goetzman. Cher has a working relationship with each of the creatives involved -- she previously starred in Roth's film Suspect, and featured in Craymer and Goetzman's 2018 Mamma Mia! film sequel. However, Cher says she has no idea how much of a say she'll actually have in the finished product. "I know the people so I'm sure they'll... listen to things I have to say. But it doesn't mean I'm going to get the final cut," she insisted. A projected release date for the biopic has yet to be set. - New Musical Express/, 6/25/21...... On June 23 Elton John announced a final run of dates for his 2022 "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" swansong tour. "It is with great excitement that I announced the final dates for my Award-winning Farewell Yellow Brick Road: The Final Tour in North America and Europe," the Rocketman posted to his official Twitter page. "I'm going to go out in the biggest possible way, performing at my very best, with the most spectacular production I've ever had, playing in places that have meant so much to me throughout my career," Elton added. John's new run of dates marks the final time the pop/rock icon will hit the road, commencing at Frankfurt's Deutsche Bank Park on May 27, 2022, followed by a run of European shows including Norwich's Carrow Road on June 15, Liverpool's Anfield Stadium on June 17, and Sunderland's Stadium of Light on June 19. Many UK fans noticed a gap in his touring schedule around the time of the legendary Glastonbury Festival, leading to speculation he may be the headliner for the 2022 version. North American dates will kick off with a show at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on July 15, 2022, then visit 19 major markets including Cleveland (7/30), Chicago (8/5), Toronto (9/7), Atlanta (9/22), Washington, D.C. (9/22), and Houston (11/12) before wrapping with a two-night stand at L.A.'s Dodger Stadium on Nov. 19 and 20. Elton isn't forgetting his fans Down Under either, saying "We'll be seeing you too. Thank you and I look forward to seeing you in your town." - NME, 6/23/21......
Neal SchonJonathan Cain
Journey has released its first new song in a decade, "The Way We Used To Be," which features the band's revamped lineup of veteran members Neal Schon (lead guitar, backing vocals), Jonathan Cain (keyboards, backing vocals), Arnel Pineda (lead vocals) and Randy Jackson (bass), and new members Narada Michael Walden (drums) and Jason Derlatka (keyboards, backing vocals). The wistful track has been accompanied by an animated video which has been shared on YouTube featuring a cartoon couple dealing with the isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic. "Not seeing your face I miss being close/ But it's your touch, babe I miss the most/ Feeling the distance In our sacred space/ Baby never thought we'd be We'd be in this place," frontman Pineda sings over the mid-tempo track before bursting into the urgent chorus, "Can we ever get back?/ To the way we were doing it/ To the way we were livin' it/ Back to the way we used to be." "The Way We Used To Be" is Journey's first new music since their 2011 studio album Eclipse, and the first Journey track to feature acclaimed songwriter-producer Narada Michael Walden and marks former American Idol judge Randy Jackson's first studio recording with the band since 1986's Raised On Radio. Neal Schon dubbed the song a "complete new beginning chapter for Journey" that set off a burst creativity that produced more than 26 songs that they are narrowing down to 10-12 for their next album. Meanwhile, Journey is set to headline Lollapalooza in Chicago on July 31, and will play "An Evening with Journey: Official Lollapalooza Aftershow" at the Aragon Ballroom on July 29. - Billboard, 6/24/21...... In an interview with Gary Kemp and Guy Pratt's Rockonteurs podcast, founding Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood said he's eager to get back on stage with former Mac member Lindsey Buckingham before they "knock it all on the head." "The thought of walking on stage and Lindsey being part of that would be very healing," the 73-year-old drummer said. "That's not saying goodbye to [new Fleetwood Mac members] Mike [Campbell] or Neil [Finn], we don't behave like that, but something connective. "I believe that me and Lindsey will make some music together like he did with Christine [McVie], and I would love that, no matter what unbridged feels there are that aren't healed for all their own personal reasons. I would hope to be the instigator of making all that happen before we knock it all on the head." Fleetwood's comments come after he revealed earlier this year he has reconciled with his former bandmate, who was fired by the band in 2018 when Mick insisted the guitarist would never be allowed to rejoin the band. Admitting the pair had put the past behind them, Mick said: "I've really enjoyed being re-connected with Lindsey, which has been gracious and open. And both of us have been beautifully honest about who we are and how we got to where we were." -, 6/23/21...... Paul McCartney will be among the musicians appearing in Mark Ronson's upcoming Watch the Sound on Apple TV+. The six-part docuseries examines "sound creation and the revolutionary technology that has shaped music as we know it," according to a statement about the show from Oscar-winning producer Morgan Neville. The series will make its debut on July 30, with each episode following host Ronson as he digs into the untold stories behind some of your favorite songs and the relentless search for the perfect sound. Other musicians slated to appear include Sean Ono Lennon, Dave Grohl, Gary Numan, Questlove and the Beastie Boys. A trailer for the new series can be viewed on YouTube. - Billboard, 6/24/21...... In other Beatles-related news, Ringo Starr has dropped his legal battle against the makers of a sex toy called "Ring O." The famous drummer had challenged the toy's trademark and argued the similarity to his name could cause confusion, arguing that his reputation could be damaged if the name was registered as a US trademark. Starr has now withdrawn the complaint after an agreement was reached with Ring O manufacturers. His lawyers initially argued that the brand was "identical in appearance, sound, connotation and pronunciation" to his own name, which he had previously trademarked. Documents filed by his legal team in 2019 said: "Consumers will likely believe that Opposer's [Starr's] newest venture is sex toys -- and this is an association that Opposer does not want." Having argued that the connection would tarnish his "name, likeness and brand," a new settlement has now seen Pacific Holdings and Momentum Management agree to "avoid any activity likely to lead to confusion" between their product and Starr. The deal states that the firms can only use the name for adult sex toys and sprays, and there must be a space between the "Ring" and "O." They have also promised not to "degrade, tarnish or deprecate or disparage" Starr's name or image and confirmed they will avoid making any reference or innuendo to associate the product with him. Starr is yet to directly comment on the settlement. - NME, 6/25/21...... A previously unreleased Johnny Cash live album that was recorded in 1968 by the late Owsley Stanley at the Carousel Ballroom in San Francisco on Apr. 24, 1968, Bear's Sonic Journals: Johnny Cash At The Carousel Ballroom, April 24 1968 is set for release on Sept. 24 via the Owsley Stanley Foundation and Renew Records/BMG, and is the latest entry in the Owsley Stanley Foundation's Bear's Sonic Journals series. The 28-track album has been previewed with Cash's rendition of "Going to Memphis," which has been shared on YouTube. The record, which will be released digitally, on CD and on 2xLP, includes two Bob Dylan covers and also features new essays by Johnny and June Carter Cash's son John Carter Cash. - NME, 6/24/21...... Bob DylanSony Entertainment has announced a new Bob Dylan compilation film of promotional material, footage from other documentaries left on the cutting-room floor and assorted demos and alternate takes from the singer-songwriter's six-decade career. Dubbed Odds and Ends, the roughly two-hour compilation is being distributed as a digital download or rental beginning June 22, and focuses primarily on Dylan's first two decades with Sony-owned Columbia Records, a label he has called home since 1961, save for a brief detour with Asylum Records in 1973. Odds and Ends will showcase a mix of material previously released piecemeal, with interviews ranging from the likes of Dylan's first manager Roy Silver lamenting about how the pop/rock legend got away, to John Hammond in an in-house sales video for Blood on the Tracks (1974) boasting about how Dylan recorded the acclaimed rock masterpiece in a mere five days, and mixed it in two. Dylan completists have seen much of this material in other forms but for the less indoctrinated, there are nuggets to be mined, such as from Paris in 1966 when Dylan faces a hostile audience that feels he's betrayed his folk roots by going electric, spending an inordinate amount of time tuning his guitar during the acoustic half of the show. - The Hollywood Reporter, 6/22/21...... In other Dylan-related news, the Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde has announced a UK tour where she will sing songs from Dylan's extensive back catalogue, as well as some other favourites. The June 22 tour announcement comes weeks after Hynde released Standing In The Doorway: Chrissie Hynde Sings Bob Dylan in the UK, made up of nine covers of Dylan's songs including "Murder Most Foul" and "Every Grain of Sand." The album is scheduled to drop in the US on Aug. 20. Hynde's UK tour will be spread across July and August, kicking off at the Royal Opera House in London on July 29 and July 30, and include her first-ever appearance at the Queen's Hall in Edinburgh, over four nights from Aug. 22-25. - NME, 6/22/21...... Former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman has announced he is regrettably being forced to close his London restaurant dubbed Sticky Fingers after 32 years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. "My heart goes out to all those affected by Covid. I also have the sad news to report that my beloved Sticky Fingers restaurant has closed for the last time because of the pandemic," the 84-year-old Wyman posted to Twitter. "I would like to thank everyone who has support Sticky's, both customers and staff, over a wonderful 32 years of business," he added. Sticky Fingers opened its doors in May 1989 and was adorned with a wide selection of Stones memorabilia. Wyman left the Stones in 1993, and went on to form his own band, Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings. - NME, 6/25/21...... Speaking to Rolling Stone magazine, the daughter of Don McLean has accused her father of mentally and emotionally abusing her -- allegations that he has denied. Jackie McLean, who is also the frontwoman of the indie rock duo Roan Yellowthorn, claims her singer/songwriter dad was abusive throughout her childhood. In one example, she accuses Don of verbally abusing her after he couldn't find something in the house. At no point does Jackie accuse Don of physical abuse. "My dad couldn't find a key to a piece of furniture and he thought that I hid it and he was just screaming in my face," she said. "I couldn't leave, I couldn't move, I couldn't say anything. I didn't know where the key was and I was just trapped in that moment having to endure the fear and the trauma until it ended. That was just a normal kind of thing that there would be screaming and yelling." As she got older, Jackie said Don fostered a "strong culture of misogyny" within the home, commenting on women's appearances on the TV, and also allegedly make indirect remarks about her voice, which initially discouraged her from pursuing a music career. "Every stage of my development was met with some level of trauma," she said. "When I started shaving my legs, he got mad at me 'cause he noticed the razor in my room... When I got my first bra, he got mad about it." Don McLean has denied all claims of emotional and mental abuse when asked to respond to Jackie's comments. Having grown up in a physically abusive household himself, the "American Pie"singer said he would never do that to a child or partner, though he admitted that he "did have a temper." "I don't understand what mental and emotional abuse is," he said. "There would never be any paralyzing attacks 'cause her mother was always around. I would never attack her anyway; I would never attack anybody," he said. "If I yelled at you for five minutes you'd think I yelled at you for an hour because it's shocking. I would snap sometimes; I did have a temper." - NME, 6/24/21...... Joni MitchellJoni Mitchell is celebrating the 50th anniversary of her acclaimed 1971 album Blue with a new EP of demos and outtakes from the Blue sessions. Blue 50 (Demos & Outtakes) is a digital EP that debuts five unreleased recordings from the making of the original LP that will also appear on an upcoming Joni Mitchell archives collection Joni Mitchell Archives - Vol. 2: The Reprise Years (1968-1971), which is set to drop on Oct. 29. The album's new tracks include demos for "California" and an early version of "A Case Of You" that features different lyrics from those heard on the final album. Archives Vol. 2 serves as a companion to the upcoming boxset The Reprise Albums (1968-1971), which arrives on July 2 in 4-CD, 4-LP, and digital versions. The Blue 50 (Demos & Outtakes) EP can be previewed on Released on June 22, 1971, Blue is widely regarded as one of the greatest folk rock albums of all time. It explores various facets of relationships following the iconic musician's breakup with Graham Nash. Mitchell recently shared a rare video message on Twitter in which she reflected on the 50th anniversary of Blue. "I'm so pleased with all of the positive attention that 'Blue' is receiving these days," Mitchell said while sitting at a table outside. "When it was first released it fell heir to a lot of criticism. So 50 years later people finally get it [Laughs], and that pleases me. Thank you." - NME, 6/21/21...... A forgotten David Bowie of the '70s, Just a Gigolo, is finally being released on DVD and Blu-ray this summer. The 1978 film was directed by David Hemmings, and has now been digitally remastered for release alongside a 54-page booklet and other bonus features. A synopsis for Just a Gigolo reads: "Paul von Przygodski (David Bowie), a young Prussian gentleman, arrives in the trenches in time to be caught in the final explosion of the Great War. After recuperating in a military hospital, where he is mistaken for a French hero, he returns to Berlin. His family home has been turned into a boarding house, his father (Rudolf Schndler) is paralysed, and his mother (Maria Schell) is working in the Turkish baths. "Attempting to find a new purpose, his childhood friend, Cilly (Sydne Rome), abandons him for fame and fortune; his former commanding officer, Captain Kraft (David Hemmings), tries to persuade him to join his right-wing movement and a widow, Helga von Kaiserling (Kim Novak), briefly seduces him with the finer things in life." Bowie stars alongside Hollywood icons Novak and Marlena Dietrich in what was his first film role after Nicolas Roeg's The Man Who Fell to Earth in 1976. In other Bowie news, a new global auction record for a David Bowie work has been set at a Toronto auction. A rare Bowie painting named "D Head XLVI," found at northern Ontario donation centre that sold for just $5, went on to fetch $108,120 at an online auction on June 25 staged by Toronto fine art dealers Cowley Abbott. The painting, part of a series of about 45 works on canvas that Bowie titled "Dead Heads" or "D Heads," sold to a private collector in the U.S. for more than 10 times the low-end of the auction estimate. The sale marks a new global auction record for a Bowie work, more than doubling the 2016 sale of a "D Head" series artwork for $39,000 in the U.K. - NME/, 6/22/21......
John OatesDaryl Hall
Hall & Oates have announced plans for a 2021 25-date summer tour of North America, getting underway on Aug. 7 in Mansfield, Mass., and including the HoagieNation Festival two nights later in Philadelphia, where Daryl Hall and John Oates first partnered in 1970. "Excitement is too easy a word," Hall says about the prospect of getting back on the road. "I'm many things. I'm excited about it. I'm apprehensive. I'm nervous. I'm confident. I'm paranoid. I'm everything at once -- and when I hit the stage I think it'll probably be as if I never left." Daryl predicts fans will feel the same way in short order. "I actually would use the word rejoicing, like 'We're here! We're back in this again! We can do this!' I think it'll be that kind of positive feeling and ecstatic feeling. I think once it starts happening, it's gonna be great." The duo will wrap their trek with two nights at the Foxwoods venue in Mashantucket, CT, on Dec. 3 and 4. The UK act Squeeze will be opening for Hall & Oates through Oct. 1, with KT Tunstall on board for most of the shows. Hall & Oates last performed in concert on Feb. 28, 2020, at New York's Madison Square Garden. - Billboard, 6/24/21...... Queen's Brian May has announced the reissue of his debut solo album Back to the Light as part of his new retrospective "Brian May Gold Series." May originally released the record, which featured the singles "Too Much Love Will Kill You" and 'Driven By You," in Sept. 1992. The reissue of Back to the Light, which was remastered by Bob Ludwig, will be released on CD, vinyl, picture disc vinyl, cassette, digital download and on streaming services on Aug. 6. A number of bonus tracks will also be released on a second disc, Out of the Light. - NME, 6/22/21...... The estate of Prince has announced the upcoming new season of the official Prince Podcast, with the new episodes set to explore the late artist's "lost" album Welcome 2 America. Welcome 2 America was recorded by Prince in 2010, but he later decided to archive it. The record is now finally set for release on July 30 via Legacy Recordings. The new season of the Prince Podcast, titled "The Story of 'Welcome 2 America," will take a deep dive into Prince's career between 2010 and 2011 to uncover the story behind the making of the record. A trailer for the upcoming season of the Prince Podcast has bee shared on YouTube. The first episode of "The Story of 'Welcome 2 America" will be available on all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher. - NME, 6/24/21.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Veteran hard rockers Foreigner announced on June 17 they'll launch an ambitious 121-date 2021/2022 world tour on June 24 in Ottumwa, Iowa. After a 15-month coronavirus hiatus, the trek will take the band to 72 U.S. cities in 2021 -- including a short run of shows with orchestras during October -- with concerts in 15 more countries during 2022. Dates for the latter will be announced during November. Foreigner plans to be cautious in its return, however, with current frontman Kelly Hansen saying the band will have a "backstage bubble" that will include mask requirements and other measures to keep band and crew members safe. "We want to make sure we do the most safe and protective things we can to make sure all these shows go off and happen the way they should," says Hansen, who got married during the lockdown. He plans to eschew his usual romps into the audience during the shows for now, and the band plans to alter its usual meet and greets with fans before the concerts. Foreigner's shows will, as usual, rest on the best-known material from the band's catalog, and introduce a new member, multi-instrumentalist Luis Maldonado, after the amicable departure of Thom Gimbel earlier in 2021. - Billboard, 6/17/21......
Carole KingJennifer Hudson
Carole King has teamed up with rising singer Jennifer Hudson to write "Here I Am (Singing My Way Home)," a new song for the upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic, Respect. The song will be the only original composition to feature on the film's soundtrack -- 54 years after Franklin famously covered King and her former songwriting partner/husband Gerry Goffin's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" into one of her signature tunes. "Here I Am" was co-written by Jamie Hartman and produced by Black Eyed Peas star "The process of creating this song was like constructing the greatest tribute I could possibly offer to her spirit," Hudson says. "It was the final exhale of this extraordinary project and one that I let out with complete fulfillment. Being able to do so with Carole and Jamie was an incredible privilege." She continued, "Carole is one of the greatest songwriters of all time, and whether we were trading stories, playing piano together over video conference, or working through lyrics, it was always a masterclass -- both in life and music." "Here I Am" became available on June 18, and the full Respect soundtrack will drop on Aug. 13 -- the same day Respect opens in theaters across the U.S. Franklin died from pancreatic cancer in 2018, aged 76. -, 6/17/21...... Warner Bros. announced on June 18 it has acquired the rights to the upcoming Marvin Gaye biopic What's Going On. The film, directed and co-produced by Allen Hughes (Menace II Society, Dead Presidents), is described by Hughes as a "personal" project. "When I made my first film with my brother [Albert Hughes], we were fortunate to get 'What's Going On' into the trailer for Menace II Society, and it was a game changer in elevating the marketing of that film," Allen says. "Every film of mine but the period film From Hell had some Marvin Gaye in it, and I've just always connected to him. He's the artist's artist, with this ethereal voice that just comes out of the heavens. There have been plenty of great artists, and then Marvin, in his own lane," Hughes adds. There have been many previous attempts by different filmmakers to make a Marvin Gaye biopic, but they have either stalled or fell short of the rights needed. However this time Hughes & co. have the consent of Gaye's estate as well as Motown Records so there will be rights to use all of the legendary singer's signature songs. What's Going On is described as "a musical odyssey and theatrical experience focusing on the life of one of America's greatest singers and musicians." The film, penned by poet-playwright Marcus Gardley with Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine also co-producing, will thread the story of Gaye's past with events that helped shape his infamous last tour. - New Musical Express, 6/19/21...... Peter Gabriel has told BBC Radio 4's Today that his WOMAD festival may have to be cancelled in 2021 unless the UK government offers an insurance program. All limits on social distancing and crowd capacities were due to be lifted on June 21, however Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on June 14 that this will now not occur until July 19 due to the spread of new Covid-19 variants. WOMAD is set to begin just three days later on July 22, with Anoushka Shankar, Jordan Rakei, Nitin Sawhney and The Comet Is Coming due to headline. Gabriel said that commercial insurance has risen substantially "and you can understand why." "So if we're trying to restore cultural life and normality we need a bit of help here. There's too much uncertainty for most festival promoters to take the risk," he added. The lack of festival insurance has already sparked several other festival cancellations in the UK this summer. - NME, 6/17/21...... Rick JamesIn related news, a new documentary on funkmeister Rick James from Showtime will take an "intimate yet propulsive look at one of rock, funk and R&B's most legendary and often under-appreciated figures." Bitchin: The Sound and Fury of Rick James pulls back the curtain on James' life and wild times and will be available to stream after premiering recently at the TriBeCa Film Festival. James, a native of Buffalo, NY, died at the relatively young age of 56 in 2004 from cardiac and pulmonary failure. An autopsy revealed he had nine different drugs in his system. Earlier in his career, he fled to Toronto to escape his U.S. Navy service at the height of the Vietnam War. In Canada James hooked up with Neil Young and they formed a group called the Mynah Birds but, according to the documentary, the band's manager ratted him out to the authorities for desertion and he was booted from Canada. The "Super Freak" singer finally found fame in the late 1970's when he pulled together his Stone City Band featuring some of his favourite Buffalo musicians. - WENN/, 6/19/21...... On June 18 Blondie shared two new live versions of their hits "Rapture" and "Long Time" on YouTube. Both tracks are set to feature on Blondie's forthcoming six-soundtrack EP, Blondie: Vivir En La Habana which is due to arrive on July 16 via BMG. The soundtrack is from a new short film of the same title capturing the group's 2019 live debut performance in Havana, Cuba. Directed by Rob Roth, the film was premiered at the Sheffield Doc/Fest earlier in June and its trailer can be viewed on YouTube. The EP will feature special guests from Cuban players Carlos Alfonso, Ele Valds and Mar'a del Carmen and also includes performances of "Heart Of Glass," "The Tide is High" and "Wipe Off My Sweat." "We had wonderful Cuban musicians join us for the performances --vocalists, percussionists, horn players -- they added a terrific level of excitement to our songs," Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry said of the live performances. "Latin music has always been part of the feel of New York, so it was amazing to finally be able to put a very personal touch on the heartbeat of Cuba. VIVA!," she added. - NME, 6/18/21...... Speaking of New York, former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne's acclamed Broadway show "American Utopia" is returning to the Great White Way later in 2021 after an initial 17-week return schedule was postponed in 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis. Based on Byrne's 2018 album of the same name, "American Utopia" will this time see a longer, six-month run in New York City's theatre district, moving from The Hudson to the larger St. James Theatre on 44th street. Byrne is joined by an 11-piece mobile ensemble playing songs from the production as well as other tracks from his solo catalog and Talking Heads material. "It is with great pleasure that finally, after a year+ like no other, I can announce that our show is coming back to Broadway," Byrne told Consequence Of Sound. "You who kept the faith, who held on to your tickets, well, you knew this would happen eventually! September 17 -- remount previews begin. We're moving to the St. James Theatre -- just down 44th Street from the Hudson, where we were before. The stage is a little wider and the capacity is a little bigger -- I guess we did alright!," he added. Ticketholders of dates from the original, cancelled run will be emailed with details about how to proceed. Elsewhere, fans can buy tickets from the show's official website. - NME, 6/18/21...... The Walt Disney Studios, Apple Corps Ltd. and WingNut Films Productions Ltd announced on June 17 that director Peter Jackson's highly anticipated Beatles documentary The Beatles: Get Back will debut in a streaming format on Disney+ over the 2021 Thanksgiving holiday. The three-episode, six-hour series had previously been scheduled to hit theaters this August, but now the film will roll out online on Nov. 25, 26 and 27 exclusively on Disney+. "As a huge Beatles fan myself, I am absolutely thrilled that Disney+ will be the home for this extraordinary documentary series by the legendary filmmaker Peter Jackson, Disney chief Bob Iger said in a statement. The rockumentary promises never-before-seen footage to illustrate the camaraderie, genius songwriting and musical world impact of the Beatles, drawing from material originally shot by Michael Lindsay-Hogg while the band was recording the 1970 album Let It Be, the band's final LP release that had the working title of "Get Back." Lindsay-Hogg's Let It Be film was shot in 1969 but not released until 1970, after the band had officially broken up. Ahead of the doc series Disney+ debut, Apple Corps Ltd./Callaway Arts & Entertainment will release a companion The Beatles: Get Back book on Oct. 12. - The Hollywood Reporter, 6/17/21...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney is among some England's top musicians who are donating prizes to a new campaign to help London's homeless. Streets Of London, the registered charity which funds specialist support for people who are homeless in the capital, has kickstarted its #comeonhome campaign with a unique prize draw. Prizes in the draw include a signed gift box from McCartney, a meet and greet opportunity with The 1975, a Fender Stratocaster signed by Mark Knopfler, tickets and an overnight stay for Craig David's upcoming O2 Arena gig, as well as gift boxes from Liam Gallagher, Jorja Smith and many more. Other prizes include items from Foals, Coldplay, Eric Clapton, Jessie Ware and The Chemical Brothers. Tickets for the #comeonhome charity prize draw, which closes on June 25, cost £5.00. - NME, 6/17/21...... Nile RodgersChic frontman and famed music producer Nile Rodgers has been re-elected as the chairman of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Rodgers, 68,w as unanimously voted in by the board of directors to serve a second three-year term as chairman earlier in June. "Nile is tremendously respected and admired by his peers and fans of all generations for being a musical pioneer with his multi/cross-genre music," says SHOF President/CEO Linda Moran. "With an ever-expanding list of credits and accomplishments, having him as a partner has been a very special and rewarding experience and the Songwriters Hall of Fame can ask for no better representative, both to the songwriting community and to the world at large," she added. For his part Rodgers says the SHOF position "has been one of the most important experiences of my life to represent and advocate for the songwriting community... We've done great work in the first three years despite the pandemic but we are just getting started. There is no music industry without the song and I'm delighted to serve the songwriters that have delivered the most iconic songs of all time." -, 6/19/21...... Bob Dylan has announced he'll perform an exclusive livestream concert on the Veeps platform on July 18, some 56 years since he famously "went electric" at the Newport Folk Festival. The event, named "Shadow Kingdom," will showcase folk-rock icon in an intimate setting as he presents songs from his extensive body of original works, created especially for this event. Tickets for the show, which cost $25, are available at, and access to this concert footage will remain viewable to ticket buyers for 48 hours after the initial airing. "Shadow Kingdom" will mark the artist's first concert performance since Dec. 2019, with his planned tours in 2020 canceled due to the shutdown of global touring that followed the Covid-19 pandemic. The upcoming performance will be his first since the release of his 2020 acclaimed No. 1 album, Rough And Rowdy Ways. - Billboard, 6/16/21...... "Dustland," a new collaboration from Bruce Springsteen and the Las Vegas-based band The Killers, was released at midnight on June 16 ahead of an exclusive performance of the song by the musicians on The Today Show. Available for streaming on, "Dustland" is said to be The Boss' favorite Killers track, which was written by Killers frontman Brandon Flowers in the middle of his late mom's battle with cancer. "I'm grateful to [Bruce] for opening this door for me. He has written a lot about people like my parents and found a whole lot of beauty in otherwise invisible people's hopes and dreams," Flowers posted on social media. "Their struggles, and their losses... I'm grateful to my parents for their example to me. Now go find something new out about your dad, give your mom a big hug, and for god's sake listen to Bruce Springsteen." - Billboard, 6/16/21...... Diana RossMotown legend Diana Ross has announced she'll release Thank You, her first album in 15 years, this fall as a thank you to her loyal fans. "This collection of songs is my gift to you with appreciation and love. I am eternally grateful that I had the opportunity to record this glorious music at this time," Ross said in a statement. "I dedicate this songbook of love to all of you, the listeners. As you hear my voice you hear my heart." Ross co-wrote each song with some of the industry's top songsmiths, including Jack Antanoff, Amy Wadge, Jimmy Napes, Troy Miller, Freddie Wexler and Tayla Parx. Ross's new LP will be her first collection of new material since 2006's I Love You. Ross, 77, had been due to perform the Sunday afternoon Legend's slot at the UK's Glastonbury Festival in 2020 before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and also embark on the "Top Of The World Tour." The run was rescheduled for June and July 2021, but owing to the continued restrictions, Ross has pushed back the tour until 2022. -, 6/17/21...... The first ever world fan convention dedicated to David Bowie is set for Liverpool across multiple venues in the summer of 2022. The inaugural event will see a host of Bowie collaborators and affiliates presenting panels, live performances, and a "Bowie Ball" to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the artist's classic album The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars. Former band members and musical collaborators including Carlos Alomar, Robin Clark, Gail Ann Dorsey, Donny McCaslin and "Spiders From Mars" drummer Woody Woodmansey are all confirmed for events at the convention, which is being organised by the David Bowie Glamour fanzine and Liverpool music festival producers Sound City. Fans at the June 17-19, 2022 event will also be able to get their hands on limited edition prints, memorabilia and rare releases via "The Duffy Archive," headed up by music and fashion photographer Brian Duffy, who took the iconic photo of Bowie's lightning bolt-adorned face for the Aladdin Sane album cover. More info and tickets can be purchased at - NME, 6/16/21...... Elton John and his husband David Furnish have been added to YouTube's impressive line-up of co-hosts for their virtual Pride celebration, which is set to take place on June 25. The couple join the growing line-up for the online Pride 2021 events, with the likes of Demi Lovato, Daniel Howell and Trixie Mattel all being confirmed to be hosting their own respective YouTube channels. Each party will include a mixture of musical performances and special guests including Tyler Oakley, Munroe Bergdorf, Kim Chi and Jackson Bird. Viewers will encouraged to donate to the likes of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the Trevor Project and AKT throughout the event. - NME, 6/15/21...... Frank BonnerActor Frank Bonner, best known for playing the brash advertising salesman Herb Tarlek on the '70s sitcom WKRP In Cincinnati, died on June 16 at his home in Laguna Niguel, Calif., south of Los Angeles. He was 79. Bonner's daughter, Desiree Boers-Kort, said the cause was complications of Lewy body dementia, and that her father had learned he had the disease, which leads to worsening mental and physical complications, about three years ago. WKRP in Cincinnati, which ran on CBS from 1978 to 1982, was set at a struggling radio station trying to reinvent itself with a rock format. The cast included Gary Sandy as the embattled station manager and Tim Reid and Howard Hesseman as disc jockeys. Bonner's character, the station's sales manager, was known for his obnoxious behavior, his general incompetence and his garish wardrobe. Bonner played Tarlek on all four seasons of the show, and reprised the role on a sequel show a decade later. A native of Little Rock, Ark., Bonner began his Hollywood career in 1967, picking up steam in 1970 with roles in the film Equinox and on the TV series "The Young Lawyers and Nancy. He appeared on Mannix, Police Woman, Fantasy Island and other shows before landing the career-defining role of Herb Tarlek. In addition to his daughter, Bonner is survived by his wife, Gayle Hardage Bonner. Bonner's daughter said her dad got a kick out of Tarlek's wardrobe, because his style was "one of the things that people loved about him." She said he kept some of Herb's distinctive white belts when the show ended. - AP, 6/19/21.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

KISS returned to the stage in the second week of June to perform a five-song set at New York's Tribeca Film Festival. The band performed on June 11 at New York's Batter Park after a screenng of the KISS documentary Biography: KISStory, which set to air on the A&E network in June over two nights. The band's pyro-filled set saw them play "Detroit Rock City," "War Machine" and more before closing the set with their classic hit "Rock and Roll All Nite." "We don't have a permit to make a long show," frontman Paul Stanley said at the end of the show which can be viewed on YouTube. "So this is a little short. It's like a sampling before you get your big meal in August." In August, the band will head out on their Covid-delayed farewell tour. Biography: KISStory is separate from another Kiss project, Shout It Out Loud, which looks likely to air on Netflix. - New Musical Express, 6/13/21...... David BowieA "remarkable" discovery of a rare David Bowie painting in a donation centre near North Bay, Ontario, Canada, is now up for auction at a Toronto fine art auction house. Bowie, although best known for his iconic music, style and acting, was also a painter, and between 1995 and 1997 he painted about 47 works titled "Dead Heads" (or "D Head") and each included a non-sequential Roman numeral. The consignor of "D Head XLVI" is described by the Cowley Abbott auction house on its blog as being "astonished upon viewing a label which read 'David Bowie' and realizing it was the signature of the artist inscribed on the reverse." Cowley Abbott adds that "after conducting thorough research, which included correspondence with a David Bowie specialist in the United Kingdom, we were able to confirm that the painting is indeed by the famous artist and part of a series that he completed in the 1990s... The chance discovery of this treasure within a pile of discarded goods is quite remarkable." Bowie's "Dead Heads" subjects ranged from himself to band members, friends and acquaintances. D Head XLVI is to be auctioned from June 15-24 and may fetch as much as $12,000. Bowie, who studied art and design, was also a collector, and his paintings "possess the stylistic influences of the German expressionists, Francis Bacon and the London School of painters," said the auction house's website. -, 6/14/21...... Speaking at a June 14 event linked to a campaign to free controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters made it clear he's not a fan of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and recently rejected a lucrative offer from the Big Tech titan for permission to use the 1979 Pink Floyd song "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" in a film to promote the Facebook property, "So it's a missive from Mark Zuckerberg to me," Waters said. "Arrived this morning, with an offer of a huge, huge amount of money, and the answer is, 'F**k you! No f**king way!'... (It's an) insidious movement of them to take over absolutely everything." The musician read from Zuckerberg's letter, stating, "We want to thank you for considering this project. We feel that the core sentiment of this song is still so prevalent and necessary today, which speaks to how timeless your work is, truly." Waters then added, "And yet they want to use it to make Facebook and Instagram even bigger and more powerful than it already is, so it can continue to censor all of us in this room and prevent this story about Julian Assange getting out. So the general public could go, 'What? What? No! No more!' I will not be a party to this bulls**t, Zuckerberg. You think, 'How did this little p**ck, who started off by saying, 'She is pretty, we'll give her a four out of five', 'She's ugly, we'll give her a one' -- how the f**k did he get any power in anything?' And yet here he is, one of the most powerful idiots in the world." -, 6/14/21...... A reimagined version of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' 1996 album She's The One titled Angel Dream has been announced to celebrate its 25th anniversary. The updated album will be a remixed, remastered and reimagined version of the group's Songs And Music From The Motion Picture She's The One, and is set for release on July 2. Ahead of its official release date, the reissue was released on limited-edition cobalt blue vinyl on June 11 for the first Record Store Day. The album's new title is a nod to its opening track, 'Angel Dream No.2', which can be previewed on Four unreleased tracks have been added: "One Of Life's Little Mysteries," written by Petty; "Thirteen Days," a JJ Cale cover; "105 Degrees," another Petty original; and "French Disconnection," an instrumental in the same vein as those on the original album. An extended version of "Supernatural Radio" has also been included. Petty's widow Dana Petty said of the album: "These songs are extremely special. I am grateful this record is getting the recognition it deserves. The remix Ryan Ulyate did sounds amazing, and the unreleased gems are a lovely bonus." - NME, 6/10/21...... George HarrisonAn "Uber Deluxe" 50th anniversary version of George Harrison's first post-Beatles solo effort All Things Must Pass has been announced. The new reissue comes with eight 180g vinyl LPs, five CD and one Blu-ray audio disc, housed in an artisan designed wooden crate. As well as the original album, it contains 47 demos and outtakes (42 of which are previously unreleased). The Blu-ray disc contains high-res stereo of the album in 5.1 surround sound. The crate also contains two books: a 96-page scrapbook designed by Harrison's widow Olivia, a 44-page book of archival interviews with notes from the period, and even 1/6 replicas of Harrison and some yard gnomes as seen on the cover. The original album has been completely remixed from the original tapes, with Harrison's son Dhani Harrison serving as executive producer. Mixing comes from engineer Paul Hicks, whose credits include recent re-workings of The Rolling Stones' Goat's Head Soup and John Lennon's Gimme Some Truth. "The new mix transforms the album by sonically upgrading it -- making it sound brighter, fuller and better than ever before," a press release for the new version reads. The reissue will also be released as an eight LP or five CD plus one Blu-ray set, and as more modest triple vinyl and double CD versions. All will be released on Aug. 6. - NME, 6/10/21...... In a new, lengthy interview with Oracle Films which has been shared on YouTube, Eric Clapton discussed his views on the coronavirus pandemic and his opposition to lockdown restrictions and vaccinations. Speaking to Oracle Films, who describe themselves as "a filmmaking team fighting for open debate and freedom of information," Clapton said he first became "disenchanted and suspicious" with the government during Brexit. During the UK's first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, Clapton said he began to consume "alternative data" about the pandemic on YouTube and from the group of academics behind the Great Barrington Declaration, whose call for "focussed protection" for those at risk from coronavirus and a return to normal life for all others has been widely criticised by numerous public health bodies including the World Health Organisation. "The more I got into that, the more I realised I was distancing myself not only from the government but from the rest of the public too," Clapton said. Later he said he became involved in anti-lockdown communities on apps like Telegram. Describing the fact he had to cancel a world tour as "devastating," Clapton said he considered leaving the UK entirely, but had received backlash in America over his collaboration with Van Morrison, with whom he teamed up in 2020 to record the anti-lockdown track "Stand and Deliver." "The minute I began to say anything about the lockdown here, and my concerns, I was labelled a [Donald] Trump supporter," Clapton said. "I got some pretty heavy feedback." Elsewhere, Clapton criticized celebrities from ethnic minorities encouraging people from similar backgrounds to take the vaccine as "guilt tripping their own communities." "That broke my heart and made me so angry," he said. - New Musical Express, 6/14/21...... Speaking of Van Morrison, the Celtic crooner took aim at Northern Ireland's Health Minister Robin Swann during bizarre anti-lockdown rant in Belfast on June 10. Morrison had been set to perform four gigs at the city's Europa Hotel, but the shows were called off at the last minute. Current coronavirus regulations in Northern Ireland mean that live music is not permitted in either licensed or unlicensed hospitality venues. The Europa Hotel had hoped the gigs would be classed as test events but were advised by the Executive Office to call them off. Morrison, who has been outspoken on his views about the pandemic restrictions and lockdown measures, addressed a crowd who were meant to attend the first concert at a pre-show dinner event. Seen in a clip at the event posted by Stephen Nolan on Twitter, Morrison referred to Swann's previous comments that Van Morrison's anti-lockdown songs are "dangerous," and added: "Well, if I can't affect any change in this situation, I don't have any power or my power is very limited to change this situation. Robin Swann has got all the power. He's keeping in this for over 15 months. All I have to say is if I don't have any power -- and my power is extremely limited, if at all -- Robin Swann's got all the power. So I'd say Robin Swann is very dangerous." - NME, 6/11/21...... In a new post on his page, Elton John has warned that the UK is in danger of losing "a generation of talent" after the government failed to secure a touring breakthrough with the European Union. The UK's failure to negotiate visa-free travel and Europe-wide work permits for musicians and crew in Lord Frost's Brexit deal has long been a topic of discussion, sparking fears that artists will face huge costs to take part in live music tours off the continent which could create a glass ceiling that prevents rising and developing artists from being able to afford to do so. Elton revealed that he -- alongside his partner and Rocket Entertainment CEO David Furnish, promoter Craig Stanley and Lord Paul Strasberger -- met with Lord Frost "to spell out the damage the trade agreement he negotiated with Europe is doing to the UK's music industry." "Despite this looming catastrophe, the government seems unable or unwilling to fix this gaping hole in their trade deal and defaults to blaming the EU rather than finding ways out of this mess," he said. John described touring as "an essential part" of education for artists, but said it risked becoming prohibitive for artists under the current arrangement. "The situation is already critical and touring musicians, crews and support staff are already losing their livelihood," he said. John went on to explain that he was not concerned with the risk for artists on a similar level to himself, who frequent arenas and stadiums. "We are lucky enough to have the support staff, finance and infrastructure to cut through the red tape that Lord Frost's no deal has created," he said. - NME, 6/10/21......
Frankie ValliNick Jonas
Appearing on NBC's morning show Today on June 11, Frankie Valli of The Four Seasons fame said he is "really excited" that Nick Jonas is playing him in a streaming special of his hit Broadway musical "Jersey Boys." The Jonas Brothers star signed on to portray the group's frontman in an upcoming TV event earlier in 2021, and Valli is thrilled at the way the latest incarnation is coming together, because he wasn't convinced the original production would be a hit. "I never thought that Jersey Boys would be the smash hit that it was," Valli said. "I remember seeing it for the first time in La Jolla (in San Diego, California), and the response was so incredible, I couldn't believe it, and when it went to Broadway, I never would have dreamed in a million years that it would last 10 or 11 years the way it did. And it's always exciting because something new is always going on. 'Jersey Boys' has been on cruise ships, has been in almost every country that you can possibly think of, and now it's being filmed for television and Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers is playing Frankie, so I'm really excited about that." Valli also revealed he's been keeping in touch with the "Jealous" hitmaker to help him prepare for the big gig, and he will soon be flying out to watch the cast and crew in action on set in Ohio. "We just talked last week for about 15 to 20 minutes, he's also very excited," Valli shared of his most recent conversation with Jonas. "It will be filmed, I think, somewhere in Cleveland and I will be going there to check it out." Graham King, the producer behind Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody biopic, is working on the special, which will be similar to the "Hamilton" streaming event, which premiered on Disney+ in the summer of 2020. The Broadway production of "Jersey Boys" originally ran from 2005 to 2017, winning four Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It was also adapted into a movie by Clint Eastwood in 2014. -, 6/12/21...... Bruce Springsteen called into his SiriusXM "E Street Radio" channel on June 11 to discuss several upcoming projects, including a reprise of his "Springsteen on Broadway" show, a 2022 tour with his E Street Band, and new collaborations with the likes of The Killers and John Mellencamp. "[Manager] Jon [Landau] mentioned it to me," he said of a request he received to help re-open Broadway after a year-plus lay-off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "I knew we were going to tour with the band next year, so I said, 'Maybe I'll take the time off.'" Instead, Springsteen will be back on the stage for the emotionally charged career retrospective show that will begin again on June 26 and run through Sept 4. Springsteen said he's planning to start rehearsals for the show next week and while he might tweak a few things, they'll probably be small changes because, " I think it's what people expect and that is what I have... There will be some small things, but I don't think too much." He also revealed that he recently spent time in Indiana working on new songs for a fall project with John Mellencamp as well as some recording with one of his biggest musical acolytes, The Killers' Brandon Flowers. "I worked on three songs on John's album and I spent some time in Indiana with him," Springsteen said. "I love John a lot. He's a great songwriter and I have become very close and had a lot of fun with him. I sang a little bit on his record." As for working with Flowers, Springsteen teased that, "It's [Brandon] and I with the band, we have done something that is going to come out soon, in a week or so. I've been staying busy." The full SXM interview can be heard on YouTube. - Billboard, 6/11/21...... Ned BeattyVeteran American character actor Ned Beatty, known for his roles in such iconic films as 1972's Deliverance and 1976's Network, passed away from natural causes in his Los Angeles home on June 13 surrounded by his family. He was 83. Born in 1937 in Kentucky, Mr. Beatty began his career in the theatre in his 20s. He scored his film debut in director John Boorman's 1972 survival classic Deliverance, opposite Jon Voight and Burt Reynolds. Mr. Beatty picked up his one and only Oscar nomination four years later for his role as Arthur Jensen in Network, in which he delivered a riveting 3-minute monologue. Mr. Beatty also landed Emmy nominations for Friendly Fire and Last Train Home, and a Golden Globe nod for Hear My Song. His other many big and small screen credits also include Toy Story 3, All The President's Men, The Waltons, M*A*S*H, The Rockford Files, Nashville, Rango, The Big Easy, and Roseanne, while he was awarded a Drama Desk Award for "Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play" for his turn in an adaptation of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." "Ned was an iconic, legendary talent, as well as a dear friend," his manager Deborah Miller told "He will be missed by us all." - WENN/, 6/13/21...... Actor Ernie Lively, whose 100+ acting credits include roles in TV shows like The Dukes Of Hazzard, Hangin' With Mr. Cooper, The X-Files, The West Wing, That '70s Show and more, died in Los Angeles on June 2 from cardiac complications. He was 74. Lively was reportedly surrounded by his wife and all five of his children, including has actress daughter Blake Lively, at the time of his death. His acting career lasted over 50 years after his first break came via The Waltons. He also had roles in Passenger 57 and Turner & Hooch; he also appeared as the father of his daughter Blake's character in both of the Sisterhood Of The Travelling Pants films. Prior to his acting career, Ernie was an English professor. He also served as a lieutenant in Vietnam and later a captain in the marine Corps. When not on set, he also mentored many up-and-coming young actors starting out in the industry. - NME, 6/10/21.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

AC/DC has shared a high-concept video for their latest single, "Witch's Spell," on YouTube. Featuring animations by the production company Wolf & Crow, shows the Aussie rockers performing while trapped inside a crystal ball and on a set of tarot cards. "Witch's Spell" is the fourth single to the band's 17th studio effort, 2020's Power Up, following "Shot In The Dark," "Demon Fire" and "Realize." In conjunction with this summer's Record Store Day, a limited-edition picture disc featuring "Witch's Spell" on one side, and the Power Up deep cut "Through the Mists of Time" on the other is being made available on that day. - NME, 6/10/21...... Bruce SpringsteenBruce Springsteen announced on June 7 he's returning to Broadway on June 26, this time at the St. James Theatre for another run of his successful "Springsteen on Broadway" shows. "I loved doing 'Springsteen on Broadway' and I'm thrilled to have been asked to reprise the show as part of the reopening of Broadway," Springsteen said in a statement. "Springsteen on Broadway" debuted in 2017 at The Walter Kerr Theatre and was extended three times, finally closing in late 2018. In the production, the New Jersey rocker performs 15 songs -- including "My Hometown," "Thunder Road," and "Born in the USA" -- and tells stories about growing up next door in NJ. Some of the stories will be familiar to readers of his autobiography, and he even reads from it. His wife, Patti Scialfa, accompanies him for "Brilliant Disguise." The tentantive end date is Sept. 4, and audience members will be required to provide proof of full Covid-19 vaccination in order to enter the theater. - AP, 6/7/21...... Rod Stewart's model/photographer wife Penny Lancaster recently saved a suicidal individual while working as a Special Constable for City of London police. Lancaster qualified for the role earlier in 2021, after her participation in 2019 UK TV show Famous and Fighting Crime prompted her to apply to the force. Appearing on the Good Morning Britain talk show on June 9, Lancaster revealed she's taken on a variety of tasks during her time on the beat, including helping those thinking about taking their own lives. Asked if she's made any arrests yet, Penny replied: "Not yet, I've had five duties so far, it's been interesting. When you think of policing, you think of the most violent crimes but we're out there to help the most vulnerable and at this particular time there's a lot of incidents on the bridges and I did help someone who was very desperate on the bridge the other night. It can be rewarding in so many ways." She also said no one so far has recognized a famous celebrity has come to their aid. "I'm in uniform. I've got my stab vest, armour, baton, cuffs, I'm dressed as a regular," she said. -, 6/9/21...... "Give Blood," a song which served as the opening track on The Who guitarist/vocalist Pete Townshend's fourth solo album White City: A Novel will be used to promote blood donation for World Blood Donor Day on June 14. Townshend has also allowed Global Blood Fund -- a charity focused on encouraging voluntary blood donation - to produce World Music interpretations of the song in multiple languages for international use to inspire a new generation of blood donors ."Although it is now more than 35 years since I wrote the song 'Give Blood', this is the first time it has actually been used to encourage donation," Pete said in a statement. "Shortage of blood around the world is a huge issue, particularly in poorer countries, and so I was delighted to give permission for Global Blood Fund to use my work to help communicate the need for more donors to come forward," he added. "Give Blood" is being released in several versions, including African English, African English (alternative), African French, Arabic, Spanish, and UK English, and the tracks will e released through multiple channels in the run up to June 14, with national blood services encouraged to "get creative" in how they use materials. -, 6/9/21...... Syd BarrettThe Flying Pig, a UK pub and grassroots music venue that was regularly visited by original Pink Floyd frontman Syd Barrett and according to legend where Barrett originally met future Floyd guitarist and co-vocalist David Gilmour when it was named The Crown in the late 1950s, is set to be demolished after a decade spent fighting redevelopment plans. The pub's managers Matt and Justine Hatfield, who have lived above the pub for the last 24 years, said they have been given six months to vacate the property. The couple posted on Facebook that they were "deeply saddened to announce that, despite the public outcry and overwhelming love and support for our gorgeous grassroots music venue ad real ale pub, the developer (our landlord) has issued us with 6 months notice to vacate our home and the business premises that is the Flying Pig in October 2021." The Hatfields added that after raising money through a Crowdfunder and an Arts Council cultural recovery grant to see them through the coronavirus pandemic, "we were just getting back on our feet, and business was looking healthy with our music back in the garden. They added: "We can't regret a moment of the last 24 years, and as soon as we know what the future holds for us, we will let you know." The Flying Pig, which also has the distinction of inspiring one of Pink Floyd's most famous album covers in 1977's Animals, has been under threat for over a decade, with plans to redevelop the area first approved by the city council in 2008. After thousands signed a petition in 2019 to save the pub, the plans were adjusted to keep much of the site intact, however those new plans have now been rejected. Ex-Pink Floyd member Roger Waters, meanwhile, recently posted liner notes he wrote for the band's upcoming Animals remaster, claiming his Gilmour wanted them removed because of credit disputes. - NME, 6/8/21...... During a YouTube livestream event on June 7, Ted Nugent repeated the baseless conspiracy theory that the Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol was sparked by Antifa and Black Lives Matter activists. "We know that the January 6th event at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., those weren't Trump supporters destroying stuff and breaking windows and being vandals," the controversial right-wing rocker said. "Those were Antifa and Black Lives Matter wearing Trump shirts and hats. I wanna be on record right now for that. Insurrection my ass. So let me make it clear: January 6th wasn't an insurrection. Those were terrorists, like Black Lives Matter and Antifa dressed in Donald Trump shirts doing all the damage. The real Trump supporters were conservatives that believe in God, family, country, law and order trying to stop them." Nugent also questioned why some cops appeared to be "waving them in" and demanded to know the name of the officer who fatally shot one of the insurrectionists: "I wanna know what's going to happen to him." While Nugent has previously made similar claims, FBI director Christopher A. Wray previously testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that there was no evidence to support claims that Antifa, anarchists or provocateurs who didn't support Trump were involved in the Capitol siege. Five people died during the armed insurrection, including Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick, and former Pres. Donald Trump was widely accused of inciting the attack, having addressed the crowd at a Washington rally only hours prior where he told them to go to the Capitol, "show strength" and "fight much harder." - NME, 6/9/21...... The Rolling Stones have joined Tom Gray's #BrokenRecord campaign which is calling for better streaming revenues for artists. In April, over 150 artists -- including Paul McCartney, Kate Bush, Damon Albarn, Chris Martin, Noel Gallagher and Wolf Alice -- signed an open letter to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking to help reform the streaming economy. Proving unsuccessful, the first letter that went to Johnson received an "interested but non-committal reply" from a junior minister in the business department. The campaign has now enlisted the help of the Stones, Tom Jones, Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees, Emeli Sand, Alison Goldfrapp and Pulp's Jarvis Cocker, as well as the estate of the late Clash frontman Joe Strummer, in the hope that they will help change the PM's mind. The letter can be read in full at - NME, 6/6/21...... Lindsey BuckinghamFormer Fleetwood Mac frontman Lindsey Buckingham announced on Twitter on June 8 that he'll be releasing his first solo album since being fired by the band in 2018. "My new self-titled album is one I've been intending to get out for a couple of years now, but on more than one occasion, unforeseen circumstances necessitated a postponement of plans," Buckingham tweeted. "Now that we're back in gear, I'm thrilled to finally be sharing new music with my listeners!" Buckingham's self-titled seventh studio album is due on Sept. 17, and the musician also shared its first single, "I Don't Mind," on Buckingham also shared a 30-city US tour intinerary behind his new album set to kick off in Milwaukee, WI, on Sept. 1 and visiting such major markets as New York, Atlanta, Los Angels, Austin, Dallas, Kansas City, Oklahoma City and more before wrapping on Dec. 20 in Boulder, CO. Buckingham was fired by Fleetwood Mac in 2018, and band continued to tour without the guitarist, replacing him on the road with Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers' Mike Campbell and Crowded House's Neil Finn. In March, it was revealed that founding Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood had reconciled with Buckingham, and added he would like to think a reunion of the band's "classic '70s" lineup could happen. - NME, 6/8/21...... Earth, Wind & Fire played their first live show since the coronavirus pandemic began on June 4 with a headlining gig at the Drive-In to Erase MS Gala in the Southern California city of Pasadena. Taking place in the famous Rose Bowl and hosted by former NSYNC vocalist Lance Bass, the gala was the second annual charity show which was created to raise funds for the titular charity Race To Erase MS. Founded by activist Nancy Davis in 1991, the charity seeks to raise both awareness and funds for treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). A clip of EW&F performing "Let's Groove" has been shared on YouTube. The concert, which also featured an auction hosted by cast members of reality TV show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, ultimately raised around US $1.4 million for the charity. In April, EW&F appeared as part of the series VERZUZ alongside The Isley Brothers. The episode was hosted by Family Feud's Steve Harvey. - NME, 6/7/21...... Speaking of the Rose Bowl, Elton John made a surprise appearance for fans of the TV drama Pose at a drive-in event held at the famous venue on June 5. TV mogul Ryan Murphy introduced John and his husband, producer David Furnish, to the stunned audience at the "For Your Consideration" panel at the Rose Bowl, after revealing the two empty chairs onstage had been saved for two huge Pose fans who "wanted to rearrange their vacation to be here." John and Furnish joined Pose stars Billy Porter and Mj Rodriguez, and Murphy's show co-creator and executive producer Steven Canals to take part in a discussion about the series, which is set amid New York City's gender-nonconforming drag ball culture scene in the 1980s and early 1990s, and tackles the AIDS epidemic and its impact on the LGBTQ community. During the event, Elton discussed the drive behind his namesake AIDS Foundation, and revealed he could relate to the journey of actress Dominique Jackson's onscreen character as Elektra Evangelista. "My motto is no one gets left behind. No one should be left behind, no sex worker, no prisoner, no trans person, no intravenous drug user, no gay people," John said. "We have to embrace all of us, we have to embrace everybody. And this is exactly why I love this programme so much. This programme touched me more than any other series because of the journey that these people are on. I mean, I am Elektra. I am totally Elektra," he added. Pose is set to end after its third season, which premiered in the U.S. in May. -, 6/7/21...... In other Elton-related news, actress Courteney Cox has recruited the Rocket Man, along with Ed Sheeran and Brandi Carlile to perform a hilarious send-up of Elton's famous hit "Tiny Dancer" for her fellow actress Lisa Kudrow. Cox took to Instagram on June 6 to upload a 40-second video showing the four stars sitting at a piano and singing a rendition of Elton's 1972 classic "Tiny Dancer." However, the group switched the lyrics to "Tony Danza" in reference to a comment Lisa's character Phoebe Buffay made in season three of '90s sitcom Friends, where she insists the most romantic song is "the one that Elton John wrote for that guy on Who's the Boss? 'Hold me close, young Tony Danza.'" "One of the greatest moments of my life. This one's for you @lisakudrow. #phoebe#tonydanza #tinydancer," Courteney captioned the clip, which racked up over two million views within three hours. The fun video follows the release of Friends: The Reunion, in which the original cast reunited for a TV special, in May. -, 6/6/21...... Gladys KnightGladys Knight has announced she'll be returning to the UK for a host of dates in June 22, her first appearances outside of the States since the Covid-19 pandemic struck. The "Empress of Soul" -- who will warm up for the overseas trek with a 2021 summer tour in the US -- will kick off her run of 10 concerts across nine cities on June 18 in Manchester, also visiting Birmingham, Bournemouth, Liverpool, Nottingham, Cardiff, Leeds and Glasgow before wrapping with two show's at London's Royal Albert Hall on June 29 and 30. "UK I have missed you! I can't wait to be back in 2022 and very much look forward to seeing you all soon!," the 77-year-old Knight said in a statement. Since she began her career in the 1950s performing with her backing group The Pips, the Grammy award-winning singer has recorded more than 40 albums and enjoyed No.1 hits on the Pop, Gospel, R&B and Contemporary charts. Her many hits include "Midnight Train To Georgia," "Help Me Make It Through The Night," "The Way We Were," "Baby Don't Change Your Mind," "You're The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me" and James Bond theme "Licence To Kill." -, 6/8/21...... Neil Young has posted on his personal website that a new album with his longtime collaborators Crazy Horse is on the way. "I have five songs ready for the next album, so I think over time the rest will come and we may start recording again soon," Young said. However, he added he doesn't plan to lock in tour dates "until I am sure the audience is safe." Young and Crazy Horse most recently collaborated on the album Colorado in 2019, and Americana and Psychedelic Pill in 2012. Meanwhile, Young revealed he's handed in his new sci-fi book Canary to his publisher after working through edits with his editor. Speaking to Rolling Stone in 2018, Young said the book is about a man who "works for a power company and there's corruption in the power company and he wants to expose it." - NME, 6/7/21...... Musician/producer/visual artist Brian Eno launched a new Sonos Radio HD station, called The Lighthouse, on June 8 which will delve into his extensive archive of work. The innovative artist is one of the latest curators to join Sonos Radio HD, which is now available in the US, UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Canada, Austria and France. The Lighthouse will see Eno exclusively share unreleased music from his archive, covering pieces written and composed earlier from his career until now. "The music that will be broadcast from The Lighthouse covers a pretty broad period," he said in a press statement. "The earliest track we have at the moment is from 1990. We will be adding more pieces as time goes on. New pieces will be entering the mix and some of that will go back even further. You will be listening to a sequence of tracks which will be randomly generated, chosen by chance so there is the possibility of odd, I hope exciting collisions -- things that are very slow next to things that are very fast next to things that have no tempo, no pulse at all." Eno's station will include a series of three programs, each hosted by the musician and starting with Program 1. In them, he will give insight into the unreleased material and explain why he has decided to open up his archive to the world. Fans can tune into Program 1 on The Lighthouse on the ad-free, high-definition Sonos Radio HD or for free to all Sonos customers through the in-app Sonos Sound System archive. Listeners everywhere can also hear the show on - NME, 6/8/21...... In an interview with guitarist Joe Bonamassa's Live From Nerdville show which has been shared on YouTube, Aerosmith bassist Brad Whitford has said he's not sure the band's upcoming UK and European tour will go ahead because of visa issues relating to Brexit. Aerosmith's European tour was originally scheduled to take place in 2020 but was pushed back to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was later rescheduled again and is now set to take place in 2022. Whitford told Bonamassa that the band's pending European tour was "a pipe dream right now," citing Brexit and age as two reasons it may not happen. "The European tour, they tried to plan one last year, and they're talking about next year," Whitford said, adding "Nothing's gonna happen for a long time. Sometimes I'm not sure what my partners are thinking when they think that's gonna happen." He continued: "There's another interesting thing about going to Europe now because of Brexit -- it's so much harder to get work visas because of that. That's gonna be a whole other nightmare. I mean, I have my doubts about Aerosmith ever really performing again at this stage, because age is becoming a real factor. And it is what it is." Aerosmith's European tour is now scheduled to kick off on May 29, 2022 in Moscow, Russia and end on July 13, 2022 in Krakow, Poland. - NME, 6/6/21...... The Beach BoysThe Beach Boys have announced that they'll release a huge new box set of their acclaimed early '70s material, Feel Flows - The Sunflower & Surf's Up Sessions 1969-1971, on July 30 via Capitol Records/UMe. The 5-disc and digital set will include newly remastered versions of both albums together with 108 unreleased tracks and live recordings. It will also include alternate versions and mixes, a cappella recordings, radio promotions from the album sessions as well as isolated backing vocal tracks. Feel Flows also comes with a new 48-page book featuring archival interviews with the group and a new set of linear notes. The box set will be available as a 4 vinyl set or as a two-vinyl/two-CD option. To mark the release, the group have also shared a new recording of "Big Sur," a previously unreleased version from the Surf's Up sessions, on YouTube. The Beach Boys most recently made headlines in January when they announced they had joined the likes of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham in selling off the rights to their intellectual property by handing over their copyright to another party. - NME, 6/5/21...... Actor Clarence Williams III, who played Linc Hayes in the 1968-1973 detective series The Mod Squad, died at his home in Los Angeles on June 6 after battling colon cancer. He was 81. Mr. Williams was born in New York City on Aug. 21, 1939, and began his career in a production of "Dark of the Moon," and appeared on Broadway in "The Great Outdoors." His performance in the Broadway show "Slow Dance on the Killing Ground" later won him a Theatre World Award and a Tony nomination. Along with his theatre performances, Williams also starred in several shows and movies, including 52 Pick-Up, Against the Wall, Reindeer Games, Purple Rain, The General's Daughter, American Gangster, Half Baked and Lee Daniels' The Butler. Mr. Williams is survived by his sister Sondra Pugh, daughter Jamey Phillips, niece Suyin Shaw, grandnephews Elliot Shaw and Ese Shaw and grandniece Azaria Verdin. - CNN, 6/7/21.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Eddie Van Halen's son Wolfgang Van Halen is blaming the coronavirus pandemic for possibly preventing his late dad from receiving more treatment abroad due to international travel restrictions in place when Eddie died on Oct. 6, 2020, following a battle with cancer. Eddie's cause of death was determined to be a cerebrovascular accident, or a stroke. He also had several underlying causes, including pneumonia, the bone marrow disorder myelodysplastic syndrome and lung cancer. Wolfgang, in an interview with the Washington Post, now reasons that his father might still be here had the pandemic not stopped international travel, which resulted in Eddie not being able to get further radiation treatment. "In the summer of 2020... if I were to open for Van Halen, he would come out and play a solo for a song," Wolfgang said. "That would have been the end-all dream.... I will forever loathe Covid and how it was handled because they stole that moment from me." Wolfgang is gearing up to open for Guns 'N Roses on the US leg of their summer 2021 tour, and his debut album, Mammoth WVH, drops on June 11.
Wolfgang Van HalenEddie Van Halen
It features the previously unreleased tracks "Don't Back Down," "Think It Over," "Feel," and "Distance." In February, Wolfgang dedicated a TV performance of the latter song to his late father, with whom he played with in Van Halen. Home videos of Wolfgang as a baby with his dad played behind his new band Mammoth WVH as they performed on the late night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live!, including footage of the pair at the beach and Wolfgang playing the drums. - New Musical Express, 6/3/21...... In other Van Halen-related news, co-founding vocalist David Lee Roth has released a new song titled "Giddy-Up." The track was originally issued to accompany his interactive graphic novel The Roth Project, which debuted online in Nov. 2020 and can be experienced in full at The Roth Project incorporates illustrated visuals with music and narration, all made by Roth. The story blends classic Western with sci-fi themes, imagining a future where artificial intelligence has gained the capability to imitate human behaviour. The 17-chapter comic features original music performed by Roth, written with guitarist John 5 of Rob Zombie's band. "Giddy-Up," which has been shared on YouTube, is the second single to be officially released from its soundtrack, the first being "Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bar and Grill." The artwork for that single arrived with a dedication to Roth's former bandmate Eddie Van Halen, who died in Oct. 2020. - NME, 6/1/21...... Barbra Streisand is preparing the release of Release Me 2, the follow-up to her 2021 collection Release Me which featured rare and previously unreleased tracks recorded between 1967's Simply Streisand and 2011's What Matters Most. Streisand announced the new LP on her Twitter page alongside the album cover artwork of her face: "Release Me 2 - Coming August 6 - A new collection containing previously unreleased tracks from Barbra's vault." A track-listing for the set of previously unreleased songs is yet to be shared, however the album will reportedly feature "duets with Willie Nelson and Kermit the Frog.... with songs by Burt Bacharach, Hal David, Barry Gibb, Paul Williams, Randy Newman and Carole King," among others. Streisand's last studio album was 2018's Walls, which she said was inspired by ex-Pres. Donald Trump and the political climate at the time. "These times gave me energy," she said in an interview then. "I felt so passionate about it. And music gave me that creative way to express my feelings." -, 6/3/21...... Pete TownshendWebster's Dictionary defines "pansexual" as "a person who is not limited or inhibited in sexual choice with regard to gender or activity," and The Who's Pete Townshend has revealed that he thinks he used to be one. In an interview with The Daily Star's "Wired" column the guitarist/singer said at one point in his life he would have been involved sexually with anybody, regardless of their biological sex, gender or gender identity. "With 'I'm A Boy' [a 1966 The Who single] it's the idea of masculinity and the way that men are seen to be at a time when I often forget, to be homosexual, to be pansexual, as I think I probably was, but not anymore. But I think I was ready to fall into bed with anybody that would have me," Townsend said. He continued: "I think I forget that homosexuality was still illegal, so these adventures had to be couched in vignettes of humour and irony." In February 2021, Townsend told the UK's Uncut mag that he's been working on new music and "wants to make another" record after Covid 19 restrictions ease if it makes financial sense. "If the moment comes, I'll go in and start," he said. The Who's last album was 2019's WHO, their first record in 13 years. - NME, 6/1/21...... KISS vocalist/guitarist Paul Stanley is praising a "really good" and "interesting" script for the forthcoming KISS biopic Shout It Out Loud helmed by Pirates of the Caribbean 5 director Joachim Rnning. In an interview with the UK's Download Festival host Kylie Olsson on June 1 ahead of KISS's headline slot at this year's festival, Stanley said: "Look, you get once chance to do it, and I would rather not do it than do it half assed or poorly. Our director is the real deal. He did Maleficent 2, and he's not some hack; he knows how to make movies. It should be great. Casting hasn't begun yet. But that will be interesting too." When Stanley was asked which actor he would like to play him in the forthcoming film in the interview, which has been shared on YouTube, he answered: "For casting to be accurate in terms of age, we are looking at actors in their early 20s. Honestly, I don't know a whole lot of actors in their early 20s. When people get asked these kinds of questions, they'll say, 'Oh, Brad Pitt,' or this one or that one. Well, those guys are in their 50s or 60s, so you're talking about another generation of actors. And I'm the first to say I'm not up on a lot of them." He continued: "But as the casting process goes on, I'll certainly be there and watching. It'll be interesting to see how someone else -- be it the casting people or the director -- how they view who I am and who they see doing that. I think I'll learn a lot about their perception of me by who they cast." Shout It Out Loud is a co-production of Atmosphere Entertainment and Universal Music Group, and Netflix is reportedly close to securing a deal for it. - NME, 6/2/21...... Roger WatersFormer Pink Floyd member Roger Waters has shared the liner notes for the band's remaster of its 1977 Animals album, claiming his ex bandmate David Gilmour wanted them removed because of credit disputes. Waters is alleging that Gilmour wanted the true extent of his songwriting and artistic contributions buried because, as Rogers put it, Gilmour intended to "claim more credit...than is his due." In a Twitter post on May 31, Waters pointed fans to his official website for more details on how he claims Gilmour "does not dispute the veracity" of the liner notes, which place Waters at the center of the project's conception, songwriting and cover art design, but that Gilmour "wants that history to remain secret." "What precipitated this note is that there are new James Guthrie Stereo and 5.1 mixes of the Pink Floyd album 'Animals', 1977. These mixes have languished unreleased because of a dispute over some sleeve notes that Mark Blake has written for this new release," Waters noted in his message. He continued: "This is a small part of an ongoing campaign by the Gilmour/Samson [Polly, Gilmour's wife] camp to claim more credit for Dave on the work he did in Pink Floyd, 1967-1985, than is his due. Yes he was, and is, a jolly good guitarist and singer. But, he has for the last 35 years told a lot of whopping porky pies about who did what in Pink Floyd when I was still in charge. There's a lot of 'we did this' and 'we did that', and 'I did this' and 'I did that.'" Waters went on to post Blake's liner notes, which will not feature on the long-delayed remastered release of the iconic prog-rock band's 10th album. Elsewhere in the post Waters said that he's been working on his memoirs during the coronavirus pandemic, and in his forthcoming book he will reveal more instances where it's alleged that Gilmour claimed too much credit. - NME, 6/1/21......Queen drummer Roger Taylor has announced he'll launch a 14-date solo UK tour this fall, launching on Oct. 2 at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. The "I'm In Love With My Car" singer, who will release his sixth studio album Outsider the day before, will be performing cuts from that LP alongside Queen classics and also visit Manchester, York, Cardiff, Liverpool, Norwich, Bath, Bournemouth, Plymouth, Nottingham, Bexhill, Guilford and Coventry before wrapping on Oct. 22 at O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire in London. Ticket information can be found on the site. News of Taylor's solo tour follows Queen + Adam Lambert summer 2021 tour being rescheduled for 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The tour will be Taylor's first live performances outside Queen in more than two decades. - NME, 6/1/21...... F. Lee BaileyFamed American criminal defense attorney F. Lee Bailey died on June 3 under hospice care in Atlanta, Ga., after a period of ill health, one week before his 88th birthday. Mr. Bailey's name first came to nationwide attention for his involvement in the second murder trial of Sam Sheppard, an Army surgeon accused of murdering his wife. He later served as the attorney in a number of other high-profile cases, such as Albert DeSalvo, a suspect in the "Boston Strangler" murders, heiress Patty Hearst's trial for bank robberies committed during her involvement with the Symbionese Liberation Army, and US Army Capt. Ernest Medina for the My Lai Massacre. Mr. Bailey was also a member of the so-called "dream team" in the trial of former football player O. J. Simpson, who was accused of murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. For most of his career he was licensed in Florida and in Massachusetts, where he was disbarred in 2001 and 2003 respectively, for misconduct while defending marijuana dealer Claude Louis DuBoc. Following his disbarment, he moved to Maine, where he ran a consulting firm. He later sat for the bar exam in the state of Maine, though in 2013 he was denied a law license by the Maine Board of Bar Examiners, a decision upheld by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in 2014. Mr. Bailey also once participated in a mock trial about the Paul McCartney "Paul Is Dead" rumor that was aired locally in New York City on Nov. 30, 1969, and was never re-aired. He was also the host of the short-lived TV series Good Company on ABC in 1967 and the syndicated Lie Detector show in 1983. Mr. Bailey was married four times and had two sons from his first marriage and another son from his second marriage. -

Monday, May 31, 2021

B.J. ThomasGrammy-winning pop singer B.J. Thomas, known for such million-selling hits as "Hooked on a Feeling" and the No. 1 "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head", died on May 29 at his home in Arlington, Tex., due to complications from stage four lung cancer. He was 78. Thomas's official Twitter page confirmed the news later in the day with the brief post: "It is with profound sadness we confirm the passing of BJ Thomas." Born in Hugo, Okla. on Aug. 7, 1942, Thomas grew up in Houston, Tex. where he absorbed a wide range of influences, from Hank Williams' traditional country to the soul of Jackie Wilson and Little Richard. From humble origins of singing in church, Thomas first found success with a cover of William's "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" in 1966, which became his first million-selling single. Over his career, Thomas won five Grammys, sold 70 million albums worldwide and has eight No. 1 hits and 26 Top 10 singles. Among his hits were "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song", "I Just Can't Help Believing," "Don't Worry Baby," and "Hooked on a Feeling." Thomas' hit single "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, won the best original song award at the Academy Awards as part of the classic Paul Newman and Robert Redford film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. B.J. ThomasSales soared to over 2 million copies and the tune has continued to find its place in such beloved movies as Forrest Gump and Spider-Man 2. Shortly after his chart-topping single, Thomas fell into substance abuse. He cited meeting his wife Gloria as a turning point, at which point he became a born-again Christian, quit drugs and turned to gospel music as a way of expressing his faith. His 1976 album, Home Where I Belong, earned a Grammy and a Dove Award. Beyond his beloved hits, Thomas also sang the theme song for the sitcom Growing Pains, "As Long As We've Got Each Other," and voiced several commercials for companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi. He also appeared in the film Jory and Jake's Corner, and penned his autobiography, also titled Home Where I Belong. Thomas is survived by Gloria, who he was married to for 53 years; their three daughters, Paige Thomas, Nora Cloud and Erin Moore and four grandchildren, Nadia Cloud, Keira Cloud, Ruby Moore and Billy Joe Moore. "I'm so blessed to have had the opportunity to record and perform beautiful songs in pop, country, and gospel music, and to share those wonderful songs and memories around the world with millions of you," Thomas said in a statement when he was first diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in March and was admitted to a Texas health care facility for treatment. A private funeral will be held soon, and the family says in-memoriam donations can be made to Mission Arlington, Tarrant Area Food Bank and the SPCA of Texas. - Variety/New Musical Express, 5/29/21.

Queen has announced they will re-release their 1981 Greatest Hits album to mark the 50th anniversary of the band and the 40th anniversary of the album. Upon its release, the album made history as the first and only collection to have sold more than six million copies in the UK (6.75 million sales to date) with global sales above 25 million. What's more, the record has spent more than 900 weeks on the UK's Official Albums Chart. According to a press release, one in four British households are already in possession of the album, and since the release of the 2018 blockbuster biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, interest in Queen has spiked. -, 5/27/21...... KissKISS are set to appear in a new comic book from comics publisher Dynamite called "Phantom Obsession" beginning in August. A synopsis of the Ian Edginton-written comic reads: "As a young man in 1978, Darius Cho attended a concert of his favorite band, a memory that has stuck with him to this day. Now he is a massively wealthy tech giant, but mysteriously reclusive. Some even believe he may not exist at all, simply serving as a ghostly facade for an endless consortium of corporations. At least until Kiss receives an all-expense invitation to play an exclusive concert for him. Playing for an audience of just Cho, his assistant and a crowd of 'Westworld'-style androids invented by the mega-billionaire, everything seems a little off... Especially when the band wakes up in luxurious accommodations, but with no way to leave, and their powerful talismans stolen from them!" One of the covers for the comics series has been shared on Twitter. Meanwhile in other KISS-related news, band member Gene Simmons will be hosting a MasterClass event in Las Vegas in June, where he will teach bass and songwriting. Simmons will bring back his Axe MasterClass for fans on June 26, with participants having the opportunity to learn how to write rock music in an afternoon class under Simmons' guidance. There will also be a package that includes custom "one-of-a-kind" bass guitars hand-painted by the musician himself. Footage from previous editions, along with an introduction by Simmons, can be viewed on YouTube. Each package runs from US$5,000 to $7,000, depending on bass model of choice, with limited spots available due to social distancing measures. - NME, 5/29/21...... An Ohio man has returned his copy of Bob Dylan's 1970 LP Self Portrait to a local library 48 after its due date, but the library says he needn't have enclosed an overdue fee along with it. According to an Instagram post by the University Heights library, Howard Simon checked out his copy of the Dylan album in the spring of 1973, when he was a 14-year-old student. The library says Simon returned the album in late May, along with a letter explaining what took him so long. "As a recent retiree, I am taking the opportunity to turn my attention to some of the many vignettes of life that by dint of career and family have been neglected these many years," wrote Simon, who now resides in San Francisco. "In that context, I am returning with this letter an overdue item (by my count, approximately 17,480 days overdue as of this writing) that I borrowed from the library in the spring of 1973 when I was 14 and in 8th grade at Wiley. So it's quite late, and I'm quite sorry!," he added. Library manager Sara Philips says although Simon's late fees total around US $1,748, or 10c a day, and Simon also sent a "replacement fee" of $175 and one of his own albums, "we don't charge overdue fines anymore -- as long as we get the item back, we see no need to penalize people... We're grateful that Mr. Simon returned the record. I'd said we can now call it even." In other Dylan-related news, the music legend's "Heaven's Door" whiskey brand has unveiled its latest release in conjunction with Bob's recent 80th birthday: a limited-edition collaboration with Redbreast Irish Whiskey. Dubbed the "Master Blenders' Edition," the new whiskey is billed as "a tribute to both American and Irish artistry and whiskey." Master Blenders' Edition is described as "10-year aged low rye bourbon... finished for 15 months in Redbreast's signature 12-year-old Irish Whiskey casks... What you get: a smooth and flavorful whiskey with notes of leather, nut and spice as well as sherry, citrus, dark fruit and Irish honeycomb." Heaven's Door says Dylan was actively involved in the process for the new liquor from start to finish, helping to select the final blend that was bottled, and helping to create the actual bottle itself. It says Dylan was "especially excited about the opportunity to partner with the Redbreast team, given his long history and influence from Ireland in his music and beyond." The Master Blenders' Edition is available in super limited-edition right now at, with a suggested retail price of $99.99 for a 750ml bottle. - New Musical Express/Billboard, 5/31/21...... The BeatlesIf you thought every conceivable aspect of the Beatles' career had been thorougly investigated and documented, think again. The Beatles and India, a new documentary on the Fab Four's time in India in the late '60s, will premiere in the UK in June. The film is co-helmed by first-time director Ajoy Bose, author of Across The Universe - The Beatles In India, and will comprise of rare archival footage, recordings and photographs, eye-witness accounts and expert comments along with location shoots across India. Cultural researcher Pete Compton is Bose's directing partner, and the film will premiere in the UK on June 6 as part of the Tongues On Fire UK Asian Film Festival ahead of a full release in the fall that will coincide with The Beatles and India: Songs Inspired by the Film, a companion album of interpretations of 19 Beatles songs from contemporary Indian artists. The covers will be of songs that the band were inspired to write from their time in India. The first single from The Beatles and India has been released, and features Indian singer-songwriter Nikhil D'Souza performing "India, India," John Lennon's ode to the country. The track has been shared on YouTube and can be purchased on - NME, 5/28/21...... In other Beatles-related news, Strawberry Field, the latest addition to Beatles tourism in Liverpool and now open to the public, have commenced celebrations by inviting a student from Paul McCartney's Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts to play the very piano on which John Lennon composed and recorded "Imagine," with The Liverpool Signing Choir singing the words to the inspirational song. Lennon's world-famous piano was once toured by late pop star George Michael as a symbol of peace in the early 2000s and hasn't been played in a performance since 2007. It is now on loan to the Strawberry Field exhibition, courtesy of Michael's estate. The upright Steinway piano, purchased by the singer-songwriter in 2000 was delivered to Strawberry Field on Oct. 2, 2020, to mark what would have been John's 80th birthday. It is now on display in the Strawberry Field exhibition. Tickets to the exhibition can be purchased on the Strawberry Field website. -, 5/25/21...... Klaus VoormannElsewhere on the Fab Four front, Beatles lieutenant Klaus Voormann remembered the first time he saw George Harrison in an interview with Uncut magazine. Describing an encounter with an early incarnation of the Beatles at Hamburg's Kaiserkeller in 1960, Voormann said: "The first time I saw George he was only 17 years of age. He was very different to how he was later. He was a cocky little boy! This band he was with was completely unknown. George was singing all those funny songs, which he did later on a little bit, when he sat around and played ukulele. He was into songs like 'I'm Henry The Eighth, I Am,' singing it all cockney. He would sing all those Eddie Cochran numbers too, like 'Twenty Flight Rock'." Voormann went on to design the Beatles' Revolver album cover (for which he won a Grammy), play on Harrison's All Things Must Pass solo album, three of Ringo Starr's solo albums and four of John Lennon's solo efforts. He was for a time rumoured to be replacing Paul McCartney in a reformed Beatles project. - NME, 5/26/21...... Elton John and actress Charlize Theron are among the signees of an open letter to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking him to address a new AIDS emergency and the forthcoming G7 summit of world leaders. "We face a new AIDS emergency, and we need your help," the letter begins. "While naturally Covid-19 is currently dominating the agenda, it is vital that you and your fellow leaders also protect and build on what we have achieved in the fight to end AIDS and use that in the struggle against Covid-19," it continues. "The Covid-19 crisis has shut down HIV prevention and treatment services, in many countries literally overnight... Already we have seen a steep increase in rates of adolescent pregnancy, which we know will mean a surge in HIV infections too... The World Health Organisation has highlighted widespread disruption to HIV treatment supply chains... The UK must drive ambitious G7 support for international progress as convenor and by example... The eyes of the world, Prime Minister, are on the UK, and on you." John is founder of his Elton John AIDS Foundation, while Theron is the founder of Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project. The full letter can be read on John's AIDS Foundation site. - NME, 5/30/21...... Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley has finalized her divorce with her husband Michael Lockwood five years after they split. Presley and Lockwood were married for a decade and share twin 12-year-old daughters and although the feuding couple will continue to litigate various issues, a judge signed off on their marriage's dissolution on May 26. Presley previously urged the judge overseeing the pair's divorce and custody battle to officially end her marriage so she could get on with her life, claiming Lockwood refused to agree to terminate their union. She requested a bifurcation, allowing her to become legally single, in March. In the court hearing, Lockwood's lawyer said his client "has no desire to stay married to this woman," adding, "He wants to get on with his life." The union was the latest in a string of failed marriages by Lisa Marie -- she was previously wed to Michael Jackson, Danny Keough and Nicolas Cage. -, 5/27/21...... Pioneering folk musician Patrick Sky, a member of the '60s Greenwich Village folk scene, passed away on May 27 in a in Asheville, N.C., after a bout with prostate and bone cancer. He was 80. He had previously been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2017. Mr. Sky was most known for his highly provocative satirical record Songs That Made America Famous, which was recorded in 1971 but wasn't released until some years later, following difficulties trying to get a record label to sign off on the profanities. Fellow musician and friend, Eric Andersen, paid tribute to Mr. Sky on May 27 in a post praising his "brilliant mind and insightful soul." "Well, today's a big, big sad day for me personally and for all of us songwriter music lovers. The dark? Well, he finally got there..." he wrote in a statement on Facebook. Born in Georgia, Mr. Sky grew up in Louisiana and served in the army before becoming part of Florida's burgeoning folk scene. It was there he met Buffy St. Marie and proceeded to move to New York, where he recorded her debut album. Later in his career, Mr. Sky turned more towards traditional folk music, reflective of his Irish roots. In the '70s, the part Creek Indian, part Irish singer-songwriter visited Ireland and set out to learn -- and build -- the Uilleann pipes. Mr. Sky went on to start the Celtic folk label Green Linnet, and serve as a Rhode Island state planner on Native American affairs. Mr. Sky is survived by his wife Cathy Larson Sky and son Liam Sky. - NME, 5/31/21...... Gavin MacLeodVeteran TV actor Gavin MacLeod, who played a wise-cracking news writer on the classic 1970s sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show and the hospitable cruise ship captain on The Love Boat, died on the morning of May 29 at his home in Palm Desert, Calif. He was 90. Mr. MacLeod's ex-wife Joan Devore told that MacLeod had been hospitalized over the past few months with various illnesses, though his actual cause of death was unclear. Born Allan See on Feb. 28, 1931, in Mount Kisco, N.Y., Mr. MacLeod changed his name to Gavin because he liked it and his last name to MacLeod as a tribute to his college acting teacher. The United States Air Force veteran launched his career at the age of 26 when he landed a role on The Walter Winchell File. Mr. MacLeod often played villains on TV before being cast in the acerbic comic role of Murray Slaughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which ran on CBS from 1970-1977 and was one of the most honoured shows of its decade, winning 29 Emmy Awards. After that ended, Mr. MacLeod was signed for the starring role of Captain Merrill Stubing on ABC's The Love Boat, which ran for 10 seasons from 1977-1987. The series, which featured guests stars in each episode as passengers looking for romance aboard a cruise ship, was not a favorite of critics -- a New York Times reviewer once called it "a dreadful porridge" -- but it was frequently amusing and popular with viewers. Mr. MacLeod also had a regular role on the World War II situation comedy McHale's Navy from 1962 to 1964 but frequently played bad guys like a character named Big Chicken in the CBS crime drama Hawaii Five-O. Other TV credits include The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Untouchables, Dr. Kildare, Rawhide, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., The Man from U.N.C.L.E., My Favorite Martian, Hogan's Heroes, Combat!, The Big Valley, The Andy Griffith Show, It Takes a Thief, The Flying Nun, The King of Queens and That '70s Show. He also appeared in supporting roles in several prominent movies as well including Kelly's Heroes (1970), with Clint Eastwood, and Operation Petticoat (1959) with Cary Grant and Tony Curtis. In 2013, the star opened up about his years-long struggle with depression and alcohol in his autobiography, This Is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Life. "I've gotten to do what I wanted to do. I've been a captain!' MacLeod told People. Mr. MacLeod was recently seen in February when he joined his Love Boat co-stars for a virtual charity reunion on SiriusXM radio's Stars In The House. "My heart is broken. Gavin was my brother, my partner in crime (and food) and my comic conspirator," Mr. MacLeod's Mary Tyler Moore Show co-star Ed Asner posted on Twitter. "I will see you in a bit Gavin. Tell the gang I will see them in a bit. Betty! It's just you and me now," he added. Mr. MacLeod had four children from his first marriage, which ended in divorce, and three stepchildren from his second marriage. - Variety, 5/29/21.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

In a new interview with BBC Radio 2 host Johnny Walker, Ozzy Osbourne hailed late Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister as his personal "rock god." Ozzy and Lemmy were close friends, and Lemmy co-wrote a wide array of Osbourne's solo tracks before he succumbed to cancer in 2015, including "Mama, I'm Coming Home." "My rock god is Lemmy Kilmister," Ozzy told Walker. "Lemmy was a guy -- he shot from the hip every time. 'That sucks,' or, 'I like that... I'm good at starting lyrics, but I can't finish them. And he'd go -- he'd write a bunch of lyrics for my songs -- 'Mama, I'm Coming Home.' So, I'd give him a tape, and I had this book on World War II. I haven't read it and I told him, 'Tell me what you think. And I have a bunch of these lyrics -- whenever you can...' I'm thinking, it's gonna be a week." Ozzy said Kilmister not only finished the lyrics in four hours, but also read the WW2 book within that time -- "He was a speed-reader!" The pair were also frequent tour mates -- including a final run of shows in South America in 2015 which proved to be the first indicator of Lemmy's ill health. - New Musical Express, 5/26/21...... Bob DylanBob Dylan fans around the world marked the milestone 80th birthday of the rock bard on May 24 with festivals, contests, and marathon Dylan radio shows. Dylan's home city of Duluth, Minn. held its 11th annual Duluth Dylan Fest, with fans invited to join the celebration both at the festival and virtually. Fans partied outside his former childhood home, where a young Robert Zimmeran lived until he was six. The largely-virtual event -- owing to the COVID-19 pandemic -- has been running since May 22 and will continue until May 30. Dylan Fest also featured a songwriting contest in the rock legend's honor, along with a poetry contest, lecture, tour, and much more. Elsewhere, in New York -- where Dylan moved to in 1961 to pursue his dream of becoming a music star -- the WFUV radio station at the Bronx's Fordham University played 80 Dylan songs throughout the day. And in Dublin, Ireland -- where Dylan has often visited over the years -- Other Voices hosted a live-stream from the US Embassy titled "Dignity" after his 1994 song. Also on May 24, a new revised and illustrated edition of Robert Shelton's essential Dylan biography No Direction Home: The Life and Music of Bob Dylan, was released. In addition to being an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Dylan is the recipient of such honors as the Presidential Medal of Freedom, 10 Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award. He released his first original music in eight years in 2020. -, 5/24/21...... Taj Jackson, the nephew of Michael Jackson, and other members of the Jackson clan are calling for a fresh investigation into British journalist Martin Bashir's notorious 1995 interview with the King of Pop after a recent independent inquiry by Lord Dyson found that Bashir engaged in "deceitful behaviour" to gain access to Princess Diana for a landmark interview in 1995. Dyson's report also concluded that Bashir's actions to secure the interview amounted to a "serious breach" of BBC editorial policy, which the corporation subsequently covered up. In 2003, Bashir attracted international attention for presenting Living with Michael Jackson, an ITV documentary where he followed the late pop icon's life over the course of eight months. The film became steeped in notoriety after it saw Jackson admitting to sharing his bed with young boys, but he remained adamant that there was no sexual element to the interactions. Months later, Jackson was charged with seven counts of child molestation but he was acquitted of all charges in 2005. Appearing on Good Morning Britain on May 24, Taj Jackson asserted his uncle had been "betrayed" by Bashir's film. "It's the betrayal aspect of it, someone that you let into your life and you trust," Taj said. "My uncle felt safe with him, and safe that he would portray him in the right light. My uncle looked at him as a friend, and through the voiceovers and the editing, really stabbed him in the back. I always had faith that journalism meant something, and that day that faith died." Taj also called for an investigation in a post on Twitter, saying: "This was a man who was let into my uncle's life, trusted... and then pretty much destroyed my uncle's persona, I would say, when my uncle was looking to rehabilitate it." Jackson, who died in 2009, once said the film left him feeling "more betrayed than perhaps ever before." - NME, 5/24/21......
Michael JacksonQuincy Jones
In other Michael Jackson-related news, the singer's frequent producer Quincy Jones has opened up about meeting Michael for the first time, when the late singer was just 12 years old. Jones, now 88, made the comments while speaking to The Hollywood Reporter as part of their new Icon series. "When he was 12 at Sammy Davis' house, and he told me when we decided to do [The Wiz], he says, "I need you to help me find a producer. I'm getting ready to do my first solo album." Jones, a 28-time Grammy-winning producer, said the young Jackson "knew how to do his homework" when it came to other artists, "whether it was with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly or whoever, James Brown. He was doing some Elvis [Presley] copying, too. 'The King of Pop,' man. Come on!" Jones, who has made several controversial remarks in his later years, went on to say that he wouldn't have worked with Presley, alleging in a new interview that the late singer "was a racist." Pressed on why not, Jones continued: "I was writing for [orchestra leader] Tommy Dorsey, oh God, back then in the '50s. And Elvis came in, and Tommy said: 'I don't want to play with him.' He was a racist mother -- I'm going to shut up now." "But every time I saw Elvis, he was being coached by ['Don't Be Cruel' songwriter] Otis Blackwell, telling him how to sing," he added. The Hollywood Reporter notes that Blackwell told David Letterman in 1987 that he and Presley had never met. - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/25/21...... Elton John and Alice Cooper have recreated an iconic 50-year-old photo of the pair and their friends Bernie Taupin and the late comedian Paul Lynde, with Will & Grace actor Eric McCormack standing in for Lynde. John, Cooper, Taupin and McCormack gathered in Los Angeles on May 22 to celebrate Taupin's 71st birthday when they recreated the memorable photo, later posting both photos on Twitter. "Bernie Taupin's 21st Birthday and, last night, his 71st," wrote McCormack as he shared the snaps on Instagram. "50 years later and I got to be Paul Lynde! 15-year-old me would be losing his mind!" Elton also took to social media to celebrate the birthday of his long-term songwriter and close friend: "Celebrating the milestone birthday of my musical soulmate. Happy Birthday Brother, I love you." - NME, 5/25/21...... Robert PlantFormer Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant revealed on the latest edition of his Digging Deep podcast that he's assembled a personal archive of unreleased music and artwork over the coronavirus lockdown that will be publicly released "when I kick the bucket." Plant told his co-host Matt Everitt that he'd spent the past year "in Worcestershire, Shropshire, the Welsh borders; just walking, painting, drawing." He then revealed that, due to the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, he'd had ample time recently to "put my house in order." "All the adventures that I've ever had with music and tours, album releases, projects that didn't actually get finished or whatever it is -- I just put them, itemised them all, and put everything into some semblance of order," Plant noted. "So I've completely changed the set-up. I've told the kids when I kick the bucket, open it to the public free of charge -- just to see how many silly things there were down the line from 1966 to now. It's a journey," he added. As well as the prospect of unreleased music, Plant revealed that his archive also includes personal items from his collection. "[I] found a letter from my mum that said: 'Look, you've been a very naughty boy, why don't you come back, because Sue wants to know where you've gone. And also, the accountancy job is still open in Stourport-on-Severn. Why don't you just come back home and we'll just pretend all this stuff didn't happen? And I hadn't opened the letter until about three months ago!" Plant's acclaimed Digging Deep podcast returned on May 24 for a fourth series, featuring six brand new episodes to be broadcast every other week through Aug. 2. This time around the series has more of a British feel to it with music by Scott Matthews, Afro Celt Sound System, transplanted Brit Chrissie Hynde, in addition to his long time American collaborator, Alison Krauss. It is available everywhere including YouTube, Apple, Spotify and Amazon. Plant will be one of the headliners at the 2021 Black Deer Festival, which is set to take place in Kent, UK in June. - NME, 5/25/21...... In a new SiriusXM radio interview, Ringo Starr credited the Beatles' "psychic" connection for their becoming the best band in the world. Ringo insisted no other act can top the Fab Four -- which was also comprised of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison -- because they shared a telepathic bond when performing live. "I don't care what anyone says," Ringo explained. "We knew each other and it was like psychic. I would be playing drums with my eyes closed and the headphones on and would know John was going to go somewhere. I'd drum in that and hold it together while they went mad and then bring it back," he added. Ringo also recently revealed he nearly missed out on being one of the Beatles because he'd planned to move to America. Ringo said that age 19, he and a friend decided to emigrate to the States but they were put off when they saw how many forms they had to fill in, and he often reflects on how different his life could have been. "I love the blues and wanted to go and live in Houston because I wanted to be where Lightnin' Hopkings was -- my all-time favorite blues player.... I often look back on my life and think, 'what if I'd gone and lived in America? Because who knows where I'd have been now," Starr said. -, 5/22/21...... In other Beatles-related news, John Lennon's youngest son Sean Ono Lennon has shared a lengthy thread on Twitter about political correctness. In the May 24 post, Sean shared his experiences growing up with a Japanese mother. "When I was young ppl used to say racist shit about Asians around me all the time and then be like 'Oh sorry! But you're not reeeally Asian so...' and I think they sincerely thought that would make me feel better," he wrote. "I'm not exactly sure why I brought that up but I think it's because I want to say that I grew up in a time when there was zero political correctness." Lennon went on to explain how he believes political correctness and "morality policing" is "arguably" making things worse. "Race relations seem to be in the middle of a 'two steps back' moment," he wrote, citing current events as well as racist direct messages he has been receiving. "I am very sad that I feel like I have to say the following but here goes: Asians are not the problem. Blacks are not the problem. Jews are not the problem," he wrote. "And yes, Whites are not the problem either. No race or culture is 'the problem. I have lived in many cities and countries and I can say from experience that there is an EQUAL distribution of shitty ppl and good ppl in EVERY human population." Lennon clarified that he's not blaming political correctness for "all of the bad things we are seeing in culture today," but he did write, "I am simply saying we should check our strategy if we are not getting the results we intended." - NME, 5/25/21...... The WhoThe UK's Royal Mint launched a new selection of coins to celebrate the legacy of The Who on May 24. Co-founding lead Who singer Roger Daltrey personally visited the Royal Mint to help strike one of the first coins. Images of the new coin reveals that they are printed with recognizable symbols from the band's career, including a Mod logo, a Union flag and a Rickenbacker guitar which is smashing a guitar. When placed together, the symbols on the coin form a pinball table, a knowing nod to the track "Pinball Wizard" and 1969 Who album Tommy, one of the band's most iconic records. The Royal Mint has also employed innovative technology, with a number of coins featuring a special "shockwave" effect, radiating from the speaker and elevating the detail of the coin. Designers and craftspeople at the Mint have developed this effect in honour of the Who's record-breaking loud concert -- a record that was held for a decade. "It's an honour to have a coin produced to celebrate The Who's musical legacy," Daltrey said in a statement. "The coin's design captures the true essence of the band and what we represent. It was a fantastic moment being able to strike one of the very first pieces in the collection and see the range of technologies and processes involved in the making of the coin." The Who are the fourth Brit music act to be honoured by the Royal Mint's music legends series, following the likes of David Bowie, Queen and Elton John. - NME, 5/24/21...... KISS have shared the trailer for the new KISS documentary Biography: KISSstory on YouTube. Directed by D.J. Viola, the documentary chronicles the band's 50-year career with founders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley reflecting on their extensive careers. Other featured artists in the film include Dave Grohl and Tom Morello. The four-hour Biography: KISSstory will air on cable channel A&E over two evenings in the US on June 27 and June 28 from 9-11pm ET/PT. A UK release date has yet to be confirmed, and the project is separate from another forthcoming KISS documentary produced for Netflix, Shout It Out Loud. - NME, 5/22/21...... A new graphic novel detailing late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury's life is set to be released via Z2 Comics in November. Freddie Mercury: Lover Of Life, Singer Of Songs is inspired by Mercury's life and words and, according to a press release, "will be a journey through Freddie's life; from his childhood in Zanzibar, through his formative years in England, to becoming the rock star known and loved by millions around the globe." The story, written by Tres Dean and illustrated by Kyla Smith, Robin Richardson and other illustrators, will be told in Mercury's own words, with each chapter giving a glimpse into the many facets of his life. The 136-page softcover and hardcover editions of the graphic novel are available for pre-order now at the Z2 Comics site. - NME, 5/22/21...... Brian MayIn other Queen-related news, co-founding guitarist Brian May has warned "there's a possibility" Queen will never tour again. Queen's planned 2021 tour with current frontman Adam Lambert was delayed until next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and May has insisted "people have to face up" to the fact arena shows might never happen again because of the unpredictable nature of the virus. May is quoted by the Daily Star paper's "Wired" column as saying: "Things don't look good at the moment, it's tough. The arena touring that we did was amazing. There's a possibility that we'll never be able to do it again. People have to face up to that it's possible, this virus is very clever and it's evolving faster than we can put up our defences." May, 73, said he's thought about putting on a Queen live-stream gig, but admitted it would be "harder" for the band because their shows are so "interactive" with the crowd. "We've postponed our big tour of Europe and the UK again -- that's going to be 2022," May said. "I hope I'm still alive to do it! It's like another universe that we can't quite touch right now. I suppose we could do a Queen virtual concert - probably harder for us than most because the Queen thing is very interactive." Meanwhile, May took to Instagram on May 20 to reveal he has recently undergone eye surgery to improve his vision. May shared a mirror selfie of himself wearing a face mask and hospital gown and assured fans he was going to be fine. "One Vision! All prepped and waiting... for a little bit of eye surgery," he wrote, quoting the title of Queen's 1985 hit. "I'm in good hands. No need to worry. All in a day's work... it should really improve my focus -- AND my stereoscopic vision." May's eye surgery is the latest in a long line of medical procedures - in 2020, the rocker suffered a heart attack, a stomach haemorrhage, and other complications. -, 5/25/21...... Tom Waits has joined the cast of a new stop-motion animation series dubbed Ultra City Smiths. The show, which will see Waits join as narrator, comes from Steve Conrad, creator of Patriot and Perpetual Grace, LTD. Speaking about the project, Conrad said: "I'm grateful that this group of actors, who could work with whomever they choose on whatever they choose, chose to work with us." Other members of the cast include: The Mighty Boosh's Julian Barratt, John C. Reilly, Jimmi Simpson, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Kristen Bell, Bebe Neuwirth, Tim Meadows and Debra Winger. - NME, 5/22/21...... Blondie are set to release a Cuba-inspired EP to accompany a film about their 2019 performance in Havana, Cuba. The six-soundtrack EP, Blondie: Vivir En La Habana will be released on July 16 ahead of the film's premiere which will take place at Sheffield Doc/Fest later this year. Directed by Rob Roth, the short film documents their 2019 live debut in Cuba, and a trailer has been shared on YouTube. The EP includes performances of "Heart Of Glass," "Rapture," "The Tide is High" and "Wipe Off My Sweat," a video for the latter track shared on YouTube. An official statement says of the film: "It is a dream-like portrait of this legendary band's first experience in Havana and of the magical exchange between musicians from the two cities each call home and their intertwined influence." - NME, 5/22/21...... Stevie Nicks, country star George Straight, and current pop faves Billie Eilish and Miley Cyrus will be among the headliners of the 2021 Austin City Limits festival this Oct. 1-3 and Oct. 8-10 at Zilker Park in Austin, Tex. As is the case with its sister festival Lollapalooza in Illinois, Austin City Limits is returning with a full capacity two-weekend event to mark its 20th anniversary edition. Tickets to ACL 2021 went on sale on May 20, and ticket options include: three-day general admission ($275); four-day general admission+ ($550); four-day VIP ($1,300), and four-day platinum ($3,800). ACL is one of hundreds of US festivals, including Tennessee's Bonnaroo and Delaware's Firefly Festival, planning to run in 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic. - NME, 5/21/21...... Cameron CroweA deluxe reissue of the soundtrack of director Cameron Crowe's acclaimed '70s-themed 1999 film Almost Famous is set to be released on July 9, in both 5-CD super deluxe, 2-LP 180-gram black vinyl, and digital form. For the first time, all of the music featured in the film will be released in one package. The expanded track list includes songs by Led Zeppelin, The Beach Boys, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, The Who, and Fleetwood Mac. Six original songs from the film's fictional band Stillwater, including "Fever Dog," will be included in the reissue, as well as demos and jams from the band. Unreleased songs will include a cast rendition of Elton John's "Tiny Dancer," and a remix and edit of The Who's "Amazing Journey/Sparks" as arranged by director Crowe. Nancy Wilson's original score will also be featured, along with 14 outtakes. For more modest budgets, a 2-CD soundtrack version will also be released. Alongside the newly expanded soundtrack, Paramount Home Entertainment will release the film for the first time on 4K Ultra HD on July 13. - NME, 5/21/21...... Roger Hawkins, the drummer who helped shape Alabama's famed Muscle Shoals music scene, died on May 20 following an extended illness and several years of health struggles, according to He was 75. The Muscle Shoals Music Foundation announced his death on Instagram, posting "Our hearts are breaking today as the heartbeat of 'The Swampers' drummer Roger Hawkins passed away this afternoon at his home in Sheffield. He was 75. Jerry Wexler called Roger, 'the greatest drummer of all time'. Roger was a kind and generous man who loved family, friends and his fellow musicians. As a member of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section also more casually known as The Swampers, Hawkins worked with the likes of Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett at Muscle Shoals' FAME Studios in the 1960s. Hawkins left FAME in 1969, co-founding the new Muscle Shoals Sound with funding help from super-producer Jerry Wexler in nearby Sheffield, Ala. Cher's 3614 Jackson Highway was the first album recorded there, with the singer borrowing the studio's address for its title. Hawkins went on to work with Paul Simon, Ry Cooder, Steve Winwood, Art Garfunkel, Rod Stewart and Bobby Womack. - NME, 5/21/21.

Friday, May 21, 2021

As Cher celebrated her milestone 75th birthday on May 19, the superstar diva announced a new biopic about her life is in the works the same day. Cher took to Twitter to announced Universal Studios is working on the project with Mamma Mia! producers Judy Craymer and Gary Goetzman onboard with a script by Oscar-winning screenwriter Eric Roth. Craymer and Goetzman worked with Cher previously on 2018's Mamma Mia! sequel, Here We Go Again. Craymer confirmed the news in a statement to and said the biopic will cover Cher's remarkable decades-long career. "Gary and I are thrilled to be working with Cher again and this time bringing her empowering and true life odyssey to the big screen," Craymer was quoted as saying. "One cannot help but be drawn to and inspired by Cher's larger than life talent, fortitude, unique wit, warmth and vision. Her unparalleled success in music film and TV have inspired generations. We could not be happier to tell her story to cinema audiences," she added. Cher also previously worked with Eric Roth on the 1987 film Suspect, which he penned. Casting and plot of the biopic currently remains under wraps, however according to Deadline it will not be a break-into-song musical like Mamma Mia!. It's also not clear whether the film will attempt to cover the pop star's entire life, or focus on a particular era. -, 5/21/21...... Eric ClaptonIn an e-mail message to Italian architect and music mogul (and anti-lockdown activist) Robin Monotti Graziadei, Eric Clapton hits out at what he terms "propaganda" over vaccine safety and says he suffered alarming side-effects after both his first and second vaccinations of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. Clapton, a lockdown skeptic, said his hands and feet became "useless" prompting fears he would never play again. "I took the first jab of AZ [AstraZeneca] and straight away had severe reactions which lasted ten days," the legendary guitarist said in his message to Grazaidei, adding he "recovered eventually" but suffered further "disastrous reactions" six weeks later after the second shot. "My hands and feet were either frozen, numb or burning, and pretty much useless for two weeks, I feared I would never play again... I should never have gone near the needle. But the propaganda said the vaccine was safe for everyone," he added. Clapton, who suffers from emphysema, ended his e-mail to Grazaidei, which was shared on Telegram and verified by Rolling Stone, by saying: "I've been a rebel all my life, against tyranny and arrogant authority, which is what we have now." Clapton criticized the UK government earlier in 2021 in an anti-lockdown song called "Stand And Deliver." The song was in collaboration with Van Morrison, who is also a critic of pandemic restrictions. It has been well-documented that possible side-effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine can potentially include fatigue, chills, fever, nausea, headaches or "generally feeling unwell". It can also cause "excessive sweating, itchy skin or rash," though this is less common. Many people have taken to social media to point out how their experiences with the AZ vaccine were much more mild or symptom-free in comparison to Clapton's. Music and entertainment celebrities who have received Covid vaccinations and encouraged others to do so include Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, Elton John, WIllie Nelson, Roger Taylor, Rob Halford and Dolly Parton. -, 5/16/21...... The second part of music mogul Clive Davis's annual Grammy-related gala took place on May 15, with Davis virtually interviewing the likes of Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor, Dionne Warwick, Barry Manilow and Santana. The second edition, benefitting the Grammy Museum, had been slated to take place on Mar. 13 -- the night before the rescheduled Grammy Awards show -- but Davis contracted Bell's palsy and postponed the event until May 15. "I've always been drawn to miserable lyrics," joked Elton as Davis talked to him about writing the music for "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me." "I love that song so much, its always a favorite part of my repertoire. The song is about redemption, about hope and coming through the end of something sad," John added. In a rare appearance, Joni Mitchell talked to Davis about her hit, "Both Sides Now," a song she says she "grew into," as well as her musical path. Looking and sounding great following her 2015 brain aneurysm, Mitchell said she had her piano teacher to thank for her piano style. "When I was seven, I wrote an instrumental called 'Robin Walk.'" When Mitchell played it for her piano teacher, "she hit me across the knuckles with a ruler and said, 'Why would you want to play by ear when you have the masters to learn from?'" Mitchell quit and from then on was self-taught. "My style is unorthodox because I am uninfluenced by the masters." The first edition of Davis's pre-Grammys gala was held on Jan. 30 and included Rod Stewart, Bruce Springsteen and Barry Gibb, among others. - Billboard, 5/16/21...... Roger DaltreyThe Who's frontman Roger Daltrey announced on May 21 he'll kick off a solo tour of the US on Aug. 21 at the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys in Stateline, Nev. Daltrey, 77, will tour with members of the Who's touring band for his "Live and Kicking Tour" for a few rare dates without his longtime bandmate Pete Townshend. "Roger Daltrey is delighted to announce that he and members of The Who touring band will be on the road late summer 2021, performing some Who hits, a few rarities and some solo hits," reads a message on the official Who website. "So far, three dates have been announced with several more to follow," with the other two dates to include the Northern Quest Resort & Casino in Spokane, Wash. on Sept. 1 and the Washington State Fair in Puyallup on Sept. 3. The Who were due to perform 11 dates in the UK and Ireland in March and April 2020, but they had to be were postponed due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the concerts are yet to be rescheduled but Daltrey has told fans they will "definitely happen." Daltrey and Townshend have been focused on reissues of the Who's back catalogue during the coronavirus lockdown, including a "super-deluxe" edition of 1967's The Who Sell Out and, this June, a double-LP version of 1981's Face Dances as part of Record Store Day to mark the album's 40th anniversary. -, 5/21/21...... Former Sex Pistols frontman John "Johnny Rotten" Lydon was reportedly snubbed from director Danny Boyle's 6-part Sex Pistols TV series Pistol for being "too difficult to work with." Jordan Mooney, a former muse of the band, claims Lydon was not included in the development of Boyle's biopic over his attitude. "[John] would just be a saboteur and he wouldn't bring much to the table," Mooney said in an interview with the UK paper The Sun. "John argues for the sake of arguing. He's a difficult person and I can't say that part of him has changed at all." She continued: "As he's got older, he's only got more difficult -- he's contrary... John has got a few issues about his importance in the world so him not being involved is the best thing that can happen." Lydon recently spoke out about the show, calling it "the most disrespectful shit I've ever had to endure" and says he will be seeking legal action as the show did not request his participation of consent. "I think that's the most disrespectful shit I've ever had to endure," Lydon said in an interview with London's The Sunday Times, reacting to recent publicity shots promoting the series. "I mean, they went to the point to hire an actor to play me but what's the actor working on? Certainly not my character. It can't go anywhere else [but court]." Pistol began shooting in April with Anson Boon starring as Lydon, and Louis Partridge as guitarist Sid Vicious. - New Musical Express, 5/20/21...... A new trailer for the forthcoming Aretha Franklin biopic Respect has been shared on YouTube, which covers the inception of the "Queen of Soul"'s classic song and the film's namesake. Respect will cover the life of Franklin, played by Jennifer Hudson, from her childhood days as a gospel singer to her rise to stardom as the most popular female soul singer of her time. Respect has been delayed several times due to the coronavirus pandemic, but is currently set to premiere in the US on Aug. 13 and in the UK on Sept. 10. Starring alongside Hudson will be a cast that includes Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans and Mary J. Blige. - NME, 5/20/21...... In a new interview with the New York Times, Irish singer Sinaéd O'Connor claims that she was once attacked by late pop/funk icon Prince at his Hollywood home. O'Connor said the incident occurred when Prince invited her to his Hollywood mansion after the 1991 cover of Prince's song "Nothing Compares 2 U" became a huge hit. According to O'Connor, Prince "chastised her for swearing in interviews, harangued his butler to serve her soup though she repeatedly refused it, and sweetly suggested a pillow fight only to thump her with something hard he'd slipped into his pillowcase." After allegedly escaping the house on foot in the middle of the night, Prince is said to have "stalked her with his car, leapt out and chased her around the highway." "You've got to be crazy to be a musician, but there's a difference between being crazy and being a violent abuser of women," said O'Connor, who gave a similar account of the experience with the UK paper The Mirror in 2007. She repeated similar claims of the singer trying to "beat her up" on Good Morning Britain in 2019. In 2018, Prince's ex-wife Mayte Garcia -- who was married to the singer from 1996-2000 -- spoke out in the star's defense, telling TMZ that he was never violent towards her or witnessed him being violent towards anyone. O'Connor was speaking ahead of the release of new memoir Rememberings, and also is planning to release her first album in seven years later in 2021. - NME, 5/19/21...... Yoko OnoJohn LennonThe new John Lennon and Yoko Ono "mini-documentary" 24 Hours: The World of John and Yoko is now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video US. The 30-minute film is available to watch in full for the first time since its initial release on the BBC back in 1969 through the Coda Collection on Amazon. "Last seen more than 50 years ago, and having aired just once on TV, this intimate documentary -- captured over a five-day period -- shows a day in the life of John and Yoko while Lennon was still a member of the Beatles, controversies raged and activism became a central concern in the couple's everyday reality," an official description reads. 24 Hours... was directed by Paul Morrison and delves into Lennon and Ono's creative process, with filming having taken place at London's Abbey Road Studios, Lennon's Tittenhurst Park estate and the London headquarters of Apple Records. - NME, 5/18/21...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, Paul McCartney has teamed up with music producer Rick Rubin for a new documentary series on the Hulu streaming platform. McCartney 3, 2, 1 will explore McCartney's musical history as a former Beatle, for a rare one-on-one interview with Rubin. The six-episode series will span McCartney's work with the Beatles and Wings as well as his 50 plus years as a solo artist. It is set to debut on Hulu on July 16. "Never before have fans had the opportunity to hear Paul McCartney share, in such expansive, celebratory detail, the experience of creating his life's work - more than 50 years of culture-defining music," said Hulu exec Craig Erwich in a statement. McCartney 3, 2, 1 was directed by Zachary Heinzerling, while both McCartney and Rubin are among the executive producers on the project. Meanwhile, Sir Paul has topped London's Sunday Times' 2021 list of the most wealthy British musicians with an estimated fortune of £820m. Also making the Top 10 of the richest music people in Britain were Elton John (#4, £375m), Mick Jagger (#5, £310m), Keith Richards (#6, £295m), Olivia and Dhani Harrison (#7, £290m) and Ringo Starr (#8, £280m). - NME, 5/17/21...... American metal icons Motley Crue and English rockers Def Leppard have once again rescheduled their co-headline US tour, pushing the dates back to 2022. The two bands were originally set to hit the road over summer 2020, which was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Motley Crue shared on social media on May 14 that they would be pushing their rescheduled 2021 dates back another year, due to ongoing Covid restrictions and touring logistics. "To all our loyal fans, we wanted to let you know that we learned today that the tour is getting moved to 2022," they wrote on Facebook. "This is the only way to ensure that we can play ALL of the dates for ALL of you who have purchased tickets. We appreciate you hanging in there and can't wait to get back on stage and bring The Stadium Tour to all of our fans." Motley Crue and Def Leppard will still be joined by Poison and Joan Jett for the new run of shows, which kick off in June 2022. One final rescheduled date for Glendale, Ariz. is still to be announced. - NME, 5/16/21...... Charles GrodinActor Charles Grodin, best known for his roles in such films as 1992's Beethoven and 1972's The Heartbreak Kid as well as numerous television appearances, died of bone marrow cancer on May 18 at his home in Wilton, Conn. He was 86. With a great sense of deadpan comedy and the kind of Everyman good looks that lend themselves to playing businessmen or curmudgeonly fathers, Mr. Grodin found plenty of work as a supporting player and the occasional lead. He also had his own talk show for a time in the 1990s and was a frequent guest on the talk shows of others, making 36 appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and more than 40 on David Letterman's NBC and CBS shows combined. Mr. Grodin was a writer as well, with a number of plays and books to his credit. Though he never won a prestige acting award, he did win a writing Emmy for a 1977 Paul Simon television special, sharing it with Mr. Simon and six others. Born on April 21, 1935, in Pittsburgh, Mr. Grodin, who dropped out of the University of Miami to pursue acting, had managed to land a smattering of stage and television roles when, in 1962, he received his first big break, landing a part in a Broadway comedy called "Tchin-Tchin," which starred Anthony Quinn and Margaret Leighton. In 1975 came a breakthrough Broadway role opposite Ellen Burstyn in Bernard Slade's "Same Time, Next Year," a durable two-hander about a man and woman, each married to someone else, who meet once a year in the same inn room. The show ran for three and a half years, with an ever-changing cast; the two original stars left after seven months. Mr. Grodin by that point was in demand in Hollywood. (Burstyn reprised the role in a 1978 film adaptation, but this time opposite Alan Alda in the Grodin role.) Mr. Grodin had already appeared in Mike Nichols's Catch-22 in 1970 and had turned in one of his better-known film performances in the 1972 comic romance The Heartbreak Kid, in which he played a self-absorbed sporting goods salesman who marries in haste, immediately loses interest in his bride (Jeannie Berlin), and falls in love with another woman (Cybill Shepherd) on his honeymoon. (Elaine May, Nichols's longtime comedy partner and Ms. Berlin's mother, directed.) In 1978 he had a supporting role in the Warren Beatty vehicle Heaven Can Wait. Another signature role was in the action comedy Midnight Run in 1988, in which Mr. Grodin played an accountant who has embezzled a fortune from the mob and is being pursued by a bounty hunter, played by Robert De Niro. Mr. Grodin showed a different side in the mid-1990s when he hosted The Charles Grodin Show on the cable channel CNBC. After his talk show ended in 1998, Mr. Grodin largely stepped away from show business for a dozen years. Then he began to take roles again, including a recurring one on Louie, the comedian Louis C.K.'s series. Mr. Grodin is survived by his second wife, Elissa Durwood, and a son from his second marriage and a daughter from his first marriage, the comedian Marion Grodin, and a granddaughter. - The New York Times, 5/18/21.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

"Retrospectrum," a comprehensive visual exhibition of Bob Dylan's artwork, will show in the U.S. for the first time in November when it opens at Florida International University's Frost Museum. Described as the "most expansive and detailed" exhibition of Dylan's artwork ever seen on U.S. soil," the show will open on Nov. 30 at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum on the FIU campus, and will span six decades of Dylan's drawing, painting and sculpture." According to a press release, "The exhibition's curation has been designed to showcase the development and diversity in Dylan's visual practice, while immersive and interactive displays will simultaneously illuminate the context of that development in tandem with that of his musical and literary canon." The exhibition will open at the same time as FIU's humanities and arts hub, The Wolfsonian Public Humanities Lab (WPHL), which will present a Dylan symposium that "explores the myriad facets of Bob Dylan's career and cultural influence." Both will be timed with Miami Art Week, with further programming and event information to be announced soon. - Billboard, 5/10/21...... Todd RundgrenTina TurnerCarole KingOn May 12 the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the class of 2021 inductees into the Cleveland, Oh.-based hall and museum, with '70s stars Carole King, Tina Turner and Todd Rundgren making the cut, along with alt-rock veterans Foo Fighters, '80s new wave pioneers The Go-Go's, and East Coast hip-hop icon Jay-Z. Of the 2021 performer inductees, Turner, King and Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl are already in the RRHOF: King as part of the songwriting duo Goffin/King, making her the first person in the Rock Hall as a performer and non-performer; Turner for her incendiary work in the R&B duo Ike & Tina Turner; and Grohl as drummer of grunge legends Nirvana. Early rap pioneer LL Cool J, keyboard master Billy Preston and hard rock guitar ace Randy Rhoads are also joining the Rock Hall with the "award for musical excellence" (which was originally titled the "sidemen" category when it debuted). And under the "early influence award" category, electronic trailblazers Kraftwerk, spoken-word poet Gil Scott-Heron and Father of the Delta Blues Charley Patton are joining the RRHOF. Music impresario Clarence Avant is the recipient of the Ahmet Ertegun award. The Rock Hall hailed the Class of 2021 as "the most diverse list of Inductees in the history of the organization," with 2021 being the first year in the Hall's 36-year history that three all-female acts will be inducted in the performers category at the same time. Nominated this year, but not inducted, were Kate Bush, Rage Against The Machine, Iron Maiden, New York Dolls, Mary J. Blige, Devo, Chaka Khan, Fela Kuti and Dionne Warwick. This year's nominees will be inducted at the 2021 ceremony on Oct. 30 at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Oh., with a radio simulcast on SiriusXM's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame radio channel. The 36th annual RRHOF induction ceremony will broadcast on HBO and stream on HBO Max at a later date. - Billboard, 5/12/21...... Bruce Springsteen revealed that "we have a record coming out soon that's set largely in the West" during an acceptance speech for the Woody Guthrie Prize in New York on May 14. "I've always said that Bob Dylan was the father of my country, but [Woody Guthrie] was the grandfather of my country," the New Jersey rocker said as he became the eighth recipient of the prize. Guthrie's daughter Nora inducted Springsteen saying, "First, you attracted us, then you magnetized us... You spoke for us and to us and to top it off, entertained us... The troubadour's job is to express that flow of what is happening in the people's lives and that's mirrored in everything you do.... The greatness of your work lies in the fact that you continue to remain in this flow. You never abandoned it." Springsteen said he was 28 when he began searching for some sense of salvation--ultimately finding it in Guthrie's music. "I was going through a period in my life when I felt strangely hopeless," he said. He has written and released the bleak masterpiece, 1978's Darkness on the Edge of Town, which, he said, was a "dark examination of what I felt my community of people that I come from and that I was speaking to, who were under siege." Springsteen looked toward pop and country music in pursuit of hope, saying to Nora, "It wasn't until I came across your father's work that I found that hope." A new album from Springsteen will follow 2019's Western Stars, which also celebrated the American West, and 2020's Letter to You. - Billboard, 5/14/21...... Alice CooperAlice Cooper is auctioning an artwork by renowned pop artist Andy Warhol that could become the highest selling artwork ever in his home state of Arizona. Warhol's "Little Electric Chair," a red acrylic and silkscreen canvas was part of the late Warhol's "Death and Disaster" series between 1964 and 1965 that was gifted to Cooper in the 1970s by a girlfriend who was friends with Warhol. Cooper says he plans to make the canvas available for public viewing before it's auctioned by the Larsen Gallery in Scottsdale on Oct. 23. The gallery estimates it could fetch anywhere from $2.5 million to $4.5 million, and gallery owners say they will donate part of any commission to Cooper's nonprofit, Solid Rock, which works to bring music, dance and other forms of art to teens. Meanwhile, Cooper is set to headline the 2022 "Monsters of Rock" cruise in February 2022, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary next year. Those aboard the Royal Caribbean's Freedom Of The Seas will visit two ports in CocoCay, Bahamas and Labadee, Haiti, and watch performances from over 35 artists, which in addition to Alice will include the likes of Queensryche, Skid Row, L.A. Guns, Great White, Pat Travers, Y&T, Lillian Axe and Faster Pussycat. "Interactive events" between artists and fans during the Feb. 9-14 cruise, according to a press release, will include "Artist/Cruiser Q&A sessions, Gong Show Karaoke, 'So You Think You Can Shred,' Cooking with Rock Stars, Painting With Rock Stars, Rock Stars vs Average Joe Basketball, and Beach Volleyball, with more to be announced." Cooper, who recently told the New York Post's "Page Six" column that he's a devout Christian who prays daily, reads the Bible and credits his faith with helping him stay sober, also recently partnered with Cooper Tire to find the most talented garage band in the US. The Ohio-based band South of Eden won, and as the grand prize, the band opened for Evanescence in a special livestreamed concert on May 13.- AP/New Musical Express, 5/14/21...... Guitars from Eddie Van Halen, Eric Clapton and Aerosmith as well as autographed memorabilia from the Beatles and even strands of hair from Nirvana's Kurt Cobain are some of the highlights of an online rock 'n' roll auction that well end over the third weekend in May. The item with the highest minimum bid is a collarless, dark blue jacket custom made for Paul McCartney that starts at $25,000. It was worn onstage over a six-night stand at Bournemouth, England's Gaumont Theatre in 1963. There's also a copy of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band signed by McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, and a sheet of handwritten "Blowin' in the Wind" lyrics signed by Bob Dylan. Other treasures include band-signed copies of Led Zeppelin II, Queen's self-titled debut, and Pink Floyd's Animals. Among the 70 or so guitars is one signed by Tony Iommi and Ozzy Osbourne from Black Sabbath and starts at $500. A portion of proceeds will benefit Crew Nation, a relief fund for live music touring and venue crews who are facing hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic. - AP, 5/13/21...... Speaking of Paul McCartney, the former Beatles says practicing eye yoga has helped preserve his eyesight over the years. Sir Paul spoke about the practice during a guest appearance on the latest episode of the Jessie Ware-hosted Table Manners podcast. McCartney's daughter Mary McCartney, who also featured on the podcast, brought up her father's eye yoga routine which, he claims, has helped maintain his eyesight without the need for glasses. "I learned [it] off some yogi in India," McCartney then explained about the practice. "He explained that your eyes are muscles whereas your ears aren't, so you can't exercise your ears. But your eyes, you can." He then talked the listeners through the practice: "So, head still, and then you look up as far as you can, one, two, three, go back to the middle, then down, one, two, three, then back to the middle. You do three lots of that, then go to the left and the right. Now you've got a cross, up and down, and sideways, now you do the diagonals." McCartney said that he believed that regularly doing eye yoga over the years has ensured that he hasn't ever needed to get glasses. "It's pretty good stuff. It makes sense, though, doesn't it? It makes sense if they [eyes] are muscles," he said, adding later: "I don't know if it means that that's why I don't need glasses when I'm reading a newspaper. It makes sense, you know? It's a good idea." - NME, 5/13/21...... Jimmy BuffettJimmy Buffett kicked off a four-night stand (May 13-14, 17-18) at The Pavilion at Old School Square in Delray Beach, Fla., not far from his home in Palm Beach. The reduced seating due to coronavirus restrictions allows for around 850 people per show -- seated in fenced four-person pods. Tickets for all four shows at the open-air venue sold out in around 10 minutes. Buffett calls the concerts "spring training" for when his summer job resumes -- playing full-capacity shows, rescheduled from last year -- in July. Buffett played (and filmed) two shows at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, Calif. for an invited crowd of 40 people in April, but, otherwise, the Delray Beach concerts will be his first in 14 months, and the singer/songwriter says he's excited to perform live again. "The pandemic comes along and I'm gin-clear focused on the things that I actually can do, and the things that I can't do I can't whine about," Buffett says. "It's like you getting on a boat: If there's a storm, you can't go back to the hotel and order Eggs Benedict. You gotta get your a-- through the storm. So that's what it was kinda like." Buffett, who will reach his milestone 75th birthday on Christmas Day 2021, says he'd like to finish a rock & roll book he's working on. "It's based on when we went to Montserrat and did the [1979] Volcano album," Buffett says. "I'm making it fictitious, but it's based on that whole episode, which you can't believe the s--t that happened. I still can't. There are so many stories and I file them away. It's a funny book, but it's a real rock 'n roll book. It's not a miserable experience, let's just say." Buffett says he'd rather put another album out than doing "some 75th anniversary thing." "I've got five songs now. I like what I'm doing. It's a little more kind of down island -- authentic Creole and Trinidadian and Calypso kind of influences are in it," he says. - Billboard, 5/12/21...... Pervis Staples, a co-founding member of the iconic gospel group The Staple Singers best known for such hits as "Respect Yourself," the No. 1 "Let's Do It Again", and "I'll Take You There," died at his home in Dolton, Ill. on May 6, with no cause given. He was 85. Pervis' late father Roebuck "Pops" Staples founded the Staple Singers with his children Mavis, Pervis, Cleotha and Yvonne Staples in 1948. Their first performances were in churches around Chicago, singing predominantly gospel. The Staple Singers signed their first professional contract in 1952, recording early hits like "Uncloudy Day" -- a reported influence on Bob Dylan. It wasn't until signing to Epic that the group moved to the more mainstream soul and R&B that would bring them wider fame. Their biggest hits came in the 1970s while signed to Stax Records. The group also appeared with The Band in the Martin Scorsese-directed concert film The Last Waltz in 1978. Pervis Staples left the Staple Singers before their biggest successes, following the release of Soul Folks in Action in 1968. Pervis left the Staple Singers before their biggest successes, following the release of 'Soul Folks in Action' in 1968. Mavis Staples explained Pervis' departure as "wanting to prove himself outside his father's shadow." "He had been in the army, and he was standing up for himself as a man. Pervis just got tired of only being thought of as Daddy's son." Pervis was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame along with the Staple Singers in 1998, and the group received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. Mavis Staples gave a statement on Pervis' death to Rolling Stone, calling him "one of a kind -- comical and downright fly." "He would want to be remembered as an upright man, always willing to help and encourage others. He was one of the good guys and will live on as a true Chicago legend." The group is now survived only by Mavis Staples, after Pops died in 2000, Cleotha in 2013, and most recently Yvonne in 2018. Pervis is survived by his six children, seven grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. - NME, 5/13/21...... Tawny KitaenJulie E. "Tawny" Kitaen, who famously appeared in several Whitesnake music videos and starred as Tom Hanks's fiance in Bachelor Party, died on May 7 in her Newport Beach, Calif., home. She was 59. The Orange County Coroner's Office confirmed her death via a press release, which listed her as Tawny Finley. Her cause of death has not yet been released. Born in San Diego, Kitaen began her journey as an '80s music video heartthrob by appearing on several albums for the heavy metal band RATT, as well as their "Back for More" video. She later appeared in a video for Whitesnake's 1987 smash hit "Here I Go Again," along with "Still of the Night," "Is This Love" and "The Deeper the Love." Kitaen was briefly married to Whitesnake lead singer David Coverdale from 1989-1991. Notable film and television roles include for Kitaen include Witchboard, White Hot, Dead Tides, Santa Barbara, Seinfeld and most recently Moms Anonymous. She also recently appeared in several reality shows, including The Surreal Life, Botched and Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew Pinsky. Kitaen was also married to baseball player Chuck Finley from 1997 to 2002. They had two daughters together. - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/8/21.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

With everything going on in these unprecedented times, the estate of John Lennon has invited fans to take a moment to stop what they're doing, take a moment to breathe, and relax by watching the soothing, meditative new video for John's timeless and relevant song, "Hold On," which it has shared on YouTube. The video, presented in 5K and beautifully animated by David Frearson, brings to life the classic album cover for John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band which features John and wife Yoko Ono resting underneath a huge oak tree in the gardens of their home at Tittenhurst Park, Ascot in the UK. What at first looks to be a static image, the photo, restored from the original Kodak 126 Instamatic square-format negative, slowly reveals itself as sunlight streams through swaying branches in the tranquil setting, offering a momentary respite from the stresses of the day as John encourages: "Hold on world/World hold on/It's going to be alright/You're going to see the light." The video showcases the new "Elements Mix" of the song which highlights John's vocals by including two previously unused vocal overdubs along with guitar while muting the bass and drums for a more subdued version. The Elements Mix is from the just-released John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band - Ultimate Collection edition, which celebrates 50 years of John's transformational and influential first post-Beatles solo album. -, 5/8/21...... Nancy WilsonHeart's Nancy Wilson released her first solo album, You and Me, on May 7 that features a closing instrumental called "4 Edward," a tribute to late guitar great Eddie Van Halen. Wilson's 12-song set blends her own originals with covers of the likes of Bruce Springsteen ("The Rising"), Simon & Garfunkel ("The Boxer," with guest Sammy Hagar), Pearl Jam ("Daughter"), and the Cranberries ("Dreams"). You and Me, which is being released on Nancy's own Carry On Music label, was recorded at her home studio in northern California, with band members and other guests, including Guns N' Roses' Duff McKagan and Foo Fighters' Taylor Hawkins, contributing remotely. Wilson says "4 Edward" was a late addition to the LP after his Oct. 2020 death. Wilson had famously gifted EVH an acoustic guitar -- his first, as legend has it -- while Heart and Van Halen toured together during the '80s. Eddie stayed up with it that night and composed an instrumental piece that he played for Wilson over the phone the next morning, and "4 Edward" is based on Nancy's "vague" memory of the song's structure and melody. Nancy is planning some solo shows to promote the new album this summer, including a collaboration with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. And, she says, there's a "really nice" 2022 tour offer for Heart on the table that she expects to pan out. "We're just gonna push forward with getting back to the live music thing, with our fingers crossed," says Wilson. Any decisions about a new Heart record, the group's first since 2016, will wait until then, she adds. - Billboard, 5/7/21...... In an interview with Watford FC footballer Troy Deeney on his Deeney Talks podcast, Elton John says he'll "throw a party" when he never has to play his 1972 track "Crocodile Rock" again, and vows to never play it again live once his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour" ends in 2023. "The last time I have to sing 'Crocodile Rock' I will probably throw a party. But people love to hear it," John said. "It was written as a kind of joke, as a pastiche, and it became a big hit and people love to sing along with it. So who am I to say, 'I am not going to play it', because I play to amuse people and to entertain people. But I have to say when the last show is done at the end of the tour I will never ever sing that song again," Elton added. Meanwhile, Elton and Olly Alexander of the UK act Years & Years are set to perform the Pet Show Boys' hit "It's a Sin" together at the 2021 BRIT Awards ceremony on May 11. Elton eased the performance with a post on his Instagram page with the words "It's", "A" and "Sin" posted separately on his account. A source additionally told The Sun paper that the collaboration was intended to be a surprise for viewers, claiming: "Elton and Olly have become unlikely pals and when the idea was floated that they should perform together on the night they jumped at it." The in-person BRITS are set for London's O2 Arena, broadcast on ITV1 from 8pm. There will be an audience of 4,000 people at this year's ceremony as part of the UK government's live events pilot scheme, the Events Research Programme. The BRIT Awards have also honoured controversial record producer and convicted murderer Phil Spector in the obituaries section of its website, replacing the usual In Memoriam section shown during the live awards ceremony. The tribute to the late Spector -- who died in January at age 81 while serving a 19-year sentence -- may prove controversial. The BRITS' obituary to Spector reads: "American record producer, songwriter and pioneer of the iconic 'Wall of Sound', who will equally be remembered for his conviction for murder of the actress Lana Clarkson. Spector collaborated with many of the greats including The Beatles individually and as a band -- producing 'Let it Be' and 'Imagine' -- The Righteous Brothers, Leonard Cohen and The Ronettes, and also wrote numerous era-defining songs." - New Musical Express, 5/11/21...... Steve MillerSteve Miller will release a live CD and companion film, Steve Miller Band Live! Breaking Ground: August 3, 1977, on May 14. Miller says he recently discovered what he describes as a "jewel of a concert" as he was going through his vaults during the coronavirus lockdown. "Back when I was a kid, when 'The Joker' was a hit and I was touring, I thought, 'oh, when I get to be 50 years old, I'm gonna have all the time in the world [to go through my old tapes]' ... and I kept putting stuff in this warehouse," the 77-year-old Miller notes. But when the pandemic forced him off the road in 2020, Steve says he finally took the dive into his archives and discovered a hidden gem from Steve Miller Band's 1977 tour behind the Book of Dreams and Fly Like an Eagle albums. "All of a sudden... came this jewel of a concert where the band is just at its best," says Miller of a 1977 show at Landover, Maryland. "The guitar work is spectacular. It's 1977, people were smoking cigarettes wearing bell-bottom pants and everyone's got hair down to here, that part is kinda funny, but what's going on onstage is really inspirational," he adds. The Breaking Ground album is out via Sailor/Capitol/UMe and the film is available via the Coda Collection on Amazon Prime Video. - Billboard, 5/6/21...... Appearing on the Tea With Me podcast, the Who's Roger Daltrey said he thinks living on his farm in the countryside has helped to keep him out of trouble over the years. Roger -- who starred in the Who alongside Pete Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon -- shared: "It's a way of life -- I got into it in the early 80s because I needed a balance in my life and the lunacy of the rock 'n' roll world. I was a straight one in our mob. I was with with three addicts and I was the straight guy because I had to drive the van, I had to collect the money, to make sure everyone got to the gig -- I'd pull them out of bed. Someone needs to do that job if this group was going to make it. The rest of my life would have been a one-way ticket on the factory floor, so there's no doubt in my mind that this group is going to make it." Roger now owns a 400-acre farm which he says has been his saviour amid the coronavirus crisis: "I've got a lot of room to walk around. The rhythm of the land doesn't change -- your farming doesn't stop. There's an old saying that you live like you die tomorrow, but you farm like you live forever." -, 5/11/21...... The Rolling Stones announced on Twitter on May 7 they are releasing their epic 2006 Copacabana Beach concert in full for the first time this summer. The band's historic performance in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil took place in front of the Copacabana Palace Hotel on Feb. 8, 2006. With 1.5 million people in attendance, it's one of the biggest free concerts in music history. Now, the Stones are releasing the concert as a film for the first time, remixed, re-edited, and remastered. A Bigger Bang: Live On Copacabana Beach is set to arrive on July 9 on multiple formats, including DVD+2CD, SD BD+2CD, 2DVD+2CD Deluxe, 3LP (pressed on blue, yellow, and green vinyl), 3LP pressed on clear vinyl (exclusive to Sound Of Vinyl) and digital. Released in conjunction with Mercury Studios, the band will release an early taste of the concert with a five-song digital EP. Due out May 28, it will include "Sympathy For The Devil," "Wild Horses," "You Got Me Rocking," "Happy" and "Rough Justice." Four of the five songs were recorded during the Copacabana Beach show, but the fifth "Rough Justice" is from the band s 2005 Salt Lake City concert video available in the Deluxe Edition. - NME, 5/9/21...... Chrissie HyndeThe Pretenders' frontwoman Chrissie Hynde has shared details of a new Bob Dylan covers album, Standing In The Doorway: Chrissie Hynde Sings Bob Dylan, that she recorded largely over text. Hynde says she made the record "almost entirely by text message" with her Pretenders bandmate James Walbourne who, according to a press release, would record an initial idea on his phone and send it to Hynde to add her vocal before the tracks were mixed by Tchad Blak. "A few weeks into lockdown last year, James sent me the new Dylan track 'Murder Most Foul'," Hynde said about her inspiration to record an LP of Dylan covers. "Listening to that song completely changed everything for me. I was lifted out of this morose mood that I'd been in... Whatever Bob does, he still manages somewhere in there to make you laugh because as much as anything, he's a comedian. He's always funny and always has something to say. That's when I called James and said, 'Let's do some Dylan covers' and that's what started this whole thing." Standing In The Doorway drops on May 21 via BMG Records -- a few days before Dylan's 80th birthday. - NME, 5/10/21...... ABBA's Bjrn Ulvaeus says new ABBA music is "definitely" on its way in 2021. Speaking to Australia's The Herald Sun paper, Ulvaeus said: "There will be new music this year, that is definite, it's not a case anymore of it might happen, it will happen." Bjrn also went on to reveal more about the group's time back in the studio. "We're really, really good friends. The four of us stand in the studio for the first time in 40 years and there's just something in knowing what we've been through. It's hard to describe, but there are such strong, strong bonds between us." In April, Ulvaeus gave more information about the band's forthcoming avatar tour, promising that it "still sounds very much ABBA." In 2017 it was announced that the band would reunite in digital form in 2019, performing as "Abbatars" for the first time since they split in 1982. When the reunion tour was then delayed, the Swedish pop quartet announced in 2018 that they would be sharing two new tracks: "I Still Have Faith In You" and "Don't Shut Me Down," which was then expanded to five new tracks as a reward to fans waiting even longer for the reunion tour due to Covid-19-related delays. - NME, 5/11/21...... Lindsey Buckingham has said he never got "closure" with former Fleetwood Mac bandmate and ex-partner Stevie Nicks following their much-publicized breakup. In a new interview with Nile Rodgers on his Apple Music 1 show Deep Hidden Meaning Radio With Nile Rodgers, Buckingham, who was fired from the band in Apr. 2018, discussed his relationship with Nicks and reflected on not getting any closure after their fallout. "And really, again, that was part of the deal with Stevie and me was that we had to spend an awful lot of time together without ever having gotten closure from each other. Most people, when they break up, they don't see each other for a long time or maybe ever again. But you're not constantly having to not only see someone but, in my case, make the choice to do right for someone when I didn't always feel that I wanted to, you know?" Buckingham added that the song "Big Love" "was really about someone who was functioning quite well in his professional world but had become quite guarded emotionally, had an emotional moat around him, say, in his personal life." - NME, 5/8/21...... Aaron NevilleAaron Neville of The Neville Brothers announced on Twitter on May 7 that he's retiring from the road. "I have had such an incredible and blessed journey as a musician, singer and human," his Twitter note began. "The time has come for me to stop ripping and running on the road. I waited for someone to invent a way to beam me from show to show but no such luck... Unfortunately, the grueling nature of travel and the schedule needed to make a tour work has become less than desirable. The current climate of our world brought me many realizations. Life is short and I'd like to spend my remaining time on this earth being less hurried." However, the 80-year-old "Tell It Like It Is" hitmaker insists his passion for performing is still as strong as ever: "It provides so much joy for me, at least as much as for those listening, if not more," he continued. "Don't see this as a permanent goodbye, by the grace of God, I will keep making more music and may show up at a special event or concert down the road." - WENN/, 5/7/21...... Ted Nugent has posted a new video on YouTube he filmed with his wife Shemane claiming that systemic racism does not exist in the US. "There is no systemic racism. It's a lie. There isn't any systemic racism. We fixed that. It's 2021, and there's no white supremacy," the conservative rocker said. "It's not a threat. White supremacists haven't burned down Seattle or Portland. They didn't burn down Kenosha. They didn't burn down Minneapolis," he added. Nugent went on to claim Black Lives Matter, Antifa and Democrat supporters were instead responsible, adding: "Those were so-called Black Lives Matter terrorists and Antifa and Democrat supporters who hate America, hate God, hate family, hate freedom, hate the Constitution, hate the Bill Of Rights, hate hard-working Americans. They are the terrorists. Black Lives Matter, Antifa -- those are the terrorists. They burn down cities and destroy things. There are no white supremacists doing that. There might be a couple of dirt bag white supremacists out there, but they're virtually inconsequential. It's bullshit." Nugent also complained about former US president Donald Trump's ban being upheld by Facebook on May 5, saying: "Be careful of the propaganda ministry and the censorship of Big Tech, who literally censors the president of the United States." - NME, 5/6/21...... One of jazz legend Miles Davis' final performances will be released as a new live album on June 25 via Rhino Records. MERCI MILES! LIVE AT VIENNE documents Davis' 1991 performance at the Vienne Jazz Festival in France, just three months before his death. MERCI MILES! is part of Rhino's Black Music Month series. Over the past year, Rhino has released rare material from the likes of Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Ray Charles and more. In a statement discussing the project, Rhino said: "These influential Black artists paved the musical highways for generations to come -- leading cultural, social, and political revolutions that still ring true in 2021. - NME, 5/8/21...... Lloyd PriceLloyd Price, best known for such hits as "Lawdy Miss Clawdy," "Stagger Lee" and "Personality," died on May 3 from complications with diabetes, his wife Jackie has confirmed. He was 88. "I am so touched by the outpouring of love and tribute for the passing of my husband Lloyd Price, who passed peacefully on May 3, 2021 at Schaffer Extended Care in Westchester County, NY," Jackie Price said. "Lloyd's music crossed many boundaries and carried him to all corners of the world. He got the nickname 'Mr. Personality' because of his biggest hit but he also earned that name because he was charismatic, generous, smart, funny, talented with a very kind heart. I am so grateful for everyone who loves his music and have precious memories of his many songs. From the deepest part of me thank you, love to all," she added. Mr. Price was born in New Orleans in 1933 and rose to fame with his 1952 single "Lawdy Miss Clawdy," which featured Fats Domino playing piano. The song went on to be covered by numerous stars, including Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, The Hollies and others. He enjoyed a handful of further hits on the US R&B chart before being drafted to serve for the US Army in Korea in 1954. After he returned, he scored another smash hit with his 1958 single "Stagger Lee," which would go on to become his biggest success, and the 1959 release "Personality," which would spark his nickname "Mr Personality." Mr. Price also started several record labels over his career, include KRC, Double L Records, LPG Records, and Turntable. The latter also provided the name for his club in New York City. Outside of music, he owned several businesses, including a Lawdy Miss Clawdy food line and two construction companies. He also helped boxing promoter Don King promote fights, including the famous "Rumble In The Jungle" bout between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. He was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1998 and was also a member of the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame and the National Rhythm & Blues Hall Of Fame. Mr. Price is survived by his wife Jackie, his three daughters Lori, D'Juana and December, two sons Lloyd Jr and Paris, and his sister Rose. "As an entertainment industry entrepreneur, 'Mr. Personality' wrote smash hits, launched and owned clubs and record labels, and promoted concerts and sporting events," the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame posted on its Twitter account. "His talent, positive energy, tireless drive, and love of music still reverberate to this day," it added. - NME, 5/9/21.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Guesting on soccer star Troy Deeney's podcast Deeney Talks on May 3, Elton John revealed the Covid-19 lockdown has helped him overhaul his lifestyle and that he has become the fittest he's been "in a long time." Elton said he decided to embark on a new exercise regime in a bid "not to be overweight" by the time the lockdown restrictions ease, and has walked an impressive 42 miles in the swimming pool of his sprawling estate over the past 12 months. "I'm the fittest I've been in a long time," the 74-year-old superstar rocker said, adding that his battle with Type 2 Diabetes also encouraged him to adopt a healthier way of living. "I have two kids I want to see and be around as much as possible," John said, referring to sons Zachary, 10, and Elijah, eight, who he shares with husband David Furnish. "You have to do something about (weight gain) and sit down with a doctor or nutritionist and say 'How do I do it?' It comes down to, what do you want for the rest of your life? I have had a lot of help. My doctor said: 'Elton, get yourself together, do as you're told and you will see the benefits of it.'" Elton is set to resume his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour" in Europe in September, which he was forced to postpone due to the pandemic. -, 5/4/21...... Paul McCartneyBritain's Royal Mail announced on May 6 that the "immense" musical legacy of Sir Paul McCartney will be celebrated with a new collection of postage stamps available beginning May 28. With close collaboration from the Beatles legend himself, the 12-stamp collection is set to feature artwork from eight of the musician's solo LPs, including his most recent album, 2020's McCartney III. The remaining four stamps, which are presented in a 'Miniature Sheet', feature images which span three decades of McCartney at work in the studio. David Gold, a spokesman for the Royal Mail, noted that McCartney "remains a vital figure at the centre of rock and pop, an artist whose legacy is immense, but whose work continues to generate popular attention and critical acclaim" and that the collection is "a fitting tribute to one of the UK's much loved and revered musical icons." The Royal Mail has previously celebrated music icons David Bowie (in 2017) and Elton John (in 2019) with their own collections, and more can be found on the McCartney collection at the website. - NME, 5/6/21...... In an Apr. 30 appearance on the CBS late night talk show The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Ringo Starr revealed his favorite Beatles tune was the 1969 Abbey Road opener, "Come Together." Starr revealed the track during host Stephen Colbert's 15-question "The Colbert Questionert," asking Starr: "You get one song to listen to for the rest of your life. What is it?" to which Starr quickly answered: "[The Beatles'] 'Come Together'." "There's lots of other favourites, but if you want one, 'Come Together' can't be bad," Starr said, adding that it was his favourite Beatles song. "I just think it worked perfectly with the band and the song and John [Lennon] being John. I loved that moment." Ringo also shared his unique take on the afterlife after Colbert asked him what happens when we did. "I think we go to heaven," Starr said. "Heaven's great, but you don't stay there too long; you just gotta get yourself together again and come deal with all that [shit] you didn't deal with last time you were here." Other revelations made by Starr in the segment included: his favorite sandwich ("Cheese"), scariest animal ("I think a lion would be scary"), his least favorite smells ("Bodily functions", he said, something he discussed in Dave Grohl's What Drives Us film), and the most used app on his phone ("Twitter"). - NME, 5/1/21...... A court case centering on how much the estate of Michael Jackson owes the Internal Revenue Service following the King of Pop's death in 2009 based on Jackson's assets, image and likeness has been ruled in favor of the Jackson estate, giving it what it says is a "huge victory." The singer's contested investments included New Horizon Trust II, which included his stake in Sony/ATV Music Publishing, and New Horizon Trust III, which included Mijac Music, a publishing catalog. While the IRS valued Jackson's image and likeness at $434million (£313,000), the estate initially issued a starkly different valuation of approximately $2,000. The reason for this difference was the estate claimed Jackson's reputation had been damaged by allegations of child molestation. The estate would subsequently increase its valuation to $3 million. While experts for the estate valued Jackson's image based on public perception and the prospects of similar deceased celebrities, such as Elvis Presley or Princess Diana, the IRS focused more on "foreseeable opportunities" such as themed attractions, merchandise, films, shows and musicals. In his 250-page ruling, Judge Mark Holmes valued Jackson's image and likeness at $4.15 million at the time of his death, finding the hypotheticals put forward by the IRS to be "unreliable and unpersuasive." He also found Jackson's interest in New Horizon Trust III to be just over $107 million and his interest in New Horizon Trust II to be valueless because its liabilities exceed its assets by $89 million at the time of his death. The co-executors for Jackson's estate, John Branca and John McClain, labelled the decision as a "huge, unambiguous victory for Michael Jackson's children." "For nearly 12 years Michael's estate has maintained that the government's valuation of Michael's assets on the day he passed away was outrageous and unfair, one that would have saddled his heirs with an oppressive tax liability of more than $700 million," they said. "While we disagree with some portions of the decision, we believe it clearly exposes how unreasonable the IRS valuation was and provides a path forward to finally resolve this case in a fair and just manner," they added. - The Hollywood Reporter, 4/5/21...... Bruce SpringsteenThe Woody Guthrie Center has announced that Bruce Springsteen is the recipient of its seventh annual Woody Guthrie Prize, which is presented to an artist who reflects the spirit of Woody Guthrie by proving themselves to be "a champion for the voiceless with an understanding of how a platform can be used to shine a light on our world, showing us what needs to be fixed and how to fix it." The late folk icon has been one of Springsteen's biggest influences, with the New Jersey rocker's 1995 hit "The Ghost of Tom Joad" beind directly inspired by Guthrie's "The Ballad of Tom Joad." Springsteen has also covered such Guthrie standards as "This Land is Your Land," "I Ain't Got No Home," and "Blowin' Down The Road" during his live performances. "I'm honored to receive the 2021 Woody Guthrie Prize," Springsteen said in a statement. "Woody wrote some of the greatest songs about America's struggle to live up its ideals in convincing fashion. He is one of my most important influences and inspirations," he added. Springsteen will accept the honor during a virtual event later in May. Previous honorees of the award include Joan Baez, Mavis Staples and Chuck D. - NME, 5/5/21...... The Sparks Brothers, the new documentary on the '70s L.A. pop-rock duo Sparks, is set to open the 2021 Sundance London film festival this summer, it was announced on May 4. Directed by Edgar Wright (Baby Driver), The Sparks Brothers focuses on musical brothers Ron and Russell Mael and will receive its UK premiere at the physical iteration of the festival, which runs from July 29-Aug. 1. "I was just five years old when I was hypnotized by Ron & Russell Mael (collectively Sparks) staring at me from the telly on a 1979 episode of Top Of The Pops," Wright said of his film. "It's very exciting for me to finally bring The Sparks Brothers to Sundance London, as the U.K. were the first country to embrace Sparks' genius. I look forward to everyone falling in love all over again or being as amazed as I was when I first saw and heard them," he added. - NME, 4/5/21...... The Neil Young fansite is reporting that the folk-rock icon is planning a mammoth schedule of archival projects to be released in the near future, including six "Official Bootleg" releases as well as instalments 4-7 in Young's Original Recording Series, including several albums in hi-res. Young, through the site, offered his fans an update on all the archival projects currently in the works, explaining that the events of 2020 brought "the focus, a gift," allowing him to significantly ramp up his release schedule. He also has two unreleased Crazy Horse albums on the way called EARLY DAZE and Toast; a Crazy Horse live album from 2012 and 2013 entitled Live Alchemy; a live album from CSNY's 1970-1971 shows at the Fillmore East, including a four-camera video of the show; a Buffalo Springfield box set; an abundance of studio outtakes and concert bootlegs; the third volume of Neil Young Archives; and eight films. In addition to the release slate, Young also revealed that he and wife Daryl Hannah have moved from Colorado to a 116-year-old wooden cottage on a lake near his hometown of Omemee, Ontario. - NME, 5/1/21...... Marvin GayeCNN will premiere an hour-long documentary celebrating the 50th anniversary of Marvin Gaye's seminal 1971 album What's Going On, What's Going On - Marvin Gaye's Anthem for the Ages, on May 9 at 8:00 PM EDT. Stevie Wonder, Spike Lee and other prominent African-American musicians and celebrities discuss the lasting relevance of Gaye's masterpiece and its continuing influence on Black culture and music. -, 5/6/21....... Former The Commodores member and '80s solo superstar Lionel Richie says his biggest regret in life is never performing "Endless Love" with his fellow Motown superstar Diana Ross again since the Oscars in 1981. "Endless Love" began as an instrumental for the Franco Zeffirelli romance of the same name, and snowballed into a summer hit that spent nine weeks at the top of the U.S. charts. But the track was hurriedly recorded in Canada, in between Ross's concerts, and the superstar singers only ever performed it once -- at the Academy Awards -- before the hit lost to "Arthur's Theme" by Christopher Cross. "From that time on that stage to the present day, we have never stood together onstage...," Richie shared during a recent chat on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. "Either I was on tour, she was on tour, she was in this part of the world, I was in that part of the world; we could never get our schedules together. That's one of the things I miss about my entire career," the American Idol judge added. -, 5/3/21...... John Hinch, the former Judas Priest drummer who played on the band's debut album, Rocka Rolla, has died aged 73. Born on June 19, 1947, in Staffordshire, England, Hinch began his career playing in several bands in the Birmingham area. He first joined Halford in the group Hiroshimabefore following the frontman to Judas Priest in 1973. Hinch and Halford joined forces with guitarist K.K. Downing and bassist Ian Hill in the band, and later second guitarist Glenn Tipton. In 1974, the group recruited Black Sabbath and Budgie producer Rodger Bai and recorded their debut LP, Rocka Rolla. The album was very different to what Judas Priest would go on to be known for -- it was more blues rock than heavy metal -- but it gave the band its first bit of exposure. They toured the LP throughout the UK and Europe, and Hinch handled most of the driving as well as the band's finances -- although he admitted later it was frustrating. "Drumming to me just became secondary," Hinch admitted. "It was like, 'Ok, here we go we're on stage,' and then invariably you'd get an argument just for the sake of an argument." After the tour was over, the band turned their attention to second album Sad Wings Of Destiny, and it was at that point that Hinch was fired from the band. Following his stint in Judas Priest, Hinch pursued a career in band management, working with artists such as Jameson Raid and Uli Jon Roth of Scorpions fame. Hinch's death was confirmed by Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford, who shared a photo of his former bandmate on his Instagram Story with the caption: "RIP." "His style was strong, direct and unique," Halford recalled to "I'll be blasting 'Rocka Rolla' today!" - NME, 5/2/21...... Olympia DukakisActress Olympia Dukakis, who won an Oscar for her performance as a sardonic, middle-aged mother who advises her headstrong daughter on matters of love in the 1987 romantic film comedy Moonstruck, died on May 1 after months of failing health, according to her agent Allison Levy. She was 89. Ms. Dukakis, the Massachusetts-born daughter of Greek immigrants, worked for decades as a stage, TV and film actor before rocketing to fame at age 56 playing the mother of Cher's character in Moonstruck. She built on that with roles in films including Look Who's Talking (1989) and its sequels with John Travolta and Kirstie Alley, Steel Magnolias (1989) with Shirley MacLaine, Sally Field and Julia Roberts, director Woody Allen's Mighty Aphrodite (1995) and Mr. Holland's Opus (1995) with Richard Dreyfuss. Ms. Dukakis, a master of deadpan humour, also was nominated for Emmy awards for TV roles in 1991, 1998 and 1999. In accepting her Oscar as best supporting actress for Moonstruck in Apr. 1988, when her cousin Michael Dukakis was battling to become the Democratic Party's presidential nominee, she thanked Jewison, her husband and a few others. She then raised the golden statuette over her head and shouted to the worldwide TV audience, "OK, Michael, let's go." Michael Dukakis won the nomination but the Massachusetts governor lost badly in the general election to Republican Vice President George H.W. Bush. Like her cousin, Olympia Dukakis embraced liberal views, advocating for causes including women's rights, gay rights and the environment. "She had an incredible life and we were very proud of her," Michael Dukakis told the Boston Globe on May 1. "Olympia Dukakis Was An Amazing, Academy Award Winning Actress," Cher wrote in memory of her friend on Twitter the same day. "I talked to her 3Wks Ago. Rip Dear One," she added. Dolly Parton also paid tribute to her Steel Magnolias co-star on May 1. "I was so sorry to hear that Olympia Dukakis had passed away," Parton wrote. "She has been one of my favourite people that I have ever known or worked with... She will be missed by her fans, her family, and those of us that were lucky enough to get to know her personally," she added. - Reuters, 5/1/21...... Billie Hayes, the actress who portrayed Witchiepoo on NBC's H.R. Pufnstuf from 1969 to 1970, has died. She was 96. From H.R. Pufnstuf, Ms. Hayes reappeared as Witchiepoo on The Paul Lynde Halloween Special and the series finale of The Banana Splits Adventure Hour. Ms. Hayes lso appeared as a witch in several other shows, including Bewitched, Weenie the Genie, The Monkees and Lidsville. H.R. Pufnstuf producer Marty Kroft paid tribute to Hayes in a statement: "In addition to being a very talented and special person, Margret Hamilton (Wicked Witch of the West/Wizard of Oz) once told me that Witchiepoo was the best witch ever. And as far as I'm concerned, there was no one better than Billie Hayes. She was a home run for us and H.R Pufnstuf. The DuQuoin, Ill., native is also well-known for her theater work, including starring as Mammy Yokum in the original 1956 Broadway production of "Li'l Abner," as well as the 1959 film adaptation and a 1971 TV special. - Variety, 5/4/21.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Elton John has a long association with the Academy Awards, hosting his annual Elton John AIDS Foundation pre-Oscars event for the last 29 years. But the Rocket Man wasn't so impressed with this year's Oscars ceremony on Apr. 25, saying it "looks like it's coming from a Starbucks somewhere." Commenting on the telecast during his annual viewing party, John told his co-host Neil Patrick Harris that his disappointment in the Oscars was pandemic-related. "I wish we could be there. It's more fun. This is the only way we could do it," Elton said. Nielsen figures saw the TV ratings for the 2021 Oscars telecast drop by 5%, with 9.85 million viewers in total tuning in. In 2020, the Academy Awards were watched by 23.6 million viewers and earned a 5.3 rating, versus this year's 1.9 rating. However, those figures are in line with ratings for live TV viewership broadly, which has been steadily decreasing for some time. - NME, 4/29/21...... GenesisGenesis announced on Apr. 29 they'll be mounting their first North American tour in 14 years this fall. The English prog-rockers' "The Last Domino?" tour will visit major cities across the Eastern U.S. and Canada, with Phil Collins' son Nic Collins helping out on drums, with longtime Genesis lead guitar and bass player Daryl Stuermer also performing alongside Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford. Kicking off on Nov. 15 at Chicago's United Center, the tour will also hit Washington, D.C. (11/18), Charlotte (11/20), Montreal (11/22), Toronto (11/25), Buffalo (11/27), Detroit (11/29), Cleveland (11/30) and Philadelphia (12/2). Genesis will also play a two night stand at New York's Madison Square Garden on Dec. 5 and 6 and then hit Columbus, Belmont Park, NY, and Pittsburgh before wrapping on Dec. 15 at TD Garden in Boston. The 2021 tour marks the first time Genesis has performed stateside since 2007's "Turn It On Again: The Tour." In the meantime, the band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's class of 2010. Tickets for all shows will be available first through a presale powered by Ticketmaster Verified Fan on May 5, followed by the general public on-sale on May 7. - Billboard, 4/29/21...... In more prog news, Yes's Rick Wakeman has joined forces with jazz saxophonist Justin Swadling on an upcoming collaboration. Wakeman and Swadling will release their new single, "Into the Light," on May 14. According to a press release, the genre-bending track "brings together Swadling's already mighty talent to create an outstanding record with the soloistic talents of a true Brit" and "penned amid the COVID-19 pandemic, 'Into The Light' carries a message of hope." Wakeman recently admitted he has no idea how the entertainment industry will recover from the global health crisis. "There's going to be massive job losses and companies going down. I truly don't know how the entertainment industry is going to recover. And we will have an anger period, because in this country people always look for someone to blame," he said. The 71-year-old Wakeman, who played on the iconic David Bowie tracks "Changes," "Life on Mars?" and "Hunky Dory," recently performed alongside Bowie's long-time band member Mike Garson and Yungblud for the "A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day!" live-stream Bowie tribute concert in January to mark what would have been David's 74th birthday. Wakeman has a 16-date U.K. tour planned for the fall, kicking off on Nov. 28 in Basingstoke's The Anvil, hitting London's Cadogan Hall on Dec. 10, and wrapping on Dec. 21 at the Hull City Hall. -, 4/30/21...... A new 4-hour KISS biopic, Biography: KISStory, is set to air on the A&E cable channel in June over two nights. KISStory, which is separate to the band's upcoming biopic Shout It Out Loud which will apparently air on Netflix,h as the support of the members of KISS, with Paul Stanley calling it "really terrific." Featured artists in the film are set to include Dave Grohl and Tom Morello. A description of KISStory reads: "After 50 years of rocking and rolling all night and partying every day, the #1 Gold Record selling band of all time, KISS, shares their story of success before finally smashing their last guitar and extinguishing the fire-breathing demon. Through the Biography lens we are able to give fans a backstage pass to a two-night event that honors the legacy of the rock icons behind KISS," a press release added. "This documentary event is a special tribute to a one-of-a-kind band and the incredible Kiss Army fanbase that has idolized them for generations." - NME, 4/29/21...... Jim MorrisonA new massive collection of Jim Morrison's poetry, lyrics and writings, The Collected Works of Jim Morrison: Poetry, Journals, Transcripts, and Lyrics, will hit stores on June 8, publisher HarperCollins announced on Apr. 26. The book was created in collaboration with the late the Doors frontman's estate and boast almost 600 pages of writings. The anthology was inspired by a posthumously discovered list by Morrison entitled "Plan for Book," and will include poetry, lyrics and audio transcripts of Morrison reading his work, accompanied by a compelling mix of 160 visual components. The Collected Works of Jim Morrison also includes a foreword by novelist Tom Robbins, introduction by editor Frank Lisciandro, and a prologue by the rocker's sister, Anne Morrison Chewning. - Billboard,4/26/21...... Ozzy Osbourne says he has 15 songs done for his next studio album, the follow-up to 2020's Ordinary Man. "I've done 15 tracks," Ozzy told Metal Hammer of progress on the record. "It's kept me alive, you know. These past two years, I've been in a terrible fucking state between the accident [a fall at home that left him seriously injured and then the pandemic. It's kept me sane; I've needed the music," Ozzy says. "I struggle a bit, but slowly but surely we're getting there," he added. "My only concern right now is finishing the bloody thing. We've got the same production time as the last time, so there's definitely going to be some similarities. But you'll just have to wait and see what you think," he added. Osbourne's producer, Andrew Watt, recently revealed the new studio LP is set to feature an all-star cast of backing musicians, including members of Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Metallica. - New Musical Express, 5/1/21...... A new Blondie documentary titled Blondie: Vivir en la Habana is set to premiere at the UK's Sheffield Doc Fest in June. The film, following frontwoman Debbie Harry and the New York new wave band, will focus on the band's time in Cuba collaborating with local musicians. Blondie were invited to perform in Havana as part of a cultural exchange through the Cuban Ministry of Culture. Guitarist Chris Stein had long wanted to visit Cuba while being in the band for over 40 years. A short film was shot by artist and director Rob Roth, also called Blondie: Vivir en la Habana, which has now turned into the feature. Harry, Stein and Clem Burke all narrate the film, which "invites us into their magical moments of performing alongside incredible musicians," per a press release. Blondie: Vivir en La Habana will screen at Sheffield Doc Fest between June 4-13. - NME, 4/29/21...... Tom JonesTom Jones has become the oldest male to claim a Number 1 on the UK's Official Albums Chart as his new album Surrounded By Time topped the chart after its Apr. 23 release. At 80 years and 10 months old, Sir Tom set a new UK Official Chart record as the oldest male to claim a No. 1 album on the Official Albums Chart, and the oldest artist ever to do so with an album of new material, overtaking Bob Dylan, who topped the chart at 79 years old in June 2020 with Rough And Rowdy Ways. Surrounded By Time is Tom's fourth No. 1 album and his first since 1999's Reload. He's also the first Welsh soloist to land a UK chart-topper in nine years, since Marina & The Diamonds' Electra Heart in 2012. "I am thrilled beyond words with the reception for Surrounded By Time, and to now hold these UK chart records is tremendous, just unbelievable," Jones told "I am so proud of everyone who helped me create this music, I had a ball working with them and to get this result is just incredible. It's wonderful that the public has allowed me to be musically expressive at my time of life and have shown their support. I am forever grateful," he added. -, 4/30/21...... A week after revealing he was "in agony" after testing positive for the Covid-19 virus, Ted Nugent has opened up on his recent battle with the virus in a new edition of his Spirit Campfire show (which has been shared on YouTube), saying he's "never been so scared in all my life." Nugent announced in April that he had contracted the virus, before denying that he had previously called coronavirus a hoax. The controversial right-wing singer has attracted criticism for his views on the ongoing pandemic over the last year. Reflecting on his experience with Covid on Apr. 29, he said: "I never am a sympathy guy. I'm a tough guy. I'd rather err on the side of 'tough guy.' Five [or] six days ago, it was really scary. I didn't think I was gonna make it. I literally couldn't function for about 20 hours, and then they came and they rescued me... I've never been so scared in all my life. I've had the flu three or four times in my life," he continued. "I'm in bed and I'm giving birth to swampage -- I mean, I go through six boxes of Kleenex an hour. Okay, that's the flu, and you've got a headache and you've got body aches. Maybe you've got some diarrhea, and just overall pain." Nugent added: "I don't struggle to express myself. The six-foot-two, 225-pound headache [this time] was like nothing I have ever experienced. I mean, from my tip of my toes to the top of my hair, I literally was dizzy and weak and struggled to get up to go to the bathroom. And I would lay in the bathtub a couple of times a day with the water as hot as I could take it just to divert." After reporting that he had contracted Covid, Nugent denied saying that the virus was "not a real pandemic," and hit out at press reports that detailed his stance on coronavirus. "Saying that I claimed Covid-19 was a hoax. False," he told fans on Facebook Live. "I've always said... We have actually footage of me saying, if not hundreds, thousands of times... Of course there's a Chinese virus. Hello? Who thinks that I claimed there's no Chinese... There's a Chinese virus. They call it Covid-19. I'm well aware of that." Nugent has also claimed that online critics of his celebrated his recent coronavirus diagnosis and denounced them as "satanic." "...You have to know that there is a Satanic cult that is just demonic in their hatred and celebrating -- literally celebrating -- other people's suffering. I'm afraid that's the Democrat party. They are a Satanic cult. They literally throw gasoline on the fire of hurt, pain and suffering. Both literally and figuratively," he said. - NME, 4/29/21...... David GilmourPeter GreenA previously unreleased version of an early Fleetwood Mac hit called "Need Your Love So Bad" has been released, featuring vocals from the late Peter Green and a newly recorded guitar track from Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour. The new take on the 1969 hit is one of two new versions of Fleetwood Mac classics that have been recorded to celebrate the release of Peter Green -- The Albatross Man, a new book in tribute to the late Fleetwood Mac guitarist which arrives in October. The second track, meanwhile, sees Metallica's Kirk Hammett playing guitar on a version of the 1971 classic "Man Of The World," which also features Mick Fleetwood on drums. While Gilmour recorded his guitar part relatively recently, Green's vocals have been newly unearthed and are thought to have been recorded in the mid-1960s in his mother's attic. Gilmour, a close friend of Green, also performed his signature "Albatross" at last year's Peter Green tribute concert, which featured a performance from Hammett too. Green, the co-founder of Fleetwood Mac, died in July 2020 at the age of 73. The unreleased version of "Need Your Love So Bad" can be streamed on YouTube. - NME, 4/29/21...... Patti Smith and Arlo Parks will be among the headliners at the 2021 Manchester UK International Festival, which will also screen a new film starring Cillian Murphy. The event will take place between July 1 and July 18, and will see its participating artists reflect on ideas such as love and human connection in a post-coronavirus world. Smith will perform two nights (July 7/8) as a Manchester Internation Festival exclusive, taking to the stage for her first concerts since the Covid crisis began. Arlo Parks, meanwhile, will be accompanied by a string section for her biggest headline show to date on July 9. Venues for both performances are yet to be confirmed. The Cillian Murphy-starring film All Of This Unreal Time is set to receive its world premiere as an immersive installation between July 2-4. - NME, 4/28/21...... Olivia Newton-John has taken to Instagram to mourn the loss of her longtime cancer nurse Emma Cohen, who died in April. In her tribute, Newton-John revealed the impact Cohen had on her during her battle with the disease: "My heart is still in shock and so saddened to learn of the sudden loss of the very special Emma Cohen. Emma took care of me at a very vulnerable time in my life when I was a patient on her unit at the @onjcancercentre in 2018. She ensured my stay was safe and comfortable, always had practical advice for me, showed strong leadership skills and had a great sense of humour. She was a bright, energetic and powerful woman with a huge future ahead of her, and we connected on our mission to help patients on their cancer journey." Newton-John was diagnosed with stage four metastatic breast cancer -- her third battle with disease -- in 2017. And Olivia -- who didn't reveal Cohen's cause of death -- admitted she will "miss seeing (Emma's) lovely face" at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre, where Emma worked. The Cancer Nurses Society of Australia -- on which Cohen served as a board director -- revealed she died after a "short illness" on Apr. 9. -, 4/29/21...... American astronaut Michael Collins, who stayed in the lunar command module when fellow Apollo 11 crew members Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon in 1969, died on Apr. 28 after a battle with cancer, according to his family. He was 90. Often described as the "forgotten" third astronaut on the historic mission, Mr. Collins remained alone for more than 21 hours until his two colleagues returned in the lunar module. He lost contact with mission control in Houston each time the spacecraft circled the dark side of the moon. "Not since Adam has any human known such solitude as Mike Collins," the mission log said, referring to the biblical figure. "I know that I would be a liar or a fool if I said that I have the best of the three Apollo 11 seats, but I can say with truth and equanimity that I am perfectly satisfied with the one I have," Collins said in comments released by NASA in 2009. Born in Rome on Oct. 31, 1930, Mr. Collins was the son of a U.S. army major general and, like his father, attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., graduating in 1952. Like many of the first generation of American astronauts, Mr. Collins started out as an air force test pilot and in 1963, he was chosen by NASA for its astronaut program. Mr. Collins's first voyage into space came in July 1966 as pilot on Gemini X, part of the missions that prepared NASA's Apollo program. The Gemini X mission carried out a successful docking with a separate target vehicle. His second, and final, space flight was the historic Apollo 11. Mr. Collins avoided much of the media fanfare that greeted the astronauts on their return to Earth, and was later often critical of the cult of celebrity. After a short stint in government, he became director of the National Air and Space Museum, stepping down in 1978. He was also the author of a number of space-related books. His strongest memory from Apollo 11, he said, was looking back at the Earth, which he said seemed "fragile." "I really believe that if the political leaders of the world could see their planet from a distance of 100,000 miles, their outlook could be fundamentally changed. That all-important border would be invisible, that noisy argument silenced," he said. His family's statement said they know, "how lucky Mike felt to live the life he did." With Mr. Collins's death, only four astronauts who have walked on the moon are still living, and the last human being who orbited or set foot on the moon did so in Dec. 1972. -, 4/28/21...... Marianne Faithfull60s hitmaker Marianne Faithfull released a new album, She Walks in Beauty, on Apr. 30. A collaborative effort with Warren Ellis of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, the album is a new collection of poetry and music recorded shortly before and during the first coronavirus lockdown in the UK. Faithfull, 73, was hospitalised in March 2020 after developing coronavirus symptoms and after 22 days of treatment, she was discharged from hospital and returned to her London home in April. She now says her battle with coronavirus may have robbed her of the ability to sing. "The damage has been very bad," she recently told the LA Times. "It's my lungs, my memory and fatigue. It couldn't be worse. I don't know if I will ever be able to sing again. I have singing practice once a week, and I'm doing my best, but it's very hard. I love touring, and it's breaking my heart that I might possibly not be able to do it again. But I think there are ways around that, like filming. I might be able to do five shows one day: London, Paris, Berlin and two others. But I won't be able to travel. I'm in Europe and here I'll stay. That's OK. I really am European." - NME, 4/28/21...... Actor Johnny Crawford, who became a child star as the son of The Rifleman, passed away peacefully on the evening of Apr. 29 with his wife by his side after battling Alzheimer's disease and contracting Covid-19. He was 72. "It is with great sadness that we share the news of Johnny Crawford’s passing," the website posted. "We are grateful for the outpouring of love and support from friends and fans around the world." Crawford rose to stardom after being cast in the ABC series The Rifleman which ran for five seasons. Crawford played the son of a western rancher Lucas McCain (Chuck Connors) who was also a union Civil War veteran. His role in The Rifleman led him to be Emmy-nominated for best supporting actor in a dramatic series. Before playing young McCain, Crawford was one of the first Mouseketeers on The Mickey Mouse Club. He also made appearances in many TV series aired in the 1950s including The Lone Ranger, The Count of Monte Cristo and The Loretta Young Show. He also worked in music. In 1962, his song "Cindy's Birthday" peaked on the Billboard charts at No. 8. He is also credited with performing the song "Easy Come Easy Go" featured on 2004 film Hellboy. Friends in entertainment remembered Crawford on Twitter as an "inspiration" and a "dear friend." "My dear friend #JohnnyCrawford just passed away. I pray for his wife Charlotte as she was by his side. Johnny was a real cowboy and will be greatly missed," wrote Happy Days actor Scott Baio. - USA Today, 5/1/21.

Monday, Apr. 26, 2021

Paul McCartney was among numerous the numerous musicians and other stars tweeting out awareness of the 50th annual Earth Day celebration on Apr. 22. As global warming's effects continue to push the Earth's climate to a tipping point, the former Beatle and long-time environmentally conscious vegetarian had a very simple message in his Earth Day tweet: "Sir Paul McCartney Has an Important Reminder - Celebrating #EarthDay. It's the only one we've got ! - Paul" - Billboard, 4/22/21...... Elton John held a virtual pre-Oscars party on Apr. 25 ahead of the annual Oscars ceremony that evening. John, who has famously been hosting viewing parties for the Academy Awards since 1992, gave fans the chance to watch the live-streamed event for $19.99 (£14.99). The event was hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, with rising singer Dua Lipa as a musical guest, performing alongside Elton. "Now more than ever, we need to ensure that one pandemic does not override another, and we cannot forget the 38 million people living with HIV globally who need our care, love and support so we hope everyone joins us for this special one-of-a-kind Oscar Pre-Party," John posted on Twitter announcing the event. - NME, 4/23/21...... Paul StanleyAs the celebrity gossip site posted a link to an article on Twitter revealing that a new KISS biopic is being bid on by Netflix, KISS singer/guitarist Paul Stanley deployed a short-but-sweet message to the KISS Army: "True!" According to Deadline, Netflix is nearing a deal for the flick, which has the working title Shout It Out Loud, a standout song from the band's 1976 album Destroyer. To be directed by Joachim Rnning, the film could be the next big musical biopic in the wake of Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman. The tale will likely focus on the unlikely friendship of Stanley and bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons, and the classic lineup with Ace Frehley and drummer Peter Criss. KISS has said they will wrap up their career with the final date of their "End of the Road Tour," which which kicked off in January of 2019. - Billboard, 4/22/21...... The legendary residential Rockfield Studio located in Wales where Queen laid down its iconic "Bohemian Rhapsody" track and also played host to a number of other famous rock acts including Rush, Iggy Pop, Simple Minds, The Pogues and George Michael will be the subject of a new documentary called Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm. The movie, which chronicles a dream hatched by brothers Kingsley and Charles Ward in 1963 to build a recording studio in a farmhouse attic on their family farm deep in the Welch countryside, will be available as a WatchNow@Home direct-to-consumer release before hitting other platforms. Robert Plant, Black Sabbath, Oasis and Coldplay will be among the artists appearing in the film, directed by documentarian Hannah Berryman (Miss World 1970 and Bedlam). Director Berryman said in a statement that "the intensity of the 'make or break' nature residential recording [which] almost broke some bands... also produced tracks that have stood the test of time, and maybe you can hear everything that went on this isolated farm in that music, the pleasure and the pain." A trailer for Rockfield can be viewed on YouTube. - Billboard, 4/22/21...... The Rolling Stones' Ronnie Wood has shared he's been given the all-clear after his second diagnosis. Wood was diagnosed with rare and aggressive small-cell cancer during the coronavirus lockdown, the second time that he had fought the disease after he previously beat lung cancer in 2018. "I've had cancer two different ways now," Ronnie told England's The Sun paper. "I had lung cancer in 2017 and I had small-cell more recently that I fought in the last lockdown." Small-cell cancer is often found in the lung, but it can also affect the prostate, pancreas, bladder or lymph nodes. Opening up on his latest experience of cancer, Wood explained that working on paintings of his wife Sally and their four-year-old twins kept his spirits up. He also believes that staying sober for a decade and the concept of a "higher power" helped him through his latest fight. "When you hand the outcome over to your higher power, that is a magic thing," he said. "That brings you back to the (AA and NA's) Serenity Prayer: 'Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change'. That's incredible. What will be will be, it's nothing to do with me. All I can do is stay positive in my attitude, be strong and fight it, and the rest is up to my higher power." Wood previously admitted that it "could have been curtains" after his 2017 diagnosis, when he underwent a five-hour operation to have part of his lung removed. - NME, 4/26/21...... The '70s L.A. pop-rock duo Sparks has reunited with their former producer Todd Rundgren after 50 years for new single called "Your Fandango," which has been shared on YouTube. Speaking about the collaboration, Sparks -- made up of brothers Ron and Russell Mael -- said: "It's been a truly heartwarming experience to once again be working with Todd, our first-ever producer, after a brief 50-year hiatus." Rundgren added: "It's been a long way since Simple Ballet, but we finally got the old dance troupe back together!" On Apr. 19, it was announced that Sparks have written a musical titled "Annette" which is set to star Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard. The film, which is set to open the Cannes Film Festival, is directed by Holy Motors' Leos Carax and sees Driver playing a stand-up comedian opposite Oscar-winner Cotillard's character, who is an internationally famous singer. Sparks also recently revealed that they're working on new music in the studio. - NME, 4/24/21...... Van MorrisonTalking to London's The Times's "Saturday Review" section, Van Morrison claims he's had a "very negative reaction" for exercising "freedom of speech" in his songs. The Celtic crooner, 75, who has been open about his criticism of Covid-19 lockdowns and released three protest songs in 2020 and launched a campaign to save live music amid the coronavirus pandemic, says he is concerned people are being silenced for expressing alternative views. "The only other person who has any traction or motivation to speak out about what's going on, to get out there and question things, is Eric [Clapton]. A few people got a petition together to end the lockdown, but nobody pays attention to petitions, do they? If I can write about it, I do. Poetic licence, freedom of speech... these used to be OK. Why not now? I don't understand it. Some people call it a cult. It is like a religion. Whether anyone agrees with me or not is irrelevant. Just as there should be freedom of the press, there should be freedom of speech, and at the minute it feels like that is not in the framework. If you do songs that are an expression of freedom of speech you get a very negative reaction." Morrison added he doesn't think it's "a given" that live music will return any time soon. "I heard that some music promoters met with the people at Imperial College who are running the whole thing. Well, really, Klaus [Schwab], the executive chairman of the World Economic Forum] is running the whole thing. Your guess is as good as mine because freedom is not a given any more. You have to fight for it. That's where the blues come in." Morrison's views on the state of the world are explored on his new album Latest Record Project: Volume 1, which he whittled down to 28 songs from more than 50 tracks he's written over the last 18 months, though he insisted inspiration doesn't come easily. "I write in the morning, every day from breakfast until lunch, and for that time I'll be concentrating fully. Inspiration doesn't come down the chimney. You have to work at magic." -, 4/25/21...... Meat Loaf has paid tribute to his long-time collaborator, producer/songwriter Jim Steinman, who passed away from kidney failure on Apr. 20 at age 73. The Texas-based rocker paid tribute to Steinman on Twitter with a photo collage of their golden years, and a nod to the winged mammal in that most famous 1970s album. "Coming here soon, My brother Jimmy," Meat Loaf posted. "Fly Jimmy Fly." Steinman was a composer on Meat Loaf's rock-opera juggernaut Bat Out Of Hell which yielded the classics "You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth," "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" and is now a diamond certified platinum seller in the US. The duo returned to the well for 1993's Bat Out of Hell II, Back Into Hell, and its enduring hit "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)." Meat Loaf and Steinman returned to the well for 1993's Bat Out of Hell II - Back Into Hell, and its enduring hit "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)." - Billboard, 4/20/21...... Meanwhile, Alice Cooper has spoken more in detail about his bout with coronavirus at the end of 2020. "All it really did with me was it knocked me out," Cooper told Good Day Rochester in a new interview. "For three weeks, I felt like I went 12 rounds with [boxing legend] Roberto Duran; I was just beat up. And then every day, you feel a little bit better, then you feel a little bit better, feel a little bit better, and after about a month, you start feeling pretty good. And so now I'm a walking antibody." Cooper revealed in February that he had received his vaccination alongside his wife, Sheryl, at an immunization facility in Phoenix, Arizona -- and stressed the importance of getting the jab to everyone else. "We already had Covid but we're getting vaccinated anyway," Cooper said in a brief clip, per AZCentral. "Everyone out here has been really nice and you don't feel like you're in danger of anything. So come on out. If you haven't been vaccinated, come on out." Cooper adds he is now "feeling pretty good" and adds his health is "at least 95 per cent" of what it was before he contracted the virus. The shock rocker is now gearing up for a return to the stage, headlining his "Coopstock" benefit concert on Apr. 24 April in Mesa, Ariz. KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer, former Foreigner singer Lou Gramm, and Asia are also scheduled to perform. - New Musical Express, 4/25/21...... John LydonNever one to mince words, former Sex Pistols member John "Johnny Rotten" Lydon has called director Danny Boyle's Sex Pistols biopic series "the most disrespectful shit I've ever had to endure" and claims the project was green-lit without his consent. In an interview with London's Sunday Times, the singer reacted to recent publicity shots promoting the six-part series Pistol. "I think that's the most disrespectful shit I've ever had to endure. I mean, they went to the point to hire an actor to play me but what's the actor working on? Certainly not my character. It can't go anywhere else [but court]," Lydon said. Pistol, which has been created for TV by Craig Pearce (The Great Gatsby) and written by Pearce and Frank Cottrell-Boyce, began filming lin March, although no official premiere date has been confirmed yet. Elsewhere in the interview Lydon said "it's not like we're complete strangers" in reference to his claims that he wasn't contacted by Boyle, having previously met the director during preparations for the 2021 London Olympics opening ceremony. He added: "Sorry, you think you can do this, like walk all over me -- it isn't going to happen. Not without a huge, enormous f---ing fight. I'm Johnny, you know, and when you interfere with my business you're going to get the bitter end of my business as a result. It's a disgrace." A spokesperson for the Pistol production told the paper that Boyle contacted Lydon's management company about the planned series but "ultimately direct contact was declined." Pistol is based on guitarist Steve Jones' 2018 memoir Lonely Boy: Tales From A Sex Pistol, and is being made as a limited FX series. Boyle, who serves as director and executive producer, has described the Sex Pistols' breakthrough as "the moment that British society and culture changed forever." - NME, 4/25/21...... In related news, Tom Jones is reportedly in talks for a movie biopic, but says he isn't ready to "tell-all" just yet. Sir Tom, 80, says he has been in discussions regarding a movie about his life like Elton John's Rocketman and the Freddie Mercury/Queen film Bohemian Rhapsody. But Jones says he's not sure he is willing to share every detail about his life and career with the world on the big screen just yet. Appearing on Alan Carr's "Life's a Beach" podcast, he said: "Well there's been talk of it, yes. But then I'd have to tell-all. So I don't think I'm ready to tell-all yet. Y'know what I mean, it's one of those things. We're thinking about it." Although Tom didn't divulge who he'd like to play him in a biopic, he is adamant on it being an actor opposed to an actor-singer like Taron Egerton in Rocketman. "Well I think it would be better to get an actor because there are actor-singers who have come forward. But I think the best thing to do is get a really good actor like Elton John did. You've got to get an actor to play the part, then the music -- you get somebody to do. I'll either do [the music] myself or somebody who can do a soundalike. There are Tom Jones soundalikes out there. Y'know younger fellas. But the acting is the important part." Jones released his 41st studio album, Surrounded By Time, on Apr. 23. -, 4/24/21...... During a worldwide listening party for the new John Lennon deluxe John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band reissue, Ringo Starr remembered his old bandmate as "a brilliant artist and a brilliant man." As Tim Burgess' latest Twitter Listening Party turned its attention to the upcoming release, the famous drummer wrote on Twitter: "It's so incredible, the emotion on this record, just mind blowing. The sparseness of the band, the force of John Lennon. That's why he's one of the greats." Addressing suggestions that Lennon frequently worried about the quality of his singing voice, Starr wrote: "John always wanted a lot of echo on his voice. He had a great voice and when he was singing, he gave all of that. I don't feel personally he was insecure about his voice. Everybody wants to be someone else, to be different." In his final tweet about the experience, Starr added: "It is an incredibly cool record. It's a beautiful record and he was a beautiful man and I'm privileged to feel he was my friend. Great to be a part of Plastic Ono Band." - NME, 4/25/21...... In other Beatles-related news, a movie theater where Liverpudlians John Lennon and George Harrison spent their teenage years attending has been saved from demolition. The Abbey Cinema in Wavertree, Liverpool which featured in the Fab Four's personal writings and the original lyrics of their 1965 song "In My Life," officially closed in 1979. The cinema, which was designed by renowned architect and Liverpool City Council leader Sir Alfred Ernest Shennan, first opened in 1939. It has since been used as a bingo hall, snooker club and, most recently a Co-op supermarket, which closed its doors in 2020. UK supermarket chain Lidl has called for the building to be knocked down to make way for a new store, but a petition has been started on Twitter to preserve the building by Save Britain's Heritage, Historic England, which has now given it a Grade II listed status. - NME, 4/22/21...... The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has announced it has opened a new exhibit featuring props and outfits from several Super Bowl halftime performances by the likes of Prince, Stevie Wonder, Katy Perry, and more. Unveiling the "Biggest Show On Turf: 55 Years Of Halftime Shows" exhibition on Apr. 23 at the Cleveland hall and museum, the display comes ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft which is coming to the city on Apr. 29-May 1. Located on the museum's main floor, fans can walk the same line as Canadian superstar The Weeknd, snapping selfies next to the flashing lights and neon signs. Elsewhere, the outfit Prince wore during his Super Bowl XLI performance can be found inside a glass case, while U2 frontman Bono's American Flag jacket from U22 s 2002 Super Bowl performance dedicated to the victims of 9/11 is also featured. Scattered throughout the exhibit are photos and video from just about every major Super Bowl halftime show, including footage of Michael Jackson standing frozen for 90 seconds at the start of his performance at 1993 s Super Bowl XXVII. More info can be found on the RRHOF's website. - NME, 4/24/21...... Frank ZappaFrank Zappa's official Twitter page announced on Apr. 23 that the eclectic rocker's last ever American concert is set to be immortalised on a new live album, Zappa '88: The Last U.S. Show. The album showcases Zappa's legendary show at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY on Mar.h 25, 1988, and is preceded by the live single "I Ain't Got No Heart." The gig, which took place five years before Zappa's death from cancer in 1993, features 29 previously-unreleased performances, including The Allman Brothers' "Whipping Post," Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven," and a Beatles medley featuring "Norwegian Wood," "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds," and "Strawberry Fields Forever." Zappa '88 was produced by Zappa's son Ahmet Zappa alongside Joe Travers, and the "I Ain't Got No Heart" single can be previewed on YouTube. The 2CD/digital album will drop on June 18 via Zappa Records/UMe. - Billboard, 4/23/21...... In a new interview with The London Times, Mick Fleetwood opened up on the future of Fleetwood Mac, admitting that the rock icons will eventually find "a classy way to say goodbye." The famously tumultuous group have endured their fair share of drama in recent years, with lead guitarist Lindsay Buckingham being fired by the band in 2018 and replaced on tour by Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers' Mike Campbell and Crowded House's Neil Finn. Fleetwood said: "I've really enjoyed being re-connected with Lindsey, which has been gracious and open. And both of us have been beautifully honest about who we are and how we got to where we were." He added of a potential reunion: "Strange things can happen. I look at Fleetwood Mac as a huge family. Everyone plays an important role in our history, even someone like [early '70s] guitarist Bob Welch, who was huge and sometimes gets forgotten. "Lindsey's position in Fleetwood Mac will, for obvious reasons, never been forgotten, as it should never be forgotten. "My vision of things happening in the future is really far-reaching. Would I love to think that [reunion] could happen? Yeah. I'd love to think that all of us could be healed, and also respect the people who are in the band, Neil Finn and Michael Campbell." And while Buckingham's return might not be set in stone, Fleetwood is instead hoping that the band will get the chance to perform once more after the coronavirus pandemic subsides. "We've all been shocked that life can change so very quickly, but you're talking to the dude who never gives up. We are still a band. We have not broken up," he said. Whatever happens with Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac, Fleetwood said he's open to working with Buckingham in any capacity. "I know for a fact that I intend to make music and play again with Lindsey," he said. "I would love that. It doesn't have to be in Fleetwood Mac." - NME, 4/22/21...... Les McKeownThe Bay City Rollers' frontman Les McKeown, who was recruited by the group in 1973 and fronted the Scottish pop-rockers during their most successful period and selling more than 100 million records worldwide, passed away "suddenly" on Apr. 20 of as yet undisclosed causes. He was 65. The news was announced on Apr. 22 by McKeown's family on his official Facebook page. "It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of our beloved husband and father Leslie Richard McKeown... We are currently making arrangements for his funeral. We thank you and ask for privacy after the shock of our profound loss. Thank you. Keiko and Jubei McKeown," the post reads. The Bay City Rollers, who were arbitrarily named by the group's mentor/manager Tom Paton by sticking a pin in a US map and hitting Bay City, Mich., scored their first English hit in 1971. During their '70s heyday, the Bay City Roller's fandom was frequently compared to that of the Beatles and the tartan uniform-clad group were often mobbed by fans during appearances. McKeown, a native of Edinburgh where the band was formed in 1970, sang lead vocals on a number of the group's biggest tracks including "Saturday Night", "Remember (Sha-La-La-La)" and "Shang-a-Lang." Alongside McKeown and bassist Alan Longmuir, the line-up during this period also featured Eric Faulkner and Stuart Wood on guitars and Longmuir's brother Derek Longmuir on drums. Differences in the group led McKeown to leave in 1978, after which he launched his own lucrative solo career. The BCR reunited for a series of reunion shows in 2015 and McKeown released an album The Lost Tapes in 2016. The album was a collection of previously unheard and unreleased tracks that McKeown recorded on cassette whilst on tour with the group throughout the 1970s. Just days before his passing, McKeown was promoting an extensive, 49-date-tour for the Bay City Rollers on social media. - NME, 4/22/21...... Burlesque dancer and sex icon Tempest Storm, who counted Elvis Presley, JFK, Nat King Cole and Mickey Rooney among her many playmates -- died on Mar. 20 in Las Vegas. She was 93. The "Tempest in a D Cup," as she was widely known, was one of the top stars during the golden age of burlesque. Alongside strippers like Lili St. Cyr, Blaze Starr and Gypsy Rose Lee, Tempest Storm raised the tease to an art form and became part of the wider popular culture as the sexual revolution kicked off. She was the last of the great legends in the golden age of burlesque," pal and business partner Harvey Robbins told the New York Post. "She was perhaps the biggest of all." Storm was born Annie Blanche Banks in Georgia in 1928, and after a childhood filled with grinding poverty and sexual abuse she fled to Hollywood where she worked as a waitress. With her gigantic breasts, a customer suggested burlesque and Tempest Storm was born. By 1956, she was the highest-paid burlesque performer in the world with a 10-year $100,000 contract. The silver screen beckoned with 1955's Teaserama (co-starring Bettie Page) and a number of Russ Meyer films. Storm performed for the final time in 2010 and had recently been suffering from dementia. She was married four times and had a daughter. -, 4/24/21.

Wednesday, Apr. 21, 2021

A new, "Easter-egg"-filled video for John Lennon's classic 1970 track "Isolation" has been shared on YouTube to help promote the upcoming deluxe box set reissue of his solo debut John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. The video for the "Raw Studio Mix" of "Isolation" was filmed upstairs at John and Yoko's home at Tittenhurst Park in Berkshire on July 16, 1971, and fans are encouraged to explore the "timed Easter eggs" in the clip -- showing "hidden elements and clues" of the life that Lennon and wife Yoko Ono shared, as well as important artefacts and more. The 8-disc super deluxe box set will drop on Apr. 23 and celebrate the recent 50th anniversary of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. - NME,4/20/21...... Ted NugentOnly a few months after he claimed the Covid-19 virus was "not a real pandemic," Ted Nugent revealed on Apr. 20 he was in agony after testing positive for the virus. In the video shot at his Michigan ranch, Nugent repeatedly uses racist slurs to refer to Covid-19 and reiterates his previous stance that he wouldn't be getting the vaccine because he claims wrongly that "nobody knows what's in it." Nugent, a supporter of former Pres. Donald Trump, previously called the pandemic a "scam" and railed gainst public health restrictions, pushing the theory by conservative media that suggests the official death count from the coronavirus is inflated. Later speaking to fans on Facebook Live, Nugent denied ever claiming Covid-19 was a hoax. "The lies I've seen that I've been doing these public appearances knowing I had the Covid-19. False," he raged. "Saying that I claimed Covid-19 was a hoax. False. I've always said... We have actually footage of me saying, if not hundreds, thousands of times... Of course there's a Chinese virus. Hello? Who thinks that I claimed there's no Chinese... There's a Chinese virus. They call it Covid-19. I'm well aware of that." Nugent went on to discuss why he had previously criticised lockdowns on social media -- having questioned why the U.S. wasn't "shut down for Covid 1 through 18" (the reason is pretty simple, the number 19 refers to 2019 -- the year when the disease was first discovered). The "Cat Scratch Fever" singer ended the rant by saying: "You stupid motherf-----s. The left is such a great source of comedy. Keep it up. Richard Pryor isn't around anymore. We can't rely on him for the ultimate comedy, so we rely on the comfortably numb nuts, uncomfortably dumb nuts." In March, Nugent attracted more criticism after claiming that the official reported death toll from coronavirus is significantly higher than actual deaths. "They claim five hundred thousand people have died from Covid-19," he said in another Facebook stream. "Bullshit. I believe that medical examiners in all 50 states have gone, 'I put down on the death certificate that he died of asphyxiation, but they made me put Covid.' He also recently responded to allegations of racism, calling himself "the anti-racist." - AP/NME, 4/20/21...... Styx announced on Apr. 20 they are hitting the road this summer with a brand new tour with alternative faves Collective Soul. "WE ARE BACK! Excited to announce a 2021 tour with our brothers from @CollectiveSoul as we return live on stage this summer! Get tickets on Friday, April 23 at 10 AM ET for the majority of dates at," the band posted on their Twitter account. The Midwest rockers will kick off their dates at St. Augustine Amphitheatre in Florida on June 16 before being joined on June 18 by Collective Soul at Ameris Bank Amphitheatre in Georgia. The joint tour will then visit Mississippi, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri before wrapping on June 27 in Oklahoma City. Styx's current lineup includes James "JY" Young, Tommy Shaw, Chuck Panozzo, Todd Sucherman, Lawrence Gowan and Ricky Phillips. Tickets and VIP packages from both bands will go on sale on Apr. 23. More info can be found on tour dates at Styx's website. - Billboard, 4/20/21...... Speaking to the UK's Metro paper, Tom Jones said being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II is by far the proudest achievement of his career. "Being knighted by the Queen -- that is above and beyond any of my expectations," Sir Tom noted. "When I was a kid I didn't want to do a job of work that I didn't like, which most people have to do in order to survive. I knew I was put on this Earth for this purpose. I think God gave me this voice. And when you get a gift like this, you should see it through," he added. Jones, 80, will release his 42nd solo album, Surrounded By Time, on Apr. 23, a collection of re-imagined tracks by the likes of Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and Michael Kiwanuka. On July 27, the "She's a Lady" hitmaker will perform the LP in its entirety live at London's O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, recently tweeting: "Super excited to announce a very special intimate 'Surrounded By Time' album show @o2sbe..." Jones recently revealed on comedian Marc Maron's "WTF" podcast that he uses Viagra and there is "no shame" in doing it. Tom, who was married to his long-term wife Linda from 1957 until she died in 2016, said "There is always Viagra. A little help here and there is alright" when asked about his sexual health. "There is no shame in that at 80. You gotta do what you gotta do," he added. -, 4/21/21...... Bjorn UlvaeusABBA's Bjrn Ulvaeus has teased the band's forthcoming "Abbatar tour," promising that it "still sounds very much ABBA." In a new interview with the London Times, Ulvaeus discussed how his former bandmates Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad's vocals were now in a lower pitch -- "about one tone lower, perhaps" -- but promised that the sound fans would hear on the tour would still be "very much Abba." Discussing the process of creating the avatars, Ulvaeus said the band were "photographed from all possible angles" and made to "grimace in front of cameras." "They painted dots on our faces, they measured our heads," he said. Iin 2017, it was announced that ABBA would reunite in digital form in 2019, performing as "Abbatars" for the first time since they split in 1982. When the reunion tour was then delayed, the Swedish pop icons announced in 2018 that they would be sharing two new tracks: "I Still Have Faith In You" and "Don't Shut Me Down," which was then expanded to five new tracks as a reward to fans waiting for the reunion tour due to Covid-related delays. Meanwhile, in another interview with BBC Breakfast, Ulvaeus ruled out any upcoming ABBA biopics in the near future, despite the success of recent biopics on Queen and Elton John. "I don't think we would want that actually, I certainly know myself I wouldn't want an actor -- not while I'm alive -- to play me on the big screen and I don't think the others would like that either," he said. - New Musical Express, 4/17/21...... Paul McCartney, Robert Plant and Stevie Nicks are among over 150 music and entertainment stars who have signed a new open letter to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for a reform to the music streaming economy. The letter, from the Musicians' Union in association with the Ivors Academy and the #BrokenRecord campaign, says that the law around streaming revenues and royalty payments "has not kept up with the pace of technological change" in the music industry. It comes as British MPs are currently examining the economic impact that music streaming is having on artists, record labels and the wider music industry as part of the 'Economics Of Music Streaming' inquiry. The inquiry has seen the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Commons Select Committee examining the business model since last year and whether or not the model is fair to songwriters and performers. The involved artists say they've written the new letter "on behalf of today's generation of artists, musicians and songwriters here in the UK," and call on the government to adapt the law in order to "put the value of music back where it belongs -- in the hands of music makers." The letter adds that the law has "not kept up with the pace of technological change and, as a result, performers and songwriters do not enjoy the same protections as they do in radio." It goes on to suggest that "only two words need to change in the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents that today's performers receive a share of revenues, just like they enjoy in radio," and that the proposed change "won't cost the taxpayer a penny but will put more money in the pockets of UK taxpayers and raise revenues for public services like the NHS." Over the last year, a host of artists have spoken out about the outdated and unfair streaming economy model. Nadine Shah has been one of the most vocal critics, saying last year that payments are "paltry" and meant she was unable to pay her rent, meaning she had to move back in with her parents for a time. - NME, 4/20/21...... Two Bob Dylan biographers have been trading insults over the authenticity of each other's work. Howard Sounes, who wrote the 2001 bestseller Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, has responded to Clinton Heylin's insults in his new book The Double Life Of Bob Dylan Vol 1 1941-1966: A Restless, Hungry Feeling. In his introduction, Heylin calls Sounes a "professional dirtdigger" who had written a "semi-literate" book. Sounes has reacted to Heylin's comments, telling The Guardian that Heylin is "a clunky, self-indulgent writer" whose new Dylan biography is "incredibly boring." "It's not really polite to tell other writers they're bad writers, because they tend to fling it back to you," Sounes says. "In response, I would say he's a clunky, self-indulgent writer ... His books are all very long and baggy. They're about his interpretation of Dylan songs ... and it's incredibly boring." An updated edition of Sounes' book is being released on May 4 by Doubleday ahead of Dylan's 80th birthday. Sounes, a former news journalist for The Mirror, has written biographies on the poet Charles Bukowski as well as Paul McCartney and Lou Reed. Heylin's new book, which was released earlier in April, sees him describe Sounes' work as a "depressingly well-trundled, semi-literate stroll." - NME, 4/19/21...... Alice CooperWho knew Alice Cooper's famous track "Poison" could be so soothing to infants? Re-recorded versions of that song and several others from Cooper's catalog have been released in a new album titled Lullaby Versons of Alice Cooper featuring soothing instrumentals of "Poison," "School's Out," "Under My Wheels," and more. The album has been released in partnership with Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star, the company which creates "beautiful lullaby versions of your favourite artists," via Roma Music Group. You can listen to the album via Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal and more at With over 135 titles in its catalogue, other artists who have had their music turned into lullabies by Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star include The Beatles, Metallica, Adele and Lady Gaga. - NME, 4/18/21...... Tom Petty's Finding Wildflowers (Alternate Versions) has now been added to streaming platforms. The collection of alternative versions of some of Petty's most beloved songs first appeared on the 2020 collection Wildflowers & All The Rest, an expansive retrospective of 1994's Wildflowers. Made up of 16 alternate takes, long cuts, and jam versions that didn't make it on the original LP, Finding Wildflowers (Alternate Versions) also includes the 1992 track 'You Saw Me Comin", which had been unreleased until the release of Wildflowers & All the Rest. In addition to being made available digitally, Finding Wildflowers (Alternate Versions) has also been released on CD and as a limited-edition gold vinyl. The album can be heard on - NME, 4/17/21...... Speaking to BBC 6 Music on Apr. 17, Mick Jagger thinks he's been "very lucky" amid the coronavirus lockdown. The 77-year-old Rolling Stones frontman counts himself as incredibly fortunate, as he's been able to live very comfortably during the global health crisis. He said: "You have to be patient, learn self-reliance ... but all these things, as I say for me ... I'm very lucky. I don't have the problems of living, say in a small flat in London or New York, which some of my friends have had. Two kids in a two-room flat in Manhattan? I honestly don't know how I would have done that. Maybe a couple of weeks. But for that long, I don't know how I would have done it. And I admire them for being able to do it." -, 4/17/21...... In a new video posted on the Queen YouTube page, Brian May says the band was so heavily in debt before the release of 1975's A Night At The Opera, they would have been forced to split if the album had not been a success. The band's fourth album, which featured the hits "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "You're My Best Friend," became a lifesaver for the rockers, who would have been forced to give up on their dreams if it had flopped. "We were not only poor, but we were in debt," May says in the video. "All the sound and lighting companies and the people that we worked with hadn't been paid. So we were at a really crucial point. We might have had to break up if that album hadn't done well. It was an expensive album, enormous complexity on there. Even looking at it now, I wonder how we did some of that stuff," May added. His bandmate Roger Taylor added: "I remember when we went into the studio to make A Night At The Opera, it felt like make or break." -, 4/18/21...... Jim SteinmanComposer/producer Jim Steinman, an acclaimed songwriter behind a number of major hits for Meat Loaf, Bonnie Tyler, Celine Dion and Air Supply, died suddenly on Apr. 20 of as yet undisclosed causes, according to the Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. He was 73. Steinman, from New York, was also a talented record producer, arranger, pianist and singer. Steinman was best known for his work on Meat Loaf's 1977 debut studio album Bat Out of Hell, which is one of the best-selling albums of all time and is certified 14 times platinum by the RIAA, where he wrote the songs "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" (No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, 1978), "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" (No. 39, 1978), and "You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth" (No. 39, 1979). He also worked on its sequel LP and Meat Loaf's first-and-only Billboard 200 No. 1 album Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell, which contains the singer's lone Hot 100 No. 1 hit (which Steinman penned), "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)." The song also won a 1994 Grammy for best rock vocal performance, solo. Steinman earned two nominations for the single that year: one for song of the year and another for best rock song. He eventually earned his one Grammy win for album of the year at the 1997 Grammys for his work on Dion's fourth English-language album Falling for You, and is also responsible for helming Bonnie Tyler's No. 1 hit "Total Eclipse of the Heart" from her fifth studio album Faster Than the Speed of Night, which Steinman produced. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" earned a 1984 Grammy nod for best pop vocal performance female, while Faster Than the Speed of Night earned a nod for best rock vocal performance, female that year. Tyler's classic reigned at the No. 1 spot, while Air Supply's "Making Love Out of Nothing at All" -- which Steinman also wrote -- secured the No. 2 spot on the Hot 100 in Oct. 1983. He also penned Barry Manilow's No. 18 hit "Read 'Em and Weep" and Barbra Streisand's No. 50 song "Left in the Dark." Steinman was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012. "I am absolutely devastated to learn of the passing of my long term friend and musical mentor Jim Steinman," Bonnie Tyler tweeted upon learning of his death. "Jim wrote and produced some of themost iconic rock songs of all time and I was massively privileged to have been given some of them by him... I can say without any doubt that Jim was a true genius," she added. - Billboard, 4/20/21...... Mike Mitchell, the guitarist who performed one of garage rock's most iconic solos on The Kingsmen's version of early rock classic "Louie Louie," has died at 77. "Mike Mitchell, our legendary guitarist and co-founder passed away on his birthday, April 16, 2021," wrote the band in a tribute. "We are deeply saddened by Mike's passing. He was the kindest and most generous man on the planet. Mike is irreplaceable and he will be greatly missed not only by us but the fans as well. Mike was a favorite for his kindness, comedic nature as well as his musicianship. He is survived by his children Samantha and Max." No cause of death has yet been made public. The Kingsmen's take on "Louie, Louie," written by R&B singer Richard Berry in 1955, is considered to be one of the building blocks of the raucous garage rock sound thanks to its shambling, distorted vocals and guitars laid over the original's cha-cha rhythm. The band formed in Portland in 1959 as a teenage combo playing high school parties, teen dances and supermarket openings. The group then featured guitarist/singer Jack Ely and his good friend drummer Lynn Easton, who were soon joined by guitarist Mitchell and bassist Bob Nordby, according to an official bio. Their first single was their legendarily slurry, raw take on "Louie Louie," backed by the original instrumental, "Haunted Castle." Despite the band not loving their work, their "Louie, Louie" song hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 1963, despite a controversy about the practically indecipherable lyrics that got it banned in Indiana and led to an FBI investigation into the band that ended when the bureau properly deemed the record "unintelligible." The single made the Kingsmen one of the biggest touring draws in the nation, at one point landing the group two singles and three albums on the charts simultaneously and leading to TV and live gigs with everyone from the Rolling Stones to Dusty Springfield, the Kinks and the Zombies. Though they never reached those heights again, the Kingsmen's "Louie Louie" remains a cornerstone of garage rock and punk. Mitchell was the sole original member to remain a part of the lineup for more than 60 years, during which he performed across the country and world with a variety of other performers; Easton passed away in 2020 and Ely died in 2015. Mitchell was the last remaining original member of the group, who also landed a top 20 hit with their take on "Money (That's What I Want)" and a top five hit in 1965 with "The Jolly Green Giant." - Billboard, 4/19/21...... Walter MondaleFormer Vice-President Walter "Fritz" Mondale, who served as vice president under then-Pres. Jimmy Carter before waging his own unsuccessful White House bid in 1984, died on Apr. 19 at home in downtown Minneapolis surrounded by family. He was 93. Born to a Methodist minister and music teacher in southern Minnesota in 1928, the former Democratic vice president was a steadfast supporter of social justice. By the time he graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School, he was deeply involved in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party -- Minnesota's wing of the Democratic Party. He served as the state's attorney general starting in 1960 and later was named to the US Senate to fill the seat left vacant by Hubert Humphrey, who was elected Lyndon Johnson's vice president. Mr. Mondale represented Minnesota in the Senate from 1964 until 1976, when he signed on as Carter's running mate. Pres. Carter remembered Mr. Mondale in a statement as a "dear friend" and "the best vice president in our country's history." "During our administration, Fritz used his political skill and personal integrity to transform the vice presidency into a dynamic, policy-driving force that had never been seen before and still exists today. He was an invaluable partner and an able servant of the people of Minnesota, the United States, and the world," Pres. Carter continued. He served as Carter's No. 2 between 1977 and 1981, but his time as vice president came to an end when Ronald Reagan and his running mate, George H. W. Bush, defeated Carter and Mondale in 1980 -- a loss that Democrats wouldn't recover from until 1992, when Bill Clinton helped the party win back control of the White House. Still, Mr. Mondale would win the Democratic presidential nomination himself in 1984, and make history by naming a woman, US Rep. Geraldine A. Ferraro of New York, as his running mate before ultimately losing in a landslide to Reagan. In a statement, Ferraro's family remembered Mondale as a "hero" who "opened the doors of opportunity and forever changed what was possible in our country for women and girls." Mr. Mondale later served as both the US ambassador to Japan and the envoy to Indonesia under Clinton. His last race was in 2002, when he served as Minnesota's DFL Senate candidate, filling the ballot position of the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, who had died shortly before the election in October of that year. Mr. Mondale was defeated in the race by Republican Norm Coleman. Current Pres. Joe Biden memorialized Mr. Mondale on Apr. 19, calling him a "dear friend and mentor." He said the Minnesota Democrat was one of the first people to greet him in the Senate, and was his first call when former Pres. Barack Obama asked him to consider the vice presidency. "It was Walter Mondale who defined the vice presidency as a full partnership, and helped provide a model for my service," Pres. Biden said in a statement. Mr. Mondale is preceded in death by his wife, Joan Mondale, who died in 2014, and daughter, Eleanor, in 2011. -, 4/20/21.

Friday, Apr. 16, 2021

The Who have partnered with food giant Heinz for a new charity venture to celebrate the upcoming a super deluxe edition box set of their 1967 concept album The Who Sell Out. The record's original artwork famously featured frontman Roger Daltrey sitting in a bathtub filled with Heinz beans, while the second track on the LP was titled "Heinz Baked Beans." In the UK, Heinz are selling 1,967 415g cans -- with Daltrey and guitarist Pete Townshend personally hand-signing 50 cans -- with all net proceeds being donated to Magic Breakfast and the Teenage Cancer Trust. In the US, all proceeds will go to Teen Cancer America. UK fans can find out more about the cans and buy them from the site, while US fans can head to The Who's online shop. The deluxe version The Who Sell Out drops Apr. 23. - NME, 4/12/21...... Joey RamoneSaturday Night Live player and The King of Staten Island actor Pete Davidson has been tapped to portray punk icon Joey Ramone in Netflix's upcoming I Slept With Joey Ramone biopic. The announcement was made on Apr. 15, the 20th anniversary of the Ramones frontman's death at age 49 after a seven-year battle with lymphoma. Based on the 2010 memoir of the same name by Ramone's brother, Mickey Leigh, the project is being written by Davidson and Big Time Adolescence director Jason Orley and is being made in cooperation with Ramone's estate. STXfilms chairman Adam Fogelson said that Leigh "not only collaborated with his big brother's band -- he has irreplaceable memories of and insights into Joey Ramone, having supported him when no one else would and witnessed him overcome adversity in the most dramatic way," adding that Davidson "is perfect for this role and we're excited he and Jason will be bringing this icon of rock to life and thrilled to be collaborating once again with our friends at Netflix." Ramone (born Jeffrey Hyman) co-founded the group that kicked off the punk revolution in the U.S. with his childhood friends Doug Colvin (Dee Dee Ramone) and John Cummings (Johnny Ramone), with all the members taking on family-like pseudonyms inspired by Beatle Paul McCartney's early stage name. The famously fractious "brothers" never achieved the breakthrough chart success Ramone craved, even as the group toured the world relentlessly from 1976 until their breakup in 1996. Critical response to the casting of Davidson as Joey Ramone has been mixed, with critic Evan Rytlewski writing ""This is good casting. Pete Davidson is a meh comedian and a boring public figure but sometimes a surprisingly decent actor in roles that don't ask him to do much," while Variety's Manori Ravindran calling the casting "bullshit" and saying Joey "deserves better than this, damn it!" - Billboard/NME, 4/15/21...... Mick Jagger has teamed up with Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl for a surprise song about the Covid-19 pandemic, "Eazy Sleazy." The two rock icons released the song, which touches on the lockdown, Zoom calls, masks, anti-vaxxers, and more, on Apr. 13. "I wanted to share this song that I wrote about coming out of lockdown, with some much needed optimism -- thank you to Dave Grohl for jumping on drums, bass and guitar, it was a lot of fun working with you on this-hope you all enjoy Eazy Sleazy!" the 77-year-old Jagger posted on Twitter, with Grohl responding in his Twitter post, "It's hard to put into words what recording this song with Sir Mick Jagger means to me. It's beyond a dream come true. Just when I thought life couldn't get any crazier......and it's the song of the summer, without a doubt!!" Discussing the track in a new interview with Rolling Stone, Jagger explained that he had been inspired to write the lyrics after close friends and family began believing conspiracy theories. "It just seems to be that even people you know that are relatively sensible about a lot of things have one thing that they just don't kind of get," he said. Jagger has also teamed up with 3D artist Olivia Latta, aka Extraweg, for an audio-visual NFT (non-fungible token) of "Eazy Sleazy" to raise funds for beleaguered independent music venues on both sides of the Atlantic. Proceeds from the sale will be split between the UK's Music Venue Trust and America's National Independent Venue Association (NIVA). A cut of proceeds will also be donated to environmental causes. - The Hollywood Reporter/NME, 4/13/21...... Mick JaggerIn other Mick Jagger news, the Rolling Stones frontman has explained why he has never finished writing his memoirs, describing the process as "simply dull and upsetting." In a new interview with BBC 6 Music News' Matt Everitt on Apr. 14 on the release of "Eazy Sleazy," Jagger said that he hadn't found the motivation to resume work on that project. "I could've done that [writing his memoirs], yeah. It was a thing that people started doing, writing," he said. "I think in the '80s I started it and I was offered a lot of money -- the money was the seductive part of it! So when I actually started to get into it I really didn't enjoy it... reliving my life, to the detriment of living in the now. "If you wanna write an autobiography, this is not a process you can just do in a week -- it takes a lot out of you. It takes a lot of reliving emotions, reliving friendships, reliving ups and downs." Asked by Everitt if he ever intends to finish and publish his autobiography, Jagger replied: "Not any moment soon." Jagger previously said in 2014 that anyone wanting to read his memoirs should "look it up on Wikipedia", while in 2017 the writer and publisher John Blake claimed to have a copy of the singer's unfinished manuscript and described it as "a little masterpiece." - NME, 4/14/21...... Speaking of memoirs, AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson has announced he'll release his own autobiography, The Lives of Brian: AC/DC, Me, and the Making of Back in Black, this fall. The book will dive into Johnson's life from his upbringing in New Castle Upon Tyne, England, and his years in glam rock band Geordie to his success replacing the late Bon Scott in AC/DC. The Lives of Brian is due Oct. 26 via Penguin Books is available for pre-order on Amazon. After a hiatus from AC/DC, Jones returned to the veteran heavy metal rockers as lead vocalist for their November album Power Up, their first LP since 2014's Rock Or Bust. - Billboard/NME, 4/13/21...... In an interview with the UK's Uncut magazine paying tribute to Bob Dylan to mark his 80th birthday on May 24, Paul McCartney recalled the first time the Beatles got stoned with Dylan. "I'm not sure whether he's very keen on me telling this, but here we go," McCartney said. "It was at the Delmonico Hotel on Park Avenue and 59th in New York City in August, 1964. We were in a hotel room, all being good lads having our Scotch and Coke -- it was an afterparty, I think. Dylan arrived and he went into the bedroom with his roadie. Ringo [Starr, drummer] went along to see what was up. So he finds Dylan, rolling up, and he has a toke. He came back in and we said, 'What was it like?' So Ringo says, 'The ceiling is kind of moving down...' We all ran into the back room going, 'Give us a bit, give us a bit!' That was the very first evening we ever got stoned!" Meanwhile, McCartney released a "reimagined" version of his 2020 album McCartney III, McCartney III Imagined, on Apr. 16. It features collaborations with the likes of Beck, Phoebe Bridgers, St. Vincent, Idris Elba, Damon Albarn and others. - NME, 4/15/21...... In other Bob Dylan news, the 1965 Fender Electric XII guitar used by Dylan during sessions for his seventh studio album Blonde on Blonde has gone up for auction with a minimum bid of $215,000 (£156,000). The piece of music history -- valued at $1 million (£725,115) by Heritage Auction Appraisal Services -- has gone under the hammer through, an online auction house specialising in authentic music and pop culture memorabilia. The 12-string electric was given to Dylan by Fender Instruments to use on his 1965 LP Highway 61 Revisited and for the early sessions of its follow-up Blonde On Blonde at New York's Columbia 30th Street Studio. An official listing describes the instrument as "an incredibly rare specimen", which comes with "a signed letter of provenance from Bob Dylan's management confirming that this is the very guitar that he owned and used during the 'Blonde On Blonde' sessions" as well as a letter of authenticity. - NME, 4/14/21...... The Queen's Gambit actor Jacob Fortune-Lloyd is set to play late Beatles manager Brian Epstein in a new film titled Midas Man to be directed by Sweden's Jonas Akerlund. Aukerlund is best known for working with Madonna on the Grammy award-winning "Ray Of Light" music video as well as with other artists including Paul McCartney, Lady Gaga, Rammstein and The Prodigy. The unauthorized biography of Epstein, who was the Beatles manager from 1962 until his death in 1967, is set to start filming later in 2021 at Twickenham Studios and on location in London, Liverpool and America. According to, the film will "chart Epstein's... role in the cultural revolution and creative explosion of the 1960s and his sizeable yet often unheralded influence on pop music." As well as managing the Fab Four, Epstein also worked with a number of artists including Gerry and the Pacemakers, Cilla Black and Billy J Kramer and The Dakotas. He died of an accidental drug overdose in 1967 at age 32. Fortune-Lloyd, who played chess prodigy and later journalist Townes in the Netflix smash The Queen's Gambit, said in a statement "It's a huge privilege to play Brian Epstein, a man who made such an important and lasting cultural impact, but who struggled to find a secure place in a world he helped to shape." - NME, 4/16/21...... David BowieA new David Bowie compilation called The Width of a Circle will compile the late rock legend's early '70s non-album singles, alternate versions and BBC "In Concert" session. Due on May 28, it will mostly comprise recordings from a session with John Peel in 1970, in which Bowie performed alongside The Tony Visconti Trio, otherwise known as The Hype. Also among the collection is the five-song score Bowie composed for the BBC drama The Looking Glass Murders, and four songs recorded for The Andy Ferris Show in the '70s, including a cover of the Velvet Underground's "Waiting For The Man" and the compilation's title track. Elsewhere, the two-CD set will include 2020 mixes of "The Prettiest Star," "London Bye, Ta-Ta," "Memory Of A Free Festival," "All The Madmen" and "Holy Holy," produced by Visconti. The Width of a Circle is being marketed as a companion piece to the re-release of Bowie's third studio album, The Man Who Sold The World. The album was recently re-released under the title Metrobolist, which was Bowie's intended name for the LP, but was changed by his label without consultation. - NME, 4/15/21...... Elton John has called for internet trolls to face "accountability" in a new interview with Apple Music's Zane Lowe. John criticized the largely anonymous hate-spreaders for posting "hatefule" remarks online and making the world "really divided and really cruel." "We've lived through two or three years of divisiveness throughout the whole world, and especially in America, but around the world, and during lockdown, we've seen social media being used to abuse people racially. Not just being gay, but racially as well," Elton said. "People are so cruel to each other and it's because they hide behind their social messaging or whatever they do. If they had to write their names on it, they wouldn't do it. And I just think it's just awful that people can write anonymous things about people being gay, being of another political persuasion, religious persuasion, or just plain racial (abuse). I just think that we have to ask ourselves at this time that it's not good enough for people to be able to post anonymous things online. They have to be accountable for what they say. It's making the world really divided and it's really cruel... it's all down to the hateful messaging that people are putting on their social network. And we have to do something about it," he added. Meanwhile, the Rocket Man has teamed up with rising Japanese-British singer Rina Sawayama to release a new version of her song "Chosen Family." The music legend is a massive fan of the 30-year-old Japanese-British singer and has tinkled the ivories and added his iconic vocals to the ballad, which is Rina's "emotional ode to her LGBTQ+ family." The collaboration comes after Elton hailed Rina's debut studio effort, SAWAYAMA, his album of the year in 2020. Elton hitmaker got to chat with Rina via video call and was full of praise of her acclaimed record. - NME, 4/15/21...... Queen drummer Roger Taylor says he's planning to install a 20 foot high statue of late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in his garden. The bronze statue was originally created to promote the musical "We Will Rock You," which made use of Queen's back catalogue. It stood outside the Dominion Theatre in London from 2002 until the end of the show's West End run in 2014. Taylor is now reportedly planning an extensive renovation of the garden of his Surrey property, and planning to make the statue its centerpiece. Taylor is now reportedly planning an extensive renovation of the garden of his Surrey property, which would also see the installation of a pool house, bar and jacuzzi, and is currently seeking permission from the planning authorities for the renovation. Taylor previously installed the statue in his rockery, but faced a subsequent dispute with planners. "It was in a warehouse, costing money, so I said 'why don't they just put it on a lorry and bring it here, and we'll put it in the garden?'" Taylor said. "I also thought it would be very funny to have the statue there and I think Freddie would have found it hilarious." Guildford Borough Council is reportedly set to make a decision on the planning application in May. - NME, 4/13/21...... Rob HalfordJudas Priest frontman Rob Halford took to Instagram on Apr. 10 to share a video encouraging people to get vaccinated for the Covid-19 virus in order to "get those amazing vibes and feelings back faster." "Hi everyone. This is your metal god, Rob Halford of Judas Priest, sending you a massive shoutout of thanks to our metal community for doing the right thing by getting the life-saving vaccine that will eventually eradicate COVID-19 around the world," Halford began his Instagram statement. "One thing we're proud about in metal is that we not only stand together united for our music but also for each other. You know, common sense states that by having the jab, we're opening up one of the most important areas that we have so desperately missed, which is being side by side, horns way up at clubs, theatres, arenas and festivals where who we are and what we live for is tangible and real with the bands we love. So let's get those amazing vibes and feelings back faster. I urge those of us who have not yet been vaccinated to please step up. Judas Priest and all bands everywhere are made complete by playing live for our fans," he added. Halford ended his message by sharing the address of for grassroots charity, who work to ensure communities hardest hit by the pandemic have access to vaccines. - NME, 4/11/21...... Ozzy Osbourne's wife Sharon Osbourne is scheduled to break her silence about her exit from U.S. TV show The Talk during an interview with Bill Maher on his weekly HBO show Real Time with Bill Mahar on Apr. 23. The chat will come just days after The Talk returned to CBS without Sharon after a month-long hiatus following an awkward stand-off between Osbourne and co-host Sheryl Underwood over race. Underwood recently revealed she had not spoken to Sharon since their on-air feud, telling viewers on Apr. 19, "As you may know, during our break, Sharon decided to leave The Talk. We need to process the events of that day and what happened since, so we can get to the healing." Osbourne and Underwood's falling out came as Sharon attempted to defend her fellow Brit friend Piers Morgan following comments he made on a UK breakfast show about Meghan, Duchess of Sussex's mental health issues. Sharon insisted Morgan's remarks were not racist, prompting a heated debate between herself and her old friend. - WENN/, 4/14/21.

Sunday, Apr. 11, 2021

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

Tuesday, Apr. 6, 2021

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

Thursday, Apr. 1, 2021

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

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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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